Horn of Despair?


Is the Horn of Despair basically just a super retreat? I can’t think of any other reason to use it.



The way I most often use it is to allow me not to feel bad about recruiting a bunch of Goblin Bows early in the game. Let me explain.

Goblin bows are outrageously inefficient. They have terrible stats, a weak ranged attack, and each 25 bows you train costs you 50 gold every day, since they come from your civilian population. As @strategicthinker’s race comparison correctly points out, Goblin Bows have the worst cost-to-value ratio of any base unit in the game, so you should typically avoid training them at all costs.

However! The Goblins are a hero-heavy race. They need some time, and some clever tactics, to succeed against almost any Immortal armies, as Goblin units are the worst melee fighters in the whole game. That means that until you draw into your heavy hitters (e.g. Little Wizards, sometimes Pirate Captain), the Goblin Bows’ ranged attacks are your only way to generate the Valour you need to get a solid economic base going, without going into melee using the worst hand-to-hand fighters ever.

The Spider Rider solves this apparent conundrum. Horn of Despair can be sort of a “get out of early-game free” spell. Once your more important units are on the field, your Bows will often no longer be an efficient use of Gold or Mana, so you can shunt them all off to some safe Goblin town that you control, plop down a Spider Rider, and poof! Your Bows turn back into civilians, pumping out Gold for your empire once again, and you even recoup the cost of training them in the first place.

The second reason to bring along the Spider Rider is more situational, but still very valid. Ever played a map where you ended up chasing a big group of Immortals deep into a Swamp, with no roads to lead you back out? Rather than slogging back through the marsh, the Horn of Despair will give you back all those Heroes and the Gold to redeploy them somewhere else on the map. You can also pull this same trick with an ally’s army, as other, slower races are even more prone to getting stuck in far-flung positions at the end of a campaign.


Very insightful! Thus far, while still playing single scenarios, I’ve been relying heavily on ranged attack (Elvin Prince with a squad of Archers is my favorite) and transferring the resulting Valor into Mana to keep the cycle going. If only the Elves had the equivalent of the Human Gnostic Mage, I’d never had to take turns.

Thanks, DrBwaa.



Elven Archers are much better than Goblin Bows as a core, long-term unit, as I’m sure you’ve noticed! For the same population, the Elves’ ranged attack is twice as strong, and moreover Elven population generates only half the Gold of Goblin population. In this sense, the long-term Gold efficiency of Elven Archers is about 4x that of Goblin Bows!

The ranged-attacks-only strategy you describe is indeed the best way to set high scores, though most people (myself included) don’t typically have the patience to pull it off in multiplayer, without the time-skips :wink:


Oh, I’m not setting the world on fire in the SP scenarios, averaging around 65% or so, but the combination of ranged attacks with some kind of pinner or pusher has saved my bacon a number of times.

I just discovered the Bridge Witch and about to close out Black Tree Bog by pulling thousands of zDwarves into the West corner of the map and pulling them with ranged attacks while my Elves clean up the supply in the North and the Trolls slowly climb up the east bank of the river to finish them off. Such a tactically entertaining game…

  • Sparkster


Also a situational use, but sometimes still valid:

If you’ve got rogue lords in play, you can bounce a bunch of rogue cards back to your deck, then replay them and buff your lord to ridiculous levels.