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Dark Omen Strategy Guide

Warhammer: Dark Omen Strategy Guide The following is a guide to the battles in Warhammer: Dark Omen’s single-player campaign. Note that the little tips you get at the end of the battle (you can cycle through ‘em all when they first appear) are pretty useful, so we won’t cover the same ground they do here. Instead, we’ll describe the major enemy forces you will face in each battle and the items you can expect to find here. If anyone has encountered or found stuff not described here, please email me at undeaddude@hotmail.com and I’ll be glad to add it to the guide. this guide covers the first 13 or so battles in the first "chapter" of Dark Omen, up to the destruction of vampire lord Manfred Von Carstein. Here's a listing of the missions that will be covered in this first installment: First battle: The Trading Post Second battle: The Orc warband Third battle: Grissburg Town Fourth battle: The Brigands attack! Fifth battle: Bogenhafen … or Helmgart? Sixth battle: Helmgart occupied Seventh battle: Axebite Pass Eighth battle: The Barrows in the Great Forest Ninth battle: The Greenskins in the Forest Tenth battle: The Steam Tank undt ze Orc ambush Eleventh battle: The Blighted Towers Twelfth battle: The Vampire Lord Thirteenth battle: Subterranean showdown

First battle: The Trading Post A band of goblins is after the gold at the trading post. Your best bet here is to just deploy your cavalry, crossbows and infantry. At the start of the battle, charge your units up the slope to the cliff where the goblin archers will stop. Get your crossbowmen to fire into the archers while your cavalry takes out the Night Goblins. A fireball from the Grudgebringer Sword will help soften up the gobbos before you charge. By the time your infantry gets into position, the crossbows should have thinned out the archers' ranks. Send the footsoldiers in and make sure you order the crossbows to cease fire (or they will take out their comrades by accident). Move the crossbows up to the top of the cliff (where the gobbo archers were). Move your cavalry and infantry into position near the copse of trees. When the second wave appears (one unit of archers and one unit of Night Goblins), fire into the archers while your cavalry and infantry charge at the footsoldiers. After that it’s a simple mopping up procedure. Remember to ride into the trading post and grab the gold before ending the mission.

Second battle: The Orc warband

At the Border Princes, you encounter an Orc warband that is on the run from the disturbances in their territory. The warband is in disarray and morale is running low. Again, I prefer to fight this without my cannon. Hold the extra unit you get, Carlsson's Cavalry, in check -- why give a temporary unit experience points? If you must deploy your cannon, then get Carlsson's men to guard them in case any Orcs get too close.

Otherwise, I prefer to soften up the Orcs with my crossbows before slamming the cavalry full-tilt into the nearest one. The initial enemy force comprises one unit Arrerboyz (archers) and two units of Orc boyz (footsoldiers). Target the archers with your crossbows and then send the calvary into the first unit of Orc boyz. The enemy routs fairly quickly in this scenario because their morale is already low. Use your infantry to take care of the second unit of Orc boyz, and you may dispose of the surviving Arrerboyz any way you see fit.

Once this batch is baked, two more units appear -- Boar boyz, the greenskin cavalry. All enemy units appear from the north, by the way. Again, they are easy pickings as long as you don't make careless mistakes. Always keep Carlsson's Cavalry close by whichever ranged-fire unit you deploy -- either the crossbows or the cannon.

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Third battle: Grissburg Town

You've reached the Border Princes where you find your old friend, the Bright Wizard named Luther Flamestrike. At Grissburg town, you encounter a large force of undead troops, part of the army that has the entire region in a panic.

The enemy appears on the far side of the map and takes some time getting to you, so what you should do is move your forces up to form a "pincer" – with the wizard and cavalry forming one point of the pincer and the archers and infantry on the other. Move the cavalry and wizard up to the little house by the river (North).

Move the crossbows and infantry north-east, up two houses from the deployment zone. Depending on which units you want to give more experience to, just have at those undead! These are fairly low-level units and can be easily taken care of. The enemy appears roughly in this order: two units of zombies, one unit of ghouls, one unit of zombies, two more units of ghouls and a final unit of zombies. There are usually no more than two enemy units on the field at a time.

Take note that a powerful spell like the Burning Head can usually cause an entire unit of zombies to rout. When a zombie unit routs, it is destroyed – cast back to the realm of B-movies from whence it came. You should be able to spread out the experience points fairly evenly on this one.

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Fourth battle: The Brigands attack!

You’re heading towards Bogenhafen with the Countess, the Emperor’s cousin, in your care, when suddenly a band of brigands attacks! You get two extra units here, the Countess’ personal guard and a troop of Helmgart bowmen. Once again, these are temps so watch out you don’t give them too much to do. They make great cannon fodder, though (heh heh).

OK, here goes: the first group of brigands appears behind the copse of trees to the north. The second unit, archers, is partly hidden beside a hillock to the north-west. Position your cavalry to take care of the first group (visible during deployment phase). Get the Helmgart bowmen as close to the hillock as possible and send your infantry marching up the hill the minute the battle begins.

Deploy your wizard, crossbows and the Countess’ guard by the trees to the south-east. When you start the battle, get rid of the first two groups of brigands as quickly as possible, then reposition your cavalry, bowmen and infantry to tackle the onslaught from the south-east. If your wizard has the Flamestorm spell, just cast it on the enemy bowmen.

The second onslaught comprises two more units of brigand swordsmen, one unit of archers and a necromancer. Don’t worry about this last guy – he’s only there to scope out the battle. As long as you don’t lose your head, this is another easy mission. And if you do lose your head, well – you’ll lose your head. When any of your units gets too close to the necromancer, he teleports away from the battle, promising to return (like stale pizza).

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Fifth battle: Bogenhafen … orHelmgart?

The first of the game’s decision branches appears here. The undead march on Helmgart, but the Countess is also in danger in Bogenhafen. If you stay and protect her, Helmgart will surely be lost. Adoi! What’s a mercenary captain to do? Well, fortunately, there’s that handy reload feature so you can replay the different decision trees.

Bogenhafen: If you stay in Bogenhafen, here’s what you can expect. Actually, if you’ve played the Dark Omen demo, that’s exactly what to expect! The restless dead come at you from all sides, beginning with two units of zombies from the north.

Position your cannon facing north and protect it with the Countess’ guard. Your crossbows and archers should be at the south-west corner of the deployment zone with the cavalry close by. Your wizard and infantry may be placed within spitting distance of one another.

When the battle starts, two groups of zombies rise from the north-west. Target the ground as they burst forth and your first shot should scatter one unit like skittles. The undead are plentiful in this mission, and attack relentlessly.

The undead order of battle is like this: two units of undead from the north-west; one unit from the south, behind the central building; one unit from the south-east; one more from the north; one group of archers from the south-west; one undead unit from the east; one more from the west; the necromancer, at random; and two more units of skeletons, one from the north and the other from the south – a glorious night’s worth of battle experience.

Guard your wizard and cannon carefully. Sometimes, the necromancer can be slain with one shot from the cannon. Also, keep your magician’s spell points in reserve so that he can deal with the necromancer. Your cavalry is also quite adequate to put this practitioner of the black arts down for the count.

Once the enemy units have been sent back to Hades, send your wizard and cavalry to the bookshop (indicated by a sign with a book on it, what else?) and bombard it with fireballs. A magic item will appear, being the Book of Ashur, which grants your wizard an extra spell in each battle. The plus side of staying to fight in Bogenhafen is that you get this book; the downside is that you have to fight real hard to recapture Helmgart.

Moving on to Helmgart (without staying to help the Countess): Duuuuh?! Actually, we can’t think of any possible reason for the long-term development of your game to choose this path. Of course, if you pick this one you get to defend Helmgart instead of attack it, but you don’t get the Book of Ashur, and this comes in really useful when the battles get tougher.

To defend Helmgart, position your cannon so that it has a line of fire right down the slope up which the attackers will charge. Place it quite far back so enemy archers can’t get at it. This battle is typically just holding back and letting your ranged units (cannon, wizard and crossbows) whittle down the attackers, then allowing your cavalry and infantry to mop up. It appears that the same enemy units that defend Helmgart (see below) will be the ones attacking it here, which makes me wonder just how much of a fight the Helmgarteners put up to leave the enemy unscathed!

