This is a very general strategy guide for Warcraft 3: The frozen throne
(WC3:TFT), intended for nothing more than an introduction to the game and a
motivational spark for your own strategies. This means that you will have to
adapt these strategies to suit your own game style and capabilities. If you
follow this guide word for word, don't expect to always win.
WC3 was no disappointment, unlike most recent RTS games. After having fans
wait along time for the game, when it was finally released, it did not shatter
the WC series (compare that to Westwood studios slaughtering the Dune series)
WC3 is a fast paced RTS game with the welcome addition of some role play. This
means WC3:TFT is not for every RTS fan, some won't be welcoming the RPG
However, no one can deny that WC3 requires more thinking and planning than
any simple RTS. The concept of upkeep is the best example of this: As your army
number increases, gold is automatically deducted from your peasants before you
collect the gold. What does this mean? Buy the game and you'll see. But
basically, the more units your army is composed of, the less gold you get from
your mines (either 30% or 60% of the gold is taxed, depending on how big your
army is.) Micro is also a larger part of WC3 than with the usual RTS game; in
WC3 you will find yourself controlling each unit individually during battles, or
atleast considering each unit individually, every unit counts.
(These are my personal views and the views of some of my friends)
Graphics are a major plus, while still maintaining gameplay. (many of the recent
RTS games have attempted to improve graphics at the cost of gameplay)
Heroes gain experience and you have skill points you can use as your heroes
level up, allowing you to choose a spell for them to be able to cast.
Gameplay, gameplay, gameplay!
Despite the excellent multiplayer, single player is nearly just as good!
Excellent story line.
FOUR races... FOUR! This means loads of tactics, the best thing is that the
races are very unique. Not the same units with different voxels and voices.
Upkeep. This is a very beautiful addition that all strategy games should have.
After the patch, the game is extremely well balanced between the races.
There is night and day in the game, giving different races different benefits
Just like any blizzard game, WC3 generates a nice complement of online gamers.
(These are my personal views and the views of some of my friends)
Low food limit, this means that you'll only be able to have a total of 40 some
units, maybe less. While different to the usual 200 food limit blizzard normally
gives its RTS games, this isn't that big a down.
Newbs will have difficulty with the AI, let alone online. This discourages loads
of new players from continuing playing the game.
Keep in mind: Theorycraft and warcraft aren't the same thing. This guide is
theorycraft, it should work... implementing the theory in warcraft is very
Also, go to http://battle.net/war3 and check the introductions they have there.
Visit the forums as well, there's a thread on micromanaging. The advice in that
thread is EXTREMELY important and I cannot emphasize how useful it is.
Finally, I'm going to try and keep this guide nice, simple and
straightforward. I can't stand guides that are extremely long and tedious with
loads of unnecessary information like unit hit points and crap - we can see a
ghoul has 340 HP (or whatever) in the game, I don't need to read that in a
guide. So I hope I succeed at not boring you and taking too much of your time.
Get to playing the game, enjoy it and the guide!
- 0.25 Released the FAQ with UD strats, and a lot of silly mistakes
- 0.30 Few minor fixes. Since I worked half on MAC half on PC my spacing was a
little messy. Fixed the spacing up a little. Also, fixed up the section numbers
(all the races were 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, in all sections. Fixed it so no it's 4.1,
5.1, 6.1 respective to each section) If that doesn't make sense, it doesn't
matter. All the strats are the same, added version history.
- 0.60 Since I first started this, nearly two years ago, I've stuck with undead
and decided not to change races as I enjoy playing with them most. So, in this
version I've removed Orc, Night Elf, and Human sections. Updated the UD strats
to be closer to the changes they've undergone since the 1.17 patch.
- 0.80 I've also gone through and edited parts of the guide that referred to the
sections on different races, fixed up some spelling mistakes, grammar errors,
Can't remember if I released 0.60, but I've added more strats, and two more
sections (7.6 and 7.7) Strangely enough, I'm getting more emails for RA2 and EE
than WC3, even though both of those games are much older.
- 0.90 Completed some incompleted sections, added a recipe build orders section
for short less descriptive more to the point build orders.
WC3 came with 4 races: Human, Orc, Undead and Night elf. The best thing
about the four races is that, very much like starcraft, each race is truly
unique. WC2 fans should be familiar with the Human and Orc races. Human consists
of an alliance, and is perhaps the most balanced race in the game in terms of
having an equally powerful melee, ranged and air composition. Orcs are the melee
race, sheer power. These two are very much like the Atriedies and Harkonnen of
the dune series (for people who're familiar with that, "the bread and butter" of
Warcraft 3) The Undead are like the Ordos, their units are relatively weaker,
but their heroes have relatively powerful skills and incredible synergy. They
rule with their heroes more than their army. The Night elf are a ranged race,
most of the main NE units are female, and most their female units are invisible
when still during the night. They are a very versatile race, and currently
thought of as the most powerful (aka "imba" for imbalanced) race.
So choosing a race in WC3 and TFT is not a matter of aesthetics alone,
but very much involves preference for strategy and gameplay style.
NE and OR (night elf and orc) are probably the easiest races to learn to
play with. HU and UD need a little more micromanaging, especially undead, and so
may be a little harder to learn to play with. This, however, is up to debate.
It is likely easiest to start off with Orc or NE, some people prefer HU, I
started off with UD. There are some very distinct differences in the initial
building of each race that will greatly alter how you play and what you prefer.
UD, for example, are a mix between zerg and protoss in SC. They can only build
on blight (which is like the creep of the zerg) and they summon building without
requiring a unit to stay next to the building to get it. HU, just like in WC2
(and SC?) can have more than one peasant building a building to construct it
faster (at the cost of some extra resources), they also have building upgrades
and other upgrades (like lumber collecting) that other races don't have. You can
arm their peasants into militia for a limited time, militia do decent damage and
are excellent for clearing up early expansions and defending against rushes. NE
will lose some of their units to build, depends on the type of building. The
buildings you lose units to make are also capable of attacking if they're not
training or researching anything. And just like Terran in SC, some of their
buildings can be "uprooted" and moved. They also collect wood without knocking
trees down, this can sometimes be a good thing if trees are helping defend your
base. OR use one peon to build one building at a time, you cannot pause a
building and have the peon involve in another activity (unlike humans, who can
stop building any time and then continue building at a later time)... Collecting
resources is often least a problem with this race because you shouldn't be
losing as many units as you kill...
