My initial income is +3E,+1D, +1F. Here’s my expected expenditures ranked from “most to least” in use prediction:
- Fire/Earth Gems: used to fuel summons big battle magic or items, spend freely
- Water Gems: use to summon Olms for native W2 access and Claymen for defending in high dominion, also for Boots of Quickness, “Rain”, and the occasional Living Mercury
- Nature Gems: if no other contenders are candidates to cast it, grab Mother Oak, otherwise shoot for an early-ish “Gift of Health” and basic thug items
- Death Gems: used for thugs, summons and items; can break into late game death magic once I get high level conjuration
- Astral Gems: use sparingly for big moves with my God (boosters, teleporting, Communion Matrix if I find indie Astral mages, Shroud if I get non-sacred thugs) and alchemizing for critical power timings
- Blood Slaves/Air Gems: mostly used for trades; Quills and Winged Shoes are really nice for Agartha
The spells I mostly intend to employ in the midgame are as follows. Main combos will usually consist of blessing my mages, followed by Earth Power into Magma Bolts, buffs or summons. Please note I am not recommending you research all these paths prior to accessing late game magic, in all likelihood I will get a few lv 4’s, a couple lv 3’s and push on to level 7 in Enchantment.
- 3: Earth Power, Barathrus Pact, Rhaux Pact, Summon Penumbrals, Dark Knowledge
- 4: Olm Conclave, Voice of Apsu, Summon Flame Jelly
- 5: Summon Umbrals, Revive Bane Lord, Acashic Record, Summon Fire/Earth Elemental, Will o’ the Wisp
- 1: Earth Grip
- 2: Earth Meld
- 4: Curse of Stones, Destruction, Blight
- 5: Maws of the Earth, Shatter, Iron Warriors, Lightning Resistance, Mother Oak
- 2: Rust Mist, Rain
- 3: Magma Bolts
- 4: Blade Wind, Bane Fire Dart
- 5: Earthquake
- 3: Legions of Steel
- 5: Wooden Construction
- 1: Attentive Statues
- 3: Raise Revenant, Strength of Giants, Enliven Sentinel, Claymen
- 4: Terracotta Army, Living Mercury, Vile Water
- 5: Flame Ward, Winter Ward, Enliven Granite Guard, Faery Trod
- 3: Haruspex, Teleport
- 4: Gnome Lore
While we have a NAP 2 in existence, I will prioritize defending against Vanheim. Even if he honors the pact, there’s no telling that he might break it with notice any turn now. I want to be prepared. Tangentially most of the summons that are good vs. Vanheim would also be good versus others too. My priority is Conjuration 3 for:
- Rhaux Pact: x5 Magma Children for 2 fire gems
- Barathrus Pact: x1 Earth Elemental for 2 earth gems
- Summon Penumbrals: x4 Penumbrals for 6 death gems
Penumbrals have Drain Life and are ethereal, which means non-magic attacks have a 3/4 chance of missing, greatly frustrating his Van. Magma Children have AOE melee attacks. Earth Elementals are powerful amphibious tramplers (yes, he is 1 size larger then Van so can trample them). AOE and trample ignore Glamour. What is Glamour?
Glamour is a trait unique to many of Vanheim’s most elite. Basically these units have an innate illusion. If a melee attack would normally land and deal damage, it instead has a % chance of hitting one of their 2 illusionary copies. So my one-eyed giants will be hopping around trying to just hit these guys, and if a blow would normally land it instead has a 1/3 chance of landing. Once an illusionary double stops an attack, it disappears. The next attack has a 1/2 chance of landing, and if the remaining illusion takes the damage its gone as well. A very powerful and frustrating defensive buff when paired with already slippery units.
Want to know how frustrating? Here’s a comparison of our main elite units:
My units are a lot bigger and stronger, but Vans are slippery foes that specialize in giant-slaying. A difference of 9 DRN (19 def – 10 atk) gives my giants a 5% chance of hitting with their spears. A water bless puts them at sub 1%. Stack the Glamour ability on top of everything else and its impossible to outright fight them until they near triple digits in their fatigue score. Granted Vans are much more expensive then Ancient Ones, but ultimately we’re both putting out as many sacred units a turn as we possibly can (~5/turn depending on our dominion score).
Beyond Conj 3 I intend to hit Conj 4 as soon as I have 20 water gems and can summon Olms. The first Olm can go to work spamming Voice of Apsu and increasing water gem income to summon more Olms. The Olm Sage is notable for his extremely high magical leadership of 55. Late game you will be summoning more troops then your conventionally recruited mages can readily handle, so Olm Sages will be the most turn-efficient reinforcement leader you have.
Olm troops are especially strong against small squads of elite units, giving me an edge over Vanheim should relations sour. They also serve as a measure of defense against the athletically-inclined Ashdod giants. Magma Bolts are a solid and easy to access battle evocation for my massed Golem Crafters to spam. Magma Bolts do not deal fire damage, so it is viable against the fire resistant and heavily armored Ashdod and Abysia. From there I can stall against most any invading force and go for the big spells unmolested (hopefully).