Hi, on this site u will find an exhaustive beginner guide to learn warcraft 3 🙂
We cover alot of general aspects about wc3 but take note: in the end we look at it from the Nightelf perspective since I am a competitive Nightelf player and can provide u with the most value if I do it that way.
Army wise we focus on an army that might not exactly be the easiest to build for a beginner but one that will not be very vulnerable to alot of builds.
It is: Demon Hunter as first Hero, Naga as second Hero, Archers to start, then Dryads + Master Bears.
Builds like mass huntresses etc. might be easier in the beginning but at some level you will just not win with it anymore. The build we use here will work decently well vs all races on almost all levels except pro level. 🙂
Have fun with the guide!
The guide consists of 10 Levels that will get u started.
The 10 Levels are:
Let’s get started! 🙂
The guide starts with the very basics of wc3 and goes deep into High level Nightelf gameplay.
„The Basics of Warcraft 3“
WC3 consists of four races. Those are Human, Undead, Orc and Nightelf. Each of these races can produce different units and heroes. In addition to the race specific heroes u can hire neutral heroes from the tavern on every common tournament map.
The units u can produce have an armor and an attack type. Different types work better vs other types etc. Some units also have spells that they can use or have an aura that makes surrounding units stronger.
The same goes for Heroes which have 3 basic spells or auras and 1 ultimate spell that they can get on level 6. Spells can be upgraded too (max level is 3).
A hero can only upgrade a spell as soon as he is level 3 (upgrade 1 for a spell) or level 5 (upgrade 2 for a spell). So u will usually have alot of different spells to use.
U can get 3 heroes max in one game and u cannot get the same hero twice.
Units and heroes can also be ranged or melee.
All units and heroes have a specific amount of heallth points and the ones that can cast spells also have mana.
The following chart summarizes what we discussed so far:
U have workers that can build buildings from which u can produce these units and heroes. For this u will need gold and wood, the 2 ressources of wc3. U start with 1 gold mine and alot of trees. There are other neutral goldmines on the map that u can takeover later in the game (this is called an expansion).
Units and Heroes cost food (stronger units cost more food) and the max food u can have is 100.
For the start: u get 5 on gold and 7 to 9 workers on wood. An exception is undead where 3 to 4 ghuls are enough since they gather wood twice as fast as other workers. Also nightelf uses wisps to produce some buildings so they are gone afterwards. This means u will have to replace them. This is not the case for undead, human or orc.
The following chart shows you why its always important to look at your current state for all 3 ressources (gold, wood, food).
Each race has 4 race specific heroes and ur heroes reach a higher level when u kill neutral creeps or units of ur opponent. U can also get items from ur race specific shop, the neutral shops or marketplaces on the map and neutral creeps often drop items when u kill them.
There is many different maps which can be big, small, have different neutral creeps, items and starting positions.
In addition to this website I can recommend u alot of other places to get started as a new wc3 player.
- Streams -> Watch good players play and ask them Questions. U find a list of good streams here: https://kevinwc3.com/partner-streams/
- Warcraft3.info (the biggest community website including a stream overview, tournament lists, guides, leagues and replay sections)
- Discord Channels like WC3 Gym or RBTV and Back2Warcraft to just name 3.
„Standard army composition and gameplan for Nightelf“ (Level 2)
Your Standard Army composition is:
- Demon Hunter (First Hero)
Naga (Second Hero)
- 4-5 Archers
- 2 Dryads (with abolish magic to have dispell)
- Rest Master Bears up to 50 supply.
The following graphic explains why this army works well:
Standard Nightelf Build order:
(You find a replay where I play this build order below)
- Produce 2 Wisps
- One of the 5 start wisps –> builds Altar
- First new Wisp –> builds Moonwell
- Second new Wisp –> Ancient of War
- Next wisp –> Fill Goldmine
- Put the next Wisps on Wood
- When ur Altar is done –> make a herop and send wisp to ur opponent to see what he is doing
- On 16supply get a second moonwell
- Then make an archer
- Your hero is done on ~ 20 supply. Start getting green creeps (get evaison or manaburn first) with your Hero and ur Archers.
- When the Moonwell is done (second) get 1 more Wisp and 1 more Archer. You will be on 23 supply.
- Tech on 23 supply.
- Keep making Archers
- Get more Green Spots (green = easy, orange = medium, red = hard)
- Get another Moonwell on 25 supply
- When Green Camps are gone, get Orange Camps with 3 or more Archers + Demon Hunter
- On 29 supply, get another moonwell (it is your 4th Moonwell=
- Get Huntress Hall
- Keep creeping continously
- On Tier 2 –> Get 2 more Wisps
- Build 2 Ancients of lore
- Hire Naga from the tavern and get Frost Arrow
- You can attack with Naga on Tier 2
- Dont overcommit in this fight. Kill 1 or 2 units and go back. Your goal is tier 3 Bears
- Tech to tier 3 as ressources are available
- Get 2 Dryads
- Heal between creeps from moonwells
- Then abolish magic + adept Bear Upgrade
- Turn off abolish magic on Dryads to not waste mana)
- Now keep making Druids of the Claw = Bears
- Dispell 1 wisp on 47 supply (if u didnt lose any before so that u can get 1 more Bear on on 46 supply to reach 50 food exactly.
