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Features → Walkthroughs  → The Mage → The Defiant Mage

by Psychobabble

Academy Campaign Overview

Before I begin the walkthrough proper, I wanted to give a quick overview of the Academy campaign because it’s a bit of an odd one. Throughout the course of the five-map campaign there is precisely one map where you get to build up an academy town – the second map. For the last three maps, your best hero isn't even likely to be Zehir (the putative protagonist), but some of the main characters from the previous campaigns.

Prior to patch 1.3, it's also, on the whole, a very easy campaign – even on heroic – however the final battle is against a very high level hero with stats in the mid 40s. To be able to win this battle without a lot of fiddling and re-loading (and due to the nature of the final battle, you really don't want to be re-loading) you should be building up Zehir – your weakest character for the final map as much as possible. Patch 1.2 removes the stacking nature of elementals, but gives you fresh spells for water elementals. Patch 1.3 roughly doubles the mana requirement for high-level spells, making the first two missions quite more difficult.

Finally, because it's possible to do so, I attempted to get Zehir the ultimate Academy skill (Arcane Omniscience – see the skill wheel if you don't know what I'm talking about). I failed in my first run through (hard difficulty) but I'll hopefully succeed on my second time through (heroic) while I write this walkthrough. However, by the time Zehir gets Arcane Omniscience, the hardest part will be long over, and your other heroes can usually still do a better job than Zehir. Therefore, you will have an easier time early on, if you simply Zehir to suit your low-level needs.

Anyway, enough of that... here's the walkthrough for the first map!

Map 1 - The Defiant Mage
Size - Normal
Level Cap – 10

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface (1.4 MB)


The choice of bonus here is a pretty easy one. You're fairly starved for creatures and while they're a terribly weak tier 5 creature, five djinn are a reasonably useful addition to your army.


You have two primary objectives in this map and there is also an undocumented goal you might want to go after – the summon phoenix spell, which might be available in the town's mage guild. Getting this spell early will make the next part of the campaign much easier and I mention this now because you'll want to get your hero expert summon magic ASAP to learn this level 5 spell. On patch 1.3 each pheonix costs you 35 mana(!), so early knowledge points seems to be very important for Zehir now.

The first thing you'll notice on this map is that your army is pretty weak. Unfortunately it's not getting much stronger any time soon. Luckily your hero is an elemental summoning expert and with a few little tricks you can get through this map without too many problems. First thing you might want to do is run up the road to the north and flag the horned demon dwelling (at 1 on the mini-map) to give your weak army a little boost. Follow the road to the east until it hits a crossroad (2). Your goal in this stage is to preserve your army and level your hero up a bit. But, and this is reasonably important if you want to get the most out of the map, do not let your hero get above level 7. Once you're at level 6 or so then I would recommend that you stop attacking non-essential stacks and take gold instead of experience from chests. I'll explain why later. Also, this is the time to decide whether or not want to go for arcane omniscience because selecting any skill off the correct path (specific skills in summoning, enlightenment, attack and sorcery) may make doing so literally or practically impossible. It's probably not the most powerful path to take, but it is a fun goal to pursue throughout the campaign.

Do not attack any stacks which will cause you significant casualties, so stay away from any cerberus or succubus stacks. For the weaker stacks a little trick which will help your army survive is splitting off some one-unit stacks off your gargoyles. Thanks to the hero's special ability you get a few elementals when a stack dies, regardless of their size. You can split the stack up in the tactics phase of the battle by shift-dragging the unit in the ATB br like this:

Add the creatures back to the battlefield after splitting them off. Sending out one or two single stacks of gargoyles will slow the enemy down with summoned elementals and let your gremlins and main summoned elemental stacks do the damage.

Note: Patch 1.3 introduced a new bug that you sometimes lose an entire stack that was not even deployed in battle, if you split a stack to its position and rearrange them during battle. To avoid this bug split your stacks before the battle takes place.

When you hit the crossroads head north. You can pick up some skeletons from the dwelling at 3; further south you can visit a stat+2 arena, which is quite useful this early. When you follow the paved road north, don't miss out the mana well, which will be Zehir spiritual food for this mission.

