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Manzikert is a scenario in the Battles of the Conquerors campaign in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. The player plays as the Turks (purple), trying to fight the heavily armored soldiers of the Byzantines. This scenario is based on the Battle of Manzikert.

Intro[]

Minarets of dust twist upwards as horse hooves strike the fractured earth. Thousands of Seljuk Turks stream across the Anatolian Plateau to converge on the walled town of Manzikert, which was recently recaptured by the Byzantine army.

The Byzantines are the heirs of Rome, and their armored cataphracts and legions of disciplined swordsmen can smash aside the light armored Turkish horse archers--provided they can catch them. However, an unlikely turn of events has greatly improved the Turks' chances for victory.

The Byzantine army is wracked by treachery and deceit from within. One day, a band of mercenaries deserts the Byzantines. On another, the army's second in command leads a treacherous conspiracy against the commanding general.

If the Turks can somehow turn the splintering factions against the Byzantine army, they may overcome a better-equipped and better-trained enemy.

Minarets of dust twist upwards as horse hooves strike the fractured earth. Thousands of Seljuk Turks stream across the barrens of Anatolia to converge on the walled city of Manzikert, which was recently recaptured by the Byzantium army.

The Byzantines are the heirs of Rome, and their armored cataphracts and legions of disciplined swordsmen can smash aside the light armored Turkish horse archers - provided they can catch them. But an unlikely turn of events has greatly improved the Turks' chances for victory.

The Byzantine army is wracked by treachery and deceit from within. One day a band of mercenaries deserts the Byzantines. On another, the army's second in command leads a treacherous conspiracy against the commanding general.

If the Turks can somehow turn the splintering factions against the Byzantine army, they may overcome a better-equipped and better-trained enemy.

Scenario Instructions[]

Starting Conditions[]

* An additional 2000 on standard

** Standard difficulty only

Objectives[]

  • Receive tributes from the Theme of Galatia by capturing their Town Center.
  • Receive tributes from the Theme of Pisidia by capturing their Town Center.
  • Receive tributes from the Theme of Cappadocia by capturing their Town Center.
  • Defeat the Byzantine army.

Later Objectives[]

  • OPTIONAL: Destroy the 4 Saracen towers so that your allies can mine their gold.

Hints[]

  1. Your Turkish army has no villagers. In order to replenish your troops, you will need to rely on tributes from conquered Byzantine Themes (towns).
  2. Do not destroy many buildings of the Byzantine Themes or you will have less to use once they are conquered.
  3. This battle takes place centuries before the discovery of gunpowder.
  4. Garrisoned Battering Rams are useful for taking out enemy gates and towers.

Scouts[]

  • Your scouts report: The Seljuk Turk army (purple) is far from home and does not have the resources to construct a base. You can, however, train additional units.
  • Additional resources and buildings can be gained by conquering the three Byzantine Themes (towns) of Cappadocia, Pisidia, and Galatia and the Saracen (cyan) gold mines. However, you must defeat—not conquer -- the Byzantine army.
  • The Byzantine Themes rely largely on walls and towers for defenses. The Byzantine Army is a different story. You can expect to combat Cataphracts, Monks, and the famous Roman Legions.

Players[]

Enemies[]

  • Byzantine Army (Byzantines) is based in the east, and being the main opponent of the player. They also have a Castle and a Siege Workshop near Galatia and Pisidia.
  • Saracens (Saracens) is based in the west, and plays very little role in the scenario. Their villagers are mining gold, and destroying their four towers upon conquered towns' request, would force them to resign immediately.

Enemies → Allies[]

  • Cappadocia (Byzantines) is located in the south, neighboring the player's initial base. It has several Gates and Watch Towers, which the player must either destroy or sneak through before conquering the city.
  • Galatia (Byzantines) is located in the north of the map. It is the largest and wealthiest city in the scenario, generating gold for the player once conquered. Its gate is locked and so the player must destroy it before entering the city (or use a Siege Tower in the Definitive Edition). It is the only one of the three cities having Castles and a Monastery.
  • Pisidia (Byzantines) is located in the center of the map. On standard difficulty, this is the only city without walls or Gates.

Strategy[]

The player starts with Camel Riders, Light Cavalry, Long Swordsmen and Cavalry Archers at a small area with military buildings. The first obstacle consists in a few Cataphracts which can be defeated (as the in-game dialogue mentions) by hitting and running with the starting Cavalry Archers and then attacking them with the remaining cavalry (avoid engaging the Swordsmen in the fight, as Cataphracts have an anti-infantry bonus).

Standard difficulty[]

On standard difficulty, the player also starts with two Trebuchets and the scenario becomes significantly easier as the Trebuchets can be used to safely take down any enemy fortifications. The player just has to train more Camel Riders to protect the Trebuchets (as Cappadocia and Pisidia only train cavalry units and the Turks lack the Pikeman upgrade) and, when the enemy fortifications are destroyed, the player can just send their Light Cavalry (as they are faster) to the enemy Town Center to conquer the city and take control of the military buildings. By the time Cappadocia and Pisidia are conquered, the player probably has a big enough army to attack Galatia: use the Trebuchets to take down the two Castles (there is a third Castle inside the city so the player will still take control of that Castle after conquering the city) and the Gate (which is locked) and then send the Light Cavalry to the enemy Town Center. After taking control of the three cities, Imperial Age is researched and the player can easily defeat the Byzantine Army by building more Trebuchets and training more Cavalry Archers (as the Byzantine Army mostly trains infantry and Cataphracts).

