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Old October 10th, 2008, 07:52 AM
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HoneyBadger HoneyBadger is offline
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A lot has been said about Agartha's poor troop availability. It's all true. They're miserable, with few exceptions. One extraordinarily good exception, though, is the Ancient Lord. I love this guy. I'm pretty sure he's recruitable anywhere, which makes him even better.

First of all, the Bless for these guys is very important, if you're going to get the most out of them. An imprisoned Risen Oracle is probably your best bet, with Earth 9, Death 4, Nature 4. That's a pretty big bless, but the Risen Oracle gets new paths slightly cheaper than most other SC Pretenders.
For scales, I'd suggest Heat 3/Death 3/Turmoil3, and Luck3. Use your own judgement on what Magic and Productivity to use, but I'd recommend Drain 2 or better, and Prod 0 or better. High Dominion isn't really necessary for Agartha. Deciding how much Drain or Magic to give your Nation is important, because on one hand, the MR boost is nice for your Sacred units, but on the other hand, Agartha is a pretty magic-intensive Nation, with relatively weak access to researchers. Infact, having good Magic is, in a lot of cases, going to be much more important than having good Productivity. Again, use your judgement.

Don't bother recruiting any Agarthan unit, *ever*, except the bronze-cuirassed Stone Hurler. You'll mostly use these to boost your PD, and to support/bodyguard your Oracles.

The exception that makes the rule is the Seal Guard-they're useful as a defensive force, for your Capital, and other fortresses, especially if you start having big problems with fast SCs or etherial units that your Ancient Lords can't catch up with, but they're very niche.

I don't think you'll ever need more than a dozen in a single Province, though, even your Capital, but they *are* better than Stone Hurlers for some tasks, and since they're Capital only, unlike Stone Hurlers, you won't be building them quickly, anyway.

You'll only be recruiting 2 Commanders for a while-and the first one you'll be recruiting will be the Ancient Lord. He doesn't seem like much, and he's not, at first, but Agartha offers a wonderous selection of low-level, cheap equipment that will turn him into a juggernaut that can easily contend with even a Niefel Jarl.

Trust me-this guy is the ultimate clothes-horse.

You can start building Ancient Lords right away, 1 per turn if you have the funds. Prophetize the first one, and build enough of these guys to take the Independents around your Capital. 3 should be enough to deal with most things you'll run into, with the help of your starting army. Build another fortress as soon as possible. From here you can start generating more of the low-powered Earth apprentices. Set them to researching Construction, while using your Capital to churn out Ancient Lords, and the occasional Oracle. Easy on the Oracles, they can begin elderly, and you don't have a good way to fix that. Extra funds go into armoured Stone Hurlers, independents, and PD.

Build atleast 3 fortresses producing apprentice earth-readers, and as many as possible, producing Ancient Lords.

Your PD is crap, by the way, but try to get it up to atleast 25 in the important provinces. Recruit independent archers, slingers, and stick-monkeys as needed, and try to find a fast commander. You can use him/her to move your Stone Hurlers to areas that need extra protection.

You really, really want Nature mages, and Nature sites. And if you find a blood/air site, or blood/air mages, hold on to them at all costs!

Sadly, there's not a good way to give Agartha blood with this setup, and Oracles really need Boots of Youth, so try to break into Blood, somehow or other.

Use your apprentice Earth-Readers to research Construction up to level 2. That's all you really need to make your Ancient Lords dominate the Early game.
With *just* Construction 2, you can equip them with the following items: Star of Heroes, Black Steel Plate (or better yet, if you have air gems and air mages, Copper Plate), Lead Shield, Horror Helmet, Burning Pearl, Bracers of Protection, and, with Nature, Birch Boots. That's enough to last you until well into mid-game. Maybe even Late Game.

Advantages: Cheap as hell items (none cost more than 10 gems each, 8 with dwarven hammer) + Cheap as hell, recruitable everywhere commanders.
Here's a breakdown of the bonuses to the base Ancient Lord chassis:
Out of the box (no Copper Plate/Birch Boots) version:

+8 Attack (burning pearl, star of heroes)
Damage +12 + Armour Destruction + Magic Weapon (star of heroes)
Afflictions +100
Regeneration +5%
Reinvigoration +4 (bless)
Shield + 20% chance air shield (bless)
+4 MR (lead shield)
Basic Prot +25 (black steel plate + horror helmet + bless) plus Bracers effect.
Fire Resistance +50% (burning pearl)
Fear 0 (horror helmet)

Missle weapons are laughable-any that somehow get through the air shield AND the shield, aren't going to get through the improbably high Prot. If by some dark miracle they do, you'll just regenerate the damage. Other units don't stand much chance against you, since you can hit etherial units, destroy armour, reduce morale, not to mention, kill most units with a single hit. With that fire bless, you've also got great synergy with your Magma Children summons, and have a fighting chance against Abyssia.

If you *do* get into a war with Abyssia (or Hinnom, or Fomorial, or Niefelheim) right away, look no further than Brimstone Boots, which will grant you +5 Str (not that you need it, for much other than Hinnom, Fomoria, or Niefelheim, but it's enough to raise your damage to...I don't know...40? 45? Somewhere around there-enough to kill even a Niefel in 2 shots, especially since the first shot destroys his armour), and a total of 150% fire resistance, without giving up a single benefit.

