Part 69: Final Campaign (Tears), Part OneOne last map to go.
Kind of fitting I suppose, since Anastasya is the only one who ever actually killed an angel.
It is simple enough to explain why you are here, my child: Michael has lived too long. The war he still fights ended centuries ago... in a draw.
We cannot allow the Elder Wars to start anew. The souls of its ancient victims must pass on to Asha, or the Balance will be broken.
This is the heart of Michael's power. This city is his and every soul in it believes as he does. They are all aware of the program to reincarnate those Angels lost in the war.
This building - the Hall of Memories - is where they hold the souls of long dead Angels. We need to capture it, if we wish to set free these captive spirits.
Wait, haven't the Angels been using the Celestial method since the Elder Wars? Laurielle said herself that Sarah came up with the method during then. It's been hundreds of years since then. If the Celestial method would have broken the Balance, wouldn't it have done so by now?
In fact, how long do the Angel souls last? Forever? Aurora's spirit has been held in stasis ever since she was killed during the Elder Wars. Couldn't Uriel have found her a new body in that time? What was so special about Anastasya? And either way, why was Anton able to hear the voices? It can't be because of the Sword of the Griffin - Slava and any of the other Dukes seemed just fine.
Will we get answers to any of these questions? Probably not.
The two sides of the Final Campaign serve as very interesting parallels between the Angels and the Faceless. But we'll get to those over time. We're up against a single faction in this campaign - the Haven. This gives Anton a slight edge in that he doesn't have to use any resources to convert anything, but like before, any faction will do fine.
Both Anastasya and Kaspar are both capable of handling themselves and we have a large number of artifacts, so they're quite well off. Anastasya starts with some upgraded Cores and Liches, and Kaspar has some Ghosts - they'll do just fine with that for now. We could reasonably bring Kaspar all the way to the high 20s in this level, too, since we won't have to rely on Anastasya for everything.
There's only really one direction to take, and you can split your Heroes up and start exploring and collecting resources, with a couple of stat boosts along the way.
Anastasya is so powerful she barely needs any creatures to end battles right now - Chain Lightning off a good 70+ Magic Power does the job just fine. The neutral stacks aren't nearly as powerful as in the Blood Map - if one wanted, Anastasya can handle herself just fine with just the Ravenous Ghouls for Initiative and give the Skeletal Spearmen to Kaspar, but it's not really needed.
Similiarly, Kaspar needs little help as long as he has a couple of decent damaging spells and utilizes his powerful Regeneration spell well. I had a bunch of Warlord's artifacts from the Necropolis campaign, so he had a whopping 36 Might Power - which would have been nice if I'd decided to give him Skeletons. Maybe I'll give him some Lamasu when we can hire them.
They know we are here! They retreat and close the gates. I can hear the voices of the fallen souls. They fear us. Fear you, actually.
Beware! Each of their forts guards a specific gate. We must capture all of them.
There's a portal at the end of the path, and there will usually be a Hero loitering around here. This is another area where the Tears' lower difficulty can be seen - some of the Haven Heroes are usually only around level 25, while in the Blood map enemy Heroes started off already at maximum level.
Chain Lightning, Mass Regeneration and Necromancy = dead Karloff within one or two turns.
One of the odd dynamics of the Angels and the Faceless is how they are each other's polar opposites - aside from the obvious Light vs. Darkness symbols, the Angels are supposed to be a unified faction, yet they have fragments between their own group (Michael argues with Uriel, and so does Sarah). They also only use a single faction. On the other hand, the Faceless have a hive-mind that all share a common goal, and this is reflected in their choice of allies spanning across four factions.
Several enemy Heroes also carry random set pieces - the War Drums of the Legion are nothing special, but Kaspar can use it since he doesn't have anything better.
After as pass through the portal, most of the enemy Heroes use Seraph/Celestial models. I presume a second reason is so the Haven isn't completely screwed out of hiring a certain Hero that they want. And now they hit level 30.
The Angel Heroes can do a lot of damage to an unsuspecting army, as they not only have a reputation bonus (being a Blood Magic Hero), but high Initiative from the Blazing Glories also mean they're likely to get the first move unless you're using the Sanctuary. They know Chain Lightning, Fire Bolt and Fire Ball, so you can end up losing a lot of units, especially as a Might Hero. Even the Sanctuary can be at a danger since they're weak to Chain Lightning - deploying only the Kappa and Petrifiying them helps. If you're using Kiril or Sandor, Xana or Airini can also do something similiar, but they'll take a few losses most likely.
Luckily, we're Anastasya. A Chain Lightning, Mass Regeneration, and using Petrification/Time Stasis later, we win with no losses. I also finally remember I can resurrect a completely dead stack using Necromancy, after the enemy Hero obilterates my Lich stack in two turns.
This is actually a really nice prize, but Kaspar already has it and Ana is using the Supreme Crown of the Magister. 'Tis a shame, but for those using Anton or Irina, it makes a decent headpiece for Kilburn or Changbo.
One more Magic Hero out of the way, and we have our main base for this map. How this map works is far more straightforward than the Blood Map - there are three Forts we need to capture before we can confront Michael. We don't even have to capture all the towns, so you can end up accidentally completing the map too early. But I digress.
Do you guys know that you can't cast Blizzard and Acid Cloud on top of each other? Well at least the animations are pretty. I kind of regret spending a point on it now for Kaspar, but he can pick up Chain Lightning in two more levels and then I can just spend the rest of his points on Magic Power boosting talents.
Where does this portal just west of our main base lead? Well, you'll have to find out next time, but first, let's have Cate and Anastasysa swap sympathies.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Anastasya, I'm sorry for what the Angels did to you and Slava. I regret not being at your side when you needed me most.
Michael had nothing to do with father's death, and neither did you. But he must be stopped, and the Celestial souls must pass on. They have broken Asha's cycle.
I have no animosity towards Michael, and I seek no vengeance. But you're right. His actions will upset the Balance.
You do take after your mother. Fascinating. I hadn't noticed it before.
She's a Griffin. And the fruit, even when it dies, never falls far from the tree.
But... why would it upset the Balance? If Cate was really so concerned about it, wouldn't she rather stop Sarah, who was visibly trying to destroy the Library? Instead, she and Sveltana just get Kiril to do it. She clearly has allied with the Faceless, so it's not likely she'd be subject to the same spell in the Valley of Shadows. Sarah was the one responsible for the swords that made the Dukes recepetacles anyway, so with her turned into some demon-angel hybrid there wouldn't be any new swords if she'd just let it be known that the Ancestral Swords were kinda cursed; I'm sure most of the Dukes would agree not to become Angels and two of her children are already leading the Griffin and Wolf duchies.
This game baffles me sometimes. Till next time I suppose.
You surprised even me, Kiril, when you stole the Faceless library. It seems that your new friends have had quite a bad infleunce on you.
Mother, there's always been a little demon inside me. It's just grown up. Could we first stop this crazy Angel? You can lecture me when he's passed on.
I would very much like that. Both restoring the balance of Asha... and then helping you put some order in your life.
Do you think someday... she'll learn to like me?
I think she already does.
I've been warring in the islands. I don't know much about all this.
That is unforunate, because there is much to know.
Try me! Orcs know how to make things simple.
Archangel Michael died in the Elder wars. The angels have brought him back... and he's determined to restart the war with the Faceless.
Nnn. That sounds simple enough. All we have to do is to send Michael back to his Dragon and ask him to remain there for good this time.
You are your father's son, Sandor. Ready to fight against all odds if the world needs it...