The Cultist → The Conquest

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The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby {CH}ArticleBot » 11 Jun 2006, 20:34

A few sneaky readers found the new walkthrough that I posted last night, not long before Infiltrator's guide was released. This new article is for The Conquest, definitely a mission that gave headaches to many players. The path I suggest, picking up the southern town on week 2, ignoring the Infero and rushing to the north-west, works well for Normal and maybe Hard, but the Heroic setting is a completely different story. If you are having problems with this scenario, the first thing to do is to apply the patch, even though you will still have to go through those nasty Earth Elementals.

We have articles for the Necropolis and the Dungeon planned for the near future. Happy adventuring.

  • Cross the border
  • Capture all Sylvan Towns
  • Defeat Gilraen
  • Agrael must survive
  • Destroy the source of druid magic (secondary)
Carries Over:
  • Agrael (max. level: 24)

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface
Important Note: The Conquest is a scenario that gives headaches to many players -- it is quite a challenge at the Heroic level. The first thing to do if you have problems is to download patch 1.1, which weakens Gilraen to some extent and fixes a script. But you will need to restart the mission after you apply the patch. Patch 1.2 and 1.3 made this mission a little harder. However, from time to time some script error occurs, and Gilraen does not do anything, killing all the challenge and fun. At the beginning of the scenario, you must choose a bonus among the following:

  • 2 Pit Fiends
  • 43 Horned Overseers
  • 4 Nightmares

The Pit Fiends appear to be an interesting option, but you will probably lose one in your first battle against Gilraen. The Horned Overseers will probably live through the whole scenario, but their lack of speed make them less valuable. The Nightmares are probably a decent choice, as they can sometimes reach the enemy rank before the enemy gets an act, and from time to time frighten the enemy with their melee attack.

Timing is crucial in this scenario. Many players restarted at least once before they found their way around. However, there is one exception to speed -- taking the first castle before the end of the first week will make things more difficult. The first thing to do is to complete your army with the Imps in the castle and in the dwelling to your right. While you could consider building up your Inferno town, most people ignore it and use Sylvan troops instead, even though that is inconsistent with the plot; that is what I did as well to make Agrael's life much easier.

After tagging the flag, you can head South and recruit the Horned Demon and pick up a pile of gold to the East. However, since there are quite a few mines coming up, you can ignore the rather-useless demon and this small amount of money, and charge straight east to fight Gilraen, who's waiting for you in front of a garrison (1). This is not a very difficult battle, but you should be careful not to lose many units, as you will need them for the next two weeks. Split out one-unit familiar stack to absorb the counter attack from the blade dancers, and mob them up with your main stack of familiars and hell hounds. Your nightmare can charge right into the master hunters and neutralize them there. You can also phantom clone your familiars, hoping to draw some attention from Gilraen's arrows. Note: on lower difficulty levels and earlier patches, Gilraen actually runs away as soon as you touch him.

Follow the road East and South, fighting any creature that blocks the way. Choosing your optional battles carefully since you should not lose more than a few familiars at this point. Stop to pick up any resources you may find as they will be required to build up your castles. The mines are critical, but they are lightly-guarded fortunately. Make sure you rotate the camera while moving down the road as a few resources are hidden behind the trees. You will soon see a Sylvan castle (2) further down the road. Do NOT capture it right away because this would trigger a weekly event that spawns countless stacks of Sylvan creatures everywhere on the map. With the proper timing (i.e. Day 1, Week 2), you will be able to reach the second Sylvan castle before any reinforcement arrives (starting Day 1, Week 3).

Continue to the right side of the castle and keep capturing resources and mines. The sulfur mine is guarded by Cerberi, which should be an easy target. The gold mine is guarded by Inquisitors, which may be too costy for you on heroic, though. Your can also consider the wood pile and campfire just east of the sulfur pit, guarded by steel golems. No matter what you do, come back to the castle door at the end of Day 7, Week 1. The troops defending the castle will fall easily on the next Day (Day 1, Week 2).

Start building your Sylvan castle, focusing on the the economic buildings and the hunter cabin. There is a good chance that you will lose this town to AI (if it functions normally), so don't pour all your resources here. A tavern would be nice, since a secondary hero could chain units to Agrael. By the way, it would be really helpful if you hire a new hero now in the Inferno town, and ship fresh inferno troop to Agrael. Cerberus (upgraded from Hell Hound) is probably the most valuable creature you are going to have in the next two weeks.

Agrael should leave this S town (and might very well never come back) and move up the road on the west side. Capture the gold and gem mines, the mercury lab, and turn right at the fork to head for a group of mages blocking the road (3). The stack of Phoenix to the west is a tough fight, so avoid them. The mages guarding the crystal mine are no piece of cake either, but at least less devastating. By this time, your reinforcement from the Inferno town should have arrived. Keep moving up to the Coliseum, picking up any bonus that's available, and turn left until you meet a stack of Earth Elementals (4). If you have pixies / spirtes / cerberi, then deploy one stack of them only, and enjoy a perfect hit-and-run victory!

