->''"Words hold great power: to capture the mind, to enrage the heart...but it is things that cut to the heart of the matter."''
-->--'''Gandalf the Grey'''

''The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age'' is a pair of similar video games based on Peter Jackson's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings''.

In the version released for the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube GameCube]], UsefulNotes/PlayStation2 and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}}, the plot follows your expanding group of heroes as they follow (and try to assist) the Fellowship of the novels and the movie.

The version released for the GameBoyAdvance allows you to command the heroes of good [[NoCampaignForTheWicked or]] [[AvertedTrope evil]] and the soldiers alongside them as they fight for control of Middle-Earth in several (canonical and non-canonical) battles of the War of the Ring.


[[folder:[=GameCube=] / [=PS2=] / Xbox Version]]
!!Tropes in the home console version provide examples of:
* AllThereInTheManual: An ingame one. For some reason, a good chunk of the exposition isn't covered in cutscenes, but in orbs sent by Gandalf, Saruman, or the plot--if you aren't keeping up with them, you'll never realize that [[spoiler:Hadhod has a dead son]], for example.
* ArtifactTitle: The Third Age is a period in Middle-earth's history which began after the War of the Last Alliance and ended when Frodo departed Middle-earth. While the game certainly takes place in the Third Age (the War of the Ring took place in 3018-3019 T. A.), this says nothing about the game itself.
* BottomlessMagazines: No matter how long a battle lasts, or how many battles you do in a row, Elegost never runs out of arrows.
* {{Brainwashed}}: [[spoiler:Berethor]] is under Saruman's control for most of the game, compelled to track Boromir for a reason unknown to himself, but would have led to him stealing the One Ring eventually.
** It is later revealed that [[spoiler:he was struck with a Morgul blade during the earlier battle for Osgiliath. According to the Witch-King, he was intended to be a sleeper agent who would wreak havoc in Minas Tirith and throw open the city gates, softening the defenses for the full Mordor invasion. Fortunately, Berethor breaks through his brainwashing in time.]]
* CanonForeigner: All of the main party members.
* CombatMedic: Idrial (several of her spirit skills), Eaoden (skillset revolves around transferring his HP and AP, allowing him to act as a sort of "battery" for the other characters), and anyone with the Lifecraft elfstone.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: While the game does allow for some variance, enemies seem more likely to gang up on "the little guy" of the group (whoever seems to have the lowest stats). Example: By the time Morwen joins the party (about 35% through the game), all the other characters are likely to have found a great deal of useful and powerful equipment, raising their armor and stats to effective levels. Morwen, like any new party member, still has basic gear and lower stats, making her an easy target. Enemies seem to somehow know this and attack her more than other party members, and until she gets better equipment, she can get taken down in as little as two hits. To further twist the knife, the game seems to refuse to allow the player to find any equipment for her.
* CutScenePowerToTheMax: At the beginning of the game, Idrial finishes off two Ringwraiths with the Water Stallion, a Spell that you likely won't get until at least halfway through the game and will not be able to finish off Ringwraiths (who are somewhere between EliteMook and SubBoss in power depending on when you meet them) in one hit without serious boosting.
* DamageSpongeBoss: The Witch-King. His damage output is pretty much negligible and you can perpetually stall his turn, but due to his high defenses and the fact that he counters every hit you make with an incredibly long-winded animation just to bonk you on the head, the fight takes ''forever''. Most of the late enemies and bosses tend to count, but he's one of the most obnoxious.
** To a lesser extent, the Nazgûl enemies the player fights in East Emnet Gullies and Osgiliath. While they generally don't do that much damage, they have a ''ton'' of HP, and the battles with them generally last a long time.
** The Balrog; it has WAY more HP than anything you've fought before, and more HP than a decent amount of enemies fought after it.
* EnemyScan: Courtesy of Elegost.
* ElementalPowers: A few of the characters have attacks like this.
** MakingASplash: Idrial uses a few spirit attacks made of water, and a few of her other spells have water animations.
** ShockAndAwe / GreenThumb: Elegost has a high-level skill that summons a lightning storm on his enemies. In addition, another high-level skill allows him to bind his enemies with roots.
