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Old July 25th, 2008, 06:02 AM
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Default LA Tien Chi: Barbarian Kings Strategy Guide 2.0

Summary:
Here is where I start off saying how LA TC is totally underrated and picking it will allow you to open a twelve pack of whoop-*** on the world. Now that you are fired up to try them out, lets get to the facts. LA TC is a versatile & powerful nation, with mobile ground troops, excellent cavalry and archers, and a diverse set of magi that come geared for battle. While many focus on TC’s fearsome barbarian horsemen, what makes LA TC a formidable nation is the diversity of its sacred mages, who have level 2 access to every school but Fire and Blood. Most of its mages have higher than normal HP and are armored, with a high encumbrance that makes them perfect for an Earth blessing. In addition, LA TC is highly mobile for a non-flyer nation, a consideration that is sometimes ignored but very useful in MP when you will at some point be facing off on multiple fronts. With map move 3 cavalry, move 2 mages (most of them), and with easy access through gear to teleporters and cloud trapezers, LA TC is a stick and move nation – pick them when you see a map with relatively clear terrain. It is also a great nation to learn Dom 3 because it will expose you to a broad set of concepts: spells from most schools of magic, how to use items and summons to boot strap to higher magic levels, communions, military tactics involving tower shields, archers, pole arms, mounted archers / lances, and oh so much more. Finally, they just look so innocent – nothing really stands out – no giants, no hydras, no demons – so just play the quiet sleepy neighbor and fly under the radar in MP. But TC has an answer to almost every problem and with the right combination of luck and diplomacy, LA TC should be a contender in any MP game. Now lets delve into the Battle Mage Nation.

The Troops:

Footmen
TC is all about having a tool kit of answers to various problems and your troops are an excellent example of this. Lets start with the lowly Footmen. Your Footmen come in several flavors allowing you to choose the one that fits your taste. You have light armor (the Regulars) vs. medium and heavy armor (the Heavies) and tower shield / spear (the Blockers) vs. no shield / glaive (the Tacklers). For the detail-oriented among you, here are the stats:

* Regular Footmen w/Pike (10G / 9R) – Att 10 / Def 8 / Pro 9 / Move 2
* Regular Footmen w/Glaive (10G / 11R) - Att 10 / Def 8 / Pro 9 /Move 2
* Regular Footmen w/Shield (10G / 9R) – Att 10 / Def 14 / Pro 9 / Move 2
* Medium Footmen w/Glaive (10G / 14R) – Att 10 / Def 8 / Pro 11 / Move 1
* Medium Footmen w/Shield (10G / 14R) – Att 10 / Def 14 / Pro 11 / Move 1
* Heavy Footmen w/Glaive (10G / 20R) – Att 10 / Def 7 / Pro 14 / Move 1
* Heavy Footmen w/Shield (10G / 20R) – Att 10 / Def 13 / Pro 14 / Move 1

Weapon Notes:
Spear Dam 3 / Len 4
Glaive Dam 10 / Len 4
Pike Dam 5 / Len 6

Like buying clothes, the key is deciding who you will be meeting and what you can afford. Should you have an appointment with some unfriendly archers, showing up with lots of Blockers is a no brainer. Against large monsters or highly armored foes, forget the tower shields and go with your Tacklers. You can of course experiment with combinations of these: sprinkle in some Blockers up front and Tacklers in between or just behind to give you a screen as they advance and punch.

In terms of the Heavies vs. the Regulars, that will depend on your resources and whether you plan to move troops around or keep them on as defenders. In my resource rich forts I like to keep some Heavies on hand for impending sieges. But since the Heavies are your only troops with a map move of 1, these tanks will limit one of your key advantages, which is mobility (unless you are surrounded by nasty terrain in which case it doesn’t matter so much). Since I am not a big fan of production scales and prefer mobility, I’d recommend using the Regulars in most cases. In terms of other Footmen features, there is not much else to add. They are all Morale and MR 10 so will eventually need to be replaced with better summoned troops as your game evolves.

Archer
LA TC has one of the best archers around and are great to match with some Blockers to get your early game off the ground.

