Sunday, February 20, 2011

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.

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