Dead Water

From The Battle for Wesnoth Wiki
Revision as of 01:48, 15 December 2015 by Inky (talk | contribs) (The Mage)

This walkthrough started with comments taken from the source data files for this campaign, which are based on normal difficulty. Maiklas3000 updated the comments for difficult (Triton/nightmare) level. Feel free to add your own comments and you can place your attribution here (using "edit" at the bottom.)

Campaign Strategy

You have piercing-attack Mermen to fight pierce-resistant Undead. What to do? Fortunately, for this campaign you are given a special impact unit, namely the Merman Brawler, which is an advancement of Merman Citizen, the peasants of the Mermen. Spamming Citizens and promoting them to Brawler is one way to play the campaign. Brawlers backed by leadership are especially deadly. Take note of the Brawlers' tail attacks with "stun", which can sometimes be used to good effect to disrupt Z.O.C's. Alternatively, or in addition, you can focus Netcasters and Priestesses, with some Enchantresses. You should aggressively advance Hunters to Netcasters for their impact attacks, with "slow" as a bonus on the ranged attack. Many scenarios benefit from having at least two healers, so you should also promote an Initiate or two (or three) to Priestess early on, to supplement your starting Priestess, Cylanna, whom you should try to promote quickly to Diviner for the illumination. Fighters/Warriors and Spearmen are less useful in this campaign, but you do not always fight Undead, so groom a few on your roster "just in case."

Along the way, you will gather several loyal units that will remain with you until the end, if they survive. So, make sure they survive, replaying scenarios if necessary.

By the way, this is a campaign where it pays to read one scenario ahead, to see if you can better prepare yourself.



  • Objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 30/28/26/26 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, Gwabbo and six citizens.

This scenario is tricky. Mastering a winning strategy may take you a few attempts. Ultimately, it's not as hard as it looks.

A key feature of this scenario is that when the Undead capture any village, Walking Corpses spawn. (Soulless spawn on Difficult.) In light of this, you have two possible strategies, with which players have had success:

Option 1: "General Motorsing". Your basic strategy should be to take and hold as many villages as possible, both to prevent the spawning and boost your income. If you don't let many villages fall into enemy hands, eventually your income will be overwhelming. First turn, recruit a mix of level 1's and Citizens. Send a couple level 1's south to capture and protect villages there and send the Citizens in all directions to snatch up villages. Concentrate on keeping Cylanna and Gwabbo safe. You can take horrifying losses of other units and still win. By day, swarm your Citizens around isolated enemy units, similar to bats.

Option 2: Leader assassination / blitzkrieg. First turn, recruit only (or mostly) level 1 units. When you see an opening to go for the enemy leader, advance and kill him. The enemy will be focused on capturing villages in order to create an overwhelming number of Walking Corpses - so much so that you may be able to just walk in and kill their leader.

You can also do a combination of these two approaches, sending a semi-strong contingent south and then along the bottom of the board to the enemy leader, while most of the enemy's units are distracted up north.

You can let the swimming Soulless/WC advance a bit towards your keep, so that your baby king can dart out to get an easy kill or two. As Gwabbo hints, you would be wise to get Krellis as much experience as possible this scenario; it will make the next scenario much easier. It's also much easier to defend when you're sitting on villages, like those around your keep.

Keep your Citizens and wounded safe from becoming WC's, which often means sitting them on villages, but you can think of other ways, like using the ZOC's of level 1's and 2's to protect them.

Bat control is essential. Initiates are good against bats. A key to success is understanding how the bats work. Often, bats will forego capturing a village in favor of making an attack. So, if a bat can capture a village, try to distract it with some Citizen bait.

If you start losing villages, it may not be the end of the world. You can sacrifice the land villages, but hold the ones in the water, using a couple of Fighters/Hunters plus Citizens. Use Cylanna, Gwabbo, and a few Citizens to hold off the Skeletons and Soulless/WC southeast of your keep until the village situation is under control. Remember to look for an easy path to the enemy leader, even if there are swarms of Walking Corpses elsewhere.