* Archer (10G / 12R) – Prec 10 / Move 2
- Comp Bow (Dam 12 / Pre 1 / Range 35)

With composite bows and decent morale for archers, who are usually complete pansies, TC’s archers make respectable foes. You will get the most use out of them in the early game and will have A2 mages that can boost their efficiency with Wind Guide (Alt 4 – A2). Sadly, LA TC completely lacks Fire magic so you will not easily be able to torch your enemies from afar with the Flaming Arrow spell. You will eventually find your Archers less useful later as your foes develop counters like Arrow Fend and Darkness. So don’t get bonded too tightly with them but just love them while you can.

Barbarian Horsemen
Welcome to the upper echelons of LA TC’s military ranks. These guys are mean, fast, and can accumulate into fearsome hordes. They come in two flavors – Regular’s and Heavies.

* Reg Barb Horsemen (20G / 12R) – Att 11 / Def 15 / Pro 9 / Move 3 / Prec 8 / Morale 11
- Comp Bow (Dam 12 / Pre 1 / Range 35)
- Light Lance (Dam 3 – Charge bonus first strike / Len 4)

* Heavy Barb Horsemen (25G / 27R) – Att 11 / Def 15 / Pro 14 / Move 3 / Prec 8 / Morale 12
- Hoof (Dam 10 – Str not added)
- Lance (Dam 16 – Str not added – Charge bonus first strike / Len 4 / only used once per battle)
- Falchion (Dam 7 / Len 2)
- Comp Bow (Dam 12 / Pre 1 / Range 35)

As you can see from the above, Heavies require twice as many resources but their multiple weapons offer much more flexibility and the higher protection and higher morale make them more effective warriors. As a result, they are my troop of choice once you get to the point where you can afford them and assuming you have the resources.

While the precision of both isn’t great (Precision 8 normally but its 10 if you’re using CBM) if you get enough of them just blot out the sun with arrows and your enemy will feel the pain. And the same comments on your archers hold for your BH’s – use Wind Guide as much as possible. Also, be sure to mess with your enemies heads – your Barb’s aren’t just dainty mounted archers, they like to lay down some hand to hand smack down every now and then. So mix up your scripts – one fight they may be posted in the center rear to fire closest and the next battle they are up on your front corner flank to charge into your enemies back ranks.

These guys are great units for the cost and make excellent body guards for your mages. No Disease Demon will punch through 5 BHs before getting zapped by any mage with respectable skills. Map movement of 3 means these guys can practically fly across the land, ensuring maximum butt kicking coverage. Consider this as you expand: being able to get forces from a fort to a front in one turn rather than 3 can make a huge difference in whether you write the history book or just get a footnote. I always play thinking in terms of economics and paying troops for 3 turns of ponderous map movement vs 1 turn adds up over time so think of speed as saving money and money as power.

Ancestor Vessel
I love these guys and will build as many as I can throughout the game as they remain viable up right up until your inevitable ascension.

* Ancestor Vessel (60G / 31R) – Att 13 / Def 15 / Pro 16 / Move 3 / Prec 11 / Morale 15 / MR 14
- Hoof (Dam 10 – Str not added)
- Lance (Dam 16 – Str not added – Charge bonus first strike / Len 4 / only used once per battle)
- Falchion (Dam 7 / Len 2)
- Howling Bow (Dam 12 / Pre 2 / Range 35 – Magic – causes “lesser fear”)

With their high magic resistance, high morale, extreme mobility, ranged magic weapons (Howling Bow – causes Lesser Fear) with nice precision for a mounted archer, and sacred status, any AV’s will be valuable additions to every fighting force. They are capital only and somewhat expensive, so your ability to produce a ton of them will take time and patience. Nevertheless, I recommend buying as many as you can throughout your game. They are perfect body guards for your magi and can stomp indies early on, especially with the benefits of a nice blessing. Most of the points on BH’s apply to AV’s – they are versatile and you should mix up your tactics so the enemy never knows exactly what to expect. Fun, fun fun!


The Commanders

Scout
Never recruit these from your forts – look for indie provinces for scouts – you should always have something better to produce.

General
Never recruit these from your forts – look for indie provinces for commanders – you should always have something better to produce.

