A Hard Nut to Crack: Turns 18-21

Turn 18

Almost two score Sweats I’ve seen now, when the greenland turns to white and the Earth sweats its chill off. And many more score then that I’ve seen through the stones. They tell their secrets to us, they do. They tell their secrets to anyone willing to listen.

Childebert the Earth Reader, First Oracle of the the Ascendant, Pocahontas’s Phylactery

18events.pngQuite a number of things occurred. Arco has reclaimed the Throne of Bureaucracy with their Deity. Ashdod conquers Ultima Delca, a Throne province. I summon an Earth Elemental, 5 Magma Children and discover 3 different sites. A couple mildly inconvenient events occur, and then 2 extremely fortuitous ones netting +30 research/turn, giving an immediate 29% boost in research. My scout dances with Ulm’s troops for the round, hopefully otherwise occupying them.

18main.png

The black numbers are my PD. * indicates I got a +10 PD event. Income is approaching 2k.

I capture the underwater indie province with one loss and turn my army around to storm Marignon and salvage Vanhiem’s ill-fated siege. My Earth Reader scries the border Throne between Vanheim and I revealing an Astral gem generator. My Crafts and Shamans also scout out 3 more gem-generating sites, giving an additional 5 gems a turn. The nature gem income in particular is appreciated, but both Earth and Fire gems are easy for me to spend for immediate benefit.

18combat1.png

Vanheim’s siege was a slaughter, losing 1930 gold worth of units and 3 turns worth of capital-only Sacred units for Marignon’s 1025 gold worth of units and recruit-anywhere Sacreds. This is bad news for both of them, which means I am more then happy to step-in and tag-team out for Vanheim. The Siege of Marignon will be a tough nut to crack, but sieging his cap will give me an extra 100 gold or so a turn, more then covering the sieging force’s upkeep while completely stopping Marignon’s production. Its only a matter of time now…

In the battle he held his troops back and lobbed fire evocations on Vanheim’s forces, devastating Vanheim’s elite, yet low HP units. I anticipate a similar tactic in his next combat script and move my handful of Pale One infantry front and center, on fireball-soaking duty. I cancel Albert’s patrol orders and move him to reinforce the Siege of Marignon, at the same time as TURN DOWN FOR BALZAC, taking advantage of his move 2 to close the gap.

I begin recruiting for war, emptying my coffers to fund more troops (+3.7 Defenders/Lithia) with a reserve of Earth Reader researchers (3 total) and 1 Oracle from my cap. The newest Oracle, Pillarheart, spawns with 3E1F1D making him perfect for site-searching water provinces. I look to start expanding my Dominion in time for my Enchantment golem summons as well, so build a second temple next to my Capital city and send Pillarheart underwater to spread the good word.

18combat.png

My scouts spy a fight in Arcoscephale, showcasing Mictlan’s supremacy and unique double major bless of Blood/Death. His units excel at killing organic expensive units, like Sacred giants. Too bad for him I will mostly employ statue sacreds by the time we border each other. Similarly Ashdod would be able to field his ethereal, undead Sacreds. Regardless Mictlan looks like he is doing well in the immediate scene against Arco.

Turn 19

19menu

Answer my plea Air nations!

Ashdod has claimed the Throne of Water, a powerful throne granting +3 defense to Blessed units, +3 water gems/turn, and the ability to recruit StR 150g amphibious W3 mages. This both gives him a water traversing option, as well as a large number of gems and boost to his Sacred troops. I’m a little jealous, but hope Marignon’s gem and gold income keeps me relevant. My back-up army is 1 province away from quadrupling my sieging forces. I recruit immediate reinforcements in Lithia, move speed 2 Infantry.

19main.png

Black numbers are my PD. I am expecting a large force in Agartha next turn; note my Crafter summon orders on the left. My Earth gem production is up to +10/turn.

I again max out with 3 Crafters at my forts, while my Oracle is 1 turn away in Agartha. I build a 3rd temple in the last land province bordering Agartha, The Hidden Way (my first surface province). I order my capital Crafters to properly prepare for my Holy Oracle’s arrival and put my high gem income to work.

Turn 20

20events.pngMarignon sends me a message saying he concedes. I’ll believe that when he goes AI, but I still send him a “GG” message in case. Mictlan retakes the contested Throne of Beuracracy from Arco, and C’tis claims the Throne of Flames. I’d like that throne a lot, but it pleases me it is in C’tis’s hands as they are not normally capable of properly utilizing fire income. No luck site searching, but some revealing exchanges happen with Ulm and Abysia, and I get a pair of Misfortune events.20map.png

“The Crack” showcases “The Brass Throne”, an ideal first throne that makes neither too tempting of a target nor too threatening of a message. I’d love to slide through those caverns first and claim it. I move my Oracle to the surface and put him to work claiming those thrones. I work on sieging Marignon again this turn, and am about to quadruple my sieging forces from 21 Ancient Ones to 71 with an additional 31 infantry.

I build a new temple in the “The Silent Cavern”, a cave province 2 metrics away from Vanheim, Ashdod and Abysia. It also borders one of my capital temples, so will further serve to stockpile and push my dominion. Lastly I instruct Pillarheart to build a second temple. He might not have found any gem sites in the Deep Sea, but its the last province bordering my cap without a temple.

20ulm.png

Ulm and Abysia’s battle was very revealing. Abysia decided to push way too aggressively into Ulm’s territories given Ulm’s garrisoned force. I’m not sure when Ulm’s deity showed up, but I think he might’ve been Dormant which was unfortunate timing for Abysia. Each nation’s force brought only 3 mages to trade, but Abysia brought F2 mages while Ulm brought powerhouses and x2.3 as many forces.

