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Old October 28th, 2006, 02:37 AM

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Default Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Abysia is a nation of lava people, demons, and half-breeds that love heat. They only have heavy infantry and heavier infantry for their national troops, but no archers or cavalry. All of them are completely immune to fire damage and have wasteland survival keeping them well fed where most other nations would starve and get diseased. They radiate heat which can start enemies on fire, which greatly helps against effects that disappear when the unit is damaged, like glamour. They have strong priests, fire, astral, and blood mages and can perform blood sacrifices to help spread their hot dominion. On the negative side, theyíre all also very young and age young, so old age is a problem for them, and most of them are very slow on both the map and battlefield. At first they seem very bland and straightforward, but once you start to play around with the blood magic and other spells they have more depth than you imagined at first.

Suggested Pretender Design

Blood Fountain, Imprisoned
E6 D9 B5
Dominion Strength: 6 Order: 2 Productivity: 2 Heat: 3 Misfortune: 2

This pretender is probably best for small or medium maps, as itís designed specifically for the bless. It might work well on larger maps as you have access to Vampires Lords through it, but youíd probably run into problems with the Misfortune scale and no Growth scale. Itís a good bless for Abysia over others because anything you meet thatís resistant to fire is going to give you problems, and they probably got that resistance through equipment so the D9 bless will tear them apart and leave them with afflictions if they live. Alternately, you could go with a W9 bless which also works well as it gives your sacreds 4 attacks and an improved defense skill (which will still be abysmal), or a F9 bless if fire immunity isnít an issue to you. I think this is a happy medium, though.

Scorpion King, Dormant
F4 E4 B4
Dominion Strength: 7 Order: 3 Productivity: 3 Heat: 3 Growth: 1 Misfortune: 1

The Scorpion King makes a good SC with a few pieces of gear, but is missing a couple of equipment slots. Depending on your research choices, you might need one and with this pretender youíll get a decent one early enough, although against most armies Abysia has little problems defeating them with just national troops. The bless here is decent, and he can cast most of the better blood rituals, like Father Illearth and Summon Arch Devil, and forge some choice equipment, like the Hell Sword.

Divine Glyph, Imprisoned
F4 E4 S4 B4
Dominion Strength: 8 Order: 3 Productivity: 3 Heat: 3 Growth: 2 Misfortune: 1 Magic: 1

The Divine Glyph, though immobile, is a good pretender for Abysia. Like I said, they really donít need any early game help, but they do need a research boost so the magic scale is good for that. With Forging/Empowering the Divine Glyph can cast most of the important blood spells, and forge a lot of good equipment. In addition, he can teleport to the front lines if needed to summon troops where you need them or hang back and cast some of the better ritual spells blood and astral has to offer. Itís a decent choice and cheap enough to free up points for scales, high dominion, and a good bless at the same time.

National Units

Humanbred (spear) 15G, 10R-The Humanbred is comparable to other light infantry of other nations, with the exception that itís fire immune and a little bit tougher. They have a pretty good defense skill and a spear for repelling. The spear isnít as strong as the axe, but I prefer this one because itís a little more survivable. The main advantage these guys have over other Abysian units is itís move is 2, so they make good bodyguards to mages and donít slow them down.

Humanbred (axe) 15G, 10R-Nearly identical to the Humabred with the spear, except it has a lower defense skill and carries an axe that does more damage than a spear. Not a bad unit at all. Also has a movement of 2, and may make a better bodyguard than the one with the spear.

Abysian Infantry (battleaxe) 20G, 26R-This Abysian Infantry is a powerful force. They donít carry a shield, but instead carry a heavy battleaxe. Theyíre very similar to the Abysian Infantry with the flail, but have a higher defense skill and the weapon does more damage, and as such itís superior for the same price. I like to keep these guys out of arrow fire and put them on attack rear to flank the enemies front lines.

Abysian Infantry (flail) 20G, 26R-These guys are nearly identical to the battle axe infantry, but are armed with a flail which gets two attacks at a reduced damage and a lower defense skill. I donít think theyíre worth it when you could recruit the battle axe users, but I have a feeling that thereís a certain defense/protection point where one will do better than the other. Not worth splitting hairs over though, you could go either way and probably wonít notice much of a difference.

