Part 44: Inferno Campaign, Map Two, Part Two
Let's progress. We can start by heading south. The Necropolis we just captured will be the main place for enemy attacks, so it's not a bad idea to create an Advanced Town Portal there eventually.
This is where I was born; the lands of the Silver Cities. I was young when I sold my soul. Just barely old enough to fall in love.
You sold your soul for love?
Not exactly... I sold it to have a man burned at the stake. Is that what you're intending on doing to Sarah?
That would be an act of mercy...
We actually have a lot of options on where to go at this point - the path branches into four directions, each leading to a Necropolis Fort or Town. There's also a Hero there trying to invade that we quickly swat away.
We're going to tackle the west side first, but take note that we can do these in any order. In fact, the west side is completely optional if you want, but it doesn't hurt to claim them. The Fort here is the closest to our starting territory. It also has a long winding path that makes it relatively safe from enemy attacks, and has a Core dwelling and Gold Mine for our efforts (you'll quickly find yourself having a lot of Gold in this mission).
What's this about a raging demon being held prisoner?
Veyer's an Arch Demon and a vassal of Ur-Khrag.
Why would I help him? That's Azkaal's overlord.
He could gate you in some Juggernauts... they would be a powerful ally on the battlefield.
Have you chosen an Overlord, Xana?
I follow Kha-Beleth... and Kha-Beleth has no master.
I thought all demons swore allegiance to one of the Six Overlords... how else can they survive in Sheogh?
An Arch-Demon doesn't have to do anything. Especially not Kha-Beleth...
Enemy stacks start swelling to very large sizes very quickly. Since we can't Entice or Drain Life for most of this map, we'll be taking more losses than we like, and it might be prudent to skip particularly hard-hitting stacks, like Liches.
Also, while we can't use the Entice trick in this map, it's still not too bad an idea to split your Lilim stacks. While you'll get slightly lower damage over time, you are raising your chances of lucky hits, which is important to get more Gating opportunities in.
You call this an army? With our power we should have a hundred legions surrounding us!
I'm tracking a three thousand year-old angel. She's smart, and travels light...
There's a little cul-de-sac along the way that leads to a tunnel. It looks promising, but it's really just a waste of time that leads to nothing significant. You can come here after you're done with the map.
An observation tower reveals the town in the southwest, and another Necropolis Hero about to embark to invade us. Easily stopped.
Did you guys know that Daeva was the Inferno Hero Slava fought in the Tutorial Campaign? No? Well go look, it's true.
This is I believe the only Necropolis town that doesn't cough up a Moonsilk piece. We actually just have a sidequest here to hunt down a Necropolis Hero that's harassing some of the demon invasions. It'd actually be easier to have come here later, but doing this early cuts off a potential invasion point from the undead.
Our target is just north of the town, and he's stationary, so we could come back later with a decisive advantage and whoop his butt. Despite his large army, he's only level 1, so he has a significant statistical disadvantage.
Our Cerberi are already potentially breaking 2k damage. So very nice. As is making use of Voracious.
Also get used to unavoidable losses. The AI sometimes enjoys picking on Lacerators instead of Cerberi, giving you uneeded losses - I end up just removing them from the starting lineup sometimes.
Well, we shouldn't really deny Daeva a new boytoy, right?
Please Lord Kiril, let me keep him. He's so adorable.
We're going to let him go, Daeva. He's trying to hunt Demons. And I don't want them destroying the Mother Namtaru.
You shall die here, demon! The Spider Queen shall haunt your dreams for eternity!
I'm not a demon. Not yet, anyway. But I know them well. Find and destroy the Mother Breeder first... The others will disperse and you can hunt them at your leisure.
But I do nothing but track and kill. There is no end to them.
Never track where the demons are going, track where they came from. You'll find their source, and it won't be pretty.
I still don't understand why you didn't kill him.
When I'm in a dark woods... I like knowing there's at least one hunter there that owes me a favor.
To sum it up, Kiril is helping the Necropolis track down the demons that aren't art of his rag-tag infernal crew, especially since he doesn't want those demons getting to the Mother Namtaru before he does. Kind of a roundabout way, but I guess the enemy of my enemy is my friend...
We also unlock the Breeder creature building for our towns. We've already talked about them in Map 1, so I won't do that again, though they're still as lackluster as ever. Still, a little more ranged firepower is nice.
Now to the east side, just in time to snag another Necropolis Hero. I've actually been pretty luck in catching them before they get too troublesome so far.
The Fort we're looking for for our Juggernauts is a little southeast of where we enter from the branch earlier (the path splits a little to the northeast as well, but we'll tackle that next update.)
Free at last! I shall avenge this humililation. I'll destroy these stacks of walking bones. What shall I do, Lord Kiril? I am at your side.
I could use some Juggernauts.
Let us seal our pact by destroying this Necropolis.
