!!Warning!! Some of the information on there may be outdated. It may be preferable to instead check out the strategy section of the unit or hero. !!Warning!!
Greetings, from the author
This is a fan-made strategy guide for the Edain mod of “The Battle for Middle Earth II: The Rise of the Witch King Expansion Set”. Inside, you will find a series of notes and observations made on the game's mechanics, including strategies concerning the many kinds of soldiers, monsters, and heroes from the game. There will be tips and tricks here that any general of Arda can put to good use. This strategy guide is an ever-evolving project provided to you freely and of my own will. If you would like to make contact, my E-mail Address is Isaac632@gmail.com.
The Essentials Edit
Setting up the game EditBy downloading the Edain Mod after you rediscovered that box full of all four of your Battle for Middle Earth CD's that you mysteriously found that one day in your cluttered bedroom closet, you get to play a whole new game style with exciting new features. However, if you're a new player of the Edain Mod, or need to be reminded how you used to play LOTR: BFME back then, you'll need to learn how to set up a Skirmish Game.
In the main menu there will be a “Single Player” button. Clicking it will reveal a list of game modes, and one of them is Skirmish mode. By clicking on that, you will be brought to a pre-game screen where you can adjust certain settings such as your faction, the number of computer players, the difficulty of those computer players, the maps, and the skirmish modes. If you want a quick and easy skirmish game, choose a map that supports two or three players, and feel free to pump up the handicap of your easy-mode computer opponents as high as you please so that you can feel good about how much of a milk-drinking cheater you are. If you want a longer, more serious game, be less harsh with your cpu opponent's handicap settings, choose a map that supports four or more players, and maybe set some of those opponents to “normal” or “hard” difficulty. If you choose “brutal” difficulty on any of the cpu opponents, you are a madman who wants to see all of your hard work on the battlefield become ruined by a remorseless artificial intelligence with less mercy than the computer A.I. on your old Starcraft game when you were ten years old.
There's an alternate tab to switch to another game mode that adjusts the maximum number of command points that each player can have, as well as the option to include or disclude ring heroes and custom heroes, as well as set the amount of money each player begins the game with. If you're feeling picky about what part of the map you want to start out on, you can always click those little black circles that show up on the mini-map of the selected game map. A number will appear in that box assigning that player to that starting point so that you won't have to rely on random chance to decide who gets to defend Helm's Deep.
Some important tips to keep in mind is to know how the handicap function works. It is a click-and-list box to the far right of a player's name that's listed as a negative percentage. This percentage expresses how much of the health, attack, and armor that is reduced from all of that player's units, buildings, monsters, heroes, and so on. If you ever mistakenly tried out the -95% mode on yourself hoping it would boost your forces' powers by that much, don't worry. The author of this strategy guide learned that the hard way too, until he stopped gawking at the humiliating losses long enough to notice the negative symbol next to the percentage number. Stay in school, buds—there's a difference between adding and subtracting, alright? Also, don't play any skirmish game unless you've checked out the options menu in the main menu first so that you know the setting you'd like to have. Low settings of aesthetic quality will make the game run smoother, but trying to pump everything to the max may make the game run frustratingly slow later on, when there's more units and buildings being processed in the game. Playing the game on a smaller computer like a laptop is even less advisable, as certain mouse controls and performance issues will impede your ability to enjoy the full experience of the game. Unless you're okay with running the game as slow and clunky as it may lag at times, that is. You can still play this game just fine on a normal laptop, but without a USB mouse and keeping it in windowed mode with minimal other downloads on the hard drive, it can turn out to be quite frustrating when everything starts to lag.
The Game Screen Edit
At the beginning of a skirmish game, the first thing you will see is a mighty citadel being erected instantly before your eyes, and nearby will be a couple of battalions of swordsmen. Depending on your faction, the map you play on, and the location of the map you choose, you may have a Castle, or a Camp—as many as ten build plots, or as few as six. Regardless, you may also want to take notice of how the game screen works.
At the bottom left of the screen you will see what appears to be a large bubble next to a map of the whole battlefield. When you select a unit or building, the black bubble will light up with an icon of the selected building or unit(s), and several smaller bubbles on the rim of this big bubble will also light up with various icons. You can hover your cursor over the small bubbles to bring up a window describing what that icon means. Some are buttons, others are passive effects (yellow ring around it).
To the Left of this great bubble, there is a map of the battlefield. If you look closely, you will be able to see your units and buildings printed on the map in your team color—and you'll also be able to see the enemy or ally team's buildings and units on the same map. A box floats around the map depending on where you move your screen. Whenever your scout announces something, you may see a flare light on a certain place on the map where an event, such as a battle, takes place.
Below both of these is a small window, displaying your resources and your command points. Resources are the currency that you generate from your citadel and economic buildings passively, and they are required to train soldiers. Command points, on the other hand, are the maximum number of troops you can sustain. The more total command points you have, the larger your army can become. Some battalions of soldiers cost more command points and resources to train than others—the more expensive a battalion is in terms of resources and command points, the more powerful it generally is.
Build Plots Edit
Scattered across the battlefield are empty patches of land that are up for grabs. While you have your own build plots that you can construct your own buildings on, you have the option of territorial expansion by way of claiming these other build plots on the map. Build plots on the map are generally labeled with a ring of stones surrounding a flag of some sort. Sending your troops to stand nearby the flag will change its color to your color, allowing you to select it and build whatever you wish upon that spot. Make sure to get rid of monsters or enemy units who lurk nearby the same flag, or else you won't be able to capture that patch of land.
Settlements are your most common build plot aside from the ones at your castle or camp. When you move our troops to it you'll color a single flag in your team color and you'll be able to build a structure there. Usually settlements have economic structures built upon them, but you also have the option of building a recruitment building that produces soldiers. The strategy is about priority—military might, or profit-turning?
Outposts are labeled by twin flags, and allow you to construct an auxiliary base at a much steeper price than anything you could put on a settlement. You usually have a choice between a lone tower with three normal build plots, but each faction has additional modifications or options for what to build there—at the cost of extra resources, of course.
A camp is marked by a big, wide flag, and allows you to purchase a whole new camp, complete with a citadel and a lot of new build plots for new buildings. Claiming a camp allows you to increase the reach of your territory as well as giving you increased survival chances. Camps are quite expensive though, so make sure you save your pennies before claiming an unclaimed camp.
Castles are the biggest, most expensive territorial build plots on the map, and you can't miss them because they're marked by an enormous pile of rubble with a flag. After you purchase it for 5,000 resources, you construct a mighty castle with build plots, defensive build plots, and a brand new citadel!
The Bestiary Edit
As you journey through the map of Middle Earth, you will notice a variety of monsters scattered throughout the battlefield, guarding a den or home of sorts with their lives, and attacking anything that gets too close. These monsters are prime targets for expansion in the early game, whether you send troops or heroes after them to clear them out. Just remember to be responsible and use appropriate tactics for taking out each monster so that you can destroy their den and wipe them off of the map. After you knock down their den initially, their den will regenerate if given the chance—this can be stopped if you utterly demolish them by striking their home a second time, discarding the rubble and recovering treasure that your units can move over to give you a bounty of free resources!
Goblins surround a little cave and respawn almost constantly, making them quite a nest of pests. If you can outnumber them though, they're one of the weakest wild animals in the game.
Wild wargs inhabit a lair in pairs, and are swift and savage. They can easily be beaten around by spears, but they are more of a nuisance than a general threat.
Cave Troll Edit
Cave Trolls spawn in big caverns on dusty stone ground—when you see a cave troll, it's usually a lone beast wandering around its den looking for something to beat up. These big guys don't mess around—when it comes to wreaking havoc on unwary travelers, it's all business. Should you have a cave troll problem, your best bet is to chase it down with spears—then, if you completely destroy its den, you'll be rewarded with one of the greatest den bounties in the game!
Barrow Wights Edit
A Barrow Wight lair is shaped like a crypt, and the single barrow wight that spawns from that lair is one of the most dangerous monsters out there. With each hit it lands on any unit, a barrow wight regenerates to full health, making melee-combat useless. To take out a barrow wight and it's lair, strike from a distance with arrows, then bash down its crypt as you'd like. Other monsters, such as mountain trolls, are also decent against Barrow Wights when used in groups.
Rock, Paper, Scissors Edit
When it comes to The Battle for Middle Earth, it is mostly the battle that comes to mind for any general, but before battle is joined, it is important to know and remember the chemistry of warfare so as to improve your strategy and continue to win each fight. In a sense, one type of soldier is good against some other unit types, and weak against other unit types, like a game of rock-paper-scissors.
Swordsmen are your basic, all-around infantry units that come with swords and shields. Most swordsmen can be bought for a decent price, and they have moderate speed. Swordsmen are powerful against spearmen, since they can run past their spears and strike them dead. However, swordsmen are vulnerable to archers because they can't move fast enough to reach the archers who can hit them multiple times.
Spearmen are heavy infantry who carry halberds, pikes, and all manners of spears. They are great at stopping cavalry in their tracks, and they can kill monsters easily, but they are weak against swordsmen. Archers are also somewhat effective against spearmen because they can launch volley after volley—the heavier armor of most spearmen allow them to last slightly longer against archers though.
Archers are strong in great numbers, and at range, as they can strike multiple times from afar, making them ideal for defensive battle tactics. They can mow down infantry with ease, but are helpless against the charge of cavalry.
Cavalry are mounted units, whether they ride horses, elk, rams, or other creatures. They move fast and hit hard, and can trample through archers, killing a lot of them very quickly. The only thing that can withstand the charge of cavalry are spearmen, who can kill most of them instantly if the cavalry try to trample through their spears.
Monsters are expensive and powerful units that have a lot of health and attack, making them formidable on the battlefield. They are great against units and structures alike, but can be countered with spearmen, heroes, or other monsters.Siege Weapons are among the slowest units in the game, but each siege weapon has its own specialty. Some are good against enemy soldiers, and others excel at crushing buildings. Some strike from a distance, while others prefer ramming through buildings up-close. Regardless, siege weapons are powerful engines of destruction, but they do have a weakness. Anything that gets close enough to strike a siege weapon, such as a monster or a group of cavalry, can destroy it quickly, leaving it helpless to protect itself.
Each faction has some of each of these unit types that can be produced from specific buildings, and each faction excels at using some type of unit for battle. Observe the strengths of each army, and focus on those strengths—but be sure to add variety so that your army does not get countered easily. Combine swordsmen with archers, cavalry with monsters, siege weapons with heroes—do whatever you can to make your forces balanced and large, so that you can keep winning.
Heroes are expensive but powerful characters that you can train from your citadel. They are your favorite characters from the Lord of the Rings, like Gandalf, Theoden, Gimli, or Legolas. Every faction has their own selection of heroes to choose from, and they are great assets to your army, especially in the long-run when you need something super-powerful to push forward.
