Walkthroughs


Freyda's Dilemma: Rebels | Suspicion | Duncan | Negotiations | Choices

Mission 3 - Duncan


Map Size: Small
Carry Over: Freyda
Level Cap: 21
Difficulty Index: 2/5

Primary Objectives:
  • Seize all the (4) towns of the rebellious Stag Duchy
  • Take Duncan prisoner
  • Freyda must survive
Last Updated:
February 11, 2007, Patch v2.1

Pick the 15 Vindicator starting bonus. They are very useful, but not in battles.

This is a straight-forward mission - there are four Haven towns (marked in pink A to D) to be occupied by Freyda. As soon as you take the last one, the mission is accomplished. You can develop towns you capture.

From your starting position (1), head straight to the first town (A). A stack of Peasants vaporizes in front of your eyes, but nothing else happens (a script failure?) There is a free stat boost (R) on the side of the road and a Witch Hut to the east (2) that you can visit now or later. Take Town A from Teal as soon as possible and start building. You receive a small stack of Renegade reinforcements as a reward.

Before or after taking Town A, you can flag a Barracks at (3). Normally Footmen and their relatives are not really useful, but they are very important in this mission. All of the mines you flag will be recaptured by spontaneously-spawned Teal units within a few days if you do not put at least 10 units of Footmen (or better units) to garrison the mines. (The game will also tell you about it when that happens.) However, once a mine is properly guarded, it will never be attacked, and therefore will remain safe forever.

One of the new features in the expansion is the Caravan system. If you are not familiar with it from HoMM4, you can think of it as ordering pizza. You can place an order from home and the pizza will be delivered to your house after a short time or it is free. In the game the units are the pizza and the Caravan is the delivery guy. The only difference is you always have to pay first, despite the possibility that the delivery might fail.

To start a Caravan delivery, you can go to the creature purchase interface of any town. You can purchase (order) creatures from another town or from a creature building. As soon as you pay, the units will be packed into a Caravan outside the town or building. The Caravan starts moving towards the destination town when you hit End Turn.

The game also tells you how many days it takes for the caravan to arrive. Generally speaking, Caravans move faster than heroes, but they are not very good at avoiding obstacles. One of my Caravans actually got stuck in front of a garrison, and blocked my access to it as well. Another strange thing is that you cannot package already hired troops (inside a town) into a Caravan. You have to hire them fresh from reserves.

By the way, you might have noticed that un-hired creatures can now accumulate in creature buildings, so even if you forget to hire them for a week, you can always hire them later. This is a very considerate design!

Three kinds of resources are usually in shortage in this mission: Wood, Ore and Mercury (the corresponding mines are marked with yellow W, O and M). Fortunately, none of the mines are guarded, so you can send out a low level hero to flag them one by one (don't forget to leave 10 Footmen in each).

From Town A, head east to then north to take your second Town (B). There is a Trading Post (4) on your way. The Trading Post offers a discount in resource exchange, equivalent to having three Market Places. In the meantime, send a low-level hero to flag mines in the opposite direction. The two Sawmills are especially important. AI heroes here are again dormant in this mission, so feel free to flag mines just outside their castle gate, as long as you have enough Footmen.

After taking Town B, you receive another small stack of Renegade reinforcement as a reward. That's all the Renegade units you have for this mission, though. Flag another Sawmill, and you can now enter underground from the stairway at (5). Follow the paved road south and you can take a side step to flag a Gold Mine (6). Then, follow the road all the way south, to take the stairway at (7). You emerge just beside the third Teal Town (C). That was some underground shortcut!

A

Now you own three towns and the Teal AI only owns one. Your victory is just a matter of time. Unfortunately, you cannot build the towns all the way up to the maximum. Your Mage Guilds are capped at level 3 and you can hire only up to basic Tier 5 (Priest) and 6 (Cavalier) units.

In the meantime, you can collect the rest of the stat boosts marked with blue (R), while watching your Caravan ship units around. You only need to have one Griffin upgrade facility first, since you can easily gather the basic Griffins with Caravans. The only Alchemy Lab is beyond the garrisons (marked with G). However, by the time you break through the garrison and flag this Alchemy Lab, you may as well challenge Duncan in Town D and end this mission.

By the way, the Training Ground mechanics have been adjusted as well. Now you cannot train as many Peasants to Archers as your bank account allows. There is a pitiful limit on the number of units you can train per day. This number slowly grows.

When you feel ready, grab all units you have, break the garrison and siege Duncan's castle (D). The weakest garrison among the three is located underground. When you take the stairway at (8), you will emerge right in the heart of Duncan's quarter. Duncan is quite powerful as the mission boss, and his diving Griffins might be able to wipe out your Marksmen before they get a chance to move away! (Now high morale also happens on Battle Dive, making Imperial Griffins deadlier than ever.) You may need to split up the Marksmen stack like me (shown in the picture). This way, at least you can keep half of the stack alive.

If you tried to gather all units available, you should have some ranged advantage here after your own Imperial Griffins dive out Duncan's Marksmen. It is better to wait for the defending units to come out. Freyda's specialty is the improved Haste spell according to her level. By now, you should be able to cast some nasty Expert Mass Haste to keep the action going. Ths mission ends when you defeat Duncan!

Duncan: I'll have your gold by tomorrow!


Freyda's Dilemma: Rebels | Suspicion | Duncan | Negotiations | Choices

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Freyda's Dilemma: Rebels | Suspicion | Duncan | Negotiations | Choices

Mission 2 - Suspicion


Map Size: Small
Carry Over: Freyda
Level Cap: 16
Difficulty Index: 1/5

Primary Objectives:
  • Eliminate the (4) rebel towns
  • Destroy all (14) peasant huts
  • Freyda and Laszlo must survive
Secondary Objectives:
  • Save the (5) innocent peasants
Last Updated:
February 11, 2007, Patch v2.1

The 2nd mission of the new Haven campaign is fairly easy and short. There are four Haven towns to be destroyed (marked with pink letters A to D). None of the towns feature significant garrisons and the enemy heroes inside (if any) are completely dormant.

Instead of flagging Peasant Huts, now you need to burn them down. Compared to the last mission, you need to burn nearly twice as many - 14 huts to be torched in total. They are again marked in yellow P on the map.

To add some spice to the mission, you are given a strange secondary objective - to save (pick up) the "innocent" peasants (Enforcers, marked with red letter E). You still torch their huts to the ground, though. In order to complete this side quest, you need to pick up about 5 stacks of Enforcers. The reward is really nice - Freyda gains 1 point in each of her 4 stats.

Personally, I picked the Blind spell as the starting bonus, because it is the only bonus that carries over to future missions. The spell helped me reduce losses in a few battles. This mission is quite easy anyway, because you will pick up fairly large stacks of Renegade units throughout the map. The 10K gold bonus is actually a little bit "too generous", because you won't have enough places to spend it.

Freyda starts in the SW corner (1). Laszlo is still around, but now he has his own mind. Laszlo follows Freyda closely (he can act even before his turn comes up), and from time to time, he gets rid of neutral stacks lying ahead. Laszlo can also pick up your Enforcers (required for the sidequest), so as soon as you see an Enforcer stack or any Renegade stack (which always joins you), rush for it before Laszlo does!

Laszlo might help you pick out a few Peasant (Inferno) stacks, but nothing bigger.

Proceed to the east to pick up your first stack of Enforcesr, and burn down two Peasant Huts. When I tested difficulty on this first stack of Enforcers, I got 81 Enforcers to join on easy, and 51 on heroic. So it seems that difficulty does play a small role here. The Peasants in this mission usually turn into low-level Inferno creatures. These Imps and Familiars never hesitate to suck your mana dry.

Follow the path north to flag an Archer Tower (2). You can see the first Teal town (A) immediately to the west. Take it! Too bad you won't be able to keep and develop any town in this mission. From Town A, if you proceed further west, you can pick up a fairly scary stack of Vindicators (V) inside. They are very useful cannon fodder against various high-tier, neutral stacks guarding stat boosts and artifacts.

Come back to the crossroad (2), and this time go east. With the Vindicators you can now easily hack through the tier-6 stack guarding another opening to the north. There you can pick up a big stack of Crossbowmen (C), and visit a Hill Fort (3). This Hill Fort only converts basic units to regular upgrades, so they still cannot be merged with your Renegade units. At least you can Battle Dive again!

Next, follow the path south, you will see 2 more flammable Peasant Huts and 3 juicy stacks of Enforcers. On your NE you can attack the second enemy town (B). Don't miss the large stack of Battle Griffins (G) on your east! They are very useful in subsequent battles, especially sieges. If you have to throw away a stack at this point, discard the Squires.

Again, backtrack to the crossroad (2), and this time follow the pavement north (4). Three more Huts are scheduled to be demolished, plus yet another Enforcer stack. If you have picked up all Enforcer stacks up to this point, it is likely that you can finish the secondary objective here, and claim your 4 points of bonus stats on Freyda. Nice!