Abysian Infantry (shield and axe) 20G, 27R-This one carries a shield, which automatically earns it a place at the front of the army. Theyíre high protection and hit points and moderate defense skill makes it an all around good heavy infantry. Additionally, it has a higher defense skill than itís counterpart with the morningstar and the axe is more powerful. Itís a slightly better unit.

Abysian Infantry (shield and morningstar) 20G, 28R-This unit is about the same as the one with the axe, except it has a higher attack skill. Generally, though, I donít choose this infantry to kill, but rather to hold the enemy in place and let units better at killing to handle that, so I almost always choose the one with the axe. But, again, weíre splitting hairs as theyíre really similar and the difference is negligible.

Salamander 60G, 1R-The Salamander is a magic creature, so ordinary commanders canít lead them, which is a negative. Their stats are also pretty bad overall, and they die easily to normal troops if you donít shield them with your heavy infantry. But, their attack effects a whole square and does 20 armor piercing damage, so they do take down tough enemies quickly. Also, with Abysia, youíre bound to run into times when you have an odd number of resources left, and filling the rest out with these guys isnít a bad idea if you can afford it as their cost adds up quickly.

Lava Warrior 55G, 41R-These are the best unit Abysia has. Their defense skill is abysmally low and their encumbrance is ridiculously high, but theyíre still worth it. First, theyíre sacred and they get two attacks with morningstars so any boosts to their attack, strength, or weapon damage counts twice. Their hit points are high and their protection is high so they can take a hit or two, or more, from most units. On top of that, theyíre berserkers. What happens in battle is theyíre sure to get hit by most attacks for little damage, and when they do they go berserk boosting their strength and attack to the point where they rarely miss and do high damage against even high protection units. There are very few units that can stand toe-to-toe with these guys and come out on top. One thing, though, if you plan on using them at all, make sure your pretender has at least Earth 4 and make sure theyíre blessed or theyíll get fatigued really quickly.

Commanders

Slayer 80G, 10R-The slayer is a pretty good assassin, not the best by any means though. They have poison daggers, so if they hit the target just once the target is done for even if he kills the Slayer. Later, I like to give them a Heart Finder Sword to make sure the job gets done right. Theyíre not invincible and tend to be spotty. Iíve seen them take out a Trog Chieftain one turn and lose to an indy commander the next, but theyíre effective enough for the price where you donít want to ignore them as useless.

Warlord 60G, 38R-The Warlord is a standard commander. It has 2 map movement and a leadership of 80. Theyíre tough enough to wade into battle on the front lines, and with a few minor magic items they fare well.

Beast Trainer 75G, 41R-The Beast Trainer can lead up to 10 magical troops and 10 regular troops, meaning it can lead Salamanders or summons, but other than that thereís no reason to recruit them. Avoid them if you can get afford a mage instead.

Mages

Anathement Salamander 160G, 1R 2F 2H-I generally donít use these guys much except to lead Salamander groups, casting Augury, and to do blood sacrifices. They can cast a few useful combat spells, like Fireball, Rage, and Bonds of Fire. Theyíre inferior in every way to the Anathement Dragon, but substantially cheaper. They start out with old age, though.

Anathement Dragon 320G, 1R 3F 3H-This is a great unit, and makes a good prophet. They can cast Divine Blessing, which will bless everyone on the battlefield. They can also cast Flare, Falling Fires, Smite, Fire Cloud, and later Pillar of Fire which are excellent spells. If you make it a point to recruit a lot of cheap indy archers, you can cast Flame Arrows easily and the Abysian only spell Inner Furnace which increases the range of the radiant heat of all Abysians, and coming up with the fire gems to do that should be easy. They can also do blood sacrifices and preach to high levels of dominion. They also have a high leadership so they make good army commanders if you give them a few bodyguards. Itís a good unit that you can recruit from any castle you own. Again, itís old age here.

