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Death 1

This guide was submitted by waterfly. Thanks!

Death 1: A rock-solid defensive strategy (plus saves)

Not many in our Gamers community speak up for a more defensive strategy in the campaign or in winning scenarios. Death 1 is one of the hardest scenarios to win, so dont wonder if you are having trouble here.
Nonetheless, if you dont waste time to turtle within a too small realm and you make good choices about your Wizards skills and your research and can combine it with good tactical combat skills - any Scenario can be won playing defensive against the AI.
For anybody who likes to try out the defensive style I provide some saves of my Death 1 campaign that I won on the hardest difficulty level in 65 Days - for extra difficulty I won it without recruiting the hero available on the map, even that is not necessary.

I will give some hints and advices here and will provide a few saves (, so that you can conclude and benchmark progress and other details from it.

Wizard starting skills:

  • explorer: A must, as you will have only few units in the beginning and you will need to have the maximum range for them to grab resources and win TC-battles
  • scholar: the defensive strategy will rely heavily on the benefits of researching wizard skills, much more then the few death spells you will need.
  • beaurocrat: this gives you a small penalty on money, but it takes 5 days to get a your first city, so the penalty starts hurting only later and once you researched "merchant", the penalty is neutralized.

Basic strategy:
You will win this scenario with only 3 cities producing units: the 2 cities to be animated from ruins and the Halfling city close to them (either razed and animated or migrated - doesnt matter). These cities are close enough together to be defended or recaptured eraly on and once your army grows they will be strong enough even if you field some armies for offense.
So you wont waste money for cities far away, but you can use all other cities to produce resources (temple for mana; gold). You can sell any structure that only serves for production elsewhere => focus your resource spending where you dont ever loose it.

If you win a Day with a hurried production because of the cheering populace and you end up having not enough gold for the next building, you should Build Housing in your capitol to really max it up or sell a structure you will not need anymore (Barrack won't ever be used when you have the war hall, wooden wall is useless with stone walls etc.)

Day 1:

  • Research is set to Expander. Once you animated ruins your cities are far away from being fully grown. Expander will help you grow with lightning speed. If you have to hurry production sometimes, it wont hurt you badly with population growth.
  • You recruit the zombie and send it to the death node and further on, strait to the cavern entrance. Dont worry about the gold and mana lying around - you can grab it on your way back, you cant spend it early anyway, its important you dont waste time - get the mine as early as possible, generally thats you early goal, to get as much of the daily resource generating structures as possible.
  • The Wizards gets the spell from the vault, the mana, starts casting Animate Ruins and walks the easiest trail towards the ruins/roads.

Day 2/3: You can recruit the troops on the road on Day 2 (or 3) and walk them down the road towards the windmill. Halflings will attack you, but can be defeated.

Day 4: The Wizard captures the Life Node and the windmill is captured by the troops. Your Wizard goes back towards the city that can be reanimated on Day 6, but only close enough to cast, since he will lead the battle for the resource heap south of that city. I send one Zombie on a long and slow journey capturing resources in the East - another catalyst can be found on Day 12 (to hurry merchant)

Day 6 (Save=d1_6.cbf): My wizard reanimated the city and ended the turn at the production heap, but waiting for the Vampir from that city to join the battle and the undead swordsmen too. A research catalyst was found and used for research. Only 2 days towards Expander now. I started building a war hall first (you have 50 production point => 3 day)

Day 7: There are 2 difficult battles with indies in the game, this one for the production heap and the battle against the Rogues guarding the area of the other one. You shouldnt loose the Vampire but come out with a new recruit (I got an Orc Rider and Swordsmen). You need to use the production queue trick and fill the queue up with all things you dont want to get from the heap. You will need to build the Wizard Tower first, and use the second one the Master Guild. Why? it might be that your Wizards dies in the next battle against the 3 rogues, but that isnt of any consequences, since you dont use unit spells and your fame cannot help you to recruit heroes in this scenario anyway.

Day 8: With Expander researched you can reseach enchant weapon now (1 day)

Day 9: Captured the other resource heap (Master Guild) and positioned the available troops to be attacked by the 3 Rogues on their turn. Building a wooden wall (you have 60 production point => 1 day)
Research: Merchant

Day 10 (Save=d1_10.cbf): I lost my Wizard on the Rogue-attack but recruited one of them with my Vampire, the Wizard turns up fully healed at his tower and advances with all other troops on the halfling city.
Building a monastery (you need a healer for your troops) and mana is nice

Day 11: Captured the Halfing city, loosing a swordsmen but again recruiting another Rogue. Your Vampire is the most important unit, so you dont want to loose it. By now the Vampire has a gold medal and enchant weapon on.
The city is left in Anarchie, you dont have the time to migrate or raze it yet. If they rebel you have again opportunity to recruit A Rogue, if not you get the gold. you shouldnt raze it either, since you cannot animate it right away.
I started to cast animate ruins again but that will be delayed through the use of combat spells but I cabn make sure no casting points are wasted.

Day 12: Production: Black priest

Day 13: Captured the next Halfing city
Production: Shrine of Nature (you can produce a different shrine if you want, war preferable, but I wanted to make sure, that I can win the game with that capitol alone, so I even increased the production capacity and grwoth rate more)

Day 14 (Save=d1_14.cbf): Captured the production heap close to the halfling city. Here comes another "secret" expert trick. You can send the production heap towards your capitol using the queue trick, even if there are cities in between, IF you can fill up the queue of that cities so that there is nothing left to be picked :)
I also attacked the crypt but had to retreat once to get rid of some zombies.

Day 15: Contact with Meandor! The surviving army of 2 rogues, Vampire, Orc Rider and Wizard is joined by the first priest and retreats in orderly fashion towards the halfling town (I started migrating then, since I did animate ruins in the other site and wanted to use the casting points elswhere.

Further plans:
Once the Shrine of Nature was build I started to build 3-4 Bonehorrors, so I can send out small but strong armies in 3 different directions and still have one as backbone for my defense. Bonehorrors will make you solid on defense and enable you to go grab more halfling cities and resources, but it wont be enough to defeat the strongest stacks of Meandor.

Later I got all structures necessary to build Reapers, and those guys made the real difference. Their life stealing makes it possible to take on stacks of low or medium level units alone. The floating will enable a save approach on mountains.

Later saves from Days (22,30,40,51,65)

Further Research: after Merchant

  • Casting Specialist 1
  • ispel Magic Constructor Conquerer Channeler ...
from here is it is not so important anymore, which direction your research goes. I did research Bone Dragon later, but it was not really essential to win the game

Of course there are plenty of TC battles against Meandor to come :)

Good luck with those!

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