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Old March 24th, 2008, 10:31 PM
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Default OW\'s Guide to Midgard, Scales and Skinshifters

Broad Strategic Outline:

The experts will tell you that Vanheim is an exceptionally powerful EA and maybe MA nation due to its glamor sacred units, though they have recently been made capitol only and given a cost increase. Give them a Water-9 bless, possibly add another bless with Fire-9 being particularly fearsome, and let them do your expansion stuff. Midgard does still have mounted, glamor sacred units, so in theory there is no reason why this bless strategy would not still work. Except, you do not need it. Bless strategies of this type come with incredibly high costs, usually paid for by reducing scales which means fewer mages in the long run. With Midgard comes a better way, Skinshifters. In a nutshell, 20 of these guys can take on almost all independent provinces with few losses. Thats 400 gold, 140 resources, plus a commander. The gold you should earn from your capitol alone in one turn, with resource limitations you can make that number in two turns and buy a mage to research in between commanders. Hence, you achieve the benefits of a bless strategy with out the gold deflating costs.

Then, Midgard has a powerful mid-game tactic that encourages you to have a lot of gold to buy mages. The Galderman comes with Air-2 guaranteed, with Air-3 on 1 in 4. The Air-3 Galdermans can cast Storm, letting all the Air-2 mages cast Summon Storm Power to get Air-3 themselves, than everyone casts Thunderstrike to decimate opposing armies. Plus, Galderman have some interesting randoms that require a lot of them to be made to get the most advantageous combinations (Earth-2, Blood-2, and Death-2).

By endgame, using Nature and Earth site searching, hopefully you will have found some independent mages to provide the necessary magic diversity for a strong end game. Fog Warriors is a very powerful spell which Midgard can easily cast and has great synergy with Skinshifters, giving Midgard an obvious end game. Also consider trying to summon the Air Queens to serve as Super Combatants and Troll Kings to plague enemy armies with Earthquake. Also, a couple of empowered blood mages casting disease demons. The usual end game strategies regarding Wish and Tartarians still apply.

The Units (currently only including units of note):

Einhere (20g, 20r): Despite my praise of Skinshifters earlier, you can actually debate which unit is better. Certainly, this unit has higher protection (14 vs 5) and is therefore less vulnerable to archer fire. It can also berserk (+5), which some players value highly. However, they cost three times the resources as Skinshifters, which makes them that much less desirable. Also, their default attacks are 10 and 9, making them vulnerable to higher defense and harder hitting units, such as barbarians. Obviously triggering that huge berserk bonus improves their attack and protection, but you have to be thinking of the limited utility of a unit which needs to be harmed to be most useful. In general, stick with Skinshifters as the core of your army, but keep these guys in mind for niche uses.

Skinshifter (20g, 7r): The engine that lets Midgard get away with out having a Super Combatant Pretender or a bless. First off, realize that this unit has two forms, the second of which only reveals itself when the first runs out of HP. In effect, you have a 25 HP unit for the cost of 20 gold. The first form packs a high damage punch using its high strength and greatsword. The second form gets three attacks per round (a bite and two claw attacks) which erodes high defense units while still doing considerable damage thanks to having 14 Strength. Both forms regeneration 2 HP per round. This also lets them somewhat ignore the effects of disease and starvation and gives them just a bit more survivability. The major weakness of Skinshifters is their low protection. They wear furs, which only provide 7 protection, and nothing on their heads. The most obvious way to exploit this weakness is archers. Fortunately, Midgard has access to the spells Mists (halves base precision), Storm (removes half of all projectiles and halves base precision again), and Arrow Fend (the ultimate defense against arrows, but is tougher to research at Enchant-6). Try to set up decoys with Einheres or lesser shielded troops. Other attempts to take advantage of the low protection means facing Skinshifters in melee, in which Midgard almost always comes out ahead. Remember, its 25 HP with regeneration while facing heavy damage to kill a Skinshifter which Midgard can produce in mass quantities.

Vans (90g, 16r): The Midgard sacred unit. It has a high defense (19 including parry), respectable protection (12), and glamor. However, it is capitol only and costs a lot. Basically, the cost assumes Vans will be recruited with a bless and with this in mind are not overpowering. If you did get a powerful bless, you would want to recruit these things right from the get go. If you're following my strategy and went with positive scales instead, they are a luxury best suited to be bought once you've established your territory, have multiple fortresses, and a solid gold income. Use them as raiders, powerful shock cavalry, and battlefield flankers.

