Archmage First One Creep Camp into Expansion


This is a very common and flexible expansion build that can be used on most maps. You quickly creep one camp before expanding, which gives you some extra safety compared to an immediate expansion. This build can transition to any two-base play.

When to use:

This build is most commonly used against Undead and Night Elf because of their preferred harass timings. Usually they will want to creep one or two camps before harassing you, which gives you enough time to creep one camp before you expand. 

This strategy is a little map-dependent. What you’re looking for is a map that has a creep camp between your main base and expansion. This is because it’s a lot faster to creep in a straight line towards the expansion. It’s also best if this camp is either a difficult green camp, or an easy orange. Anything too small is not worth delaying your expansion for, and anything too large requires too much time and militia.

For example Tidehunters is a good map for this build because there is an easy orange camp between your main and the expansion.

Other maps that satisfy these criteria are: Autumn Leaves, Last Refuge, Northern Isles, and Shallow Grave (if you use lightning shield to creep the first camp).

Pros and Cons

When compared to an immediate expansion, this build has the following tradeoffs:

  • Positive: It’s easier to hit level 3 because of the experience you gain from the small camp. Usually after finishing your expansion and defending your opponent’s harass you can get level 3 by doing a green camp near your expansion.
  • Positive: If you get a damage item from the first camp it makes it a lot easier to fend off the enemy’s harass and establish your expansion.
  • Negative: If the opponent comes immediately across the map to attack you they will arrive while you’re going to creep the expansion. Depending on the map and opponent’s hero it can be difficult to creep the expansion camp while also fending off their harass.
  • Negative: Your expansion is about 15 seconds later than an immediate expansion build.


You should be able to start your expansion before nightfall of the first day, which is 18:00 in-game time. Your tech timing will depend heavily on the number of peasants you lose, but anything before midnight (24:00) in game is good.

Responding to Enemy Attacks

This build almost always gets messy because it’s so common for the enemy to attack you when you try to expand. They’ll do their best to kill your vulnerable peasants as they’re building your expansion. To minimize the impact of these attacks, when you see your opponent coming to your expansion, do the following:

  • Call 2-3 militia from your main to come help defend the attack. Ideally they arrive at your expansion at the same time as your enemy’s attack.
  • Queue 2-3 peasants in your main base to replace the ones you just turned into militia, to make up for the lost lumber economy.
  • When their militia timer expires, use the peasants to build your expansion town hall, replacing the peasants you lost to the enemy’s attack.

Followup: Getting to Tier 2

After your expansion finishes, work your way to tier 2 via these steps:

  • Constantly make peasants at both your main base and expansion.
  • Constantly make footmen.
  • When you have 210 lumber, start teching to Keep in your main base.
  • Continue producing peasants at your expansion until you have 12 total on lumber, spread between your main and expansion.
  • Build a Lumber Mill in your main base, power build it with 3 peasants. Research Improved Lumber Harvesting as soon as the Lumber Mill finishes.
  • Build a scout tower at your main, and another at your expansion.
  • Start researching Defend, then resume footmen production.
  • Upgrade the scout tower at your expansion to a guard tower, and the scout tower in your main to an arcane tower.
  • Build an Arcane Vault, Blacksmith, and two Farms.
  • The number of footmen you need is situational, but don’t go above 45 food, so you can fit in a second hero without breaking upkeep.

Example Games (2 games from the same series).