Next, take the NW route and siege Town C next, followed by a small deadend to the north for yet another Enforcer stack begging you to burn their house. There is a Trading Post just south of Town C. Feel free to convert all your resources to gold (but you probably have no place to spend it). South of the Trading Post is a Mana Spring, where you can double Freyda's mana.

Are you thinking what I was thinking? -- Where is the "Nuke" button?

Proceed to the east and you will soon see a bridge leading to the north. There is a Witch Hut (5) just south of the Teal town D. Wipe this last Teal town from the map and follow the paved road to torch yet another Peasant Hut. On the south you can see a Tomb of the Warrriors, where you sacrifice 3 points of morale in the next battle for a random artifact.

Finally, cross another bridge to see the final batch of huts. Right after burning down the last, 14th Hut, the sky turns dark and stacks of demon armies warp in! You should have more than enough leftover units to send them packing. Mission accomplished!

Hopefully there won't be any more Peasant Huts in the next mission.


Freyda's Dilemma: Rebels | Suspicion | Duncan | Negotiations | Choices

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Map 3 - The Cultists
Size - Very Big
Level Cap - 26
Carry Over: Raelag & Shadya

This is a rather straight forward mission in the Warlock Campaign. Basically, you need to completely clear the map of the enemy SoulScar clan. Unlike the previous mission, this one puts you in a much more subdued position. You start out without a castle, and the enemy has seven (yep, seven). Obviously, it all boils down on how well you built Raelag in the last two missions. If you have leveled him nicely and have high Spell power with Expert Destructive Magic (and learned the high-level spells), Empowered Spells, and even Warlock's Luck (highly recommended for patch 1.3), then you will have a good time wiping out the enemy with Raelag's special ability.

Well, maybe not. On heroic, this mission is widely regarded as one of the toughest among all, simply because the AI heroes are bumped up a lot after patch 1.2. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to survive. If you are playing on patch 1.3, your mana runs out twice faster, but you might get a Warlock's Luck on your first Empowered Meteor Shower, saving your day. Resurrection s extremely helpful. Although it has been toned down in patch 1.3, you can still save up to 2/3 of your casaulties if you cast it at the right time (which is near the end of the battle).

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the underground

Let's start from the beginning. As always, three bonuses are available - 14 Assassins, 4 Dark Raiders and one Shadow Witch. I strongly suggest you pick the Witch as even though you start out with 1 Matriarch, the Witch will be useful as a secondary spell caster and as such be an easy choice amongst the three bonuses.

Shadya starts out with Raelag as well, and thankfully she has reinforcements. The Shadow Matriarch I mentioned above is just in front of you, so pick her up. Don't be too hasty with the Blood Furies, as they are hostile. Clear the Blood Furies now, such a waste. :( On post-1.2 heroic, especially 1.3 (where you use up mana very quickly) you probably want to fight them with Shadya, to save Raelag's mana for the real fight on the end of the day.

Transfer almost all units from Shadya to Raelag. You probably won't need her power for the first week at least (simply because you don't have enough troops). Your total army with Raelag should now consist of: ~80 Minotaurs, 30 Blood Maidens, 1 Shadow Witch, 1 Shadow Matriarch and 24 Assassins. Not much, but most of the damage output will be done by Raelag, if you intend to win this scenario.

Above you is a Hut of the Magi, which will reveal a small portion of the Surface. The war you are fighting will only take place in the underground, so why reveal a part of the surface? As you may have noticed, the Soulscar clan is aligned with the Demons, and they will continually send heroes (with increasing strength) to fight you. There will be a total of three waves, spawning as soon as you own 2, 4, and 6 towns. The demon Heroes will have to take the path which is revealed by the eye of the Magi, so this will serve as a warning system to you. The Demons will invade strictly from Point D marked on the minimap.

The enemy Warlock has 7 heroes who are relatively strong. Depending on difficulty, they will start with a moderate army with lv 18-19, or with a big army (which enables them to crush you on quick combat) with lv 22-23. Sooner or later they will come after you. On heroic, rest assured at least 6 of them will show up during the first two weeks, and the first one attack you on the end of Day 1, and the second on attack you on the end of Day 2!

Start by taking Castle #1. The enemy hero stationed here will come after you sometimes. Hopefully you'll fry everything else with Meteor Showers or Chain Lightnings before your units are killed off. Note that the units you deploy on the battlefield decides the random seed how the battle will go, so if you definitely cannot win a certain battle, try to hide some stacks, and maybe luck will come to your side. You should be able to take Castle #1 by the end of Day 2.

Now that you have one castle; it's essential that you secure the other one who lies just north-east in close proximity. Undoubtedly the enemy will have another high level hero waiting for you there as well. (or come to you directly when you hit End Turn this time) Hopefully you have enough mana left. You can quickly upgrade the wall and pray to Asha, if that boosts your confidence. If you are playing on a lower difficulty, then you actually have about a week of free time now. You can use Raelag to flag all mines to the south, and then take Castle #2 before the end of Day 1, Week 2 (so you can hire the fresh units from it).

From now on, every castle assault will look similar. You just need to feature some high-hp units to soak up the damage, while quickly use Meteor Shower and Chain Lightning to paint the floor with their blood. Once you have these 2 castles, you have a bit of breathing space, as the small peninsula is under your control.

Well, hold your breath on heroic. Your nightmare just started! There are still a handful of powerful heroes rushing straight to you, and they are not less powerful than the ones you've just beaten. The first wave of demon army will knock on your door on the third day as well! It is very likely that you cannot hold out both towns, even if you didn't really lose any significant army yet (learned Resurrection from mission 2?). You might need empty up Castle #2 and focus on defending Castle #1, which is much better built and profitable (as you should have put a capital in it). The demon army will take Castle #2 (and build it up a bit, until you take it back later rather easily).

On heroic, don't even think of going out with Raelag before you take out 6 mighty heroes (there are 7, but one usually gives up the entire army to another and go back to recruit.) Don't even think of flagging mines that are deep east. These powerful heroes are coming to you in a stream, and they will use up your mana (especially on patch 1.3).

The toughest hero is usually Lethos. His army is bigger than the others, and he likes to pay a visit to the Dragon Utopia on the way here. He'll usually get Implosion there, plus a handful of great artifacts to make him even harder to beat. If you are lucky, though, you can get the Emerald Slipper from him (50%+ on your Meteor Shower and Implision, can't beat this deal). Generally speaking, unless you can't make it back in time or you have no mana, always fight with Raelag. You will lose much less units with Raelag (because of his Intimidate special). <[>Your hard days will be finally over when you take care of the initial wave of assault. There won't be anymore in the short term.

If you are not playing on post-1.2 heroic, then take over whatever mines and resources lie around. Though you are separated by water, there are two portals (marked by red lines) which lead to your way, on the far corners of the peninsula. I strongly suggest you use Raelag for the conquest out there, but not give him all the troops. Raelag will gain troops from the castles he takes over, whereas you need a lot of defense for Shayda.

If you rush out with Raelag rather early (i.e. not on post-1.2 heroic), then whichever portal you take with Raelag, you can expect mighty heroes to come out of the other route. Another problem is the demons assaulting your towns. They will always teleport in the bottom-right corner, so your first two towns will be in danger. More reason to keep a good amount of forces for defense.

What is done and how it's done from here is almost just like in a normal scenario. You have to take over every castle. I marked the way I took on the minimap numerically, but depending on the AI decisions that may or may not be the best way. There are two "outer" castles on the edges of the map, two "inner" ones, and one stronghold in the northwestern corner. The stronghold is protected by a garrison, which should again, be no match for Raelag's magical arsenal even on heroic (where you will see a few dozens of Death Knights). Alternatively, if you are confident enough, just to a grand counter-clockwise tour of 6-3-7-4-5. On 1.3, your mana will run out after the garrison, so you probably have to take Castle #4 before #7.

Before you finish the mission, there are quite a few stat bonuses scattered around. There are five islands on the ground level; each can be accessed by a two-way portal in the underground level. Each island contains one stat bonus. One of them has a Witch Hut and another contains a Sylanna's Ancient (level up tree). There is also another confined underground area accessible from another two-way portal; there is a witch hut inside.

By the way, the Inferno heroes tend to ignore town 1 and 2 when Raelag is not around. So once you've secured one side of the portals, you can also send Shadya out to the other direction to capture towns. You should be able to squeeze the blue to only 1-2 towns left in the first month.

Once you have taken control all castles, victory will be yours! Congratulations if you beat it on post-1.2 heroic!


