- by maltz
Flying to the Rescue
M3: Summoning the Dragons
- Map Size: Small
- Level Cap: none
- Difficulty Index: 3/5
- Last Updated: November 15, 2007, Patch v3.0
In this mission, Zehir teams up with yet another Hammers of Fate main hero, Wulfstan. To say they'll team up isn't very accurate. For the most part Zehir goes solo on the surface, and Wulfstan has to remain underground to swat an endless stream of flies from left and right. These flies always flee so you can't even gain experience from them! Now where is the Shackle of Last Man when you most need it?
Wulfstan starts with Expert Light magic and every Light magic on the spell book. He also has a standard might build that makes him a decent army commander. Yet you can still visit a Memory Mentor to shuffle his skills. No matter what you decide to do, keep Logistics for now, because you need it to catch up enemy heroes from both sides.
Have fun catching flies with chopsticks, Wulfstan!
If you have not, it will be a really good idea to give Zehir Arcane Omniscience now, unless you already learned the most useful high-level spells such as Summon Phoenix, Vampirism, Puppet Master, Frenzy, Word of Light, Resurrection, etc. (It is very unlikely that your Zehir has learned all of these without Arcane Omniscience.) There are many tough neutral creatures on the surface, but Zehir should be able to score perfect victories with a tiny army and a huge spell repertoire.
If you have Mentoring (which is a requirement for the ultimate), every new Dwarf hero you hire will enjoy a roller coaster ride of levels to around 17-18. You can give them Enlightenment + Scholar and the appropriate Expert Magic school(s), so you can transfer spells from Zehir to Wulfstan. Note that you can only pass down spells that are actually learned from a mage guild or vault. The spells that only becomes available through Arcane Omniscience are not transferable.
Pick the Crystal silo as the starting bonus. Mercury is only for Zehir's Call to Arms mission special: 20 Murcury + 6000 EXP for 5 Rakshasa Kshatra. This is a rather expensive and unnecessary deal, and you might not want to waste your EXP points like this. While there are already lots of Mercury production, you will be short of Ore and Crystals in this mission, especially Ore. Don't waste Ores on upgrade buildings yet, but build up the basic structures and the walls first, to start accumulating available creatures. Also, if you are like me who tried to give Wulfstan Town Portal from lv-5 mage guild - save the Ore because Town Portal spells are disabled for all Dwarven heroes in this mission. They can't even learn it.
You start out with a Dwarf town (A). Now if you chose to let Zehir to keep the Tear of Asha back in mission 2, he starts the scenario with the Tear. There will be yet another Tear of Asha to be dug up soon, so don't hesitate and install this one in town (A) to give you a head start. To the north you can take another town (B), which remains completely defenseless. Take it as soon as you can, and don't forget to flag the nearby creature buildings of town (B). If you let Duncan keep the Tear back in mission 2, you will have only the new Tear, and you have a choice of where to install the new Tear - more on this later.
You are against the Yellow dwarfs based in town (C). There is no way to wipe them out for now, and they can harass you through two 1-way portals (a') or (b'). Earlier in the mission whatever they send here will either (10%) die or (90%) flee, but later on the heroes will learn Town Portal. Watching them coming and going is quite amusing, but you can't even touch them unless you park Wulfstan within 1-day travel distance of one of the portals (I suggest (b'), since (a') is too far away from town (A)). Productions from both (A) and (B) will keep your defense sound. Just make sure Wulfstan is not too far away when multiple yellow heroes approach from two directions.
First, flag everything underground with both Zehir and Wulfstan. The Memory Mentor is just to the west (1). Pick up the Boots of Open Road (2) and put it on Zehir. The location of Tear of Asha is marked with a red (X), and you can see its exact location here (fixed spot, v3.0). If you already have the Grail structure in town (A), give the new Tear to Zehir. You can pick up the Shield of Dwarven King at (K1). There is an artifact merchant at (3); if you have the Grail structure (5000G/turn), you may as well go broke on useful artifacts.
After flagging everything underground you should start exploring the surface through the stairway at (c). Wulfstan and all dwarf heroes have to stay, says the game, so you can only let Zehir go. Before Zehir sets out, give him several dozens of cheap Fortress units (tier-1 is fine). Some battles up there are pretty tough and what Zehir was given initially might not be enough to stay alive. By the way, I find it effective to start a battle with Mass Slow (or Mass Confusion against shooters), and follow with the Phoenix or Vampirism on your HP pool stack. You then have all the sweet time to revive dead creatures.
It is a great white world up there, with maybe some blizzard going as well! Since Zehir is all alone, you can be pretty selective on targets and do not waste movement points picking up things you don't need. Generally you want to pick up all the Ores and Crystals, break through all the treasure chambers (for more Ores and Crystals), and flag all Yellow creature buildings. It is going to take quite a while.
Go west and then north. When you reach (D) the game asks you whether to sacrifice 15000 EXP for Zehir's town to be moved here. That's a big YES - you can always use another Town Hall plus the creatures to keep Zehir alive. You can also install another Tear of Asha (or maybe it is your only Tear) in Zehir's town. You might think you are rich enough, and you don't really need to waste a second Tear on an easy mission. Your Fortress army is growing from gigantic to humongous so there is no need to develop a big Academy army as well. Yes, you are right! However, even if you "waste" the Tear on Zehir's town in mission 3, the Grail building will show up in mission 4! So get the Skyship!
Yes, the ship carries over as well! Too bad you probably won't even need it there, either.
Unfortunately you cannot hire any new hero from town (D), so Zehir is still alone. From here you have different routes to choose from. Your eventual goal is to visit the Red Keymaster Tent (red R), while all of the other destinations are purely optional. The two-way portals (d-d, e-e) are usually similar to tunnels of the mountain so there is no fancy connections. Here comes list of what to do:
- There is a much needed Ore Pit at (4). You may as well flag the Sawmill and Gem Mine.
- A Hill Fort (5) is useful to upgrade and merge units.
- Get the Armor and Helm of the Dwarven King set (K2), (K3) and the Crown of Sar-Issus (S). This should complete your Dwarven King set and Sar-Issus set! Also grab the Lion's cape (L).
- There is a Dragon Eye Ring (D1) guarded by Titans, and somehow I got the 4th Dragon Teeth Necklace in 3 missions!
- A one-way portal at (f) appears to be blocked. This is not for you - but for the Yellow's cravens go through. Why can't I just split a Dwarf stack to block it? :)
If you attempt to venture underground through (g), you can see the much hated Yellow town but unfortunately your route is completely blocked by the unpronounceable Dwarf hero. (6). The game suggests you NOT to attack him (keeping him alive is actually a primary objective) but you can still attack him if you insist. Not sure what happens next, though. Maybe you can find out and tell us!
By the way, you can find a Pendent of Mastery underground at (7). There used to be a bug about it to give you unlimited resources from Artificer's resource discount. Will it work here? You are too rich to cheat here! :)
Endless Rune and Puppet Master - it is a test for a Dwarf's endurance! I started this battle in the morning and finished it at night - because I had to leave the machine on and went to work.
After visiting the Red Keymaster tent you are now ready for the boss fight. If you unlock the Red Gate (red G), Rolf (Wulfstan's bad brother) spawns with a good army of about 10 weeks of town productions. Rolf won't chase you around - he'll keep waiting. Theoretically you can run over Rolf with the biggest army even seen on HoMM5 (thanks to Asha), but you can certainly slap him with a smaller force.
But Rolf is no pushover this time. His stacks use Rune magics every turn, and apparently he has the Empathy feat so every time a high morale triggers, Rolf is moved up in action. So what is bad about Rolf's action? He has an entire spell book of Dark magic, and he will be happy to cast Puppet Master on your best stack. When Puppet Master hits (Rolf wears Sandro's Cloak, so he can even PM your Titans), Rolf's stacks will simply rune-charge up and tear your stack in pieces without being retaliated. Even if the Fortress creatures are not really effective at dealing damage, being hit from all directions every turn is not going to look good at all.
On the other hand, your Zehir has his own advantages. You have a lot more spells to choose from (you did get Arcane Omniscience, right?), good artifacts (Sar-Issus and Dwarven King) to equip, an ultra-long mana bar, various morale and luck boosts to visit before the fight, and as a last resort you have the load game button. Rolf is not Arantir, so his mana will run dry and there will be no more Puppet Master. You can also accelerate Rolf's embarrassment by going to the Memory Mentor and get the Suppress Dark feat from Dark magic (twice mana consumption).
All you need is a large stack of something that takes a long time to kill (so Rolf's mana runs out first), and then you can slowly drain back lost numbers through the ever-useful Vampirism. I used 81 Flame Lords (tier 6 creatures from Dwarf town, I should have used Thunder Thane to hit multiple stacks effectively) which were just enough to win, after failing 4 times. The difference on my 5th try was that I finally deployed other creatures (even 1-unit stacks are fine) so Rolf's creatures will use their turn on the decoys. I also setup a Blade Barrier in front of my Flame Lords to keep the huge hitters away. On the luck side, my Magic Mirror worked frequently so the several Puppet Masters were reflected to poor elementals.
No matter what creature you use, protect your main stack with decoys (and the elementals that come afterwards) to block the contact of powerful large creatures such as the Godzillas and Thunder Thane. Blade Barrier is indeed quite useful for this purpose. Phoenix isn't making a huge difference anymore, but with time it can scratch down Rolf's army with Vampirism (plus they can help you block Rolf's stacks, too). Avoid being hit by more than 3 stacks in any given turn. After Rolf runs out mana it is your Puppet Master, Frenzy and Blind time!
Surviving Rolf's Puppet Master spam is the key to victory. Here comes a trick - when I put Frenzy / Puppet Master on Rolf's stack, I was surprised to see Rolf dispel it with Vampirism. You can do this on your main stack to dispel Rolf's Puppet Master as well! Apparently, Vampirism cannot co-exist with Frenzy or Puppet Master, and the latter will overwrite the earlier, if it has a higher or equal level. (Frenzy cannot overwrite Vampirism, for example.) You can also distract Rolf by casting these spells on his own creatures, and Rolf sometimes will not Puppet Master your main stack, and cast Vampirism on his own stack to dispel yours. You are a wizard, so you are bound to win a magic duel in the long run!
Or, you can always wait and run over Rolf with a crazy army.
Preparing for Wulfstan's Final Battle
Wulfstan is going to fight in the final mission as well. It won't be an easy battle - again your opponent spams Puppet Master like he has nothing else to cast! Before Zehir goes into the portal and end the mission, here are a few things to do.
