HOW TO: Blackstaff DLC Mission #5: The Marshall

After defeating the waves of Rat armies they have holed up in a single area where the rats are being protected by a man known only as “The Marshall.”

– Break Down of Mission – 

You start off with very little and have to prepare a defense very quickly.

There are three enemies which have to be defeated in order.  The first enemy is a weak wood based enemy.  The second enemy is a stronger stone based enemy.  The final enemy is a very powerful enemy that has a choke point (a bridge) protecting his base.

In order to beat this mission you have to defeat all three enemies while defending the constant attacks of the enemy.

– Preparing the Defense –

You will be attacked from two fronts, the eastern and northern fronts.  The eastern front will be the one you will have to defend first as it will be the quicker attacks.  These attacks will all be weak filled with archers and pikemen.  This can all be defeated by a single tower with a staircase.

The northern front will be much harder and will require immediately a tower and then a mangronel.  In the end you will want one mangronel on the eastern side and two on the northern side.  These mangronels will have to be targeted effectively to wipe out enemies quickly.  Without these mangronels your armies will fall apart fast.

You will want to have massive bread production.  This will allow you to gain extra tax revenues from surplus food which will in turn allow you to purchase weapons and armor.

You will continue pumping out archers non-stop to defend your walls.  You will want 4-5 fletchers total with non-stop archer production.  You do this until you can consistently defend both sides with no damage dealt to you.  Once you can sustain yourself  you can continue phase 2.

– Attacking the Wood Rat –

The wood rat is the easiest one to deal with and upon killing off his castle you will no longer face attacks from the eastern front.  This means you can push your archers all to the north.

Your unit group for this push will be purely swordsman and crossbowmen.  You can mix in some archers, some knights and some pikemen.  On this push there is not much pitch to worry about and you can just push your army forward and attack into his walls with your swordsman.  Any siege equipment you choose to use will speed this up.

You need heavily armored units to soak up those archer shots, swordsman are your guys.  As well you can get stables and get your men on horses.  Every time a horse dies they can call the horse.

This however is quite buggy and often horses will get stuck.

– Attacking the Stone Rat –

This rat will have a lot of archers and will have small collections of swordsman.  On top of this both attacking armies from him and the marshall will run through this path meaning that you will often run into a random attack.  This means that you will need a larger than normal attack to deal with this.

The defending units cannot be replenished so you may have to do this in two attacks.  Use the exact same unit composition except add in three catapults. You will need these to knock down the walls.  You will use crossbowmen to peel units off of the walls and then you sit back and wait for the catapults to break down the walls.  Hug the right and knock down the north wall from there.

This middle base awkwardly has a large group of archers you can skip that will deal a tonne of damage if you engage them.  By skipping you can eliminate one wave of attack.

After knocking down this northern wall you can rush to the lord and knock out the second lord thus taking out this keep.

Keep in mind with these keeps you cannot capture them meaning that there will always be some small amount of resistance at each keep.

– Attacking the Marshall –

In the final attack get a massive number (30-40) of swordsman and a large cluster of crossbowmen.  This last keep is the easiest to take however if you do not have the right numbers you will just get mowed down in the choke.

You will only have to knock down one wall and after doing that you can just right click on the lord.

Once this final lord goes down the mission is over.

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HOW TO: Blackstaff DLC Mission #4: Rat’s Revenge

After taking Silverback’s castle the three rats move on you to try and take back this keep.  They come from all angles as you desperately try to pump out as many archers as possible.

– Defending Siege –

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At the beginning you will be given a hand full of archers and a hand full of swordsman.  Take your swordsman and move them along the sneaky eastern path you exploited in the last mission.  Just camp them at the most northern part of it (before you turn east) and they will catch all of the archer spawns that try and pick off your lord.

Now, to castle improving.  There is only one real weakness in your wall, there is a single skirt that is unconnected to the castle, delete the skirt and replace it with a wall.  You will find this skirt along the eastern side of the castle in the south.  If you fully wall off your castle along the eastern front it will bug out the AI so they will attack north.

You will want to make two mangronel towers.  You do this by going to your tower building section and create two siege towers.  These siege towers can have either mangronels or ballistas mounted on them.  Mangronels will deal area of effect damage and decimate his armies.

From here continue to produce fletchers to increase your archer producing abilities and continue to mount the wall with archers.  Eventually a southern flank will open which is answerable by having some archers on the old giant tower that the rats had in place.

At no point should the rats be able to break down any walls because archers on a wall out range catapults.

With this basic setup you should be able to beat this level

HOW TO: Blackstaff DLC Mission #3: Silverback’s Castle

After defeating Silverback’s main army, Silverback is forced to run back to his castle.  You follow him, this time with an army.