Note: it’s also a heck of a lot more difficult to defend the damn place than attack it. Strange but true! I played the attacking game and made it through with the loss of only five cavalrymen and about 10 infantry. But in defending Helmgart, I was left with four cavalrymen, five infantry, 15 crossbows and five bowmen, and lost my cannon on top of that. My wizard was a bloody mess but survived by some miracle.

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Sixth battle: Helmgart occupied

If you stayed back in Bogenhafen to help the Countess, Helmgart will be occupied by the undead when you get there. This is how it goes:

There will be two units of skeleton archers on the cliff when you begin. Position your cannon at the lower right corner of the deployment zone, out of reach of the skeleton archers. Keep your other units well out of reach – drop them to the left and back a bit. When you start the battle, take your time targeting the archers with your cannon and whittling them down until they hightail it out of there or are completely destroyed. Keep shelling the ground slightly behind the archers – a lucky shot might obliterate a unit of zombies hiding just out of sight (you can tell by the gurgling cries as they crumble into dust).

Once you’re reasonably sure it’s safe to advance, move your wizard up close to the large rock formation in the middle of the valley so that his spells can reach the slope (the only access path to Helmgart tower). Cast a Flamestorm spell smack in the middle of the slope, near the top. Then send your cavalry up to draw out the two units of zombies that rise from the ground there. If your positioning of the Flamestorm was accurate, lots of the undead will be barbequed before they even get into formation. Your crossbows should have no trouble taking out most of the survivors, while your cavalry is more than up to finishing off any stragglers.

Next, send your cavalry all the way up the slope to draw out the necromancer and skeleton cavalry. Then run ‘em back down and draw the enemy into your ranged units’ fire. Again, use the troops for mopping up. Watch the necromancer – he’s a crafty bastich who will usually strike at your wizard first. Protect your spellcaster with a Dispel Magic spell beforehand. After this it should be a relatively simple matter to charge your cavalry, infantry and crossbows up and storm Helmgart to free it of the undead blight.

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Seventh battle: Axebite Pass

After Helmgart, you’re rewarded with a bottle of magic potion. Give this to your infantry. Then your old pal, the dwarf warrior named … uh … Flickerpiss Nosescum or something like that, approaches you for help in fighting the undead at Axebite Pass. If you turn him down and go back to Altdorf instead, too bad for you! Dwarfs are tough fighters and really good in melee combat, especially if you give them a magic potion or magical shield.

Agree to help him out and it’s on to Axebite Pass, which has this really wicked bend around which numerous ambushes can take place. When you deploy your army, you’ll notice that there are two units of skeleton archers lined up near the bend. Position your cannon in a direct firing line to these two and keep your other units out of range. Then open up with the big gun. Be patient – as long as you don’t move up and provoke the other undead, you have all the time in the world to keep blasting away until you’ve destroyed the archers, or driven the survivors to fall back out of range.

Then, slowly move your cavalry up to start drawing out the rest of the enemy. Once your cavalry reaches the bend (don’t ride around it though), two units of zombies appear followed by a unit of wights and a necromancer. Let your crossbows and wizard take care of the zombies, and engage the wights with your cavalry, who at this point would be the best unit to handle these powerful undead creatures. (The necromancer will keep teleporting in and out of range, so as long as you have a Dispel Magic cast on your cavalry or wizard, you should be safe from him.)

Once you have taken out this first wave, advance your cavalry, infantry, dwarfs, wizard and crossbows. The enemy units that appear in the second wave will include one skeleton regiment, one zombie unit and another unit of skeleton archers. Strike like lightning! You may need to make use of your infantry’s magic potion here. Take them out as quickly as possible, and take out the surviving archers from early in the battle too. Then, brace yourself for the final attack – skeletons and wights.

The second "carrot" for taking this path, aside from getting the dwarfs on your side for later, is that you get a reward from them for helping out – an Enchanted Shield which adds an extra armour level to whichever unit is holding it.

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Eighth battle: The Barrows in the Great Forest

You’ve gone back to Altdorf, only to learn the Countess has been kidnapped. Furthermore, the Libre Mortis (Book of the Dead) tells of a Dread King who threatens the land, and three objects he needs to help him in this – the Eye of Morrslieb, the Hand of Nagash and the Black Grail. By some coincidence (ahem), the Eye can be found in the same place the Countess is being held, which is Sylvania. On your way there, you encounter … more undead! (Surprise!)

This battle takes place in the Great Forest, by some barrows (burial mounds) where a group of wights "invites" you to join them. Heh, better refuse them for now. The wights are located at the far end of the map, so leave them be for now.

Deploy your cavalry on the right flank and your infantry on the left. Your wizard should be with your cavalry, and the crossbows should have a clear field of fire both to the left and right.

Then, send the mounted troops up to the first barrow (mound) near your deployment zone. Immediately, undead units rise up. It should be fairly easy for you to take care of this first wave.

Then, advance your forces up to that mound and send the cavalry out to lure out the next wave – one unit of mummies emerges from the barrow on the upper left, and a unit of skeletons from the right. Lure them into the path of your crossbows and wizard. If you ride carefully enough, you can actually keep baiting the enemy to follow your cavalry while your ranged units chop them to pieces. Around this time, another unit of skeleton archers appears from the right. Your infantry should be able to handle this one.

Once you ride beyond the barrow where the mummies appeared, the wights enter the fray, so be careful not to do so until you’ve whittled the other units down. Only then should you engage the wights, but don’t go to them; whenever you can help it, draw them in to be softened up by your ranged-fire units before sending in the cavalry.

Don’t get overconfident; one last unit of bad guys shows up from the far left corner just when you’re in the thick of combat with the wights – a regiment of skeleton warriors. Chop ‘em down with your crossbows and send in the infantry to seal their fate.

Your reward from this battle: some extra gold crowns, and the wights’ magic item: the Banner of Defiance, which prevents a unit from routing. (A caveat for you: this banner also prevents voluntary routing, for example when you want to withdraw a unit that’s being chopped to pieces. So give it only to full-strength, high-level units.)

After this it’s on to Kemperbad (ask my Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay gamers about the Kemperbad Special, heh heh) where a unit of Imperial Greatswords hooks up with your force. These guys are with you for the long haul, and are quite effective in melee combat if they are at a high level.

You will continue the trek to Sylvania, coming upon a unit of flagellants on the way. These fanatical guys literally whip themselves into a killing frenzy in battle, and although their number is small they can take on a much larger group of the enemy.

Right after hooking up with these whipping-boys, battle is joined with a marauding band of goblins and their attendant Large Monsters. Gulp, you heard me.

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Ninth battle: The Greenskins in the Forest

The goblins are afoot! Underfoot may be a better word for these shorties, but don’t let their size fool you. Night Goblin regiments may contain up to three Goblin Fanatics, total loonies that whirl out of the enemy ranks twirling ball-and-chain ensembles that can decimate your units before you can blink.

Deploy your crossbows and cannon in the middle of the deployment zone, to the right (east) and facing in that direction. Put the cavalry in front facing left (west), the greatswords to the south facing south, and the flagellants in the south-west facing west. The wizard can be your "wild card" – move him wherever he’s needed.

When the battle starts, a unit of goblin archers appears to the east. A few well-placed cannonballs and crossbow bolts make short work of them. While this is going on, a unit of Night Goblins and a Goblin Shaman appear to the east. Try to use your wizard and Grudgebringer Sword to soften up the Night Goblins before attacking them with your flagellants. Remember to watch out for those Goblin Fanatics!

At around the time you’re wiping the floor with this first bunch, the reinforcements show up: more Night Goblins from the lower right (south-east), a giant scorpion from the north, a giant spider from the east, another giant spider from the north-west and a final bunch of Night Goblins from the west. You should have more than enough units to handle these guys. A well-placed Blast spell from the wizard (you have to be facing the beast when you cast it) can take out a spider or scorpion.

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Tenth battle: The Steam Tank undt ze Orc ambush

Still on your way to Sylvania, you will come across an Imperial steam tank (yep, they have armoured units too) which has had its escorts killed by Orcs. The commander will approach you for help but it won’t matter what you think because the Orcs will attack again while you’re talking. So, on to battle ….

When you deploy, place your cavalry to the right of the deployment zone and facing the mound that’s immediately behind it. The steam tank should be placed nearby. Put your crossbows on the left and facing the mound, accompanied by the flagellants. Place the wizard, cannon, greatswords and infantry forward, with the cannon slightly to the right of centre.