Ghosts, like the stack guarding a spellpower booster at 4 might seem tough, but they die very easy to the ice bolt spell and, handily, all the ghost stacks round here are on swamp terrain which allows Zehir to summon water elementals (casters). Keep following the road around until you hit the gate at 5 and remember to stop acquiring experience if your hero is about level 6.

Once through the gate with minimal casualties (elementals are your friend) head to the town at 6 which is one of your primary objectives. There are usually two heroes guarding this town (one hero in patch 1.3). If you appear weak enough they might come out to engage you, or one might just run past, which is nice because the town has a castle built. If it isn't day 7 of a week it might be worth hanging out near the town for a day just to see if you get attacked. On 1.3 heroic you are guaranteed to be attacked, but after winning this tough battle you can occupy the defenseless town.

One time when I encountered the enemy hero they were all weirdly bunched up (see picture- there's creatures in every single one of those positions :) which made for a very lucrative circle of winter and a much easier battle! Also, the battle against the town can be won with just a handful of creatures. For instance I split my 8 remaining gremlins up into 7 different stacks (I had already killed the tougher hero outside the town). For some reason this made the castle defences attack my catapult, to little effect, while my summoned water elementals made short work of the defenders:

Once you capture the town the second phase of the map should begin, assuming you have kept your hero's level low enough that the map doesn't end at this point (if your hero is or becomes level 10 when you capture the castle). If you're lucky – and you have a 50% chance – then the town will have summon phoenix as its level 5 summoning spell which is very useful to have.

If you will be leveling up to the cap by defeating the stacks guarding the bonus, you can transfer all your creatures to a secondary hero who should also get as many undead troops as possible. Send this hero to clear the guards from the offence/defence booster at 7 and the spellpower booster at 8. While you’re there, pick up the mercury mine. Once you've got these two boosters you can either end the map by levelling up your main hero – there's plenty of places to do this – or wait for a few weeks while you and collect enough resources (and gold to turn into resources, from chests and your town) to build the rather expensive level 5 mage guild. There's nothing else of interest, not even through the the oh-so-scary portal of "infernal danger" (9). If you have the patience, though, getting summon phoenix is worthwhile because there's no guarantee that you'll get it on future maps (I didn't in my first run through and I built every possible level 5 mage guild).

Note: The other level-5 spell you can learn here comes from the Dark magic school. Try to achieve Expert Dark Magic here so you can pick it up! (and hope it is Puppet Master)

Wheeler Dealer at 2013-11-15 20:17 wrote:
yikes, I bought an Elemental Waistband and now Zehir summons 3 elementals instead of 10!

ShadowLiberal at 2012-02-14 22:40 wrote:
This mission can either be somewhat simple if you rush towards the town fast enough, or impossible, depending on how difficult the computer wants to be for you.

If the AI sits in their town then you won't be able to beat them even during week #1. The only way to draw them out is to save your game and dump some of your army, so that the AI thinks it can beat you, then you have to defeat the AI with your weaker army. Once you beat the enemy hero the town should guarded by either no one or just 1 skeleton, a simple win.

Also advise on building Zehir, unless you want to do a LOT of reloading in mission #2 don't go with Destructive magic, as that's the only place you can get level 4 and 5 spells in that school. I'd suggest Light/Dark/Summoning magic, as well as Sorcery & Enlightenment.

Oh and next mission is absolute hell, so make sure you get the level 5 spells from the mage guilde, especially Summon Phoenix. You probably should build Zehir just to win that mission rather than long term strength if you're playing on Hard or Heroic.
Edited on Tue, Feb 14 2012, 17:51 by ShadowLiberal
obanvar at 2010-05-25 19:37 wrote:
How do you get the Conjure Phoenix if you don't get it on the first try? By re-starting the whole mission from the begining and praying that in the end you get it when you build the level 5 Mage Guild? By just saving before conquering the castle, and after wining each time then proceed to build the level 5 Mage Guild and pray it gets Phoenix, and if not, re-starting just that specific battle? anyone knows? it's kinda boring re-starting the whole mission...