Now make a straight run towards the NW town (5). This castle attack is very easy before patch 1.2. After patch 1.2, this town is guarded by quite a decent Sylvan army. Fortunately, the AI likes to put this army on some low-level hero and send him away (Talanar is probably the one you will see), so it is very likely that you can steal the NW town before Talanar makes his way back. You might not want to fight Talanar before taking the town, if you are playing on heroic. It will cost you a lot of troops, and you can't afford to lose this much this early. Nevertheless, still try to dispose him as early as possible.

From now on, the NW town will be your headquarter. Do pour your resources in it. Hire a new hero to flag mines nearby if your Inferno low-level hero is stuck somewhere in the middle. When Week 3 comes, you will be overwhelmed by the number of the Sylvan party. Your next priority is to stop the Sylvan army from spawning by killing off the druids at the center of the map (marked by a yellow D)

Starting now you can mix Sylvan army into your rank. The hunters, sprites, druids and unicorns are all useful. Patch 1.3 lowered the cash requirement for dragons, so make sure you grab them soon as well. The Sylvan troops will take a huge morale hit; hopefully you have the Leadership skill, or tag some morale bonus along the way. You can reach the druids via the intersection at (6). However, you need to be a little more prepared. Try to ship some army from the S town if you still own it (hunters and sprites, mainly), and gather one more week worth of troop from your NW town. Build up the mage guild to level 3, so you can summon creatures from the NW town later. Now you are ready to kill the druids at once! Try to do it as early as you can, because Gilraen feeds heavily on these Sylvan army spawns, and on heroic the number he gathers is INSANE.

The druid fight is a race of time. Forget about gating and charge with everything you have, especially the Inferno troops. You can afford to lose all your Inferno units here as your Sylvan army reserves are rapidly growing back home. If everything goes well, you should be able to kill the druids around the beginning of Month 2 or even earlier than that. At this point, Gilraen should have come out from his NE town (7) and starts to roam the map to pick up resources and neutral creatures. Due to AI's huge bank account, it is very likely that Gilraen has at least one of the neutral stacks joined him. This probably makes him impossible to defeat for now, and he might actually come directly after Agrael if the power difference it too large.

You can visit a Redwood Observatory just east of the flag that leads you to the druid circle. This reveals a large area of map that just covers the NE Sylvan town. If you see almost no army stationed inside the town, then Gilraen has come out and will probably look for you soon. If you see quite a large army in town, Gilraen is probably in town and has never moved, and will never move.

If Gilraen has come out, your next priority is to take the NE Sylvan town (7) by stealth. You can lure away Gilraen with some other secondary hero, and rush the NE town with Agrael. Gilraen is scripted that he will attempt to protect the NE town when Agrael gets close, so don't conclude you've got him too early. By the way, Gilraen is smart enough not to assault a castle where Agrael is defending, so you can drop that idea of fighting him inside the castle wall. When Gilraen is not too much more powerful than Agrael, he will not actively challenge Agrael. Actually, he tries to avoid Agrael even though he has a good chance to crush Agrael on the field. Therefore, it is possible to squeeze Gilraen with Agrael step by step, to finally gain an edge to rush the NE town.

If Gilraen stays in his NE town and never moves, you can simply take your time to build up the two Sylvan towns you own, and crush him when you are powerful enough.

As soon as you take the NE town, you can finally relax. With the weekly new creatures in both well-built Sylvan towns, you will be able to crush Gilraen in the near future. Now is a good time to visit a few more stat bonuses on the map. As soon as you take all Sylvan towns and defeat Gilraen, you win this mission. This mission has been made harder on heroic with patch 1.2 onward, so you can really congratulate yourself when you beat it now!

Note 1: There is a Scroll of Frenzy located at (8). On heroic Gilraen will always get it before you (if he ever leaves home), and happily cast Frenzy over and over again on your most powerful stack. Sometimes you can use this misfortune to your advantage, by moving nearby stacks away from the frenzied one.

Note 2: In the area marked by (9), you will find a double-mana well that makes Summon Creature almost free. Besides, there is a keymaster tent nearby that unlocks the high-level Inferno creature dwelling SE of your starting area, but you are not going to need it anyways.