At first, a hero unit that you purchase will be at level one, and they might or might not start out with one or two abilities. They are much stronger than any soldier you can train from a barracks, but they are super-expensive. When they fight and kill enemy units, heroes level up, increasing their health, armor, and attack, and unlocking new abilities as they grow in strength. A level ten hero will be at its full strength, and can be an extreme asset to your forces.
Hero units are not meant to be one-man armies though. If a hero you control is calling for help from their injuries, waste no time in getting them to safety. Heroes are better either in numbers or when accompanied by reinforcements—when you pull them out of battle, only then can they regenerate their health points. Bringing back a hero from the brink of death is always less expensive than reviving them if they get killed however.
Gondor is the faction of mankind that lives within a ring of mountains with mighty fortresses and incredibly large cities. As a kingdom of wealth, valor, and prestige, Gondor excels at defense and has a large variety of buildings and troops. Their most impressive asset is their infantry—especially their defensive infantry such as their Tower Guards, which are the strongest spearmen in all of Middle-Earth. Right from the get-go, you may notice that your fortresses and camps are surrounded by a large, mighty wall that can be outfitted with defensive structures like arrow towers and trebuchets; and you also have the largest number of build plots in your camp to build a large variety of buildings for raising a bustling economy or training a highly disciplined army of foot-soldiers supported by impressive siege weapons for besieging the enemy camp.
March of Gondor Edit
The March of Gondor is a creative way to describe the basic strategy of this faction, whose focus is primarily on defense and infantry. As Gondor town-houses can reduce the cost of advanced infantry, It becomes a necessity for you to build a good number of them in the early-game. Blacksmiths are also good for Gondor because they make unit upgrades cheaper, and they also research unit upgrades too.
For much of the game, your priority is seizing territory, fortifying it with defenses, and then moving onto the next place to claim another bit of land. You will also be producing a strong army from behind the walls where they are safe from aggressors. You can supply cavalry, archers, and siege weapons if you wish, but for the most part, you will be pumping out as much infantry as you can. Gondor infantry are among the most powerful in the game—especially the Tower Guards, which are heavily-armed infantry with spears that can halt nearly any cavalry stampede in an instant.
In the late game, when you have built up a good-sized army of infantry, and perhaps added heroes and other kinds of soldiers for variety, you may besiege the enemy base with your highly disciplined soldiers, using trebuchets to break down their walls, and closing in on enemy forces with a mix of swords and spears. In a final march, an epic siege will lead you to an epic victory.
The problem with the March of Gondor is that infantry of all kinds can be countered by arrows and siege weapons. While cavalry and monsters will be easily countered by Gondor's impressive spearmen, it is significantly more difficult for soldiers to catch up with volleys of arrows or to escape a bombardment of boulders. Plus, Gondor's trebuchets are pitiful if exploited by cavalry, who can rush in and smash them to bits before you can say “fire!”
The faction of Gondor is home to a decent number of heroes, and trying to train all of them for your army is super-expensive, but pays off in the long run. Generally, your strategy won't be to purchase a bunch of heroes right off the bat, unless you'll find use in Pippin being an early-game scout, or Denethor buffing up your line of sight and your economy right off the bat. Unless you choose to start the game with three-thousand or so resources, chances are that you won't benefit from the heavy costs of immediately buying a hero when the game begins. Instead, focus on building up your defenses, and then when you save your pennies, you can purchase any hero you wish. You can speed up the process of the Hero Rush by constructing a large number of Heroic Statues, which decreases the costs of heroes.
However, if you should try out the expensive and satisfying Hero Rush strategy, make sure that you don't squander your resources by throwing all of your level-one heroes into a cave troll lair. You need to level them up, one-by-one as you recruit them, so that when they arrive in a real battle, they will have the health, attack, and powers to make up for their few numbers. Keep in mind that heroes are best when paired up with at least a small force of regular soldiers, such as Boromir, whose later powers are passive abilities that grant armor and attack bonuses to troops that are around him.
The downside to the hero rush is how expensive it is. Regardless of what army you play as, investing all of your money in heroes—especially right off the bat—is a big risk to take for a battle. It may be inconvenient to blow all of your resources on super-powered heroes, when a large rag-tag group of normal soldiers will serve you just as well. Keep in mind, that the last thing you want in a fight is to be outnumbered—Unless your hero has splash damage, it is going to be trampled, smothered, and killed if sent after a swarm of warriors without any backup at all. Plus, a hero's one-on-one combat capabilities may be limited if they are at low levels, so if you find yourself having to revive a hero unit repeatedly, you are only spending more resources trying to make that character bigger and stronger. The cost adds up really quickly if you aren't careful with your hero units.
Gandalf is one of the most powerful heroes of Gondor, a wizard with an arsenal of magical spells. While most of his powers are meant for combat and damaging units, he excels at being a supportive unit to your army, staying just far away enough from danger to sling spells and cause serious damage to the enemy forces.
Do not count on Gandalf to hold his own against impossible odds, especially not at the start of the game. If a level one Gandalf tries to take down a cave troll, he will die. If he gets cornered by a group of orcs, he dies. If he stumbles upon a group of archers, they will kill him. When you first recruit Gandalf, the most important thing that you need to remember is the fact that he is a support unit—not a soldier, but a wizard who supports the soldiers by taking out large swaths of units.
Once you start leveling up the great wizard, you can expect to see some improvements to his hit points and methods of attack. Aside from his normal striking attack, and his starting “wizard blast” shockwave, he will soon be able to control forces of light and lightning, destroying large numbers of enemy units with ease. Want to make Gandalf even more powerful? Research “Gandalf the White” in your spellbook, and he will ascend to a greater status, with increased magic damage, increased resistance to magic damage, and a decrease in the cooldown time of his abilities!
If Gandalf receives the One Ring, his personality may change depending on his nature. If you do not unlock “Gandalf the White” from the spellbook, Gandalf receives the ring and uses it for his own purposes, becoming “Gandalf the Corrupt”. Gandalf the Corrupt is a dark wizard in black robes, weighed down and drunk with power. He is significantly slower than before, and your fellow soldiers will cower in fear of him. If Gandalf the Corrupt attacks with his normal attack, he will hit multiple people—including your own units. Gandalf also will not be able to ride Shadowfax into battle—making him one of the slowest ring heroes in the game aside from King Theoden after purchasing the Ring Upgrades.
Gandalf the Challenge Master is the ring hero you get after you purchase “Gandalf the White” and then acquire the One Ring. As the Challenge Master, Gandalf uses the ring's power for good, and the negative aspects of Gandalf the Corrupt will not surface.
Aragorn, known to you initially as Strider, is the second most powerful hero that Gondor has to offer, and he can be another extreme asset to your army. At first, he will act as a super-powered soldier with abilities to stealth himself in the trees, heal other heroes, and throw knives. But when Aragorn levels up enough, you can activate a special ability that allows him to unlock new abilities as he progresses from the path of the ranger, and eventually to the throne of Gondor.
Denethor is the steward of Gondor, living in Minas Tirith as a melancholic, idle ruler. In the game, he resides in the citadel or fortress that you recruit him in, and he sits atop a balcony in that building, unable to move or attack. This might make him appear useless, but he actually becomes an extreme asset to your army when he levels up enough times.
Denethor's two starting abilities promote your forces to a higher ranking level of veterancy. If you are preparing for a siege, Denethor can help buff your army a little bit more just before you launch the assault, so that they can fight even better than they would without his support. His second ability allows Denethor to look into the palantir, revealing the map in an extreme radius around the camp. Using the palantir not only helps you see what's out there, but after the ability recharges, Denethor levels up and acquires a new power. Denethor can look into the palantir repeatedly, gaining new abilities each time, and soon making him invaluable as a support unit.
Denethor is, in a sense, more of a supportive hero for your economy in the late game, as he helps you save money on nearly everything the more he looks into the palantir. After the first look, he will be able to give you instant resources from any of your economic buildings, for when you absolutely need resources immediately. As he keeps gazing into the palantir, he will soon allow you to train soldiers at a cheaper price. His ultimate ability significantly increases the attack of your soldiers at the cost of their armor—if it's not combined with cheaper soldiers, this power actually does more harm to you than to your enemy, provided your opponent has adequate defenses.
Boromir is the captain of Gondor who fights to preserve the freedom of mankind. He is a powerful soldier in his own right, who can sound the horn of Gondor to stun enemies with fear. He fights best when he is with his army of fellow soldiers, as his leadership gives them additional armor and attack.
Interestingly, Boromir actually can receive the Ring of Power, which grants him immense bonuses to his health, attack, and armor, and gives him a variety of new powers. When Boromir has the ring, he can blow the horn of Gondor for an even greater area-of-stun, make himself invulnerable for a short time, and he will be able to summon powerful soldiers into the fray... permanently. But if he is given the One Ring, he has but a limited time before the ring erodes his mind and body, killing him. After he dies, all of Gondor will be utterly devastated, and you will be unable to train soldiers or construct buildings for a time. You can always revive Boromir after the funeral march is over, but if you really want to utilize him multiple times, make sure that you protect the ring while he's gone.
Pippin is the servant of the Steward of Gondor, and one of the four Hobbits. He is one of the cheapest hero units in the game, and is armed with a number of useful abilities. Pippin may not be the best in direct combat, but his auxiliary powers are useful for scouting and espionage.
For one thing, Pippin can switch between two weapons—his sword, and his rocks. Pippin can throw rocks with dead-on accuracy and they actually do pretty good damage from a distance. He can also use another ability to turn invisible by standing still, and scout the area by temporarily increasing his line of sight and detecting stealthed units. There is an upgrade that instantly buffs him to level five for a cost.
Pippin's most powerful ability at level ten allows him to charge forth in a single strike, dealing devastating damage to an enemy hero and knocking away everyone else that gets in front of him. Besides all of this however, Pippin isn't much of a fighter—think of him as a scout for the early game who can harass the enemy and draw their attention away.
Rohan is another kingdom of men that live in the vast grasslands and breed the finest horses of Middle Earth. A rural country, Rohan has a great strength in their peasantry that can be trained straight from the farms to quickly build up a vast army for defense. However, Rohan's best asset is their cavalry who have the greatest strength and variety. Rohan is naturally aggressive unlike Gondor, using peasants and countrymen to defend against attacks while assaulting enemy bases with their mighty cavalry.
