High Elf Information pagesEdit
- White Tower
- Tree of Gold
- Shooting Range
- Dragon Shrine
- Tower of the Moon
- Rune of Cielos
- Elcor's Balm
- Rune of Animos
- Ancient Wisp
- Flaming Arrows
- Rune of Manos
- Holy Relic
- Holy Word
- Rites of Dawn
- The Alicorn
- Knights of the Bronze Dragon
- Knights of the Silver Dragon
- Knights of the Gold Dragon
- Dragon Warriors
- Rune of Vivos
- Ancient Wisp
- Dragon Knight
- Ice Maiden
- Celestial Dragon
- Frost Dragon
- King Lunarion
The High Elves are powerful, but like all Elven races in WBC3, are handicapped by the inability to add workers to mines. Of the three Elven races, the High Elves have the best remedies for this weakness. Careful planning of your build sequence is essential, but if done properly, the High Elves can be a contender in any battle. Also, High Elven units have very few hit points. This should be accounted for when planning your build strategy. For all the focus on healing in the Elven buildings and heroes, one will often find they do not have a chance to use any of it - by the time Elven units need healing, they're already dead.
- With access to Ancient Wisps and Celestial Dragons, they effectively have unlimited crystal.
- Powerful archers that, when upgraded, can pretty much level un-prepared bases by themselves.
- Excluding fliers, units are completely immune to Fear and Terror.
- Plenty of ranged unit types and spells that hit multiple targets, which allow them to effectively counter swarm style tactics.
- Almost the entire race can hit aerial targets, allowing them to handle enemy fliers with ease.
- Excluding fliers, units have no resistance against Poison and Disease.
- Despite many different damage types (all of them if you include their Dragons), Piercing type attacks are too overly common.
- No natural mine fillers and only half income rate from those that they happen to get ahold of.
As with the other elven races, there are two attractive ways of playing the High Elves: one approach that focuses primarily on massing Ancient Wisps and another approach that focuses primarily on other units. These approaches require quite different buildings, and are best supported by quite different hero builds, so it's not all that easy to switch between them, nor to perform a mix between the two.
A Wisp-based strategy promises a geometrically increasing source of crystal income, independent of how many mines you manage to defend. It requires building a lot of keeps to produce baby wisps, so you end up defending a sprawling base composed of many keeps, together with other buildings for upgrades and/or mere supply. This strategy gets most of what it needs already at Keep Level 2, including mine-capturing phoenixes and your "I Win Button", the infinitely repeatable Elcor's Balm, so you tend not to upgrade your main keep beyond Tier 2 until relatively late when you start raking in crystal much faster than you can turn it into new wisps. This approach quickly expands to occupy available supply (thanks to ancient wisps producing crystal and costing 2 supply each), and any non-wisp units you build eat up supply that could instead have been used by crystal-producing wisps fueling even faster geometric growth, so there are fairly strong incentives to avoid building any non-wisp units beyond whatever ones you really need, instead putting your other resources into supply-increasing buildings like the cheap archery range. Typically, it is best to assess your opponent's strengths and pick just one highly relevant metal-based unit to upgrade and produce in small numbers. If you get time, the ultimate complement for wisps is Dragons, which are supply-economical and can easily be fueled by your snow-balling economy. In other circumstances, Manticores can be great against throngs of chaff, they and/or Longbows (with upgrades) can add to the critical mass needed to make your ranged units completely unapproachable, or Dragon Knights (with the three upgrades available at Tier 3) can provide a solid fire-resistant melee screen for your wisps and can help distract and hunt down annoying catapults.
The most important hero ability for a Wisp-based strategy is merchantry (an effect of Charisma, and/or directly purchasable by the Merchant class) which effectively increases the rate of crystal production from all your wisps, and drastically increases your geometric rate of economic growth. You also get a quite solid return from morale increases, as those increase your ranged units' rate of fire, making them better capable of killing enemies quickly before they can even approach. Similarly, you can also increase your damage output via XP-increasing abilities (intelligence, pyromancy, divination, or the ranger's taming ability that buffs wisps, unicorns, pegasi and other "monsters"). Like many economic/merchant strategies, a wisp-based strategy is most vulnerable in the early game -- especially when you have a sprawl of level-1 keeps to defend and just a wussy merchant and some retinue-wisps to defend it -- but if left unchecked it can easily steamroll into something unstoppable.
