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Old June 14th, 2008, 07:42 AM

kasnavada kasnavada is offline
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Default Thoughts on EA Abyssia (guide)

I recently tried EA abyssia on a MP games and since there is next to no information about it in the strategy index, I thought I'd make a thread about it.

Abyssia, Children of flames. It certainly deserve its name more than anything, since it's about fire and more fire and even more fire.

MAKE THEM ALL BURN !

Contents :
1) General weaknesses and strengths.
2) Pretenders and scales.
3) Troops.
4) Commanders.
5) Generic magic advice and main goals.
6) Some tactics.

1) General weaknesses and strengths.

Ok, let's start with the obvious weaknesses :
- no archery.
- no cavalry.
- no light units.
- slow units.
- burns and generally hampers the effectiveness of every non-abyssian troops (most are not immune to fire).
- troops cost a lot of ressources.
- little sacred capabilities.
- next to no magic diversity.
- warlocks and warlock apprentices, demonbred and misbred, anointed of Rhuax and burning ones are capital only.
- troops have next to no defense.
- mages are old, and that's before the penalty for fire magic is taken into consideration.
- huge encoumbrance.

Ouch. That's a lot. To make matter short, you have two types of unit : the heavy infantry and one of the heaviest infantry there is in all ages, but it's EA. And you have two types of mages outside of the capital.

Strengths :
- starts with 120 "free" extra points due to heat preferences.
- most of the mages you will recruit are sacred, good for offence and researching.
- great fire magic and priest power. You do start with a unit with 4/3 fire/holy out of the box.
- magic resistance is decent to good, around 12 for basic troops to 15 - 18 for most mages.
- access to astral and blood magic in your capital.
- flying assassins.
- 6 fire gems per turn produced at your capital.
- all of your units have darkvision 50 or more.

That's it. You've got strong points but huge weaknesses. The main one is that there isn't a lot that you can do, the fighting capability of Abyssia are predictable, at least with the national units.

2) Pretenders :
The ones I find useful are :
- fountain of blood if you use it for blood hunting (find a way move first though...) because it reliably give you about 18 slaves / turn for little cost,
- wyrm because it's disposable and most of your commanders are priests, so you can send to die and it's going to be back,
- cyclops and scorpion king for the SC capabilities, build-in fire immunity and earth access,
- phoenix for the easy air access and immortality,
- ghost king or great enchanteress for a rainbow pretender,
- prince of death because it's the prince of death.

After that it's your choice. Going for a strong bless is quite useless since Abyssia doesn't have a lot of sacred troops, but getting a minor nature bless could be useful.

As far as scales are concerned, I find those more or less mandatory :
- magic,
- heat,
- productivity.

Order is also a pretty good choice since mages tend to cost a lot to buy but little upkeep : you will therefore be able to recruit a lot of them and possibly "outmage" your opponent this way. Don't forget that you have no useless mage, all of them can be used in combat and research the next turn !

As far as dominion is concerned, going to 5 enables you to recruit enough burning ones at your capital to put ressources to zero after you start building some temples (it costs 40/unit). Going to ten might be useful for your pretender though, awe is always good for a SC.

3) Troops.

You have 4 different types of infantry. All have the exact same stats except they have a different weapon may have a shield. They are powerful against most ennemy units due to two factors : their high protection and fire aura just protects them from most damage, and they also have high strength and hp (15). Not much more to say, it's an heavy infantry in EA when most of your opponents do not have heavy infantry to block it.

The Burning Ones are an upgraded sacred version of that infantry, with 18 str, 15 attack skill, 18 morale and 17 protection and a 6 AP fire shield. Just building about 15 of them is enough to take on most independants with no losses, and enough to take the other independants with a few losses. That is when they are not blessed. They also are berserkers +3 (remainder : berserk +3 adds +3 to str, attack skill and protection, -3 to defense and adds to fatigue). Those units just scream for a bless. But they are capital only.

Abyssia's infantry weaknesses are poison arrows (since poison is a secondary damage and ignores protection and shield, it hits regarless), emcumbrance and slow speed. Most of the time the fight just lingers because your troops just don't catch your opponent (you are too slow for that). That makes most attack spell from mages effective against them too, because they take so long to catch their opponents.

Salamander : I don't see the point of this unit. It has no protection, and dies too fast. It may have a few uses from time to time, but usually you'd prefer 1 mage to 2 salamanders. It does hit hard though, but only in melee (when it dies fast). If it could spit fire at mid range it would be a good unit. They are also magic beings, which makes their use difficult.

