The standard opening for any human player today is the fast expansion with militia where the map allows. This is not only beneficial in that it provides an expansion without sacrificing your unit count or creeping too heavily, but gets your hero much faster XP than many other openings. Like the classic Orc opening this can be somewhat predictable however, and creative players may time harassment perfectly to delay your expansion before the towers go up. In addition your lumber peasants are softened up to some degree, and while they are generally not targeted they would provide easy XP for a roving Blademaster if you do not wall in correctly, or easy pickings for summoned skeletons when dealing with Undead of Dark Rangers.
HUMAN – Fast Expansion Build
Matchups: HU v ORC, HU v NE, HU v UD
Maps: Lost Temple, Twisting Meadows, Melting Valley
Heroes: [Archmage/Mountain King], [Archmage/Tavern Hero], [Archmage]
Notes on Usage: Don’t be afraid to let your militia tank the damage once your water elemental is banished because as lumber peasants in your walled-in base they will rarely get targeted for more damage, but pay attention as they have low HP and may die easily to higher level creeps. Aim for 3-4 towers to defend each mine to give yourself enough time to reach the expansion if it is pressed and also to deter single low-level-hero harassment of the peasants. The opening of this build is very flexible in allowing you to gain a strong, well-defended economy and being able to branch into things such as a workshop/arcane sanctums/gryphon aviaries with minor tweaking. Be sure to creep so that your water elementals can help to bulk up your relatively small early game army of footmen. Creep jacking can help prevent enemy heroes getting too strong and so able to destroy your towers quickly solo.
Against undead who has not sufficiently walled in you may opt for a paladin with fast-level up to take out acolytes by using invulnerability potions, divine shield and clarity potions to keep alive and maintain mana (use the clarity potion as soon as you use divine shield as they will last roughly the same time and will not cancel while you are invulnerable) while killing the acolytes with level2/3 holy light. If you keep this pressure on it will either stall the Undead upgrades or give you a huge economic lead with your expansion up. Careful of the Undead attempting to disrupt your creeping.
- [5/12] Build 2 peasants from your town hall.
- [6/12] Send 4 peasants to your gold mine and one to build an Altar. When the altar is finished, use this peasant to harvest lumber.
- [6/12] Just as your first peasant is about to finish being trained, take another peasant off of gold and start building a farm. Once he is finished send him to build a second farm at the choke point entrance to your base or in another convenient scouting location.
- [7/12] With the first peasant trained from your town hall, build a barracks.
- [8/12] Send your second constructed peasant to gold to bring the total to 4 on gold.
- [9/12] Send your third peasant to gold to bring the total to 5 on gold.
- [9/18] Build 3 peasants and send them to lumber
- [10/18] Your Altar should be complete and you can build your hero.
- [16/18] Make a footman.
- [19/24] Make your second footman around this time.
- [21/24] You should have around 7 peasants working on lumber at this point. Build two more peasants. Keep making footmen up to 4-5 of them and keep producing farms when required.
- [23/24] Take two footmen, your hero, and four militia from peasants off of lumber and creep your natural expansion. When these militia revert to peasants fast build a scout tower with all four. Upgrade this to an arcane tower to deter hero harassment.
- [30/30] Build your expansion using 4 peasants and get a second scout tower up when it is done. Be sure to have 5 peasants ready to start mining.
- [30/42] Build a lumber mill. Fast build it with 3-4 peasants.
- [30/42] Make sure that you maintain 4-5 footmen if they fall in combat, and be sure to have 20+ peasants at the read.
- [40/42] Ensure you have adequate towers at all town halls (2-4 at each). Upgrade to a keep and build an Arcane Vault. From here you can branch off into either dual Arcane Sanctums for casters after the keep is done, or make extra towers and build two griffon aviaries at the keep and immediately upgrade to a castle for mass griffon riders. A common option against Night Elf players at this point is to make 2 Arcane Sanctums for all 3 casters plus a Workshop for mortar teams.