Ulm has 2 heroic abilities: his heroine, Hildebard, has “Adept Researcher”, granting her a huge research bonus. Her research of 21 would be +10% bonus to my current research levels and would give Ulm a large advantage in any early wars that kept side’s mages busy slinging spells. Beyond that she has a bonus against Giants and 3 innate attacks. If he can give her another layer of defense she would make a powerful thug.20ulmdetailHis prophet has Ambidexterous which improves his Attack and Defense abilities. The extra Defense is nice, but the attack is hard to utilize when your HP values can be so zonky in enemy Dominion. Unless you fight defensively only (an option, especially with the Sacred anethma forces of Ulm), its better to plan on standing in the back and spamming Smite.

Lastly his All-Father is just one tough son of a bitch. At first glance he might just seem like a caster, and he’d be a damn good one at that. His stats don’t seem anything special, especially with that affliction. But he has:

  • Glamour, Flying, Sailing, massive HP pool, 3 innate attacks, 2 free Dire Wolves, Stealthy (+65)
  • Buff access:
    • Invulnerability
    • Ethereal
    • Soul Vortex
    • Mirror Image
    • Mist Form
  • Evocation access to:
    • Storm blast shenangians
    • Shadow Blast fatigue shenanigans
    • Wailing Winds
    • Wind of Death
  • Enchantment access to mass skelespam
  • Late game access to Soul Drain and Astral shenanigans

Turn 21

Two diplomatic exchanges this turn. Pangaea reveals himself as a possible trading partner (or more?) for spare Earth gems or gold, both items I have in abundance. That said I am curious where his Air construction would come from, so don’t quite trust the source. Vanheim sends a token of friendship and gives me an Owl Quill this turn.

21events.png

Having just hit Conjuration 3, a powerful milestone, and I now head to Enchant 3, for Sacred summons, and then Evocation 3 for Magma Bolts. I find a “Tar Pit” this turn, a basic +1 fire gem site that gives hostile events involving elemental forces like “Mist Covered Highlands”. I don’t have the money to boost my PD to 15, which is the “safe” PD level to handle most event attacks. I move the 6 recently summoned Attentive Statues to the surface to serve on patrol duty with my Attendants. In hindsight this was a mistake:

  • Attentive Statues (Enchantment 1): 2E, 4 gems, x2 Attentive Statues
    • Attentive Statue: non-sacred strong infrantry, does-not-heal-naturally (13 HP), +5 patrol bonus
  • Enliven Sentinel (Enchantment 3): 2E, 3 gems, x1 Sentinel
    • Sentinel: sacred elite infrantry (25 hp), +10 patrol bonus

I assumed the Attentive Statues were superior, since they were non-sacred and otherwise trash, but additional analysis reveals each Statue is worth 2.8 destealth units per gem, while each Sentinel is worth 3.6 desealth units per gem. The only time I should summon Attentive Statues is if I’m pressed for time, as I can summon more destealth units per mage turn with the spell. All other scenarios where I have a bless the Sentinel should be cast instead.

With Pillarheart’s temple erection my temple21temples.png count hits 9. Every 5 temple counts increases Dominion strength by 1. This allows me to recruit an extra Sacred from my capital as well as improve my Dominion spread and utilize that HP boost on my summoned constructs. 110 temples both increases the strength of my Dominion by 2 as well as give me 10 additional temple checks a turn. Soon my Deity will spawn and give another 3, and I will hopefully conquer additional thrones shortly thereafter giving additional candles.

Speaking of thrones… no luck with Blue Water. I built a Merman Captain last turn to ping the throne there, but Abysia claims it this turn running over the 13 elite guard units and powerful water mage with a force of only 20 Icthyids. My troops head to Sombre Pass and will be within range of a throne next turn. Spookily, however, Ashdod arrives on our border with 60 troops en route. Both him and Abysia exchange aggressive messages with me.

I read between the lines with Ashdod: “I don’t really want to invade you at the moment” and then he references marching in and stealing Ulm’s lands the minute Ulm gets attacked. Everything about his behavior screams aggression and control and he never does respond to my offer of allowing him to take The Green Wall, while allowing me Acyste, both uncontested. I make plans for imminent war and begin analyzing my potential allies.

Perplexingly Abysia started off aggressive with me as well. I don’t know who she is kidding, considering her forces just got smashed by Abysia. There is 0 chance Abysia can afford to go to war with me, let alone against my underwater forces. Despite their aggression, I decide to stay the course and respect our NAP while putting her on “gentle” notice that I know she is not as lively as her warning portrays.

21dominion.png

Red numbers reveal dominion in province. When you hit your max dominion in a dominion-generating province, all temple checks will spread thereon out. ‘The Throne of War’ reveals itself.

With Marignon’s capital on siege, I collect half the tax and hit 2,045 income. I am eager to end The Siege of Marignon and rush to Senextro, to crack Marignon’s next fort for Vanheim. He and I have worked out that I will take Marignon and he will take Senextro. After that we will turn our attention fully to Ashdod. I am greedy and want the Astral income to accelerate my goal of 20 water gems. I am also producing an astounding 10 earth gems a turn now, and have 73 stockpiled. Right now my main limitation is lack of mages to spend my gem income on, but I’d also like to research better spells. Either way I want more mages and I want them ASAP. I max out mage recruitment and troop production at all of my forts. Two Golem Crafters and 2 Shaman continue site searching (1 within the tunnels).
21battles.png
Marignon has been breached.I will storm its garrisons next turn and take its riches for my own!

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