Warlock Apprentice 130G, 1R 1S 2B-I donít really find much use for these guys on the battlefield besides spamming Body Ethereal. Theyíre capital only, so itís difficult to get them to where you need them quickly, so they donít find much use in my armies. However, they have a lot of uses on the map screen. They make good blood hunters and can forge a few useful items, like the Boots of Youth and Sanguine Dowsing Rod and a handful of astral items. You can even use them to set up Communions or Sabbaths which is beneficial as the more effective blood spells cost a lot of fatigue. Itís also another old age mage.

Warlock 270G, 1R 2S 3B 1? (FESB 10%, FESB 100%, FESB 10%)-This capital only mage is quite a bit more useful than the Apprentice, depending on the picks. A fire pick is probably the worst option as it doesnít add much. An astral pick is great as it allows you to cast Soul Slay and Teleport, both of which are great spells for these guys. An Earth pick is good as well as it lets you find some earth sites and eventually empower him at 30 gems to summon Demon Knights. A blood pick lets you use some good battlefield blood spells and a few summons. Other spells to note, no matter what the picks, are Mind Burn, Paralyze, and Agony. Following the pattern, this unit is also old age.

Demobred 260G, 1R, 2F 2B 2H-This is probably the best pure battle mage Abysia has. They donít have old age and live for hundreds of years so youíll probably see them until they die in battle. They have the unholy ability to reanimate the dead, so theyíre not a bad choice for prophet. Theyíre sacred, so they benefit from whatever bless youíve chosen. They fly as well, so they have fast movement on the map, which helps as theyíre capital only, and in the battlefield. Demonbreds can also lead magic beings and demons and have a high leadership overall. They can also summon Devils with no empowerment or items. If you gear them up fully they can make out as a makeshift thug that you probably shouldnít need, but works if youíve got nothing else. However, theyíre a bit fragile. If you want to use them as a thug, script them to cast powerful spells and buffs, cast Reinvigorate or Leech last which will set their fatigue to zero, and attack rear and, as long as they donít get swarmed and youíve geared them up properly, they should be OK.

General Tactical Strategy

With Abysia, unless youíre working on some kind of special tactic, I find that theyíre most effective placed as close to the enemy army as possible and not using hold and attack. Since you donít have any national archers thereís no reason to try and avoid friendly fire and closing ground and getting your enemies infantry mixed in with yours exposes them to friendly fire and your radiant heat aura, so it only hurts them. I put my Humanbreds and Abysian Infantry with shields in the front to deal with arrow fire, and on the flanks the Lava Warriors and Abysian Infantry with no shields, putting some on attack rear to either flank the enemy and skip them outright and go for the archers in the back. After I start getting summons out there, or depending on who Iím fighting, I might change it up a little bit, but in general this seems to work really well. Just remember that if youíre using indy troops to keep them away from your Abysians as theyíll burn from the radiant heat like anyone else. This is especially why I donít use much blood magic in battles, and when I do I donít bring more slaves than what I need and blood hunt for more when I run out.

General Strategy

No matter what pretender Iím using, my beginning game starts the same because, I feel, Abysia needs the scales badly and will probably have to at least have a dormant pretender to be effective. Anyway, your starting army is very strong and capable of taking out the provinces surrounding your capital alone 9 times out of 10. So do that, and just beware of Knights or Elephants as youíll probably take heavy losses from them. In the meantime, I usually recruit Warlocks (hoping for an earth pick) and an Anathement Dragon whom I make a prophet. In the meantime, set them to research and exclusively Lava Warriors and fill the rest of my resources out with Humanbreds and Salamanders, and maybe building temples and once the Lava Warriors are sufficient in number I use my prophet Anathement Dragon to lead them and join my starting army. Donít be afraid to use alchemy to turn your fire gems into gold if you need it to pay for your expensive mages or to set up a PD (21 is sufficient to take most random barbarian hordes and small armies), you get plenty of fire gems, probably more than youíll use in the early game. You should be expanding very quickly and when you have all of the surrounding area, take a moment to survey the land and look for farmlands, which makes both a good place to get gold and a good province to set up blood hunting, and a place to build a second fortress, preferably on a province that can get a lot of resources and you can recruit cheap indy archers from, even the more expensive ones like Longbowmen are OK because of your scales.

