NE Build Order


Over the following threads I will attempt to define and describe common build orders and for use in solo play in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It is a work in progress now so I will add things as I get the time. The BOs are commonly seen on battle.net and in professional games. The target skill level that may wish to use this compendium ranges from not only the very new, but in my opinion up to experienced or competitive players. Coupled with the suggested replays I feel the detail of these builds, complete with matchup, map and hero suggestions, is sufficient enough to follow for all types of players. Do not worry if you feel you are experiencing déjà vu, as many of the Orc build orders are quite similar with sometimes only slight differences differentiating two unique strategies. In the following article I seek to define the given build order up to the 25-35 supply mark. The setout of this compendium is explained below:


RACE – Build Order Name – This is just a name I made up, generally very literal and to the point. Perhaps you might want to come up with your own to do with timing or something like they do with StarCraft build orders.

Matchups – Again, it is certainly not limited to these matchups but they are the favourable ones. In some cases the build does not lend itself well to other matchups.

Maps – This is by no means a complete list of maps that the build may be used on, just some that I identified as somewhat favouring this type of build for various reasons.
Replays – This is a list of replays I have found (generally sourced from mymym.com) that demonstrate the build order or very close to it. These are handy for expanding on any notes I include.

Heroes – Here is included suggested 1st/2nd/3rd heroes for the particular build but again it is not set in concrete.

Notes on Usage – Included is a small paragraph on what strategies to aim for in utilizing the given build but nothing detailed, just general tips.



Like Orc build orders, Night Elf openings are generally very similar with variation mostly reflecting the mid-game army choice of either archers/huntress/ballistae or dryads/druids.

Classic Night Elf openings generally involve one possible order. This is defined below in several of the build orders and consists of getting an altar, moon wells, and an ancient of war with which to make a single archer to creep with initially. There has been some use of delayed AoW to get earlier huntress, but the classic opening is by far the most common. While the opening is uniform across the builds, they do branch out and in general you cannot use the exact same build in every racial matchup or map.

NIGHT ELF – Dual AoW Build
Matchups: NE v NE, NE v HU
Maps: Terenas Stand, Lost Temple, Twisting Meadows
Replays: mym19199, mym22275
Heroes: [Warden], [Priestess of the Moon/Dark Ranger]

Notes on Usage: This build is most often used against Human players, as it is somewhat effective in countering the fast expansion before it can be used to overwhelm you. Use your Warden to harass the expansion using Fan of Knives to kill the peasants. Your army of huntress and archers can be on standby to back up your Warden if it is engaged by the human army or alternatively attacking the main base of the Human player with hit-and-run actions. Early on you may feel you need the support of Forest Troll shadow priests and berserkers if the map provides them. Once your second Ancient of War is underway being built your first Ancient of War, having done its job creeping, can be walked back to your base and be planted next to any possible farms that the human may have constructed in your base to take them out. There are two options to counter the fast expansion of the human, the first is to build 4-5 huntress along with your archers that you kept alive and keep hitting the human and running with your more mobile army until you have amassed around 4 Glaive Throwers so that you are ensuring the Human is already under pressure. The second is that you cut huntress production after say 3 and then attack as soon as the 4 Glaive Throwers are complete. You should have a zeppelin where available to keep your immobile glaive throwers alive. Either way you must take careful notice of how you are positioned – if it is too open your glaive throwers and zeppelins are vulnerable so a choke point from which you can hit a human base is favourable. Also favourable is being in between the expansion and the main base of the Human player to prevent reinforcements and expand your options for harassment, choosing either base to hit effectively. In these locations you may want to build your Ancient of Wonders nearly for easy restocking of items. Ensure trees or rivers are around to flee your zeppelin to if it is heavily fired upon. Bring 3-4 wisps with your army to detonate over the Human army, banishing water elementals and robbing him of mana, and also to restore health to your damaged throwers.

