This is a strategy guide for the add-on campaign Invasion from the Unknown (IftU) version 2.0 by shadowm. Note that there have been many major gameplay changes from the original version (for example, elvish enchantresses can no longer advance to sylphs, the elvish warrior spirit and Aragwaithi recruits have been removed, and many scenarios were changed), so much of the advice here won’t apply to earlier campaign versions.
This walkthrough was written by Inky and is based on the hard difficulty. (I also did a commented playthrough of the campaign with screenshots and replays on the forums.) Feel free to make corrections or add your own advice.
Campaign discussion and developer support on the forums available for IftU version 2.0.0 and Wesnoth v.1.12.
- 1 General campaign advice
- 2 Part I: Seeking the Light
- 2.1 S1 (Border Patrol)
- 2.2 S2 (A Real Confrontation)
- 2.3 S3 (Memories from the Depths)
- 2.4 S4 (Over the Sands)
- 2.5 Diverging campaign path
- 2.6 S6 (Moon Valley)
- 2.7 S7 (Goliath)
- 2.8 S8 (An Errand of Hope)
- 2.9 S9 (The Library)
- 2.10 S10 (The Source of Light)
- 2.11 S11 (Strike on Herthgar)
- 2.12 S12 (The Escape)
- 2.13 S13 (Face Your Fate)
- 3 Part II: Armageddon
- 3.1 S14 (Bye and Behold)
- 3.2 S15 (Shadows of Time)
- 3.3 S16 (Dawn of War)
- 3.4 S17 (Voice of the Armageddon)
- 3.5 S18 (Ashes of Wesmere)
- 3.6 S19 (Under the Sands)
- 3.7 S20 (The Heart)
- 3.8 S21 (Innuendo)
- 3.9 S22 A (Face of the Enemy)
- 3.10 S22 B (Dark Hive)
- 3.11 S23 A (Into the Lair)
- 3.12 S23 B (Until Death)
- 3.13 S23 C (Broken Heart)
General campaign advice
It’s advised to play Under the Burning Suns first, to familiarize yourself with the story and the two suns schedule.
You begin with the typical elvish recruits plus the campaign specific elvish hunter unit, then gain the ability to recruit undead in Scenario 4, dark adepts in Scenario 5, and sprites in Scenario 14.
- A large part of this campaign takes place underground, making undead units especially ideal. Spectres are perhaps the most useful unit throughout the campaign due to their draining, excellent mobility and arcane damage. Nightgaunts (raw damage) and necromancers (arcane resist and plague) are also very useful. Skeletal undead are generally not recommended due to their low mobility.
- On almost every scenario it’s helpful to recruit some vampire bats for scouting, village grabbing, and to act as distractions since they do not cost upkeep.
- For elves, leveling at least a couple shydes for healing is essential. Prowlers are one of the most useful elvish units, being good in melee and able to slow in ranged. Enchantresses are also valuable for their arcane magical damage and slowing, though they do not advance to sylphs in this campaign. Fighters, archers and scout types are generally not so useful.
- The lawful sprites which you can recruit starting from S14 are helpful in S15 (Shadows of Time) against undead, but are useless from S17 onward where it is perpetually night, so do not invest too heavily in them.
The Recall List
- You have the option of either continuing to Part II keeping all your veterans from Part I (recommended), or starting Part II fresh. To compensate for the difference, there are several recall list wipes in the campaign:
- S12 (The Escape): You can only bring up to 6 undead units (dark adepts/sorcerers/necromancers and bats do not count) with you and the rest are permanently lost.
- S16 (Dawn of War): You can only bring up to 6 elves with you and the rest are permanently lost. In addition, any unit not recalled in this scenario is permanently lost.
- S21 (Innuendo): You can only recall 8 veterans, which will be the only veterans you have for the rest of the campaign.
- In Part II gold becomes very scarce so you will only be able to use a limited amount of veterans in each scenario; therefore quality (units with good traits such as resilient, and several AMLAs) is better than quantity.
This is a list of the permanent items which can be picked up throughout the campaign, and which units can use them.
- S3: Ring of Swiftness (+1 movement) - living units
- S5 (This is a branching path so you'll only be able to obtain one of the following:)
- S5a: Ring of Regeneration (if you chose to spare the bandit leader) (+5 HP, regenerates +4 ability, +1 melee damage) - not usable by: shamans and their advancements and Anlindë
- S5b: Shardia's Meteor (adds 15-2 ranged fire firststrike slow attack, +20% fire resistance, intimidates ability which causes level 0 and 1 enemies to fight worse) - elvish hunters, fighters, and their advancements
- S7: Void Armor (secret item) (sets physical resistances to 50% blade/50% pierce/40% impact, +10% fire resistance) - elvish fighters, rangers, skeletons, skeleton riders and their advancements
- S8: Poisonous Bow (adds a new 11-3 poisonous ranged bow attack) - skeleton archers, revenants, elvish archers, elvish heroes and their advancements.
- Berserker Potion (adds berserk special to melee attacks, +1 melee damage, +10% HP, and +10% blade / +20% fire / +30% impact resistance) - not usable by: ghosts, bats, corpses, elvish shamans and their advancements, or hero units.
- Potion of Drain (adds drain special to melee attacks, -5% HP, +10% arcane resistance) - living units
- S14: Explosive arrows (6 uses, does 80% base damage to the unit in the hex behind the target) - elvish archers, skeleton archers and their advancements
- Potion of Deftness (+1 movement, +1 ranged damage) - living non bat units.
- Accuracy Bow (adds marksman special to ranged attacks) - bone shooters and elvish rangers and their advancements, and Erathan.
- Potion of Strength (+1 melee damage, +8 HP) - living non bat units.
- Glacial Gladius (+1 melee damage, cold damage and slow for a unit’s melee attack, -5% HP) - elvish fighters, archers, hunters, scouts and their advancements, and Erathan.
- Amulet of the Divine Breeze (+10% arcane resist, sets ranged damage type to arcane) - living units besides sprites and bats.
Part I: Seeking the Light
S1 (Border Patrol)
- Objectives: The starting objectives are to hold out as long as possible, but on Turn 4 the objectives will change to defeating all enemy leaders.