Also, just SW of the keymaster tent you can find a tree with an old face and a different brownish color. If you think it looks familiar, it just appeared in your cut-scene a while ago. This is no ordinary tree or treant! It is called a Sylanna's Ancient. Throughout the campaigns there are about a dozen of them. Each of the Sylanna's Ancient gives each character ONE chance to level up, with a small amount of fee (2000G or 10 gems, for example). If you have trouble leveling Agrael to level 24, or you want to rush this mission without missing any potential level, Sylanna's Ancient is your friend!
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Re: The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby aslan » 22 Apr 2019, 07:27

Hello Everyone,
Just wanted to drop a tip here: I had problems beating this mission on 'hard'. Had to restart several times. Then, I decided to pick Hellfire (+Hellwrath). It works wonders. With just an army of (1-Succubus x7), you can even capture towns. Because Agrael has lots of spellpower. Hellfire triggers with %30 chance & deals 15+15*Spellpower damage while draining 4 mana from Agrael. With this strategy, I finished to mission before the first month was over. Just keep your mana pool full and you will be killing big stacks of hunters with one succubus!

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Re: The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby Moondragon » 09 Jun 2020, 14:57

My oh my this mission was such a pain on Heroic. I was too stubborn to use Sylvan troops because I wanted to follow the plot, plus gating is a lifesaver. Eventually Gilraen attacked me in the Northeast town and I somehow defeated him with like 1 troop left (I stalled with raise dead for quite a while). Then I ran around trying to get the last castles but Talanar was so tough by then I thought I would lose for sure. But then he just sat in the middle of the map for no reason while I captured the last three towns. How bizarre!

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Re: The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby LunaticFringe » 12 Oct 2021, 00:35

"By the way, Gilraen is smart enough not to assault a castle where Agrael is defending, so you can drop that idea of fighting him inside the castle wall."

On Heroic, as soon as I take the NW town in week one, Gilraen makes a beeline for it and attacks Agrael when he's in the town. I don't know what version everyone else played, but I can't beat this on Heroic. I've tried every tip, trick and tool and failed. Week one, green comes at me with Gilraen and half a dozen other moderate heroes with decent armies and I can't avoid them or play keep-away with other Infernal heroes (no money to constantly hire). I got through level Hard, but that's as far as I can get.

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Re: The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby LunaticFringe » 16 Oct 2021, 03:05

FINALLY beat this on Heroic. It was a mixture of strategy and luck. The AI has a lot to do with it, in my opinion. I was taking too long building my army, and Gilraen eventually took the Scroll of Frenzy, making him impossible to beat. If you time it right, he'll kill off the Dragons guarding it, but won't take it. You can then motor over via the northern road and take it. If you have a decent army of Treants, with some Dragons and shooters, with Frenzy he's toast. After taking Gil out, take out the Druid Circle and it's easy peasy from there. I'm trying to re-create my strategy, but AI isn't playing nicely this time :-)

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Re: The Cultist → The Conquest

Unread postby Wheeler Dealer » 18 Sep 2023, 18:22

The Conquest, Heroic

Wish I had never set out to achieve Instant Gating.

I took the pit fiends, Giliraen ran at his first opportunity.

With all my gating skills I lean toward a demon army.

Week 1, bypassed the southern preserve to capture a gold mine a Sulphur pit and a sawmill (never seemed to have enough wood) to the east. Hired two supporting heroes, a Demon Lord and an Elf.

Week 2, took the 1st preserve on 1,2,1 as recommended in the walkthrough. Detoured CCW to avoid the Phoenixes. Bought a knight to relay troops. Had to fight 2 Green heroes on the way. Took the NW Preserve on 1,2,7, important to get there by 1,3,1 so Green doesn't buy all the troops. Agrael up to L17.

Week 3, unlike HOMM 4, peasants stashed in mines don't pay taxes! Exploring, claiming mines. Agrael's army is still mostly inferno. Up to 5 heroes.

Week 4, Continuing to explore and gather. These spawned neutral troops are a problem. Agrael is the only hero who can clear the roads. Gilraen is threatening my southern preserve. I can't defend so I will counterattack.

Week 5, Lost and regained the southern preserve when Green didn't defend it. As I approached the NE preserve Green called home his heroes.

Week 6, Agrael's army is all nature creatures. Sure wish I had at least one point of morale. My projection for a battle with Gilraen is normal. He ran from me. Agrael up to L22. I'm starting to think my effort to reach the Ultimate Skill will fail.

Defeated Gilraen but Agrael's army but took heavy losses. Had to reload once and adjust starting positions.

Week 7, Green continues to send out armies to threaten my towns. My supporting heroes aren't strong enough to attack them yet.

Week 8, Agrael took down Green's best remaining hero, reaching L24. Took out the Druid Circle of Power!

Week 9, Reopened the roads between my 3 towns. I want to make sure Agrael hit all his stat bonus sites and then finish up.

Week 10, Won @3,2,2. My supporting heroes won exactly one battle.

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