My usual research order is Evocation to 2 for Flare and Arcane Probing, and a handful of other fire spells to use. Then I move on to Thaumaturgy 2 for other site searching spells which are useful later, and Mind Burn and Bonds of Fire which are both decent spells for taking out indy provinces. Finally, I move on to Blood 4 to summon Devils and Demon Knights. The Devils are good fliers and can be ferried quickly by a Demonbred, as can the Demon Knights if the terrain type agrees with them. Demon Knights are too good to pass up though, and can be boosted in power by casting Blood Lust which also comes at 4, so I make massing them a high priority.

After that, it depends on what pretender Iím using. If itís the Scorpion King, Iíd pick Alteration to 3 to give him some self-buffs and get Body Ethereal. If not, I usually take a pit stop at Evocation to 4 for Fireball, Fire Cloud, and Fires from Afar or Thaumaturgy to 4 for Rage, Soul Slay, Teleport, and Paralyze, and for a few other spells and concentrate on Construction to 6 to forge Boots of Youth as Iím sick of seeing my mages get diseased, and other good items along the way. Focusing on Enchantment wouldnít be a bad idea either, as you can cast Flame Arrows and Inner Furnace which helps you destroy enemy armies with ease, and Fire Shield is nice if youíre using the Scorpion King or Demonbred thugs.

Suggested Magic Schools

Conjuration: Normally this is a great school to at least put a few levels in, but in the case of Abysia who has easy access to blood magic summons I donít find it necessary unless you want to use your pretender to summon. The Summon X Power spells are good as always, so you might want to make a stop there to level 2 later in the game. At level 5 you can cast Acashic Record which is a great site search spell if not costly that some of your Warlocks will be able to cast. At level 8 thereís the Summon Scorpion Man spell which is a national spell, but that means dredging through 6 levels and hundreds of research points for little gain. I donít recommend this school at all unless you have all of your major research goals covered.

Alteration: You probably wonít find much use for this school either, until you have some high level blood summons out. Body Ethereal at 3 and Luck at 4 are good for spamming on your Lava Warriors, and Combustion at 2 and later Incinerate at 5 and Conflagration at 8 are good single target damage spells for your Anathements, but probably outclassed by Mind Burn and Soul Slay from your Warlocks. Will of the Fates, at 8, is costly but interesting. I donít find much use for this school in general past a few levels for this nation, though.

Evocation: Evocation is a great school for Abysia because of their fire immunity and the plentiful fire damage spells. Additionally, there are a few spells for dealing with magical and undead creatures here for your Astral Mages. Iíve mentioned a few already, but I want to call special attention to Fire Cloud. It casts a decent sized cloud of fire on the battlefield that your troops can pass through harmlessly but is deadly to your enemies, this spell is great to spam all over the battlefield. Beyond that, thereís Falling Fires and Astral Geyser at 5, both of which are interesting and effective. At 6 you get Flame Eruption which is cool and may be able to cast Astral Fires, which is an improved version of Fire Cloud. At level 7 you can cast Flame Storm if you empower/equip yourself, and it works well with Flame Immunity. At 8 you get Pillar of Fire which is also a great spell, and at 9 you get Flames from the Sky which is like Fires from Afar but better, and you get Flame Storm which, again, is very useful to your fire immune troops. You really canít go wrong with Evocation at any stage of the game.

Construction: There are a lot of useful items in here for you as blood magic has some of the best weapons in the game, and other items are particularly interesting. The spellcasting value, however, is low. Itís worth taking to 6 early though just for the Boots of Youth as those will save you a lot of time and hassle dealing with old age.

Enchantment: There are a few spells of particular use in this school, nothing too essential, so itís a medium priority school. Resist Magic, at 2, can help your demon units from being banished. Flame Arrows and Inner Furnace have already been mentioned and they are very useful and easy for your mages to cast. Dispel which comes at 5 with Inner Furnace has itís uses sometimes. Dome of Flaming Death, at 7, is a great spell if youíre under attack from rituals. Thatís about it from here, though.

