Early the next morning at Arthas' new base camp ...
An emissary arrived and told the Captain in charge (Arthas being away) to return to Lordaeron with the entire expedition. The Captain reluctantly obeyed. The emissary told them that there were Undead forces between them and their ships, so the workers started cutting through the woods to reach the shore.
When Arthas returned, he saw that his men were not at their posts, and discovered that they were about to go home. That would prevent Arthas from destroying Mal'Ganis. He and Muradin Bronzebeard went to destroy the ships ...
This scenario is actually quite easy, at least on normal difficulty, spoiler alert primarily due to an item that you find about halfway through. The scenario may feel unsatisfying; there is a very good chance that you will not be satisfied with your first attempt. Unless you follow the guide, of course.
Since you are on a timer, you will feel that you cannot use a deliberate approach, and cannot properly plan the strategy. The first point turns out to be incorrect, but the second point is correct, because your plan will turn out to be wrong about halfway through. Unless you follow the guide, of course.
One option of playing this scenario is just to charge forward as fast as possible, putting the maximum combat power that you can into action at all times. This will work, but you will need very good micromanagement skills. Another option is to explore as much as possible. This should also work. This guide recommends something like the second option, but is focused on maximizing every possible advantage while keeping on schedule.
Important: Due to the time constraints, you should pause the game from time to time to rest and think.
- Main Quest - Burn the Boats
- Destroy the five ships
- The timer must not reach 0:00
You start the mission with Arthas, Muradin, and two Mortar Teams. You have an income, although you do not control any workers. Assign a control group to the artillery. Follow the path west and you'll encounter six Ghouls. Kill them. That's easy, but learn how to use Muradin's major offensive spells.
Continue to two more Ghouls, a Crypt Fiend, a Necromancer, and a Spirit Tower. Note that in this chapter, Necromancers have Necromancer Master Training, making them a priority to kill. Use Arthas and Muradin to kill them quickly, since the Necromancers may Cripple your Mortar Teams, making the time limit harder to beat. Actually, this is more of an annoyance than a serious practical problem, because there will be enough situations where your front-line troops are engaged and the artillery has time to catch up. Mortar Teams should not be used like assault guns; the disadvantages of using them in direct combat substantially outweigh the advantages. Use Muradin's Storm Bolt against the Necromancer, and target the artillery on the Spirit Tower, and then play it by ear. The Necromancer drops a Potion of Mana. Continue along until you reach a Mercenary Camp where you can hire Ice Trolls, Ice Troll Priests, and Ogre Warriors.
Here you need to make some major decisions. Some troops are available immediately, and more will become available later, and you will get more resources as well. However, you definitely can't afford to leave one of your Heroes here, and you can't afford to come running back, so whatever you buy right now has to be the best choice. You won't get a second chance, and you don't have complete information on which to base your decision. What you do know is that you have limited resources, and in particular, a limited amount of food. It is generally a good idea to avoid paying upkeep.
You most definitely want to hire the two Priests. It seems to be a good idea to hire all three missile troops, because you don't really have that function at present, and it is always useful. However, you have really excellent melee troops, so there is no real point in spending any of your resources on melee chaff, i.e. DO NOT hire the Ogres. You are now at 16 food. Assign two more control groups.
Time: 23:30 left
(All times are approximate, and refer to normal difficulty.)
Continue on until the road forks.
At this point, you have no real idea whether you can afford to divert from the main mission, but we claim that you do. Take the side road and continue west at the second fork. You don't need to send your entire force, and if you do, you will have a serious traffic jam on the narrow path. However, if you leave the slow units (the artillery) behind, they are liable to shoot at something and get overrun while your front-line troops are away having fun. If you have weak micromanagement skills, don't go down the side path.
At the end of the side path, there's two Skeleton Archers and a Skeletal Marksman. The Marksman drops a Goblin Night Scope, which is basically useless. Don't even bother picking it up. Return to where the road forked. Note that you can park your artillery on the cliff and bombard the enemies below, but this is more amusing than necessary.
Take the main road south to encounter an extended group of Undead enemies. In total there are six Ghouls, three Crypt Fiends, three Spirit Towers and a harmless Ziggurat. On hard, there are also two Necromancers, one on each end; it's recommended to kill them quickly. That sounds like a lot of stuff, and it is, so advance deliberately. Basically, use your artillery to take out the Towers from range and use your other troops to defend your artillery. Standard tactics apply. One of the Crypt Fiends drops a Ring of Regeneration. The first Ship is just beyond this group.