** PlayingWithFire / DishingOutDirt: Hadhod has a few fire skills, including a meteor and a dragon spirit, though one skill is used to defend against enemy fire attacks. In addition, he can raise shields of earth in front of his allies.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Strangely enough for a game in which playable characters have names. After Berethor's introduction to Idrial, not many people call each other by name, but rather refer to their races and jobs: Human, Knight of Gondor, She-Elf, Ranger, Dwarf, etc...
** Which makes it especially jarring when the party splits up during Minas Tirith; Eaoden shouts some orders to Berethor, Idrial, Elegost, and Hadhod, referring to them by name.
* {{Expy}}: Each character is this to one of the existing characters. Berethor is Boromir as TheAtoner and TheHero, Elegost is Aragorn as TheLancer instead of SupportingLeader, Idrial is Arwen as a warrior, Hadhod is Gimli with stoicism instead of humour, Morwen is Éowyn, and Eaoden is Éomer.
* {{Gainaxing}}: Watch Morwen's chest when she starts to walk around in the cutscene directly after you rescue her.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNoWhere: During the Battle of Pelennor Fields, the party is suddenly warped to the top of the Tower of Barad-Dur to fight the Eye of Sauron as the game's [[AntiClimaxBoss disappointingly easy]] final boss.
* GameBreaker: Idrial's auto-revive spell is completely broken. It auto-revives a character on death with full health and mp ''and'' they immediately get to attack ''and'' Idrial can cast it on herself. This means even if she dies on the very next attack, she still has an opportunity to cast it before she dies, meaning once she casts it on herself, you are invincible and it is impossible to lose except by choice (or the few enemies with [[AntiMagic Dispel]]).
** Morgul Decay is a rare item that completely removes an enemy's armour, which allowed this troper to defeat the final boss, [[AntiClimaxBoss the Eye of Sauron]], with only FOUR attacks.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: Elegost has a [[BowAndSwordInAccord sword]] that he uses in [[CutscenePowerToTheMax cutscenes]], yet he never uses it in actual gameplay.
** Morwen is introduced as a competent Rohirrim warrior who is fighting three orcs... alone. [[OverratedAndUnderleveled Then you actually try playing as her and, well....]]
** Making matters worse, you can't switch her out at this point, since this is meant to be her introductory battle.
* GuestStarPartyMember: Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Éowyn, Faramir, and even random elves assist you at times.
* LazyBackup: Only three heroes can fight at the same time. If all three are killed/knocked out, it's a game over while any other characters look on.
* LevelGrinding: Once you get the Travel option, this becomes a lot easier. It's also a good way to raise things like crafting stats or the stats of new characters without placing them in direct danger.
* LifeDrain: The Leech spell, available through the Shadowcraft spell or one of Eaoden's skills. Elegost has a similar technique, ''Drain Shot.''
** Second Age swords also do this, but only Berethor and Idrial can use them. Another feature that's [[GameBreaker Broken]]; it's actually more effective to equip Idrial's second-best sword because it's Second Age and her best one isn't.
* LowerDeckEpisode: The conditions of this game's creation forced the developers to avoid any content which was not in the film adaptations (no Tom Bombadil allowed, for instance), so the main group exists entirely in the Fellowship's shadow, tailing after them and largely confronting the same things, if only after the fact.
** [[HilariousInHindsight Hilariously]], EA would gain the rights to the books one year after the release of the game.
* MagicKnight: Eaoden and Hadhod. Idrial can try, with varying results.
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Averted, with "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Evil]] [[VillainProtagonist Mode]]". You get to play the forces of Sauron (including Sauron himself!) and fight the heroes, but if you think it's going to be easy, you're wrong. The extra loot you gain from this mode is generally worth it, including weapons the player wouldn't find anywhere else.
** Though one thing that falls in the player's favor with Evil Mode is that you know exactly who to target with your attacks to avoid the worst of your old party's techniques. The order usually goes: movie character dies first (if present), [[ShootTheMedicFirst then Idrial]].
* PraetorianGuard: Berethor is a member of Gondor's version; a captain in the Citadel Guards.
* RememberTheNewGuy: Berethor and his gang seem to mysteriously show up during all key events of the movies, sometimes teaming up with canon characters. Such as helping Gandalf kick the Balrog's ass.
