The next day, near the outskirts of the sacred Moonglade…
- Main Quest - Furion Stormrage
- Reach Moonglade Isle behind the Orc base
- Slay the Primal Guardians
- Bring Tyrande to the Horn of Cenarius
- Slumbering Furion Stormrage must survive
This mission is very easy at normal level, and very hard at hard level. There are two major differences. First, you get more than 3 full days to complete the mission at normal difficulty, but the timer runs shockingly faster at hard level, where you get at most two full days. The normal-mode strategy presented here, which allows you to complete the mission comfortably within the time limit while playing normally, and allows you to do all the secondary tasks, and allows you to minimize your casualties, simply cannot work on hard level. Second, the Orcs fight back viciously on hard mode, much stronger than on normal mode. Accordingly, the hard mode approach requires the usual cheats of clairvoyance (you need to know where everything is) and prescience (you need to know exactly what will happen). You can see this quite clearly in the hard mode screenshots, where there is never any exploration, and the Murlocs are completely ignored, and indeed, never even found. Even then, the strategy needs to minimize time; the cost being a loss of potential income and heavy casualties while abandoning all secondary issues.
Any race except the Undead can do a Tower Attack. However, the Night Elves get the additional feature that, after they have built their "Towers" outside the enemy base (for example), they can walk them forward, fighting on the move. Perhaps the proper phrase is "crawl forward", because trees walk very slowly.
Because building a Night Elf "Tower" uses up a Wisp, if you know or expect that you will be building a bunch of "Towers", you can overproduce a bunch of Wisps early, and collect extra resources. Later on, you will free up those spots in the population roster.
Don't waste any time or energy scouting the Undead positions to see how you can get at them. You can't, and the quest instructions actually explicitly tell you so. You are on a timer in this scenario, and the Undead have no function whatsoever here except to put a lot of window dressing on the timer.
Fire-and-forget Owl scouts
Queuing commands is a standard feature of Warcraft 3. You can generally assign multiple sequential commands to units by holding down the Shift key. In particular, this applies to the Owl scout. There are good reasons for following the Owl around in the main map window as it flies around, because it might be hard to determine what the Owl actually saw after it has left an area. However, if you simply want to reveal the terrain, or especially if you are pressed for time, you can spit out an Owl, select it, then R-click somewhere on the minimap, then Shift-R-click somewhere else on the minimap, and so on, and then deal with other matters while the Owl explores autonomously.
Normal mode strategy
Start by assuming that you will actually have enough time to complete the mission without any extraordinary measures. This strategy focuses on efficiency, and that is all you will need to finish the mission comfortably, as well as doing everything else that can be done here.
You start (sort of) at 23 food and 6 combat units. You will need a Ballista. Produce 2 Archers and 3 Huntresses for 13 food; this gives you one full maneuver unit, with the Ballista being separate. You will bolster this force with a Tower attack. You do this by overproducing 4 Wisps, then sending 6 Wisps to the Orc base to cash them in for Ancient Protectors, then replacing 2 Wisps and getting the Ballista.
Immediately produce one Wisp (rallied to a tree) and one Archer. As gold comes in, produce 3 more Wisps (rallied to a tree) and one more Archer. Then produce 3 Huntresses. Set up the usual control groups, with one group being assigned to the whole army.
Spit out 3 or 4 Owls in rapid succession and send them to autonomously explore the southern part of the map. You find a second gold mine in the SE map corner. This will be plenty of gold; in fact, you won't even use up your first mine.
It will soon become clear that there is only one entrance to your home area, east of your base. Move all your troops there. After that, you will find that a ford leads to the Murloc area, which is isolated, and a second ford leads to the Orc area. Move all your troops to the second ford.
As soon as you have enough gold, upgrade your Tree of Life. When your last Huntress is finished, uproot your Ancient of War and walk (or crawl) to the eastern ford. As soon as you seize the ford south of the Orc base, rush 6 Wisps to harvest wood south of that ford, taking 2 off gold.
When you find the Fountain of Health, SE of the Orc base, which is guarded by just a few troops, send your entire army, which should be a full control group, to seize the Fountain.
92 trees left (80 on hard)
You will be attacked by 4 Grunts early during the first night. You should be able to defeat them easily, but keep an eye on your Ancients, because the Orcs will attack them instead of your troops if they are in production. You may want to keep an Owl in play in the Orc base.
Send a pair of Wisps to build Ancient Protectors SW of the Fountain. Replace them with Wisps at home. A bit later, send another pair of Wisps to build Protectors further north, and then a third pair. Your northernmost Protectors should be just outside the range of the nearest Orc Tower. Leave plenty of space for running around in. Just stand around and wait for your Protectors to be finished.
