The Let's Play Archive

Might & Magic: Heroes VI

by ApplesandOranges

Part 39: Stronghold Campaign, Map Three, Part Three

Welcome back. We're not on the other side of the tunnels, where we can see our sixth creature to be upgraded. This is also the Necromancers' territory - they literally stay idle for the whole map.

I followed Kunyak to study war. To learn the arts of fighting... and learned a great deal. I had hoped now to rest, to teach. But this cannot be ignored. No fighter can sit and watch. Bora will come and show the enemies of Orcs how much she knows!

Bora's kind of a weird name for a girl... but eh. Who am I to judge?

Biography posted:

Furies are Harpies that have survived enough battles to master advanced techniques in strafing attacks. They are impossible to counter-attack as they fly with incredible speed and manoeuvrability.

    Damage: 5-9 (Might)
    Defense: 3 (7%)
    Magic Defense: 6 (14%)
    Health: 33
    Initiative: 50
    Movement: 7 (Flying)
    Range: None
    Destiny: 7
    Morale: 7
    Cost: 160
    Growth: 11/week
    Abilities: Strike and Return, No Retaliation, Living

No Retaliation posted:

“Honor is a luxury for those with the gold to armor their chests. I prefer my Furies. They cloak themselves in courage.” Crag Hack, the infamous barbarian who rose to the head of an Orc tribe, is said to have thrown those words likes javelins at Baron Rufus during a truce meeting in the middle of a three-day battle. The Unicorn Baron was complaining that the strafing attacks from Crag’s notorious Clouds of Furies were dishonorable because his men could not retaliate.

No Retaliation is exactly what it says on the tin. Now Furies are like mini-Glories!

Furies turn the Harpies from middling attackers to instant superstars. The jump is immense - they now have the highest base damage of Cores (though Crushers still outdamage them when you factor in the second attack, and other creatures like Wanizame can too when you factor in their abilities). The big prize, of course, is their No Retaliation ability. This makes them suddenly much more usable, especially when you factor in that they also got a movement buff and patches have made them more survivable. They can harass enemies from behind walls on both sides of a siege, forcing them to come out or break through the walls, and they're no longer forced to wait for other creatures to help them soak up retaliations and waste their high Initiative. Throw in a couple abilities like Cleave, and there's a reason why they're my top priority upgrade for the Stronghold.

Meanwhile, the Sanctuary finally slipped through and captured one of my Forts. While Airini is off claiming it back, Sandor can head south to appease the Hai Ryo.

Enter Hai Ryo (again)

GAH! Not again!

One reboot later...

Alright, that's better. The Hai Ryo is just south, past a group of friendly Harpies.

I go for the Tears route in my canon save file, which is literally just that - the Hai Ryo disappears, quest complete and you can go back and talk to Elizabeth back at the Necromancers' island. Both paths are available regardless of reputation, so even Blood Sandors can appease the Hai Ryo to avoid a fight.

But, let's say we do choose to fight him, through the power of save files?

Optional Boss Fight: Hai Ryo

Oh come on!

I couldn't find a way to fix the lighting for this fight, so you'll have to make do with these. For those wondering, the actual battlefield with proper lighting looks something like this:

I can, however, tell you what the Hai Ryo can do. To start off, as you can see, the Hai Ryo has 75'000 Health. There's an achievement for stripping away every last ounce of that before 10 rounds - which doesn't sound too difficult for a Stronghold army. His most noticeable aspect is his Movement of 9, though he'll actually rarely move, and usually only when there are no units surrounding him. There are three predetermined 'water' tiles, and he'll move between them, since he's a giant sea eel with no legs. Like all Boss creatures, he gets two turns a round, and is immune to effects that reduce Movement (but abilities like Sky and Earth will still do damage).

The Hai Ryo has several tricks up his sleeves (or... scales) to make your life more difficult. The first is an ability to attack a target from a distance, dealing considerable Water damage and inflicting the Frozen status effect, rendering them unable to move for one turn (he loves to use this on Harpies/Furies).

The second is his Whirl attack, depicted in the screenshot - this is his normal mode of attack when there are actually creatures close enough for it to hit. He also employs this as a counterattack. This deals Water damage to everyone around him, and inflicts the Frozen effect. It also pushes back small targets by one tile - for this battle, that means Crushers, Furies and Dreamreavers, though Furies shouldn't get hit by this attack anyway.