If you instead go for the non-Wisp approach, whatever wisps you get may still be useful, especially in your retinue, but without a mercantile hero their bonus crystal production won't buy you as much, and diverting most of your early crystal to other purposes like trees, runes and upgrades will keep you from building many extra keeps or wisps. Also, the earlier you upgrade your other units, the better they will then compare vis a vis wisps, so the more incentive you'll have to keep diverting crystal to trees and further upgrades, rather than investing in wisps. This approach greatly benefits from higher keep levels, especially Tier 3 for melee upgrades and Tier 4 for manticores, unicorns and mid-range flyers. So that's further reason to invest your early and mid-game crystal elsewhere, rather than waiting for it to pay off in wisps. This approach comes out of the gate much quicker than a Wisp-based approach typically does, with multiple trees producing early ice guards (tier 1), archers (tier 1.5) or even starting on dragon knights (tier 2.5), by the time a wisp-based approach starts merging its first Ancient Wisps (tier 2.5). With this strong early start, this approach can be nicely complemented by an aggressive hero who can help make decisive gains early, e.g., a Paladin who can heal your early troops while also dealing significant damage herself.
This approach can also benefit from support options that don't help wisps so much. E.g., High Elf heroes can invest in Life Rune to increase unicorn HP to absurd levels, which pairs multiplicatively with various abilities to increase their XP (e.g., by intelligence, riding, taming, pyromancy, divination or summoning them via higher levels of nature magic), many of which also buff your pegasi and/or dragon knights. Or a Pyromancer can turn an early horde of cheap ice-guards into a highly skilled, nicely experienced, fire-breathing wrecking crew (esp. with the 10 bonus damage from their Tier-3 upgrade). Traditionally, wraiths and shadows can be a great bane against any XP strategy but many high elf units, including iceguards and longbows, are surprisingly resistant to cold. That's a welcome relief because with a non-wisp-based approach, it's very important to gain a solid position early and to use healing magic to keep your units alive. All your income will come from whatever mines you can defend (and whatever workers your hero can summon) without help from a big self-expanding snowball of wisps.
High Elves greatly benefit from having Ancient Wisps in their retinue to serve as early builders and bonus crystal producers. If you don't have any your retinue, be sure to build several and get 10 XP for each so you can add them to your retinue. Also, if you don't have healing+curing from your hero or a retinued white mage, then it's often worth buying a new unicorn for 4 points at army setup, just to have curing and healing before unicorns become available after Tier 4.
At the start of the game, use your (ancient/purchased) wisps to build your main keep and some additional unit producing buildings -- either additional keeps (if you're aiming to mass ancient wisps) and/or trees (if you're planning to focus on other units, or just for safety against early aggression). If you need early defense and/or offense, purchase Iceguards and/or the archery rune and Longbows. These units require gold and metal, so they won't interrupt your keep development (stone and crystal), though the trees and runes themselves will divert from early keep-upgrading and wisp-production.
Ancient Wisps and Dragon Knights become available once you perform the corresponding research in your Tier 2 keep, and at least one of these should probably form the backbone of your forces. Ancient Wisps are fairly sturdy and potent ranged units that produce additional crystal, which conveniently is all it takes to buy even more Ancient Wisps. Dragon Knights are fast, powerful, cheap, and, unlike most cavalry, can attack both air and ground enemies. At Tier 3, research can upgrade their combat scores (and damage vs dragons), making them even more effective.
High Elves have access to a variety of other ranged units in addition to their Range-8 Ancient Wisps. Their so-called "siege" unit, the Manticore, is actually quite ineffective against buildings, but is adept at piercing through enemy hordes at range-12. A line of upgraded Longbows also does this quite effectively, and with the flaming arrows upgrade can also take down buildings at range-10 (upgraded from range-8). The two High Elven mages, Mystics (range-6) and Ice Maidens (range-10) are best mixed in to a line of Wisps/Longbows and set to the Magic Defender attribute. Their Ring of Ice, Hand of Ice, and Freeze spells can sometimes save your ranged units from melee attackers that closed the gap. Unfortunately, these mages are too fragile to survive long at the close range that is required for their spells to be useful, so it's often better to forego the mage rune and mages, and instead just sink the resources into similarly priced Ancient Wisps that yield the same damage output, double the HP, and bonus crystal production.
Unicorns become available at Tier 4 after you buy the appropriate runes (the one for dragon knights, plus an additional one just for unicorns). They can cure poison and/or heal your troops, so a few can be worth purchasing, especially when facing poisonous enemies with a non-healing hero. They also are pretty decent cavalry in their own right, aside from piercing damage, so they aren't a terrible option to bolster a fast-moving squad of dragon-knights.
The High Elves benefit from the best mix of fliers and dragons of any race: your Tier-2 phoenixes can convert buildings (something non-Elven races don't get until Tier 5!), your Tier-4 Pegasi and Wyverns are fast and powerful, Frost Dragons can slow their opponents, and Celestial Dragons boost your crystal with every kill (although this is likely unimportant by the time you have a Celestial Dragon). Even your Titan, King Lunarion, is a potent flyer.