It would save us some resources not having to convert it... but uh, let's see how Tears goes.
I'm not here to destroy these lands. I'm tracking an angel.
I'll give you my Juggernauts for freeing me. But you understand nothing, half-demon. We must destroy all of Ashan! Chasing Angels? They have wings and leave no tracks!
You fool. You've lost a great captain. He would have followed you to the moon.
If Sarah's hiding there I'll be sure to look Veyer up.
Lord Kiril, Drinker of Azkaal, the Great Prince of Destruction! You shall rule the world!
The world's not my concern... I have an angel to catch.
Angels leave no tracks. You want to destroy their sky cities? Veyer's your demon!
Veyer... forget it. Believe what you want, for now. Just get me some Juggernauts.
Veyer joins us on the Blood decision. He's not necessarily restricted to a Blood Kiril, since you can have Kiril go Tears before meeting Veyer (and similiarly, you can turn Veyer down on a Blood Kiril). This can also happen with Irina and Changbo/Katashi. I've heard of there being a few conflicting issues with future maps if you don't go according to plan though, so best to play it safe and stick with Tears. Still, we can check out his biography.
Veyer is not, to put it mildly, the sharpest Demon in Sheogh, but he is well-liked in consequence of being bold, enthusiastic, and easier to manipulate than a pair of bellows.
A handy ally for anyone who's in need of a spot of terrorizing or destroying, Veyer is proud to do what Demons do best.
Veyer is the Might Blood Hero. He also appears in HoMM V, implying he survives the events of this game.
In either case, we also unlock the Juggernaut building, our last Elite unit.
Servants of Ur-Khrag, the Demon Overlord of Destruction, Juggernauts are easily identified by their immense horns and their basalt-covered fists and hooves. In battle, they rush violently (and sometimes blindly) into the enemies lines, impaling their enemies with their horns, crushing them with a swing of their massive arms, or trampling them to a bloody pulp. When needed, they even make good battering rams.
Juggernaut Damage: 18-21 (Might) Defense: 16 (31%) Magic Defense: 13 (26%) Health: 90 Initiative: 50 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: None Destiny: 12 Morale: 5 Cost: 490 Growth: 3/week Abilities: Large Creature, Organic Armor, Unstoppable Charge, Living, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Organic Armor posted:
The Juggernauts have made a pact with Ur-Khrag, the Demon Overlord of Destruction. In exchange for their promise to destroy all that Asha has created, they have been given an organic armor that mutates constantly, making it impossible to hamper magically. Many a wizard has died with eyes open in astonishment, as his most powerful spell has no affect against the creatures.
Juggernauts are immune to negative effects involving their defenses, be it Might or Magic.
Unstoppable Charge posted:
Juggernauts relish opportunities to destroy all living and un-living creations of Asha, the Dragon-Goddess of Order. Whether organic or mineral, their charge creates a wake of destruction that obliterates everything in its path on the way to its target. It is said that they particularly adore the sound of shattering stone. It is music to their ears that remind them of the mines in Sheogh where they often choose to live.
Unstoppable Charge is usable every three turns. The Juggernaut moves to a target 2x2 empty tile in its movement range, hitting all stacks and obstacles in the way, dealing standard damage to creatures and dealing 3 structureal damage to obstacles.
Going by stats alone, the Juggernauts should clearly be among the top of the line. Amazing damage (they even outdamage Kenshi, before upgrading), great defenses and health, and excellent Initiative. A little short on Movement, but that never stopped Kenshi, right? So they should easily rank front and center in the Inferno's lineup.
Except that... not really. They're good creatures. But they simply don't have the support that the Kenshi do. Immunity to spells like Weakness is very nice, but their low Movement mean that the Kenshi's immunity to Chill and Frozen generally comes out better. The Juggernauts don't have the support of Waves of Renewal or Unlimited Retaliation, and Unstoppable Charge ends up being very difficult to use because you're more likely to hit thin air or end up hitting your own creatures, thanks to the Juggernauts' large size and the Inferno's heavy emphasis on melee. In fact, Juggernauts end up interfering with Cerberi because they're both large creatures and Cerberi are simply more threatening, so Juggernauts can't even distract enemies well. Even Lacerators, who Juggernauts should at least outrank due to being more durable, are better at damage thanks to Taste of Pain.
Juggernauts aren't bad creatures, you could even say they're good creatures, but they don't have the level of support from their own army that makes the Kenshi amazing. They're just... there, and the problem is that they solve none of the Inferno's issues - they already had their damage dealers in the Cerberi and Lacerators, but the Juggernauts can't fly or teleport, which is something the Inferno is lacking. They can smash down walls, but most advanced walls have moats which stop that strategy. They have Initiative... but so does the Breeder, who at least manages to not get in the way. So at the end of the day, they're again, not terrible, but they don't live up to the potential their amazing stats give them.
We'll finish up this map next time, as we go face down a spider.