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Map 5 - The Vampire Lord
Size - Very Big
Level Cap - 40

Last Updated: October 14, 2006 to patch 1.3.

m5c5_map1

Welcome to the Night of Ashan, the final showdown with Nicolai the Vampire Lord. This mission is probably one of the most, if not THE most intimidating in the entire campaign story, as Findans around the world are crushed by tens of thousands of skeleton archers without a chance. Indeed, the necromancers continuously gather masses of skeleton archers from the zounds and legions of neutrals surrounding their towns. You can't wait too long... or you can't wait at all.

There are eight towns, all in all, on this map, six above ground and two underground. You control two Sylvan towns at the beginning, starting in the NE corner. Nicolai controls six Necro towns. There is only one entrance to your base, and the Necro towns are rather spread out. For the rest of the map, you should be able to conquer the Necro towns one by one, without having to worry about the safety of your base.

Other than the useful "Summon Creature" spell, another very handy spell here is "Town Portal". Town Portal + two-way portals = very fast fresh troop supply. As your town number grows, you will be able to Town Portal back home (to upgrade troops, complete quests, etc.) from places far away, and come back after only a few days.

Please note that the surface and underground maps are actually overlapped when considering which is the closest town for Summon Creature and Town Portal. Even if you are underground, you might portal to an ground-level town because it is more or less directly above you. To see which is your closes town, you can just cast Summon Creature which will give you the name of the nearest town. In this walkthrough I will mention a few useful Town Portal spots.

Throughout the map you will find a lot of decent artifacts, and two artifact merchants. The Unicorn Horn Bow (negates all ranged units' over-range penalty) is undoubtedly the best. Another artifact that might save the day is Sandro's Cloak, which allows a hero to cast mind-affecting spells (such as Frenzy) on undead units (the hero has to know these spells already, of course). This might be the only way to beat an army that has grown impossibly large - but you can prevent that happening by moving quickly. In addition, a Sandro's Cloak Expert Mass-Confusion (no retaliation, no ranged attack) may be extremely effective against an extremely huge, but still slow undead army.

You can also attempt to dig up the Tear of Asha, which is NOT required to complete this mission. Prior to patch 1.2 there are three obelisks on the map, and more after patch 1.2.

Some people have reported that they have seen a bugged 20K spectral dragons in Nicolai's army. Not sure whether this is fixed in the patch, but it doesn't hurt to have the latest one installed (currently 1.3). Personally I have never seen this bug (used patch 1.1 and 1.3).

In the following walkthrough I will call the towns by an assigned letter: town A, town B... etc. (the pink alphabets on the map). Here is a list of the original town names:

Town A: Nargorad
Town B: Rael
Town C: April-S n
Town D: Shagarakti
Town E: Nabu-shuma
Town F: Eriba-ishkun
Town G: Nabu-shuma (Er... that's same as town E!)
Town H: Abi-libur

The map has two undocumented side quests: Defeat Shadow Dragons, and Dig up the Tear of Asha.

m5c5_map2

Part 1 - Isolated HQ

You start with town A and B. If your Findan knows the Resurrection spell, you really don't need to pick the green dragon for the bonus as you can pull out every single fight here unharmed anyways.

The town Hall bonus, which is to be built in town B, would cost 5000G if you build it yourself later. Although this is clearly not as economic as the 7500G bonus, you will end up with one more creature building when the second week comes. As you need more creatures than money, the Town Hall bonus seems to be better.

Your home base is a long way away from the evil Necromancers. There is no place for a ship to dock (in fact, no sailing at all in this mission), and the only entrance to your isolated HQ is a garrison north of town A (1). Findan starts with the two heroes he rescued back in mission 3. They both carry the Ranger's ultimate skill, which is very handy in this mission.

The female hero, Dirael, is a Summoning Magic grandmaster. Prior to patch 1.3, if you've given her Expert Light Magic (with Resurrection spell) and possibly Enlightenment, then you've got yourself a perfect solo mine-flagger. Just give her all your treants to soak up the damage, and instruct her to summon an endless supply of fire elements to wear down the neutral creatures, all the while resurrecting your treants. (Note: Patch 1.2 removes the stacking nature of summoned elementals, so every time you summon again, the new stack replaces the original.) If you are playing on patch 1.3, then you can still use Dirael on some easy tasks. Just give her a few sprites (to flee around the map), and let the two dozens of fire elementals to do the job (give them a Mass Haste).

The male hero, Talanar, is a typical might hero. He is best with a huge army. However, your huge army would probably go to Findan. Don't feel bad if you are not going using Talanar at all, because he will be very busy shuttling troops back and forth town A and B. On patch 1.3 Talanar still suffers from poor ATK and DEF, so even with Nature's Luck he is not as devastating as Findan.

Your top priority is to flag the mines, and send Findan, or your best hero, with a good army to conquer Necro towns. Cash all treasure chests as you really need the gold to quickly build up. Your most scarce resources is ore (up to patch 1.2) or wood and crystal (patch 1.3); thankfully there are more mines coming ahead. A neat combat trick here is to split up your hunter stack into two or more. Not only you waste less arrows on smaller stacks, but also you multiply the chance of warding arrows (pushing back the target's action).

The garrison at (1) consists of wights, (regular) vampires and plague zombies. You can conveniently make them all your favorite enemies by building an Avenger Guild in town A on Day 1, Week 2, and beat the garrison on the same day with the new troops from both towns. A lot of players have complained about the difficulty of this mission, mainly because they push out way too late. If you've built a good Findan, you should have no problem to flag all mines during week 1. Unfinished local business can be left to Dirael and Talanar. Resurrection is definitely NOT your only way to pass this garrison early, but it is the most straight-forward. Resurrection will save you numerous hunters in subsequent castle sieges, though.

c5m5_pic5

It is a little tricky to ship troops from town B to town A within a day. You need a mule hero who knows both Summon Creature and Town Portal. Let's have an example:

1) Before a week ends, this mule hero should be somewhere between town A and B, but closer to town B.
2) When Day 1 comes, buy troops from town B.
3) The mule hero cast Summon Creature to gather troops from town B.
4) Move this mule hero towards town A, and cast Town Portal. (Don't leave Findan at the town gate, as that blocks Town Portal for the mule hero.)
5) New creatures arrive at town A!

By the way, there is an obelisk (Magenta O1) in this area, revealing part of the puzzle map for the Tear of Asha. The grail helps a lot in this mission, but it is not required to win. I dug the grail up twice, and they are both located beside the sulfur mine west of town C. More on this later.

If you visit the Hut of Magi just south of town A, you will see six groups of shadow dragons. (Yellow S1-S6) This is another optional side quest. By defeating all six groups of them, you restore light to the world (and your eyes will hurt because they left lamps on!). This enables you to directly defeat the mission boss - Nicolai.

Before rushing out with all you have, you really want to come back to town A and target skeleton archers as your favorite enemy. You will be fighting tens of thousands of them. On my heroic 1.3 run, I battled more than 20,000, maybe 30,000 of them in total. Spectral dragon is another nice victim if you wish to complete the dragon side quest. When you are ready (perhaps get rid off some stackgins blocking the two abandoned mines), enter the two-way portal (T1) which leads you to the SE portion of the map (look for the other T1).

m5c5_pic1

Part 2 - On to the Necro Towns

Findan emerges at (T1) of the SE land mass. Directly north of you is a Seer Tent (2). Findan's visit to the tent triggers a side quest. In short, there are four Dwarven King artifacts in this mission. You have to collect them all, and hand it back to the Seer by Findan himself. (You can collect the artifacts with another hero, but you have to let Findan give them back.)

Being a Vampire Lord, Nicolai always respawns after being defeated on the battlefield. There are two ways to stop his resurrection and win this mission (either way is fine):

(Option A) Collect all four Dwarven King Artifacts (Green D1-D4), put them in Findan's inventory, and visit the Seer Tent. You will receive five phoenixes. Bring them to fight Nicolai, and survive the battle with at least one phoenix alive.

(Option B) Destroy six designated groups of spectral dragons (Yellow S1-S6), which are revealed by the Hut of Magi just south of town A. Then defeat Nicolai.

Either way, you win this mission and thus the campaign.

Now head straight to town C, probably hitting the obelisk (O2) and a sulfur mine along the way. You should be able to reach town C before Week 2 ends. The enemy hero there, Raven, will have a pathetic little force if you rush out this early. On patch 1.3, Raven is scripted to rush to you no matter how good her chance is, making the issue even simpler. If you have trouble winning the Raven battle, you come out too late.

Note: Just NW of the Seer's Tent, you can find a Sylanna's Ancient. There are two of them on this mission.

Sooner or later, you can kill the first group of spectral dragons (Yellow S1) west of the Seer Tent. You can pick up two relic artifacts there. I'd give this job to Dirael prior to patch 1.3. If you are lucky, you can pick up one or two very useful artifacts here already.

 

c5m5_pic4_sOn the way to Town C, you will see the "Tear of Asha" Sulfur Pit that I just mentioned. Now if you check your Puzzle Map, you might accidently see your trail show up... You know what to do, right? :D Now who needs the rest of the Obelisks?

