Saturday, April 2, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth 2 - Rise of the Witch-King - Mission 2 - Conquest of Rhudaur

Battle for Middle Earth II - Rise of the Witch -King - Mission 2 - Conquest of Rhudaur
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth II: Rise of the Witch-King. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth II posts here.

You start with a wide variety of units. I recommend restarting this mission several times while you play around with first and second Tier powers as well as the various units.
Some things I found are...
  • Snow Trolls really can trample everything (at least everything you encounter in the campaign so far) without fear. At about 4x the Health of regular cavalry, they still take a lot of damage, but one solid trample to kill the enemy is all they need. For maximum effect, engage the enemy with Morgomir first, as his Dread Visage lowers enemy damage and armor; and turn on the Snow Troll Charge, which increases damage and armor.
  • Snow Trolls run slower than typical cavalry, so if you mix them with wolf riders, they will get separated, and if you have hotkeyed them together, you won't charge and turn them properly.
  • The Thrall Master units are rubbish -- they cannot receive upgrades and you cannot discard them to call new units, which completely negates the flexibility of the Thrall Master to choose units. Hwaldar does give bonuses to Hill Men, but it might not be worth the trouble as you can probably get by with just two types of units: Snow Trolls for cavalry and Dark Rangers.
  • Dark Rangers have a range with their arrows (not the power, but their regular attack) that is greater than that of an archer tower. You can therefore use them to safely take out an archer tower without Troll Stone Throwers.

The entire map is revealed, only you cannot see troops outside your visual range. You can therefore locate Hwaldar first by looking for his cage. Get him freed as soon as possible because he starts at only level 1. He can go up to level 4 while the Witch-King and Morgomir can get to level 6.

You start this mission with a limited number of green troops. Take point with your heroes and have them soak missile fire while your archers shoot back or while you maneuver your cavalry in to trample. You will probably want to do the former as moving troops in too close to a camp can get you swarmed.

Once you have secured all the camps, quickly plant a fortress at both river fords, although the northern one will probably be the active one, sending very large sorties of veteran troops across the river. One fully upgraded fortress should be able to hold them off without assistance if you have maybe two catapult towers on the side away from the river ford. I recommend one Wolf Pen pointing at the river to keep the enemy troops briefly tangled up while your fortress catapult towers bombard them. Put your four free Troll Snow Throwers behind the fortresses to add firepower.

Now, hold ground and blanket your side of the river with Mills to start your resources. Fully upgrade your fortress, then start using the Witch-King's Sanctum iceball (Winter's Wrath) power from your fortress to soften the enemy base (taking out troop buildings and trebuchet towers) while you continue building -- remember that the entire map is revealed except for enemy units, so you can easily locate and target dangerous buildings like Catapult Towers.
Cover the road exits with fortresses. Double up the fortresses at each river ford or map entry point if you like. Recycle units you don't want and replace them with the ones you do want. I recommend a force of nothing except Snow Trolls and Dark Rangers.

The first reinforcements come from the north road, close enough to the northern river ford that your fortress there can probably handle them. If you have your Witch-King's Sanctum power ready, you can actually destroy the entire force with a nicely timed bombardment just as they are clumped and entering the map, especially if they stop to attack a Mill or fortress.

Because Winter's Wrath has a limited range, you can either build more fortresses as close to the river as possible to get more uses of the power, or after you've softened them enough just move in with your troops. If you have taken out the troop-producing buildings in the north west base, the AI will start sending out raiding parties from the southern base. There are some units leftover at the Gondor bases to keep it protected, but you can blindly bombard them as well as other buildings. It will take a lot of bombardments to actually destroy the enemy fortress -- I tried with 6 Witch-King's Sanctums and it only took a fortress down to about half Health.

In this mission, the Witch-King and Morgomir can both get the wight-making Morgul blade power. Keep it on automatic as any living unit killed can get you a very useful level 5 wight.
Wights heal when they hit the enemy, so a single wight can potentially take out one or two battalions that can't kill it quickly enough.

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