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To all those who think Necropolis is imbalanced...[edit]

Disclaimer: I am not positioning myself a Heroes 3 expert. I don't play at tournaments nor stream my games, and there are some maps and campaigns which I find impossible. I play just for fun, supposing there are some things in Heroes 3 too hard for me to understand.

However, I would like to say that banning Necropolis from tournaments is for me an insult. I'm not against bans of features which may lead to an easy win (e.g. artifacts like Armageddon's Blade; yet I would rather make some useful stuff "for all", not "for nobody", e.g. placing Scholars with Earth Magic just near players' home towns), but to remove a whole faction is weakening the game.

Many people (including me) play Necropolis not for its exceptional ability of Necromancy. They just love its unique lore. There can be no other place like Necropolis, a cemetery of unhappy souls, a world of horrific, eternal dread. Demons and Devils are still living, and here rules the death itself. The music of Necropolis is arguably among the best in Heroes 3. Speaking in terms of the game itself, there possibly should be a place with its gameplay completely different from other factions (no morale, troops not affected by e.g. Bless or Curse).

However, it's all fandom and lyric. True reason that Necropolis should in my opinion never be banned on tournaments is that besides necromancy, vampirism and death blow, our town has many significant weaknesses and problem. Our troops can't attack twice, and when any other one joins, this unit will get low morale (while, e.g., a Basilisk will disable high morale when joining a Castle army, but no one will miss a turn if having only 2 factions). There are very few exceptions. Even worse is the fact that we have only one ranged unit, and it is level 5! Necropolis requires big and costly development simply to get ranged troops, and the growth is significantly lower than most shooters have. Moreover, Liches have low HP and are weaker than many 5th tier units (compared with Minotaurs, Thunderbirds, or Gorgons), and if a unit other than undead is in our army, it can be killed by its own Liches.

Things get even worse when looking on many other Necropolis units. Basic Vampires have intermediate quality and their upgrade isn't cheap. Wights are the slowest flying units in the game with unbecoming speed 5 and are completely useless, and Wraiths are the slowest upgraded flyers and are still in the bottom of 3rd level, having mana drain as a little consolation (possibly helpful in early game, but later - what's the difference between 198 and 200?) Ghost Dragons are among the weakest 7th level units, compared to Archangels or Black Dragons they are just unsuitable (and Archangels have Champions who don't lose that much to Dread Knights!) And I will not mention Walking Dead and Zombies, they are Heroes 3's least valuable players. I couldn't think of their better use than to sacrifice for experience (especially in a campaign)...

In fact, every imbalance has the other side of the medal. Many towns can get a big buff via buildings. For example, why does Rampart have a Treasury - only due to their lore? Their 7th level units have worst possible magic immunity: Gold Dragons are immune to Resurrection, but not to Implosion, and will thus be easily destroyed by a strong magician, never rising from the dead. Moreover they are expensive, thus your Treasury may give you the necessary sum of gold for producing a Gold Dragon. If you were saving money, then you'll be richer than Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined. Why are Treasuries not banned? Rampart's troops are mediocre, but have many abilities. And what about Dragogeddon? Ok, Armageddon can be banned as well, but here comes Chain Lightning which won't take Gold and Black Dragons, and is more easy to get. Ban it as well? The whole game will be banned by that logic.

Even Stronghold and Fortress. These cities suffer from having weak magic, but have units' abilities as a decent compensation. A lightning strike from a big stack of Thunderbirds will be a turning point in a major battle, won't it? And what about death stare, a full imbalance which has no difference between Peasants and Archangels? Dragon flies' debuff and formidable speed is a disaster in the early game, and Ancient Behemoths are the toughest guys ever.

Finally, Necromancy itself has its cons as well as its pros. Skeletons have low speed and will thus slow your army down, and they are very weak and very easy to murder. Decent ranged ones will turn them to pieces, and most of them don't have unsuitable speed of 4. Thus, it's better to learn how to battle Necropolis, not to avoid battling it:)--Dread Knight (talk) 17:54, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