- get Orb of venom and Staff of Preservation from your Ancient of Wonders
- Use Heal from bears (Rejuvenation) instead of moonwells now
- Use Roar (spell of your bear) before the fight
- Use Bear Master form before fight (then they become stronger fighters)
- Attack your opponent
- If the fight goes well –> expansion
- On Tier 3 –> Get the master upgrade on tier 3
- Get a Shop (Ancient of Wonders) with Orb of Venom and Staff of Preservation. -> You can also get the shop earlier (during your tech 2 tech)
- Try to get a second goldmine on Tier 3 (around 50 supply)
- Get Upgrades for bears and dryads on 50 supply
- Note that u get a huge power spike as soon as u have master Bears. So try to avoid big fights until that point.
There is obviously a myriad of other army compositions and strategies that u can play but this one works vs almost everything fairly well and will surely get u started efficiently.
„Base Layout“ (Level 3)
Important information: Some buildings close ur base off and some dont when they are next to each other.
To close ur base –> Put Huntress Hall or Moonwells next to ur Tree of Life. Do not put your Altar or Ancient of War next to ur Tree of Life.
Put Moonwells in between other buildings to close things off.
If the base is closed, no „big“ units like Hunts, Fiends, Grunts and Heroes can enter anymore. Small units like Footmen and ghuls usually can enter.
So a closed base is good vs Orc with Blademaster and Grunts and vs other races u want a rather open base so that ur hero can follow small units like Footies and Ghouls, Skeletons, Spirit Wolfs etc.
Try to close ur base early so that the Blademaster does not get inside anymore.
Example how u can deal with Blade Master and Grunts to prevent them from entering ur base:
U want a big base and never 2 buildings directly next to each other (otherwise Footies will walk through while ur hero cannot and u will never kill anything really)
Same thinking process as vs Human since Ghouls und Footies have the same size
Open Base example:
An arch in front of ur base helps alot vs tier 2 pushes (like dh naga archer all in)
This will help vs mass Huntresses too (since u dont want them to run in ur base and fight in the open field vs your Archers) Also u want a well protected shop in the back to get potions of healing.
„AoW creeping“ (Level 4)
AoW Creeping is a must for Nightelf if u want to reach a decent level. AoW Creeping means Ancient of War Creeping. The Ancient of War is your baracks and u can produce units with it.
But u can also uproot it and move it like a (slow) unit to serve as a tank when u creep. It deals alot of damage and u can repair it with wisps while attacking neutral creeps.
- You usually place ur AoW next to creeps (not too close or it will get killed by creeps)
- Produce 1 Archer
- Eat a tree
- Attack the creeps and then
- Fight the creeps
- Bring 1 or 2 wisps to repair AoW
Important note: Do not last hit creeps with your AoW since you will not get any experience points on your heroes if u do so (same goes for lightning shield casted by creeps by the way).
Just damage the creeps with it and then move away or attack something else.
In order to do this succesfully, you will need to know about the different positions where u can place ur AoW.
In the following Google Document we collected all the important positions – place ur AoW like this and it will not get killed by creeps:
Have fun trying it out and I recommend u to watch pro replays to compare ur creeping to what they are doing 🙂
„Maximise Nightelf capabilities“ (Level 5)
There is a couple of aspects that help u alot while playing Nightelf.
- Ultravision –> Tier 1 Upgrade from the Huntress Hall. You usually get the Huntress Hall during your tier 2 tech. It allows you to see at night as if it was daytime.
- Moonwell Upgrade –> Tier 3 upgrade from the Huntress Hall that makes ur moonwells alot better.
- Orb -> Tier 3 item from ur shop that is very powerful (poison damage over time on units hit) and makes ur demon hunter (or any melee hero) attack air units too.
- Staff –> allows u to teleport one of ur units or heroes back to ur base. great mid fight or to get mana / health on ur heroes faster.
- Note: Staff of Preservation costs 150 so if you save say 1 Bear or 1 Hero it is already worth it –> (if we dont go into too much detail about the opportunity cost of alternatively building 1 more unit instead of the staff for a push)
You usually want all of these things if u get a Tier 3 game.
„What to scout for“ (level 6)
- Is the Human teching into Rifle Casters (meta) ?
- Or is your opponent going for a fast Expansion?
If fast expo
–> You should pressure that and get ur own counter expansion
If tech (meta)
–> Stick to ur game plan (see build order above)
The following chart summarizes the scouting process vs Human:
- Is your opponent teching (meta)
- Is he going for mass Huntressess?