There are other major differences, go online to read about them... But the
one's I've mentioned matter most early game and how you start building your
The Heroes for the four races are:
CL = Crypt Lord*
DK = Death Knight
DL = Dread Lord
LK = Lich King
SH = Shadow Hunter*
BM = Blade Master
FS = Far Seer
TC = Tauren Cheiftan
BM = Blood Mage*
AM = Archmage
Paladin = Paladin
MK = Mountain King
Warden = Warden*
DH = Demon Hunter
KotG = Keeper of the Grove
PotM = Priestess of the Moon
General strategies are ones that apply to most strategy games, not just
WC3, although I'll try keeping these more involved with WC3:TFT. There are a few
things that make any player a better player.
Firstly, Micromanaging: You must absolutely adopt a micromanaging ability.
It's helpful in most strategy games, and WC3 is no exception. This is made
easier in WC3 because when you group units, you can select each subgroup and
commanding them seperately using "ctrl". So, for example, if you have an army of
headhunters and grunts selected and numbered into group 1. When you press 1,
it automatically select not only all your units, but the grunts as your subunit
(the grunts icons look slightly bigger, you'll see what I mean in game if you
haven't already played the game). If you hold control(ctrl) and give a move
command only the Grunts will move, the headhunters will stay in position. You
can activate/deactivate this in the options.
Number your buildings, this helps macromanage. In the middle of a battle
your keystroke order should be similar to something like this (these are the
keyboard keys you should be pressing): 1, "ctrl"+attack order, "tab"(select next
sub-group) "ctrl"+attack, 2, attack, 5 (selects your barracks), G (trains a
ghoul, or any other unit you lose in battle).... This is only the beginning of
your micromanaging. But once you have the hang of this, start getting used to
queuing up attack orders for subgroups, especially the ranged units.
Pressing "alt" to pick off weaker units, selecting heroes seperately to
save them while keeping your units in battle, or moving your hero around.
(*note* holding down "alt" shows little health bars above your enemy units,
attack units with lower health first)
Hotkeys: Know'em! Know what key to press to build a building, know when
you number your buildings which key makes the units you want and in the case of
WC3 know which hotkeys correspond to the spells of all the heroes you use.
KNOW YOUR HOTKEYS!
Resources and Map control: The longer lasting strategy games usually end
with the winner either out-resourcing the enemy, or having better map control.
Know where the gold mines are located, know where to gather wood from. If you
can trap your enemy's army inside his base, do that. Or have a unit or sentry
ward set at gold mines so you can see when your enemy tries to expand, so you
can prevent it. Or to see when he's creeping it, so you can "creep jack" or
(Creeping is the term used to killing off some neutral units in the game.
This increases your hero experience. Creep Jack is disrupting someones creeping.
If you are creeping an expansion; i.e. killing off the units guarding it; and
your opponent attacks you at the same time you are said to have been "jacked".)
Get expansions, a second gold mine is very important. Yes, most games can
be won with only one gold mine, but if your enemy has an expansion and is
countering some of your units successfully your enemy will win.
Macro-managing: You may have a certain ritual for building a base, but you
should also be able to change the way you build your base depending on the map
(to maximize your gain from hight, hide a boneyard or temple, etc) Be able to
change your strategy in game to counter whatever your enemy is using, and so
learn the game (in WC3 learn the types of armor and attack types, this is
extremely important if you want to become a better player) Know when to attack
and for how long: There are times in which attacking is recommended. In 1v1
attack after a succesful defensive. Your enemies probably lost most of his units
in his offensive if you've done your job right, and is hurt more than you. Don't
return the favor by running into the range of his base defenses (or moon wells
at night if it's NE) unless he has very few units. Don't press an attack and
lose all your units. Hurt him, then run back. Maybe you can even hold your enemy
in his base. In 2v2, attack when your allies base is under attack if he can hold
off the attack. Because chances are your enemy isn't paying that much attention
to his base, and if he is he's not paying as much attention to the attack.
Attack until your ally needs help or until your enemy comes back to his base.
But he'll be hurt so press the attack a while before running back. Remember,
there's one other enemy too. And if you have to townportal (tp) out do it to
your ally's base so you can help defend with him if he needs it.
From here on the guide will be UD specific, although some of this may be
Keep in mind not to crowd too many buildings around your town center or
teleporting your army back will bottleneck or trap them. Don't build your
buildings too far apart or defending your base becomes too difficult and acolyte
harrassing becomes easy - I'll talk about this in defending.
Also, if you micromanage well enough you will be doing a lot of things at
once, creeping while building your base and scouting. So describing it in words
is hard, if you can manage each of these alone, then look for replays at
"www.wcreplays.com" and see how the "pros" do it, or find replays for people who
are of lower gameplay level.
We, Undead, start with 3 acolytes and a ghoul. The initial build order
you'll want to start off with will depend on how many players there are on the
map, how big a map is, and what you plan on doing. It is good to note that
initially you have enough gold to build a crypt, a ziggurat and an altar; or any
combination of two of these buildings and either one or two more acolytes.
A lot of but not all players online that do not solo (1v1) play very
slowly, because their micromanaging sucks. But once they have an army they can
play relatively well. Avoid this, learn to be fast. Since UD summon buildings
and do not need the acolyte to remain witht the building you can use one of your
5 mining acolytes to build. Build your base from the inside out*. Don't build
ziggurats at the edge of your blight or your altar. Build them close to your
Necropolis, keep the ziggurats around your mine. Most importantly make sure your
units can move around your base just enough.
(*note* building buildings close together reduces the time your acolyte stays
away from the mine. Keep the 75 gold instead of building a 6th acolyte, you'll
need that gold to either upgrade faster or get the item to reveal hidden units
incase a blade master comes along. Although there are times a 6th acolyte is
good for scouting, if you want to expand, or simply have an extra acolyte in
case you loose one to a harass while you are teching.)
