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Durin's Bane:The Balrog - An Extensive Guide To Harnessing His Power

By Val` - 10th May 2017 - 11:09 AM

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An Extensive Guide to Harnessing His Power



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Background



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The Balrogs originated as Maiar, beings of the same kind as Sauron. They were primordial spirits of fire that had allied themselves with Melkor in ancient times.They became the most feared of his servants, especially during the early Wars in the First Age. There are thought to be no more than seven Balrog's.

In appearance, the Balrogs were man-like, but fire streamed from them, and they were swathed in dark shadows. They carried whips of flame and induced great terror in friends and foes alike. Most of the Balrogs were destroyed in the War of Wrath, but a few escaped over the Blue Mountains and hid in Middle-earth. Durin's Bane, the creature that drove the Dwarves from Moria, was one of these.This is the Balrog which most people are familiar with.

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Common Disbeliefs and the Past



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Gandalf,unlike his fellow Wizards Saruman and Radagast, never settled in a single place. He was instrumental in the victory of the War of the Ring, but during that conflict he battled with Durin's Bane, and though he was ultimately victorious, his spirit left his body, but was sent back to Middle-earth to complete his task.


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Therefore, Gandalf is ultimately the best counter in The Battle For Middle Earth 2 in the event of the Balrog being summoned. Many people highly underestimate the Balrog, and are shocked when he is put to good use and turns the tides of a War. He is easily the best powerpoint any army can acquire in EA's official 1.06 patch, and although slightly less powerful in the Patch 1.09 his role remains similar.


For newer players, it's a common downfall to think that because the Balrog is indeed a summon, it cannot inflict as much damage as instantaneous powers such as EarthQuake and Rain Of Fire, a theory which is incorrect. The Balrog can in fact deal much more damage than other Tier 4 powers. In order to understand why, I'm going to explain, in-depth, how and why his superiority shines. Note that the design philosophy behind summon's doing more total damage is because powers such as Sunflare/Rain Of Fire, are instantaneous powers, they do not take time to deal damage, making it harder for the opponent to react. Summons such as the Balrog you have enough time for example, to build fortress armor after you see he is being summoned. Therefore, generally speaking, summon's have greater potential but also have the downfall of being able to be killed(though this rarely happens).


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Applicability and Capitalization



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A summon can either go horribly wrong for you or horribly wrong for your opponent depending on your knowledge and proficiency of the Balrog. It takes some guidance and practice to be able to utilize it 100%. There are many things such as when to use it, what it's counters are, being a good judge of what it can do in it's short period of time and so on and so forth. Hopefully by the end of this guide you will have a reasonable idea of how to effectively destroy your opponents.


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Acquisition



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Alright so it's nice to know about the smaller elements of the Balrog's past and such, but what makes the Balrog so special in-game? Lets take a look at the skills in which the summon is capable of and which one is suited to which scenario.

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The first and arguably the most powerful element of the Balrog is the damage he can do upon being summoned by the flame and rock which splits the earth. Obviously, you want to make as best use of this power as possible because his summon explosion alone can be just as powerful as powerful as other Tier 4 powers . Keep in mind the blast radius and damage is slightly larger in 1.06 than 1.09. It's basically not avoidable in 1.06 while it can be in 1.09 if reaction time is very fast. Patch 1.09 summon damage also deals more damage at the centre than the outer areas. There are plenty of summon blast pictures scattered throughout this thread which demonstrate not only what it looks like but what it can do to an army. Also note in the video further down the damage of the blast.


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Secondly, and the most important skill the Balrog has is Ignite. Ignite grants +50% armor and +200% damage to every other skill he has including standard attack. So for example, whip deals double damage if he is also ignited. This is critical in defending against magic attacks and for taking down buildings and heroes more efficiently. This will be explained in depth further down. If you look above you'll see what the Balrog looks like when ignited. The photo a few above that of him hitting Gandalf is what he looks like unignited(less "flame like"). Also note that the Balrog's standard attack in Patch 1.09 is better than 1.06, by both damage and radius, as well as shockwave. It also deals triple damage against heroes in 1.09 compared to 1.06. However, it deals less damage to forts in 1.09 which was needed so that it cannot take a fortress in it's duration.


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Fire breath is exactly what it sounds like. Very good for taking out clumped production buildings and units. Will take out all fort expansions if cast correctly.Damage against heroes is critical to most heroes. You can get 2 uses of fire breath in the total time of a summon, it has a long recharge time. Note that fire breath deals double damage to Gandalf in patch 1.09.


