I’ve been playing almost exclusively Orcs for the past 3 weeks, and I’ve come to some strategic conclusions about the Hero Cards and their usefulness.
Let’s start with the basics. Who are the Orc Heroes?
So far, I’ve collected all the Orc Cards (With exception to the Dragon. And I assume the last slot is the Dragon card based on how each race has a Creature Card as a Rare. Spiders for Goblins, Ents for Elves, etc.)
The top row is the Common Tier, the middle row is the Uncommon Tier, and the bottom row is the Rare Tier.
Here’s their current abilities, costs and whatnot…
As you can see there is a lot of focus on Leadership bonuses (Strength per unit) depending on who is leading and where they are located. The Orcs also have a couple of good utility units, but the trade off is only one viable range unit.
The Orcs are also part of the “Average” speed group (Along with Humans) Which is great! (at 4 Leagues/hour by Road.)
So before we split the Hero Cards into groups of “must haves”, and “probably should bench”, let’s take a look at the Strength per Gold ratios to get the best bang for a buck when it comes to defeating the Blight and Defense of Settlements.
The default Orc military unit “Orcish Swords” comes in on top for most Strength per Gold at 2 to 1.
The worst Strength per Gold unit is the Jolly Tavern Keeper… at 0.18 Strength for Every 1 Gold. (Poor Guy)
The Trade-off for the Jolly Tavern Keeper is a Leader bonus of +4 for ALL units (including units of other races.) But if you’re rolling with an All Orc Deck, the Desert Maiden is the superior choice with a +6 Bonus. And even then… Leadership Strength bonuses really only benefit 3 of the units, as we can see in this chart:
The more Units that are part of a Hero Card, the more effective the Leadership Hero Bonus. This means that Orcish Swords is the obvious go-to pairing. Followed by Dragon Brigade & Wolfriders.
The Wolf Chariots do come in groups of 5 Units, but the Bonus is still a small blip compared to the above three examples. And all the other Orc Hero cards are 1 Orc Units. (1 Dragon in the case of the dragon units.)
So the Leadership bonuses to begin with are only useful if you’re stacking them with large unit armies. And if you’re not rockin’ a +6 bonus, the coin and population resources better spent elsewhere.
So how would I rank the Orc Heroes? Which ones do I use?
We’ll start with what I consider the “Must Have Champions!”
MUST HAVE CHAMPIONS:
“Speed is King.”
These guys are a bit pricey (400 Gold), but seem to always be the Vanguard of your forward fighting forces. They are Common, so easy to obtain, (They’re also usually part of the Orc Essentials so you get them for free when starting most Orc Maps.) They do the same amount of damage as Orcish Swords, with a very noticeable speed boost (3 Leagues / Hour by Road.)
The Wolfriders can dance around any Blight group, and are great for hit and run funeral pyres. They are also great in early game to reach settlements and mana pools quickly to add them under your ownership.
Orc Wolf Chariots
This unit is Wolfrider’s little brother. (Both have a speed of 3) at Half the cost of Wolfriders (200 Gold), Half the Strength (300), But comes with a very nice First Strike ability called “Chariot Charge” (Basically a free (150) attack before any battle begins).
The “Chariot Charge” ability is great for running over small Blight groups without taking damage. And in the late game, combining all your Wolf Chariot units into a single card can make for some great Blight steam rolling fun!
You use them the same as you would Wolfriders: Hit and Run attacks behind enemy lines, Funeral Pyre Burning, and reaching settlements and mana pools quickly.
Orc Wolfpup Handler
Don’t let the cute picture on the card fool you. You’re basically buying a single Wolfrider unit for 50 gold! Sure the Strength is only 24, but you’re not using this unit for attacking, you’re using it for:
A Quick purchase at 50 Gold means you can usually always deploy at least one.
With a speed of 3, they can easily dance behind enemy lines and burn thousands of bodies.
They can act as cheap early game runners to quickly add settlements to your territory.
If they die out in the field, they are only 1 orc body, so if they become a risen Blight, they are easier to deal with.
When you’re not sure which way a Blight group will go and you need to get around them, you can send out two Wolfpup Handlers, one on each side, and be able to adjust the paths depending on whichever way the Blight turns. It’s win-win!