Khan
Khans make great commanders (120 Leadership) and the only reason not to use them is that you have generally have something more valuable to produce. That said, for those times when you have yet to install a lab/temple for mage production, it is not a bad use of money to buy a Khan to help lead the troops or to outfit with a ranged weapon for some additional battlefield support.

* Khan (100G / 41R) – Att 13 / Def 17 / Pro 14 / Move 3 / Prec 8 / Morale 13
- Hoof (Dam 10 – Str not added)
- Lance (Dam 16 – Str not added – Charge bonus first strike / Len 4 / only used once per battle)
- Falchion (Dam 7 / Len 2)
- Comp Bow (Dam 12 / Pre 1 / Range 35)

They are expensive for a commander but provide the mobility and leadership to make use of your troops. They also have the morale boosting power of a standard (10), which, since you will often being used ranged troops away from the front lines, is actually quite useful since the commander does not have to risk life and limb to get the standard close to the combat zone in order to benefit troops. Morale is king and any boosts can make or break a battle so take advantage of it. For those of you who like to live dangerously, kitting out a Khan for the thug role can be amusing and in character, though they are not particularly durable so use at your own caution. They can fare well against indies given their high defense and (in CBM) fear effect but watch out for astral nations who will abuse their MR 10.

Ceremonial Master (50G / 3R) 1H
This TC priest would be a decent one to recruit if you did not have the so-much more versatile Master of the Way. While I cannot say I have never recruited a Ceremonial Master, the only time it really would make sense is if you are fighting undead hordes and need the cheapest Banish spammer possible. Otherwise, a Master of the Way is a much better choice because, for the reasons explained below, they will be much more useful once any undead hordes are put back in the ground where they belong. Minor note: in CBM these guys have a Fortune Teller (3) ability to avoid bad mojo.

Master of the Way (100G / 1R) 1H 1W and 1W or 1N or 1S or 1A Research 4
MoWs kick *** from turn 1 until the end of the game. These little buggers can be WW, WN, WS, and WA. They only cost 100gp – to put that in perspective a lizard shaman can get you WS but costs 180 gp. They are map move 2 so can get around fairly quickly in clean terrain. In the early game your MoWs will provide all the routine priestly duties like blessing and banishing undead. Once your research catches up to your dreams of godhood, these guys are one of the most cost effective deliverers of pain in the game. All of them can spam Frozen Heart (Alt 6 - W1) which will force enemies to develop cold resistance for those SCs that don’t already have it. Your A1W1s can light up the battlefield with Orb Lightning (Evo 5 - A1) and your Astrals make excellent communion slaves. W2s can cast Quickness (Alt 4 – W2) making your ranged threat even more devestating or make good demon fighters with Cleansing Water (Evo 6 – W2). They also can forge Boots of Quickness, which along with Nike, are one of my favorite sets of footwear for thugs.

The Battle Mages
The next 3 guys are the heart and soul of TC and what I call the Battle Mages. They are available anywhere, sacred, Research 6, H1, well-armored, above average HP for a mage, map move 2 and with useful magic paths that will get you access to A2, E2, N2, and D2 along with a smattering of astral. Their weakness is encumbrance, exacerbated by Old Age, which is why an Earth bless is almost a pre-requisite for playing LA TC. Diverse level 2 magic is nothing to laugh at in the late age and the armor and higher HP helps them survive those improbable, horrible battlefield incidents that has caused many a Dom 3 player to cry out in disbelief.

Ancestor Smith (200G/16R) E2D1 + A or D or S or N
Guaranteed E2, these guys are the foundation for your boot strapping up the Earth path. In the lab, they will produce your Earth Boots and Dwarven Hammers and eventually bootstrap you to summon Earth Kings. For remote economic assault, Blight (Alt 4 –E2D1) is an excellent spell – a few Smiths spamming it can completely halt your enemies capital production. In combat, Summon Earthpower (Conj 2 – E2) combined with your Earth Blessing will keep you going long after your opponent’s wimpy, less armored mages are battered and gasping for breath.