This is a deceptively easy scenario, as the next scenario is very difficult and requires a substantial gold carryover. On Hard something like 140 carryover is ideal and anything less than 100 carryover is probably too little to win with. Do not overrecruit, keep an eye on your income (make sure it’s positive) and be aggressive – don’t be afraid to lose some units, as it will help your income.
Recruits: I’d recommend getting 2 shamans so that you can divide your forces and have a healer for each one, but not more than that as you need damage dealers. The rest of your units should be a mix of mostly archers and hunters. (Fighters are generally inferior to hunters, and scouts are expensive and do little damage).
- Defending the starting keep: One strategy is to hang back at your initial castle during the first day, recruiting very lightly during these turns to preserve income. Form a line on good terrain: one possibility is to use the forts just south of your keep; another option is to form a slightly more forward line stretching from the forest tiles (19,20) to (26,17) through the village southeast of your keep.
Let the enemies come to you; they’ll arrive around Turn 6 (The Short Dark). Attack aggressively during Second Dawn/Day and you should be able to eliminate almost all the enemy units before The Long Dark hits.
- Moving to the center keep (by Theron): An alternate faster and much more aggressive strategy, meant to finish as early as possible for maximum carryover, is to recruit a full keep on turn 1 and move Galas to the central keep immediately. Much of the fighting will take place around First Dusk / The Short Dark so expect heavy losses.
Theron's advice: Recruit 3 Archers and 3 Hunters in turn 1. (Fighters are too slow; shamans are too slow and their damage output is too low.) Move Galas to the tiny keep in the middle of the map. Recruit 1 more Archer and 1 more Hunter in turn 3. Recruit 2 Fighters and 2 Shamans in turn 3 + 4. Decide where to amass your army (green front or blue front). Do not retreat. Ignore TOD. Use terrain advantage.
For defeating the enemy leaders you can either split your forces in two and kill them simultaneously, or a safer (but slower) strategy is to send everyone to kill the southern green leader and them move them all to the blue eastern leader. The eastern leader is tough to kill – it can help to level an archer to marksman and shoot him down during daytime.
Try to get Galas to level 2 (captain is strongly recommended for leadership) and level at least one of the shamans to druid.
S2 (A Real Confrontation)
- Hold out until the end of turns.
- Alternate objective: Defeat all enemy leaders (early finish bonus).
This is an extremely difficult scenario on Hard, so you’ll want to start this with over 200 gold (minimum gold is 100; replay scenario 1 for more carryover if necessary). The first thing to do is grab the villages of your useless ally, as you can put the gold to much better use. Note that you (or your ally) must retain control of a certain number of villages (9 on Hard, depends on difficulty) or you will lose. This should not be a problem though, as there are 9 villages (3 in the northwest, 3 near your keep, 3 near Ledinor’s keep) which are quite far back and easy to defend.
This battle has two fronts divided by the central lake: the western front south of your keep, and the eastern front. The eastern front is relatively safe as there are less enemies there and Ledinor sends the bulk of his army that way, while the western front will be a high casualty bloodbath. Therefore one approach is to send a small elite group of veterans including Anlindë east, while using a massive spam approach (civilians and fresh recruits, mixed with some veterans) in the west. An alternate strategy is to recruit only civilians initially and send them out to delay the enemy forces enough so that they reach your main force during the day.
Keep your elves in a line in the forest and try to slow the level 2 enemies; use ctrl + v and watch out for the skirmishers. With constant reinforcements from your high income and the time of day changing in your favor the chaos army should eventually run out of steam.
It’s perfectly fine to start the next scenario with minimum gold, so do not worry if you can't defeat the enemy leaders for the finish bonus. Try to level a shaman to sorceress, as the arcane magical damage will be very useful for the next scenario. This is best done on the later turns, when most of the chaos army is gone and it’s relatively safe.
S3 (Memories from the Depths)
- Objectives: Explore the cave, then defeat the undead leader in the far northeast corner.
Recruit lightly initially, as there aren’t so many enemies in the tunnel and there is another keep right at the end of the tunnel. You’ll be fighting undead so hunters and their advancements are especially good, as are sorceresses if you have any; try to get Anlindë to level 3 and / or a sorceress or enchantress during this scenario as it will help defeat the enemy at the very end. When you reach the end of the tunnel, you can use the nearby keep to recruit/recall some more units. Try to keep your income positive though – you don’t need too many units and there will be more opportunities to recruit along the way.
Proceed northwest past the second keep, and you’ll come across some branching paths. On the right, moving to the flashing yellow hex will open up a passage leading to a Ring of Swiftness granting +1 movement. A good choice for this ring is Galas, since it can potentially allow him to reach keeps and recruit a turn earlier. The two western paths which will join together in a large central chamber, where you’ll encounter the main undead army; take them out with the help of slowing and arcane attacks.
Triggering a touchplate in the southwest leads to two holy waters which grant arcane melee damage for this scenario only. Continue northwest, being careful not to expose wounded units since bats will often come out of nowhere and attack, and you’ll come to a river crossing. Across the river is another keep – I would highly recommend using this keep to recruit a couple expendable hunters or shamans for their slowing ability in preparation for the scenario’s final enemy.
Head east across the river and the path will split north and east. Both paths will join up in the northeast corner but the eastern path has much stronger enemies so send most of your units that way - you can use expendable units to lure the high level undead guards into the open where they are easily killed. In the northeast you’ll come across the scenario’s final enemy, an ancient lich! You’ll need to slow him first, so hopefully you have some expendable hunters or shamans which can suicide into him until he’s slowed. After he’s slowed use your sorceress/enchantress and Anlindë to hopefully finish him off.
S4 (Over the Sands)
Recruits: Living units are generally not recommended in this scenario due to the dehydration mechanic, but you’ll certainly want another (preferably +8) healer besides Anlindë, and you might as well recall the loyal scout too since he doesn’t cost upkeep. I’d recommend recruiting mostly ghosts – they are fast and have extremely good advancements – with some vampire bats mixed in to scout and act as a distraction force. You start with 2 villages and there are 6 more around the orc’s keep, but this is all you’re going to get for most of the scenario so take that into account when recruiting (try to keep your income positive).
- Objectives: Defeat the orc leader to the northwest.
Use Galas’ leadership on the level 1 ghosts; try to level a couple by feeding them the level 2 orc kills. Focus on killing crossbowmen and archers as their ranged fire attack is dangerous to ghosts. Mal Keshar is great at screening your units – you can put him in very exposed positions and the orcs will generally ignore him.
