- Main Quest-Three Archmagi
- Kill First Archmage
- Kill Second Archmage
- Kill Antonidas
Arthas: "Your petty magics will not stop me, Antonidas!"
This scenario is fairly easy, as long as you are careful, at least on normal difficulty. The main reason is that your positions are never really threatened, even though some of the enemy attacks are quite strong. You will get attacked by forces of the Mages' Guild (light blue), Sorcerers' League (dark blue), and Kirin Tor (grey), but your main army is simply too powerful. You can reasonably expect to lose all your Ghouls except those chopping wood, but it's pretty hard to lose any of your big units. This scenario is all about your big units. Small units are even weaker here than usual because of Dalaran's defensive aura.
This walkthrough recommends a deliberate approach, and if you play it that way, you will always control the initiative. It is possible to simply build strong forces and smash your way forward, but that will involve heavy casualties, and there is no need for it.
When this mission starts you will start with 8 Ghouls, 2 of which are chopping wood, 3 Meat Wagons, 2 Abominations, 2 Crypt Fiends, 7 Acolytes, Arthas, and Kel'Thuzad. That's 49 food, so you are over the zero-upkeep limit. In this situation, aim to stay within the low-upkeep limit as long as possible. As it turns out, that will be for the duration of the scenario.
You can now train Abominations at the Slaughterhouse. Abominations are very powerful units and will be very useful in this mission. At this point, you are playing with the entire Undead tech tree.
Assign control groups to your units by type. Collect the 6 Ghouls at the front and the Abominations and Crypt Fiends and Heroes into one large group and assign them a separate control group as well. This will be your rapid reaction force. As you lose Ghouls, replace them with better units.
When the initial cutscene ends, one of your Meat Wagons is engaging an enemy Tower. Knock down that Tower and the one next to it to clear the approach to Dalaran. The front gate opens by itself a little later, but if you are in a rush, you can knock the gate down as well. However, you should keep your Meat Wagons outside the defensive aura, because it costs resources to repair them. Go collect corpses instead. Your third Meat Wagon is blowing up some other enemy buildings on the left. That is not important; collect corpses with that one as well.
Convert your two spare Acolytes to Shades right away. You will need a Sacrificial Pit first, and you should build a Boneyard as well. You also need a Temple, but there is no urgency for that. Start exploring with your Shades. Keep in mind that Shades are not invulnerable. Definitely keep them outside the aura, and be aware that Human Towers can often see them.
There is a Goblin Merchant in the SE corner of the map. At your present level of equipment, it's not worth the bother of even walking a Hero over there. There are some scattered enemy buildings and one weak mage in the SW corner. Send your Heroes over there to scourge them, but wait until after the first enemy attack, which happens during the first night. It's not that you need your heroes to defend your base yet, but rather you want them to collect the experience from that fight. Anyway, it's generally a good idea to not go gallivanting around the countryside with your Heroes before working out the timing of enemy activity. There are 5 sheep in the SW corner as well. Being Undead, you will likely scourge them, not that it has any effect on anything. You can find a Scroll of Mana in a box, the mage drops a Health Stone, and there is an Anti-Magic Potion in his tent.
You could rush the first aura mage right away, and he is easy meat, but there is no particular reason to do so. Get everything organized first. Defeat the first attack from light blue, which is very weak, clear out your home areas, defeat the first attack from dark blue, and then send in your first attack. Just use Arthas and Kel'Thuzad. Both of them have major ranged spells that do massive damage. Don't even bother with the screening units; just kill the mage and run back to your base. The first aura dissipates, and now your Shades can explore the second quarter of the map.
In the meantime, get a Frost Wyrm. You now have 14 food left. Get a pair of Necromancers, but wait for developments before producing any more units. Don't build any new defenses yet, because you aren't sure whether or where you will need them, and you may need to conserve your gold. Spend your money on upgrades. It is very hard to see the light blue faction (and later the grey faction) on the minimap, so toggle the colour mode to white/red/orange.
The second quarter
After fully exploring the second quarter of the map, you will know that there is an enemy base (light blue) on the west side of the map, as well as a large group of static troops on the east side, and smaller groups elsewhere. You can now reasonably expect to take over a big gold mine from light blue, so you should have resources to burn. You will know that there is exactly one entrance to Dalaran, and because the front of Dalaran is a wall, even flying units can only exit from there. Accordingly, it is now appropriate to fortify that location.