Thaumaturgy: Thereís not much here that hasnít already been mentioned. Prison of Fire, at 4, is a decent spell, especially against Barbarians who can tear through your units. Gateway at 5, which is currently bugged, will work well for getting your Lava Warriors to the front lines in large maps. Enslave Mind, at 6, can be a cool spell when it works. Hydrophobia, at level 8, is a good spell to open a battle with. Past Soul Slay at 5 thereís little reason to put much into this school until your other goals are met in my opinion.

Blood Magic: This is a great school for Abysia simply for the summons, who are often fire immune too. Unlike other schools you can mass blood slaves quickly, so it may seem like the spells cost a lot of ďgemsĒ but itís not uncommon to get dozens of them per turn depending on how many hunters you have. Additionally, instead of ferrying gems to far away commanders, they can use the blood hunt command to get their own slaves from whatever province theyíre in. I recommend this school highly if not to play around with it, because with most of the other nations itís difficult or impossible to use effectively. Anyway, the battle magic is usually powerful, but has drawbacks like needing a blood slave, high fatigue or effecting your own units as well, so itís not as easy to use as other schools. Additionally, the heat aura kills your slaves so itís a bit more difficult to use with Abysia, but in spite of all that often worth it. As mentioned, Devils and Demon Knights are both superb units, and Agony is a great battle spell and Reinvigoration helps your mages to keep casting. Sabbath Slave and Sabbath Master will help you later in the game when you want to cast high fatigue, high path battlefield spells. At level 6 Harm seems to work pretty well, Rejuvenate is a good spell if you havenít forged any Boots of Youth yet, and Infernal Disease is a great assassination spell that, if the Disease Demon doesnít kill the commander outright, time will. Level 7 is where the real fun comes in when you can summon Father Illearth who makes an excellent SC with some gear and Arch Devils which also make good SCs. Rush of Strength, at 8, is a good spell for battle. Summon Heliophagus brings a powerful bloodmage to your side, and The Looming Hell can be a lot of fun to play with and Life for a Life is a guaranteed kill for everything but the largest units. At level 9 you get Blood Vengeance which you really canít go wrong with casting and it makes your Demonbred thugs potent weapons. Infernal Prison is a cool spell thatís also a guaranteed kill in most cases. All of the Infernal X spells summon large amounts of good units.

Useful Magic Items

Abysia is going to have problems forging a wide variety of items with itís limited but powerful paths, and the pretenders Iíve recommended really donít help with this, but I think the blood magic items make up for it and as the game progresses you may find some access to other paths through recruitment of indies.

Lesser: The Scepter of Authority is a good item for commanders, as is the Just Manís Cross if youíre fighting undead. You may be able to forge the Armor of Souls which gives Blood +1 and MR. The Dragon Helmet isnít bad for a Morale boost, and the Burning Pearl and Ring of the Warrior arenít bad for an attack skill boost, and the Pendant of Luck will be used throughout the game, and if you can forge it and find it useful, the Soul Contract is OK if you donít mind a horror mark.

Greater: The Fire Bola and Wand of Wild Fire are upgrades for your commanders. The Heart Finder Sword is great for a lot of units, especially assassins. The Flambeau is a good weapon. The Charcoal Shield and Lucky Coin are both good for almost any unit. The Robe of Shadows is a good item for any unit as well. The Amulet of Antimagic and Spell Focus are both good for a lot of units. The Sanguine Dowsing Rod will assist your blood hunters, but gather more slaves increases unrest faster so I donít find it absolutely necessary. The Heart of Life gives huge reinvigoration too, and the Brazen Vessel and Blood Stone are good for Blood +1 with the latter producing an Earth gem every month.

Very Powerful: The best item on this list is the Boots of Youth, which stop aging and stop you from getting afflictions. I recommend these to all of your important mages that get picks you want, and eventually everyone. Iíd start with the ones summoning the Demon Knights and go from there. Other items include the Blood Thorn, valuable for SCs as it gives lifedrain and the use of a shield and blood mages alike. The Hellsword also gives lifedrain at the expense of a shield. The Moon Blade is good against magic beings. The Shield of Gleaming gold gives awe and a big bonus to defense. Red Dragon Mail is decent armor for lack of anything better. The Starshine Skullcap is very important as itíll give any Warlock the ability to cast Teleport which will help get them out there on a big map, among other spells, and if you want you could teleport to a lab and take it off ready to give it to the next Warlock that needs it. The Black Heart is an interesting item that allows any commander to become an assassin, so Mind Dueling Apprentices can be effective if not costly.