Rohan Rush Edit
One of the most basic strategies of Rohan is attacking early and often. Since they have the power to train peasants as soldiers from any flower mill or farm, it is a simple matter for Rohan to have a standing army right off the bat. Peasants are one of the cheapest soldier types in the game aside from Mordor's Orc Warriors, so they can be amassed quickly and early for raiding and pillaging. Combine the convenience of cheap infantry with the ability to build stud farms, and you'll have equally cheap cavalry that are among the most powerful in the game. Combine flour mills with stud farms, infantry with cavalry, and you have yourself a balanced army that can be sent out to battle in good numbers. The strategy of buying units for cheap and sending them out constantly can be described best as the famed Rohan Rush.Rohan has two kinds of infantry and up to four kinds of cavalry. Peasants are swordsmen, and Farmhands are spearmen. Rohirrims are cavalry that trample archers, while Rohirrims are actually really good against heavy infantry and buildings. Even better, there are Rohirrim Archers, who carry bows on horseback that are strong at range and have great speed. Their ultimate cavalry require many upgrades to train, and can only be trained in limited numbers, but they are the most powerful mounted units you can ever see.
Sending this decent variety of infantry and cavalry is an ample strategy—while your foot soldiers defend your buildings, the cavalry will be speeding around enemy towns in a rampaging firestorm, knocking down nearly everything in their path. They are excellent for getting to places where you are alerted of an attack, and just after bashing down would-be raiders, they retaliate immediately with a raid of their own. Rohirrim cavalry are even more dangerous when they have upgrades purchased, or when you purchase “Horse Breeding” from the spellbook.
There are a few ways to counteract a Rohan Rush. For one thing, cavalry are weak against large masses of spearmen no matter how tough they are, and secondly, Rohan infantry, like any, are incredibly weak against arrows, arrow towers, and siege weapons because of how slow they are.
The Rohan Rush is your best bet if you're pitted against Isengard, so train some troops right from the get-go and run down the enemy's buildings. Isengard is a defensive, late-game powerhouse, while Rohan has the highest velocity of action. Compared to Isengard, Rohan can start up a fight incredibly quickly and it takes little time for their forces to build up momentum.
However, If you ever get to a point where Isengard grows powerful after some time, remember that your cavalry are useful against their siege weapons and crossbowmen. While your siege weapons are of sub-par quality compared to that of Isengard, they can still do the job of bashing down enemy structures after your forces have taken out theirs. You may find that the Uruk-hai will try to become super-powerful by purchasing upgrades, so research your own upgrades to keep up with them. Do whatever you can, but most importantly of all, remember that you have another distinct advantage over Isengard—all of your forces are cheaper compared to theirs. If you can, throw everything you've got at Isengard in the late-game, and immediately keep training more soldiers, armoring them up with upgrades and sending them forth, even while you already have an army at their base.
King Theoden is the main hero of Rohan—the undisputed ruler of the great land. When he first comes out of the fortress however, you may notice that he is corrupted by the spy of Saruman, Grima Wormtongue. Possessed by a mix of Saruman's influence and Wormtongue's false words, Theoden has been twisted and aged far beyond his years, and is unable to fight. Theoden cannot attack anything, and is actually quite weak. At the beginning of the game, King Theoden is a defensive hero who has a vast array of useful powers that help your economy and your troops.
King Theoden does not rise back to his former glory days until you purchase his special upgrade in the spellbook. After you purchase it, Wormtongue will be cast away and King Theoden will regress in age until he is mighty again. Now, King Theoden can ride with the Rohirrims and fight with his troops on-foot, attacking enemies with his sword and supporting his forces with a mighty leadership.
King Theoden is the ring hero of Rohan, but at first, he is more of a puppet of Grima Wormtongue. If King Theoden receives the one ring while under the influence of Wormtongue, then Grima wears the ring instead, and King Theoden follows him like a mindless beast. Instead of King Theoden, Grima Wormtongue becomes selectable, and his powers become vastly improved.
If King Theoden dispatches Grima Wormtongue first, and then receives the One Ring, he gains a minor increase in his powers, which may at first make him seem frail compared to other Ring heroes. However, he has the option to listen to the whispers of the One Ring, which offers him power. Each of these powers are an upgrade that grants useful effects, but by purchasing each upgrade, King Theoden's movement speed becomes slower, and slower, and he loses armor—making him frail in-person even if his power and reputation grows. In this case, King Theoden's ring powers need to be chosen wisely and carefully—if all four powers are activated, he will become absolutely terrible at combat, and may be killed quite easily.
Lothlorien is a faction of the Elves, and is primarily defensive and expansive. All of the structures of the starting camp are built around the citadel as a fortress with numerous branches. The Lothlorien citadel is where you train your troops and recruit your heroes—each branch of this mighty tree in the center is where you research your upgrades, produce resources, and manage your defenses. The buildings that you construct around the fortress are expensive, but they also double as arrow towers to provide further protection from your enemies too.
Essentially, Lothlorien is a faction that favors quality over quantity. They also have the best archers in the game, that can deal immense damage from a long distance, especially to infantry. Fully upgraded, these archers can be devastating when placed behind the front lines of infantry and cavalry, as they will pelt enemy forces with arrows while they are held back by the troops in the front. When used defensively, Lothlorien archers will mow down swarms of enemies.
Lothlorien lacks siege weapons and cavalry—their only cavalry are produced from an outpost plot, which you can build a regular Lothlorien outpost, or you can construct a Mirkwood citadel. Troops of Mirkwood are a bit tougher than those of Lothlorien, but they can also train Elkriders, which function as the cavalry of this faction. Essentially, Elkriders are mounted archers that charge forth, shoot arrows,and pull away quickly. For siege weapons, the elves of Lothlorien have the Ent Moot, which produces treefolk, and the hero unit Treebeard. The Ents can cause serious damage to an enemy army by trampling them and smashing them around with their big hands, and they are really good against buildings too, especially from a distance when they throw boulders.
Ent Moot Edit
The Ent Moot is the familiar sundial-looking ring of boulders where the treefolk gather for your cause. It's quite expensive, and takes a long time to build—but as Treebeard reminds you, should you click on it while it's still building, “Don't be hasty”.
Keep in mind, that ents are monsters, and as such, they are a bit weaker when faced with spearmen who can stick poles all over their bodies. If you see an ent coming your way, you also have the option of slowing them down by sending your own monsters after them, or perhaps sending one or more hero units after them to distract them. The secret weakness of any treefolk however, is fire. If you can purchase fire arrows, or shoot a fireball, or launch flaming ammunition shots, the Ents will easily be taken down.
Beorninger Homestead Edit
This little cottage is home to skin-changers called Beornings, and it passively generates resources while also acting as a military recruitment building. The Beorninger Homestead can be tasked to harvest honey, which increases its yield while also increasing the time it takes to summon the military units it can produce. The only weakness of the homestead is that it cannot protect itself, so it is wise to put it near arrow towers that can protect it from enemies, or tasking a group of soldiers to guard the buildings.
This is the super-soldier that a Beorninger Homestead is capable of training. They are quite expensive and take a while to train, but once you have some, they are quite powerful. At first glance, a Beorninger will look like a half-giant wielding an axe and clothed in bear fur. In humanoid form, Beorningers deal excellent damage against units and buildings. You can also choose for them to transform into bears, which have less armor—but can run faster, trample enemy units, and swipe at them with splash damage. A group of Beornings can be an excellent asset to your army if you manage them properly—keep them back home if they are injured so that they can heal, then rush them back to the front lines so that they can fight with unmatched ferocity. Interestingly, Beornings have the potential to level up to level ten, although they don't have any special abilities aside from being able to switch between human and bear form.
Later in the game, you may notice that Galadriel is less of a fighter, and more of a support unit oriented with the other hero and units of Lothlorien. She can give your other heroes gifts to improve their abilities, and let them glance in the mirror for a chance to grant them increased powers. Her ultimate ability uses the ring Nenya, to protect everyone around her from damage for a period of time, essentially making them briefly invincible.
Galadriel can also receive the One Ring, but when you give it to her, she has two choices. You can select for her to accept or deny the One Ring. Acceptance or denial will change Galadriel's nature and roster of abilities depending on her choice.
Isengard is an industrial powerhouse that draws most of its strength in the late game. At first, you'll have little aside from scouts, wargs, and some Dunlendings for an army, but as time passes and you expand your economy and army, you unlock useful upgrades that augment your power on the map. At the beginning of the game, your priority is to protect your territory as much as you can with what little you have. Expansion and conquest comes later, when you have more options of attack and access to your formidable siege weapons and fully-upgraded Uruk-hai.
The strategy of Isengard is to focus on protecting your rather poorly-defended borders at first, and then to expand your economy and technology later on. At the start, you have little to defend yourself with aside from units and a few arrow towers. However, this is deceptive weakness, as you have some other options for protecting yourself in the early game as well. Should you upgrade your outpost enough, the wizard Saruman can take refuge in the tower so that he can help defend the fortress with a variety of spells and powers. You also have a secondary defensive building called a Warg Kennel, which passively supplies wild wargs that charge out and attack nearby enemies.
After you have defended your territory for a good amount of time, you may notice you'll be able to focus more on your economy by constructing mine shafts and furnaces—but then you will find a need to further expand your borders by seizing nearby settlements to build more economic buildings. Once you reach that stage, you can start to research “Machinery of War,” which is a unique upgrade of Isengard that buffs all of your military buildings at the same time—increasing them to level two for 1000 resources, and then to level three for 1500 resources. Each time your purchase that universal upgrade, you will instantly unlock a large number of new soldiers for your army that are superior to what you started out with.
Isengard is generally slow and defensive at the beginning, but picks up speed and momentum as the game progresses, until it becomes a devastating super-power on the battlefield with perhaps an unstoppable force. If it is attacked early in the game, it will take a blow that it will not easily recover from.
Rohan will naturally dominate your warg riders in combat with their variety of super-strong cavalry, and they will always have a militia of peasants to protect their lands from your attacks. Naturally, your response should be to produce Uruk Pikemen to halt the charge of cavalry, and Uruk Crossbowmen to shoot down the peasants. All will seem well, until you remember that Rohan also has siege weapons and archers... Don't worry. Their siege weapons are mediocre compared to that of yours, and you should have no problem shooting down their mangonels and battering rams with your ballista. As for their archers, you have two options—wrestle with your own warg riders to trample the archers and avoid the spearmen, or just purchase heavy armor to protect your own troops while your ballista out-guns the enemy archers.