All the usual Earth combat spells are useful here: Bladewind (Evo 4 – E3), Legions of Steel (Const 3 - E3), and Strength of Giants (Ench 3 – E3). As Baalz points out, Destruction (Alt 4 – E3) is particularly effective as it not only removes armor but also destroys shields, turning those well-armored late age troops into pin cushions for your composite bow wielding ranged troops. Combine this with some of the troop slowing spells like Earth Meld (Alt 2 – E2) and now those naked fools must endure even more pain before they even get to your barbarian horsemen. And what will the few arrow-riddled attackers find when they finally make it to your back line…

Oh sheet! Its a bunch of Ghengis Khan looking guys with lances and falcions glimmering with Weapons of Sharpness (Const 7 – E5) (usable by your Smiths with Summon Earthpower + Earth Boots + 1 earth gem. Imagine how that Lance is going to feel slicing through your armor like it was a tub of I Can't Believe Its Not Butter. Ouch! The key here is not to start to feel sorry for your enemy and try to heal him.

Army of Gold (Alt 9 – E4) in the end game will get you the fire resistance that you probably cannot find anywhere else given your complete disdain for Fire magic (so uncouth). Finally, your E2D1A1 Smiths can easily case Rain of Stones (Evo 7 – E3A1) and their armor helps protect them from it. E2D1S1 Smiths should think about popping in an Eye of Aiming and dishing out some Gifts from Heavens (Evo 5 – E3S1). Dang, does life get any better?

Note: Smiths carry magic Ancestor Swords that cause Lesser Fear. Dedas points out that old Age will disappear on your E2D1N1 Smiths returning them to a youthful attack and defense of15 (18 with the Ancestor Sword), 15 in MR and 15 in morale. This can make them badder then Gogo Yubari. Buff with Fists of Iron (Alt 1 – E1) and scream “Hiaaa!!!” to ensure absolute victory.

Spirit Master (200G / 11R) N2D1 + D or S or E or A Research 6
Your hippy mages with guaranteed N2, these guys will boot strap you up the Nature path. In the lab, they will make your Thistle Maces, Rings of Regeneration, and Vine Shields, among other herbal things. I am less of a fan of low level Nature on the battlefield, so prefer to use these guys to start Vine Ogre factories that can be buffed with your Smiths. Should you find them on the battlefield some spells to consider are Swarm (Alt 4 – N1 – requires an N gem), Vine Arrows (Evo 2 – N1) or Storm of Thorns (Evo 7 – N2). Equipped with a Thistle Mace and an Eye of the Void, these guys can make nice Charm (Thaum 7 – N3) spammers. Always funny to check your turn and find your enemies SCs in your garrison. Like most hippies, these guys carry a magic weapon called the Spirit Club, helpful if they face ethereal assassins or other drug-induced hallucination.

Ancestor Guide (200G /11R) D2A1 + A or S or N or D
Guaranteed D2, these guys will lead you on the long road to Tartarians. They are my favorite Battle Mage with so many uses its hard to know where to start. Early on, I like to use them to site search and get my death gem economy humming. They also can forge Skull Mentors – TC can reap huge benefits by hitting Con 8 first and with its cheap sacred mages and access to Skull Mentors, they have a great shot at it. On the battlefield, they can spam Disintegrate (Alt 8 – D2) and will be your insurance against any major undead incursions with Dust to Dust (Thaum 1 – D1) and (with boosters) Wither Bones (Thaum 6 – D3). Those with an Astral path can cast Nether Darts (Evo 7 – D1S1), and Shadow Blast (Evo 5 – D2) is fun and effective against Demons.

In conjunction with your Ancestor Vessels and their fear causing Howling Bows, you can wreak havoc on your enemies morale with Frighten (Thaum 1- D1) and Terror (Thaum 4 – D3). This can be even more effective with a Death Blessing which will imbue your arrows and spells with affliction causing capability, likely many will be Battle Fright (-5 Morale). Furthermore, summoning fear-causing troops, using Horror Helms, fighting in your own domain, and fighting in wasteland (where your Spirit Masters supply bonus will help keep your troops fed) where your enemies might starve themselves (and just having them read this guide) will all work toward ruining enemy morale.