Opinions differ regarding the High Elven general, the Moonguard. Unlike some of the beefier generals, he definitely won't serve as a one-man army, and if you're just looking to convert buildings you can already do that with the cheaper Phoenix way back at Tier 2. But, on the other hand, the Moonguard is reasonably priced and one of the most powerful ranged units in the game (especially with your archery upgrades) and he can make a solid addition to the unapproachable wall of ranged units that High Elves often field (archers / wisps / mages / manticores / moonguards). Once upon a time, High Elves would hit Tier 5 and mass Moonguards from all their trees. Unfortunately, the current patch renders Moonguards producable only at your level-5 keep, so that isn't an option any more. It's still probably worth producing what few Moonguards you can, as they'll round out your ranged troops nicely, especially if you have the archery upgrades.
Your primary focus in building should be to obtain your income skills, and purchase them as soon as possible. Although there are some other methods of gaining resources (e.g. keeping Ancient Wisps in your retinue for their crystal income) nothing is as effective as the three income boosts and trade skill. After that, building your Dragon Knights and Pegasi take precedence - so pursue the rune and flier unit building required to generate those. Ensure that your pegasi production doesn't overly slow the growth of your primary keep, as both require stone and crystal.
A favorite is the Priest, which allows Healing and Lore synergies, plus adds the extremely valuable Divination sphere of magic (Mind Leech and Telepathy are tailor-made for the High Elves) Other good choices are the Healer which offers more powerful synergised healing spells and the Paladin (Although the Knight Protector skill doesn't work on High Elven Dragon Knights) if you're looking for a tougher hero.
The Archmage can provide a lot of valuable tools to the High Elves. They can help the economy by summoning mine fillers in the form of Quasits with Summoning Magic (even though income in this way has been halved for the elves, it is still quite useful). Archmages which use Alchemy can instantly capture mines with Acquire (in a large command radius thanks to the naturally good High Elven Charisma) and exchange one resource for another with the Transmute spell. The Divination spell sphere grants the ability to increase the XP of the High Elven forces in much the same way as the Priest would.
If a non-spellcasting class is wanted, a simple Merchant can help to bring down the prices of multiple units, researches and buildings whilst simultaneously providing plenty of resource production in terms of the highly useful Gold and Crystal resources. The merchant skill also synergizes nicely with your Ancient Wisps, effectively increasing their rate of crystal production.
- High Elven units have high combat scores but few hit points. Take advantage of this by removing any melee elves with ranged attacks as they do not factor in the elves' high melee combat scores.
- You can fairly safely approach High Elven Longbowmen with fast missile-resistant units, or with units with piercing-resistance (or fire-resistance, depending on whether flaming arrows has been researched yet). Cavalry, especially cavalry with piercing attacks, can decimate not just the Longbowmen, but also the Ancient Wisps and elven Mages, all of whom have vulnerability to piercing. You can also exploit this piercing vulnerability by bringing even more of your own archers to a grand shoot-out.
- Stop the High Elves before they get access to the Flaming Arrows research. With that research their longbows become much harder to fight, and your towers (especially your ungarrisoned towers) become much more vulnerable.
- If High Elves are massing Ancient Wisps, it's probably best to attack them sooner, before the wisps have refunded their own crystal costs and start returning additional crystal. Archers and cavalry are adept at killing Ancient Wisps, and any chance you get to kill Ancient Wisps is a chance to stop the growth of their economic snowball. You should be happy to force drawn-out battles that kill a lot of units on each side, because your mine workers will keep your economy going strong, whereas their dead wisps won't keep on producing crystal. Wisp production generally requires a sprawling base, so hit and run tactics with mobile building-killers (like minotaurs or pegasi) can whittle down their buildings and keep a supply-cap on their economic snowball.
- High Elven Phoenixes can be annoying, especially when they become available at Tier 2, whereas most races need to wait til Tier 5 to get extra generals to re-convert mines back to your side. Put a tower or a few ranged units at each vulnerable mine to stop it from being converted. If you can't keep a mine from being converted, it may be best just to destroy it, to keep it out of the grip of phoenixes for a few minutes.
- High Elves can't build mine-workers, and only get half-credit for any mine-workers their hero summons. Instead they need research or Ancient Wisps in order to gain access to increased resource production. Whenever possible, destroy High Elven Merchant buildings and Wisps in the early game to prevent them from getting the resources which would greatly help them to produce their skillful yet expensive units later on.