Time: 20:30 left
Continue along the path, and meet two Spiderlings and a Nerubian Warrior. The Warrior drops a Potion of Healing. Continue to a Spiderling, a Nerubian Webspinner, a Nerubian Seer and a Nerubian Queen. You could just rush this group and beat it, but you may lose some units, so a careful approach is recommended. (Losing even two units here is more humiliating than problematic, however.) On hard there's also a Nerubian Warrior and a Nerubian Spider Lord. Those additional units will pose a substantial threat, so you will need to be very careful. The Seer drops a Potion of Greater Mana, while the Queen drops Claws of Attack +12. The second Ship is just beyond this group.
Sink the ship and reorganize your troops. Your two Heroes pick up items and rush forward, followed by the missile troops and Priests. Pause for healing as necessary. The artillery follows on, blowing up things as they go.
There is an extra requirement at this point in the mission. You now have so many good inventory items that you have to start dropping less-good items. You might as well drink potions rather than just drop them.
Time: 19:00 left
Continue on to a second Mercenary Camp. Here you can hire Ice Troll Berserkers and Ogre Magi. Most definitely hire the mages. The missile troops are pretty good, so get them too. Assign two more control groups. You are now at 30 food. From this point on, maneuvering your army down the narrow paths gets fairly challenging. You need to string out your troops in "road-march order", and park some of them at the side of the road from time to time to ensure that the right units can always quickly get to the front.
Just beyond the Mercenary Camp there are several pockets of Murlocs waiting. On easy and normal difficulties there are four Murloc Tiderunners, two Murloc Huntsmen and three Murloc Nightcrawlers. On hard difficulty there are four of each of the three types. On all difficulties, one of the Nightcrawlers drops a Mana Stone. Just grab all your troops (except the artillery) and attack-move forward. The Murlocs die. As long as Arthas is also selected, his healing spell is instantly available, and you can see who might need it in real time. No further finesse is required for this fight.
At this point, your inventory situation is getting critical, so save the game and analyze it in detail. Then reload the game and make any necessary changes.
This guide recommends that you give the best items to Arthas where necessary while trying to maintain some level of balance between your two Heroes. Muradin's mana is fairly low, so build that up as much as you can. Aside from that, it probably doesn't matter too much exactly who gets what.
- Claws of Attack +12
- Orb of Fire +12 (fire damage, splash)
- Medallion of Courage +4 strength, intelligence
- Ring of Regeneration (+2 HP/s)
- Claws of Attack +6
- Orb of Frost +6 (cold damage, slow)
- Gauntlets of Ogre Strength +3
- Ring of Protection +2
- Mana Stone (+25% mana regeneration, +300 final use)
The three other items don't really matter; you won't be carrying them much longer. With all this good loot, all scrolls, potions, etc., are basically useless.
Continue until the path to the next Ship is blocked by trees. Now rush your artillery forward and blast away at those trees. You will note that the path has just looped around an unexplored area to the west of your current location, and there is also an unexplored area to the NNW. Both areas are worth exploring.
It is barely possible that the Frost Revenant hiding in the dark to the west has hit you with a Blizzard. Otherwise, there is no way of knowing that he is there. In order to access that area, you will need to nuke some more trees. Note that you only need one mortar bomb to blow up a tree, and your artillery have a long cycle time, so you really should try to fire your guns one by one, alternately, instead of using the control group. When all necessary trees are eliminated, send your artillery and missile troops and Priests forward to the third Ship. They will sink it without needing orders.
Send your tough units to deal with the Frost Revenant and loot the body for a Sobi Mask (+50% mana regeneration). Give this to Muradin and the Mana Stone to Arthas.
Send a Hero up the ramp and to the north-east. You can hire Goblin Sappers at the Goblin Laboratory to Kaboom! things such as trees (and themselves) for you. Don't hire any of them. Goblin Sappers have very limited utility, and none at all in this scenario. Probably they are available just in case you have misused your artillery and let them die, which would mean that you could not complete the scenario, but we repeat, Mortar Teams are not to be used like assault guns. Keep them out of direct combat! Getting close to the Goblin Laboratory causes a Farm to materialize next to your previous Farms, thereby increasing your food limit by six.
When you've done all that, regroup your army near where the third Ship was.
Time: 15:00 left
The third Mercenary Camp is NW of your current location. Send either Arthas or Muradin there and activate Ice Troll Trappers, Ice Troll High Priests, and Ogre Maulers. Definitely hire both Priests. Not only are they good healers, but they can also auto-cast anti-magic. You are now at 36 food. You could hire a couple of Trappers, but you already have a lot of ranged fire capacity, and their Ensnare ability is overrated. Instead, get one Mauler, which is a pretty good melee unit. In principle, you could go to 48 food right now, but there is no practical reason to do so, unless you've lost a bunch of troops, in which case go hog-wild. Assign control groups.