For the older and somewhat dated Priestess of the Moon build your aim is to amass huntress so that with the superior army you can control the map more effectively than the defensive, fast-expanding Human player and prevent them from gaining too great an advantage from the additional resources. In this case, use your PotM to steal creep kills with her searing arrows and long range attacks and keep her alive with shadowmeld. Instead of creeping and building archers you will be harassing with your PotM so you may build your Ancients of War inside you’re the Hall and 2nd Ancient. Basically, keep pressure on the human player and in down time creep out any camps nearer his base. Try and hit the expansion before the towers go up and take out peasants if possible, although this is harder without the Warden. Later on you can get glaives but often Dryads are an effective unit choice to abolish Water Elementals and slow units in order to snipe them more effectively. The second hero choice is there to complement your ranged damage and bolster your army size with summons.

- [5/10] Queue up one wisp at your Tree of Life.
- [6/10] Send 3 wisps to gold and one to build an Altar. Send it to lumber once it is done. Send the other free wisp to a location where you wish to build your Ancient of War for creeping. Note that if the location you wish to creep is very close you can afford to send this wisp to gold initially to get +10 or so gold. Queue up 2 more wisps.
- [7/10] Use the first wisp created to make a moon well. Send it to lumber once it is done.
- [8/10] Send the second and third wisps made to the gold mine to bring that up to 5.
- [9/10] Build 3 more wisps to harvest lumber. Your hero should be made around now. This brings your total population up to 17 once the wisps are trained, but remember one wisp was sacrificed in making the Ancient of War, bringing the total to 16 food.
- [16/10] Build an archer from your AoW and send a wisp to scout your opponent.
- [18/20] Build another moon well.
- [18/20] Build 2 more wisps. Send one of these to the location you want your second Ancient of War at (generally in position to assist in creeping).
- [20/20] Build your second Ancient of War now. Rebuild your wisps so that you have 6-7 working on lumber.
- [22/30] Build your Hunter’s Hall. Don’t make more than 3-4 archers if you can help it before you start to pump huntresses. Follow up with hunts and then 4 glaive throwers for an effective if risky counter to the human FE on twisted meadows or LT. A zeppelin is very useful here for keeping your immobile glaive throwers alive.

NIGHT ELF – Dual AoL Build
Matchups: NE v ORC, NE v UD, NE v NE
Maps: Terenas Stand, Melting Valley, Lost Temple, Echo Isles, Twisting Meadows
Replays: mym22116, mym22417, mym22420
Heroes: [Demon Hunter/Naga Sea Witch], [Demon Hunter/Brewmaster], [Demon Hunter/Beast Master/Naga Sea Witch]

Notes on Usage: In a Night Elf mirror matchup there are several important areas that require attention. Foremost, the units you use will generally be mostly Druid of the Claw and then secondarily Dryads. Try not to let your opponent get ahead of you too far in either count. First of all, creeping efficiently and constantly all game is the most important part, as are the items dropped (but this cannot be helped). Second to this is scouting; you must know what your opponent is up to when not creeping and you must take care to see what units are being trained. Getting in the first Mana Burn in a Demon Hunter duel also helps to tip the balance in your favour. Other things that can tip the balance of the battle are things like goblin shredders for additional lumber or base defence, zeppelins to preserve units, unit upgrades, and items such as scroll of protection to cover regeneration and other useful enchantments to use up the Dryads’ Abolish Magic. Less common tactics involve hidden chimera tech or something similar if you scout that your opponent has gone heavy on bears with few dryads, but note that if scouted something like this is very easily countered. You moon well count or upgrade may also be decisive in defending your base. If against Undead you may wish to build an Ancient Protector to ensure against skeletons or ghouls picking off wisps. Dryads are utilities for slowing down fleeing units, providing anti-air (especially gryphons/chimeras) and dispelling enchantments or negative spells on your own units so preserve them in battle as being poor tanks they will be targeted by the enemy hero. Cold arrows used in conjunction with slow poison from your dryads makes for a very strong combination against fleeing opponents.