When you kill the orcish leader you’ll get about 50 gold. You can use his keep to recruit some reinforcements (watch your income; there aren’t any more villages for a long time). Start heading west, where you’ll encounter some very weak undead. There will also be some scorpions north and south of the path which are free experience for wraiths and ghosts. After a while the path will turn south and you’ll spot some bandits.
- Objectives: Defeat the bandit leader in the southwest.
Try to fight the elusive outlaw units (footpads, thieves) on sand terrain where they only have 40% defense instead of their usual 60 or 70%. Bats make great bait for luring out powerful guard units, or the enemy leader.
Once you defeat the leader some humans will show up from the north, and you will have to decide whether to fight them. If you do decide to fight them you'll have to defeat their leader and will go to S5a (Crossfire). If you choose the second option instead, the scenario will end immediately and you will go to S5b (Cursed Plateau). S5a is the easier scenario, but since both scenarios give a different item (see the Item List) you may want to decide based on that.
Part 3 (only if you chose to fight the humans)
- Objectives: Defeat the leader of the humans in the northwest.
Note that drain attacks will not work on the human units so you’ll have to be a bit more careful with putting wraiths on the front line. Use the bandit’s keep to recruit more reinforcements if needed and start heading north. You’ll encounter two revenants; you can easily lure them out and kill them with spectres / wraiths. The humans have a lot of units, but if you form a line where your units can only be reached from 2 hexes then their level 1 units won’t be able to damage you too much. Continue northwest towards the final leader; again a vampire bat can be used to lure her out.
Diverging campaign path
- Objectives: Defeat all enemy leaders, and make sure no chaos empire units survive.
All three enemy sides will fight each other, so a couple keeps of units should be enough. Villages are very scarce so using mainly low level units supported by leadership will save on upkeep. Start by sending your entire army south against the chaos empire; the undead and bandits will mostly be occupied fighting each other. The undead will send quite a few troops east but they should arrive around daytime so it should be easy to wipe them out.
After the chaos empire is defeated, head west; you can send everybody against the lich and then north or split into two groups, one to defeat the lich and one to deal with the bandits. The bandits are the stronger enemy – try to attack them during the day.
After defeating the bandit leader you’ll be given the choice to spare him; do so and you’ll be given a very useful Ring of Regeneration (+5 HP, regenerates +4 ability, +1 melee damage), a good item for Galas. (Deciding to kill him will only give you some gold and is not worth it.)
S5b (Cursed Plateau)
- Objectives: Move to the northwest corner of the map with Galas, Anlindë or Mal Keshar.
- In order to get the item you must find the piece of parchment in the southwest cave, and defeat both enemy leaders.
You won't be getting any more villages for a while, so recruit very lightly initially. There's another tiny 1-hex keep to the west where you can recall some more reinforcements, and you'll only face some scorpions and bats at first, so a couple wraiths should be enough. Once you reach the tiny keep in the west, send some flying undead into the southwest cave, where there's a touchplate opening into a chasm full of bats. To the southeast of the chasm is a passage leading to a piece of parchment, which opens a passage through the mountains in the northwest.
To the north is another small 2-hex keep, though you might have to clear out some chaos empire units before you can use it. There are a lot of invokers so you'll probably want either some cannon fodder or some durable non undead units. It's preferable to form a solid line and defend until most of the enemies are gone, because there are many high level enemies and also some nasty shadow minions (nightstalking, skirmishing and backstabbing pests) around.
Northeast of the small keep there's a dead end cave with the blue enemy leader; if you want the scenario's item you'll have to defeat him (Mal Keshar is very effective against him), otherwise you can just ignore the cave, though there is a small amount of gold there.
Following the northwest path through the mountains leads to a gate, which you won't be able to open until you defeat both enemy leaders, though you could start sending whichever unit you want to pick up the item that way (it can be used by elvish hunters, fighters and advancements; I'd strongly recommend Galas.) Just send them on their own because there aren't any enemies behind the gate. Once you kill both leaders, you'll be able to pass through the gate to a chest in the south containing Shardia's Meteor (adds 15-2 ranged fire firststrike slow attack, +20% fire resistance, intimidates ability which causes level 0 and 1 enemies to fight worse).
Continuing north and then east, there's another cave with the second leader. There's also a couple small piles of gold (in the southeast and northeast) in the cave. In the northwest is the shadow courier leader; try to kill him as quickly as possible in melee (preferably luring him out of the castle first so he doesn't have such high defense) because he will completely demolish your undead units. Once you kill the shadow courier, the western path which leads outside to the exit only has a few vampire bats.
S6 (Moon Valley)
- Objectives: Defeat all enemy leaders.
This scenario is much easier than it looks, because the orcish units will generally stay clumped together near their leader instead of all coming towards you at once, allowing you to focus on each army separately. You’ll receive a small amount of gold each time you defeat an enemy leader.
It's possible to rush the northeastern (blue) orc leader and kill him before he spends most of his gold: recruit a full keep on turn 1 and send Galas northwest immediately; send a bat southwest to village grab and move everyone else northwest. With the help of Anlindë and Mal Keshar you should be able to whittle down the leader on turn 3 and finish him on turn 4. Galas can then use the keep to recruit reinforcements while the rest of the army clears out the remaining blue orcs.
At this point the green and black orcs will be hanging around the central forest while purple remains in the west. Advance aggressively during the second day and you should be able to wipe out most of the green and black units. After that only purple will be left; it will be night now but with the help of slow and Mal Keshar who is practically invincible they shouldn’t pose a problem.
As the dialogue hints, when you approach the northwest area close to the final keep, several high level orcs will appear and the northwest leader will also get some gold to recruit. Wait until daytime (preferably morning) to approach, and you can also use the nearby keep to recruit some spam if you want to be extra safe.
- Objectives: Defeat Goliath.
- Note: The units you recruit/recall on the first turn are all you will have for the entire scenario, so choose carefully.
This scenario has a lot of weak level 1 units scattered around, so it’s a good opportunity to get some experience. Most of the enemies in this scenario are automatons which are extremely resistant to blade and arcane (50%) but only have 10% impact resistance making trappers/prowlers especially effective against them.
