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Old July 16th, 2008, 06:38 PM

triqui triqui is offline
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Default The Way of Mount Shinuyama

This will be a guide to a fun nation that is somewhat overlooked due to it's weak early game, which often leads to a weak position (province-wise) in middle game. However, the nation has some very powerful natural strengths, which you can employ in middle game to quicly become dominant. More important one, your powerful non-capitol Bakemono Sorceror, which is an impressive mage for it's cost, and has some hp and protection to survive scatter arrows and global damaging spells. How to make a decent early game is key to this nation, becouse if you enter in middle game with a proper sized nation, you will be a major powerhouse.

This guide will consist on:
1-Nation overview and pretender choice
2-Units overview
3-Early Expansion and Defense
4-Magic paths


Nation overview
Strengths


Very powerful and cost effective mages You have Two mages that are both a decent researcher for it's cost, decently outfitted to site-searching (both remote and manually), and with access to some interesting buffs. The Bakemono sorceror is specially good. With 4 spheres, he can have up to 3 in fire, death and earth (3 very good spheres, specially Death and Earth), and up to 2 in water. He is also a tough guy, and once you have solved his encumbrance (he is very old), namelly with Soul vortex or items, can make for a powerful thug, as he can cast some of the best and longer lasting self-buffs.

A massive archer army coupled with Flame arrows No other nation can field an army that has such amount of firepower. The very cheap Bakemono Archer, plus their heavy infantry wielding longbows, and lots and lots of F3 mages make for easy firing carnages.

Naturally good forging They have good access to several items that need 2 spheres of magic and are quite good, like firebrands, shadowbrands, charcoal shields or skulls of flame. Plus they can forge hammers without a sweat

Very good summonable thugs They have a very cost effective one (the Shura, Summon Ghost general spell), and a very powerful one (dai oni), which is more expensive though.

Clam forging Although they do not have natural access to astral, if they choose a pretender with Astral, they can have very good use of Astral pearls, as they can create a ton of Clams, which they can turn into rings of wizardry for their mages, or climb the ladder up to wish.

Weakness
Starting troops
Their troops are, bassically, weak and small goblins that fear combat and tend to run and die. They have a couple of exceptions to this, which are quite decent units, but expensive in resources. That mean they have to use production to be able to field a decent army.
No sacreds
Their lack of sacreds or trampling units mean they probably *need* an awake SC to be able to expand and, specially, to survive a rush. This mean they cant use the extra 150 points of a dormant pretender in extra scales, which they would like otherwise.
Lack of key magic paths
They dont have access to Air (arrow fend, fog warriors, storm, air dome, etc), Astral (communion, dispel, etc) and blood. However they have good magic diversity, and a powerful death path, plus we can try to overcome one of the lack of paths with the pretender.
Expensive Castles
Bakemono are good in arquitechture, which is bad. They dont have access to the cheap 3 turn 800 gold castles, and that's a pity as you will need quite a few of them.

Pretender choices
I think it should be noted they have access to a rather good pretender chasis in the bakemono kunshu, which is an inmortal pretender with fire and death that is NOT undead. This might be useful in some situations

However, as i noted, i feel they need an Awake SC to be able to get into Middle game with a nation size enough to be competitive.
This mean they should opt for
Cyclop
Wyrm
Dragon

If you acept the lose of extra provinces (easily 10 of them in turn 12), then you have several other options for rather good SC which aren't as conquer-capable "out of the box", such as the Titan or Lord of Plenty, which need some gear and some research before being able to solo provinces and armies. Of those, i would suggest a lord of Plenty, as it has the key Astral path, plus earth (which mean Master Matrix and Crystal Coins) and a very nice extra effect of luck.

However, I would stick to my original plan of an awake SC. As you also need Scales, an Awake Dom 10 Wyrm is a good cheap disposable pretender which will allow you for fast expansion and some defense. In a effort to make him worthwile after the first 18 or so turns (he is not good as middle game SC becouse he lacks lot of gear options), i will take a Cyclop instead. Giving him Astral so he can

Scales
Order/turmoil Order is a must, as this nation will live or die based on it's ability to field a lot of 300g mages. Order 3
Production/sloth This is a tricky contest. If you decide to ignore the Dai Bakemonos, then you can safelly go for sloth 3 (which would mean a TON of design points). Then you will rely on Bakemono archers, with O-Bakemono and ocasionally Kappa to make for the backbone of your armies. It's a nice option, becouse free you points for other good scales, or for your pretender. I like the Dai Bakemono though. Depending on your style, you can go to production 2 or 3. Rembember that production lose power through time, as you will have sooner or later enough castles to spend your whole gold, but your castles tend to be pricey and you might need the initial push. Up to you.

