buddh's Isar Guide

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

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Post Reply
Posts: 23
Joined: April 28th, 2016, 9:49 am

buddh's Isar Guide

Post by buddh » September 23rd, 2017, 12:59 pm

Hi guys,

I decided to write my own Isar guide for people to improve their skill on the map. The one made by ElderofZion can be read here: (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=44241). I will try not to repeat him so I give you the link for more information. :eng:

I will use the same structure as Elder, but I will introduce some important concepts he imho left out. I know there are players who really do not like
Isar's. I am not one of them. I only play this map, because I like the pace and the dynamics. I will also point a couple of things when it comes to
the various sides, but not too much. We talk about the specifics later. So let's go:


As it is always the case Loyals depend on the circumstances. So here I made a picture of two loyals playing in a game with dawn as starting time.


Notice how the left side loyal gets a dawn(!) mage in order to reflect any early fish gambits, while the southern loyal is aware of a potential drake
attack, so he puts solidity towards the right side. It is partially believed that an early horseman is an error. But if your fish comes out quick resilient
you can try to fish gambit yourself. A horseman is a bit of a gamble but I do not see how it is refuted easily. This assumption is based on pure dogmatism.
However if it is not dawn and the mage might not be useful soon I recommend a fencer at that spot.

General remarks about Loyals:
1. Horseman is generally undervalued. If you run into the wrong enemy (like orcs) he will have a hard time finding into the game ever.
2. Bowmen are generally undervalued. Though I am not the biggest of fans either, because you have mages essentially and vs Drakes spearmen do a good job usually, they should be played more often. Especially against heavily melee reliant orcs. He gambles his hits, why wouldnt you?
3. The Lieutenant is a great king. Use his leadership to your great advantage.
4. If you meet undead I often see a major use of heavy inf. Well one isnt completely wrong, but your way to tackle them should be mages behind spear walls.
5. If you meet Drakes do not rely entirely on spear spam. It does lack a bit of offensive power and when its night youre exposed to Augurs (depending on your partner this can be a factor). Especially when you meet double Drakes a horseman is a must.
6. If your water village gets occupied during night you will have to sit it out. Gather threatening potential for the day and drive him out occupying with your fishes. There might be a bit back and forth and sometimes you may dwarven style suffer a lot against water invasions. Especially by other Loyals commanded by a white mage. That's life, deal with it.


So let's analyze the Undead.


*When the Bat is quick as in the third picture you of course can instantly adjust your setup to opponent.

There are many philosophical questions going around Undead. But when you purchase units your first priority is to find out what youre up against. So commiting in any way early is essentially a mistake. Your worst enemy is a drake rush, so if youre side 1 or 2 solidify your island village with a ghoul first and potentially pray next. To avoid prayer you send the bat ahead to locate potential level 2 burner waiting for the go.
I played them with an early ghost too, too often. It is a grave mistake unless you meet dwarves IMHO. I know there are different opinions but this is mine :whistle: . So here are the most important remarks:

1. Attack carefully and never commit into a position where your king is far from home and you have to throw in pieces to block the way for the restrenghtening enemy. It is almost always a certain loss unless your partner can cover you with spears, trolls or gurds (never ask a Drake to throw in the way).
2. They are the diciest side ever. Since you rely on adepts firing down enemies and then blocking the approach with either your ghouls or skeletons or hopefully your solid partner pieces one adept fail can prove fatal to them. So if you want to win and not just rely on luck solely you have to pick your fights extremely carefully.
3. Zombies are a good way to provoke an enemy to spend hard attacks on them or to potentially fail them and use 2 pieces to bring them down. An enemy with seemingly infinte number of units will not care too much, but a dwarf and a drake will.
4. Use ghosts only in the very late game or against dwarves. Their resistence is absolutely futile usually.
5. You lack HP like no other faction. And since the map is small you can make a bet that to any of your units the counter will be in range. That is unfortunate. Then you will have to retreat.
6. If you team up a drake or another undead bring up the laser show heavily, since your strategy will be to terminate the opposition brutally.



We now get to the easiest side and often times refered to as the strongest: The Orcs. Why are they so feared? They are many, they bring HP and they have a 24/7 fish gambit option AND they level like hell. On the other side they lack damage (unless you have a troll king, which is really nice, but also the Assassin and the Archer Lvl 2 are good pieces). The first side where leveling is a crucial part of your game, while for Loyals and Undead leveling only starts to be interesting as soon as you have a piece thats coming close to it.