Towards the end, your income probably will be quite large, so if the situation is under control, then it's better to milk XP than go for an early finish. You can swarm the enemy keep with Citizens and take your time to end it. Try to get Krellis to level 1, while also turning some of the Citizens into Brawlers.


  • Objective: Either
    • Move Kai Krellis to the north-west corner of the map. He must be level 1 or higher.
    • Defeat all enemy leaders (different bonus for each).
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 21/22/23/24 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, Gwabbo (if he survived the previous scenario).

Hopefully Kai Krellis is at least half leveled up already. Otherwise, this can be painful, as one of the victory conditions is that the Kai must be at least level 1.

You must decide whether to attack east or southwest. To the east is the prospect of more experience, while to the southwest is an easier foe and less distance for Krellis to travel back to the signpost.

Option 1, east: Recruit a bunch of Citizens, Brawlers, and Initiates, and send them east with Krellis. Use Citizens to lure the Skeleton Archer types into the water. They are easy pickings there for other Citizens, Brawlers, and Krellis. One of those guys gets Krellis half way up to level one. A few Citizens should also survive to become Brawlers. Remember that you can often turn a near-dead Citizen into a healthy Brawler by going for a kill, especially with the leadership of Krellis if he is already at level 1. About the time you get Krellis leveled up, and you are thinking about retreating everyone else, the bats will arrive. On Difficult, this will be a nasty number of Blood Bats. Use Hunters and Initiates to clear a path back west. Send three or four expendable units with Krellis. Their job is only to serve as bat bait, distracting the bats from Krellis, so that he does not get ZOC-locked. Krellis runs for the corner, while the rest of the troops gain experience doing a fighting retreat from the skeletons and other bad guys arriving in the middle of the map. On the other hand, if you manage to kill the northeast leader, you can consider the alternative of heading south and then west, to kill the final two leaders for a total victory.

Option 2, southwest: Send Citizens east, while your best troops go southwest. After you advance to where you meet the enemy, you will start retreating almost as quickly, especially at night. Feed near-dead Blood Bats to Krellis for experience.

Whichever option you choose, this is not the normal sort of scenario where you necessarily will slaughter all the enemy. It suffices to get enough experience for Krellis to level up and then have him run like hell for the signpost. Ignore gold for now. You don't need much on the next level.

Killing all the enemy leaders will end the level, but that won't be easy. However, killing any enemy leader gives you a nice reward so you should consider defeating as many leaders as you can manage. Each one gives you a different bonus: defeating Mal-Kevek grants you a loyal Dread Bat, defeating Mel Daveth gives you a loyal Vampire Bat and a ring of strength (+1 to all attacks and +3 hitpoints) and defeating the Dead Knight gives you a loyal Bat Corpse and 120 gold. Even if the enemy armies outnumber you greatly, when you manage to assassinate a leader, all of his troops will go down with him.

Wolf Coast

  • Objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 18/17/16/16 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

This is a fairly easy level to give you a break. Go north, then lure wolves into the water where you can pick them off. If the wolves come in too big of a pack, you can split them up by sending Citizens off to the edges, in (or next to) shallow water.

You really should get a second healer leveled up here if you haven't yet. Netcasters and enchantresses are probably your next priorities. You'll want a bunch of both.

There is a storm trident in the east, sticking out of a pond. A fighter would be a wise choice of holder, simply because they have a lot of hit points. With the trident, he will level quickly. When you get him to level 3, choose Triton, as Hoplites have only pierce melee attack (bad for Skeletons.)

Money is useful going into the next scenario, but it's hard to get money out of this scenario. Scrounge every gold piece you can by starting with mostly level 1's (and 0's) and taking villages. Rushing for an early finish isn't really a good idea, as the next scenario also demands leveled troops (or better yet: about to level troops.)

edit nuorc: I gave the trident to Krellis, although I had to be careful about the right timig so he didn't get chewed up. After that he had a ranged attack (unlike before), and he either killed enemies helping levelling him, or he softened up the opponent helping levelling my other units, both being great with the leadership ability.

scorchgeek: I had great success with a leader-rush tactic. I recalled a spearman and an enchantress and sent them southeast to kill the wolves, then recruited three citizens and also sent them that direction. Then I recalled a couple more L2 units and sent them northwest with the starting units to the very edge of the map. All of the wolves then charged south, whereupon I sacrificed the citizens (keeping them in the water to slow down the orcs) and sent the valuable units west out of their reach. At this point I had three turns to sweep in and take out the leader before they could get back north (done by turn 8), which gave me a nice 285 gold to start the next scenario. The only downsides were that I didn't get a chance to get the storm trident and that I had only 6 L2 and L3 units for the next scenario (but I levelled nearly that many in the next scenario, as it was relatively easy with that amount of gold).


