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Celestial Heavens  → Might & Magic: Heroes VI - Necropolis - The Spider's Stratagem

by maltz

INTRODUCTION

In mission 3, we fought opponents 4 times stronger than us. Mission 4 the campaign finale (there are only four missions per campaign in Heroes6) takes challenge up a whole notch. Your only enemy, the Inferno faction, owns 9 towns and 4 forts, and they will keep coming at you even if you wipe out their army again and again.

Nonetheless, that's not where the main challenge of the mission lies. A few towns are garrisoned by some ridiculously large army, so large that they could eclipse the climax of the final boss battle. If you match that army to fight the final boss, they might actually win! Your objectives - take or destroy everything! It sounds really overwhelming.

But there are hopes - lots of hopes. Heroes6 campaigns are scripted in a way that you can frequently be crushed by scripted armies that are simply too large for now. However, these scripted armies do not grow at any noticeable rate! Your overall success is dependent on how many Inferno Forts and Towns you can bring down with a small starting army before you eventually run into a red-hot corpse incinerator. When that happens, you have to rely on your superior unit production to eventually bring you a deadly cold meat grinder yourself to take down the toughest Inferno towns.

There are two types of Inferno towns and forts: those on the surface and those underground. Those on the surface, once conquered, can be converted to Necropolis for your own benefit. Those below the surface, however, will be instantly demolished and their respective area is permanently sealed off. Your hero will be teleported back to the surface as well.

Since battles in this game usually involve stacks that can do 4 digits, if not 5 digits of damage each hit, it is a good idea to invest ability points into the passive combat category, after getting all the core abilities suggested in Mission 1 walkthrough. You should also try to raise your Magic Attack stat as much as possible, since your two most powerful ranged stacks depend on it.


Necro Campaign Mission 4
Level Cap: 30
Difficulty Index: 5/6
Last Updated: November 12, 2011


WALKTHROUGH

A good starting bonus is the "free first generic hero" bronze-level Dynasty Trait. By now, the starting levels of the generic heroes are very high, making them very expensive to hire. Give this hero and Ludmilla some economic abilities (such as the +1 Wood and Ore per day) and let them ship units to Ana. Another very good bonus at the bronze Dynasty level is "hero +3 movement" (you did pick up Logistics and Pathfinding, right?) You have lots of travelling to do.


Ana starts in the SE corner with a moderately developed Town A. Start with clearing the area close to Town A and flag the resource buildings. Your top priority is to get the Archlich building. The dependable Liches will be your main power output throughout the mission.

Next you can decide to either go north or go west first. There isn't too much difference since everywhere you go, there is a Demon town or fort to conquer. I went north first, and conquered the towns in the alphabetically labeled order (Fort B, Town C.... to Town H), while tackling each underground town in the nearby area.

In my game, I encountered very manageable resistance all the way to Town F. However, by the time I got to Fort Gand beyond, I started seeing enormous inferno army. Maybe that's a good reason to go north first. Or maybe the game will spawn the large armies in the remaining towns no matter where you go first.

You will notice scattered skeleton stacks volunteer to join your army, which contributes to a side quest requiring you to recruit 1000 skeletons. You can collect the skeletons with secondary heroes. You can only pick up a couple of hundreds for free - the others have to come from your accumulated production. This side quest actually serves as a quite accurate "timer" of the mission. In my game, I finished the mission 2 weeks before recruiting enough skeletons. So if you already finish this side quest by having 1000+ skeletons, you should have more than enough power to defeat the final boss.

Let the Blitz begin! Rush to Fort B and bring it down. Convert just the creature building, but not the Fort itself. Save those Wood and Ore to trade for Crystals to get the Weaver building ASAP. Around this area you should be able to pick up your first Moon Shard Fragment. This goes to the second side quest of the mission - collect four fragments, pick up the famous Tear of Asha, and install it in your Capital (your only Level 4 town). The location of the other three fragments are marked by (MF), and the location of the Tear of Asha is marked by Tear. One tricky fragment is located on an island that can be accessed by building a ship from the shipyard southwest of Town E (just west of the future Tear of Asha chest).

It is impossible to acquire the Tear before collecting all four fragments, unlike in Heroes5, where you can dig up the Tear even without having any piece of the map! Note that you have to have all four fragments on the same hero for the Tear chest to spawn. While having the tear installed really boosts your production, you are really better off to conquer as many weak surface Inferno towns and forts as possible at this stage, as even if you get the Tear early, you likely don't have enough resources to install it. Then, when you hit a brick wall later (such as a stack that potentially deals 15000+ damage in one hit), you can take your time to collect the fragments and the Tear.