Dark Omen Strategy Guide (Continued)

When the battle starts, three Orc units appear behind you – one group of Arrerboyz and two Orcboyz. The archers have a Banner of Wrath with them that allows ‘em to call down a lethal lightning strike on any nearby enemy units (that means you). Send your cavalry after these guys. Do NOT allow them to escape after routing – any enemy unit that’s carrying a magic item must be destroyed before it gives up that item. Let the steam tank take out one unit of boyz (just roll over them) and the flagellants and archers can handle the other one. (Note: my favourite recipient for the Banner of Wrath is the flagellant unit. Once they’re at level 2, give them the Enchanted Shield as well and watch them go!)

Again, while you’re mopping up these guys, the frontal assault starts. Two units of Arrerboyz, an Orc shaman (considerably deadlier than a Goblin shaman), one unit of Orc Big’uns and one unit of Boarboyz will appear and attack immediately. Fortunately, they have a fair bit of ground to cover so your cannon can concentrate on the archers while your greatswords and infantry go chest-to-chest with the rest. Your wizard may try to take on the shaman, but it is advisable to send your cavalry (if they have wiped out the first unit of Arrerboyz) after the enemy spellcaster too.

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Eleventh battle: The Blighted Towers

This is the steam tank’s reason for being in your neck of the woods anyway: to retake the Blighted Towers in the Empire’s name. When you arrive, an Imperial Mortar unit and another cannon unit will be waiting.

Deploy the cannons and mortar to the right and rear of the deployment zone. This is to give them a clear field of fire to the single entry point to your ground from the enemy-held towers.

Keep your remaining units to the back and left, well away from the Orcs’ rock lobber. Position your wizard and crossbows close to your artillery so they can fire at enemy units that make it past your barrages. Keep the cavalry, flagellants and other units in a kind of pincer arrangement so they can close in on an enemy unit and destroy it completely (without giving it the chance to rout and flee the battlefield).

The Orcs have one rock lobber, two bolt throwers and something like four units of Arrerboyz (although only two will appear initially). As long as you keep your men out of the archers’ range it should be okay – until it’s time to attack.

When the battle starts, a unit of Boarboyz will charge in followed by two units of Orc boyz. You may obliterate the Boarboyz with your ranged fire if you wish, but make sure you let the second group of attackers in. When you fire at them with your crossbows, you’ll see why: an orange glow surrounds the foe as your bolts bounces harmlessly off them. Surely, some kind of magic is at work here? Indeed it is – these Orc boyz carry the Shield of Ptolos, which wards off missile fire.

Get this unit. Surround it. Destroy it at any cost. Then take care of the next bunch of boyz, and let your crossbow unit grab the shield. Then advance them slowly until they are within firing range of the Arrerboyz and pick them off slowly. If your wizard has the Teleport and Firestorm spells, he can pop over to the rock lobber, set fire to the ground under it and ‘port back in before they realise it. No more catapult.

Watch it though: any appearance "over there" will trigger the second wave of attackers – more Boarboyz and Orc boyz and Arrerboyz. The key to the Blighted Towers is patience. The Orcs will mostly come to you, and you can take care of them as they attack. After that, speed and ruthlessness will help you wipe out their archers and bolt throwers.

After the battle, that pain-in-the-butt Witchfinder General will insist on taking one of the artillery units with him. If you were observing its capabilities during the battle, it’s not a tough decision to make: KEEP THE MORTAR!

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Twelfth battle: The Vampire Lord

Now you’re on your way to Sylvania and Manfred Von Carstein’s castle, beneath which he has uncovered the Eye of Morrsleib. Before you get there, though, you’ll have to battle his second-in-command and another host of undead.

Set your mortar up along the right edge of the deployment zone, a little to the back. You can target the skeleton archers on the opposite clifftop right away, so your men can begin firing the moment you start the battle. Put your other units to the left, but don’t let them bunch up because it’s tough manoeuvring between the houses. You don’t need to deploy every one; you could rest the greatswords and cannon here without feeling their loss.

When the battle is joined, race your cavalry up to the end of the river and then bring them back. This draws out the first undead units, typically some zombies and a unit of wraiths. Your crossbows, wizard and flagellants should be able to take out the lower-level undead. Since only magic weapons can affect the wraiths, sic your cavalry on them.

Cast some Dispel Magic on your cavalry, since the vampire lord will keep popping in and out of battle and throw a few of those hateful purple necromantic spells at you. If you’re lucky, your mortar can actually destroy the vampire lord near the start of the battle! (I’ve played this battle numerous times and have seen it happen twice!)

Once the first wave is done away with, advance to the end of the river and wait for the next bunch: some ghouls, a skeleton unit and more wraiths. Finally, it’s time to take on the surviving archers (no problem for your crossbows and flagellants). If the vampire lord is still alive, cast a Dispel Magic on your cavalry and send them after him.

Important: Do not leave your wizard unprotected during this battle as the vampire lord might just pop up close by and fry his rear.

The vampire lord is holding a Wand of Jet, which reduces the cost of most spells to just one magic point. Give this to your wizard and turn him into a lean, mean, flamethrowing machine! Also, when you’ve taken out the last enemy, train your mortar, wizard’s fireballs and Grudgebringer sword on the dark tower and watch it spill forth its secret: the Hellfire Sword, which unleashes a devastating swath of fire during melee combat.

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Thirteenth battle: Subterranean showdown

When you get to Von Carstein’s digs, he would have left for his underground mine where the Eye of Morrsleib (a huge chunk of warpstone) has been unearthed. The Countess is safe, and gives you a gift: the Heart of Woe. Basically, this magic item doesn’t do much until the unit holding it dies – then it explodes with the power of a medieval nuke (kind of like a kamikaze device, good for sending a unit you can’t stand into the thick of battle with some really powerful bad guys). Some gift.

Your artillery won’t fit into the passages that lead to the caverns beneath Von Carstein’s castle, so it’s just your cavalry and foot units. Your deployment zone is at the end of a long "corridor" beyond which you can see the huge, glowing Eye of Morrsleib along with some undead units and Von Carstein himself. He is a powerful spellcaster and will target your powerful units first – so cast Dispel on your cavalry or wizard.

At the start of the battle, let the undead units come to you; they can be easily chopped to pieces by your forces. Then send your cavalry out and lure in the next batch: wraiths, skeletons, zombies, etc. Two skeleton archer units guard the end of the passage on either flank, so once you have lured in and destroyed the second wave, send your crossbows out (with the Shield of Ptolos, natch!) and use them to pick off the archers. Watch out for Von Carstein – keep the unit with the Banner of Wrath near the archers so you can lightning-bolt his ass whenever he pops into range. By the time you’ve whittled down the archers’ ranks, it’s time to send the cavalry, infantry and wizard forward to take out the last of ‘em.

Warning: another unit of wights will ride in from the cavern to the north and a third unit of archers enters from the cavern to the east, so watch out for them. Con Karstein can be taken out by your cavalry if you’ve got a Dispel Magic on them first. I’ve also seen him go down before a hail of crossbow bolts and a few direct hits of lightning.

With Von Carstein dead, that ends the first "chapter" of your struggle to rid the land of the Dread King. It’s back to Altdorf from here, where you’ll be told to head off to Kislev and ... the Hand of Nagash! Warhammer: Dark Omen Strategy Guide Here's a listing of the missions that will be covered in this second installment:

Fourteenth battle: Stomping the Greenskins Fifteenth battle: The Greenskin camp Sixteenth battle: The road to Kislev Seventeenth battle: Trouncing the Trolls Eighteenth battle: Yet another undead ambush or "Swords and skullduggery" Nineteenth battle: The Hand of Nagash

Fourteenth battle: Stomping the Greenskins

You’ve finished off Count Manfred Von Carstein and delivered the good news to Altdorf ... but there’s no rest for the mercenary. The Hand of Nagash, the second item needed by the Dread King to consolidate his power, is about to be let loose in Kislev.

So it’s off to Kislev by the way of Talabheim along the river Talabec, which has unfortunately flooded its banks and the road. A group of ogres led by Urblad Rotgut approaches you and offers to lead you on an alternative route, but warns that you’ll have to fight. There are only three ogres in Rotgut’s band but they are powerful fighters – with a magic item or two, such as a sword and shield, they can cause a LOT of damage.