I'm fearful of Necropolis even with halved Necromancy. It hasn't been uncommon to steamroll everything. Powerstacks are powerstacks, simple as that, and skelestonks are reliable and an option for all map types when it comes to powerstacking. And well, the AI of H3 is quite trash too, you don't even really need to farm anything to defeat it. And well, the 20 year-old balance is the balance of a game where the og AI was too hard to defeat, so....--FirePaladin2 (talk) 18:44, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Man, Necropolis is banned for a reason. No other town GAINS troops from battles as it does. No other town can convert other type creatures to its own. No other town can amass thousands of 1st levels THIS fast that ALSO don't suck and in fact can take & dish out crazy amount of damage. The only reason Skeleton legions aren't completely impossible to deal with is their meh base stats. But wait, this is where magic comes in! Cast Haste, enjoy Skeletons running amok like Champions. Or Prayer because for some reason undead cannot benefit from Bless but Prayer is A-OK. (Btw, 1-3 damage spread with 6 HP. Bless. Unit hitting for HALF of its health, very numerous, cheap, and gained after victorious battles - see the problem? Like Master Gremlins but actually worth something in melee) Necropolis has good early game because Skeletons, very good mid game because Skeletons + Vampire Lords, and very good to broken late game because Skeletons + Vampire Lords + Dread Knights + magic support. Yeah, the other half of the army sucks (maybe except Liches, as long as nothing looks at them funny), but this is the price you pay for playing Necropolis. If it didn't, the town would be completely broken, being good at everything AND having unique advantages that no other town can match. Also the whole "no ranged until level 5" thing ceases to be a problem when you realize that the opponent simply cannot kill all of your Skeletons before they get into melee. There's just too many of them. Sure you will take some casualties getting in melee, but it's a 50% damage from distance>10, and then it's legion of Skeletons vs significantly lower number of soon-to-be Skeletons. Well, unless you're fighting Tower army, which can outshoot, outfight and outmagic Necropolis unless it's heavily outmatched. Anyway, Necropolis IS imbalanced, pretty much only way to get rid of it is even stronger early rush because later you will be drowned in tons of Skeletons and might not have army or magic to deal with that -Fafner (talk) 20:31, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Fair thing. What I love when fighting Necropolis, is get Solmyr. His CL specialty makes the damage times greater at level 20 when cast on level 1 creatures, so you're gonna deal at least double damage if you target skelestonks. Although you know, one rarely gets Solmyr, unless they play with Tower.--FirePaladin2 (talk) 20:40, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Some cities with moderate top tier creatures have better early game than Necropolis, whose 1-4 level creatures are neither strong nor fast (with the exception of Vampire Lords, but they take some resources), and saving money on Walking Dead is dangerous as sometimes no other one may guard the town. For example, Rampart's 1-4 lvls are way faster besides Dwarves which are great town guards, and the only con is weakness and fragileness of Pegasi (however, when upgraded they have excellent speed, easily crush wandering monsters and are useful when sieging towns). Inferno has Cerberi who are among the best thirds, and Fortress has Dragon flies who fly like rockets and Basilisks who are very reliable (personally I think that of the non-upgraded fourths, Basilisks are among the best together with Magi - then come Crusaders and Vampire Lords, but their basic versions are not the ones who rock). On the other hand, let's return to Rampart, and we'll see that Dendroids are useless on adventure map for obvious reasons, Unicorn is an exemplary intermediate unit - neither weak nor strong, neither slow nor fast, and Gold Dragon is for me one of three bottom 7th levels, alongside slow Hydra and faint Ghost Dragon. It is a flawed version of a Black Dragon, with the exception that Resurrection still can't be casted on it, while Implosion can. Take them out from a battle (and they have 250 HP not 300) - that's all, they will never return and no one in Rampart is even close. Finally they are unfairly expensive - Ancient Behemoth is cheaper, and how fast it is the MVP and how rarely a Gold Dragon is.--Dread Knight (talk) 23:13, 11 March 2021 (UTC)
Yeah, Solmyr+Master Gremlins rush is one of the final solutions to the Necropolis problem, as Skeletons are extremely vulnerable to direct damage spells, CL is very strong and can even remove sacrificial stacks in addition to main target, and with Master Gremlin gunline you won't worry too much about collateral damage. Solmyr does get old fast though, in the longer games it's usually better to get Neela or try to get Orrin for a well-scaling specialty. However I meant that in general Tower troops just outclass Necropolis troops, especially on higher levels. Titans crush Ghost Dragons with their higher damage output even with their HP halved from turn 1, and Naga Queens are the only level 6 able to consistently kill Dread Knights (and everything else that Necropolis has to offer) thanks to no retaliation & high damage. Golems & Gargoyles are immune to pretty much everything undeads can do. Master Genies are as fragile as Liches but are faster, deal higher damage & have always useful specialty. Magi can be shielded by unliving so Vampire Lords cannot heal while they're being decimated from distance. Apart from Dread Knights & Skeletons in really high numbers Necropolis has nothing that in late game can match Naga Queens and Titans in raw power, and in early game Master Gremlins beat Skeletons, so Tower is quite good counter for Necropolis if you're not banning it outright -Fafner (talk) 21:51, 11 March 2021 (UTC)

