Tactics are the elements of planning that impact individual battles. Tactics are decided for an army prior to battle, but should generally take potential enemies into consideration as well. Tactical considerations are often the primary determiners for strategic decisions regarding the acquisition of forces and magical research.
The most fundamental concept of unit tactics is that infantry goes in front, to meet enemy infantry, fast units like cavalry go around the sides to charge the back and encircle or destroy enemy ranged units, and ranged units go in the back to be defended by infantry while firing upon the enemy. Because Dominions is made of fantasy nations with widely varying unit rosters, however, actual tactics my vary immensely, especially when taking complex magic into consideration.
All formations carry a small morale penalty, and as such are of subjective utility. An unformed (box) mass of troops is the best for many situations, though this penalty is irrelevant for undead or mindless troops.
Line formations are effective at making smaller numbers of troops defend larger numbers of ranged units. If defending a back line is the sole or only purpose of troops, line formation may be appropriate.
Orders are the actions that you tell a unit or commander to perform. They are your sole
Straightforward attacking is often the best option. Attacking the closest unit will allow your armies to most easily charge them. Attacking the rear unit will allow you to deal large damage to vulnerable troops including expensive and important mages. However, attacking the rear is likely to be blocked against, and only largely successful when using flying units.
Generally like Attack for archers. Some ranged weapons (such as javelins) have very limited ammunition, in which case the unit will attack after firing.
Hold And AttackEdit
You can tell your troops to wait for two turns and before attacking. This is advisable if your ranged capacity is going to do more damage to your enemies troops than theirs will to yours.
Aside from guarding commanders, this command is useful for archer traps. If you put a small group of units at the front of the army, archers set to "fire closest" will fire on this squad. If the squad is set to "guard commander" the units will then move towards the commander, who may be at the back of the battlefield, and the archers, in order to stay in range, will advance. This can force enemy archers to get in front of their would-be protectors, allowing you to wipe them out more easily.
Mages are scripted on a per-spell battle, with players selecting up to five spells and the Spell command generally used thereafter. Mages set to Spells will prefer defensive spells and simple spells such as evocations, so more complex magical tactics must be completed in five spells per mage or less.
The simplest thing that mages can do is use lots of evocation, or other such spells that directly impact the enemy. This can have a big impact if you use a lot of mages, but the choice of spell has a big effect, and there are counters. It also relies on relatively a large mage corps.
Troops are better when they're better, and a few powerful mages can supply powerful force multipliers to a large number of troops. Doing this well takes a high research level.