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BES the Black Dragon
Heroes of Might and Magic IV Towns Analysis
Academy
The home of Order-aligned troops and magic guilds devoted to Order Magic.
by BES the Black Dragon, april 2002
This town is the supreme fighter that with all changes managed to preserve its highest unit of Titans from previous Heroes games till yet another Heroes. It is the town of magic and constant surprises. It didn't disappoint us in Heroes IV too. Its strength practically was left without diminishing, moreover it probably was increased by new magic school in Heroes IV.

4th level: Titans and Dragon Golems

Dragon Golems
It is amazing how persistent were mages of this city in having their own dragons, and what do you think, they finally got them! Not a living ones, the mechanical golems though, but they still got them. And look at them  they are nice for an artificial things. High attack and defence (both 34), first strike right and negating first strike right for an enemy at the same time. The Academy' designing labs did great job with these dragons.
Dragon Golems are good both in open battlefield and in sieges. However, as it often happens with the first working versions, they are a little bit too bulky and therefore required change in tactical manoeuvring on battlefield.

Titans
We all remember these brave veteran fighters from previous Heroes games. Well, they are still throwing lightnings pretty the same way as before, though without any thunderclaps, but who are we to complain?  You probably remember that Titans are fighting from the times of the Ancient Greece Gods and it was really a long time ago. Their irrational hatred to habitants of Dungeonpardons, Asylum (the old habits die hard), is still strong and running deep, equipping them with powerful natural immunity against Chaos magic (the so called Chaos ward ability). 
Titans despite their gigantic height occupy not so much space on the ground and much more compact than, say, Angels or Dragon Golems. This makes them small headache, if any, in finding best position in army lines. They are without any doubts the strongest shooters in all Heroes IV. 
However, with all these pluses, Titans still have their one old big minus  they are extremely slow for their high level (only 6) and sometimes it is really a nuisance in the battles. 

All in all, I think that Dragon Golems are better than Titans, though it is a sacrifice of the excellent shooters. But what can I do  my loyalty to fellow dragons, even mechanical ones is too prominent.

3rd level: Genies and Nagas
Both creatures didn't leave their hometown even in this new world to which the fate brought them, but what a surprise is expecting you with them now! You'll better think long and hard before making your irreversible choice whom to enlist in your army. The main problem here is with Genies. Let's look at them closely.

Genies
If you remember Heroes III, then you know that even then Genies were very good in their magical abilities, though number of times they could use them in battle was limited by only three. Now in Heroes IV Genies improved their abilities dramatically and have quite powerful spells ready for use. Their effectiveness is without any doubt very high, especially on first stages of the game. Their spell Create Illusion could be of great help in increasing army size directly on battlefield. Even better will be if your hero casts the same spell too, then the effect will be really frustrating for your enemy.
Keep in mind that AI (when playing against computer) will most certainly attack Genies first in battle, but it is always possible to shield them from the harm. In their arsenal of spells Genies have the good attacking spells too.

Nagas
The veteran units were always the most reliable fightforce in any army and in any age. Nagas proved it again and again. Academy is fortunate to keep them in its lines. Stable speed (7) and high statistic in attack/defence (both 22) and no retaliation feature  all these make these beautiful fierce snakewomen the great asset in the army.
However, no retaliation to the enemy is their only ability. It goes without saying that it is great ability, but still only one.

Therefore, you have a difficult choice on the 3rd level creatures of Academy. You'll have to decide first of all what will be your line of development  might or magic. According to that then make your choice with this level of your army.
As for me, I like both of them and use both Nagas and Genies depending from the game. Should you have two towns of Academy, then build in one town Nagas and in another Genies, this way you'll have a rare opportunity to have both of them.

2nd level: Gold Golems and Mages
What Academy kept or acquired on upper levels that it lost on this level, in my opinion, and mostly it is connected with Mages.

