The Rebels are a faction of Elves and their various forest-dwelling allies. They get their human name, Rebels, from the time of Heir to the Throne, when they started the rebellion against the evil Queen Asheviere. Elves are a magical race that are masters of the bow and are capable of living many years longer than humans. In harmony with nature, the elves find allies with the human mages, certain merfolk, and tree creatures called "Woses." Rebels are best played taking advantage of their high forest defense, mastery of ranged attacks, and the elves' neutral alignment.
Compared to humans, elves are somewhat taller, more agile but less sturdy. They have slightly pointy ears, pale skin and usually blond hair. Few differences between humans and elves are more pronounced than the latter’s unusually long life - most, unless claimed by illness, accident or war, live a full two centuries. While some elves possessing a high magical aptitude have been known to live an additional full century, most elves begin to grow physically frail approaching their twentieth decade and pass away within a few decades after. Elves are naturally imbued with magic to a small degree. Though most are unable to channel it directly, its latent presence gives them their keen senses and long life. Many elves have magic-driven talents such as marksmanship or stealth, allowing them to achieve tasks that most normal beings would find astonishing. Those elves that learn to wield this power in more general ways can become truly formidable in its use. Many choose to use their gift to heal others.
The race of men is an extremely diverse one. Although they originally came from the Old Continent, men have spread all over the world and split into many different cultures and races. Although they are not imbued with magic like other creatures, humans can learn to wield it and able to learn more types than most others. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes except their versatility and drive. Although often at odds with all races, they can occasionally form alliances with the less aggressive races such as elves and dwarves. The less scrupulous among them do not shrink back from hiring orcish mercenaries, either. They have no natural enemies, although the majority of men, like most people of all races, have an instinctive dislike of the undead. Men are shorter than the elves, but taller still than dwarves. Their skin color can vary, from almost white to dark brown.
The Merfolk live in the shallow parts of the ocean, wary of the monsters that lurk in the deep. Ordinarily they form alliances with no one, but in Asheviere's time they allied with the elves in order to defeat their captors. Mermen are powerful and quick in any watery environment, but struggle greatly to move on land.
Little is known about the Woses, apart from their tree-like appearance. However these beings have not descended from trees, despite the similarity in form. They seem to be wardens of the natural world.
- Child Sorceress
- Desert Archer
- Desert Fighter
- Desert Scout
- Desert Hunter
- Desert Shaman
- Divine Avatar
- Divine Incarnation
- Elvish Archer
- Elvish Fighter
- Elvish Lady
- Elvish Lord
- Elvish Queen
- Elvish Scout
- Elvish Shaman
- Elvish Wayfarer
- Lady in Waiting
Units and How to use themEdit
Description: Cheap fast-striking and reliable melee fighter
Strengths: High number of strikes and decent damage, good in forests, decent ranged attack, cheap
Weaknesses: Low HP for frontline fighter, not that fast
Advancement: Reasonable, access to leadership
Elvish Fighters are crucial to the rebels for the simple reason that they are just plain solid in melee. 5-4 is maybe not horribly destructive, but dangerous nonetheless. For fighters much of their power and usefulness depends on their traits. Dextrous fighters have a solid ranged attack to exploit against other melee units, preserving their HP for their retaliation and making up for their lack of HP somewhat this way. Strong fighters become quite a bit more dangerous; for a four strike unit strong is even stronger. Quick fighters can dart all across the battlefield and through forests like archers can, but lose staying power. Intelligent fighters become that much closer to the captain levelup, and resilient fighters finally are excellent village holders. Elvish Fighters are not the only one that have their power and usefulness heavily influenced by traits (it's true for everybody that has them), but it's just that much more noticable with the abundance of different traits for elves, and the fact that their HP is just between low and decent, which makes resilient a major factor.
Your rebels will suffer if you do not have enough fighters. You need units that aren't painless to attack in melee to stand your ground against the many melee-centered factions, and the fighter is much more widely usable and cost-efficient than the wose.
