- by maltz
You can tell from the mission's name - this one is going to be Haven vs. Inferno. While you can conquer and convert everything to amass a huge army, a secondary mission interestingly requires you to stick with the "Tear path" and NOT convert any Town and Fort (though you CAN convert creature buildings). Can you win this mission with just one town plus several creature buildings?
Well, the answer is YES since this is a mission 4 with mission 2 enemies! Most areas are isolated from each other so you don't even worry about invasion - but there are zero enemy hero activities anyway (except for one scripted invasion)! Maybe the AI will "wake up" once you start converting towns and forts, but this walkthrough will stick with the "Tear path" and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
Level cap: 30
Difficulty Index: 2/6
Last updated: December 18, 2011
Dynasty Traits: For choosing Tear, once again you will be swimming in resources since you spend at most 50K+ gold on hiring every week. Feel free to get the creature bonuses (as it will actually make a little difference). I still like to have a free generic hero - they mean a lot at the beginning.
Kiril begins this easy mission underground at (start). Just west from the starting point, you can find a very weak stack of Fire Elementals guarding a completely random artifact at (1). This spot is made very famous around the community since it has a low chance to spawn any artifact, including Dynasty Weapons - no matter you already have it or not. Since a few Dynasty Weapons (see list below) are not awarded to the player throughout the campaign, this is the only "normal" way to obtain them:
- Dragon Flame Tongue (Might)
- Perfect Silksword (Might)
- Edge of Chaos (Might) - preorder bonus
- Staff of Sar-Aggreth (Magic)
- Staff of Asha's Eightfold (Magic) - collector edition bonus
- Staff of Cleansing (Magic) - collector edition bonus
If you see something you don't like (most of times you get garbage), simply restart the mission and take a look again. My best result for the full hour of effort was a suit of extremely overpowered Guardian Breastplate - hope you get something nice, too!
Note: Farming your missing Dynasty Weapons here is very inefficient, since most artifacts are not Dynasty Weapons. There is a custom scenario made by ShardofTruth on the Ubisoft official forum. In this custom game (put it into your game's My Document/MMH6/Scenario folder), you can simply pick up your missing Dynasty Weapons from the floor (use it at your own risk; it might take away the fun of collecting and leveling). For the Weapon Master achievement, your hero has to equip a new Dynasty Weapon after obtaining it to make the counter go up.
Update for patch 1.2: This spot no longer spawns Dynasty Weapons. Doh!
Continue on the path north towards Town A. Defeat the unimpressive mini-boss to claim the town - this will be our only base of operation for the "Tear Path" - better build it up quickly! Pick up all resources lying around (you are also given quite a few to start this mission), and make your way to the exit through (2).
Kiril emerges from the top of the volcano at (2') to begin his conquest of the Purple Haven lands. Three roads lead away from the volcano - which one first? Kiril's dominance of the surface is established by conquering Town E - after that the Haven player goes completely dormant. The defense in Town E isn't too powerful, so you should be able to challenge it with a few more weeks of creatures from Town A.
Let's go south first to grab the closest and weakest Town B and boost our income. (We won't convert the towns, but we can still build the economic structures inside the towns.) Clear the area until a Purple hero comes from the east with a mediocre army. If you ignore him, he will proceed to attack Town A. In my game, I moved Kiril back toward the volcano (2'), and the Purple hero chose to fight Kiril even if Kiril was not really on his way.
After dispatching this hero, you can continue expanding southward and take Fort C, flag the creature building and convert it (only converting Towns and Forts will fail our Tear Path). The main quest of this mission involves clearing seven stacks of Dark Elementals, marked as (DE) on the map. In this area, you can fight the first (and weakest) stack of Dark elementals (they usually come with some other creatures). The Town B - Fort C area is not connected to anything else. Consider them your backyard now.
Next let's work on Fort D to the north. You can fight the second stack of Dark Elementals (DE) east of Fort D. Sweep clean the vicinity of Fort D. Now you should have enough units to take over Town E. Ship your fresh recruits to Kiril and do it! In my game, Town E has been built to level-4, and I ended up with two level-4 towns (Town A and E).
After taking Town E, the familiar Purple hero awaits you at (3) (the picture on the left is the army he carries on hard). He is probably too powerful for you now, but don't worry - he does not move at all. The Purple AI has officially entered hibernation (feature or bug?) and you might not even notice your new turn has arrived - don't press End Turn too hard or twice!
The rest of the surface is now open for Kiril to conquer. Fort F, Fort G, Town H, Town I just take them one by one when you feel like to. You can defeat two more stacks of Dark Elementals (DE) in these territories. The shipyard at (4) enables you to explore the sea, where you can bring down another stack of Dark Elemental - probably the most powerful among the seven. From Town I, do not go northeast to use the stairs yet - leave it for the last.
By now you should have accumulated enough units to defeat the Purple hero at (3). Continue east to flag Fort J and meet some interesting family members at (5) (you don't have to fight them - maybe you do for the Blood path?). Knock down yet another Dark Elemental stack.
Almost over! Finish all your business, equip your best artifacts, gather all you have, and enter the stairs at (6-6'). Here comes the last stack of Dark Elemental at the beginning of the underground passage. Follow the passage north to use the stairs (7-7'). Follow the boring path east to use the teleport at (8), which won't be activated until you have defeated all seven stacks of Dark Elementals. Ready for the mission finale battle?
Hm, the picture on the right is what you fight. You might find this fight difficult if you "over-achieve" and reach here too early. But since you have completed the "Tear Path" secondary mission of not converting towns and forts by entering the Invisible Library... you CAN convert them now! Within a few weeks, you should have more than enough units, and you should be gating in so many stacks that you may forget which ones are real! This marks the unspectacular ending of the Inferno campaign. Anyway, congratulations!
- by maltz
Mission 3 sounds like an undead map, but the undeads are gone! In mission 3 and beyond, we will always face living creatures (easy heal!), mainly Orcs and Naga here. Xana, the better-looking Heroes5 Biara, joins Kiril and will be carried over to mission 4.
Resources is no longer abundant due to the endless construction projects going on - lots of towns to conquer, all structures unlocked except the Pit Lord (tier-7) upgrade. It may be worthwhile to assign a town-building specialist hero to get the 20% upgrade discount. Crystals will be in dire shortage as usual, but you can always trade for more. Chances are you will win this mission before you accumulate enough resources to fully upgrade all towns, so you only need to upgrade buildings in your primary hiring town.
Again it is Tear of Asha time! Four moon fragments can be found scattered on the map. As usual, by the time you get the tear, you would be powerful enough to win the mission already. But 3 free phoenixes could help a bit at the beginning of the next mission.
Dynasty Traits: As usual, free first generic hero is great (pick a Might hero for level-3 Realm abilities). There is usually a Hellhound Master who breeds +3 hellhound per week, or a Master Trainer who trains +1 elite creatures per week. I ended up hiring both of them and use Kiril's Mentor to give them enough experience to reach level 15. Hero movement +3 helps, too.
Level cap: 25
Difficulty Index: 3/6
Last updated: December 18, 2011
Kiril starts the mission with a very unique volcanic Town A with a very un-unique town name. Grab the free small stack of Pit Fiends by the town (there is an achievement for getting free tier-7 creatures to join you). Take a few days to collect the resources nearby, and go south.
You can quickly flag a weakly defended Orc Fort B. There is Orc's Town C just west of Fort B that you can conquer in a hurry. The highlight of this area is a Warpath Lodge, which gives you additional movement points after defeating an enemy. There are two Warpath Lodges in this mission (the second one is just east of the stairs at (4)), giving you a total of 5 bonus movement points for each victory.
There are various observation towers on the map that will give you a good look of the surrounding territories and possibly some early warnings of invasions. Let's spend a moment to look at the layout of the map.
Town A, Fort B, and Town C are your headquarters. I recommend that you build an Advanced Town Portal in Town C and make it your capital. There are enemies in three directions - west, east, and underground (south). The AI only attacks you from east and south. Getting the Advanced Portal in Town C enables you to defend home efficiently.
Let's look at west first. There is an Orc's Fort D not far from Town C, controlling two creature buildings (core and elite). The creatures blocking the border are actually more powerful than the garrison in Fort D. Further northwest is a powerful Orc hero designed for much later. Fortunately, this hero, and any other hero that stands behind are completely dormant - so we can ignore them all together. Fort D will be the farthest from enemy attacks (although they are actually the closest to enemies).
Let's look at east next. From the observation tower at home you already saw the exit of a one-way portal at (1'). The AI will send an endless stream of very weak heroes (like having "4 creatures" in total) to you. Looks like just another "spawn something right beside your home" trick from Blackhole, but this one is much more easily tackled.
The entrance of this one-way portal (1) is surprisingly close. You can easily push northeast and conquer Fort E and Town F, both are very weak, to put an end on the nuisance. Fort E and Town F are also isolated from the outside world. Take them as early as possible and make them your backyard. (There is something obviously wrong with the foundation of Town F.) The second piece of Moon Fragment can be found just south of Town F.
