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Old June 13th, 2007, 07:02 PM
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Default MP Guide to LA Ermor - The Ashen Empire

Guide to LA Ermor – The Ashen Empire

**Edit: This guide does not take into account the changes made with 3.15**

The Ashen Empire is one of the most unique nations in the Dom3 universe and, IMHO, one of the most powerful. This guide is to help those who are interested in trying out this nation in a multiplayer environment. When deciding to play LA Ermor for the first time there are a few things you have to realize about their “play-style”:

• LA Ermor requires LOTS of micromanagement in mid-late sections of the game. In a large game it can take you hours to plan your turn, whereas a normal nation might take 30 minutes. Also if you are anal and want to organize all your troops by unit type you will likely be extremely frustrated with LA Ermor. That the price you pay for fielding multiple 5k undead strong armies…
• LA Ermor forces you to play a certain way in order to be effective. You can tweak and try minor changes to this strategy – but it isn’t for the type of player who wants lots of options available to him – especially in the early to mid game. That said it can be fun to try something outside of the norm just for fun (e.g. growth 3)
• It’s hard to make friends with this nation – expect to be on the short end of the diplomacy stick more often than not. Even with that fact it is vitally necessary to be extremely active on the diplomatic front. On the other hand it can be fun to have everyone fear you…

Pretender Design:

First let me add in a word about gold. Many players are under the mistaken impression that LA Ermor doesn’t need any gold to be successful. You’ll sometimes encounter a player who thinks he can extort lots of money from you because all your troops autospawn. The fact is that LA Ermor needs money, just like every other nation. Now… you can make do with less than most others… and you certainly don’t need tons to be successful – but to really play LA Ermor correctly you need lots of temples/fortresses and indy mages. All that isn’t free, so don’t totally disregard the gold aspect when dealing with other players and when designing your pretender.
It’s pretty much a given that you should take an awake pretender. You could try to take Luck 3 and attempt to get a hero with death magic – but that isn’t a serious strategy and is ridiculously risky. You need an awake pretender to summon a death mage for the first turn.


• Order/Turmoil: Turmoil is a good option. The only thing you should be actually spending money on is temples, cheap forts and indy mages. Order is a bit of overkill. Typically I always pick Turmoil -3, though anywhere between 0 and -3 would work.
• Sloth/Prod: Sloth -3 is a no brainier. You won’t need resources and the income hit is trivial.
• Heat/Cold: Usually you want to either pick Heat +3 or Cold -3. LA Ermor cares nothing about supply and the income isn’t that big of a deal. Cold -3 is a bit more thematic however if you know you are going up against lots of cold nations you might want to go heat.
• Growth/Death: Usually you want Death -3. Again Supply is worthless and since your domain will be killing off your population wickedly fast a few more deaths are just drops in the bucket.
• Luck/Misfortune: Here is a scale you might want to boost to Luck +2 or +3. You probably defiantly want to do it of you have -3 Turmoil to maximize your lucky events. If you don’t have Turmoil it’s really up to your personal preference. As I usually pick Turmoil -3 I’ll almost always take Luck +2 or +3.
• Magic/Drain: This is a tough scale to judge. On the one hand if you go drain you get more pretender points and your undead are harder to magically dispel/banish while in your own domain. This is especially useful against priests with their banish spamming. On the other hand without higher level magic in the later game LA Ermor is at a big disadvantage (the more players, the bigger the disadvantage) and it’s tough for LA Ermor to get good initial research going as it must invest in lots of early summons. Also the drain only matters if you are getting attacked in your own Domain – ideally you should be pushing into other players most of the time. It really is a toss-up though. In larger games I would seriously consider Magic +1, in smaller games I think it might be safe to do Drain -2, or -3.

I would always go with 9 or 10 dominion. The amount of freespawns you get is directly related to your dominion in a province – so you would be crazy to consider anything less than 7. Of course the higher the dominion the harder diplomacy will become but that is something you will just have to deal with.