Despite their low cost, keep in mind that elvish fighters are ill-suited to hold out for long on open terrain. They don't get enough HP to really do it well. If they get killed, they don't get to retaliate with all their strikes, and realize only a fraction of their power. You need to use your forest mobility, and that of the other units, to give these guys the good terrain they need. Support them with shamans from behind for good measure, so they will regain 4 HP next round, and they will scare away most melee units.
Initial recruit, get a fighter or more if you can use them in the village grab. It's somewhat more efficient to get your archers earlier instead and recruit fighters afterwards, but always make sure you have a solid line of fighters facing the enemy once their time of day rolls around. Priorities change when facing a skeleton heavy undead opponent, of course.
When leveling, you've got a choice between the hero, who improves on the fighter's abilities by developing an extremely punishing melee attack in addition to very solid archery, and the captain, who is weaker than the hero in melee, ranged and HP, but gets leadership in exchange, and is overall just the more useful unit, considering he also has the same number of strikes in both melee and ranged as the hero has. Usually you'll want a captain; of course, you need to figure out how to make use of him. If the fighter levels in a dangerous situation with few support units around, a hero will give quite a bit more of a fight.
Description: Ranged combat elite unit
Strengths: High number of ranged shots with excellent damage, fast, excellent in forests, okay melee attack
Weaknesses: Somewhat frail, expensive
Advancement: Reasonable, access to marksmanship
The second basic elvish soldier unit and arguably one of their major strengths, elvish archers are almost a must for any balanced rebel force. When put in forests, they can be expected to survive attacks from three enemy hexes usually. Magical and marksman units will dislodge them, but they can't attack the elvish archer either without losing many HP to their archery, which truly is second to none - were it not for time of day. Bowmen and skeleton archers can beat elvish archers slightly on their preferred time of day, provided the archer in question is not dextrous! But elvish archers can be useful anywhere, anytime - use them to pincushion enemy melee units to death, and fighters to protect them afterwards. All traits work out well for this unit; a resilient strong archer in a forest is the most unkillable thing the elves can field.
Archers cost 17 gold pieces and are too expensive to be wasted. If the situation doesn't call for it, don't get an archer if you don't have the fighters to support him properly. Like with bowmen and spearmen, fighters generally should be more numerous - but while the bowman is overall weaker than the spearman compared directly, the archer actually beats the fighter - his ranged attack is equal to the fighter's melee, their melee is stronger than the fighter's ranged, and they get that very powerful extra 10% in woods which makes such a pain to get rid of.
In the initial recruit, definitely use the six movement of this unit by recruiting one. Keep in mind that their ranged pierce damage is not that hot against undead. One archer is usually no problem; he can block retaliating against adepts and other units by staying in forests, kill corpses and bats, whittle down ghosts, but two archers give skeleton heavy undead some degree of an edge. One archer and one shaman almost always fares better than two of either.
Whether you should get a ranger or a marksman upon leveling often depends on the current unit situation, and the traits. Rangers receive a modest increase in ranged power, but become quite competent in melee and gain extra HP, which on top of their 70% defence makes them outright scary in forests. For archers that received strong and to a lesser extent resilient as a trait this is usually the prime choice, and any archer who leveled in a not quite safe position should definitely become a ranger to maximize the chance of survival or, failing that, the damage he does before dying. Still, marksmen have one thing rangers do not: Marksmanship. Mages usually fill the fight-against-high-defence role well, but you can't get too many mages usually. Marksmen are simply extremely destructive at ranged combat and will destroy many level 1 units in one volley, or almost kill them for your other units to mop up. However, they are pretty squishy and retaliate very poorly in melee - you want to put them in exposed positions even less than your regular archers since they are more valuable. Always get a ranger if the situation looks like you need his staying power, and get the marksman if your enemy is on the defensive already and you have the melee troops to protect him.