After heading west through the tunnel that you start in, you’ll come across the keep of the chaos empire. This is actually the toughest opposition you will face all scenario so be defensive (form a line and let the enemies come to you) and take your time. The enemy leader is extremely dangerous in ranged so try to take him down in 1 turn using mostly melee attacks.
After defeating the enemy leader, head south across the river and you’ll encounter some demons and bats scattered about; keep heading south and you’ll come to a chamber with some automatons which are basically free experience. There’s a passage in the south leading to an orb switch; send a fast unit like a flying undead to trigger it, which will open the eastern wall into a large central area.
In the central area, triggering the touchplate in the southwest corner opens a small room in the center with two golems guarding a potion of strength (+2 melee attack, +8 HP for this scenario only) and the final touchplate which opens the way south. The northeast path is just a dead end with some weak enemies (though you could go kill them for the experience if you have the time) so send everyone down the southern passage.
The passage leads into a huge chamber in the south filled with automatons. Moving further south in this chamber reveals the scenario’s boss, Goliath, who appears along with a few level 1 automatons. Goliath has a lot of HP and good resistances but is extremely weak in offense, so just slow him and attack with powerful units like Mal Keshar and he will be destroyed in no time.
In the far southeast, down the watery passage, there is a secret touchplate at 40,26 which opens a passage to the Void Armor, which is located in the lit hex at 31,24. The armor sets physical resistances to 50% blade/50% pierce/40% impact and is a great item for Galas (it can be used by elvish fighters, rangers, skeletons, skeleton riders and their advancements) - start sending whichever unit you want to take it southeast ASAP if you want to make it in time.
S8 (An Errand of Hope)
- Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders (3 in total).
You will get another opportunity to recruit later, when you are much closer to the main battle, so you may want to save some gold until then and try not to go negative on income. The first enemy you’ll be facing is some trolls directly to the northwest. Wraiths, spectres and Mal Keshar are especially effective against them. Near the troll’s keep you’ll find a Poisonous Bow (can be used by elvish archers, skeleton archers, elvish heroes, revenants and their advancements) which adds an 11-3 ranged poison attack.
Head northwest across the river (don’t bother exploring southwest of the river; there’s nothing there) and you’ll come across a large central area – entering it will clear the fog in the area and reveal an ongoing battle between the chaos empire and some allied dwarves. There’s also a second dwarf leader far in the northwest (he has a few villages, so you can send a bat up that way to steal them), and another chaos empire leader all the way in the northeast corner.
Use the large keep here to recruit/recall some reinforcements, and split up your forces between the western front and the northeastern front. You’ll need more firepower in the northeast, since there are quite a few high level enemies there and the dwarves will concentrate their forces in the west. It helps to have Galas use Althurin’s keep to constantly reinforce (you should have a pretty high income) and just defend the northeast passage until the high level enemies are gone. (Don’t worry about keeping Althurin alive; he’ll just flee if he gets to 0 HP).
The final enemy leader is all the way in the northeast corner; he’s a chaos lorekeeper so send your strongest melee units against him. By the way, there’s no point in sending a unit to the crypt south of the western leader (you’ll just get a message saying it’s empty).
S9 (The Library)
- Objective: Reach the exit in the south with Galas, Anlindë or Mal Keshar.
- Optional objective: Defeat all enemy leaders (early finish bonus).
- Note: The exit is marked by a turquoise glyph somewhere in the south (its exact location is random). You'll need the exit key to pass through, which is dropped by a random enemy leader.
Don’t recruit too heavily at the beginning, since you’ll get another opportunity to recruit about halfway through the scenario. You’ll probably have to do quite a bit of fighting before then though, so some durable units will be helpful. Ghosts/wraiths/spectres are especially good in this scenario due to the lack of chaos invokers and fire demons. Head west (the passage south of your starting keep just leads to an empty dead end) and after fighting through a couple level 2 undead you’ll come to an intersection.
The northwest path leads to a dead end with a ruined house; when you send a living nonbat unit there to investigate you’ll discover Igor, a loyal wolf rider. He is automatically recalled in all later scenarios and even has his own dialogue, so it's highly recommended to keep him alive. Meanwhile in the south, the combined forces of the 3 enemy leaders will begin to arrive. The easiest way to fight them is to just defend in the bottleneck until the massive army is mostly gone; it will take quite a while but the rest of the scenario will go much quicker after the main enemy army is gone.
When you get past the bottleneck you’ll come to a large keep where you can recruit some reinforcements, and the path splits into a western and eastern one. There are two enemy leaders in the west and one in the south, so one possibility is to split into two groups and have one group take out the two western leaders one after another (there’s a banebow leader in the northwest and a draug leader in the southwest), while another group circles east and then south to take care of the southern lich leader (bring some arcane damage).
The purple glyphs scattered around reveal various pieces of backstory. There is also a turquoise glyph somewhere in the south which marks the exit. You’ll need the exit key (dropped by a random enemy leader) to use the glyph. You might as well just defeat all enemy leaders for the experience and early finish bonus, as they don’t have much income and are pretty much on their own.
S10 (The Source of Light)
- Objectives: Defeat the enemy leader, and then activate the six runes to open the central chamber.
Note that this scenario takes place deep underground, where chaotic units get +30% damage instead of the usual +25%. In the beginning, make sure to send a vampire bat to grab the village in the far northeast corner of the map, across the chasm. The first objective is to defeat the enemy leader to the southwest. There are a lot of high level enemy units including skirmishers, so a safe way to play it is to form a solid vertical line along the 4-hex bottleneck (from 42,11 to 42,15) and defend there until the most threatening enemies are gone.
Once the leader is defeated, you’ll have to activate the 6 glyphs scattered throughout the lower half of the map. Here are their approximate locations (going counterclockwise):
- Northwest (across the river): A long twisty passage leads past some giant spiders to a glyph at the very end.
- West: There’s a glyph behind a cuttlefish leader in the west of the watery area.
- Southwest corner: There are a bunch of animated rocks and various undead here, and a glyph next to an enemy leader. Watch out, because several wraiths are lurking near the keep.
- Center south: There’s a sealed chamber containing a glyph, which you have to open by finding a touchplate in the far south. There’s also a red Berserker Potion (not usable by: ghosts/bats/corpses, elvish shamans and their advancements, or hero units), which gives the berserk special to a unit’s melee attacks, +1 melee damage, +10% HP, and some extra resistance (+10% blade, +20% fire, +30% impact).
