The following is a guide written by Kaiser. It is a loose guide of some of your options vs paladin riflemen openings. If you do not know who he is, drop in and see some no hands action here https://www.twitch.tv/der_kaiser47
The paladin rifle style is very difficult to play versus with standard undead if you are not prepared. There’s a lot of weaknesses paladin rifle has compared to standard human and exploiting them is key. This article will detail 3 ways to fight this with much less effort and risk than standard. Every single strategy will assume you opened fast death knight (DK) as you should and therefore have a scout acolyte. This is based on my own experience and high level undead games I have studied.
The biggest giveaway to paladin rifle is your scout acolyte not seeing any footmen and the human has a very early blacksmith. Otherwise if you missed the blacksmith, his hero should be out the same time as your DK. If there is no hero yet or footmen, its paladin rifle. If you want to be thorough, send a scout acolyte into the human base to see if he’s hiding a blacksmith.
If you struggle vs rifle styles a lot, I would suggest vetoing AZ and CH. These are the best maps for paladin rifle. I personally veto TM/AZ.
- Holy light has the same range as coil, a shorter cool down than coil, and less mana cost than coil. You cannot trade coils for light. Only use coil defensively early on to preserve ghouls, or to creep like normal.
- Scout – Paladin rifle has 2 transitions, one base t3 add gryphs or t2 expo. Denying expo is key if expo, adding upgraded fiends w/ web or gargs vs gryphs is needed.
- Human has NO map control for almost 3 mins when playing this. Imagine you are versus a bot and take the most advantage of this as you can.
- Any style with necromancers you should try to end the game early. They feed A LOT of experience. If paladin is level 5, I’d suggest antimagic shield banshees to help deal with hero focus.
- You have to steal a camp off humans side of the map to prevent level 3 paladin no matter what you choose to do.
1) Fast expo + mass ghouls
This strategy works best on LR, EI, NI. Weak on TS, CH. Do not do on AZ .
This style is very dirty and revolves entirely around economy laming the human. Almost never engage the human straight on, just kill peasants. Utilize zeppelin drops if needed.
When your scout acolyte identifies that it is paladin rifle. Add another ghoul for 19/20 food, start ziggurat. DK should use rod of necromancy + scout acolyte to steal a camp off humans’ side of the map.
DK returns to base, grabs skull and pulls 3 ghouls to expo. Summon skeletons near the expo and creep the expo. Drop skull asap, and construct 2x ziggurats and a goldmine. Send scout skeletons to see what human is doing at this point.
If he comes to harass with level 2 paladin, fight only on blight and DO NOT lose ghouls at this stage. Delay time until nerubian tower is up, once nerubian is done if he stays, enjoy your free rifle donations. Keep using the rod when it is off cool down, surround rifles if possible. No offensive coils, only defensive.
Once you have 5 acolytes on the expansion begin your tech to tier 2. Thereafter start non stop ghoul production and ghoul upgrades.
At the expansion, upgrade your other tower to spirit tower and add a necropolis/crypt in front of the towers. Add an additional ziggurat and potentially upgrade it if you see pressure incoming. You want a total of 3-4 crypts eventually.
Creep for level 3 dk, aura or coil level 2 has value. When human comes to pressure expansion, send ghouls into human main and kill workers.
If human returns to base, leave. Repeat. Do not engage human army, abuse his economy.
Add lich at tier 2 and tech tier 3 while adding more ghoul upgrades.
Keep scouting to see if and what the human transitions to. If he expoes enjoy your free win. If gryphs, begin adding gargs. Keep producing units, your goal is as high of frenzy ghoul count as possible.
If the game goes on very late, add dreadlord 3rd. If you had good economy harass the human army will most likely be around 48-55 food. With 70+ food of 3/x ghouls, move THROUGH his army then attack move. Get as many heal scrolls as you can afford, and continue to use nova when it comes off cooldown. Keep using your rod when it is off cooldown, sleep bloodmage or paladin depending on the situation, stop a critical heal or siphon mana. Aura level 2 on DL. Adapt as needed.
Note – Pitlord (PL) styles have a huge weakness, banish is imba. If your PL is getting banished a lot, you MUST make destroyers to dispel it asap. Do not bank coils to save PL at the last second, coil him and pull him back if taking heavy damage/pressure in between coils. You can also use banish in your favor, it increases coil heal. You want your PL attacking the human army as often as possible. Always have frenzy on PL. Target the lowest armor target, cleave damage ignores armor. Mana pots are infinitely more valuable than healing pots. Stack all damage/hp/armor on PL. Constantly use howl.
2) Fast expo into DK/PL
Works best on LR, EI, NI TS. OK on CH. Do not do on AZ.
This style abuses the fact paladin rifle does not deal with area damage well, and that PL is the highest DPS hero ingame. Eventually, because of the lack of archmage, cloud will also make priests run out of mana resulting in more value out of necromancers.
This style is for you if you prefer fighting over rat styles. Fast expo the same way as in the previous strategy.
As with any of these, scout for transitions.
On tier 2, drop 1-2x temples of the damned and 1x slaughter house. Focus on getting DK/PL level 3. Tech to tier 3, add disease cloud.
Keep dk at max coil range for PL, extend PL to the front. Your skill build on PL will be cleave -> howl -> cleave. Keep using your rod of necromancy. Use frenzy on your PL. Position PL in best way to cleave the most rifles. Continue pumping melee upgrades, necromancers + their friends (1-2x wagon, 2 statues)
3) One base DK/PL
Works best on LR, EI NI. OK on TS, CH. Bad on AZ. Can be played on any map.
This style is more risky than the fast expansion approach as you have a much smaller margin of error.
Play fast dk as normal, remember to take a camp off human side as with previous styles. You have a choice of getting 2-3 fiends, I prefer 3 myself. Your #1 goal is 3/3 dk PL as with before.
On the way to tier 2, at around 22-23 supply, add ziggurat. When tier 2 is done, hire PL. Drop 1x Slaughter house and temple of damned. Start necromancer upgrades and get a statue. Begin necromancer production once the upgrade is done.
If you easily get 3/3 DK PL and have a decent lead, you can expo on tier 2. If not, go tier 3 for cloud.
Take fights the same as before, dk in back, avoiding siphon mana and coiling PL. Beware you don’t have ghouls to surround with and PL is your baby. As with any of these, scout for transitions.
This is a very high risk strat and a weak early or mid game creep jack can quickly end the game. Play safe and avoid fights until 3/3. Expo as needed/appropriate. Add lich with orb at some point, this is a very “feel” based thing when you need a bit more fire power.