Heat/cold This is a problem, as you will need points, but your bakemono armies tend to be big and eat, and you dont like the cash lose. However, i often find myself with heat or cold 2 here (depending on the oponents. If abysia is playing, use cold, if Jotun is there, use heat)
Growth/death Your Bakemono Sorceror are old, dont have nature, and have fire. So Death is NOT allowed, and Growth is suggested. 1 point if you go for the Wyrm, up to 3 depending on which Pretender you took if you did otherwise.
Luck/Misfortune Your Heroes are not splendid, and you need the points. Plus you have order. So misfortune 2 is an option. I NEVER take Misfortune 3.
Magic This is another tricky one. I would like to put magic 1. This will make your middle game stronger (becouse of extra research) but will cost you either the Astral path on your pretender, which will make you to lack some key spells in the late game (namelly, Dispel and Wish), or a few worthy scales. Shinuyama has high research mages, and access to Death, so they are a nice nation for drain 2 (skulls). However, this will also make your old Sorceror to fatigue more in combat. And you probably would not rush to Construction 4 first, since you will *need* Enchantment 4 ASAP for Flame Arrows.

So this give you quite a few options. My choice would be a Cyclop with dom 9, order 3, heat 2, misfortune 2, drain 2, which gives enough points to give him Earth 5 Astral 4 so he can have a couple good buffs in the first war (like personal luck, body ethereal, astral shield), he can craft some key items (like cristal coin/skull caps, Rings of wizardry and rings of sorcery, Pendants of luck, Robe of Shadows, Master Matrix), and cast some very important ritual spells, like the very much needed Dispel.
Sacrificing Astral you could give him an extra point in Growth or Production.

Units
They have a plethora of different flavour of Bakemono, each of which are not able to stand against most indi armies, go figure against a player fielded one. I wont even comment them, as their only niche is to become cannon fodder. However, you have some good units that deserve a comment

Bakemono Archer A VERY cheap shortbow for your Flaming Arrows armies, which is very easily to mass once you start the war. It's also stealthy, so you can even start a raiding army at some point versus weak PD.

Kappa It does have some nice protection, and two attacks, one of which is AP and give Limp affliction. They lack a bit of Attack, but cost just 1 resource, and are amphibious, so they might very well be a Starter to go underwater, specially if there is no UW nation.

O-Bakemono They have good HP, huge strength and a great club. They are very cheap in resources as well, so you will use this ones in the begining, and to fill your resource points while recruiting Dai Bakemono. With a Legion of Steel to increase their just average armor, they excell as meatwall.

Dai Bakemono You have 2 flavours of them. I recruit the one with longbow almost exclusively, it's worth the extra resource. The swordmen have 1 extra point in defense, MR and Morale, so they are good as well, but i think the longbow is worth the trade. This one is a VERY good unit, with a lot of HP, good armor, a Longbow and a heavy No-Dachi.

Early Expansion and Defense

A closer observation to your starting army will give us a few hints. First, half of it is completelly useless: goblins with clubs. Second, you have TWO starting commanders (the scout has leadership), which is something we can use. Start recruiting a cheap 150g mage, 5 O-bakemono, and the rest into Bakemono Archers. Using the 2 commanders perk, put the bakemono into patrol (and tax 150%) and make the Big one a prophet (sermon of courage and smite are very good to start the expansion even without sacreds). Next turn give all the O-bakemono and archers to the prophet (plus 1 club-guy as decoy), and conquer the weakest province. Shieldless units like archers and militia are best bet. Take a second province with your Cyclop that turn. Recruit another 5 O-bakemono and spend the rest of gold in Bakemono Archers. That is, you will take 2 provinces in turn 2. Now use the scout to attack the same province that you are going to attack with your prophet. This way you will merge both armies. Also, take a 2nd province with your cyclop, and recruit Dai Bakemonos and O-bakemonos. Go back with your scout to capital while keep the recruiting and expansion. You should have 8 or so dai Bakemono, plus 8-10 O-bakemono, which are able to conquer most indies. In turn 4, you will have conquered 2 provinces per turn, and will have 3 conquer-capable armies. That's not shabby for a "slow expanding nation" imo .