As the Elves have the best archers in Middle-Earth, it comes as no surprise that they will utilize them to the best of their ability. In any case, it is safe to assume that they may have the option of rushing with archers while using cavalry and infantry to keep your own from reaching them. If such is the case, all of the heavy armor and steel weapons in the world can do you no good. What you need against the Elves is speed and power, which can only be granted by the Warg Riders from the warg pit. However, being that the Warg Pit is so expensive, it may be tempting to build an Uruk pit instead so that you can pump out hordes of Uruk scouts. This may give you the illusion of an advantage of great numbers, but that mentality will only reward you with pain and suffering. Elven archers are legendary—they will shoot down any infantry unit battalion with their arrows, regardless of their armor rating or their number. If you send foot soldiers after a group of archers, they will mow them down with their arrows like an arsenal of machine guns. You are much better off with warg riders in this respect—they are more expensive, but they are stronger and faster than uruk scouts, and can do much more damage, and respond to alert signals much more quickly.
Isengard cannot withstand a rush—in the early game, their army is small, weak, and expensive, their defenses are mediocre, and their economy is pitiful. Mordor, on the other hand, can instantly conjure up a force of orcs straight from the get-go, and swarm your fortress before you can so much as amass a defense militia. If you are up against Mordor, just consider yourself defeated!
But, if you somehow manage to be one of two things, brave or stupid, and actually want to test your might against the Dark Lord's forces, just remember a few things. Firstly, Mordor's main forces are laughably weak, and your Uruk-Hai can stomp on them like insects once you survive long enough to produce them in great numbers. Secondly, the forces of Mordor lack cavalry, while the Warg Riders actually happen to be one of your best battalions. Using Warg Riders against orc archers and other slow units like their catapults should prove to be helpful. Next, Mordor relies heavily on monsters, which can be easily dispatched by Uruk Pikemen and squadrons of crossbows. Finally, Mordor actually has even worse defensive measures than Isengard, as their miniature arrow towers can't even get fire arrows, while your own miniature arrow towers can purchase steel bolts for added range and damage. Plus, with your advantage in the areas of technology, you can easily destroy a Mordor camp with siege weapons such as rams, ballistae, and bombs.
Just remember though—it's not your fault if you lose to Mordor. Just because they can amass an army and crush you in the beginning of the game does not mean you're bad at war. Remember; Mordor is super-aggressive, with super-cheap warriors, and swarms of soldiers; and Isengard is a late-game powerhouse that needs to wait until it grows strong enough to fight back. Naturally, Mordor will win, unless you are an expert warlord.
The Citadel of Isengard is a wooden replica of the tower of Orthanc. It is your main building that you must protect at all costs, as explained earlier. However, Isengard's citadel has a special trick up its sleeve—it can receive upgrades!
Isengard's Citadel can receive a Crebain upgrade that allows it to summon a flock of ravens for free, and for a short time. This murder of crows can be controlled remotely to scout the map, reveal the fog of war, spot enemy camps, and detect stealthed units. It also invokes fear on enemy units, decreasing their attack and armor as it hovers over them. The Crebain runs out after a while when it is summoned, but the tower recharges this ability frequently, making it a great tool for visibility if you either can't afford risking the loss of troops in the early game, or if you are looking for your enemy, or even better, if you are looking for Gollum in case you happen to have ring heroes activated.
Some other upgrades for your citadel double the citadel's resource production, and give you a discount on your siege
weapons. The most expensive upgrade is the Wizard Tower, which replaces the wooden tower with a big, black, miniature replica of the Tower of Orthanc. Once you have the Wizard Tower upgrade, you can put Saruman up in the tower like you usually can, but then he provides you an amazing line of sight in all directions, and he can cast spells to protect the tower! These spells are available for him when he's on the tower regardless of his level, but they recharge whether or not he's on the ground or up in the tower. Keep in mind that you need the Wizard Tower upgrade in order to sling spells—while you can garrison Saruman in the tower at any point in the game, he won't be able to protect your base until you purchase this last upgrade.
Isengard's Heroes Edit
Isengard has only six hero units to purchase from the citadel, but these heroes are very powerful when they are used properly. The main hero of Isengard, Saruman, is a powerful wizard with an arsenal of magical powers. The other heroes of Isengard consist of two warriors, a mounted warrior, and two rogues.
Generally, Saruman should be treated as a support unit rather than as a fully-fledged fighter. While some of his spells can cause devastating damage to enemy forces, he has neither the health nor the speed to escape archers or cavalry. Aside from his spells, Saruman's main attack knocks people away with his staff, which deals some minor splash damage, and pushes people back. Saruman truly shines however, when he's put behind the front lines, far enough to be safe from the war, but close enough to use his magic to aid his army by giving them experience points, converting some of the enemy ranks, or outright destroying large numbers of enemy units with wind, fire, and lightning.
You can upgrade Saruman further if you use your power points to purchase the upgrade, “Saruman of Many Colors”. After you spend two points on this spellbook power, Saruman becomes a puppet of Sauron, and receives power for the price of his allegiance to the Dark Lord. When you purchase this upgrade, Saruman's abilities have shorter cooldown time, allowing him to sling his spells more often. He also deals more damage with his powers, and does not take as much damage from the magic of his enemies. Purchasing that upgrade will make Saruman even more dangerous in combat, and better able to hold his own against his enemies.
Saruman can also receive the One Ring, and his personality changes at random. He will either become Saruman the Blessed, or Saruman the Cursed. As Saruman the Blessed, the white wizard becomes a lordly paragon of power, able to conjure lightning to scatter his enemies, and vastly improving the protection of your troops. However, he can also become Saruman the Cursed, twisted by madness because of the power of the ring, and he becomes a terrible conjurer of fire who can improve your buildings, and encourage your troops to attack viciously.
Ugluk was one of the fiercest Uruk-hai ever produced in the pits of Isengard, and he was the one who captured Merry and Pippin. In the game, he is a 1,400 cost Isengard hero who becomes a great asset to your army. He gives you one of two upgrades that are available for your Uruk Scouts and can be a great hero for your Scouts and your other Uruks alike, but Ugluk primarily focuses on buffing your heavy Uruks.
At level one, Ugluk is a powerful sword-wielding soldier with the power of “Dark Medicine”. This power heals a group of your friendly soldiers to keep them healthy and strong.
Lurtz was the first Uruk-hai ever produced in the pits of Isengard in the film. In the game, he is a powerful hero unit that excels in ranged and melee combat alike. Recruiting Lurtz from the Citadel for 1,400 resources gives you the option of one of two upgrades for your Uruk Scouts. Lurtz himself is good for empowering your scouts and your heavy troops, but he excels in improving the effectiveness of your Uruk Scouts.
Early on, Lurtz will have two powers. He will initially be equipped with a bow and arrow that has good damage and range, but you can also have him switch between a bow and a sword. Lurtz is an ideal partner for your hordes of Uruk Scouts, as just like them, he can switch between a bow and a sword. As a swordsmen, Lurtz will hack through armored soldiers like crazy. As a bowman, Lurtz will pick out enemies from a distance with ease. His second ability at level-one is a cripple shot, which deals great damage to an enemy hero and roots them in place for a time so that they can't move—Cripple Shot can only be used when Lurtz has the bow equipped though.
At his strongest, Lurtz will be difficult to take down. He truly shines, however, when he uses his ultimate power “The Hunt”. This power targets an enemy unit or hero, making them slower and making them revealed to you for a period of time. Lurtz, and any soldiers around him also run faster when they are far away from the target unit or hero, and when they strike that unit or hero, they do extra damage because the selected hunt target has reduced armor. In this respect, Lurtz is a great hero unit to have when you have a large group of Uruk Scouts, since he runs fast like they do, and hits twice as hard.
Sharku is a crazy warg rider whose primary function is to stand in as a commander for your other Warg Riders, in a similar way to how Ugluk is meant for your heavy Uruks, and Lurtz is meant to compliment your Uruk Scouts.
Grima is one of the two rogues among Isengard heroes. He is an excellent support unit who can scout out the area, weaken enemy forces, and assassinate enemy heroes.
Bill Ferny is the cheapest and weakest of Isengard's heroes, but he is one of the two rogues of Isengard who acts as a spy just like Grima. Interestingly, Bill Ferny can easily be leveled up by paying resources to unlock his numerous abilities.
For the most part, the buildings of Isengard are some of your best assets, especially if you use them defensively. For natural defenses around your castle, you have nothing but wooden fences, and you have to purchase your own arrow towers. The only other way you can buy yourself some time in the long run is to build, build, and build, so that the enemy's forces get distracted by your buildings while you pump out emergency forces and shoot them down with arrow towers. In most cases, defense is your first priority in the game—so when you build your economic resource-generator buildings, augment their defensive capabilities instead of focusing on production or command. Defense comes first—everything else follows. If you really need more resources or command points, build multiple resource buildings—don't waste time and resources upgrading one building at a time.
Mine Shaft Edit
The Mine Shaft is one of your two main economic buildings that generates resources. It can be upgraded twice in three different ways, to increase its yield of resources, the number of command points it supports, or its defensive capabilities. The Mine Shaft is also useful for when you want to amass a larger army for Isengard, as building multiple mine shafts will decrease the cost of heavy Uruk soldiers, such as swordsmen, crossbowmen, and pikemen. Building a large number of Mine Shafts will make your powerful soldiers much cheaper, allowing you to form masses of them quicker. Besides at your base, you can also construct mine shafts at any settlement—so when you can, demolish any mine shafts that are at your immediate base, and build new mine shafts on settlements that you claim.
At the beginning of the game, you have the option of focusing your efforts on building either Mineshafts, or Furnaces... if you want to get to amassing a larger army of Uruk-Hai when you get the chance, then build at least two mine shafts to begin with. Build multiple mine shafts at the start of the game, because just building one mine shaft and upgrading it will waste precious time, and precious resources. On their own, having more resource buildings already gives you a decent amount of defense, resources, and command points—greater numbers trumps finesse in the early game.
Another resource-generator for Isengard is the Furnace, which pumps out resources at a steady rate. They can be upgraded to optimize production, command points, or defense. The Furnace is also useful for making unit upgrades cheaper—if you control multiple Furnaces, the price for upgrading your units will plummet, allowing you to empower them much more easily. You can only build Furnaces on a build plot within your main base however, so make sure that when you expand your borders that you replace any Mine Shafts at your base with Furnaces.
The Furnace is actually less useful in the early game when you can hardly afford anything advanced like a forge works. Forget the upgrades—you can't even afford the forge works because it costs 1,000 resources to build, and researching the upgrades costs even more money. Plainly and simply, if you can't afford something, then don't buy it. Don't even save up for it. When you reach the late game, you will have an economy that can afford heavy Uruk-Hai, and that's when you should demolish some of your mineshafts to build furnaces in their places. Always have at least two furnaces to activate the upgrade discount in the late game where your priority is arming your Uruks with the finest upgrades in preparation for the final victory.
Lumber Mill Edit
The Lumber Mill is a unique building for Isengard that produces a small number of orc laborers that tirelessly walk around chopping down trees and bringing them back to produce resources. Lumber Mills can be upgraded like normal resource buildings, but they can also train additional laborers to speed up their production of resources. Owning multiple Lumber Mills decreases the costs of buildings, allowing you to expand your borders faster and faster as you claim more settlements and produce more military buildings.
