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Secondary skills
 Air Magic
 Eagle Eye
 Earth Magic
 Fire Magic
 First Aid
 Interference Horn of the Abyss
 Water Magic
Basic Ballistics: gives control of the catapult to the hero, allowing aimed shots with increased damage.
Advanced Ballistics: gives control of the catapult to the hero, allowing two aimed shots with increased damage.
Expert Ballistics: gives control of the catapult to the hero, allowing two aimed shots at maximum damage.

Ballistics is a secondary skill, that gives the player manual control over the catapult in a siege, increases the chances of hitting an intended wall and increases the chance of doing double damage. The castle walls as well as Drawbridge, Keep and Arrow Towers have 2 hitpoints (upon building castle standard walls are upgraded to fortified walls, which have 3 hitpoints). Additionally, at advanced and expert level of Ballistics catapults fire twice instead of just once.

It is interesting that Ballistics secondary skill does not buff Ballista. The latter works better via Artillery.

Level None Basic Adv. Expert
Shots 1 1 2 2
Chance to hit Keep (before all walls destroyed) 5% 7% 7% 10%
Chance to hit Arrow Towers (before all walls destroyed) 10% 15% 15% 20%
Chance to hit Drawbridge (before all walls destroyed) 25% 30% 30% 40%
Chance to hit intended wall 50% 60% 60% 75%
Chance for no damage 10% 0% 0% 0%
Chance for 1 damage 60% 50% 50% 0%
Chance for 2 damage 30% 50% 50% 100%

Heroes with Basic Ballistics as a starting skill:

Chance to get[edit]

Out of total 112 for Shadow of Death, and of (112 + Interference chance) for Horn of the Abyss Horn of the Abyss.
Banned skills change the probability.

Town Class Chance to learn
Castle  Knight   8 (highest)
Castle  Cleric   4 (lowest) Shadow of Death
Rampart  Ranger   4 (lowest) Shadow of Death
Rampart  Druid   4 (lowest) Shadow of Death
Tower  Alchemist   6
Tower  Wizard   4 (lowest) Shadow of Death
Inferno  Demoniac   7
Inferno  Heretic   6
Necropolis  Death Knight   7
Necropolis  Necromancer   5
Dungeon  Overlord   7
Dungeon  Warlock   6
Stronghold  Barbarian   8 (highest)
Stronghold  Battle Mage   6
Fortress  Beastmaster   7
Fortress  Witch   8 (highest)
Conflux  Planeswalker   8 (highest)
Conflux  Elementalist   4 (lowest) Shadow of Death
Cove Horn of the Abyss     Captain   5
Cove Horn of the Abyss     Navigator   2 (lowest) Horn of the Abyss
Factory Horn of the Abyss     Mercenary   6
Factory Horn of the Abyss     Artificer   8 (highest)

User commentary

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Some may find the information in this section subjective or irrelevant.

Ballistics is not something essential to everyone, but it is really useful when sieging towns, and if a map has many towns you should capture, consider using a hero with Ballistics as your starting hero, eventually improving the skill to Expert. It will make sieging a town way easier, reducing your losses, as you will destroy the drawbridge on an early stage of the battle, and the enemy's defense will worsen significantly. However, the most crucial when sieging a town is properly using your flyers, ranged units, and magic, so as to win as soon as possible and avoid major losses.

Quite useful, since it gives you first chance to cast spells in sieges (provided that the defending hero doesn't have Artillery).

Recommended for: Heroes with walker-heavy armies

While useful for breaking open the gate quickly, one also has to care to consider that it is the only battle-skill that in non-siege battle situations has absolutely no impact. Therefore, in a multiplayer game it may be better to select a more multi-situation skill upon which to invest. In single-player games, more useful, but also situational, as the AI tends to charge out of the castle if an army demonstrates any significant long-range damage abilities. It is very rare that the AI stays in the castle entirely, and that this skill is entirely necessary. I would take this if I had walker armies, and were offered an alternative skill considerably less useful (ie. eagle eye, learning).

See also: