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H7: Would you prefer 2D or 3D townscreens?
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Features → Walkthroughs  → The Necromancer → The Invasion

by Rapier

Objective:

  • Obtain staff of the Netherworld
  • Obtain Cloak of Deathís Shadow
  • Obtain Ring of the Unrepentant
  • Markal and Isabel must survive

Carryover:

  • Markal (Max Level: 26)
  • Isabel (Max Level: 26)

Bonuses at start:

  • 5 Vampire Lords
  • 5000 Gold
  • Curse of the Netherworld
Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface (1.3 MB)

Markal's specialty is utilized to its fullest extent in this mission. This is also probably the only mission that playing heroic will grant you an easier gameplay (pre-patched game only, though), because you will receive much larger neutral undead stacks all over the places, ranging from hordes of Vampire Lords to Packs of Bone Dragons.

After Godric, you get Isabel to help you in this mission. If you have spent some effort to develop her in the first campaign (for example, ATK + DEF > 50, Expert Light magic with Master of Wrath, Expert Luck, Expert Attack with Retribution, etc.), she actually owns this mission single-handedly even on heroic. Since patch 1.3 weakened Markal significantly, you might actually need her to fight some tough battle where your Raise Dead simply can't keep up.

This is also the first Necro mission that offers you a decent set of starting bonuses for different strategies in the necropolis campaign. If you didnít obtain Curse of the Netherworld spell on an earlier map, you might want to take it because there are several goal-oriented heroes that have large armies for you to fight. Also, patch 1.3 boosted the power of this spell a little, so it is not a bad alternative of Raise Dead, which are rendered pretty useless in big battles now. If you did take Curse of the Netherworld, then take the Vampire lords if you wish to rush at the start, or take the gold if you prefer a slightly slower build up. By the way, on heroic, in more recent patches the scripted AI wizards tend to drop you the Armagaddon spell non-stop, so you have to finish them off as fast as possible.

You start on a small island, which includes the town of Lorekeep, a Necropolis now at level 11, and you can get upgraded skeletons and zombies from the start. Isabel starts on the same island, in front of a new town Newpost, sadly it starts at level 1 and is a haven (the only one on the map) so itís not particularly useful except for making money. If you should get attacked on the island though, Newpost can get a castle and Lorekeep can only get a citadel.

There are various undead stacks to collect, so you can gather a quick army. There are quite a few on your starting island, and more on the northern continent, where your enemies are plenty as well. A good place to pick up undead is the area east and west of Ziyadís landing point. (Ziyad is the wizard town directly above Lorekeep). You can get bone dragons, vampires, ghosts and archliches.

Ziyad, the rightmost mage town, and the closest to where Markal starts, is probably the only plausible place to rush to. It comes with the additional benefit of giving you the Staff of the Netherworld (-20% initiative to enemies) when you take it. This has the added advantage of allowing you to convert three of the mage towns on the map into Necropolis towns, making this the best way to compete with orange. When you make a landing close to the city, the wizard staged around this city will rush back to defend. It is possible to take the city before the wizard comes back. Otherwise, you will have to do a castle siege against the wizard army, and possibly suffer at least one Armaggadon; three actually sounds normal! If you have built up Isabel well, then you can actually score a much better victory with her. But remember to give the staff to Markal. This staff was named something else, but fixed to its original name in patch 1.3. The conversion happens when you visit the new Academy town with Markal (with the staff in his possession), and leave the town. You have to pay 10,000 gold as well.

Important: Everything inside the town will be lost when the curse happens. So never leave any army or hero in there. If you leave Isabel in the city, she will disappear and you lose the mission automatically!

When you convert a town it starts at level 1. However, there are plenty of mines around and you should not have to worry. You can also leave them as academies, as theyíre quite high level. (but then you cannot learn dark magics from the mage guild; they are not offered in Academy towns.) Once you have the staff you get a secondary objective, which is to convert the three mage towns into necropolis. You do not get great rewards by doing this, but it has obvious benefits to your fighting orange. So even if you lose a town back to them, they can only hire low level undeads! A secondary objective that triggers on the next day is you have is to gather 1000 skeletons, which is optional. It is quite hard not to get 1000 skeletons, though, as you fight so many enemies here and there. You also get one of the best cut scenes of any army when you do it.

As soon as you take your first Academy town, a green Sylvan army spawns. It becomes a secondary objective that Isabel is meant to complete -- destroying the boat of elven troops. Although the custscene implies that Isabel has to do it, itís perfectly fine to attack them with Markal, which is probably eaiser before patch 1.3. Their goal appears to be to take Newpost and Lorekeep. Also, during the battle against them the dynamic battle mode is turned on (you have limited time to make moves).

The second artefact, the cloak of deathís shadows can be found in the top of the three mage towns. The westmost town doesnít contain anything, and taking it is just to prevent it from trying to kill you. You can regardless corrupt it into a necropolis to suit Markal's twisted mind.

The final artefact is in the top right corner of the map. You have to travel through three garrisons to get there; however, the third garrison is the final large fight, so if you can survive it you should be safe. To complete the level you will need to have 20 bone / spectral dragons on you. You can either bring it with you, or collect it afterwards.

The level isnít quite as easy as that however, because Orange spawns goal oriented heroes, from a monolith one-way exit, roughly halfway between the two mage towns that contain artefacts. Their goal is to kill Markal if they get a chance. They never attack the Lorekeep / Newpost island you start on when Markal isnít on it. On heroic, the army that spawns with them are pretty tough -- so you better quickly gather undeads around to fight them, and you can always give the undeads to Isabel and watch the massacre. You get no skeleton archer this way, but you may also save 2/3 of the undead army from Armagaddon.

By the way, the Sylanna's Ancient (level-up tree) is still in the same place where you can find it in the last mission -- just south of Lorekeep. It is going to be there again in the campaign finale. What a forgetful tree!

Final Note: Some players reported that even after they collected the bone dragons, they cannot complete the mission. If that does not work, try to give all necromancer artifacts to Markal as early as possible, and install the latest patch (and restart the mission).

Heroic Considerations

When I played it I went for the wrong town first, and I believe this added two months of game time because of not having an army large enough to defeat Jhora. Be very careful when casting direct damage spells, because most of the heroes have magic mirror, and magic resistance, and you might be better off just attacking, even though Markal is a spellcaster. Alternatively cast raise dead and try to take no losses as you start with a single necropolis and orange has 4 higher level academies at the start. Finally, if you go for a rush, donít skip undead stacks that you see, even if it takes you a turn to pick them up off an island, itís the best way to stay competitive at the start until you can transform some of their towns.

Comments
Wheeler Dealer at 2013-10-24 03:47 wrote:
This was stupid! You have to double click the portal instead of clicking on it and then pressing move!!!!
Wheeler Dealer at 2013-10-23 15:45 wrote:
AAARGH!!! I can't get through the last portal. I think Cyrus must have stopped in a position that prevents me from passing. I can cause the other portal to fail the same way by blocking the exit with one of my heroes!

I am patched through 1.6

ShadowLiberal at 2012-01-20 04:26 wrote:
A few tips from my play through in Heroic.

1) It may be a very BAD idea to take out Jhora right away. I stole Ziyad right out from under Jhora's nose, then attacked her when she tried to flee by a boat. Big mistake, she took out a decent chunk of my army (all my tier 6 creatures, and a bunch of lower level creatures) and then was rehired the next day, took Narxes HUGE army, and crushed Markal a few turns later. When I reloaded and let Jhora flee to invade my starting island I was able to successfully take out the much weaker Narxes and his HUGE army with Markal (with a few reloads).

2) When fighting an enemy hero TAKE OUT THE TITANS ASAP. When I fought Narxes I lost the first time because he walled his titans into a corner with obstacles and his own men. I reloaded and let Narxes attack me, and was able to get easy access to his Titans this time, and took him out after a long hard battle.

3) Make sure you summon phoenix & elements ASAP, only use Mass Slow/Confusion first. Fire Elements are awesome at beating down Phantom Images as fast as Narxes casts them (he was casting them a LOT until he started losing, then he kept casting arcane armor). Phoenixes can deal a LOT of damage with Markal's power being around 20, and can also take the retaliation strike for you.

4) For some reason all of Orange's heroes with a decent sized army were uncharacteristically NOT running away when the battle was hopeless for them. Make sure you have some mana to start casting Raise Dead on all of your dead stacks when you're near victory.
ToweringAmishPlumber at 2011-12-15 05:00 wrote:
Help! We completed this scenario (The Invasion) including getting the ending cut scene, but instead of being allowed to play the next scenario (the Regicide), it goes to a menu which has the all scenarios except the first one (The Temptation) grayed out. It will not let us click on The Regicide even though it apparently recognizes that we completed The Invasion. When we replayed the last week or two of The Invasion the scenario ended with the cut scene, but showed the menu with the first two scenarios (The Temptation and The Invasion) available but the following scenarios were grayed out and couldn't be clicked on. For what it's worth we are playing version 1.5.
VAMPSVSZOUNDS at 2011-12-04 14:00 wrote:
Narxes has a huge army,but can be defeated pretty easily if you visit the mage vault,cause you get either PM or Phoenix,which is obv uber.Blind is excellent for titans too(I did the fight in quicky :) ) The heroes are only armed with a pack of gremlins near Al Safir but they get a huge army after you conquer Ziyad.
Edited on Sun, Dec 04 2011, 09:02 by VAMPSVSZOUNDS
VAMPSVSZOUNDS at 2011-12-04 12:58 wrote:
If you use the command @OpenCircleFog it actually activates Talanar...
konzky at 2011-08-31 15:09 wrote:
Made it loss-free against the first orange uber-army by fielding only my 25 previously joined bonedragons and casting vampirism and arcane shield on them. Had no puppet master or phoenix, so i had to rely on this tactics. Really worth to try! They can take a lot of damage and are regaining health constantly, so you don't have to weaken them by using the raising dead spell too often.
xiilus at 2011-03-09 18:56 wrote:
My Isabel had lucked into a Sorcery build early, so I gave her both light and dark magic. Markal had scholar, picked up Curse of the Netherworld, and passed it to Isabel. At that point, I decided to just convert all Haven troops to undead, so both heroes could use the curse to its fullest. All hail Queen Isabel the Necromancer! :p
obnxsnewt at 2010-07-16 08:09 wrote:
The Sphinx (roughly in the center of the map, just north-west of the town of Ziyad) asked me the riddle:

"Where do Elves write their stories? On books; On trees; or On tattoos"

The correct answer is On Tattoos; I then got a choice of either 20,000 Gold, or 15,000 Experience, or the Phoenix Feather Cape (enhances Fire-based spells by 50%).

If you answer incorrectly you have to fight an exact duplicate of your own Army, including a copy of your Hero with the same stats! (In my case Level 24 Isabel with 1000+ creatures!) And to top it off, if you manage to win the battle, your prize is ZERO experience, but you do get 20K Gold =)
Edited on Fri, Jul 16 2010, 04:13 by obnxsnewt

Kaede45 at 2010-05-27 20:16 wrote:
@ Shad0WeN

Thx a ton! It worked!

Shad0WeN at 2010-05-27 05:35 wrote:
Also a neat tactic for protecting the Westernmost city from invasion is to fill the nearby boat ramp with empty ships, thus preventing the AI from recognizing a path to land there.

Shad0WeN at 2010-05-27 05:29 wrote:
@Kaede45

Have Markal equipped with the Staff of the Netherworld and then when you enter or exit the town (I forget which) you should get a pop-up window asking if you want to convert it. You also must have 10000 gold to get the prompt.

Kaede45 at 2010-05-27 00:49 wrote:
Question: How does one USE the Staff of the Netherworld to convert an Akademy town into a Necropolis?
kmleong at 2010-01-07 07:31 wrote:
Recently Play this game wo Patch I Think, So many Bugs but have No Choice

Get 20 Bone dragon and can't follow Cyrus thro the portal......

Try Queen_Hera method If it dun work, try mine, it work for me

Restart the game and Follow the walkthrough BUT DON'T Recruit or Kill any Bone Dragon even if they are guarding artifact or Any Dragon if Possible!!!! Just remember where they are and after Cyrus goes thro the Portal, Recruit the 20 bone dragons.
Right side DOWN of the Top Island where a lot of Necro Forces are guarding the artifacts have 13 Bone dragons and the down little bit to the left ON a small Island have 7 Bone dragons which make exactly 20 lead them there without any Loss and go thro the Portal on the Right.

Hope this work for u

Shad0WeN at 2009-07-08 03:25 wrote:
Using the Sanctuary just South of Ziyad causes my game to crash during Orange's turn. Running v1.6 on Windows XP Pro 64-bit.
ahoover at 2009-02-06 03:40 wrote:
Just an extra bit of advice for this map- you should definitely not take too much time making your way to Al Safir, at least not on Hard or Heroic. Creatures are piling up in this town throughout the scenario and will eventually be given to one of Orange's elite heroes. If this happens, it will be extremely difficult to defeat their army even using a maxed out Isabel or Markal. I was spending too much time going through the whole map after conquering all the towns but Al Safir, and little did I know the HUGE army that was manifesting itself up there. Orange hired Havez in Al Safir, and brought the army out which looked like this on Hard-

3500 Master Gremlins, 2500 Obsidian Gargoyles, 1500 Steel Golems, 400 Archmages, 230 Djinn Sultans, 100 Rakshasha Rajas, and 75 Titans

Yeah...not a walk int he park. Definitely rush Al Safir to avoid letting too big an army building up there. Even so, you will still see a huge force up there even rushing, so don't waste time!
Edited on Thu, Feb 05 2009, 22:40 by ahoover

Queen Hera at 2009-01-06 09:56 wrote:
For those who reported they couldn't finish this, I thought I had the same problem so I restarted the mission only to realize (at the end) that Markall just has to stand near the portal that Cyrus went through to complete the mission. !!!!!
Com_Jake at 2008-10-04 11:01 wrote:
Obtain Cloak of Deathís Shadow
can't find this peice. I've captured all the towns have killed everything. where is it. Someone give me a picture or something.
CatherineMcClarey at 2008-09-06 02:58 wrote:
Has anyone tried the sphinx's riddle in this scenario, and what was the answer? (It's located roughly SSE of Bahiyaa on the map.) I know it's not required for completing the scenario, but I'm trying to explore everything and see if Markal & Isabel can reach the level cap on this go-round of this scenario (played it once on my old XP computer; doing it on the Vista computer this time).

Grail Quest at 2007-09-09 20:49 wrote:
Recently replayed it, again on Heroic, and it was way easier this time. Took the western town first (Isabel took to sea early and found that landing for him, whereupon he immediately blitzed in that direction), then the northwestern one. Quickly hopped on the boat and went to take down Talanar, then headed south for the southern town, and finally moved up to the garrisons.

The very interesting part is that I had over 100 ghosts, and that amount steadily increased later through joins and reinforcements, to nearly 200. In some fights, such as against Talanar, and the two uber-heroes of the AI, I fielded ONLY GHOSTS. I might have done much better if I had taken Dark and Destruction instead of Dark and Summoning (there is a chance the AI will have some sort of Unsummon Power, or Puppet Master your Phoenix, unless you wait until late in combat), but the main point is that none of the other units really mattered. With incorporeality, the ghosts lasted 50% to 66% longer than they would otherwise. Frenzy like crazy, and in late combat, Phoenix.
As long as I didn't move the ghosts, the AI was content to sit back and shoot, not knowing that I was waiting for his mana to deplete while replenishing mine with Mark of the Necromancer.
Strong AIs also had Magic Immunity, which made things problematic, but as long as you can wait them out (e.g., besieging them, and waiting for the Magical Immunity duration to run out), you are virtually assured of victory.
A vast number of ghosts was also crucial, as it reduced the amount of Raise Dead casts I needed to do.

Based on my experiences here, I would say the Necromancer may in fact be a superior Destruction-caster than the Warlock! Having an essentially unlimited mana pool, plus very high spellpower, is sweet!
Edited on Sun, Sep 09 2007, 16:50 by Grail Quest
Tinto at 2007-09-08 01:40 wrote:
Wow the AI is stupid on this map. Played it on normal and managed to take the western-island and north-central academy nearby. Then while Markal was preparing to take the southeast academy (and dealing with an uber-wizard hero) and Isabel was dealing with the elves another somewhat uber hero popped up and charged towards the north-central academy town.

Fortunately I managed to hire one of the orange heroes I already defeated to defend the town. This is where it gets interesting.

When the siege starts I have my hero constantly frenzy their most powerful stack (60 of the upgraded rashkasha thingies) and it proceeds to lay waste to everything except for some djinns and gargoyles that flew over the wall. In the end all I have left is about 20 gargoyles that just finished off the enemy gargoyles (my hero is about out of spell points) and the enemy is left on the other side of the map with the rashkasha. I figure I'll just have Markal take the town back later since the enemy just took a nasty blow anyway.

Then the enemy hero fled. With a powerful stack of 60, against my mostly destroyed citadel and 20 gargoyles. Maybe I'll start playing on hard or heroic now. :P

Grail Quest at 2007-08-09 14:41 wrote:
Tried it again (on Heroic), and oddly enough, the true Orange uber-hero didn't appear until much later after I took Ziyad. Havez was nearby before I took Ziyad, and had a sizable army, so I crushed him first with Markal before moving up to Ziyad with Isabel. Much later came Narxes (a measly level 4, thank goodness, so he couldn't spam Armageddon), who was the super-loaded hero, and Isabel bought all troops from Ziyad and fled. But Markal came down from the Northwest and took him on. And won!
Narxes had 678 Master Gremlins, 616 Obsidian Gargoyles, 402 Steel Golems, 155 Archmagi, 103 Master Genies, 28 Rakshasa Rajas, 23 Titans, and a mess of artifacts, including a Ring of the Unrepentant, although securing that from Narxes did not tick off the Mission Objective.
Markal destroyed everything of Narxes's, including all war machines. Once Narxes's mana ran out, Markal's ability to regenerate mana allowed him to spam Frenzy on the organic units to destroy the inorganic ones. Mark of the Necromancer on the Titans hit with Decay allowed a relatively fire-and-forget mana regeneration. It was also absolutely crucial to besiege him, as the AI doesn't move their walkers in a siege unless you go after them.
Final losses on Markal's side: 192 of 193 Skeleton Archers, none of the 157 Plague Zombies, 217 of 361 Spectres, 98 of 139 Vampire Lords, and only 1 of 55 Wraiths was lost. Spectres were priceless as they survived continued attempts to kill them, thus prolonging the siege for me. The no-retaliation attack of the Vampire Lords was handy and I sent them in for a cautious strike or two, but unfortunately they turned out to be another damage sink until the AI switched to targeting the Spectres.
Was my army smashed? Not with a good chunk of Vampire Lords and Wraiths left, plus the peninsula still untouched with archliches, vampires, ghosts, and bone dragons. On top of that, Deidre is about to launch from LoreKeep with a third wave of undead reinforcements. (I kept all Academy cities unconverted as it would be easier to combine a huge force for Isabel to smash the garrisons).
Surely Frenzy is the ultimate spell, and with the enemy unable to use either Frenzy or Puppet Master on me, Necromancers rule!
*
Some tips:
If you take Ziyad and the uber-Oranges come down, let them take Ziyad back and if possible hit them by Day 1 of the following week, when their troops have regrown but their Day 1 turn hasn't come up so they haven't bought anything yet. Also, the AI is generally easier to fight in a siege.
In letting them take Ziyad, you will also now make Lorekeep the closest city for Summon Creatures. Markal doesn't have a deep mana pool to summon troops, but Isabel probably has 10+ Knowledge if you've picked up all the bonuses from the Haven missions, so in one go she can get 2-3 weeks worth of troops from LoreKeep and hand them over.

Don't convert the Academy cities right away. Isabel (especially if she has Leadership) can use the troops to replace her initial Haven joins on the island (the stack of footmen near the shipyard always joins, and I think the archers nearby join if you can buy them), and all the cities will have all dwellings except Rakshasas, although if you capture the cities later, they may also have a Silver Pavilion for you. As well, if you are picking up a new magic specialization for Markal, you might need the deeper spell libraries of the Academy to top up his spells before moving on. Restarting a city, especially with a sulfur shortage, is too costly.

Grow New Port to a City for cash then leave it until later, when, as an option, you might want to have archers or griffons (for crossbowmen or conversion to Vampires). However, they are more or less strictly secondary troops. Don't aim for Capital as you are unlikely to really use the troops and building it up that much will just waste your resources. It'll be easy enough to grow a capital with one of the captured Academy cities.

Have a hero sail about collecting driftwood. The excess wood and frequent finds of gold will come in handy when you start to develop the cities on the mainland. I used Isabel for the most part as she could also clear the shipwrecks (which won't join Markal even if they are undead).

Not all Death Knights join, regardless of how absolute Markal's specialty sounds.

Be careful about Talanar. He apparently knows where Isabel is and goes straight for her. He smashed my army, and I survived only because I built Isabel to also have Dark Magic, initially intending a combo Mass Slow - Mass Haste - Benediction, but ending up using a lot of Frenzy and finishing with Resurrection. Her fairly deep mana pool let her compete very nicely.

There are a lot of Rakshasa and quite a few colossus stacks, so it's easy to build a nice stack of Wraiths. However, Vampires are your best troops overall with their ability to revive themselves, so keep an eye out for opportunities to get them with Necromancy. There were always at least 2 stacks of Champions, one just north of Ziyad, along the road. Get them whenever possible.

Only Isabel has Town Portal, and only if she got it previously. It is apparently not available anywhere in the Necromancer campaign up to this point, unless Godric or Isabel teaches it to you.

*

It's possible to randomly encounter the necessary artifacts either on the map (I saw the Cloak on an island) or with artifact merchants. I know the Ring of the Unrepentant isn't meant to be found, so it did not check off that mission objective, but has anyone completed the other mission objectives this way?
Edited on Thu, Aug 09 2007, 10:47 by Grail Quest
Rymbeld at 2007-08-09 04:51 wrote:
Ok, I figured this one out. The key is to just avoid the orange armies and snipe the towns behind their backs. Their movement is pretty predictable, and a two-pronged strategy works best: get them to chase a hero while the other runs into town. Make good use of the Sanctuary. Recruit lots of low-level heroes to act as decoys, but give them some troops so that you can soften the mages up if need be. After you curse their towns they can't reinforce themselves.

Orange tends to load ALL their troops on one hero later in the game. Early on, all the armies are massive. It's much easier to take the towns when Orange has one uber-hero, since he can't patrol all the towns at once.

You can get 20 bone dragons easy without ever building up your necropoleis. There are 4 stacks of them on the map. Also, don't bother to upgrade your buildings, but use the Hill Fort.
Rymbeld at 2007-08-07 17:54 wrote:
I just got stomped! Playing on normal, I had 34 Bone Dragons, 800 bone archers, 65 liches, 80 plague zombies, ~100 vampire lords and 80 or so spectres.

fought an orange hero by the easternmost town...he had 8 titans, 400 gargoyles, 900 gremlins, 100 mages, 400 golems. kept casting phantom on the gremlins...yeah, 1,800 gremlins.

Grail Quest at 2007-08-03 14:36 wrote:
Oh my God. This mission reminds me of some of the H3:SoD missions in how they are set up -- designed to irritate. In some ways it's worse than even Inferno Mission 3, because on Heroic that one degenerated very quickly so you didn't waste too much time before seeing how futile it was.
Like Necromancer Mission 2, this is clearly written for a character able to amass and replenish an insane-sized army on the move. You are too far from support, and there is a severe ore shortage and a non-existence of sulfur early in the game, so some buildings will be restricted.
Interestingly, if Isabel has Resurrection, she can play Necro-style in the early game by resurrecting fallen troops before combat ends, with her larger Knowledge Pool as a knight. In this way, her small initial number of troops isn't too much of a problem. She, too, can therefore rush.
The enemies that spawn when you take a city are incredibly powerful. On Heroic, I blitzed with both Markal and Isabel, and they took the western and southern cities early in Month 1, only to be turned back by Talanar entering from the northwest, and two powerful armies possibly coming through portals from the capital. In fact, shortly after I took some cities, Orange started to spit out heroes like water from a faucet, sending them through the one-way portals.
On Month 1 Week 3 Day 1, Markal had 6 Bone Dragons, 3 Wights, 20 Liches, 34 Vampires, 18 Vampire Lords, 106 Ghosts, 206 Skeleton Archers. I thought it was pretty decent myself, especially the Vamps. The very next day, charging down from the road, was Havez with all war machines and 34 Titans (!), 158 Master Genies, 240 Archmagi, 397 Steel Golems, and 723 Master Gremlins. I ran like Crag Hack himself was on my heels. Havez more or less went south, although if I were close by, he did meander my way looking for an opportunity, I suppose. After many many days he would take NewPort.
But, close behind Havez was Temkhan, who did look for Markal and caught up on Day 7 of the same week. He more or less smashed Markal's army with his own (4 Rakshasa Rajahs, 397 Steel Golems, 9 Iron Golems, 524 (!) Obsidian Gargoyles, 14 Stone Gargoyles, and 723 (!) Master Gremlins). By then Markal had gotten some nice joins from nearby undead, so he survived and I narrowly avoided having to restart the scenario.
Meanwhile Isabel tried to shake off Talanar by taking to ship, but Talanar went back to his own ship and on Month 1, Week 4, Day 7 was too close to NewPort so I let him catch up. Interestingly, Quick Combat won with a small margin but Auto Combat couldn't duplicate it. In any case, Talanar had 15 Silver Unicorns, 50 Druid Elders, 100 Master Hunters, and 200 War Dancers. Who the h*ll playtested this and came up with these numbers?! I suspect Isabel's Expert Dark Magic and lucky use of Puppet Master had something to do with it as she barely pulled through after ditching the Gremlins to increase Morale just a little for her remaining troops: 37 Fire Elementals (a lucky hire on the road), 77 Footmen, 185 Archers, 24 Peasants. Without Dark Magic, I doubt she could have won.
The capital (which I never got close to but cheated to have a look at) is itself will be guarded by garrisons, the last of which has over 20 Titans, in addition to literally hundreds of other troops! The AI also has insane resources although, curiously, does not spend them upgrading any towns other than the capital.
On top of all this... I was playing it in HOF and Cursing a town resulted in them becoming Sylvan towns! So not only do I have to start over, I have to redo all the missions in regular H5. GRR!

Phate at 2007-02-15 22:18 wrote:
If you really cant convert the towns (bring Markal with staff equipped to town, enter town/exit town with 10,000 gold), and you've already taken all the neutral bone dragon stacks (From my recollection there's three: Two stacks on the shore south of the closest mage town, one in the inferno area in the west), there's no way to obtain 20 dragons and complete the mission.

If you do still have a dragon stack to pick up, then you'd have to wait some weeks until there are enough there.

I've never encountered any bug on this map after playing through it two times on 1.1 and 1.3, so you really should be able to convert those towns, especially if you have a patched game.
SkyDancer at 2007-01-24 18:25 wrote:
I really hate this map. It just keeps going, and going, and going...But I do have a question. How can I gather 20 bone dragons? Markal has the staff but I seem to be unable to convert any of the towns, and I don't see a bone dragon creature generator anywhere. So how can this scenario be completed? I just don't get it. I'm about ready to cheat past this one, since all I have left is to defeat Cyrus, if in fact there's a cheat code to do it. After having restarted this one four times, I'm in no mood to start over yet again when I'm so close to finishing. What a nightmare!
KieranM at 2007-01-14 18:53 wrote:
Hey, how do you convert towns after cancelling, i did it once and it killed me , so i left it to the end, now i found out that you have to convert them with no one inside, i'm struggling to remember how to! Also I have 20 bone dragons and it won't let me follow cyrus, any ideas?
Cheers

Pave at 2006-12-28 22:50 wrote:
I'm having some pretty rough time during this mission. As soon as I take the SE mage-town I get rushed by the green army (which I could defeat quite easily) and the very next turn by insane orange army (something like 1k of gremlins etc) and moreover the wizard keeps "duplicating" his units so in the end it's hardly possible for me to kill him... Any suggestions appart from starting over and hoping in better luck? thx...

maltz at 2006-10-16 21:59 wrote:
Not very long ago I also tried 1.3 heroic. I used Isabel to pull me through very tough orange hero fight. She was a far better army commander than Markal.

There are a lot of undeads to grab nearby this SE town, plus there is a larger stack of bone dragons SE from the landing shore, which helped a lot.
shep61 at 2006-10-16 16:11 wrote:
I've tried this five times now on 1.3 heroic, after having beaten it many times on other patches and difficulties. I cannot beat it. I've tried slow build and rushing, but always have gone after the SE town first. As soon as I take it, I get attacked by the ridiculous army that "afterthought" mentioned (20+ titans, 200+ mages, etc.). I've actually taken the town in week 3, month 1 and still see basically the same army, with no chance of beating it. Unlike what "afterthought" saw, the enemy army always attacks me and does not go South. Maybe I should try taking the NW town first and working around the other direction........
afterthought at 2006-10-13 20:52 wrote:
I just beat this on 1.3 Heroic and man was it a pain.

The spawned Orange heroes had armies with over 20 titans, 1000+ goblins (I think around 1.4k when confronted) and anywhere between 100-300 archmages. Plus many other melee units.

I beat the map without ever once fighting them though. To my suprise, they all charged the South island and even wierder, they all stayed there for the most part. Only at the very end, after they had *COMBINED* two of those spawned armies onto one hero, did they feel confident to leave Newpost and chase Markal, who was at that point about to follow Cyrus through the teleporter :)

I simply outmaneuvered the spawned heroes and let them take my towns, since I had a large enough army on Markal (gathered from the map) to take on any of the fights. Markal didn't even have Logistics, but taking the Lightpost was helpful (though probably not critical).

One thing I'd advise is using Isabel to take the leftmost town, since Newpost is on that side and it's pretty easy to take (plus it doesn't cause the heroes/Green to spawn)
Edited on Fri, Oct 13 2006, 14:53 by afterthought

Gaidal Cain at 2006-09-18 20:16 wrote:
Probably. Apparantly, Nicolai can stop respawning without you winning...
jomac at 2006-09-18 19:38 wrote:
I'm stumped. I own just about everything on the map. I have the dragons, but I see no other heros and I can't find the artifacts I need to enter. Do I really need to start over?
wasdqwerty at 2006-09-09 02:01 wrote:
Any tips on how to conduct a rush? Should I stop over at islands to gain more forces, pickup mines, etc. or should i just rush straight over to the mainland? What is the time frame for me to rush? by the 2nd month? Also, wad would be an effective way to defend my small island from green? the forces on the island cant defend me from the swarms of green creatures. thnx in advance
Edited on Fri, Sep 08 2006, 21:20 by wasdqwerty

Gaidal Cain at 2006-09-08 14:54 wrote:
By not spending so much time building up an "Łber" army. Teal has 5 towns, you have 2. Until you've captured 3 of his, he'll be gaining power faster than you.
wasdqwerty at 2006-09-07 08:38 wrote:
I need help! I spent so much time building up an uber army to invade the orange area but an orange hero loaded with swarms of creatures decimate my hero in a few moments. How do I overcome this?
Gnawkz at 2006-08-28 22:11 wrote:
One side note that was left out. If the NW Town is taken first, nothing happens.

Any other towns that are taken results in green being spawned and orange getting crazy.
Gnawkz at 2006-08-28 22:08 wrote:
I played this map on hard, and took the SE Town first, Orange becomes insanly difficult to beat. After taking the SE town from Orange, their hero appears summons everything from the town behind all the garrisons and then attacks me. So, that is the last town.

Instead, I rushed the NW town first and from there the North Town and then finally the SE town. Took me 3 weeks to finish off all of Orange's presence outside of the garrisons. Roamed around the map until I hit level cap then took out the last town.

If rushed fast enough all of Orange's power heros (LVL 20) should have a few Djinns as their strongest creature. Couldnt rush the last town because both of them Armagedden and killed themselves
NickMP at 2006-08-18 14:06 wrote:
Interesting map. I mopped up the home island, then went east to the SE town, then N to the central town, then crossed the river to the NW, leaving Isabel to wander round doing minor stuff - whereupon the spawning ambush pounced on her and killed her (end of game). Reloading and trying again, I found that if Markal goes south to recapture towns (yes, Orange counterattacks aggressively on Hard, and *will* take your original island), the northwestern town will send forces across to chase Isabel. key points: (1) keep Markal and Isabel close so he can guard her and (2) remember the objectives do not include holding every town. In the end I let Orange conquer the southern island and reconquer the southern town (after I'd cursed it) and concentrated on the final assault.
The map is a shade bigger than it needs to be - you probably don't need to bother with every bit (I skipped the Inferno neutrals in the far NW), but it's not a bad scenario and nice to see the AI full of fight.

maltz at 2006-08-01 03:32 wrote:
Just played this mission on patch 1.2 on heroic. The AIs are more active than before. Two heroes were particularly well-manned and proofed to be quite a challenge early on. Great!
daniellyt at 2006-07-11 16:40 wrote:
i think there is a bug. After i attack Ziyad i did not get the Staff of Netherworld.....

Sikon at 2006-07-03 16:42 wrote:
The biggest problems (on Normal) were a powerful Academy hero that came a few days after I captured Ziyad (I rushed to it, not even bothering to collect undead between Newpost and Lorekeep), and an insanely built Sylvan hero after I finished off the Academy hero (which took several tries, but in the last one, I lost virtually nothing).

The Sylvan hero was "insanely built" in the sense that he had 1 attack and 12 defense, and while his army didn't look like much (200 blade dancers, 100 master hunters, 50 elder druids and 15 silver unicorns), the blade dancers proved really tough to my troops and shredded them to pieces. It took me several tries as well, and in the end, I concentrated on putting down the shooters with my vampires while my skeleton archers and liches were running away from the blade dancers and Markal was feeding them with ice bolts. I survived... barely. However, there were plenty of undead stacks still left around Ziyad, including spectral dragons and vampire lords, so I fought all the following battles in quick combat mode.

I also had to replay about a week because, after building up Newpost, I brought all the Haven troops to Lorekeep and transformed them, and then an Academy hero landed and defeated Isabel (who remained on the island all the time). The next time, I kept these troops with Isabel and defeated him with quick combat.
Edited on Mon, Jul 03 2006, 10:45 by Sikon

Gaidal Cain at 2006-06-26 23:30 wrote:
But it's the first evidence of not only being able to convert towns, but to link it to an artifact, that really impressed me on the map.

Well, if you can convert towns in the first place, linking it to a specific artifact is child's play.

Bandobras Took at 2006-06-26 22:52 wrote:
Due to a bug,Ive skipped this mission.Found out just when I ended the campaign.Is it worth playing since I hate leaving things unfinished?

On its own merits, it's a large map the pits a necromancer and a knight against a bunch of wizards and a large army of elves, which is fun enough.

But it's the first evidence of not only being able to convert towns, but to link it to an artifact, that really impressed me on the map.

Gaidal Cain at 2006-06-26 22:34 wrote:
It's an OK map. It's got a couple of rather cool effects, so I would say that if you feel that way, you should go ahead and play it.

DaemianLucifer at 2006-06-26 20:01 wrote:
Due to a bug,Ive skipped this mission.Found out just when I ended the campaign.Is it worth playing since I hate leaving things unfinished?
tpicciani at 2006-06-26 15:39 wrote:
Had an awful time with this one. What worked? Used haven town just for funds. Also upgraded creature habitats to get basics like archers and griffins. Converted them once Lorekeep was ready. Didn't spend any more money there. Sent Markal to nw town first so I could grab the 300+ skel. archers over there. Then I took the left town. Once I had the left town I pulled back and went to the eastern town and took it out. Generated one mage hero for the west town and 2 undead heroes to ferry creatures to Markal. I let him do the fighting to generate more undead. I kept Isabel near Markal so he could defend her. Green always want to go after her. Finally just kept Markal near the portal to zap any orange coming through.
Edited on Mon, Jun 26 2006, 09:43 by tpicciani

Gaidal Cain at 2006-06-17 08:29 wrote:
You also need to have those 10000 gold to get the question. If you have less than 10000 gold you won't get any message at all.

Rapier at 2006-06-17 02:32 wrote:
After leaving the town screen, it should ask if you want to cover the town for 10,000 gold. Make sure the staff is equipped just in case and then.. I don't know, if it still doesn't work you might have a bug and need a restart.

Skullmane at 2006-06-17 00:15 wrote:
Hmm, how do i curse those mage towns? i have the staff, i already control three mage towns, but i visit them with the staff and nothing happens...
joeldubuc at 2006-06-16 20:00 wrote:
I built the troop buildings in the Haven town and then converted the creatures to undead with the special building in the Necro town, that way I was able to gather a large army faster! Money was never a problem for that map.

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