Behemoth and Ancient Behemoth
|• Attack reduces enemy's defense by 40% and 1 point temporarily|
|• Attack reduces enemy's defense by 80% and 1 point temporarily|
"The attack of these giant creatures is so overwhelming it reduces their target's ability to mount further defenses. The attack of the behemoth reduces target defense value by 40%. Ancient behemoth attacks reduce it by 80%." RoE manual
Heroes with a specialty
- Kilgor the Barbarian has behemoths as a specialty, which gives them +5 Attack, +5 Defense and +10 Damage.
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The defense is reduced only for the Behemoth's attack, and is returned to normal immediately after that.
The Behemoths deal incredibly high melee damage thanks to their special ability. They seem resilient having 160-300 Health, but are quite fragile due to very low (for a 7th level unit) Defense, thus being "glass cannon" unit that both hits hard and gets hit hard in return.
The best defense against Behemoths is keeping them out of melee. They hit hard, but also take a lot of damage themselves that is only mitigated by their high Health, so use Slow, ranged troops, Blind or Berserk while you deal with other stacks.
Their own Attack is very low. Reducing it with spells like Weakness so their attack value doesn't exceed opposing unit's Defense as much as it normally would takes away a lot of their damage potential. Increasing Attack usually isn't as high priority as increasing their damage and speed, as it is compared to only 60%/20% of opposing stack's Defense.
Behemoths also have very low Defense. When using them, consider patching this vulnerability with Shield or Stone Skin spells or Armorer. When fighting them, exploit it - they can dish out damage very well, but aren't as great in taking it.
In melee, do not use Stone Skin against Behemoths as they ignore most of the bonus defense anyway. Use Shield spell instead, as it's not defense buff but flat damage taken reduction, and it greatly reduces Behemoths' killing power. Fire Shield is good defensive buff too, as it reflects part of damage dealt before mitigations, and Behemoths deal very high melee damage.
Because Defense works only partially against Behemoths, don't use Defend command in melee against them, as it sacrifices your stack's turn and possible attack for a very small defense bonus that will be mostly ignored anyway.
Use "sacrificial" expendable stacks to take counterattacks instead of your more valuable units, so the hard hitters can live longer and keep dealing damage to Behemoths. Thus casting Counterstrike on Behemoths is something to consider when fighting several melee stacks.
Damage-increasing spells also work well, as Behemoths take a lot of damage themselves. Bless, Bloodlust, Precision, Prayer, Slayer are all viable buffs for your army when fighting Behemoths. Frenzy is a somewhat special case - normally it's double-edged sword, increasing Attack at the cost of Defense, but in melee against Behemoths your stacks have only a fraction of their normal Defense, so this spell becomes less useful unless cast on unreachable ranged stack.
An Ancient Behemoth is among the few recruitable level 7 creatures that can defeat an Archangel in one-on-one combat, another example being the Haspid from Horn of the Abyss expansion. (A Titan can also defeat an Archangel one-on-one by defending 4 times and then attacking).
Analysis of the special ability
They ignore 40%/80% of the opponents defense. Depending on their attack value to the opponents defense Value, there are two scenarios:
Below, you see how much this is for some attack/defense values. As can be seen, this ability is becoming more and more useful in the late-game. Increase your hero's attack as much as possible for maximum effect.
Note that the maximal difference between an attacker's attack and the defender's defense is capped (see damage calculation). If the attacker has more than 60 more attack, it is capped at 60 (translates to a 300% damage increase). If the defender has more than 28 more defense, the difference is capped at 28 (translates to 70% less damage).