Monday, February 21, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Minas Tirith

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Minas Tirith (+8 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

The defence of Minas Tirith presents a lot of problems, not the least of which is your mere 300 Command Point limit.

Initial Army
You start with the army from Osgiliath, which can be as much as 600 or possibly more points after Osgiliath (300 plus calling Faramir as reinforcements). This is trimmed down to 300, and is further reduced by 75 points as this mission starts you off with 5 battalions of level 1 archers with no upgrades.

Preparing Minas Tirith
If you've played the Evil Campaign, you will know that Mordor can summon all the Nazgûl -- and they will, while resources last. You may be tempted to therefore plant a lot of archer towers, but you are going to lose the farms outside, so I recommend instead you place Blacksmiths. These eventually upgrade to level 3 over time, whereupon they receive archer towers anyway.
On the lower level, build some unit producing buildings as you will probably want a short path to the gate or the walls.
Just behind the main gate are two widely-spaced-apart building points, too far apart to overlap. I recommend putting Healing Wells instead of Statues here -- I'll explain why later.
There are four base sites, but none of them are usable by you in this mission.

Overall Strategy
Minas Tirith has a very long perimeter and you do not really have the troops to cover it properly. Instead of a defensive stance and firefighting until you can call Rohirrim reinforcements, I chose to take a strong offence.
If Mordor cannot scale the walls or bomb you behind the walls with catapults, they cannot really do anything to you. Nazgûl can destroy trebuchet towers of course, but even this is useless if Mordor troops arrive at your gates with no siege engines (which can include trolls). So, instead of defending the entire wall perimeter, I aimed to destroy Mordor's siege engines, and also to destroy their resources.
Whenever I could, I scanned Minas Tirith's walls to rebuild any lost trebuchets on Trebuchet towers.

Mordor Wave 1
My forces were reduced to two battalions of Gondor Knights and my full complement of six battalions of Tower Guards-Archers. I grouped the latter with heroes and planted them at the eastern base site and waited for Mordor. The Knights were a little behind these. I sat them all on a patch of Elven Land summoned by the EvenStar power.

Mordor arrived with initially green troops, but quickly followed with strong veteran (about level 7) troops, and then the first wave of (a lot of) catapults. I destroyed as many as these as I could with the Knights, running them around troops which were basically too dangerous to trample since they could survive and hit back. Cavalry are remarkably good at destroying siege engines of all types.
Meanwhile, the Tower Guards-Archers, being right there at the base, quickly destroyed it as Mordor built it. When it looked like Mordor had given up the base, I marched them down to attack the other base that was being built. Shortly after, possibly because Mordor had exhausted its resources, they stopped building the base.
Meanwhile, Mordor troops beelined for the farms and on the way got shot to bits. Only those who had reached the farms sometimes turned back to attack my forces.
The Nazgûl seemed to prefer the farms, but afterwards came after my horsemen. I quickly retreated them to my archers and manually set them to attack the Nazgûl. 30 fire-archers can make short work of a Nazgûl.

Mordor Wave 2
A second wave of Mordor siege engines will look like Siege Towers and Catapults. The Siege Towers can trample infantry, so they had to have priority if they were coming for my troop position. Otherwise, I destroyed whatever I could of the Siege Towers and Catapults and hoped the trebuchets could handle the rest.

Mordor Wave 3
Once you start to see trolls escorting battering rams, that is the start of the end of Mordor's seemingly never-ending stream of forces. Carefully retreat your forces back into the city. Close the gates if you need respite and healing, but otherwise KEEP THEM OPEN to channel the forces inside and destroy them in a crossfire.
If any enemies scaled the walls, ignore them. They will come for your forces, which are ready at the gate and hopefully escorted by heroes with Leadership bonuses (e.g., Gandalf).
Remember that I had suggested Healing Wells at the gates. This allows you to separate your forces into two, so they aren't too bunched up. If enemies come through the gate, they will be caught in the crossfire. Between waves, your troops are healed.
Also, if you keep the gates open, they won't get beaten down by battering rams, so you retain the option of closing them briefly if you suddenly need some respite.
Between waves, ride your Knights out to retake the farms and thereby provide more distractions for the enemy.

Mordor Wave 4
The last wave are Evil Men with Mûmakil and Grond, who sits outside uselessly because you have left the gate open. The Mûmakil did not approach my walls possibly because the trebuchets were still up.
When Mordor finally runs out of forces, Aragorn will come with an army of the dead. Sweep them west to east to clear the field, and you win the mission.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Osgiliath

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Osgiliath (+20 Command, +2 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

This mission isn't as hard as it initially looks, and certainly not as hard as the Evil Campaign version, where you have to use Mordor to take Osgiliath. After a while, you will realize that the enemy is remarkably passive, sending only weak waves of orc warriors, who will mostly get cut down by manned towers.

After the cutscenes, quickly man the towers and make more archers. At first, focus on resources and consider most of your initial troops expendable in holding the middle bridge, where the enemy will mostly stream in their troops. Hold the line and slowly build up a big army. Capture the northeastern camp and make healing accessible there. Slowly push south. When you capture the middle camp, be careful about immediately building a base because Gondor has walls and this may cut off some troops from others. The entrance to the base will be facing southwest, which can force you to move your troops around the side and possibly come into range of defensive catapults at the southeastern base.

Fill out your army to 300 points. While you are doing so, blanket the bridge and areas beyond with Elven Land if you have it. Somewhere along the way, Mordor's single Nazgûl will take out your trebuchets. By then, you will hopefully have taken out the catapults guarding the bridges. Later in the mission, you can try rushing catapults with Gondor Knights -- siege engines can really only hit targets that stand around in the same area without moving.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Northern Ithilien

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Northern Ithilien (+20% Resources)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

The Forbidden Pool can heal units nearby but cannot restore lost individuals in a unit. The EvenStar Heal power can restore units, but at 5 men per unit for Gondor, save this power for a thick firefight when you can't quickly retreat your units. Instead, put the hobbits Frodo and Sam in front to draw fire from the Haradrim Lancers, who have a very strong thrown spear attack. Also Frodo has the Vial of Galadriel that can turn some units away if you are overwhelmed.

Building 3 units of Gondor Rangers enables the Fire Arrows. Taking that upgrade improves the Forbidden Pool to level 3 and you can build Gondor Knights, but I recommend against this early in the mission. They are costly and have no survivability against the very strong Haradrim lancers. They also can't trample effectively -- I was not able to run over and immediately kill even orc archers.
Later in the mission you can establish a camp and build the Stables. A level 2 Stables gives you access to the shield upgrade, so wait for the stables to recruit Knights.

Gondor Archers can be recruited from a level 2 Forbidden Pool. For now they are inferior to Gondor Rangers, but they are a viable alternative as they can have Heavy Armor (which, among other things, gives complete protection against the fire of fire arrows) and Rangers lose Stealth when paired up with infantry (which you may want to do with Tower Guards to give them trample protection and melee support). Until you get a base you have no access to these, so just recruit Rangers. Mordor has no heavy armor, so get the fire arrows as soon as possible.
The Gondor encampment to the south can be activated if you use an EvenStar power in that area but they are cut off from all support, and you may not want to do this early, although there is a trebuchet with them and they can bombard the thick enemy placements.

There are two Mordor camps -- to the north and to the southeast. You can take both early, especially the one to the southeast, but as soon as you build a camp, a countdown starts for a Mordor convoy.
If you take both camps and destroy all Mordor buildings on the plateau (i.e., clear the map of all Mordor buildings), you win the mission no matter when you do it or whether there are unfinished objectives like intercepting the convoy or joining up with the rangers to the south.
The ramps up to the plateau are heavily guarded, but with just six squads of Gondor Rangers, you can take them out without losing any unit in entirety if you take point with heroes and strategically use Cloud Break and possibly Heal.
If you have taken both Mordor camps, you can leave one building on the plateau and continue the mission. Instead of trying to defend both camps, build one with resource buildings and another for your "real" base of operations, with Stables and Barracks (if you want Tower Guards), but not the Archery Range, because the Forbidden Pool already gives you access to everything the Archery Range can provide.

The convoy attack involves whittling down the convoy as it passes. Haradrim Lancers may throw spears back, but overall the convoy moves toward the northern camp. If you have already taken it, you can, instead of attacking from the ambush points, build up that base and attack them there. Retreat your forces entirely into the city and have some sacrificial units at the entrance. As the enemy funnels in through the choke point, your archers cut them down. Prepare the base with Elven Land (before building the Gondor Citadel to initially establish the base), Healing Wells, and Statues.

