How to play Isars Cross
From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki
General Isar's Cross Strategies:
- Isar's Cross is a small map. Avoid recruiting mounted scouts, especially worthless are wolf rider and elvish scouts - don't buy those ever. Other's are situational.
- Melee fighters are obligatory. They are cheaper than range units, have higher hp pools and reflect good damage, therefore aren't so easy for opponent to deal with. You should always make sure you have 2-3 fighters to keep the front-line, cover your units and preferably 1-2 more to replace them when some or wounded or dead.
- Gold is precious. You start with 5 villages. You can have up to 6 units including your hero without tax. It's a fast-paced map, fights will begin quickly. You'll rarely have too much units and cheaper units are a bit better value for money (except 0 lvl ones, those are situational).
- Recruitment placement is important. Make sure your units will reach villages that you'd like to take turn 2. If you're on north or south don't make fast-weak recruits just to take the middle-map village. Depending on faction it may be not worth. One of good strategies is invading enemy water village with naga or merman. When doing so make sure enemy hero and units aren't too deadly (mage, dwarf fighter or elf marksman are usually no-go).
- Unit's traits matter. Watch traits of units you are recruiting. If you want to rush as drakes it's sometimes crucial to have "fast" drake recruited. For certain factions it allows some strategies to be played or just helps in capturing villages with units that normally wouldn't be able to reach them. There is huge difference between HP pool of "fast, intelligent" unit versus "strong, resilient". Put those with higher HP in front and focus on leveling intelligent units.
- Hero first. When you plan on attacking an enemy with hero, always use him to initiate attack and finish unit off with lvl 1 unit. Heroes almost never get to level up so exp gained by them is wasted. Of course, if your hero is wounded or you don't want him to take reflect-damage and finish enemy instead - it's ok then.
- Keep control of map. If you let enemy breach onto your part of map with fast units, it may be your economical death. Capturing village is often worth more than dealing damage and if you can handle it for a while it pays off. Not only enemy has to kill your unit inside the village, but sometimes waste a movement of other unit just to recap the village.
- Use your hero. And don't. Gaining advantage through usage of hero is crucial. You don't want a lvl 2 unit to stay in castle and idle, but if you pull out your hero too far, it may die. For too long - you will lose control of map due to lack of reinforcements. Pull out your hero to fight at best time of day for your faction. Try to deal good damage to enemy while not leaving your hero vulnerable to death or getting closed. If your hero gets wounded, back him to castle - keep recruiting and healing him up. As a team you always want to have constant-reinforcements on the battlefield. Avoid pulling out your hero when your ally does. Having around 25g is a good signal to back off with hero and recruit instead of keeping killing.
- Observe enemy recruits. If your enemy makes wose and you have only piercing damage - quickly make a mage or other source of fire damage. If your enemy spams melee fighters - you must make more front-line fighters as well - preferably ones countering them.
- Level your units. Leveling unit usually should be your number 1 priority during a move. Especially when you have 8 exp short from leveling up 10/40hp poisoned unit. Leveling such a unit might be equal to gaining 30g - plus his placement of middle of map usually is also a huge advantage. Don't hesitate to sacrifice other unit movement or life to increase his chances of leveling up by wounding his target. It's worth it.
- Play safe. Making high-RNG units like rider, thunderer, gryphon or woses might be temptful if you're kind of a gambler, but do you really want to test your luck? Be careful with those recruits and limit their numbers to minimal.
- Know your weakness. Rebels are not the best faction to deal with Undeads. And Drakes versus Loyals are even worse. Consider giving your ally some of your villages if he has better faction to counter opponents. Sharing villages with him will allow your leader to go out for longer and even die in battle without crushing your economy. If your manages to take 10 villages while you have none - he can have up to 11 units tax-free, while you still have some army.
- Don't quit when you lose hero. Many players quit instantly if their hero dies. A lot of games like that are still winnable, especially if hero didn't die for free and you can keep control of the middle while your ally caps your villages.