How to Play Isar's Cross

Share and discuss strategies for playing the game, and get help and tips from other players.

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Mabuse
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Post by Mabuse »

Nebiros wrote:It's hard to even stall until a more favorable ToD on Isar's; there's nowhere to go.)
true and also not true -

sure, you CANNOT completey avoid fight on Isar, but you have enough Time to prepare so you may "cycle" wounded units, and also you can setup a defense that leaves the enemies MOSTLY "bad Terrain" Hexes

setting up a defense at a bad ToD is pretty well possible on Isars, theres no need to competely avoid a fight -

Isar has enough Room for an interesting Battle (but i also agree that some aspects of the game simply dont occur due to its small size) - maybe it is also more repetitive (but RNG is of course one thing that makes it interesting again and again)

i personally like Isar as well as many other Maps - of course i also like to play other maps, but its not that i am disgusted having to play an isar match
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alpha1
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Post by alpha1 »

I mostly agree with chains’ guidelines except for a few points.
map has a lot of water making it harder on dwarf and undead.
I believe that the only race that has difficulties on Isar’s is drakes ;). You need good teamwork to compensate drakes’ weaknesses and reveal their strength
A northern player in the first position can hire a quick naga at 11,17, and then a second naga can make for a risky yet powerful opening. The first player can attempt to claim both 15,13 and 16,11 on the opening move!
I never saw this strategy working against good players, and you will usually lose the upper fish in the process. However, if you manage to win the game due to this strategy, than you would defeat your opponent anyway :)
Northerner: With ample hills I prefer trolls over grunts.
2 Trolls 1 naga 1 assassin.
I usually go with 1 troll and 1 grunt since grunts have higher def/damage but it’s a matter of taste
Drake: Isars is so small so, I attack on turn 2 unless I face loyalist or drake
1 Burner 1 Fighter 1 Clasher 1 Auger (auger claims villages) my leader and other 3 attack.
You can take an extra fighter instead of augur if you are going to rush. Although drake-rush is a suicide in most cases, unless you are rushing an ud or orc.
Loyalist:
2 x spearmen 1x merman ( the 4th varies between an archer, mage, and another spearman)
I usually take a mage, but it depends on the leader/opponent. If you have a mage-leader, take a melee unit. If your opponent is a drake, take an archer
It’s a good thing if your recruit compensates the weakness of your leader. For example if your leader is an orcish crossbowman , it’s better to recruit an extra grunt,
if your leader is an elvish captain you will need a strong range-unit such as mage etc.
Dwarf: Isars has lots of forest so poucher for night time forest attack
3 x fighters
1 Poucher
I prefer a fighter/thunderer/poacher(footpad)/ulf recruit because of its flexibility .
Due to their resists and high def. dwarves can fight melee/non-magical ranged units pretty good. That’s why mages are especially dangerous for them, since they always hit with 70%, and dwarves have only 10% resist against fire/cold. Therefore you need an ulf to neutralize your opponents mages. Even if you can’t kill them, a presence of ulf will be intimidating enough to hinder your opponent from using his mages freely. A good player will make sure you cant attack his mage with more than 2 units, but a mage/DA can usually survive an attack of 2 fighters (your strongest units) on good terrain. However he will die to ulf.
Thunderer is good against drakes (especially rushing) and loyals.
I recruit a footpad instead of a poacher if I start on the northern/southern keep, to grab the lower/upper “mainland” village on the 2nd turn

A 2xthunderers/footpad(poacher)/ulf recruit works good as well
Rebel I prefer fighters over archers because of cost and the shaman slow.
2xfighter 1 merman 1 shaman
I usually take a mage instead of shaman (to attack the fish), but it depends on my leader/opponents

Now to the fish rotating strategy
Lets compare it's usefulness against every faction
1. Loyalists: 1st fish will probably die to mage, leader + 3rd unit. Second fish will die as well.
2. Stealing water villages from drakes is not a good idea. Drakes will usually look for easy-kills during the first few turns, so drake player will be very happy to kill 2 of your units during the day, winning the game before it actually started
3. Rebels with a mage/wose are nearly as dangerous as loyalists
4. Dwarves: unless you are a rebel, your fish have good chances to survive the night (Merman Hunters die to ulves at night though). If your fish was hit by a lucky thunderer it’s a good idea to rotate it with a healthy one.
5. Undead: you may steal the water village but you will have to retreat at night. If the 1st fish survives the 1st attack and can retreat (which is improbable unless your opponent doesn’t use adepts), putting the 2nd fish on its place would be equal to losing it for nothing.
6. Northernes: a good player won’t try to kill your fish at day, since he would need LOTS of luck. At night he will kill it with normal luck. If not, he might concentrate his attacks on land, where fishes are not so useful and lack of 1 land unit will hurt you.

