Friday, April 1, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth 2 - Good Campaign - Mission 8 - Dol Guldur

Battle for Middle Earth II - Good Campaign Mission 8 - Dol Guldur
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth II. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth II posts here.

This disappointingly easy mission (after the close call at Erebor) is long and tedious. What makes it easy is the AI's focus on sending units instead of siege engines. It would be more irritating if they sent catapults, but those are reserved for base defense, and you can avoid sending in units by using Tier 3 and Tier 4 powers to take out catapults, Troll Cages, and Siege Works. Against the monsters the AI will send at you, Silverthorn Arrows are overpowered. A single battalion of level 5 Lorien Archers can kill a Balrog in short order if they can fire unopposed. Dragons take much longer so having four battalions will help a lot.

Elrond starts at level 10 and his FarSight power practically wins the battle for you as you can choose where to plant your Earthquake, Sun Scorch, Flood, and Barrage. Choosing to take out catapults lets you advance with Ents.

The Northern Signal Light summons Dwarves from Erebor with King Dain, Glorfindel, and Gloin. Dol Guldur sends two trolls to attack that area periodically.
The Southeastern Signal Light summons Mirkwood Elves with Arwen (at level 10). Dol Guldur sends 2 battalions of Orcs (usually Orc Warriors and Orc Archers) to attack that area periodically.
Both reinforcements take about 3 minutes to arrive. You still have a hard Command Limit cap of 1000.

Dol Guldur sends two Attack Trolls across the central bridge periodically.
Dol Guldur will periodically use the Summon Dragon Power, and tends to plant at a Fortress and re-summon in the same location thereafter. If you don't kill it quickly enough with SilverThorn upgraded archers, you will probably lose all your Fortress towers the first time it breathes. Your Fortress will be harder to take down, though. Position upgraded archers wherever the Dragon likes to show up.
At river fords, Dol Guldur likes to summon a Watcher in the Water. Inside the fortress, it likes to summon Wyrms.
None of the monsters summoned by Dol Guldur have a time limit even though this is normally the case with One Ring powers. If you click on them, their "Time Remaining" bar does not tick down.

Start defensively and explore with Elrond. Don't bother building any Mallorn Trees yet since it will just split your forces to defend them. Accumulate resources and upgrade your troops or hire more Lorien Archers.

Early on, move Elrond across the bridge (but don't linger there because of the catapults), the lower levels of Dol Guldur, plus the entire forest, is revealed making it easier to see assaults coming. Wait until Dol Guldur's veteran troops have been exhausted, then slowly clear the eastern forest with your Lancers but don't capture the Signal Fire yet since it will cramp your ability to build the types of units you want. Also, since both Signal Fires are critical mission objectives, delaying at least one will allow you to take your time with the other Bonus objectives.

Once one side is clear, build Mallorn Trees and secure the southeastern ford with a Fortress with at least one Floodgate Expansion facing the ford. This should be enough to clear out any Orc sorties.

When your Resources start flowing in, start upgrading. Recycle your Dwarven Axe Throwers (which you can't upgrade yet); build whatever forces you like, but I recommend Lorien Archers as they can be armored and you won't need much Stealth here. Save room for three to four Ents.
You'll need about three archer teams: two for the main approaches where Dol Guldur likes to send trolls since Elven defensive structures are useless against trolls (non-veteran trolls can take down any tower in about two hits); and wherever Dol Guldur likes to summon its Dragon.

Next, clear the north side and box that in. Build more Fortresses to get Eagles. Have at least one team of two Eagles to take down catapult towers and arrow towers. Two Eagles can do so in one hit; they cannot be fired upon by catapults, but they are very vulnerable to arrows, so try to have Ents handle those. There is a limit of 16 faces on the bottom of the screen, so if you call too many Eagles, you won't see some heroes and will need to have them hotkeyed to find them on the map quickly.
Ents can typically take two hits before they are killed by catapults, so a team of Ents to quickly take one down is better than a lone Ent. However, traffic jams can give the catapults free hits. Arrow towers do very little against Ents.

Chip away at tower defenses until your economy is powerful enough to plant two Fortresses at the northwest and southeast corners. Then, using Elrond's Farsight Power, locate something deep in Dol Guldur and level it with a power or two. As soon as you attack that deeply, the entire map is generally revealed, probably (but not always immediately) a Balrog will come out from Dol Guldur, and shortly after a countdown of about 7:30 minutes starts for a Mordor Counterattack. Since time and resources are on your side, don't worry about losing even multiple Fortresses in repelling the Mordor Counterattack.
The Mordor counterattack involves sizable forces at the northwest and southeast. Use eagles against the catapults, but not too early as concentrated archer fire will kill them. The northwest attack will probably be the more annoying one because of the Mumakil.
Once the Mordor Counterattack is over, you can slowly chip away at Dol Guldur until you win. Flatten Troll Cages and Catapults first because they can give you a lot of trouble. Ents can steadily destroy everything from over a wall, so you can basically send in a team of 3 backed by one battalion of Lorien archers for closer combat.

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