Summary: Jakub is back again with more WarCraft III strategies. In today's installment, Jakub provides strategies and demos for Humans. If you're hoping to improve your War3 game, look no further!
Noble knights and other such stuff
Along with Orcs, Humans are the other original race from the previous WarCraft games. The last time around, though the official storyline had them winning, it was the Orcs who did the spanking. It was difficult to argue with a lusted ogre. Still, Humans developed some traits in WC2 that seem to have carried over to the sequel. They were versatile, sneaky and (bloodlust aside), had a nicer spell repertoire.
WeaknessesHumans just aren't the best at any single thing. Knights are fodder for Druids of the Claw and Tauren, though fortunately they are quicker. Inner Fire isn't on the same plane as Bloodlust, and Polymorph isn't as deadly as Possession. Gryphons excel at combat with ground units, being the most capable of holding their own with anti-air like Archers and support casters, but their ability to assault a base isn't on the same level as Chimaeras and Frost Wyrms. Healing comes earlier than it would for Orcs but conversely isn't as powerful. The Paladin is one of the weaker heroes in the game. If it wasn't for his partner heroes, he'd be useless, actually.
That's not a whole lot in the way of weaknesses. The Paladin aside, these are more like drawbacks to balance out the Human strengths. Even the Paladin is just a way of keeping the Humans reasonable.
StrengthsFirst and foremost, Humans can do anything. A Human can do a hero rush faster than anyone else, since multiple peons can build the same building. Humans can use towers to rush or go creeping with. Their tier 1 units are very strong, even if not everyone respects the Rifleman. Footman/AM rushes are very effective, as you will see in the demos. A Human can have the fastest opening of any race. Any kind of rush - hero or tier 1 units - can come sooner from a Human than it would from Orc, Undead or Night Elf players.
Tier 2 opens the floodgates with Mortar Teams and support casters who are immediately useful. Out of all the siege units, the Mortar Team is the most effective at attacking enemy armies thanks to the big radius of their splash damage. The Priest's Heal and Sorceress' Slow are very powerful starting spells. When researched, Dispel Magic and Invisibility can put the hurt on a lot of foes.
Tier 3 gives the Human player Knights, Polymorph, Inner Fire, Steam Tanks and Gryphons. It should also give his opponent complimentary vaseline, if he hasn't got it already. Humans simply aren't weak at any stage of the game.
Finally, the Human heroes are disgustingly powerful. We'll get into the specifics later, but the combination of all three blends together like it does for no other race.
Choose yer poisonRelative to the Orcs, Humans have so many ways of playing a game it can boggle the mind. If you know where your opponent is, a nasty opening can be the Archmage rush. Set two or three peons to build your Altar, but otherwise keep your build the same. Get your Archmage out and running towards the enemy base as soon as possible, and put your point into Water Elemental. Summon one immediately and the second when you get inside the base. The opposing hero won't be out yet. With luck, the hero that's building is a one unable to cope well with the AM rush - like a Priestess of the Moon or Death Knight. Keep summoning elementals until you're out of mana.
Against Orcs, Undead or Humans it is very easy to force their peons off the production line. Night Elves aren't recommended as a target for the AM rush for two reasons. First, wisps can Detonate, causing severe damage to the elementals and draining the AM's mana. Second, most Night Elves open up with the Demon Hunter hero who will Mana Burn the Archmage and then kill him.
A more common opening is building Barracks and Altar at the same time, having an Archmage supported by Footmen. You can creep or harass with this force. Against an Orc or Night Elf player, it is worth considering researching Defend. Orcs will turtle with towers, but they have only 500 hitpoints and do only piercing damage. Night Elves often supplement their hero with Archers before switching to Huntresses. Massing Riflemen against Night Elves is recommended only with range upgrades and some Footmen to serve as meatshields. Once the Hunts close the gap, Riflemen tend to drop like flies.
No matter what, your first two heroes should be Archmage and Mountain King (usually in that order.) The Mountain King makes it risky for the enemy hero to engage in combat, since Storm Bolt does a buttload of damage and stuns. It is a great way to finish a hero off before he has the chance to Town Portal.
Air PowerOrcs, being limited to Shamen, Witchdoctors and Headhunters for their anti-air, are very vulnerable to Gryphon Riders. Gryphons are similar to Wyverns but with their upgraded Storm Hammer weapon, they do bounce damage like a Huntress. While they're still not recommended for combat against support casters and anti-air units, the Storm Hammer makes them much more potent at it.
Gryphons are excellent against Tauren and any other units in Heavy armor. When assaulting an Orc base with Gryphons, focus on Burrows first since their 400 hitpoints and Normal armor are a joke. Be careful if you spot Beastiaries since that means either Wyverns or possibly Raiders with snares. The Far Seer hero is the only Orc hero who poses a threat to Gryphons, with his anti-air ability and Chain Lighting spell.
Other races, while not as vulnerable to the Gryphon Rider, are far from immune. Other Human players can suffer from Gryphon hangovers as well, since Riflemen are often skipped in favor of support casters. Scout Towers, like Burrows, have normal armor and fall easily. Once upgraded to Guard Towers however, they become much more difficult to take down. The Archmage is a Gryphon Rider's nightmare. Between Water Elementals and Blizzard, it is best to retreat when confronted with this hero.
Against Undead, Gryphons fare well since they are immune to Possession and Crypt Fiends aren't that common. Even if Crypt Friends cast Web on your Gryphons, it is easily dispelled by the Priest's dispel magic. We'd say Gryphons dominate Undead if not for the sturdy Undead Spirit Towers.