* RomanticFalseLead: Berethor and Idrial [[RescueRomance seem like an item initially]]... [[spoiler:but then Morwen shows up and it's revealed she's Berethor's fiancée.]]
* RPGsEqualCombat: Not so much as a single NPC that isn't out for your head, save the elven archers who perform the ''Rain of Arrows'' Perfect Mode attack.
* ShootTheShaggyDogStory: The party (somehow) ends up fighting the Eye of Sauron atop Barad-dûr. Since the tower collapses once the Ring is destroyed, and we never actually see the party's whereabouts afterward (we just get a monologue about the beginning of the Fourth Age), [[InferredHolocaust well...]]
* ShownTheirWork: The game is ''extremely'' non-canon, but there is one thing the developers got right; besides the elves, very few people actually do big, flashy attack magic, instead performing morale-boosting StatusBuff skills and elaborate weapon techniques. The main character has a healing spell, but that is explicitly an elvish blessing.
* StatusBuff: Several, most for the player from Berethor's Leadership skills.
* StatusBuffDispel: Also several, but the player is mostly limited to Eoaden's [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Dispel]] skill and the completely identical Dispel found in Shadowcraft.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Hadhor and Elegost have shades of this, as they are introduced as friends in their introductions, and at one instance when the LoveTriangle starts causing problems, they just look at each other and shrug.
* UselessUsefulSpell:
** Averted, surprisingly enough. There are a crapton of status effects you can inflict, and any individual monster (except a couple bosses) are only immune to around half of them at a time. [[EnemyScan Elegost]] can tell you which ones you can use. While some of the later bosses are immune to most of the more powerful ones, in most cases there's at least one status effect you can abuse to a significant degree (for instance, stalling the Witch-King indefinitely). Another example is the Mûmakil, immune to Stunning, Crippling, and Sleep, but vulnerable to Melee Bind techniques. Its two melee techniques are Sweep Tusks (which removes one character's AP) and Stomp (which stuns everybody). With a single binding, its two most annoying attacks are sealed, leaving it with a couple of wimpy damaging attacks, and turning ThatOneBoss into DamageSpongeBoss.
** May or may not be played straight with some of the more optional skillsets... Such as crafting (which requires lots of grinding before becoming useful, and leads to item hoarding and skipping a character's turn) and stealing (self explanatory, considering only consumables are lootable and the vast variety of items are of questionable use). A lot of minor items have obscure effects as well, such as reducing blunt/slash/pierce/fire/water/etc damage for a few turns when the type of an attack is difficult to determine.
* VisualInitiativeQueue
* WakeUpCallBoss: The Balrog. He is the second "true boss" in the game, and is the final boss of Chapter 3: The Mines of Moria. The game is rather easy up to this point, but Balrog shows up to wipe the party. For reference, the first boss, The Watcher in the Water, has 3,112 HP, Balrog has 72,317 HP, and the third boss, Grí­ma Wormtongue, has but 14,927 HP. {{Justified|Trope}}: The Balrog is a huge fire-and-shadow demon of the ancient world, while Grí­ma is only a normal human who's been corrupted (and given a few powers through it, it seems).\\
The worst part of the Balrog isn't his obscene amount of hit points (that just makes him a DamageSponge boss), nor is it the amount of damage he does, since you can and should have several ways to offset that by this point in the game if you've been unlocking skills correctly. By far the worst part is that 2 of his attacks hit your entire party and drain nearly all their AP in one shot. Without Gandalf's Wizard Drain, only Idrial would have a reliable way of replenishing her own AP. If Idrial doesn't have Aura of the Valar and Power of the Valar [[note]]Two abilities that almost guarantee survival and eventual, slow grinding of boss health.[[/note]], it would be nearly hopeless without Gandalf. In fact, it's entirely possible to let the party die and just have Gandalf kill the Balrog.

[[folder:Game Boy Advance Version]]
!!Tropes in the GameBoyAdvance version of The Third Age provide examples of:
* AncestralWeapon: Gimli's unique melee damage upgrade is listed as "Gloin's Axe".
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: In two missions, as evil, you get ''to play as Sauron himself'' -- and he is ridiculously powerful, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu though he is not immune to death if you]] [[SuicidalOverconfidence misuse him]].