Celestial Master
W2A1S1 + A or S or E or N + 10% (W or N or A or S)
These guys are just plain cool. Early on they make awesome researchers, then later they will provide the foundation for a strong astral late game. They have a wide range of paths and can get up to W3 and S2. Your CMs are cap only – I would try to recruit one every turn if you can. They are map move 1 and you don’t want to waste a lot of time on the road, so best to keep them at home til you need them and then teleport them with some astral boosters (Starshine Cap / Crystal Coins). With a booster or lucky W3 can cast Falling Frost (Evo 5 – W3) while your high level astrals with boosters / communions can use all the great astral battle magic like Paralyze (Thaum 4 – S2), Soul Slay (Thaum 5 – S3), and Enslave (Thaum 6 – S4). In addition you have the great national spell Celestial Chastisement (Evo 5 – S3). Some important battlefield enchantments you will need in your late game battles include Will of the Fates (Alt 8 – S4) and Antimagic (Ench 4 – S3). Save your N1s for forging Clam of Pearls – you’ll want as much astral income as you can for a strong end game. Your E1s with boosters are valuable to forge Crystal Coins and Slave / Master Matrices.

The Heroes

Ho Hsien-Ku
A2N3, Sacred, Immortal, Flying, Ethereal, Healer, 3 Misc slots, Produces 1N per turn

Li T'ieh-Kuai
A2D2S2N2 Sacred, Immortal, Fear, Plague Carrier, 3 Misc slots

Lu-Tung Pin
F2A2W2S3 H2 Sacred, Flying, Immortal, 3 Misc Slots
- HP 15, Pro 0, Morale 14, MR 18, Str 11, Att 16, Def 16, Prec 15, Move 3, Leader 130
Note he comes with the Demon-Slayer sword and a magic Fly Wisk (stun damage)

The National Summons

Celestial Servant (Conj 1 – S1E1)
For one earth gem you get a big fat guy with low attack and defense. The cool thing about him is with your easy access to Water magic, you can cast Quickness (Alt 3 – W2) on the Servant and you have a decent and durable warrior pretty early on. He could also benefit from a Bless.
- HP 48, Pro 4, Morale 16, MR 14, Str 24, Att 9, Def 8, Move 2 Sacred, SR100%, Glutton 3

Celestial Hound (Conj 4 – S1A1)
This spell is usable by all your Celestial Masters and gets you 2 hounds for 3 air gems
- HP 25, Pro 7, Morale 17, MR 14, Str 17, Att 14, Def 10, Move 3 Sacred, SR100%, Flying, Patrol +10
I think these guys can fly during storms. Start summoning early to build a large force and combine with Fog Warriors for a nice late game force in conjunction with an Air Queen or one of your flying immortal commanders.

Ambush of Tigers (Conj 3 – N2)
7 nature gems for 7 tigers, meh, these things aren’t too durable and an MR of 5 means they are toast if you are fighting anyone with a jot of astral magic.
- HP 21, Pro 4, Morale 15, MR 5, Str 15, Att 13, Def 10, Move 3 FS
I’d find something better to do with your nature gems.

Celestial Soldier (Conj 6 – S1A2)
These guys are excellent late-game soldiers with all-around solid combat stats. They cost 8 air gems for 5 of them and require an A2S1 caster, so only a certain percentage of your Celestial Masters will be able to summon these tanks.
- HP 38, Pro 17, Morale 17, MR 15, Str 18, Att 15, Def 12, Move 2 Sacred
They do not have magic weapons and are large (size 4) so small and ethereal foes can bog them down. Still, I try to have a Celestial Master who can summon these on my active war fronts to give my forces some tough meat to survive any mass damage battlefield spells. Celestial Soldiers are sacred as well so can be quite effective depending on your bless.

Ancestor Spirits
These little buggers can only be summoned on the battlefield but can be quite effective at slowing down your enemies efforts to get across the battlefield.
- HP 1, Pro 0, Morale 30, MR 11, Str 1, Att 8, Def 8, Move 2, Sacred, Ethereal
The low level version of this spell is not particularly useful as you only get 1, but the higher level one can be an thug killer. Think Swarm but with 20+ ethereal, paralyzing gnats that do 5 Armor Negating damage. You can grind your enemy to halt spamming this spell though it does take some micro management as a result of the 1D gem cost.