After taking town C, immediately march Findan towards the next two-way portal (blue T2) in the north, flagging the long-waited ore pit on the side. On patch 1.3 don't miss out the crystal mine at the river crossing. After entering the portal, you will emerge... err, submerge, in the NW corner of the underworld. The underground portion of this map is large, but relatively simple. When I say simple this time I do mean it is easy! Just note that there are several passages across the underground river that are not quite visible.

Since you are now on the NW portion of the map, you can summon creatures directly from town B. Also, some point in the near future you'll want to swap your army for the upgraded version. (By the way, to save resources, you only need to build the upgrade facility in one of your starting towns.) You can Town Portal Findan back to town B from this spot, and make him come back a few days later through portal T1. Alternatively, instead of going back yourself, you can use your secondary hero to swap Findan's un-upgraded army with some fresh upgraded ones. Then you can send this secondary hero back (with the Portal spell), upgrade the army, and catch up Findan in just a few days. As explained above, you can check where you are going by casting Summon Creatures first, which reveals the destination.

Now go straight south as you want to recover the first Dwarven King artifact (D1), as well as the Unicorn Horn Bow (3). Moreover, there is a stat +2 arena on your east down the road, which is definitely worth a day's travel. There is another two-way portal (T3) on your way down, leading you to the SE area of the underground (T3). Nothing critically important is to be found there, except another stat +2 arena and an artifact merchant nearby. It is going to cost you more than a day, so I would leave it till later.

After taking the Unicorn Horn Bow (3), you have a choice of heading towards town D, which is located on the SW corner, or town E, which is right at the center. Since your exit to the ground level is a two-way portal at the NE corner (T4), you will save a few days by taking town D before town E. You can also defeat a group of shadow dragons (S2) close to town D.

Normally, there are two good Necro heroes roaming underground, but if you get here quickly, they shouldn't pose any threat. They will either try to have a run at your undefended new Necro town (thus you must try to intercept them), or hide in their own castle. After taking town E, it is time to push on and leave the underground.

On patch 1.3, a roaming Necro hero is scripted to attack you when you are in sight, no matter whether he has a chance or not. This Necro hero may already carry more than 3,000 skeleton archers, so if would be safer to start exploring when you are confident. Later on I met another one here some time during Month 3, and she has a whopping 9,700 skeleton archers!

Now go straight east and make a turn north at the end. Take care of another group of shadow dragons (S3) along the way and head for portal (T4). Just before passing this portal, you are actually directly below your Sylvan town A. This is another good place to Summon Creatures!

Note: Don't worry if you haven't had Findan collect all four Dwarven King artifacts by now. You can leave the job to Dirael, or do the alternative quest by defeating three more groups of spectral dragons, which actually saves you some travel time.

m5c5_pic2

Part 3 - Showdown with Nicolai

If you made it this far before Month 3, then you should pat yourself on the back.

The fourth pair of two-way portal (T4) lands you right in the middle of Nicolai's territory. There is town F just north of you, which is usually an easy target if Nicolai is not around. If Nicolai is blocking your way, then you have a choice whether to take him down, or avoid him by taking Town G and H first.

There is also the fourth group of spectral dragons in the east (S4), and the 3rd, final (before patch 1.2) obelisk (O3) somewhere to the West. You will also see an artifact merchant nearby that the rich AI loves to visit. If you have lots of cash, send a secondary hero here to see if there is any good deal.

Now be prepared to see armies having more than 3K skeleton archers following any major Necro hero. However, you should be more than capable to handle them because you haven't lost any single hunter so far due to your mighty Resurrection spell, right? :) If you come here really late, then you will see much more skeleton archers. If your feel completely powerless, and you don't have Dark Magic and Sandro's Cloak, then your last hope is to outgrow Nicolai with your five towns versus their three. Hire undeads to boost your army (such as skeleton archers). Theoretically, you will outgrow these necromancers eventually.

 

Nc5m5_pic6_sote: On patch 1.3 heroic, the AIs were smart to pool all of their army into one place. Some time in Month 3, I had to assault a castle with Nicolai and 8,000 skeleton archers plus other huge numbers of undead creatures. The game becomes quite challenging now.

The only trouble here is Nicolai. Before patch 1.3, Nicolai really, really likes to Phantom Force his strongest stack, and that usually means his skeleton archers. Try to kill his skeleton archers as fast as possible, and use a direct damage spell (either from your hero or the druids) to make short work of the clones. If you come here very late, Nicolai might have a huge number of skeleton archers that makes him almost impossible to defeat. However, if you happen to have Dark Magic and collected the Sandro's cloak artifact somewhere, you can really do some nasty tricks (such as Frenzy) to his skeleton archers, and the clone of them, too!

Note: Nicolai never casted Phantom Force on my patch 1.3 game. He casted Puppet Master (which is really nasty on patch 1.3) on my Emerald Dragons! Luckily Findan's Mass Cleanse took care of it. Nicolai also casts Confusion and Circle of Winter.

If you have successfully taken town F, you must decide to take either town G or town H next. The catch here is to avoid facing the little iron man Nicolai as he will respawn to some annoying spots (such as the entrance of town E) with an army about 5 weeks of a fully-built town production. If you have fought Nicolai and he has respawned away already, then feel free to grab both town G and H, and leave Nicolai busy underground. (He'll never walk pass portals that transport between the surface and underground, but he can Town Portal up and down just "by accident".) Town G can be easily accessed by the final pair of two-way portal (T5) NW of town H. Be prepared to fight thousands of skeleton archers again, too. Should be an easy job for you now, right?

With your hard work, Nicolai is finally catching his breath in his last town somewhere. Your rush is done! If you want to finish this mission as soon as possible, then kill off the final 2 groups of spectral dragons (S5 and S6), and then Nicolai. If you want to take your time, then you can bring your secondary hero here, swap an army to take on the defense job, and let Findan visit all the stat bonuses around the map. Findan is going to play a part in the next, final campaign, so it might be worth boosting him. By the way, there is another Sylanna's Ancient on the surface, roughly in the middle of Nicolai's continent. It is located with other stat bonuses. You can level up Findan to 32 in this campaign, possibly the highest level ever reached by a campaign hero!

m5c5_pic3

You can also attempt to kill the insane number of Wights (700+) just south of town C. It guards a Vitality Ring that gives +2 health to all troops. This ring is far less impressive than the Wights.

If you have collected all four Dwarven King artifacts (D1-D4), then you can give them all to Findan, and let him visit the Seer Tent (2). You are going to lose these great artifacts, but you will get 5 phoenixes. If you don't kill all spectral dragons, you can also win this mission by bringing these phoenixes to fight Nicolai, and survive the battle with at least 1 of them.

Town F is located in an interesting spot. First, you can summon troops easily from town A, by entering the portal (T4) down the road. You can also Town Portal back to town F in the NW portion of underground, some distance south of the (T2) portal. This means that you can make a quick round trip back to the Seer Tent:

Day 1 -- Start from town F, head South towards portal T4.
Day 2 -- Enter portal T4. Cast town Portal to return to town A.
Day 3 -- Enter portal T1, run to the Seer Tent.
Day 4 -- Visit the Seer Tent. Cast town Portal to town C.
Day 5 -- Go north towards portal T2.
Day 6 -- Keep going.
Day 7 -- Enter portal T2, go south, and portal back to town F.

Congratulations for winning this long and difficult campaign! Now if you look at your last autosave, you can see an easter egg - a funny typo of somebody's name (still there in Patch 1.1).

By the way, some people like to mix necro troops (usually skeleton archers) in their army. By providing some extra ranged power you will lose 1 point of morale for the Sylvan units (so they get high morale 10% less of the time). If you rush this mission, you probably won't have enough undead units available to make the trade worthwhile, though.


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Map 3 - The Defense
Size - Very Big
Carry Over - Findan, Talanar and Dirael
Level Cap - 24

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface

Although the map size says "very big", this map is rather simple. When I say simple, I mean the landscape is not complicated; I don't mean the mission is easy. It is far from easy on heroic, especially after patch 1.2. You start the mission with a mandatory siege battle, defending the Sylvan capital. This is the only battle in the entire campaign story that you are supposed to lose.

However, before your troops die, you can make good use of them. Concentrate your attack on the skeleton archers, and you should be able to wipe this stack out. Your castle moat might also do you a favor by killing one or two high level creatures.

After this, it is Findan's turn to assault the castle. They AI's will concentrate their fire on your sprites, and then the dancers, so keep them defending all the time to delay your hunters from being the next victim.

If the enemies stay inside the castle wall, you will have a very difficult time especially after patch 1.3 toned down the ranged damage from outside the wall. Fortunately, the AIs are scripted that when it loses its ranged force, its melee units start to rush out (and get ganged up by yours). The key is DO NOT rush any unit in before that happens, or they will never come out. You know they are coming out when their melee units start to move. This may happen only after the AI loses a fraction of their ranged power.

