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Old March 12th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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Baalz Baalz is offline
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Default Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

This is a guide to early era Mictlan, though much of it is also applicable to late era. Middle era Mictlan is a nation best reserved for sado-masochists as they loose all the best things about being Mictlan. (edit: MA Mictlan has since been overhauled and now has their own charm)

The philosophy needed to successfully play Mictlan is different from most of the other nations. First and foremost Mictlan is the most powerful blood nation in the game, but to properly leverage this strength takes a well managed strategy of balance and planning. Mictlan’s blood economy will drive a lot of power in the mid and late game and fortunately cheap and effective holy units carry them through the early game. First, let take a look at the national units available to recruit.

Warrior – The warriors come with either slings or javelins and are either lightly or not armored. They are not very effective in combat, though they are the only nationally recruitable archers. Clearly Mictlan will not win any archery contests, and generally these units will only be used as chaff. The unarmored warriors are, however, easily massable and can be effective against opponents who have a weakness to archery (slow infantry with no shields and light armor). They can also be an effective vehicle for the flaming arrows spell, though their range is not great.

Feathered warrior – Expensive and not very useful. He does carry a standard though, so I guess you could use him if you’re having moral problems. Generally you won’t be though, as the bulk of your army will be blessed sacred troops.

Jaguar Warrior – The Jaguar Warrior is the backbone of the Mictlan recruitable army. On first glance he may not strike you as anything special, but he has a couple of traits which make him shine. First and foremost is the fact that he is holy, and this is the reason a good bless is critical for Mictlan. His sword is pretty good, dealing 18 damage once you factor in his strength, and this damage output can be increased with a good bless. He also will transform into a were-jaguar when critically wounded. This is really effective at giving the jaguar warriors some staying power because it effectively gives them a lot more hit points than most humans and makes it impossible to kill them with a single hit regardless of how much damage is done. When in were-jaguar form they have three attacks, which is a very nice thing to have with a good blessing. Finally, they not only are practically free from a resource point of view, they are also recruitable from any castle, not just your capital. Their effectiveness, price, and ease to mass make the Jaguar warrior the mainstay of Mictlan’s early game army. What they lack in durability of some of the other nations high caliber sacred troops, they make up for it in numbers. One bonus not a lot of people know about is that when shape shifting involuntarily (as the Jaguar Warriors do when critically wounded, and at the end of combat when the shift back to human) there is a pretty good chance to heal afflictions.

Eagle Warrior – An excellent supplement to the jaguar warrior core of your army, Eagle Warriors give Mictlan a good answer to the Jaguar Warrior’s main weaknesses, archers and mages. Unfortunately the Eagle Warriors are only recruitable in your capital, and are holy, so you will have a limited amount of them. Also, they clearly illustrate by contrast the survivability advantage that the Jaguar Warriors shape change gives them. Eagle Warriors are effective, but they have a high attrition rate which compounds the difficulty in recruiting and relegates the Eagle Warriors to a supporting role to be rolled out mostly just for decisive battles.

Sun Warrior – another capital only holy warrior that is eclipsed by the jaguar warrior in almost every way. They are much more resource intensive than the jaguar warriors, and their extra armor doesn’t really give them any more survivability because of the jaguar warrior’s extra hit points. To top it off, they’re much slower than the Jaguar warriors.

Now, the commanders:

Scout- nothing special, he scouts

Tribal King – the only non-mage commander, useful for shuttling troops around, though you’ll usually need a priest to bless your holy troops so your priest kings will do most of the leading of real troops. Can also levy slaves, though the slaves are mostly useless in combat other than as arrow catchers.

Mictlan Priest – this inauspicious guy is actually in my opinion the best unit it Miclan’s arsenal. Why do I make such a claim about such a small mage? I’ll explain in detail below, but this is the engine to Mictlan’s blood economy, and a darn good one. They are very cost effective researchers (particularly with a magic scale). They only cost 60 gold and are holy so are cheap to maintain, and are recruitable everywhere. You’ll want to amass as many of these guys as you can, you can never have enough. On top of blood hunting and researching, they are useful in a several situations because you’ll have so many of them. Calling back a god is a sinch. Hoards of undead, no problem. Lots of archers giving your jaguar warriors grief? Send in a dozen Mictlan Priests scripted to cast summon imp a couple times. Use them as Sabbath slaves for your bigger mages. I just love these little guys.