– How to Siege –

In this mission if you attack directly you will take on massive losses.  Instead you take your bowmen through a back pass and attack every single possible unit you can hit.  This will give you high ground on a lot of archers and will allow you to pick off tones of units.  You will also be able to bait a lot of melee units to come forward and get picked off one at a time.

Once you have done this sieging will be a lot easier.

You will have to knock down three walls heading along the western area.

You will want to avoid the large tower in the middle.  If you put units in column formation they will squeeze through easier.  The catapults will knock down the walls and the archers will pick off any remaining units in the tower.

Pikemen are used to deal with any melee units at all.  Because they can deal massive burst damage and can kite they can deal with knights well.

The enemy will have javelins, use your archers against them and they will die before they can reach your army.

In the third chamber there will be pitch.  You can use peasants to activate this pitch.  If there are no archers left in the area you can avoid this altogether since archers are required to activate pitch.

Once you get down the final wall you can just right click on his lord and it will be over.  For a higher score try and move all of your units to the northern part of the keep and attack from there.

HOW TO: Blackstaff DLC Mission #2: Homecoming

After beating The Rat’s presence in this area of your family the Blackstaff family are interrupted by a sudden attack by Silverback, the eldest son of Rat.  In this mission you have to defend against the waves of Silverback’s attack.

– Unit Counters –

In this mission you will have swordsman, macemen, pikemen and archers.  It is important to understand what they are for and what they are intended to counter.

Macemen: Weak fast unit used for flanking.  This means they get very good at harassing harvesters, taking out siege equipment and dealing with crossbowmen/archers.  Macemen cannot attack headon and often require some other unit to soak damage.

Swordsman: These are armored units that are good against all unit types.  However because of their very slow speed they are very kiteable by any ranged unit who can slowly wittle them down.

Pikemen: These units have a ranged attack as they move forward.  The ranged attack does a lot of damage and is only done occassionally.  This makes them very good at killing high health units such as macemen, crossbowmen, and swordsman.  They are very uneffective against archers unless in melee range.  Moving them into melee range against archers is damaging.

Archers: The generic all-purpose unit.  Weak against everything but have a very solid range that allows them to deal damage against everything well.  They are also very fast meaning they can kite most units.

– What to Do –

In your opening moves use your pikemen to wipe out the enemy’s swordsman and use archers against archers.  Take the keep to the east to gain extra resources.

After your first wave of attack you will gain thieves which are pikemen.  Place your archers on the top of the keep of the eastern keep to wipe out all enemy units.  Most enemies will just run past your archers.

You should place your barracks (unit producing structure) in the south to cover that flank, it will eventually open.

As for production you will want to focus heavily on archers.  You will gain free macemen.  From here focus on pikemen and archers.  These units are cheap and cost no honor.

You will eventually (about 10 minutes in) want to take out the southern keep.  This will give you more food and you can continue producing more archers and more pikemen.  Continue to balance off archers on the southern barracks and archers on the eastern keep.

As a stylistic defense you can use your macemen in the southern keep to flank archers once they start attacking.

You will continue doing this until the last 3-4 minutes at which this point you should pull everything back to the main keep at which point you will hold on as much as possible.

HOW TO: Blackstaff DLC Mission #1: A Race to the Sea

In 2011 Firefly Studios released a game called “Stronghold 3” that was incomplete and felt by many to be a terrible game.  Simply put, nothing worked.  The Blackstaff DLC and the new “Gold” edition have been released to make up for that and anyone who had purchased Stronghold 3 get Blackstaff DLC for free as a way of saying… we’re sorry.

So for all of those struggling to get through it I am releasing a written guide supported with videos to get you through this very hard difficulty DLC.

This first mission is relatively easy and has tones of room for failure.

– How to Siege –

In a typical RTS game you grab all of your units and attack into stationary defenses in hopes that the extra damage per second will help you out.  In Stronghold 3 area of effect attacks can destroy your entire army, such as pitch.

In this first mission you will have to worry about pitch.

Peasants are a cheap unit used to bait out pitch.  Send in your peasants.  These should be sent in 5 at a time with the expectations that they will die.

After you have cleared out pitch you have to worry about tower archers.  Send your own archers in to clear these out.  Simultaneously you can send your fire carts forward.  These will burn out the remainder of the pitch and may even hit the enemy’s wooden fort to burn it down.

Once all of the enemy’s archers are down you can bring in your catapults to bust down the front door.  As well you can move your archers up slightly to deal with the forward archers or alternatively you can use them in the towers to gain extra range, either works effectively.

You will be given shields that can be used in front of the archers to soak damage.  Expect these things to die considering how much of this level is archers.

Once the front gate is down you can just rush to the middle and take the objective.  For higher scores you will be more careful and conservative.  For speed runs you will burn your units out fast.

This mission is relatively short (10-13 minutes) and is regarded as an easier mission.