The Assassin is a class dedicated to the ability to instantly kill any non-Titan unit on the battlefield. It can also be used as a semi-support hero to certain races with access to Wealth.
The assassin hero has the ability to gain a distinct early game advantage through their ability to quickly kill enemy heroes and generals while they hunt for resource mines, and allow them to quickly convert those mines.
The Assassin skill is what defines this Hero class and is a skill only shared with the Dark Elf race. When an assassination blow is caused, the victim suffers 1000 damage, ignoring all armor and bonuses except for the Titans' hidden 33% damage reduction (which was added in 1.03.23). The owner of the unit that caused the assassination blow also gains gold. In 1.03.23, the owner only gains 75 gold, but earlier versions it is 100. The Hero Assassin skill has an additional rule on top of all these traits: a Hero's assassin chance is reduced when fighting against opposing enemy Heroes, which is reduced by half of the enemy Hero's level. This means an assassination chance of 20% against a level 30 Hero would reduce the chance down to just 5%. It's unclear if the chance can actually drop to 0%.
Stats and SkillsEdit
The attribute changes you get by choosing this class:
The abilities you get by choosing this class:
|Level 1 (Initial Skills)||Level 5||Level 15||Level 25|
The Assassin is one of the game's prime map controllers. Only one of the Assassin's skills is required for it to perform extremely well, and the class doesn't even really need to be paired with any specific race for it to be somewhat deadly. The power of the Assassin can be tried at times towards the later end of a battle, but there are almost no other classes which invoke such fearful responses in the game.
Early Game Edit
The assassin is very potent in the early stages of the game. A high assassination skill level combined with a good dexterity or running score allows them to quickly move to the mines nearest the enemy camps, slay any generals or heroes they find there, and convert a large number of the resource mines, giving the player a strong advantage. This is especially powerful in the opening because opponents will likely be walking around with a small number of strong retinue units rather than a large horde of followers, which is the ideal situation, since assassination is just as fast on a large unit as a small one.
A further, more adventurous possibility is to move straight to an enemy base, kill the hero if possible, slay the small number of starting units within the base, and then use the assassin's high dexterity to quickly convert their starting keep and main (level 3) resource buildings. They will then have no builders if you have slain their hero, or perhaps one or two kicking around, but will be set back as they have to waste the hero's time rebuilding a keep rather than patrolling and converting mines. When employing this strategy, go round the side of the base to avoid coming into contact with the tough starting towers (assassins are weak against towers, since they have low combat skill and cannot assassinate buildings).
This remains a considerable strategy throughout the game, but its power diminishes with time as foes begin to bring hordes of smaller units along with them to take the flak while the hero escapes.
There are a multitude of races which go quite well with the Assassin, but the foremost are the Dark Elves. There is no other combination in the game that is better at assassinating than the Dark Elf Assassin. Almost all stat and skill points should be placed into Dexterity and Assassin respectively. This maximises the chance for assassination.
A Daemon Assassin could be a very dangerous threat. The Daemon Assassin combines the Assassin skill alongside Ferocity, Regeneration and Invulnerability which can provide some longevity and staying power. This can be very important, because Assassins can be too fragile to repetitively enter combat, but the Daemon Assassin can fight incredibly well in melee and regenerate any lost HP back so it can be used again fairly soon (though any point invested in Ferocity, Invulnerability or Regeneration is a point that cannot be put into Assassination).
A Minotaur Assassin could be another potentially dangerous foe. Minotaur Assassins can make better use of the gold income from assassinations than most other heroes as they need a lot of the resource for construction and research (and can also invest the resource in Basilisks, which themselves produce Stone). Having access to the Minotaur race holds another boon, as the production and consumption of critters heals and cures Minotaurs, meaning Poison and Disease is no longer a hindrance. Access to Ferocity doesn't hurt either, if needed to survive in melee longer.
The Swarm is another race can gain some interesting abilities with the Assassin class. They get synergistic access to Ignore Armor and access to Constitution which can be very useful for the semi-fragile Assassin. Unfortunately, Ignore Armor declines in usefulness as your Assassination skill improves, because successful assassinations already effectively bypass armor (except on units with really high HP). Still, a Swarm Assassin can be a particularly fast and dangerous hero class combination which can help with the production of Scarabs.
Two races which gain Access to Running are the Barbarians and Ssrathi. Running can be incredibly deadly with an Assassin because there will be few heroes or units in the game which are capable of outrunning and escaping from the Assassin's clutches.
Another attractive combo is the Fey Assassin. Whilst this combo seems unusual and somewhat weak at earlier levels, it more than makes up for it with the spell Invisibility. This then makes the Fey Assassin one of the few race/class combos in the game which can turn invisible (outside of items which can cast invisibility), walk up to an enemy hero even in their own base and assassinate them. It may have a high level requirement, but later on the combo becomes merciless.
An Empire Assassin seems odd, offering only a synergy in Wealth, but the combo can be neat. Rather than invest only into Dexterity and Assassination, one may also invest in Charisma, Wealth and Alchemy; at first sight absurd, but heroes become adept at supporting a side in many ways. Charisma helps in convering larger areas, Wealth can churn more gold (combine with Assassinate), while Alchemy offers the Brew Potion (to heal/cure) and the Acquire spells. This way, Assassins become less like ultra-fast glass cannons and more like supporting heroes with various tricks up their sleeve, all while still being fast and able to Assassinate.
- The Bard is likely to be the best counter to the Assassin in the entire game. This is because it can recruit a horde of units right at the start of the game, which provides a solid counter to the semi-fragile Assassin.
- Although Assassins can dominate the map, Assassins usually don't support their side via anything other than assassination. Whilst this can work with a fast-regenerating, tankier assassin build, the normal full Dexterity builds will struggle greatly against large hordes of enemies and will likely have to sit out for a while each time it gets damaged.
- The Assassin is frequently somewhat fragile for a melee hero class. This can lead to some situations where hordes overwhelm them, particularly projectile ones.
- The Assassin is rarely capable of dealing with towers. Putting a garrisoned bulwark of towers near high level mines ensures that the Assassin will stay away.
- As with almost any other melee classes, an Assassin is vulnerable to Disease and Poison afflictions. If the Assassin has no way of curing these afflictions, they will severely hinder the hero's participation in the game.
- The Summoner hero can also prove an excellent counter against Assassins, as he/she can counter them by summoning Imps (a freezing critical can be a nightmare) or by retreating via Home Portal. Nature magic users can also slow the hero using Entangle to be made a sitting duck. In general, anything that can slow down or keep the pressure against the Assassin is their undoing.