Flying to the Rescue
M2: Tearing the Veil
- Map Size: Normal
- Level Cap: none
- Difficulty Index: 2/5
- Last Updated: November 15, 2007, Patch v3.0
This mission is split into two parts, both quite easy.
It is possible to obtain Zehir's ultimate Arcane Omniscience with the help of a Sylanna Acient and a Memory Mentor. By going with the ultimate (Enlightenment, War Machine, Sorcery) you will miss the most useful mass-spells such as Mass Slow, Mass Confusion and Mass Haste, yet you gain the freedom to pick 2 other skills. You can still pick up basic Dark - Master of Mind and/or Light - Master of Wrath to keep Mass Slow and Haste. Or you can go with other useful passive skills such as Logistics.
The Call to Arms "mission special" is 3000 EXP + 20 Crystal for 20 Djinn Sultans. The Djinns are not terribly useful and they could die by huge numbers. You are given 60 crystals at the start even without the bonus, so you can afford to trade three times for 60 Djinns. However, I suggest you save all crystals (don't even trade it for other resources) because they will come in handy in the second half of the mission.
Pick the 20 Djiin Sultans as the starting bonus. The 40 crystals that can give you another 40 Djiins later (by losing 6000 EXP more). Since you already have 60 crystals, there is little point to get even more.
You start the mission in front of town (A), with a mandatory battle against a small Renegade army. Use your shooter to kill some weak stacks, and the opponent hero will gate in Inferno units. The existing Haven units all switch side to be your aid, and the fight will be over very soon. Too bad you can't keep the tier-5 Zealots after the battle, because they are teleported to the "ritual ground".
Depending on what magics you picked up from Zehir's town in mission one, you can handle the neutral stacks with different strategies. If you have Vampirism / Resurrection the fights will be straight-forward - just deploy the Djiins and hack. If you have none of the above, you can still use 1-unit stacks and the Phoenix / Elementals.
There is no AI activity at all during the first half, so don't feel pressured. Go west and visit the Stable (S), and flag the mines below your town. Go north a bit and you will see a Memory Mentor on the right (1). We will come back later when your level is high enough. Collect the second stack of monks at (2) and they will go to the ritual ground. Flag / kill / collect everything on your way, including two Dragon artifacts at (D1) and (D2).
When you reach (3) the game prompts you a choice that you can spend 15000 EXP to move your town to the empty spot above. You have to do this sooner or later as this is one of the main objectives, so just say yes if it won't result in losing a necessary skill. You can collect the third, and last stack of monks at (4).
Now all you need is the Tear of Asha. It is buried underground so you will have to go down the stairs at (I). Before sending Zehir to the dungeon, upgrade the mage guilds to level 5 and see what you can learn there. I finally picked up Resurrection - which proofed to be quite useful... for about 30 minutes. By the way, don't go crazy on building other structures (you are powerful enough so the creatures don't really matter), and save 10 wood.
The underground portion is connected by a river. Beat the neutral stack guarding the Sextant, build a boat at the Shipyard and first land at (5). You can flag a Mercury Lab, and further south pick up two artifacts that will carry over to future missions - one of them being the Staff of Sar-Issus (S1, nullify enemy Magic Resistance).
Board your ship and this time sail southwest to land at (6). Here you can flag more mines and dig up the Tear of Asha (red X). You can see its exact location here. The spot is fixed as of version 3.0.
Before you go up, spend a few more days to pick up two decent ring artifacts at (7), one of them being the Ring of Speed (+20% unit initiative). Since there is no enemy action at all, you can freely explore to collect as much EXP as you can. I was able to level to 24 with the help of the Sylanna Ancient on the surface (D1 area). By the way, if you do not have the Intelligence feat under Enlightenment, now go to the Memory Mentor and get it. Your mana must be way over 200.
Now you are ready for the mini-boss battle. Give the Tear of Asha to Zehir (if he doesn't have it), and move your entire army to (8) where three stacks of monks are waiting. The ritual starts and a hero-less Inferno army shows up behind you. The size of the army looks intimidating, but it is really not that hard IF you still have mana left after those 800+ (on heroic) Imps! With a seletion of magics, my Zehir did it with just the Gargoyles as HP pool. However, feel free to waste all of your units here because you won't need any of them anymore. Since you can win rather easily, I recommend NOT to overspend on units. You are just wasting money.
After the mini-boss fight your Zehir is probably level 25 or so. If you have picked up at least one of the Witch Hut skills back in mission one, you should have more than enough skill points to go for the ultimate Arcane Omniscience at the Memory Mentor (1). There is no better time than this, since the enemy is still inactive. When you are ready, refund any artificer that you have made for your creatures, sell all of the artifacts that cannot be carried over, and march Zehir to the center of the ritual ground (8), to proceed to the second half of the mission.
p.s. After finishing the campaign, I think it would be better to replace Light Magic in the above picture with Logistics. There will be a lot of running around for Zehir, but he carries almost no army so the Mass buffs have no use at all. But of course you will switch back to Light, or even Leadership just before the final, final boss.
More useful magics! You will need them on Freyda in the last mission.
You are now at (9) controling Freyda and Duncan, two of the main characters back in the Hammers of Fate expansion. Needless to say, they both have lost the invincibility you gave them back then. Now you are given two mediocre heroes with unsatisfactory stats for their levels (19-20), and very fail-prone skill choices. It is all right, we are going to fix their skills here.
First, answer "Cancel" to the question to NOT pass the Tear of Asha to Duncan. Zehir is leaving, but he will carry the Tear into mission 3 and 4, where the challenges are slightly harder. If you answer "OK" to keep the Tear, you can install it in your town soon. Yet this second half is easy enough even without the Grail.