Nahaulli – A versatile supplement to Mictlan’s early game, when they shape change into a turkey they have a mesmerize attack which (if they fail a mage resistance check) causes an enemy to attack the closest person, friend or foe. This can be a surprisingly effective supplement to early expansion, and the fact that they can fly means you can easily shift them around to whatever army needs the most help. Really their biggest drawback is if you’re recruiting a Nahaulli you’re not recruiting a Mictlan Priest. You’ll want to script them to “stay behind troops”, if you give them the “fire” order they’ll advance into melee when their ammo of 5 is expended! These guys are a lot more useful if you research alteration a bit so they can buff your units’ protection, but this comes as an unfavorable tradeoff to some other critical research that needs to be done early.

Priest King – High leadership and able to bless your sacred troops, this will be the general for most of your human troops. He’s the only real mage you’ve got that isn’t old. Same as the Nahaulli, alteration lets him give your lightly armored troops a good bit more staying power.

Rain Priest – This is your water mage you’ll use to do water mage thingies.

Moon Priest – This is your astral mage, use him to do astral thingies.

Sun Priest – kinda expensive and prone to disease because he’s old, but he does several important things for you. He’s a level three priest, so he can throw down a divine blessing which is nice when you start having larger armies of holy units. He’s also a level three blood mage, so just one empowering will allow him to forge brazen vessels, which unlocks all the blood you need (give the brazen vessel to a priest king to forge armor of twisted thorns, or to another sun priest if this one gets diseased and dies, or to a rain priest to summon ice devils, or a moon priest to send horrors, or give it to this one to get a level 5 blood mage which lets you cast ritual of the five gates and infernal disease).

Briefly, some of the more important summons:

Beast Bats – summonable by all those Mictlan Priests so you can get a bunch of them in a hurry if you need to. Holy so they can take advantage of your nice blessing.

Jaguar Fiends – What’s not to like? Flying, sacred, fairly cheap and pretty wicked when properly blessed. Only downside is your only option to summon them is the expensive sun priest or one of the rare Mictlan Priests who get a random pick in fire so you’ll probably have trouble getting too many.

Tzitzzimitl – kinda hard to mass, but very effective artillery versus high protection troops.

Tlahuelpuchi – AWESOME assassin, any of your big priests can summon, and not too expensive so you can crap out a bunch real quick if you see somebody who doesn’t yet appreciate the benefits of bodyguards. They fly, assassinate, and are blood mages, so give them a couple blood slaves and script (depending on research and situation) summon imp, hellbind heart, or leech.

Onaqui – very good support summon. Let your Ice/Arch devils be the front line damage dealers, this guy should sit at home doing magely things and auto-summoning beast bats.

Hoard from Hell – some nations have real difficulty dealing with the imps and you can summon them remotely wherever there isn’t much defense.

For your pretender design, here are the things you want to keep in mind. Taking sloth is as close to a no-brainer as you get in Dominions as Mictlan really doesn’t have much use for resources. Once you start blood hunting you’ll be setting the tax rate in many of your provinces to 0% to keep the unrest in check, so taking turmoil scales will affect you less than other nations. Taking a single scale in magic is a pretty effective way to make use of those Mictlan Priests. Luck is usually a nice thing to take when you’re taking turmoil because of the synergy, and it also gives you a better chance of getting Mictlan’s national heroes which unlock magic paths you otherwise might have trouble getting. You’ll want a fairly high dominion so that you can recruit lots of holy units, and of course you’ll want to carefully consider what blessing you want. Depending on what tradeoffs you want to make you can even have a triple blessing, and don’t fail to consider the fourth level blessings (particularly fire, blood and water). Most of the blessings work well with Mictlan’s troops, though the earth blessing doesn’t do much for you because the troops are so lightly armored. Outside of blessing considerations, taking high levels of astral and blood allow some powerful blood spells, and earth is something Mictlan has a hard time getting if it’s not on their pretender.

