The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring Showcase

Take an exclusive look at the units, buildings, and heroes of the good and evil armies in Liquid Entertainment's upcoming game based on Tolkien's classic fantasy novels.

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Liquid Entertainment's The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring will be a colorful 3D real-time strategy game that will pit the forces of good against the forces of evil in an epic battle that will span several centuries of Tolkien's third age of Middle-earth. It's our pleasure to bring you this exclusive look at the two different armies, their military units, and their abilities. Both sides are built on the game's two resources: food, which comes from wells, and ore, which comes from ore piles. Both sides have five "tiers" of building technology that unlock higher-level units. However, each side has different high-level buildings and abilities that lead to very different strategies in the game.

The Side of Good

Buildings and Structures
The dark lord, Sauron, has risen to power, and only the combined might of the legions of man, dwarf, elf, and hobbit can hope to thwart him. Good-aligned players can defeat Sauron only by building a solid base of operations to support their armies. With a few exceptions, these structures must be built within a certain radius of one another.

Tier I Good Buildings

Keep

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The keep is the good side's basic town hall structure that lets good-aligned players begin building their bases by recruiting worker units--units that build all other structures. The keep is required to build the mill. The starting keep also lets you recruit your first hero unit.

Mill

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The mill is the good side's basic food production structure. It can be built over a well. Once a mill is built, worker units can carry the food resource from it. The mill is required to build the barracks.

Barracks

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The barracks is a basic structure that good armies use to recruit low-level Gondor swordsmen and swift Rohan riders.

Foundry

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The foundry is built on top of ore piles to increase ore production. It's required to build basic defense towers, as well as to upgrade your keep to tier II.

Tower

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This basic defensive structure has a ranged attack and also provides increased sight radius. The tower can be garrisoned, with up to four infantry units, to increase its attack power. Towers can later be upgraded to ballista towers once you've upgraded your keep to tier IV.

Dwarven Hall

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The dwarven hall is required to recruit powerful dwarf infantry units, like the axethrower and the shieldbreaker.

Camp

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Camps serve the same purpose as housing in other real-time strategy games: They increase your general population limit so that you can recruit more workers and troops.

Tier II Good Buildings
Once you've built a foundry, and collected enough resources, you can upgrade your keep to level two, which lets you recruit an additional hero unit. The upgraded keep also lets you construct the following buildings:

Silvan Outpost

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The silvan outpost is a building that lets you research additional technologies for improving your rangers and elven archers. These technologies include the ranger's camouflage ability, which renders these units invisible while standing still. The silvan outpost also offers elven cloaks and eagle fletching for elven archer units. Elven cloaks render units completely invisible to units without the supernatural ability to detect them. Eagle fletching increases the range of their elven arrows. The silvan outpost also lets you upgrade your keep to tier III.

Ranger Post

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The ranger post creates the good armies' stealthy ranger units; they serve as useful scouts with the ability to detect hidden units.

Forge

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The forge is a general military research building that offers upgrades for Gondor swordsmen, Rohan riders, axethrowers, shieldbreakers, and towers. It also provides a general building upgrade that makes all buildings more resistant to damage.

War Camp

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The upgraded version of the standard camp further extends your unit population limit. It's a valuable upgrade that lets you increase your population limit without cluttering up valuable real estate around your base.

Tier III Good Buildings
Once you have an upgraded keep and a silvan outpost, you can further upgrade your original keep building. This lets you recruit a third new hero unit. It also lets you upgrade directly to a fourth-tier keep. However, you may wish to divert your resources to these advanced structures first:

Nature's Haven

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This advanced building lets you recruit two of the good armies' most powerful allies: the beorning shapeshifter and the huorn ents.

Elven Sanctuary

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The elven sanctuary lets you enlist the good armies' most powerful support units: the elven archer and the elven lightbringer.

Tier IV Good Buildings
A third-tier keep lets you upgrade your keep to tier IV, which subsequently lets you build the following advanced structures:

Ballista Tower

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This upgraded tower has an increased sight radius and is equipped with a working ballista that packs a powerful punch against attacking armies.