Finally, let's look at underground. Between Town C and Fort D you can see stairs (2-2'). You can get down here and take the Orc's Town G in the underworld. Now look at the name of Town G! Two is a bit too many. Just south of Town G lies the first piece of Moon Fragment (MF).
In my game, the defending hero of Town G has a bracelet artifact that allows him to cast Implosion. Since the damage of Implosion cannot be healed, I had to resort to Tear II's special ability "Seal of Power" to let the gated dogs replenish the loss. This could be the only spot in this mission that you would lose any unit at all.
East of Town G, you can collect a large number of resources and flag a crystal mine. There are two set of stairs leaving this underground area. The stairs on the northeast (3-3') will bring you back to the road leading to Fort E and Town F. The stairs on the south (4-4') will bring you to the south, where you can reach deep in the Orc's territories to proceed with your mission. The enemies will be progressively more difficult.
Once you own Fort D, Fort E, Town F, and Town G, it is time to go south. Emerge on (4) and continue east. You will be able to conquer Fort H, Town I, and Town J on the way. Between Fort I and Town J is another set of stairs (5-5') that will take you to a small area with two crystal mines (nice!) governed by Fort K.
By the time you are done with Town H to Fort K, you should be powerful enough to tackle the Orc hero in front of Town L. There are two 2-way portals beside Town L. The green portal on the right (6-6') leads you to a Sanctuary island governed by Fort M with a couple of buildings to flag, and more importantly the third moon fragment (MF) on the beach southwest of the portal.
The blue portal on the left of Town L (7-7') leads you to an isolated beach area, where you can collect the fourth and final Moon Fragment (MF) south of the portal. Having all four fragments on the same hero allows you to collect the Tear of Asha (Tear) on the very east of the map close to Town H.
In the same beach area there is a very well-built Sanctuary town, defended by the most powerful hero in this mission so far - but this should be still far from challenging. After grabbing the Sanctuary town but before converting it, you might be able to pick up a few useful artifacts from the Advanced Market.
Now with the Tear of Asha installed in your capital and so many towns and creature dwellings under your command, you can demolish the rest of the mission like a bulldozer. Go back to Town J and descend down the stairs at (8-8'). There is a linear passage that leads you to the exit stairs at (9-9'). Take the nearby Fort K and advance your quest. You can also finish another quest by opening one of the three chests (the top one) at (10). Don't open it with a weak secondary hero or that hero can be kissed goodbye! Take Fort P.
When you are done with everything such as stats boosts (s), gather all you have and march to Town Q to face the boss battle of this mission. It is not a difficult fight since you must have accumulated a huge army by now. After the battle, you can enter the cave at (11) to end the mission.
- by maltz
Kiril returns in a long Mission 2 to combat Necromancers and Necropolis creatures in the fearfully symmetrical Heresh. The mission starts quite linear, but suddenly expands to give you a lot of freedom of what to do next. You will also unlock the tier-4 and tier-6 Inferno creatures within the mission, although you probably have guessed that only the basic version will be available. Since Life Drain does not work on undead, you have to rely on Reinforcement and Regenerate to conserve units.
The ultimate goal of the mission is to defeat the Spider Queen (Mother Namtaru) frequently featured in the Necropolis campaign. Since this mission is quite long, by the time you finally reach the boss, it will be more than a reverse of the final fight of mission 1. You will have a bigger army and much higher stats than Xana, while the AI-controlled Spider Queen is not smart enough to run away from your loyal two-headed friends.
Dynasty Traits: You will be again swimming in resources and gold in this mission. So you can mostly ignore economic bonuses and go for +3 Core creature growth. Hero +3 movement bonus is also nice. Despite the relatively high level cap of 19, you will still fight enough battles to reach the level cap long before the mission is over.
Level cap: 19
Difficulty Index: 3/6
Last updated: December 18, 2011
Kiril starts without a town at (start). The east is a dead end (looks like Kiril was air-dropped to this location). Follow the road west and cross the bridge. In my game, there was a Druid's Bracelet just down the road. It is by no means a powerful artifact, but it offers one free Regenerate per battle, which comes in very handy against Necro heroes.
Soon you will be able to take over Town A owned the Red Haven player; it is even defended. The AI is so nice that it builds up the town for you, so don't feel too rushed as long as you take and convert it before the end of the first week. Take some time to collect resources nearby. You won't have a crystal mine until quite a bit later, so try to pick up all crystals and save them up for more important buildings.
When you have run out of things to flag and collect within Town A's borders, you should be powerful enough to take on the next Haven town, Town B. There should be an aggressive Haven hero who goes after Kiril, but it is a Haven army, so Mass Life Drain works. Take Town B, which the AI also builds up for you. If you have yet to build up Town A to level up, maybe the AI gives it to you here! You will almost always inherit a highly upgraded town from the AI in this mission.
After taking Town B, the gate at (1) is opened, but don't pass the bridge yet. To the northwest there is a Fort C, which governs a creature building and a Sawmill. This area is like your backyard, so you may as well make a round trip and grab things from the floor. There is an artifact merchant at (2) to burn some cash, as you will have way too much of it.
When you have done everything north of the bridge, go south and challenge Necropolis' Town D. From now on, almost everything you fight is undead, so you can switch your Dynasty Weapon to something other than Arache. The Angelic Alliance from the Haven campaign mission 4 is a good choice as at just level 3 (only requires 1M EXP), it provides a free Celestial Armor that absorbs a few hundreds of damage.
Before taking Town D, you probably need to face a Necro hero. While his army isn't particularly big, remember now your Life Drain does not work, so you have to really be careful to avoid losing units. You can use gated units to distract the last remaining units of the AI - so the battle drags longer and you will have more time to slowly Regenerate back lost units.
After taking Town D, you will be attacked every now and then. There could be as many as three roaming Necropolis heroes coming at you at the same time. They will attack your closest undefended town/fort, but will not hesitate to escape from Kiril by Town Portal if they sense danger (and unfortunately, they will come back in just a few days through a one-way portal (2)-(2'). They can reach Town D three days after coming out from (2'). It will be still a while until we can swat these flies for good.
Your strength might not be enough to produce a perfect victory against the first counterattack, so you might consider defending in Town D. But the subsequent Necro heroes will be progressively harder to "catch". In the meantime, you can flag your first crystal mine northeast of Town D, and visit the first stat boost (s) of the mission northwest of the town.
Around this time, you should be given the quest (capturing the next town) to unlock the tier-6 creature, Juggernaut. With poor movement range, their special attack is not very useful. But you can still practice their placement to avoid hitting your own units on the battlefield. In general, they should start a battle very far away from other friendly units.
With the crystal mine in production and some additional trading, you can build an Advanced Town Portal in Town D. Now you can freely explore and portal back when there is any threat. Then you can cast Basic town portal to some front-line town or fort to continue your expansion.
Not very far south of Town D, you can see two braches off the main road at (1). It is better to go west first to unlock the Breeders. Follow the winding path to take Fort E, and then south to take Town F. It is also a good idea to take Fort G early to give you an early warning of the Necro hero's presence, although the invaders then tend to go after Fort G, which gives you even less reaction time.
In my game, I parked Kiril in Fort G, and three Necro heroes stopped their turn just far away enough from Kiril so that Kiril cannot reach them on the next turn - at least they thought so. I then used a second hero to carry Kiril's troops, so Kiril can save up some movement points and have just enough movement points left to swat three heroes all in one turn! I did not see the next invasion for a long, long time.
Upon your capture of Town F, the game spawns a relative weak (level 1) Necropolis hero at (3). After defeating the hero, you can recruit a friendly stack of Breeders, and unlock their buildings in all your towns.
In Town F area you can find an underground entrance at (4), but it only leads to a disappointingly small and dull area at (4'). There is also a one-way portal entrance at (5), exiting at (5') so you can return to Town F a little sooner. This swamp area really does not hold anything valuable.
Now you should be powerful enough to put an end on the Necropolis invasions. Take Fort G if you have not already done so. In this area, you can find a pair of two-way portals (6-6'), but they do not serve any important purpose. Cross the land bridge, pass the portal exit (2'), and continue northeast towards Town J. This town could be a little too tough for you if you arrived here too early, but now it should not be difficult at all.
There is a Fort I just east of the land bridge. In my game, it was strangely undefended, so I captured it with an army-less secondary hero. Northeast of Fort I you can find a friendly and large stack of Cerberus at (7). Suddenly you become Xana in mission 1!
Now nothing should be able to stop you. Destroy everything on the way south and take Town K. The portal entrance (2) beside Town K is the source of all annoying invasions.
Keeping going south and grab Town L, the last stand of the Necropolis faction. There is another group of friendly creatures (Demented) at (8) in the middle of a narrow, dead-end path.
Now there is only one task remaining - gather all units you have and travel east from Town L. You will eventually see the stairs at (9-9'), leading to the Spider Guardian at (10) and the boss of this mission, Mother Namtaru. The boss has an odd HP of 87035, a quite-powerful attack that damages and disables multiple stacks in contact with her. But she does not retaliate attacks, and she does not avoid the dogs! Just look at how much the dog bite hurts her! Just like the Azkaal vs. Xana's dog battle, my dogs also hit more than all other stacks combined! Terrible creatures! (bug or feature?)