You will need to defend against the dark blue attacks with some care. Not only do they use fairly powerful regular units, but they also send upgraded magic users as well as one artillery unit with each attack. This means that your Tower line will not stand up. You will need to use your Shades to give you advance warning of each attack, and you will need to use your Heroes to assassinate the Mortar Team. You will also need to keep an eye on the health of your units.
There are two cages near the middle of the map. Send your 6 heavy ground units over there to investigate. Surprise! You just gained two Rock Golems. Fortunately, you can maintain them, but you are now at 70 food. Run everybody back to your base.
Now just wait until dark blue attacks you again, defeat that attack, and repair and heal as appropriate. Then charge the light blue base with your 9 heavy units. You should be able to eliminate any organized resistance with your first attack. If your health is holding out, kill a bunch of workers and production buildings as well, but don't overstay your welcome. Head back home and await the next attack from dark blue. You should be able to eliminate any light blue activity with your second attack. This time, stick around and eradicate anything that might be used to rebuild. If you can, eliminate everything entirely, but that is not important. You should now have 20,000 or so gold in addition to your original mine.
Again, pull your troops back to your base - you know the routine by now - to await and defeat the next attack from dark blue, and then clear out the static troops in the east. There, you get a Mantle of Intelligence +3. Clear out the enemy remnants.
After defeating the next dark blue attack, start a Necropolis near your new gold mine. It takes a long time to summon a Necropolis, and you can't build anything else nearby until it is finished, so time this properly. Of course, defend your expansion with your entire army, except maybe the artillery, Necromancers, and Frost Wyrm. As soon as the Necropolis is finished, upgrade it and start pumping out Spirit Towers. Don't bother mining here yet. If you have no income, you can't be taxed, and you should have lots of gold in reserve, because you have managed your resources carefully.
The third quarter
There is one land approach to your territory. It is just in front of your expansion. However, no-man's land is now a river, not a wall, so enemy air units could attack from anywhere. Indeed, the grey faction does use powerful air units (Gryphon Riders), and their first attack will arrive about now. These units are very dangerous, and you need to understand that your Frost Wyrms are very weak against anti-air, despite their large size. Furthermore, Undead troops are generally unable to target flying units. However, you do have a couple of Crypt Fiends, and your Heroes are very powerful, and you also have a couple of Rock Golems. Nevertheless, you do not want to engage the grey air force unless you have a bunch of Spirit Towers at hand.
To advance, you will need to first knock down a couple of enemy Towers. Since they are defended by mobile units, you will first need to lure those troops forward to their deaths, after which you can safely send in the artillery.
To advance any further is risky, so you only want to use the most durable units. Arthas is your fastest tough unit, but he does have the weakness that he has limited healing options. Accordingly, send Kel'Thuzad alone to raid this area until further notice. You should be able to run in, kill one or more enemy units in place or lure them to their deaths, rinse and repeat. It won't be long before you can safely advance Kel'Thuzad to a healing fountain near the middle of the map. Arthas can join him there. Their healing rate, including buffs, is about the same as the damage from the aura, so your Heroes can stand by the fountain for a long time. As you explore the vicinity of the fountain, you find that you can hit the second aura mage from the flank with your Heroes' major ranged attack spells. Do this, and the second aura dissipates. Foolishly, that mage does not employ the better part of valour. He drops Boots of Elvenkind (+6 agility). While all this is going on, dark blue and grey keep attacking you, so be ready to retreat your Heroes to your expansion at a moment's notice.
Now you can explore the third quarter of the map with your Shades. There are three points of interest in this region. The dark blue base is in the east. It is heavily defended and will be a tough nut to crack. There is a Vault near the dark blue base, which you will ignore for now. There is a third cage near where the second aura mage died, which you will also ignore for now.
This is where you will take your heaviest casualties of this scenario. Given that the dark blue base is obviously tough, bring up a Meat Wagon and your Necromancers. Drop all 8 corpses, and raise them all. Your Necromancers will now need a lot of time to recover, but you have 16 Skeletons in front of your main army. Of course, none of your Skeletons will survive the first assault on the dark blue base. Send in your entire force. You will likely lose all your Ghouls, but hopefully not too much else. One difficulty is that your Death Coil can't be used to heal friendly living units, and Rock Golems are unaffected by magic anyway, so there is a good chance that you will lose one of them before you figure that out. Pull your army back before you lose a bunch of your big units. You will find that you have actually done very little permanent damage. However, dark blue does not repair their Towers, at least on normal difficulty.