Rotgut spoke the truth – soon enough, you encounter an Orc warband. This is a big force with more than 10 units, and they attack from all directions (but fortunately, not all at once).

When you deploy your troops, you’ll see a unit of Arrerboyz directly north. Your crossbows should be able to take them on, especially if your boys have the Shield of Ptolos. Once battle starts, a second unit of Arrerboyz begins firing from due west of your deployment area. A charge by your infantry should take them out.

While all this is going on, two units of Night Goblins show up, one from the north-west and the other from the west. Take these out with your cavalry and ogres respectively.

While this is going on, you may want to send your flagellants down south to wait for the arrival of a group of Orcboyz.

At about this time, a unit of Boarboyz rides in from the north-west and two units of Arrerboyz appear across the river to the south-east. Your crossbows can be redeployed to take on these new arrivals. Since both Orc archer units will probably concentrate fire on your crossbows, use your wizard to cast some devastation their way (preferably the Flamestorm if he has it).

The remaining threats in this mission include one Boarboyz group from the south-east, one more from the East, and a unit of Orcboyz from the south. Your cavalry, infantry and ogres or flagellants should find them easy pickings, but watch out for those archers.

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Fifteenth battle: The Greenskin camp

Now, we see the violence inherent in the system. The ogres have been leading you towards their leader, a human outlaw named Jurgen Muntz, who wants to raid a nearby Greenskin camp and steal their gold.

You can ignore this guy’s request for help in his raid and press on to Kislev, but if you do so you will lose the ogres and miss two very nice magic items. Ho yes, they’re very nice indeed. Muntz’s group is a temp unit and won’t stay with you, so you can either leave them out of battle or use them as – heh heh – cannon fodder.

You have two deployment zones in this map, one to the south-east and the other to the south-west. Your cavalry automatically appears in the south-east zone along with Muntz’s outlaw swordsmen. Put your flagellants and crossbows in the south-west zone, and distribute the rest of your units evenly. Forget the cannon as there isn’t much direct line-of-fire opportunity in this map. If you want, use the mortar.

If money is a consideration, then get your cavalry to attack the first unit of goblins you see. Bags of gold coin are scattered about the map and when they see you, the Greenskins’ first instinct will be to grab the money and run. If you need money, cut them all down and don’t let any escape. Watch out for Goblin fanatics as usual. Let the cavalry get the first unit, and send your flagellants (your fastest footsoldiers, or at least they seem to be) after the other moneybag. A second unit of Night Goblins will appear and head straight for this lot of gold. There is a third moneybag near a cave to the north-west – don’t go in there just yet!

Close to the start of the battle, two units of Night Goblin Archers will appear from the west and north-west (close to your crossbows in the south-west deployment zone).

Next, watch for three giant spiders to attack from the north, east and south-east. When you approach the cave, a unit of Orc big’uns will come out and attack. Do not cast spells at this lot! They carry a Banner of Arcane Warding which will reflect anything you throw at ‘em – whether it’s fireballs from the Grudgebringer sword, lightning from the Banner of Wrath or spells from your wizard – at your own troops. Gang up on these guys and pound ‘em to dust. Move your crossbows up but keep them clear of melee combat (for reasons to be explained later).

A second unit of Orc big’uns will show up next and probably dive straight into the melee going on outside the cavemouth. Then the real trouble appears in the form of the Orc shaman, who also emerges from the cave. This jerkwad has a really powerful "Stomp" spell (called "Mork Save Us") that turns your units into the T-rex skeleton seen in the first Godzilla trailer, so watch it! The instant he appears, get your crossbows to target him and drill the guy real quick. Or you could get a nearby unit to charge him and fight him hand-to-hand.

Lastly, two regiments of Boarboyz ride out from the East. Another win for the good guys, since these latecomers don’t pose much of a threat either. If you play your cards right, you will come out of this without losing too many men. Remember to cut down the shaman the minute he appears, because he poses the greatest threat. The other enemy units can be dealt with rather easily, and remember, Muntz can always be used as cannon fodder.

After the field has been cleared, get your Bright Wizard and cavalry (or whoever is holding the Grudgebringer sword) to the mouth of the cave. Zoom in to look at the two huge stone carvings flanking the cave mouth. Target the one with the red eyes (on your left as you face the cave) with about 10 fireballs and it will reveal the Horn of Urgok. This baby, when blown, causes all susceptible enemy units within earshot to rout, and all friendly units that are routing to rally. This works on living beings only, and on zombies (skeletons, wights and the like are unaffected). The good news is, Necromancers wet their pants at its lovely tones too. Note: routing units can’t cast spells – so this is good to use on Necros who love to teleport in, blast you and ‘port out again. When they appear, honk ‘em real good and when they’re running away, use your archers or wizards to cut them down. Here endeth the lesson.

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Sixteenth battle: The road to Kislev

This is a killer. The undead have set up an ambush for you on the road to Kislev. You start along this narrow corridor along the lowest edge of the map. A Screaming Skull launcher rains death upon you ... a direct hit from one of these suckers is enough to take out almost an entire unit.

Don’t bother deploying your artillery – they’ll be sitting ducks and with all the slopes and cliffs here, line of sight is a pain to obtain anyway. After you’ve deployed your forces, and before you start battle, issue movement commands to all of them. Send your unit with the Horn of Urgok towards the centre slope; two zombie units will appear. One blast from the Horn is enough to rout these two units – and when zombies rout, you know what happens to ‘em. Right, they’re dust/toast/fishmeal. This helps take out a minor annoyance that could prove to be a major hindrance.

From here, you will need to take and hold the centre ground. It won’t be easy since there are two units of skeleton archers firing down on you from either end of the map. If your Bright Wizard has enough magic points, and the teleport spell, pop him up behind the Screaming Skull launcher and take it out with a Flamestorm or Blast or whatever he has by then. The Ice Mage, although fairly low level at this time, should have some useful ranged combat spells too. Make sure your Bright Wizard has enough points to teleport back to safety!

If you can take out the launcher, it shouldn’t be a problem holding the middle ground from attack. The undead force will comprise two units of skeletons, one wight regiment and one of those accursed Necromancers. Keep blowing the Horn of Urgok whenever he gets in range – he can inflict quite a bit of damage on your men.

By the time this wave is taken care of, you should also have taken out one unit of archers. After this, it’s a matter of charging the last bunch of archers on the far end – but watch out, because there are four more enemy regiments waiting in ambush: two wight and two skeleton. Your army’s magic items and wizards should help take out the trash here.

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Seventeenth battle: Trouncing the Trolls

The Troll lands lie along your route from Kislev to where the Hand of Nagash awaits. Here’s a little revelation: it doesn’t matter if you ignore all the decisions to stay and fight from Talabheim onwards; you still have to fight the Hand no matter what. So go the long route, pick up experience and magic items and allies.

In the Troll lands, for example, you will meet your old friend Ragnar and his cavalry, known as Ragnar’s Wolves. Though only 12 men strong, they are very good in a fight. Give them the Banner of Defiance for their first few battles.

Ragnar will be looking for help to defeat the Trolls in the area. If you help him, his cavalry will stay with you till the end of the campaign.

Trolls have magical immunity, but enough fire spells will eventually wear them down. Don’t bother. Deploy your Bright Wizard but guard him with a high-level unit. Then just position your forces (except for the artillery, Ice Mage and crossbows) on either flank of the deployment area and let the Trolls come to you.

There are 13 of them in all, and you can get through this mission quite easily by ganging up on them. Keep the Horn of Urgok handy to rally any units that panic. You will have to go after the last couple of Trolls, which will hang around near the top of the map. Watch out for some of them to pop up from behind rocks etc.

Trolls leave a lot of gold behind, but that’s not the best reason for taking on this mission. First, you get Ragnar’s Wolves on your side. Second, head north-west after the battle is over and you’ll find a large rock with a smaller arrangement of stones pointing towards it in the shape of an arrow. Bombard this with fireballs (that’s why you need the Bright Wizard around) and the Staff of Osiris will pop out. This magic item casts a powerful bolt of lightning at enemy targets once per magic cycle, and may only be carried by wizards. With the Book of Ashur, Wand of Jet and Staff of Osiris between them, your Bright Wizard and Ice Mage will be a deadly combination indeed.

