Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

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Sarcasm
Posts: 7
Joined: November 26th, 2010, 3:13 am

Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by Sarcasm »

Hey it's been awhile since I've been to Wesnoth and i was wondering if there was any material I can read/watch to improve with the Undead. I seem to recall the 'How to Play...' series (think that's the right name) being a bit controversial regarding Undead. Am i just misremembering this or is there somewhere else I should look for an in depth guide on Undead?
mxb2001
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Joined: January 26th, 2019, 7:03 pm

Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by mxb2001 »

I always seem to do best with undead so perhaps I can offer some tips.

1. Skeletons are your friends. Their weaknesses can be ameliorated by being aggressive. Enemy mage/troll coming to burn/smash your skellies? Attack them! Undead hit hard (except ghost) so attack.
2. Ghouls never live long so make sure to poison as many units as possible before they die. Once again attack!
3. Adepts are your cavalry, send them in to attack melee units that are weakened.
4. Ghosts are special, best used in packs to swarm the enemy. Cost makes this difficult.
5. Bats are only for grabbing villages/scouting natch.
6. Corpses are best brought in later, also like (slow) cavalry. Hit units they can kill with 1 blow, keep it (don't build more than 1) out of the way unit then.
01/01/01
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ElvishMystical0
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by ElvishMystical0 »

I'm not a veteran player by any means but I have some experience of playing Undead against the AI and can share some of the things I've learned.

I feel it's best to start with the bigger picture. The Undead are an offensive faction which are chaotic dealing mainly blade melee and cold ranged, resistant to blade and pierce, but vulnerable to arcane, fire and impact. Their strength comes from their attacks at night.

Unlike other factions which are dependent on terrain, such as Rebels (Elves) and Knalgans (consisting mainly of Dwarves) like Drakes, Loyalists and Northerners the Undead are dependent on time of day - dealing the most damage at night (25% more damage) and least during the day (25% less damage).

For me the staple units of the Undead are the 'bones', i.e. the Skeletons and Skeleton Archers. These are not heavy hitters by any means but rather like Elvish Fighters they deal damage consistently. While they are resistant to pierce and blade, the drawback is they are vulnerable to arcane, fire and impact. Two hits from a decent Dwarvish Fighter and even a Footpad and they're either dead or red in terms of HP. They level up into Revenants or Death Blades (Skeletons) or Bone Shooters (Skeleton Archers) where they become more seriously offensive, but don't become heavy hitters until lvl3 - Draugs, Death Knights and Banebows. All your Skeletons have the 'submerge' ability where they can conceal themselves in deep water.

The thing about the Undead is that they are offensive, and it's hard to play them defensively. The key to playing Undead for me is working out a strategy against an opponent based on how you back up and support your Skeleton army.

It's easiest to back up your Skeletons with Cold - both ranged and melee. The first Cold option is with Dark Adepts. Dark Adepts are human, like Mages, have no melee attack, but have a chill wave and a shadow wave both of which deal cold damage ranged. Dark Adepts are very vulnerable to many units - Dwarvish Ulfserkers, most fighters, Thugs, and Mages, until they become lvl2 Dark Sorcerers/Sorcereresses and can withstand melee attacks. Levelling them up further gives you Liches with a drain melee attack and the submerge ability, or Necromancers and a melee attack with plague.

Unlike most of your other units the Dark Adept lines are vulnerable to poison and drain.

The other Cold option are Ghosts which have a melee Cold attack which drains and also a ranged cold attack. They're not as vulnerable as your Dark Adepts, deal less damage, but they have few hitpoints and come off worse to most other ranged units. They are however very mobile, they fly, and enjoy 50% defence across the map. They can be used as scouts and village grabbers where you are likely to lose Vampire Bats, say to Orcish Grunts, Dwarvish Fighters or other units.

However levelled Ghosts become offensive units, either Wraiths or Shadows. Wraiths have a draining baneblade attack (melee) and ranged cold, and are hard to hit, which can cause a serious problem to many factions. This becomes even more so when they level up further into Spectres. The other option are Shadows which have a single claws attack (melee, blade) and come with the backstab ability and nightstalk, so they become invisible to your opponent at night.

You do also have other alternatives to Cold to back up your Skeletons. For one you have Ghouls, which have a fairly damaging claws attack (melee, blade) which poisons. Ghouls are good defensive units, especially if your opponent is melee orientated, they can hold villages, occupy swamps, and usually by the third strike can deliver poison to an enemy unit.

Then you have Vampire Bats which have fangs (melee, blade) and a draining attack. These are your most mobile unit, great for scouting and grabbing villages, softening up melee units and or finishing them off. They are lvl0 so don't incur upkeep, but can level up to Blood Bats (level 1) and eventually Dread Bats (level 2) which have a melee attack comparable to a Wraith.

