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Old June 2nd, 2008, 12:16 AM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Ashdod proto-guide

Hinnom/Ashdod/Gath center around the concept of a "few mighty men," that is, small armies that are much tougher than mere numbers would indicate. I haven't played much with Hinnom or Gath because I dislike blood nations, but Ashdod has a nice smattering of Earth/Death/Astral/Fire, with a touch of blood and nature in the summoning tree, and quite a lot of overall versatility. Here are some thoughts from my few days of playing around with Ashod.

In order to take the concept of a "few mighty men" to its logical extreme, i.e. one Adon soloing indy provinces on his own at the beginning, it is absolutely essential to have an E10 bless and some level of regen, preferably 10% (N6). This gives you functionally zero encumbrance. You might think that E9 is enough, but fatigue mounts quickly when your lone Adon is trying to solo 60 indies and with an E9 several Ahiman Anakite guards will be necessary. With E10N6 you can expand as quickly as you can accumulate Adonim. Be sure to take Heat-3 scales because the extra +2 encumbrance in Heat-3 provinces will not affect your Rephaite troops (which is everyone except humans and Edomites) as they are all 50% heat resistant.

Your units are pretty decent. The top-line recruitable-anywhere troop is the Bashanite, with 40 HP to the Gileadite's 35 and 26 damage to the Gileadite's 21 (but worse repel). The Bashanite is superior against most foes because of the additional chance of one-shot-kill, but the Gileadite is quite decent and has excellent morale. (Note that the Gileadite shows up in PD, 1 Gileadite and 1 Edomite per 2 PD, and 1/2 Gileadite Archer per 2 PD over 20.) Mix in human slave warriors to improve force density (Size 4 Bashanite + Size 2 human = full square) and reduce enemy defense. I haven't thought of a use for the Edomites or poison spear warriors yet--generally it's better to kill things outright than to poison them slowly, and the Edomites have fairly bad stats and poor morale. The Gileadite Archers have a bow that does 17 damage, but because of their high resource cost and gold cost, against all but the heaviest troops you're better off using Edomite javelineers and/or human slingers. (The fluff text notes that the Gileadite archers showed their worth against the Abysians by picking off their mages at long range. I can buy that, but it's a niche use.) Overall, Ashdod troops are fairly expensive and easily swarmed, and you'll outright lose any pure slugging match against a conventional-arms power like EA Ulm. However...

Ashdod troops have high HP and decent (13) Prot. They make excellent blockers for Ashdod's nifty battlemages, the Zamzummites and Rephaite Sages and Talmai Elders. Ashod can forge the Skull of Fire and Flame Helmet to get up to F5 reliably. They can forge Earth Boots to get E4, and in the late game can bootstrap to Bloodstones and E5 via Banquet for the Dead. They can forge Skull Staffs and Skullfaces to get up to D6, and forge Starskine Skullcaps and Crystal Coins for up to S5. Any of these limits can actually be exceeded because Ashdod can also forge Rings of Sorcery and Wizardry. (S3 Talmai Elder forges Starshine Skullcap, gives it to an S1E2 Zamzummite, which is 1 in 8, who forges a Crystal Coin and gives it back to the Talmai Elder who is now S5, and forges a Ring of Sorcery, which is used with the above to forge a Ring of Wizardry.) 1 Zamzummite in 4 will have Astral magic so he can participate in communions with 1/3 Rephaite Sages and 1/3 Talmai Elders, but it's more likely that large communions will happen by way of Zamzummite-forged Crystal Matrices. Fire magic is especially interesting to Ashdod because almost all troops are resistant to fire and have good armor. Evocation magic in general is pretty solid for Ashdod, because Zamzummites are sacred (I mentioned an E10 bless?) and all mages have decent precision (10 except for Talmai Elder's 9), and there won't be much damage to Ashdod's large (i.e. widely-spaced), high-HP troops.

Here's a breakdown of Zamzummite randoms and what they can be used for. Zamzummite base is 1E2D + 100% (E/D) + 100% (E/D/S/F).

1/8, +FD: Banefire.
1/8, +FE: Magma Eruption.
1/8, +SD: Nether Darts, or thugging, or communions. (See below.)
1/8, +SE: Gift of the Heavens, or communions.
1/4, +ED: Terror, Leeching Darkness, skelly spamming, or thugging.
1/8, +DD: Cloud of Death.

Thugging is also an option. For starters, as mentioned, an Adon with the right bless can solo indy provinces naked. Talmai Elders have forge bonus (15), and Adonim and Talmai Elders have full slots + 1 extra misc slot. Zamzummites can do Summon Earthpower/Invulnerability/Soul Vortex, or Body Ethereal/Ironskin/Soul Vortex, depending on randoms.

One particularly interesting possibility is a linebacker communion (kudos to Baalz's Guide for the term). Give four or five Slave Matrices (5 earth, 5 pearls) to various Adonim and/or Zamzummites. Have the communion masters cast some or all of the following: Personal Luck, Summon Earthpower, Invulnerability, Ironskin, Fire Shield, Phoenix Pyre, Soul Vortex. With high HP and a good bless they will be much more durable than most linebacker communion thugs. Zamzummites have fairly poor attack ratings, so either give them good weapons or else... Boots of the Behemoth (5 gems). Size 4 tramples size 2 twice per turn, but fortunately between E10 bless and Summon Earthpower you'll have reinvig 9, which is more than enough to overcome the 6 fatigue you'll pick up per turn of trampling (Zamzummite has enc 3 naked).