- [5/10] Queue up one wisp at your Tree of Life.
- [6/10] Send 4 wisps to gold and one to build an Altar. Send it to lumber once it is done. Train another wisp.
- [7/10] Use the first wisp created to make a moon well. Send it to lumber once it is done.
- [8/10] Send the second wisp to the entangled gold mine.
- [9/10] Send the third wisp built to scout the opponent (this can be delayed if it is a 2 player map).
- [10/10] Send the next wisp to scout if a 4 or more player map, otherwise send it ready to become an Ancient of War.
- [10/20] Queue up more wisps (around 4) and make your hero.
- [16/20] You should have 3 wisps on lumber and 4 queued here.
- [18/20] Build your first Ancient of War. Build one archer and creep.
- [18/20] Build a Hunter’s Hall. Your hero should now be out. Note if this is a Night Elf mirror matchup you can afford to build your Hunter’s Hall later at 20 food. Build a second archer after your Halls are done to speed up creeping.
- [20/20] Build another moon well.
- [20/30] Upgrade to the Tree of Ages. Build a huntress.
- [23/30] Build a moon well, upgrade ultravision, and create another huntress. Build one more huntress after this. In a Night Elf mirror match up you can forego these huntresses.
- [28/40] Build an Ancient of Lore here and, once your Tree of Ages is done, build your two Ancient of Lore buildings at around the 32 food mark. It is also worth getting a second hero at this moment, too.

NIGHT ELF – Druid of the Talon Build
Matchups: NE v ORC
Maps: Melting Valley, Echo Isles, Lost Temple, Twisting Meadows, Road to Stratholme
Replays: mym19408, mym21703, mym20754, mym22114, most ORC v NE replays
Heroes: [Demon Hunter/Beast Master/Naga Sea Witch], [Demon Hunter/Beast Master/Tinker], [Demon Hunter/Keeper of the Grove/Tinker]

Notes on Usage: This build is one of the most effective if not the most effective in countering the classic Orc build. This is for several distinct reasons, and influences game aspects such as hero choice and base layout heavily. Firstly your base can be effectively ‘walled off’ using moon wells (usually in a diagonal line on maps like Echo Isles) and with the Altar and perhaps an ancient out front. The benefit of this is not only that your wisps are protected from the Blademaster’s harassment but on many maps the layout can be such that you may build your Anchients of Wind behind the wall. Druids of the Talon can still fit through this diagonal moon well layout and are thus also protected from the Blademaster. When a situation arises that benefits free movement through your base (such as having a hero stuck in your wall or needing to retreat behind your wall in) you can simply uproot an ancient to form a kind of ‘gate’. Your hero selection will generally include the Demon Hunter as the first hero, and he should be used to creep with the archer and Ancient of War initially before moving on to harassment and disruption of the Orc creeping as mana burn is effective in stopping the Blademaster using its wind walk ability to good effect. The second hero, in the form of the Beastmaster or Keeper, is generally support for your units where the Beastmaster’s summons provide extra damage and the Keeper’s entangling roots can trap key enemy melee units to prevent them attacking or to surround them and Thorns Aura can aid with your damage output. The Tinker is most effectively used for Pocket Factory, which should generally be placed in one of two ways. The first of these is to set it up so that is blocks and protects your casters from the heavy melee units of the Orc or to help with a surround on an opposing hero.

You should be aiming to have between 11-14 DotTs (depending on how many archers or mercs you have) and keep a troll shadow priest around where possible for abolish magic. Use your DotTs to target raiders first, and then grunts and heroes where appropriate. Your summoned hawks are effective against the spirit walkers as are the quillbeasts. A large decider in whether you will win or lose a battle is the Shockwave ability of the Tauren Chieftain hero as it does a lot of damage to many of your weak casters at higher levels. To prevent this you can pay close attention to the way your dots are arranged (do not clump or expose a line to the Tauren) or mana burn the Tauren to deny him his energy and constantly keep the Tauren and Blademaster under the effect of Cyclone (as they are the main damage output of the Orc army) using it to slow and surround fleeing units when the opportunity arises.