Ok, now that we’ve examined the starting lineup, let’s discuss what you’re going to do with it. With a decent bless, your holy warriors are good but their strength lies in numbers. This, combined with the fact that you’re going to want as many Mictlan Priests/ Nahaulli you can get means that you’re going to want to get additional castles as fast as possible. The philosophy you need when playing Mictlan is one of elegant minimalism, you need to consider every piece of gold you spend. Instead of recruiting units, you’ll often want to save that gold for another castle or (later) blood hunting, and this requires planning ahead. When I say that Mictlan’s holy troops rely on numbers I mean that on the scale of holy units- your army size will be a small elite army compared to more conventional armies. Always keep in mind that they are just the first stage rocket meant to get you to the real jewels, so don’t invest an inappropriate amount into them. What you really want to do is get to the blood magic as fast as possible without sacrificing the early growth of your nation.


***Blood hunting***

The thing to keep in mind when going blood hunting is that there is an opportunity cost to it– the gold you could have had if you weren’t doing it. This is quite different than other gems which are more of a bonus – there is no trade off. What this means as far as your strategy is that whenever you “convert” a province from giving you gold to giving you blood slaves you need to adjust how your economy functions. Every time you crank up your blood slave flow, you need to adjust the rest of your strategy to the lower gold flow to keep from grinding to a halt.

In a practical sense, that means the more you blood hunt, the less you can recruit troops for gold. Done properly you can switch recruiting nationals for summoning demons (a pretty good trade off), but done haphazardly your economy will crash leaving you unable to support enough of an army to defend yourself.

You’ll generally want to do minimal blood hunting initially, use your gold for troops and your mages for researching. Always keep in mind when you start blood hunting you’re giving something up, so don’t do it until you can get a payback greater than the cost. What this point is depends on what your strategy is, but will generally be a certain level of research in construction or blood. Also keep in mind that there is going to be a lag from when you start blood hunting to when you get that payback, so switching to blood hunting when in an intense war is a decision that takes quite a bit of thought.

Another thing to keep a close eye on when you start giving your gold economy the axe is upkeep. If your upkeep is running 40% of your income you’re fine, but if you cut your gold income in half when you start blood hunting suddenly you don’t have enough gold to replace that lab that just burned down because your upkeep is 80%. Mages in particular, but don’t recruit any troops just because you’ve got the resources for it. Once you switch to blood let the demons be the workhorses. This is something you have to start managing BEFORE you start blood hunting, even if you have the gold laying around think about it before you buy every unit. This is why you want to keep most of your troops sacred, and your army size relatively small. Of course, this isn’t an either-or question, you can crank your blood up just a bit and keep some gold flowing in, but you’ve always got to keep in mind that balance.

As far as where to blood hunt, basically how it boils down is that there is no difference in the blood slaves you get for any population over 5000, so blood hunting in a 10k population province will get you the same blood slaves as the 5k province, but (all other things being equal) will cost you twice as much gold. The other thing to keep in mind to is depending on your scales, and if you're patrolling to reduce unrest your population may be dropping, so if you start hunting in provinces real close to 5k you could drop under that before long and you start getting diminishing returns.

Where to blood hunt depends on a couple things. Always start with the provinces closest to 5k (with no mines or other gold boosting sites) as these will be the "cheapest" blood slaves. As you start wanting more and more blood slaves, start moving up the chain to higher and higher population provinces but keep in mind each one will have a higher cost in gold than the one before it. How high you go really depends on the strategy you’re following, you’re almost always going to need some gold so this is where you need to focus on balance. If you're going for a very tight blood focus (a good strategy with Mictlan), I find that in very general terms by the time I end up putting blood hunters in the territories close to 10k population my gold income has dropped to the point that I enter more of my “blood mode” and stop really recruiting troops (including blood hunters) and instead save the little gold I get for buying mages for specific needs and building labs and temples. By that time you’ve got enough blood slaves coming in that you can get a good amount of summoning done every round to compensate.