Before you leave this map, decide on your final Gondor force composition. The Command Point limit for the Good Campaign is 300, and if you aren't there yet you are probably very close. Whatever you choose, I recommend at least a few squads of Gondor Knights in order to rush artillery before they can bomb too many of your units.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Isengard

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Isengard (+10% Resources, +2 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

If you've played the Evil Campaign, you will already know that any Ent that is hit by fire eventually dies -- including TreeBeard. Also, Saruman's fireball can hit multiple Ents with fire, and always sets them afire.
Play cautiously at the start -- clear the uruk-hai outside and group your Ents into two teams, one team on ranged attack and one team on melee. At this time, you can safely send Treebeard to handle the troll lair to the north, and the hobbits to handle the goblin lair to the southwest. This nets you some treasure. Retreat TreeBeard to the Ent Moot so you can win the campaign with the Bonus objective (if you lose TreeBeard but revive him, you still fail that objective).
At the wall, watch for Saruman to come out after an initial big wave of Uruk-Hai. He will probably sit behind the gate. Separate your ents and have only one out in front because he's likely to get killed by Saruman's fireball. Take down the gate if you need to in order to expose Saruman. Hit him from afar with rocks. When he goes down, the Uruks retreat to the dam, allowing you to destroy their camp.
Now, advance cautiously to take down buildings. Use large Ent teams of 4 or more to quickly take down buildings. As soon as possible, go for the Forges because they are required to upgrade crossbowmen with fire crossbows. The AI will wait until crossbowmen are engaged to upgrade them so that it will almost always have fire crossbows against your Ents. You can use this to your advantage by avoiding the uruks and taking down their buildings from afar first.
The hobbits take forever to destroy any building at range, but are quite strong against uruks, and can probably survive exchanging fire with a team of uruk fire crossbows.
There are water pools where you can retreat an Ent, but when they are initially set afire, you lose control over them. It can be tricky to use the water pools to save your Ents, so instead put the hobbits in front of your Ent rock-tossing teams. After they throw some rocks, if fire crossbow uruks come, retreat them immediately and let the hobbits attack the uruks. Once the uruks stop to attack the hobbits, or if they show no sign of stopping to fire, turn around and trample them.

If you re-target an Ent, it will have to pick up a new rock no matter how far it was in the pick-up-rock animation.
You can choose which individual in a unit will be hit by a rock. Usually, a rock will not hit the entire unit, so have different ents target different corners of a unit to try to kill an entire unit in one volley before they can rush. When an Ent is directed to throw, it will throw at the initially targeted location even if the unit has moved. And this targeting occurs at the time the attack order is given, not once it has the rock ready to throw.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Helm's Deep

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Helm's Deep (+30 Command, +2 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

There are piles of treasure in a nook near the main gate, and in the far west corner of the city. When the peasants come, grab their treasure and hotkey them. Move them behind the main gate because there's a battering ram coming and they can repair the gate.
Initially, build farms everywhere. Do NOT erase any buildings you are given because they will not reveal any build sites. Save two build sites for a Stable and Armory; the rest can be farms. Later, you can destroy some farms and swap them with Wells, especially right behind the gate because you can then send defenders back there a shorter distance than running them all the way west.
You will probably be too busy defending Helm's Deep to tend to your build queues, so just recruit some horsemen for now and upgrade everyone with whatever you can. Fire arrows are very useful, but not truly essential -- focus on getting a good force of Rohirrim first.

While Isengard is on its way, put all archers and horse archers together with Aragorn (who can give an XP bonus) and have Legolas use his Train Archer ability on them as many times as you can. If you have the Elven Forest power, use it to line the outside of your walls throughout the mission.

This is an easy mission if you don't panic and don't let anyone outside. Be careful of your heroes, especially Gimli, because they seem to want to go outside if you have a Postern Door in the wall. Do NOT build a Postern Door in the west wall because that can really confuse pathing and units can end up outside, especially if you target a ladder -- the pathing tries to take a unit outside to attack it from the ground, instead of attacking it from the wall, which it can. Don't target the ladder -- Instead, use "A" to give the attack order, and right-click to give a move order so that a unit attacks everything along its move path. Set the move-to point very near the ladder.
During the siege, the elves and heroes should be able to hold their own with little micromangement on your part. Have your Rohirrim run along the walls to sweep them clear whenever the enemy comes. Don't run Aragorn around -- instead put him in the midst of archers to take advantage of his Leadership. This means fewer archers can defend a wider stretch of wall -- Aragorn's Leadership power has a really wide radius.
If Isengard manages to bomb your wall, don't panic. You have Rohirrim to sweep them aside and help your archers plug the holes.
Once the ballistae start coming, build a Postern Door to send out your Rohirrim to quickly take them out. Retreat your forces from the wall if you can and send them to a well.

If you haven't got Fire Arrows yet, send out Yeoman Archers to get killed and free up Command Points to build more until you get a level 2 Archery Range. Send out the Yeoman Archers to get killed so you can swap them for Elves. Do the same with the Peasants once they've repaired anything you need repaired in Helm's Deep.

For the final assault on the camp, leave the Elves to watch the walls and send out your Rohirrim. Advance slowly with Rohirrim Archers -- fire arrows can take down buildings very quickly. If anything advances on your Rohirrim Archers, take them out with your Rohirrim Warriors. Otherwise, let the Archers do the work.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Eaves of Fangorn

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Eaves of Fangorn
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

There is an astonishing number of enemies on this map, and they come at you very quickly. Fortunately, very few are pikemen so you can trample multiple hordes on a single long run if you are careful with your Rohirrim's health and retreat them to a fountain to heal periodically.

You are not on a timer for any of the mission's objectives, but you can capture the Isengard camp before Eomer's forces become available if you rush about getting Ents and send them to attack. Target the buildings instead of the huge number of enemy units, and let the Ents trample them on the way.

None of the Ents or the four Rohirrim units you are given at the start of this mission will carry forward. Until Eomer arrives, you cannot build any troops, so be careful with what you have as the Rohirrim can trample most of the enemy on this map and are therefore very useful. You might as well just hold on for Eomer because only he and his units can gain experience from this mission and continue on.

Leave one Lumber Camp for last to give you time to find Merry and Pippin.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Amon Hen

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Amon Hen
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

This mission is very thick with enemies, so be aware of who has area effect powers and healing powers. Keep most powers on automatic (right-click to have the hero auto-activate), but keep Aragorn's healing power under your control. If you have the Heal power from the EvenStar, keep that recharged before moving into another encounter. Gandalf and Gimli both have area effect attacks, and Gimli's leap attack recharges quite quickly. Other critical powers are Boromir's horn and Frodo's Vial, both of which can buy you time because they essentially incapacitate a lot of the enemy.

The mission consists of various scripted events. When you are given a task, check to see if you can wait or not. The initial tasks to help Gimli and Legolas cannot wait, but both Gimli and Legolas do fine on their own, so there's no need to hurry.
The mission to save Boromir is optional and possible even on Hard Difficulty, but it is very hard if you do not have healing abilities ready. Also notice that Boromir is not added to your hero roster yet, so you can wait on this mission until your existing heroes are fully rested. As soon as you get close, Boromir is added and his health starts ticking down from attacks. Lurtz will probably have him pinned with his power, so you may have to spend one of your healing powers right away.
If a hero is in trouble, try to retreat them first if the others are still quite healthy. In general, keep your heroes fairly close so that you can get all of them with a single application of your healing power.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Lothlórien

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Lothlórien (+50 Command, +1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

In this map, you will hopefully get either Gandalf, Aragorn, or both up to level 4 where their leadership passive power can be activated. To help you do so, leave the orc Lumber Mills for last.

Once any of the Fellowship crosses the western bridge into Lothlórien, the invasions start. So, instead cross over with the two squads of Elves you are initially provided and have them pick up all the chests of gold.

The orc Lumber Mills are a bonus objective that you must complete before the mission ends. In order to take your time with this, you need to NOT build any Barracks. This means you will have to defend against the invasions with what you are provided. They are more than enough -- What you have to watch out for is any of the Fellowship getting killed, which can happen if they get ganged up by trolls.
Once the invasions are over, because you haven't built any Barracks (a main objective), the mission will not end. Clear the Lumber Mills with whoever you want to level up the most, then build the barracks to finish the mission.

If you put the hobbits on ranged attack (switching out swords to throw rocks) and lump them together with the elves, you need to watch that they are not so far from the enemy that they stand idle because of the shorter range of their rock-throwing attack.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Rohan Territories

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Maps - Rohan Territories
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Eomer will have to defend all the Rohan territories eventually, and can branch north to the forests east of Isengard and the Misty Mountains. He has a lot of missions, so plan on your Rohan army composition now. To have most of your force fighting at any one time (and all taking advantage of Eomer's passive +100% horseman damage bonus), you will probably want most of them to be fire-arrow capable Rohirrim Archers.
I recommend retaining Eomer's starting force of two Rohirrim Warriors and maybe add another two to four later because they can be further upgraded to have Horse Shields, giving them more survivability against Pikemen, hopefully allowing you to trample at least the low veterancy ones.
This said, the very first Eomer/Rohan mission will NOT allow you to build anything other than Rohirrim Warriors, Peasants, and Yeoman Archers; and in any case you cannot get the fire arrow upgrade.