Against Niefelheim, Caelum, or any water/cold Nation, you've got immediate access to cold resistance rings, if you need them, which can replace Bracers.

All that is plenty to get you through the early game-and it's all forgeable by your mages, and available from your capital's gem production. With dwarven hammers, it comes down to about 40 gems per Ancient Lord, most of them Earth. That's less than some high powered non-artifact items cost, by themselves, and a lot less than many summons.

I'd suggest that one Ancient Lord thus equipped could *probably* take out a fairly weak Independent Province, if only he were self-blessing. Sadly, this is not the case, so you're going to want to bring along atleast 1 priest unit. Oracles are ofcourse preferred.

Even unequipped, though, you'll still have an excellent leader (80) with better than average Protection (especially for the Early Era), who regenerates, lasts all day, and is likely to do an affliction per hit to whatever he can't kill outright.

Adding Copper Plate and Birch Boots gives the following benefits:
Reinvigoration +2,
Shock resistance +%100
Cold and Poison resistance +50% each
Charge body.
Your Ancient Lord is now resistant to every elemental path. You need Nature and Air to accomplish this, but they're both on your Pretender, and they're pretty common paths on independents.
This will reduce your basic prot to +20, plus bracers effect, but I doubt you'll miss it much. The cost will be 4 each Air and Nature, if I recall correctly, which is pretty affordable by mid-game.

You don't really need to add any high level items to this. For 48 gems, you're already immune, or atleast strongly resistant, to almost anything anyone's going to throw at you. Just make more of the low level junk that's winning you the war, while supporting your ever-increasing Ancient Lord SC legion with Oracles, Summons, and healers, and do your best to build a small blood economy, boots of youth is all you need, to keep your Oracles young. You will eventually want to research to Construction 3 for Legions of Steel (another +3 Prot), 5 for Watchers, and 6 for Shadow Brand, Evening Star, Gate Cleaver. That's ok though-there's plenty of exotic Construction 4 gear your Oracles can use. And you don't have to rush it.


I'd suggest sending these guys out in armies of 2 Oracles-1 fire/earth, 1 earth/water, (so you can spam Magma Eruption, Quickness, Bladewind, and Earthquake), 4 Earth Lords, and maybe 12 armoured Stone Hurlers, for backup. National Summons just add to the fun.

Early Rush isn't a big problem, since you'll have your Ancient Lords on hand. If it becomes one, add a few Stone Hurlers to your Capital. You might want to maintain a small unit of Seal Guards there too, incase of SC.

Numbers are a problem for these guys, but they become less of a problem over time, since they're tough, and won't suffer as much attrition-in-ranks as most other Nations.

There really isn't a lot anyone can do to phase you, once you're established and have access to healing, since you're not likely to lose units very often, and they only get better over time (except Oracles, until you have Boots of Youth).

Stone Hurlers are also Sacred, so that's +4 Prot (which is why you should only ever buy the armoured versions), 20% Air Shield, +4 Regeneration, 5% Regeneration, and %100 Afflictions for them, too, making them very surviveable against enemy archers, and even melee units, and their boulders (28 damage) will cause Afflictions to whatever they hit. A wall of them makes an extremely effective honor-guard for your Oracles-and they also make exceptional personal bodyguards, since very few assassins can get through their rain of rocks before the Oracle kills the assassin.

Oracles give you plenty of artillery spells, and are tough enough to survive assassins/horrors. They can also be equipped and turned into self-blessing, self-buffing SCs. Gifts from the Sky are still a problem, but they're a problem for everyone.

You've got the priests to take care of any demonic or undead pests, plus bad events, plus dom death. Those little apprentice earth-readers are *also* sacred, by the way, and are self-blessing, self-buffing, too, so if you want to equip them, they can be turned into very marginal thugs.

Global Darkness just means "make more Umbrals".

Heat 3+Death 3 makes your lands hard to take, and the lands surrounding them hard to live in, especially for Niefel and Caelum (heat).

Glamour troops don't fare so well against massed Stone Hurlers, who can kill most glamour units in a single shot.

Hinnom and Caelum can't trample you very easily, because your Ancient Lords are quite large.

And you've got ready access to amphibious troops and water mages, so noone's safe from you.

You could summon Tartarians, but there's really no reason to do so-you'd be spending about as many gems just to get them and GoR them, as you would for a fully equipped, unafflicted, sane Ancient Lord.

Build as many fortresses as you can put on the map, without shutting down your ability to produce an Ancient Lord or an apprentice earth-reader a turn.

Oracles are ultimately going to be the key to Agartha's greatness, so convert your Capital to their production as soon as possible. The best thing about a kitted out Ancient Lord is that Bladewind and other artillery spells are going to hurt your enemy a *lot* more often than they do you. You'll very rarely suffer from friendly fire with these guys.

Thanks for the input, everyone!

Last edited by HoneyBadger; October 12th, 2008 at 04:18 PM..
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