  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 30/28/26/24 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

This is one of those scenarios that some will find impossible. However, rest assured it is possible, even on Difficult/Nightmare.

You get a free, loyal brawler.

There are two cages on the shore. One contains Keshan, a Drake Burner who can be very useful during the campaign, and the other contains a poacher named Siddry. He's not going to be much help here, and he won't come with you. However, if you keep him alive, he comes back in The Flaming Sword with some friends who are a big help taking villages in the beginning (and not much help thereafter).

The shipwreck in the north contains a treasure chest with 100 gold.

Recruit about two castles, one of which should be all level 2's. Hopefully that includes at least one more healer. Healers are essential here. Also, any units close to leveling are especially good.

Send a quick Citizen north to get the gold and villages along the way. Send everyone else east. Hang back a bit during the first watch of the first night: don't try to grab as much territory as possible; instead, try to lure the Saurians into the water.

During daytime, be aggressive in taking out the troops and getting to the leader, but don't leave any units out and exposed. At night, be conservative and forego attacks that would put your units at risk. As always against Saurians, maintain a solid line and make constant use of CTRL-V to watch where the enemy can move.

For triggering the slave revolt, a nice time is turn 7, after you have finished your attacks. It's dusk then, and the slaves will distract the Saurians from counterattacking you that turn and on into the night, plus it will slow down the Saurians coming from the North. However, if earlier you find you find yourself with a hole in your line or a unit in jeopardy, that's going to be your best time to pull the trigger on the slave revolt.

When it's safe, rescue the drake, and try to get him some experience—carefully. When he advances, maybe in a later scenario, choose Drake Flare, for the leadership bonus, as you will often have large hordes of level 0/1 troops and only one other leader, Krellis.

After taking out the leader and taking over the keep, you can recruit a unit or two as replacements, and maybe a couple of Citizens for distractions, but you probably will not need more than that. As additional waves of the enemy arrive from up north, you may need to continue to maintain a disciplined line at a favorable location.

After that it should be no problem wiping out the other two leaders—if you have survived this far, you have quite a few high-level units. Advance cautiously, while keeping an eye on the clock.

Note: If you find you cannot beat the scenario, you may need to go back and replay the campaign to this point, concentrating on promoting units in each scenario and gathering gold in the previous scenario.


  • Objective: Destroy all the undead.
  • Bonus objective: Also kill Marg-Tonz (early finish bonus).
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 18/17/16/16 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

This level is not too hard, so long as you give the high level undead their due respect.

Don't go too negative on gold, but recruit three or four high-level units. You need mostly leveled initiates for their arcane or magical ranged attacks. Keshan is a big help, and so is the unit with the storm trident.

Back off at the initial advance of the undead, waiting until daytime to go after them. Keep a solid line to protect against Shadows/Nightgaunts.

If you decide to go after the orc leader, wait until the undead are dispatched. Heal everyone, then assemble just to the north of his keep. Don't touch the ships or piers though! Wait until daytime, then send in all the units with arcane/magical attacks. Use other units to keep the slurbows busy. Hopefully the leader won't kill anyone before your next turn. One more round of magical attacks should kill him before his recruits start beating you up. Killing the orc leader isn't really necessary, but he helps someone level up, and he has about a hundred gold. The next level is much easier with lots of gold.

Uncharted Islands

  • Objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 25/24/23/22 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

Get some Citizens to capture villages and some more Citizens and level 1's to serve as cannon fodder to help soak up the awesome damage capability of the first wave of monsters. Then, recall your most powerful units. You need firepower. You also could really use the slow ability of Netcasters and Entanglers. Two healers are probably a minimum. Brawlers have no place here.