- [5/10] Queue up two wisps at your Tree of Life.
- [6/10] Send 4 wisps to gold and one to build an Altar. Send it to lumber once it is done.
- [6/10] Take one wisp off gold once it has harvested 10-20 gold and send it to create an Ancient of War at a creep camp.
- [7/10] Use the first wisp created to make a moon well. Send it to lumber once it is done.
- [7/10] Send the second wisp to the entangled gold mine. Queue up 5 wisps when you have the gold.
- [8/10] Send the third wisp built to your gold mine. Send later wisps to lumber.
- [9/10] Your Altar should be complete, train your hero.
- [15/20] Train an archer.
- [18/20] Build a moon well using one of your lumber-harvesting wisps.
- [18/20] Scout your opponent with a wisp and place 2-3 wisps around the map in convenient locations (e.g. near mercenary camps, at chokes, at hero taverns, etc.).
- [18/20] Build wisps up to 20 food (perhaps you lost some).
- [20/20] Build another moon well. You should have 14 wisps now. 5 on gold, 6-7 in your main harvesting lumber, and 2-3 harvesting lumber in key positions to scout on the map.
- [21/40] Build an archer.
- [23/40] Upgrade to the Tree of Ages. Build another archer.
- [25/40] Build a moon well using a wisp taken from lumber. You may get your second hero now.
- [29/40] Now all your spare wisps will pay off, you have enough lumber to build an Ancient of Wind. Immediately after this you will upgrade to your Tree of Eternity.
- [28/50] When you have the resources, make a second Ancient of Wind.
- [27/50] Build your Ancient of Wonders (note: If you feel you don’t need or want your ancient of wonders as early, it can fit in at around 30/50 food).
- [26/50] Upgrade your Druid of the Talon Adept Training and pump dotts from both Ancients of Wind. Support your druids with a couple of Faerie Dragons.

NIGHT ELF – Tavern/Archer Fast Expand
Matchups: NE v HU, NE v UD
Maps: Echo Isles, Twisting Meadows, Melting Valley
Replays: mym21772
Heroes: [Dark Ranger/Brewmaster], [Naga Sea Witch/Brewmaster], [Beast Master]

Notes on Usage: This strategy is mostly viable against Human opponents, as more often than not they will use a similar fast-expand build with towers to protect their expansion. Early on you should be about evenly matched but your army is more fragile so try not to directly engage the opponent unless you have solid micro and are supported by either an ancient, moon wells, or mercenary units such as the shadow priest (to abolish enemy summons). Dark Ranger is a good option for this build as the additional free units coupled with silence to stop enemy spell casting makes for an army that can hold its own early on when you are at your weakest. Scout with your dark minions and send them occasionally to attack low-HP peasants in the human base (they may be lower HP because of early creeping with militia). Creeping is vital as always, but even more so with your weak early game army where you need the support of many Dark Minions. You should be relatively safe from full creep jacking because your Ancient of War will aid you in battle if required. With Dryads and Bears out you can easily lure creeps into safer areas to creep them a little out of harms way. The human may get a unit combination of casters supported by a few mortar teams to take out your dryads so try to target these if you find the enemy retreating, as they are a little slower than the rest of the army and can be very damaging – keep one or two scrolls of healing equipped when possible. For larger maps the Beast Master is a viable choice as first hero.

- [5/10] Send 4 wisps to gold and one to harvest lumber near your intended creep location (such as the mercenary camp in Echo Isles).
- [6/10] Start training 4 wisps when your resources allow.
- [7/10] Send the first wisp to lumber, perhaps where you wish to place your ancient of war or in a place to act as a spotter. Queue up another wisp to total 5 trained wisps.
- [7/10] Use the first wisp created or another on lumber to make a moon well when the second wisp created is almost complete. Send it to lumber once it is done.
- [8/10] Build an Ancient of War outside the creep camp you wish to creep.
- [8/10] Send the second wisp built to your gold mine. Send later wisps to lumber. Build more wisps but cancel if you need the immediate gold.
- [10/10] Construct your Altar now – Note that this is delayed because you are timing it to coincide with tavern heroes becoming available.
- [10/20] Create a moon well.
- [11/20] Train an Archer. You should have made around 13-14 wisps nearing this point (note some have been sacrificed in making AoW or are still queued up).
- [15/20] Train an Archer (2nd).
- [18/20] Train an Archer (3rd).
- [20/30] Hire your hero from the tavern – the Dark Ranger is a popular choice, along with the Naga Sea Witch.
- [26/30] You may want to hire some mercenaries when you can afford them, such as the forest troll priest or the berserker later on.
- [29/30] Build a Moon Well.
- [29/30] Build a Tree of Life close to the expansion.
- [31/40] Upgrade to a Tree of Ages in your main.
- [31/40] Build a Hunter’s Hall and an Ancient of Wonders when the Tree of Ages is about 50% complete.
- [30/40] Build a Moon Well.
- [31/40] You can get a second hero around now, and further on at around 36/40 you will be able to get two Ancients of Lore. Also get an Ancient of Wind a little after this for faerie dragons if the opponent has casters, and hippogryphs if they get their own air to counter your faerie dragons.