HUMAN – One Base Casters/Tower Push
Matchups: HU v ORC
Maps: Twisting Meadows, Turtle Rock, Gnoll Wood
Heroes: [Archmage/Beast Master], [Archmage/Mountain King]. [Archmage/Pandaren Brewmaster]
Notes on Usage: An important part of this build is having a strong archmage so that your water elementals can provide enough damage and tanking to help your towers survive. To achieve this the early creeping must target specific creeps for best effect and fastest levels. If you feel you would like more summons to help kill demolishers you can get a beast master, but brewmasters work well with their flaming breath that can damage buildings and hence kill the barracks or burrows to prevent demolishers being reinforced. Harass the orc if you can to slow down any tech but be careful not to lose your AM as it is vital that is has as much XP as possible. This build works best when the Orc goes classic or some other early-mid tech so that he does not have many tier 1 units to stop it. By no means have you lost if you end up losing control of your tower contain – if you have done damage you can withdraw and creep while the orc player is busy clearing out towers and wasting money on building and repairing siege weapons.
This build can be used without the tower rush, and instead as a one-base casters build intended to go toe-to-toe with an Orc army while trying to keep ahead in hero experience. If you opt to do it this way (or the Orc has effectively scouted and countered your tower push) you should continue to creep before getting a level 5 Archmage and attacking the Orc’s base while he or she is out. Target burrows and the Voodoo Lounge first. If the Orc counters by attacking your own base you can judge whether your militia and towers will give you the edge in the race or not. Take note of whether the Orc player has a scroll of town portal or not and ensure you have one yourself to teleport out if the Orc army engages you. The Orc may also try to out-produce you with many expansions, if this is the case you must hit his base again to slow down this additional production by targeting burrows and then tech buildings. Killing peasants is not as effective here as there will be many at the other expansions and the Orc should be well off economically compared to you anyway.
- [5/12] Send 4 peasants to gold and one to build an Altar.
- [5/12] Train two peasants.
- [6/12] Build a farm and a barracks
- [7/12] With your first trained peasant, send it to help speedbuild the altar and then send both peasants to mine gold.
- [8/12] Send your second peasant trained to harvest lumber.
- [9/18] Build a Barracks and your hero.
- [15/18] Build another farm. As a general rule, build your farms 2-3 food before you reach the limit. Continue to pump peasants from here. Once you have enough, take 6-7 militia plus your hero (Archmage, generally) at an orange camp to achieve level 2.
- [18/24] Train a footman.
- [20/24] Train a second footman.
- [22/24] Build a farm. Continue to make peasants and be sure to maintain about 4-5 footmen.
- [28/30] You should end up with around 14-15 peasants at this point. It is important to keep your peasant count up as you will use them to build towers and repair them later on and many may be lost but you need enough to maintain a decent economy seeing you are on a single base.
- [30/30] Upgrade to a Keep. Make some towers at your base and remember to keep up the farms.
- [30+/36] When the Keep is about 80% done (food value varies here) build an Arcane Vault and a Lumber Mill.
- [34/36] Get a second hero, assuming you chose an Archmage first the Firelord or Beast Master is a solid second choice. Build two Arcane Sanctums using two peasants on each building. Build a farm now, too and again at 38/42 food.
- When you have trained 3 sorceresses and 1 priest and have more casters on the way, take 5-8 militia from lumber (generally take more depending on the map and terrain – the more peasants you take the faster towers are erected). You may wish to take Ivory Towers in your hero inventory, too.
- Fastbuild two towers at a time with 3-4 peasants working on each and plant any ivory towers. Place any ivory towers you have and ensure that they are placed within range of the opponent’s buildings (especially the barracks or burrows to prevent demolishers).