You chassis will depend on the magic paths you want to learn and whether or not you want a combat pretender. Luckily with your crappy scales you should have lots of points to spend on a chassis and magic paths. What to pick is highly debatable (very, very debatable), but I’ll list a few of my own observations:

• Prince of Death: This is probably the best pretender for expanding early and fast. That fear works wonders against indy troops. Only downside is the expensive magic paths.
• Lich Queen: Pluses: High starting dominion and Immortal. Downsides: High magic path costs and initially too weak to seriously take on indy provinces. This is a great chassis for defensive pretender and you can get 2/3 magic paths very high. The Immortality is a great safety net to have and in the later game she can be a powerful SC in your own domain.
• Master Lich: Like the Lich Queen except trades battle functionality and a little domain for cheaper magic paths and slightly cheaper base cost. This guy will never be an SC but he can support in battle as he is immortal. He would make a good rainbow mage site searcher or initial researcher (which isn’t bad if you took drain -3).
• Ghost King: My personal favorite. Usually this chassis is too expensive to make work – but with all the bad scales LA Ermor usually takes you have plenty of points to blow. His biggest issues are his low dominion and that he doesn’t have immortality. If used carefully however, he can certainly take weak provinces (especially if unholy powered/protected by a priest) by himself. He can afford lots of magic paths – and can be made a rainbow mage for site searching. Add a few high defense items on him, a horror helm and make sure he can cast some alteration spells and you have a viable SC/thug for the early game. His awe and fear will scare the crap out of troops and with a really high defense + ethereal + luck he shouldn’t be damaged by normal troops. Just be very careful with him – he doesn’t have immortality so if he bites the dust you are hosed.
• Cyclops: Old faithful – a good earth centered + another high path SC unit. A bit un-thematic. I highly suggest you give him at least 5 death magic.
• Great Enchantress: This is the cheapest rainbow pretender chassis you’re going to find. Not a bad choice if you are somehow limited on your pretender points – downside is that you will be paying a lot for dominion and she can’t be used as thug/SC. If you really want just a pure rainbow mage (with limited combat potential) this is the best chassis.
• Dragons: All of these will help you expand early – they suck with magic though – a big downside.

All of the rest suck and I can’t recommend for LA Ermor. They are simply not as efficient.

Here is where you will spend all of those points saved in the scales. It’s up to you and the chassis you picked. You can either go for the rainbow/site searching route or the SC high magic in a few areas route. One thing to keep in mind is that if you don't take a highish death (at least 5) you'll have trouble being able to cast the higher death rituals. This can be overcome by empowering/boosting, but it's a bit of challenge.

Personally I prefer to spread out amongst a number of paths because one of LA Ermor’s primary problems is lack of magic versatility – so hence I usually go with the Master Lich or the Ghost King. But other builds are viable provided you have an overall game plan for your research.

LA Ermor is not really made for a bless build. Their only sacred spawns are brittle undead knights. Banshees and Lictors are sacred but extremely gem expensive. A good bless for your cavalry charges can be very helpful and would be great on a large group of Banshees but the impact on your early/middle game will be very minimal. Typically you won't have enough sacred troops for blesses to be effective until the late game.

So you can keep the bless in mind when you build the pretender – but realize it should probably not be a very big part of your initial strategy. I mostly ignore it.


You can’t buy any initial units, so everything needs to be summoned or spawned. Here is a quick overview with the cost in death gems in () and all of them are prefaced with their location in the Conjuration Track (C#) if you need to manually summon them. I’ve intermingled some of the default death summons to compare them with your unique summons. Keep in mind that things like Lictors and Wailing Ladies get cheaper with higher level spells.

