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Guide to 1.06 Isengard by Blatant7

By Blatant7.

This guide details the Isengard faction, and will hopefully advance your knowledge of the servants of the White Hand.

Isengard in general is slow but strong, and can stand up to blows that their evil allies often canít. Like the other Evil Factions, they have few heroes, but when utilized effectively they are a defining force in Isengardís success. This faction has a solid choice of siege units, including siege ladders and powerful mines. Isengard is a bit limited when it comes to cavalry, but their Warg Riders are certainly competent.

Heroes and their uses
Units and their uses
Isengard Structures
Isengard Palantir Powers
Popular Strategies

Heroes and their Uses:

Wormtounge: as Isengardís cheapest hero, he is often purchased early game. His abilities range from weakening enemy units to poisoning a target and even to gaining control of an enemy hero for a short period of time. As such, he is best used against enemy heroes or when supported by an allied army. Beware, for his defense and health are low, and when confronted with many troops he will go down quickly. Be sure to keep an eye on his health at all times.

Wormtoungeís level 1 Venomous Words removes all leadership bonuses from targeted units for 30 seconds. As a bonus, this also includes heroes. Use this just before your army engages the enemy for best effect.

His level 3 Escape cloaks him in invisibility for 30 seconds. This is very useful when your health is low and you are trying to escape from an enemy. Use this after a Backstab to leave the enemy frantically wondering where you went.

Wormtoungeís level 6 Backstab does a significant amount of damage to a single target, and in addition leaves them poisoned for 20 seconds. This is most useful against annoying enemy heroes. Make sure to combine this ability with Escape.

Wormtoungeís level 10 Corrode Allegiance gives you control of a targeted enemy hero for 30 seconds. This is an extremely useful power, and as such should not be wasted. Imagine gaining control of an enemy Gandalf and unleashing Word of Power right in the middle of the enemy base! There are a lot of possibilities when using this power, so make sure to examine each of them and choose the best.

Sharku: Isengardís only mounted hero, he has a relatively low resource cost and as such is usually purchased early to mid game. He is useful when leading Warg charges into the enemy base, and can give his fellow Warg Riders a major buff with his Blood Hunt ability. Was a cavalry unit, Sharku is extremely vulnerable to pikemen, so keep an eye out for them when he is on the move.

His level 2 Tame the Beast grants control over targeted enemy wargs for 30 seconds. This is obviously only effective when facing Isengard, so this abilityís uses are limited.

His level 4 Blood Hunt gives nearby allied Wargs a Leadership buff and a 50% increase to armor and damage output. Use this right before a cavalry charge for excellent effect.

Sharkuís level 8 Man Eater allows him to eat a targeted infantry unit, restoring his health and granting him a 20 second speed boost. This ability is useful when retreating or when his health is low.

Lurtz: Isengardís only ranged hero, he can also use the sword with equal skill. As leader of the Uruk-Hai, Lurtz grants them major buffs, and is a formidable force by himself. He has a relatively low cost, and so is most often purchased early to mid game. Lurtz is fairly slow and doesnít have any effective crowd control abilities, and so is especially weak against enemy cavalry. Make sure he never gets surrounded by enemies; you should usually try to keep him on the sidelines of any skirmish. Lurtz is also an extremely effective hero killer, with his infamous Cripple ability.

Lurtzís level 1 Toggle Weapon allows him to switch between use of a powerful bow and a vicious sword. Not much else to say about this, however you should usually try to keep Lurtz at a distance, firing arrows from his bow. His level 2 Carnage grants him +10% armor and +200% damage. This is extremely effective when faced with upgraded enemy units or heroes when your Cripple ability is still recharging.

Lurtzís level 4 Cripple is arguably his most useful ability, and pins an enemy hero in place for 30 seconds. They are also moderately damaged. This is extremely useful against an opponent who is skilled with heroes, and can isolate a hero for your archers to pick off with ease from a distance. This can only be used when Lurtz is holding his bow. Also note that this ability does not cripple Eagles, Fellbeasts or other flying units.

His level 5 Leadership grants nearby allied units +50% armor and damage output, and also doubles the experience they gain. This ability is why Lurtz is such an effective army leader. A popular strategy is sending several hordes of arrow-fodder Uruk-Hai soldiers to hold off the enemy, while Lurtz and several buffed Crossbow hordes deal massive amounts of damage from a safe distance.

His level 6 Pillage gives you a small amount of resources for every kill he and his nearby allies make. This is basically the same as Eomerís Outlaw Leadership. While not especially useful, this ability can make a huge difference when the resources gained from it are saved up. Think of a money jar in the living room, dropping occasionally loose change isnít going to make much of a difference now, but in the long run it can definitely help.

