Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

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Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Oh_Hi »

Doctrin 1: Orcs suck at fighting

Well, lets get the disadvantages of orcs out of the way. The biggest disadvantage is that orcs are never really effective in combat (lone mages are a exception). Lets look at the other factions and see how they can really own their enemy: Elfs and Dwarfes just stay in their prefered terrain. Also Knalgans have the ulfserkers which are devasting if used right. Drakes have lighting fast attacks and deal a lot of damage. Their strategy is to hit the enemy at day, crush them and retreat before dusk. Undead have a lot of special units which are either very good or easily countered. Dark adepts are awesome and do a lot of damage but need to be protected. Skeletons are good against most standard units but suck against woses, mages, trolls etc. The undead player who maximizes the potential of each unit wins. Loyalist also have a lot of special units. A heavy infantry is very good if used right. They can also have a bunkerbuster with mages. While most of their army will consist of standard units a good use of their exotic units (horseman, fencer, mages, heavy) is needed to win a fight.
Orcs dont have any of these possibilities. They are not fast, dont have any special unit which can crush a spearman for example and they dont do a lot of damage in a short time. The good orc general will recruit a lot of standard units/grunts and try to counter anything the enemy throws at them. No shenaigans needed.

Doctrin 2: Its the strategy, stupid
After we established the basic tactic of orcs (there is none) lets focus on the important things: strategic value. Here are desirable thing in order of importance.

a) Villages: The most important asset. The point is that every turn you stay in a village you gain 6 gold. Not 2. 6! You dont pay 1 upkeep in your round and gain 2 gold. Your opponent has to pay 1 more upkeep and doesnt get 2 gold. Orcs are very good at holding ground. Sometimes playing orcs feels like smashing your face in the fist of your opponent. But it doesnt matter. You get half a grunt per village which equates to 20HP. If you dont take a brutal beating (and I mean 4 drakes + leader at day brutal) you will show a profit.
I will give you an example to show how profitable stealing is: Suppose you move one lone grunt in a village which is protected by one mage and 2 spearman at dawn. Soo... The mage deals 14 damage which is too bad because you cant retaliate against that. But you have an even game against the spearman. If they kill you you are still fine. You got 6 gold, the enemy needs one unit to retake the village on his turn and you dealt 18 damage to the spearman. Thats about even. But suppose you dont die, then you heal 8 hp, get to hit the mage, get another 3 gold, bind the mage and at least one spearman (to retake the village) to the steal scene.
Here is the general idea: If you can steal a village and your enemy cant kill you and retake the village in the same turn it is worth the poor grunt who dies for his clan. Wolfrider are a bit different because they are expensive but you can still gamble if there is a decent chance you dont die.

b) support village stealing: The second most important thing. If your grunt force makes it possible that an assassin slips by and steals 2 villages, DONT ever retreat. 2 villages are far too important. Just get your ass handed to you, take the gold of the 2 villages and protect them properly. You get 40 hp per turn. It is very unlikely that your opponent can kick 40 hp without own loses. If 2 clashers run rampant at day against 3 grunts, just zoc them, let them deal 9-4 or 8-4 damage and retaliate with 7-2. Of course he deals 36 damage and it probably hurts to watch but you get the 36 hp back in gold and deal at least a little bit of damage. If your opponent uses mages and other ranged units you might get killed without a possibility to deal retaliation damage yourself but it is very unlikely that he can screen his mages all the time, so you get to hit them at least once.

c) breakthrough (to village steal LDO):
Another honarable way to support your quest for world domination is to force a opening in the opponent lines.
The simplest way is to slip a wolf behind the enemy lines and let this wolf steal villages (by now you should get that villages are important). Notice that this is quite dependent on the map. If the map is small and the enemy leader is close to the backwater villages it is still profitable to steal villages but not worht the trouble of creating a breakthrough. If the villages are far away from the enemy leader and the action this strategy is insanely profitable. The 2 or so enemy units cant kill your wolf and you get 6 gold every round for at least 3 rounds. Another "hidden" profit of this strategy is that the opponent binds unit to catch your unit. He needs at least 2 units to zoc your lone wolf and these 2 units are absent from other frontlines.
Another fun breakthrough is the grunt power shove. If you can move at least 3 grunts in a position where the enemy cant block them reliable from his backyard you can just push through and steal. The main risk is not the damage he might deal to you while you move forward. The main risk is that he blocks you and you cant get to those precious village. If your grunt push is sucessfull you basically win the game. 2 grunts in the backyard steal at least 2 villages and are hard to remove.
Managing the various breakthrougs, pushes, deception offensives and blocks is a big part of orc strategy and only experience will give you the ability to spot the all important village steals.