Description: Healer and enemy unit crippler
Strengths: Heals, slowing attack, excellent defense in forests
Weaknesses: Low HP, practically non-existant killing power
Advancement: A bit tricky to get, very powerful
Slowing attacks are an ability exclusive to the Rebels, and they make up for quite a bit of their power. It basically transforms any unit into a sitting duck, at least if one of the shaman's attacks hits. If it works, you have a unit you can basically attack any way you like without receiving a lot of punishment - Chop down a grunt with swords, shoot a mage with arrows. If it fails, you have a squishy shaman right next to the unit you wanted to prepare, so beware, and initiate the slowing from where you can protect the shaman if it fails - they have enough HP to survive attack from one unit even on open terrain, but rarely more.
When facing several enemy units, the usual course of action is to slow one and kill the others, if possible, since the slowed unit can rarely make a meaningful contribution to the battle next turn - but it can still kill your low HP units, so don't get too cocky. Prime candidates for a slow are heavy infantry, woses, and basically everything that costs fair to high amounts of money and relies on its melee power, and has low defense - slow isn't magical.
Another use of the slowing is to prevent units from retreating. Since almost every match has somewhat of a day/night cycle, enemies will often have to retreat. Used wisely, this means a dead enemy unit where previously it would've gotten away. The key question is: Would he lose more units trying to save that slowed unit than if he just sacrificed it? If yes, go for the slow.
Another of the shaman's main purposes is healing. 4 HP doesn't sound like a lot, but with the low-HP high defense rebel troops it certainly makes a difference. It also stops poison for one round, which can help tremendously as well, and is a good use of their healing - instead of healing 4 HP, you stop 8 points of damage from being taken, which in a sense is twice as powerful! Shamans are somewhat of an orcish assassin counter for this reason.
Your shamans are best positioned just behind your fighter line, where they can heal the fighters who bear the brunt of the attack, and afterwards slow the attackers to prepare them for the kill.
Alone, a shaman is pretty lost. She has few HP and very weak attacks. It helps to be strong, resilient or dextrous actually, and impact makes her reasonable at softening up skeletons (and lets her kill them one on one with the help of slow). 70% defence in forests means that sticking them in there is the next best thing to hiding behind other units. Shamans are strongest when accompanied by a bodyguard unit that can deal or soak up damage, like a resilient archer or fighter. They prepare attackers for a kill, and heal their friends who do the killing for them. But it's best to keep them near your main force, where their healing can help the most. Don't send shamans out unsupported.
The choice between the druid and the sorceress is not an easy one. For me it depends on two factors: How many units do I have with me, and how many are mages, and to a lesser extent, how many are shamans? The more units I have, the more valuable is the 8 HP heal, and the fewer mages I have, the more valuable is the magical offensive power of the sorceress, and the more shamans I have, the less valuable the druid becomes, since she is used in a similar way as the shaman - she stays safe, heals, and oftentimes she will slow an enemy unit instead of using that mediocre 6-3 magical damage. The fact that the sorceress deals arcane damage can also become important; remember that no loyalist unit except the merman fighter has fewer than 20% arcane resistance, while they all take full damage from mage fire, and that arcane damage destroys many units in other factions, like drakes or woses or skeletons.
Description: Extremely fast horse archer scout
Strengths: Okay in both ranged and melee, fastest level 1 unit in the game, good in forests
Weaknesses: Defends poorly on villages, pierce vulnerability, expensive
Advancement: Reasonable, becomes overall stronger and even faster
The most expensive elf unit, the elvish scout bears the distinction of being the fastest unit in the game. Mounted on a horse, he's of course restricted in movement by many terrain types, but since the rider is not heavily armored like the cavalry and horsemen of the loyalists, the elvish scout also retains reasonable movement in most of the land terrain types, and most importantly gets its defensive benefits - 60% in forests and mountains. In that, the elvish scout is quite similar to the wolf rider of the Northerners. While the wolf rider gets 50% defense on villages, however, the elvish scout gets only 40%, the same amount as on any flatland. This makes him a bad village holder and hampers his village stealing capability somewhat. The elvish scout is also highly vulnerable to pierce, which restricts his staying power even more. The cost is justified by his battle capabilities: Like the glider, footpad and ghost, he has both a ranged and a melee attack, in the case of the scout both at 12 potential damage, possibly increased further by the strong or dextrous traits. This gives him the ability to attack while receiving few to no retaliation against the majority of enemy units. His speed allows him to get to beneficial terrain in time to stall for the rest of your force, and he is capable of joining an attack in both roles. But do not waste him. A dead scout is a hefty financial setback, and while he doesn't go down without a fight, he is not that painful to attack for either melee or ranged either.