- Southeast: There’s a lava filled cave full of fire spirits – dark adepts and their advancements are especially effective against them. In the far southeast there’s a fire guardian leader and a glyph next to the keep.
- Northeast: You’ll encounter some undead and a chocobone leader (be sure to keep fragile units out of range of its charge attack). There’s a glyph guarded by vampire bats north of the undead keep, and a northeast passage leading to a green Potion of Drain (adds drain special, -5% HP, +10% arcane resistance, usable by non undead units).
In order to explore efficiently it’s best to divide into several small groups (e.g. 4 groups, one for each corner). A very useful tip by skeptical_troll if you’d like to avoid a lot of fighting completely is to send a shadow/nightgaunt to activate the glyphs (though it’s not advised to do this in the southwest or northeast corner, since these glyphs are surrounded by enemies).
Since there is no early finish bonus and you likely have very high income, you may want to take your time and make some extra gold for next scenario.
S11 (Strike on Herthgar)
- Objectives: Hold out until the end of turns, or defeat all enemy leaders.
- Note: All enemy sides will get a small amount of gold on turns 6 and 14.
This scenario is actually the final battle for Part I – the next two scenarios are more of an epilogue. This is one of the more difficult scenarios, so don’t worry too much about losing some veterans (another thing to note is that you will not be able to take more than six undead veterans with you after this scenario.)
Gold carryover is completely irrelevant (you won’t be able to use more than the minimum gold next scenario) so one approach is to just recall every single veteran you can afford. It can be helpful to create walking corpses with your necromancers to act as a distraction. Also, be sure not to let your spectres/nightgaunts etc. get within range of multiple chaos invokers and demons, or they will die fast.
Here is one strategy for defeating all enemy leaders:
- Send a large force northwest to wipe out the two northwestern enemies while a smaller force heads south to defend the dwarven castle. (The eastern front and southern front do not require immediate attention because the dwarves will delay the enemies for several turns.) Form a line and let them come to you; prowlers with their slowing ability and necromancers with their high HP and arcane resistance (there are lots of chaos invokers around) are especially good at holding the line.
- Once the two northwest enemies are defeated, split the large northern force, with one part going to deal with the eastern enemies, and the rest going south to reinforce the castle.
- Defend in the castle using the bridge chokepoints (just watch out for demon zephyrs which can fly over the deep water moat) until most of the southern enemies are gone. The southern force can then split into two groups and take out the two remaining southern leaders.
S12 (The Escape)
- Objectives: Reach the northern exit with Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar.
- Note: You may only recruit/recall during the first turn (6 units total), and any undead veterans you do not recall this scenario will be permanently lost (dark adepts/sorcerers/necromancers and bats do not count).
This is a relatively easy scenario, but there are some triggered events including a large ambush near the end so don’t send your units too far ahead by themselves.
There are four minor enemies you’ll be facing this scenario:
- After crossing the river at the beginning you’ll come across a chamber with the chaos empire fighting some trolls; both are very weak and shouldn’t be a problem.
- After crossing another bridge and heading north you’ll encounter a mechanical Goliath along with some automatons; he is also extremely weak.
- You’ll then come across a tunnel leading into a large empty chamber. Do not send a unit all the way into the chamber because there’s an ambush; instead move a scouting unit slowly toward the chamber until you trigger the ambush, then pull it back using its remaining movement. After that the ambush shouldn’t be hard to deal with – the most threatening enemy is the hellhound with 10-4 melee berserk, but a single spectre can easily take care of it.
- Finally, after heading north you’ll come across some imps. One thing to watch out for is that when you kill the leader imp, he will dissolve into a bunch of mudcrawlers. After that the exit is straight to the north.
S13 (Face Your Fate)
- Objectives: Hold out to the end of turns; then accept the inevitable.
This is mostly a cutscene scenario. Holding out until the end of turns should be trivial with your extremely high starting gold. If you didn’t manage to recall some of your undead veterans last scenario, you can recall them now. A few turns after the initial turn limit, the Chaos Warlord will appear in the southwest and the objectives will change to defeating her. However, it is impossible (if you reduce her HP to 0 she’ll just heal back to full and instantly kill all your undead units), and the only way to end the scenario is to let your leader die.
Part II: Armageddon
S14 (Bye and Behold)
- Objectives: Defeat both enemy leaders.
This should be a very easy scenario, especially if you’re continuing from a Part I save, so it’s a good opportunity to get some easy XP for fresh recruits. The barrel contains 6 explosive arrows (does 80% of the base damage to the unit immediately behind the target).
The two enemies you’ll be facing are saurians and water serpents from the northwest and orcs from the northeast. The northeast orc keep is surrounded by deep water to the south, forcing the orcs to go all the way around to the west and then south, giving you several turns to focus on the saurian army before they arrive. Most of your forces should head northwest since the main battle will take place there (for the east you can just send a bat to village grab). If you keep your elves in the forests you should have no problem dealing with the saurians and then the orcs.
S15 (Shadows of Time)
- Objectives: Defeat all enemy leaders. (You actually do not need to kill the ancient lich leader – once you attack him he will flee.)
You’ll be fighting a lot of undead so arcane (sorceresses, dark adepts, etc.) and fire damage (sprites) will be very useful. Your orcish allies will mostly go up the northeastern side of the map and delay the undead coming from that direction, so the main battle will likely take place on two fronts: fighting the undead from the west, and the orcs in the center.
The first threat you’ll face is the group of four Forefathers coming at you from the west; stay back and let them get close, and then finish them off with heavy arcane hitters like Elynia and Mal Keshar. After that you can split your army in two, with one group holding off the undead in the western forest, and another (probably larger) group dealing with the incoming flood of orcs (and later undead from the north) in the center.
S16 (Dawn of War)
- Objectives: Reach the southern edge of the map with Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar.
- Optional objective (early finish bonus): Defeat all enemy leaders.
- Note: You can only recruit / recall elves on the first turn, and all veterans not recalled in this scenario are permanently lost.
- If you continued from Part I you’ll likely have much more veterans than you can recall; however there’s no need to get obsessed about bringing every single veteran with you because there is very little gold in later scenarios, so you won’t be able to use them all anyway.