By the way, various spirits dotted the battlefield of the boss fight, but you cannot attack them. You will receive an achievement if you do not allow the boss to "consume more than 3 spirits". As long as you end the battle quickly enough, you should have no problem with this one.
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- by maltz
Welcome to the Inferno campaign. Some may find the orange-red theme a little overused; some may be simply excited about playing the bad guys, although Kiril is probably the most harmless among Slava's kids. Even after finishing the campaign I had little idea of why Kiril does this and that.
Demons are not the only race that wins by conquering everything, but it does accomplish it with a unique style - by bringing in lots and lots of helpers through Gating. Each mother stack can support one gated stack. There are three general uses of gated units:
(1) Block enemy shooters - you must have seen the AI faithfully doing this to you. They also create a good sacrificial distraction and allow you to deal more ranged damage before melee takes place.
(2) Absorb counterattacks - in this case you gate in the highest-initiative units, the Ravagers, and hope that it acts before the mother stack. They also have an aura that attracts nearby enemy attacks.
(3) Contribute to ranged damage in a castle assault - Lilim.
The Gating meter is filled up by each lucky attack, so to maximize our Gating efficiency, we need a (1) full 7 stack roster (if you don't have seven, split the Lilim into multiple stacks of one) and (2) high Destiny, which happens to be Kiril's specialty. There are various artifacts that increase Luck (such as the golden Horseshoe, Destiny +8). The chance of getting lucky is capped, but so far how high the cap is and how the cap is achieved is still unclear. There is also a unique building in towns, Heart of Urgash, that increases the Gating meter.
Might or Magic, Blood or Tear? How would you like to play this game? A cliche analysis would sound like "do you want to play by force (Might) or by brain (Magic)?" But in Hereso6 we are really talking about "do you want to be careful and take one step at a time to face only inferior enemies (Might) or over-achieve, and fight unnecessarily difficult battles (Magic)?"
Certainly, only a Magic hero can defeat an army 10 times larger. However, Blackhole is not so mean to make the missions so difficult on Hard that only a Magic hero can succeed. In fact, the Inferno campaign is so relaxed (except for one battle unrelated to Kiril) that you can easily cruise through with a Might hero and use fingers on one hand to count battles where you actually lose units.
So let's go with the game's default Kiril (Might). Might goes well with the Inferno army, where five out of seven units deals Might damage. Even if the only two magic users happen to be the only two ranged units, Kiril will end up with very high Magic Power thanks to various stats boosts.
In the Haven campaign, we went for Blood with the reasoning that increased damage is converted to increase healing by Arache. This time we will go for Tear (Hellcaller) and enjoy free extra Gating (Tear I passive ability) and a "Plan B" healing (Tear II active ability) using gated units (throughout this campaign I only used it once). Kiril is able to cast Mass Life Drain, so he doest not have to wield the Arache.
Here comes the list of abilities recommended for a Hellcaller Kiril:
Daily unit conservation: Reinforcement I (higher level is not necessary), Tactics II, Mass Life Drain, Mass Regenerate
Close fight tide turner: Mass Heroism (more morale and luck = more lucky attacks = more gating opportunities), Mass Weakness, Mass Stone Skin
- Logistics, Path Finding. To speed up the expansion.
- Archery I, II, Counterstrike I, II, III, Giant Slayer, Rampage, Cleave. Increase damages dealt.
- Parry, Resilience, Toughness I, Defense I Reduce damages taken.
There are still plenty of ability points to distribute. Please feel free to experiment with other builds!
Maniac/Demented (tier-1). Average melee unit with average initiative and damage. Their attack drains the target's power. But due to their low initiative, they are not the most active units on the battlefield. They are immune to morale effects, which works against you.
Hell Hound/Cerberus (tier-2). Extremely high offence at the expense of defense. Attacks multiple enemies at front (no more friendly fires like Heroes5!) and always retaliates. Look no further - this is your primary damage dealer throughout all missions! The AI loves to focus on them, so you will almost always start a battle with Reinforcement I on the dogs just like you did to Liches, Griffins, and Kappa before. And then you will use them to lead the attacks to fulfill the "primary damage dealer" prophecy.
Succubus/Lilim (tier-3). Your more realizable ranged unit. The upgraded version has one very good ability - enthrall, which Blinds a stack for a couple of turns. However, from experience, sometimes the enthrall effect stays even after damage is taken (like Time Stasis). Very useful.
Breeder/Breeder Mother (tier-4). Your less reliable ranged unit that looks like stage-IV anal tumor. The Imps that come out from the hole don't have eyes, so they have very poor aim (like Skeleton spear throwers). Even with a bow artifact (Unicorn/Emerald), they still don't deal impressive damage. They do suck mana for Kiril, and they do it very early due to their high initiative. The upgraded version comes with a free Reinforcement every battle, but the AI always hit the dogs.
Tormentor/Lacerator (tier-5). Their special attack hits all adjacent enemies without getting retaliated. Due to their high initiative, it is possible to avoid casualty by moving them to stand beside multiple enemies at the end of one turn, and release the powerful special attack at the beginning of the next turn. Other than this, they are just another melee unit.
Juggernaut/Ravager (tier-6). The highest initiative creature on the demon roster. Their special attack is to "run amok", damaging everything on their path (friendly fire possible) without attracting retaliation. It is quite an effort to plan their path in advance while avoiding damaging your own. The upgraded version attracts enemies' attacks in a 2-tile radius. So you will have to either Reinforcement I the dogs and heal them, Reinforcement II them and heal the dogs, or like me - let the dogs and Cleave do all the work.
Pit Fiend/Lord (tier-7). Although their hit-all special attack and counterattack is quite weak, their regular melee attack inflicts a "Frenzy" effect that consumes the target's next action to randomly attack a neighbor, friend or foe, or doing nothing at all if there is no neighboring unit. So we can use Pit Fiend/Lord in a supporting role - to make them wait first, go in and attack and frenzy something at the end of the turn (and hopefully avoid the counterattack), and pull out at the beginning of the next turn.
You will be able to collect three artifact sets from this campaign, the Warlord Set, the Trickster Set, and the Magister Set. But it is always better to forgo the insignificant set bonus and pick the best artifact for each part.
Level cap: 10
Difficulty Index: 2/6 (boss battle extra, see below)
Last updated: December 18, 2011
Mission 1 is mostly easy for Kiril - the neutral stacks are small, and the AIs are a lot more handicapped than you, so they are doomed to fail. But there is a very nasty surprise at the end, something completely unrelated to what do to Kiril. We will discuss that when the time comes.
Dynasty Traits: Mission 1 is all about Core creatures, so core creature +3 would be very handy. Any economic bonus would soon be completely useless, since you will have so much unspent resources at the end due to building (spending) restrictions.
Kiril wakes up at the middle of the map (start) to build up Town A from scratch, with a few free creatures to pick up nearby. There is no hurry to rush out, so you can take some time collect everything around here. A hero guarding the gold mine below will point you to the east. After this simple quest, you can recruit hellhound from towns.
With Week 2's new creatures, proceed to (1) and defeat a scripted demon hero. The reward of the fight is the might-oriented Dynasty Weapon Soul Drinker. This weapon has a "Life Drain" ability at level 4, but it is not as powerful as Arache. If a battle is not particularly difficult, you may as well equip Soul Drinker for its Destiny bonus.
Note: Patch 1.2 vows to fix Dynasty Weapon bugs, including permanent bonuses on a previously equipped weapon. So switching between Dynasty Weapons should become a viable strategy.
After defeating the hero, you can take Town B, the crystal mine, and nearby resources. You can solve a quest to recruit Maniacs by collecting a decent helmet set artifact (enemy morale -6) at (2). If you follow the path to the northeast after Sarah, you will eventually hit a temporary dead-end. There is another route to the north that leads you to the Orange territory, but it is probably a little too tough for you now.
With Week 3's new creatures from both Town A and B, you should have no problem pushing west and take Town C. At (3') lies the exit of a one-way portal. The red hero that you just defeated will invade you again and again by entering the portal at (3) to the north, so it is a good idea to setup an Advanced Town Portal in Town C in the near future.
You now have a choice of where to go next. You can continue attacking the Red faction to take Fort D and Town E to permanently stop the invasions, or go for the Orange faction, who owns Town F and Town G. In my game, I went for Town F first, then came back for Fort D and Town E. Strangely, I was not invaded by the Red before stepping into Fort D's territory.
No matter what order of conquest you decided, eventually you will have to take them all. This completes one of the primary objectives and opens the gate at (4). A quite-powerful hero roams the eastern territory, but you should be strong enough to crush it. Continue up the linear path and take Fort I, Fort J to eventually assault the last town, Town K.
Before you attack Town K, just north of the castle lies the last stats boost (s) of the mission that can be easily missed. The defending army inside Town K is more powerful than anything you have fought so far, but this is the last battle of the mission that uses Kiril and his army.
Winning the final town fight gives you a set artifact (boots), but it is handed to you after you receive a few (in my game, 3) other non-set artifacts from the opponent hero. If you do not have at least 4 empty slots in Kiril's top-3 rows (one of them is pocket, so in reality there are just two rows), you won't get the set shoes at the beginning of mission 2. To make sure you do get the shoes, remove whatever boots Kiril is wearing now, so the new boots will be equipped on Kiril and survive the mission.