This is where most of the frustration comes in - a Frozen stack can't hit the Hai Ryo without moving, so if he Whirls and then moves to another tile, those stacks are forced to Defend and waste a turn. This is also the reason why your Crushers should always attack after another stack (like Panther Warriors or Cyclops) soak up the retaliation - if the Hai Ryo counterattacks on the Crushers, they'll be pushed back and can't perform their second attack. Luckily our Goblin Hunters, Centaur Marauders and Furies are mostly immune to this attack. And in case you're wondering, Unfettered doesn't seem to work on Frozen.

The Hai Ryo's other ability is to summon a stack of 50 Water Spirits. These are practically identical to the Sanctuary's Spring Spirits, though with much lower health. They also automatically Spirit Link with the Hai Ryo, causing him to return 10% melee damage back to your troops till they die. The Water Spirits will usually make a beeline for your Centaur Marauders, but they're not really a big concern thanks to Maneouver and Mobile Shooter.

Really, the most important things you can do for this fight is to just not mess up with your Cores. Make sure you've upgraded your Harpies, and that your Crushers always attack without fear of retaliation.

Or you could, y'know, just give him the Cup and avoid the fight altogether. Unless you really need the Reputation.

I did end up getting some Achievements I haven't gotten the first time round (my first Sandor was Tears as well), so that's nice.

However you appease or subdue the Hai Ryo, we also get a Tear of Asha for our effort. We can also go back to Elisabeth for our motherly goodbyes.

I have no idea why I get the Blood conversation here. Maybe fighting the Hai Ryo on my second save file triggers this. So uh, just imagine Airini says something boring.

A great battle!

Sandor nice! Give Acamas lots of nice things to do.

You are good at killing things, Shanyi. That's useful, but is not an end in itself. Farewell.

Right now, killing what Kraal has, what Kraal does best. Maybe we meet again when world is safer.

Goodbye, Elisabeth. We won't see her again.

Father Sky's Furor, the Stronghold Tear of Asha building, provides the standard ToA gifts, and its unique ability is to grant all our troops Bloodrage II at the start of the combat - that's +5 Initiative and +10% Might damage for the first round, free of charge! (Blood Sandors can even give one troop Bloodrage IV in the first round using Blood Fury.) It's pretty nice.

You might notice the southwest Fort got taken too - the sneaky Sanctuary snuck through the water on the bottom of the map. The bottom invasions become the most annoying, since they can attack any of the three forts along the bottom of the map.

Back to busineses. The final creature and Fort is located in the northwest, past a guarding Necropolis stack and with a host of friendly creatures along the way (I even had 5 Cyclops join in one stack).

Orcs are little brothers. But Cyclops call Kunyak "big brother". For Kunyak, cyclops break fleet of Steel Men that came to kill Orcs. Cyclops happy to break snake men that want to kill Orcs. Only Kunyak has right to stay on Kunyak Hill.

Woo, seven out of seven down! That's a good thing too, I was getting really tired of the constant Sanctuary invasions.

Click here to listen to the conversation!

We learn, but more slowly than they gather.

Lookatthem! Many many! Carving knives ready!

Don't worry, Zed. Goink protect you!

Make cyclops happy. Father Sky made Cyclops to protect all Orcs, all Goblins.

Naga are many. Old Dash remembers madness of young Dash. Will call madness back today.

I have scouted. They are many like leaves on trees, blades of grass.

Father Sky shall give us strength of wind, to cast down Naga and disperse them. Will be good to see, one great battle, one last time...

Good. Many enemies. Good day to restore honor, to remember past.

Good. We're ready as can be. Naga come as conquerors, to take what is not theirs. We few, we defend the memory of the Orcs, the memory of Kunyak.

For the tribe! For the blood!

Oh, before that, let's see our final creature.

Biography posted:

Though the Cyclops are by nature calm with a child-like simplicity, when they are hurt (physically or emotionally), they develop an explosive and terrifying rage, born from their chaos-tainted blood. This makes them dangerous to everyone, their own kind included. A select few Cyclops can intuitively channel this rage through their “Evil Eye” to incinerate their enemies from a distance.

    Enraged Cyclops
    Damage: 57-65 (Magical, Fire [Ranged], Might [Melee])
    Defense: 26 (44%)
    Magic Defense: 24 (42%)
    Health: 365
    Initiative: 40
    Movement: 7 (Walking)
    Range: Half
    Destiny: 7
    Morale: 7
    Cost: 2190 + 1 Crystal
    Growth: 2/week
    Abilities: Large Creature, Sunder, Impervious to Pain, Mighty Slam, Burning Rage, Living, Demonic Lineage
Note: While not stated as an ability, the Enraged Cyclops seem to have no melee penalty. To be confirmed.