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Eighteenth battle: Yet another undead ambush or "Swords and skullduggery"

Before you get to the Hand of Nagash, you must face another undead ambush. This one also has Screaming Skulls and lots an’ lots of archers and involves a daredevil charge up a perilous slope.

Here’s what you have arrayed against you: strung out almost in a straight line – and on higher ground of course – are (left to right) two skeleton archer units, one skeleton warrior regiment, a Screaming Skull launcher, another bunch of skeleton warriors and two more skeleton archer units. Don’t you love undead warriors with a sense of symmetry?

If your Bright Wizard can teleport, take out the Screaming Skull launcher as soon as possible. You should be able to teleport in, ignite a Flamestorm or send a Blast their way, and then ‘port out again. The enemy will not move towards you until you move a certain distance up the slope towards them. When you do reach the middle ground, though, watch out for a skeleton cavalry regiment and one undead chariot to come out and charge at your forces.

Should you get past them, another cavalry unit and yet another chariot appear. These guys are accompanied by a Necromancer, and followed by two more units of skeleton warriors and one band of wraiths. Remember, you need a unit with a magic weapon to take these ectoplasmic irritants out of the battle.

It’s part daring and part patience that will win the day here. Your magic items should have more than enough power to tip the scales in your favour. Also, remember that your crossbowmen with their Shield of Ptolos can be a really lethal force against archers – send them up to the higher slopes to take out the skeleton archers there, but make sure they have some infantry guarding them. A wizard may accompany the crossbows on their archer-killer missions, since the undead archers will most likely be targeting your archers and fail to realise the ground under their feet is aflame ... until they’ve turned to ashes. The Ice Mage is also quite deadly in this battle if you give him the Staff of Osiris; he has some really useful spells like Ice Shards, the Wind of Cold or the Snow Blizzard which, happily enough, work well in tandem with the Bright Wizard’s fire spells (no such thing as cancelling out each other’s magic).

Note, also, that one of the skeleton warrior units is holding a Stormsword, which also enables the wielder to summon lightning bolts out of the sky but has the added bonus of being effective against wraiths and other beings that can only be hurt by magic weapons. Crush them all! Let none live ... uh ... un-live.

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Nineteenth battle: The Hand of Nagash

Surprise, surprise – this actually isn’t as difficult as the first Kislev mission! (Well, at least I didn’t find it so tough.)

It’s basically a holding action at first, as the Hand of Nagash (after a luvly cutscene) is revealed to be an age-old necromancer freed from his icy tomb


Dark Omen Strategy Guide (Continued)

at last. His assembled army awaits you here, and will charge immediately upon commencement of battle.

Set your mortar, cannon and crossbows up with a clear line of sight and fire over the access points to your patch of ground. Position your mages one on either flank, and place your melee units so that they are in position to charge into the side of any enemy unit that runs up the slope towards you.

Here’s what Mr Hand-man has lined up against you: besides himself (he rides a skeletal chariot and inspires terror among your troops), there are three other undead chariots, two regiments of skeleton cavalry, three regiments of archers, a necromancer and two units of skeleton warriors (at least).

Here’s what you do: let him send his forces forward. Set the mortar to fire on either one of the slopes leading up to your patch of ground (well away from your own men of course) and have the cannon fire down the other slope. There really isn’t a trick to this mission because it just calls for you to hold your ground and not lose your head. The Hand and some of his goons won’t attack until you cross a certain point on the map.

When you’ve taken care of the first wave, run your Ice Mage down a slope if he has the Wind of Cold spell and send a few of them off in the direction of the enemy. This spell, which resembles a tiny blue twister, has a long range but is unpredictable in its effect (and sometimes, terrain effects cause it to drift frustratingly far off course). As long as your Ice Mage doesn’t stray too far forward and set off the Hand, you can use this spell to whittle away at the enemy until the odds are good enough for you to mount an attack of your own.

The Hand of Nagash is a good fighter but there’s nothing quite like a good ganging up to pound his bones into the ice. I engaged him with both my cavalry unit while my flagellants, which carried the Banner of Wrath, stood outside calling down lightning strikes every magic cycle. Finally, when the battle seemed like it would go on forever, I sent in my Ogres and the fight ended shortly afterward. My Ice Mage’s Wind of Cold spells had taken out one chariot and most of an archer regiment before I sent in the ground charge.


Dark Omen Strategy Guide (Continued)

Warhammer: Dark Omen Strategy Guide

Here's a listing of the missions that will be covered in this third installment:

Twentieth battle: Axebite Pass Revisited Twenty-First battle: Elves Are Good. Elves Are Our Friends Twenty-Second battle A: Barking up the wrong Treeman Twenty-second battle B: The standing stones Twenty-third battle: The windmills of your Mindscape Branch B: Shooing off the elves Twenty-fourth Battle: Morgan Bernhardt and the Black Unholy Grail

Twentieth battle: Axebite Pass Revisited

You’ve made it back to Altdorf safely after destroying the Hand of Nagash. You’d think the Emperor would let you have a little R&R in Altdorf, knock back some brews ... fat chance! There is a third element to the Dread King’s plan, the Black Grail – and word has it that you may find what you’re looking for in neighbouring Bretonnia, in the city of Moussillon.

On your way to Bretonnia, you’ll hook up with your dwarf pals from earlier in the game; they’re here to join up for the duration now. No sooner have you downed a horn of grog each, than the undead ride in and spoil things once more.

This battlefield is split right down the middle by a big rock – put your mortar and cannon down with a clear field of fire down the left flank and position your two cavalry units (Grudgebringer and Ragnar) on either side of the artillery, slightly forward of the guns (but clear of the line of fire), to ride in a pincer on any enemy units that make it past the barrage.

Set your wizards up at strategic points so they, too, can cast spells at units that charge down the left flank at you.

On your right flank, position your infantry units (Grudgebringer, flagellants, ogres, greatswords, etc) in a line, ready to absorb the brunt of any enemy charge. You can give your crossbows a rest if you wish. In the three times I played this, only one unit of skeleton cavalry ever charged down the right flank – until I got so bored I ran my infantry units all the way up and around the rock and charged down the left flank to attack the enemy from the rear.

Anyway, the order of attack from the enemy side goes like this: two units of skeleton cavalry and one undead chariot, followed by another chariot and a third unit of cavalry, and finally a third wave comprising two cavalry units. Your cannon, mortar and wizards should soften them up plenty before they even get to your front lines. Once they do, cease firing and let your cavalry and infantry do their job.

Note that the Bright Wizard usually has a Crimson Bands spell that binds enemy units in place for a limited time. What you could do here is bind the undead chariots and use your Ice Mage and Banner of Wrath-wielders to pulverise them. It’s better to take out the chariots first always – in any scenario that has undead chariots. This minimises the effects of terror on your men.

This battle is pretty easy to get through because the undead just charge in – all you need to do is hold your ground, lead in your artillery fire and you should have handily reduced their ranks by the time they get to your lines. After that it’s just a matter of mopping up. Remember to make the chariots your priority targets. Your wizards work well in tandem here; get the Bright Wizard to Crimson Band those chariots to the spot, and use your Ice Mage’s spells or Staff of Osiris to batter them.

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Twenty-First battle: Elves Are Good. Elves Are Our Friends

... Which is why we should stop by King’s Glade and help them. Here’s the story: you’ve made it through Axebite Pass and are on your way to Moussillon when some elves approach you for help. The undead hordes are defiling their sacred areas of the Loren Forest, and have already made several inroads into the woodlands. If you help the elves, you will gain information and a valuable regiment: the elven archers. If you don’t, you will get a regiment of Knights of the Realm from the ruler of Bretonnia, and fight some entirely different battles. Well, it’s your choice. We’ll deal with the elven path first, then look at what happens if you brush past the pointy-eared folk and press on with your mission.

If you opt to go with the elves, you will be led to a part of the forest where the undead are about to defile a sacred shrine. This is a heavily wooded area, so forget your cannon and deploy your mortar instead. Units that will come in handy here include your cavalry (all of ‘em, including the Grail Knights you are given for this mission), fast units like the flagellants, your crossbows, ogres and wizards. And to really clean up the battlefield, make sure one of your units has the Horn of Urgok with it. You get a unit of elven Glade Guards, hand-to-hand fighters who are quite efficient but not really a bonus in this battle.