At this time, you can expect to meet the first demon hero. They are all very aggressive - coming directly at you whenever possible. Curse of the Netherworld is perfect for this kind of small-scale encounter. Throughout this mission I fought more than 10 demon heroes on the field. Strangely, they get quickly "recycled" once they are defeated. So I keep fighting the same two or three heroes 10+ times...

You will also see scattered Shrine of the Seven Dragons throughout the map. However, you can completely ignoring their existence and save the crystals and cash. You can easily reach the level cap without any of them. (So the shrines are not marked on the map above.) Contrary to previous hero games, the EXP curve in Heroes6 does not become very steep at very high levels. However, even after reaching the EXP cap, you can still accumulate EXP for the Dynasty Weapon (both manual and quick combat) and your Dynasty account (manual fighting only). If you feel like it, you can even come back to a previous save just to fight more neutral stacks to farm more EXP, as stacks in mission 4 are all very large and EXP-rich.

Go further north and use the portal (1) to get to the underworld. This portal leads to an isolated area at (1'). It is a good idea to make a secondary hero closely following Ana to pick up resources. As soon as you conquer the Inferno town there (all marked with T), this area will be forever sealed off and any un-collected resources are forever lost. In this area, I found an extremely useful artifact "Boots of the Wayfarer", which increases Ana's movement by 8. Other artifacts you found in this mission are likely to be of very high quality as well.

Next, go north and snatch Town C and convert it to Necropolis as soon as possible. Next, go west and capture Fort D. North of Fort D is a second portal (2) that leads you to the isolated underworld at (2'). Same drill here - demolish the demon town.

Around this time, your home base should be threatened by demon invasion. In my game, I had just enough time to take down Town D (with a very small army - the enemies at the beginning are nothing compared to those at the end) before an enemy hero invaded Town A. By building an advanced Town Portal in Town A (don't build one in Town C!), my Ana instantly returned and sent that poor hero home in no time. Unfortunately, he will be back in no time, too.


It is time to push west now. Fort E is actually very close to Town A. Next go northwest to tackle the third portal (3), leading to another isolated underworld area at (3'). Make it sink into the lava! Keep going west and soon you will see Town F. Convert it to the Dark Side! Up to now the Blitzkrieg should have worked rather perfectly - you made streamline to each target, taking everything on your way.

In my game, when I went down to Fort G, I was greeted by 148 Pit Fiends. While the battle seemed impossible, I was still able to score a perfect victory with Puppet Master and Time Stasis. Whenever the monster stack gets too close, I PMed the huge stack and made it walk all the way to the other end of the battlefield. But that was the last cake battle for me. When I got down to the underworld area at (4)-(4'), I was greeted by an army ten times of my size. Ops. (By the way, my game frequently crashes when a PMed enemy shooter attacks an enemy unit, so be careful.)

When you finally hit the brick wall, it is a good time for Tear of Asha. After a few weeks of roaming and fighting, your army should grow significantly. Eventually you can finish the 4th and 5th underworld town at (5)-(5') with perfect victories.

A tip for these truly epic castle sieges: Do not allow any demon stack gated in front of your Liches. These gated stacks are likely huge thanks to their gigantic mother stack. Once the gating completes, your battle is pretty much over! You have to destroy the gates before the gating completes on the next turn. A reliable way to make sure that happens is to assign your Lamassu and Ghouls, by now your two weakest stacks, to be ready (wait) for gate-breaking every turn, while your other melee stacks take care of the other enemies. The Lamassu takes away 2 hit points from the gate, while the Ghoul can finish it off before the next turn arrives.

The AI will start gating when it decides that it is better off coming out the castle. Therefore, the gating activity will be accompanied by insanely powerful stacks rushing out of that castle gate. Time Stasis is your best friend here. You can try Puppet Master a super stack to hit another (for some huge damage on each other) just before their turn comes up. (If you PM too early, the AI is smart enough to dispel the PM by attacking that stack). If a huge stack reaches your Weavers, you can also use their special ability to tie them up for 2 turns. If you found a Unicorn Horn Bow, definitely use it. It will greatly enhance your ranged power when you most need it. Good luck on these battles - they could be extremely difficult.

Your hard work on the surface is almost complete. The last area is north of the central swamp area. Strangely, I actually found a smaller army defending Town H and the final underworld area of (6)-(6'). But the location of this area both on the surface and underground suggest that they are meant to be the last obstacle. Weird.