• Soulless/Longdead (Free): You get this these for freespawn without any requirements. This is your chaff.
• Ghouls (Free): You get this these for freespawn without any requirements. These are mostly chaff. They are not mindless so they can rebuild fortresses 10x as fast as normal units and can help defray the damage of combat mind attack spells (ala mind burn). This is your only freespawn that is not some sort of amphibian. Typically I don't treat them any different than soulless however.
• Longdead Velite/Legionarries/Principe/Triarius (Free): You get this free spawn from provinces with fortresses. These will make up the bulk of your armies.
• Longdead Horsemen (Free) These will spawn in provinces without any requirements. They are brittle but very useful en mass against archers/rear positioned mages and for front line storming of fortresses. These can be raised by level three priests.
• Knight of the Holy Sepulchre (Free): These sacred units will freespawn in provinces with fortresses. They are basically stronger Longdead Horsemen. If you have a good bless you’ll want to protect them and use them carefully as they will be one of your more powerful units.
• Shades, Ghosts, Spirits (Free): You will get these ethereal forces as freespawn in all areas (regardless of dominion) if you have the Global Ritual “Soul Gate” up.
• Spectral Velite/Legionarries/Pricipe/Triarius (Free): You get these ethereal forces as freespawn from provinces with fortresses if you have the Global Ritual “Soul Gate” up.
• C0 Lictor (3): A decent sacred unit. You might consider summoning them if you have a good bless but they are usually never worth the gems. If you really want lictors make sure and use the lictor summoning helm and/or use the higher level spells (Lictorian Legion) so you get more bang for your buck. These also freespawn, but are extremely rare. These can be summoned by H3 priests but aren't usually worth the trade-off (go for longdead horsemen instead).
• C0 Censor (4): Decent sacred leader.These freespawn from citadels so are never worth summoning.
• C0 Acolyte (10): An undead H1 priest. Summon these to build your initial temples and start reanimating. They also make decent leaders for your undead troops. This summon should be completely replaced with Revive Shadow Tribune once researched.
• C0 Bishop (16): An undead H2 priest. Usually not worth summoning as H3 priests are much more useful.
• C0 Arch Bishop (23): An undead H3 priest. A good leader for large armies and they can cast “Protection of the Sepulture” which is a mass +4 MR to all undead on battlefield. If you prophetize him to H4 you can cast “Power of the Sepulture” which gives a +4 attack to all undead on the battlefield. When they aren’t busy they can reanimate longdead horsemen. You will want one of these in every sizable army.
• C0 Spectator (12): Your base 2D mage. If you have a magic bonus these should make up the bulk of your researchers. They can site search for death in a pinch. They can also be used to skelispam, shadow blast and disintegrate.
• C0 Dusk Elder (20): Your premier mage. You’ll want a variety of these to get into the various spell paths. If you have drain, you’ll also use these as your primary researchers. They will need to be empowered later unless you find good indy mages. You'll use these to cast the high level combat enchantments (Rigor Mortis, Darkness, etc...)
• C1 Shadow Tribune (10): An Ethereal 1H Priest. Basically completely replaces the Acolyte summon.
• C1 Black Servant (5): An Ethereal Scout. Should only be bought to make a cheap thug. Use indy scouts to actually scout.
• C2 Wailing Lady (15): A very good sacred unit. They have an AOE 1 Soul Slay and even it fails they get hit by an unresistable fear, which stacks with an existing fear aura! However they are extraordinarily expensive and with 0 prot and no shield they will take lots of losses. Only summon these if you have a great bless, are flush with death gems and are casting the higher level summoning spell “Great Lamentation”. These also freespawn but are extremely rare.
• C3 Bane: Usable as a decent thug. Better than a Black Servant, weaker than a Wraith Centurion.
• C5 Bane Lord (12): A good unit to outfit as a thug, however usually you will want to use a Wraith Centurion instead.
• C5 Wraith Centurion (15). Basically a Banelord with worse melee stats but with Immortality, Fear and Etherealness. Can be made into a good thug and you’ll usually want to use these instead of Bane Lords.
• C6 Wraith Senator (25): Basically a higher costing H2 Bishop with fear, etherealness and immortality. Not usually worth the gems – keep recruiting Arch Bishops instead.
• C6 Spectre (20): A sub-par Dusk Elder. Its only possible use is to try and get the 2 %100 WESD picks which could give you 2W, 2E or 2A… impossible to get with a Dusk Elder.
• C7 Wraith Consul (35): Basically a higher costing H3 Arch Bishop with fear, etherealness and immortality. These can replace your Arch-Bishops if you are flush with gems. However, as they shouldn’t be entering melee there isn’t a huge need for them (unless you need to go underwater – then they are pretty handy).
• C7 Mound Fiend (28): 3D 2H Ethereal Mage-Priest. Not generally ever needed.
• C7 Wraith Lord (40): Ethereal and immortal these can actually be super-thugs or even SCs. Their D3 allows them to cast Soul Vortex which is an extremely useful SC spell. Only summon these for their SC/thug possibilities.
• C9 Tartarian Gates(10): End-game SC/thug. Very cost effective use of your gems. You have about a 1/5 shot of getting a Tartarian leader with every casting. If you go high in Conjuration you’ll want to use this spell a lot in the late game. You'll really want to cast "Gift of Reason" on the non-leader, non-feeble minded ones. They will then have +5 random magic paths - very handy for branching into other paths.
• E8 Lichcraft (30): This is the rare summon spell that actually isn’t in the Conjuration track. A 4D Immortal Lich is great for the late game as you are looking for high death mages in order to summon tartarians. Though you should get some dusk elders with 4D through random paths Lichcraft is a “sure thing” and the fact that it is immortal can be extremely handy if you need a high death caster in your own domain.