Arcane Library
The arcane library is both a research building and a fate-based building. You can use the arcane library to purchase upgrades for spell-casters, like elven lightbringers, and you can also purchase fate powers here. The arcane library is also required for the final keep upgrade to tier V.

Tier V Good Buildings
The fifth tier for the armies of good consists of only the fifth-tier keep.

Keep
The fifth-tier keep lets you recruit the good armies' top-level hero: the legendary wizard Gandalf.

The Armies of Good

The armies of good comprise the legions of men, elves, dwarves, and hobbits. While they may not exceed the sheer brute force of Sauron's powerful uruk-hai and trolls, they do possess other advantages, including useful special abilities and an excellent command of sorcery.

Tier I Good Units

Human, Elven, and Dwarven Workers

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Workers are the backbone of the good armies' economy and research. They gather resources from mills and foundries, and they also build new buildings and repair damaged ones.

Gondor Swordsman

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The brave soldiers of Gondor may not have fancy sorcery or magic rings, but they are the good armies' basic infantry.

Dwarven Axethrower

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The dwarven axethrower is the first ranged unit that the good army receives. The axethrower's short-range axe toss can be enhanced later by two forge upgrades: fire axe, which causes axethrowers to deal siege-based damage to buildings, and razored edge, which causes the units' axes to pass through enemy ranks and to damage all units in its path.

Tier II Good Units

Dwarven Shieldbreaker

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Shieldbreakers are stalwart dwarf infantry units that can learn the shieldbreak ability, which lets them decrease the armor of their enemies with each blow of their warhammers, thereby making their enemies more and more vulnerable to damage as the fight continues.

Rohan Rider

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The swift riders of Rohan are legendary for their speed. In the game, these units will be the fastest-moving members of the good armies, and, while they can deal a decent amount of damage in battle, they're not especially tough and are best used for ambushes and hit-and-run attacks.

Ranger

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Rangers are relatively fragile units that are best suited for reconnaissance. They have the ability to reveal cloaked units, like Sauron's haradrim assassins (and enemy elven archers in multiplayer games). Rangers can also be upgraded with special abilities, like eagle eye, which increases their line of sight, and camouflage, which causes them to become invisible if they remain still.

Tier III Good Units

Elven Archer

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The elven archers of Middle-earth are renowned for their skills with the bow. Elven archers aren't very tough units, but they have good ranges on their bows, and they get even better with the eagle fletching ability. Once you've researched the elven cloak technology, these skillful archers can also move and attack while unseen by any units that do not have the ability to detect hidden enemies.

Beorning

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The hobbit adventurer, Bilbo Baggins, first encountered Beorn, the shapeshifter, in Tolkien's classic story, The Hobbit, and soon learned that the huge and jolly exterior of these powerful soldiers belie the incredible strength and ferocity they bring to the battlefield. Especially since they can turn into bears. Beorning may use the bear form ability to change shape. They may also learn the savage fury ability that infuses the beorning's melee attack with the powerful knockback ability, which sends enemy infantry flying.

Tier IV Good Units

Elven Lightbringer

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Lightbringers don't wear heavy armor on the battlefield, which makes them highly vulnerable to enemy attacks. However, they command powerful sorcery in the form of abilities, like protection, which shields an allied unit from damage. There's also negate magic, which removes any harmful magic cast by enemies, and light of Lothlorien, a powerful spell that bathes an area in a mystical light that simultaneously damages nearby enemies and heals nearby friendly units.

Huorn

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The huorn, or "ents," as they're sometimes known, are wise, gentle tree creatures who have been forced into action by the encroachment of Sauron's armies on their homeland. The huorn deal grevious siege damage to enemy buildings and may also learn the tree form ability, which roots them in the ground, increasing their health regeneration rate and also causing any nearby enemies to become entangled in their roots.