d) blocks
Finally the first topic which is not about village stealing. Orcs are very good at restricting the movement of their enemies. This is because they have a lot of hp, cheap units and no weak units which need to be protected at all cost. It is easily possible to enclose whole armies with 2 encricling grunts. Of course that is only good if you enclose your enemies at the beginning of the night or if your opponent has squishy units in his army. It is very hard to protect these units if your are sorrounded. Dont surround units who dont care! A dwarfish fighter on a hill or a clasher doesnt mind being sourrounded because he can just continue to beat you ass. A elvish fight group with 1 mage, 1 archer and 3 fighters on the other hand is a good target because you can avoid the fighters and just kill the weak units.

Doctrin 3: Avoid the line fight
-- soon to come--

Doctrin 4: Win fast
Its really simple: If you dont win early your ukpeep will harm you more than your opponents. Also the chance for a line fight becomes considerable higher and village stealing wont be that easy with a lot of units on both sides. Therefore try to win in the first 3 nights.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Oh_Hi »

Lets get to the orc units. I will introduce all units, present their job describtion and their use against various opponents.

Codename: Core

The grunt is without a doubt the most important and competitive unit in a orc army. Unless you play aginst undead 50-80% of your army will be grunts. Grunts have the best damage/gold and the secondbest hp/gold (after the troll) ratio in the whole universe. You get 38 hp + traits for just 12 gold. What a bargain.
Grunts really own all ranged units. It is obvious to see why: If you get 18 damage and 38 hp for 12 gold and a dark adept only gets 28hp and 20magical damage for 16 gold you have a way better hp+damage per gold ratio. This is why you own nearly all ranged units. Of course a dwarfish thunderer on a mountain or a elf archer in the woods or a skelton archer are an exception. But even against them you have simple and efficient reply: You just hit them with a lot of grunts and irgnore the melee fighter of the other side. Ganging up on a elvish archer in a forrest might not be the best use of resources but the retaliation is weak and every lost elven hp is valueable (while your hp are cheap).
Against the standard units of the other sides (drake fighter, spearman, elvish figther) the situation is very dependent on the terrain, time of day and exact numbers. My tip: Fight at night and fight to gain villages. Otherwise just try to get kill the non-standard units.

vs. Elves: Good core; You fare good against all elven units and need the melee heavy grunt to kill the huge amount of ranged units quickly. It is highly recommended to bring a lot of grunts.
vs. Dwarfs: Good core; You do fine against anything not on mountains, hills. While it might be frustrating to miss the outlaw units you win on the long run, even when the thiefs backstab you fairly regularly. Bottom point: Good against anything knalgan and therfore highly recommended.
vs. Loyalist: Good core; I hate to repeat myself, but grunts are decent against a lot of loyalist units. Your strategic aims are best served with grunts. Unfortunatly you must prepare counters against the heavy infantery and against the cavalery, so look out for those units.
vs. Northerner: Good core; Same story, grunts are good against almost everything blablabla.
vs. Drakes: Good core; While grunts are still good against saurians and to soak damage you might need a good portion of archers against the fighters and clashers. Dont overbuy archers though. You need the rocksolid grunts for your strategic targets and to guard your archers.
vs. Undead: Good core/utility: This is the faction grunts are vulnerable against. While I would still recruit a lot of grunts in my initial recruit for their speed and tank ability, undead have a lot of units who can ruin your day. Ghosts, ghouls and skeletons are excellent counters to grunts. If your undead opponent plays with a lot of these units you need trolls and archers and the grunt becomes a speciality unit for killing adepts and blocking.