Still, his fighting capabilities are not sufficient reason to recruit him - for 18 gold you can recruit elvish archers instead, which are still very mobile and much more capable in battle, and of course elvish fighters to reinforce your lines. He is a scout first and foremost, and his nine movement may be sorely needed if you need a fresh unit at your frontlines quickly and badly, but if you have enough scouting, go for other units. Get one or two scouts at the beginning, depending on your scouting needs on the map, and use his nine movement in the village grab.
A quick scout at 10 movement points can be very powerful on larger maps like Howling Ghosts when it comes to grabbing villages. A single unit cannot hope to catch him; you need to corner him somehow using two units, so he can also serve as distraction...
Description: Slow, heavy, powerful, counterable
Strengths: Most destructive level 1 unit attack in the game, high HP and regenerates, near impervious to impact and pierce, ambush
Weaknesses: Slow, bad defense everywhere but in forests, highly vulnerable to fire, not resistant to blade, expensive
Advancement: Not that hard to get, becomes even stronger and harder to get rid of
The 5-4 damage your main elven infantry units dish out is good, but it's on the reliable side of the destructive-reliable scale. Your shaman's slowing is a good ability, but the thing it does not do is make enemy units faster to kill. Easier, less painful, but not faster. Here is where your non-elven units come in, and the reason the rebels are a day-based faction. Woses are your melee killers. They are capable of obliterating many units in melee fully or almost on their own, and the rest can be taken care of using your reliable elves.
They are crippled by weaknesses of their own, however. With only four movement you pretty much need shamans to create enemies the wose can catch. 30% arcane vulnerability aren't much considering the rareness of arcane damage, but it does mean that ghosts and especially wraiths will give woses a run for their money in melee. More defining is the 50% fire vulnerability, which lets drake burners, mages and orcish archers obliterate this unit, at their respective times of day, without receiving any return damage on the attack. That's four factions you have to be afraid of right there. Now, 52 HP go a long way, especially if you can keep the wose off flatland terrain and stick him in the woods or at least hills, mushroom or swamp. Still - if there are wose killers out there, your wose is no good as tank. Neither does his 10% cold resistance give him the power to withstand an advancing adept steamroller for long at night, though he does overall take slightly less damage than pretty much any of your units, but the more important reason it doesn't work well is the lack of a ranged response. You should protect him with fighters or maybe even archers (who will deal plenty of return damage to ranged wose killers). What's more, the lack of any resistance to blade means that while woses are awesome at blocking against pierce or impact damage units they are soft-countered by anything that does solid bladed damage, most especially at night. Dwarvish fighters especially, Grunts, elvish fighters, even skeletons will damage woses a lot considering they cost much less than they do. At 20% defense they do it easily enough that the wose is pretty much lost gold against them, even though he still does 10-2 base return damage at night. If you do want to use the wose to tank at night against an opponent who has these soft counter units, stick him in a forest at all costs - 40% is enough to be annoying given the wose's hefty HP. Other units can do lots of damage to woses, but may suffer hefty retaliation - gryphon riders and thieves spring to mind.
In any case, don't get more than one wose in the beginning, or get one only later. If the enemy has wose killers, have him tank with care - luckily he doesn't share the heavy infantry's dependance on villages to get much-needed healing; he can often stay just behind your lines and still exhibit a significant threat even on low HP, and will always enter the next turn 8 HP stronger or at least unpoisoned.