Your forces will deploy in a clearing to the south of the King’s Glade where the enemy necromancer is attacking the sacred shrine, a grey obelisk surrounded by a swirling magical aura. Two Screaming Skull launchers flank the enemy forces, which include two units of zombies, one unit of wraiths and a bunch of skeleton archers.

The undead reinforcements that come in after you’ve dispatched most of the first wave are two chariots from the north-east, followed by two units of archers and three zombie regiments. The zombies are a snap – the Horn of Urgok will turn them to jelly, but note that you don’t gain any experience points for destroying zombies with this magic item (I tried – my greatsword regiment Horn-ed all five zombie units to death, and they ended the battle with zero kills and zero experience!).

Your objective is to take out the Screaming Skull launchers and the necromancer as quickly as possible. I charged my crossbows up along the left flank, followed by the greatswords carrying the Horn of Urgok. The Horn routed the two zombie units so the crossbows were not harassed and free to rain a deadly hail of bolts down upon the Screaming Skull launcher on the left.

For the one on the right, I sent my three cavalry units charging up followed by the Bright Wizard. The Grudgebringers engaged the necromancer in hand-to-hand combat (a few fireballs in the face helped convince him to lay down and die), then turned on the wraiths. While the Grail Knights rode back and forth drawing the archers’ fire, my Bright Wizard ran up and set the ground under the launcher on fire with a Flamestorm. This spell came in handy again for one unit of archers, while Ragnar’s Wolves took out the second archer unit. The first undead chariot charged into my Grail Knights but, with the help of Ragnar’s Wolves, it was held and eventually destroyed.

Once the necromancer and Screaming Skull launchers are destroyed, the rest of the undead force is relatively easy pickings. The zombies that come out at the end can be engaged in combat with any unit you wish to push up a level – or else, just give a toot on that ol’ Horn of Urgok and send them running.

Your reward for this is a trip to King’s Glade in the Loren Forest to see Orion, the ruler of the land. He will provide you with some valuable information about the nature of the Black Grail. You’ll also be given a regiment of elven archers, which load and fire twice as fast as your crossbows (and any undead archer unit too). It may be time for the Shield of Ptolos to change hands once these guys come on board ....

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Twenty-Second battle A: Barking up the wrong Treeman

On your way out of the forest, a Treeman will approach you for help. The undead have defiled his area of the forest and he needs help clearing the place of their foul presence. Well, you don’t really need to help him, but this is an opportunity to get bucketloads of experience. And there's another reason why you shouldn't help him, but read on....

The battlefield is a beautiful lakeside area where you deploy your forces on a rise overlooking the lake. There are two approaches to the ground you hold, on the left and right (well, west and east). The undead are to the north: from left to right, an undead chariot, skeleton cavalry, skeleton warriors, another chariot, a necromancer, more cavalry and two regiments of wights.

As is usually the case, the bad guys strike first, so try this deployment on for size: on the left (west) flank, deploy your infantry, flagellants and Grail Knights. It helps if these units have some magic items with offensive power (like the Stormsword and Banner of Wrath) among them. Position the mortar slightly to the east of centre, so it can fire down the east (right) flank (find a spot on the ground roughly parallel with the centre of the lake and lay down a barrage from the start).

On the right flank, which will see the heavier enemy assault, put your crossbows and elven archers on high ground with a clear line of sight to any enemy units that come charging up. Put one wizard slightly behind the archers, also making sure that he has a clear line of fire. Remember that you can only have 10 units on the field. Deploy your Grudgebringer cavalry and the Treeman in a position to charge any enemy units that make it past your artillery and missile fire.

When the battle starts, skeleton cavalry, a chariot and one unit of skeletons will charge on the left while the right-flank assault will comprise cavalry, a chariot and one of the two units of wights. Let the enemy units on the right flank come to you; as for the left, try moving out to meet them about a third of the way from your own territory (don’t move too far north or you may trigger more of them). This also leaves your troops on the left in a good position to move north and then swing around to catch enemies on the right flank in the rear (the only good place to catch ‘em).

Early in the battle, you’ll notice a necromancer hanging around with the second unit of wights to the north. This guy will stick around until these wights move, typically. The second wave of undead will comprise: one skeleton and one wight unit from the north-west (upwards of your left flank); and from the north-east, a grand total of two skeleton cavalry regiments, one more chariot and three skeleton warrior units.

When the second wave from the north-west appears, move your left flank units up to lure them towards that direction (that will keep the heat off the right flank). Don’t charge all the way north, or the north-east wave might come at you too.

Then, send your Grudgebringer cavalry charging up the right flank to lure the next wave out. Once again, the trick is to keep cool and let the enemy come to you.

Again, it is advisable to take out the chariots first to prevent the effects of Terror from routing your units. Your Bright Wizard will probably have a Crimson Bands spell, so use it to bind the chariots and concentrate your archers’ fire on them. I’ve also found that archers or cavalry are the best things to use against enemy necromancers; your own magic users may not be powerful enough to take them on in combat. Also, the Treeman is great in melee combat – put him and your Grudgebringers in the same melee and watch those bones fly!

Mucho experience to be gained here, as you can see from the number of enemy units thrown at you. There is a reason to skip the battle, though....

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Twenty-second battle B: The standing stones

If you tell the Treeman to fight his own battles and ride off, this battle will take place as you are about to leave the forest. A magic item awaits!

Check out the overhead view of the map; your forces will be placed along the southernmost area, and the enemy will come at you from two directions. There is a forest in the centre of the map, but your mortar should be able to fire past that easily. (As usual, forget the cannon.)

The first wave of enemy forces comprises the following: to the north-west, skeleton warriors and two archer regiments. To the east, archers. To the north-east, two units of skeleton cavalry, one unit of skeleton warriors, another unit of archers and a vampire lord. The last two are found near the circle of standing stones to the north-east.

You need a stronger force on the right flank to absorb the brunt of the skeleton cavalry charge. We suggest the Grudgebringer cavalry, Ragnar's Wolves, greatswords, your wizards, crossbows and ogres, with the mortar firing to the north-east. The field is narrow; take advantage of this with your ranged fire to whittle down enemy regiments as they charge in, then switch to another target and let your melee troops mop up.

Your dwarfs and the Grudgebringer infantry can handle the left flank charge. Don't exhaust your wizards' spell points, because the vampire lord and his nearby skeleton warriors enter the fray (if they make it past the mortar barrage) shortly after the cavalry charge.

The second wave of attackers is almost as formidable as the first: two units of skeleton cavalry, one skeleton warrior regiment and a group of archers from the north, and a third cavalry regiment from the east.

Your Bright Wizard should have the Crimson Bands and Flamestorm spell here; if he does, binding a unit of cavalry and setting the Flamestorm under it can take out more than half the regiment before the spell wears off.

After the battle, head for the circle of stones and bombard it with fireballs and Flamestorm spells. This will reward you with the Spell-Eater Shield, which absorbs enemy spells and adds their power to your own wizards. With the Banner of Arcane Warning, an effective tool against the Dread King.

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Twenty-third battle: The windmills of your Mindscape

The two "branches" (Treeman or no Treeman) converge here, the third-last battle of the game. You're on the road to Moussillon and the undead have set up a large force to intercept you. Before that, a group of outlaw pistoliers tries to hold you up. Bwah-ha-haaa, right? They also decide to sign up with your army -- but forget about using them, since there are only nine of them in the group and they aren't much use at this low level (and you also won't have time to raise their level).

The battle takes place in the countryside, with two windmills and a dark tower dotting the landscape. The terrain here is fairly open, but hills and stuff tend to obstruct your view and fire -- while the damn undead have three (count 'em, three!) Screaming Skull launchers.

Deploy your forces to the left and rear of the deployment zone. Do not put any of them on the right flank, i.e. beyond the road that divides the zone. This is because that area is within range of the rightmost Screaming Skull launcher.

The following enemy units are on the field and visible from your deployment area: two units of skeleton archers to the north-west and two to the north-east. A Screaming Skull launcher lies closer to the north-east, with two far off in the north-west accompanied by four skeleton warrior regiments and one necromancer. Another unit of skeleton warriors waits to the east.

One of the archer units is really close to your position at the start; your elven archers and crossbows should make short work of them. Then, move one of your archer units (preferably the elves) to take the high ground and if you get there fast enough, you can head off another enemy archer attack.

Keep your mortar positioned forward and guarded by an infantry unit so it can bombard any approaching units.