- Elves: It’s highly recommended to get at least two healers because you will not be able to get any more healers later! After that, probably the most useful elven units are enchantresses and prowlers since they can slow.
- Spectres are great in later levels (arcane damage + mobility); I’d recommend recalling every one you have. Necromancers and nightgaunts will also be very useful.
- I would not recommend recalling any sprites, since they are lawful and the next scenarios all feature perpetual night.
Your two allies will do a pretty good job distracting the two outer enemies, so the main battle will take place in the center. If you began the battle portion of the scenario on turn 4, you should have a turn of daylight (First Afternoon) to strike hard and fast at the central enemies with all your veterans. If you continue to make as many kills as possible during dusk there shouldn’t be many enemies left at all to threaten you during the night. Once you deal with the units from the two central enemies the rest of the battle should be easy, as the two outer enemies should be weakened from fighting your allies. It's recommended to kill all the enemy leaders for the extra gold and experience.
S17 (Voice of the Armageddon)
- Objective: Defeat all enemy leaders.
You will face two enemy leaders: a relatively weak enemy in the center, and a very powerful enemy far to the south. You’ll probably want to recruit a few expendable units such as skeletons or vampire bats to distract the powerful enemy units from your veterans. The central enemy shouldn’t be too much of a problem: blast them with your veterans and then put a couple expendable units in front to screen them.
Once you scout far enough south, you’ll trigger the southern leader to start recruiting and a boss Armageddon Imp will appear and start heading for you. It’s probably best to wait near the central keep and let the imps come to you so you don’t get in range of the enemies stationed in the southern fort. Once they arrive, illuminate and slow the boss and then zap him with your magical ranged units. Next you’ll have to deal with the army of soulless and necrophages coming from the south; once again an effective tactic is to blast away with your veterans from the back and then insert some expendable units in the front.
Be careful when approaching the fort because the powerful units stationed there will come out and attack; use ctrl + v to make sure no one is too exposed, and try to lure them out one by one. The ancient lich leader can be lured out onto 40% defense terrain by placing a walking corpse in his range. Don’t bother about setting up the kill on the leader because he will just run away, denying you the killing XP.
S18 (Ashes of Wesmere)
- Objectives: Defeat the enemy leader, and then move Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar to the cave in the southeast.
The more spectres you have the easier this scenario will be; I recommend recalling all your spectres and wraiths. Since there aren’t any villages you’ll surely start next scenario with minimum gold anyway, so there’s no point in worrying about upkeep or saving gold. The main enemies you’ll be facing are drones, which do impact damage and are weak to arcane. Advance very cautiously at first because there will be several level 2 drones lurking around. They’re extremely nasty in ranged, so spectres are ideal for taking them out.
Once you start heading south, you’ll face a horde of level 1 drones from all directions. Just keep killing them every turn with spectres and wraiths, focusing on one group at a time, and eventually they’ll run out. Be careful of putting Mal Keshar in range of a lot of drones because they’ll chain attack him and he’s weak to impact.
After that it should be easy to kill the enemy leader, who has a pretty pathetic army. When you head southeast to the cave, keep a tight formation and don’t expose heavily wounded units because there are several invisible skirmishing and backstabbing shadow minions around. Since there’s no early finish bonus, you can use any leftover turns to go around killing the other enemies scattered around the map for the XP.
S19 (Under the Sands)
- Objective: Reach the exit in the south with Elynia or Mal Keshar
This scenario has a lot of rough terrain and chasms, so ghostly undead (spectres, nightgaunts) will be extremely useful. Also, the blue matrix flow systems have 0% defense and can be drained, so they can be used as free full heals for your spectres.
When heading out of the initial chamber, be very cautious and keep a completely tight formation because there are several shadow minions (which are invisible and can skirmish and backstab) lurking nearby. This scenario is full of these shadow minions, so be very cautious when advancing.
Make your way southeast to kill the drone leader, then west where the chaos empire army should be arriving. They shouldn’t be much trouble (just make sure to kill the invokers before they can get at your ghosts). You’ll arrive in a large central chamber full of various enemies. Send some units towards the hive in the southwest of the chamber and you’ll spot a matrix core in the far west; each core you destroy will reduce the gold of certain enemy sides in the next scenario by a bit (there are 5 cores total). Next scenario is difficult, so it's worthwhile to destroy as many cores as possible.
Head south across the lava chasm (it will probably take a while, due to being assaulted by enemy spawns from all directions) and you’ll come across the chaos empire leader to the left and a dead end with a second matrix core on the right. Once you defeat the leader head south towards a swampy area.
Past the swamp is a fork: the southern fork doesn’t have enemies and leads straight to the exit. The eastern fork leads into a large hive, where the remaining 3 matrix cores are. One of the cores is near the entrance. The remaining 2 cores are extremely deep into the hive so getting at them may be more trouble than it’s worth, though you can get some good XP out of fighting your way through to them. Note that you won’t be able to leave until Elynia and Mal Keshar are both outside the hive, so make sure you have enough turns left before exploring (but if you kill the innermost core, a shortcut will open up, so you don’t have to backtrack all the way).
S20 (The Heart)
- Objectives: Move Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar inside the fortress, or defeat all enemy leaders.
- Another enemy leader will appear in the north on Turn 2. Also, every so often starting from Turn 3, a large group of enemies (mostly demon zephyrs) will appear in the chasm surrounding the fortress.
- After the initial turns of daylight the scenario becomes perpetually night.
- You have control over the allied dwarves this time. They leave after this so they’re completely expendable.
This is somewhat of a finale for Part II of IftU. Since you don’t have so much time, trying to defeat every leader is probably more trouble than it’s worth, especially on Hard. My strategy was to completely ignore the northern leader and rush my entire army southwest, killing as many units as possible during the day before the scenario turned into perpetual night. After that I fought my way over the bridge into the fortress (having spectres and nightgaunts fly over the chasm is essential in breaking the bridge bottleneck), sending the less valuable veterans in first. Meanwhile some units went to deal with the northern army which was attacking from behind.
The dwarves really did not do much; I mostly had them camped in the 3 village cluster just northwest of the fortress the entire time, where they lured out and killed any demon zephyrs which spawned in the west.