Mages and Commanders (Also not complete):

Volva (120g, 1r): An Astral-2 mage with no randoms. This unit gives Midgard a solid Astral base. Send one out early to site search. In addition, each Volva has a 5% chance to stop an unlucky event from occurring in her current province. Not a bonus to build a strategy around, but one nonetheless. With the exception of Drain-3, these will be Midgard's most cost effective researchers. However, they are much harder to use on the battlefield. Low HP, a strategic move of 1, zero leadership, and no forest survival means they'll slow your army down while being vulnerable to Seeking Arrow and other remote spells. On the battlefield stray arrows and battlefield wide spells like Earthquake will easily kill them. Instead, rely more on Galdermen for your battlefield magic needs and try to keep Volva safely researching and adverting bad events. Obviously, when you need Astral magic bring them out. As with all Astral mages, they work wonders against low Magic Resistant units such as mammoths and elephants. Also, be sure to threaten horror marking on any SC that invades your dominion. Obviously, they can communion, and with a Starshine Skullcap can cast Dispel. For example, when against Ermor, create a communion of 5 Volva to cast Solar Brilliance. It would help to have a thug or SC to keep the hordes busy so the spell can do its work.

Galderman (210g, 1r): Your most powerful and versatile mage, and in general you will want to build more of these than Volva to take advantage of rarer path combination. Comes with Air-2, and two random paths (Air, Earth, Blood, Death and Earth, Blood, Death, Nature). Both randoms appear 100% of the time. Scripting Aim, Summon Storm Power, and Thunder Strike three times is always an option when combined with a Storm, but I'll discuss some of the more interesting combination below. First, however, notice the descriptions HP and the “skinshifter” mark in the description. Does this mean Galdermen can change shape as well? Yes, into a slightly different werewolf build, one with 6 base protection and 20 base HP, though this only occurs when wounded in battle. Galdermen also have 2 HP of regeneration per round. What this translates into is a hard to kill unit, for a mage. Spells like Seeking Arrow will be ineffective against them. Thats just not to say they are invincible compared to other units, just compared to your typical mage. They also have strategic move 2 and forest survival, making sure they do not slow your armies down.

-Air-3: 1 in 4 odds. These casters will serve as important catalysts on the battlefield and important ritualists on the home front. Notably you need one of these units to cast Storm, and the remaining Air-3 (soon to be Air-4) Galdermen will be able to cast Thunder Strike at half the fatigue, meaning more Thunder strikes. An Air-3 Galdermen is also capable of casting Seeking Arrow and Hurricane, and with boosters Dome of Solid Air. Once at Air-4, the Galderman can cast Fog Warriors. Air-5 (achieved by an item booster and Summon Storm Power) lets the Galdermen cast Wrathful Skies and Mists of Deception.

-Death-2: A rare Galderman with 1 in 16 odds, so try to keep it out of harms way. This unit can build Skull Staffs letting you climb the Death magic ladder with summons. You only need Death-1 to site search, but with out a natural death income you'll need to either do some initial site searching or trade for gems.

-Blood-2: Also rare at 1 in 16. A good candidate for empowering to let you build the typical blood boosters. In the interim, they can blood hunt, summon Storm Demons, and forge. Though it would be difficult to pull off, these units might be able to forge Robes of the Magi (requires Blood-5 and Air-5).

-Earth-2: The final 1 in 16 rare Galderman. This one is probably the most useful as well, so really protect them. The most obvious use is Gnome Lore for some site searching. They can also forge Earth Boots letting any Earth-1 Galderman site search as well. Using the boots themselves lets the Galderman reach Earth-3, where the magic happens. He can now forge Dwarven Hammers, which gives a 25% forging cost reduction, considering the high cost of Air boosters this is well worth it. Also, Earth-3 allows the summoning of Troll Kings, and very tough Earth-3 mage who excels at casting Earthquake, Bladewind, and various other battlefield wide enchantments.

-Blood-1 and Nature-1: Still 1 in 16 chance. Capable of building Jade Knives out the gate, which is useful as Midgard is a Blood Sacrifice nation. With boosters and perhaps empowerment these guys can make Armor of Twisting Thorns (Requires Blood-3, Nature-2 and boosts both paths by one). Finally, with Blood-3 these Galdermen can cast the Rain of Toads.

-Death-1 and Earth-1: Reasonable odds of appearing, 1 in 8 in fact. Throw some Earth Boots on and this guy can cast Blight.

-Blood-1 and Earth-1: 1 in 8 odds. Add boosters to build Bloodstones (require Blood-3 and Earth-2).

Vanjarls (280g, 16r): Your best commander and priest, but capitol only. Its very useful to try to buy one of these per turn by the midgame. Their main benefit is sailing, letting you attack opponents from unexpected directions and quickly move across the map. Meanwhile, all Vanjarls are Air-2, Blood-1, and Holy-2 mages with no randoms. The Air-2 lets them participate in Thunder Strike spamming. Or, if operating independent of Galdermen, which can easily happen due to sailing movement, add Air boosters and a Staff of Storms to cast spells that way. Their glamor makes them hard to catch scouts (especially useful for transferring gems or boosters to a main army which may involve crossing enemy provinces). Be sure to use them to site search when not otherwise occupied, mainly for the blood and holy paths. Holy sites tend to be a good source of Astral Pearls. Since they are guaranteed Blood mages, adding a Sanguine Dousing rod mades them effective Blood hunters. Finally, they can be made thugs, or even assassins with a Black Heart. The thug works best with some minor blesses helping the unit out.
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