This game is largely a waiting game because the enemy doesn't really come to you; hence the large number of archers on the other side. Your Ice Mage will come in handy here -- his Wind of Cold spells can reach across the battlefield, remember? But they're quite hard to target accurately. A Teleport spell and Flamestorm or Blast in your Bright Wizard's repertoire will come in handy taking out the closest Screaming Skull launcher, too.

Your Shield of Ptolos-bearing archer unit should be used to take out the enemy archers one group at a time. Keep a fighting unit nearby in case of skeleton warrior attack. Try to make this a concerted attack on the enemy's right flank: while your Ice Mage sends Wind of Cold blasts to the north-west, send your Bright Wizard in to take out the Screaming Skull launcher near the windmill to the east, and move your Ptolos-protected archers to get the undead bowmen guarding it.

Once that threat is eliminated, move your forces up slightly but stay out of range of the other two Screaming Skulls. Keep your wizards nearby to fight off any attacks by the necromancer.

Then, send one of your cavalry units up north to lure the skeleton warriors to attack. Bring them to your lines (it's tricky, because they won't follow you from too far away -- you have to let them get close, but not so close that they will close in for battle) and pick them off before ganging up your melee units on them (by now, you should be quite adept at the pincer-of-doom strategy).

With the bulk of the enemy forces taken out, it's time to charge. Send your cavalry units against the two launchers (they should move fast enough to avoid the fire) and move the rest up to take out any stragglers from the skeleton warriors and archers (and the necromancer, too -- your flagellants should be able to take him out).

Finally, bombard the dark tower to the north-west to get the Dragonhelm, which makes the unit carrying it invulnerable to fire attacks. Boy, you could've used this against those Screaming Skulls couldn't you?

Now, it's on to Moussillon!

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Branch B: Shooing off the elves

Let's say you don't have this affinity for pointy ears, Vulcan eyebrows and their sodding high-and-mighty manner and you tell the elves to go take a hike. This opens up a whole other can of worms in the form of some utterly painful battles, and you don't get those rapid-fire archers either (has anyone ever seen Hawk the Slayer?).

This is what happens if you head straight for Moussillon and leave the forest-dwellers to fend for themselves....

The undead brigade

On your way to Vingtiennes to rendezvous with the Knights of the Realm, you run into an undead brigade near some nice riverfront property. (An eye-shaped islet is in the middle of the river and a large house borders your deployment zone, which is to the north of the battlefield -- but since "north" is to your rear, let's just talk about up, down, left and right this time.)

Two archer units, one skeleton warrior regiment and a group of wights occupy the islet. On the opposite riverbank from the house and slightly to the left is another unit of archers, with another of these undead bowmen on the far side of the river above the islet.

A unit of skeleton warriors can also be found in the upper right corner (but why venture out so far?).

This is a fairly easy battle to win, despite the numbers of undead. Set your mortar along the closest edge of the deployment zone to the islet (but not so far forward that the enemy archers can hit it) and start bombarding the place right from the beginning. Deploy your crossbows close to the archers on the riverbank across from the house, and get them to fire on the enemy from the onset of battle too.

Place your stronger melee units close to the mortar to prepare for the undead charge. Also, keep your Bright Wizard near the mortar. The wights and skeleton warriors from the islet will advance across the river towards your position first, and there's nothing nicer than freezing the wights in their tracks with a Crimson Bands spell and calling in mortar fire smack on top of their heads.

The islet and riverside archers are fairly easy to take out. What you need to do is gain control of the islet and position your heavy hitters there -- Grudgebringers (cavalry and infantry), wizards, crossbows, flagellants and ogres. Again, your crossbows may be used to finish off the archers on the far side of the river.

Then, move your units back to the mid-point of the islet and get set to lure in the other bad guys. Send a fast unit (any of your cavalrymen will do -- maybe the Grail Knights, since they are temps and can be, heh heh, sent into the Valley of Death so to speak) across the river and lure out the next bunch of enemies: wights and a skeleton warrior regiment. Send them to the left before bringing your knights back across the river, and you'll also bring out the necromancer and skeleton warriors waiting there. The skels from the far right of the map should also make their move around this time.

From here it's a simple matter of waiting for the enemy to cross and letting them have it with your wizards, crossbows and Grudgebringers (and also that ever-lovin' Banner of Wrath, whoever happens to be holding it). Get set to target the necromancer with your crossbows when he moves to get in range.

With the northern Orcs a-runnin' wild

You've made it to the town of Vingtiennes but before those Knights of the Realm will join you (whatever happened to unconditional, unquestioning loyalty?) you must help 'em fight some unruly Orcs to the north. What the heck, you could use the experience anyway. I tried NOT going along with them and went straight to the pre-Moussillon battle (see "The windmills of your Mindscape" above), so if you want experience and a magic potion this is the place to be. Be warned, however, that you can get SERIOUSLY bloody-nosed from this one.

For the record, here's what will come at you (a Rock Lobber and Bolt Thrower are already on the field at the start). The first wave of attackers comprises two Night Goblins (one from either flank), two units of Big' uns (ditto), and one unit of Orc boyz. A nasty Orc shaman with some really long-range spells enters the fray quite early too. It helps if you have the mortar out on this one. At the very least, your bombardment will keep him running away.

Once you're done with this, and make it past the stronghold on the left flank, the second wave appears: Big 'uns and Boyz from the left, Big 'uns, Boyz and Night Goblins from the right.


Dark Omen Strategy Guide (Continued)

Suggestion: keep your troops around the middle of the deployment zone and no further forward than that. The mortar should be slightly behind them so the troops can offer protection to your artillery. Again, the trick is to set up a killing zone where the enemy will come to you, and chop them up as they approach. The Horn of Urgok is VERY useful in this mission, as is the Ice Mage's Hawks of Miska spell. Hey, don't try to be a hero -- the trick is to make 'em panic and run and then cut 'em down as they flee with cavalry charges, spells, arrows and mortar shells.

The Bright Wizard, if you've been developing him nicely so far, should also have the Crimson Bands spell and the Conflagration of Doom -- bind 'em and bomb 'em, old Luther always says. But if it comes down to an enemy unit that's bound and helpless, I much prefer a Burning Head or Blast up their green derrieres (if the ever-popular Flamestorm isn't available, that is).

With this battle, take your time and protect your vulnerable units (read: wizards and mortar). The Orc shaman seems dangerous, but a cavalry charge (what are those Grail Knights for, after all) or crossbow volley will take care of him. Best of all is a mortar shell right on top of his feathered head, but your mortar is more likely to just scare him off than actually score a direct hit.

Again, you have to send a unit up past the stronghold to bring out the second wave. Once you've dealt with this one, finish off the enemy "artillery" with two cavalry units.

Now, the enemy is clear and you're on your way to Battle #23 as described above. Your strategy will have to be a little different then because you'll have "Kerniggets" and not elven archers.

After that it's (drum roll) The Black (egg roll) Grail!

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Twenty-fourth Battle: Morgan Bernhardt and the Black Unholy Grail

The knights of the Black Grail ride out in a neat cutscene before you get to actually take them on. But first, you'll have to wade through all their cohorts and cronies -- and boy, is this a killer of a battle!

The Black Grail are content to ride around, conducting medieval manoeuvres in front of their dark castle at the top (north) of the map. Leave them be! Don't ride there, and mind your Ice Mage is careful with his Wind of Cold spells -- if one should reach them, it might bring them into the battle early ... and woe betide you then.

Here's the enemy starting lineup: the Black Grail and a really annoying necromancer to the north; an archer unit close by your deployment zone, to the north-west; and two more groups of archers to the north-east. What? That's it? Heh heh heh. Let the battle begin -- and shudder as an undead chariot and a unit of ghouls enters from the north-east, followed by another unit of ghouls from the north-west. After you deal with these bozos, another chariot and a regiment of mummies comes in from the north-east, along with ghouls and mummies from the north-west. That's the second wave.

The not-so-good news is that there is a third wave, two skeleton cavalry regiments coming in one each from the east and west respectively. And all this while, the archers will be firing upon you, while that idiot necromancer teleports in and out of range, firing off dreadful spells on your position.