It helped me a lot to march my treant forward, blocking the castle gate to take the heat. The AI units will come out to attack the treants from multiple directions. Then, our other units can now mop up to get rid off them. Try to conserve your emerald dragons as much as you can (don't fly them in!), because you won't be able to replenish them for a while, and they are very useful elsewhere.

This castle assault is very important for the entire mission. If you fight it well, the subsequent battles will become much easier. If you learned Resurrection back in mission one, resurrect your sprites back before the end, as they will save your most-valuable-hunters in the coming battles.

Now you have the capital back, which is good. Let me explain a little what lies ahead. You are up against the teal player, who owns two towns, one Sylvan and one Necro. The Sylvan town on your SW is relatively close to your Sylvan capital, so it is a good idea to rush it with Findan. This is particularly important on heroic.

The bad news is purple heroes are coming to attack your capital constantly (similar to mission 5 of the Haven campaign). In fact, the next purple hero has already spawned while you are celebrating the liberation of your Sylvan capital! It only takes two days for them to start the siege. You get no more chance to retake the capital. You lose this mission as soon as you lose the capital the next time. In patch 1.3 you will see 3 more purple heroes in the first week, so it is possible that your low-level hero cannot survive, and you will have to keep Findan home to defend for the first week.

After the first week, you can expect one purple hero every one or two weeks. The strength of the attacking armies grows slowly, too. If you are playing at a high difficulty, you really don't want to keep Findan in the capital, because the purple heroes never stop coming, while the teal AIs never stop building until you force them to. ;) Here is what I recommend:

On Day 1, hire a new hero, swap his army with Findan's, and send Findan on the boat with the new hero's little army. You will use this new hero and 100% of Findan's leftover army to defend the first few purple heroes. The key here is to leave ALL your shooters (hunters and druids) with the new hero or you will lose simply too many melee units from their liches. Findan does not need the hunters to take towns, but you need them to defend towns.

You might also want to hire yet another hero to sail out to collect debris and chests. There is a bunch on your east, and after passing the whirlpool there are two more piles nearby. You can collect a couple dozens of logs from the initial investment of 10.

When the first purple hero comes, try to kill them off as soon as you can, even if it means losing a dragon. Ancient treants are excellent at blocking a breached wall, while the unicorn takes care of any enemy unit trying to get inside. Sprites and war dancers will become your damage sponge. Without them the enemy will target your hunters, so don't feel bad about their loss. After patch 1.2 the AI hero might drop some mighty spells (such as chain lightning) on your hunters. Too bad - there is no way to avoid it. On 1.3, though, the AIs seem to lost the ability to cast these spells, possibly due to the 200% mana cost.

After the first defensive battle, you can set the favorite enemy for your defending new hero. You can "update" your favorite enemy list whenever a new purple hero spawns (right click on it to check what it carries). I would highly recommend liches, and possibly vampires. They are very hard to kill.

The initial waves of assaults are the most difficult. If you have lost almost all of your hunters and druids (which happened to me every week after patch 1.2, but not 1.3), you might need to use Quick Combat at some point to save an otherwise impossible battle. Just to stay alive - your pain will be over soon.

Meanwhile, quickly sail Findan to the west and then south after you see the lighthouse. Your goal is to land at the shipyard at (1). Then, the Sylvan town is only two day's travel to the west. Now it is the time for Findan to summon all emerald dragons. These flying units are excellent for a quick siege battle. You should be able to take the Sylvan town with minimal loss before the first week even ends. Also, you will see an undead teal hero hanging around. Your emerald dragons will make sure they stay dead this time. If you don't see this hero around, be careful that he will try to make a run at your new town. Hunt him down as soon as possible.

Now you have two towns, and the teal player only has one. You can finally flag mines, so your victory is coming slowly! Your next goal is to get a lv 5 mage guild in one of your towns (better at the new Sylvan town, because Findan is nearby). Since patch 1.2, heroic, you have few starting resources and you don't really want to waste any of them on the buildings. Patch 1.3 made some adjustment to the resource requirement, but you are still very short on the rare-material side. If you haven't got it already -- you are shooting for the Resurrection spell. If you get Word of Light, which is almost useless, then try the other town. If you don't get it in either town, too bad. (I would restart the mission right here, but you can certainly press on and see what you can make out of it. You get 2 more chances to learn it in mission 5, but you can't get it early.)

On higher difficulty your capital is probably falling apart, so you may want to start rush Findan back to accumulate some army. It would be a really good idea to ship the new Sylvan town's growth back to the capital. In addition, there is a landing dock at (2), and a hunter's cabin nearby. If you are patient and would like to have 7 more hunters per week to defend the city, you can hire another hero to ship hunters to your Sylvan capital weekly. The teal heroes might be chasing after your low level heroes, and they will try to summon a ship if you leave one hanging. Better be careful than sorry.

Once you have Resurrection, you have successfully turned the tide of the entire campaign. Your emerald dragons, or everything Findan carries rarely dies from now on. Now Findan can break through the two garrisons (3 and 4) with a dragon-only army and laugh at the defending stacks.

After passing both garrisons, you have a choice of taking the remaining teal town or rescuing one of the two Sylvan prisoners in the jail at (5).

Note: One obvious change of patch 1.3 is that the two heroes you are about to rescue will have a pre-set level of 28, and 5 skills paths pre-developed (see the attached pictures). This means that you no longer have the freedom to develop their 6th skill, unless you happen to grab something useful from the Witch Hut underground in this mission. The two heroes also have very miserable stat point distribution -- highest spell power for a hero who knows little magic, and lowest spell power and knowledge point for a hero who use exclusively magic. Good job, Nival. Or maybe that's why they are incompetent and ended up in prisons.

The jailed hero at (5) is Talanar. He is a typical might hero, with no magic ability at all. He suffers from some low ATK and DEF stats, but he is still an awesome hero due to his Nature's Luck ultimate ability, which makes all physical attacks lucky (rainbow).

If you choose to rescue Talanar first, you can send him directly back to the capital to defend, and watch rainbows fly to the moon. If you are playing at a lower difficulty, or you have seriously messed up Findan's build, it would be nice to give Talanar Enlightenment or Light Magic to fix his weakness. Otherwise it doesn't matter -- you won't bother giving Talanar any army in the last mission because Findan is simply a better army leader. Make sure that Talanar learns town portal and summon creatures in this mission, though. (requires lv20 hero & lv5 mage guild)

The teal town is manned by a moderately powerful Necro hero. If you are fast enough, you might have scared him back to his castle by now. If you are slow, then he might have attacked you already. At this point you are definitely more than capable of disposing him without losing any dragons.

After wiping out the teal player, you need to rescue another hero, Dirael, a summoning specialist. She is held in an underground prison (6). The stairway leading to it is SW to the Necro town. Prior to patch 1.3, Dirael also starts with Nature's luck and does not give up a precious skill slot for the now-redundant Luck skill. For the 2 skills you can customize for her, I would highly recommend Light and Enlightenment, which boost her mana (Intelligence) and spell power (many more fire elementals), as well as giving her the precious Resurrection spell. She will become very useful in the last mission. Dirael is an army by herself!

Note: Patch 1.2 and 1.3 seriously toned down Dirael. Her Nature's Luck special ability is removed since 1.2, and in 1.3 she does NOT receive any extra stat point from her preset Expert Enlightenment skill. Combined with the removal of stacking elementals, she is now much less useful in mission 5.

Once you rescue Dirael, take your time to level the two heroes up (not necessary for patch 1.3) and explore the map. Your only remaining objective is to stock up enough troops in the garrison. (See the in-game mission objective to reveal the exact numbers you need.) If you have been buying units there, then you might have already fulfilled this objective unwillingly. To avoid the frustration of not being able to level up everybody to the cap before the map finishes, do not stock emerald dragons in your capital (you only need shooters for the defense, anyway).

When you are done exploring and levelling, take both heroes back to the Sylvan capital, swap them in and out the town, and the mission should be completed.

Note: Some people have reported bugs that the mission cannot finish, even if they have done everything required. If this happens to you, try this: Move Findan inside your capital, and the other two outside. Then purchase a new hero from the tavern. Also, you might need the latest patch (1.3 when this article last updated).


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Map 5 - Zehir's Hope
Size - Big
Level Cap – 40


Bonus

Finally, a set of bonuses which are somewhat worthwhile. I picked the titans because they're awesome creatures and they go in Zehir's army, which is the one which most needs a boost. However the Dragon Scale Shield is a very powerful artifact and if you feel like a spellpower boost then feel free to grab it.