- After this you’ll only be able to use 8 of your veterans for the rest of the campaign. So choose your 8 favorite veterans and go crazy with the rest!
- There are a ton of enemies on this map, and a lot of nasty flying ones which can reach your units from quite far away. Use ctrl + v constantly to avoid surprises.
- Two nightgaunts backstabbing from opposite sides of a sentry tower will automatically kill it from full health.
- Having some expendable units will be very helpful; if you’re short on cash, you can use your necromancers’ plague staff to make free corpses.
- Don’t worry about gold carryover; you can’t use more than the minimum next scenario anyway.
- Objectives: Reach the exit in the north with Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar.
- From now on it is highly recommended to restart anytime any unit dies, because these are the only veterans you'll have for the rest of the campaign and the remaining scenarios are very difficult.
- It is essential to pick up the chest of gold in the southwest, which will be needed several scenarios later for the final battle.
Recruits: You may only bring 8 veterans with you for the rest of the campaign. Future scenarios will be underground / deep underground so undead are especially useful. It’s also recommended to bring 2 shydes for healing, at least one necromancer for making free fodder corpses, and some flying undead (spectres/nightgaunts) since there will be a lot of unwalkable chasms. (I used 2 shydes, 2 necromancers, 1 lich, 2 spectres and 1 nightgaunt and it worked really well.)
Get ready for an absolutely massive dungeon crawl! You’ll face several waves of enemies in this scenario:
The beginning: Some Chaos Empire units will come at you immediately, so just form a solid line in the passage and let them come. After that the path splits north to a dead end with a Potion of Deftness giving +1 movement and +1 ranged damage (living units only), and a southwestern passage leading to a large chamber full of powerful enemies. You can safely destroy them by forming a line in the 3-hex passage and slowly picking them off until they’re gone. (Try to turn some of them into corpses, which can be used as bait for powerful enemies later).
The large chamber in the south: There are two paths north (both lead to the same place) with some enemies guarding them. In the southwest corner there’s a room with a Potion of Strength (+1 melee, +8 HP, a great item for Galas), an Accuracy Bow (for archer units only, such as Erathan), and a chest of gold. There is an enemy leader in the northwest, and moving to the gem behind him will open one of the gates in the northeast.
The northern chamber of undead: You’ll need to find the gem which opens the gate in the far north, where there is an ancient lich leader. Be sure to stay out of his range (he has 7 movement!) until you wipe out most of his army. Also be careful of the two wraiths right behind the leader. If you made any walking corpses earlier, you can use them as bait to safely lure out the ancient lich leader. The gem on his keep opens the gate in the east.
The imp boss: Past the eastern gate, you’ll come to a long passage east with some enemies. Once you advance far enough, you’ll discover a large chamber with a nasty imp boss and some other enemies. It’s best to fight them in the 3-hex bottleneck, and try to have Elynia illuminate and slow the boss.
The dungeon: The area northwest of the chamber where the imp was leads to the exit, but it’s blocked by a gate so you’ll have to go east to the dungeons first. There’s a couple (useless) soulless in the cells which will join you. In the southeast, there’s an unwalkable chasm with some enemies on the other side; if you send some flying undead exploring there they can trigger a touchplate which opens a passage for regular units to enter. There is a Glacial Gladius there which gives a slowing cold melee attack (usable by elves other than shamans+advancements, and Erathan.)
The goal is the northeast hive area, where there’s an amulet (+10% arcane resistance, changes ranged damage type to arcane) which is good for units like shydes so they’ll take less damage when slowing later bosses. The south of the hive contains a cage with Ledinor, the elvish lord from the beginning; freeing him will open the gate in the northwest where there are a ton of high level enemies and a drone boss.
The exit (finally!): For the horde of high level enemies coming from the exit, it’s safest to retreat to one of the 3-hex passages leading to the dungeons and just pick them off slowly. When approaching the exit, be careful since the chasms on either side contain drones.
S22 A (Face of the Enemy)
- Objectives: Explore the area, then defeat the Chaos Warlord, then flee to the southeast with Galas, Elynia or Mal Keshar.
Head southeast past some drone hives – the drones will constantly respawn from the hives, though they won’t chase you if no units are in range. Continue heading east across the cave area. There’s a gate in the north which just leads to a dead end, and a couple doors in the southeast which lead to a corridor of enemies. The safe way to deal with them is to camp in the 2-hex bottleneck. Also, watch out for the berserking hellhound hiding in the back. The northeastern water area just leads to a glyph with some backstory about the drones.
Past the corridor of enemies is another gate; once you open it all your units will be teleported into the chamber beyond, where you’ll be surrounded by powerful enemies. Try to focus on killing a few at a time while staying out of range of the others. A few turns later the Chaos Warlord will show up in the keep in the west. She’ll recruit some units, so retreat and deal with her army before taking her on.
Once you defeat her she’ll heal back to full so you’ll have to run away by having Mal Keshar destroy the exit gate to the southeast. Fortunately Elynia will cast a spell on her so she’ll only have 1 movement until you open the gate, at which point she regains all her movement (so make sure your units aren’t in her range at that time). The Warlord will just stay in her keep and recruit and not chase you, so it should be easy to get away. The southeast area just has some drones in the south and a giant spider; move a leader to the southern border of the map to proceed to the next part.
S22 B (Dark Hive)
- Objectives: Defeat the Chaos Warlord (you will have to fight her several times.)
This is an extremely difficult scenario. There are hordes of constantly respawning drones, several difficult boss fights and you must also keep as many veterans as possible alive for later scenarios.
- In general due to the respawning drones it’s best to stick together in a single group, move forward quickly, and not send units off exploring side passages or they may end up trapped – the only things to find anyway are two glyphs with some backstory.
- A useful (but cheap) tactic is to deliberately leave units (especially Elynia/Mal Keshar) a few XP from leveling so when they attack the boss they’ll automatically heal to full.
- Always make sure to lure off and get rid of as many surrounding drones as possible before confronting the Chaos Warlord, because her leadership combined with the drones is deadly.