So the fish rotating strategy works well only against dwarves and to some degree against unlucky orcs. It’s not necessary to recruit 2 fishes on the 1st turn, since you can usually buy the 2nd fish if you see that your opponent is dwarf (or orc)

Generally speaking:
anything that would cause your first fish to flee, would also force your second fish to withdraw
As for me I never recruit more than 1 fish in the beginning of the game, unless my partner plays a race that hasn’t water units.

2 Mabuse: I believe spearman is a better choice than cavalry: its cheaper, deals more damage, has firststrike, ranged attack and better defense (which is very important on a map like Isar’s with lots of hills/forest/villages). Cavalry on the other side is expensive, has 3 more mp (doesn’t really matter since Isar’s is so small), 2 more hp, better resists but pierce weakness (!).
So even if you recruit a 17 gold cavalry and grab the village on the 2nd turn instead of the 3rd
you still lose 1 gold (17cavalry-14spear+2village) and get worse unit.
chains
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Post by chains »

Discussion post not part of the guide.

This discussion is wonderful, I'd like to see some posts from some of our really strong Isar's players out there, you know who you are.

Mabuse is absolutely correct about using your leader to defend your water village. Although his post is a bit hard to understand, your leader should be within reach of the water village unless your northern or undead. Players who put a rebel, loyal, or drake leader on a rear village just aren't thinking.

Here are some comments that have caused me to edit my guide:


Disagreement with: "it has enough room for a complex battle to take place. Isar's is a fairly balanced map"

My guide will read: "Isar's is a small map, yet it makes just enough room for a complex battle. However, its small size still has drastic impact on standard tactics. This impact is the purpose for the Isar's Cross Guide."

I never meant to give the impression that Isars is as complex as Clash. By complex battle I don't mean you have multiple choices in where to fight, simply that you have enough space to rotate out hurt units and screen them off while picking good terrain to fight in. You can also make choices about wither to attack or defend, but on really small maps there is no room for any of this.

"in Isar's the top players all hire exactly one fish." will be changed to reflect the discussion over fish.

"in Isar's many top players use 1 fish (at a time), although some good players use 2 fish and rotate them. If you want to use this strategy, I would strongly recommend not getting two fish as an initial recruit and instead get the second fish in later turns.


My opinion on fish is, when my enemy hires 2 fish and uses them defensively, then I just ignore both fish and he finds himself with two units he can't use. Unless he uses the fish to try and take the water village from me, in which case my leader can easily shred fish before they can be swapped. Mermen hunters are exceptionally bad to recruit in numbers.

Good comments, that I will respond to to encourage discussion:

"I believe that the only race that has difficulties on Isar’s is drakes Wink. You need good teamwork to compensate drakes’ weaknesses and reveal their strength "

Due to my strategy with drake (that cc2 taught me) of attacking on turn 2 against all factions except drake and loyalist, I find that I do EXTREMELY well on Isars with drake. I feel confident when I draw drake as my random race.

"I never saw this (two naga village steal) strategy working against good players, and you will usually lose the upper fish in the process. However, if you manage to win the game due to this strategy, than you would defeat your opponent anyway"

This strategy relies on luck in the first turn. If the opponent cannot kill your naga by turn 3 the game is over simply because of luck. I said its a gimmick strategy, and i only mentioned for completeness.

"I usually go with 1 troll and 1 grunt since grunts have higher def/damage but it’s a matter of taste "

I prefer grunts for villages and trolls for hills. on Charge I have lots of grunts, yet Isars has precious few villages and plenty of hills. Its terrain also makes it extremely difficult for the enemy to focus his attacks onto a single troll.

"You can take an extra fighter instead of augur if you are going to rush. Although drake-rush is a suicide in most cases, unless you are rushing an ud or orc. "

This is a viable option, but I take the augur because I use it to collect my villages while my army is out fighting. By the time it claims my villages night has fallen, and I prefer to have an augur at night over a fighter. Also, if my opponent is drake I'd be a lot weaker against another drake without my augur. This start can also be done with 1 burner and 3 fighters.