Walkthrough

In my first run through this map, on hard difficulty, I found this map particularly difficult. This map involves a series of fights with each of your heroes and all of the fights were easy, except the ones with Zehir who was definitely the weak link in my chain. This was probably because I rushed through the early maps as quickly as I could, not taking any time to pick up stat boosters, hit the level cap on level four or find the summon phoenix spell (I did try with the latter; it just wasn't offered to me). My second time through, on heroic difficulty, it was much easier, attesting to the usefulness of hero development through the campaign.

You start the map with four heroes at the ends of the four long pathways. Each hero has to take on a garrison (the orange squares) and these battles should be done with the aim of taking almost no casualties. There's no need to converge all your heroes onto the town at 1 because sending one hero in will trigger a battle with all four.

The battle for the first town (Biara) is tougher and you should expect to take some casualties, although these should obviously be minimised as much as possible. Biara (heroic 1.3) casts a spell called "Inferno Chain" when she gets a turn. This spell is similar to Chain Lightning that it hits four units in a chain, but its damage does not reduce through the jumps -- each hit deals full 820 damage. You might resist this magic if you have magic resistance (unicorns, or the Luck feat) If you hide a lot of stacks, Biara might refrain from using this spell, probably because she would hit her own units with it!

You have to cycle through all four heroes to defeat Biara, in the order of Godric, Findan, Zehir and Raelag. Towards the end of battle, remember to use the archangel's Resurrection ability and the hero's Resurrection spell with any heroes that have it. These battles will give you a taste of the style of battle on this map which involve a lot of creatures getting summoned, both at the start and as you kill certain entire stacks.

Out of these four battles, the one involving Zehir will be the easiest as you can simply "Banish" (gained through the Summoning Magic Feat) almost all stacks of Inferno units. It is so cheap that you would think it is not fair for Biara. In addition, Raelag will have an easy time as his meteor shower can make short work of the closely packed summoned enemies, and his black dragons are immune to Biara's spells. Be careful with Findan and Raelag's dragons, as the AI is smart enough to trigger their counter attack that will also plow through your own units. Try to isolate them from your other units.

Once you win the four battles, which isn't too difficult, all your heroes will be teleported to 2 to prepare for the final battle. All units lost are lost, though.

If you have used any spell points in the previous battle there is a magic well at 3 which can replenish them. The final battles are for the control over the shielded town at 4. There are two phases to the battle, each fought by all four heroes in turn, for a total of 8 battles. There are no rest in between, so if you lose, you have to restart from the beginning.

The first round ends when you destroy the magical wall which is a central feature of this battlefield. The wall usually takes three catapult shots to destroy, though this will be less if you have war machines or get a successful luck roll on your catapult's attack. Your objective in this first battle is not to kill all the enemies, it is to defend your catapult because if it gets attacked by an enemy you will lose the battle. So hang back and keep your creatures positioned so that a large sized enemy (eg. bone dragons) can't attack the catapult because they seem to do so if they get the opportunity. You should also, obviously, try and keep casualties to a minimum because there is one more battle before you finish the map and the campaign.

If you feel like your creatures are dying more and killing less than they normally would, then take a look at the demon sovereign's stats, which were all in the mid 40s. This is the reason that the second round of the battle can be a bit difficult for Zehir and Raelag. Fortunately, Zehir can always Banish them in one go, and Raelag has powerful spells to achieve similar effects.

I think I found a combat set up which should be able to get you through the final battle no matter how weak Zehir is, just in case you cannot Banish. As I noted earlier, Raelag has the easiest time of these battles with his powerful direct damage spells. He also happens to have an army which can take a lots of beatings, with scores of hydras and almost 50 shadow dragons. So for starters, switch Zehir and Raelag's armies, but make sure there is one space left in Zehir's army (leave the blood furies out if anything, they die very easily). I found the key to keeping Zehir alive, on top of this, was Findan's 50+ Ancient Treant stack, so fill up Zehir's final slot with them. You should now be able to win the final battle. In each round, place the treants in the corner and do nothing with them except hit defend. Their special ability gets them unlimited retaliation if you do this which is great, because you'll likely have poor morale and so otherwise would almost never get a chance to attack with them. In the first round, place the hydras and black dragons on the two slots next to the catapult to defend it (I found the hydra stack usually died, this didn't matter too much). In the second round, do as much damage to the Cerberus and Succubus stacks with your dragons and other creatures before they die (them being the only creatures your treants can't retaliate against). Then use raise dead to keep your treants healthy and summon elemental to do some extra damage. You should be able to win this battle by doing this. If you don't, then the strongest stack behind the shadow dragons is either the titans or archangels, depending on how many casualties you took in previous battles, so add them in, though the morale penalty will be pretty annoying with three alignments in the army.

Once you win, then that's all, there isn't anymore... except one last round of bad voice acting and another 'unexpected' twist in the final cutscene :). The HoMMV campaigns are finally over and hope you have some favorable moments along the way!


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Map 3 - The Triumvirate
Size - Very Large
Level Cap – 25


Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface (1.6 MB)

Bonus

Once again, none of these bonuses are worth much in the greater scheme of things. The four Rajas are probably the best pick here as they can stay alive while you kill the enemy off with your spells, such as a phoenix. Endurance is a pretty useless spell for you and one which you'll have plenty of opportunity to learn on this map if you haven't already. And you won't want to be casting lightning bolt either, though if for some reason you've learned chain lightning or really like to cast direct damage spells, feel free to take the trident.

The difficulty of this mission and the next hit a record low, which is ironic considering how many powerful heroes will be participating. Neutral stacks contain even fewer numbers than the campaign's first mission, such as "15 assassins" on heroic (sounds insulting, indeed). There are no good default armies featured in AI's towns, either.

Walkthrough

This map feels a bit like the missing sixth map of the Haven campaign. Not only do you get Godric back, but three out of the four towns you can capture are haven and all of them can be fully developed. So you'll be running around with Haven troops and a high level haven hero which is slightly odd for the middle of an Academy campaign. This is also a map which quite a few people seem to get themselves stuck on prior to patch 1.2 (due to bugs), so pay attention and make sure you do things in the right order!

Head along the path east. If you turn south, you can pick up 66 available peasants. If you prefer a speedy conquest then you can ignore them, and take your first town a few days early. The garrison is not supposed to be fought now. Your first objective is to free Godric from underground, and there's a little sign here pointing towards his dungeon. The army in the garrison is meant to be very difficult to defeat with your starting forces, but if you built your Zehir right (pheonix, resurrection, puppet master, etc.) then it is still managable. So ignore the garrison for now and keep going east to take the stairway down.

Once down there head straight east, flagging the mines as you go. Veer south with the road, until you hit 2 where the prison sign is. Turn west and at the end of the passage at 3 is Godric's prison. Release him and give him the peasants if you have.

You can send Godric west to flag the Haven creature dwelling at 4, and take Zehir the long way around the underground (east then over to 4 via the southern passage) to pick up all the goodies. You'll be much more starved of resources than experience on this map, so be sure to pick gold over experience.

Send Godric above ground as soon as possible, and enter the garrison. The troops in the garrison will join you (the only time on the map that any Haven troops do, though) and you're ready to start the main part of the map.

Godric should head over and capture the town at 5 while Zehir is still coming out of the underground. Once he's done that where you send your heroes is pretty much up to you. There's no pressure on this map at all and you can complete the objectives at your own pace. The only thing I would keep in mind is that you will be quite resource short, so don't get the upgrade buildings yet. You will also not have enough money later to buy all the available creatures, so you can actually ignore two out of the four Haven towns (<5>, <7>, <9>, <10>).

Since there isn't any significant AI army out there, you can send out Godric very soon. Whenever you go to 11 and visit the Redwood Observatory, Findan will join you and the mission becomes even easier. With Findan you can capture the remaining towns in a week or two!

You might find that you have a lot more resources than gold - the trading post just near the town at 5 is a great way to convert those resources. There are a total of 3 Sylanna's Ancients (level up tree) on this map, in 6, 12, 14, so you can skip a lot of small neutral stacks. The area at 8 is probably the most useless detour of any map ever seen - nothing there but a Stable at the entrance, and some not-so-good views.

You should be getting quite proficient with using Zehir's summoned phenix by now, for two reasons. First, you get some pretty images:

And, more importantly, a creature with incredible stats:

The phoenix is very durable, but it has a weakness to wraith's (the glowing upgrade) Harmful Touch or a pit lord's Vorpal Sword. Don't lave the pheonix within their reach. Here is a fairly evil combat set up to get the most out of the phoenix:

It's a little tough to see there, but it was a stack of inquisitors in the corner surrounded by three 1-unit peasant stacks. I kept my larger stack of peasants off the battlefield and a backup stack of crusaders off too. Put a firewall in front of these units and a phoenix next to them and you're practically invincible. If a peasant dies you just get an elemental stack in its place (thanks to Zehir's ability) and between the firewall and the phoenix nothing survives long enough to get through to the inquisitors, who cast haste on the phoenix and then shoot any survivors. Against strong shooting troops, you can make sure your phoenix travels the battlefield in one turn by making sure there isn't enough room for it on the two back rows (where the phoenix normally summons). Even if you only have small sized creatures, you can block all the space off by spreading out the creatures two spaces apart on the 2nd last row in the tactics phase.