General Strategy

Here are some general strategy tips:

• Key Point: To maximize your growth in the long run build temples and fortresses as fast as possible. The only other thing you should spend money on is indy mages, priests and in a rare case - mercs. The amount of domain in the province determines the amount of troops while the forts increase the quality of the troops. Think of temples as troop generators and fortresses as troop enhancers. Ideally you will want a fortress and temple in EVERY province – crowd them in – it doesn’t matter!

• Independent Mages: Unlike normal nations you will probably be forced to use lots of indy mages. Use them to supplement your research and to get into magic paths you normally can’t reach easily.

• Independent Priests: Indy Priests can be useful. They can preach down to reach a domain kill (your undead priests can't preach!). You'll need them to bring back a pretender that died. They can build temples. Most importantly however they can reanimate chaff! (soulless or ghouls). How much you want to reanimate is up to you, however it seems a shame to let all those corpses you produce naturally to go completely to waste. I will usually have 10-15 recruited by mid game spread out throughout my high dominion provinces just to raise the dead. Usually they are the last thing I will buy after Forts/Temples/Mages.

• Independent Scouts: Independent scouts can be used to build your forts and to scout.

• Independent Troops: Generally you never want to recruit indy troops. You will have problems in supplying them and they will funnel money away from your forts/temples. The only exception might be good aquatic based troops if you are planning an underwater campaign but keep in mind they need to be GOOD aquatic troops - most indy aquatic troops suck or are too expensive.

• Gems: You'll have a vast hunger for death gems in the early game so you can summon your mages/priests. Try trading away your non-death gems for death with other players if possible. However LA Ermor is one of the few nations where you will probably have to empower some mages (unless you find some really nice indy ones) to be viable in the late game. It’s very hard to get into any magic path except death without empowering. Eventually you'll have a great hunger for non-death gems. Expect to waste (err invest) lost of these non-death non-death gems on magic boosting items and empowerments. This is one of your biggest weaknesses and limitations.

• Blood Magic: LA Ermor is one of the few nations than can start a blood economy relatively early. Realize the money you lose from these provinces is going to directly impact your temple/citadel production which will impede your undead spawn. However if you find a recruitable blood indy mage (e.g. Garnet Sorceress) it is much easier to kick start the blood economy early and you should seriously think about doing it. Without an indy blood mage the prospect becomes a lot more intimidating but possible. Check out the forums for guides on Blood Economies (I recommend Baalz’s) if you are interested.

I've heard comments that LA Ermor has the hardest time trying to get a blood economy going. Personally - I don't think this is the case since LA Ermor isn't as reliant on gold as some other nations. The key is finding a populated safe province or two to blood hunt that doesn't have your -3 death domain. Usually there are always a few next to friendly neighbors. If you don't have any friendly neighbors then you have bigger problems than blood magic...

• Water Provinces: Being a poor amphibian means you can go into the water – but that doesn’t mean you should. You can’t really stand up against a real established aquatic nation without totally devoting all your forces to the endeavor – which will be costly. It is very handy to ally with another water-nation to take down another though. Fighting in the water does have one very nice advantage – the opponent cannot cast Solar Brilliance – which is an extremely powerful anti-undead battlefield spell.

Research Strategy

Like any nation you will need an overall research strategy to be successful and most of the time they will revolve around you putting up a global spell. Here are the more powerful/useful death spells you can aim for. I recommend building your initial strategy around some of these spells in the same magic tree.