The Heroes of Good

Leading the charge against the armies of Mordor are the legendary heroes of the fellowship, who swore to accompany the one ring on its journey to Mount Doom where it was to be destroyed. The armies of good begin their journeys with the unlikely hero, Frodo Baggins, and with each successive upgrade of their keep building, they can recruit an additional hero. With the fifth and final upgrade, the good armies may call upon the mighty wizard, Gandalf, to fight for their cause.

Starting Good Heroes

Frodo Baggins

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While Frodo Baggins looks unassuming, he possesses many useful special abilities. Frodo isn't especially powerful in battle, as far as heroes go. He does wield Bilbo's elf dagger, Sting, and therefore deals bonus damage to orcs. Frodo also possesses a heroic aura that lets any other friendly heroes in the vicinity recover more quickly from using their hero powers; this lets them re-use their powers more often. Frodo's most important skill is the power imparted to him by the one ring of Sauron: invisibility. When he uses the one ring, Frodo is completely invisible to every unit in the game, other than nazgul (ringwraiths) and the nazgul king. Because of this power, Frodo makes an excellent scout.

Midgame Good Heroes
Each time you upgrade your keep to tier II, III, or IV, you may recruit one of the following heroes in any order:

Gimli, Son of Gloin

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The dwarf, Gimli, is both a fearsome warrior and, thanks to his dwarven heritage, a skilled stonemason. While he's a powerful hero in battle, he can also use the Durin's fury power to plant his axe into the ground, causing a minor earthquake that stuns all nearby enemies and makes them vulnerable to attack. However, if Gimli can make his way behind enemy lines, he can also use his capture power to expel all garrisoned units in an enemy tower. He can then commandeer that tower and attack nearby enemies. Finally, Gimli possesses a siege aura that causes all nearby friendly units to deal bonus siege-based damage to enemy buildings.

Legolas

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The elf, Legolas, is an exceptionally talented archer, even among elves, and is easily the most powerful archer available to the good armies. Legolas possesses the powerful trueshot ability, a ranged attack that also has a knockback property, allowing him to send orcs and goblins flying off of cliffs and ravines with a single arrow. In addition, he possesses two "aura" abilities: guardian wind, which provides protection against ranged attacks for all nearby friendly units, and speed, which causes all nearby friendly units to move much faster than normal.

Aragorn

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The human ranger, known simply as "Strider," is actually the heir of King Isildur of Gondor and rightful king of men. Aragorn's primary strengths are against opposing hero and high-level units. He possesses the Anduril's fury ability. It is only effective against enemy heroes, wraiths, black riders, and the nazgul king, but it is extremely damaging nonetheless. Aragorn also possesses an immunity ability, which makes him immune to magical blindness, stun, poison, and slow effects. Finally, he possesses the greater kingsfoil ability, which gradually heals all nearby friendly units.

Top-Level Good Heroes

Gandalf

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The kindly wizard Gandalf shows his true colors on the battlefield as both a warrior and a sorcerer. Unlike his fellow heroes, Gandalf is equipped with four special abilities, including blinding light, a magic effect that temporarily blinds and stuns all nearby enemies. Gandalf also bears the elven ring, Narya, that grants him the rain of fire ability--a magic spell that calls forth a fiery storm and delivers it upon a group of enemies. This ring also lets Gandalf use the flame shield ability on an allied unit, causing any enemies who attack the targeted unit to automatically take damage in return. Finally, Gandalf has the powerful banish ability, which immediately transports a single unit (friendly or hostile) back to its home base.

The Side of Evil

Buildings and Structures
In his quest to conquer the whole of Middle-earth, the evil Sauron has recruited some of the foulest creatures ever to walk above (and below) its surface. The armies of Sauron seek to not only recapture the one ring and its bearer, but they also seek to corrupt the land. As such, they may build their structures only on land that has been corrupted by a war post structure. Evil armies usually begin each game with all three first-tier buildings in place.

Tier I Evil Buildings

War Post

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The war post is one of the cornerstones of building an evil army's base, since it corrupts the surrounding ground so that other buildings can be placed on it. War posts are built by slave master units.

Goblin Hovel

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This miserable hut produces three of the evil armies' basic units: goblin slaves, goblin spearmen, and slave masters.