Once your hero has captured 9, you might want to send him on a boat to 12, where there's another Sylvanas Ancients, a hill fort to upgrade your creatures and a most-welcome gold mine. There is a fairly useless Necropolis town at 13 (don't build anything except a town hall, plus some mage guilds if you're looking for spells). There are two gold mines to the NW of the town, plus an artifact merchant.

Once you've explored the map, hit the level caps and sent your hero's around to gather as many stat boosters as you feel like (there's a couple of useful spellpower boosters around 13), then get ready for the final battle at 15 which is a 3-stage attack. Zehir and Godric each fight Markal on a normal battlefield then Findan finishes him off in the town. You don't need to do anything to make each of these battles happen (except walk towards the town at 15) but if you have not found both Godric and Findan the game will crash at this point.

These battles are not very hard, but you should bring as many creatures as you can afford. Turning peasants into marksmen is a good idea if you can afford it. Markal may cast puppet master, which can get annoying, particularly on your phoenix, but it is not a problem if you have expert-level Mass Cleanse (Your sprites' cleanse level is too low, so forget about it). (Markal does not cast it always. Sometimes he does nothing but regular attack!) Actually, there are better things for Zehir to do (after Mass Haste and Mass Slow) -- Banish. It is a feat to be picked up in Summoning Magic. With one Banish, you can instantly unsummon ALL of Markal's summoned creatures on the field!

You can split your Haven armies in three parts. Among them Findan will face the hardest challenge (a castle assault), so flying and ranged units are most useful for him. Your priority in these battles is to kill the starting troops. Ignore the undead summoned along the way - they all disappear when the starting troops are all gone. Once you finish each of these battles (if you lose, just wait around another week or two to build up your forces - there's no time pressure) you're on to the next map.


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Map 2 - The Liberation
Size - Very Large
Level Cap – 20


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

Bonus

To be honest none of the bonuses (bonii? :) you get offered here (or in the next couple of maps) are particularly useful. The breastplate is probably the best of a bad bunch, though, because it will boost your summoning spells. While clensing is useful there's a bunch of life towns (which should have it) coming up on the next map which is when you'll really nead it. Five Iron Golems are laughably weak, but if you break them up into 1s, you have five more chances of elemental replacement.

Walkthrough

This is quite a fun, large map, though not particularly challenging, and if you think it's a bit familiar you're not imagining things! It is a remake of C3M3 map, with the removal of certain features (such as the Sylanna's Ancient) and the addition of quite a few artifacts.

Your first goal should be to flag some mines nearby, including the Saw Mill and the Gem Mine. There is a Sulfur Pit a little north. When you head south, you will enter the Inferno terrain. Here you can flag some more mines. When you head to the very south, you can grab two abandoned mines at 1, which are always 1000/day gold mines.

Thanks to Summoning (phoenix when you have the mana, elementals otherwise) Zehir should have no trouble taking on neutral stacks (except perhaps cerberi and succubi) with just his starting forces and what you can hire from the town on the first day.

Note: On heroic, you can actually leave almost all units at home, but just bring the gargoyles with you. Split them up to multiple stacks of ones (hide the reserve stack to avoid heavy casaulties). You go into battle with 6 stacks of 1 gargoyles. If against a human player you will soon be fried, but the AI enemies usually target the elemental replacements as they are more "worthy to kill". This way, you only lose a few useless gargoyles in each battle, even against lots of liches or cerberi. Since patch 1.3 increases the mana requirement a lot, you should try to avoid Summong a Phoenix (35 mana) if you can handle things with just Elementals (17 mana).

Be sure to avoid the pictured area (2) on the way down... it's simply not worth fighting a hoarde of succubus mistresses for the sake of a level 3 spell and a pile of ore! Also ignore the large arch-devil and pit fiend stacks on the east of the island as they aren't guarding anything important, just a shortcut to the south.

At about the start of Week 2, an enemy hero will probably attack from the north. This is nothing to worry about - even on heroic difficulty I was able to repel him with just what I had hired in the town by the end of the first week and a hired hero. If you're worried, though, then keep your main hero within a days walking distance until you get attacked. There will be no subsequent attacks. (On patch 1.3 heroic, there will be one more, quite a tough one actually (like outnumbering you 5 to 1). But that won't arrive for another two weeks, and your phoenix and elementals should be able to take care of them.)

Also, be sure to enjoy this town and build it up properly because it'll be the only Academy town you get to play with for the entire campaign (with the possible exception of this map's objective - Al Safir (11) - depending on the order you capture the towns in). I would definitely recommend building the Arcane Forge and messing around with the Artificier special ability, because it's quite fun. They take quite a lot of rare resources to make, though. It gets 50% cheaper if you wait until you get the pendant of mastery (sometimes offered on the map at 7).

I recommend giving your shooters luck and higher initiative your Rajas' speed and initiative and your golems/gargoyles health and defence. My Djinn's always die so I don't know what's good for them - health/defence artifacts makes too little difference. For the third slot it depends on the creature, +health is good for low level creatures, morale is good for titans and raja's but you want at least one of your creatures to reduce enemy defence. Experiment yourself, particularly when you hit the level cap as the power of your artifacts depends on your Knowledge points. If you can buy some artifacts that increase knowledge, put them on Zehir and then make the equipment.

Note: In recent patches (at least in 1.3), you can no longer build up the mage guild of your starting town past level 2. This is rather inconvenient as you lose the chance to learn Resurrection early on, and you cannot even Summon Creature until you take one of the cities on the southern continent.

Once you've cleared the large peninsula that you start on and built your town up a bit, it's time to enter the portal at 3. There are exit points at 4, 5 and 6. Your exit point is randomly determined. The map is very open-ended at this point, but I recommend that you head to 5 to start with and go south until you find the path to Yafia, the town at 7. It shouldn't be too hard to take this town. Clear as much of the surrounding areas as you feel like. If you picked Expert Dark Magic, Sandro's Cloak may be handy to you (to mind control undead and Titans).

There is one little trick (only applicable prior to patch 1.2) which is fun to use to take on large-sized neutral creatures is pictured to the left. Place your master gremlins in the corner of the battlefield with steel golems placed diagonally in front of them. This means the only creature (large) neutrals can attack is the golems. Let your gremlins repair the golems while your phoenix pounds on the attackers (golems defend) and when the attacking stack starts running out of steam stop attacking it until all your golems are repaired. You can take on stacks many times your size without any casualties in this way.

When you're done head to the portal at 6, to go to 3 and summon some creatures if you need to. Otherwise follow the path towards portal 4 until it branches off towars Ulamburiash at 8. This was a rather useful town for me - the AI seemed to forget to hire dragons so there were a bunch left over for me to give to a secondary hero. (the recent patches has improved AI's building and hiring, so this no longer happens.) The area to the south west of this town has two skill boosters - spellpower and attack/defence - which are worth grabbing.

Note: Somtimes, you can see NO teal AI hero defending a castle. This is because that there is a cap of the number of heroes AI can have. Somehow AI likes to hire new heroes in the southern continent, which is blocked off by two very powerful stacks of neutral creatures. When all available AI heroes are trapped down there, the main continent becomes yours to explore.

You are theoretically meant to capture Al Safir (11)at around this time. I wouldn't recommend it. The town (at least on hard and heroic) starts with a large head start on you in the creature race and even if you take minimal casualties and hire every creature you can from your main town you will be massively outnumbered. Even a summoned phoenix can't turn odds like this, unless you can somehow outlast the assault while casting Frenzy and Puppet Master like mad.

So I recommend you ignore that objective for the time being. Build up your two necropolis towns if the AI hasn't done that for you, and move Zehir back down to the shipyard near 1 (after flagging as many mines to the east of the town at 8 as you feel like - remember, high level artifact crafting burns through resources). Hop on a ship and head to the large island to the south. There's not much to do on the seas, the only stat booster is a knowledge one and you should have plenty of spell points by now. The first town there is Newpost (Haven) which isn't your aim. You can't see it now, but one of the map objectives (unlocked when you catpure Al Safir) is to capture the town Lorekeep at 9.

If you land on the west shore of the island, you will be greeted by a large number of cavaliers (on heroic you will see more than 200). Don't even think of landing on the east -- it is worse. If you have Expert Dark magic and learned Frenzy / Puppet Master from the previous mission, then you should be able to pull off unharmed.