There're are two standard building orders, a "ghoul build" and a "fiend
///-The Ghould Build: For players who will mass ghouls\\\
/// before changing to higher level units- \\\
A) Place all three acolytes on gold and the ghoul on wood (At the start of the
game click-and-drag a box around your 3 acos and 1 ghoul. Right click on the
mine then hold ctrl+click on wood. This should send your three acolytes to mine
gold and your one ghoul to gather wood.)
B) Then use an acolyte to build a crypt and a zigurat (use hotkeys and shift to
que up, so: select acolyte, press B then C, then click where you want to place
the crypt, hold shift down, press B then Z then place the ziggurat. Then, let go
of shift, then hold it again and give the command for the acolyte to mine. This
will make the acolyte summon the crypt, summon the ziggurat and then move back
to mining on it's own.)
C) While your acolyte is building the buildings, click on the necropolis and
train a fourth and fifth acolyte.
D) As soon as you have 180 gold, select an acolyte and have it build an altar
and then, using shift again to que up, move back to mine.
(*note* any alteration to the order above is fine. The above description is for
a "crypt-zig-altar" build, you may "altar-zig-crypt" for a fast hero build as
Some people will do a "crypt-altar-zig" build, building the ziggurat after the
fourth acolyte comes out and before beginning to train the fifth one. This makes
the zig finish buildings a second after the altar.)
If you do the above correctly you should have an acolyte summoning a crypt
and ziggurat while a fourth acolyte starts to train. In the mean time, the ghoul
has already begin gathering wood.
Next, you'll want to build a tomb of relics. Get this after training one
or two ghouls and before you begin training your hero. Then get a second
ziggurat, and continue training ghouls till your hero comes out. Before you've
got the 30 food limit, you should have enough gold and wood to upgrade your
necropolis, as well as having started to creep or scout the map (I'll come back
to scouting later).
As you upgrade your necropolis, and have your maximum food limit (30 or
40) you should get enough gold to summon a graveyard. MAKE SURE you have the
graveyard by the time you reach tier 2 - ALL units and buildings for the UD
require a yard, with the exception of ghouls and frost wyrms.
As soon as you get to tier 2 build a slaughter house or a second crypt.
Upgrade your ghouls armor, summon another ziggurat or two and prepare to move
into low upkeep and moving on to tier three in case you need to shift to
abominations or to get ghoul upgrades. Get an expansion if you're feeling low on
gold income and are worried about being outresourced. Also upgrade a ziggurat or
two if you haven't already into a nerubian tower.
You shouldn't need Frost wyrms in solo or 2v2 games, but you'll need to
consider abominations and destroyers.
///- The standard fiend build -\\\
A) At the very start, place all your acolytes on gold and your ghoul to collect
wood. Then have an acolyte build a crypt and que it to build a graveyard. Then
begin training your next two acolytes.(drag-select, right-click mine, hold
ctrl+right click on wood, click necro, right-click mine, select acolyte, B, C,
click to place crypt, B, V, hold shift down, right-click to place, right-click
on mine; and do this all as fast as you can.)
Alternatively, que one acolyte to build the crypt, then to go back to
mining. Select a second acolyte and have it build the graveyard then move back
Then begin training two more acolytes.
B) As soon as you have 150 gold begin summoning a ziggurat.
C) Then when you get 180 gold summon your altar. After this you want to get a
second ghoul when the crypt is finished summoning and you have 120 gold.
(*note* you can switch B and C)
D) From here, you can do several things:
- Summon a second zig and a tomb of relics, as soon as you have 215 gold
therafter get your first fiend.
- Get your first fiend right after the first ghoul is done, which should be
around when your graveyard is finished summoning as well. Then build a second
zig or a tomb of relics, then get a second fiend.
- get two fiends, then a tomb of relics, then a zig.
In a later section I'll go through the purpose of the tomb and you may see
why you can delay the ziggurat till after the tomb of relics.
E) Make 1-3 more fiends before you start moving into tier 2, and summon a third
ziggurat as well.
So, as you are moving to t2 you should have either 2-3 or 4-5 fiends.
Depending on your preference. Again, I will get into the purpose of 2-3 or 4-5
fiends later and when you'd want which.
As soon as you get to tier 2 build a slaughterhouse or two, and you may
not need to consider teching to tier 3 but consider upgrading your fiend's
attack and armor, and definitely get your second hero.
A fiend army is nicely supported by destroyers (t3), stats, ghouls, some
players like banshees and necromancers. Get two more ghouls at T2 as well.
(*note* In the alternatives in step D summoning the tomb of relics while you get
your first fiend will mean you might have to wait a few seconds before you can
start training your second fiend. Then when you get 150 gold while you train
your second fiend and hero, summon a second ziggurat, and maybe upgrade your
first one into a nerub tower. This will give you a short delay between getting
that second ziggurat up and having your second fiend out.)
Research burrow and web! Use burrow in a similar way as moving unit away
from battle. If one unit is getting focus fired on, or low on health, burrow it!
Learn to micro so you can be effective at this. Burrowing with the statue will
greatly increase HP regeneration of your fiends. I'm touching on offensive
strategies, so enough there.
When building your base, if you have any excess resources upgrade a
ziggurat to nerubian tower or spirit tower (upto three towers and no more).
Don't build necropolis at your expansion unless the map is extremely large.
Otherwise get two or three ziggurats upgraded to a combination of towers, this
is more effective.
You will hardly ever need more than one unit producing building! If you do
have enough resources to get two units at the same time you're either too slow
or playing a 3v3 or 4v4 game. Otherwise you should be producing one unit after
another and researching in between so you don't have much excess gold that would
allow you to train more than one unit at a time (With the exception of being
late game, if you plan on massing a specific unit, for examples going fiend to
destroyers, you can get two slaughter houses or if a game is going on longer
than you expected a second crypt. Some strats require two crypts, I'll talk
about this in other sections.)
If you would like to see replays or get what are known as Audio
Commentaries on players base builds go to www.wcreplays.com.
When being attacked don't teleport back to your town immediately. A scroll
of town portal costs 350 gold. If you can walk your army back to your base
without suffering extensive damage that costs more than 350 gold, then don't.
Ziggurats, burrows, moonwells and farms all cost less than 350 gold. And don't
take much time to rebuild them. So look at what they're attacking, look if
they'll be able to destroy it. Then consider: What's worth more to me? The
building or the scroll? And when you're considering, look at your gold stock
pile, you may just have 350 gold in excess or your tech me about to finish and
you'll need the ziggurat to have enough food to get a second hero. Also consider
repairing buildings till you can get back to your base.