First, check your artifacts. The Dwarven King set will look good on Wulfstan, but then Zehir won't be able to access it. You may as well give all of them to Zehir since Wulfstan can function well without it. Make sure you give the Lion's Crown to Zehir, but Wulfstan can keep Lion's Cape to reach the effective morale cap of +5. Give the Runic set artifact to Wulfstan, and if you have any extra Dragon's set also give to Wulfstan. Then, move ALL carry-over artifacts in Wulfstan's (idle) inventory to Zehir's so the game won't make a stupid decision to equip the Enlightenment set in the final battle!
You should also adjust Wulfstan's skills. It is likely that the enemy heroes have fled so often that your Wulfstan remains at level 25 even at the end of the mission. Here comes my skill recommendation (also shown in the picture above):
- Expert Runelore: 3 standard feats
- Expert Attack: Tactics, Offensive Formation, Retribution
- Expert Light Magic: Master of Wrath
- Expert Dark Magic: Master of Mind
- Expert Luck: Magic Resistance, Dwarven Luck
- Basic Leadership: Runic Attunement
With Lion's Cape you still have +5 morale. If for some reason you are level 26, get another level in Leadership just to be sure. We will discuss the tactical details in the C3M4 walkthrough section.
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- by maltz
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.
Huston, we have a party!
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!
- by maltz
To Honor Our Fathers
M5: Hunting the Hunter
- Map Size: Large
- Level Cap: none
- Difficulty Index: 4/5
- Last Updated: November 9, 2007, Patch v3.0
The mighty Stronghold campaign reaches its climax in a one-against-all fashion. Your opponents are three allied AI players with a total of 6 towns! Can you survive?
Your starting town (A) is in a relatively safe corner. To your west is a neutral Stronghold town (B) that you have to develop sooner or later to shift the balance of power. There is also a Tear of Asha to be dug up to beef up your creature growth and bank account.
To your south is a Teal, Necro AI player based in town (C). You might recall that Kujin has cleared doubts with Arantir, so the Necromancers should be your trusted new friend. Nah. They are here just to make your life miserable, and you can expect a Teal army backstabbing town (A) as soon as Gotai goes away. Although there are some huge neutral blocking stacks separating you two, the AI heroes start with pretty high level and their town builds fast. So they usually have no problem knocking on your door early on. By the way, all neutral stacks are huge in this mission, which is quite exciting.
On the opposite end of the Teal Necro is the Red Haven based in town (E). If you think Kujin has also talked to the Knights so they should be at peace, wrong again. The Red fraction has no territory to distract their attention to, so they have to come after you!
Alaric's head is actually out of Gotai's strike zone. Better swing low!
In the dead center of the map is town (D), one of the four towns of the Orange Academy. Its strategic location allows the owner of this town to threaten all others - or to be threatened. There are three Orange garrisons surrounding town (D) that the Teal and Red players have full access through - not you, of course. The Orange has three other towns (F), (G), and (H) south from here along the paved road. Your eventual goal is to take town (H).
It doesn't look too bad, you might think. You've got Gotai and Kujin, right? You built a versatile Kujin during mission 2 and 4, and picked up nice artifacts such as the Lion's set, the Runic set, the Enlightenment set and various pieces of the Dragon set. Kujin also has Triple Flaming Ballista so she does not need a large army to thrive. You can make her a reliable home protector. You can pass on the war cries that Gotai missed...
Actually, mission 4 was the last time that you ever see Kujin in the Orc campaign! To think back, Gotai was all alone in the campaign since mission 1. I hope you did spend some time with Gotai to pick up the good artifacts (especially the Lion's set and the two Drwaven King pieces), and gave him Triple Flaming Ballista. Plus you did win a coin flip to receive Fear My Roar back in your only town in two previous missions. They are all very useful in this mission, especially early on.
Here is my Gotai's skill setup later in the mission. Pretty standard Might build and I gave up the ultimate in exchange of theTriple Flaming Ballista and Aura of Swiftness. Shatter Dark, which is recommended by many forum users, was completely wasted with my strategy of the last battles, so I could have kept Shouting, or gone with something more useful, probably Logistics + Path Finding to speed things up a little bit.
This mission is quite difficult to boot. At first, I followed the conventional approach to flag nearby mines and gather scattering treasures. However, since each AI is given a decent hero on Day 1, all of them (as well as any other new recruits carrying fresh troops) immediately rushed me in a constant stream from two directions. The main Teal, Red and Orange hero all approached my town during week 1. (This is quite similar to Raelag's "The Conquest".) I was destined to defend the town forever 1 against 6. So I restarted the mission and took an ultra-aggressive approach that the walkthrough is based on.
To follow this walkthrough your Gotai must have Triple Flaming Ballista (very useful early on) and preferably Fear my Roar. There should be other ways to win this mission, so have fun discovering them yourself!
By the way, it is normal that the Orange AI takes very, very long turns. Even on a fast PC it might take half a minute.
Nival tricked us! We want Kujin!
First off, pick the 2 Cyclop bonus. Go to your tavern and hopefully you can hire the guy with ~ 30 Centaurs for 2500G. Give everything you have to Gotai and attack the neutral stack blocking between the Teal and you at (1). Your Ballista is doing all the work here, and in my game I actually deployed 6 x 1 Goblins to win this one. We are aiming at Teal's town (C), so rush straight to the castle. The Teal hero might come directly to you thinking you are weak, but he forgot that you have The Ballista. You should be able to take town (C) around Day 5 even without Logistics. One down, five more to go!
Around this time the Orange and Red should be coming your way. In my game I did not give any Centaur to Gotai to fit for one more stack of Goblin, so an Orange hero actually attacked Gotai in Town (C). I had only 50+ Goblins with Gotai and had to completely rely on the Ballista. The two Dwarven artifacts cut down a lot of spell damages for me and prevented the Goblins from switching sides. (I should have given Gotai all the Centaurs!)
Note: In the real world, X-proof is even more powerful than X-resistant. Now everybody is confused by the spell "proof" term used in Barbarian Luck (5% proof per Luck) and and Dwarven King artifact set (40% proof when you equip 2). Spell "proof" here actually means damage reduction. This is totally different from spell "resistance", which means a spell won't work at all, and in the game it usually comes with a chance for it to happen. For 100% resistance the game calls it "immunity".
At the same time my Stronghold town (A) was threatened by another Orange hero, and a decent Red army was still coming towards town (C). I decided to give up the new Necro town and Town Portal Gotai back to save the HQ. Interestingly, the Red hero decided to just flag the Skeleton buildings in front of town (C), ignored the town and went after Gotai in town (A). Needless to say The Ballista took care of both heroes. Even if you do lose town (C) to Red, you can take care of the Orange army first, and come down again to reclaim town (C) from Red.
Your next goal is to take down town (D). There are two routes to it; you can either go west through the grassland and pass the north garrison (2n), or return to town (C) and head west, to pass the east garrison (2e). I picked the latter to better protect town (C), my double Gold Mine. Send a secondary hero after Gotai to flag the resource mines and collect stuff on the ground whenever safe. The Mercury Lab just west of the garrison (2e) is very useful. With the Ballista and some 1-stack Goblins you should have no problem.
You should be able to take town (D) during week 2, with some reasonable loss of your Centaurs. Two down! Temporarily the Orange heroes are not coming anymore, so you can concentrate on Red.
There are roaming Red heroes around, so let's take care of town (E) immediately. Rush straight to town (E), which is probably poorly defended because all the armies are out there. While you are rushing towards town (E) the Red heroes could be a threat to any of your other towns, but fortunately they all somehow tried to run back to defend the town instead of claiming one of your own. Of course, they will be late. Three down!
The problem actually comes after you take town (E). The Red heroes are now free to chase your weak heroes, even occupying your undefended towns. I sacrificed a weak hero to lure away two Red armies into the Orange territory to buy Gotai a few turns to return to Town (D). The AI took the bait, and even better, if an AI is town-less when the new week comes, they are considered to have lost the game and all of their remaining heroes are erased. Goodbye to Red!
You are now a happy owner of 4 towns in three weeks. Your income should be 10000+ G/turn, and even if you have not flagged the rare resource mines, the 5000G silos from each town should cover it. There is a nearby Sulfur Pit east of town (E).
With a healthy income and bottle neck defense, your nail-biting days are over. Run Gotai to take the second Stronghold town (B) now, flag the high-level creature building (3), and ship new units to Gotai with some mule heroes. Troop shipping is critical early in the mission, and you should establish a constant stream of supplies with multiple low-level heroes. I have marked the Stables with (S), which are conveniently located along the way. Here are my recommended upgrades:
Tier 1: Goblin Trapper. You will kill the casters before they can act anyways, so there is no use of the Witch Doctors.
Tier 2: Centaur Nomad. Again, if you let a stack reach them you have made a mistake.
Tier 3: None Use the non-upgraded Warriors early on. When you have Chieftains free up this slot for them.
Tier 4: Sky Daughter. After Hasting the Cyclops and Centaurs or slowing a key stack, your battle is usually over. No need for close-range melee power.
Tier 5: Chieftain. When you have more than 50, split them up into two stacks. Their only job is to whip your Centaurs or Cyclops.
Tier 6: PaoKai. Since you have so much cash you may as well buy them all. They are not terribly useful, though.
Tier 7: Untamed Cyclop. With unprecedented crude power, this is the most crucial creature in the final battles.
It is also now a good time to dig up the Tear of Asha. You probably have visited quite a few obelisks so far, so where is it? You can click on the picture below to find out. The location is actually fixed (at least in the current patch, v3.0) so you will find the tear at exactly the same spot. Ship the Tear back to your starting town (A), not (B), to build the Grail structure there. There is an obvious reason for this later.
Since the Orange still owns three towns, they remain a potential threat. When Gotai receive the next shipment of units, with about 200 Centaurs, you should be able rush town (E) and (F) in a row. The AIs are more powerful now and their Divine Vengeance can usually kill a large portion of your Centaurs. There is nothing you can do about it (remember to equip two Dwarven King artifacts) - so just bite it and gladly take over the new towns. (By the way, you can sell unwanted artifacts in the Market Place of Academy towns. I never knew about that!)
Now the Orange has only town (G) left and you are holding them to the throat. The Orange AI will still send out scout heroes to annoy you, but more often than not they will get stuck by their own caravan right in front of their town - for weeks! It is time to explore the map and pick up the goodies, and allow your speedy town production to give you the superior army.
It is very tedious to ship troop to town (G) all the way from town (A). It is possible to cut it short significantly with two sets of two-way portals (a-a, b-b). Each set is guarded by a very threatening group of creatures (like 80 Titans) that you probably don't want to fight until your army size has grown up significantly.