Saruman: as the leader of Isengard and its most famous hero, the White Wizard is very powerful against clumps of units and enemy heroes. As Isengardís most expensive hero, he is usually purchased mid to late game. Saruman, like Gandalf, can do massive amounts of damage to enemy units. He can also give allied units experience, which makes him a well-rounded hero.

Sarumanís level 1 Wizard Blast is basically the same as Gandalfís Wizard Blast, blasting enemy units into the air and doing a moderate amount of damage. Use this against charging enemy cavalry to knock them from their mounts, slowing them down.

Sarumanís level 2 Fireball is another effective power, and can be used from a moderate distance. Use this against clumps of enemy soldiers or archers. This power can also be used to detonate mines, which saves you from having to purchase Berserkers or the Fire Arrows upgrade.

His level 5 Speech Craft gives targeted allies a moderate amount of experience. This ability can be used in almost any situation, and so is very useful.

His level 8 Dominate grants you control over targeted enemy units for a short period of time. This is like Wormtoungeís Corrode Allegiance; only it affects units instead of heroes. Try to use this on upgraded enemy units, or those that will cause the most damage when used against your opponent.

Sarumanís level 10 Thunderbolt delivers a large amount of damage to the targeted enemy unit or structure. While not quite as powerful as Gandalfís Word of Power, this ability is nevertheless very useful. Try to target a troublesome enemy barracks or a large clump of enemy units.

Units and their uses:

Uruk-Hai Soldiers: the basic infantry unit of Isengard, they are strong but slow. Because of their increased armor and damage, they are more expensive than their Orc and Goblin counterparts. Uruk-Hai soldiers function best when massed together, and try to mix in a few Uruk-Hai Pikemen to stop enemy cavalry from decimating your force.

Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen: the formidable ranged units of Isengard, they dish out a significant amount of damage with their powerful crossbow bolts. Combined with Lurtz or Uruk-Hai soldiers, they make a powerful force. Remember to upgrade with Fire Arrows when possible, which further increases the damage done by Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen. It also allows them to blow up mines from afar, instead of relying on Berserkers to get close.

Uruk-Hai Pikemen: the anti-cavalry units of Isengard, they are an opponentís worst nightmare when it comes to cavalry rushes. Their incredibly long spears allow them to skewer enemy cavalry before it even comes close. Just watch out for enemy soldiers, archers, and flanking cavalry as Uruk-Hai Pikemen arenít very fast.

Berserkers: the infamous fanatics of Isengard, these tall, strong warriors wield massive two-handed swords and carry torches that can be used to detonate mines. When grouped together, Beserkers become an extremely formidable force. Useful against heroes, buildings, and most units, their only downfall is their relatively weak armor. Keep these guys away from Pikemen though and you should be fine.

Warg Riders: the cavalry of Isengard, they are best used in quick in and out rushes into the enemy base. Try to target unguarded resource production buildings and enemy archers. Sharku is a good cavalry leader, and so should be put at the front of your Warg army. Warg Riders can also Howl, giving them an increase in armor and damage output for a limited time.

Siege Ladder: a huge ladder carried by two Uruk-Hai. Useful in siege maps only, they allow your units to get on top of enemy walls and rampage through the enemy stronghold. The Siege Ladder has no defense of its own, so make sure to guard it with your own units.

Battering Ram: extremely useful against enemy buildings, walls, and gates, the Battering Ram is fairly inexpensive. Like the Siege Ladder however, it has no defense of its own and so needs to be protected if you want it to do any good.

Ballista: a powerful long-range siege weapon, the ballista fires massive crossbow bolts from afar. Think of it as a slightly weaker Battering Ram that doesnít need to get close to the enemy. Make sure to protect your Ballistae well though, as they will be primary targets for enemy cavalry and heroes.

Mines: the most powerful Isengard siege units, they are also the most risky. When detonated next to enemy walls, gates, structures, or units, a mine deals out huge amount of damage to all units in the surrounding area. Including your own, so be careful. Another thing to watch out for is the enemy detonating your mine while in the heart of your base or some other harmful position. This could be devastating to your forces, so pay attention.

Isengard Buildings:

Furnace: the resource-providing structure of Isengard. Generates resources based on available terrain, and increases command point limit by 50. When a Furnace reaches level 3, a defensive tower is added to it.

Lumber Mill: harvests nearby trees for resources. Remember that unlike the Furnace, productivity is determined by the number of Orc Laborers and the available trees, not available terrain.

Uruk Pit: this building trains Uruk-Hai Soldiers, Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen, and Uruk-Hai Pikemen at level 1. It can be upgraded once for a faster build speed and the ability to train the formidable Berserkers. It can also be upgraded once more for an even faster build speed.