Head head over to Lorekeep. It shouldn't be too tough to take over, just expect some losses. That's to be contrasted with the insanely tough stack of wraiths guarding the east shore. In my game there were 1000(!) of the beasties, which was way too much for me to handle. (Unless again, you have Sandro's Cloak + Expert Dark!) In the earlier game versions, Lorekeep was called "Undefined"; this is corrected as of patch 1.3.

After taking Lorekeep you'll get a cutscene. Before leaving the southern island, build up the Mage Guild in Newpost to level 5, and see if you can learn a few good high-level spells. On patch 1.3 this is the only other town on this mission that builds mage guild past level 2.

You're pretty much done with the map. The force in Al Safir will be truly formidable by now, though, so I suggest you gather as many troops from your necromancy town as possible and put them on a secondary hero. Head both these heroes to the portal exit at five and along the road towards Al Safir. If you want to go back to your Academy town to pick up some more creatures, the portal at 10 exits just north of 2. Weaken the Al Safir defences with your Necropolis troops (which should be fairly substantial given that you have had at least two towns worth of growth going into them) and then finish the map off with Zehir.

If you use only Academy units, you will be outnumbered about 2 to 1. The good news for you is that the castle is not defended by a hero (not even level 1). Also, if you can Frenzy or Puppet master some of the huge stacks, you will be surprised how easy this fight can be.

As a final comment, the creature dwellings in this map are odd to say the least. There's 3 high level haven creature outposts, one footman dwelling and a couple of random inferno dwellings on your starting island. I totally don't understand... would it have been so hard to give you some Academy dwellings?!


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Objective:

  • Obtain Amulet of Necromancy
  • Caputure Godric’s Daughter
  • Bring Godric’s Daughter to Lorekeep
  • Capture Hikm
  • Markal and Isabel must survive

Carry Over:

  • Markal
  • Isabel

Spoiler: view a screenshot of the surface (1.2 MB)

Bonuses at Start:

  • 3 Liches
  • 1 Bone Dragon
  • Cape of the Lion’s Mane

The cape of the lion’s mane is worthless as it increases moral, which the undead are immune too. Which of the other two you want depends on your preferences, although I think the Liches are better for the final fight you have to on this map.

Guess what, you are going to fight Godric!

The old general can be tougher than the final campaign boss, depending on how much, and how well you have developed him in C1M5, and C3M2. Godric's army builds up very quickly, so you better fight him as soon as possible. Hopefully, you have built your Markal to become a never-stay-dead Necromancer. Here is an example on the left:

Fortunately, this map is relatively small, as it is basically a zoomed-in version of C3M2. The mines, stat bonuses, and even the Sylanna's Ancient (level-up tree) are all in the same place. Also, if you have learned the Town Portal spell for Isabel and Markal, it will save you quite a few days of travel.

This scenario will be over quite soon, so you can forget about building town upgrades -- just focus on money. Get the Towns Halls and Capital on Day 1 and 2, and then perhaps the Castle Walls to increase your troop production. You can upgrade troops with a Hill Fort south of Lorekeep later, with a discounted price. So it is really pointless to build any upgrade buildings in your two towns.

Note that Isabel's Haven troops starts leaving her to join Godric on Day 2, so try your best not to leave Haven troop with Isabel when you hit End Turn. You really don't need to dismiss her troops, as you can hide them in the castle, or simply swap them to a level-one hero. You can also convert them to undead in Lorekeep, and make Isabel command undead units as well. Just put all armies on Markal for the final boss fight. (Unfortunately, you cannot make Isabel fight Godric in this campaign finale.)

For Markal, get all the troops from the Necropolis, and then head west as fast as you can, while collecting as many skeleton archers as possible. Your goal is to collect a large group of Wraiths half way to Isabel's castle. The Hut of Magi in the north reveals Godric's castle, so send a low-level hero to visit it sooner or later.

Before picking up the powerful reinforcement, you will first meet a large number of Rakshaka. Now it is the time to make the Necromancers proud! Mass Slow, Puppet Master, Frenzy are all wonderful spells to use in this fight. You should be able to avoid losses, since you can always raise them back before the end of the fight. You can cast Mark of Necromancer on the enemy, so your mana is constantly high.

After picking up the undeads, visit the prison just east of Newpost, and collect Freya from the prison (you must visit it with Markal) and then head back along the road towards Lorekeep. You don't have to go all the way back, as...

Angels will ambush Markal on his way back. Again, make use of Puppet Master, Frenzy, Blind along with Raise Dead to make sure you take no losses. After the fight, you get an artifact -- the Angel's Wings have been automatically equipped on Markal. This artifact makes Markal "fly" all over the place, and only Markal can equip it. You will eventually use it to access Godric's castle, and you can also use it to fly to the northern islands to pick up stat bonuses for Markal. However, if Markal is going to travel almost exclusively on paved road for a given day, removing Angel's Wings will enable Markal to travel farther.

Now you are actually ready to fight Godric! However, if you have developed Godric into a power house in the past, then Markal is in no shape to win at this moment. You need more army! There are plenty of creatures on the map for Markal to convert to skeleton archers. Also, you can convert Haven troops to undead units back in Lorekeep.

If you want to fight Godric early, try to do it on Day 1 of Week 2. This way, Godric doesn't have time to get a second week's worth of reinforcements, but you do! You can use Isabel to quickly transfer Haven units to Lorekeep (with Town Portal), convert them to join the fresh undead units from Lorekeep, and upgrade them in the Hill Fort with a low-level hero, and ship the units back to Markal, who flies over the mountain to fight. You can do all of these in one day!

If you don't fight Godric on Day 1, Week 2, there will be two Orange heroes coming to you by sea, at the beginning of week 2. One will land close to Newpost and try to steal it from you, while the other will land on the shore just south of the Hill Fort, trying to take your Lorekeep. These Orange armies are not as powerful as the spawned heroes back in C3M3, though, so they are actually excellent sources of skeleton archers. The screenshot below is what you and Godric can look like on Day 5, Week 3, Month 1 (heroic, patch 1.3).

Godric's army consists of a wide array of Academy units. Focus on the ranged units (Titans, Archmages and Master Gremlins) first, and then worry about the other troops. The Titans, although small in number, can hurt a lot! If you have trouble defeating Godric's Academy army, there is something really wrong with your Markal. Either you should come back later with a lot more units, or you have built him into a mediocre Jack-of-all-trades.

Don't feel too happy when you defeat Godric's Academy army, because that's far less than half of the fight! Godric now automatically summons in Haven troops, within the same battle. If you have no means of regaining mana (Mark of Necromancer, activated by the Spirit Link feat under Dark Magic), be conservative with it against the Academy army. The size of Godric's Haven troops has been drastically increased in patch 1.2, and largely toned down in patch 1.3 (as Markal was weakend significantly as well). The screenshot on the upper right happens later during the same battle, when Godric summons his reinforcement. Note how little Markal's undead army has been reduced to (as Raise Dead is almost useless now).

If somehow Godric's action initiative comes directly after Markal (as in the picture), try not to cast Mass Effect spells as Godric will immediately replace it with his positive (Light Magic) version on his own troops, meaning your action is totally wasted! For example, if you cast Mass Slow, and Godrci casts Mass Haste, then only Mass Haste stays. When this happens, cast some regular spells (such as Puppet Master) to bring your action slightly behind Godric, and overwrite his positive spells then.

You really have to fight hard against Godric's Haven army. On heroic (patch 1.3), it starts with 25 Angels, 10 Paladins, and hundreds of Footmen and Archers. These numbers grow extremely rapidaly. Two weeks later, you will see 50 Angels, 20 Paladins, 650 Footmen and 250 Archers (see picture to the upperr ight). On patch 1.2, you would expect double that number!

A Pheonix (with expert Summoning Magic) can be extremely handy here, and you can actually cast Raise Dead on the phoenix to bring back its HP! (Conjouring a new phoenix costs 28 mana, with Arcane Training, on patch 1.3.)

It is worth mentioning that Puppet Master is now much more effective in patch 1.3 (although it sometimes fails for no good reason), as the puppet effect is NOT cancelled while the target takes damage. This means that if you nailed Godric's Angels for this spell, the Angels will be free-hit for all for about 6-7 turns, if Godric does not cleanse them! (see below) And AI Godric is usually not smart enough to cast what is best for him.

Make your best to Puppet Master the Angels, and kill the Paladins as soon as you can. On heroic, the Paladins get unlimited lay on hands to remove Puppet Master and Frenzy. Since your undeads die pretty fast and come back pretty ineffectively now, it might be just your Phoenix fighting, so keep Markal alive by raising spectres/ghosts and other units here and there. Hopefully, you will eventually outlast Godric and win this campaign. Contgratulations!

A human designed Godric is probably the most challenging fight you can get in the campaigns. Finally, make sure you have the patch because the fix to frenzy makes a lot of difference, as before if you used frenzy in this fight, you had to use it on an archer unit, since all the melee units just defend.


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