Orc Dragon Brigade
The Dragon Brigade is basically the Orcish Swords, but for 25 Gold More (325 Gold Total) you get the added ability of a range attack in exchange for Mana. These guys are the Ken & Ryu of Blight of the Immortals. For 10 Mana, These guys can fire off a 1 League, (375 Strength) attack, that restores in 12 hours.
Compared to other races’ range attacks, the Mana cost may seem a bit hefty at first, but in mid to late game, as you combine your Dragon Brigade units into a single fighting force, you can do massive amounts of damage and wipe out very large Blight groups without experiencing any casualties.
For example, I’m currently in a game that’s on day 11. (Yes Day 11, and what a long war it has been.) But we’ve finally got a foothold on things and the tide has turned in our favor. One of the things that helped us get this far was a very large Dragon Brigade group…
That’s 60 mana for a (2265) attack. Not too shabby. (And it really is roughly 6 Brigades combined together.)
These guys, like the Orcish Swords, are great for defending Settlements and Mana Pools. They’re even better when lead by a Desert Maiden. (with an extra +150 Strength per Dragon Brigade group)
For those familiar with the Human Marshal, this is the “Green Skin” version of that Hero Card. Able to train a default military unit in any Orc, Goblin or Troll city is the best way to min-max your Gold spend. Now you can raise large armies through Mana costs, and save your Gold for the really good units. (Wolfriders, Dragon Brigade, etc.)
The Orc Slavedriver also has the added benefit of having a decent Strength, when compared to other single unit cards. (180 Strength unit for 175 Gold). He’s cheap, he’s useful, and he will save you lots of Gold during a war. (Also because of his ability, you never have to bring Orcish Sword cards of your own. Besides for almost the same price, you can drop a Dragon Brigade and get more benefits.)
THE WILD CARD:
Because at present we can only bring 6 different car types into a new game, the 6th card chosen is mostly dependent on map size, starting location or strategic preference.
Depending on the above circumstances, my 6th champion Hero is chosen from the following 3:
Orc Desert Maiden
Probably the best “Leadership” unit in the game. (The Troll Ironshell Sergeant comes close, but his need for being in a Swamp, and his slow speed keep him down.) The Orc Desert Maiden gives +6 Strength to all Orcs in her army. She herself has a beefy Strength for a single Unit Hero Card (180).
So when do I bring the Orc Desert Maiden? Honestly, very rarely because by default you are given 4 of them in the Orc Deck Essentials, and usually you only need 2 or 3 for the entire game. So you technically have her in your deck whether you want them to be or not. Which allows us to bring one of the other two “Wild Card Heroes”…
Orc Dragon Banner
The Orc Dragon Banner is your “Deployment” unit for the Orcs. Every Race has a “Deployment” unit where you (and your allies) can deploy / spawn a Matching Race Hero Card at the location of the “Deployment” unit.
When do you bring the Orc Dragon Banner? Large Maps. It can take days to traverse some of the more popular 6 player maps, and a Dragon Banner, not only allows you to quickly deploy Heroes to the front line, but allows your allies a spawn point near your units, so they too can quickly jump in the action.
Orc Shaman Priestess
The Orc Shaman Priestess is a fairly cheap (125 Gold), Average Strength (60) Common tier Orc Hero, but where she shines is her special ability, “The Gift of Flame”. For 12 Mana, she can completely remove a Battlefield Grave that is 1 League away. the best part is that this ability refreshes in 6 hours. The Orc Shaman Priestess is perfect for those walls of Blight where it would take a day or so to send a rider around, but you can get just close enough to burn the bodies. She’s also useful where natural barriers are involved, like burning corpses across a river, without any risk of the Blight being able to cross over.
So when should you bring the Orc Shaman Priestess? She seems to work best on smaller maps, or maps where there are many blighted settlements (or soon to be blighted settlements) next to each other. You really want to make use of that 6 hour cool down, and because she’s a 4 League per hour / Road speed character, she can usually get to the next node within 6 hours. (Perfect timing!)