National Spells

Celestial Chastisement (Evo 1 – S2)
This nasty little spell is yet another trick in Tien Chin’s robe of many sleeves. It is 100 Precision and causes a nice 7AN damage that is irresistible and has a chance of enslaving your enemy (MR does resist). I think is gives a +4 MR save so you may need some penetration boosters to help boost its effectiveness. The one trick is its only range 15 so you will probably want to script it a bit later in the combat sequence and have some decent bodyguards around the mages that you plan to cast with.

Internal Alchemy (Alt 3 – W2S1)
This weird spell that costs 2 water gems reduces the caster age by 15 years. It also will give them insanity (5) and 2 experience stars. Since the only guys you have who can cast it are the Celestial Masters, who are not Old, it does not appear too useful. However, the experience bonus will increase your leadership from 10 to 25 which could be useful.

Pretender Design Thoughts
I am not one for scripting an entire game so will leave out specific Pretender builds for the good reader but here are some thoughts. Obviously you cannot have everything so need to make tradeoffs here. The one thing I would not skimp on is an Earth Blessing.

Blessings
Your only sacred, recruitable troops are the Ancestor Vessels. While they are excellent units, they are capital only and they are not the real strength of LA TC so I would not recommend building a bless strategy based solely on them. That said, with their ranged attacks, a Death Blessing can make them extremely nasty / a joy to play and your opponents will come to loathe your hit and run tactics. But given LA TCs real strength is in their mages, all of whom are sacred, an Earth Bless is almost a requirement.

Magic Paths
Fire and Blood are absent from TC. You won’t miss much ignoring them. High level Astral is very useful for TC. First, it can help you bridge many paths to boosters by allowing you to forge a Ring of Wizardry. Second, it makes a late game tactic, Master Enslave, possible / more effective, along with Wish. Finally Earth is a must to give your magi a reinvigoration bless. High level Death can be fun for the Death blessing that synergizes well with TC’s sacred ranged troops and its effective combat magi. It also helps ensure you can summon Tartarians, another important late-game strategy.

Scales
* Order / Turmoil: Order 3 is a must. Period. Your troops and mages are not the most expensive, but nor are they cheap and you will want to buy as many as you can.

* Production / Sloth: can be useful, and I actually took a Production 1 scale in my big LA TC game, but I have come to question the value of Production. It certainly can help drive early game expansion, but I question its usefulness in the long-run as your end game battles will depend more on your magi and summoned troops, and you will find that gold will most often be your bottleneck – not resources. So I’d suggest thinking about some serious Sloth. Besides, LA TC is still a bureaucracy and sloth is quite in line.

* Growth / Death: I typically don’t mess around too much with Death or Growth. Your Battle-Mages are all old but as long as you are neutral here, you won’t have too many geezers kicking the bucket. I am no expert on these particular scales but I’d suggest neutral.

* Luck / Misfortune: Most people say take Misfortune 2 if you have Order 3. I have to say though that I love Luck, even if it doesn’t synergize with Order. Anything that can get you more Gold, more Gems, more Magic Items, more Heroes, and less Lab accidents is worth its weight in gold, especially if you hit a lucky event early on in the game - it can literally give you a huge advantage. I will usually try to squeeze in at least Luck 1. Not to beat a dead horse on Luck but the TC heroes are nice to get early as they can make excellent mobile leaders and help you bootstrap up the magic levels.

* Magic / Drain: As for Magic, there is no way you should even think about taking Drain. I would go for Magic 3 and race up the research ladder. It will also help reduce your fatigue, which can be the Achilles heel of TC’s Battle-magi if left untreated.


Tactics / Strategies

Many ideas are covered throughout with respect to the particular units but here is a summary of some things to be thinking about as LA TC:

Communions
Read up on Baalz’s awesome guide on communions here. You should eventually have a large amount of astral casters with all sorts of additional paths. Communions boost holy levels too so will help shore up your lack of powerful priests. You will want a way to cast divine blessing, and communions are one of the easiest ways. Learn to set up reverse communions as well and use Banishment per Meglobob’s suggestion in Baalz’ guide if you need to deal with Ermor or Pan undead chaff.