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Witch-King's combination of Rage and Flurry -- sure, he could do ridiculous amounts of damage, but to make it worthwhile, he has to be in melee range of as many as four units. This doesn't happen often, and even if you pull it off, he's most likely not going to make it out without a fair amount of damage. Furthermore, pulling this off uses some of his limited Command and Spirit Points, which could be used better for some other purpose.
** For that matter, when you have Sauron, he possesses both the Flurry and Strength of Mordor abilities, meaning that he can hit up to three units and force them all to fail a morale check and flee (if they don't die first). Again, however, this requires getting him almost to melee range, but on the upside, Sauron is a much better leader than the Witch-King, so he can readily take some {{Mooks}} alongside him.
** The combination of Elrond, Legolas, and Haldir; first you have to unlock Haldir by beating The Black Gate Opens on [[NintendoHard hard]] [[ThatOneLevel difficulty]], then you have to get all of them fully upgraded and find a mission where you can use all three. However, if you get them all on the same flank -- The Last Alliance comes to mind -- both Elrond and Haldir can use Keen Eyes, adding 3 range to all units on the flank, and Legolas can use Sweep Attack to snipe up to four units from '''15 squares away'''. The best part is that all three of them can now do full damage at the far end of their range, meaning you can [[RainOfArrows toast entire packs of units]] from ''multiple screens away'' ... you just need to have the Command Points and Spirit Points to do all that in one turn.
** Wormtongue, as a character. Sure, he gives you a highly reliable supply of Command Points in the flank where he sits, but he has such low HitPoints (roughly the same as a standard Orc) that he has to stay well away from enemy forces or risk rapid death. On the attack, even with upgrades, he can only get one good shot off, but it's more effective as a one-shot DesperationAttack or a finishing blow. It is often more practical to pick a hero that can actually hold their own in a fight, even at the cost of Command Points.
* AwesomeButTemporary:
** The Good campaign has Ents on their side several times, as well as [[spoiler:the Army of the Dead]] in the Pelennor Fields level.
** The Evil campaign gets several [[BossInMookClothing Ringwraiths]] to work with in the Bree level, along with [[EvilOverlord Sauron himself]] in two unlockable levels.
* AnAxeToGrind: Both Gimli and Ugluk wield axes in combat. Gimli in particular throws smaller axes as his ranged attack.
* BigDamnHeroes[=/=]JustYouAndMeAndMyGuards: In the Pelennor Fields level, a massive Evil army (with a [[OhCrap Mûmakil]], no less) faces down a handful of Rohan cavalry and the few heroes who lead them. Then turn 2 comes along, and [[spoiler:the [[EliteMooks Army of the Dead]] appear across ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome the entire bottom edge of the map]]'']].
* BoringButPractical:
** Many heroes' abilities, whether unique or otherwise:
*** Aragorn can also use both Arms Mastery and Sweep Attack to boost his damage and attack multiple foes in one turn, and since he has half-decent attack range, he can find more opportunities than the Witch-King to successfully pull it off.
*** Aragorn's Curse of the Dead ability doesn't deal a lot of damage, but it can reach enemy units anywhere on the flank, even in areas where you may not be able to hit them at the moment.
*** The Witch-King's Terror ability. Few things suck as much as the Defense of the Beacon mission, where he will use it incessantly to root your outnumbered and outflanked forces to the spot wherever they stand.
*** The Witch-King also has [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Invulnerability]], which cuts the damage that he takes in general, in addition to making him invincible to all [[{{Mooks}} non-heroes]] for one turn.
*** Gandalf's [[BlindedByTheLight Blinding Light]] ability does no damage, but it causes all enemy units on the same flank to take several morale checks and, if they fail, to simply flee (backing them off and rendering them useless for a turn).
*** Saruman's Swarm of Crebain only targets a single unit, but it deals hefty damage and stuns that unit for one turn (if they survive).
*** Elrond's Elven Duress ability doesn't help your side personally, but it gives the enemies a Command Point ''penalty'' for one turn, with a decent chance of causing Disorder and entirely immobilizing their entire flank.
** The Evasion skill. Rarely useful, but when you want to assassinate a fleeing hero, reach a target location, or just get the hero to wherever they're needed, it comes in handy.