Now let's talk about the real boss fight of this mission. After finishing Necropolis, Haven, and Sanctuary campaigns, I feel this particular fight is the hardest mandatory battle so far. I fought this battle on hard 6 times, but only managed to win 2.
BOSS: Azkaal vs. Xana's Dogs (Difficulty index: 6/6)
OK, a demon that has only 75000 HP. Shouldn't be too hard for Xana's huge army, right? Let's take a look at Xana's spell book... hm, how come we can't open it...
You ARE Azkaal, the Prince of Destruction! Do you stand a chance against 1120 dogs (on hard), often hitting for 10K+ damage each bite? If there is one sentence to summarize this battle, it is "avoid dog bites". Xana's dogs frequently escapes your hit-all counterattack fire damage (probably from its natural fire resistance), and they also damage you more than all other stacks combined. If you can avoid dog bites, you win.
Azkaal has two actions each round. Here are the options:
(1) Regular attack - very weak. But if you can hit something after teleporting, you may as well swing.
(2) Teleport - The only purpose of moving is to run away from the dogs. But Xana tends to increase the dogs' morale, so they might catch up with you anyway (fortunately dealing only half damage). A much better way to avoid the dogs is to let Xana's other melee stacks block the dogs from Azkaal, and to stun the dogs with the Frenzy attack (see (5)).
(3) Hit-all fire attack - (3-turn cool down period) A powerful attack that reduces all Xana's stacks' size. The faster you reduce the dogs' health with this fire attack, the more likely you are going to win.
(4) Mark for double fire damage - Starting with the dogs, mark all of Xana's real stacks so they will go down more quickly with your fire-based attack and counterattack. Whenever you are safe from the dogs and can't use (3), mark some fat stack.
(5) Frenzy+ - This ability is better than the regular Frenzy, for it will stun the target for 2 turns ONLY IF they have no neighbor to frenzy attack. The only stack that you need to Frenzy is the dogs - but for the sole purpose of stunning them for two turns. If they actually have something to attack, they are only stunned for the current turn.
Xana tends to give the dogs Life Drain. That's a very good reason that you don't want Frenzy to hit the dogs when the dogs can actually frenzy attack a friendly stack. Not only you lose the chance to stun them for one more turn, but you also help them heal thousands of HP! This only leads to your own demise! Besides, Xana has a disproportionally big dog stack, so chances are your hit-all attacks will eventually kill everything but the dogs.
p.s. On the bright side, if the dogs' frenzy attack does wipe out a friendly stack, you receive an achievement for it.
Your counterattack also deals hit-all fire damage, which is less powerful than (3). So it is a good idea to get hit by Xana's weaker melee stacks every round. Your personal luck is also very important - you might be unable to block the dogs with Xana's own units, and the dogs may keep getting high morale and hunt you down no matter which corner you hide in, and escape your fire damage again and again.
So... good luck! You will need plenty.
- by maltz
Mission 4 has a simple layout - all towns but no fort, all surface but (almost) no underground. You are up against two factions, Haven and Inferno. Both send heroes to invade you from their respective bases. While this sounds easy, many people have reported problems in this mission even on normal difficulty. The first wave of invasions from each faction could be especially difficult while Irina is still weak. To make the matters worse, the invasions tend to arrive all together.
Fortunately, we also have full control over when we receive the shock - until we have what it takes to crush them. For a magic hero, this could be as early as Week 3-4 of the first month.
A second, more unorthodox challenge of this mission is that the scripted armies could be... I am out of words. We have seen some large scripted army in Necropolis mission 4. Here, one Inferno town will be particularly hard to conquer early on, but it is at least possible. However, two Haven towns will field stacks that show 5 digits well over 65535. How about 90000 in each stack?! Fortunately, they are optional, and Gelhart is never smart enough to withdraw just 1% of that army to kick our little ass. With that army, we have to wonder why Gelhart has not conquered Asha himself (or more logistically, how does he manage the salary and ration?).
By the way, there is a bizarre side quest that requires you to avoid occupying any territory owned by the Wolf Duchy. Taking Haven towns controlled by the Orange Inferno player or getting neutral Haven towns from quest do not fail this quest, so Blackhole probably specifically refers to Haven towns controlled by the Red Haven player - if you can somehow defeat those monster stacks.
Level cap: 30
Difficulty Index: 5/6 (*6/6, if counting the optional battles)
Last updated: December 5, 2011
Dynasty Traits: As usual, free first generic hero really helps. I also lean towards +3 core and +1 elite creatures, but money is again the bottleneck in this mission. Technically, when you start feeling the money restrain, you should be far enough in the game and have won the most difficult battles. These traits still help at the beginning and middle, which are the most important anyway.
Irina starts in the southwest corner with Town A. She has quite a bit of resource buildings to flag to the south and north, so let's get them done as soon as possible. Your free hero should be Might to get the daily +1 Wood and Ore bonus. Don't worry that you have no priestess - simply sweeping the area with Earth Elementals, Phoenixes, and other powerful spells. The size of neutral creatures rises pretty dramatically in subsequent areas.
North of Town A is Town B, an Inferno-controlled Haven town. Needless to say, the resistance there is very weak there. You should be able to take Town B very soon, which also completes a side quest. East of Town A is Town C, a neutral Haven town. You can either attack it (blood path) or solve a simple quest (tear path) to let it join for free. The quest involves cleaning some inferno creatures on the Lighthouse island of (1), after which the town joins you immediately. There are also quite a large number of floating resources on the sea, worthy to send a hero after them.
Before we go further, let's look at the layout of towns, so we can avoid facing powerful invasions too early. Town D, E, and F are controlled by the Inferno Orange player. Town G, H, and I are controlled by the Haven Red player. The AIs will invade you if you take a town beside one of theirs (except for Town A at the very beginning), and the first invasion comes immediately. For example, if you own town B and C, you can expect invasion from the demons only. If you own town D, you can expect invasion from both human and demons.
In my game, I stole Town D quite early - at the end of Week 2, and had to face three to four quite powerful invasions from both enemies all during Week 3. This made my game very difficult (I was able to drive them off only if Irina turtle inside Town D's level 2 wall). For a Might Irina, it is probably better to delay Town D as much as possible. But as Magic-Tear, you may as well give these 5:1 battles a shot and show the AI what humans are made of. By the way, the Inferno AI in Town D does not invade Town B even if it has the army to. So it is possible that AI is scripted to ignore Town B (not sure about Town C).
So what should we do if we run out of things to kill in the starting area? Actually, there is a secret recruit island waiting for Irina on the very northeast corner of the map. This island isactually part of the mainland if you look it up on the Ashan map (provided on the top of this article. Kudos to Blackhole, for they really make an effort to match up mission maps and the campaign map terrain). On the "island" you will see numerous passive sanctuary creatures, which may join you for free or for money. The four whirlpools on this map (all marked by (2)) are inter-connected. Entering one of them will randomly transport your hero to any one of the other three. Eventually, you will emerge from the whirlpool close to the recruit island at (3).
In my game, I did not visit this island until mid Month 2. The stacks have grown very much due to neutral stacks' natural growth. Therefore, if you are confident about your Irina build, there isn't any need to get to this island in a hurry - let the stacks grow a bit so by the time you harvest them, you get more free units. At the end of the recruit island there is a one-way portal (4), which will send you to the other side of the straight at (4'). Not particularly useful.
One of the initial demon invasions is actually linked to a quest. You will receive the unimpressive shoulder piece of the Prophet Set. The hero is not really more powerful from the rest, but could be still deadly enough so that you have to defend in a town.
Once you own Town D and have driven off the first wave of Inferno and Haven invasions, it is time to think about counterattack during the intermission. The Inferno faction owns Town E and F. While Town F is a lot easier, taking town F will further expose us to inconveniently quick Haven invasion from Town H (and they come quite frequently). On the other hand, if you take Town E, there will be no more demon invasions! So it is strategically sound to take Town E first. It won't be easy - but possible for a magic hero. (If you play Might, you might have to wait a lot longer before marching toward Town E.)
On your way to Town E, you will see a two-way portal (5), which takes you to the east at (5'). This no-man's area also has a number of neutral buildings to be flagged, but you can do it later.
Town E seems to be scripted so that it has to be defended by just creatures (no hero allowed). So even if there was a garrison hero, as in my game, I ended up facing the hero's army first, then attack the castle's creatures. Heroless creatures defending towns doesn't sound very hard, but in this mission they could reach astronomical numbers. I understand that Blackhole wants some challenges for us, so let's take it!
The picture on the right shows how much I had to fight in Town E at the end of Month 1, Week 4 on hard difficulty (I skipped Town C and went straight for A-B-D-E), with an army about 1/10 of it. My strategy of this 37-turn drag involves using Serenity, the cheapest stack-disabling spell, to block the action of AI shooters, while my own shooters destroy other melee stacks, starting from the fastest (and most dangerous) Pit Fiends. This way, the AI was probably fooled to think "we still have superior ranged power, so we don't have to storm out." For many turns, all AI units just defended behind the walls, allowing my small shooter stacks to slowly scratch them to death (Archery II works really well here).