"I prefer a fighter/thunderer/poacher(footpad)/ulf recruit because of its flexibility . "

- I wait until I see my enemy before I make any ulfs because there are several games in which I do not want an ulf. If I do need one, then it's easy to get one as my fifth unit. As for footpads, this goes back to my rule number 1 the greatest asset of a footpad doesn't work well for isars.
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alpha1
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Post by alpha1 »

Due to my strategy with drake (that cc2 taught me) of attacking on turn 2 against all factions except drake and loyalist, I find that I do EXTREMELY well on Isars with drake. I feel confident when I draw drake as my random race.
This strategy works quite good against undead and maybe orcs. However, you need more than average luck to use it effectively against other races. I did some tests against elves and dwarves and in all cases I was able to fight drakes off with acceptable loses. I tested elves 3 times, since they seemed to be susceptible to drake-rush but they did pretty good and drakes needed massive help of their ally to avoid elvish counter attack.
I wait until I see my enemy before I make any ulfs because there are several games in which I do not want an ulf. If I do need one, then it's easy to get one as my fifth unit.
I can hardly imagine a match-up where recruiting an ulf wouldn’t pay off, could you give me some examples?
As for footpads, this goes back to my rule number 1 the greatest asset of a footpad doesn't work well for isars.
Footpads with their 70% def on forests/hills/villages and 60% on grassland complement low def. dwarves very good. They are mainly used to occupy forest/grassland hexes - not as scouts. So your “rule” doesn’t apply here.
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TL
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Post by TL »

I like footpads, but terrain defense isn't everything. Dwarves are generally going to be able to defend better than footpads due to their superior resistances and HP; except for a few oddball attacks like ghosts and burners, this holds true for pretty much all terrain except forest, and I'd just as soon recruit a poacher for that (their swamp defense comes in handy here too, with that central swamp hex in the middle of the forests).
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Croc Paterson
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Post by Croc Paterson »

Nebiros wrote:
it ... has enough room for a complex battle to take place. Isar's is a fairly balanced map
No it doesn't, and no it isn't. It's popular because it's small and people expect it to be quick, but it's nowhere near as balanced or complex as Clash, let alone Hamlets, Loris etc.
:)
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nebula955
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Post by nebula955 »

The perfect random recruits*:
LOY: spear, mage, fish, horseman
REB: fish, 2 trees, mage
Orc: fish, 3 grunts
UD: ghost or bat, 2 adepts, ghoul
Knalgan: gryphon, 3 guns
Drake: fighter, burner, clasher, fighter

*Perfect is defined as the funnest recruits.

Disclaimer: have not played wesnoth in a while...
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Federalist marshal
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Post by Federalist marshal »

nebula955 wrote:The perfect random recruits*:
LOY: spear, mage, fish, horseman
REB: fish, 2 trees, mage
Orc: fish, 3 grunts
UD: ghost or bat, 2 adepts, ghoul
Knalgan: gryphon, 3 guns
Drake: fighter, burner, clasher, fighter
Since when was randomly recruiting a good idea? Especially on Isar's Cross, where the fight begins quickly and can commence nearly anywhere.
nebula955
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Post by nebula955 »

random recruit as in everyone picked random...obviously im not so skilled as randomly picking my units of choice
Sombra
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Post by Sombra »

nebula955 wrote:The perfect random recruits*:
LOY: spear, mage, fish, horseman
REB: fish, 2 trees, mage
Orc: fish, 3 grunts
UD: ghost or bat, 2 adepts, ghoul
Knalgan: gryphon, 3 guns
Drake: fighter, burner, clasher, fighter

*Perfect is defined as the funnest recruits.

Disclaimer: have not played wesnoth in a while...
I dont know nebula if you are really serious... either way I strongly disagree with your recruitments

LOY: Horsemen on ISAR has very limited uses for example you are facing another loyalists player with lot of spears? It would be kind of totally useles...same goes against knalgans etc.

ORC: An Assasin + troll + archer would be part of my recruit. Your recruit is more or less helpless against any range attacked etc.