Another problem with teleporting immediately, and this is especially
important in team games, is that your enemy may just be attacking to make you
waste your scroll. That's 350 gold less for you! (especially early game before
you can purchase the scroll again)
Think really hard about teleporting a level 1 or two hero alone (if with
units and you are losing, ok)... It costs much less to retrain your hero and
doesn't take much time to retrain him either. Besides, if you're only going to
be teleporting a level 1-2 hero it's probably too early in the game for not
having a hero being too big a problem.
Attacking can be a good defensive measure. Some opponents will leave your
base and come back to defend theirs.
Undead have the most powerful structural defense. Not only do they have
spirit towers and nerubian towers (which are EXTREMELY effective) but the halls
of the dead and black citadel also attack!
Our units also heal 2 hp/sec on blight.
Acolytes! They are extremely vulnerable and very valuable, since they do
not move when they mine and you cannot make them enter a gold mine to slow the
Getting into defensive strategies:
The main concern you should have playing as UD is a hero rush aimed at
killing your acolytes. Usually done by an orc player with a Blademaster. Others
include UD players with the lich king, NE players with the Demon Hunter/Keeper
of the grove(with entangle) and Human players with an AMage or BMage AoE spells
or a pally with holy light. The blade master is a favorite because he can easily
be pulled out with windwalk, attacking out of windwalk also has him do extra
damage to your acolytes.
A quick solution to discourage players from attempting this kind of rush
is to upgrade your first ziggurat into a nerubian tower before you tech to teir
while getting your second fiend, before (or after) summoning your second
ziggurat, or if you're using the standard ghoul start after getting 3-4 ghouls
(you will already have 100+ gold in excess)
If your acolytes are attacked then move the one that is being attacked
away. Do NOT MOVE ALL OF THEM OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR SOURCE OF INCOME! Only move
them all only if all or most are being attacked. If you're lucky your enemy
will either try to chase your acolyte (and take damage from your tower and be
slowed till you can bring an army back to help) or they'll send their hero at a
second acolyte, letting you move the first one back and move the second one away
- both of which will buy you time and also help you save acolytes. If an acolyte
is killed, replace it immediately. If you have the deathknight with coil, heal
your acolytes. Keep them alive, they are your source of income. Also consider
using coil to kill your opponents hero if your ghouls and tower have weakened
the hero enough. Do whatever you need to keep your acolytes alive, this cannot
be stressed enough.
(*note* when you move your acolyte away, if you get to the other side of the
mine and tell your acolyte to mine gold it will "teleport" back to the empty
position on the mine. This is a quick way to prolong the life of your acolyte
if it's being followed or focussed on.)
Sometimes you'll loose an acolyte or two, maybe more, in the middle of a
tech. If this happens consider how far along you are with the tech and think of
cancelling the tech to get your acolytes back before starting it again.
Learn to micro your units to trap your enemy's hero. This early game you
won't have enough units to surround (more on this in the offensive section), but
your buildings should be close enough that you can trap the hero between
buildings (if you've done like I said in the base building strategy).
There are lots of ways of trapping heroes, the most effective is
sacrificing an acolyte for it. Chose two very close buildings (usually crypt and
necropolis). Run your acolyte between it and have it stand. Move one fiend or
two ghouls behind your enemy hero and one fiend or two ghouls infront of it.
Trapping the front and back of the buildings pathway. Use your Deathknight to
heal units as they kill your enemy's hero, or if you have a different hero use
them to trap the enemy (except for lich, use his frost nova and ranged attack.)
You may be able to trap your enemy's hero without sacrificing a unit. If
he sees you coming and tries running out, you might have the chance to trap him
as he tries running away. Just a note on trapping heroes, the blade master can
windwalk through units, trapping him won't work, but it'll get him running.
Remember: LEARN TO MICRO WELL, and save acolytes no matter what!
It is a good idea to, after the initial 15 minutes of a game (maybe 10),
have a nerubian tower and a spirit tower. Have them around your mine, but if
your base gets really big, then maybe build a spirit tower next to the
necropolis on the opposite end of your base (away from the mine)
In the "Building a base" section I said: at expansions "get two or three
ziggurats upgraded to a combination of towers, this is (a) more effective
Ok, so you've managed to fend off an initial rush, now you're looking at a
late game attack or defending against a harrassing player.
If your base is getting attacked later game before you rush to defend
consider a few things. If you're playing solo, who can do more extensive damage?
You or your enemy? If you're close enough to your enemy's base you may consider
attacking. If it's too early in the game to attack and hope to destroy his base
before he gets yours (UD normally has the most buildings produced) then you'll
have to teleport back to your base. If you're in the middle of an attack then
just double click on your scroll, but continue controlling your units: It takes
a while to teleport and only your hero is invulnerable. Hold alt down to see
units hit points and try killing off the weaker enemies before your army
Sometimes your enemy has a small army and is trying to frustrate you. If
it looks like that then move your hero away from your units and teleport only
your hero - allowing your units to continue creeping or attacking or whatever.
But if you do this take the three ghouls you have collecting wood and use them
to defend as well - or you can try to use them alone. Don't forget to use the
staff of necromancy if you have one (in the next section I'll talk about using
it and how you should get it as soon as you get your hero) If you've defended
succesfuly then buy another scroll of town portal and rejoin your hero and
units, and send your ghouls back to mining or train more ghouls if they died
*You do not want to battle without having a tp, usually. Sometimes it's an
okay idea, mostly it's a bad one*
If you see your hero is not going to be able to defend alone, bring your
units to your base - when defending it is a good idea to keep your hero around
your tomb of relics to purchace mana/health potions. You can also train a ghoul
or two to help in defending.
If you can micro really well, or if when you get attacked you were only
moving your army, press backspace and aim your teleportation so that you
teleport behind your enemy's army (Click once on the scroll and then choose
where you want your army to come in, you can actually "aim" the teleportation)
This is more important in 2v2/3v3+ games in which more than one player will be
teleporting at a time. If you just click on the necropolis you may end up having
too many units stuck between each other and the buildings letting your enemy
pick your units off one by one. If you're going with fiends you might want to
teleport behind your buildings or to a side. Look at what's being attacked and
what you have before deciding where you want to tp your army.