However, at turn 25 or so the AI suddenly woke up, attacked its own shooters to break Serenity, and charged out all together. I was careless to allow my 28 Kensei to fall in the range of the 883 dogs, which were still in the castle, but the wall has been demolished by the catapult and they have high movement range) and the Kensei were instantly wiped out for good (can't resurrect as Sanctuary). Fortunately, I already scratched 3 stacks to death at the point, so the situation was still manageable with an emergency Time Stasis, Tsunami, plus the usual Serenity and Petrify. I came out of this fight losing nothing else. Lesson learned for you: focus on stacks with high movements first and don't leave anything in their range. Pit Fiends and the dogs must go early.
After taking Town E, don't go down stairs 6 first - you are not powerful enough for the boss yet. Good news for us - the Inferno Orange have turned dormant for good. But there is still a weak Inferno hero camped in front of in Haven Town F - might as well end their embarrassment. Once you take Town F, Red Haven will invade you immediately, and after that, quite frequently. But nothing can stop you at this point.
Now there are no more towns you can conquer - Town G and H are defended by ridiculously large armies, and the gate leading to Town J is closed. It is a good time to collect the neutral stacks on the recruit island if you have not done so, and to visit various stats boosts (s) on the map. When you have enough power to win all the harder Arena fights, you should be ready to take on the second last boss in the underworld. Descend the stairs at (6-6') and kick its mouth!
The Breeder Queen is a very unique boss. Its information lists that it has a weak magic power of 250, but it probably only applies to its regular attack, where an Imp flies out just like the normal version's magic ranged attack. However, the Breeder Queen's special attack is actually very deadly if you are not prepared - it attacks a wide area in front of her for thousands of damage on each stack (so don't crowd in front of her, spread to the sides and back if possible).
p.s. There is an achievement about not allowing the Breeder Queen to use her Imp attack. However, I don't see how it can be done, as she does the "ranged" attack even if she was in contact with multiple stacks of Irina.
Apparently, you can cast Time Stasis on the boss, but it will have no effect. The best way to win this battle with minimal loss is to recite a Mass Life Drain scroll on Turn 1, wait for the boss to act then attack (so you avoid the special attack in Turn 1 and heal back the damage), followed by Mass Regenerate and all-out-assault on Turn 2. Then keep healing until the boss dies. Your reward for killing the boss is a Tear of Asha!
After killing the Breeder Queen, the cut-scene suggests that the Haven army "is leaving". Actually the only Haven army left is the one behind the gate between Town H and I, roughly at 7'. (The number marks the exit of a one-way portal, which opens just south of Town I, at 7. I guess Blackhole left the portal there so the Red Haven AI would use the portal to launch its invasions, but I found the AI prefers basic Town Portal.)
Anyway, the gate is now open - one boss fight remains. The final boss in Town I isn't really a 4x4 monster like the Breeder Queen, but a regular hero who commands an OK army - about more than 1000 of core units, hundreds of elite, and dozens of champion when I fought him at the first week of Month 3. Very easy. If he uses just 10% of creatures stocked in Town H (that would be 9000 of each), Irina would have been floating on the sea. Congratulations for winning the Sanctuary campaign!
Finally, let's discuss how possibly we could win the fight in Town G and H on hard difficulty. Since the stacks are so large, if we are ever touched, our stack is gone with the Naga. The key is to avoid all melee contact and counterattack whenever possible. The following abilities therefore are keys:
- Artifact Shadow Comb (1-shot Puppet Master - 2 turns if our spell power is high enough)
- Petrify, Serenity, Time Stasis, Time Stasis (about 5-6 turns at this point)
- Blind (about 2 turns)
- Robe of Sar-Issus (1/2 mana cost) + Dragon Nexus (2 times max mana) + Meditation: so you can last more than 100 turns if required
With these preparations, my Town G battle (the easier of the two, against 45000 Imperial Griffins + 9000 of tier 1-3, but only a few hundreds of tier 4-6) was looking very good. Theoretically, we could PM the Griffins to kill everything else big (tier 1, 2, 3 in the two precious PM turns, as the Praetorians will go down with whatever it protected). Then, we can use Serenity to control the Griffins while shooting it for two rounds every 4 turns (the cool-down time for Serenity). It is even more straight forward than the Town E fight.
I have got some good start in Town G this way, but due to a 100% reproducible game-crashing bug (I have been mentioning this in other walkthroughs), I can't continue the battle. The bug (v1.1.1) is triggered whenever the AI has to act immediately after its PMed stack attacks and kills a lot of units. Well, at least I managed to take a screen shot (see above) 1 second before the game crashed again. The Griffins dealt 194225 damage to the Vestals to wipe them out, and 185509 damages to the Praetorians protecting them. Oh yeah.
How about Town H - 90000 units of tier 1-6? There is some hope. I was tracking the number of creatures inside these monster towns, and found that the garrison does not grow! So if you just keep hitting end turns, you will theoretically outnumber them in the far future. Good luck! Unfortunately, you won't get the 25th year anniversary achievement in campaigns (bug or feature?), or the math will work out just right (100+ creature each week x 52 x 25 = 130,000+)!
- by maltz
In this straight forward (surface only) mission, Irina needs to stop the Necromancers from taking over four towns. But there is really no rush in doing so. Three of the towns will fall immediately after the start of the mission; so there is nothing we can do. But then the Necromancers will ignore the final town. So we don't have to rush there, either. The Orcs are mostly our friends, although you can make some Orcs angry to your benefit.
There are not many towns and forts in this mission - well, there is only one fort. The Necromancers are the bosses, so artifacts that reduce morale will be useless against them. Just to keep the pressure on you, the AI will invade you through a one-way whirlpool; however, in my game, there was only one invasion near the beginning. You will also fight a large number of large neutral stacks. Tsunami is a great battle opener. Mass Regenerate during Time Stasis on the last enemy stack makes it much easier to achieve perfect victories in boss fights.
Level cap: 24
Difficulty Index: 3/6
Last updated: December 5, 2011
Dynasty Trait: My picks were just like before: free first generic hero, +3 core creature and +1 elite creature. In later missions, the first is still an excellent pick, since new heroes are way too expensive (and way too effective). On the other hand, I started leaning against +creature growth traits because I always run out of gold before I run out of creatures to hire. Unfortunately, there aren't more powerful +gold Dynasty Traits for higher Dynasty Ranks.
Irina starts beside Town A of the southeast corner. There is a Sawmill to the northwest and an Ore Pit to the northeast. You can make a round trip using any of the two paths leading to the west (as they will converge). The observation tower north of Town A reveals the exit of a one-way Whirlpool (1). Necro heroes will invade through here. If unchallenged, they will reach Town A two days after coming out of the whirlpool. That's pretty quick!
When you have finished business around home, head west to cross the straight at (2). The paved path to the north is blocked by Orcs, so head west first to face two Necro heroes. One will fight; one will run (you will see him later). Beat the Necromancer and take control of Town B without another fight. In my game, after about one week I was invaded by a weak Necro hero through the whirlpool at (1).
The "Free Orc Prisoner" quest should be activated now. The map will reveal the prisoners' locations, which are marked by PR on the map. The prison guards could be a little too tough for you. So don't feel rushed. You can tour Irina through Town B's territory to fight for resources and flag more buildings. The observation tower northwest of Town B will reveal a shipwreck-filled bay and a Blue hero at (3).
Soon you will obtain one of the four Moon Fragments in this mission marked by MF on the map. With all four fragments on the same hero, the game will reveal the location of the Tear of Asha (Tear), which can be installed inside your capital for nice effects. A reasonable time to get to the tear is after you finish freeing the Orc Prisoners. Neutral creatures guarding the later fragments could be quite a bit bigger than those prison guards.
Once you take care of the prison guards, you can earn Blood or Tear points by choosing whether to let the prisoners join (Blood path) or let the prisoners take over the city directly (Tear path). The Tear path saves work! After the Orc Towns (Town C and Town D) join, you can freely build them up, but can't convert them until you have freed both towns. It is a good idea to upgrade the money-making buildings right after receiving the towns (Level 3 Town Halls, Market) for profit.
As soon as you convert one of the Orc Towns (C or D), an angry Orc hero will turn aggressive at (4). He has a fairly powerful army, so it is better to postpone the town conversion until you are powerful enough to handle him. Practically, you can set Irina on a moon fragment-collection trip for the two northern fragments. By the time Irina reaches (4), convert the towns and send the now-angry Orc hero packing before his turn even turns up.
There is an optional Fort E still north from (4), controlling a rather large territory with a creature building to the very northeast and a gold mine to the west. When you are on your way to collect the moon fragment in the shipwreck bay, you can talk to a Blue hero at (5), but he only gives plot-related information.
You can now take your time fighting neutral stacks and collecting stats boosts (s). The remaining enemy's number grows much slower than yours due to the power of the Tear of Asha. The fourth town to reclaim, Town F, isn't heavily defended, but the challenges that follow will be a little more difficult. You will notice a threatening fleet of Necromancers at the shore of (5), but they won't actively attack you. You can find another set artifact at (6).