Supply is one weak point of Ashdod troops. Most troops have at least Gluttony-1, and Ahiman Anakites have Gluttony-5 and take 9 supply to feed. I'm not sure what wasteland survival does because I definitely had troops starving in wastelands. Perhaps it reduces the requirements slightly but it's still painful.

And of course there are a lot of great national summons, like the Arel with Healer (50) and the Ophanim and Chayot (Call Merkavah). But I haven't gotten to an endgame with Ashdod so I'll just note the possibilities for now.

-Max
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  #2  
Old June 2nd, 2008, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

i have trouble with the scales when i want an e10/n6 bless. growth and drain seem very hurtful to me

what pretender chassis do you plan for this strategy ?
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:57 AM

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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Imprisoned cyclops. YMMV of course, but I am enjoying an E10N6 Cyclops with Order-3 Misfortune-3 Growth-3 Magic-2 Heat-3 Sloth-3. Ashdod is very production-heavy but Prod wasn't all that useful in my tests. In my current game I have ~120 Prod in my capital--I buy one Ahiman Anakite per turn plus enough slingers to use up the rest of my resources--and moving from Sloth-3 to Prod-0 would have cost 120 points and let me buy ~3 Ahiman Anakites per turn, or else buy 5 or 6 Sheshai Anakites. For the other troops you would just build more forts, so Prod is basically about producing more troops in your capital. Since I like battlemages more than armies of sacreds that didn't seem like a fun-optimal tradeoff to make, but if it had I could have traded Magic and some Growth to get Prod-0. (Growth is another dubious choice that happens to be fun for me, but has kind of a bad rep in MP.)

-Max

P.S. My house rules are that magic/drain is 1 RP per scale, like the Conceptual Balance Mod. Don't take Magic-2 unless you're doing something similar; Magic-1 and Magic-3 are cost-optimal in vanilla Dom3.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 04:34 AM

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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Sorry, can't agree at all. I have now played about 20 games (sp) with the various hinnon, ashdod, gath races - and find them very very different, despite outward similarities.

The production requirements for gath are so heavy that I don't believe it really does follow a few mighty man approach. Rather I believe you will do better with a levite/benjamite bless approach, transitioning directly to a thug/SC. Try a Air/Earth dual bless.

Yes, I know air is considered a weak bless. However, in this case, nature is inferior due to low hp (for giants anyway) high scale requirements. Additionally, you have units which will allow you to heal afflictions.

Interestingly, I too did arrive at the Misfortune 3 setting as well. Your PD is good enough to handle much of the resulting problems- with spammed fortune teller mages.

Similiarly, for Hinnon, I believe you are best served without a bless strategy at all. Your troops are so strong, and your potential end game thugs ditto - that you do not need the bless. Rather a awake pretender + trampler rush looks almost unbeatable.

The three races seem very distinct to me - and progressively weaker.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:25 AM

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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Chris,

Can you elaborate on where you disagree? I agree that Hinnom and Gath look very different from Ashdod.

-Max
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 12:17 PM
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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Quote:
chrispedersen said:
Rather a awake pretender + trampler rush looks almost unbeatable.

I've seen this sentiment elsewhere, but I just don't see it. Their tramplers have 25 hp, cost 75 gold and very high resources. That means a rush is going to see a very low amount of hitpoints in it - you can't afford too many and they've got very low hp compared to elephants. That means any 1) High damage dealers (halberds, greatsword, etc.) or 2) AP (xbows!) or AN (low level lighting spells!) will drop them like flies.

Anyway, yeah they can be good, but depending on the nation elephants are way scarier in a low research (rush) environment.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 01:05 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

There aren't any crossbows to my knowledge in EA, so that's not an issue in vanilla Dom3 (although I personally prefer Single-Age Mod). Low-level lightning spells will require lots of mages (I'm assuming the attack/Shock Wave trick is not an option against tramplers), who would rather be doing other things like researching. So I don't see lightning spells dropping them quite like flies--it's be a fair fight IMHO, maybe slightly biased toward Hinnom depending upon the cost of the air mages. I agree that high damage dealers are likely to clean the chariots' clocks on a goldcost basis.

-Max
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 02:31 PM

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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

I'm going from memory - but my memory says that they are defense 16 prot 16.

I view the game in three or four phases. First phase - you want to expand against indies, as fast as possible without becoming a target.

The only time I have had problems with these tramplers is against cavalry that flanked and attacked the commander; against elephants, against the unusual site powers - for example the three air mages that throw orb lightning.

In other words.. very rarely. Balance that - strat move 3, with a strat move 3 commander. I have no problem saying that in time you will want to move to the sacreds. But for the initial phase of the game, I find them very cost effective.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 03:16 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Defense 14 Prot 16 HP 24 IIRC. And yes, they stomp all over indies. But then again, lots of things do. A nation which doesn't have an effective expansion army has problems, and probably has to take an awake SC pretender.

-Max
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:55 PM

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Default Re: Ashdod proto-guide

Quote:
MaxWilson said:
Chris,

Can you elaborate on where you disagree? I agree that Hinnom and Gath look very different from Ashdod.

-Max
I think the nation is intended to create SC's. You have great access to death, astral, and good access to earth, and fire.

You have a forge bonus.

You have great, unique heroes, and incredible summons.

Try +3 -1 +3 +2 -x +3 imprisoned oracle with something like a s9, x4, n6 magic path.

Research conjuration first all the way up to acashic record. Spam that to generate gem income. You can also dark knowledge for death sites.

Followup with construction till dwarven hammers. Vice versa if you get good gem income early.
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