On blood hunting the provinces under 5k it’s more a question of the upkeep cost of the blood hunters because the gold income hit isn’t as much. This is where the Mictlan Priests really shine. They’re so damn cheap, I find it’s also worthwhile to put them in the 4k-5k population provinces as well, and even occasionally the sub 4k ones. You won’t get quite as many blood slaves (4/5 the blood slaves for a 4k population), but when your blood hunters cost 60 gold and are holy you’re not paying much for the blood slaves either. And again, it all depends on what your other options are, how valuable the blood slaves are to you, how easy it is to defend those blood hunters, what other territories you have, etc.

The thing to keep in mind is that you’re always “paying” gold for blood slaves, you just need to decide what price you’re willing to pay. The more blood slaves you want, the more expensive they are…but getting to the point that you’re sucking in 100+ blood slaves a turn is a pretty sweet spot if you can do it while remaining stable.

You’ll also need to keep in mind the protection of your blood hunters. Mictlan is very vulnerable to raiding by stealthy troops because your blood hunters are going to be spread out and not terribly effective at defending themselves unsupported. Place castles where you can, and pull your blood hunters inside them whenever you think you should to protect them. Ideally you’d like a castle on each province you’re blood hunting, but in practice that’s usually not feasible because of your restricted gold income. The 8th level blood spell Three Red Seconds is an expensive way to place castles using blood slaves instead of gold, so that may be an option in the later stages of the game. Scripting all your blood hunters to retreat from the back row will save you a lot of grief if you start getting raided.

Here’s an example strategy to get your blood economy going:

It’s usually a good idea to research up to construction-4 before researching blood with Mictlan. The main reason is because up until around that point your mages are more useful researching than blood hunting. You don't need any blood summons immediately because your holy troops are tough enough to deal with whatever they need to initially, and you're capitol's natural income is enough to keep you blood sacrificing at first. The nice thing about using all those Mictlan priests to research is that the very turn that you finish researching construction-4 they can all forge themselves sanguine rods (which doubles their blood hunting effectiveness). Obviously you don't have many blood slaves at that point since you haven't been blood hunting, but you can easily have at least 15 ready by that time time by limiting how much you blood sacrifice and stockpiling the blood slave income from your capitol. From that point more or less send three new blood hunters with sanguine rods out each turn (aim to have three castles at this point as well), each "squad" setting up in a new province. Drop the tax rate to 0%, and place a lab there.

So, how this works out is that just as you start having blood slaves flowing in you've still got a decent chunk of mages researching (blood now), so you start hitting those good blood spells relatively soon and with blood slaves in the bank. Also, since you've hit con-4 you can forge skull mentors and/or owl quills if you've gotten one of the national heroes (quite likely if you’ve taken high luck scales).

Compare this with researching straight for blood. If you do that, you've got to split your mages between research and blood hunting (no point in having spells you can't cast!) - and the blood hunters are half as effective without the sanguine rods. No owl quils or skull mentors to help you out, and you're taking an immediate hit to your gold while you're sill relying on your national troops to take out the indies. I guess you could make this work, but it seems much more of an uphill battle to me.

**** Blood sacrificing ****

One interesting way that Mictlan is different than any other nation is that their dominion does not spread the same way. Other nations have their dominion (mostly) spread in four ways – from their god, from their prophet, from their temples, and from their preaching priests. Of these, only domain spread from the god works for Mictlan, and obviously this only kicks in once your god is awake. This can be a bit of a disadvantage, but if you’re aware of it and manage it you can turn it into an advantage under certain circumstances.

What Mictlan does have (along with a few other nations) is the ability to blood sacrifice. In order to blood sacrifice you need a priest (the more priestly the better), a temple, and some blood slaves. Your capital will give you a small blood slave income initially, it is vitally important that you immediately (turn 2) set a priest to blood sacrificing in your capital (you’ll need to give them some blood slaves initially, but they’ll restock themselves). The reason is because certain random events will decrease your dominion, and if it drops to 0 you lose! That means you definitely don’t want to sit around with the 1 dominion you start with. Also, as you start meeting other nations a very weak domain is just begging for stealth preachers/prophets/pretenders to come in and remove you from the game without spilling a drop of blood.

