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4 - Blue Mountains

Objective: Slay the Dragon

You begin the mission with a combination of Elven and Dwarven forces: these include Lorien Warriors, Milkwood Archers, Dwarven Axe Throwers and Guardians, and Demolishers. Your trusted heroes Glorfindel and Gloin once again lead your army.

Collect some treasure north of your start position then locate a spider lair to the northwest.

Bonus Objective: Eliminate all Spider Lairs.

Clear the cave of its spiderling, spider, and lair infestation. You must clear the cave to receive the next objective.

Bonus Objective: Build a Fortress inside the cave.

Select a builder and construct the Fortress in the caveís center. Goblin attacks arrive from the eastern side so defend that point with towers and your army. Use a builder to construct a few Mine Shafts (the Dwarven resource structure) within the cave. Locate spots that offer the highest percentage for resource production.

Build a Hearth (heals nearby units that arenít engaged in battle) and a Forge Works. You can add a Heroic Statue to aid in base defense. Upgrade the Forge Works to unlock Dwarven Improvements to melee and ranged troops damage and armor. Donít forget the Dwarven Hall of Warriors and Archery Range to train more units.

The main challenge to this mission is the nefarious dragon hovers above the exterior catwalks that connect your base position from the mapís eastern and southeastern section. You must make your way through this center section and avoid the dragonís wrath to continue with the mission. Listen for the dragonís auditory cue that indicates its arrival. While the dragon circles overhead, avoid the exterior section. Listen again for the dragonís auditory cue that it has left the area temporarily.

While the dragon is gone, use your heroes to eliminate the goblin tunnels, units, and spiderlings occupying the exterior section. Thereís a Signal Fire on the opposite side; capturing the Signal Fire reduces your power recharge rate times. Note that the dragon will destroy your Signal Fire, though it can be repaired for a cost of 500 resources.

Bonus Objective: Demolish the Citadel door.

The door into the citadel is located in the southeastern corner of this exterior area. You can use heroes to eliminate the door or move in your Demolishers to take it down. Remember to wait for the dragon to leave before shuffling troops through the perilous exterior section of the map.

Thereís a cave that opens near the Signal Fire. A large group of enemies lurks inside. Itís best to lure these enemies back to your Fortress defenses. You could also invoke a power to aid in the battle (you should have acquired Tom Bombadil by now). Donít venture inside this cave unless you are prepared to repel a large force of goblins and spiders.

Bonus Objective: Build two Mine Shafts.

The Dwarven resource production centers, Mine Shafts, can also be used to transport troops from one map location to another: essentially an underground tunnel network. You probably have already built a couple Mine Shafts in your initial base which meets the bonus objective but itís a wise idea to construct at least one more Mine Shaft in the southeastern tunnels so you can quickly transport troops from your Fortress base area to the southeastern section to avoid the dragon hovering over the exterior section. Also construct a Hearth in the southeastern section as an area to gather troops for healing between battles.

These southeastern corridors arenít too complicated. The northwest entrance forks eastward and southward. You can explore eastward and into the northern cave if you havenít already. The large enemy force gathers there (if you havenít triggered it already). Before engaging the large enemy force, itís wise to have your powers recharged and forces fully upgraded. Clear out this northern cave then continue south into the corridors.

Be sure to gather any treasures found along the way (use the new funds to acquire remaining upgrades or to maximize your command point limit with more troops).

Bonus Objective: Eliminate all Fire Drake Lairs that infest this cavern.

Locate a hole on the southern side of the corridor. It leads into a cave that contains the first of three Fire Drake Lairs. Donít underestimate the Fire Drake. A couple Fire Drakesí fire breath attack can eliminate your heroes quickly. Your heroes can soak up damage better than your Elven or Dwarven battalions though so begin the attack with your heroes but move in your ranged forces to provide support. Utilize Glorfindelís Blade of Purity and Gloinís Slam to increase damage against the Fire Drakes. Upon eliminating the drakes, destroy the lair. If you forget to destroy the lair, additional Fire Drakes will spawn (which could be used to generate more experience for your heroes or troops).

Beware of goblin counter attacks from the northwest while exploring the Fire Drake cave. Continue toward the mapís southeastern corner and find another Fire Drake cave. Eliminate the Fire Drakes and the lair; this was the second of the three lairs.

The third Fire Drake Lair is in the mapís center. You can reach it from moving north from the second lair then going west or you can return to the areaís main entrance (from the exterior area) and moving eastward. Destroy the third and final Fire Drake Lair to complete the bonus objective.

The far eastern room is blocked by Blue Mountain Gates. Eliminate the gates with your heroes, Demolishers, or even Gloinís Shake Foundation ability. Eliminate enemies and structures within the cavern.

The northern chamber contains the dragon (and supporting enemies). The dragon is certainly a powerful menace but can be taken down quickly by your upgraded archers and plentiful battalions of Axe Throwers. For additional firepower you can construct some Battle Towers in the chamber just south of the dragon for further ranged damage.

Destroy the gate to reveal the dragonís chamber. Concentrate all ranged firepower on the dragon while your heroes and melee forces combat remaining enemies. Utilize your powers for aid against the remaining enemies while ranged troops battle the dragon (as well as lure the beast toward your towers). The northern room contains plentiful treasure but itís hard to recover the goods unless you sacrifice units or heroes. The mission ends as soon as the dragon dies so you may not have time to gather the treasure unless you clear the enemies while keeping the dragon intact.

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