Interview of Hiliadan - 3rd of the 2017 PBEM Duel Tournament(Community)Interested in getting some insights into the strategies of some of the best players of AoW3? Want to know what they think are the best combos and units? This is the first of a series of 3 interviews with the players who qualified for the final phase of the 2017 PBEM Duel Tournament. This article present the third of this 32 players tournament.
Hiliadan is currently ranked #3 with 1150 points on the Battlefield. He is far below Jean de Metz (1260) and gabthegab (1368), the two players who got to the finale of the Tournament and who are also ranked #2 and #3 of the general ranking, meaning he has a 35% and 22% chance of beating them respectively (based on the Elo formula used in the ranking system). Hiliadan is only slightly ahead of a 4 other players with more than 1100 ranking points: Tussel, AlXStormrage, Marcuspers and Ezekiel, and he is actually ranked below them in the PBEM ranking. Due to its current ranking, he is considered a Master of AoW3 (top 10% of Veteran players), like gab and Jean. Despite the 2nd lowest win ratio (64%) of the top 7, he has defeated all but Jean, gab and Tussel (which he never met in duel) in 1vs1.
He got defeated by gabthegab in semi-final of the 2017 PBEM Duel Tournament, trying a desperate strategy of clearing all the map in search for a strong secret spell to beat gab, as his videos of the match explain. In the 2016 PBEM 2vs2 Tournament, he played with rickyroo and got defeated by rrrrookie and Jonny Thunder in an epic match, also available in videos.
Hiliadan published videos of all his matches in the loser bracket of the 2vs2 and Duel Tournaments, you can find them on his YouTube channel and on the AoW3 video library (except for the most recent ones), where videos are also classified by site, so that you can easily learn site clearing techniques.
Hiliadan's results, moving away from his initial favourites Goblin Theocrat and Dwarf Dreadnought to experiment with more classes and races as time went by
1/ First a little background on your IRL (if it’s not secret!): where are you from and how old are you?
Hiliadan: I’m from France like gabthegab! I lived in China for 3 years between 2015 and 2018 (and sometimes the access to AoW3’s servers from there was slow! and now I live in Paris. I’m 29 years old.
2/ When did you start playing AoW and AoW3?
Hiliadan: The first time I saw an AoW title was when I was in Junior High School and I went to a friend’s house and saw him playing AoW2. I think he was playing the campaign and was fighting Karissa. The visuals just totally charmed me, I loved the fantasy atmosphere which lets you really enter a different world and feel like you were a real Wizard! A few weeks passed and then I managed to get a copy of AoW2 and I totally loved it. I had played some Heroes of Might and Magic around the same time but didn’t like it much. Later, when AoW:SM came out, I also played it. I loved to play Mab, I just loved her and loved Goblins (Karagh!!!!), I played a map where you faced Serena, Tempest, Nekron and Yaka many many times, loved that map, I think it had a name with "Mountain" in it, and there were very good cities in the middle of the map UG. I tried the campaign but failed because the 1st mission was very hard. Much later, I started playing AoW2 again and just beat the campaign relatively easily, I guess I had improved.AoW2 is really part of a few games I really loved (together with Baldur’s Gate 2 for instance). When I heard AoW3 was in the making, I followed that closely and I pre-ordered it. I also bought all the DLC at launch. I was not disappointed! I feel like AoW2’s atmosphere was more captivating but I really enjoy AoW3 a lot and that’s the only game I’ve been playing, basically daily, since its launch.
I met the guys at Triumph recently when I was in the Netherlands and they’re really cool and love what they do, and you can feel that in AoW.
3/ Do you usually play AoW3 in single player, PBEM or multiplayer?
Hiliadan: I stopped playing single player a while ago and have been playing only PBEM since then, for close to 3 years now.
Live MP would be nice but it’s too time-intensive as you need to be online for a long time in a row (though in theory you can save and start again later) and that’s not really compatible with my lifestyle. The AI is not good enough for single player to remain interesting but PBEM makes it possible to face real challenge vs humans while keeping a good deal of flexibility. I hope at some stage Triumph manages to add "tactical battle PBEM" in future games.
4/ How did you choose your combos during the tournament?
Hiliadan: I made a list of all the interesting race choices for each class (in this tournament you can play a given race or class only once until you have played all classes, then the counter resets and you can replay everything again). Then I tried to see how I could choose the best race/class combinations: for instance Draconians can be quite good Rogue (backstabbing Flyer and Fast Healing good for a class without healing), Necro (Fire protection, mana) and Sorcerer. In the end, I went for Draconian Sorcerer as I considered other races could do a better job for the 2 other classes.
You can hear the reasoning behind all my class/race choices in my videos.
I also considered what my opponents could play, and that was especially true in the later rounds, starting on round 6 vs xlnt. As you can see on the screenshot, I listed what my opponent could play and I tried to take a good counter, or at least avoid choosing something my opponent would counter easily. So for instance, I anticipated xlnt would take Tigran Necro vs me and that’s what he did. I could choose between Necro or Theo. I went for Necro because I was quite worried by that match and I knew I could make more mistakes while playing Necro, without paying the price, and Necro vs Necro is an open match-up.
5/ What is your favourite class/race and why? With what specialisations?
Hiliadan: I used to play a lot of Goblin Theocrat and I really liked the fast expansion it allows. I loved Goblins in AoW2 but they’re not the strongest race to play in competitive PBEM so I have shunned them a bit recently (I did play Goblin AD in the tournament though). Now my favourite class is probably Rogue because its gameplay really fits my style: I love to scout my opponents with Crows and harrass them, conceal my units, use strategic spells to crush their economies without fighting any big battles… I’m not yet clear about the best race to play with Rogue. Human is strong. Frostling is also quite interesting. Partisan and Destruction Adept are two very strong choices here for cheaper units at Inns, cheaper Vassals, concealed units with Partisan Army and Hasty Plunder + Scorched Earth.
Otherwise, I find Tigran Warlord with Grey Guard Master really really strong for fast expansion strategies.
And I like Dwarf Dreadnought a lot but it’s too weak now.
6/ In your opinion, what are some of the best units by tier?
Hiliadan: T1: Goblin Swarm Darter, the best Archer but very squishy!
T2: I love Goblin Blight Doctor, especially when playing Theo which unlocks some Healing. The Weakneing is very synergistic both with the Blight damage of Goblins, but also with mind-control abilities.
Frostling White Witch are also extremly powerful and versatile (Swimming, Artic Concealment!)
T3: Nightshade Fairies are really badass. Trolls are of course very good in PBEM thanks to Regrowth.
Naga Matriarches are excellent contenders for the top T3 unit.
T4: I like Obsidian Dragons for their mobility, concealment and sheer strength but they’re clearly not the strongest units and they really rely too much on Blight. With v1.25, their Path of Blight becomes more interesting though.
Dread Reapers are probably among the best T4 in PBEM.
7/ What was the hardest match you played in this tournament?
Hiliadan: Before the final 2 matches, the hardest match was definitely vs Marcuspers. He attacked me with very strong stacks and it was not clear how I could beat him. I also made a very bad move with my main army because I thought 1 hex was Artic while it was Water. But in the end, that move might not have been that bad as Marcus lost his high-level AD and many good units when attacking me.
Video playlist of that match.
8/ What results do you expect for the 3 teams in the final phase?
Hiliadan: I expect the 2 matches for the final phase (if I beat gab) to be much much harder than all the other matches I played so far. I never ever beat gab (no one has, except Jean, in fact) and I know he is much better than me in many areas. I think I can beat Jean but that would also be quite difficult.
Jean beat gab once and I think he can repeat that.
So I would expect either: #1 Jean, #2 gab, #3 me or #1 me, #2 Jean, #3 gab depending on the results of the match between gab and me.
[Editor (who is also Hiliadan 's note: in the end, gab beat Hiliadan and then Jean, making these forecasts totally wrong!]
9/ Any advice for players who would like to improve?
Hiliadan: Watch my videos!!
- read the guide on the Wikia
- watch videos from Marcus
- come play PBEM with us at the-battlefield.com/aow3
- play team games with experienced human players to learn from them
If you are really dedicated, you can also train specific tactical fights in single player by using cheat codes to get the army you want before entering a fight.
- 2015 PBEM Duel Tournament:
- Sjow (4th)
- Fistandantilus (3rd)
- Skuns453Lirik902 (finalist)
- gabthegab (winner)
- 2016 PBEM 2vs2 Team Tournament:
- Jean de Metz and Melciar (The green elephant) (3rd) - first part, second part
If you're interested by competitive plays, please check this video library gathering most competitive PBEM and live MP videos.