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Whip is the skill with the fastest recharge time(besides fly) and the one best used for killing flyer's and heroes. Please note that it's ability to kill flyer's was only introduced in a late iteration of BTDC and is not functional in 1.06. Its also the main power used for killing buildings. Must be used in conjunction with Ignite for maximum effect on heroes. Whip will one shot all flyers except Drogoth if he is ignited. A lot of ground heroes will die in one hit however some such as Gandalf and Gimli will take two, three if heal is used. Whip is my personal favorite power that he has, as it is so versatile. Whip deals less damage to forts in 1.09 as compared to 1.06.


The two final skills of the Balrog, the lesser ones, have limited use. Instill fear is rarely used unless the Balrog is on low health and is being shot down by upgraded archers(as heroes wont flee). You'll see it being used in the video but I didn't realize all the rangers were level 5 at the time and so had fear immunity, but you get the point, its basically there to prevent focus fire.



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Fly is a very good ability which is only used in some situations. Note that its leap range is far greater in 1.09 than patch 1.06. So its a fast way of getting around the map after you've done the summon damage. The other is flying about taking out forward bases and the third is attempting to time a fly to land on a retreating army, as it deals damage upon landing.



Prioritizing



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The most important thing about the Balrog is prioritizing. You need to learn what is the best cause of action, how to optimize damage dealt, all while watching out for potential counters. This obviously takes practice so hopefully I can assist the speed at which you pick things up. Each time you call the Balrog, you'll come across a different scenario each time. So, let's have a look at some common ones.

For example, you may come across a forward base that Elves have constructed to shut down your spam, and they may just have Silverthorn Arrows and some good powers.

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As you can see the first thing that's been done here is Ignite. Then he has whipped the eagle and killed it. Ignite was used as soon as possible to avoid damage from silverthorn Mirkwood Archers in towers and from claw attack from the eagle. Generally eagles do more damage so take them out first.


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Then what you want to do is identify which threat is the highest. So, I proceeded to take out the towers to avoid magic damage. Note in this case the towers were not clumped so using breath would be pointless and a waste.Just use whip as its recharge is fast. Don't worry about trying to kill units unless you think there's enough in a small area to use breath on, just try and kill as many buildings as possible, if you keep him ignited units wont pose a threat unless there's a heap in a tower. I then used breath on one tower a level 3 tree and a barracks. I then flew to his primary base and whipped some more buildings and used another breath on the fortress expansions.


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For a second situation I have chose one involving Gimli-a common counterpart which can kill the Balrog if not dealt with quickly. In this example I summoned, Ignited, walked past Gimli, cast fire breath on his expansions/buildings, then hit Gimli out of the way and whipped. In this case, he had heal and so needed another whip afterwards. You need to save whip for him otherwise its to difficult to try and hit him with the sword. Gimli has knockback resistance in 1.09 when in Slayer mode, and his speed bonus means he can kite you around. Use it as soon as its recharged.Two whips will kill him. Once he is dead, Dwarves have no other counter-and so proceed to destroying whatever you can of his base. In summary, don't avoid any of the counters to the Balrog that I have listed on this page or you will indeed lose the Balrog.On the same note,Tom Bombadil is not a counter to the Balrog in Patch 1.09, only 1.06. The Balrog's whip will one hit Tom, and Tom's damage to the Balrog is very minor. Also, Summon Dragon is no longer a counter to the Balrog as it is in 1.06. The best counter's to the Balrog in patch 1.09 are Gandalf, Silverthorn Arrows, Dead-Eye, Slayer(kiting), and Army of the Dead(which Balrog can kill with fire breathe), as in below video. Eagles also deal moderate damage but shouldn't survive long due to whip one hitting them.

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The above video shows how to kill the army of the dead-something which if left unchecked will kill the Balrog. This video was made on an old Battletest Patch but the same principles apply to 1.09. Also demonstrates how deadly Gandalf's Lightning Sword is, you should be able to see his health bar, which is why it's so important to use ignite as soon as it runs out. In patch 1.09 Gandalf can shield bubble against whip, making it deal minimal damage, it also gives him knockback resistance so Balrog's attack will not shockwave him. I wanted to show you an example of how powerful the Balrog can be in certain games, and how to utilize it to his full potential. You'll note I had to cast Dragon there-that was to save the Balrog from dying-Lightning had put him on critical health. Instill Terror didn't work either because all the rangers were level 5-keep that in mind if your trying to save your Balrog in future games.





For the people still playing 1.06 I have made a short video cast demonstrating how a typical summon will happen.Most importantly just note whip is used on the fort more than RB/PB's as its damage to forts back then was very high. You'll see there that the fort is taken with a third of the timer left, which is time more for 2-3 more whips and another fire breath. This is why Balrog is so overpowered in 1.06 as he can kill an upgraded fortress, in patch 1.09 he cannot even kill a fortress without armor. Thanks for reading and I hope this guide is useful to you.