Conclusion

Thereís a lot of different ways to play Abysia and a lot of different viable pretender designs. I canít imagine playing them without at least an E4 bless and good scales so my selection is limited, but other ways can work if you make heavy use of blood magic and construction, but this will get you started successfully.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Astral Fire is not really "an improved fire cloud". Ot is a single shot spell so it doesn't linger around like fire cloud does.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:41 AM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Lava Warrior enc is a bug (it should be 2+4, not 10+4, their enc and prec stats have been swapped by mistake), acknowledged by IW.
I've just made an Abysia "modfix" for them and EA Burning Ones, in the mod forum
With correct stats they're very good units (though costly !).
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Old October 28th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Also, you omited the possiblity for a Fire 9 bless. Not only it is thematic the Lava Warriors are effective with it. Who care about encumberance when they can slaughter a knight charge with F-9 bless?
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Old October 28th, 2006, 01:56 PM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Quote:
PDF said:
Lava Warrior enc is a bug (it should be 2+4, not 10+4, their enc and prec stats have been swapped by mistake), acknowledged by IW.
I've just made an Abysia "modfix" for them and EA Burning Ones, in the mod forum
With correct stats they're very good units (though costly !).
Oh, I didn't know that. Even better, although I still think they're good even with monster encumberance haha

Quote:
Also, you omited the possiblity for a Fire 9 bless. Not only it is thematic the Lava Warriors are effective with it. Who care about encumberance when they can slaughter a knight charge with F-9 bless?
I listed it briefly in pretender design. I think, in this case, D9 is more effective, but don't let that stop you from being thematic and it's still a great bless. And really, they don't need any bless at all to stop a knight charge
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Old June 12th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Hmm, is a D9 bless really cost-effective? I thought death weapons only add 2MR+AN damage to your melee weapons. 2 damage seems a bit underwhelming to me unless I'm mistaken...

Also, the Prince of Death or Cyclops are also worthwhile, if generic pretender choices for MA Abysia.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

I'm under the impression that D bless will shine more in the late game, with many smaller sacreds, and to deter an enemy rush at the beginning.

The Affliction bonus can be a powerful tool against enemy thugs/SCs, especially as any nation that has Curse casters trainable anywhere.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

How does the D bless shine in late game? It's still only 2 extra damage for the cap only sacred infantry.

I suppose having your sacred mages cause extra afflictions when casting Fire Storm is nice, but I'm not sure I would pay for D9. Wouldn't D4-D5 be more cost effective? I'm a little confused about how curse figures into the equation too...
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:58 PM

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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

In my opinion, there are few things they have problems killing and the things they have problems killing they can at least attempt to cripple with afflictions.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Beginner\'s Guide to Abysia MA

Mod, it's potentially cost effective in MA Abysia's case because you get an SC pretender, you get magic weapons (not just on cap only sacreds, but any sacred summons or indies), you get Affliction bonus on ALL of your evocations, you get ready access to late game Death summons, and you get a little more damage.

You could save the points and do a lower level in the path, yes, but using the PoD for example, going from 3 to 9 is quite cheap for a major bless, and Abysia's troops expand fast enough you can go Dormant to make up for the cost. (obviously, I am not arguing that your theoretical strat is poor, just not necessarily better)

As far as the Affliction bonus, getting +350% chance nearly guarantees an affliction on any damage over 1, on nearly all targets. Reliable, frequent, and multiple affliction application can be an enormous boon, especially when fighting anyone who is using regenerating thugs/SCs. The +100% from D4 is okay, but it's obviously going to be far less reliable.

Obviously, the Cyclops can also be leveraged into a strong strat as well, as even going E6 will give you a very cost effective reinvig for your mages, and getting to E9 is again cheap enough to potentially be worth it.


(my apologies about the Curse comment, I feel that most people do overlook Death bless with most nations, and just thought I'd throw that in there as a general consideration )
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