[HoMM] Poor Man Teleports: Value from normally-impossible resource exchanges

Keep an eye out for opportunities to make normally-impossible resource exchanges! The “poor man town portal” tactic from Heroes of Might and Magic III, a maneuver which allows a player to effectively trade gold for movement points, il;l

In HoMMIII, the movement point pool on the main hero is arguably a player’s most valuable resource. There is a very powerful level 4 spell, “Town Portal,” that teleports the casting hero to an allied town, but it is rarely accessible early on. A “poor man TP” can accomplish a similar end. To perform a poor man TP, a player sends their hero into a combat with the intent to immediately retreat, causing that hero to disappear from the strategic map and become available for rehire at that player’s town taverns. Rehiring the hero at a town costs 2,500 gold and respawns the hero at the town’s location. Essentially, the player spends gold to move their hero from the location of the combat to the location of the town without having to spend movement points to walk the intervening distance. Check out the following example of HoMM streamer Fredostrike using a pair of poor man teleports to great effect in a ranked match.

Let’s set the stage: Fredo is playing on a randomly generated Jeebus Cross map. On JC, players always start on opposite sides, with a richly-rewarding desert biome between them. Powerful armies block the desert entry points. This is a heavily tempo-oriented map type: the player faster to penetrate the center gets first pick of its contents. In this example, Fredo has just beaten his desert guard with his main hero, Shakti, leaving Shakti very low on mana and movement points. Shakti must visit a town to regenerate mana, so Fredo uses the last of his movement to attack and then retreat from a group of psychic elementals, rehiring Shakti in his initial town east of the desert:

At the start of the next turn, Shakti is a long way from the desert but has full mana and movement. Fredo sends Shakti into the closest availabe combat and retreats. Fredo uses a secondary hero, still in the desert and carrying the bulk of Fredo’s troops, to capture a town. Fredo immediately builds a tavern in the town and with it rehires Shakti, spawning him in the desert with full mana and plenty of movement points:

Fredo’s excellent pair of teleports were instrumental to winning the match, overcoming what had been a rocky early start.

Aside: To more cleanly focus on the normally-impossible gold-for-movement exchange aspect of poor man TPs, my initial “how-to” skipped over some key details that you need to know if you want to actually use the tactic in your own games. First, when a hero retreats from combat they lose all of their troops. Preserve the lives of your units by trading them to a secondary hero before sending the main into the to-be-retreated-from combat. Ideally, you can even prepare a hero chain to quickly ferry the army back to whichever town you intend to use for rehire. Second, note that a hero only gets a chance to retreat when it is their turn in combat. An enemy with higher speed than your token army might be able to reach and eliminate your troops before you get a turn, resulting in the loss (rather than retreat) of the hero. When teleporting a hero off of an enemy that out-speeds you, increase your chances of being able to take a turn by bringing many separate single-unit stacks, such that even if some fall at least one will likely survive the onslaught.