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Having trouble beating Hellish Skirmish? Well you could always hide behind a bunch of thrasher traps, you know. But if you want to give the heroes a good honest to the evil beating here are three focused strategies: for Horde, Undead, and Demon.
Horde – “Ogre Smash”
Estimated time to kill boss: 45 minutes.
Start by digging around to find 2 gold veins, around each build a 5×5 treasury. Get the More Little Snot researches which cost 500 and 750 gold. No real need to hire more than that. Also build a Workshop because you’ll be needing some toolboxes.
Throughout this and at any time really feel free to beat your Little Snots, it is good for productivity. Also while not as evil, feel free to pick up gold, mana orbs, etc for them and deliver it to where it needs to go, Snots are incredibly slow when carrying stuff and that reduces the rate at which useful work gets done.
You want to hire 3 Orcs, 2 Nagas and 1 Banshee. While this is a horde-centric strategy, the Banshee applies an invaluable debuff which significantly improves the longevity of your units, and you want a Graveyard anyway for the free Zombies. As a side note if playing with low starting resources, replace the 2 nagas with 2 more orcs, but hire 2 nagas once you have evilness to unlock them (let 2 orcs die, or send them down the hatch).
Your army should have little trouble taking the nearest island of evil, in the worst case it might have exclusively lvl5 heroes, often the orcs can beat it anyway, but if not try going to another island of evil, which should be more lightly defended.
It should be noted that unit experience is valuable: you definitely want to do your best to keep 2 Orcs and 2 Nagas alive – you can use extra orcs as ablative meatshields if you have to, throwing them into parties of heroes to take the hits.
Next get a Prison, even though it is undead it provides free units and extra evilness and is really too good to pass up. I mean you could pass it up if you really want to, but you’d be accurately described as a Foolish Evil.
The next tech you want to unlock is Lich, and hire one Lich. Yes, yes, I know it’s another undead tech, but the Lich is REALLY too good to pass up, -50% attack speed when combined with the -33% attack speed of banshee means heroes attack like once every 10 seconds, it brings out the inner patheticness of those heroes. Having a Lich makes it substantially easier to take on stronger camps, including those with lvl9 heroes.
Finally, and I promise this is the last diversion away from the Horde, grab the demon techs up to Demon Portal. You can’t live without Demon Portal. Well, you can, but its an existence as pathetic as those lived by the heroes locked in your prison, slowly wasting away. Demon portal allows for returning home to fight heroes, strategic retreat from bad fights and instantly getting to Islands of Evil which are under attack.
Getting an Arcanium and an Imp to work in it is somewhat optional, you may not need to bother if you mined lots of mana orbs since all you need to cast is Demon Portal and the odd Demon Strength, both of which are cheap spells. But you can hire a couple of imps if you like, they tend to pull their weight in battles by staying out of range and not dying.
Finally, we get back to investing in the Horde. Now the tech progression is easy to remember because you’re simply going to unlock everything up to and including the Ogre with no diversions and no messing around. Along the way build a Brewery because your orcs will probably be ready to level up beyond level 3 and turn into Ironhides.
You want to have 2 or 3 Ironhides, 2 Nagas, 1 or 2 Banshees, 1 Lich, Thalya and maybe 2 Imps. These guys will be getting some pretty serious leveling done (except Thalya) as you murder your way across the Overworld.
Once you have unlocked the Ogre and hired the brute you almost have what you need to kill the boss, but just for good measure get a Lecture Hall and research “Ogre? Indestructible!” and Naga’s “Healing Hands”. Also get a Crypt and research the upgrade so your units resurrect with full health, unless you’re feeling confident you can keep your horde units alive. Additional evilness can just be dumped into “Improved Horde”.
With the Ogre in the lead with his vast hitpool and brutal area stun you should definitely be able to take on even the strongest hero camps: those with Archmages and such, killing those camps is somewhat optional but extra experience is valuable, it gets a lot easier to kill the Boss if your units are lvl5-6. Of course you could instead train in the Arena, but if there are heroes who need killing I reckon the honest thing is to go kill them.
A level5 ogre with “Indestructible” can pretty much solo a boss, well he might need a little support but his hitpool will basically last forever. Let the Ogre clobber the boss and try and micro your other units to avoid aoe attacks, if they do die it’s not a terribly big deal, the Ogre will hang in there and you can bring in reinforcements through Demon Portal. If a strong party of heroes spawns you might have to retreat, but fortunately most bosses don’t heal so your hard work won’t be lost.
Undead – “I vant to suck your blood”
Estimated time to kill Boss: 35 minutes
Open almost exactly as per the horde strategy, that is get the imps working on 2 gold veins and hire 5 Orcs and 1 Banshee. The main difference is you don’t get any nagas, sadly all those Orcs are going to die in battle, you might want to give them a Hideout but it’s kind of optional, they aren’t going to live long. The reason you get orcs is there are only two units that are actually able to kill armored heroes, Orcs and Arachnids, and it costs evilness to get Arachnids and they are waaaay more expensive.
Take your hapless army of orcs and banshee and capture the first Island of Evil.
Unsurprisingly we continue as per the Horde strategy, getting the Prison and then unlocking Lich. Hire 2 Liches. Also unlock the Demon tree, but this time up to Magic Room. The biggest weakness of Undead is slow healing, casting Magic Room on the Graveyard allows your undead to regenerate their health in half the time, it’s good, you should do it often. To sustain the use of Magic Room you’ll need to build an Arcanium and hire 1 or 2 Imps, of course you should cast magic room on the Arcanium too. It’s also a really good idea to cast Demon Strength on your army every battle, Undead units deal somewhat lackluster damage and the +25% boost helps them to overcome armor.
