Friday, April 1, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth 2 - Good Campaign - Mission 5 - Grey Havens

Battle for Middle Earth II - Good Campaign Mission 5 - Grey Havens
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 is a tightly scripted mission that could play out the way the developers probably intended, or it can be utter disaster.
Here is how it is probably supposed to play:
  1. You recapture the port.
  2. You repeatedly build Warships until the blockade is clear.
  3. You capture the southern coast, and the invasion event triggers.
  4. You lose most of your remaining Warships intercepting the blockade.
  5. You rush your probably meagre land forces back to the port and lose most of them defending against the invasion.
  6. Dwarven reinforcements show up to replace your land battalions. You've lost enough battalions and ships to build new shps.
  7. You build new Warships, Bombardment Ships, and Storm Ships to handle waves 2 and 3. You intercept most of the transports so that what reaches shore can be handled by what you have there.
There are so many ways this can screw up if you do this mission as you are prompted to. The most likely way you will be crushed is through a lack of resources to keep up a steady stream of troops and ships. The second most likely way you will be crushed is if you play reasonably well but end up with too many surviving units. You will not be able to build the ships you really need because you have reached your Command Limit and/or don't want to recycle land units because you need them.
Instead, ignore the insistent prompting to recapture the shipyards and to capture the Corsair shipyards. Take your time fortifying the city and gathering resources.

The initial part of the mission is straightforward, but when it comes time to build ships, keep at least 6 Storm Ships in reserve when you are able to build them. If you don't build them now, your Command Point limit might not support them later when dwarf reinforcements appear.
Do not build any Ents to help you because they are pricey yet useless against the fire-arrow Corsair Warships (and although you can try using Builders to put out their fires, the Builders may come under fire and get killed too) and won't help too much later when the enemy invades the northern shore.

Six fully upgraded Elven Warships should be able to handle the pirates, but you can expect to lose one or two during their attack waves if you don't retreat heavily damaged ships quickly enough. Stay defensive and renew the number of Warships you have until you are told the blockade is broken. Send your ships down and blockade their shipyards to destroy Corsair ships as fast as they are built.
Send one Eagle (from your Elven Fortress) to destroy the catapult further inland, then land troops (or just your two heroes) to capture the south shore and the tavern. Capture only ONE shipyard and leave the other until you are ready for the coming invasion.
When you have secured the southern shore, bring your troops back to the mainland but keep one unit of something here to capture the last shipyard when you are ready to continue. Alternatively, summon Tom Bombadil here to do the same for you; Giant Eagles cannot capture structures.

The next phase of the mission will involve an astonishing number of enemy units coming in three waves if you cannot intercept their transport ships. To be on the safe side, build up your defenses on land before capturing both Corsair shipyards. Using whatever free space you have, plant fully upgraded Fortresses -- yes, multiple Fortresses -- along the shore.
Have no more than 1 Vigilant Ent per fortress to take out Corsair ships -- they can only do so when the ships have stopped moving (because they rocks they throw are directed at the LOCATION of the unit at the time it is attacked, not it's position when the rock is thrown, so the unit will already have moved safely off), so don't build too many Ents. Have towers for the rest of the Fortress Build Points. Goblins can scale walls, but other units often don't try to attack walls (even though they could) and can be shot down by fortress archer towers, or handled with Giant Eagles.
Where there is too little space for a Fortress, you can usually put down archer towers. In front of everything have a long wall. Part of the reason to fight from shore is because you can delay enemy troops with walls and catch them in a crossfire of land defenses and Elven Warships firing from offshore. You could, alternatively, defend at the chokepoint leading to your city (roughly middle north of the map) and plant a fortress and walls there.
Your archers can be put on the plateau in the centre of the beach and the rear guarded by pikemen and/or a short wall to further box it out. Or, mass all your battalions for "firefighting" later (explained below).

When your defenses are ready, capture the second shipyard to start the invasions.
Before each wave, position two Storm Ships spaced apart and directly far south of the northwest shore. Put them as far down as possible on the map. This way, their whirlpool can intercept as many enemy ships as possible as they appear.

Move your Warships to approximately the middle of the map and when an invasion fleet comes, use an Attack-Move to intercept whatever the Storm Ships miss. Continue all the way to the shore to help against any troops that land. It is entirely possible to destroy most of the enemy fleet at sea, if not all. (Against wave 3, a lucky positioning of my Storm Ships meant that just one killed off all the invasion fleet except 3 transports, and those were intercepted at sea -- no land invasion to fight.)

The Corsair run to the north coast happens very, very quickly -- far too quickly for Bombardment type ships with very slow attack rates to truly be useful, if you can even build any due to Command Point limits.
After wave 1 (of 3), Dwarves appear (and my Command Points jumped to 1200/1000 -- no room to build anymore ships), and their builders can build better walls (with weapon emplacements and Postern Gates instead of regular gates). But by then there may be no time to build anything reasonable, however.

If enemy troops actually land, WAIT before sending your own battalions to help the Fortresses there fight them off. Instead, use "firefighting" -- watch for where they are actually making headway or doing significant damage against a Fortress and send them over there. If the fortresses are doing fine, leave it alone and rebuild after the attack.

The Corsair Warships and Corsair Transports eventually leave after troops have been unloaded, and you do not have to defeat them to win the mission even if they linger at the coast -- you only have to destroy the troops that land.

TreeBeard and any Giant Eagles you have summoned count toward the "Heroes Defeated" statistic.

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