If you want to end up with a large force of Rohirrim Archers, go for Command Points to give you room to build troops: Rohirrim Archers get their Fire Arrow upgrade from a level 2 Archery Range; you therefore need to recruit four units of archers before the Archery Range is upgraded to level 2 and you can buy that upgrade.
Because of this, you will need to have at least 15 Command Points free, and some way of sacrificing newly built archers to continue freeing up Command Points. To get rid of unwanted troops more safely than letting the enemy keep their base, send them to a monster den, like a Warg lair.
The Command Point limit for the Good Campaign is 300, or 15 squads of Rohirrim. 5 squads of Warriors and 10 squads of Archers will probably be a good mix.

The early Rohan Missions are best done with rushes. Send your Rohirrim in to the base and take out all but one building. For the last building, you may want to destroy high-level Isengard slaughterhouses because they add an archer tower, and archers are strong against even Veteran Rohirrim. At five per squad, you can accidentally lose a Rohirrim squad if you're slow to respond.
At your base, build a fountain early so that you can retreat wounded units there to heal and restore their numbers quickly. At just 5 riders per unit of Rohirrim, you need to keep their health up so you don't lose whole squads and all the veterancy accumulated. Veterancy is very important because Mordor and Isengard both have 10-orc squads and if you can't trample their archers, they can outshoot your squads. They don't have to outshoot your entire force, just kill off a single squad of five to whittle you down with attrition.
Two or three missions in, Isengard starts with veteran Pikemen and your Rohirrim will go down very quickly unless you retreat them. You will probably need to heal on the field with the EvenStar Heal power to keep moving, or build healing wells as far ahead on the map as you can to make healing stations.

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign - Moria

Battle for Middle Earth - Good Campaign Map - Moria (+1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Throughout this mission you will find what looks like archery targets. These give the hero who picks them up one level. Each time a hero levels up this way, their experience points are reset to 0, so if you were partially on the way to the next level, you've more or less wasted that progression.
Also, there is a hard level cap of 3. Once a hero is level 3 in this mission, they cannot gain any more experience points.
Finally, there are four before the tomb of Balin, where the way to the previous areas will be closed. You have to pick those up before you enter the tomb of Balin.
I recommend making sure Aragorn and Gandalf are at 3rd level before you leave this mission because they are very useful at 4th level, where they can give allies a huge bonus to earned combat experience -- you might as well give them a head start now. Fight with everyone else to the tomb of Balin and have Aragorn and Gandalf pick up 2 level advancements each.

The fight with the Balrog is very easy with Gandalf if he is at least level 2 and has access to the Lightning Sword, which briefly paralyzes targets while they are being affected by it. Run away from the Balrog and hit it with the Lightning Sword when the power recharges. Gandalf is superpowered for this encounter and the Balrog is (probably) weaker than what you get with the Summon Balrog power.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Old Brown Lands

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Old Brown Lands (+10% Resources)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

The Old Brown Lands is a tough and long map for a mere +10% Resources, but you need to capture it in order to conquer Mirkwood (+20% Resources, +3 Power).
If you look at the Skirmish maps, the Old Brown Lands has a lot of castle-sized locations, although the enemy will start with the resources to support only 3 initially. If you move quickly, you can capture one or two without a fight or before they are built up significantly.

This map is annoying because it can be hard to box them in and predict where they will come from because they can establish bases and pump out troops from many directions.
I found the easiest way to do this map is to have a small defensive force at the starting location to secure my resource buildings (I focussed on keeping all my squads alive so that I could build veterancy, and not have to keep making fresh troops). I used Lurtz/Isengard and my infantry were all slow-moving Pikemen-Archers, so I kept them together as my invasion force and used my Wargs as "firefighters" -- as cavalry, I could rush them against appearances of Gondor trebuchets and take them out.
Whenever I captured a camp, I built it up with only defensive buildings, and didn't panic if they were attacked since there wasn't anything really vital. The camp was just to distract the enemy and delay their advance on my resource-producing initial camp site. I then rushed over some Wargs to either trample infantry or destroy trebuchets, then retreated them inside the camp so that new enemy sorties would hit buildings first instead of units -- Gondor will have fire-trebuchets, which hit hard even against veteran units.

When exploring the map, don't leave wide spaces that might conceal an encampment. Even a 3-build-point encampment can make a lot of trouble for you. In this way, you can be sure of where the enemy IS NOT, and thereby limit the directions from which they can attack you. If you get flanked, it will be very annoying to keep chasing them all over the map.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Minas Tirith

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Minas Tirith (Win Evil Campaign)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Unless you are working on getting veteran units, you might as well attack Mordor as soon as you have all the powers you want, although powers are very optional if you have high veterancy troops (I had 6 Uruk-Hai Pikemen-Crossbowmen Hordes at level 10, plus two additional Hordes at level 9). You could accumulate Resource multipliers (up to x3.1 if you conquer every other territory), but the mission proceeds so slowly that you can get an obscene amount of resources even if you spend it like water building siege engines. Remember that you are always limited by your Command Points regardless of how many resources you accumulate. I ended the mission with over 533,000 in resources.

Whatever army you attack Minas Tirith with, you can only build Mordor camps and Mordor troops. You also start with the Witch King and two Nazgûl, all of which you can revive at zero cost, but a long wait.
I used Lurtz/Isengard and entered the mission with 8 units of combined Pikemen/Crossbowmen, and 10 units of Warg Riders. The game only brought in 6 of 10 units of Warg Riders, and instead gave me 8 units of Orc Warriors. The total starting Command Points was 680 points out of 600. I recycled the Orc Warriors in a Slaughterhouse and started building Catapults.

The battering ram Grond was cute to build (and only 10 Command Points), but generally useless once you take down the gates of Minas Tirith. From the outside, Grond cannot attack anything other than the main gate, which makes him a one-trick pony. Inside, Grond can attack buildings and level them in one hit, but it takes several seconds to ready one hit from Grond. True to the novel, it takes about three hits from Grond to crack open the gate to Minas Tirith (but sadly, there is no flash of magical lightning).
You cannot build regular battering rams.

I recommend queuing an excessive number of catapults to automatically replace losses. If you are careful, you can minimize losses by watching for Gondor trebuchets and quickly taking them out. But since catapults accumulate no veterancy, it's okay to lose any number of them.

You might as well begin with the outlying farms to reduce Gondor resource production. Use the Nazgûl, but be careful of archers. Trebuchets cannot target Nazgûl. When you attack the farms, two squads of elite horsemen (level 10) will come out. If you have veteran pikemen, they can be cut down in remarkably little time. You cannot build anything in place of the farms because they are in range of the wall trebuchets.
In the southwest is a camp secured by a small Gondor force. They likely won't build there for a long time, but secure it and build something there.

After taking out the farms, carefully send your Nazgûl to take out the wall trebuchets. Notice that Faramir and Gandalf guard the gate, one at either side. They are strong against your Nazgûl, so take them out later from a safe distance with catapults.
The trebuchets on the second tier of Minas Tirith have a range just beyond city walls, so be careful with your catapults. Your catapults can, however, destroy most buildings behind the walls in the first tier without getting in range of the second tier.
Do not completely destroy trebuchet towers. This tends to make the AI want to rebuild them. Instead, leave them alone once you've destroyed the trebuchet, but be watchful of the AI putting another trebuchet on them.

For some reason, building a Mumakil caused Gondor to send out a large force. This may or may not happen to you but it can be useful to clean out some of Gondor's forces early this way instead of tight fighting inside the city.

There are three scripted events.
  • Once you start attacking the walls, Rohan will send reinforcements that come from the north, led by Eowyn. Their charge toward your main camp can be stalled if you secured the small base north and built something there to distract them. Again, with veteran pikemen, they are no threat (four units of pikemen/crossbowmen easily defeated them). Do not send the Nazgûl because they have fire archers.
  • The first time you send a Nazgûl to destroy a trebuchet on the second tier of Minas Tirith, Giant Eagles appear. They are hard to see on the map, but you can find them on the minimap marked as heroes (hollow blue circles). Quickly move your Nazgûl over a horde of fire archers and let them take out the Giant Eagles, which they should be able to do very quickly, especially if you have high-level troops.
  • When you have infantry moving up the stairs to the second tier, you will receive a notice of reinforcements coming from Umbar. Instead, Aragorn (plus Gimli and Legolas) arrive from the southeast with a vast horde of Oathbreakers. Strangely, the Oathbreakers and Legolas charge for your southern camp but stop short. Legolas stands outside idly to be picked off by your perimeter towers while the Oathbreakers simply vanish (time expired?). If you built something in the southwest campsite, Aragorn and Gimli stop there to destroy it.