Finally you have Walking Corpses, which are lvl0 and deal impact damage and plague. These are slow, cheap (they cost 8 gold) and a few of them together can be a serious counter to melee units.

Time of Day is important when playing Undead especially against other Time of Day dependent factions - Drakes, Loyalists, Northerners and the Outlaw contingent of Knalgans. During the day all factions are stronger against you, including the Chaotic factions, but during the night you are the strongest and can deal the most damage. Night is when you need to be going after units and going after kills.

During the day your units aren't that much so if you have to fight during the day you're going to have to find ways of countering your 25% disadvantage. You can of course recruit additional units but you can also make use of your decent mobility and use the terrain on the map to your advantage. Your Bats and Ghost units can fly so during the day you may need to be seeking out water, swamps, and other areas on the map; where your opponent loses their terrain advantages. Forests, hills and mountains are generally not good places for the Undead during the day.

I also find that you have to prioritize your kills when playing the Undead. Against Loyalists you have to take out the Mages and make sure horse units don't level up. Likewise against Northerners you have to take out the Troll units and Orcish Archers and prevent Wolves from levelling up. Against Rebels you have to worry about Woses and keep Elvish Shamen from levelling up. However against other factions, such as Drakes and Knalgans, you have to field additional units, such as Ghosts.
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pauxlo
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by pauxlo »

Hi, some small corrections:
ElvishMystical0 wrote: May 20th, 2019, 10:21 pm It's easiest to back up your Skeletons with Cold - both ranged and melee. The first Cold option is with Dark Adepts. Dark Adepts are human, like Mages, have no melee attack, but have a chill wave and a shadow wave both of which deal cold damage ranged. [...]
The other Cold option are Ghosts which have a melee Cold attack which drains and also a ranged cold attack.
The dark adept's shadow wave and the ghost's draining melee attack are not cold, but arcane (i.e. "anti-magic").
Good against other undead (i.e. in mirror matches – though the drain doesn't work there), and also (to a lesser degree) against elves and drakes. Bad against humans.
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Krogen
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by Krogen »

If you want to have any success with Undead in multiplayer, then Dark Adept has to be your core unit in all matchups. If your opponent(s) knows the basics, and you don't have a decent number of DAs, your skeletons might as well just go back to their graves.
"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." - Tywin Lannister
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AOW
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by AOW »

As far as I know, Japanese have a relatively complete set of tactical information about the undead.

Wesnoth undead Research Institute (English page included or you can use Google translator)
https://w.atwiki.jp/wuri/

Now there is no staff to maintain, the version is backward, but it still has reliable reference value.
Yomar
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by Yomar »

Do you already gave a look to the "How to play Undead" strategy guide?

https://wiki.wesnoth.org/How_to_play_Undead
lovecrafts-cat
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by lovecrafts-cat »

Krogen wrote: May 29th, 2019, 11:43 pm . If your opponent(s) knows the basics, and you don't have a decent number of DAs, your skeletons might as well just go back to their graves.
what are the basics you speak of?
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Krogen
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by Krogen »

lovecrafts-cat wrote: August 31st, 2020, 11:22 pm
Krogen wrote: May 29th, 2019, 11:43 pm . If your opponent(s) knows the basics, and you don't have a decent number of DAs, your skeletons might as well just go back to their graves.
what are the basics you speak of?
Just in general how to play. What units to buy against certain enemies, how to defend, attack, grab villages. Obviously if you have some experience, you can defeat a totally new player with almost any recruits.
"A lion doesn't concern himself with the opinions of the sheep." - Tywin Lannister
shevegen
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Joined: June 3rd, 2004, 4:35 pm

Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by shevegen »

For me undead is quite difficult. I like ghosts; the other undead units I am not so sure.

It was mentioned to use adepts, but I don't quite like them; always lose them too easily.
With ghosts escape is simpler. Skeleton archers are ok though.