Now, that’s the downside. The upside is Mictlan can control the flow of their dominion spread like nobody else in the game. Dominion does not spread by itself, and you should think of blood sacrificers as concentrated temples that can be turned on or off(the higher their priestly level, the more concentrated). A priest of the sun wielding a jade dagger has the effect of 5 temples…you get a lot of flexibility. See “Mictlan tactics” below for an idea on how to use this offensively.

Mictlan often has crappy to very crappy scales in an effort to get a good blessing. Being able to control your dominion spread allows you (if it makes sense) to leave a portion of your empire outside your dominion. This can be a bit dangerous if you’re not careful as it usually means that someone else’s dominion will pile up in your territories, which will give you potentially several disadvantages fighting there and also make you more susceptible to someone trying to dominion kill you. If you’re careful though, you can do things like take death -3, drain -3 and move all your mages outside your dominion so they don’t suffer from it – or better yet benefit from your neighbor’s growth/magic scales.


****Mictlan tactics****

Here’s a grab bag of useful stuff Mictlan can pull. Of course there are lots of other things you can do, but here’s some of my favorites.

Either take a pretender with appropriate paths, or empower a sun priest and start cranking out the soul contracts. You’ll eventually have an unstoppable flow of free spawn devils every turn.

Either take a pretender with appropriate paths or empower an indie earth mage (or hellbind heart, or seduce with a succubus to get one), forge a dwarven hammer and start cranking out blood stones. It’s hard for Mictlan to get into the earth game, but they can easily become an earth powerhouse once they do by creating a huge earth gem income which doesn’t show up on the score graph (neither does blood slave income).

There are several blood magic sites which give you a significant (40-60%) reduction in cost to rituals. I think a lot of people neglect searching for blood sites because they are a lot less common but just think about the impact of having a 60% discount while pulling in 100+ blood slaves per turn. It's worth some effort to look for.

Summon an Onaqui, give him a brazen vessel and armor of twisted thorns. Set him to a monthly casting of ritual of the five gates. Do this 3 or 4 times depending on your blood slave flow. You’ve now got a steady flow of several different kinds of demons along with freespawning beast bats.

Ice/Arch Devil SCs, you can have a whole bunch. Give an ice devil a ring of tamed lightning (and all the usual gear) and let him lead those lightning and ice fiends you’re getting from the ritual of five gates. He can run forward to whack on stuff while frost and lightning rains all around him. Reverse that with the arch devils, let the swarm of heat immune devils and demon knights go forward as he rains flaming doom down around them. Alternatively give him mad reinvigoration with items, and have him phoenix pyre his way around the battlefield virtually indestructible.

Spam Rain of toads on enemy castles. Each casting raises the unrest by 40, so if you hit three at once that castle will be unable to recruit anything and take a big hit to income (perfect for the enemy capital). If you set one priest king (two if you think your enemy may try to patrol the province) to cast it every month at that point it’ll keep the castle locked down. This is very potent early on when your opponent may only have one or two castles. Follow the locking down of his castles with some hoards from hell on his high income farmlands. The combined effect from this will be a double whammy of a drastic reduction in his income, and an inability to recruit troops in his castles. The bonus is if he can’t deal with the imps they hang around and can keep taking provinces compounding the problem.

Give jade daggers to 3 or 4 of your priests (the more priestly the better). Bring them to your border and have them all build temples and start blood sacrificing. As your dominion score will probably be high for recruiting sacred units the effect will be drastic, sudden and (hopefully) unexpected by your opponent. Use this to get a quick dominion kill if you see a neighbor with a weak dominion. For example, 4 priests of the sun blood sacrificing with jade daggers will have an effect similar to 20 temples, with the bonus that those 20 temples are concentrated right on your border rather than spread out. It can sure push your dominion in a hurry if you’ve got a 10 dominion score!

Astral corruption, look into it. You’ll probably need your pretender to have the paths to cast it, but it’s one of those game-winner spells with the bonus that you should have enough blood slaves to make it practically un-dispellable.

Make sure you forge some boots of youth for all those old dudes you’ve got running your kingdom.