There are three sections, each ending with a fight against the Chaos Warlord:
In the beginning, the path branches south and east; both eventually lead to the same place in the southeast but the eastern path has better terrain so is probably the easier one. Eventually you’ll come to a larger area with a chaos magus to the south; the way forward is a couple doors south of the chaos magus past some ants. Once you open the doors you’ll meet Elyssa again; she’s surrounded by a ton of drones and will recruit more so just camp in the 2-hex passage until all the drones are gone. Meanwhile you’ll have to move Elynia and Mal Keshar next to each other and protect them for a few turns (move them off the front lines before doing this, because they won’t be able to move or attack).
Once Elynia and Mal Keshar have summoned the Union and all the nearby drones are gone, lure Elyssa out onto 40% defense by putting a unit in her range. She’ll absorb all non-Union damage, but you can still slow her so try to always slow her before using the Union. Note that the Union uses up both Elynia and Mal Keshar’s moves and attacks, though you can still slow with Elynia and then Union with Mal Keshar. Once Elyssa’s at 60% health she’ll run away.
The way forward is the two gates in the southwest, which lead down some narrow passages into an area full of demon zephyrs and drones. You can form a line just outside the narrow passages (don’t use the 1-hex bottlenecks or it will take too long) and let them come. Also, try to avoid sending your flying undead onto the starry chasms because it has a small chance of killing them.
Continuing southwest, you’ll come to a rocky area surrounded by chasms - there are a bunch of drones across the chasms so try to lure them off a couple at a time. Elyssa’s in a keep to the south - lure her out and repeat the slowing + Union tactic (she still absorbs non Union damage). This time she’ll flee at 40% HP.
Continuing east, a bunch of zephyrs and drones will come at you across the eastern chasm; form a line and lure them onto land so you can easily get rid of them. Then the path splits south and east - both lead to the same area in the southeast, where Elyssa is waiting with a bunch of drones. As usual try to lure off as many drones as possible before luring Elyssa out.
She is more powerful this time, but fortunately she now takes full damage from non Union attacks! However, make sure to finish her with the Union; otherwise she’ll just regenerate HP instead of dying.
S23 A (Into the Lair)
- Objectives: Find the entrance to the Chaos Emperor’s lair.
In the beginning, just follow the path southwest past a few demon zephyrs and guards. Past the gate in the southwest there are a couple enemy leaders; just camp in the 3-hex passage until both their armies are gone. There’s a gate in the south which leads to the exit, but you’ll have to find the glyph to open it first.
A few turns after entering the indoor area, a bunch of cockatrices and drones will come flooding out of the west. It’s preferable to form a solid line against them, since getting petrified disrupts a unit’s ZOC. Cockatrices are weak to arcane so spectres are ideal for taking them out. Once they’re gone split up into two groups to explore the western cave passage and the north- there’s an enemy leader in each area. It’s best to send Elynia with one group and Mal Keshar with the other since the glyph to open the exit is in a random location and only Elynia or Mal Keshar can activate it.
Once you open the exit gate, there will be another flood of cockatrices from the southeast. Past the exit gate there’s a very weak enemy leader and some assorted enemies scattered around. The path then splits three ways: south is an empty dead end, north is a dead end with some story glyphs, and east is the entrance to the lair.
S23 B (Until Death)
- Objectives: Defeat the Chaos Emperor.
- Note: The blue glyphs scattered around the map heal a unit to full.
This is effectively the final battle; the next scenario is easy and more of a playable cutscene (however, any surviving veterans do carry over to next scenario – you won’t need many but the more the better.) This is probably the most difficult scenario in the entire campaign so hopefully almost all of your veterans are still alive and you got the extra gold from S21.
You’ll start close to two enemy leaders, and it’s possible (recommended, even) to take them both out on turn 1. The southern leader should be easy; make sure to leave Galas available to take his keep and begin to recruit undead immediately. For the northern shadow courier if you put Mal Keshar next to him and Elynia next to Mal Keshar, two of Mal Keshar’s Union hits will take him down (a 78% chance to kill – it’s slightly risky though, since there are likely some level 2 drones lurking around and Mal Keshar will take a lot of retaliation if he doesn’t kill the shadow courier.)
Try to recruit as much as possible with Galas on turns 1-3. At the start of turn 4, the Emperor will possess Mal Keshar (meaning you can’t recruit undead anymore) and Erathan (or Galas, if you don’t have Erathan). You’ll then have to use Elynia to kill Mal Keshar (you can make this part easier by making sure Mal Keshar is close to your units and on 40% defense on turn 4.) The Emperor can recall your unused undead veterans while he’s controlling Mal Keshar, so try to finish Mal Keshar off immediately.
Once you kill Mal Keshar, the Emperor will get a new Union attack and Elynia will also get a powered up (35-4) Union attack when next to him. Elynia’s Union is the only attack which does full damage to the Emperor; all other attacks will do just a few HP of damage (also, non-Union attacks will sometimes cause him to become unslowed so be careful). Lure the Emperor out onto 40% defense, slow him, and then Union with Elynia. You’ll probably need about 3 turns (2 if you’re lucky) of Elynia using the Union. Hopefully Elynia doesn’t get hit too much; if she does you could try ZOCing the boss with cannon fodder while Elynia gets healed or moves to a healing glyph.
Once you defeat him Mal Keshar will return and you can recruit undead again (although he is extremely fragile now so it’s essential to keep him away from the Emperor), and the Emperor will transform into his final form. This form has much more HP and a stronger ranged attack (hopefully at least one slower is still alive!) but fortunately can now be fully damaged by regular attacks. Elynia’s Union also gets a major powerup, so his HP should go down very quickly. He sometimes spawns drones when hit; you may want to move your own units next to him before attacking so that the drones don’t block the hexes next to him. Make sure to have Elynia finish him off with the Union, or else he’ll regenerate a ton of HP.
S23 C (Broken Heart)
- Objectives: Reach the exit with Elynia, Galas or Mal Keshar.
- Note: This is the last scenario.
This scenario should be pretty easy, even with very few surviving veterans. Head northeast past some demon zephyrs to the first checkpoint; your units will all enter a new lava area. Around this time Ledinor will begin having some ominous dialogue, and several turns later he’ll suddenly transform into a shadow courier, and 3 shadow minions will appear around him. You can either kill him, or just leave him behind.
After heading east across the doors past the second checkpoint, the path will turn north. Once you approach the third checkpoint, several high level undead will appear in the 3-hex keep just north of the checkpoint. Once you’ve dealt with them, it’s a pretty uneventful trip northwest toward the exit.