Once you can move up your catapults, the siege begins in earnest. Here is the best strategy I've found.

  1. Break open the gate with Grond. After that, Grond is largely irrelevant. It moves very clumsily, so you could just send it into the city to run over some troops.
  2. From here on, watch for Gondor to send a raiding party against your catapults. Don't panic to save your catapults. Just focus on clearing out the raiding party, and build more catapults. Time (and therefore resources) are on your side. Gondor is disappointingly passive in this mission.
  3. Choose one of the two sides of Minas Tirith. I recommend the east side as it is less guarded. Your first objective is to get to the second tier where the tower is to destroy it and keep it from rebuilding. This will stop Gondor from rebuilding anything. Instead of fighting on two fronts and rushing back and forth on the screen, we will go up one side and secure that tower site first.
  4. Split your catapults into two teams. Have one team start from one end and work their way down toward the gate, destroying all the buildings behind the wall.
    • Don't obsess if the enemy rebuilds a few. The main objective here is to let your invasion force move quickly to the second tier.
    • If you like, you can tear down some wall sections to help you move troops in and out, but this does not appear to destroy the trebuchet tower build sites. It takes a long time and Grond cannot help, but with a lot of catapults, it can be done in a not unreasonable amount of time.
  5. When one side of the lower tier of Minas Tirith is reasonably clear, have your Nazgûl take out the trebuchets on the second tier. Defeat the Giant Eagles, then check the second tier again to see if Gondor has rebuilt any trebuchets. If not, it's time to move in. Catapults and infantry can advance to the second tier, but Grond and Mumakil cannot.
  6. Have one team of catapults stay outside to help with troops and buildings that may spring up again. Have another team follow behind your invading troops as they advance toward the stairs and to the second level. Clear out a bit of the area near the stairs to the second level of Minas Tirith, then handle the "reinforcements" from Umbar. Check for trebuchets, then continue your advance. Once you reach the tower on the second tier, retreat a bit until Gondor no longer attacks you -- Gondor is very passive and won't shift troops. You also do not want to abandon that position as you are now preventing Gondor from rebuilding.
    • It is important to have catapults accompany your invading troops because if Gondor suddenly rebuilds a trebuchet on the second tier, you can exchange fire with them as your catapults and their trebuchets have comparable range. If you have more than a couple of catapults, one volley from them will destroy the trebuchet, so the most they can do is get off one shot, which hopefully won't kill veteran units and which can't destroy a catapult (it generally takes 2 trebuchet shots to take out a catapult).
    • Be cautious of using cavalry rushes because they are vulnerable to your own catapults, and because there are a lot of Tower Guards behind the walls, and they are strong against cavalry.
  7. Repeat your attack plan with the other half of the city to clear out the rest of Minas Tirith.

I used Lurtz/Isengard with mostly level 10 hordes and all squads I brought to the mission survived.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Cirith Ungol

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Cirith Ungol (+10 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

None of the troops from Cirith Ungol will carry over.
Although you have no resource producing buildings, there are a lot of treasure chests that can give close to 1,000 resource each so resources are actually not lacking unless you waste your troops.
Orc Warriors are NOT free here -- They cost 100 resource.
The Uruk Pit cannot build Uruk-Hai Pikemen, but there are no horsemen in the enemy.

The tight corridors and masses of enemies makes trolls a good choice here, as they can function as Mordor cavalry. Remember that trolls do not run unless they have been ordered to attack a target. Therefore, for your entire horde of trolls, choose the furthest enemy unit so that they will run through the enemy ranks in between.
Trolls are weak against archers and fire, so have Shelob take point to draw fire. She can absorb a lot of arrows and fire arrows, and makes a good distraction for you to run through the enemy ranks with your trolls.

After Cirith Ungol, you may have 20 Power Points to immediately buy the Summon Balrog power, unless you spent too many Power Points rather than take the cheapest path toward that ultimate power.
The next mission, Chapter 17, allows you to choose one territory to conquer. You can choose from whatever territories you didn't choose after Southern Ithilien, plus some new ones.
Isengard forces can capture Anorien (+10% Resources), Eastern Rohan (+10% Resources), Enedwaith (+10% Resources), the Fords of Isen (+20% Resources, +50 Command), and West Emnet (+10% Resources, +50 Command).
Mordor forces can capture Cair Andros (+3 Power), Central Ithilien (+20% Resources), Crossroads (+2 Power), Emyn Arnen (+2 Power), Harlond (+2 Power), Lebennin (+1 Power), Northern Ithilien (+20% Resources), or Pelargir (+10% Resources, +2 Power). Mordor still has no heroes even though you will have played with a Nazgûl and Gollum already.

From here on, you need to conquer a territory adjacent to Minas Tirith in order to attack that city and win the campaign. You can work your way east with Isengard forces. Whichever army you choose, more territories become available as you capture those available.
Remember that you have already reached the Command Limit, so prioritize Power if you don't have enough to get Summon Balrog.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Osgiliath

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Osgiliath (+50 Command)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

This map starts out hectic but is actually quite relaxed because the enemy bases are generally passive. They will send out small sorties, but mostly group their troops just outside and stay on the denfensive.

Because of the trebuchets and the herd of elite horsemen in the first half of the campaign, you will probably just want to hold on to your catapults and spend free Orc Warriors like water. Build up a sizable force of Orc Warriors in two groups and attack each location from two or three directions if possible -- sending a continuous stream doesn't really help and just draws trebuchets toward your camp.
Send in the Orcs first to draw fire from the trebuchets so that your catapults can counterfire and take them out. Take the two camps on the east side of the river and build up perimeter defenses to help with small enemy sorties.

Take one bridge to access the west side. Try to secure the archer towers with your own archers, but it is not really necessary. After clearing the final Gondor encampment on the west side, leave one or two buildings in the encampment standing so that you can arrange your forces -- otherwise, the mission ends immediately.

By the time the horsemen show up, you will probably have the Nazgul. You are probably using free Orcs at this time, so throw whatever forces you have to stop your advance, and send your Nazgul in to attack the centre of the horsemen herd. The Nazgul have an area effect attack, and can devastate the horsemen quickly.

You get Drummer Trolls in this mission, so your final force leaving the map should include them. You can only build Orcs, Trolls, and Haradrim, so I recommend a sizable force of combined Orc Warrior-Orc Archers, backed with Drummer Trolls, plus a few Trolls.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Southern Ithilien

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Southern Ithilien (+2 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

It is possible that you are starting with an enormous army of leftovers from Harad camps that allied with you on the Near Harad map. Just spend them like water and turtle to get the units you really want to keep.

Ignore the initial suggestion to have your Mumakils flatten the forests, because that will really just get your Mumakils killed. Just inch forward and the hidden units will reveal themselves when they attack.

At the start, split your force into two: One to hold ground against incursions from the west, the other to head north to raid the Gondor camp. If you have lots of Mumakil from Near Harad, send them ahead to disrupt enemy lines and if possible to take out the towers at the Gondor camp entrance. Follow up with any Haradrim Lancers you don't want to keep, and any Orc Archers or other units you do want to keep. The Gondor forces between the river and the Gondor base are thick and there are a lot of archers. Two Mumakil can make it but won't last long at the base entrance by the time they are there.
Destroy the entrance towers and the two Archery Ranges, then box in Gondor.

Next, fight your way west of your camp to secure the three towers. Park a unit of Orc Archers near the westernmost tower to take down any Gondor Rangers sneaking down from the north, from the Forbidden Pool behind the Gondor base.
The Forbidden Pool is behind the Gondor camp and guarded by Faramir. After you clear the initial defenders, it will continue to put out a steady stream of Rangers.

You can now secure the allied camp to the west. You could probably have secured it earlier, but even on Hard Difficulty, they can hold out indefinitely as they send a lot of raids and they and Gondor are at a stalemate. They also in that way keep Gondor from fully focusing all their attacks on you.
If you take over that camp early, you get more Building Sites and can therefore get more Resource production, but you will also then be fighting on two fronts, and you may not like that level of micromangement. Also, you will be limited to your Command Limit, so suddenly there are less units on the map against Gondor (since, as an ally, they do not add to your Command Limit).
However, this is actually not to your advantage, since Resources are good only for replacing units after a while. And if you are constantly replacing whole units, you are not advancing any toward Veteran status. When you are ready to attack Gondor, that camp will press their own attack, assisting you. After the Gondor camp is destroyed, take over the ally camp to achieve the Bonus Objective before finishing the map.