• Conj 2: Dark Knowledge – Site searching spell. If you don’t have site searchers this spell is essential for early death gem generation.
• Conj 8: Soulgate: There is some confusion as to what this spell does. See the separate section on Soul Gate later.
• Conj 8: Well of Misery: This global gives you death gems and is probably one of the more likely not to be dispelled. On the downside it increases income around the world…
• Conj 9: Tartarian Gate – Excellent summons for a cheap cost. GoR for lots of magic powers. See unit section. Very powerful spell.
• Conj 9: Ghost Riders – A very cheap way to bring lots of pain to your enemies. They can take out almost any PD. I recommend casting it on a poorly defended enemy province and then attacking it with a Scout the same turn.
• Alt 6: Soul Vortex - An extremely good spell for Thugs/SCs (i.e. Wraith Lords) facing chaff.
• Alt 6: Darkness - A great battlefield spell against non-darkvision troops. As long as you can mitigate the fatigue this can dominate the mid-game until Solar Brilliance comes out.
• Alt 7: Bone Grinding – A very hard spell to use properly but can be wickedly effective in battle.
• Alt 8: Disintegrate – A cheap death version of Soul Slay with more limited range. Good when spammed. Massive spamming with penetration gear can often take down an SC unless he has very high MR. Great at taking out low MR costly units (Iron Dragons, Abominations, etc...)
• Alt 9: Utterdark: The death spell to end all death spells. When you cast it everyone will go after you and try to take it down with a vengeance. If you can hold out and keep it up you’ve won! Risky but powerful…
• Evo 5: Shadow Blast - A great AoE combat spell. Spam it on armies and watch them go down. Works underwater!
• Const 4: Skull Mentor – This is an item to forge, not a spell. Very, very useful for research bonuses as your Spectators can all forge these. I’ll sometimes go for Construction 4 immediately so I can start using these ASAP.
• Ench 3: Raise Skeletons - The “skelespam” spell. Useful for your spectators to cast en masse in open field battles (not fortress storming) - also a good spell to script to body-guard your powerful casters.
• Ench 6: Rigor Mortis: Extremely useful combat spell. Works very well against forces with lots of enemy mages. I love this spell. It is semi-countered by the Nature spell Relief.
• Ench 6: Arrow Fend: Not a death spell (A3) but a very useful defensive spell against archer heavy armies. I usually empower a Dusk Elder up to be able to cast this quickly.
• Thau 5: Burden of Time: A lesser Utterdark – usually hurts everyone but you but not enough to be crippling. Be prepared for the same diplomatic results as if you had cast Utterdark (to a lesser extent). Realize this will hurt your indy mages – though you might not need them anymore by the time you cast this. Boots of Youth do not protect against this.
• Thau 5: Foul Air: Another lesser Utterdark like Burden of Time.

Some of the other death spells I didn’t mention are very useful in specific circumstances (e.g. Undead Mastery against C’tis) but the spells above are useful almost all of the time.

Soul Gate
LA Ermor has this very unique global that can be very useful.

• You will start to recruit new ethereal undead troops instead of some of your normal troops. These troops will always be ethereal and will sometimes have non-standard attacks (steal strength, drain life, plague). Against normal troops they will dominate because they are ethereal – against thugs and special troops they are chaff.
• These troops are spawned differently than normal troops – while the amount of dominion in a province does seem to affect the amount/quality what is even more important is if you have a temple or castle in the province. Hence, you will recruit weak ethereal troops (spirits) in a province with a temple even if it has enemy dominion. If you have a castle and temple there you will get stronger ethereal troops (spectral infantry). In a province with a castle, temple and a high dominion you will get the best and most ethereal troops. This will decrease the amount of normal corporal troops you get slightly – and the spawning of those corporal troops is still tied to dominion. Overall you will spawn more troops – but not vast amounts more.
• You still start to spawn ethereal H1 Priests as leaders. You mostly want to use these priests to reanimate more undead – however they are also good leaders if need be. Having these extra priests can be VERY handy because as they reanimate more and more your hordes will be huge.
• I’ve found Soul Gate to be very powerful in the mid game. The longer the game goes the less effect it has as most large armies\thugs will be outfitted to take out ethereal troops.

Diplomacy Strategy

This is where the game is really won or lost. Because diplomacy is so important to LA Ermor this section is probably longer than it would be for a normal nation. Many of these tips can apply to any nation in a MP game however!

• Initial Start: Play nice, suck-up, placate, amuse, flatter, befriend, do whatever you have to do to make peace early on. It’s in the first 20 turns that you will be most vulnerable. Contact each person as you meet/scout them out immediately and offer a non-aggression pact (NAP) that will last at least three turns. Offer to not build temples on his border to help him with your nasty domain. Turn on your charm! Most players know you are a big threat but also don’t want to be the one to put you in check. You must play aggressive diplomacy initially to secure your future!