When defending in battle (and your base) know when to pull units out. If a
fiend is getting focus fired, then burrow it or move it back to your base. You
can also heal using death coil. As soon as a unit dies retrain a replacement
when appropriate. If your hero is getting focus fired move him back behind your
other units and command him to hold position, and NEVER put a lich on the front
line. He has a powerful ranged attack and his nova is very powerful as well but
he has very low health. Burrow fiends one at a time as they loose health and
unburrow them when they're healed enough* or if you're teleporting out of battle
- AND KNOW WHEN TO TELEPORT AND WHEN TO simply BACK OFF.
<*or if it's a descisive battle unburrow your fiend when your enemy changes his
focus. Sometimes a near dead or dead fiend is better than a burrowed one.>
So in battle your keystroke should be like this: 1 select your
dk+ghouls/fiends, C to cast deathcoil, tab (select your next sub unit: fiends),
ctrl+attack command, click on icon of fiend you see is getting focus fired, B
(to burrow fiend), 1(select group again), C + heal fiend you burrowed or another
fiend, select the burrowed fiend and unburrow, 2 (select lich king, stats and
banshees), N(cast frost nova), move command to move the whole group behind your
main army, H (so they all hold position and not run into battle), 1 (check stats
of all your units, cast spell, burrow, transform stat into destroyer, whatever).
Of course, this order will change if you have both heroes in the same group, or
if you use F1 and F2 to control heroes, etc. This is just to give you an idea.
If you want to teleport out and have a lot of fiends burrow them all, make
your hero start teleporting, know how long it takes to teleport and just before
he leaves unburrow your fiends. If they're not in danger of getting killed press
alt and look for any units you can kill before teleporting.
In the middle of the battle if you lose or kill a unit use your staff of
necromancy. If your lich needs mana or your DK neads health (and you selected
those skills) then use it on your skeletons. giving your hero 200+ health or 50+
mana can be more effective and useful than having the skeleton. The skeletons
are useful none-the-less. Know when to use these spells on ghouls and fiends. If
a hero is running away, for example, with 100 health and you know the hero will
get away but you don't have enough mana to cast nova, then use ritual on a
fiend; you're basicaly trading a fiend for a hero.
Sometimes it is wise to kill your own units to prevent your enemy from
getting experience. If your first hero is lich then get his skill dark ritual
and kill off weak units with it: your enemy won't get experience from killing
your unit and your hero will get mana! LEARN TO USE THOSE TWO SPELLS, be
creative! I can't tell you every circumstance you can use them. I use the lich's
sacrificing for mana more than the DK's sacrificing for health. The points are
better spent on death coil to heal and the aura, but there are times death pact
comes in handy.
Alternative defensive strategies I never use: Against an NE player massing
hunteresses have a meat wagon or two in your base. Use attack ground to have
If you're getting casters leave 1-2 necromancers in your bast near your
graveyard. If an enemy attacks immediately put them on autocast for raise
If you're being harassed then you have to build the unit that counters
whatever is being used to harass you. Base defenses discourage harassing, so if
your enemy tries taking down your nerubian tower don't hesitate to repair it and
make a second (or a spirit tower) You will also have to micro really well to
defend against an harassing enemy. If your units come out one by one he'll kill
them one by one - or he'll try trapping you in your base. So be smart. Be
One last thing: Only newbs depend heavily on towers for defense...
This is the hardest section to write. When it comes to a battle there is a
lot happening at once, the level of micromanagement increases, and unless it's a
3v3 or 4v4 game there will have to be a little defending/base building in the
It is also hard to write because WC3:TfT is done in an action filled way.
What I mean is that a lot of your game time will be spent offensively, compared
to most other strategy games in which you will worry about base
building/defending as much as, if not more than attacking - either creeps, in
WC3, or your opponent.
I will probably say this about all the races. Massing one kind of unit is
never good except in team games. If your opponent realized what you are doing a
simple counter will rape your army and auto-gg (gg = good game). So you will
have to hybrid, get 2 or 3 units in your army. There are few expections to this,
for example against NE you may mass gargs and nothing else if they get nothing
Surrounding enemy heroes: If you want to surround enemy heroes it is
easier if you can stun/sleep them. Then give your units the command to move onto
the hero. You can also surround if your units are faster than your enemy's hero.
Run-around: This is fun and works best with ranged units and newer
players. When your opponent is using melee units and tries to have them all
attack a hero or ranged unit, for example a bunch of footmen chasing your death
knight or a fiend. Command all your other units to hold position and run your
hero/unit around your other ranged units in circles. I was once playing a 3v3
game and managed to help my ally defend against two armies by running my hero
around my ranged units. They never changed their target, and ended up with army
of grunts and footmen running after a hero while ranged units picked them off.
(I also summoned some skeletons, which were killed). Better players know to stop
running after the hero unless they can stun or sleep the hero.)
Depending on who you are playing against you will want to consider your
late game strategies a little carefully, they affect your early build order.
Whether you decide to get Aboms or Destro's late game should change your early
Ghoul/Garg is, as the name suggests, focussing your army on ghouls and
This is done typically vs NE and UD. Early game the NE might try to get
archers to counter your gargoyles, ghouls can take care of them. Late game they
will probably shift to dryads, ghouls are then just a good support and can also
be used to surround/focus heroes.
Both gargs and dryads have piercing damage and are unarmored, and so both
take extra damage from one another.
Firstly, usually you want a death knight and skill choice of coil/aura and at
level 6 either aura level 3 or death pact. The dk's ultimate is ultimately
useless. Solo dk can work but adding a lich second is a better choice, skills of
nova/ritual. You also want to give your lich an Orb of Corruption from your tomb
of relics at t3, it is the only way you will be able to beat dryads.
Split your ghouls from your gargs. Early game have your ghouls in 1 with or
without your hero, however you prefer. Later put your lich with your gargs in
either 1 or 2, ghouls in the other. You want your lich with your gargs so that
they are all focus firing (ffing) the same unit, with the armor reduction from
the orb dryads will go down fast.