If you want to keep any Mumakil, I recommend you spend any that came over from Near Harad in taking out the Gondor base towers at the entrance and the Archery Ranges. Keep recruiting Mumakil and wasting them until you get a Level 3 Mumakil Pen, which gives you Mumakil that begin at level 2.

If you want to keep any Trolls, wait until you box in Gondor and take away their Archery Ranges. Then they will only send infantry out (which are not as dangerous to your trolls as archers), you can wipe out their squads with a gang of maybe 5 trolls until they all level up. Do not pick up trees until you get a Veteran Troll because until they are Veterans, they need to eat Orcs to heal, and they cannot do so if they have a tree in hand.

After Southern Ithilien, there are six territories you can conquer, but only two battles before the next scripted mission, Osgiliath. Isengard forces can capture Eastern Rohan (+10% Resources), Enedwaith (+10% Resources), the Fords of Isen (+20% Resources, +50 Command), and West Emnet (+10% Resources, +50 Command); Mordor can capture Central Ithilien (+20% Resources) and Emyn Arnen (+2 Power).

The Fords of Isen and West Emnet raise your Command Limit by +50 each, but there is a hard Command Limit of 600 in the Campaign, and you have already reached it, so choose territories for a different reason. The Fords of Isen and Central Ithilien both off +20% Resources; Emyn Aren offers +2 Power. We chose the Fords of Isen with Lurtz and Emyn Aren with Mordor.

Before the final conflict at Minas Tirith, you will be given the opportunity to conquer many territories, and Isengard's armies can move east and do conquests there. Therefore, at this point, choose whether you want to concentrate on using Isengard or Mordor, and focus on one army only for subsequent conquests, so that you can concentrate on getting units to high veterancy.
I recommend Isengard armies because their pikemen and armor (which renders them immune from the fire damage of fire arrows) makes them less of a headache to keep alive.
In hindsight I should have chosen Lurtz to capture the Fords of Isen and West Emnet.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Near Harad

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Near Harad (+50 Command)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

This is a very easy map as the Harad forces do not generally send anything tougher than Haradrim Lancers, who have no chance against your perimeter towers. Look on the north side of the map for three empty castle Building Sites and set them up with perimeter towers and mostly Slaughterhouses. You can look around the map for treasure or kill refugees for loot, but that is unimportant. Retreat all units to the far north, behind your camps and let the towers handle everything while you wait for 30000 in Resources.

While you are waiting, start building what you will ultimately want to keep as veteran units. You will end up with an excess of units from the camps you send Tribute, but they will all get slaughtered in the next map because Haradrim units generally have very little long-term staying power.
I recommend setting up 6 to 8 units of merged Orc Archers and Orc Warriors. You can't get Drummer Trolls yet, and you can't build any Mumakils until you take over at least one Haradrim camp. Also, once you take over a Haradrim camp, the other camps will fight your new Haradrim allies, increasing overall micromanagement on the map.

Complicating the issue is that you do not raze a Haradrim camp to take it over: Instead, once you get some units to the camp or get a Tribute Porter into the camp, it will surrender or ally with you and you take direct control of the camp. When all three camps surrender or accept Tribute, you win.

The Haradrim Lancers come at you almost continuously, so it is possible to farm Experience this way. Because Trolls have a vulnerability to ranged attacks, it is hard to level up Trolls this way, although you could try a massed Troll rush from the flanks once the Lancers are engaged.

It is not hard to kill a lot of lancers by simply having a lot of fire archer orcs, but attrition will eventually whittle down your units. I recommend that instead of tediously farming on the map, get the basic orc units you want on the next map, and then send Tributes out to quickly finish this map.
You can also recruit trolls, but I would recommend waiting to do so on the Southern Ithilien map, which is is less hectic.

When sending Tributes, you can only create one Porter at a time. Start with the southeast camp because they have Mumakils. Then from the southeast camp, build a Porter right away and head for the southern camp, because they also have Mumakils. Retreat all the Mumakils to the east each time so as many as possible will follow you to the next map. Finally, send a Tribute to the western camp.
Watch your Tribute Porters and they can still occasionally be attacked and might not make it.

If you are willing to wait, you might want to see if the southern and southeastern camp will eventually start killing each other off and producing veteran Mumakils from a level 3 Mumakil Pen. This can save you a lot of time on subsequent maps if you like playing around with Mumakils and want to keep some on subsequent missions.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Helm's Deep

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Helm's Deep (+50 Command, +1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Since you start the map with Rohan boxed in at Helm's Deep, this is an easy mission unless you want to complete the bonus objective -- to capture Helm's Deep before (both) reinforcements arrive -- in which case it becomes moderately difficult, but still easily doable since you will get the bonus even if the Surivivors from Fangor (Ents) arrive as long as you finish before reinforcements from Rohan arrive.

By now, both the armies of Saruman and Lurtz should have Pikemen and Wargs in their armies, which makes them strong against Rohan (and Gondor). From this point in the game, focus on one army to continue conquering territories with Isengard to maximize veterancy. Lurtz is an easier choice to play as he provides a +100% Damage passive Leadership bonus. Saruman requires more micromanagement as his powers are strong single strikes. You will probably have enough crossbowmen to kill any warrior heroes without either Lurtz or Saruman, so they are not a particular concern.

On my first attempt at Helm's Deep with Saruman, I stormed the main gate with a bomb and tried to strategically take command of units with Saruman. I still managed to complete the mission with all units surviving and before both sets of enemy reinforcements arrived (although you are still awarded the Bonus Objective if the Ents from Fangorn arrive but the reinforcements from Rohan have not).

The second run was with Lurtz, who helpfully levelled up from 4 to 5 and thus got his passive +100% damage Leadership bonus going. This time, I did not build any bombs and just had five ballistae bombarding the west wall. There is a section with an unused Building Site and Legolas standing on top. This is one of the thinner wall sections, and when it comes down, it opens a fairly wide breach.
As soon as it comes down, the enemy archers will swarm out like a tide and if you do not have crossbowmen to bottle them up, it will be annoying trying to chase them all down.
The main advantage of this route is that you can destroy their ability to produce troops by destroying all the farms there. Then, the wall separating that area from the keep is fairly easy to clear because you have a wide front to assemble your troops.
With this approach and Lurtz, I captured Helm's Deep and defeated all enemy Heroes with over a minute to spare before the first reinforcements from Fangorn could arrive.

Isengard (Lurtz) army at Helm's Deep

Whichever route you take, be careful with your Wargs because they are quite vulnerable to archers. Do not use them for deep strikes because you will probably lose a whole unit or two if they get tangled up trying to kill a hero and take too many hits from archers.
I used them to quickly trample and clear archer clumps and small horseman teams(supported by Lurtz, who can run a lot faster than my Pikemen-Archer Hordes, to shoot them down) on the walls to help my crossbows advance.
Against horsemen, set your Warg teams to run through and behind them so that you are mixed up with them as well as at front and side. This way, more of your Wargs can engage the horseman on the narrow wall.

If you decide to use bombs, you will probably need to clear the nearby walls as you must Deploy the bomb first once you get it to where you want it. If the bomb carriers are killed, the bomb disappears harmlessly.
Because the enemy has a longer range with their archers, depending on which section of wall they are at, they can actually hit your crossbowmen from behind the wall and not have to go up onto the battlements at all. Also, unlike at a regular walled camp or castle, on this map a ballista cannot attack anyone on top of a Helm's Deep wall -- it can only attack the wall.
The most reliable place to plant a bomb is at the main gate, where the enemy archers must go atop the walls, although you will probably have to clear the hero Gimli first. Then, instead of running a Berserker (which requires a level 2 Uruk Pit to recruit) to set off the bomb, shoot it with fire arrows or a fireball from Saruman.

Your troops will try to shoot gate doors as active enemies. You cannot therefore simply use an Attack Move or Guard and expect them to target only enemy units.

The overlapping passages can also be tricky for pathfinding to decipher if you click on them. Instead, click on an unambiguous section, or an enemy unit, to make sure your troops are getting to the correct location.

Gimli will not leave the gate even if all other troops have left and the fighting is inside the keep elsewhere. You will have to stop by and kill him if he is still standing there.
After you kill all heroes, you will not be notified that you have completed that Bonus Objective. You will, however, be awarded it during the statistics summary at the end.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Rohan

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Rohan (+50 Command)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

By now you should have several units of Pikemen or mixed Pikemen Hordes. This mission is remarkably easy with six units of Pikemen-Crossbowmen:
Rush the Rohan fortress in the northwest at the very start. About mid-way across the map, you will probably encounter Rohirrim finishing up a troll lair. Charge right through and you could possibly score as many as three chests of treasure (resources).
Since the Rohirrim can't really do anything to your Pikemen, keep going until you reach the city gates.
The enemy does not have perimeter towers that shoot at you, so park two units at the front gate, and two at each of the sides, blocking the Postern doors that let units out through the walls.

