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Guide : Make a good start with Dark Horde.


Warden of the South
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“We are the true Horde!”
- Dal'rend Blackhand​

Considering the increasing number of new players and the common mistake that these players are doing (especially when they play evil team), I believe it's important that old players share their experience on how to make a good start with their main faction. I am also writing this because there are no similar guide up to date but only very old videos.
My vision is not necessarily the best way but I believe I have enough experience with the factions of the South to write something to help new players, so they dont waste the huge potential of the Dark Horde.

I will try to describe as much as I can what an Orange player needs to do in the early game. And I will give some tips for the rest of the game as well. Feel free to add more or to argue if you disagree with something. Remember it's not the only possible way to start.

This guide is written for patch 0.56, where Dark Horde get back Hellfire Citadel and got his early income buffed.

First of all, the full list of Dark Horde events (Made by Julian) :

- Can take over Kargath (base), getting a base and units at that place
- Can research Dark Horde mastery granting Empowered Blades on Kargath and Shattered Hand Elites , Rend will also get Unholy Shield and +1 Level.
- After 15 Minutes : May research Nefarians Brood, allowing to train Black Drakes and allowing to spawn Nefarian for a short duration in the South only.
- After 15 Minutes : Can get Voone and his Smoulderthorn. Voones Level is based off Rend , your ranged units will get replaced with Troll Berserker and you can train Smoulderthorn Witch Doctors , Bat Riders and firegut ogres
- Can unlock Magtheridon when Civil War launched, his level is based off time
- Magtheridon can corrupt the Fountains of Health on the map receiving +1 Level for each corrupted Fountain. You find the Fountains in Zangarmarsh , near Alterac , near Menethil Harbour , Sholazar and near Quel Thalas. They also turn under your control and will only heal you and your Allies.
- Can research Demonic Supremacy replacing your current Elites with Pit Lord , siege with Doom Cannons , Blackrock Champion with Fel Riders and Magtheridon will unlock Obliterate
- Can use Knowledge of Karabor, when Demonic Supremacy is researched, it grants +1 Skill Point on choosen hero
- When Teal goes to Alterac you will receive a Base there and get Jubei'Thos (Keep him alive, he has a roar).
- Will get Teron when Shadow Council leaves or does go Syndicate.
- Can summon permanently Nefarian when Rend is lvl 15 and Blackrock Spire still alive.

First minute of the game :

At Hellfire Citadel (your initial camera plan) :

-> Gather your spawning units and Kargath in control groups, buy 2 elites to always have your 4 elites.

-> Kargath (lvl 2) : Take the Q spell (stun), and the E (Melee dmg return aura)

-> While you take your spells on Kargath, send him and your units to creep the units near the healing fountain.

Meanwhile, at Blackrock (where Rend is) :

-> Gather your spawning units there and Rend in control groups

-> Don't forget to send your 3 spawning peons cut wood at the trees near the Dark Portal.

-> Rend (lvl 3) : Take lvl 2 Blackrock Champions (W) and lvl 1 Resistant Aura (E).

-> While you take your spells on Rend, send him and your units to creep the ogres and take the cp near it. Be careful to not take dmg on Rend, so use your W to taunt the ogres before you send Rend. Also, send the zeppelin to Blackrock, we will use him later.

Between 2 and 8 minutes of the game :

Still with Rend :

-> Go take the CP and creep the units near Shadowforge City, do the same at the CP to your right. Take the base of Kargath to trigger the event. Research Dark Horde Mastery. Try doing that in the same time than the following actions in Outland. For now, you don't need to do more with Rend, avoid every fight. Yellow is gonna slaughter you if he catches you. Retreat to Blackrock if you need to.

Back at Kargath :

-> Make sure to buy 6 demoness at the Bestiary near Black Temple (The building with a dragon). MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS HAVE 6 DEMONESS.
Demoness are your main source of heal, not only they can sustain your army quite good but they can keep alive your heroes under heavy aim. Bring your demoness to Kargath, they are a permanent part of your army now.