After witnessing how powerful Cyclops + Chieftains are back in mission 3, you can take the tactics to extreme here. Deploy nothing but Untamed Cyclops and Chieftains, and split up the Chieftains into 6 equal stacks. The Chiefs do nothing but to whip the Cyclops repeatedly. Now if you ever doubt how useful this tactics is, you can take a sneak look of what's happening in the final battle. Convinced? Now rush up your Cyclops to bash the Titans non-stop! Use the area attack well and you can damage two stacks at once. If Gotai's turn come up, either throw a Call of Blood to the Cyclops, or whip them yourself if a huge Titan stack's turn is coming up next. You will be amazed by how fast these Titans go down!
As usual here comes a list of attractions. You don't have to visit them in this order and I actually skipped almost all of the fights that does not lead to an useful artifact or a stat boost. You will end up at around level 30 and it is more than enough to win.
Around town (A): There is a Boots of the Open Road at (4) to speed up your desert trip later on. The Boots of Swift Journey, which is also very handy, is found at (5) just beside a useless Hill Fort. Note that the movement bonus from these boots is added to your hero at the beginning of each turn, so you have to end the previous turn with the appropriate boots already equipped. However, after the new turn starts, you may remove the boots and put on your "battle boots" to receive the bonus from both!
Around town (B): If you took town (B) before the Haven town (E), you would receive a secondary objective of taking town (E). Otherwise no such objective is given at all. In (D1) you should be able to pick up the Dragon Scale Shield (of the Dragon set). The Dragon Flame Tongue (weapon of the Dragon set) is found at (D2). There is an artifact merchant at (7), which I picked up a good Ring of Speed (+20% Initiative to all units). The treasures that your Goblin friend tells you about is the area with a Sylanna Ancient at (8).
Around town (C): There is a two-way portal at (c), which takes you to an isolated area at the NW corner with some random artifacts.
Around town (D): The Tear of Asha is marked with the red X. There is a large desert area to the east, where you can find a Pyramid but you can't learn spells anyways. To the very east part of the desert you can find the Robe of Sar Issus, which is completely useless to you so I am not going to mark it. There is also a Sphinx just south of the bridge, but when I approached it with Gotai, it was not interested in playing games.
Around town (E): Flag the Lighthouse (9), which speeds up your journey on the river. You can build a ship in the shipyard just east of town (G) at (10). With the ship you can access a few areas off the river shore.
Around town (F): There is a large optional area north of Town (F). In there you can find a Memory Mentor (11), and another two-way portal (d) leading you to a treasure area in the middle of the desert, where more random artifacts can be collected. There are just so many artifacts in the mission, and 95% of them are totally useless. But if you ever feel you want more, there is a Dragon Utopia directly below town (F).
At (12) hides a sidequest about recycling machine parts. Come here with at least 1 Gremlin (upgraded or not, does not matter) to repair the scattered golem torsos and limbs. The Golems are repaired, and to show their gratitude they will all offer service to the Skywalker! By the time I took them during month 3, I collected a grand total of 2550 Iron Golems! I spent a lot of cash upgrading them, but since they are so slow (initative = 7) I didn't use them at all. I guess if you are seriously screwed in one of the final battles, these guys can survive long enough to save your day. Just SE of the Golems (13) you can find two interesting artifacts, the Crown of Sar-Issus and the Cloak of the Death's Shadow (enemy's morale, luck -2, as featured in Arantir's campaign).
Around town (G): There is another artifact merchant to the south, at (14). With the ship (or the Instant Travel spell) you can access the two-way portal at (e). Just north of the portal (e) lies the Staff of Netherworld (enemy creature initiatives -20%) of the Death Embrace set. The portal leads you to yet another isolated treasure area with some stat boosts and an Astrologers Tower.
Around town (H): You can attack town (H) via an alternative route by landing at (15) and go around the desert to collect three more stat boosts. There is another Memory Mentor (16) just before town (H).
Let's talk about the artifact setup a bit. There are different approaches to the final battles, and the way I like the best is the non-stop whipping action from Cyclops + 6 Chieftains. Therefore, all I need is high Initiative and Attack. You can use the Lion's Spirit set if you have all three, to give Gotai the Empathy effect, even if your Morale and Luck is already shooting through the effective cap of 5. (Empathy: Whenever a friendly stack has a high morale, the hero's ATB is moved up by 10%.) You can also let Gotai whip the Cyclops although it is going to hurt much more. Well, long pain is not as good as short pain!
The two Dwarven artifacts are pretty decent for their magic damage reduction and immunity to Slow. Also, you can equip quite a few pieces from the Dragon's set that you have been collecting here and there. Its set bonus statement might be misleading - the HP and stat bonus only applies to Tier-7 units (Cyclops), not all 7 tiers of units. Since we are using the Cyclops to bash everything up, this bonus is actually quite nice! You can easily buy other useful artifacts to fill up the rest, either from the merchants or the Academy towns.
Take your time to accumulate a powerful army. The ideal timing to attack town (H) is when you have about 250-300 Chieftains, and you should have 60+ Untamed Cyclops to go with it. So what about the rest of the army? You really don't need them. Keep whipping the Cyclops, and they will smash the world for you! I have seen people reporting the wizard hero in Town (H) casting annoying Frenzy / Puppet Master non-stop. With this Cyclop + 6 Chieftain strategy, the enemy hero hardly has a chance to cast anything. In my game the battle was over before the enemy hero even acted! You can download my replay here.
Immediately after claiming town (G) the real final boss of the campaign, Alaric, arrives just NE of (7). Alaric is a walking little guy just like Nicolai. Although he is a small man, he does have good stats and skills plus a powerful army. Alaric can reach your town (B) when his turn comes up, so in my game I used a mule hero to evacuate the entire town. This is why I suggest to get the Tear of Asha building in town (A), or Aleric will get it!
Obviously you now rush Gotai back to finish Alaric off. If you are absolutely afraid of Divine Vengeance, now go to the Memory Mentor (16) and get Expert Shatter Light. Personally I don't think it is necessary because you are so powerful now - take a look at your Gotai's stats. There is a +15 bonus on all four categories! He hits harder than the Demon Sovereign, the boss of boss in the original HoMM5!
With the set of two-way portals (a-a and b-b) and your Town Portal spell, you should reach Alaric after just a few days. Alaric's army is roughly the same size as the town (H) garrison, but he has better defense and the annoying "last man standing" feat. It is inevitable that your Cyclop will swallow 1 shot of Divine Vengeance from Alaric, even another one from the Seraphs if you don't finish that last one (with 1 HP) in time. Your Rage points should absorb most of the damage. With 6 Chieftains Alaric only acted once, still. Here is the replay.
Congratulations of finishing this quite-difficult campaign! I have a feeling that Nival is going to seriously nerf the insanely-powerful 1-Cyclop-6-Chieftain tactics in a coming patch, so have fun when it still works!
p.s. I have heard people reporting a minor bug. If you finish Gotai's turn on the door step of Town (H), the game crashes.
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- by maltz
To Honor Our Fathers
M4: Mother Earth's Wisdom
- Map Size: Normal
- Level Cap: 26
- Difficulty Index: 1/5
- Last Updated: November 9, 2007, Patch v3.0
Again we are back as Kujin, but this time her job is a lot simpler. This is a typical solo scenario where your lone hero eventually travels to every corner of the map through a unrealistically winding pass that eventually utilize the entire map, and witness every scripted event along the way. It seems that a lot of Mission 4s are designed this way (Markal, Raelag, Findan, Fredya, Wulfstan, and now Kujin), too!
Good news first - all Stronghold stacks will join you for free, and they come in great numbers! There is no time pressure except that neutral creatures grow every week - but so is your Stronghold reinforcement. Even if you are terrible at troop conservation, you will still have enough troops to beat a very easy mission boss.
Therefore, the bad news is this mission has no challenge at all.
Generally speaking, you want to fight as much enemies as possible to level up Kujin to the cap before the final battle. In my game, I fought everything reasonable (skipped almost all of the shooters/casters), and was able to cap Kujin just before the boss battle. The resources on the ground are not useful at all - there is no quest using them. However, you do need some cash at the end to upgrade units and to buy artifacts, so pick up the gold bars if it is not too much trouble. Cash out the smaller chests as well. In my game I actually picked up a lot of resources, and I had a 30K leftover in the bank when the mission ends. So you can probably skip ~30K worth of resources on the ground to speed things up.
The starting bonuses are about the same. I picked the 10 Centaur bonus to add to Kujin's little starting stack of 15. Follow the obvious road south and pick the easier battles. Defeat a tiny stack of Devils to enter the first quarter of the map. You can see a broken bridge at (1), which would have led you straight to the exit! Now you have to take the longer path. This mission is divided into four quarters, and each one has its own objective and sometimes an optional quest. When you meet the main objective, find a Seer Hut to teleport Kujin to the next quarter.
First Quarter (NE)
On higher difficulty it is likely that your starting army is too weak do take on anything major. Do yourself a favor and go straight to the Stronghold creatures (all reinforcement are marked with lower-cased yellow letters): Earth Daughters (d) and Warriors (w) just to the east. After picking them up you should be powerful enough to beat everything in this quarter. But still, for troop conservation you don't want to fight the shooters and casters unless they guard something you really want.
Make sure to visit the Red Keymaster tent (red K). Just south of the tent is a hidden path in the forest, leading you to a Dragon artifact (helm) at (D1). When you are ready, go to the Seer Hut at (2) to jump to the next quarter, at (2').
Second Quarter (SE)
Go straight north to pick up a large group of Centaurs (c). Note that your reinforcement stacks also grow every week, so if you arrive at a stack on Day 7 of a given week, end the turn and pick them up on the next turn/week. I picked up 11 more Centaurs here just by wasting a tiny fraction of Kujin's daily movement. Keep going north and you will notice a Red Gate (G) to the east. Unlock it and VOALA - the most powerful might artifact on lower middle earth -- the Lion's Crown (morale + 2, luck + 2)! BOOOO! This is too easy compared to the 360+ Titans in the last mission.
To the north of the Lion's Crown await lots of Goblins (g) to join you. Further north you will notice an Imp (yeah, 1 Imp) guarding a Dragon artifact (D2). It can't be this easy, right? Actually when you get close, your exit will be sealed by a stack Succubus, but you can still get the artifact! With enough Rage Points, you won't lose a lot of Centaurs (probably single digit).
Let's sweep the lake in a counter-clockwise fashion. Go west and visit a mana x 2 spring at (3). Further west you can see a Seer Hut at (4). This Seer tells you to kill at least one assassin in exchange of the Tarot card artifact, which is mandatory to pass the second quarter. You have no other choice than accepting the quest and hunt down the assassins - they are conveniently located just SE of the hut. Report back at the hut to receive the Tarot Card. You can also recruit a tiny stack of Wyverns (y) at the center of the shallow lake.