Orcish Archer
Codename: Universal Counter

The first thing any new orc general needs to understand is that archers suck in everyday situation. The general argument for archers is: "Well, I can damage enemy melee units without taking damage and can then guard the archer, therfore killing my opponent without getting killed". [censored] I say. The archer deals less damage than a grunt, has less hitpoint than a grunt and is more expensive than a grunt. The archer is not important enough to screen properly and doing so costs you flexibility. Better have an army of grunts and therefore an army without weakness. While it is nice to poke at a dwarf or a spearman, it is quite easy for your opponent to get to your archer and kick his ass. It is rarely possible to kill a unit completly (remember you do no damage as orc) and screen your archer completly. More often than not you poke at the opponent with 5-3, the enemy attacks you in his turn where you do 3-2 damage. Thats 21 damage overall, which is only slightly more than the grunt which the disadvantages of gold and hp.
After this long rambling lets get to the strength of the archer: He provides pierce and fire damage. Thats it. If you need pierce or fire take the archer, otherwise take the grunt.

vs. Elves: marginal utility; Archers are especially bad against elves because they nearly always retaliate with decent damage. Only useful against woses. Just take more grunts
vs. Dwarfes: marginal utility; Same story, you dont need fire or pierce and therefore the archer isnt a strong counter to anything and therefore sucks. Just take more grunts
vs. Loyalist: good utility; The archer is good against heavy infantry and against the horse units. You need a good deal of archers against the usual loyalist setup. Same story as everywhere, use the archer as counter to hit these units and let the grunts do the rest.
vs. Northerner: marginal utility; Not useful except against the trolls which arent exactly a primary target. Just buy more you-know-what or more useful utility.
vs. Drakes: decent utility; Archers are useful against clashers and fighters and do decent retaliation damage against the burner (although the burner can nearly always find a melee only unit). I hate repeating myself, but again recruit archers as counters and let grunts do the rest. Dont overrecruit on archers: The grunt is a more balanced unit and you need to screen the archers properly. A force against a fighter/clasher heavy opponent should consist of 3 grunts, 2 archers and 1 wolf/archer. You will need the screen and you will need the archer.
vs. Undead: good utility; The archer is your only chance against the ghost. He is good against ghouls and skeletons too, but the troll is even better against those two. A archer is a good buy against most undead but plays more of a rear guard while the trolls and grunts build the mainline.

Codename: Commando

Assassin are a northern speciality and suit their low-damage fighting style. They have 3 main uses: First they are a good scout with 6 move and posion. Second they are a good way to get entrechet and slow units. And they are also a good defensive weapon. If you poison your enemy before day starts and retreat he can hardly follow you.
Another important tip: The difference between 60% defence and 70% defence is huge. While it doesnt matter much if your grunt stands on grassland or hills it is crucial for the assassin. The assassin is the most vulnerable unit in the orc arsenal and therefore should be screened. While 1 enemy unit is ok, you should let 2 enemy units attack your assassin.

vs. Elves: good utility; The main use of assassin in this matchup is to get the elves out of the woods. Considering the low health and only a few dangerous melee units that is a great deal. Take one for every front.
vs. Knalgans: good utility; Again the main use is to get the opponent out of their favorite terrain and to poison the low health outlaw units. Be careful though, the dwarf has the ulfserker and thieves and a lot of melee units which dont want to attack your grunts so your assassin is in more danger than against elves. Also the high hitpoint-value of dwarfes and the vital trait means you need patience and a solid grunt lock.
vs. Loyalist: decent utility; There is no really great unit to poison except the fencer. Heavy infantery are a good target but deal extensive damage to your assa. Still the assassin might be useful as flanking unit or if cavalry/fencer raid your territory. It is suboptimal on the frontline though.
vs. Northerner: marginal utility; Because northerner have high and cheap health and can take an easy brute-force approach to removing assassins and because poison is less effective against trolls, the assassin is a bad choice. Again it is a fairly decent flanking unit.
vs. Drakes: decent utility; Again the low health units (saurians) are your first priority. After that assassin have a crucial role in preventing massive daytime attacks. Try to posion a few key drake unit and retreat gracefully. The poison prevents an extensive daytime campaign. Be careful though: Drakes can deal extremly high damage with a single unit.
vs Undead: poor utility; The assassin is really bad against undead. You cant poison most units and the unit you want to poison deal 10-2 cold damage. Get the most use out of your assassin by flanking your opponent or as an expensive meatshield.