Warg Pit: this structure trains Warg Riders, and can be upgraded twice for a faster build speed.

Siege Works: trains siege ladders (siege maps only) and Battering Rams at level 1, Ballistae at level 2, and Mines at level 3. Upgrades also increase this structureís build speed.

Lookout Tower: a primarily defensive arrow tower, try to build these on the front lines or at narrow chokepoints. You can also garrison your towers with Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen, which further increases the damage done.

Warg Sentry: an interesting and unique structure, this houses a defensive Warg that attacks enemy units as they come near. The Warg can also be released to hunt down enemy units.

Armory: this building allows you to research the Banner Carriers Upgrade at level 1, the Heavy Armor and Forged Blades upgrades at level 2, and the Fire Arrows upgrade at level 3. Armories are very important to have if you want to keep your army alive and strong.

Wall Hub: this allows for the expansion of walls to protect your base. Not much else to it.

Fortress: this structure allows for the purchase of heroes, builders, and various fortress upgrades. As your strongest and most important building, it is a big target for enemy forces so make sure to defend it well.

Isengard Palantir Powers:

5 Power Points:

Palantir: a scouting spell that reveals the shroud in a selected location for 2 minutes. This is very useful against Random opponents in finding out their faction, or for seeing what your enemy is up to.

Crebain: nerfs enemy units for a short amount of time, decreasing armor and damage. This can also be used as a scouting power, but watch out as your Crebain can be attacked by enemy archers.

War Chant: buffs targeted allied units, giving them a +50% armor and damage output bonus. This can often be the difference between winning or losing a skirmish.

10 Power Points:

Wild Men of Dunland Summon: this power summons 4 hordes of Wildmen at a selected unshrouded location. These guys are perfect for springing ambushes or for distracting the enemy while your real force flanks them. This is one of Isengardís most useful powers, and a personal favorite.

Tainted Land: this power gives allied units +50% armor when they are inside the selected radius. It also removes leadership buffs from enemy forces in the radius. This power briefly clears the shroud too, so it can be used to scout. Once your units leave the tainted area however, they lose the bonus.

Devastation: use this on a large group of trees to instantly cut them down and gain up to 2000 resources, depending on the number of trees targeted. This is a very useful economic boost.

Industry: this triples the production rate of targeted resource structures for a short period of time. This is also useful in boosting your economy.

15 Power Points:

Fuel the Fires: this passive ability increases the resources gained from harvesting trees. This power is obviously most useful on maps with an abundance of trees such as Mirkwood.

Freezing Rain: removes all enemy leadership bonuses for a limited time. This is very useful when faced with army leading heroes such as Aragorn and Elrond.

Watcher Summon: this power summons the Watcher in the Water at the selected location. Although immobile, the Watcher can do severe damage to enemy units and heroes alike. Use this when a large clump of enemies is charging you, or in narrow chokepoints where the enemy canít get around the Watcher.

25 Power Points:

Dragon Strike: this summons a dragon that flies over the battlefield, breathing fire over a selected area. This fire is extremely powerful, and can literally decimate enemy units and buildings. Just be careful where you aim, you donít want to waste such an awesome power.

Dragon Summon: while not quite as powerful as the fire from Dragon Strike, this Dragon can nevertheless move around the battlefield, doing severe damage by setting enemy units/buildings on fire. Once again, plan wisely so you don't waste such an advantage.

Popular Strategies:

Warg Rush: this strategy involves building a fast Warg Pit and pumping out Warg Riders as fast as you can. If possible, throw in Sharku for added effectiveness. Try to target unguarded enemy resource production structures, crippling your opponentís economy until you can follow up with stronger forces.

Build Order: Furnace, Warg Pit, Furnace, Warg Riders, Furnace, Warg Riders, Warg Riders, etc.

Uruk Rush: here you want to rush the enemy with Uruk-Hai Soldiers, and then follow up with either Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen or Uruk-Hai Pikemen. Keep rotating between the three and you will have a well-rounded rushing force. This is a good strategy for beginners.

Build Order: Furnace, Uruk Pit, Furnace, Uruk-Hai Soldiers, Uruk-Hai Crossbowmen/Uruk-Hai Pikemen, Furnace, etc.

Battering Ram Rush: this is an extremely effective but also just as risky strategy where you sneak a Battering Ram behind your enemyís base, and use it to take out his fortress. When faced with the loss of a fortress early game, Iíve found that most players become so discourage that they quit. ;)

Build Order: Furnace, Siege Works, Furnace, Battering Ram, Uruk Pit, Furnace, etc.