Slide the first Citizens around the edges capturing villages. This is mostly to distract the enemy and disperse his units, weakening his first assault wave, which arrives at night. Don't worry about gold—you probably can't start the next scenario with more than the minimum.

Keshan can handle the upper bottleneck section himself or with a small escort. He is good against the tentacles and even the cuttlefish, if he stays healed. If you lack Keshan, then an Entangler will suffice.

Keep everyone else along the middle bottom, using terrain to your advantage. Use the bottom board edge to protect your rear until it is safe to advance. As always, keep an eye on time of day. Use your auras as much as possible: leadership and illuminate (Cylanna is a diviner by now, isn't she?) Use "slows" to keep all your units from dying. You will probably lose a couple leveled-up ones anyway.

If you cannot win by a fair fight, you always have the option of leader assassination, sliding your assassination force along the north edge of the board, while the bulk of your force stays in the middle.

When you finish off the enemy leader, he gives you a loyal Cuttle Fish. It is isn't terribly useful, but cool to have anyway. When the Cuttle Fish levels into a Kraken, he is quite a bit nicer to have.


  • Objective: Defeat the enemy leader.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 24/22/20/20 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

This scenario should be rated "R" for massive violence! Both sides can do lots of damage to the other.

This is a good scenario for you to use all the piercing units you have. Hopefully you haven't been totally ignoring the spearman and warrior lines. Even level one units supported by leadership can do pretty high damage to drakes, so you can level up some more here. Get piercing units, almost exclusively. Netcasters aren't really necessary, and one diviner is enough (but a second healer can help.)

If you're not in a hurry, you can play it patiently and not recall/recruit anyone, aside from maybe a few level zero Citizens, for about four turns. The drakes will take a while getting to you, so just take some villages and let your income work. Don't worry too much about holding the villages; instead, when you feel ready, try to knock out the enemy leader as fast as possible for a good early finish bonus.

Let the first wave of drakes come to you. You'll have the advantage in the water—even against high-level units. They might kill some of your weaker units, but you will do far more damage to them, and level up some new ones in the process. If you survive the first wave, you should be fine. You probably will have to do a little fighting on land towards the end. Just be careful about how many units can attack each of yours.

[Inky, 1.12 / Difficult]: I'd recommend more than one diviner, and a netcaster or two to slow arbiters and enforcers. I wouldn't wait to recruit as you'll end up with a lot more drakes to fight this way, unless you are deliberately going for the extra experience. The drake leader can be lured out fairly easily by putting a melee only unit in his range.

Talking to Tyegea

No fighting to do here. Give the holy water to one of your leveled fighters. Perhaps the most suited unit to receive it will be a Triton. Those units won't be as useful after one more scenario unless they have special weapons.

The Mage

  • Objective: Find Caladon the mage.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis or Cylanna die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 16/17/18/19 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all loyal units available.

You need fire (e.g., storm trident) and arcane to take care of scorpions. Mermen Javelineers get one more level to shine. Diviners are also great.

Stay near your fortress initially, forming a line across the southwest corner, because you will be hit with a nasty number of bats and scorpions, not to mention the occasional giant spider.

The bats will return to their cave during the day, and fly back out during the night. They attack they same turn that they spawn, so be careful to avoid exposing wounded units during dusk and nighttime.

Hopefully you have Keshan or a Dread Bat, as they are especially helpful in actually finding the mage (he's hiding in a white temple to the north). A good scout can get there several turns ahead of even the fastest Merman (after you take out most of the scorpions in the way). Without one, the timing will be very tight, and you must focus on killing the creepy crawlies quickly and getting on your way ASAP.

The Flaming Sword

  • Objective: Pry the flaming sword from the dead hands of its owner.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis, Cylanna or Caladon die or turns run out.
  • Turns: 30/28/28/28 (easy/normal/hard/nightmare).
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, Caladon, all loyal units available plus one non–loyal merman from your recall list.

This is one of those scenarios where there are a lot of villages, so you will want to start with some level 0 units (e.g., Mermen Citizens), but don't expect them to last long. If you have a large stable of Brawlers, you can start treating them suicidally much like Citizens, as this is just before the last scenario.