NIGHT ELF – FE Hunts/Casters (Single AoW)
Matchups: NE v ORC
Maps: Twisting Meadows, Gnoll Wood, Other large or 4 player maps
Replays: mym21355, mym21375
Heroes: [Demon Hunter/Keeper of the Grove]

Notes on Usage: An older alternative to countering the classic Orc build and even Human fast expansion, this Fast Expansion Night Elf build is somewhat less efficient in dealing with classic Orc as it requires a high level of micro and concentration with the more fragile unit mix. It also requires adequate disruption of the opponent’s creeping to prevent very powerful Orc heroes killing your damage-dealing huntress too fast. Achieving this can be as simple as aggroing creeps where the Orc army is healing at a well and then shadow melding to avoid damage. Try not to engage the Orc army directly when you are around the same food limit, but instead aim to attack while creeping or when around your base, or even before the Orc has all his tech units as this build ends up slightly faster. Jacking buildings also works well, target his tech buildings or burrows for maximum effect. You can also replenish your army faster and afford to get some healing and invulnerability potions for your heroes with the additional gold from the expansion. Use mana burn as often as possible on the enemy heroes, and use your entangling roots to target raiders as they have low HP and are more likely to go down. Remember, as with most NE builds, to keep 2 or 3 wisps around the map at convenient locations to spot creeping such as goblin merchants. Once your army is up and running the Orc should not have quite as much as you so you can feel free to engage. As a general rule, target raiders and grunts with your ranged units and casters with your Demon Hunter. Heroes are also a favourable target if already on low HP but take note of their items (e.g. if they have invulnerability and healing potions it may be a waste of time and you should instead mana burn them and target the raiders).

- [5/10] Send 4 wisps to your entangled gold mine.
- [5/10] Build an Altar. Send the wisp to lumber when it is done.
- [5/10] Build 2 wisps.
- [7/10] Send your first wisp trained to build a moon well. Send the wisp to lumber when it is done.
- [7/10] Queue up 4 more wisps.
- [8/10] Send your 2nd created wisps to your gold mine. Queue up 2 more wisps. Keep pumping wisps when you have the gold. Send subsequent wisps to harvest lumber.
- [9/10] Send a wisp to scout your opponent.
- [18/20] Build a moon well.
- [18/20] Build an Ancient of War directly after the moon well. Try to wall off your base if possible.
- [18/20] Build a Hunter’s Hall when you have enough resources.
- [19/20] Send your 14th wisp trained to a convenient location for an expansion. Stop wisp production at 20 food (15 wisps).
- [20/30] Upgrade to a Tree of Ages.
- [20/30] Build a Huntress and begin to upgrade Ultravision.
- [23/30] Build a Tree of Life with your wisp previously located at the desired expansion.
- [22/30] Build a second Huntress.
- [25/30] Build a moon well.
- [25/30] Build a Huntress when you have enough resources.
- [28/30] Build an Ancient of Wonders.
- [27/30] Build an Ancient of Wind and an Ancient of Lore. Pump Dryads, DotTs and Huntress, having roughly an equal number of Druids and Huntress and one or two extra Dryads. Get your second hero when you can afford it. Remember to creep your expansion with the aid of your Tree of Life and make wisps to farm gold.

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