Undead: I would think about about replacing the ghoul against an skeleton but not a bad recruit

Knalgans: Aehmmmm, what on earth you want with 3 thunderers...a few skeltons and you are history...a few dwarf fighters and you are history... a few spearmen (and here horsemen) and you are history... a wose and you are history....besides the gryphon is kind of expenisve for its limited uses on this map

Drakes: I miss a augur, saurians are quite useful in my opnion on this map: Better terrain defense (especially they can use the swamp in the middle,sand besides the water + higher mobility and the possibity to slip through enemey lines.
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anakayub
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Post by anakayub »

Just sharing my personal initial recruits on Isar's based on my experience:

Loy: Spear (2), bowman, merman. An alternative would be to recruit mage instead of bow, just for experimental purposes. Cheap, and you can always recruit mages on turn 2. Another variation is 1 fencer for spearman (for blade), but I rarely do this now.
Rebels: Fighter (2), archer, merman. Never changed this in general.
Knalgan: Fighter (2), thunderer, trapper. Rarely I'll get guardsman for fighter, but I don't find it useful enough at the start of an Isar from my experience.
Undead: Ghost, DA, ghoul, skeleton. Standard for me.
Drake: Fighter (3), burner. If I'm planning to blitz, sometimes I won't recruit a burner, getting a clasher instead if my leader is a fire drake.
Northeners: Grunt, whelp, assassin, naga

This isn't exclusive, and this depends on whether I'm 1/2 or side 3/4, as well as the starting ToD, at which I'll make small changes. And if my partner recruits a long-range scout (griffon, bat, elvish scout) for various reasons of his, allowing me to counter-recruit from the start.

My style of Isar's depends on the ToD at the start of the game. With dawn as beginning ToD, I'll try to blitz with Drakes (and might skip villages to grab later), and attack less aggressively with Loyalists (meaning villages are of higher priority). With chaotic factions, my main aim is to grab villages, and assume favorable attack positions within the 3 turns, with assassin/ghoul as an active/passive defender (depending on the opponent). This is very general, and depends on the opponent I'm facing as well. I'm a play safe kind of guy, with a generally "boring" style of play.
Take a breath.
Mabuse
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Post by Mabuse »

alpha1 wrote: 2 Mabuse: I believe spearman is a better choice than cavalry: its cheaper, deals more damage, has firststrike, ranged attack and better defense (which is very important on a map like Isar’s with lots of hills/forest/villages). Cavalry on the other side is expensive, has 3 more mp (doesn’t really matter since Isar’s is so small), 2 more hp, better resists but pierce weakness (!).
So even if you recruit a 17 gold cavalry and grab the village on the 2nd turn instead of the 3rd
you still lose 1 gold (17cavalry-14spear+2village) and get worse unit.
the main reason i do this is because in the early days (so before i recruited cavalry) sometimes my ally steal my village, even if i told him that i am going to take that village -

so if you have a noob ally and dont get that village from turn 2 on, yur ally may steal it, and additionally not able to hold it, or even leave it, and additionally not get all of his cities instead, leaving one to the enemy -

if i take it on round 2 there is no misunderstanding, i take the village and hold it, and the pierce weakness is not that critical, if you are careful -

also the additional movement can be useful sometimes, the only bad thing is that it costs a bit more, as entioned, with that start i get up to 6 villages in round 2 so its ok for me ....

if you cant handle it, ok, but as mentioned it helps a lot to handle noob allies, so you can claim directly the city and your ally knows whats going on
nebula955
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Re: How to Play Isar's Cross

Post by nebula955 »

lol i think my point was that there's many ways to play isars. but yeah 2 woses own
IB
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Re:

Post by IB »

chains wrote:My opinion on fish is, when my enemy hires 2 fish and uses them defensively, then I just ignore both fish and he finds himself with two units he can't use.
Image

Can't use?
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alpha1
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Re:

Post by alpha1 »

Mabuse wrote: the main reason i do this is because in the early days (so before i recruited cavalry) sometimes my ally steal my village, even if i told him that i am going to take that village -

so if you have a noob ally and dont get that village from turn 2 on, yur ally may steal it, and additionally not able to hold it, or even leave it, and additionally not get all of his cities instead, leaving one to the enemy ...
I usually play with players i know, thats why i seldom have problems with noobs. But in this case i agree with you, its better to take all villages you can as soon as possible. :)
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