Mictlan province defense is mostly worthless up until 20 (though they are slingers, so they can inflict some damage on certain kinds of enemies), but every point above 20 gives you a Jaguar warrior, which will (hopefully) benefit from your righteous bless. 30-40 province defense isn’t cheap, but it does produce a credible threat with a good bless. This is certainly not going to stop a real army, but you can use it as a nasty surprise when an opponent is trying to attack your blood hunters or an apparently weaker army of yours. Plus, province defense doesn’t take any upkeep which really helps once you start blood hunting.



Well, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
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  #3  
Old March 12th, 2007, 05:07 PM
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Horst F. JENS Horst F. JENS is offline
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Excellent Guide, Baalz. Can i put it into the dominions3 wiki ?
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Old March 12th, 2007, 05:09 PM

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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Thanks man, good down to earth writeup for a Mictlan noob like myself. What do you recommend for a bless? W9 I'm assuming, but beyond that.. Fire, Nature or Blood? Maybe W9F9,N4 if swingable? I like the defensive staying power of E9W9N4, but as you said is the reinvig wasted?
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Old March 12th, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Nice start though I'm surprised you didn't mention the uber jag fiends in a Mict guide. Also, I'm not sure of the current validity of soul contracts. If I recall correctly, forge bonuses do not work on them anymore?

The "standard Mict bless" is f9w9. Usually extended by dominion controlled f9w9s9 (or air bless). You can actually get away with just a f9 IMO if you want to keep your scales. You troops still pack a punch but that's because I've never been fond of uber blesses usually.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 05:22 PM

Aleph Aleph is offline
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Nothing on the Civateteo? Summonable by a Tlahuelpuchi with a skull staff/ +1 empowerment, an exceptionally good leader for non-flying demons (is undead herself, +ranks in death and blood), has ethereal/life drain/fear/sacred, and can be set to reanimate longdead to add 0 upkeep chaff to pull Banishments off your 0 upkeep demons. Not bad for 25 blood.

I might also suggest a quick detour to Conjuration 1 after Construction 4 to grab Jaguar Toads. Nahaulli can spam these guys like mad, and they are sacred poison spitting tramplers (albeit fairly ineffective ones) for 1 nature gem apiece.

Very nice guide.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 07:42 PM
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Sure put it on the wiki, reproduce it wherever you want.

KissBlade, I did mention the jag fiends, just didn't go into much detail as it was already running long.

Aleph, I'm just not inspired by the Civateteo. By the time you get her she's competing for blood slaves against some really good stuff, and she doesn't bring much to the party. She doesn't have enough hit points to be a fighter, and doesn't have enough magic to be a good mage.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Jutrea, the thing about the Mictlan sacreds is you have to think of them much more like a brightly burning flame...they're not meant to last. No matter what you do, at the end of the day they're low protection without all that many hit points. The best defense is a good offense. Going with a earth bless is just cross purpose, and doesn't really buy you much. They don't have much encumbrance so the reinvig doesn't really help, and you're not really making a significant difference in their protection. I actually find that the astral bless is surprisingly effective at improving their staying power. The first hit is negated by the blessing, and at least one other hit is negated by the shape shifting, so you end up having to hit them many times to take them down (not easy if they've also got a water bless)...while they're wailing away at you with a huge sword quick sword. Plus, as I mention there are some other real good reasons to take astral.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Quote:
Baalz said:I actually find that the astral bless is surprisingly effective at improving their staying power. The first hit is negated by the blessing, and at least one other hit is negated by the shape shifting, so you end up having to hit them many times to take them down (not easy if they've also got a water bless)...while they're wailing away at you with a huge sword quick sword.
Firstly, excellent guide Baalz.

I agree with astral bless, twist of fate on your sacred warriors and on your sacred mage/priests really increases there surivability. Which saves you gold btw, always useful for Mictlan as Baalz points out. A S9W9 dual bless is I think on a par with F9W9.

Also you have a astral lvl 9 mage with your pretender which is fantastic for the end game.

The additional MR also helps your sacreds against magic later on and the shroud of the battle saint becomes a real bargain for 5S gems, combo it with boots of stone to get high protection as well, obviously difficult to do with a lack of earth but you never know.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: Guide to EA Mictlan and bloodhunting

Oh yeah, forgot to mention the MR buff really helps out the sacred demons more than the jaguar warriors.
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