- Is he going tier 2 all in with Demon Hunter + Naga + Archers?
If mass hunts
–> Get a tower in your base and an early shop to have potions. Get 6 to 7 Archers and a Beastmaster as your second hero. Try to survive until Tier 3 with Bears (Druids of the Claw from Ancient of Lore) –> then you will become stronger. Before that, he will have map control with the Huntresses.
If your opponent is going for a standard tech (meta)
–> Just stick to your gameplan with Demon Hunter, Archers, Dryads, Naga, Bears.
If u see tier 2 all in
–> More than 5 Archers usually means all in –> Get an ancient protector in the back ur base, uproot it and move it forward. dont build it in the front since his Archers will just take it out with the Tier 2 range bonus upgrade
The following chart shows the scouting process vs Elf:
- Is the Undead teching and going for Fiends + Destroyers?
- Is he going for a tech + Gargoyles?
- Is he playing 2 Crypt mass Ghouls?
- Is he fast expanding?
Vs 2 Crypt mass Ghouls:
Get 1 or 2 extra aow in ur base, dont tech and get 3-4 moonwells. then tech and get a panda (breath of fire), pitlord (cleave) or alchemist (acid bomb) second
Get an early tower and try to get an early expansion with mass archers vs gargs and some hunts vs ghuls and wisps vs skeletons.
Vs. Tech + Fiends:
Play ur standard game (see build order above)
Vs Fast Expansion:
Detonate 2-3 wisps on his skeletons and the blight and pressure the expo. then get ur own expo.
The following chart summarizes the scouting process vs undead:
- Is rthe Orc going Farseer or Blademaster?
- Is he going Headhunters or Grunts?
- Is he fast teching?
–> Get a tower in ur base since farseer falls off in the late game and thats why many far seer players will try some sort of push on tier 2
–> Focus more on Archers and get Mountain Giants instead of Bears
–> Vs Grunts –> play your standard game (see build order above)
Vs Fast Tech without Baracks
–> Get an early expansion since he will not have alot of units. pay attention to blademaster trying to cancel ur expansion.
The following chart summarizes the scouting process vs Orc:
„Moves that make the difference“ (Level 7)
Besides micro and macro, what else can u do to outplay ur opponent and to maximise ur chances of winning?
Here are a couple of moves that I like to perform within my games in order to get a small edge over time.
- Staff Combo –>
- get Staff of Teleportation from the Goblin Shop (neutral Shop) on ur Demon Hunter and Staff of Preservation on your Naga. Now u can staff your Demon Hunter back, heal him fully and teleport back to the fight. Its a gamechanger!
- Backpack Dryads –>
- Dryads are fast and spell imune. So its great to have backpack on them and just easily steal scrolls and Invulnerability Potions from the neutral shops.
- Scouting Dryad –>
- Since Dryads are so fast and spell immune u can also use them to scout vs Undead, Human and Elf. Pay attention to Elf Dryads that can slow ur Dryad and be able to kill it. Do not do it vs Orc since he will most likely have ensnare on raiders and dryads are not immune to that.
- Multitasking –>
- On tier 2 try to harass with ur DH and creep ur second hero in the meantime. DH is great to buy time since he will run away to not get manaburned. U will get a nice edge over time.
- Third Hero in late game –>
- Above 70 supply feel free to add a Pitlord, Tinker or Dark Ranger to your army. I recommend Dark Ranger vs Undead to have silence on Death Knight / Lich. Pitlord vs Human to have Rain of Fire or Howl of Terror and Tinker with Cluster Rockets is good too to have some area of effect stun and damage. It is better then 1 more Bear or 2 more Dryads if u are above 70 already.
- Wisp spreading –>
- Spread your Wisps out on the map to have good scouting (ideally with Ultravision). Put a Wisp on every expo that is crept so that u see when ur opponent is expanding.
„Eat the cheese“ (Level 8)
Level 8 will follow soon! 🙂
„Practice makes perfect“ (Level 9)
Win a 100 Games. Practice makes perfect and u need to master the mechanics and get fast too. Theoretical knowledge will only get you so far.
Good luck and enjoy the roller coaster u booked yourself a ticket for by entering battle net!
„Analysis & Improvement Process“ (Level 10)
Level 10 will follow soon! 🙂
If you enjoyed this guide and would like to support me as a Warcraft 3 Content Creator, feel free to do so via my Paypal-Donation Link –> https://streamlabs.com/kevinwc3/tip
All kind of support helps and will also help me get back to streaming faster (when I have my new computer) plus help me to create more articles like this 🙂
Additional ressources to get u started:
Check out my Article about Mercenaries & Nightelf
Check out my Article about Opponents that make mass towers –> Opponent builds mass towers – how to win?
Grubby has a bloody beginner video for Nightelf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms-Zks9x-ew
Learning Nightelf YouTube Series by Ark: https://www.youtube.com/user/ramiak0508