The first thing you notice is that all of your resources actually carry over, including the mines you already flagged. (There is no way to travel back to Zehir's half, so you better have flagged them all.) It is likely that Zehir leaves Freyda and Duncan a huge pile of resources of every kind, so let's rush to the town and build everything like mad! Your town is (B) - as soon as you get close, the entire Blue converts to Orange. There is a huge Inferno army based in Town (D), but it won't come out yet so don't worry for now.
Here come two very good news for you. First, you can swap out the huge Renegade garrison army at (10). With this army you can pretty much dominate all neutral creatures and pick up everything. It is tempting to split the army so both Duncan and Freyda can do something meaningful, but let me tell you one secret - Duncan won't be of any use later, so don't even look at his unshaved face! Just use Duncan to run errands and give all possible experience points to Freyda. Hopefully she can reach level 26 by the end.
The second good news is there are several free Renegade armies waiting to join you. I have marked them with yellow small letters. (b= Crossbowmen, v= Vindicators, z= Zealots, and c= Champions) Pick them up as soon as you have the free slots.
There are lots things to do before Grok, the huge Inferno army based on town (D) comes out to hunt your weak heroes. Naturally you want to visit all stat boosts with Freyda (yes forget about Duncan), flag all creature buildings, defeat all neutral creatures, and collect all meaningful artifacts. I will just mention the more important attractions below:
There is a Hill Fort at (11) where you can convert the conventional upgrades to Renegade, or backwards. I suggest using all 7 tiers of Renegades to make things simpler. Your army is very powerful already.
You can pick up two more Dragon artifacts at (D3) and (D4), the latter being the third Dragon Teeth Necklace you pick up in two missions! The map maker really likes this artifact. Don't worry - they actually don't overlap with Zehir's copy and you will put them to good use on Freyda.
Rush town (C) in your earliest convenience, through the one-way portal at (II-II'). You should be able to reach it around 4-5 days after swapping the garrison at (10). The Red does not have a scripted hero there, so there won't be any good defense. The town actually crumbles after your victory, and you instantly pick up the entire Lion's Spirit set (Crown + Necklace + Cape). This is too good to be true!
Well another dream comes true - at (U) you can pick up the Unicorn Horn Bow and the Treeborn Quiver at once! This is the entire set of Archer's dream, making your shooters very, very powerful. Wow.
A Memory Mentor is again available at (12) to shuffle your Freyda's skills. I gave Freyda my favorite twilight build, a versatile build that is unlikely to fail. If you are playing on heroic, though, I start to lean towards Sorcery instead of Attack or Dark Magics. We will discuss more at the end of this page.
Build up your mage guilds and see what is offered. You have another shot at the high level spells at the Arcane Library (13). Now your huge number of crystal stock comes in handy - because each lv-5 Light magic costs 25 crystals. Hopefully you can pick up some very useful spells for Freyda.
22 days after my ownership of Town (B), Grok comes out of town (D) with his huge Demon horde. The Imps will deplete your mana no matter what, so it will be a fair army clash. This looks like the most difficult fight of the second half, but Grok fled when I lost 3 Crossbowmen and a Ballista in Quick Combat...
After taking care of Grok, the mission is essentially won and there is no more threat from Red (it will still send out weak heroes). Take your time to finalize Freyda's build, learn useful spells, visit stat boosts and collect artifacts. When you have done everything, break through the garrisons in front of town (D) and take the castle. Easy victory!
Preparing for Freyda's Final Battle
Freyda is going to representing the hostile couple in the campaign finale battle. Honestly, I have no idea how you can win that one on heroic, unless you are ultra lucky with Divine Vengeance. Anyways, let's do our best to optimize Freyda's build here.
First, equip Freyda with all of your best artifacts, because Duncan will trash everything you have on him! In my game I lost my entire Lion's set on the stupid m* *r! However, if you do not want to alter the game's flow in any possible way (you will see how to break the game in detail in the C3M4 walkthrough), give all of the other artifacts (that Freyda will not equip) to Duncan, and let him trash it! This is because the game will randomly decide what to wear for Freyda if she has, say, two cloaks, so just throw away the inferior choice. You can't risk a bad choice on heroic.
Second, reconfigure your Freyda's skills. Showing in the picture above is a standard build for Lv 25 (I hope I have never used Duncan to fight in this mission, or I might have a shot at lv 26):
- Expert Counterstrike: 3 standard feats (or - Benediction)
- Expert Leadership: Recruitment, Divine Guidance, Empathy
- Expert Attack: Battle Frenzy, Retribution (+ Archery if Lv 26)
- Expert Light Magic: Master of Wrath (or + Master of Abjuration if no Dark)
- Expert Dark Magic: Master of Mind
- Expert Luck: Magic Resistance
However, on heroic you probably want to swap out Dark Magic or Attack for Expert Sorcery + Arcane Training. If you give up Dark Magic (no Mass Confusion), you should pick up Master of Abjuration (Light) for Mass Deflect Missle (or you will feel very sorry against 290 Succubus Mistress). I still think Dark + Sorcery can work, because you can occasionally sneak in a Frenzy / Puppet Master before the enemy hero can do anything about it.
For the most of the fight, you'll still need to keep casting Light Magics (free Divine Vengeance) to kill an insane army before it kills you mercilessly. My build was far inferior to the above, and I "almost won" a couple of times out of probably 20 trials, so it is not really impossible. We will discuss more in C3M4. Good luck still!