For the setup I chose a grunt in the second spot because day is coming, so you want to be solid against drakes. 39 hp on a 60 is hard to break, even for them. you of course have a fish up front in order to have a look at the opponent and to fish gambit if the situation favors you. You also bring an archer, because it is your range unit damage type.
However, a troll spam and a grunt spam also prove to be efficient in the right hands. And an Assassin might prove misplaced in sight of two Undead. But who doesnt gamble, right?

Orcs play almost on their own, so here are some obvious remarks:
1. Try to level, if you have XP, keep it save, especially when it comes to archers.
2. Trolls save your day, literally, but theyre not there to defend on villages, so try to keep the mountains in front of you.
3. Goblins can be a good choice, especially against drakes.
4. Wolf Riders are for the late game. But you can also try to level one to get a torch. This though never happens.
5. Against two enemies(!) that cannot heal, like dwarves and loyals, poison can be extremely effective. However a bad dice will destroy your assas,
so use them during night mostly.



One of the most difficult and controversial sides. You might have noticed by now that I am not a fan of fighter spamming. And when it comes to dwarf you're in trouble avoiding it. I presented a setup including a gryphon. I do not like it, but they are not my strongest side. So what do I know?
Many people like footpads, me too. You can essentially play anything with the dwarves, but you shouldnt go with like anything only. I will try to give it in the remarks:

1. The Fighter is your backbone. Always have at least two or three, because they give you 60s on the mountains and have a nice punch. Especially vs Undead and other dwarves the Fighters are your MVPs.
2. The Guard is ultra solid, so if you play against a side with a heck of damage (that is to say 3 out of 6 except for undead mostly, because fighters are so much better) you NEED 1 or 2 guards.
3. To deflect fish gambit use gunners It is a gamble but then again: How else would you deflect it?
4. An Ulf can be good and when it comes to Undead thats what theyre most scared of. However when they are not adepty, then ulf may be pointless.
5. Be patient and build up an army. Dwarves are the slowest to advance but also the most resilient side when it comes to wearing them down. Building up for a punch takes times.
6. Always heal all your pieces while doing so.
7. Poachers can make some sense.
8. Since you will not very soon get into the position to use them properly, thieves suck for a very looong time.
9. Threaten swamp village to distract enemy troops with quick fighters.



*The empty spot is for your choice

Elves like dwarves need patience. Just not as much as dwarves, because elves can bring in woses and mages. But you better do not start with them unless for the explicite purpose to kick back fish gambits early (figure 2). Their fishes are disgusting but still you need one to claim your water village on the left side. In the south you can avoid getting a fish but not when it is dawn (see figure 1). When night is coming I would not bother replacing it with anything to your liking, but in order to prepare for a drake rush you will have to have a fish and a resilient elf. If your traits are bad in that category and opponent is drake rush better dont even bother to leave your island village alone.

1. Youre strong in the mid to late game, when you amassed enough pieces.
2. Do not start off with woses, you do not want to face drakes having them.
3. Shammies are useful to slow especially drakes and to avoid poisoning. Starting with one cannot be totally wrong.
4. You essentially play like a loyal, but he is more resilient, while you do not suffer night disadvantage.
5. Trees are the obvious choice against undead and undead alone.
6. Try to kill and protect the kill (probably by mage) with fighters. Elves play pretty simply.



I posted three pictures, the last showing a drake rush (the burner down right is quick), the second one a more standard approach to them.
Drakes are the most controversial side. Some claim them to be simply bad, others (like me) think they're amazing, because they bring the most damage ever.
They are similar to Undead but just much better in avoiding combat when they do not want to engage. Their rush is extremely dangerous, but also for them, since they can run into a sneaky loyal bringing 2 horsemen killing off the drake on the water round 1. However, this happens times to times, Drake Rush is still a very popular and strong option.
Opinions on them are diverse. Some people like their fighters the most, others love Clashers and people like me prefer Augurs and Burners. It is best you find out your own way to play them. Just dont forget to bring a fighter up there in round 1 or even a Lizzie to capture middle village. I heard even early Lizzard and Augur spams have their followers.
It basically depends on the tod and your partner and position. So here are some remarks:

1. Many people fear a loyal Spear Spam. I do not. I think it is too static and you can get some nice kills and eventually levels against it during the night.
2. Play cautious. Youre strong early, but dont get reckless. If the enemy doesnt give you a chance to exploit on him, don't.
3. Undead are your most fearsome enemy. The longer the game the worse your position gets, because their adepts will simply toast you. So engage Undead early, try to keep their numbers limited. Exchange units if possible but do not lose gold in the process (meaning you will always have to have +1 kills). Your best friend against UD are trolls.
4. Do not wall with them. Either you attack or you avoid. If you attack orc you will come to a halt. Make it a day time halt!
5. Augurs level swiftly and are really powerful except against UD, where they re next to useless. However, two augurs can heal your troops and almost more importantly your partners troops. Imagine a dwarf fighter on a village and two augurs next to it. Thats +12 HP. With a lvl 2 augur even 16. Use it!
6. Drakes are most notorious for having to coordinate with your partner.
7. I do not like skirmishers early, unless you combine them with Lizie storm as your idea of play.
8. Gliders can be strong, especially vs Undead, and super especially when you can level them.