After you demolish the 6th and last underground demon town, a one-way portal appears in the middle of the swamp (7). This portal leads you to the final boss fight of the campaign. Uriel has a very long hit-point bar, measuring at 135,000, and he poses a godly, 5-digit Might Power clocked at 13,750! He is also protected by several stacks of "guards" who look like ordinary Haven units. Of course, these celestial guards, who are not really impressive in numbers, are a hundred times tougher than their human counterpart.

While this looks like a very challenging boss fight, it actually feels a lot easier than some of the castle assaults before. First, you can take your time to visit all the one-time battle bonus buildings on the surface without having a gate-camping hero to negate them all. Second, your towns should be producing an absurd number of units every week. In my game, Uriel quietly went down in just a few turns in an anti-climax "perfect loss". How's that challenge for the campaign finale?!

Indeed, if you find any battle in this mission too difficult, simply fight some neutral stacks to pass time and let your town production gives you the edge later. If you win a battle with heavy casualties, it is also a good idea to not fight it now, but to come back a few weeks later. Chances are there is another very tough battle after this, so you don't want to waste your precious cash on reviving a large number of fallen units. You need the cash to hire the next week's new recruits. By avoiding all heavy-loss fights, you might be able to use fingers on just one hand to count how many units you actually had to bring back from the Altar of Eternal Servitude throughout this mission. That's how powerful a necromancer is, or rather, how simple this game could be even on Hard difficulty. The only thing that gets hurt is your mission score (for taking longer to finish). However, you are still very likely to receive the highest rank (hero) if you play on Hard. (p.s. Currently (v1.1.1), you don't get any achievement from completing missions with a "hero" ranking.)

Anyway, congratulations for beating the Necropolis campaign! I hope you had lots of fun in those epic siege battles like I did.
Comments

wimfrits at 2013-07-24 06:27 wrote:
oh, also, archliches are broken (not sure about the regular). They take their bonus damage from your MIGHT statistic, NOT your magic stat!

Seriously? 8| I never considered the archliches underpowered in a magic army.

Sir_Toejam at 2013-07-24 02:53 wrote:
oh, also, archliches are broken (not sure about the regular). They take their bonus damage from your MIGHT statistic, NOT your magic stat!

I learned this the hard way, when I put the vast majority of them on my magic hero, only to see the half-sized army on my might hero do twice as much damage!

Sir_Toejam at 2013-07-22 22:00 wrote:
actually, this mission works even better if you treated ludmilla as a decent force in her own right in the previous mission. If you develop her as a serious might hero (do NOT follow the advice to make her a town booster!), and get her to at least level 20, she can take care of things quite nicely, and you can move on BOTH the Eastern and Northern fronts simultaneously. Hopefully by this time you have figured out how to level arachne to 4 easily enough, so give ludmilla that weapon, and make sure she has the "storm arrow" spell. a decent might hero with a couple hundred skellies using storm arrow pretty much will allow you to clear anything in the first eastern area easily. Use your free hero bonus to hire the hero that boosts lich production by 2 per week (Siham), and give HER all the town building bonuses, movement bonuses, and also I would recommend all the scouting bonuses (shows you exactly where all the artifacts are on the map). Give 90% of the skellies to ludmilla, all the might-oriented set artifacts from the previous missions, and most of the ghouls and ghosts. If you're lucky, you will gather enough resources to build every creature dwelling in the first week. Upgrade the vamp and lich building in the first week (priority on liches, since you get 2 more that way), if you can, then upgrade the lamasu in the next week.
Ana should have started moving north with her starting army as soon as she has touched the power boost node, and you have claimed both mines in the area near the start town (no later than day 3). buy all the skellies, ghosts, and ghouls you can, and give them to ludmilla. Have her start moving East. You should be able to take the first eastern fort and first norther fort before the end of the first week. Have ludmilla start moving back towards your first town from the fort, and have Siham run (not portal) over to ludmilla the new batch of skellies, ghouls, ghosts, and vamps (only if you managed to upgrade, otherwise wait until you do) and a few lamasu (you can use reinforcements on them, and it seems to more than double the stack size, and they work great as archer blockers (yours or the enemy's!). Run shila back to town, and build a town portal. portal all the liches and the spinners, and the remaining lamasu up to the norther fort. Have Ana grab those and then keep pushing north towards the first inferno town. Have ludmilla use her army to clear all the resources around the eastern fort.

now you're way ahead. I already had around 300 skellies at the end of the second week, 30 liches, 20 lamasu and vamps, around 120 ghouls, and a partridge in a pear tree.

oh, and i actually do not recommend having a secondary hero follow ana around. Why? because you actually should have found the set pieces giving Ana econonomist 1 and snatch in previous missions, and you should have them equipped.