After you own Town F and convert it, a Sea Dragon is summoned and the Necromancer's fleet at (5) is largely destroyed. There will be only two ships remaining for Irina to sink manually. Cross the straight to the northwest and enter another Necro faction's territory, where you might see additional Necro heroes roaming around. In my game, I even saw one Necro hero with no army (so that battle was instantly over).
The final boss is significantly more powerful than the rest of heroes you have seen so far, but he should not be even close to threatening your perfect victory. Before the final fight, remember to re-arrange your inventory so all your set-artifacts are in the first page (no scroll bar required), and you still need two 2 holes left. This is because you will be given two artifacts after the final fight (although only one is part of a set).
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- by maltz
Mission 2 is actually a recycled and expanded map 1, while Irina has to work on the reversed order.
Setting on the Sanctuary "Ha island" ("shima" means island in Japanese), this mission has a lot of neutral Sanctuary creatures that has an attitude of Passive (instead of the usual Hostile). If your army overpowers them, they often join for free or for gold, which you will have plenty. You can beef up your army significantly through collecting these neutral creatures.
Dynasty Traits: Free first generic hero is always good as it provides extra creatures to start a mission. Another very good trait is "Core creature +3", as Priestess and Kappa will be your main damage dealers (now it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy).
Level cap: 17
Difficulty Index: 3/6
Last updated: December 5, 2011
You start outside the last town of mission 1 (Town A), given four weeks to prepare an army to capture Fort C to the south. Before you start picking up resources, hire a new hero, who preferably has Coral Priestesses and Kappa and give them to Irina. You can make the pair flag the Saw Mill and Ore Pit. The creatures surrounding Town A is weak, but don't touch them yet - rush Irina to capture Fort B as early as possible.
Currently (v1.1.1), there is a bug that makes Fort B disappear (into a "C" shaped remain, see picture to the right) if you do not occupy the neutral fort early but fight the nearby neutrals instead. This happened to my first run of this mission as well. If this bug occurs to you, you won't be able to complete the quest of "capture the eastern fort" and receive the additional units from the tier-6 creature building south of Fort B.
Now we can sweep clean the surroundings of Town A and Fort B. You can send another secondary hero (there will be lots of resource gathering on the sea) to the ocean north of Fort B. What the map above reveals is a good indication of the range where you can find floating resources - everywhere.
A good time to finally push south is to wait for your Week 3's creatures. Defeat the army guarding Fort C and convert the creature building just beside it. You will see the second closed gate (GA1). They won't open yet.
Kill and collect everything in the area and continue south. You will see a group of Sharks standing in front of Town D. As soon as you talk to them (you can use any other hero who leads at least 1 creature) to do the conversation, a Haven hero spawns northwest of Town D. This Haven army will land on one of the two beaches north of Town D to fight Irina. This fight shouldn't be difficult if you did not push south too early. (As usual, Blackhole likes you to finish one area before moving to the next.) After the battle, Town D is your reward.
Getting Town D also activates quite a number of new quests. Your ultimate goal is to go to Town J and replace Hiroshi, the Teal Sanctuary faction. But you have to first solve a bunch of quests. Let's start with the most important quest - Kirin.
The Kirin quest takes place southeast of Town D at (1), and is essentially two sub-quests combined, the Spring Spirit quest and the Snow Maiden quest. When you complete both sub-quests, the Kirin quest is completed automatically. Completing each quest enables you to build their corresponding structures in towns. Completing the Kirin quest also enables you to skip the last battle of this mission.
Also, since we are going on the Tear path, these quests do not really involve any mandatory fighting. So you can bring a secondary hero along to run errands and eventually pick up scattered resources. However, the quest givers (the Kirin, the Spring Spirit, and the Snow Maiden) have to talk to a hero who leads at least 1 creature. It just does not have to be Irina. (On the other hand, Heroes travel a lot farther per day if they do not lead any creature.)
The Spring Spirits are behind the two-way Portal (2-2'). Their request is very simple and easy - just march some hero north and cross the stream. This is where you started mission 1! Now you only need to donate 20 wood for their home renovation project. You should naturally have a large excess of Wood at this point, since Sanctuary buildings use lots of Ore.
The Snow Maidens are behind the two-way Portal (3-3'). This one involves a little bit of walking - you have to make somebody walk all the way east to the two-way Portal at (4-4'). Then go south a bit to locate the lost priestess. There are also many resources to be picked up in this area.
There are a few changes happening in the world at the same time. First, two closed gates (GA1) are opened, leading to hostile Teal territory. The invasion never came in my game, but I have heard people complaining about them. Second, there is a one-way portal exit (6') just east of Town D. The entrance of that portal is south from here at (6), east of Town E.
The under-volcano passage (7-7') to (8-8') has also been opened (as there is no longer gas coming out of the dragon's mouth.) If you feel like adventuring, you can use the passage to ambush the Teal faction. But the garrison could be too difficult for you at this point. (Remember what Blackhole likes you to do - finish one area before moving to the next.)
Town E is the closest and most reasonable next target, but it also guarded by quite an impressive army. The enemy hero there will punish an ill-prepared Irina. I took it with an army including almost 200 Pearl Priestess, some good artifacts and scrolls from Advanced Market, and a secondary hero that bait the garrison hero out of her town. This is probably the most difficult battle of this mission (the rest of the garrisons aren't much bigger compared to this, but Irina will be.) If you find this battle too difficult, wait for another week or two until you are powerful enough.
You really don't want to see the AI's priestess cast Wave of Renewal on themselves or anybody else - they revive a truck load. A useful tactics to disable enemy priestess at a low level is to use Serenity on them: (You need some artifact that boosts your initiative ahead of the enemies'. The Soulreaver staff on level 2 will do the trick.)
Turn 1: Our priestess shoot enemy priestess. Irina casts Serenity on enemy priestess, who loses turn. Turn 2: Our priestess wait, the enemy priestess loses turn and recovers from Serenity, our priestess shoot enemy priestess Turn 3: Our priestess shoot enemy priestess.
Now if you have a blind scroll, you can disable the enemy priestess for two more turns. And when Blind is over, your Serenity can be casted again. Later on, your Serenity is extended all the way to 6 turns, making it extremely powerful against a single horror stack. If you don't give the opponent's priestess a chance to act, you will have a good time breezing through these siege battles. After level 15, you can pick Petrify and use it on those immune of Serenity. In the meantime, the enemy melee will storm out, and you will have upgraded Snow Maiden to setup a perfect trap at the castle gate (grin).
Taking Town E also opens another gate (GA2). But you can't go anywhere meaningful from here, since the other two gates are still closed. There is a Seven Dragon's Shrine (SD) just northwest of Town E. Same as mission 1, there might not be enough enemies to fight to push you to the level cap of 17.
No matter whether you have taken care of Town E or not, it is a good idea to finish the Ronin quest early on, as the enemies are very weak there. You can go through the whirlpool (works like a reliable two-way portal) of (5-5') to take Fort F and its surrounding buildings. You might recall this island as the "treasure island" back in mission 1. You should receive a free secondary hero, who will be carried over to later missions. If you have extra ability points, you might consider the Mentor ability to make this guy (a might hero) a very effective side kick.
If you can beat the hero defending Town E, your army should grow fast enough to take down Fort G, Town H, and Town I in the following week or two. The game gives you free hero for occupying Town E and Town I (you have to go to a Tavern to claim your free hero). So you can again send them out to gather resources. There are plenty on the water.
After taking Fort I, which is partially revealed during the Snow Maiden quest, the gate close by (GA3) will open. If you have completed all other primary quests up to this point, the final gate (GA4) will also open, giving you the chance to finish this mission immediately. If you have previously defeated the Necro stacks in the sea south of the final gate, you can just walk up and win (otherwise Hiroshi will ask you to, thanks to Naki).
But you may as well take some extra time to visit the stats boosts (s). By the way, finishing the mission grants you an interesting artifact - the helmet worn by Hiroshi. However, since it is not a set artifact, it does not carry over. The same nonsense will happen again at the end of mission 3.
It is a good idea to save a few ability points before hitting level 15. Irina will be able to defeat enemies many times of her size with key spells like Summon Earth Elemental, Time Stasis, Petrify, and Meditation combined with her Tide Master's Serenity and Tsunami.
- by maltz
Welcome to the Sanctuary campaign. While the "nature & harmony" theme is not a new concept in the series, in Heroes6 we get to see an east-Asian (specifically Japanese) based faction, at least name-wise. Shogun is literally "general"; Kenshi/Kensei is literally "swordsman/sword saint"; Daimyo is literally "big name", or the lord of the region. Kappa and Snow Woman are both Japanese folklore monsters. Kirin is a holy legendary creature of eastern mythology and of course, a beer brand.
Sanctuary appears to be a very defensive faction. Its racial ability, Honor, increases defence but never heals even on the highest level. It functions like a good mass defensive buff (like Mass Stone Skin but covers both Might and Magic Defence). Its units gain defence in the next turn if they do not attack this turn. These are probably the least aggressive racial abilities among all.