** The Hold Fast! and On Your Feet! abilities, for good and evil respectively; healing is hard to come by.
* TheCavalry: Riders of Rohan and Gondor Knights on the side of good; Dark Riders and Warg-riders on the side of evil. All of them have high HitPoints, resilient morale, punishing attack power, and the ability to [[LightningBruiser move, attack, and move again in a single turn]]. Each side occasionally gets missions where they have to use such units (or defend against them) en masse.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: Siege weapons have the Inaccurate "talent", meaning they're ''supposed'' to miss 50% of the time ... but the computer seems to have a much higher hit rate with them than the player ever does. This is particularly annoying in the Assault on Osgiliath mission, since while the [[RedshirtArmy expendable]] [[TheCavalry Gondor knights]] can and must charge forward at will, the good heroes cannot get any more than four spaces from the bottom of the map before the enemy immediately focus-fires on them with the two Orc catapults.[[note]]Then again, Gandalf can approach, as long as he's spamming the Stealth ability every step of the way to protect himself from ranged fire.[[/note]]
* DirtyCoward: Evil units and heroes seem to uniformly have worse morale ratings than their counterparts on the side of Good, leading to several leaders like the Mouth of Sauron, Saruman, Wormtongue or others having an annoying tendency to [[CowardlyBoss flee and become immobile]] at inopportune times when attacked by Good units. Any Evil units with "fearless" morale tend to be horrendously powerful in combat.
* EliteMooks: The Army of the Dead, the Ents, and any cavalry on the side of good; Uruk-hai, Warg-riders, Ringwraiths, and Trolls on the side of evil.
** BossInMookClothing: Ents, Trolls, Ringwraiths, and Mûmakil boast stats comparable to or well exceeding any hero-level unit.
* {{Expy}}: Strangely enough, an example on the scale of an entire mission. The unlockable level Balin's Tomb is basically the same as Flight From Moria, only set ''inside'' Moria and without any elves or woodsmen.
* GlassCannon: The Uruk-hai Berserkers qualify. They have some of the best movement in the game outside mounted units, and are absurdly powerful, easily capable of one-shotting Good's basic soldiers. On the flipside, they have minimal HitPoints and nonexistent defence, so you'll be very lucky to get more than one attack off before they die.
* GondorCallsForAid: The entire literal purpose of the Defense of the Beacon, Mount Mindolluin, and Charge of the Rohirrim missions.
* GuestStarPartyMember: Several, including:
** [[TheLoad Théodred]], in the level Crossing of the Ford.
** Several Ringwraiths, mounted and on foot, in the non-canon level Darkness Upon Bree.
** Merry and/or Pippin, in several levels throughout the game.
** Prince Isildur, in both the tutorial levels as well as the unlockable level Sauron Comes.
** ''[[AwesomeButTemporary Sauron]] himself'' in the levels The Last Alliance (as Evil only) and [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Sauron Comes]].
* HelmetsAreHardlyHeroic: Inverted; Théoden's leadership abilities are actually ''increased'' by a purchasable helm upgrade.
* HeroKiller:
** Éowyn's unique inherent ability, "Shieldmaiden", grants her +3 base damage against any Evil hero and makes her a competent assassin. That said, you may want to keep her safe to make good use of her Hold Fast! healing ability.
** The Mouth of Sauron's unique ability, "Eye of Sauron", grants +1 damage per upgrade level to all nearby Evil units when attacking Good heroes. Essentially, once maxed out, it turns ''everyone on the flank'' into an {{Expy}} of Éowyn for one turn.
* HoldTheLine: Several missions award the player victory points simply for holding a crucial point or just surviving for a set number of turns.
* JackOfAllStats: Aragorn has good stats in most areas as well as a number of generally useful abilities, but he has few notable attributes that allow him to do something specific.
* TheJuggernaut: '''Mûmakil'''. They only show up twice (Ambush At Ithilien and Pelennor Fields), but are nigh unstoppable whenever they appear. Consider this: they boast by far the highest HitPoints in the game, [[ImplacableMan unflappable morale]], brutal attack power, ''and'' the [[ThatOneAttack Shock]] and [[LightningBruiser Double Move]] talents. On top of that, any unit in their way automatically fails a morale check and is forced to flee, rendering the unit useless for a turn; worse, if the unit cannot escape thanks to surrounding units or terrain, the unfortunate target is ''[[OneHitKO immediately trampled to death]] where they stand''. As a result, [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu killing a Mûmak]] is a pretty satisfying achievement, [[LuckBasedMission whenever you can pull it off]].