Slaughterhouse

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The slaughterhouse supplies the evil armies with food, once it's placed atop a well.

Tier II Evil Buildings
The evil armies usually begin their missions with a slaughterhouse, a goblin hovel, and at least one war post to provide corrupted ground for more building. These three structures also happen to be the only requirements to advance to second-tier buildings, so, in some cases, the evil armies enjoy something of an early start.

Beast Lair

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The armies of Sauron keep animals imprisoned in the beast lair so that they can be forced into his service. The beast lair structure lets you recruit warg riders (orcs who ride wolves) and giant spiders.

Dark Foundry

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The dark foundry is a mining structure that can be placed atop an ore pile to gather ore. It's required to build the shadow lair and the troll den, and it's required to upgrade your keep to tier II.

Orc Mound

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The orc mound acts as a basic barracks that lets you recruit orcs and their darker brethren. Orc bowmen, orc slashers, and uruk-hai may be recruited at the orc mound.

Keep
The evil armies must also build a keep to fortify their holdings. The basic keep lets the evil army build the torre and dark arsenal structures. It also lets the evil armies recruit their first hero, Gollum. Once built, the basic keep may be immediately upgraded to a second-tier keep.

Torre

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The torre is the evil armies' basic defensive tower, which can be garrisoned by up to four infantry units to increase its attacking power.

Dark Arsenal
The dark arsenal is the evil armies' basic military research building, and it allows for various upgrades to orc units.

Tier III Evil Buildings
Once the evil armies have a basic keep in place, they can upgrade it to a second-tier keep, which lets them commission a second hero unit. The second-tier keep is required for the following third-tier buildings:

Shadow Lair

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The shadow lair produces wraiths and haradrim assassins--skilled spies who can eventually move and fight invisibly and can also learn a powerful poison-based attack.

Breeding Pit

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The breeding pit is a sinister laboratory where Sauron's minions use torture and other means to strengthen troops. It's an advanced military research structure from which you can purchase upgrades for trolls, warg riders, and giant spiders.

Tier IV Evil Buildings
After upgrading their keep a second time, to third-tier status, the evil armies of Sauron may recruit a fourth hero unit. Then they may upgrade their keep a second time to commission a fourth unit. At fourth-tier status, the evil armies may also build:

Troll Den

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The troll den produces the fearsome troll units of Sauron's retinue, the bonecleaver and the stonehurler.

Black Vault

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The black vault is an advanced research building that let you research upgrades for the haradrim assassin and uruk-hai units.

Tier V Evil Buildings
The fifth tier for the armies of evil consists of only the fifth-tier keep.

Keep
The fifth-tier keep lets you recruit the good armies' top-level hero: the corrupt wizard Saruman.

The Armies of Evil

Sauron has cast his eye over Middle-earth and recruited some of the foulest and most brutish creatures in the land for his armies. In the earlier part of a conflict, the armies of evil rely on strength of numbers to overwhelm their enemies, and, once they've developed their holdings and their armies, they begin to recruit massively powerful top-level units, like trolls and uruk-hai.

Tier I Evil Units
Goblin Slave

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These wretched creatures carry out menial tasks for the armies of evil, like collecting resources and building and repairing structures.

Goblin Spearmen

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These weak infantry units aren't especially strong, though they are fairly light on their feet and can be upgraded to move even faster.

Slave Master

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Though the slave master is a low-level unit, it's an extremely important one. Only slave masters may build war posts to spread the corruption needed to construct new buildings. In addition, rather than construct housing, the evil armies depend on recruiting new slave masters to increase their population limits. Finally, slave masters have the special ability to temporarily increase their attacks and movement speeds by lashing out with their whips.

Orc Bowman

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Orc bowmen are low-level ranged units that deal decent damage in early battles, though they can be upgraded to shoot fire arrows that deal siege-based damage to buildings.

Orc Slasher

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Orc slashers are stronger melee units than goblin spearmen, and, while they're not incredibly strong themselves, they can be troublesome when used in large packs.