Sanctuary heroes have the unique ability to walk on water, only if leading nothing or nothing but Sanctuary creatures. The scenario designers are nice enough to litter the waters with lots of recyclable garbage. There might be hidden "treasure islands" on the sea, too!
There will be just two artifacts sets that you may be able to complete, the Prophet Set, and the Guardian Set. The Trickster Set will be missing one piece so don't bother looking for it. Some of the parts are very useful. Remember to leave them in the top three rows of Irina's inventory when you finish a mission.
The game by default makes Irina a Magic hero, although the loading scene (the picture above) suggests that she is a Might hero. Her specialty is improved Heroism Warcry, which I used only once in the entire campaign! This walkthrough will walk Irina on the path of Magic + Tear (Tide Master) for two reasons:
(1) While the sanctuary creatures contain 4 Might & 3 Magic, the only two shooters (tier-2 and tier-4) both use Magic attacks.
(2) A Tide Master has two extremely useful hero abilities: Serenity and Tsunami. Serenity is essentially an improved Blind - it becomes available at a lower level, lasts longer (Blind is a Blood spell, in end-game Serenity can reach 6 turns), costs fewer mana points, and has a cool down of only 4 turns. Tsunami not only looks great, but also imposes a 2-turn Mass Time Stasis (in end-game it can reach 3 turns) on all stacks that occupies only one tile (giant creatures are not affected).
Going Magic means that we will be able to defeat enemies ranked as "Severe", "High", or even "Deadly" threats. This also brings us into danger territories before we are ready. It is still better to play a little conservative. Blackhole rewards players who take time to mop up all neutral creatures in an area before moving to the next.
I also recommend the following abilities:
Troop conservation: Reinforcement I, Regenerate, Mass regenerate, Heal, Tactics I. In general, we have to avoid large-scale melee, since Irina can't cast Life Drain, the most powerful healing spell.
Level 15 burst to invincibility: Summon Earth Elemental, Time Stasis, Meditation, Petrify. Petrify lasts very long for a Tear hero, and it applies to almost every creature. It also can't be easily dispelled (by friendly fire) like Serenity.
Logistics, Path Finding: faster expansion
Counterstrike I, II, Archery I, II, Giant Slayer: to increase damage dealt
Parry, Toughness I, II, Defence I, II: to reduce damage taken - low priority, but eventually you will have the extra abilities points for them.
Thundercap: Pearl priestess's (air-based) attack has a high chance of reducing the target's initiative by 10. Very useful to delay a key enemy stack's action.
Tactics II: Kappa leaps back-row enemy shooters on Turn 1. Useful for routine encounters.
Please feel free to experiment with other abilities. There are many ways to win battles with style - although the general consensus is that a Tide Master is extremely good at it (due to Serenity and Tsunami).
Sanctuary lacks Ore more than Haven lacks Wood. But same as Haven, the Sanctuary towns are blessed with an Advanced Market, which sells new items whenever a new game save is loaded (cough). You may be able to find many great artifacts from it, just to name a few:
- Emerald Yumi Bow (off-hand, 20K). Ignores shooters' obstacle penalty. Very handy during a castle siege.
- Gauntlets of the Cyclops (hand, 16K). +8 might power. Exactly what you need for melee.
- Shadow Comb (head, 20K). +8 magic power and one Puppet Master per battle. Useful before level 15, or for the seemingly impossible optional battles in mission 4.
- Summon X Elemental Scrolls (one-time, around 750). Useful before level 15 - ties up enemy shooters.
- Mass Life Drain Scrolls. They appear very frequently in the markets. Great for boss fights.
Besides the advanced market, Pagoda of the Master Duellist increases visiting hero's damage output by 10% for the next battle (although I didn't see any sign that this actually works). Since you only need one Master Duellist building, you can build the alternative Shrine of the Celestial Waters for better Air and Water magics, which are used by Priestess and Snow Maidens/Woman.
Shark Guard/Wanizame (tier-1). High-output melee unit but with very low initiative. Their attack can reduce the movement of enemy melees and cause continuous damage. Not very active due to their slowness, but since they are Tier-1, you will have lots of them. And they will deliver the fatal blow when they are given the chance.
Coral/Pearl Priestess (tier-2). These are your primary healers (or regenerators) before level 15. (After level 15 you hardly get touched.) Since each stack only has two shots of Waves of Renewal, in daily encounters, you might want to split them for better regenerating and shooting coverage. Their long-ranged magic attack is air-based (lightning), and most Sanctuary creatures are weak to air. Great damage to their own kind! The top priority core creature.
Kappa/Kappa Shoya (tier-3). Japanese folklore monster "river child" but looks more like frogs undergone brain autopsy. Every two turns, they can perform a medium-long ranged no-retaliation attack, which is more powerful than a regular attack and damages nearby enemies. Since Kappa has very high initiative, against weak opponents, you can guess the location of their ranged units (usually on the 4th tile from the lower edge, or 5th tile from the upper edge) and leap them immediately. Most of your Reinforcement I should go to Kappa since they will act first to take the counterattack. Since most battles are against neutral creatures, Kappa usually tops your damage chart at the end of missions.
Spring Spirit/Mizu-Kami (tier-4). Looks more like Winter spirits than Spring spirits. They also have identical models and portraits as Water Spirits (the upgrade version is exactly "water god" in Japanese). So what do they do anyway? They can spirit link to another friendly stack and share their buffs such as Pain Mirror. Essentially a mediocre melee unit, this is the weakest link of the Sanctuary army roster.
Snow Maiden/Yuki Onna (tier-5). Japanese folklore monster snow woman, who now fire ice balls. The Onna's special ability is to create a 3x3 frozen ground that both damages enemies and reduces their movement points (although not by very much). Very amusing against AI melee walkers, as the dumb AI will step on the trap again and again. Once they finally got pass it, try "Call of the Depths" or "Tsunami" for more laughs! This should be your top-priority elite creature both for value and entertainment.
Kenshi/Kensei (tier-6). These snake blade masters are the Sanctuary equivalent of bugged Imperial Griffins (i.e. no battle dive): relatively high initiative, decent health, and unlimited retaliation. You will be able to use them starting at the beginning of the campaign, and will continue to enjoy their supporting role. The upgraded version can hit multiple times if they repeatedly attack the same enemy.
Kirin/Sacred Kirin (tier-7). Throughout this campaign I never had enough cash to hire a good number of them when I need them. When I do get rich, the missions are essentially won. Retaliated tier-7 melee is as effective as low-tier melee - they seldom get a chance to attack in the toughest battles, which are all siege battles. So you may as well save the money to hire as many Sharkmen as you can, and invest the rest in some powerful artifacts in the Advanced Market. The toughest fights are usually in the first half.
Level cap: 10 (best guess)
Difficulty Index: 3/6
Last updated: December 5, 2011
Dynasty Traits: You probably have noticed that we are usually restricted to low-tier units in mission 1s. So we can greatly benefit from the core creature +3 bonus. Also, since there will be a large number of resources to pick up on the sea, you may as well get "free first generic hero", and hire yet another one early on to combine their starting armies on Irina (get the heroes with more priestess). By the way, contrary to any other missions you have played, you probably won't reach the level cap simply because there are not many creatures to kill. So feel free to convert some early chests into experience points.
The first part of this mission is about walking around to receive small numbers of units and eventually a free town to develop. Feel free to skip some optional encounters in order to rush to the town. You can always return here later.
Irina begins her journey with a small band of Coral and Pearl Priestess at (start). Travel down the road and you will see a magic-affiliated Dynasty Weapon, Staff of the Tides at (1). The Staff of Tides has a special ability Call of the Depths at level 3 (think of it as Tear II Tsunami minus Mass Time Stasis but plus some scratchy damage). When the staff is maxed to level 5, creatures gain an Ice Barrier which absorbs damage. But of course you won't see it if you play this campaign normally (Killing every thing ONCE will net you 4-5M EXP at the end.) You can also use other staffs, preferably those that increase mana. One more Regenerate/Heal can sometimes be the key for a perfect victory.
By the way, if any of the special abilities does not appear in your spell inventory when you have reached the level for it (as happened in my game), simply un-equip and re-equip the staff.
Don't be afraid to walk up to the deadly guardian of the weapon - you will be given a quest. As the walkthrough follows the Tear route, Irina has to defeat about a dozen of Fire Elementals at (2). This could be a little too tough for you at this moment. You can always come back when you have enough mana to heal.
Go to (3) first and rescue a group of Kappa from Haven poachers. Next, go to (4) and visit the Dragon Nexus (double mana) structure and the ability to walk on water. There are quite a few floating resources nearby, but you can send a secondary hero to collect them later.
Now you can cross the stream and eventually descend the stairs at (5-5'). The underground portion is rather small, with two stat boosts (s) and some minor artifacts. Soon you will see the exit of the under-volcano tunnel (6-6'). Go east to flag a creature building and receive the free Town A!
The second part of this mission is to outgrow and defeat the Red Haven faction, which owns Fort B, Fort C, and Town D. The AI is completely dormant - you can do whatever you want in front of their eyes. You can probably take Fort B very early. However, Fort C and Town D do have pretty big scripted garrisons, so you need some time to save up an army.