Just south of the Seer Hut is a Blue Keymaster (blue K). Pay a visit and pick up some more Warriors (w) just south of it. Next march east to grab the free Goblins (g). At (5) a cutscene plays and you discover that Kujin is really not, again, Biara. :) Go to the Seer Hut at (6) to finish up this quarter.
Suddenly the Orcs and Humans have reached a truce - yeah? (See mission 5 for more.)
Third Quarter (SW)
You start at (6'). Immediate to your north is the long-awaited Siege Workshop if you have Triple Flaming Ballista. If so your life has just become even easier! 0/5 on the scale!
Pick up the Centaurs (c) further north. The reinforcement just keeps coming even if you really don't need them, eh? At the NE corner of this quarter you can visit the Yellow Keymaster Tent (yellow K), pick up a stack of Earth Daughters (d) and unlock the Blue Gate (blue G). What you get is the ring artifact of the Urgash set (enemy morale -2). Not bad at all! Now you are ready to report to the Seer at (8) to take on the last quarter.
The green aura = Microsoft certified copy of the official Seer Tent!
Fourth Quarter (NW)
You start at (8'). According to the map file that I opened in the editor, there should be a small stack of Wyverns just west from here, but in my game I didn't see anything. Follow the grass path SW to see the paved roadd. If you are like me who actually picked up a ton of resources along the way as a potential quest requirement, go SE from here to sell them all to a Trading Post (T). This is your only chance to cash out.
Follow the paved road NW you can see an Artifact Merchant at (9). I was able to buy what Kujin missed back in mission 2 - the Dragon's Eye Ring. (I was able to buy it again in the next mission, by the way.) Just south of the merchant is yet another stack of Centaurs (c) joining you.
With so many shooters it is now a good time to tackle the optional quest - to find a Sunken Temple which I have marked with a red X. The path leading to the temple is just east of the Artifact Merchant. The Sunken Temple is essentially a Dragon Utopia guarded by something equally annoying. It is not difficult at all, and your loss will be reasonable for the rewards. I got a 1000G/turn Gold Bag here among other useless artifacts, but a lot of cash and EXP points.
Follow the paved road west, and you can see a Stable and yet another Seer Hut (10). You can spend a little cash here to recruit 40 Chieftains. That's right, the Chiefs are here! Now your Centaurs are firing till their arms drop! By the way, there might be yet another group of Goblins to pick up by the Staple according to the map file, but I don't remember seeing them myself. Or maybe there are just too many free stacks joining, so they fail to impress me anymore.
West of the hut you can find the Yellow Gate (yellow G) that hides the other Urgash artifact (helm). Follow the path north and you will see a Memory Mentor (11). If you have missed the Mentor in mission 2, here is another chance to straight Kujin up. East of the mentor you can pick up the last stack of reinforcement, Warriors (w), and finally upgrade units in a Hill Fort (12). Now if you have any cash left - hold on to it. (see last paragraph, about the last battle)
You are now ready for the boss fight. Just follow the path north, and climb up the hill to the west. Alastor will encounter you with an Infern... inferior army. No kidding for a mission 4 boss! In my game the fight was over right after Kujin casted her first war cry. What a joke!
I think he belongs to mission 2. No wait, he is too weak for that.
Preparing for Kujin's Final Battle
It is actually a good thing to have a lot of cash left over!
Believe it or not, it will be Kujin, not Gotai, that appears in the final mission (in the Academy Campaign) of Tribes of the East. Currently, the game will give Kujin an army and directly march her towards the enemy. She does not even have a chance to adjust artifacts equipped by default (and the game makes very bad choices!). We will discuss more details in the C3M4 walkthrough section.
Therefore, this Memory Mentor in C2M4 is actually your last chance to tune Kujin for her last appearance. Let's throw away any skill that is not helping and go for the useful ones. First, forget about the Ballista - you won't even have one! Going for the ultimate is not a bad idea, although the armies are so big that your starting Rage Points won't last very long. Shatter Dark won't disappoint you as Kujin's opponent will cast them non-stop! Don't leave Kujin without Luck - Magic Resistance - you never know when you can dodge another annoying Frenzy. Barbarian's Luck is not necessary, because your enemy does not cast any damaging spell. Other than that it is standard Might Build. Here comes an example:
- Expert Blood Rage: get rid of Powerful Blow and keep the other two
- Expert Attack: Battle Frenzy, Retribution
- Expert Leadership: Recruitment, Aura of Swiftness, Battle Elation
- Expert Luck: Expert Luck: Magic Resistance
- Expert Shatter Dark: Detain Dark
You should still have about 4 skill points left. Either Expert Enlightenment or Expert Defense will do well. Have fun!
- by maltz
To Honor Our Fathers
M3: Father Sky's Fury
- Map Size: Large
- Level Cap: 22
- Difficulty Index: 2/5
- Last Updated: November 9, 2007, Patch v3.0
After Kujin's hard-fought success, our focus is shifted back to Gotai in this straight-forward mission -- Destory All Humans!
There are six Haven towns to be demolished, three Blue and three Red. The Haven AIs are not allies; apparantly they are at war and their attention is not on you. This is reflected in the total lack of huge scripted armies coming to run you over - a sharp contrast to the last mission. In fact, during most of the mission you will be bugged by little AI heroes carrying a small army (one-two weeks of creature growth). They love to flee - totally wasting their creature production advantage. The neutral stacks guarding goodies, on the other hand, are quite powerful. There are many good things to pick up on this map, so I suggest taking care of the AIs first, and just before you deliver the finishing blow, pause and spend two months collecting all the artifacts and stats (marked with blue *s).
Pick the 6000G bonus. There are lots of cash spending oppurtunity during the first week, and you can use the last penny of it to give you a good boost. There are better Weapon artifacts on the map, so don't choose the hammer. The one Cyclop bonus is a trap -- each Cyclop only costs 2900G, and they are available for hire on Day 1!
You are given a pretty nice Stronghold town (A) to start, plus a handful of Stronghold creature buildings including a high-level one - all flagged for you already. The nearby Sawmill and Ore pit are unguarded. A large stack of Goblin just SE of the town nearby joins you for free. You have a large Warrior stack carried over from mission one. You can't ask for better!
Your luck (in reality) might make this mission very easy. The first thing after the mission starts, check your town tavern, and see if you can hire a hero with 3 stacks of ~10 Centaurs. Centaurs are very important as usual. Another variable is what you get from the lv-2 War Cry guild. You want to learn Fear my Roar here, not the other (you already have it). On high difficulty, it is a good idea to restart the mission if you don't get Fear my Roar - it will make a difference early mission 5.
Immediately to the east of town (A) is a very nice area (1), consisting of a Gem Mine, a Gold Mine, a Sulfur Pit, a random artifact and cash. On heroic you have to beat a relatively-large neutral stack to gain access. Since you have some free cash at start, just pour the coins into creatures and capture this area ASAP. Hire this tavern hero for his Centaurs, and upgrade them into Nomads. Hire more Centaurs from creature buildings. You can skip the high-level creatures. Their number is too low to make a difference. Collect the free Goblins SE to the town and upgrade them to Trappers as well. Use your dominating Centaur stack to nail the Marksman, and your Trappers to delay the advance of the large stack of Squires. Your Warriors hit hard, and with enough Rage Points they are able to absorb the Squires' retaliation if you run out of 1-stack Goblins. You should win this with just a little loss.
The Academy stack guarding the Gold Mine is also powerful. Since they are large creatures, 1-stack goblins work great here. You will take losses but it is very worthwhile - You get a Gold Mine! Get a Mercury + 1 going in the town.
Now your income is healthy, but you are still lacking the red Crystals. There is a crystal mine SW of the town. Along the way you have to fight a very weak, but voiced Demon army (2). By visiting the Redwood Observatory nearby you can see a catapult structure across the river. In about two weeks it is going to fire at your high-level creature building and damage it.
The fastest way to access the catapault is to build a ship from the Shipyard guarded by some Phoenix. The Phoenix are still too powerful for you at this stage, though. Let's take an alternative route.
First, flag the Crystal Mine and the Mercury Lab along the paved road, and burn the neutral cottages along the way. Each cottage gives you some cash, and adds to your completion of an optional quest. If you burn all cottages on the map, Gotai gets a permenant Attack +2.
Come back to town (A) with Gotai to (hopefully) learn Fear my Roar and gather more armies. Don't worry about the Talisman as there are plenty of oppurtunities later. If you have sent a scout hero to gather resources out there, watch out for the Blue heroes coming after. You can easily defeat these weak hereoes with Gotai. In fact, 70% of this mission is about chasing down weak AI heroes, so you better not think it is tedious.
With the second week of creatures Gotai is powerful enough to take on the Blue towns. First, rush straight to town (B) of the NW corner. It should be very lightly defended. After winning the siege the town is burned to ground, and you receive various resources like hitting the jackpot on a slot machine! Get to the Slayer and Cyclop building quickly.
Next, pass through the two-way portal (I) just beside the ruin of town (B) to emerge right beside town (C). Burn it as well!
And look, just to the west of town (C) sits the Catapault that will damage your precious structure. Destroy!
Now Blue is reduced to just one town, and the Red heroes should not be a problem for about another week. In my game, the guarding hero of Town (E) is quite high-leveled and her stats are pretty decent. Let's return Gotai to the HQ to buy the level-3 Talisman (summon creatures) and pick up the third level War Cry. Either Battle Cry or Anger of the Horde is good. In my game, I totally skipped the Wyverns until much later to save cash. I also didn't hire any more tier 3 and 4 creatures.
There is an alternative route back home. Go straight south from the late town (B), burn more cottages and find the two-way portal at (II). The exit of this portal (which is SW of your town) is blocked by quite a large group of undead, so you probably need the third week of production shipped to you by a mule hero.
Don't ask an Orc to take care of your house when you are on vacation.
Around this time the Red heroes should have been pouring out to the town (C) area, and chase around your low-level hero(es). Let's deal with them right after taking down Blue in town (E). Let me introduce you a really, really powerful tactics if you haven't discovered it yourself:
Split your Chieftain stacks equally in two (or more if you have the free slot). Now during a hard battle, use their special ability "Order of the Chief" on your most powerful stack. In a castle assault it is probably your Centaur swarm. Against a powerful neutral army, it is probably the right time to whip your Cyclops (Untamed better than Bloodyeyed) non-stop into melee. What you get is a very powerful stack attacking for eternity!
p.s. Later on, when you have more Chieftain, put no more than 60 into each stack because the ATB counter push is limited at 60%. 50 is around the ideal size here as you can whip twice in a row to reach 100%, or waste nothing even the high-morale (ATB back to 50%) is triggered on the Cyclops.