Bring back your new mercenaries and continue north-east to two Blue Dragon Whelps and two Blue Drakes. The Trappers' Ensnare is useful here, as is the Trolls' ability to hit flying units. However, the practical reality of this situation is that getting melee troops through the next bottleneck will be very hard, and using Ensnare is also pretty hard, given that the number of separate actions required is relatively large. (Ensnare cannot be auto-cast.) Furthermore, in Warcraft 3, anti-air pwns air units, so just apply that principle.
Before attacking the dragons, move your two Heroes to the front, put your two missile groups and two Priest groups behind them, with the Ogre-Mages behind to do their thing. That's 13 units, one more than a full control group. Select them all, less one by design or by fate. Ensure that Arthas is included! Then attack-move forward with the lot, healing as appropriate, and watch the dragons melt. One of the Drakes drops a Potion of Greater Healing, not that you really care.
You will have gained a lot of experience by now. Make sure that Muradin has Avatar.
Time: 13:30 left
Continue on until you get a cinematic showcasing a gauntlet of eight Spirit Towers. A Goblin Merchant is nearby, conveniently selling Amulets of Recall. This is the special item that makes the rest of the scenario much, much easier. There are many variations on how to use them. For example, you could buy two right now (more will be available later) and give them both to Arthas, although even that is flexible. Run Arthas through the Tower gauntlet under Divine Shield, summon your army, blow up the next ship, and then repeat for the final ship. If you are pressed for time, do exactly that. However, this guide recommends much more.
You will note that there is an unexplored area to the north of your current location. Bring up your artillery and blast the trees away. Behind them is a lonely soon-to-be-dead Pandaren that drops a Pendant of Mana +300. Give this to Muradin.
At this point, you should analyze the Spirit Tower gauntlet. You could simply run your troops through the gauntlet. This is a bad idea, and may cause an epic fail. Basically, if you go through in a big mob, you will have severe bottleneck problems. If you go through piecemeal, you might lose all your slow, weak, special units. There is no way to guarantee keeping your critical units alive.
Alternatively, you could try to fight your way through the gauntlet. This does work if you do it exactly right, but it will take a long time and a lot of effort. The big problem is that your artillery simply will NOT auto-target the Towers on top of the cliffs from range. You would need to march a big unit into range of the first Tower to draw fire (i.e. NOT a divinely-shielded Arthas), at which point your artillery figures out that yes, you actually do want them to shoot the Tower. Of course, marching your artillery right up to the Towers means that you can kiss your artillery good-bye. You could repeat this process several more times, cycling through bait units while your Priests heal the damaged one. It shouldn't be necessary to destroy all the Towers, simply enough to make the gauntlet survivable. Try this approach if you need to challenge yourself.
This guide recommends that you buy one Amulet for Arthas and then run your 5 big units through the Tower gauntlet, with Arthas healing them as necessary. Now summon your remaining 11 units. This is the best way to get your entire army through the Tower gauntlet. The fourth Ship is situated at the end of this gauntlet.
The path leading away from the Tower gauntlet leads to three Graveyards, each guarded by two Necromancers. On hard, they're also guarded by two Skeleton Warriors each, but the Necromancers will summon Skeleton Warriors on all difficulties. Your combined army will have no real difficulty smashing through these obstacles, but take some care to keep your units alive, because the final battle will be tougher. Beyond the Graveyards lies the final battle, four Ghouls, two Crypt Fiends, two Necromancers, three on hard, and two Abominations, three on hard. If you're pressed for time, rush past them and destroy the fifth, final Ship.
Time: 5:00 left
- The first Necromancer you encounter drops a Potion of Mana.
- You can kill the Skeletal Marksman for a Goblin Night Scope.
- A Crypt Fiend near the first Ship drops a Ring of Regeneration.
- A Nerubian Warrior has a Potion of Healing.
- The Nerubian Seer drops a Potion of Greater Mana.
- Claws of Attack +12 can be found on the Nerubian Queen.
- A Murloc Nightcrawler has a Mana Stone.
- The Frost Revenant can be tracked down for a Sobi Mask.
- A Blue Drake drops a Potion of Greater Healing.
- You can find a Pendant of Mana in the possession of a Pandaren.
- The Goblin Merchant sells Amulets of Recall, Potions of Healing, Potions of Mana and Scrolls of Healing.
Points of Interest
- Getting close to the Goblin Laboratory causes a Farm to materialize next to your previous Farms, thereby increasing your food limit by six.
It can be seen that there is plenty of time left, even if you investigate the map fully, as long as you don't gather wool anywhere. If you can't keep on schedule, abandon any or all side missions or use speed-ups.
Your Heroes wind up with all their inventory slots stuffed full of good items, except for the one that must be empty.