Go investigate the third cage. It yields an Ogre-Mage, a very useful unit. Note that it, too, is alive. If you have the space, get a second Frost Wyrm. There is no need to fully go back to 70 food, because it is better to replace a bunch of little units with one big unit than to keep replacing the little units. It seems appropriate to build a Graveyard in your expansion for corpse resupply, but don't build any other buildings there.
Keep grinding away at dark blue. The most important thing is to keep your units alive, so keep retreating as appropriate. Eventually, one Tower goes down, and then the second one is easier, and then you can focus on the mobile units, and then you are into the soft parts.
The main reason that dark blue was so tough is their many fully upgraded magic-users. Even one Polymorph on a Frost Wyrm seriously degrades your force, and then you have to be very careful to keep the Sheep alive.
When dark blue is down to almost nothing, wipe out their workers and their Castle. This secures another 30,000 or so gold for you. However, dark blue still has a gold reserve, so they keep producing magic users. At this point, you should pull back and produce some Banshees. You would really like to take over some Gryphon Riders, which is impossible, or some Priests. Unfortunately, dark blue doesn't produce any more Priests, so take over some Sorceresses instead. This turns out to not be just a poor third choice, because they have some really useful spells, as well as a lot of mana and a decent size.
Save the game. Then eliminate dark blue entirely, as well as any remnants in this region. Open the Vault. There are some really nice items in there: a Tome of Intelligence +1, a Pendant of Mana +300, and Khadgar's Pipe, which gives Brilliance Aura (higher mana regeneration).
The fourth quarter
You will no longer be attacked by dark blue, however, the last faction, grey, now attacks with fairly dangerous groups. Again, there is one land approach to your territory. It is just in front of your new gold mine. Since no-man's land is a river, enemy air units could attack from anywhere. However, they use mixed air/land attacks, so they all come in over the bridge.
Again, wait until defeating an attack at your first expansion, and then build a Necropolis at your third gold mine immediately afterwards, and follow the standard process. When your second expansion is fortified, you can push forward again.
At this point, you should keep in mind that your Ogre-Mage, Rock Golems, and Sorceresses are not affected by the defensive aura. On the other hand, your Meat Wagons are, even though they are machines!
There are some cages just past the final bridge. Don't open them yet, because you can hardly be below the low-upkeep limit.
The third aura mage (Antonidas) is more heavily defended and further into the aura than the first two were. In any case, as soon as he's dead, the scenario is over, so don't attack him yet. Explore the fourth quarter with one of your invisible units (you did get Sorceresses, right?). You find the grey base in the west, a health fountain in the middle, and a strong defense around Antonidas. There are no further areas of interest on the map.
It is too problematic to attack the grey base as long as the aura is up, so you will need to assault Antonidas directly. Use the health fountain as a jumping-off point. Send only Arthas and Kel'Thuzad on this mission. Eliminate all his guards with the usual procedures, retreating to your second expansion as necessary.
When Antonidas is all alone, save the game again. Go open the final cages. You find two Blue Drakes and 5 level-1 spiders. You are now at 85 food, but it doesn't matter, because the scenario will last only a few seconds more, and you can't take it with you. Send your brand-new troops to distract Antonidas and his defenses (remember, they are alive, even if not for long), and follow up with your two Heroes.
Arthas: Your petty magics did not stop me ...
- Scroll of Mana
- Health Stone (+1 HP/s; +500 HP final use)
- Anti-Magic Potion
- Mantle of Intelligence +3
- Boots of Elvenkind +6 agility
- Tome of Intelligence +1
- Pendant of Mana +300
- Khadgar's Pipe of Insight, which gives Brilliance Aura (higher mana regeneration; area effect).
What has it got in its pockets?
As you start to fill your 12 inventory slots up with good items, it becomes important to decide exactly how to distribute them. After you open the Vault, the situation is critical. It turns out that you won't have two Heroes much longer, so we won't present a detailed analysis, but a good combination is as follows.
- Claws of Attack +9
- Pendant of Mana +300
- Hood of Cunning +4 intelligence, agility
- Mantle of Intelligence +3
- Sobi Mask +50% mana regeneration
- Ring of Regeneration +2 HP/s
- Pendant of Energy +150 mana
- Periapt of Vitality +100 HP
- Boots of Elvenkind +6 agility
- Ring of Protection +3
- Gloves of Haste +15% attack speed
- Mana Stone +25% mana regeneration; +300 mana final use
With all these good items, all scrolls, potions, etc., and some better items, are simply discarded unused.