Night Elves have plenty of counters to the Gryphon. The always-popular Dryad, and the slightly-less-common Archer are potent anti-air weapons. The Druid of the Talon in Crow form isn't an economical deterrent but poses problems nontheless. Even Night Elf bases aren't the best targets for a Gryphon raid. Despite the general lack of static defenses in a NE base, there aren't too many vulnerable buildings or units. The gold mine is entangled and needs a lot of damage to break before you can get at the Wisps, so wood-harvesters remain your only easy target, but it's better to go after the Altar. The Keeper of the Grove and Priestess of the Moon are both capable of anti-air attacks, with the Priestess being the more formidable of the two. Once he has Starfall, it is suicide to attack her with the Gryphons.
Cutesy?While Orcs might have cutesy alternatives to their main strategies, Humans just have more real options. Orc Raiders can be pests. Human Steam Tanks are end-game, particularly if you can sneak them in using the Archmage's level 6 Teleport ability. Bloodlust and Healing Wards do no good to Tauren if they're sheep. The Orc's only dispel is Purge, which costs a lot of mana (75), affects only one target, and the Shaman probably doesn't have any mana left to cast it after auto-casting Bloodlust on anything that moves.
The Sorceress' Slow spell effectively cancels Bloodlust, but save some mana for Polymorph, particularly when you are outnumbered. Don't waste Polymorph against Night Elves who have Dryads since Abolish Magic is an autocast ability. Against armies with Dryads keep Slow and Inner Fire casting, since the Sorceress and Priest have more mana and regenerates it faster - especially in range of an Archmage with Brilliance Aura. Dryads that are dispelling are also Dryads that aren't attacking. Use the Priest's Dispel Magic on Skeletons, Treants, summoned Wolves and enemy Water Elementals. Alternate between auto-casting Inner Fire and Heal, for maximum effect.
Teamplay changesHumans are a great teaming race. What separates them from the "good" others is their versatility, the Priest's Dispel Magic and their heroes. Dispel Magic is just utterly abusive. It cancels any kind of effect. Entangle, Bloodlust, Purge, Frenzy, Faerie Fire, Inner Fire and Web all fall before the might of Dispel Magic. Dispel needs to be cast manually by the player but it has area-effect. It nulls and voids the Undead skeleton hordes that appear in massive battles. Just about the only thing Dispel Magic can't do is rid of the world of boy band music.
In team matches, the normal Human start works well. Footmen or Riflemen work fine, accompanying the Archmage (usually) or Mountain King if you're feeling different. Support casters are a must and can be followed up by Knights, Gryphons, or even Tier 1 units. Humans have some very nasty tricks as well, centering on the Archmage's Teleport or Sorceress' Invisibility. Sneaking an army of Steam Tanks into an enemy base is utterly devastating.
A Human Footman / Undead Ghouls rush is very fast and effective. The Archmage's Water Elementals add significant ranged power to it, while the Undead Dread Lord should have Sleep to knock out enemy heroes. If you're going for a hero-killing force, get the Mountain King with Storm Bolt and Undead should have Death Knight with Death Coil. Night Elves with Archers and a Demon Hunter work quite well. Orcs just won't be ready in time.
Of course, later in the game you want to have more support casters than you normally would, and fewer melee units. The exception is a quick assault force of Knights. Their speed and ability to flank a foe are great offensive tools. With their high armor, they survive quite long even against prolonged support caster fire (which, unfairly, does piercing damage vs. the Knight's Heavy armor.)
Humans open with the Archmage. He is the most powerful hero in the game. At high levels, he can cast Water Elemental or Blizzard indefinitely, or both at the same time for a very, very long time. He is an army unto himself, with up to four Water Elementals at the same time, who when fully upgraded are 900 hitpoint units that do about 50 damage.
The Paladin is the patsy hero of the race… of the game. He is the last hero Humans usually get, but despite his inability to aid early on, he's a great help later in the game. Devotion Aura is useless, adding +1, +2 and +3 armor per level of the skill. But it's Holy Light, his ability to heal (200, 400, 600) and Divine Shield (10s, 20s or 30s of immunity) which make him invaluable. Resurrection, the Paladin's ultimate, brings back the 6 most powerful units of yours that died within the area of effect. It's fairly good as far as ultimate abilities go, but it is rare to see a Paladin get the power.
High-level funBy the time you have your third hero, your first two should be in the level 5 and level 3 ranges, give or take a level. Having all three around makes for some incredible potential strategies. The three human heroes are the most powerful combination, and with good reason. An Avatared Mountain King or Water Elementals to absorb damage, Blizzard to trash buildings and the Paladin for healing. It's an army unto itself.
The trick to defeating three co-operating heroes is to kill the healing hero first (Death Knight, Paladin, Keeper of the Grove). But with Divine Shield, the Paladin is a tough nut to crack. While waiting for Divine Shield to go away, you get hammered at by the Mountain King and the Archmage's Water Elementals. All three heroes gain mana back at an insane rate thanks to Brilliance Aura, while the Mountain King makes life very difficult for enemy heroes. Trying to kill either of the two vulnerable heroes is usually pointless thanks to the Paladin's heals. Should an actual threat to them materialize, the Archmage just Teleports the force away. In short, if properly micromanaged, these heroes can't die.
Bonus!We've compiled quite a few replays for you this time, including some from the previous article that show play against Orcs. Of particular interest should be the garimto-akrobatik human/orc battle which we showed in the Orc article. Watching it from Garimto's perspective shows insane hero control, how he defeats his opponent despite losing his base, just by using the Human heroes. This is by no means a typical result even for a pro, but it effectively demonstrates the power that heroes wield.
Cheese vs Four
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