In the meantime, start upgrading. Keep in mind that you will need a LOT of wood, and not so much gold, so allocate your Wisps accordingly. Send one Wisp to harvest wood south of the eastern ford.
83 trees left (58 on hard)
As soon as your Protectors are all finished, start taunting the Orcs. You should be able to crush their attacks easily without losing any units, but be prepared to run your entire army deep into your defensive position, and send wounded units to the Fountain. You should be able to take out the first Orc Tower easily without artillery.
When you have a Tree of Ages, you can get a Ballista and the Archer range upgrade. You would like to set up your Ancient of War just south of the eastern ford, but it may need to deploy early. The Ballista is crucial for eliminating the Orc base, as is the Wisp in this area, which keeps the Ballista in good condition. When the Ballista arrives at the front, push into the Orc base deliberately but forcefully. Note that a Burrow with 4 Peons in it is very dangerous, and a Ballista will have great difficulty destroying a Burrow that 4 Peons are repairing.
69 trees left (about 31 on hard)
Keep grinding away at the Orc base. You can get some Healing Wards in a box near the Orc mine. These will be very useful.
As the front line moves forward and resistance collapses, move your Protectors forward.
54 trees left (3 on hard)
The Orcs are now eliminated, or they may have a few remnants left. Redeploy your Protectors and Ballista in preparation for the push north. Bring up your Ancient of War. Build an Ancient of Lore. Replace your repair Wisp.
It looks like you have plenty of time left, so send your entire army to take out the Murlocs. Murlocs die easy. You can find Boots of Speed in a hut. Ignore them. You can have a look at the wares sold by the local Merchant. They have some slight value, but you don't really need any of them, especially because Tyrande is already fully loaded with good items.
Return and prepare to cross the river. Pick up the Healing Wards.
The hard mode times are for reference only. Using this strategy, you will still be trying to enter the Orc base from the south at this time, because their resistance is just too strong, i.e. epic fail.
38 trees left
Take out the first Guardian and his escort. Use a Healing Ward in combat. Replace your casualties immediately. There is a Jade Ring in a box in the NE. Ignore it.
Send your magic users to the Fountain of Mana. Bring up the item that you dropped to carry the Healing Wards. Redeploy your forces.
Take out the second Guardian and his escort. Use a Healing Ward in combat. Replace your casualties immediately. Redeploy your forces.
There is an Anti-magic Potion in a box near the Horn. You can't take it with you, but grab it, because it will actually be useful in the final fight.
19 trees left
Prepare to take out the third, final Guardian. The mission will end immediately after that, depending on exactly where Tyrande is standing, and you want to enter the next scenario fully loaded, so you need to take some care. Lay out the Potion, the Ward, and one of your inventory items outside the detection range of the Guardian.
Drink the Potion, which lasts a long time. Taunt the Guardian. When you see where the fight will happen, deploy your final Ward. Pick up the final item.
You may lose most of your army in the final fight. It doesn't matter, because the scenario is over.
Hard mode strategy
This is the first mission in the Night Elf campaign which really has the Hard Mode flavour to it. One hundred trees protecting Furion equals roughly 15 minutes. There’s no room for any mistakes. The focus of this strategy is to build an outpost early and close to the Orc base to deliver reinforcements directly to the battlefield.
There are a number of competing considerations that go into devising a strategy, such as minimizing the loss of gold to taxation. Due to the extreme time pressure in this scenario, the only consideration that matters is minimizing time spent. If you lose a bunch of gold to upkeep, it is irrelevant, because the scenario will not last longer than 2 full days, and there is no need to reserve any gold for later. There is no time to delay for any reason whatsoever. You have to pour the maximum number of troops possible into the enemy positions.
You will not be doing any exploring or scouting in this scenario. Either you've already played the scenario multiple times or you've read the walkthrough, so you already know exactly where everything is and exactly what will happen in the future.
Important: DO NOT rally your new production to Tyrande. This may seem like a good thing to do, and experts recommend it, but it is a big mistake in this situation. What actually happens is that the new units arrive well behind Tyrande and then just stand around stupidly doing nothing. The scenario is just one big fight, lasting only a few minutes, and if you want to have a decent chance of winning, all of your units need to be shooting at enemy units continuously. Rally your new units right into combat, but not into killzones, of course.