You only have one town, so how do you outgrow them? It would be nice if there is another creature building. Indeed, there is. Travel north (on the water) from Town A, and you will soon see a few buildings to flag on an island (7). More resources floating! Also, it is now a good time to go back to tend to unfinished business from the beginning. If you feel mean, you can park a secondary hero at (8) to block the AI's creature building from beefing up Fort C (which is likely the toughest fight in this mission), and another hero at (9) to steal the AI's Ore production.
When you have run out of things to collect, push north and take over Fort C and Town D. They are all very straight-forward siege battles. If you find one too hard, simply come back later with more units and more one-time combat boosts.
You can also get many great items from the Advanced Market. In my game, I bought a few summon elemental scrolls to pop them up right beside the AI's Crossbowmen and blocked their shots for eternity - all for just a few thousand gold. I also bought Anastasia's Shadow Comb for one cast of Puppet Master per battle (PM an enemy shooter frequently crashes my game, so be careful) for amusing effects, and some other + Magic Power artifacts. I also found a few Life Drain and Mass Life Drain scrolls, but never found the tough situation to use them.
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- by maltz
You can tell that Blackhole wants to make this final mission more challenging, but unfortunately it does not quite deliver the thrill. You are up against two Inferno enemies, one on the surface and one below. Only the faction on the surface will invade you. The map maker did AI a favor - the invasions will come right to you through a one-way portal, the exit of which is in the dead center of your quarter. Unfortunately, you won't be able to stop the nuisance for a while. The invasions are too small to become a threat anyway.
Once you start pushing into the Infernos' territory during the intermissions, you will find out that most AI towns don't even have walls, and they are again garrisoned by mysteriously small armies. You easily expand and expand, while teleporting back to swat red flies from time to time. Standing out from the mundane works are two mini-bosses (one is optional, probably unintentional as well) and the (finally) action-packed final boss fight.
Dynasty Traits: From hindsight, this is a mission where extra movement points really help - so you can accomplish more while the AI is not invading you, and reliably catch the invading enemy heroes when they try to run away from Anton. The +3 movement bonus is a nice one. Free first generic hero always helps (hire a Might hero so you get +1 Wood and Ore per day right from the beginning. Wood will be short early on.).
Level cap: 30
Difficulty Index: 2/6
Last updated: November 25, 2011
You start in the northeast corner with the same side-kick hero from mission 3. You can dump to her the Regent's artifact set like before - you already have 4, and you will be find 2 more here to complete the set. MINOR BUG (v1.1.1): If you ended mission 3 with some set artifacts NOT in the first three rows of your artifact slot, you are temporarily unable to access them until you acquire enough artifacts to give you back the scroll bar to see the 4th row and below. When this happened to me, I could go back to the last save of the last mission, move up the set artifacts, and finish that mission again. Another artifact set that you might be able to complete here is the Prophet set. However, in my game, I left one piece of it in a secondary hero when a previous mission finished. It was lost forever.
Go southeast to take over Town A. Like mission 3, it is a good idea to focus on money buildings first. Flag and collect the resources nearby. While you don't have a good army yet, the free Summon Phoenix spell carried over from mission 3 can make things really easy. While the neutral creatures focus their attack on the summoned Phoenix, you can use Anton's regular attack to wear them down.
Soon you will discover the exit of the one-way portal (1'), where the surface Inferno faction conveniently invades you about every two weeks. The entrance of the portal is south from here at (1). However, even if you secure that area later, the invasion will continue. The AI hero will simply walk to you the old-fashioned way.
Grab Fort B and the crystal mine, as well as Fort C and its creature building. There should be some friendly creatures for recruit. Besides, many of the Ruins/Barbarian Camp structures in this scenario give free units, even upgraded Haven units. Next, go west and take over the Inferno Town D and convert it. Part of the main quest is to convert 4 designated Inferno towns, and this is one of them. Now you have your quarter established; the only threat to your home base comes from the one-way portal at (1'). You can build an Advanced Town Portal in Town A ready when Anton goes somewhere far away.
Now you have some freedom to decide where to expand next. If you take the stairs (2-2') down, you can fight the other (orange) Inferno faction, which owns a total of two towns and two forts. You can also push out west or south. By going west, you can grab two towns and two forts, in addition to completing a side quest to receive a group of reinforcements. By going south, you can eventually grab many towns, many forts, and finally put a stop to the demon invasions. Of course, the south is likely too tough for you now.
Let's start with the easiest and most profitable. The underground orange demons have nothing to do with the surface demons. They don't actively invade you early on probably because they are simply too weak. So let's wipe them out and use their resources and towns to fuel our rapid expansion. Once you are in underground (2'), travel west first so you can immediately take Town E for conversion. The underground quest requires you to convert two towns.
From Town E, you can go counter-clockwise to sweep Fort F, Town G, and Fort H in rapid succession. If the red Inferno invasion comes on the surface, simply portal back to the surface. The invading heroes have a tendency to flag Fort B (if you lose it, there is no point to waste the resources to convert it back to Haven.) Since Fort B is close to the stairs (2-2'), it actually makes your return to the underground faster. In my game, the next invasion came right after I took Town E, so I continued my next expansion clockwise from (2') and worked on Fort H, Town G, and finally Fort F. They are all very easy fights. the Arena fight is probably the most difficult before the mini-boss.
Besides stairs (2-2'), there are two additional sets of stairs, (3-3') and (4-4'). The AI will not use these stairs, which don't lead to any valuable artifacts, or bypass any tough enemies. After wiping out the orange demons, the barrier (5) to the middle area is lifted. But you don't want to challenge the mini-boss in front of Town U yet - it is intended for later. Since this is a stationary mini-boss who doesn't care about town management (why hold onto the Tear of Asha when you can easily install it in the neutral town one step away?), she doesn't mind if you flag the gold mine and crystal mine right in front of her. Neat!
Now you have the underground secured, and your army grows a lot every week. It is time to beat down the red demons. I suggest that you go west first, since the demons there are also unimpressive. Cross the bridge west of Fort B and take whatever stands in your way. There could be a roaming hero around, but you should be able to crush it easily. Sweep Fort I, Town J, Town K, and Fort L. Town K joins automatically as part of the side quest's reward.
By the time you convert your second designated Inferno town on the surface, Anton's Great Aunt shows up. As Anton's ally, Sveltana is scripted to attack the southeast Town P no matter who owns it. (So it is possible that she takes it from you, if you opt to go south first.) While you think this may put an end to the demon invasion through the portal, the AI will access it from Town M. So she doesn't really help very much. Sveltana will remain dormant in front of Town P, slowly building it up, but not doing anything else. You can actually attack her and enjoy her town when you are powerful enough.
Let's charge right into the red demons' heart land. Go south from Town A and easily conquer Town M. Now you have basically secured the portal entrance at (1), although the AI will still invade you from the west. Grab Fort N and Fort O nearby. Now you should be powerful enough to... borrow your Great Aunt's Town P. This fight could be a little tough (as Arache's Life Drain does not work on undead). However, since you can heal effectively with Guardian Angels lv 4, it is still possible to score a perfect victory.
Just one more bunch of Inferno towns to crush. March west and take Town Q, Fort R, Town S, and Fort T all together. They are all push-overs. In my game, there is an Emerald Yumi Bow to be picked up in this southwest area. However, none of your subsequent tough battles require you to shoot over a wall, so it is probably better to stay with the Lion's Shield and enjoy the set bonus.
You are now ready to tackle the bosses of the mission. The underground boss in front of Town U is easier, so let's do that first. She is even less powerful than the optional boss back in mission 2, so you should be able to crush her like a bug by now. You get a free Tear of Asha and a... "Haven Town" (what a generic name) from this mini-boss fight. Install the Tear back in your Capital and let the population explode! For your effort, you also receive a Dynasty Weapon Angelic Alliance, a healing Might weapon. It might automatically replace your Arache.
BUG ALERT: To prevent Angelic Alliance from disappearing, it is a good idea to save the game, go back to main menu, and associate this new weapon with a hero in My Dynasty. Under v1.1.1, there is another bug that permanently gives bonuses associated with a currently-equipped Dynasty Weapon whenever you save the game, load the game, and switch to a new Dynasty Weapon. You might not be able to avoid this bug all together, but you can still restrict yourself not to abuse it.
Now we are ready for the campaign's last fight! Make Anton visit all stat boosts (s) you have missed, load him up with all your best untis (let Seraphs in and don't split the Vestals) and walk up the path starting at (6). Break through the easy Fort V and Fort W and receive the last piece of the Guardian's artifact set. Here comes the boss in front of Town X, Falcon Reach!
Ahribban, the demon Prince of Hate, uses a very powerful hit-all Magic Attack (with a terrible Magic Power of 15500), which happens to be Anton's weakness. As a result, his special attack will hit every stack for lots of damage. However, Ahribban only has 80,000 hit points. Even though Anton's units usually can't hit for 5 digits of damage, Ahribban should go down a little more quickly than Uriel. In my game, I even saw Ahribban lost a turn due to low morale (thanks to Arache and Anethema's morale debuff), and Ahribban went down on Turn 2 in a perfect loss during Hour of Judgment. Poor boss.
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