• Beware alliances! After the first 15 or so turns your biggest threat will be multiple attackers at once. Try to maintain relations with every neighbor and check in with them regularly to build a relationship.

• Try to make peace with everyone you can. Usually there will always be someone who wants to rid the world of your existence… there is usually no need to pick a fight. If you must (because you need to expand) pick players that you don't completely trust or try to form a group to take down a larger nation.

• Take advantage of the fact that many new players might not understand how powerful you can get in the mid game and that experienced players know how hard it is to attack you.

• Beware the experienced player playing one of the few nations that has national counters for the undead like Marignon. The longer the game goes on the more deadly they become to you.

• Make sure and mention/point out all the negative aspects to attacking you (low population provinces, endless raiding, supply issues, etc…). Besides your high gem income capital, it is usually not nearly as profitable for nations to attack you in the middle-late game as is another nation. Exploit this.

Combat Strategy (Early-Mid game)

• I've found that if you make your army big enough, you can overpower even the most killer opposing armies. The key is to have a battlefield casting trump card. I suggest either Darkness, Rigor Mortis, Shadow Blast (many!), or a combination of the three. These spells are your combat bread and butter. Of course if you find the right indy mages, anything that directly supports chaff like Army of Gold, Will of the Fates is great.

• Your strongest ability it to raid. Use your many freespawn leaders and troops to attack everywhere he is vulnerable simultaneously and move out of the way of his larger armies. You’ll take lots of losses via the raids and many will fail, but don’t worry too much about it. Go as far behind enemy lines as possible so he feels he must hurry back to save his homeland. Never let up the pressure.

• If a province is threatened raise it’s taxes to 200 and (if you have nowhere else to attack) pillage it down. Don’t be afraid to tear down castles of his that you can’t keep – but don’t tear down your own as they are almost useless to the other player.

• Use your undead cavalry when you need to attack mass archers or mages – they are the only fast moving units you have. I usually put them to flank and "hold then attack". Make sure you leave enough room for them to access to the battle field to flank - it is very easy to crowd them out with chaff so they never meet the enemy until it is too late.

• Always try to make sure a H3 or higher priest accompanies your larger armies. They can cast battlefield wide spells to Bless and increase your undead’s MR and Attack. If you don’t have a H3 a H1 can do this on a limited scale but they must be placed near the front lines. The MR bonus provided by these priests is essential to counter the banishment spam that will be generated by enemy priests.

• Your death mages should only be committed to battles if they can cast spells that will really make a big difference (i.e. Rigor Mortis, Darkness, or Shadow Blast). Otherwise let them focus on researching, forging or casting rituals.

• Sieges can be a *****. I can't count the thousands of troops I've lost trying to storm a weakly defended fortress. What happens is that the chaff get up to the front gate but can never get through the defenders - all the while banishments/arrows/etc.. are constantly raining down on your primary forces. To break this either put some battle field mages up front that can clear the way (shadow blast, netherdarts, etc...) or put your cavalry up front and center so they can carve a way in. A cadre of Wailing Ladies would also work, in place of cavalry. Worse comes to worse just camp out and let the people inside starve and cut down the leaders with remote killing spells as you have time. Don't attack a moderately defended fortress with just chaff (no matter how many you have).

• Anti-Magery: Eventually you'll run into the anti-ermor spell like Solar Brilliance and Undead Mastery. These spells are devastating to Ermor's undead horde - which is why you need to be more than just undead. You need to start early in thinking of a way to counter these types of attacks and be able to kill those powerful mages casting them. First, avoid them with your undead hordes, then kill them. Remote killing leader spells like Manifestation, Earth Attack, Seeking Arrow, Mind Hunt, etc... are all going to be vital to killing the pesky mage buggers. High MR thugs might work. Carefully crafted anti-mage units that can cast rigor mortis are great against enemy super casters. You'll notice that lots of these solutions require you to have casters proficient in another non-death magic. Diversify ASAP! For more details on the specific anti-LA Ermor spells check out the Late Game Strategies below.

• Beware the mighty arrows! Archers that you can't get to (because you don't have troops fast enough to reach them quickly) can be devastating. Flaming arrows will cut through your troops like a sledgehammer through butter. I always give my troops orders to "Attack Rear" on the off chance they break through the melee they will hopefully keep going for the archers. Use your cavalry wisely and always attack rear. And finally... invest in an air mage with Arrow Fend!