If you’re on a larger map though, where there is more room to move around, it’s probably best to focus on your fast movers (Wolfriders, Wolf Chariots and Wolfpup Handlers) and just do the behind enemy lines dance to burn the bodies. It takes a bit longer (but it saves your mana for the Slavedriver training and Dragon Brigade “Fist of the Dragon” strikes.)
THE GUYS ON THE BENCH:
So what about the poor orcs that never get to play? Let’s go over why I never use them in a deck unless they show up as a volunteer mid game.
“The Go-To Kids”
Don’t get me wrong… The Orcish Swords are a great unit! But for 25 Gold more, I can deploy Dragon Brigade. With that said…
I use Orcish Swords ALL the time (because many start at settlements you recruit, and the Slavedriver whips 'em into shape for 12 Mana instead of 300 Gold.) Because of this, there is never any good reason to bring them in a deck, if you have the Dragon Brigade numbers you desire, you bring those instead. Which is fine, because they’re the default military unit, you will see them in every game anyway.
“Every Orc, a Leader”
Orc Warchief (Leadership +2 in Forests & Swamps)
Orc Vicious Sergeant (Leadership +3 in Deserts)
Orc Butcher (Leadership +2)
Orc Jolly Tavern Keeper (Leadership +4)
These 4 Heroes are the “Leadership for All” units. Any unit of any race can be placed under their leadership and receive a bonus. So for multi racial deck builds, it could be a strategy some would use. But I would argue that the numbers involved are probably not high enough to warrant the bonus. Also, some of these Orc Leader Heroes require the army to be in certain terrain types (Forest, Swamp, or Desert) to even receive the bonus. And because the best bonus you can get is +4 from the Jolly Tavern Keeper (and because he has no terrain restrictions) If you want a leader for a multi racial deck, there is no reason to bring any of the other leaders.
Because Desert Maiden is rockin’ the +6 to all Orcs any time, anywhere, she will always be the obvious choice for solid Orc decks. And best of all, she’s usually always part of the Orc Essential Deck, which means you don’t even have to own her unless you want to increase the chance of getting her in the opening hand. (Which for her, honestly doesn’t matter till mid and late game. You want to get your fast movers out first, then deploy your defenders and leaders later at your forward positions.)
“Too Expensive For My Tastes”
Dragon (750) Attack, Range 1, Restores 12 Hours, 12 Mana
Dragon Rider (1000) Attack, Range 1, Resores 12 Hours, 12 Mana
The Two Dragon Cards… Dragon (1500 Gold) and Dragon Rider (2500 Gold) is way too expensive to even consider. Yes, I know they can fly and bypass Blight groups, Yes, I know the Dragon Rider is the fastest Orc Hero unit at 2.5 Hours / League. And yes those are very tempting special abilities to fall in love with…
But consider the costs…
For the price of a single Dragon Rider (2500 Gold), I can buy 7 Dragon Brigade units and 1 group of Wolf Chariots. (Or 6 Wolfriders and a couple of Wolfpup Handlers) That’s 8 very powerful all-star units, for the price of 1 unit who has a good chance they will just disappoint you and die after the first large battle. (and potentially create a dead zombie dragon you’ll have to deal with later…)
Which would you rather have?
Also, (And this may have changed recently) I think you can only spawn the dragon units from a Dragon’s Nest… which means No Nest on the Map… No reason to put it in your deck. (Although I also hear that if a volunteer steps forward during the game-play, you can deploy them from an Orc Settlement instead.) Being able to spawn the Dragons by default from an Orc settlement would make these Dragon units better, but I’d still probably keep them on the bench because of their high high Gold cost.
“Fear the Blood Moon?”
Orc Blood Shaman
The Orc Blood Shaman is an area Buff / Debuff type of unit. His “Blood Moon” ability adds +2 Strength to all Orcs within 4 Leagues, but also adds a -2 Strength debuff to all Humans within 4 Leagues.
We’ve seen earlier that anything less than a +4 bonus doesn’t amount to much, unless you have very large groups of high population units. And yes, you could say that Orcs gaining +2, while Blighted humans have a -2 Strength Debuff would amount to a +4 Strength difference, let’s remember this one thing…
The Buff goes to ALL Orcs (Mortal or Blighted), and the Debuff goes to ALL Humans (Mortal or Blighted).
