2

From my experience, Stealth is a very powerful tool on L and XL maps.

  1. You can steal resources from stacks that you cannot beat yet, it's important if your map has powerful monsters.
  2. After some time XP gained from sneaking (in addition to XP gained from battles) exceeds the XP that you had to spend on Stealth, so you have extra skills in late game
  3. After all, you got Pathfinding and Scouting, you do more things in one turn!
  4. You can sneak past enemy players and, for example, ninjacap their city, dwellings, and other objects. And if they didn't develop Scouting 5, they will have a hard time finding your hero in their ranks.
  5. At the same time, as far as you don't actually need army, especially after your Stealth hero also develops Combat 5/MR 5 and some kind of magic. You can give your army to other heroes.
  6. If you have a group of heroes leveled this way wandering together, you will actually get even more power. Yes, they will all be of lower level than one single hero, but they will have a bigger total of Skill points due to exponentially growing XP requirements for each subsequent level, and, more importantly, make more actions per move. What's even better, someone playing L or XL maps against Chaos might expect a sudden sneak attack, but not from 7 heroes at a time.

But I noticed that this skill is overlooked and considered weak at Heroes IV forums. Also noticed that maps discussed are typically of M size, because playing an L/XL map would take too much real time. By no means can it work on S and M maps, this scheme takes time to perform.

Is there something wrong with this skill that I don't understand? Do other choices outperform Stealth focus even at L/XL maps?

3

Stealth can work as you describe for a single hero, but it requires quite a lot of experience to use, GM stealth already takes 10 skill points total, then you want pathfinding, combat, magic resistance and some magic. You are looking at roughly lvl 20 to have an effective stealth operative. While this is doable with a single hero, you can forget about creating a team. As experience is divided up for each hero, a team of 7 will be much lower level.

There are several problems with using stealth beyond that:

  • It probably works exactly once. As soon as you capture something, the opponent knows you have a stealth hero and will initiate countermeasures. E.g. use a secondary hero to hunt your stealth hero down.

  • Taking a single town likely has very little effect on large maps.

  • a single hero, even a team of 7 mid-level heroes won't do much against a decent army on large maps

  • scouting is a decent choice for might heroes due to pathfinding, so the risk your stealth hero is discovered and captured is certainly there.

  • the opponent may also use a stealth hero and use him to spot yours.

The biggest problems with stealth are, that you can't use an army and that the entire 5 skill points you spent on it are countered by 5 skill points the enemy spends. Once the enemy knows a stealth hero is there, he cannot do much anymore.

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