If you start massing gargs you can add any of the extra ones to 3, or if
you decide to get statues.
How to Play:
This is mostly a hit and run strategy till you can get enough gargs for a decent
attack. This being said, up until you are ready to attack use your heroes+ghouls
to creep while sending off your gargs to kill enemy wisps and harass the NE in
any other way. If he has towers/archers in his base then keep the gargs with
Later in the game ghouls will die too easily and you'll want to add a few
aboms or just switch to an army of nothing but gargs.
Get an orb of corruption on your ranged heroes and focus his units one by
one, either coiling your hurt units, clicking on their icons and moving them
back, or putting them into stone form. Because this is a hit and run strategy
(as with most UD strats) you want to kill a unit or two, move your army back,
turn around and kill a unit or two, and move your army back again. Eventually
you should have them on the run, when you do, run after them and try to kill as
many units as you can.
Scrolls of healing are usually a must with ghoul/garg since they have low
health and die easily. NE players also typically try to counter gargs with a
panda and he has an area of effect (AOE) spell that does massive amounts of
As your game improves you should be able to learn to micro your units
better, focussing ghouls onto archers, spreading them out rather than having
them all chase one archer, saving gargs as their health gets low, and knowing
when to nuke your opponents hero and when you nuke a unit.
Just like with Ghoul/Garg, you will want the DK first with
coil-aura-coil-aura-coil build. Level 6 can be death pact or aura, the ultimate
is not usually too useful. Vs HU and OR you can get a naga sea witch secong with
frost arrow and either mana shield or forked lightening, whichever you want. The
most common second hero is Lich. Some players also choose to start off with a CL
selecting beetles as a first skill. The beetles are weak at level 1 but can be
decent meat for your fiends later levels. Vs OR with CL first, you can take DK,
or any other summons hero second.
A third hero is sometimes a good idea too. CL with impale, for example, or
DL with sleep. Usually vs HU.
Panda is also a good choice vs HU because they may try to mass gyrocopters
to counter your destros, and the panda is very good against gyros (going with
breath of fire skill choise and either of his other two skills along with it,
I prefer drunken brawler personally)
Put all your units into group 1, with heroes is usually best because it makes
coiling easy. Later in the game, depending on what your opponent gets, you might
want to split your fiends from your destroyers. Personally I have
fiends+destro+hero in group 1, destro only in group 2 (in case you need to
devour some spells, or want to retreat the rest of your army but keep your
destro's fighting) and only heroes in group 3, in case they are being focussed.
How to Play:
This is the ultimate hit and run strategy for the undead. Fiends do a decent
amount of damage as do destroyers, coupled with the armor reduction of the UD
orb and focus fire this can be very deadly.
Early game you want to treat your army as though it is composed of
seperate units. That is, you can move them together and start a battle with
Once a battle starts you want to controll your fiends individually,
pulling back any one that is being attacked or coiling it. You also want to get
burrow and burrow fiends when they get low on health.
If you've pulled a fiend back and your opponent stops attacking it try to
have it go back to attacking the same unit all your other fiends are attacking.
Throughout the whole of the game you want 1 or 2 rods of necromancy on
your heroes and you want to spam them in battle. Skelletons are your best friend
for either mana from dark ritual for a lich or simply for meat and distracting
your opponent. Especially early game, get a ronecromancy and summon a skeleton
from your graveyard and use it to help catch up on your creeping (since a fiend
build order usually implies a delayed hero.)
If you are playing vs an HU and he has towers, focus his towers with the
destros then heavy armored units/heroes. VS an OR focus burrows. Vs an NE focus
heroes and their army. For the most part, with this strategy you won't replace
fiends if they die except vs OR because you will want to web bats (to web bats
either use attack move or quickly give your units the command to "stop" and they
should autamatically web.) That's the concept behind fiends, it is to have good
anti-air for any flying anti-air that will hurt destroyers, like bats, dhawks
*Note* Some people will go with a ghoul build and tech quickly to t3 for massing
destroyers, usually vs HU but also vs OR more recently.
~*!IMPORTANT!*~ When you are going destroyers start making statues at t2, and
once at t3 and done researching the destroyer upgrade DO NOT MORPH ALL YOUR
STATS AT THE SAME TIME! Instead, morph them one by one, each one you morph, have
it absorb the mana of the next stat you will morph. That way when you are done
morphing 5-6 stats all but one should have full mana. Attack immediately as
destroyers have a negative mana regen, but when they have full mana they do 20
more damage and also have an AOE to their attack. This is the best time to
attack towers or burrows as they will go down VERY fast.
Always upgrade your destros. Their attack vs HU and their armor vs OR
(this is because any aa the hu has the destros can kill, if they can kill faster
that's almost as good as having more armor. Bats, however, are more difficult to
kill so armor makes your opponent need at least 1 more bat to kill of a
As usual, dk/lich is the typical hero choice. However, a dl is also fine
because the ghouls can benefit from vampiric aura. dk/lich builds are the usual
coil-aura-coil-aura-coil and nova-ritual-nova-ritual-nova. Frost armor might be
an okay idea, depending on what you are facing. For a dl, either carrion swarm
(CS) or sleep first, aura second, then build up the first skill. Lots of people
consider carrion swarm pretty weak, in my opinion it is underrated. At level 3
for 110 mana you can do as much as 5 level 2 coil damage equivalent.
CL/DK might work as well. Impale giving your ghouls time to deal lots of
damage while the units are stunned.
Keep your heroes and ghouls in 1 group and your fiends in another (group 1 and
group 2, respectively.) If you have stats or meat wagons, for whatever reason,
but them in group 3. If you get a third hero that is also melee, keep him with
the ghouls, if it's a ranged hero, put him/her with the fiends.
Also use F1, F2 and F3 to control heroes and make sure they are moved back if
they're being focussed on.
How to play:
A ghoul/fiend strategy typically starts off with ghouls, adding fiends later.
You want to do this in mirror games and vs orc. In mirror you want to do this
against another UD going gargs/destros and vs orc if they are trying to mass
wyverns. It may not seem like it, but fiends/ghouls are great vs wyverns,
especially once you get the ghoul frenzy upgrade. Gargs would be better, but
the orc can easily make bats to counter gargs.