Tier II Evil Units

Warg Rider

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Warg riders are extremely fast units that are useful for making quick raids on enemy armies and bases.

Giant Spider

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The giant spiders of Mirkwood, who once captured Thorin Oakenshield and his band of stout dwarves until they were liberated by Bilbo Baggins, have been forced into the service of Mordor. These creatures aren't especially hardy, but they have the ability to briefly stun their enemies.

Wraith

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Wraiths are the evil armies' scouting units, since they can detect invisible enemies, but they can also be upgraded so that they can either blind or slow their enemies.

Haradrim Assassin

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The haradrim assassin is actually a highly skilled assassin from a far-off land. These assassins may be upgraded to gain the power of invisibility as well as the ability to launch poisoned darts from afar.

Black Rider

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Black riders, also known as nazgul or ringwraiths, are swift and terrifying apparitions that can detect Frodo when he wears the one ring. They can also be upgraded to wield poisoned morgul blades.

Tier III Evil Units

Troll Stonehurler

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These huge, lumbering creatures attack their enemies by hurling boulders at them. Upgraded stonehurlers can throw even larger boulders, which explode upon impact and deal damage to all nearby enemies and enemy buildings.

Tier IV Evil Units

Troll Bonecleaver

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This huge monster is the strongest melee unit in Sauron's army and deals tremendous damage in battle. The bonecleaver can also be upgraded with the sweeping axe ability, which lets the brute deal damage to a group of nearby enemies.

Uruk-Hai

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The uruk-hai are dark and twisted creatures that possesses alarming speed and uncanny skills with the bow. The uruk-hai can be upgraded to augment their already formidable archery skill with a built-in knockback ability.

The Heroes of Evil

Though the forces of Sauron are ferocious and thoroughly evil, they're unruly and need strong leadership. With the guidance of these five heroes, the armies of Sauron can channel their incredible brute strength into a focused goal--that of thwarting the fellowship, capturing Frodo Baggins, and returning the one ring to its rightful home in Mordor--where the shadows lie.

Starting Evil Heroes

Gollum

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The pitiful creature, once known as Smeagol, lived for many years in the depths of the Misty Mountains. He lived with the one ring until he lost it to Bilbo Baggins in a game of riddles. He now returns to search for the ring--his "precious"--in the service of Sauron. Gollum isn't a powerful adversary, in direct combat, but he possesses exceptional stealth and may be upgraded to gain a tracking ability that can be used to follow the progress of an enemy unit.

Midgame Evil Heroes
Each time you upgrade your keep to tier II, III, or IV, you may recruit one of the following heroes in any order:

Grishnakh

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Grishnakh is a rarity among orcs. He's a veteran who actually survived long enough to become one. Grishnakh has powerful siege abilities, like his torch ability, which lets him hurl a flaming torch at an enemy building with the sole purpose of setting it ablaze. Grishnakh can also be upgraded to so that he can drop hidden bombs on the battlefield. These bombs explode and deal severe damage to any enemy units who blunder into them.

Qa'mara

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Qa'mara belongs to the haradrim race and has a powerful ranged attack that can be upgraded with the mystic blade ability, which causes her attacks to damage multiple targets at once. She can also use her blood mark ability to help nearby friendly units regenerate damage sustained from wounds. She can also use the ability on any nearby war post to heal any of her allies near it.

Nazgul King

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The nazgul king is a terrifying apparition, mounted on a ghostly horse. His very presence debilitates his enemies, thanks to his aura of weakness ability. The nazgul king also has the call black riders ability, which lets him summon one of his eight ringwraiths to do his bidding.

Top-Level Evil Heroes

Saruman the White

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The powerful sorcerer, Saruman the White, once led Middle-earth's council of wizards until he used a mystical palantir stone through which Sauron corrupted and eventually recruited him. Sauron possesses several dangerous abilities, like twisting influence, which converts nonhero enemies into units under his control, and telekinetic blast, which blasts all enemies in an area backwards with a knockback attack.

Conclusion
This ends our showcase of the structures, armies, and heroes of The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring. The game itself is scheduled for release later this year.

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