This technique of rushing Rohan castles and boxing them tends to work well, but couldn't really be done prior to Pikemen because of Rohirrim tramples.

The nearby Building Sites are probably occupied by Farms. Destroy them and build something on them. If you have at this point moved quickly enough, they will not have any other Farms on the map, and can't harrass you with Peasants.

When the Rohan reinforcements arrive after the countdown, they come from behind those Building Sites and aren't as threatening as they could be if they were allowed to merge and descend on your base. When they see your building on the Building Site, they will stop to attack it. Charge them and destroy them with Pikemen.

By now you should have an excessive amount of Resources from your base and maybe had time to fully upgrade all your troops. Bring up Ballistae and tear down the front gate and some adjacent wall sections. Pour your troops in to clear the base and win the map.

After the initial Rohan reinforcements, it is probably safe to secure the city with just 3-4 units, as long as you cover three sides (gate, north wall, south wall). The others can roam the map, but there isn't anything special to do except the Bonus objective of putting a garrison in the Ruined Towers.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Amon Hen

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Summit of Amon Hen (+1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

You start this map with Lurtz and a single Uruk Pit. If you lose either, you will probably not be able to rebuild them as you have no resources except assorted treasure chests and whatever you can get from the Devastation Power (if you have it). You will therefore have to be stingy if you want to complete this mission and still have a reasonable troop lineup to take with you on the next one.
I recommend not being too attached to the two units of infantry, although you will need them against large mobs of elves and to block heroes, who like to concentrate on Lurtz.

Take point with Lurtz and advance very carefully. He can shoot into the fog of war occasionally (once he has attacked at least one individual of a unit, even if the rest of the unit is inside the fog of war). He is also very hardy against the arrows of the Elven Warriors, so use him solo whenever you can to preserve your troops.

The "secret allies" are from a Troll Cave behind the Summit ruins (which Lurtz can scout without going up the summit). They do not continue to the next mission if they survive. Two more respawn when the existing two die.

After defeating Gimli, a horn will sound, announcing reinforcements. Quickly do an Attack Move (hotkey "A") on all your troops back to the Uruk Pit. This way, they will attack the various Elven Warriors that suddenly appear while you quickly shift your attention to the southeast part of the map.
There, two units of Uruk Hai Infantry are chasing Merry and Pippin. Select them and put them on their defensive formation so they will survive the initial Rohirrim charge. Direct them to move to the right to grab the treasure chests. Don't bother trying to save them after that as they can't survive a second trample.

In general, you will encounter a throng of Elven Warriors assisting a hero. Kill the Elves but run immediately if the hero goes after Lurtz. Once you use the Cripple power on the hero, it will mostly be up to concentrated crossbow fire and Lurtz's arrows to take them down. All of the heroes, including the halflings at the end, can easily kill Lurtz solo. Be very careful of Legolas and the halflings as they have strong ranged attacks.

Merge your crossbowmen with Pikemen so you don't have to rush to move them if a Rohirrim squad comes charging out when you aren't expecting them. By the time you see them coming out of the fog of war, it is probably too late to mouse over to the area, grab the unit and move them while hoping there won't be a traffic jam that freezes them in place.

After Amon Hen, you must finish conquering the Eaves of Fangorn, the Gap of Rohan, and Rohan itself before you can proceed to the next plot point, Edoras.
At this point, choose which hero you want to play Isengard with, and exclusively use them and their army. In this way, you can bring an army to higher veterancy than if you use both. I recommend Lurtz because his passive abilities make him more consistently useful than Saruman, who has to wait for his powers to recharge and who takes more micromanaging.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Edoras

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Edoras (+50 Command, +1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Warg Riders become available starting with Edoras. This is the last of the Isengard units that can earn veterancy, so finalize the composition of the veteran units you wish to keep with each of your Isengard armies. Wargs aren't as versatile or armored as Rohan or Gondor cavalry, but still useful for being able to mow down lots of units. Veteran wargs can handle even enemy Pikemen (e.g., Gondor Tower Guards) without getting slaughtered.

The early part of the map is remarkably easy as you face mostly peasants and Rohirrim with no defense against your Pikemen. Take the southern village and reinforce it with a lot of defenses. You are then safe to put your troops behind it and take a force north to clear the other town which is generally too far to interest the AI. Build some perimeter towers but concentrate on resource buildings there.
Now comes the tiresome siege, unless you want to simply keep throwing units at the town, which you can. Wargs can rush the gates and enter to make suicide runs and destroy critical buildings. None of the buildings will be replaced even if they sit on a build site.
The wall towers must be taken out as they have enough range to shoot into the city.

Only when you are ready for Edoras should you build Ballistae. The map is scripted to detect this. When this happens, the city becomes far more active and starts sending an endless stream of peasants, archers, elven warriors, and Rohirrim -- all of which you can quite safely handle with 3-6 Hordes of merged Pikemen-Crossbowmen.
You want to do this instead of turtling behind the southern town's defenses because they charge through your ranks to where they last saw your Ballistae. This is good, as running troops are not stopping to fight. Your Pikemen should quickly kill most charges, and those that run past should be killed by crossbows. Infantry and even archers trying to beeline past you should also be quickly handled by your crossbows without having to move your units much.

If you are not able to manage the AI rushes, recruit Wargs and charge into the city in teams of about 3-6. There is no fog of war on this map, so you can locate the Archery Ranges (first) and Stables (second) and destroy them. Wargs can trample infantry and run through squads of cavalry, and thereby keep going. Shift them to Line Formation for more armor (and therefore more longevity), and when you reach the target buildings, use their Howl to take down the building as fast as possible. Then keep moving as you will otherwise be picked apart by archers.
Once you destroy the Archery Ranges and Stables, the AI will continue sending peasants from farms; these should be manageable and quickly cut down. Between waves, advance your crossbows inside the city. Use your ballistae to take out the defensive towers inside the city and continue your advance.

If you can manage the enemy rushes and didn't need the suicide run wargs; or after you have destroyed their ability to produce more rushes, move your ballistae around until you clear all perimeter towers since they can fire into the city as well.
When you advance, move your ballistae close behind to quickly take out the smaller towers inside the city as soon as possible so your troops are not under constant fire from them. There is at least one tower, around the middle of the city, which cannot be attacked with melee.

Eowen is supposed to be in this map but you will probably inadvertently kill her at some point, either with a Warg Rider rush into the city, or when she eventually comes down into your Pikeman-Crossbowmen blockade. Even when she reappears at Minas Tirith in the final Evil Campaign mission, she doesn't last more than a few seconds against a veteran fire crossbow horde.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Gap of Rohan

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Gap of Rohan (+25 Command)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

This small map is very easy with Pikemen: Rush the Rohan city and box it in or mostly destroy it, leaving only one farm and a unit of Pikemen-Crossbowmen to destroy any peasants that mass and come at you. Then roam the map looking for the other objectives if you like.
If you do not have Pikemen, turtle at the base until you can get Pikemen.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Eaves of Fangorn

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Eaves of Fangorn (+10% Resources, +1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Start by grabbing the nearest build sites and putting Lumber Mills on them before starting your headquarters. Concentrate on Forges, then build up the perimeter defenses and one or two towers near the northwest because you will be using your camp against the initial Rohirrim rushes. After several rushes, the AI will have no more but will probably have upgraded archers into Elven Warriors.

Secure the north and west flanks with Saruman and a small elite force. Save the main force and reinforcements from your Uruk Pit to secure the middle passage where the bulk of the enemy will come.
On the side passages, ignore the enemy if small (peasant) forces take out your Lumber Mills because they can't get past your main base perimeter defenses. Instead, fight to the base sites and build defensive towers to block (most) further incursions.
Now, be careful with your veteran units (if you want to preserve them -- they can go up to level 4 in this map) and push into the main camp. If you need respite, the northwestern base (if you built it with defenses) can give you temporary haven against archers until you eventually whittle down the Rohan forces with infantry.
When you finally push into the camp, destroy the Archery Range first, which leaves only farms and peasant rabble as enemy units. Destroy their command center in the middle, then leave the area and set up blocking units to take out peasant sorties -- but do not win the map yet.

The small valley with ents and a building site is typically passive unless your forces or Saruman gets too close (usually by passing its north end), so you can safely save that for last.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Fangorn

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Fangorn (+20% Resources, +1 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

You start with one free unit of crossbowmen with fire arrows (in case you lost both in the previous map).