• Key Point: Don’t worry if your enemy gets deep into your territory provided you are deep in his. You should be able to tear him down faster than he can tear you down. After all – he has to worry about an economy and supply.

Late Game Strategy

LA Ermor, IMHO, is strongest in the mid game – having a successful endgame requires planning.

• Your biggest hurdle to overcome in the late game is your lack of access to a variety of magical paths. In order to overcome this hurdle you MUST begin to plan how you will deal with this issue in the middle/early game. Without some amount of forethought you will be attempting to bootstrap your mages into other magic paths too little too late.

• If you are in a decent position it's likely you will be constantly fighting multiple wars on different fronts. This comes with the LA Ermor territory! If it is a large game you should get ready for those 3-4 hour turns! Wheeeee!

• With normal victory conditions in a medium sized game often LA Ermor will focus on hording death gems setting up a strong defense and then casting a “screw you world” spell like Utterdark, Burden of Time or Foul Air. Then you try to hold off the onslaught and mop up for the win.

• With normal victory conditions in a large game the above strategy is much harder as the global slots will fill up and there are more astral gems out in the world to use to bring down your uber-global. In this case you might want to consider going for a standard military victory supplemented by something like Soul Gate if possible.

• Solar Brilliance – The first of three main anti-ermor spells out there, Solar Brilliance will devastate your largest army easily and will dispel (and prevent) Darkness. You deal with this spell by avoiding it and attempting to kill the casters via indirect means (assassination spells). Sending multiple high MR SCs against the offending army might work as well. Standard anti-mage effects like Bone Grinding and Earthquake might also be able to kill the offending mage. As a last resort put all your heavy hitters up front and attempt to blitz them. With enough shadow blasts / firestorms / etc… you might be able to reach the caster before your horde completely falls apart.

• Undead Mastery – This is another LA Ermor game breaking spell – not only will it destroy your army it will increase the size of the enemy player’s forces! Luckily this is difficult to pull off… it often requires communions. Communion Slave mages are usually easy to kill. Basically avoid these opponents with your large armies if possible and use the same tactics against them as you would solar brilliance. I don’t recommend the kamikaze attack though…

• Purgatory – This is THE global spell you need to plan for. Usually it goes up once there are a few players left in the game and they know you will be their next target – but it could happen anytime in the mid-late game. Every undead in enemy dominion has a chance of being the subject of an 18 armor piercing fire attack. The chance of getting hit is 10% per level of enemy dominion. This means that in a 9-10 enemy domain province virtually all of your normal units will be annihilated. Image you have shuffled most of your troops deep into enemy territory when this goes off? You’re ****ed! Luckily SCs/Thugs/leader should be able to shrug this off but normal units will be obliterated. The best way to defend against this is to overcast it yourself with such a massive investment of fire gems that no one can steal it away. It would only kill enemy undead – yours would be safe. I realize this is an extremely expensive defensive move – but trust me… it’s worth it. I can’t stress enough how you need to plan for this spell!

Combat Strategy (Late Game)

• It’s all about the SC in the late game. In a mid-large sized game it will be hard to get to the unique uber-summons and artifacts before the other players. This is another intrinsic weakness of LA Ermor. Tartarian Gate will be a very handy spell to have to churn out non-unique thugs/SCs. SCs equipped with decent MR are also one of the few universal weapons that are immune to the anti-LA Ermor spells Solar Brilliance, Undead Mastery and Purgatory. If need be they can be “massed” to take out the armies protecting these casters.

• You’ll need to have some sort of anti-SC strategy as you will probably face more SCs initially than you will field (unless you go straight for Tartarian Gates). I’ve found that even the most bad-*** SC can be stopped by a horde of 3k undead from time to time! Disintegrate spammed by 10+ death mages on a single SC will usually eventually work on all but the highest MR SCs (provided there is enough chaff to keep them busy for awhile). Another suggestion (untried by me) is to use a mass of Wailing Ladies (a potent offensive sacred unit). Worse comes to worse you can fight fire with fire and deploy SCs designed specifically to kill opponent SCs (Armor Negating Weapons/High Attack/Gate Cleavers/etc…)

If you found this guide handy, or have suggestions please post here! I'm not a Dom3 expert so I'll be happy to include anything relevant pointed out by other players. Late game suggestions/observations are especially wanted.
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