And what about imbalance of Conflux?[edit]

Of course it's only my opinion, but I don't see any need to ban Conflux from the game nor I see with Necropolis. If it's only due to Phoenixes' first turn - wow, shouldn't someone be the fastest in the game? Archangels are the best unit in the game - should Castle be banned then? And while that infernal speed of Phoenixes is a major advantage (which still can be countered - if they wait, kill them by shooting and magic, if they act first, they will be crushed by your troops), there are many disadvantages of Conflux.

First, all units but 1st and 7th can not be resurrected. If undead has its own animating spell, elementals don't have even something like this, thus major parts of Conflux army will never rise after being destroyed. Second, Conflux has very weak 4th and 5th levels. Just imagine, your enemy has Crusaders and you have Energy Elementals, your enemy has Pit Lords and you have Magma Elementals! Third, the way of building Conflux up is very complicated, compared only to Tower and Dungeon. To get anyone but Pixies, you should have a Mage Guild, thus making Conflux very bad on Impossible level (Mage Guilds are usually present at start though, but if not, then you will perhaps use Pixies... or what will you do?) Fourth, you don't have any shooters prior to building upgraded dwellings - if you build them on early stages of the game, you will lose a turn for something strategically important. Basic Air and Water Elementals aren't troops of which you dream every day.

Storm Elementals are very cool units of their level. They have great health and deal good damage. However, they are easily destroyed by Lightning and have awful damage range, thus being useless when cursed. Ice Elementals are mediocre 3rd level shooters, compared only with Orcs, but not with Beholders or Elves.

Vampirism and death stare don't work on Elementals, but hey, you won't always play against Necropolis (which is also banned sometimes) and Fortress. Ironically, Magma Elementals are the best Elementals in spellcasting since they may decrease horrific losses caused by Implosion - but, again, it's very complicated and requires special conditions. Magic Elementals are among the weakest 6th level units (compared with Wyvern Monarchs by their stats), and while they attack like Hydras, it's in little use as they cannot be teleported. If Black Dragons' full magic immunity is a good thing since they fly, are extremely fast, and have tremendous stats, then Magic Elementals' immunity is a double-edged sword since they neither fly nor shoot, and therefore are useless at town sieges - Manticores and Wyverns at least can fly, being a big threat when sieging a town.

Phoenixes are very fast, but at the same time they are very fragile, and someone like Archangel or Ancient Behemoth will tear them into pieces. Possibly, the only thing in Conflux which is anyway at the very top of its level (besides Storm Elementals - in fact, 2-3-4-5 levels are quite close in Conflux, as originally Elementals were meant to be neutral creatures) are Sprites - they are fast flyers with no retaliation, and possibly the only 1st level thing you should be afraid of. However, 3 HPs is extremely low - any decent damage will kill lots of Sprites, and prior to their upgrade they can do nothing, being just the worst in the game (of course, besides ill-fated Peasants).

Myself I consider Dungeon the toughest town in the game. Besides Troglodytes which you possibly will never hire, it provides great warriors. Harpies are imba as they attack without retaliation and return, both shooters are rather strong, Minotaurs strike greatly having an excellent speed when upgraded, and Black Dragons are possibly second best in the game, after Archangels. Even Scorpicores aren't useless, being excellent for rushing through the map, and decent when sieging towns. Armageddon, 5th level Mage Guild, Mana Vortex - whatever you need for a win, you'll find there, and for small maps, Battle Scholar Academy is very helpful as it will easily turn your hero one level up. However, for all this splendour, you should also pay a great price, as Black Dragons cannot be resurrected, which requires very careful fighting and special efforts to protect them.--Dread Knight (talk) 23:59, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

