A few years ago I got really far in the main campaign as Marcus, using a mix of just Heavy/Light infantry with Skyhunters and Siege Machines. It was quite easy (normal setting), but I ultimately got frustrated in the very last scenario where I assault Shadowlord himself. No matter what I did I would start losing units sooner or later, etc.
Now I got back to the game, (I lost my saves), and instead of replaying the same old stuff I started to experiment. Some google searches indicated that Mordra is widely considered the weakest general to play. Being a fan of underdog factions in games, I chose her.
My first research strategy: heavy infantry for the punch, skyhunters because the game almost requires them, bomardiers (for a change) and also archers which I don't have very high opinion of. I wanted to try archers for real this time, and Mordra getting free melee cannon fodder in each scenario made it more tempting. I was hesitant to invest any money into Beast units before I get the highest research level (Beasts cannot be upgraded). So I figured out I'd need some good fire support to survive to that point with inferior melee units.
I was doing ok, but nothing special. For a long time my infantry was strong enough for my strategy to work. And archers, as long as well protected, were good against flyers and as backup. Then came the end of 2nd continent, always problematic scenario for me, it's short and throws a lot at you. My upgraded mortal skyhunters (3 green dragons) were simply not enough to do succeed against overwhelming numbers of gargoyles and flying monkeys. Not even with archer support. Finaly I managed to win, but with pretty heavy losses - only 1 green dragon and roc knight survived, and my infantry took losses.
On the third continent I was basically unable to do any kind of offensive that required splitting my forces. Since researching Healers I stopped researching spellcasters and my 'to spend' was at 34. But even then I wasn't able to afford a good army and reinforce my crippled aircraft. Lizardmen, sergeants and some volounteers just don't work well against bearmen.
So I decided to restart the campaign and try a different approach. Mordra players said in some forums they avoid buying Beast units until they have the highest grade beasts. I don't know how they manage it. It doesn't ring true to me somehow.
I started to think about what makes beasts special. Healing spell is no better than Calis's (the paladin/cavalry guy). I can't base my campaing on that. Beasts get higher stats than troops of corresponding grade, but my experience showed it's mostly useful early. Highest grade beasts still get around +3 attack or defense, which isn't much at that point. But it makes a great difference early.
One unit that really shined in my first Mordra campaign was 1st Barbarians. Even discounting the magical sword I gave them, they were kicking butt a lot, and rarely forced to rest (and I healed them with spellcasters once in a while). They were very, very effective for such an early unit, and small surprise - they have much higher stats than Swordsmen and Bloodlust ability. And like all beastmen infantry, they have 4 movement/4 search. Better search is always nice. +1 movement doesn't look like much when you consider Beastmen get neither Forced March nor Negate Cavalry Bonus... almost. That 4 movement makes them as fast as skirmishers, and skirmishers depend on being faster ! Long story short, beast heavy infantry beats skirmishers into a pulp.
I also re-examined my skyhunter strategy. I noticed that higher-grade skyhunters are barely better than cheap creatures like gargoyles. In fact, initial beast skyhunters are VERY cost effective:
Wyverns (mortal) 22 gold
7 attack, 6 defense
Green dragons (mortal) 50 gold
11 attack, 9 defense
Flying Snakes (beast) 27 gold
9 attack 11 defense (!!!!)
Flying snakes are A LOT better than wyverns, and arguably comparable to green dragons for half the price !
So the strategy for my new Mordra campaign looks like this: Buy a horde of Flying Snakes right away, research Barbarians and recruit a big force fo them, and keep researching. Stop researching Spellcaster after inventing Healers. Hopefully my barbarian/flying snake force will give me enough breathing room to invent better stuff and I won't have to replace them in quite a while.
Guess what, it seems to work really well. At the end of first continent I had 6 barbarians and 5 flying snakes. Now, in the middle of 2nd continent, I also have 3 Pistoliers and 3 Roc Knights (bombardiers, to capitalize on air dominance). I think it's a bad idea to try to win as Mordra without using beasts. Most of the force being beast allows me to heal them with the spell, and I still have money to spare ! I easily intercepted Ferras, everything fell apart under clubs of my barbarians and two bearmen volounteers. Research is proceeding well and I'll hopefully have 2 Healers for the nasty battle at the end of the continent. I'm about to rescue Dreggo, too. This strategy is essentially a rush.
I'm playing without reloading in the middle of a scenario. I'm doing entire scenario in 1 go. I don't reload unless some major losses happen, like losing most of my skyhunters. But with the new approach I have yet to lose anything I care about (normal difficulty).
I decided to entirely skip Cavalry research unless I have some leftovers. Archers compensate for lack of 'Negate Cavalry' on beastmen infantry, and they're resistant to skirmishers by definition. Top tier Centaur Knights don't really look any better than Phoenix Knights, and basing my army on cavalry would mean stretching myself too thin (problems in rough terrain etc). So it's Heavy Inf + Archers + Skyhunters + Bombardiers, with small number of Healers.
Do you have any unorthodox strategies or army combinations for Fantasy General ? Share them !
I'm toying with the idea of using Berserkers (best mortal light infantry) and finding uses for their spell. +5 melee, -5 armour sounds very tempting IF I manage to find an use for that. But I have some ideas, like berserking skyhunter vs skirmishers/light cavalry. Should be no contest.
By the way, I really HATE the 2nd continent for constant whirlwinds on my skyhunters. It's frustrating.