All the enemy units here are hand-placed and do not respawn because they accumulate no resources. So take your time, and take point with Saruman to draw them out into your crossbowmen. You can arrange your crossbowmen into two lines to form a corridor so that the enemy can continue to pursue Saruman instead of stopping to engage your crossbowmen. This is very important against Ents, who cannot be stopped by infantry in their way.

TreeBeard likes to pursue Saruman exclusively. He is approximately the same speed, so Saruman can lead him in circles while crossbowmen attack and finally bring him down. The other Ents are less persistent against Saruman, and you will have to be careful because they cannot be stopped by infantry in their way, and can trample through all your units at this stage of the game.

After Fangorn, you must attack either the The Eaves of Fangorn or the Gap of Rohan. In both maps, you will also have to contend with Rohirrim charges -- and the AI will have several units to start. Because you won't get any Pikemen until after the Summit of Amon Hen, the Rohirrim charges will have to be deflected or distracted.
You can do this by either letting them encounter buildings or Saruman first -- in both cases, they stop immediately (because they cannot trample these targets?). If your ground troops weren't first in sight, during this pause in their charge, move in quickly and finish them. Even one horseman trampling can do an enormous amount of damage, and one squad can trample your entire Command Point limit in literally under a minute. This is very annoying because you can get your level 3 veterans from the Fangorn map levelled up to level 4 here.

Rushing is not recommended as you have nothing to contain or quickly take down several squads of Rohirrim at the start and Saruman. Try to take point with Saruman as it is nearly impossible to out maneuver the Rohirrim with foot troops.
A great way to stop a charge is for Saruman to hit them with the Wizard Blast, which is likely to kill them instantly but might affect only one squad even if others are following close and in the blast cone.

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign - Isengard

Battle for Middle Earth - Evil Campaign Map - Isengard (+25 Command, +2 Power)
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

The Evil Campaign starts here with the hero Saruman. Don't worry about unit veterancy as you really don't have access to any upgrades, and you can later buy your units level 2 instead of earning it the hard way.
You start with two hordes of Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen with the Fire Arrow upgrade. You will want to hold on to these against the Ents on this map as well as the Fangorn, Eaves of Fangorn, and the Gap of Rohan maps.
You also have several Pikemen on the walls. Gather them up and keep them safe as you will need those against a Rohirrim charge later. You will not be able to carry them over to the next mission.

On this map, we will want to end up with some Crossbowmen to upgrade and keep. Eventually it will be nice to merge them with Pikemen so they aren't so vulnerable against being trampled by cavalry, but for Saruman this is a long way off in Mission 5. Try not to merge them yet.

On this map, you will be attacked by Ents and Elves from the east -- you can know this beforehand if you hovered your mouse over Isengard on the world map and look at the tooltip that comes up, indicating the enemy forces. Put your archers on the walls against the Ents and harrass them with expendable Labourers from Lumber Mills while your crossbows keep shooting.
Against the Elves, who have superior range with their arrows, move your crossbows to ground behind the walls and wait for them to come to the gap made by the Ents. Rush them with infantry or outshoot them with superior numbers.

Except for the fire arrow upgraded Crossbowmen, there aren't much in the way of troops worth keeping here, so instead focus on what you do want to keep and on levelling up Saruman. If you keep the fire arrow Crossbowmen, you can get one or maybe both improved to level 3.

For the final battle against the Rohirrim, put your crossbowmen on the walls and the pikemen at the gate. Charge the Rohirrim with your expendable labourers to draw the Rohirrim out. They will trigger the Cloudbreak and will probably get trampled to death by the Rohirrim. The reason you want this is because you don't want to fight them out in the open where they can trample all your troops. Instead, let them come to the choke point (gate) where they have to get past the Pikemen. The pikemen will stop the charge and any that get through can be picked off by your horde of crossbowmen waiting on and behind the walls.
Have Saruman on the ground flank the Rohirrim and take out their mounted archers. Especially since all your troops are massed at the gate for this battle, remember to use the War Chant if you've got it.

Battle for Middle Earth - Faction - Mordor

Battle for Middle Earth - Faction - Mordor
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Mordor is a very disappointing faction to play in the Campaign because it can be really hard to level up the cool monster units and keep them with you from mission to mission. The only unit that has any real cross-campaign survivability is a combined Orc Warrior-Orc Archer Horde at a combined cost of 50 Command Points per Horde.
The Banner upgrade is available at both the Orc Pit and the Haradrim Palace, but you only need to choose it once at either place, and it will be available for all applicable units.

Mordor is also very hard to play if you want to retain veterancy of your units because if you engage a large force of the wrong type of unit, you will probably lose your own. Archers (especially with fire arrows) will slaughter your Mûmakils and Trolls. Cavalry of any kind can potentially wipe out all your orcs. And your Haradrim are vulnerable to attrition because of their small squad size and lack of healing (except through Veterancy) for evil factions. In all cases, it is very hard to withdraw your forces in time because of the longer range of enemy archers and the speed of enemy cavalry.

Very vulnerable to arrows and fire, and weak against Giant Eagles.
They are also one of the few units that can attack a Gondor wall tower: All other factions have wooden towers and are vulnerable to regular attack. Gondor's stone towers (on the walls -- not those inside the base) typically require a siege engine to take down.

In the Evil Campaign, you only get to play Gollum briefly, during the Cirith Ungol mission.

Orc Warriors
In the early stages of a map, build an Orc Pit first unless you are already at your Command Point Limit. Follow with a Slaughterhouse because in the worst case, you can build Orc Warriors (they cost no resources) and send them into the Slaughterhouse for resources.
For free units, they are remarkably hardy. They are very expendable and can be sent to the Slaughterhouse to get Resources. Use Shift-Click to queue or un-queue groups of 5 (you can queue a maximum of 20 builds, including upgrades, in a single building).

As they are free, you can have Orc Warriors use their Bloodthirsty power on each other. If you have the Eye of Sauron or a Drummer Troll, they can get experience very quickly and in this way you can bring them up to level 2 with time instead of Resources. Once you merge them with Orc Archers, the entire merged Horde also becomes level 2 (but all experience is reset to 0, no matter how much you had during level 2).

Orc Archers
Incredibly fragile in melee, so you are pretty much forced to protect them by merging them with Orc Warriors, which will helpfully try to position themselves in front. This is the only true combo in the Mordor army, and possibly the one with the best long-term survivability for accumulating veterancy at a combined 20 orcs per battalion.

Haradrim Lancers
The main advantage of the Lancers is the incredible amount of damage they put out per lance throw. Once your Orc Archers get the Fire Arrow upgrade, however, this advantage is considerably muted unless the target has Heavy Armor (which negates fire damage).
What makes Haradrim Lancers more or less useless is the fact that they are only 5 men per squad and need to be protected against tramples, which you can't really do easily as you can't merge them with Soldiers of Rhûn. Long-term unit survivability depends on having survivors in a unit to respawn, and Haradrim Lancers don't have enough numbers to survive a pitched battle without your losing whole units. And even losing two or three will render the unit out of combat until it can respawn fully -- which can take a long time.

Soldiers of Rhûn
At only five men per squad, this unit is vulnerable to being wiped out and not respawning to fill their ranks. Other than this, they are average against infantry but very strong against archers and cavalry, especially in their defensive formation. They have a lot of Health to start, and therefore good overall survivability for just 5 men per squad -- but only against small numbers of the enemy. Against larger numbers, individual squads will get wiped out, and you therefore face attrition. As they can only be recruited from a level 2 Haradrim Palace, you will also have to pump out several units of Haradrim Lancers, and somehow get rid of them if you are at your Command Limit, before you can recover your complement of Soldiers of Rhûn.

Soldiers of Rhûn are one of Mordor's reliable defenses against cavalry because although Trolls are very good against all troops, they cannot be retreated quickly enough from any unit and are taken down too quickly by archers, especially if they have the Fire Arrow upgrade. If you send Trolls into thick combat or if there are more enemies than you anticipated, you may very well lose the whole unit. Even if you lose only one or two Veterans, you've lost a significant investment as Trolls are hard to level up. With the Soldiers of Rhûn, all you need is one Veteran squad member alive to eventually regenerate the entire unit.

Soldiers of Rhûn can draw arrow fire and are in that way good as cannon fodder, but overall unit survivability is very low against massed archers, and if your entire unit dies, you've lost all Veterancy with it. If you can protect yourself from cavalry tramples or quickly retaliate with a withering hail of arrows, Orc Hordes still have a better overall chance of advancing in veterancy from mission to mission.

Mountain Troll
Trolls are versatile units, but generally far too fragile against archers (and especially fire arrow upgraded archers) to be worth the effort getting them veterancy.

When running to attack something, they can rush as fast as cavalry. They also trample infantry, so in some ways Trolls are basically Mordor's cavalry. Unfortunately, they have huge vulnerabilities to archers and fire despite having a lot of Health, and even without fire damage (which you will almost always see by mid-campaign), they die remarkably quickly against archers with no upgrades. And because they are monsters at 1 per squad, once they are dead you've lost the whole unit and any veterancy that it might have had.