When you get near the ruined castle closest to your initial keep, an outlaw will appear and let you recruit outlaw units (for this scenario only). Furthermore, if you helped Siddry (the Poacher trapped in a cage in Slavers) survive in the past, he will show up here with a group of loyal units to help you. They won't come along with you after this scenario, so you can sacrifice them here if necessary.

After you advance to the three villages in the center, you'll want to retreat just as fast, as night will be coming, as well as a nasty wave of high level Undead. If you only see a couple of ghosts emerging out of the fog, don't be fooled: run like hell, because they are backed up by Spectres and other tough undead. You may wish to send a few weak units to the northwest, backed by a stronger unit with an arcane ranged attack, like an Enchantress. This will tend to draw some undead that way, making it easier to deal with the ones in the middle.

Towards the end, hoard your gold. You will need some for the last scenario.

You defeat the lich to try to get the sword, but as soon as the lich drops it, Caladon teleports in and picks it up. Now, you need to defeat Caladon to get the sword. He grants you time to leave, which is actually a turn to remove any very damaged units from the vicinity as Caladon is pretty dangerous. You can attack him now, or wait a turn for him to get impatient and attack you. When he attacks, or you attack him, he summons fire guardians. He does not also recruit, because that would just be mean. (There is no reason he would have much gold, anyway.)

Getting Help

No combat here. You gain the ability to recruit priestesses.


  • Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
  • Lose if: Kai Krellis dies.
  • Turns: Unlimited.
  • Starting units: Kai Krellis, Cylanna, all previous loyal units plus three new loyal mermen (a hunter, a fighter and a brawler).

It's the last scenario. Losses of loyal units are acceptable. Also, you are relieved of the responsibility of protecting Cylanna. And you gain a loyal diviner, the Kai's grandmother, Tyegëa.

Your minimum gold is 300, but this is likely insufficient, so hopefully you have a good carryover from the previous scenarios, so that your total gold coming into this final showdown is at least about 400 or 500. Recruit one batch of Merman Citizens to capture villages. Recruit Brawlers next, who are good for bashing skeleton types, doubly so when the Brawlers are supported by leadership. Pace your main recruitment to end by turn 5 or 6. Diviners and Priestesses are especially useful in this scenario, to kill Bats and arcane-susceptible undead, as well as to heal your main force. Remember that you now have the ability to recruit Priestesses, which will come in handy if you don't already have a stockpile of them to recall.

You must kill all the enemy leaders. The choice of which enemy leader to kill first is easy. The enemy leader at southeast is protected by terrain that is nasty to Mermen. Therefore, the bulk of your force should head to the island in the middle. Send only a few Citizens to collect villages in the east. The four toughies at the northwest strait will not bother you if you do not go near them, so steer clear. The middle leader may dart out if you present him with an easy kill. Try to take him down then, as he is tougher in the middle of the island, protected by his recruits. After killing the middle leader, the rest should be downhill. However, keep an eye on the location of the Shadows recruited by the southeast leader, so that they do not surprise you at night. To protect the wounded, stay in line formation whenever Shadows threaten.

Give great respect to the undead at night, backing off and foregoing attacks. By day, wail on them mercilessly.

Use your halos (illumination and leadership.) They are key. Hopefully, Keshan is both alive and a Flameheart, for its leadership bonus.

A few final tips:

  • The pile of skeleton bones in the West has a special object, the Ankh Necklace, that will provide the wearer with 70% resistance to arcane damage. A good bearer is an Entangler like Gwabbo, who can then slow enemy necromancers with relative impunity.
  • If you didn't win the ring of strength on the Flight scenario, now is your chance. After killing Mel Daveth, he drops the ring, which "increases the damage of all its owner's attacks by one, and adds three hitpoints." Inky or Krellis would be a good choice of bearer.
  • On turn 10, a squad of Dark Adepts (easy) or Necromancers (difficult) arrives on the northern beach. For this reason, your attack on the central island should veer towards the northwest. This way, you can cut them down in daylight with Brawlers backed by leadership.