The downside to the Lumber Mill is that it's significantly worse as an economic building on maps with few trees, or on maps where monsters lurk in the woods—such as Fangorn. The Laborers that are produced once you build a Lumber Mill will get to work immediately, but they are terrible in combat. If you build a Lumber Mill too close to a cave troll cave, or a goblin den, you can count on your laborers being stomped on and ripped apart. Don't be an idiot—wait until later in the game when you've defensively removed your opponents from the area, and then build the lumber camps.
Uruk Pit Edit
The Uruk Pit is your main military structure. It is the birthing house of the mighty Uruk-Hai who should make up the majority of your army. Uruk-Hai are like orcs on super-steroids; they are a bit slower and more expensive than most orcs, but their price is worth their immense hit points, armor, and attack. When you train a large force of Uruk-Hai from the Uruk Pit, they can serve you well in both offense and defense—especially as you level up your buildings and unlock the stronger soldiers and research various upgrades to further empower them with. Even something as basic as an Uruk Scout has at least 500 health points to begin with—and a fully upgraded troop of Uruk-Hai can reach health point levels in excess of 2000 for each soldier in that battalion! If that does not properly visualize how tough the Uruk-Hai are, then just wait until you can train siege weapons to accompany them with, and your eyes will pop out of your head at the sight of what they can do.Uruk Scouts. These guys aren't too tough, but they are decently quick at movement and have a decent line of sight. Uruk Scouts are the cheapest Uruk-Hai you can train at the Uruk Pit, and although they don't have the normal Forge Works upgrades, they do have some useful upgrades that are granted by the heroes Lurtz and Ugluk. Additionally, as they level up, Uruk Scouts can switch between melee attacks and ranged attacks, and they can fire hunting arrows that reduces their armor for a short time. At the beginning of the game, these Uruk Scouts are your only fighting force aside from wargs and hillmen, and while they may not be that tough, they can be quite useful for their cost. However, don't rely on Uruk Scouts for long games, for as you advance in technology and unlock more powerful infantry units, troops such as the Uruk Scouts become obsolete and can only be pumped out as an auxiliary unit, or as a militia.
When the Uruk Pit reaches level two, you get to train Uruk-hai, which are much more powerful than Uruk Scouts, but specialize only in combat against spearmen. These guys are tough as nails and will march a bit more slowly than Uruk Scouts, but as they level up and receive upgrades, they will become one of your most powerful battalions. A fully-upgraded, fully-armed group of Uruk-hai will sport immense power and will be able to tank enemy fire with their enormous hit-points and armor, and they can deal some serious damage to enemy units, but especially spearmen. Be sure to keep them away from large groups of archers though.
Similarly to the Uruk-hai, Uruk Crossbowmen are formidable creatures that can be bred from a level two Uruk Pit. Think of Uruk Crossbowmen as more heavily armored archers that shoot bolts at infantry. Don't count on them to survive being trampled by cavalry though—they work best as a support unit behind the front lines where your swordsmen and spearmen are. Once you have a decent number of these guys, they can do good in protecting your forces, but they're much more dangerous when you purchase upgrades for them such as steel bolts.
The Uruk Pikemen battalion is trained from a level two Uruk Pit, and is one of your most useful defensive units, as they can abruptly stop the charge of cavalry. When fully-upgraded, the Uruk Pikemen become fierce warriors and masters of anti-cavalry defense. The only thing that can charge in on them without dying are swordsmen, who can cut them down more easily than other units can.
Warg Pit Edit
The Warg Pit supplies your army with the cavalry of Isengard. Think of a warg as a super-sized ferocious wolf that your troops ride into battle. Warg Riders are the only units you can train from the Warg Pit, and they are fairly expensive, but they are fast and powerful, and make excellent shock-units for trampling archers and ripping siege weapons apart. You can also research the Blood Wargs upgrade from a level three Warg Pit.
The Warg Riders are a rowdy bunch that prefer life on a steed as opposed to life on-foot. Closely bonded to their terrifying pets, they are as wild as the wilderness itself, and are eager to charge into battle at your command. Warg Riders have the ability to howl, which increases their speed and attack further, but they can also receive a number of upgrades that further strengthen them. The Blood Wargs upgrade allows warg riders to regenerate health as they attack.
While Warg Riders are great at attacking archers and siege weapons, they are weaker against swordsmen, who take longer to rip down. It's also ill advised to command Warg Riders to attack spearmen, as they will try to trample them only to be struck by a line of spears, killing them instantly.
Siege Works Edit
The Siege Works of Isengard is a truly impressive asset to one's army. It trains a variety of weapons that can help your units scale castle walls and breach their defenses. In the late game, these siege weapons become cheaper, allowing you to amass a much greater number of them than other factions can, making you far more dangerous when you launch a full-scale assault against enemy fortifications.
The Battering Ram is a basic siege weapon that consists of an iron-tipped tree trunk held by a number of Uruks. This is a slow siege weapon that is devastating against unguarded buildings. The only problem with the battering ram is that it's helpless to defend itself against soldiers who come up and attack it. Battering Rams are generally more useful against unguarded buildings or for clearing out fortresses when your troops have cleared away enemy troops. After killing all of the soldiers your enemy has in their base, two or three Battering Rams can just bulldoze the rest of their buildings until their fortress becomes a mass of rubble.
The Siege Ladder is a simple ladder that the Uruk-hai can place on an unguarded Castle Wall so that your Uruk-Hai can scale the walls without any problem. This is a rather desperate attempt at scaling castle walls though, since the siege ladder is useless for every other situation requiring damage output. On certain maps such as Helm's Deep, the Siege Ladder can be a great way to just bypass the defenses of the walls without the need of bashing the walls down with excess siege weapons.
The Ballista is an advanced siege weapon that is shockingly ahead of its time—it is the most intricate siege weapon of Middle-Earth that functions as a gigantic crossbow that shoots massive arrows meant to pierce buildings and shatter enemy formations.
The Spellbook of Isengard has a fine balance between strengthening your troops and your economy. With early-game spells such as Palantir Vision, you can keep watch over an area so that you can organize your forces for a counterattack. Other late-game spells increase your income or summon reinforcements to accompany your troops.
This first-row ability costs one point, and using it on a patch of land corrupts it with pure evil, turning it into a patch of wasteland. While your soldiers stand in this area, they will receive increased attack and armor, making it ideal for when you have to hold your ground against surrounding units.
Vision of the Palantir
This first-row ability costs one point, and allows you to reveal an area of the map for a period of time, lifting the shroud and detecting stealthed units. The Palantir spell is useful for scouting when you can't afford to risk the lives of your soldiers running away from home, and can serve to alert you of enemy forces moving towards your base so that you can re-organize your formations in time. It's also useful for spying on the enemy so that you know what they're trying to do.
War Chant is a first-row ability that you can purchase for one point. By clicking the icon and clicking on your troops, you will start a war chant that temporarily strengthens your soldiers with increased attack and defense.
Saruman of Many Colors
This is a second-row spell with a cost of two points, and it serves but one purpose: empowering Saruman. This upgrades Saruman the White, giving him increased power in his special abilities, and reducing the cooldown time of his spells, while also giving him additional armor against other magic spells so that he takes less damage from other wizards. Keep in mind however, that if you purchase this passive ability, that Saruman still won't qualify for the front lines of the battle, and can still easily perish if you carelessly send him into danger, expecting him to just throw away an overwhelming force of enemy soldiers.
This is an expensive late-game spell on row three, that instantly turns the trees in an area into resources. If you are on a map with a lot of wooded areas, this spell is excellent for gaining the upper-hand in terms of economic superiority. In desolate regions such as Mordor however, you should avoid purchasing this spell unless you really have nothing better to do.
Fires of Isengard
This is a game-ending spell that costs ten points, but is worth the cost. This spell produces a large number of bombs in one area... then those bombs instantly detonate! If the battle has been going for a long time, chances are that you might work your way towards this fourth-row spell from the top if you're up against someone with really good defenses. The blast itself isn't very effective against units, but it is devastating against buildings—especially if you place the spell right next to them where they will do the most damage.
The second fourth-row spell in the spellbook also costs ten points, but is incredibly useful for launching an assault, as it summons a fully-upgraded army of Isengard, complete with uruk pikemen, uruk swordsmen, and uruk crossbowmen, who all remain on the field for a limited time, but deal immense damage to enemy troops. This spell is ideal for when you're launching an assault and you find that your opponent has an absurd amount of troops defending their territory. They can augment the size and power of your troops, or act as reinforcements in case your attack is failing.
Mordor is the source of all evil in Middle-Earth, and is an aggressive army of orcs, trolls, and other horrors. The strategy with Mordor is to attack early and often, with large numbers of cheap, weak units accompanied by a variety of heroes, monsters, and siege weapons. Lacking in defensive strength, Mordor is centered around aggressive conquest and rushing the enemy before they have a chance to grow stronger. Just as important for Mordor is its focus on Lord Sauron; a hero unit who levels up and grows in power as you complete tasks.
The important thing to remember when playing as Mordor is to start strong and get ready to attack immediately. If you use up all of your starting resources on something super-expensive such as Lord Sauron right off the bat, you will be super-slow at the beginning of the game, and you'll lose your edge for most of the game. To start out, you need to construct a Mordor Barracks to start pumping out free warriors, then construct a well-sized army with some accompanying resource-generators before summoning the bigger, stronger units.
Sauron's Power EditOne of the winning strategies of Mordor is simple—recruit Sauron from the fortress, and complete as many tasks as possible to make his power grow and make him stronger. This strategy is more expensive and takes more time than the standard orc-rush, but the benefits outweigh the costs in the long run, as the tasks you complete to increase Sauron's power actually tie in to all of the other strategies and focuses of Mordor. Below is a list of tasks that increase Sauron's power, and how they correlate with Mordor's war strategy.
One of the quickest and cheapest tasks is to build a Mordor Barracks, and to pump out free orc warriors until you have at least twenty battalions. Any kind of orc battalion will count towards this task, but it's cheapest to use the free Orc Warrior hordes. In this, the strategy of swarming your enemy with large masses of cheap, weak orc units is reinforced, as Mordor isn't too big on giving their troops upgrades, but instead relies on overwhelming numbers.
Another orc-oriented task is getting an orc battalion up to level five. By themselves, orc warriors that have banner carriers don't actually have stronger orcs, but having a high level of veterancy allows them to regenerate when they aren't in combat. What's better than swarming your enemies? Swarming your enemies with troops that replenish themselves, that's what!