** [[spoiler:In the Pelennor Fields level, if you are playing as evil and if you move the Mûmakil down at least one space on the first turn, when the second turn comes and the Army of the Dead arrive, you can run it straight down and trample over Aragorn before he can fire a shot. The Mûmakil can then proceed to disrupt and kill the Army of the Dead while the rest of your minions curbstomp the handful of Rohan cavalry gathered at the top of the map and then mop up whoever is left standing.]]
* KilledOffForReal: Playing on Sauron Mode. Injured heroes still regain their health between combat, but any who fall in battle are gone for the rest of the campaign. Even playing without Sauron Mode, heroes who fall in battle will be unable to be fielded in the next battle before they are available once again.
** If you have fewer heroes remaining than you can take into a level in Sauron mode, [[DevelopersForesight the empty slots will be filled with flagbearers]], who grant a guaranteed 1 command point per turn.
* LuckBasedMission / StayingAlive: On the side of Good, The Black Gate Opens is all about this. You have to survive at least 15 turns and as long as necessary after that point until Frodo randomly destroys the One Ring. The bad part is, without impeccable unit management and substantial luck, it's an utter CurbStompBattle in Evil's favour, even on the lowest (normal) difficulty level.
* MagicKnight: Most of the heroes, basically, as they combine combat prowess with potent special abilities. Gandalf is more of a specific example, however, as he is technically a wizard but his ranged magical attack is particularly weak, forcing him to rely more on Glamdring to beat an opposing unit at melee range.
* MightyGlacier:
** Gimli is all kinds of lethal at melee combat, but he has a slower movement speed than most units, so he takes forever to get close to an enemy unit if they aren't actively charging at him. Good luck chasing someone down if they're actually running away.
** Ents are also very powerful, but slow-moving; fortunately ([[BossInMookClothing for Good]]), they have a fairly long-ranged attack.
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Subverted. You can play an entire campaign as either good or evil, but they still fight through the same battles, just on different sides (and with the occasional difference in numbers and placement of {{Mooks}} and [[GuestStarPartyMember heroes]]).
* OffTheRails: You can do it with regularity. For one example, you can have Elrond, [[BackFromTheDead Théoden, and Boromir]] assaulting the Black Gate at the end of the ''Return of the King'' levels; conversely, you can have [[TheStarscream Saruman and Wormtongue]] defending it.
* RainOfArrows: Anyone using Sweep Attack or Flurry on enemies at range causes one of these. Legolas relies on this, as his innate Elven Sharpshooter talent allows him to do his maximum damage even at the limits of his range, ''and'' hit any units hiding behind cover.
* RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething: Aragorn, Elrond, Legolas, Théoden, Théodred, Éomer, Éowyn, Sauron and the Witch-King of Angmar all show up as hero units.
* ShockAndAwe: Saruman's normal attack consists largely of lightning. Perhaps appropriately, it has a larger-than-normal chance of stunning the target when it hits.
* SquishyWizard:
** Gandalf is this to some extent, but his HitPoints are decent, he gets to upgrade them slightly, and he steadily regenerates each turn and gets the Stealth ability (which allows him to reduce incoming ranged weapon damage).
** Saruman plays this far more straight. He has by far the lowest HitPoints among primary leaders, and is low even for a secondary hero. If he gets within attack range of enemy units without {{Mooks}} around to defend him, he is ''toast''.
** Wormtongue is one as well; the price of his good Command Points and Spirit Points is the fact that he has roughly as many HitPoints as a Morannon Orc.
* TookALevelInBadass: All of your primary and secondary heroes can do this via upgrades, but one that really stands out is Saruman. During the course of his upgrades, he gains range, Spirit Points, a defense bonus, and goes from average leadership to the best in the game ("Exemplary", beating out even Aragorn, Théoden, ''and Sauron himself''). His abilities allow him to heal the whole flank, boost his damage, drop a punishing debuff on any given unit from far away, and deal hefty damage while stunning the target (effectively a second attack). True, his HitPoints still suck, and he's only average at moving from place to place, but he's downright spectacular at leading an army -- which is his job.