Peredhil at 2009-08-01 08:53 wrote:
Heroic 1.6.You should reach the castle in day 5.No detours(but hiring demons).AI already recruited vampires and stayed in castle.You should have plenty of time to explore later.
And some skills that suits me best in campaigns:

*each hero needs Enlightenment(only Isabel below 30, Godric and Findan really over 40)

*also Dark,Light, Sorcery is best for knights, Findan and Zehir.Markal trade Light(doh!) for Summoning, warlocks get Destructive instead of Light or Dark and Agrael followed ultimate's path.
Edited on Sat, Aug 01 2009, 04:55 by Peredhil

Grail Quest at 2009-07-12 00:54 wrote:
If you're not trying for level 5 spells in the town, then this can either be a rush map to grab the castle, or a stealth map. On my first try, I found the heroes turned away from the garrison and wandered in their own territory. This means there's a chance you can stealthily make a dash for the castle and take it without having to deal with their strongest hero.
If you wait till week 3+, you're in trouble because the Necropolis hero keeps recruiting from their creature generators and can overwhelm you.
stachnie at 2008-03-28 12:21 wrote:
About Zehir's setup: I think there are two keys to win. One is Summon Phoenix (for most of the campaign, I was lucky to get it in the first map) and the other is Banish ability (for battles with Markal, Biara and Demon Sovereign (sp.?)). In fact the other skills and magic schools don't matter, at least on Hard, v.1.6. I tried to give him AO but I failed and instead of an extra magic school he had War Machines. Lack of Resurrection is painful but Flaming Arrows + Ballista rock.

Wulfstan8182 at 2007-12-22 01:55 wrote:
lol, haven't played this campaign, not even close to, but i just noticed that Zehir changed his hairstyle in TotE
jmarling at 2007-12-09 22:30 wrote:
Yikes! Took me five tries to get Summon Phoenix. First four got Arcane Armor. I also got Puppet Master only one out of five tries. Was I just unlucky?
NickMP at 2007-08-14 21:10 wrote:
I found the horned demons at the first dwelling impossible to recruit - they showed up ready to be clicked on, but greyed out. (1.5, normal difficulty)
raptorsnz at 2007-07-17 07:15 wrote:
When I attacked the base, I had 1 skeleton, 2 gremilins and 1 horned demon, while they had 3 towers, easily strong enough to destory my forces. But for some reason attacked my catapault, like the person in the walkthrough. Is there a reason for this? I easily killled his one skeleton archer aferwards and won the level.

Whats the reason for that "infernal danger awaits" teleporter anyway?
Edited on Tue, Jul 17 2007, 03:17 by raptorsnz

protput at 2006-09-06 09:33 wrote:
I played this map more than 6 times and never got the summon phoenix spell.
However, on the next map I did get the summon phoenix spell when I upgraded to the required level5 mage guild.
GatorG at 2006-08-07 12:01 wrote:
Heroic - You can visit the Skeleton dwelling, spell place, and +2 Att/Def and take the Necro town on the eighth day (before it can hire creatures).

It took me 7/8 times to get Summon Phoenix. Hopefully others will be more lucky. G (-:

Havez is a good secondary hero for this map and any Necro hero for Skeletal Archers is probably good too (if you can get them when you conquer the town).
Edited on Mon, Aug 07 2006, 15:38 by GatorG

maltz at 2006-07-20 03:31 wrote:
On heroic it is so easy to reach level 10. Better not fight any neutral without a good purpose, or be prepare to miss out a few stat boosts. Here are a list of neutrals to fight:

-- Neutrals blocking stat boosters
-- Neutrals blocking saw mill, ore pit and mercury lab
-- Neutral blocking the mana well

That's it! I only fought these neutrals, plus the teal players, and I reached level 9. One more neutral and I am lv 10!
arkali at 2006-06-24 16:03 wrote:
Just FYI - the Spoiler Surface Map is not the map for this mission.

Anyway - excellent walk-though. Thanks! I'd have not held my hero back on leveling and missed the spell gathering opportunity had it not been for this walkthrough.

Omega_Destroyer at 2006-06-20 21:58 wrote:
Just my two cents: Don't bother going for Arcane Omniscience. It's very hard to get levels past 30 in the campaign.

Nebs at 2006-06-20 18:39 wrote:
Pretty much the same way I've did it. Nothing other to recommend.

Thanks. :)

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