-> Still at Zangarmash, use the ability on Kargath to spawn 3 peons, it's time to start your lumber operation in the huge forest of Zangarmash. Build one townhalls in the center of Zangarmash and at least 2 lumber mill around the mushroom forest. Spawn a full stack of peon for each lumber mill. (greedy boi)

The attack on Light Blue base :

-> Join Teal/Green with Kargath and your units to attack the base of LB in the Netherstorm. If green or teal are slow, tell them to move their ass. If LB is good, you need Teal and Green and Orange to take him down quickly. During the fight, make sure to use your demoness to heal your elites, Kargath and the heroes of your allies (Tichondrius is often targeted so make sure to keep him alive as well). Don't forget to use roar on your elites. Do not focus M'uru, it's not your job as Orange, just make sure to clean the units of Light Blue and stun Maraad as much as you can. If LB still had not triggered the shield on the crystals, try to destroy them before he does that. If you and your team does well, you should take down M'uru between minute 5 and 6.

-> After M'uru is captured, build a single town hall near the ecodome, but not close of it. (It's the worst thing when ppl are blocking half of the trees of the ecodome because they've built too close of it). Spawn a single stack of peon, you don't need more since you already have Zangarmash. Tbh, it depends of your allies, if green is cutting wood at Zangarmash, then spam more peons at the ecodome.

-> Just after the capture of M'uru, cross the Dark Portal with Kargath. Don't forget Aggonar if green triggered the event. If portal is still not opened, tell green to stop sleeping since he has to open it.

-> Regroup Kargath and Rend into a single army. Make your control groups. I usually play like this :
1 : Heroes squad, elites and black dragons.
2 : Demoness (Yes, you need a single control group for them)
3 : Necromancers
4 : Archers
5 : Blackrock Champions
6 : Siege units, grunts...etc

For the early, you don't need more. And you won't have enough gold to have more control groups anyways.

Between 8 and 15 minutes of the game :

The portal should be opened by that time and you should be regrouped at Blackrock with your full army.
This is gonna be the most difficult time for you. In the case of a good and well-coordinated Alliance, there is 100% chances that they will try to rush Blackrock or Dragonmaw Port.

What to do now ?

-> First of all, use the zeppelin that we gathered at Blackrock, buy some blackrock champions or felsabers and put them inside. Then send the zeppelin at the dwarven mine just above blackrock and destroy the town center. Put your units inside the zeppelin after. Repeat everytime yellow rebuild his mine.

-> In EVERY case, DO NOT ATTACK. Yellow has the power to easily 1v1 you before the first 15 minutes of the game. Do not try to defend Kargath (The base) as well, you will just get stuck inside the base with no way to escape.

/!\ It's during this moment that newbies orange ragequit, they either try to attack Dun Algaz (With or without their allies), and get raped to the ground and ragequit. Or they get catched by yellow/purple in open field and get slaughtered. Do not underestimate the defenses of Dun Algaz, especially if purple is here and has built some generators. Remember that HB can teleport as well, even if you manage to destroy Dun algaz, you would have suffered so much loss that it was not worth at all. /!\

What to do THEN ?

-> You have to know that the early game is your only weakness as Dark Horde. You must play in defense around Blackrock and never try to 1v1 yellow, play like a pussy and always stay with your allies. Help brown if dragonmaw port is attacked, attack alliance by behind in this case. If blackrock is attacked, retreat behind your fel keepers and try to hold the line with your allies, make sure brown come to help also.

If you start losing the battle of blackrock, retreat to outland. Game is not over for you anyways, just make sure to not lose Rend since he will become unrevivable.

After the first 15 minutes :

From now I will just give some tips and informations that you need to know to play Dark Horde.

-> Research as soon as possible "Nefarian's brood" in your bestiary building. In the Blackrock main building, you can now summon temporary Nefarian everywhere in the southern parth of the map for 1 minute. (Ability has ~4 min CD) This will give you an advantage against yellow and you may now push him without worrying too much about your losses.

-> Try to silence as much as you can enemy towers with the cloud ability of your demoness.

-> Magtheridon levels are based on game time. So the longer you wait, the more it will come with an higher level. But don't be too greedy too since you need Magtheridon and demonic supemacy to become the "second strongest" faction of the game, just after blue.

-> Voone levels are scaled on Rend levels. So try to summon Voone when Rend is at least 10. It will grant you Voone with the same level as Rend.

-> The life and safety of Magtheridon must be on paramount importance, above the life of any of your others heroes. Don't forget to use your demoness to spam heal on him. And remember that his ultimate make Magtheridon a ranged unit.

Since the last rework of Archimonde's gift, keep in mind that it's gonna be very hard to get Rend to the level 15 to summon Nefarian permanently. That's why Magtheridon remains your main and unique strength against your ennemies.

TL;DR video for dark horde players complaining about dwarves being too op in early :
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