Codename: dwarvish tank

Trolls are a weird unit. Generally the grunt is prefered because it is cheaper, faster and deals more damage. The troll has a few surprising advantages though. It is good in hills and on mountains, has regeneration and a different damage type. In some matchups these advantages outweight the disadvantages.

vs. Elves: marginal utility; Against elves none of the advantages are important. You dont need impact damage, the elves deal enough damage in a short amount of time to make regeneration matter less and it is quite difficult to get a good hill spotagainst the mobile elves.
vs. Dwarfs: decent utility; While not the best unit trolls are good to block important strategic mountains. I would recruit a few trolls late in the game when you have enough time to bring them to the front and have a few important mountains secured. It is very difficult for knalgans to remove trolls when they stand on good ground. Unfortunatly trolls get mostly ignored in this situation.
vs. Loyalist: marginal utility; Same story as aginst elves. Few uses, opponent can deal enough damage etc.
vs. Northerner: good utility; Northerner have a almost no way to remove a troll on a mountain. The troll is resistant against poison and has a high defence. Therefore trolls are a important backbone of your army and a good shield. They do well versus grunt on open ground if they can use their regeneration. Dont buy too much, as they restrict your movement and there are only so much mountains and hills.
vs. Drakes: marginal utility: See Elves.
vs Undead: good core; Trolls are a big part of Orcs vs. Undead. They are the only unit which owns skeletons and ghouls consistently. If your undead has a lot of these units you must switch to trolls. If your opponent has mostly adepts you need grunts. Remember that you must react to the undead not the other way around.

Wolf Rider:
Codename: Quick Scout

Compared to the grunt you gain movement for a higher price, less damage and fewer hitpoints. The question is when these movepoint are worth the price. My simple answer: Recruit wolves only at the beginning and almost never in a running game. If a wolf rider secures a village one turn earlier than a slower orc unit you gain 3 gold. I think a few scouts for 14 gold (17-3 gold) are worth it in the beginning. If the game is running and you pay the full price it is almost never worth it (except in a rare breakthrough scenario or on a lrage map).
Remember that wolf riders are good finishers because they have 3 strikes and awesome levelup possibilities. Dont use a grunt to kill a 4 hp unit, use your wolves (or an archer) if possible.

Codename: Navy

The naga is a good sea unit. While lacking in pure fighting power the naga is very quick and capable of land operations. It is especially good to kill wounded land units in a quick strike or to steal villages near the water.
Last edited by Oh_Hi on February 6th, 2010, 3:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Megaprimetron »

Are you attempting to degrade the northerners via sarcasm, or are you just really really new at this?

Someone let me know if they can decipher his remarks.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by michchar »

Hey, welcome to the forums!
Anyways, Orcs are actually more resistant to income than most other races, due to a combination of good village stealing capabilities and L0 units. So northerners actually don't need to blitz (although its not that bad to rush, they really just dont need to.) Also, the Orc grunt is actually awesome at fighting, it's just that northerners lack strong range.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by MDG »

Megaprimetron wrote:Are you attempting to degrade the northerners via sarcasm, or are you just really really new at this?

Someone let me know if they can decipher his remarks.
Quit flaming. I had no trouble "deciphering" any of it. He hasn't made it clear what level he's aiming for with this, level 0's haven't been mentioned, and some is very obvious but, it may be of use to some and appears to have been done with some humour. If you've got nothing of substance to add then stay out of the topic completely.

@Oh_Hi, welcome to the forums.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Tonepoet »

I think the whole thing can essentially be boiled down to "Orcish units are subpar at their given jobs: The only way they can win is via village theft, which I find rather hard to execute." which does fail to consider how much more inexpensive they are. He may also be saying "the tools given aren't really that much of a bargain, if I don't know how to use them" but I'm not entirely certain.