not really much point in having someone follow.
Edited on Mon, Jul 22 2013, 18:13 by Sir_Toejam
bkknight2602 at 2012-10-14 03:49 wrote:
I did come see where the Tear was located, thanks.
Edited on Sat, Oct 13 2012, 23:51 by bkknight2602
bkknight2602 at 2012-10-14 03:47 wrote:
There are only three locations for the four pieces of moon fragments. I got my first from one of the towns, don't remember which, but is the fourth piece underground?
sylvanllewelyn at 2012-06-19 12:51 wrote:
Uriel was horrible, I had around 650 skeleton spearmen and I was left with 5 dead 2 greatly reduced stacks when the fight ended (who's lame enough to wait for 1000 skeletons?).

gsandro1 at 2012-06-10 21:37 wrote:
Great job, as always, I follow your walkthroughs since Heroes V. Thank you Maltz.

Queen Hera at 2012-01-16 11:24 wrote:
Hi maltz, I got the same result as Shoaura with the portals based on your numbering scheme. i.e.
3 - 5
5 - 3
skortzy at 2011-12-31 11:16 wrote:
I also played on hard. My choice was magic tears and the mission was piece of cake...
All my battles except the boss fight were perfect due to summoning. My only problem throughout the mission was mana depletion. I used Meditation a lot.

I could not defeat Uriel in my first attempt (had less than 500 skeletons), but I waited two weeks and the final fight became easy too.
Edited on Sat, Dec 31 2011, 06:17 by skortzy

Bucker at 2011-12-25 11:19 wrote:
Woah it seems like gap beetween normal and hard difficulty is devastating. I was getting raided by Inferno heroes all the time, but their army was so tiny(not to mention laughably low stats of heroes) that they were getting erased easily even by Kaspar I inherited from third mission(not to mention Anastasya who ended up with 0 casulaties even while fighting with her starting stack). Took me like 7 in-game months to finish as this mission is horribly long, but by achieving perfect victory against uriel I ended up with hero status. Gotta try hard difficulty to see these interesting sieges you promised, maltz.
RollingWave at 2011-11-18 18:37 wrote:
Alright I finished this one. The Uriel fight can be really easy or really hard depending on how many troops you have (using # of skeletons as reference, it's basically impossible at around 500 skeleton but quite easy at around 1000, so the break even point's obviously somewhere in between), if you don't have enough it's basically impossible since Uriel hits A TON and if you can't bring comparable damage down on his he's going to slice through your stacks one by one.

Another trick / exploit, this seems to be a oversight on the developer's part, but Uriel and his troops can't do any structural damage, which means that abyss worms are invunerable against them, but even then the guards will keep trying to hit the worm to free the unit eatten... so this means that with Abyss worm you essentially remove the guards completely from the fight and let you focus on Uriel.
RollingWave at 2011-11-18 02:00 wrote:
You had higher SP than me (presumablly because you went the blood path, which would also inheriently increase your puppet master power), I only had Annie at 50-60ish and I often couldn't control the largest stacks, and controlling smaller onces is usually fairly pointless.

Still, I managed to get the Uriel fight quite fast by blitzing with Kasper and Annie in two direction, your right that after fort G the fights gets noticablly harder but that basically means I had to combine my army for the final 3 towns. everything before that I managed to do with split armies just fine.

I finished everything by the time I had 500 skeleton or so (losing almost none in between) but I guess it's because of that th Uriel fight seems impossible for me right now since he basically carve up any of my stack with 2 hit. and I could not do anything more than getting him to about 60% health (despite dance of decay already hitting 10% .)

For Tear path Sacrifice can be quite nice in most of those siege fight , what you basically do is to just casti t on your ghost and keep them in spirit form, which would mean thay'll take two full rounds of damage with only about 20-30 Specter lost at most (By then you can easily heal that right back up with just about anything.) and it let you attack without as much worry on retaliation and such. it's not as powerful as wail in the longer run but the damage absorbed in those two round can be really really significant.

Maltz how many units you had by the time you fought Uriel? since right now after a couple try that seems impossible without me having at least twice as many as I have now (I'm roughly at 500 skeleton 200ish Ghoul/ghosts / 60-90 elitle units per stack and 30 Weaver ) Also you ignored all those guard units right? they seem to do meh damage but are pretty hard to take down (while Uriel can ressuect them.)

maltz at 2011-11-17 07:27 wrote:
I remember seeing the restriction of Puppet Master on stack sizes in some other games; is it here in Heroes6? I had no problem to PM 700+ Breed Mother with a spell power of ~70, though. (But I often had problem with the game crashing hard when I actually use them to shoot.)
RollingWave at 2011-11-17 01:49 wrote:
Yeah, if the enemy stacks are so much bigger than this wouldn't be ideal, this is assuming both side's stacks are at least comparable.

