Gandalf the Grey vs Gondor: The Witch-king

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The Witch-king is an incredibly powerful commander that can deal copious amounts of damage using Alchemists. When used by Gondor tacticians, expect to see around 5000 troops of Alchemists paired with Swan Knights and another melee unit (typically Corsairs). These troops provide a powerful combination of damage (by the Alchemists) and durability (by the Swan Knights). Furthermore, the Alchemists are completely protected by the Swan Knights Protector skill for the first three rounds of battle.

The following guide covers the outcome from two different Witch-king builds. See Results for how to improve Gandalf the Grey against the Witch-king.

Witch-king (moderate)

This battle resulted in a loss for Gandalf the Grey. However, the outcome was not entirely wasted as Gandalf the Grey did manage to kill or wound more than half of the Witch-king’s army.

Witch-king Skills and Equipment

This Witch-king is built for dealing optimal damage with Alchemists. The Cutlass provides a boost in Melee damage and Orthanc’s Devilry makes sure that at least 50.0% of Alchemist attacks are at maximum damage. The Horseman’s Helm is particularly good against enemy commanders with helmets or skills that inflict Madness but is not particularly useful in the following battle.

Because Alchemists deal Burn Damage, the Witch-king’s Ringwraith gives them a 30.0% boost in Burn Damage along with Black Captains damage boost of 30.0%. Additionally, Convener allows Alchemists the chance to attack twice in the first two rounds of battle which can ultimately wipe out entire armies very quickly.

Battle

In the first round of battle, Gandalf the Grey inflicted Stun on the Witch-king’s Corsairs and Swan Knights. The Witch-king’s Alchemists attacked Gandalf the Grey’s Mountain Trolls but they avoided damage. However, Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists were also inflicted with Stun so no significant damage was dealt by either side.

Round 1: Significant units afflicted with Stun
Round 1: Witch-king’s Alchemists attack but damage is avoided

In the second round of battle, Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists and the Witch-king’s Alchemists attacked twice (due to Convener). Both did relatively the same amount of damage (due to Gandalf the Grey’s White Council reducing damage received).

Round 2: Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists attack
Round 2: Witch-king’s Alchemists attack

However, as the battle progressed, the Witch-king’s Alchemists began to outperform Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists by a large margin.

Round 3: Alchemists attack
Round 4: Alchemists attack
Round 5: Alchemists attack

Witch-king (difficult)

This battle resulted in a defeat for Gandalf the Grey. However, Gandalf the Grey still managed to wipe the Witch-king’s Swan Knights (almost completely) and that’s incredibly important in preventing the Witch-king from gaining multiple wins in a row.

Witch-king Skills and Equipment

This Witch-king build has particularly good armour that works well to protect the Witch-king’s armies in the first few rounds of battle. For example, the Witch-king’s Nazgûl Screech stuns all enemy units in the first round while the Superior Hauberk can protect against one instance of damage for each ally in the second round.  Additionally, when fully maximized, the Casque of the Submerged Isle would make the Witch-king truly difficult to beat as the only way to prevent his Alchemists from attacking in the first few rounds would be with avoidance skills.

Battle

In the first round of battle, the Witch-king’s Alchemists gained Stun immunity and devastated Gandalf the Grey’s Mountain Trolls while all of Gandalf the Grey’s units were afflicted with Stun (from Nazgûl Screech). However, Gandalf the Grey survived this round due to Mithrandir.

Round 1: Alchemist gain Stun immunity
Round 1: Witch-king’s Alchemists attack

In the second round of battle, the Witch-king’s Alchemists destroyed the last of Gandalf the Grey’s Mountain Trolls leaving the rest of his units defenseless. However, Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists managed to attack and defeat around 400 Swan Knights. If Gandalf the Grey had Stun immunity, the Alchemists might have completely wiped out the Swan Knights in 2 rounds. 

Round 2: Witch-king’s Alchemists attack
Round 2: Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists attack

However, as the battle progressed, the Witch-king’s Alchemists began to outperform Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists by a significantly large margin.

Round 3: Alchemists attack
Round 4: Alchemists attack
Round 5: Alchemists attack
Round 6: Alchemists attack

Results

Despite being one of the best tier 2 commanders, Gandalf the Grey will never be able to match the amount of damage dealt by the Witch-king’s armies in rounds 3 and above (especially in roleplay servers). That’s why it’s pivotal that Gandalf the Grey’s army deal the most amount of damage in the first two rounds of battle while the Witch-king’s armies are Stunned and affected by damage reductions. With the proper build, Gandalf the Grey can put a stop to the Witch-king’s rampage.

Gandalf the Grey Build [R5] [Max Impart Wisdom]
  • White Council (15/15)
    • High Alert (7/7)
    • Champion of the Light (7/7)
  • Wizard (2/15)
    • Surge (1/7)
  • Mithrandir (15/15)
    • Convener (7/7)
  • The Grey (6/15)
    • Fleeting Movements (3/7)
    • Blindside (1/7)

Note: Allocate any additional skill points at your discretion.

The White Council branch will help reduce Burn damage and boost damage against the Witch-king’s Alchemists. Wizard is a must-have to prevent the Witch-king from activating Convener twice (if the Witch-king does not have Stun Immunity). This is key because the Witch-king will easily win if his Alchemists can attack four times in the first two rounds of battle. Additionally, max out Convener to enable Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists to attack twice in the first two rounds of battle. This will wipe out the Witch-king’s Swan Knights (so long as Gandalf the Grey isn’t stunned). The Grey does not have enough healing power to counteract the Witch-king’s Alchemists so leave it till last. Max out Fleeting Movements with any additional skill points.

Equipment

Gandalf the Grey requires equipment that can boost Alchemist’s attack or reduce Burn damage. Additionally, Gandalf the Grey needs Stun Immunity to consistently counter the Witch-king. Stun Immunity will protect against the Witch-king’s Nazgul Screech which will enable the chance for Gandalf the Grey’s Alchemists to attack twice in the first round of battle.

  • Uruk-hai Pike (Uruk-hai Strength)
  • Garrison Coat (Melee Vigour)
  • Old Casque (Melee Vigour)
Uruk-hai Pike
Garrison Coat
Old Casque
  • Cutlass (Melee Might, Smite)
  • Superior Hauberk (Fire Protection)
  • Horseman’s Helm (Warding)
  • Harp of Lothlórien (Melee Might) or Worn-out Smoking Pipe (Sustain)
Cutlass
Superior Hauberk
Horseman’s Helm
Harp of Lothlórien
  • Reckoning (Might of Soldiers)
  • Elven Cloak (Resistance)
  • Casque of the Submerged Isle (Aegis)
  • Orthanc’s Devilry (Opportune Strike) or Wizard Smoking Pipe
Reckoning
Elven Cloak
Casque of the Submerged Isle
Orthanc’s Devilry

Note: Superior Hauberk provides more Burn Damage reduction but Elven Cloak is more universal.

Army Unit Composition

Units that deal Focus, Poison, or Burn damage are the best counters against units with high defence. At the moment, Alchemists deal the highest amount of Burn damage so they are an optimal choice as a counter against Gondor’s Swan Knights. Additionally, Corsairs also deal burn damage so they can be a decent second unit. Finally, Gandalf the Grey will need to use Mountain Trolls to protect his Alchemists in the first three rounds of battle. The optimal army composition for this is a low amount of Mountain Trolls and Corsairs with a high amount of Alchemists (usually around 5000 Alchemists).


Thank you for reading this article and I hope you found it helpful.

Aerith