If that is the case, I'd really suggest playing games of attrition instead of trying to fight direct battles. Between the lack of upkeep for Goblins, the poison of the Orcish Assassins and the regenerative abilities of the Trolls, you can really set an entire game up so that the end turn button is your friend. This was the first l strategy I devised with any level of success that I could rely upon in Wesnoth and I really loved it. Although back in the day, having 50 turn limits on by default made it a bit more difficult to implement. I played the entire faction as a specialist faction by ignoring Grunts entirely, which the comparatively low prices really aren't so comparatively prohibitive for.

I think that a gradual weakening of some of the other key units I use, in addition tos a gradual increase in the other faction's strengths, might actually bringing an end to this era for me though. Another change like the Wolfrider's decreased village defense (a small portion of a much needed generalized Scout nerf) or the Goblin's greatly decreased HP economy (???) may very well bring a final end to my dynasty of melding specialty units into a replacement for "The Core," leaving me fairly clueless as to how to use the faction myself. >_< Oh well, for the extremely similar if not slightly more expensive Undead, things are definitively looking on the up 'n up, so I think I'll stop choosing random and just use them instead. =P
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Huumy »

One thing: you forgot to mention one advantage of the trolls. Pierce and slashing resistance that's one reason why it's useful vs elves.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Des »

Oh_Hi wrote:The point is that every turn you stay in a village you gain 6 gold. Not 2. 6! You dont pay 1 upkeep in your round and gain 2 gold. Your opponent has to pay 1 more upkeep and doesnt get 2 gold.
I think the correct way to say this is: for each full turn you stay in a village, there is a swing of 6 gold. You gain 3 while your opponent loses 3. Saying you gain 6 gold is misleading. You're not gaining 6 gold, you're gaining 3. But there is a total swing of 6 gold.

I enjoyed your guide for the most part. It is somewhat simplistic, however. Village stealing can be very effective if done right, but your guide makes no mention of handing your opponent level 2's from the XP of your fallen units. Intelligent units can level rather quickly this way. So one thing to watch out for, for sure, is that these units are killed before that happens. Either that, or crippling their economy/army to a point where it doesn't matter that they level a unit.
Last edited by Des on February 11th, 2010, 11:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by ParadiseCity »

Hi and welcome to the forums :wink:. While I am glad that you enjoy wesnoth enough to merit posting a guide to a faction online, I think that there a few misleading comments in it.
Oh_Hi wrote:Doctrin 1: Orcs suck at fighting
A better statement would be: "Individual orcs will be less effective than individual units of other factions given even fighting." However, using the cheap grunts and low upkeep goblins, you can field a considerably powerful army.
Oh_Hi wrote:Doctrin 2: Its the strategy, stupid
I really think that most of these things are more of a general guide to village stealing for all factions, not neccessarily northerners. The one thing that I do have a problem with, however, is:
Oh_Hi wrote:b) support village stealing:
Just get your ass handed to you, take the gold of the 2 villages and protect them properly.
This is very situational and could be worded better. If you are going to "get your ass handed to you," then you probably are not going to be able to keep the villages very long. In fact, I would say that stealing a village with an assassin and then waiting for an opponent to retreat some units to deal with him is better than throwing all you units to help the assassin. The reason is that while your opponent deals with that, you can strike the weak point that is undoubtably created by him retreating units.
Oh_Hi wrote:Doctrin 4: Win fast
While the northerns can be used to great effect to rush, there is not intrinsic need to do so. If you will be rushing into a slaughter, it would be better to wait until a more oppurtune moment. To counter the income problem, many players use a strategy of stockpiling gold (and not just with northerners). If you opponent keeps recruiting, you will eventually mass enough gold for a final assault with far more units than he.

Again, welcome, and don't take this too harshly. I think you have some great ideas, just too situational and aggressive for many matches. Good luck in your playing!
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by Hulavuta »

I always believed that Northerners were considered a sort of power faction, overpowering their enemy? And, they have a few specialties: They are the only faction that can get ranged poison of the bat, easily weakening Heavy Infantry. The Archers have Fire and Pierce damage, and a lvl 2 and 3 troll is a powerhouse of damage. I believe the drakes have the least specialty.

Other than that, I think your strategy guide is well done.
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Re: Oh_Hi] Orc strategy guide

Post by geg_Ma3gau »

Sometimes playing orcs feels like smashing your face in the fist of your opponent. But it doesnt matter.
Hehe very true :D

Good tutorial, man.
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