You will lose some units by your own whips, but in a tough battle you will lose a lot more army if you don't kill their stacks first. You want to take down the enemy before they inflict heavy damage to you. The tradeoff is very worthwhile.
Let's start chasing the Red heroes. They might be coming after your town (A), so the portal (II) may be able to save you. Fortunately, the AIs tend to flee back to town if they think you are stronger, so you really don't need to chase them all over the world. Let's rush to take care of the Red, now!
There are two routes to take care of Red. You have probably noticed the first one right after taking town (D). You were shown some battle between the Red and Blue on the bridge at (3). If you take this route, you need to pass through a moderate garrison. The alternative way is to use the two-way portal (III), which the little Red heroes probably have been heavily using to invade you. It doesn't matter which route you pick because you are always going to end up with attack down (E) first. Another easy town!
After burning town (E) you can either go after town (F) or (G) next. Town (F) has lots of resources nearby, so I think it is a better choice (and leave the AI with the very basic town (G) for two months). There is a mana well at (4) that you can use to summon troops - shooters are what you are looking for in a siege.
p.s. You can finish the mission right here by taking town (G).
I'll list all the attractions below in case you decide to explore:
The stairways (IV) SW of town (G) leads you to the final set of two-way portal (V) underground, which takes you to a Dwarf treasure hall. In there you can find two stat boosts, two awesome Dwarven King artifacts (40% magic proof! wow), various resources and an interesting shipyard. The Whirlpool in the underground lake magically takes you to the river on the surface level (and you will lose units).
p.s. If the river is what you are after, it is better to use the one-way portal at (VI), though, as it brings you right back to Town (A) to purchase the best Talisman, and close to the Shipyard (south of (2)) guarded by Phoenix. By now you should have no difficulty beating it. Interestingly, Quick Combat always gives me better resut against the Phoenix.
There is an Ogre artifact, (O1) just SE of town (A). The other Ogre articact (O2) is in the middle of a small island upstream, accessible by boat.
The Cape artifact of the Lion's Spirit set (L1) is also accessible by boat. You can actually find another Lion Neklace (L2) in the Red territory (so much for the trouble in Mission 1!). The best out of the three, the Lion Crown (L3), is hidden south of the late Blue Town (C).
Don't deploy the Centaurs or the entire stack will be gone!
While this mission is very easy, the guarding neutral stack of the Lion Crown is quite a sight - in my game I saw a swarm of Titans, splitting into 4 stacks of 90+! But only in a true challenge our Might is properly shown. It is hard to believe how much 40+ Bloodeyed Cyclop and 2 cheering Chieftain stacks can do!
p.s. If for some reason you cannot defeat the Titans, there is an alternative way (thanks to Arveragus). When you sail down the river that is south of the Lion's Crown area, you will encounter a group of Fire Elementals fighting a group of Water Elementals. You can help either stack to defeat the other one, and the suviving stack will help you kill the Titans when you come back to the giants!
There are two Dragon artifacts, one just beside the Lion's Cape (L1) and the other at (D2).
I have marked all of the Cottages (peasants huts) with red (P)s. In fact you can also use a secondary hero to burn them down. As soon as you burn the last one all of your heroes, including Gotai, receive Attack +2.
There are various Catapults on the map. By spending 15 Ores you can fire a shot at various targets pre-determined by each particular Catapult's orientation. Some of the Catapualts actually aim at a Haven town - three shots (45 Ores) is what you need to bring down a town without a fight! You can get a lot more treasures by taking it down by an army, though. Too bad there is no Catapult aiming at those 360 Titans!
The area at (5) contains a Memory Mentor to adjust Gotai's skills. Some people would suggest you to take Shatter Dark for a future mission. I ended up doing it, but I think I should have gone with Logistics or kept Shouting... I highly recommend Triple Ballista (War Machine) and Flaming Arrow (Attack) here, plus Aura of Swiftness and Battle Elation under Leadership as well as Barbarian's Luck under Luck. There are two Witch Huts (W) on the map. You can always leave one skill slot blank, pick up a garbage skill to trade for something useful here.
While you are collecting artifacts and stat points all over the map, again the Red heroes will make a run at your weaker heroes. To make things easier, you can fight them with a secondary hero carrying a large army of the less-useful units, or fresh town productions to be eventually shipped to Gotai. The Red is really annoying, but there is a good chance that the AI will stuck themselves with a caravan on the bridge! The AI is not allowed to go down the stairs at (IV), therefore invading your HQ.
Finally, take down the last Red town and claim victory. Let's push the "that was easy" button!
- by maltz
To Honor Our Fathers
M2: One Khan, One Clan
- Map Size: Large
- Level Cap: 20
- Difficulty Index: 5/5
- Last Updated: November 9, 2007, Patch v3.0
Similar to the previous campaign, we will develop the other main hero, Kujin the Shaman, in the second mission, starting from level 1. Kujin's mission is to convince a total of four clans to join the new chief Gotai, by reaching the gate of their respective Stronghold towns (A-Orange, B-Brown, D-Green and C-Teal). It has to be Kujin to do the negociation.
That's sounds pretty easy, because there is no fight necessary at the castle gates. Well, In fact this is an extremely difficult mission on heroic for the first month! This is a Mission 1 with Mission 4 enemies! I am not even sure whether I can pull it through again. Therefore, I will try to cover everything that I did in detail, assuming heroic is what you are on. If you are playing on a lower difficulty, you can be more liberal and probably reach the goals a lot faster. There may be alternative strategies, which I will leave it for you to explore.
The Moon Blade(Attack +3, shield slot) artifact is the best starting bonus among the three. The creatures aren't bad but the Moon Blade is going to help you most.
You start out with Kujin's little army at (1). Just a little to your east is a Redwood Observatory that reveals the nearby Orange town (A). Now if you walk over to the town's gate, the town will automatically join you. Easy first town! You also get a free hero, Toulain, who won't get carried over to future missions.
Toulain comes with some upgraded creatures that does not mix with Kujin's. You are probably thinking of combining them - so which of the upgrades are better? For tier 1 go for the Goblin Trappers. Tier 2 and 3 is a choice between offense and defense. A simple rule of thumb on a tough heroic mission is to focus on Attack. Normally, if you let your enemy's big stack to hit you first, you are taking unecessary losses. Therefore, go for the Centaur Nomad and Mauler for tier 2-3.
However, when I played the mission (heroic) I purposely delayed my visit to the Orange town to Day 1, Week 2. Usually I don't like to waste any turn, but our situation here is special. There is NO other place (other than the easy Sawmill) we can afford to visit during the first week even with Kujin & Toulain's starting creatures combined. I got torn apart even by the Ore Pit stack! The neutral stacks guarding the resources are just nasty - lots of shooters and casters. Here comes a list:
- (W) Sawmill: The easiest.
- (O) Ore Pit: These Wind Dancers are fast! There is no way you can take it during week 1 without losing a good portion of your Centaurs.
- (M) Mercury Lab: The Berserkers here seems to be relatively easy. In my game, though, the first Brown hero handled them before I get a chance, so I got a free flag later on.
- (C) Crystal Mine: Guarded by Druids. You can't touch it until much later.
- (S) Sulfur Pit: The neutral stack is nothing serious, but there are powerful blocking stacks preventing you from reaching it. Wait for the first Brown hero to clear the path for you.
- (G) Gem Lab: Guarded by Hunters. Even if the brown clears the path for you, you still want to stay away from it first. However, you do need more gems to build the structure needed for the Capital (4000G/turn).
- (Gold) Gold Mine: Lots of tier-5 dwarf mages? This is the last thing I want to flag on this island! I want to keep my Centaurs!
As you can see, there is nothing we can do in Week 1 after flagging the Sawmill. If you claim the Orange town yourself, you are going to spend resources from your own account to build it up. There is a guaranteed net loss of everything for sure. Why not let the Orange AI (on heroic the AIs are millionaires from the start!) build it for you - for free? The picture on the left shows what I got on Day 8. I kept my strating 10,000G and 5 resources of each. Pretty nice!
So why do I claim the Orange town on Day 1, Week 2, but not later? Well I hoped so originally, but whenever we convert a town in this mission, all of its current garrison armies are erased (including roaming heroes out there). The AIs automatically hire available troops at the beginning of a week, so if I wait longer, I would lose the second week growth of creatures (I already lost the first week production, 13 Centaurs). That's not a good thing because tough battles are coming soon.
Actually, the first Brown hero is coming during week 2, carrying quite a large army. There is no way you can keep waiting. You need the town's defense to even survive.
The first thing after taking the Orange town is to go north. Just north of town (A) you can find a level-3 Spell Shrine, along with an artifact of the Enlightenment set (E1). The stack guarding it is pretty easy. By visiting the shrine you instantly jump to level 4!
The free Orange hero (Toulain) starts with the War Machine skill. This used to be a junk skill, because when your army grows large, the power of the ballista becomes negligible. Not anymore - did you see what Orlando's Ballista can do? It killed my 30 Ghost dragons in one firing round - that's even more powerful than a full tier-7 stack! You can also reach that power with Expert War Machine (Ballista - Triple Ballista) + Attack (Archery - Flaming Arrows). Flaming Arrows ignores target's defense - that's what makes the Ballista so powerful.
With this Ballista of 1500G, every low-army hero suddenly becomes a walking weapon of mass destruction. The enemy can't even Frenzy / Puppet Master / Slow the little guys operating the War Machines because they are controlled by yourself. The earliest possible level for Toulain and Kujin to reach flaming triple Ballista is level 9. But you have to be ultra lucky to get proper feats of War Machines and Attack to show up for Kujin early 8 levels in a row. But if that really happens, use Kujin as your main hero. Otherwise use Toulain. You will have more than enough EXP later to push Kujin to the level cap.
p.s. In this expansion (v3.0), every race can get Flaming Arrows and Triple Ballista. According to the excellent fan manual, the power of Ballista is proportional to the sum of the hero's Attack and Knowledge, so even a magic hero can do a lot of damage with it. (Now you know why I recommend the Moon Blade artifact - to make your most deadly weapon even more powerful.)
On heroic, honestly there is probably no other way than Triple Ballista + Flaming Arrows for this mission. Your army is too weak and the challenges are too tough. You cannot afford better creatures unless you flag the mines - but you cannot because you will be shot to pieces. When I cleared everything I could in my quarter, Toulain was level 10 and the really tough battle came. This means you can mostly throw away ONE useless skill point on something not on the path.