  • UPD: Planeswalkers don't increase speed of the elementals which are their specialties, and don't increase their stats for every level. Of course, it is "the other side of the medal" as Elementalists have a school of magic at start (which is a pure imba), however, Conflux might want to have a better fighter hero.--Dread Knight (talk) 10:04, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
Conflux as it is in AB/SoD is broken too. Way way WAY too strong early game with very good to best 1-3 level troops. Overall very high Speed & low gold costs. No retal on flying, fast troop that you can get day 1 is brutal. Storm Elementals are pretty much level 3 creatures and countering them requires very specific spells which you may or may not get. Magic University & Aurora Borealis are so broken, there is no real way to deal with them other than banhammer. 5 of 7 troops cannot be blinded, berserked, hypnotized or neutralized with Forgetfulness. And when you have fast melee army, you dont use Resurrection, you use Haste/Bloodlust or Berserk and strike first HARD instead of getting your troops back, so even if elementals would be salvageable it would still not be very practical to do so. Phoenixes with 4/week base growth and crazy 21 speed may have low stats, but they will screw you up anyway with raw numbers, 2-hex breath attack & Rebirth which means there is 20% more of them. And 21 speed means they usually ARE going first. Which means your army is getting Berserk, Blind, Slow, or a first strike from the whole army of hasted enemy troops, and you stand at disadvantage before you can do anything, and there is just no way of countering that apart from playing Conflux too, which would amount to fighting cheese with more cheese... Grail building = all the spells. Magic Uni = all the X Magic secondaries available, so enjoy Conflux having guaranteed mass spells while you fish for useful skills. Magic Elementals are cheaper, faster Hydras lite, except you cannot slow them down. Weaknesses include some meh mid tier troops and no morale for elementals, but come on, it's 12,5% at best anyway = average 1 extra turn per 8, if this is what you rely on to win battles, you could as well decide the result by dice roll. Oh, and Conflux heroes have either guaranteed Wisdom + magic skill or Tactics/Offense. This alone is "optimized" so much that could be considered broken. Just accept that when vast majority of players say Necropolis & Conflux are broken, there is a good reason for it. Btw Castle is close to being broken too, but buildup cost & meh heroes keep it in A+ tier, not S - Fafner (talk) 20:27, 21 April 2021 (UTC)
Grail is not a common thing, and possibly can be banned. As for breath attack, it's not unique (Rampart and Dungeon also have), and is a double-edged sword since it may take out your own troops. However I agree that Conflux has many advantages, but so do Tower and Dungeon which have their own imba buildings - and neither Necropolis nor Conflux have that tremendous troops like Titans and Black Dragons, eternal enemies.
PS. If the game is lasting for months (in Heroes terms), ironically Rampart which is in my opinion one of the worst cities gets more and more broken. All its troops are either slow or weak, except for Gold Dragons (however, if your enemy has Implosion, that's probably all), however, you become a millionaire with a Treasury and may buy the entire map.--Dread Knight (talk) 10:19, 22 April 2021 (UTC)
You asked how Conflux is broken, you got the answer. Sure Grail is always a big advantage with its 5000 gold and 50% growth bonus, but compare "all spells available" or "even more Skeletons" to "+2 morale when your heroes have +3 already" or "+2 luck" and draw some conclusion. Only a very bad or very new player would place their own troops in position to be hurt by breath attack of their other troops so it's not like it's dangerous provided you have basic common sense.

The thing with 2 broken towns (Necropolis & Conflux pre-HotA) is that some of their advantages CANNOT be countered in any meaningful way because you need to plan your whole game strategy around it, have certain advantages of good RNG (secondaries, artifacts, spells) while they don't or while they have these abilities from start because hero or Magic Uni, you need to stack Speed artifacts (and you need to have them first) on top of very fast troops just to get even with Phoenixes. And then you have to attack, because if attacker/defender troops have equal Speed, the attacker goes first... Long story short, you need to know the game really well while they don't, you need advantages just to start on (more or less) equal standing, you need special tactics to have any chance at all. No other town in Heroes 3 requires so much to be beaten. No other town has strengths that are impossible to counter... apart from these two. Necropolis can be rushed and outshot, Conflux can be brute forced, but you need to know this, and be able to execute this strategy. Gold Dragons can be dealt with in other ways than Implosion. And this one requires you to 1) have Implosion 2) have decent Power 3) have 25-30 mana points available 4) be willing to blow your spellcast this turn to deal with 1 troop stack that is likely already in the middle of your formation instead of, say, Blind, Berserk, Slow, (mass) Cure to remove that debuff you got from Gold Dragons' owner, or something that does more than "delete this stack right now". Blowing your mana on big damage spells to scratch one stack instead of disabling the better part of enemy's army or ensuring your own superiority is kinda rookie move of the "laughed upon" variety. Btw because of how attack/defense/damage calculations work, and how damage/health ratios are set, in endgame high level troops may struggle to pull their own weight while lower levels with their great numbers may outdamage them thanks to better damage scaling, if not necessarily outlast them. Skeleton legions & Master Gremlin gunlines say hello - Fafner (talk) 16:31, 22 April 2021 (UTC)