Build a whole bunch of additional Wisps right away and order them to collect lumber. Aim to have 16 Wisps in action: 5 in each mine, 4 collecting wood, and two standing around near the front for repairs or other uses. Be prepared to switch Wisps from gold to wood, because you will be needing an awful lot of wood. One of the early Wisps must rush over to the second mine and get a new Tree of Life started as soon as you have enough gold. Shortly after that, another one must rush over to the Fountain of Health and start building a second Ancient of War. Right away, uproot your first Ancient of War and Ancient Protector and move them to the Fountain of Health found just outside the Orc Base to the NE. By the time both Ancients arrive, the Orc Raiders that are guarding the fountain will be killed by Tyrande.
Don’t build any units just yet. After Wisps are produced, the very first upgrade you need is Tree of Ages, because it lets you build Ballistas. While Tree of Ages is being researched, spend some of your gold on unit upgrades and build another Tree of Life next to the second Gold Mine in the east.
The initial army is enough to defeat the first (and the only) Orc attack of 4 Grunts. After dealing with them, your outpost should already be half completed. Build two Moon Wells west of the Fountain, another Ancient of War and one Ancient of Lore. Now you may expand your army. Start with Ballistas, then add Archers and Huntresses.
Caveat: It is assumed that the Orcs only attack you in a limited way, but this is actually quite unlikely. It is very likely that the entire Orc army, including their Blademaster, will hit you as soon as you kill the first 4 Grunts, and after that, they keep pouring troops at you, including the Blademaster, every time he respawns. If this happens, then you will be fighting a long battle of attrition against an enemy that is as developed as you, has as many production facilities as you, repairs everything furiously, and rebuilds every building as fast as you destroy them. You should win this battle eventually, but eventually means that you lose, because you have to eliminate the Orc base in just a few minutes.
Once your outpost is established and you have at least 3 Archers, 3 Huntresses, 3 Dryads, 3 Ballistas (and more in-production), you may start harassing the Orc Base. Attack their Watch Tower and get back to the Fountain. Do not enter(!) the Orc Base before defeating most of their forces. The Orcs are quick to train troops. You will simply find yourself overwhelmed.
The most important battle will take place when the Blademaster Hero will come out at you. Fight him between the Fountain and the Moon Wells with Ballistas at the back. There is only one attempt. You either emerge victorious or you will start over again. It’s very important not to lose any Ballistas. Not even one.
After defeating the main Orc army, start pushing into their base right away. Your army is wounded, so take it slow and be careful, demolishing one building at a time. Keep units together. Focus fire. At this point you have 5 Ballistas; use them also to help your troops at the frontline. Ballistas are not to be used solely on buildings.
The attack should be executed as one single movement which might be slower at times, but without interruption. Throughout the attack, you are constantly producing new units on the background. Make sure to add them into your group to assign attack targets. Don’t let your attack die out. Meet the Orc reinforcements one by one.
Destroying the Orc base is not among the requirements (you only need to reach Moonglade), but it’s wise to get rid of the Great Hall and Peons. The Primal Guardians are quite powerful, and should you require reinforcements, it’s important that they meet no obstacles on the way. Do not underestimate the Orcs' ability to rebuild their base from scratch.
Take all of your assault force north. Ballistas once again will prove very useful. Continue producing reinforcements up until the last Primal Guardian, the Lightning Protector, is defeated. You’re doing it right if by the end of the mission you have accumulated no spare resources.
At best, your buffer is roughly 10 trees, which is 1-2 minutes. The map has only two items of any real value given that Tyrande got many powerful treasures in the previous mission.
95 trees left: you are already building second Tree of Life
85 trees left: Ancients are rooted south of the Fountain
80 trees left: the first and the last attack by the Orcs defeated (4 Grunts)
70 trees left: outpost is almost completed
60 trees left: time to lure enemy Hero out (initial attack force produced)
50 trees left: Orc Hero and main army is defeated (slowly assault begins)
30 trees left: Orc base is going down
20 trees left: First Primal Guardian is engaged
10 trees left: Tyrande is at the Horn of Cenarius
- Scroll of Resurrection destroy the trees southwest of your starting base to fight two wraiths (possession, dryads and Tyrande are immune) and a ghost.
- Jade Ring outside the cave past the first Primal Guardian
- Anti-magic Potion in a crate to the right from the Horn of Cenarius
- Boots of Speed in a Murloc Hut
- Healing Wards next to gold mine within the Orc Base
The Healing Wards can be very useful. Expend one per Guardian. Drink the Anti-magic Potion just before the final battle. If you arrange things properly, you can still pick up the item you dropped to clear space in your pockets before finishing the level. The Goblin Merchant sells several items that are fairly useful in this situation, due especially to the time pressure, but the time pressure means that you may not have time to go there.