Misbred : it flys, is stealthy, and old. That means you don't can't to use them for long, rather use for raiding. Sadly, its stats are much like the weak caelum infantry, except it's twice as expensive. It may have situational use, such as patrolling a castle to block assassins. You don't really have any other way to do it anyway.

Special units :
Abyssia has 2 special summons :
- spectral infantry. It's about as strong as a regular infantry, except its ethereal instead of having defence, is undead, and immune to poison, and has mapmove 3. Sadly it's difficult to summon since it requires death / fire to cast and 5 death gems (there are better use for those). Death / fire isn't the easiest to find with independants and not native to abyssian mages either, which makes them rather situationnal in my opinion. If you find a death mage early and have loads of fire gems, I would consider empowering him to spam them, but that's about it. Their weapon, the spectral axe is magic though. Note that none of your fire-mages have any skill at leading undead, so you will either have to summon a undead leader or rely on your blood mages.

- Scorpion man. A very good unit all around, with great stats : 42 hp, 21 protection, 14 str, attack and defense skill, 12 precision... it has 2 ranged attack (magic bow causing disease and range fear attack), cause fear, and has 3 melee attacks too, with 1 death poison and 1 magic weapon. It's also sacred and has mapmove three. Sadly, it costs 12 earth gem, and requires conjuration 8.

4) Commanders.

- Slayer.
The abyssian "scout" is a slayer, an assassin with rather low goldcost. Mapmove two. It doesn't have heavy armor so it's pretty much pointless to use him since the demonbred is nearly as expensive but flys. But, it's available at any fortress, unlike the demonbred.

- Warlord.
Regular commander. This one has 17 protection though, maybe it's useful fitted as a thug. I'd rather recruit a mage at forts though.

- Beast trainer.
Same as warlord with less regular leadership, magic leadership (he can move the salamanders around, great...).
EDIT : The animal awe 3 capacity it might be useful against elephant rushes (quoted from MaxWilson).

- Anathemant salamander.
Your basic mage, I call them fire-priest, 2 fire / 1 holy. He can spam anything from fireball to incinerate and will do so with great skill. 4 research for 130 gold and sacred. Too bad he's got bad precision (9). They can lead a decent amount of troops, but being abyssia you don't have large amount of troops. Phoenix power makes him as strong as the dragon for spellcasting.

- Anathemant dragon.
Second version of fire-priest, wth 3 fire and 2 holy. 10 precision. More or less the same as the first one except he can cast much more interesting spells out of the box : flare, fire from afar, fire cloud, falling fire... Phoenix power makes him a bit stronger, so he can cast living fire or heat from hell..

That's it for non-capital mages.
- Warlock apprentice.
Weak version of the warlock, with 1 blood. It's useful and cheap for blood hunting, and not much else. He's not cost effective as a researcher since he's not sacred.

- Warlock.
It is your main astral mage, and a minor chance of having magic diversity. You have 10% chance of getting earth, blood, astral or fire on top of 1 astral and 2 blood. The 2 useful ones are blood or astral in my opinion, since you already have earth/fire with the annointed. But one chance out of 20 to get them is far too unreliable. One in astral enables them to look for astral sites though, so you can easily empower one and start your way in astral magic. It's also old, so don't build too many unless you can keep them alive with boots of youth (construction 4 and blood 2 to make).

- Demonbred. A stronger version of an assassin compared to the slayer. It also flys and has decent str, attack and defence skill. Make a few of them strong thugs and assassinate, your opponent will have to choose between losing a few commanders or a lot of troops. Also remember that assassination happens before patrolling and moving.

- Anointed of Rhuax.
Your stronger firepriest, 4/3/1 fire holy earth. He can make useful stuff like fire brands out of the box. He can also make all fire boosters, gleaming shield and rods of the phoenix. He's also your main battle mage because he can cast firestorm with only one booster. He can also in earliest times cast magma bolt.

Using one of them to look for holy sites might pay in the long run.

5) Generic magic advice and main goals.

Your main goals are : strong evocation magic, then diversity.

The strength of Abyssia is mages and fire. You will fall if your opponent throws gets too many fire immune stuff at you, and will burn away the rest mostly effortlessly. Undeads and demons are the most vulnerable to you because nearly all of your mages are priests. That's good because demons are the biggest source of fire-immune creatures there is. The fact that your units are immune to fire enables your to cast any fire spell without regards for consequences.

In my opinion, spells to look for are :
- incinerate,
- magic duel,
- fireball,
- falling fire,
- flames from the sky,
- flame storm,
- pillar of fire...