When it comes to fighting, what you want to do is web the air, move back,
send the ghouls in and attack thereafter. Avoid using attack move with your
ghouls for the most part against other melee units. i.e. do NOT use ghouls as
tanks because they are NOT tanks. Use them as a high damage output unit, once
frenzied ghouls do an incredible amount of damage. Especially if you surround
units, where you can have 5-8+ ghouls attacking a single unit. If you can
surround heroes do that, if not, try to break up your ghouls to have 3-4
attacking a different webbed unit.
If you are walking across the map and encouter your opponent either tell
your fiends to stop (press S) or attack-move (press A+click past your opponents
army on the ground), this will make them automatically web any flying units that
are in range.
Pull red ghouls back to your base when you can, sure they're cheap, fast
and easy to replace but every ghoul you loose is more experience for your
opponents heroes. Get the cannibalize upgrade as well, early game it will make
creeping easier as you can use it to heal ghouls, and late have it'll be nice if
you can micro your ghouls out of battle or in battle to cannibalize and regain
health. It's even faster, more cheap, and no experience to heroes than loosing
the ghoul and having to train another one.
For this strategy you want two crypts at t2 or late t1, depending on what
you want to do, and maybe 1 slaughter house for two statues: 1 for healing and 1
for mana. Switch them if one of them runs out of mana faster than the other.
Also, carry a sacrificial skull and cast it under your ghouls during battle. 2
hps might not seem like a lot for each individual unit, but when you have an
army of 14+ units that's 28 hp/sec, if all your units are hurt. It makes a very
small difference, but one worth the 75 gold. (The blight+stats+lvl 2 uaura+lvl 2
vamp is about 16 hp/sec on each ghoul, if they are attacking every second, which
they are not, they're much faster.)
Scrolls of healing and protection are also a must. And upgrade your units
accordingly (i.e. if your opponent seems to like killing your ghouls upgrade
their armor to make them last longer. But if you have an expo and can replace
units really easy and have more experience than your opponent, upgrade their
7.4.1 with fiends
Refer to 7.3 above, this is the same thing.
Just like 7.3 above, only aboms replace ghouls.
How to play:
This is like the ghoul/fiend and actually derives from it. i.e. sometimes ghouls
just don't cut it for the melee part of your army and you need more "tank" than
"damage"... Unsummon one of the two crypts (if you want) and add a second sh and
start pumping aboms. Typically this will be later in a game and you will have
3-4 aboms 2-3 ghouls as your melee army. If you have an expo you might be able
to get more aboms. If you need food to stay into low upkeep (never go into high
unless you feel you won't be loosing many units) kill off your own ghouls or
creep with them or something. Don't let your oponent get experience for them.
Also, if you switch to aboms research the cloud upgrade, it may not seem
like it'll make a huge difference, but it's a difference worth the 100 gold and
some amount of wood it costs (150 wood, I think.) Note also that you can
cannibalize with aboms as well.
The only other difference with this than with ghouls is you want to
attack-move with aboms more often. They have enough health to tank for your
fiends. If you do this properly they'll spread out into a wall-like formation
blocking any heavy melee from reaching your fiends. If you have this wall setup,
use your fiends to focus fire on units. Burrow fiends and coil aboms.
Heroes and aboms in group 1 and meat wagons in group 2. Stats, if you want 1 or
two, in 3.
How to play:
This may perhaps be the least microintensive strategy for the UD. You want to go
abom/wagon vs an NE that is either massing dryad or dryad/bear. It is basically:
Attack-move the aboms then have your meat wagons attack the dryads from behind
the bears. When an abom gets low on heath either coil it or have it take a step
back away then give it the attack-move command again.
7.5 Casters, are they useful?
Most UD players consider the UD casters to be useless. There is a lot of
debate within the community regarding their usefulness and strategies that try
to make use of them. Personally, I like to try out different strategies (some of
which are pretty crazy) and I love using casters. I would go as far as saying
casters are my favorite UD units.
Unlike with NE or HU, where casters can be the bulk of an army, UD casters
are closer to OR casters, and act as support; or at least they should. UD
caster's most useful spells are those that aren't autocast (at least in my
I won't give specific strategies that use casters, like I did with other
units, mostly because the use of Undead casters isn't as well developed as our
One strategy that is used sort of commonly is what is known as
Like the name suggests, it involves setting up two temples at t2 and one
SH, research the necromancers skills and exhume corpse for the meat wagons.
There are two important aspects to this strategy. The first is to surprise your
opponent with the casters, which means try and hide your temples/nex till late
in t2 rightbefore you get to t1, and push them at that time. The idea is to
pressure your opponent enough to make countering your necromancers difficult.
This strategy works vs all races, although some people will say NE can
just detonate wisps, if you have enough necromancers and wagons you'll be able
to make more skeletons than they can dispell with wisps. And wagons completely
tear through dryads, the only other dispelling unit NE have. What you want to do
is really overwhelm your opponent with units than outmicro/resource him with
this strategy. Use rods of necromancy if you have them, when you summon your
skeletons control+click on a single skeleton (this will select all skeletons on
your screen) and press A then click on the ground where you want your skeletons
to move; the a+clicking will attack move them so that they will automatically
attack any unit in their path than walk right past it.
Have 3-5 wagons, more if you want to overkill.
But necromancer's unholy frenzy and cripple are also very powerful spells.
Casting UF on aboms or fiends with a statue nearby healing is awesome, and
having frenzy on your heroes at all times is fantastic too. Sometimes I cast
frenzy on skeletons too, especially if there are air units.
Cripple is great vs tauren, bears, knights, and gryphons. Cripple combined
with summon skeleton can beat most t3 armies that don't anticipate casters with
Adding 2-3 banshees can curse a whole army, and this makes them an
excellent unit choice vs orc, as it forces them to either live with units
missing 1/3 of the time or to build an extra building to counter your casters.
AMS is also great on fiends/heroes if your opponent nukes your units. (Also true
vs HU's that go with tri hero combinations. AMS soaks up half of the nuke at
higher levels, and the whole of it at lower levels.)
Like with necromancers and the necrowagon, one of the more common
strategies that use banshees is knows as "fiendshee". This is a combination of
fiends and banshees and is typically used vs or and NE sometimes. vs orc it may
be enough to get adept banshees, but vs ne you really want master banshees so
that you can posses bears if they're made to counter your fiends.