Yet another orc-related task requires some work, but can actually really help you in the long-run. After you get Sauron to influence one of your barracks, you can train Orc Overseers, who can be combined with any orc battalion to give them additional attack and armor, and allows them to actually get stronger as they level up—plus, they can crack a whip to make them fight harder for a short time. Naturally, training ten orc overseers will be quite expensive, but it will allow your soldiers to last longer on the battlefield, as they are greatly improved when combined with an overseer. Best of all, having at least ten orc overseers increases Sauron's power.
The orc warriors of a Cirith Ungol fortress can be trained in limited numbers, and are super-expensive, but super-powerful. Having at least one of them trained will increase Sauron's power. Cirith-Ungol units are generally powerful, like orcs on super-steroids, especially when fully upgraded with their special upgrades and paired up with an overseer. Having these guys in your army will make it even more powerful than before, against nearly any opponent.
Increasing your Great Siege Works to level three will take some time and resources, but it will increase Sauron's power and reinforce another strategy of Mordor: siege. Siege weapons, for Mordor, are essential, as they can deal extreme damage to buildings when large numbers of orcs fail to do so. Battering Rams can bash down buildings, catapults can get rid of enemy units from afar, and the Troll Catapults can devastate enemy defenses. Once you have enough money, it is a smart thing to get some siege weapons out there to empower your army with.
Another thing you can do to increase Sauron's power is train four Mountain Trolls from the troll cage. These monsters are big, slow, and powerful—and they're worth every penny. Having a large number of trolls in your army will add some serious muscle, for clearing out buildings after your orcs have wiped out the defensive troops, or for breaking into fortresses when your siege weapons are doing something else.
Recruiting the Mouth of Sauron is an expensive way to increase Sauron's power, and for good reason. The Mouth of Sauron's own power level is the same as Sauron's, and when Sauron's power grows to a high level, the Mouth of Sauron has an arsenal of useful powers to devastate your enemy.
Recruiting anyone Ringwraith from the citadel is a similar, but less expensive version of recruiting the Mouth of Sauron—it increases Sauron's power, and that of some of your heroes too, including your Ringwraiths, and the Mouth of Sauron. The Ringwraiths are an essential part of Mordor's forces, both as soldiers, and as scouts. A high-level Sauron will have Ringwraiths that make excellent scouts, as they can ride steeds into battle, or if you ever spot Gollum when ring heroes are available, they will be excellent at chasing him down, killing him, and returning the One Ring to its master. There's even a spellbook power that gives your ringwraiths some useful upgrades to make them even more dangerous, enforcing their importance in Mordor's army.
Once again, the importance of the Ringwraiths are unmatched—another way to increase Sauron's power is to train all nine of the Nazgul, including the four single-unit heroes from the citadel and both outpost fortresses, and the five-man hero soldier that contains the rest of the black riders. When all nine are in one place, they are a force to be reckoned with—and as Sauron's power grows when they are all on the field, their power grows too.
Part of Mordor's strategy is aggressive territorial expansion—hence, a way to increase Sauron's power is to capture an outpost build plot, and construct an outpost on it. You can choose the standard outpost that gives you three build plots, but Mordor also has a choice of not one, but two other options for what to build there, and they're both much more expensive, but much more essential in the long-run. The Morgul Fortress weakens and reveals nearby enemy units, trains more powerful orc soldiers, trains a Ringwraith hero, and trains a special, limited group of hero-soldier cavalry. The Dol Guldur fortress trains spiders, orcs with poisoned weapons, a Ringwraith Hero, and a limited group of hero-soldier swordsmen.
Yet another way to increase Sauron's power is to train a group of Morgul Riders, or Castellan warriors, which can be trained from the Morgul Fortress and Dol Goldur Fortress respectively. These are units that you can only train in groups of three, like the orc battalions of the Cirth Ungol barracks, but they are much, much stronger. They can level up and acquire abilities that make them formidable in combat, and they have special damage against all normal units—excluding monsters and heroes of course, but they definitely make up an extreme asset to your army for their costs.
A late-game method to increasing Sauron's power is to purchase either of the two fourth-row spells from the spellbook. One of them allows you to transform the shadowy Sauron into a fleshly form with improved powers and abilities. The other one allows one of your Great Siege Works to build Grond, which is the most powerful siege weapon that Mordor can offer. These two spellbook powers can devastate enemy forces, or enemy structures, whichever your preference is, but regardless, they will increase Sauron's power.
Mollok and Gothmog are two of the three Mordor heroes that level up normally—getting either of them up to level ten will increase Sauron's power. Gothmog is a lieutenant from Minas Morgul who supports your orc units, and Mollok is a heavily-armed attack troll that deals massive damage and takes a lot of hits.
There is a catch to increasing Sauron's power—Once you complete any task that increases Sauron's power, that power increase is permanent. For instance, if you get four Mountain Trolls, and those trolls die, Sauron's power will not shrink as a result.
Mordor Buildings Edit
Tribute Camp Edit
The Tribute Camp gathers donations from Sauron's Followers to aid your cause, generating an income. Tribute Camps can be upgraded to make more resources, support more troops, or protect itself better. If you own multiple Tribute Camps, the cooldown time for your Spellbook powers decreases, allowing you to use your spellbook powers more often. Tribute Camps can only be built on build plots that you own, and the same goes with the Arsenal.
If a Tribute Camp falls under Sauron's Influence, haradrim and easterling reinforcements that you receive from your late-game spellbook spells will receive upgrades to their attack and armor when they arrive, making them more powerful.
Slave Farm Edit
The Slave Farm is another economic building that houses human slaves who are forced to till the land at the crack of the whip, generating additional resources. Like any economic building, you can make it more productive, more supportive, or more difficult to destroy. Slave Farms are actually really good for building a large army, because owning multiple Slave Farms decreases the costs of heavy orc hordes, such as those produced at the barracks that actually cost resources.
When Sauron brings a Slave Farm under his influence, the Slave Farm empowers your orc overseers, further buffing the orc battalion that it is combined with by giving them even more attack points!
The Slaughterhouse is yet another economic building for Mordor that kills innocent animals to harvest their meat as a resource, giving you more resources. You have the options of making it make more resources, support more soldiers, or strengthen itself to be like a guard tower as well as a resource building. The meat of the Slaughterhouse decreases the cost of monsters; the more slaughterhouses you build, the cheaper your trolls become.
Mordor Barracks Edit
The Mordor Barracks is your go-to recruitment building. It trains orcs, which make up the majority of your army, and can train them in great numbers. The first thing you should build when you play as Mordor, aside from perhaps a tribute camp or arsenal for resources, is none other than a Mordor Barracks. Your strategy in the early game is to start building an army immediately, so as soon as you can, build a Mordor Barracks. It will serve you well for attacking in the early game as well as keeping up the attack in the late game.
These are the backbone of Mordor's army, and they are trained from the Mordor Barracks as a great starting unit for rushing and attacking. Best of all, they're free! With a cost of exactly zero resources each, your only limit to building a number of Orc Warriors is your command limit, but otherwise, you can amass the largest armies in the game without worry of making a powerful economy.
Orc Warriors are ready to serve you to any end, whether it's storming and raiding enemy camps, taking out wild monster dens, or taking the fire of enemy artillery. The Orc Warrior battalion is cheap and weak, but they can be created in such great numbers, that they will swarm over your opponents like a nest of angry ants, easily picking apart and overwhelming enemy forces that are far stronger than them.
In addition to being cheap and convenient, Orc Warriors have a method of upgrading themselves. Their “bloodthirsty” power allows a battalion of orc warriors to kill another battalion of orc warriors for free experience points! This allows you to save more of your money and optimize production, by leveling up your orc warriors without needing to purchase banner carriers. Using this power can also cut down your army to size in case you want to leave enough command points for monsters or for stronger, more powerful orcs.
Another way you can buff a common orc warrior horde is by employing an overseer, which can only be trained from the Mordor barracks when it is under Sauron's influence. These overseers command a bit of your resources, but cost no command points, and can be combined with any orc battalion, be it warriors, archers, or spearmen. An orc battalion with an overseer will have additional attack and armor, and they gain another ability, where their overseer will crack a whip and force them to deal more damage.
Keep in mind that Orc Warriors are not to be treated like they're the only answer to everything. Like any infantry battalion, the orc warrior horde is vulnerable to arrows, can be trampled by cavalry, and can be ripped apart by artillery fire. Your best bet with an army of orc warriors is to supplement them with heroes, artillery, and monsters. If you don't have enough money for those, you can always supply orc warriors with other orc battalions like archers, spearmen, or some special units from an outpost.
One of the ways that you can increase Lord Sauron's power is to pump out as many Orc Warriors as possible! It not only goes with the strategy of Mordor to have a huge army, but once you command at least twenty battalions of orcs, Sauron's level will increase by one, and he will become more dangerous as well as his servants. Another way to go about it is to order your orc warriors to kill each-other until you get one battalion that is level five, for an additional power increase, and then command at least ten orc overseers for a third increase.
After Lord Sauron gains enough power to bring a Mordor Barracks under his influence, you get to train Orc Overseers. You can combine Orc Overseers with any orc battalion to increase their attack strength and their armor value, and it also grants them the ability to temporarily raise their attack strength by making the overseer crack his whip at them. One of the best things about the Overseers is that while they cost resources, they do not take up any command points. Hence, there is no limit to the number of overseers that you can combine with your orc hordes. If at any point in time, you control at least ten Orc Overseers, Sauron's power will increase by one level, and all of the other heroes bound to him grow in strength as well.
Troll Cage Edit
The troll cage is a building available to Mordor that allows you to train monstrous trolls. This is an expensive building, and it trains expensive monsters, but as it turns out, these monsters are actually quite powerful when utilized alongside a vast army of orcs. As Mordor lacks cavalry, trolls fill in by being big, slow monsters that can trample smaller units and smash groups of soldiers away with their big hands. Trolls also have a large number of hit points, so they can function as a damage-soaker for your other troops. As opponents will generally focus their fire upon the bigger trolls, they can leave your hordes of orcs untouched. The Troll Cage, much like the Siege Works, is more of a building you want to construct later in the game when you have a bigger economy and have enough command points to train a greater variety of soldiers.
After Sauron grows strong enough to bring a Troll Cage under his influence, trolls that you produce at the troll cage can be outfitted with armored plating, and then armed with one of three weapons of your choice. This can make your Mountain Trolls far more dangerous.
The mountain troll is one of the many horrors of Mordor under your command. Mountain trolls are big, tough, stupid monsters who trample smaller soldiers and can bash their way through groups of warriors or smash structures. Mountain trolls are your answer to structures that just won't give in to masses of orcs in the early game, when siege weapons are too slow and expensive. Mountain Trolls also act as a great partnering force to combine with your orc swarms—as many soldiers will try to take the trolls down first, Mountain Trolls act as damage-soakers, leaving your weak orcs unharmed.