Right after the Shrine level up, head down to visit the Cript just east of Town (A). You should be able to beat the undeads here rather easily and collect a healthy sum of cash to get yourself a Mercury+1/Turn in the town. Next, go flag the Ore Pit. This is not an easy battle as the Wind Dancers run really fast. It is likely that you don't have time to protect your Centaurs even with lots of 1-unit Goblin stacks. But there is a better strategy:
The specialty of Goblin Trappers is to set Snares. If the trap works, the enemy will travel less distance - up to 2 tiles. If the trap fails the enemy is not delayed, but the action of the Trappers stack is. The smaller your stack, and the higher-tier and larger-stack the victim is, the less likely the trap works. (See the fan manual for details.) Each stack can only have one snare. If you set another one the old snare disappears automatically.
Now comes the beauty of probability - all of your 1-unit Goblin Trappers have a small chance of delaying the action of the elves. Even if there is a 80% chance the Elves are not delayed for each trap, the chance of the elves safely passing through 4 consecutive traps reduces to 40%. And, your main trapper stack's success chance is much better than 20%. With a series of traps accurately planted on the AI's predictable advancing route, your Centaurs will have one or two more rounds to take down the elves. Perfect victory is possible!
A brown (Tan) hero is visiting you very soon - for me it comes in the middle of week 2, right after I flagged the Ore Pit. Pull back your main hero and give him everything to defend in town A, and move Kujin as far away from the brown hero as possible. Build the second level of wall (the one that gives you 50% creature growth bonus). Use your Ballista and Centaurs to thin down the opponent's Centaurs. Hopefully most of your Centaurs survive the battle!
The first Brown hero has likely cleared a path for you, and there won't be another brown hero for... about two weeks. It is time to rush out and flag the Sulfur Pit, defended by slow melee units. Battle other melee stacks to accumulate EXP points for Toulain, focusing on Triple Ballista + Flaming Arrows. If you have a choice, give Triple Ballista a priority. You can find a Sextant to the west (a green X). It will be very useful later.
Hopefully by now your Toulain has obtained Triple Ballista. We are now able to flag some harder mines defended by shooters and casters. The trick is to give Toulain 7 stacks of 1-unit goblins (give the rest of the army to Kujin first). If you enter the battle and see 4 stacks of enemies - load the game because you are going down. If you see 3 stacks, though, be happy because you'll win. Use the Ballista to kill the earliest stack that comes next. You can flag the Gem mine easily this way.
Actually, later on you might still stand a chance if you see four stacks. When you build up the second-level "mage guild" in the town, you might get the war cry "Fear My Roar". By showing your ugly teeth and probably releasing a foul breath, your can seriously scare off your dentist, er I mean an enemy stack. It starts to run amok and and its next action is also delayed significantly. (Thus, the victim stack cannot shoot at your 1-unit Goblin anytime soon.) The chance of this war cry's success is related to your hero's level and the stack's tier and size. Your hero has to be at least level 6 to learn Fear My Roar, the most useful war cry for quite a while.
It is now also the right time to clear the stack of wolves (3) blocking the alternative way to your town (A). The wolves are really annoying because they can multiply at point blank. There is a pair of Boots of Swift Journey (green X) just beside the wolves, guarded by more Druids. In my game the druids were always 4-stacked and I had to pick it up much later. Similarly the Crystal Mine may be managable now. The Gold Mine is still too tough because each dwarf stack can take two ballista shots. Indeed, it is possible to flag each of the mine if you are willing to make sacrifices - but I don't think the gain is worth it. Your tough battle is coming soon and you need to have as many Centaurs as possible.
In the beginning of Week 4, the second Brown hero was on his way. This time they bring a much larger army. Should you still defend in the town? You can certainly win that way, yet in my game I saw a good chance to break loose here - let's take a look at this picture.
There is a lot of pressures early, almost too much!
The AI of the Brown hero has its priority set at a weak Kujin only if Kujin is (almost) within his reach for the next turn. I was able to use Kujin as a bait and lure it to travel in a big circle. The chase was really close - the Brown hero was touching Kujin's back! In the meantime, Toulain purchased everything he could afford from town (A) and head straight to the Garrison (4). You must pass through this garrison to reach the brown town, and the garrison army was twice as large as everything I had (and I took troop conservation to the extreme, you know)!
You need a lot of luck for this really difficult battle. Hopefully you have let Toulain visit some morale/luck bonuses. Traps, Fear my Roar, Luck, Morale, enemy's movement... you can easily lose more than half of your army if more than one huge stack reaches your front. Shoot every major stack that comes close, and swarm up if that does not expose your good stack to a fatal blow. It is likely that you will lose a good portion of your army (and take very heavy loss if you are unlucky). Yet this is probably the most difficult fight of the mission! Still, try to conserve you Centaurs as much as possible because there might be another tough battle coming immediately.
Now, quickly have Kujin visit the Brown town (C) to get yourself a second free town (I made it on Day 6 of Week 4.) The chasing brown hero evaporated and you get a (almost) full-built town. Suddenly, you are the most powerful clan on the map! Victory is just a matter of time - yeah? NO.
In some people's game, the Teal hero is going to invade you very soon with a very big army. When the Teal army comes, you can see it travel north on the mountain pass just east of your town B and enter the one-way portal (II). The portal carries the Teal hero to (II'). Two turns later it will reach town (B).
From the mission script it seems that the Teal invasion is activated on Day 24 on heroic (Day 3 Week 4), but it never happened to me until one full month later. Maybe I was just lucky? So what should you deal with an overpowering Teal army showing up early at (II')?
Your only chance is to defend in town with Toulain (or Kujin if she is your main hero). Use your triple flaming Ballista to demolish the Catapult, and then shooters. Untamed Cyclops can bash the gate open, so deal with them as well. There might be Wyverns flying in - just give all you have. The Teal hero has a retreat option and he usually does it earlier than he should. The Teal army is your last tough challenge of the mission - so even if you survive with just 1 Centaur, you'll win eventually.
Whether the Teal comes soon or not, you should explore the brown territory and take everything sooner or later (just remember to come back to defend when Teal comes.) I have a few suggestions for higher-tier upgrades:
Tier 4: Sky Daughter is more of a caster, who also cast one more Haste/Slow. They can also cast Chain Lightning after sacrificing a nearby Goblin. Earth Daughter is more of a melee fighter. At high rage levels, Earth Daughter becomes a dominant fighting force. They won't suffer retaliations from slowed enemies as well. I recommend Sky Daughter for this mission because I simply didn't have cash to hire them from the beginning to the end - and since I have a tiny stack of daughters, I just use them to cast spells.
Tier 5: Executioner has much more attack power, which is always good for a starter. Chieftain actually has a great strategic function that is not related to their power. Its special ability "Order of the Chief" works exactly like the Hero's war cry version, which moves forward a friendly stack's action by dealing damage to them. So what's good about killing your own troops? The Chieftains deas much LESS damage than a high-level hero. The damage dealt by the Chieftains is equal to the number of Chieftains in the stack, and the effect on the victim's ATB is Chieftain's number divided by 100, limited to 0.6 (which is to make them act more than twice as often). This means that if you have TWO stacks of about 50 Chieftains, you can whip your Cyclops (HP ~230) to shoot again and again and again and again - and no Cyclops dies yet! In my game I actually used Executioner, but in a hind sight I should have given Chieftain a try.
Tier 6: Foul Wyvern regenerates a bit each turn, and poisons the target stack. PaoKai can damage more than one enemies but the total attack power is simply divided amont the targets. Pao Kai can also regenerate by landing on corpses - potentially you can regenerate much more this way and get your numbers back at the end of the battle. I like PaoKai (if you speak Cantonese you will find the name funny) better, because in Dark Messiah this is Arantir's Avatar of Death.
Tier 7: Both upgrades are goblin throwers (shooters!), and the ammo is really cheap. The Untamed Cyclop makes a 2x2 area attack plus the ability to take down castle gates and towers. The Bloodyeyed Cyclop is slightly faster. Its Evil Eye ability gives the target -3 luck after being struck (melee only). In this mission I like Bloodyeyed Cyclop better, because their higher iniative usually allow them to shoot before the enemy's shooter - this is important! Whoever acts first takes the lead! The area attack usually won't happen because by the time you are going to use melee, you are using it against the enemy that has reached your front. Chances are that there are no adjacent enemy stacks. Moreoever, the smart AI can use your retaliation to damage your own troops - that's going to hurt. In this mission, you are not going to assault any gate because all towns join you automatically. Therefore there is really no need for Untamed Cyclops.
Do not align any two Goblin stacks or they go down together!
There are quite a few places to visit. Here comes a list:
- A Lighthouse at (5). Just in front of it lies a Runic artifact (R1) that carries to future missions.
- The second artifact of the Enlightenment set (E2), guarded by lots of tier-6 dwarfs. Absorb their retaliation by attacking from behind - this way the splash damage would be minimal.
- The second artifact of the Runic set (R2) south of the little lake.
- A Sylanna Ancient (6), guarded by lots of Green Dragons. This is the perfect place for 7 x 1 goblins!
- A tiny stack of Cyclops willing to join at (7). You can get them right after taking the Brown town (B).
- Have Kujin visit a town and buy her at least a level-1 Talisman (requires the Talisman building, which comes before the Wyvern nest). She will be able to cast adventure spells with it.
With a powerful army, you should let Kujin fight all but the toughest battles to level her up. Triple Ballista + Flaming Arrow are still great goals to go after for Kujin. If the Teal does not come and you run out of things to do, try to approach the shipyard just north of (7) but do NOT board a ship yet - in my game the Teal invasion came as soon as I did that. I am not sure whether it is just a conincidence, though. If the Teal AI still does not come, I guess there is no other choice than proceeding with the quest.
When you are ready (for me it is 20 Bloodyeyed Cyclops), hand all units and artifacts (don't forget the Sextant) to Kujin, build a ship from the shipyard and board. Sail northeast and make a landing on the shore of the Green AI's island at (8). You have to fight another tough battle against a familiar Dark Elf hero - Lethos (remember The Conquest?) Note that as soon as Kujin board the ship, two Purple "pirate" heroes are activated, and will come to you.
Lethos carries a huge army. Kill the the Brisk Raiders (tier 4) and the Furies (tier 2) first with your shooters (Centaurs and Cyclops, haste them first). Delay the action of apporaching Dungeon melee stacks (tier 3, 5 and 6) with snares and Fear my Roar. If you have to take a hard blow, throw away your melee units (tier 3, 5 and 6). Hopefully you can keep most of your Centaurs and Cyclops alive - they will become handy in subsequent battles. Visit the Green town (D) immediately and claim your third town!
Here come the pirates!
You have to worry about the two Purple Pirates next. One is Sylvan and the other Dungeon. Some people report the pirates headed to their territory (orange & brown towns), so you better start organizing a good defending army there with Toulain. However, in my game they still decided to come straight after Kujin, probably thinking they can kill her with their gigantic army.