Mighty Slam posted:

“Mother Earth hears Cyclops’ rage!” The Shaman Palamona is said to have been the first Orc to have made friends with the Cyclops during her tribe’s flight for freedom during the Orc Crusades. She claimed to have been given a vision during a dream by Mother Earth, and walked straight into a Cyclops village the very next morning. As two Enraged Cyclops immediately tried to smash the life out of her, they both missed, and she was sent high into the air from the tremendous impacts of their Mighty Slams. She then floated gently to the ground between them, and the Cyclops have been the allies of the Orcs since that day.

Like the Panther Warriors' All-around Slash, the Enraged Cyclops' Mighty Slam is their pre-upgrade versions' Slam, but hitting all targets around their chosen one. It otherwise functions the same.

Burning Rage posted:

“They say the eye is the window to the soul. The Cyclops’ eye is a portal into Sheogh.” An Enraged Cyclops can concentrate its anger into a single beam of fiery energy that can literally set ablaze whatever it gazes upon. Or as the saying goes, “Cyclopes can’t wink, but no one has ever looked at one long enough to be certain.”

The Enraged Cyclops' attacks also set the target on fire, dealing an additional 20% of their damage per turn for the next 2 turns. At the time of writing, the ability is glitched and activates on all attacks, instead of just on their ranged attacks.

The addition of a ranged attack is interesting for the Cyclops - functionally speaking, it's a bit of a downgrade, as they only get Half Range and it's a Magical attack (which might not work so well for our Might Hero. The Enraged Cyclops doesn't improve on damage from the Cyclops, either (in fact, the only addition other than the ranged attack is an additional 25 health and 5 Initiative), so it could be seen as a liability. You could probably just not upgrade your Cyclops if one really wanted to.

What the Enraged Cyclops does provide, however, is a bit of a multi-purpose ability. They are the sturdiest shooters in the game thanks to Impervious to Pain and being so fat it can be really hard to take them down, especially if the Hero has taken health boosting talents. For our Sandor, since we have the Centaur Bow artifact, our melee attacks deal normal damage anyhow, so it's not our loss. It makes for a very good defender for our ranged troops, blocking them off due to its large size and benefitting from its close-range power and immolating abilities. Goblin Hunters also operate well at close range, so the two sync fairly well, along with Furies, who can just hide behind the Enraged Cyclops and harass enemies with their swoops. So while they may not be the most immediately beneficial upgrade, Enraged Cyclops have some interesting uses and synergy with the rest of their army, transforming from close-range juggernaut to bunker shooter.

Oh, Sanctuary creatures still come. They eventually upgrade to level 20 and start carrying larger armies, but it's really more of the same old same old.

You knew him? Interesting. How do you say that? 'You know him'.


That's all? How do you say 'I know you'.


Yeah. Okay. How about 'We know them?' 'She knows us?' 'They know him?'

Bava. Bava. Bava.


Orcs don't like pronouns. Heh heh heh.


Four weeks of swatting away Sanctuary heroes and mindlessly pressing 'End Turn' later...

Ho! Spawn of Griffin, leader of Orcs! I, Mukao of Hashima, challenge you to battle! The winner shall stay, the loser departs!

Mukao finally comes back after running the last time with his tail between his... tail. Or something. Fighting him ends the map, so let's do this already.

It's almost a disappointment. We've had weeks to recruit hundreds of creatures - we almost have a thousand Goblin Hunters! Mukao's creatures fall like toothpicks.

Really Mukao. Your flunkies put up more of a fight than this!

Click here to listen to the conversation!

You might find my proposal more interesting with a weapon at your throat. Do we ally and prepare ourselves for the demons, or do you prefer an honourless death?

Wait, really Sandor? Wasn't that the whole point Mukao was making at the start of the map? You had to annihilaite nearly an entire Sanctuary town while gathering hundreds of troops to realize that, oh hey, we should work together? I guess maybe he just wants to top.

My Empress has little love for renegades, and I have no interesting in giving in to idle threats. If you kill me, I return to the waters. Why should I fear this?

You're as stubborn as the Orcs!

Thank you.

Saaa. Maybe in these circumstances, we should work together...

Yeah. Okay. By the way Mukao, about the whole 'hey, my daimyo is your sister' kind of deal? Going to bring that up? How about the fact that she got knocked up? No? Yeah, sure, okay. Let's just end the map.

It certainly felt a lot longer than four and a half hours. And I still didn't get Hero.

Seriously, screw this map.