Moderate/hard difficulty[]

To conquer each of the three cities, it is enough to station at least one soldier near the Town Center. The three cities are protected by walls and gates.

The first city to conquer is Cappadocia, which has three Gates on the way to the Town Center. The player should train at least three Battering Rams and garrison them with the Long Swordsmen. Send the cavalry units near the first Gate and use the Cavalry Archers to attack it. This will trigger Cappadocia's Camel Riders, that the player should easily kill with their units. After killing the Camel Riders, use the Rams to destroy the three Gates (the Byzantines may make a sneak attack but it should be easy to deal with). After the three Gates are destroyed, send the Light Cavalry to the Town Center to conquer Cappadocia.

The next city to conquer is Pisidia. This city has two Gates and the quickest way to conquer it is by sending the Light Cavalry (preferably with the Blacksmith upgrades researched, as well as Husbandry) and luring the enemy AI into opening the Gates (this does not work as well with Cappadocia because, ironically, they do not have as many units as Pisidia) while ignoring enemy units (expect to lose some units). Do not waste time fighting the enemy soldiers, as they will vanish as soon as the Town Center is captured.

The last city to conquer is Galatia. This city has a locked Gate surrounded by two Castles and there are two ways to reach the Town Center:

  • The player can use Rams with Long Swordsmen garrisoned (preferably with the Blacksmith upgrades researched, as well as Squires) to take down the Gate and then ungarrison the Rams, put the Long Swordsmen on staggered formation (Galatia has Scorpions) and send them to the enemy Town Center. Most Long Swordsmen will likely die but as long as one reaches the Town Center the city is conquered.
  • In the Definitive Edition, the player can also use a Siege Tower fully garrisoned with Long Swordsmen. In this case, since Galatia's Gate was originally locked, it will stay locked, so the player will have to take it down later. One way of doing this is by using a Mangonel and the "attack ground" command.

Now that the three cities are conquered, Imperial Age is automatically researched and so the player can build Trebuchets, thus making the rest of the scenario way easier. If the player plans on using the Market, it is recommended to research Guilds. As the player may have noticed by then, they are low on gold so they should destroy the four Saracen Towers. The Saracen Towers only have one Light Cavalry protecting it and now the player has access to Trebuchets, so this should be an easy job.

Now the player can start planning the attack on the Byzantine city to the east. Some Trebuchets and a big army of fully upgraded Heavy Cavalry Archers (research the Turkish unique technology Sipahi in the Definitive Edition) are all that is needed to finish the scenario.

Alternative strategy[]

Another more intensive and arguably less time-consuming way to win this level would be focusing on upgrading and training Cavalry Archers and building at least two Battering Rams right off the start, going directly to the Byzantine Army stronghold once finished (curiously, in order to activate the victory condition of this scenario, the player just needs to defeat the Byzantine Army, capturing Town Centers is "optional"). Having a good micromanagement against the early army of the main opponent on this scenario may be difficulty but it is not in any way impossible. Of course, having the two Trebuchets on standard difficulty will make the player's job much easier. Passing the gates can be a difficult task, but since they will be opened several times by the defendants, the player will have a chance to do it. Both castles can be avoided as well when storming the city, as seen on the video below:

World_record?_Manzikert_mission_on_Hard_but_I_win_without_capturing_any_Theme_WALKTHROUGH

World record? Manzikert mission on Hard but I win without capturing any Theme WALKTHROUGH

Manzikert walkthrough on Hard difficulty, won without the capture of any Theme.

Important note: After cornering and killing all of the villagers from the Byzantine Army, the player can finish them off by destroying the market. There is no need to hunt down every single remaining unit.

Note: Both the Saracens and the Byzantines have Heresy researched, so converting Villagers will not work.

Outro[]

As long as the sun was in the sky, the Byzantines could fight the Turks back towards their camp. When dusk settled over Anatolia, however, the Turks could harass the ponderous Byzantine cavalry as it withdrew to Manzikert.

When they could stand no more of this torment, the Byzantine flanks collapsed into a full rout and the Turkish horse archers pounced for a quick kill.

The Battle of Manzikert was not lost due to the poor performance of soldiers or commanders, but through Byzantine treachery. Deceit from within the armies disrupted the chain of command, as factions feuding for control of the throne in Constantinople betrayed their armies at the front.

A much-weakened Byzantium was then forced to call to the rest of the Christian West for help, leading to the Crusades. The Byzantine Empire lingered for another four centuries, but in only a shadow of its former glory.

As long as the sun was in the sky, the Byzantines could fight the Turks back towards their camp. But when dusk settled over Anatolia, the Turks could harass the ponderous Byzantine cavalry as it withdrew to Manzikert.

When they could stand no more of this torment, the Byzantine flanks collapsed into a full rout and the Turkish horse archers pounced for a quick kill.

The Battle of Manzikert was not lost due to the poor performance of soldiers or commanders, but through Byzantine treachery. Deceit from within the armies disrupted the chain of command, as factions feuding for control of the throne in Constantinople betrayed their armies at the front.

A much-weakened Byzantium was then forced to call to the rest of the Christian West for help, leading to the Crusades. The Byzantine Empire lingered for another four centuries but in only a shadow of its former glory.

Trivia[]

  • Despite the scenario supposedly taking place before the discovery of gunpowder, the player is still able to train Petards.
  • Historically, it is believed that this battle marked the end of the use of Cataphracts by the Byzantines on the battlefield (through the last record dates back to 1001); however, in the next decades they recruited some Western European mercenaries as heavy cavalry, better known as "Latinikon", with similar fashion to the Cataphracts.