One of the ways to augment the strength of your army is to train some Mountain Trolls—while one mountain troll isn't too impressive, three or four mountain trolls can toughen up your army greatly. They are like bigger, slower, more powerful versions of cavalry, which Mordor lacks. The best part about training Mountain Trolls is that they're the only “cavalry” monsters that can regenerate health on their own. If they get seriously injured in combat, but are pulled back behind the front lines to heal, they will regain their strength and become more dangerous than before from leveling up.
What's better than a mountain troll? A mountain troll that is armored up and given a big weapon! After Sauron brings a Troll Cage under his influence, mountain trolls that are trained from there can be given upgrades. The first upgrade gives them armor, making them harder to take down. The second upgrade gives you an option between three enormous weapons aimed at destroying units, buildings, or other monsters. A fully upgraded mountain troll is a formidable opponent for the additional costs of its armor and weapon.
Despite their size, it doesn't take much for a Mountain Troll to be in over his dumb head. One of the greatest weaknesses of a mountain troll is being outnumbered; especially by archers, or even worse, spearmen. If mountain trolls try to trample an army of spearmen, their spears will be driven deep into his flesh, killing him almost instantly. If a group of archers stay out of the range of the slow-moving mountain troll, they have a good chance of killing him before he gets close enough to land a hit. Always have a backup of orcs nearby a mountain troll to protect it from these two weaknesses, and make sure your trolls do not run off, chasing trouble.
Because of their strength, especially in numbers, it comes as no surprise that producing Mountain Trolls becomes a way to increase Sauron's power. When you own at least four Mountian Trolls, Sauron's power will increase by one level, increasing the might of Mordor. Use this as an encouragement to pump out trolls to support your forces with.
The drummer troll is a more expensive cousin of the Mountain Troll, and unlike the mountain trolls, drummer trolls have the talent of banging drums with mallets. All of your creatures nearby any drummer troll get additional attack and armor, allowing them to fight better. The drummer troll also has another trick up its sleeve—it can be sent forth to activate a special ability that causes enemies to flee in terror.
Despite being more expensive, Drummer Trolls aren't cut out for combat. If you command a drummer troll to attack anything, it will clumsily swing with its mallet, taking out large groups of soldiers, but otherwise not doing as much damage as a mountain troll probably would. If needed, keep the drummer trolls away from the fight, and put large numbers of orcs ahead of them so that they can provide leadership without getting hurt by spears or arrows.
Great Siege Works Edit
In the late game, you may notice that orc battalions are actually quite weak against buildings despite their overwhelming numbers. When that problem arises and you're faced with the need to destroy your enemy's defenses, the Great Siege Works allows you to construct mighty engines of destruction for breaking down walls, towers, and fortresses. The siege weapons of Mordor are slow and expensive, but they can be useful for launching a large-scale siege against an enemy after you've cleared out their armies. A good thing to know about the Great Siege Works is that Mordor gains power after you buff up a siege works to level three—hence increasing Sauron's level by one, and strengthening your forces overall. Knowing this, you may be encouraged to pump out some heavy weapons when the need arises.
After Sauron brings a Great Siege Works under his influence, you have the option of training a Troll Stone Thrower. Like a catapult, a troll stone thrower hurls large balls of fire, but they have even greater range, and do far greater damage to both buildings and units alike—their splash damage area is much further, too.
The first siege weapon you can get from the Siege Works is a battering ram. Basically, what you get when you train a battering ram, is a large tree, carried by six stout orcs. This battering ram can be carried across the map to any place you desire, but they are mostly effective against buildings. Battering Rams cannot attack enemy units, but while your orcs can't attack walls, Battering Rams can attack walls and deal a good amount of damage to them. Battering Rams are also great at attacking enemy buildings, such as those that are away from the main camp, and knocking down the mighty gates of an enemy camp.
Aside from being a siege weapon for use against buildings, the battering ram is completely useless. They are vulnerable to cavalry, archers, swordsmen, pikemen, and other siege weapons because of their slow speed and lack of armor. If you have to bust down some buildings with a battering ram, be sure you throw a distraction squad of orcs ahead of them so that enemy troops will need to focus their efforts on the orcs while ignoring the oncoming battering rams that are ready to knock down their structures. If you want more power than a battering ram, or your opponent is full of troops, you're better off building catapults.
This siege machine is built for long-range combat, and is much better at striking from a distance. More intricate and advanced than its crudely-carried cousin, the catapult prefers launching fiery boulders from a distance as opposed to knocking buildings down up-close with direct force. Catapults are good against buildings, but they excel at attacking troops, since their ammunition causes splash damage and fire damage. Later in the game, the Mordor hero Gothmog can also use an ability that allows your catapults to launch skulls and bones as opposed to fireballs—this alternative ammunition scares people off.
Catapults aren't ideal for destroying buildings, as they need to be trained in large groups to do as much good to a structure as one untouched battering ram can. Catapults are more fit for attacking groups of enemy units when there's a stalemate between your forces, and the enemy's forces. When you can't push forward or forge a head in a battle, aim your catapults at the enemy units that are blocking your way, or perhaps at the defensive arrow towers or siege weapons that are preventing you from getting inside an enemy camp. For their great range, Catapults are horrendously weak against cavalry who can dodge their fire, rush in, and dispatch them. They also aren't the best when pitted against other siege weapons, since they sacrifice speed and armor and health for pure range and firepower.
After Lord Sauron influences a Great Siege Works, they are able to produce devastating siege weapons called troll stone throwers. These trebuchets are operated by a pair of trolls who push it, pull it, and use it to toss massive rocks over extreme distances, making the crudely-constructed catapults look like toys meant for children. While troll stone throwers can be aimed at groups of soldiers from afar, they actually excel more at destroying buildings from a distance, such as towers, gates, walls, and other fortifications and defenses. They can even injure units that are garrisoned inside of a building, killing them outright.
Like any siege weapon, the troll stone thrower is absolutely pathetic if it is cornered by anything that runs in close enough to hack it to bits. It is also in grave danger if another siege weapon takes aim at it. Remember—the important thing about siege weapons in general is that you use them after the enemy has no troops to chase them down with. Also keep in mind that for taking out clusters of enemy soldiers, the Mordor catapult is a cheaper and better alternative. Use the catapults for enemy units, and the stone throwers for buildings.
Mordor's Heroes Edit
Sauron is the main centerpiece of Mordor—a hero that costs 1,000 resources. At first glance, Sauron takes the form of the shadowy Necromancer, and he can switch between a Shadow form and Fire form. In his shadow form, Sauron has a ranged attack that pierces units, and an array of powers that are versatile for when he is not in combat. In his fire form, Sauron deals constant damage all around him, and is armed with a variety of powerful spells for combat.
As the Necromancer, Sauron starts out super-weak, but his power grows as you complete certain tasks. As Sauron levels up, he gains more health points and has a stronger attack, and acquires new powers for both of his forms. Some Mordor heroes, such as the Ringwraiths, and the Mouth of Sauron, level up only as Sauron levels up, as their powers are directly tied to his own.
Sauron is the most powerful hero of Mordor, and after you've unlocked “Power of the Past Ages”, you acquire a spell that transforms him into a terrible warrior with augmented abilities. When he acquires the One Ring however, he puts on his familiar black armor and is armed with a mace and a great number of new powers for combat and support alike.
!! If Sauron dies at any time, he doesn't stay down for long. He becomes a mere shadow of his former self, unable to attack or be attacked for a period of time. This period of time lasts for quite a while however, so use the opportunity to move him to a safe place before he respawns as the Necromancer.
Because Sauron is such an important aspect of playing as Mordor, it comes as no surprise that he gets not one, but two entire sections that are entirely about him. Below are Sauron's powers and abilities that make him essential to your army no matter what.
Initially, Sauron has two powers when he is at level one. He can transform between two different forms, and he can use Shadow-walk. At level one, Sauron will be able to switch between two different forms—a shadow form and a fire form. In his shadow form, Sauron is a black cloud of darkness that can shoot a cloud of black mist that damages multiple units. In his fire form, Sauron is a figure of flames surrounded by shadows that doesn't attack, but passively damages anything nearby him. At level one though, Sauron is pitiful at combat, and is more effective when used defensively than anything else. Should the need to retreat arise though, Sauron's “Shadow-Walk” power at level one allows him to teleport anywhere on the map where you have a line of sight. Shadow Walk can only be used in Sauron's shadow form, but it is useful for retreating, or ambushing.
At level two, Sauron is less pitiful at combat, as he gains a slight increase to his health and attack, and gains a new power. Volcano Burst is a Fire-form power that Sauron uses at moderate range. Basically, it sends a shockwave at an area that throws everyone outwards for knockback, but it does absolutely no damage. Volcano Burst is primarily used as a disruptive power against large groups of units so that you can land in some extra hits with your other warriors.
Level three is when Sauron's shadow form gets another ability, which allows him to spread his influence onto one of your Mordor buildings. When you use this power on a building you own, two flags with his eyes on them are put on the entrance, and the building becomes empowered. Some buildings under Sauron's influence can create unique and useful units. Others provide buffs to some of your troops. It is important for you to let Sauron influence as many buildings as he can so that your army continues to expand.
The Mouth of Sauron is one of your most expensive heroes at 2000 resources. However, his power is tied directly to that of Sauron himself, so as you increase Mordor's power, the Dark Lord's messenger also becomes stronger and gains more abilities. The best part of all is that just by recruiting him, Sauron's power increases by a level, which in turn also makes the Mouth of Sauron have some power of his own to start with.
The Mouth of Sauron actually has two sets of powers—the first one is for direct combat, and the second one is for support. Generally, the Mouth of Sauron is a support unit that deals damage to enemy units and weakens them with his words. If you let him charge to the front lines, you can expect him to die quickly if he isn't careful.
The Witch-King is one of the nine ringwraiths that you can recruit, but only from the Fortress of Minas Morgul that you can build on any outpost build plot. At first, he will behave as any normal ringwraith, but once you purchase “His Deadliest Servants” from Mordor's spellbook, you have the option of donning him with the iron crown, and turning him into an even more terrifying and powerful hero unit with splash damage, a flying fellbeast steed, and an ability that severely weakens enemy heroes. Keep in mind that the Witch King is quite expensive to train at 2,000 resources, and his powers are directly dependent on the level of Sauron. One of the ways you can increase Sauron's power, and hence increase the Witch King's power, is by controlling the Witch King, and all eight of the other ringwraiths.
