Speed (or sometimes movement) is a statistic of creatures. The speed value determines how many hexes the creature can move in a fight on a battlefield. The speed value also determines the initiative of the creature (the order in which creatures move during a battle). Additionally, the speed value of the slowest creature in a hero's army affects the hero's movement points on the Adventure Map.
The fastest creature in Heroes of Might and Magic III: Restoration of Erathia is the Archangel with a speed of 18. In the first expansion Armageddon's Blade and later in Shadow of Death, the fastest creature is Conflux's Phoenix with a speed of 21. The slowest creatures with a speed of 3 are Dendroid Guards, Dwarves, Stone Golems and Walking Dead. Additionally, the Armageddon's Blade expansion introduced Peasants, who have a speed of three. The verbal descriptions are listed in the table on the right. Curiously enough, none of the creatures have a speed value of 20 which would be described as super fast.
War machines have a speed of 0, which means they cannot move during combat and typically act last in each round of a battle. However, their speed value does not affect the hero's movement points.
Speed as initiative
Speed determines the initiative of creatures. A high speed value means high initiative, which means that the creature will move before creatures with smaller speed values (slower creatures). If two or more creatures on different sides of engaging armies have the same speed value, the creature on the army which did not have the latest chance to act will act first. If it is the beginning of the battle, the attacker will have the initiative. Within each army, the unit that started (before tactics phase) nearest to the top of the screen (more left in the hero's army), will move first.
There are several modifiers that can affect creatures' speed values during combat. Modifiers that affect speed throughout the combat and which cannot be cancelled are terrain, artifact and hero specialty modifiers. Additionally, spells can have increasing or decreasing effects on creatures' speed values. Creatures fighting on their native terrain receive +1 to their speed (and +1 to both attack and defense skill). There are three artifacts that affect the speed of all creature's in a hero's army:
- Cape of Velocity gives +2 to speed
- Necklace of Swiftness gives +1 to speed
- Ring of the Wayfarer gives +1 to speed.
Many heroes have a creature specialty, which gives one specific creature type (and their upgraded version) in a hero's army +1 to speed during combat. For example, Edric the knight has Griffins as his special ability, which means that Griffins and Royal Griffins fighting in Edric's army receive +1 to speed increasing the Griffins' speed to 7 and the Royal Griffins' speed to 10. Additionally, Sir Mullich has speed as his hero specialty which means that all creatures in his army receive +2 to their speed values during combat (in Horn of the Abyss Sir Mullich is banned by default for balance reasons).
- +3 to speed for a single creature stack with Basic Air Magic
- +5 to speed for a single creature stack with Advanced Air Magic
- +5 to speed for all allied creature stacks with Expert Air Magic
- reduces speed for single creature stack by -25% rounded up with Basic Earth Magic
- reduces speed for single creature stack by -50% rounded up with Advanced Earth Magic
- reduces speed for all enemy creature stacks by -50% rounded up with Expert Earth Magic
- +2 to speed for a single creature stack with Basic Water Magic
- +4 to speed for a single creature stack with Advanced Water Magic
- +4 to speed for all allied creatures stacks with Expert Water Magic
Additionally, Brissa, Cyra and Terek have Haste as their hero specialty, which means that they can cast Haste with increased effect, based on their level compared to the level of the target creature stack. Loynis has Prayer as specialty, which works in a similar way. There is no hero that has Slow as their specialty.
In the best case, the maximum speed bonus from all these modifiers is +16, or +7 in the first round of combat before the spells can be cast. A stack of Phoenixes led by Sir Mullich on their native terrain and with the best magical help available would therefore get a speed of 37. In similarly favourable conditions, the slow Dendroid Guards would get a speed of 19, making them tied with Azure Dragons or Archangels (which have the same native terrain). Heroes with a specialty in Haste or Prayer can potentially give more movement than Sir Mullich.
Fast unit chart
Listing only units allowing maximum movement (Speed of 11+):
|11||Devil, Master Genie, Red Dragon, Scorpicore, Thunderbird, Titan, Wyvern Monarch, Ayssid|
|12||Angel, Silver Pegasus, Haspid|
|13||Dragon Fly, Efreet Sultan|
|15||Black Dragon, Faerie Dragon, Firebird|
|16||Crystal Dragon, Gold Dragon|
|17||Arch Devil, Rust Dragon|
Unit speed table
Values in gold represent the fastest creature for the given tier. Values in blue represent the fastest creature for the given faction. Values in green represent creatures that are both the fastest for their tier and for their faction. The Corsair (with speed 7) was skipped in the table to keep the layout tidy.