Mages
The major headache in Academy for me, because comparing to Heroes III they lost a lot both in attack (6) and defence (12).  Remember how good they were in Heroes III, how they made gaps in enemy lines? Now when you've remembered it, you'll better forget it.
You can say that Mages got spellcasting ability, but is it really a good thing?
Spellcasting didn't make them more powerful in attack or steady in defence, if else it made them more vulnerable and prominent for enemy's attacks, as it is known that the spellcasters are the primary targets. In battles with AI, Mages will be the first to receive enemy's strike even before Genies.
Of course, Mages can cast "long-playing" spells on enemy and make their input in the battle, but still it isn't something that can make them a good unit. And the price for their input is sometimes too high  the whole unit could be eliminated.
However, should you decide to build Dragon Golems instead of Titans then Mages will be your only more or less effective shooting unit.
There is one hidden danger, though. Mages in Heroes IV are not shooters in an ordinary sense like Titans, for example, who have 16 lightnings in their quivers or whenever they keep them. They shoot only with their spells. Should they completely use their spell power and/or the enemy would steal it, then they become the ordinary hand-to-hand fight only unit. And in this role they are pathetic.    

Gold Golems
It is infantry of the town. It is known fact that infantry decides the fate of battles more often than not. Therefore, it must be stable and reliable, with high magical resistance (75%; not exactly Black Dragons with theirs 100%, but still not bad at all). Here are Gold Golems for you. They are a little bit expensive with all this gold paint used on them (that's why probably there are only 6 of them made each week in the town), but they are good.

Proceeding from the above I can say this. If you'll choose to build Titans instead of Dragon Golems, then take Gold Golems instead of Mages and vice versa. In short, you must always have a golem and a shooter.   

1st level: Dwarves and Halflings
Yes, exactly like this. Halflings have returned to their old hometown of the ancient Heroes II, probably because they suffered enough in their neutrality  first they lost their country Eeofol to Kreegans in the age widely known as Armageddon's Blade and then they lost with all others the whole planet to the major cataclysm. Why on the other hand Dwarves deserted Elves and moved to Academy, is a mystery, but the guess that the snow mountains are better for them is as good as any other.
Anyway, here you just build both of them without any thinking, as you don't have any saying in this matter.

Halflings
They are not very powerful shooters in few numbers mostly because of the low attack (10), though higher than of many others of the 1st level. Small Halflings require constant protection and are better to be used for short distance ranged attacks.

Dwarves
These Dwarves are not the same as the old ones in Heroes III, the best of their tribe probably died in flames and earthquakes herding the precious survivors to the saving portals leading to the new world. Hopefully, the new generation will reconstruct the former glory of Dwarves in future. For now Dwarves still keep theirs 50% magic resistance which can be very handy in battles and this is perhaps the only good thing about them.

Looking at 1st level it is quite safe to say that creatures of this level are slowing and dragging down the whole army, significantly lowering its battle power.

General notes
This town was and still is extremely difficult town to play in all Heroes games. It requires very attentive and careful approach, special strategy and patience. Academy could be tremendously tough to play against, providing that the Academy hero will be using the right tactics and the right spells.
Remember that Academy does not have any neutral loyal creatures. Why? Who knows? Perhaps because Academy designing laboratories are confident enough that they could always create some new mechanical marvel. 

Heroes: Lord and Mage

Mage
Mage is the main hero for me and I would recommend him to use. Should your hero also know Chaos magic in addition to the native Order magic, then he'll be really powerful and it will increase his performance significantly.

Lord
Actually, this is your provider in the game. With little pushing up experience ladder, he'll be able to supply you with extra resources and money, but not more than that. Do not expect him to be a combat hero, here is the typically peaceful personage for you.  

Town magic (school of Order magic)
It is very interesting and unusual combination of spells in this school. There are some good spells and quite effective in combat. In order to fully understand this very diverse magic school it is better to practice different spells in small insignificant battles first.
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