10 January 2013

Isengard vs Gondor Earyl Game Strategy by sueffkopp

Today, I will show you how powerful a well executed five-Uruk strategy can be against Gondor, on the Fords of Isen map. It is quite easily done, though it does require concentration.

 1. Starting build order and pathways There are two options here: The pit/dual-mill start and the alternative pit/furnace/farm/mill start. The latter is better when your opponent is playing random and you were slow to wall-check. If you start with two mills in this instance, you could hit trouble when Gondor's starting soldiers go top (bottom, when you play on the left spot). Otherwise the first pit/dual-mill start would be preferred; it provides faster Uruks and a stronger economy since one lumber mill gives twice as much income as a furnace, and is even cheaper. Other build orders such as pit/furnace/close mill can work out just as well but are not reliable enough to find a place in this guide.

  1.1 The Pit/dual-Mill start Start with an Uruk Pit in the forward-right corner of your base (or forward-left if you're on the left-hand spot) and produce one Uruk-Hai after the other until the pit reaches rank 2. By this time, you will get 5 extra Uruk-Hai battalions in total.
The starting Uruk takes both mills, then goes over the top of the map (bottom, for left-map start) to check for soldiers. Use at least two labourers as scouts: One through the middle of the map towards his base to see when the first knight comes out, another over the top of the map (bottom) to check for any extra soldiers that he may have made from a barracks (rarely seen and easily countered, so long as you spy!). The first pit-gained Uruk goes through the middle.

starting uruk-hai - first uruk-hai from pit - laborers -tiny lines are optional
starting uruk-hai - first uruk-hai from pit - laborers -tiny lines are optional
 1.2 The pit/furnace/far mill start This is very similar to the double-mill start. Build a pit and a furnace in the base, then send your starting unit to the far farm spot. Purchase an Uruk-Hai from the pit and a lumber mill, as you send out three labourers as shown in the image below.
Wait until you have 200 gold to buy the second Uruk from the pit. In comparison to the first, dual-Mill build, the Uruk spam is delayed due to the starting build-order. Only after this should you construct the lumber mill, close to your base so you have two of them in total. After this, the tactics are exactly the same as with the other start.

  2. Defend the lumber mills against the initial rush by Gondor Two soldiers are likely to walk to your side, either through the middle fords or over top (bottom). Gondor will place an Elvenwood right next to a lumber mill on your side, negating the effect of a Warchant for any Isengard unit standing on it. It is activated again once they get off it; the missing glowing effect is just a graphical bug. The Uruk battalion that intercepts the soldiers needs to get Warchanted as soon as possible, and must give chase. The only other battalion that is on the field at this moment is required to help defend.
Should the Gondor soldiers attack the mill, try putting Uruks in between his soldiers and the mill, while repairing with labourers. Only workers that are not carrying pieces of wood can repair lumber mills, keep that in mind! Usually you can hold it, but if you see that you won't then delete the mill as early as possible.
Should they fight the Uruks on the Elvenwood, send the second pit-Uruk to face the soldiers as well as required. Micro your units and be sure to retreat battalions with many weak Uruks in them.
3. Kick both farms before first knight is out Send the first two Uruks who are not needed straight to your opponent's side: usually, this is the 2nd and the 3rd pit-Uruk. If you meet Pippin, ignore him and go for the farms. He only needs to be attacked before he passes your base; he should not be able to cloak at a lumber mill. Most Gondor players retreat him anyway when they see Uruks running at their farms.
Wait for Warchant to be recharged, then use it on the two Uruks on the far side as soon as possible. Split them up and take both farms down; when Gondor sends his hobbit back to defend then don't worry, an Uruk-Hai battalion with Warchant will destroy the farm regardless.
4. Take two creeps with Uruk-Hai 4.1 After your Uruks have defended the mills and the soldiers are dead, send the remaining units on your side to a neutral Warg creep to take it. Allow a pit-Uruk to join them, usually that's the fourth. Simply surround the lair and destroy it, then take the money; the Wargs will be left over but that is no problem at all. In every replay that is attached at the end of this guide, you can see how it is done.
4.2 Use one of the Uruk battalions that killed a farm, together with the fifth pit-Uruk to destroy another lair in the same way.

  5. Situation check at first horse As the first Gondor knight hits the field, you have in the best-case scenario: taken both farms down, which means Gondor's economy is damaged. taken two creeps (or are about to do so), meaning your economy that has been taking damage from the Uruk-spam is boosted. Not allowed more than one Uruk battalion to be attacked with knights and gain powerpoints from. One, or even two, pikes out which are on their way to the opponents side to prevent him from claiming his outside farms back. Roughly two furnaces in the base and close to two powerpoints, which are needed for industry. Here's a picture of how it should look like:
As you can see on the mini-map, Gondor lost both his farms and Isengard is about to take two creeps (the middle right and the bottom right ones). The first knight is too late to do anything to stop it. With the Pit/dual-Mill start, you can usually get your first furnace shortly before the fourth pit-Uruk enters the battlefield.
This way, your Uruk-spam is hardly slowed down at all, meaning very early pikes; this allows your Uruks to kill farm and take creeps out without being intercepted. 6. After horses and pikes are out Once the Uruk Pit has reached rank 2, produce one pike after the other. Remember, you have a labourer scouting for the first knight. By this time, you know whether you need your first pike to defend or whether you can send it straight to his side. As soon as Warchant has recharged again, use it on a pike battalion to take one creep. Make sure no knights are near that could potentially steal the experience.
Sometimes you can go for another lair right after, Warchant still active long enough to run to the next creep and kill the Wargs around it (this is a close call though). This means you have 3 creeps in total, so no early elves for Gondor. In most games you can take even more with good scouting and pike use. When you take four-six Warg lairs, Gondor will only have about 1.5 powerpoints at a stage when all creeps are gone. Eventually, you will have 2 powerpoints and can get Industry. My advice is to get it after either a very strong or a very bad start. After a good early game, as you will most likely deal very well with a 3rd Elvenwood and you can often decide the game before Fuel the Fires becomes important. After a bad start because you'll need it to survive. Only after a mediocre start do I prefer the route Tainted Land -> Fuel the Fires because it helps a lot to have those powers as early as possible in later-game. You don't really need Industry because the economy is good enough without it.
This Guide made by sueffkopp