The ambush ability is mostly a non-factor against a skilled and perceptive opponent, but it can lead to some nasty surprises. If the enemy doesn't pay enough attention, he might consider your defending force weak enough for an assault without realizing that there is about 20 gold worth of recruits missing in your lineup, and get devastated by the wose you hid in a forest one turn away from the keep. Especially careless opponents might even run into them after they are aware of their existence, since you have to watch the enemy's turn to spot where they are if they are moving from forest to forest. If the wose moves into two adjacent forest squares, you often can't know for sure in which of the two he resides in, which can play mind games with the opponent too. Still, against skilled players ambush isn't much more than a novelty.
Description: Magical offensive powerhouse
Strengths: Excellent magical fire damage
Weaknesses: Low HP, expensive
Advancement: Crazily powerful, but nigh-impossible to get in a normal multiplayer game
The only unit in the game that is available to two factions, the rebel mage serves similar purposes as the loyalist mage (so if I don't get wordy enough for your taste check the previous mage section again). He is your man when it comes to breaking through high defense and dealing fire damage. Recruiting mages makes the rebels a pretty day-focused faction, especially if you're recruiting woses too. As with the loyalist mage, the rebel mage is too expensive to recruit "just" for the high ranged damage, especially considering the sheer power and forest goodness of the still cheaper elvish archer. So while it is almost always correct to have one, don't recruit him in masses.
In the initial recruit, I'd hold off on getting mages. Get fighters to take villages with five movement, and get an elvish archer. You need fighters and archers to protect your mages, as they are very frail.
In the rare case of a level-up, red mages become more attractive than they are for the loyalists. Shamans already provide a degree of healing for your forces, and the red mage is neutral, which gives you break-through-defense power at night you never had before, which can prove crucial against loyalists. As for the Arcane damage of the white mage, you rarely ever need it if you have a sorceress nearby. Against drakes go for the white mage (though it's hard to imagine getting to level a mage against drakes), but usually you want a red one. Your mileage may vary.
Description: Ranged water-based fighter
Strengths: Excellent defense on water, cold resistance
Weaknesses: Not excellent in melee, doesn't fight well on land
Advancement: Not hard to get, interesting options
The third lawful unit in the rebel lineup. Hunters are cousins to the loyalist merman fighter, but they are quite different in usage. Their ranged attack is nowhere near the raw power of elvish archers, and only comes slightly close at day, with 6-3. Not overwhelming, but okay. That comparison doesn't make much sense anyway; as usual for water-based units, it's the 60% defense in swamps and all shallow water dual terrains as well as full movement in them that make them worth recruiting. Possessing both a ranged and a melee attack makes them more versatile than the merman fighter and often lets them do well in the naval battles against them despite the lower damage, thanks to the unretaliated ranged attack, which justifies the slightly higher price tag. You definitely want these guys trying to take control of large bodies of water if present, and they are excellent at wresting control of water from the drakes. Being able to deal ranged damage lets them whittle down bats like that with relative ease, and gives them a real chance at eventually killing ghosts merman fighters hardly have. As usual, don't over-recruit this guy, as it's hard to get battles to focus on the water.
Initial recruit, get one if he can take a village and get onto his preferred battleground right away. It's very map-dependant.
Should you achieve a level-up, which doesn't happen often because this unit is neither a mass-recruitable unit nor a killer, consider going for the netcaster. He becomes respectable at melee and more importantly gains a slowing option. This would be worth more if shamans weren't already ranged slowers. Still, consider it, as it also makes him more versatile when it comes to damage types, and lets him rule supreme on large bodies of water - no enemy water or flying unit can hope to escape him, so he can slow them, whittle them down, take laughable return damage, and eventually kill his prey using his spear. And the six potential damage his ranged attack lacks compared to the spearman - in raw damage, not counting the tactical worth of available impact damage - he gains in melee thanks to the additional strike, and he's one movement point faster on top of that. My money is on the netcaster, but your mileage may vary.