Actually the pirates are not as tough as Lethos - they only have about 2/3 of Lethos' strength. If they are coming after Kujin, you should have an easy time as Kujin has the majority of your army. There is an artifact merchant at (9). I was able to buy the "4th Ballista shot" - the Ring of Machine Affinity here for 20K. If the pirates are coming to your HQ and you can't hold, it is actually OK to give it up, because you can win this mission as soon as Kujin converts the Teal player. In my game I was experimenting something mean - to fill the entire shore with empty ships so there is no way the AI can land! Guess how many ships did it take?
Before you send Kujin to visit the final, Teal town (C), there is an island west of the Green town you should visit. Land at (10) and you will find a Memory Mentor to reshuffle Kujin's skill. You can also pick up a Dragon's artifact (D1) further west, and flag another Lighthouse.
When you are ready for the final battle, move Kujin to the shore at (11). You have to be "in the water" to summon a boat (you can still buy the Talisman in the Green town - get the level-4 one). Sail straight to (12). Summon your last batch of creatures, visit some morale / luck boosts and enter the final fight against Gork at (13). Gork has a bigger army than anything you have faced so far, but your Cyclop stack must have grown so big now that there is nothing they cannot kill!
Congratulations for winning such a difficult mission if you did it on heroic!
p.s. There is a set of two-way portal (III) in the Teal territory, leading to a small area on top of the hill with a Dragon artifact (the ring). However, the Teal AI got it first in my game, and I was never able to recover it. I only knew about the ring by looking at the scenario map in the map editor.
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- by maltz
Will of Asha
M5: Heart of Darkness
- Map Size: Large
- Level Cap: None
- Difficulty Index: 3/5
- Last Updated: October 31, 2007, Patch v3.0
The final chapter of the new Necro campaign is as exciting as Markal's M5:Lord of Heresh. There will be huge neutral stacks, plenty of towns, a map full of AI heroes and a network of two way portals connecting the world. Your Necromancer's "raise as you go" ability is utilized to the extreme. The final boss can be as difficult as Godric... well maybe not that difficult, because the AI picked the skills for him - no Light Magic!
None of the bonuses are significant, and I took 25 Mercury. Even though resources are abundant in the mission, later on you are likely to use up mercury on the tier-7 dragons.
You start in the SE corner, in front of town (A) and right in the middle of your swampy rotten paradise. There is a Stable (S) right below that should be visited at the beginning of a week. There are not a lot of mines to be flagged in your area, but plenty of resource-holding structures (such as Elemental Stockpiles and Treant Thickets), so you can easily accumulate dozens of everything within the first 2 weeks. (In fact, you will be still short of Ore soon.) Loot as many treasures as possible early on will give you a very healthy town growth.
You are up against two AI players. The Blue AI owns 4 towns (B-E) at the moment, and as you can expect they will outgrow you if you don't start taking their towns fast. The Red AI owns the town to the far northeast (F), and there are scripted Red hero spawns to give you headaches.
You have almost no army, so you have to rely on your Avatar of Death and Phoenix. Spread out the 1-unit skeleton stacks to buy you time. The Mummy can help reviving them, too. Use your Dark Energy points to raise durable creatures (tier-6 or tier-3) for Arantir and Vampires for Ornella.
Just collect everything (including the resource buildings) as soon as possible with both Arantir and Ornella. I recommend sending Arantir to the east and Ornella to the west. Just east of the Sawmill Ornella can pick up a medium stack of Poltergeists (tier-3). Ignore the couple of two-way portals ((a), (f)). You can't use them yet and there is no enemy coming this way.
Around the first week in my game, a familiar Renegade (Blue) hero visits from the north east - Andreas. He is nothing to be afraid of. A couple of Curse of Netherworld will scare him back.
Just south of town (A) stands a stack of Champions. These Champions are not enemies, though. When you visit them, Arantir is automatically teleported to this spot (and he is not going to get teleported back), to receive a side quest about defeating an Inferno hero at (2). Looks like this hero just came out of the Volcano, or is about to jump.
Defeat the Demon hero with Arantir (who is more powerful than Ornella), and make Ornella visit the Champions. You receive quite a large stack of Death Knights. This is an awesome boost to Ornella's army. By the way, there will be a very tiny weekly reinforcement arriving from this spot (1 Lich + 1 Mummy for me).
After handling Andreas it is time to take the Blue towns. Each town is preceeded by an Outpost, which is essentially a low-level town wall harboring neutral creatures without a hero - very easy. The Blue towns are garrisoned by pretty-high-level Haven heroes, but they are nothing extraordinary, either. Just be aware of the new "Elemental Balance" skill possessed by some of the Haven heroes, though. When you summon a Phoenix, they get one at the same time! Fortunately the AIs don't really know how to use their free Phoenix.
I suggest you take down the Blue towns in a Blitz since there aren't a lot of resistance anyways. You don't need any good army to start with as each week you can gather a lot more from Dark Energy, and your power comes from the Avatar and Phoenix, or plus the Vampires for Ornella. Since Arantir is more efficient, you can give him more work. This is what I did in my game. You should be able to take all blue towns before the end of Month 2.Arantir: Town (B)-(C)-(D)
Ornella: Town (E)
The river passage (3) from town (B) to (C) is not very obvious. Build a Stable in your new Haven town if it is not already there to boost movement at the beginning of a week. Hire a low level hero to pick resources up after your main heroes. You will be short of Ore (again!) so try to flag the Ore Pit NE of town (E) quickly.
Other than the decorative Outposts, each Blue town comes with two features. First, there are two 2-way portals outside each town. I have marked the connections with matching lower-case letters (a-a, b-b, etc.). The great thing about these portals is that you can quickly access any other towns for defense or troop transfer. However, you cannot pass through a portal unless the neutral stacks (Elementals) are cleared from the other exit, and the AI heros will not do that for you although this is clearly to their advantage. Therefore, after taking each town, clear the blocking Elemental stacks. The second feature is a large Inferno symbol. You can't do anything about it yet.
You can find a Purple Keymaster (purple (K)) just west of town (D). Visit it as it might be useful for you at the end of the mission. A Memory Mentor is hidden at (4) that you should eventually come with Arantir. I highly recommend giving up Master of Mind and aim for the ultimate Howl of Terror, because you are powerful enough not to cast Mass Slow, and the extra -6 morale will make a huge difference in the final battle. You can also trade away mana-friendly feats under Sorcery because your Knowledge point should be already very high (~20 or more) by now. I picked Luck as my 6th skill and was able to fully develop it by the end of the mission. You can use my Arantir's skill & feat selection (on the left) as a reference.
New spells in the expansion are finally available in this mission. It is likely that you can pick some up from the mage guilds. Let's take a look at the two new Dark magics:
- Vampirism - This is my favorite spell back in HoMM4. With it my chaos campaign heroin alone could solo 50+ dragons, and so can you here. You can actually cast it on the Vampires or Avatar to double the draining effect! Combined with Arcane Armor the stack just becomes invincible. Use this spell to replace Raise Dead.
- Sorrow - The melee attack of Ghost Dragons (tier 7 alternative upgrade) and a high-level Avatar has the same effect. Your hero has better things to do.
What you should worry is the Red heroes spawned from (5). The portal is operated by a stack of Succubus Mistress, which cannot be destroyed for now. The Red hereos are much more powerful than the Blue ones, and they might be able to cause major damage to your army if you cannot raise them back before the battle is over. These Demon Lords spawn roughly every week, and one after one they get stronger. Fortunately, in my game (3.0 heroic) they eventually stopped coming after the famous multi-player favorite Deleb. Oh you know what's coming with Deleb, right? (A nasty Ballista.)
The Red heroes will either go after an undefended town, or actively engage Arantir and Ornella because they usually have a much bigger army. You can't use Curse of Netherworld, so you have to fight the battle square. They are fast and their attack is powerful. They gate in a lot of units. You want to conserve army as much as possible - so what do you do?
My approach is to deploy as little but durable as possible. For Ornella, deploy only the Vampires (hopefully you have a good stack by now). Dock them in a corner and throw them an Arcane Armor. If you have learned Vampirism there is no better time to use it. This way, you don't have to take hits from multiple sides even if you are overpowered 10 to 1, and can still maintain head counts through retaliation. For Arantir dock with something very durable and deploy multiple ghosts to buy you more time, and kill everything with your Avatar.
If you need a larger army to handle the Red heroes, as soon as a new week arrives, use the convenient portal network to deliver Haven creatures to town (A) and convert them to Necro units. Your income is so high that you can usually afford to hire all available Haven creatures (skip tier 2, I will explain why). Invest your resources and money into Vampire Lords first. They are the only units needed before the final battle. With 100+ of them you should be able to suck Deleb dry!
When the Red heroes stop coming you are free to explore the map. Huge neutral stacks are everywhere, giving you juicy EXP points and great treasures. Do use a Phoenix (not the Avatar) against the Godzillas and their upgrades - or you can wave goodbye to the Avatar! (Their fire shields bites back.) There is a Dragon Utopia at (6). If you missed Vampirism, there is one more chance to pick it up here. While the artifact selection used to be awesome, now there are hardly anything useful.
Make Arantir visit as many stat boosts as you can, and progress the quest with either him or Orenall to the garrison at (7). This garrison is blocked unless you follow the ghost's instructions. First he asks you to kill a group of Assassins who claimed his live. The Assassins's hideout (8) can be reached through the two-way portal (g).
You should listen to this cutscene yourself! ...with Ornella alone visiting the Den.
The Assassins beg for mercy, and offer an alternative. If you spare their lives, they will help you destroy the demon's portal at (5) to stop red heroes from coming. I heard that you still have to kill the Succubus Mistress stack yourself, though. In my game, I got here around middle Month 2 and there hasn't been any sighting of Red heroes for 2 weeks already. So I don't see the point of the Assassins' offer - just click Cancel and kill them.
The only situation that you can use the Assassins' service is if you access this area (8) directly from your swampy HQ very early on, before touching any Blue town. You can rush to the Ghost (7) through portal (g), and come back here to use the Assassins to block Red hero spawns. No more Demon Lords, no more Deleb. You will make conquering the Blue territory somewhat easier if not all of the Red heroes have spawned already.
But I won't recommend that as the Ghost's reward is way better if you do kill the Assassins. Now you can choose one of the three rewards, marked with different colors of one-way portals here at (8). Each portal takes you to an isolated area. You can only pick ONE portal to enter (the other two will be sealed forever). Whichever portal you choose, though, you gain unlimited access to it.
- R1 (green): 3 Sylanna's Ancients, our beloved level up tree.
- R2 (yellow): A lot of resources.