You’ll want to capture your second Island of Evil, now this is going to sound a little evil, but once you have a lich it’s a really good thing if your orcs happen to die during battle, allowing much more experience to go to the Lich – Thalya can do a lot of the finishing off and doesn’t detract from exp gains. A lvl1 Lich is kind of pathetic in the damage department but their damage scaling by level is amazing and by lvl3 they start to mop the floor with heroes, if you’re so lucky to get a camp of lvl5 heroes and all your orcs just happen to die during the fight leaving all the experience to go to a single Lich it can end up at lvl4. It’s not essential to manipulate things like this, but any exp going to orcs is wasted so it’s a nice to do.
Liches are pretty amazing at killing heroes, but they are pretty much rubbish against bosses. For one their debuff doesn’t work at all on bosses (unlike Banshee), and for two they deal area damage and bosses don’t usually go around in packs, they also have a bad habit of folding like wet tissue when hit by a boss area attack making them nearly impossible to keep alive.
So we wipe the tears from our face from mourning the loss of our brave Orcs, and hire Vampires to replace them. Vampires aren’t that good as melee units but they heal crazy fast when attacking enemies with 0 armor, and it just so happens that nearly all bosses have 0 armor, the only exception is Elric the Stunning who has 30 armor. So pick up 2 or 3 vampires and continue devastating the Overworld in order to gain experience.
If you haven’t guessed by now, having unlocked Vampires the very next tech to unlock is Grave Golem. Then get a Lecture Hall and research the Vampire upgrade and maybe the Grave Golem upgrade, “More Skeletons” is pretty good too.
The Grave Golem is really not as good as the Ogre, but he is cheap to get in terms of evilness and he is an excellent tank, when he uses his “Bury head in sand” ability he becomes for most intents and purposes invulnerable, allowing your liches and vampires to go to town on the heroes. With the Grave Golem leading the way and burying his head in the sand you should have no trouble taking out the strongest hero camps.
The Boss should go down easily enough, the Grave Golem takes quite a while to die and if your vampires are remotely well levelled (i.e. at least lvl3) they should readily out-heal the boss’s damage output. If the Grave Golem does die during the boss battle considering tossing his corpse down the hatch in the dungeon heart and buying a replacement.
In general with Undead you just stream freshly reinforcements through the Demon Portal into the boss fight. Sure, they have like 10 hitpoints, but often the bosses do like 700 damage a hit anyway so for sqiushy units like liches there isn’t a lot of difference between being freshly resurrected and having full health.
It’s honestly pretty hard to lose a boss fight when using undead even if your vampire levels suck, just buy a new grave golem if the old one dies and keep streaming in reinforcements.
Demon – “Mass Spiders”
Estimated time to kill boss: 25 minutes
You mass Arachnids. Then you kill the boss. That’s exactly how complex the strategy is.
As per usual, get 2 gold veins and definitely get a Workshop, because you’ll need toolboxes. Arachnids are pretty expensive so be sure to beat those snots extra good.
If playing low starting resources hire some orcs and go capture the nearest Island of Evilness then send all the surviving orcs down the hatch. Otherwise, invest your starting evilness into unlocking Arachnids and just go with Arachnids from the start.
We’re literally just going to hire Arachnids for this strategy (if you really want you can hire an Imp to work the Mana Shrine). A banshee could theoretically be of some use, the problem being that since Arachnids are ranged and banshees are melee, the banshee basically just runs ahead and gets horribly gangpiled.
It’s important to note that early on you won’t have an Arcanium, your Arachnids won’t really be able to come back to life unless you got lucky with finding lots of mana orbs. But anyway, what you want to do is don’t let your Arachnids die, it’s not that hard, they’re a tanky unit with some range which deals insane damage and they heal really quickly when they haven’t been hit for a while, demon resurrection requires mana, demon healing does not.
During Overworld fights, you want to pull an Arachnid back when it gets badly injured. During Dungeon fights you want to use the Army view and if you see an Arachnid taking a beating, click on the portrait to pick him up. If in spite of your stellar micro skills an Arachnid does die and can’t resurrect it’s not big deal, just send the corpse down the hatch and hire a new one.
With this strategy getting Graveyard and Prison is pretty much optional, sure, free units are nice, but an Arachnid army can steamroll the Overworld with ease.
You’ve already unlocked pretty much all the tech you need, that’s Arachnid. You can pretty much just hire 6-8 Arachnids and go kill everything on the Overworld which is super simple since Demons heal really quickly between fights – unlike with Horde you don’t even need to stop moving.
You probably do want an Arcanium with 1 or 2 Mana Shrines so you can afford to resurrect your spiders. And of course it doesn’t hurt to get spells up to Demon Portal, Magic Room is a nice luxury for making demons resurrect faster and Meteor is useful too since we’re a bit low on debuffs due to no banshee/lich. You’ll definitely want a Relaxation Chamber so your demons can go beyond level 3.
There’s really no need at all to get the Lecture Hall or a Titan with this strategy, just dump all extra Evilness into “Improved Demons” to make your Arachnids better.
Once you’ve cleansed the Overworld of heroes which really shouldn’t take long it is time for the Boss to die. You probably want your Arachnids to be level 5, but anyway they do just resurrect for free so throw your mass spiders at the Boss and try and micro them to keep them alive. If they all die, well, you still damaged the boss and bosses generally don’t heal, so just wait for the spiders to resurrect and send them in again. Bosses vary somewhat in how easily they die to Arachnids but at worst you’ll just have to throw 2 or 3 waves to kill the Boss.