Undead is definitely not my strong faction - I much prefer elves and trolls. Dwarves I
also find simpler, in particular the tank-unit (stalwart or whatever was his name).
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patience_reloaded
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by patience_reloaded »

I like ghosts too, but I found that if I over-recruit ghosts, my damage output isn't high enough any more. I like to get around 2 ghosts very early, and I try to level them into wraiths. For dealing a lot of damage, I often get some dark adepts, ideally I recruit multiple of them when the sun is setting (or in the afternoon, if the map is larger), so they reach the frontline in the first turn of the night and can deal maximum damage before they die anyways. I try to killfeed my ghosts so they level quickier. SInce I don't expect my DAs to survive, I try to give my kills to different units.
I use units other than ghosts and DA (and bat) only in special circumstances: Skeleton when there are too many ranged-fire units on the field, and skeleton archer vs loyalist horseman+cavalryman. Since my leader of choice is a deathblade, the skeleton can frequently be omitted. It's pretty rare that I recruit two skeletal units in the same game.
The ghoul I use mainly if there's an enemy that is too hard to kill, like a leveled wose, or an enemy leader that has too high resists and retails hard. Or if I need to defend and I'm running out of ideas.
Bat: I usually get at least one early for scouting, village grabbing and at some point a bit of damage support or distraction. Too many of them would reduce the damage output of the army though.
Walking corpse: I can't recall ever using one in a situation where I wasn't about to loose. They're too slow for me.

Take my tips with a grain of salt though: I haven't won too many MP games vs humans so far, so I'm not sure if my strategy works on high level play.
waelen
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by waelen »

patience_reloaded wrote: September 22nd, 2020, 9:30 am I like ghosts too, but I found that if I over-recruit ghosts, my damage output isn't high enough any more. I like to get around 2 ghosts very early, and I try to level them into wraiths. For dealing a lot of damage, I often get some dark adepts, ideally I recruit multiple of them when the sun is setting (or in the afternoon, if the map is larger), so they reach the frontline in the first turn of the night and can deal maximum damage before they die anyways. I try to killfeed my ghosts so they level quickier. SInce I don't expect my DAs to survive, I try to give my kills to different units.
I use units other than ghosts and DA (and bat) only in special circumstances: Skeleton when there are too many ranged-fire units on the field, and skeleton archer vs loyalist horseman+cavalryman. Since my leader of choice is a deathblade, the skeleton can frequently be omitted. It's pretty rare that I recruit two skeletal units in the same game.
The ghoul I use mainly if there's an enemy that is too hard to kill, like a leveled wose, or an enemy leader that has too high resists and retails hard. Or if I need to defend and I'm running out of ideas.
Bat: I usually get at least one early for scouting, village grabbing and at some point a bit of damage support or distraction. Too many of them would reduce the damage output of the army though.
Walking corpse: I can't recall ever using one in a situation where I wasn't about to loose. They're too slow for me.

Take my tips with a grain of salt though: I haven't won too many MP games vs humans so far, so I'm not sure if my strategy works on high level play.
My strategy is pretty similar actually, I get 2 ghosts but I only rush one to get into a wraith. Not working everytime, but when it does then it's super fun.
If I'm not playing videogames then I will be reading some fantasy books , gotta love them.
ScreamingDuck
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Re: Looking for Strategy Guide on Undead

Post by ScreamingDuck »

I've played quite a bit of undead vs AI, and maybe it's because of the scenarios I generate, but I've come to appreciate ghosts as the primary workhorse unit. At least for defensive actions when lines need to be held against a numerically superior force. Skeletons are of minimal value in those situations. The strengths of ghosts in defensive situations are A) Fully mobile over most terrains except water (and can move onto deep water; B) They regain HP's via drain, and C) They go on steroids once promoted to wraith. A straight vertical or diagonal defensive line is best so no unit can usually be attacked more than twice in a full turn. When one is seriously hurt, pull him back and replace with a fresh ghost. A line of wraiths is rather invincible. Yes they are expensive, but they are more survivable units than are any others, so I consider that cost worth it.

The usefulness of adepts and ghouls is secondary until undead go on the offensive, and then it depends on the enemy faction type. Adepts are nuclear bombs against dragons at nighttime. Against dwarves, ghouls are quite useful with poison as dwarves are very susceptible to it, given their only healing ability is to go to a village where they waste a turn being cured of it instead of recovering hit points, depriving other units of that necessary first aid.

If I were playing a scenario with undead and needed to go on the offensive immediately, skeletons can be useful as they do hit hard and have some immunities, but, well, vs dwarves and dragons they take too much of a beating. Vs loyalists or elves they do better, (except for woses which will wipe out skeletons without even thinking about it) though once a squad of elves get into a forests, you better bring in the adepts to magically clear them out, and protect them while they do.

As for walking corpses, there's a significant problem with them: When you kill a unit with a corpse and it becomes another corpse, 2 things occur: #1) You deprived some other mainline unit like a ghost experience points for the kill, giving them instead to a corpse unit that is of limited value when it's promoted, and #2) You create a unit that's relatively easy for the enemy units to kill, which is usually very conveniently located on the front lines, which gives the enemy units experience points. So you help them get XPs while depriving your units of XPs, which usually works against your objectives!

Moral of the story, as I tell it: How to play undead primarily depends on if you primarily need defense or offense and which factions you are opposing.
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