If you see an orc making taurens posses can be a really nice spell to
have, but destros might also be needed because taurens are usually accompanied
with some shamans and bloodlust.
Banshees take some practice because possesing a unit takes time and if you
cast the spell too early the banshees are easy to kill with spells or focus from
ranged units, cast it too late and your opponent might tp out before you get the
units, so timing and positioning is paramount in using banshees effectively.
My last comment regarding UD casters is to urge anyone who has the
motivation to try and enjoy UD to their fullest to turn off both raise skeleton
and curse autocast. (I have posses and cripple hotkeyed to Q and E respectively;
UFrenzy and AMS to C; and curse and raise skeleton to R.)
7.6 Frost wyrms (FW):
Frosties are extremely powerful, and also very costly, both in resources
and in food. As a consequence you shouldn't really have many frosties at once,
maybe with the exception of free-for-all games. In solo one or two frosties
should be plenty, three is scary.
Beyond their awesome damage output, high hp and decent armor, FWs are ever
more an awesome unit if frozen breath is researched. But getting a frosty costs
so much, and takes such a long time, that they're not really a very common t3
Frosties are such lovely units to have.
When are they to be used? Well, vs just about anything one frosty is
welcome, but keep in mind that a single FW is not a difficult unit to counter if
anticipated and should, like with casters, be kept a surprise if possible.
Either build the boneyard where some trees have been cleared out or, what I
sometimes do on larger maps, use a sacrificial skull somewhere obscure to build
it. (On Echo Isles if you are on the right side of the map you can build it
outside the merc camp, and on terenas stand I sometimes build it outside the
workship on either spawn location.)
Frosties, in my opinion, are also a supporting unit -- just like casters
-- andis best supporting fiends or gargs. First, because they share upgrades,
and second because both fiends and gargs can be anti-air units (to counter bats,
dhawk riders, or gryphs.)
Shades are awesome, the best scouting unit in the game, and can sometimes
definitely be a game changing unit. There are times a shade is almost a must,
and sometimes they're just a great plus.
When playing vs an orc who has gone with a BM first, getting two shades is
very useful. Have on stay in your base and use it to scout expos now and then,
and have the second one following your army. That way you can see when he tries
to scout your base with him BM and if his BM gets near your army you will see
him and can hopefuly nuke him, or even kill him. This is also good because in
the middle of a battle if the BM tries to windwalk out, you can still attack
Versus an NE, shades are good to scout expansions, and is good if your
opponent has a Warden and/or archers or hunts. Have the shade follow your
oponent's army, or just hang around in his base to give you an idea of what he's
In mirror matches, get a shade to scout your opponent and also to make
sure he doesn't have a shade following you/scouting your base.
As well as in mirror matches, I personally find shades least useful versus
HU. Not that I don't get them, but their use vs HU for me is much different.
Instead of scouting his base or expos with shades, which is good, usually when I
get shades vs HU there'll be a lot of them, and they'll be patrolling large
areas of the map so you can keep tabs on where your opponent is heading to
creep, and etc. The reason this is important is because you don't want to let an
hu creep to too high a hero level.
In this last example, if you are getting shades, having a shade patrol
outside your base in any matchup is a good idea. Just keep your eyes on the
minimap for any red dots.
If you're very new to the game I recommend you read my more indepth build
orders in the earlier "5.0 Building a Base" section. I go through the your
complete actions click-by-click, including hotkeys, for newbies there. This will
be much more to the point and include a copy paste of the stats for times each
building is built (given in the format: "time into the game-building summoned".
For example: "00:05-Altar" means the Altar started summoning at zero minutes
five seconds into the game.)
- Ghoul Build Order (mentioned earlier in this guide):
First two acolytes trained immediately.
After the tomb you may add a graveyard or wait to get enough wood to tech.
Build is best to shift to mass destroyers or gargs. For gargs, build a second
crypt and yard while teching to t2.
Also good for shifting aboms, adding late fiends, and casters if you want to.
Best vs NE and UD
Alternate Ghouls BOs:
(Train only one acolyte initially, as soon as the acolyte comes out, have
it mine gold for a second, build the ziggurat, then train your second
(aka Hero build)
There may be others.
- Fiend Build Order (mentioned earlier in this guide)
Crypt>Yard>Zig>Altar>(Tomb>Zig) or Crypt>Yard>Altar>Zig(>Tomb>Zig)
You can also go with a fiend bo but stick to a ghouls strat, this'll make your
tech significantly earlier, but will alter the build times in the example I
The second fiend can be built before building the tomb or second zig, or you can
build the tomb and second zig immediately after your first ghouls is trained and
then train your first fiend. This will be a matter of preference of whether you
need that first fiend out early or not. You can also skip building a tomb till
t2 or t3, but the rods of necromancy you get from them are extremely useful, and
vs NE and orc the dust is also very important (although vs NE I usually will run
my dk to a shop and pick a dust up.
One could start with a ghoul bo, tech early, and get later fiends (after 4-5
I attribute this bo to TeD, an UD progamer, because it is done so within the
community. This will get you an early hero, but fiends at about the same time
you would normally get them (with a slight delay in your first ghoul, but that
is offset by the earlier hero.) I find this bo great if you're going with a CL
first as you'll have the graveyard to summon beetles from.
I don't have a replay of this right now so can't give the times for first 5
buildings. Howoever, the point of this is to research backpack asap and pick up
a rod of necromancy with the ghoul that will summon your first hero. Good vs HU,
as it restricts their ability to nuke your hero (unless you get a UD neutral
nero), and for any strat that you get a neutral hero first.
- Neutral Hero BO; Fiends
Same as with ghouls, get the shop before the altar, research backpack and pick
up a rod with your fiend before going to the tavern. The nice thing about this
BO is that your first fiend will get to the tavern at just the right time when
the tavern countdown is finished.
What is the "pro scene"? Well, the reason I added this was because when I
first started playing on bnet I wasn't aware of that a progaming scene existed;
and since learning of it, playing WC3 has been much more fun, and it has kept me
playing this game for far longer than I anticipated.
Progaming is practically an electronic gaming scene that is parallel to
most other professional sports games. There are profe