Basically, ensure that your non-capital mages are useful.
EDIT : dirtywick proposes thaum 2 for Bonds of Fire. I find it an excellent advice. Furthermore you will probably go to thaum 2 for site searching spells anyway.

Second : ensure that your diversify your magic.
It's easy for you to get into astral. With a starshine skullcap, and the light of the northern star your warlocks can be a useful addition that will take care of your opponents that are immune to fire. Using annointed to smite can also be a solution.

Don't ever forget that you have access to blood. You should use it. Battlefield blood magic isn't very useful to Abyssia because blood slaves burn, and you need to be very careful about placing them.

Main items for abyssian are in my opinion
- ring of fire resistance : all your thugs will probably have enough items to protect them but by equiping every non-abyssian mage like a thug is a waste of time.
- antimagic amulet,
- luck amulet,
- fire brand,
- phoenix rod (I love to use regular commanders as incinerate spammers), especially since they have a better precision... than your mages),
- lifelong contracts,
- boots of youth,
- lightless lanterns (no idea why I forgot those... thanks guys ).

6) Some tactics and tips.

1) Troopless Abyssia
The point is that your troops are slow and unusable for fast reaction. Let's not build them at all and rely on PD to defend your province ! They are also slow and unusable for fast reaction, but don't use upkeep and don't hold your important mages back home. Nor require micromanaging.

For that to work though, you will need to have an army to attack, I would suggest using a minor bless on the burning ones and focussing building only burning ones and mages. Starting a blood economy early is a must, since lifelong contracts exist. It works the same as PD does (gives you fresh units every fight) and eventually gives you enough imps to matter. Abyssia main attacks rely on destroying anything that's not fire immune on the field and getting your mages to survive until then. That's a good solution for it ! Remember though when blood hunting that you don't have cheap native patrollers though, so either rely on the misbred anyway or use a low tax unrest strategy.

The fountain of blood can be a nice addition to this strategy. Not only it can cast the most powerful spells easily, it also has a bonus to slave searching. Move it into a province having about 8000 population, build a lab and enjoy the 17+ slaves a turn coming you way. I would suggest at least B9A2 for this, so you can also cast infernal tempest. My best choice would be B9A2N4 : the reason I rely on burning ones is that they are sacred, and making them regenerate makes them immune to most poison. It also enables your to get "undying" mages due to disease if they fight enough (a lot of of your mages are old but since you regenerate during battle even if diseased they don't die from that if you fight enough).

Another idea would be to use a rainbow pretender. That way you still don't rely on your troops but summon what you need.

2) Site searching.
Don't forget that holy sites exists !

EDIT :
3) Blood and earth.
Another reason to focus on blood is because you will be able to cast Magma Eruption in battle. Definitely not one of the spells that your opponent expects from Abyssia. You do need 3 earth for that, that means earth boots and blood stone on annointed. creating a large amount of blood stones also boosts a lot your earth income, eventually enabling you to cast spells such as crumble (remember that you don't have many units), if you have a mage with enough magic (an annointed with earth boot and blood stone can call a trool king).

Finally getting such a earth factory started is a prerequisite if you want to use the scorpion man mentionned a bit earlier.

4) Fever fetish.
You already have a lot of fire gems with abyssia. That's not a reason good enough so you don't make even more. Find a nature shaman and empower him, and you have made your fetish factory.

5) The value of a death bless for EA Abyssia.
(taken from the MA thread)
The extra damage has no value (now that's out of the way) since your units deal enough damage by themselves. The point isn't, either, to use them with Burning ones : if your Burning Ones, which are hard to mass, die, you are probably in a pinch.

The point is afflictions, and mages. Fire storm is a really, really good with a blessed caster (and you will have mages capable of blessing themselves). Basic affliction chance is, AFAIK, equal to the percentage of damage dealed over the hit points of the creature hit. With 300% chance of affliction, it means that anything that hits for 25% or more damage automatically gives an affliction to the person hit (outside of regenerating creatures). Which is exactly what fire storm does to the surviving units. But, the combo doesn't end here. "Map" spells such as flame of the sky also have this capability. However, you will need to either use your prophet (he's considered always blessed) or shroud of the battle saint, which has the same effect. It requires S1 to build, so you can have a lot of them ready for little cost. The prince of death is perfect for such a task since the fear effect is boosted by death magic on the pretender, making him into a even more capable SC.