A few additional Remarks

Just a few that come to mind. And have not been mentioned here (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=44241).

You can distribute villages in the mid game. Noone ever does it intentionally, however, especially when youre an orc and your partner is a drake, let him take two villages when you already have like 8 units and he might only have 5 or 6 at this point. Feed the Drake. Be a generous orc, try to have your partner push his damage.

I lately heard that "rush tactics" would be noobish. That is incorrect. It really depends on many factors and I cannot list all of them now. If you can rush in two of enemies villages quickly and use the productivity to your advantage, well - why not? Some people do it with great success, especially with Orcs.

Sometimes you will have to sacrifice units or to create points of interest enemy will have to position around. This is all possible and viable.

Use your King sometimes. Especially when it is an orcish troll, send it on a night journey to collect some heads. However, your King is not your f***ing shield! So do not expose him to get roasted as front man, outstanding, as some people do. It is rubbish. It might lose you the game. And if it does not it ruins the fun for everyone. Do not do this kind of crap.

I should add the golden rule against Drakes: It is usually better to wound two drakes than to kill one.


Lately the game etiquette has been bankrupt. So please keep in mind you're playing vs other people who take their time to spend it with you, not to waste it. So:
1. Never idle
2. Say Hello and Goodbye
3. Do not insult
4. Do not troll

It is not that hard, is it?

I will think of more but this will do it for now.

I hope this helps a bit for orientation. :D Please report to
Last edited by buddh on September 25th, 2017, 9:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Posts: 2039
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by The_Gnat » September 25th, 2017, 12:57 am

This is very informative and helpful! :D I believe you have done a really good job covering the important things to know when playing Isar.

Also i agree with the etiquette advice at the end it is important that wesnoth players act friendly so everyone is able to have fun.

(Also it would be easier to read this if you put each faction's guide into a section, but it doesn't really matter :) )

User avatar
Posts: 1038
Joined: September 19th, 2006, 8:54 pm

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by pauxlo » September 25th, 2017, 9:05 pm

Imagine a dwarf fighter on a village and two augurs next to it. Thats +16 HP
No. Healing doesn't add up this way. You only get +4 from the augurs, and +8 from the village (because it is on a different turn). It would be 2×+4 if the two augurs were on different sides (and the fighter on yet a different side for the village), but this is not happening in Isar's.

User avatar
Forum Administrator
Posts: 3830
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by Pentarctagon » September 25th, 2017, 9:15 pm

I believe you could get +14 hp though, if the dwarf has the healthy trait.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

Posts: 23
Joined: April 28th, 2016, 9:49 am

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by buddh » September 26th, 2017, 11:38 am

yes you're right, thanks.
I corrected it to "Augur Level 2" and put in your remark.


Thanks :) I will keep updating the guide :D

User avatar
Posts: 2039
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by The_Gnat » September 29th, 2017, 1:45 am

Thanks :) I will keep updating the guide :D
Great :D , also i had another thought (this is a suggestion but it doesn't really matter): perhaps you could adjust the slang so that newer players can understand the post better.

For example "gunners" "adepty" "ulf" "fish gambit" "trees" "lizzie" they all make perfect sense to veteran players but i am sure will be a little confusing to new players. :) (but as i said it is not really important)

User avatar
Posts: 15
Joined: August 6th, 2017, 12:50 pm

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by _Queen_ » November 12th, 2017, 3:45 pm

This guide is very useful, I must say. It helped me win few games since I started to play Croix d'Isar. It's always good to learn on somebodys mistakes, that's why I appreaciate that you decided to share with us your knowledge~.


Posts: 23
Joined: April 28th, 2016, 9:49 am

Re: buddh's Isar Guide

Post by buddh » February 21st, 2018, 9:12 am

Thx that's nice to hear. :) You're welcome. Always appreciate new Isar players 8) . That's why I wrote the guide,

in order to minimize frustration for beginners, because the community tends to be a bit harsh after all.

I should do the changes soon for the namespace. I just havent found the time lately. I will do it this work.

edit note: I went sick. Postponed, sorry. :oops:

Post Reply