- R3 (blue): Rescue a familiar Renegade Haven hero from a prison. You can convert her troops in town (A).
I suggest the Sylanna Ancients (green portal). Velaria is really weak compared to what she was back in Hammers of Fate C2M3, and her army is just about one extra week of growth from the 4 Haven towns - not good enough to make any difference (see the picture on the left). I don't see why you should give up three levels for her - since the majority of your army is actually the Avatar of Death! And needless to say all of the towns have been developed by now, so you have no use of the resources.
You are almost done! Go broke on army recruitment and upgrade, pass everything to Arantir (including everything that Ornella has, artifacts too), and march each of your scout hereos AND Ornella (not Arantir, Ornella plus three others) right on top of the demon symbols outside the four Blue towns (B-E). The story progresses and... Asha uses all! (We saw that coming from mission one, didn't we?!) Even better, the game developers make a timely sunset to create a heroic atmosphere. Arantir marches alone to meet his Destiny!
Let me briefly discuss my artifacts of choices for the final battle.
- Death's Embrace Set: Too good to pass!
- Urgash's Set: The ring (-2 morale) is very useful and the extra +5 Attack isn't bad at all.
- Dragon Scale Armor & Dragon Bone Greaves: I picked up the armor in M3 and the greaves somewhere in this mission. They make Avatar and other melee units slightly faster. For equipping two you get one extra stats points in all 4 categories.
- Shield of Crystal Ice: for fire protection. I picked it up just east of Town (E). This artifact was useful against Deleb, and the final boss also has a flaming Ballista.
I was trying to buy a Golden Horseshoe from the artifact merchant for the holding slot, but nothing good came up.
Just before you go, convert a few hundreds of skeletons into Skeleton Warriors to fill the 7th stack slot. They have the wonderful ability to shield nearby troops from ranged attacks - you will need them badly for the first round of the battle!
If you don't have a good Armor artifact (Dragon's Scale Armor is good enough), consider a little detour if it won't cost you an extra week. Go north after the bridge, and climb the mountain to unlock the Purple Gate (purple G). Pass through the last set of two-way portal (h) to reach another isolated area (9). A neutral stack offers to join (but it is unlikely you have the space for them), and here lies the best Armor artifact of the game - Armor of the Forgotten Hero (+2 for all attributes).
It is finally time for the final battle at Town (F)! Don't miss out FOUR morale/luck bonuses on the way. Your opponent is again Orlando, who is very different from M3. He is no longer a defensive chicken! His Attack stat is very high now. And don't be fooled by the numbers of his stacks - take a look at the crazy Morale and +9 Luck! They can deal a ton of damage! AND WATCH OUT FOR THAT BALLISTA!
First, deploy the most important stacks (Liches, Ghost Dragons, Vampires) around your Skeleton Warriors to receive the shield bonus. Believe or not, that Ballista made 4 lucky shots and killed my 30 Ghost Dragons before they could act when I didn't use the Skeleton Warriors to protect them! And after I adopted this strategy the Ballista shot at my Ghosts instead and missed 3 out of 4 shots!! Use your Liches to get rid off that FREAK BALLISTA in round one no matter what. This is probably the most important step to victory.
Use Arantir's first action to scream Howl of Terror. With the help of other artifacts I was able to bring Orlando's creature morale down to -5. (The creatures come with +7 morale, then -2 from our Ring, -2 from our Cloak, and -8 from the Howl to make it -5.) According to the manual, the effect of morale and luck are still capped at +5 ~ -5, even if they can appear to be more than +5 or less than-5. So -5 morale is as good as -100 morale! The creatures' luck is also reduced from the cloak artifact and the Howl, down from +9 to +4, which is essentially 50% chance rainbow to 40%. If Orlando's creatures do move, you can expect a huge rainbow 40% of the time.
Don't rush in. Orlando's melee units and their clones will come out fast. Summon your Avatar of Death, but don't fly the Avatar inside the wall - it can get killed by a lucky hit - even the Avatar does not have that much HP. Or at least do it after casting Arcane Armor on the nasty creature. Use your Liches' area attack to unsummon the Phantoms (aim on the real stack and the splash is a sure hit), so Arantir can cast these useful spells on the most useful stack (Avatar). It is a very fast-paced battle and the first stack who strikes usually wipes the other out! In my game the battle was over before Arantir's fourth action!
The victory is finally yours! Have fun watching the explosion and you now realize why Orlando is soooo tough. He has the entire Lion's artifact set. This artifact set actually allows the hero to move up 10% of the ATB every time a high-morale eagle is triggered among his creatures. Now you know why every professional recommends Howl of Terror on TV!
Congratulations for winning the campaign!
- by maltz
Will of Asha
M3: The Bull's Wake
Map Size: Normal
Level Cap: 20
Difficulty Index: 2/5
Last Updated: October 30, 2007, Patch v3.0
Our focus is shifted back to Ornella. Your first impression is probably disappointment, though. Ornella has lost all stat points, skills and spells from mission one. Her stats probably looks very ugly now, with very low Attack and Knowledge. Fortunately, this mission is very straight forward. You capture a town first, develop it, and wear down the other player.
Pick Markal's Skull as the starting bonus. This is an excellent artifact (+5 Spellpower, +5 Knowledge) that saves Ornella's low Knowledge trouble. The morale penalty does not apply to undead units anyways. Too bad this artifact does not carry to future missions.
Ornella starts at (1), with a tiny army. Head north a bit and you will be greeted by some Peasants (a), strangely standing on a Necro symbol. They are actually camouflaged Necro units left over by Ornella's ex-mentor Giovanni. Since these peasants' brains have rotted long time ago, they swear loyalty to you without asking any question.
Even better, the two nearby "Peasant Huts" are automatically flagged to you and the guarding stacks will also join. Each week you get 20 Skeletons from each hut. Throughout the map, you will see several more stacks of Necro units this way. A small Necro symbol on the ground is never a trap! For example, in (b) you will find some Zombies saying Happy Halloween fresh from their tombs.
Visit the Stable (S) and head towards Giovanni's old castle. This battle is really easy. This is the only Necro town on the map, and will be your only base for quite a while. Flag the Ore Pit and Sawmill to the north immediately - you will be short of Ore again in this mission. Surprisingly, the mines are not guarded by anything. Hire at least one secondary hero to pick up various resources after Ornella. In my game there is a great Gold Bag (+1000G/turn) artifact at (2).
Ignore the stack at (3) as they will crush you mercilessly. At (c) and (d) you will find more volunteers. Visit a mana x2 spring at (4) to make Ornella's adventure even easier. Send a secondary hero east of (4), and turn north to land on a long island in the middle of the river. You can find a decent artifact there.
There is no easy way back to your town, so it is better to hire yet another secondary hero to ship new troops to Ornella. You can make these mule heroes travel a little farther by waiting them in front of the Stable (S) at the end of a week.
In this mission you will collect the rest of the Death's Embrace set - the best artifact set for a Necromancer.
Keep going south and flag the two mines along the way. (Since there is no Mercury Lab you have to build the 5000G silo in the town.) At (e) some Zombies ask you to speak to their masters - several Vampire Princes. The Vampires give you a choice of either taking 300G per turn, or simply recruit the Zombies. By clicking "OK" you will take the Zombies, the Vampire Princes, and the two nearby huts which produce 40 Skeleton a week. Cash is not really an issue in this mission (because of the Gold Bag) so don't feel bad about missing 300G/turn.
There is a Hill Fort (5) further down the road. Convert the Vampire Princes into Vampire Lords for their no-retaliation attribute. If you don't have space for Vampire Prince to join, visit the Hill Fort first to merge some stacks. The presence of a Hill Fort in each of the first three mission completely killed the need of upgrade buildings in the towns - we are so spoiled.
Don't challenge the mission-related stack south of (5) yet - you can't win without Frenzy or Puppet Master. Yes, you know what to do now - build up the mage guilds in Town (A) and pull back Ornella to learn them all at once. If you don't get Frenzy or Puppet Master, it is probably easier to restart the map now. :P
Around this time, the Red heroes should have started pouring through the one-way portal (I') just beside the Hill Fort. Fortunately, they are very weak. Let them flag your buildings and mines for now. Ornella has more important tasks to deal with.
After learning the lv4-5 Dark Magic spells, Ornella is powerful enough to crack the stack at (3). If you can predict the Battle Griffins' battle dive route (they usually aim at your strongest stack, which is usually Vampires), you can win this battle almost unharmed. The three Windmills is a great visit for a secondary hero. The little necro symbol in front of the Haven creature building (f) gives you the best reinforcement in this map. The building also produces nice high-level creatures. Also in this area don't forget to pick up the third Death's Embrace artifact at (6). Next, head straight to (7) to collect the fourth.
It is finally the time to swat the little red flies! Watch them flee in horror! Next, challenge the stack south of (5) to trigger the arrival of Ornella's idol, Arantir. Notice that the night has come and the map becomes foggy. You have two great heroes, plus four Death's Embrace artifacts and other goodies - now go on and resume world domination! The evil undead empire strikes back!
Your goal is to defeat the Red Player of Renegade Haven, currently owning town (B), (C) and (D). The mission becomes very easy from this point on. I will just mention a few scenic attractions along the way.
You face Orlando in the final battle of town (D). In my game he is a level 15 hero with stats 5/11/2/3 or something equally funny. If you think this is an exciting battle with thousands of damages flying across the sky... you have played too much Dungeon and Haven campaigns. The opposite is quite the truth here. Both you and Orlando have low Attack but high Defense. Orlando actually specializes in Defense. If you right click on his units you can see a complete selection of damage-reducing feats!
It is aggrevating to see large stacks scratching each other for a dozen turns. Even your mighty Avatar of Death and Phoenix does mediocre damage. However, a slow battle actually gives you more turns to cast magics. First, throw a Mass Confusion to completely abolish Orlando's ranged power, followed by Mass Slow, turbo Banshee Howl, Mass Weakness, Mass Suffering, Avatar of Death, Phoenix, Curse of Netherworld, Raise Dead... With the Mark of Necromancer you have infinite mana. You should be able to win this one blind folded, right?
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- by maltz
The Will of Asha campaign is the first campaign of the Tribes of the East expansion, following a brief tutorial. It tells the story of Ornella, a fallen knight who is guided by Giovanni the vampire hero.
The detailed walkthrough written by our resident expert maltz starts with an overview of dark energy, for those of you who have not played with the new necromancy yet and are unfamiliar with the "nerfed" necromancers. Next comes the usual section about skill selection and the step-by-step instructions to complete the level... and get a little surprise.
More articles should become available during the next few weeks. But remember that finishing a scenario on your own is more fun, even if we try not to include any major spoiler in our articles.