HUMAN – One Base Knights/Gryphon Tech
Matchups: HU v UD
Maps: Twisting Meadows, Turtle Rock, Gnoll Wood
Heroes: [Archmage/Mountain King/Paladin], [Mountain King/Paladin/Bloodmage], [Paladin/Mountain King/Bloodmage]
Notes on Usage: This build is quite different to those of other Human matchups, as it is tailored to counter the popular Undead gargoyle/three hero builds and also their destroyers. While vulnerable early on, a good wall-in coupled with towers should ensure your base cannot be overrun, but be careful of early creepjacking or skeleton harassment. The 1-2 Flying Machines after the Workshop is complete are initially used as scouts, placed in convenient locations away from harm but they come into their own later as I will explain. The Gryphon/Knight combo (with Animal Training upgrade) is a strong counter to ghouls and fiends, but you will need to add dragonhawk riders if gargoyles start being massed. Your Heroes chosen should generally include the paladin and mountain king as the combination of storm bolt and holy light is very powerful in taking out enemy heroes, which form the backbone of the undead army. Similarly with the bloodmage, a banish/storm bolt/holy light combination takes down the UD heroes very fast. In the later game you can amass more and more flying machines quite quickly from the workshop and what these do is not only to discourage the upgrading of Obsidian Statues into Destroyers (effectively wasting the undead resources spent on the upgrade, a good resource trade off) and attack them where the magic attack of the Gryphons cannot, but they scout very well. The undead may be tempted to use something interesting such as banshees for Anti-Magic Shield against storm bolt/holy light but in this case your Flying Machines can be upgraded to attack these casters or the statues and stack up to do considerable damage to these units. Also, with so many flying units on the map, if the Undead player has Web on auto-cast they may waste it on Flying Machines (which will generally not be targeted, and can be repaired) instead of the hard-hitting Gryphons.
- [5/12] Train two peasants.
- [6/12] Send 4 peasants to gold and one to build an Altar. Scout with militia if playing on a three or more player map.
- [7/12] Build a farm. Keep pumping peasants one at a time.
- [8/12] Build a Barracks. The next peasant trained goes to the gold mine, next two go to gold if you scouted.
- [9/18] Build a second farm with the same peasant as from (7/12). Aim to wall off your base so that larger units cannot get in (farm next to barracks or altar means only peasants/footmen/ghouls/skeletons can get in, but not fiends or heroes).
- [16/24] Train your first footman. Build a Scout Tower.
- [21/24] Train a footman. Take the footman already built along with your hero and 3-4 militia (map dependant) and start to creep. If you are creep jacked or just to be safe you may want to upgrade to an Arcane Tower now. This will help defend against skeletons harassing your peasants.
- [23/24] Get two peasants to fastbuilt a farm and train another peasant if you want to bring your total up to 8. This number leaves a good amount harvesting lumber for higher tier units and teching while still being able to use 2 peasants to fastbuild your structures.
- [24/30] Train a footman.
- [26/30] Upgrade to a Keep as soon as you have sufficient resources.
- [26/30] Train a footman when you have enough gold after your keep upgrade. Note that you are aiming for 5-6 footmen to accompany your hero, but delaying one footman in order to buy a vital item (e.g. Boots of Speed) is encouraged, as footman are cheap and train fast.
- [28/30] Train a footman.
- [30/30] Build a farm and use 2 peasants to fastbuild a Lumber Mill. As for timing, aim to start building the lumber mill when the Keep is 50-60% complete.
- [30/36] Build 1-2 more Scout Towers as you see fit for extra defense. Upgrade these to Guard Towers.
- [30/36] Train your second hero.
- [35/36] Upgrade to a Castle.
- [35/36] Use two peasants to fastbuild a blacksmith and Arcane Vault when the caste is 10% complete or you have the funds.
- [35/36] Fastbuild a Workshop with 2 peasants when the Castle is 50-60% complete. Use 2 peasants to fastbuild a Gryphon Aviary when your Castle is around 80% complete. From here get one or two Flying Machines and start to train Gryphons and Knights when the Castle is complete. Remember to upgrade Animal Training. Choose a third hero. If the opponent is using gargoyles you may need dragonhawk riders.
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