As soon as you can you should recruit a indy comander. Bring an extra army from your capitol under the command of a Bakemono sorceror to the same province you buy the comander. Transfer the army, and start site-searching, you will need the gems. On turn 5, depending how well your neighbours are beheaving, you might need to get back to your capital with the Cyclop. If you are researching Alteration, he will have luck, and you can craft a fire Sword and a blacksteel shield, which is enough to kill any indy and most early game armies. If you opt to go to Construction 2-4, then , thankyou to your multi-gem Capital, you can craft him a few good items, such as Robe of Shadows, or horror helm, frostbrand, reinvigoration boots, etc. He packs fire inmunity, which is great to defend against F9 bless.

You should rush to Enchant 4 as soon as you can. It gives you your first "nuclear dissuasory weapon" with Flaming arrows. Also has some nice spells for you in the road, such as Skellie Spam and Astral Shield.

MAgic Paths
You have "recruit everywhere" mages that can have Fire 3, Earth 3, Death 3, plus Water 2 and nature 2. You have (hopefully) Astral in your pretender. Several good options arise. You can cast nice combat buffs, like strength of Giants, Legion of Steel, Flaming Arrows. You have access to powerful evocations, including Rust of mist and Acid bolt/rains, which rock vs high protection units. You can cast also Bane Fire, which is another wonderfull spell. Skellie Spam in early game, shadow blast, drain life-desintegrate later are your standard Battle death magic. Remember that the bakemono sorceror can make a nasty thug if cast Summon earth power/invulnerability/soul vortex/fire shield.

Your pretender can cast teleport, which is a HUGE adventage for a SC. He is vulnerable in middle game to magic duel, yes, but to do so, you need to be fighting against Astral Mages (and good ones, becouse you have astral 4). As you teleport yourself, you should select your battles and dont risk yourself to much. Plus you can use him to forge and craft after the expansion/first war phase. Rings of wizardry are a VERY powerful adition to this nation. And with RoW, Water Bracelets and robe of the sea, a F3W1 mage can craft Elemental Staffs. You can, and should, forge several hammers. And once you have Construction 6, start to forge clams (you will need a booster to your W2N1 Ubi).

You can craft a ton of CHEAP ethereal decent thugs that you can equip with most gear available.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 07:01 PM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

Why use a ghost general as a thug base instead of a bane, or better yet a bane lord?
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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:20 AM

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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

I think Bane Lords are a bit of a paper tiger, and here's why.

1 They are not significantly more powerful than Banes for their cost.

2. You lose all your equipment anyway when you are defeated.

3. You tend to try to keep them in your own dominion, limiting their effectiveness as attackers.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:23 AM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

1. Yes they are.
2. This is true of all SCs and thugs. Are all SCs and thugs paper tigers?
3. Do you? I don't. Why do you?
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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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Kristoffer O Kristoffer O is offline
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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

I think he refers to wraith lords
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Old July 17th, 2008, 08:45 AM

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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

Smacks forehead.
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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:30 PM

triqui triqui is offline
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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

Quote:
Sombre said:
Why use a ghost general as a thug base instead of a bane, or better yet a bane lord?
Cost (slightly lower), research (need conj4 instead of 5), stealth and base etherealness. If your oponent has very easy access to magic weapons (like F9 bless, or a basic troop with a magic weapon as default), that's worthless. If it's not, it is much better imho.

Banelords make for better "main battle thugs", the ghost general is a better raider imho
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Old July 17th, 2008, 02:26 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: The Way of Mount Shinuyama

Wraith Lords are nice because

1.) They have ethereal built in,
2.) They can use Soul Vortex,
3.) Immortality heals afflictions even outside your dominion.

I don't know if that's worth the cost premium for them, but I still like them. Although right now I like Malkim better.

-Max
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