HOMM3 Guide - Stronghold

Cheapest troops
Most offensive troops

Lack of potent shooters - cyclops are hard to build due to ore and crystal requirements.
Only one flyer

Army evaluation:
Goblins 4/2/5/1-2/5/40
Hobgoblins 5/3/5/1-2/7/50
Due to their speed, both goblins and hobgoblins are somewhat more useful than you'd expect for a 1stlevel troop.

Wolf riders 7/5/10/2-4/6/100
Wolf raiders 8/5/10/3-4/8/140, two strikes
A good offensive troop. They're extremely bad on defense, so you need to protect them.

Orcs 8/4/15/2-5/4/150
Orc chieftans 8/4/20/2-5/5/165
Another offensive unit - they make good cheap shooters and upgraded are pretty durable.

Ogres 13/7/40/6-12/4/300
Ogre magi 13/7/60/6-12/5/400, cast Bloodlust
Ogres are great fighters, yet their lower speed assures them defensive tasks, especially protection of orcs. BloodLust is cast at Advanced level (+6 attack) and is affected by Magic Plains/Cursed Ground.

Rocs 13/11/60/11-15/7/600
Thunderbirds 13/11/60/11-15/11/700, Lightning attack
Both variants are good flying fighters, important in most battles.

Cyclopes 15/12/70/16-20/6/750, can attack siege walls (Basic Ballistic level)
Cyclops kings 17/13/70/16-20/8/1100, can attack siege walls (Advanced Ballistic level)
Powerful special!

Behemoths 17/17/160/30-50/6/1500, reduces target defense by 40%
Ancient Behemoths 19/19/300/30-50/9/3000 + 1c, reduces target defense by 80%
Behemoths make excellent fighters, although they're not as remarkable as other 7thlevel creatures.

Upgrading priorities:

  • Hobgoblins: Low, unless you're going to use them in offensive campaigns. Taking into account affinity of castle tower fire towards them, you probably will take them along only as cannonfodder.
  • Wolf raiders: High, for the speed boost, double attack and higher damage. May become low if you manage to build Rocs and Behemoths quickly.
  • Orc chieftans: High, for the increased HPs and higher speed.
  • Ogre magi: High, for the special and +50% HPs.
  • Thunderbirds: Top, for the +4 speed and nice cleaning special.
  • Cyclope Kings: Moderate, for increased special effect and +2 speed.
  • Ancient Behemoths: High, for the speed boost and almost doubled HPs.

Castle building in the first week:
Day 1:Town Hall2500g
Day 2:Wolf pen1000 g + 10w + 5o
Day 3:Orc Tower1000g + 5w + 5o
Day 4:Cliff Nest2500g + 10o
Day 5:Behemoth Lair10000g + 10w + 10o + 10c
Day 6:Ogre Fort2000g + 20w
Day 7:Citadel2500g + 5o

Goblin Barracks as 1stlevel dwelling assumed present. If it's not present, we don't go for Ogre Fort.
If we can't get enough resources, we should focus on less dwellings and try to upgrade them. A good combination is Hobgoblins, WolfRaiders and Thunderbirds (and these troops are pretty fast, too!)

Resource summary:
You'll need 25w (45 with ogres), 35o and 21500g, which leaves us (20000 + 7000 - 21500) = 5500g (7500 without ogres) for Day 1 to spend on troops. That isn't any much, but you'll be able to recruit three behemoths and a few rocs, which should provide capable army for exploration.
The minimal variant with upgraded cliff nest, wolf pen and goblin barracks, but without orc tower, ogre fort and behemoth lair requires 7000 less gold, so you'll be able to recruit all the built troops and still have some gold left to raise CityHall quickly, if you'll get the required wood.

Second week strategies:
If you choose the rich variant with all dwellings, you'll have a lot of unpurchased troops in the castle, so hurry for all the gold you can get.
The minimal variant will have priorities in getting all the extra wood, ore and a crystal mine first and extra gold later.

Troops cost weekly (with castle):
Without 7th level: 18530
With 7th level: 24530
With one castle producing 14000/week, you will probably do well without ogres and possibly either goblins or wolfraiders... yet the goblins make good cannonfodder for AI castle turrets. Capitol at 28000/week will spare some 4000 gold a week, thus making the Stronghold the richest town in the game.
HPs grown weekly 1770 (plus 600 in ancient behemoths) at 10.46 g/HP (10.35). (Behemoths are the cheapest/HP 7thlevel around!)


  • Blacksmith: Ammo Carts (useless, even dangerous as a target for magogs and liches)
  • Ballista Yard: Blacksmith upgrade, Ballistas aren't useless ;-)
  • Freelancer's Guild: a good way to convert forces that joined you to something useful (especially if they're some nuts like Zombies ;-))
  • Resource Silo: +1w and +1o per day
  • Escape Tunnel: if you've got enough money, get the tunnels so that you can save armies if unexpected enemies appear.
  • Hall of Valhalla: +1 Attack, worth it.
  • Mess Hall: +8 goblin growth - get it soon or never.

Strategy Since your dwellings are cheap, you can get behemoths in first week. You'll need some extra wood and even more extra ore, however. (and 20 wood for ogres, too). However, the behemoth lair will make a large suction in your cash reserves, so be careful and keep some spare cash for building economy later.

Forces combination:
The behemoths alone in second week are enough to do most exploring. The thunderbird variant isn't aby bad, too, but since the two supporting troops are very weak, they'll tend to suffer casualties, unless used very carefully.
In later phases, go for upgraded behemoths quickly, as they're much more durable and considerably faster.
Goblins and Ogres are quite good for castle defense, but since their upgraded versions are faster, you might want to take them on the road with your might hero. In that case, cyclopes might be used as the reserve troop, until their number accumulates into a useful shooter stack. (However, cyclopes in castle sieges are good even in the lowest numbers, as the damage dealt to castle walls isn't dependant on the size of the attacking cyclopes stack - so if you enter the battle with four stacks of two cyclopes, you'll have four extra catapult attacks per turn. One cyclope isn't enough, however, since the castle towers will score 100+ damage and would eliminate him.)

From the barbarians, Crag Hack is the best with Advanced Offense and 5% per level bonus to it. Gurnisson's ballista is a good thing. Tyraxor with Tactics and WolfRaider speciality seems a good pick, too. All others are fair, maybe except Krellion (Ogres and Resistance.)
Battle Mages: Dessa with Logistics is a good one. Gundula is a spellcasting version of Crag Hack (Offense). Terek is my personal favorite (Tactics and Haste special - Those two combined guarantee you a huge first strike. It is, however, very wise to try and acquire some very fast unit (phoenix, archangel, some dragon etc, so that you play first and have time to cast Haste)). Zubin is good for shooters (Precision). Others don't seem good.

Skills important for the troops and strategy:
Offense is the key to success, because your troops already score good damage, having very high attack rating - and expanding it by 15% is certainly worth one secondary slot.
With two shooters and four walkers, Ballistics seems a bit better than Archery, taking the not-so-good availability of cyclopes into account.

Wolf raiders85103-48140 3.362.401860
Orc chieftans84202-551653.362.041447
Ogre magi13 7606-12540010.352.59883
Thunderbirds13116011-151170014.952.14 690
Cyclops kings17137016-208110024.302.21497
Ancient Behemoths1919 30030-5093000581.932116