The problem of course, is that if the stacks are so big, you can't even cast puppet master on them anyway. there' s a limit based on your spell power. while your SP would be crazy high right now you'll still hae a lot of trouble controlling those triple digit elite units or 5 hundred Cerebus etc.

Though I do agree that in the case where they are bigger and sitting behind them damn walls you probably need to do this, the problem is generally that puppet master have CD as well and in this situation they'll still devastae you simply from their breedmothers and Lilims.

The Fate Weaver trick is of course used mostly the table flipper when you your units are already entangle with theirs.


Also, Sacrifice in the tear path can be useful in this situation, because IT CAN BE CASTED ON SUMMONS, just summon a earth elemental sit him in the back and sacrifcie him ;p

maltz at 2011-11-16 13:54 wrote:
RollingWave,
I have heard about good things of your strategy. But I had some doubt - the Teleport spell has a cool down of 4 turns. How do you prevent the spiders from being fried when the web effect expires? And they will get hit by other stacks that wasn't affected by the web. Also, the spiders can't hit for that much in melee (as we are a magic hero)... how much damage do you see?

In my game, I spammed Puppet Master whenever possible. Since the enemy's stacks are all so large, they easily deal 5000-10000 damage to each other. To me that seems to be more damage-effective.
Edited on Wed, Nov 16 2011, 08:56 by maltz

maltz at 2011-11-16 13:51 wrote:
Hm maybe I messed up the order of 3 and 5... they all look similar anyway :p Can someone else confirm Shoaura's order? Just one more vote and I will change the numbering on the map.

Shoaura at 2011-11-16 12:18 wrote:
Maybe not as random as I first believed / remembered. As you mentioned, Maltz, the central area was last. Here's my list of overworld portals connecting to the inferno ones based upon your numbering scheme. I will put these in the order I entered them:
3 - 5
4 - 4
1 - 1
2 - 2
5 - 3
6 - 6

So, just looking at the above, the only difference was 3 and 5. I also went West and conquered E and F first since that movement pillar was just beyond my starting borders.
RollingWave at 2011-11-16 08:26 wrote:
A few tip:

Skeletons in large numbers actually hits harder than Fate Weavers (assuming that you won't be having 1000 Weavers), the trick is that you cast storm arrows on them to negate their penalties (which means the spell instantly increase their damage by like 200% , since it double the damage AND then add 55% on top of it.) and/or use teleport to put them close up to the enemies.

Weaver's strengh is actually in their special abilties, which would again be best utilized if you have teleport spells. most people just turn weaver into range units and shoot 100% of the time, that's a huge waste of their potential, he best idea is

1. teleport them to a spot where they are ain contact with multiple (3 or more) enemy stacks while they're in range mode

2. cast freezing web (which is basically AOE time statis!!)

3. turn into melee mode and attack, if you can, try to get Lamasus to cast is breath on those units right now.

4. before they enemies recover from the freezing web cast dance of decay. if you have agony or Lamasu breath or similar spells on them now they'll be utterly devastated.

With this, you essentially diaabled at least half their army for two turn AND did massive damage to them. and now they wake up with a bad ass champion standing next to them.

With any high lvl magic Necro heroes, clearing neutral is very simple, here's the trick, just give them some vampires, put them always on guard (which means the first attack on them every turn will NOT hit them.) and then cast Earth / Dark elementals and just whittle them down with your spells / attacks. against might inferno heroes this might work too though against magic onces it's risky that your vampire gets blow away by fireballs.

Also, the Lamasu upgrade is the most worthwhile upgrade amongst the Necro units, since it turns a useless unit into a pretty good one,

Again, at this point you should not be scared of just sending out high level hero with little troops to take out neuturals quickly. espiecally magic onces that can summon elementals. for 3rd heroes I usually suggest getting those that add unit production.

maltz at 2011-11-15 19:22 wrote:
Thanks for you input. Could you point out which underworld area did you enter first, second, etc? Perhaps it is all random, but I have a feeling that the developers want to assign the last entered area the one in the middle.

Shoaura at 2011-11-15 10:57 wrote:
Great job, as always, Maltz. Just want to point out that the teleports down to the inferno towns may be random. I did this mission on normal and attacked different towns when compared to the numbers shown on your map.

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