There are three special orders you can give a troll, and all of them are mutually exclusive. If a Troll picks up a Rock, it gets one throw and can take no other order until it has thrown the rock. If a Troll picks up a Tree, it won't put it down until it is severely injured and goes berserk (whereupon it might put it down, but not always). A Troll can only eat an Orc if it has its hands free. An injured, berserking troll can sometimes still be moved and ordered to eat an Orc, which will restore its Health and calm it down.
All three orders require a lot of micromanagement, and typically you will have to select one troll at a time to give the order, or it may not work. Trolls need to be close enough to rocks, trees, or orcs in order to pick them up (or you can select a rock or tree for it to pick up; your cursor will change to a grasping hand). And even if they are right next to an orc, it may not pick it up until it stops moving, so don't count on in-battle snacks to heal your trolls. If you want to retain any veterancy at all with your Trolls, you will have to commit to a certain amount of micromanagement.

Trolls do more damage unarmed, but tend to hit more units with a tree. It can damage structures, unlike most units. Because it can trample infantry and needs to have its hands free to eat Orcs, you are probably best off leaving it unarmed or picking up a Rock for the one initial throw, although veteran trolls get better looking tree weapons (i.e., spiked clubs).
Trolls can knock riders off horses, but the extra time gained from the horseman having to remount isn't significant.

Veteran trolls regenerate and do not go berserk when severely wounded. They are more reliable, but still need to be used for very careful strategic strikes to clear an enemy position. They run only when you have set them to attack a unit or fortification, so you cannot expect to retreat them from anything in time. Otherwise, they do run fast enough to be cavalry, and because they can trample, run a gang of them at the last rank of the enemy so they've flattened all of them and can finish them off while they are getting up.

Drummer Troll
The huge bonuses given by a Drummer Troll will stack with other bonuses, making Mordor potentially very powerful in select conflicts where you stack all these bonuses together and somehow hold on to your units so they can earn veterancy.
They are less vulnerable than regular trolls, but you do need to keep an eye on them as they can attack -- If you hotkey them as part of a troop selection, and give that group an attack order, they will stop drumming and attack when they sight an enemy. In that case, you need to manually select them and give them a move order or stop order to cancel the attack.

The biggest and coolest unit, but also the hardest to keep alive and achieve veterancy. If you want to try it, pick one mission to churn them out until your Mûmakil Pen is level 3, whereupon you can get level 2 Mûmakils.
Like all 1-unit squad monsters, once it's gone, it's gone with all it's Veterancy.

If you are not aiming for Veterancy, you should treat them as Siege Weapons and deploy them only when safe. Fire arrows are particularly deadly an can kill one in a remarkably short time. Even if you can retreat one, there's no point unless you can somehow heal it (Veteran units will heal on their own).

Mûmakils can hold any single, un-merged squad of infantry. If they happen to have ranged attacks, the howdah becomes a firing platform. Otherwise, the units are just being transported to a strategic offloading location. Remember to Evacuate the Mûmakil because if it dies, all units being transported are also lost and anything underneath and nearby will probably be crushed when it falls.

Mûmakils are hard to use in battle because they are tricky to move about. They often turn unpredictably because very big units have to give way to other units, or other units have to give way to them (although in the mess of melee, sometimes you will see two Mûmakils occupying the same location because there are just too many units about). Further, if you move your Mûmakil and your own units are moving out of the way, they are not fighting -- moving units do not fire or fight. This can make moving a Mûmakil in the thick of combat a liability for other units.

Also, when a Mûmakil attacks in melee, it has a stomp that hits a fairly wide arc -- including friendly units. So, depending on whether you are hoping to keep your Mûmakil around for Veterancy or are willing to sacrifice it to spearhead an assault, you can either put it in the back and add its howdah firing platform to support your troops; or you can keep them moving, trampling anything that gets in the way and breaking up enemy ranks for your archer follow-up to finish off.
A Mûmakil is the only unit that can Trample a hero, and can typically kill a hero outright in this way. Trampling and keeping a Mûmakil moving is generally safer than using its attacks, especially when you have friendly units nearby.

If you are besieging a walled city, watch for traffic jams. Either send your Mûmakils in one at a time (and take them deep in, focussing on trampling enemy units coming out of buildings) or have them take down walls and make their own entrances while your army enters in some other direction. While they are behind a wall, the enemy will probably ignore them as they are busy with the rest of your army choking the entrance.

Be careful if two Mûmakils are attacking buildings near each other. They do area-effect damage and can easily hit each other for massive damage.
This area effect damage can be turned to your advantage: If you attack a wall, you can sometimes hit the building behind the wall. Aim your Mûmakil so that the Mûmakil, the building, and the center of the base are all in a straight line; this will have your Mûmakil on the outside of the base be at the shortest distance to the building.

Although Mûmakil can have fire archer orcs on the howdah, it did not appear that they fired more than five or maybe six arrows (on a howdah there are six orcs plus one banner bearer who does not attack). Since orc archers do a base damage of (10 + 15 fire) = 25, even if there were 10 archers firing, this is still only 250 damage, and only 100 if the enemy has a Heavy Armor upgrade and is immune to fire.
Haradrim Lancers do a base damage of 40 on a howdah, and do not rely on fire, so they always output about 200 damage. Because they are only 10 Command Points (versus 30 for Orc Archers), we chose to put Haradrim Lancers on our Mûmakil.
That said, sometimes the AI can build a trebuchet on a destroyed section of Gondor wall. Normally, when the trebuchet is on a tower, one or two smashes from a Mûmakil will destroy the trebuchet. When the trebuchet is on the ground and there is no tower, the Mûmakil can attack it but not do anything to it, and it is resistant to arrows (but quickly destroyed by fire arrows).

Archers on a Howdah do not regenerate units until they dismount. Orc Archers are ten per squad compared to Haradrim Lancers, which are only five, and theoretically take less micromangement.

Mûmakil can trample horses and heroes, usually instantly killing both.

Mûmakil can frighten non-Veteran units, rendering them impotent until they are attacked. This is very valuable in a siege as new units do not start a Veterans, and are therefore frozen until the AI can buy them the Banner Bearer upgrade.

Battering Ram
The special Battering Ram, Grond, is available only in the Evil Campaign, at the siege of Minas Tirith. Unlike a regular battering ram, it cannot, however, attack anything except the gate of Minas Tirith.

Probably the best weapon in all of Mordor's forces, and in the Campaign, the last one you want to use extensively because it has no levels, gains no Veterancy, and does not follow you to the next mission. One of Mordor's great advantages is in getting Experience quickly with Drummer Trolls, and all of this is wasted on a catapult.

Unlike Isengard's massive Ballista, the Catapult is small and relatively maneuverable. It cannot trample anything, so it is even more vulnerable than the Ballista (which can trample infantry). But it fires quickly and has a much smaller turning radius, so you actually have a chance of retreating it to a different firing position and setting up to fire again.

It also has two modes of fire: The regular exploding pitch and a plague-tossing Release the Prisoners.
The first inflicts impact and fire damage instantly, often killing infantry in one blast. You may have to micromanage its fire to hit the centre of a unit, however.
Release the Prisoners fires plague-ridden bones that will cause non-veteran (level 1) units to flee. It inflicts damage over time, and does not hurt your own units, although it can still cause your own units to flee. It also does no damage to structures.

A group of 5 Catapults can be more or less left alone to handle any archers that do not have Fire Arrows, as archers will tend to stand still and return fire, which means they are sitting ducks against the catapult's superior area effect firepower. Meanwhile, the Catapult takes very little damage from arrows without the Fire Arrow upgrade (which can do a lot of damage to them). Once the enemy has Fire Arrows, it will start upgrading all its troops with them before sending them out.

Siege Tower
These can trample infantry.

Playing Mordor
For the Evil Campaign, there are only two mission where you have to play Mordor. The final mission in the campaign (siege of Minas Tirith) is a Mordor vs. Gondor map, but you can bring in Isengard troops.
I recommend against playing with Mordor because they have no heavy armor against fire arrows and by the mid-game, the enemy will have that very consistently if not always. Also, they are hard to protect against cavalry charges, so building veterancy will be hard not because experience points are easy to come by, but because you are likely to lose whole units very quickly.
Also, Mordor generally does not have any access to heroes during the Evil Campaign.

Fighting Mordor
Watch for the big units coming to break up your ranks. In the Good Campaign, Mordor gets free veteran trolls and they are hard to deal with when they rush. If you can sneak up on them (their sight range is less than that of your archers), you can quite safely take them out without them moving against you.