Objectives:

Take out the archers closest to you first -- swiftly and without mercy. Send your Shield of Ptolos-protected archer unit up to fire on it, preferably the elves with their faster rate of fire (unless you went on the other branch, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyaaaaah); the enemy will fire back at it, while your wizards can run up and zap them good. While that's in progress, start your mortar firing to the north-east, where the ghouls and undead chariot will appear. After your Bright Wizard is done with the archers to the north-west, send him to the east -- he should arrive just in time to cast a Crimson Bands spell on the approaching chariot. Then blast the hell out of it with your other archer unit (deploy both, to be safe), Grudgebringer cavalry and whichever unit has the Banner of Wrath. The ghouls that charge in from either flank are relatively easy pickings, though they are at a higher level than those pushovers you encountered way back in the early stages of the campaign. Any of your cavalry units can take them out. Try to bait the necromancer with your unit that's carrying the Banner of Arcane Warding. He will usually go after the unit that's furthest in front, so move the "protected" unit up (not so far up that you draw out the Black Grail) and watch him try to cast spells on them. Sneak an archer unit or your Banner of Wrath bearers up while he's doing this and get 'im good! Try your best to take him out before the second wave comes out. The mummies in the second wave are tough -- and so is the chariot that rides in with the bunch from the north-east. I recommend mortars on the mummies, and a Crimson Bands spell on the chariot as above. Or Crimson Band the mummies and mortar them, saving the undead chariot for your wizards and Grudgebringers to handle. The Ice Mage's spells are quite effective on chariots, I've found -- the Wind of Cold or Ice Shards can inflict a lot of damage. Your archers can whittle down the mummies from the north-west before they get in close (anyway, it's good practice for that pesky Dread King mission after this). After that, let your strong melee units close in for the kill. The third wave (two Skeleton Warrior regiments) is quite easily taken care of. Hoi, you've done this sort of thing before! Keep your cool. Finally, when their allies have all been sent back to Hades, the Black Grail will ride out. Hah. They are very powerful, so don't engage them in hand-to-hand combat until you've reduced their ranks considerably. You should be able to do this quite handily using a combination of spells, artillery and archery (not to mention long-range magic items like the Banner of Wrath, Stormsword and Grudgebringer sword). Don't panic and don't let them get too close and victory is yours. You will probably need more than one Crimson Bands spell on them as they break out of it quite easily, so don't exhaust your Bright Wizard's spell points on other offensive spells -- let the others do the fighting. A potion of strength can be found in the house slightly above and to the right of your deployment zone. Bombard it with fireballs to bring it out, as usual.Warhammer: Dark Omen Strategy Guide

Strategy Guide Part III

This is the final installment of the Dark Omen: Warhammer strategy guide, and will guide you through the final battle with the Dread King .

FINAL BATTLE: The Dread King

This is it. All your training ... all that combat ... you're here. At the Pyramid of the Dread King at last. Your army is tired and more than a little afraid, but you've got to hold them together. Your code of battle echoes through your mind like a mantra: Save and reload. Save and reload. (And brother, will you need to do plenty of the latter.)

The Dread King has set up shop in a huge pyramid to the north and centre of the battlefield. Two smaller pyramids flank it, with two more even smaller ones extending southward from each of the flanking ones. A large and rather ugly face has been inscribed in the centre of the field. Do not approach this yet.

Two units of enemy archers are located just north of your left and right flanks. The Dread King himself stands on the steps of his huge pyramid, accompanied by a necromancer who's even more irritating than the earlier ones put together. Two regiments of mummies stand just north of the face in the sand, the bad guy's "honour guard". Just to the south-east of the Dread King is a Screaming Skull launcher and a unit of archers. Two more Screaming Skull launchers lie far to the north, one on either side of the main pyramid.

The four smaller pyramids house one regiment of mummies each, and they tend to appear at the start of battle. Do not proceed beyond the "nose" of the face in the sand, because this releases four more regiments of the bandaged horrors. These are high-level creatures and can withstand a direct hit from a mortar!

The best units to use here are: both archer groups, your mortar, Grudgebringer cavalry, both wizards, and your three strongest melee units (preferably at least one cavalry among them). Field all your magic items, giving the Heart of Woe to an expendable unit -- but not your Grudgebringer cavalry! The HoW is useful as a suicide weapon and its detonation can inflict a lot of damage on the enemy.

There are only nine units listed above because a tenth unit is waiting for you at the battlefield: the Imperial Steam Tank from the battle at the Blighted Tower. It's slow, but it rocks! A charging Steam Tank can actually rout a unit of high-level mummies -- so keep it clear of the Screaming Skulls but use it to run over the bandaged beasties. You'll love it! Since the Steam Tank moves slower than a tortoise with a house on its back, you have to position it very carefully and wait until the mummies are almost upon it before you charge. Sometimes, just trundling over them will have the desired effect too.

If you can survive the first wave of four regiments of mummies with at least half your forces intact, you have a fighting chance. Use delaying tactics like Crimson Bands (and the Ice Mage's equivalent, the Snow Blizzard) to hold them fast while you treat them to some Altdorf hospitality, like lob mortar shells on their heads, set fire to their feet or drive Steam Tanks over their toes.

Watch out for the necromancer -- keep the Banner of Arcane Warding and Banner of Wrath units close to your frontlines, and lightning-bolt his butt whenever he pops up.

If you have a Flamestorm and Teleport spell, you might try popping him over to the Screaming Skull launcher to the north-east and burning them up. If you wish, you may get your archers to fire on the undead archers guarding the launcher so they won't be shooting at your wizard. With the Screaming Skull launcher gone, you can move the elven archers close to the teeth of the face in the sand (no further than the nose, remember) and using them to cut down the two units of "honour guard" mummies.

Usually, when you've taken out his honour guard and one or more Screaming Skull launchers, the Dread King will decide it's time to take a hand in the battle and move forward. The hold-and-bombard tactic works very well with him too. A colleague said the Banner of Arcane Warding came in handy at deflecting his spells toward his own units. For me, it was a case of hitting the sonuva***** with everything I had -- elven archers, crossbows, Bright Wizard, Ice Mage, Grudgebringer cavalry. Did I mention I used Ragnar's Wolves to fight a holding action until I got my other units into position? There were only four of 'em left by the time I hit the Break button, but their heroic sacrifice bought my forces enough time to get closer to the Dread King and take him out.

Confession time here: the first time I played, I lost the Steam Tank during the Blighted Tower mission ... and so did not have the benefit of its armoured assets to run over the enemy during the final battle. After numerous attempts at beating the Dread King, I finally succeeded by sending wave after wave of Wind of Cold spells at him and his launchers (when I destroyed two of those, he decided to charge in -- and that was the end of him).

Did I say the smaller pyramids held one unit of mummies each? I lied! The middle two pyramids hold a second unit each, while the larger ones to the north also contain one each -- and as soon as the Dread King dies, and if you didn't unleash them earlier by advancing too far, they attack!

This is how it went: I charged the remnants of Ragnar's Wolves to the north-east to destroy the Screaming Skull launcher at the far end. They succeeded, only to be destroyed by the mummies that came out of the pyramid nearby. My dwarfs charged the skeleton archers to the north-west, while the elven archers took on the other unit of undead bowmen. My Ice Mage used his Death Frost spell to take out most of one unit of mummies, which routed and was cut down by a cavalry charge of the Grudgebringers. I waited till his spell points were up again and sent him after a second group of mummies ... he cut their ranks by more than half, but fell in battle.

Then it was a matter of seeing which side would survive the longest: I used the Grudgebringer cavalry to lure the remaining mummies around the battlefield and ordered my mortar (which was still miraculously untouched by all the fighting) to bombard the area. In the meantime, my wizard stayed close to a pyramid and picked off targets of opportunity with his Blast spell. Over on the other end, my dwarfs and elves finished off the archers and closed in on the last Screaming Skull launcher.

The mummies almost got the Grudgebringers a couple of times (in fact, I could say the same for my mortar -- sloppy firing, boys!) but by some miracle, we survived and the undead army was destroyed. My survivors: the mortar crew, four or five guys in my Grudgebringer cavalry, fewer than half the elven archers and dwarfs, my Bright Wizard and one Ogre. Saviours of the Old World ... and for what? A handful of gold and a spleen-venting cutscene with Morgan Bernhardt plunging his sword into the Dread King's gut.

On the whole, a most excellent single-player campaign with lots of mayhem, bloodlust, testosterone and even humorous dialogue. Also a very replayable one, because you can try giving different magic items to your various units and "pushing up" different units in terms of experience points.