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.