In the Extended Edition of the Return of the King, there is a short scene where two orcs fight over Frodo's belongings after having captured him. Their ensuing fight breaks out into a riot at the tower of Cirth Ungol. In the game, this hero unit is the cheapest and weakest of the bunch, but they offer some nice abilities for what they cost.
Gorbag and Shagrat can be switched, as they initially start out as one hero to represent them both. Gorbag is the shorter, rattier orc that can move faster and poisons enemies he hits with his knife. Shagrat is the taller brute that has a small area-of-effect attack and has superior armor. Both Shagrat and Gorbag have the power to add defenses to any of your buildings—Gorbag trains a snooper that has line of sight and cloaked-unit detection, and Shagrat trains a trio of black uruks that run around your building, defending it from attackers and healing themselves at their leisure.
Later on, these two will be able to work together, as one can summon the other for a short time to take out a bigger opponent. They can also steal resources when they attack buildings, or summon other orcs into combat. For the most part, Gorbag and Shagrat are early-game heroes that are meant to scout the area and bolster your early-game defenses. They are weak, cheap, and swift—use them wisely, and they will serve you as best as they can despite their animosity towards each-other.
The spellbook of Mordor is mostly focused around training units quickly, replenishing them, empowering them, and making them stronger. Most of the time, your strategy with the spellbook is to increase the strength of your enormous army so that it's harder to bring down. To meet this end, you have early-game spells like Tainted Land to form a plot of land for your forces to hold their ground on; and you have late-game spells such as Reinforcements of Rhun, to supply your ever-growing forces with additional troops.
This first-row spell costs one point to purchase from the spellbook, and it establishes a decently large patch of land where your orcs will become stronger. By selecting the power and then clicking where you want, the land in that area gets the life choked out of it by pure evil, removing trees and plants and turning it into a small circle of black wasteland. While they are within this black area, your orcs will gain additional armor and attack strength, giving them an advantage when they're outnumbered and need to hold their ground against surrounding troops.
Eye of Sauron
By purchasing this first-row spell for one point, you can summon Sauron's eye straight from his tower in Udun Vale, and all the way to the battlefield. The Eye of Sauron appears as the beam of fiery light on the field that can be moved remotely, revealing stealthed units nearby, buffing your troops with armor and damage, and weakening enemy troops in its sight. The Eye of Sauron neither attack, nor be attacked, can move freely anywhere on the map to provide you some line of sight, and lasts for a decent amount of time. Use the Eye of Sauron when you run out of leadership abilities from units or other spellbook powers, or when you want to spy on your enemy and locate their camps.
The armies of Mordor are inexhaustible. This first-row spell costs one point, and when activated, it regenerates one soldier in each of your orc battalions across the whole map. When you're leading an attack or a defense maneuver and you're running out of orcs, use this power to quickly replenish them so that they can fight for a little bit longer. Keep in mind though, that using this power when you have an enormous army will skyrocket your command points back up, preventing you from training more soldiers.
Angmar is the northern kingdom ruled by the Witch King, the greatest of the nine Nazgul. Angmar is unique as a faction of Middle-Earth, since it possesses the defensive capabilities of Gondor, but also has an emphasis on monsters and magic.
One of the main themes of Angmar is sacrifice. Some units, such as the Sorcerers, require that you kill some units in order to activate their powerful abilities. Other units, like Zaphregor, injure themselves in order to use powerful abilities.
Another aspect of Angmar is tribute. When you take over a settlement, a builder cart will periodically spawn there, which you can select and move around. If you move him to a military structure, he will enter it and disappear, giving you a large number of resources, and upgrading that building to the next level. The more settlements you capture, the faster all of that money rolls in.
Units of Angmar Edit
The Thrall Master is your starting fighting force. At the cost of 200 resources each, Thrall Masters are a single person with a mask and a club waiting to summon specific types of units. They are pitiful on their own in combat.
One of the battalions that a Thrall Master can summon is Gundabad Orcs, which can be summoned for free! Gundabad Orcs regenerate their fallen troops much faster than other summoned units, and are numerous, making them ideal for fighting spearmen or swarming enemy buildings. They are, however, incredibly weak to arrows.
If you have the resources, you can also choose to summon Hillmen, who hold spears for taking out cavalry. There are also barbarians that throw axes for attacking infantry, and wolf riding orcs that trample archers. Basically, the Thrall Master is a versatile unit that can summon the right forces at the right time, should you have the insight and reflexes to hop to it.
Black Numenoreans Edit
When your Hall of the King's Men grows to level two, you can train new, more powerful soldiers, such as the Black Numenorians. These swordsmen are bigger and tougher than your average Thrall Master rabble, and they can also receive upgrades to further boost their strength. When they level up enough, they will also instill fear on surrounding units, reducing their armor and attack, and they can also temporarily coat their swords in ice for a moment or two of increased damage. Keep them away from archers and closer to spearmen where they will excel best in combat.
Werewolf EditThe Werewolf is one of the horrifying monsters available to Angmar, and it is one of the most powerful units they have to offer. They can only be trained at a level three Wolf Tamer's Kennel once you research spiked collars and wolf breeding. At a whopping price, Werewolves are super-strong, especially in numbers. They run fast and hit hard, and they can devour people to heal right up. Unfortunately, Werewolves aren't too good against spears, and they do not regenerate health on their own. One way to maximize their effectiveness is to construct multiple mills at your base, which decreases their cost.
Barrow Wight Edit
A Barrow Wight is the vengeful spirit of a fallen warrior or king, much like a ringwraith, who dwells around ancient burial grounds protecting their tombs from thives and plunderers. In Angmar, Barrow Wights are monsters that can be trained at a moderately high price to compliment your army. The catch with a barrow wight is that they have a special power to steal health points when they kill an enemy unit, and as they kill units they upgrade the Crypt where you train them—which in turn makes their soul-drain ability much stronger.
Don't forget that Barrow Wights are painfully slow. Groups of archers can overwhelm one Barrow Wight, so always accompany your wights with other soldiers if you ever run into a volley of arrows.
Heroes of Angmar Edit
In the faction of Angmar, The Witch-King is your main hero, and not simply the leader of the nine Nazgul. At a whopping 3000 resources, the Witch-King will take some time to bring out onto the field, but he becomes one of your most powerful soldiers on the battlefield when he arrives. With his mace, he smacks groups of units away, and with his sword, he slashes them into oblivion.
The Witch-King becomes far more dangerous when you level him up, as he'll be able to switch weapons, terrify opponents, or grant new powers to your other heroes. He is at his greatest power however, when he receives the One Ring. Once the ring is put in his hands, he will cast an eternal winter over the whole map, slowing down the production rate of all enemy buildings, and making all of the enemy soldiers on the map afraid of you, reducing their armor and attack.
The Witch-King has two different modes—he can mount a horse so that he can trample foot-soldiers, or he can fight on-foot and dispatch a bunch of them. Choose your stance wisely—The Witch-King becomes vulnerable to arrows when he's on-foot, and he becomes vulnerable to spears when he's on his steed. Did you expect him to ride a fellbeast? No, instead he uses a regular horse. Don't let him charge into a line of spears when he's on a horse. He will die, and it will be horrible. It is even less advisable to expect him to be a one-on-one warrior, as he sacrifices attack strength for splash damage. The Witch-King is more suited for taking out large groups of weak units as opposed to slaying one big unit.
Drauglin is the beastmaster of Angmar. He is the cheapest and weakest of the heroes, but his availability in the early game makes him useful for quick skirmishes and early rushing. Drauglin is a skin-changer who can transform into a wolf to increase his speed at the cost of armor, allowing him to escape a tight situation quickly. Later on as he levels up, Drauglin can also empower wolves and summon them to his aid.
Drauglin is ideal for early rushes and quick skirmishes instead of long, drawn-out battles. At all times, keep Drauglin away from archers or monsters who can dispatch him in two or three hits. Drauglin is a hunter who favors speed and damage over armor and strength—accompanying him with his fellow wolves will do well for this strategy. Otherwise, do not count on Drauglin being your choice for longer games.
Zaphragor is the second in command of Angmar, and is perhaps one of the most dangerous heroes of Angmar aside from the Witch-King himself. With an enormous amount of health points to spare, Zaphragor's powers are a kind of sorcery in which he uses powerful abilities at the cost of some of his life. As a mage-knight, Zaphragor starts combat by using his magic to drain his own life and deal greater damage to his enemies. However, as he loses health, his magic weakens and his rage builds, allowing him to deal increased damage with his great sword while his magic costs less health and deals less damage. When Zaphragor is at his weakest in terms of health, his magic costs nothing and does nothing—but while his magic becomes useless, his sword is at its greatest attack strength.
At level ten, Zaphragor's ultimate power releases a massive shockwave of ice and darkness in all directions from himself, heavily damaging or killing every enemy unit nearby. This power serves a dual purpose. When you use it right off the bat, it is devastating to enemy forces and deals decent damage against buildings. If Zaphragor is heavily wounded however, it can also be used as a last-ditch attempt to destroy everything around him before he dies. Zaphragor can actually kill himself instantly if you use this power at low health, so in a sense, it makes him a suicide-bomber.
As a general strategy, Zaphragor shouldn't be pitted against attacks from afar, but instead he should be thrown into a battle where he duels melee fighters such as swordsmen or spearmen. That way, he can use his spells, which are primarily short-ranged, to great effect. If any archers come by for support however, Zaphragor's health will be drained without him being able to get in close enough for a hit, causing his magic to wean.
Mornamarth is the captain of Carn Dûm, and is a late-game hero that can only be trained from an outpost that is given to the vassals of Numenor. Mornamarth is a lot like a vampire—he grows stronger when he is with his fellow soldiers of Numenor and Carn Dûm, and as he levels up, he acquires powers that sacrifice damage the Numenorians around him to activate powerful abilities. Some powers buff troops of Carn Dûm, and others heal Mornamarth.
Keep Mornamarth with a good-sized force of advanced soldiers at all times, or else he will grow very weak. There should be a great number of Numenorians surrounding Mornamarth so that he can continuously empower himself and empower his troops during combat. If he is separated from the pack, he will become nearly helpless.
Gulzar is the first sorcerer to serve Angmar with his arts of necromancy. His specialty is reanimating the dead and infecting them with a plague so that disease spreads to the enemy weakening their troops. Gulzar himself isn't too powerful on his own, even though he shoots a magical bolt out of his staff to attack. He truly shines when you use his level-one ability that summons “Plague Bearers”. Plague bearers are acolytes that are infected with a deadly disease, which can spread by contact to other enemy units, damaging them like poison for a time. They can also be sacrificed using Gulzar's later abilities to produce massively harmful effects. The best part of all is that there is no limit to the number of plague bearers Gulzar can summon—all you have to do is keep an eye on his ability timer, and make sure he keeps pumping out these ghastly ghosts whenever necessary.