Because of this, any Human allies in the area will get the unwanted debuff, and much worst, any Blighted Orcs you are fighting off will get the +2 buff bonus.
This means that this ability is VERY special case. Optimum use requires:
- No Friendly Humans within 4 Leagues
- No Blighted Orcs within 4 Leagues
- Many Blighted Humans within 4 Leagues
- Enough of a Friendly Orc Military Population to even begin to benefit from a small +2 per unit bonus. (And as we’ve seen in the chart above, a +2 bonus is not that impressive, there are better Hero Cards to use in place of the Blood Shaman.)
All four of those conditions being met is a very rare event in the world of Blight. You are better off with a strategy that can stand up to multiple types of threats.
Orc Scarface Lord
The Scarface Lord has had an interesting history. Originally his ability, “Fear and Valour”, was used to attack the population of a settlement, and converting settlement population into Valour. (Much like the Goblin Pirate’s ability to convert Settlement Population into Gold) But his ability has been changed to attack military units with a very small (50) attack, and gaining 1 Valour for each unit killed.
Here’s why I’m not fond of this. To effectively use this ability, you need to have a military unit that’s already low in strength, or you risk using the ability and not killing anyone. Also, most of the Orc units are just 1 unit, so at best you’ll only get 1 Valour for those units. Attacking larger strength unit groups usually only allow for a small 1 - 3 Valour gain. You could eek out 4 Valour if an Orcish Sword group got to just 4 units left in the group (From the starting 50 units).
This means that the Mana cost (6 per attack) (12 hour cooldown time) and Not to mention the initial Gold cost for both units are totally not worth it with regards to the Valour exchange. (Yes you can get lucky and kill a lot more through crazy lucky RNG), but we’re going for sure bet strategies, and not once in a blue moon wins.
He also has a pretty low Strength to Gold ratio at 0.4, which keeps him permanently on the bench.
“Good on Paper”
Orc Elder Shaman
The Orc Elder Shaman is a low cost unit (75 Gold), with average speed (4), and low strength (24). The one thing he is good at, is his ability, “Flaming Sacrifice”, which for 4 Mana, he can kill every civilian in a Settlement.
The only time killing everyone in a Settlement is useful is if a Large Strength group of Blight are coming, and you don’t have the time or resources to deploy military units at the settlement. So burning them all for 4 Mana is a decent trade. (Considering the 12 Mana costs for the Shaman Priestess to burn an entire graveyard.)
But his speed and strength are an issue. If you see a settlement far away that’s about to get eaten, the Elder Shaman will never get there in time to be of any use. (And if you could get there with a faster unit, you may be able to salvage the situation by pulling some military units out of the settlement before it falls, or even prevent it from falling.)
Even if the settlement does fall, you can have better units in place (Wolfriders, Wolf Chariots, Wolfpup Handlers) to be ready to clean up the blighted city as soon as the Large Blight group moves on, costing you zero Mana, and it sets up your fast movers to move onward deeper in enemy territory to continue burning bodies.
Because of these reasons, I can never see a reason to bring the Elder Shaman along. He’s way too specialized with not enough “Bang Zoom” to make him worth it.
When playing the Orcs, you are usually stuck with 3 cards in your Orc Deck Essentials
Bring Fast Movers to handle the Funeral Pyres behind enemy lines, and quickly taking new settlements. (Wolfpup Handlers, Wolf Chariots, Wolfriders)
For beefy defenses with teeth, bring Dragon Brigades (For range Attacks) and Slavedrivers (For “Zero Gold” army building)
And for your 6th and final card slot, bring one of the following:
Shaman Priestesses (For Small Maps)
Dragon Banners (For Large Maps)
Desert Maidens (If you really want to go Strength Bonus, plan to spread out your forces, or want to easily replace a Desert Maiden if one dies.) … (The Good news is the Orc Deck Essential usually gives you 4 of these in your deck by default. So you’re better off with Shaman Priestesses or Dragon Banners anyway.)
(Keep in mind: This was written around February 16th, 2016. And the game rules and cards are in flux and may change.)