7) Comments on demonbreds from JimMorrison :
"Also, Kasnavada, I think it's worth noting that Demonbred is in fact a superior assassin, especially due to flying. It can be very easy to get a couple in the HoF early in the game, and while it is a bit of a gamble, getting lucky on your heroics could make them a fearsome addition to your arsenal throughout the game.

I played a game for fun once where the first thing I did was crank out a few Demonbreds while taking provinces as normal. Then I had them move from province to province in the other direction, assassinating the indie commanders, while a Warlock followed behind, routing the indie army and then site searching. It felt dirty, but oh it was fun."


That's about it for my contribution. I'll add more if I think about it, and of course about you guys comments.

But, remember :

MAKE THEM ALL BURN !
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  #2  
Old June 14th, 2008, 07:43 AM

kasnavada kasnavada is offline
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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Reserved, in case of.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

i love ea abysia, but i see no way around a e9 cyclops...

perhaps im wrong
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Old June 14th, 2008, 08:20 AM

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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Good points. A couple of notes:

"berserk +3 adds +3 to str, attack skill and protection". And to encumbrance, and it subtracts 3 from defense (doesn't matter to Abysia). Note that the +3 to Protection is to base Protection, which combines with armor according to the formula overall Prot = BaseProt + ArmorProt * (1 - BaseProt/40).

Salamanders have AoE 1 which means they work well against high-Def units like Vans (they don't have to roll to hit). I haven't played much with Abysia but when you say Salamanders are fragile, are you using them alone or mixing in a handful with your heavy inf? They ought to be mixed.

Beast trainer's animal awe may be helpful against elephant rushes.

-Max
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Old June 14th, 2008, 08:22 AM

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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Yeah, E9 with the Anointed is the hotness. Pun intended.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 08:25 AM

Micah Micah is offline
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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Berserk doesn't add encumbrance directly from what I've seen, it just causes fatigue. Meaning you tire out from it while just moving. Might work better with quickness though, since it's likely only once/round instead of per action.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 09:22 AM

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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Ok, that is modified / added.

Salamanders : I used them a bit mixed and they just died alone while the heavy infantry stood. If alone, they just create a breach and die soon after if enemies are left.

They also just cost too much in my opinion.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 09:36 AM

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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

The problem with salamanders is that they have 20 fatigue, so they will go out very fast. And those misbreds aren't that useless - they fly and have a potent damage with 15 strength and a battleaxe.

Abysia has strong troops and good pd. They can take indypendants easily with their national troops. Their main problem is magic diversity and BoT.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 12:51 PM

kasnavada kasnavada is offline
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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

Another idea, death bless from the MA thread.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 03:21 PM

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Default Re: Thoughts on EA Abyssia

I'm no expert, but have played a fair bit of SP abysia in EA and MA this last week, preparing for my first MP game, and here are my thoughts.

I thought an E9 bless would be the way to go and played with it a few times. Yes, its great in the early game, your Burning Ones/Lava Warriors are devastating, but as capital only sacreds they lose relevance as the game progresses. Burning Ones won't number enough and are susceptible to AP attacks - crossbows are very painful for instance.

What you have left in terms of sacreds are mages, and really you need to use your mages in the mid to late game to get anywhere. While the reinvig is handy for them it isn't game-changing, and the protection is virtually worthless - if they are using it you have problems.

I'm trialling Astral now, 10 bless, and minor blesses of earth and blood. Twist Fate is very handy for your melee troops, the MR will presumably be excellent in MP, and I like astral as a school for your pretender, it seems to have one of the best set of Strike from a Distance spells, and is probably easiest to gather a lot of gems for. If you can do that (use your mages to search heavily for astral sites in the early game) Acashic Record becomes an option, helping to cover for your lack of magical diversity and letting you alchemise back into astral.

Given that you only really need fire gems (get plenty natively), astral gems (alchemise from everything else) and blood slaves for your magic, you should in theory be pretty much set.

Between earth, astral and blood you also get a lot of good combination spells to cast in the higher levels.

lastly, hopefully a 10S pretender will be a good mage killer from range in the late game

My one major problem so far is overcoming the very very poor precision of abysian mages (even worse in MA), given the complete lack of nature and air magic. Thankfully you can keep lobbing fireballs at the melee and your troops don't care if they get hit, but an awful lot of spells hit no-one at all.

One last comment - I find rushing for Constr 6 seems to be pretty useful. Lightless Lanterns, with your abundance of fire gems, pretty much double your research in one turn and make the other schools so much easier. Your troops are good enough to get you to this point without needing aggressive magic.

Any major flaws in this please let me know, it is mostly conjecture!
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