Vine Ogre / Smiths
Your N2 mages with a Thistle Mace and Ivory Crown can churn out Vine Ogres. Send them forth to conquer with your Smiths, who can boost their protection. This can make for tough squads of high morale / high HP beings useful in the late game

Enslave / Master Enslave
Your S2 Celestial Masters with Starshine Skullcap and Crystal Coin make effective enslavers. Communion boosting for Master Enslave is risky as it will take a huge Fatigue blast on your communion slaves – see MaxWilson’s note on fatigue cost. But if you have a high level Astral Pretender or the Master of the Iron Crutch with 3 miscellaneous slots you can use him to Master Enslave your foes and watch them cry as their troops are assimilated into the TC collective.

Research
If you can stay out of war, I would go for Construction, at level 4 you can forge Skull Mentors and research will really take off. TC really shines with high level of research where powerful combat spells with low path requirements become available. Rather than script a path, I have tried to cite spell levels so you can see which are some of the more important schools, like Alteration and Evocation. If facing undead or low MR powerful races, then Thaumaturgy. I think getting to Construction 8 can be a nice possibility for TC. Since they are somewhat of a jack-of-all trades, master of none magically, a lot of the Level 8 boosters will be a huge benefit to them. For example, they can bootstrap into A4 with a Fairy Queen and Tome of High Power, or A2 Ancestor Guide, Tome of High Power, Ring of Wizardry. A4 is critical to get the Bag of Wind and Winged Helmet that boost your Air. These can then be given to your Ancestor Guides (or Fairy Queens) at your key battle fronts to help you cast Fog Warriors or Storm Warriors, important defensive spells for the late game. Of course there are a number of other great reasons to hit Con 8 first, like the Chalice and the Sceptre of Dark Regency, which will make your life much, much easier. The Sword of Injustice plus a Mound Fiend gets you another H3 caster in addition to your prophet – useful if you are fighting a 2 front war and need another Divine Bless caster. Given LA TC has cheap sacred magi recruitable everywhere, and early access to Skull Mentors and Owl Quills, you have a great shot to win the Con 8 race. Thaum is a good school to work on for remote site searching early on, but I generally will switch to physical searching to save on gems and get more sites at once since many of your mages will have 3 schools.

PD
TC has pretty strong PD with 1 footmen and 2 archers for each point . At level 20, you get a Spirit Master and PD points over 20 give you Barbarian Heavy Horsemen. Pretty cost effective but I usually leave it at 1 until I border the AI or a foe or have some extra gold, at which point I will raise it to 10 to try and catch enemy scouts. Against stealthy foes it is probably worth it to pay up higher.

Bootstrapping
TC is well-suited to boot strap its way up the ladder in Nature, Death, Air, and Earth magic. Once you get going be sure to read sector24s awesome guide on how to do this here

Remote Assassination
You will eventually have access to at least 3 forms of remote assassination and mixing them up can keep your enemy off balance. It is especially pleasant to hold off on remote assassinations until a key moment and then launch as many as you can at once – hopefully causing your foe an unintended bowel release when he checks his turn.
- Earth Attack (Conj 8 – E5)
- Manifestation (Conj 8 – D5)
- Mind Hunt (Evo 6 – S4)

Some Common Threats and How to Deal

Darkness
The ruin of many a non-undead nation, Darkness can make your life tough. Assuming you are fighting undead who are the most likely to use it, you can set up communions to cast Antimagic ( do this first), then Solar Brilliance (Ench 7 – S5). Beware the blindness caused by Solar Brilliance is tough to get rid of via healing including the Chalice. Other ways to deal with Darkness are summoning your own undead troops to fight and using 100 precision spells.

Demons
Their high MR makes them tough foes. Focus on disrupting your enemies Blood economy with remote attack spells like Ghost Riders. You can also screw their Blood magic with spells like Rain of Stones, that can wipe out their Blood slave - whoops, where did Greta go? In addition, you will eventually have a W3 Celestial Master, who when equipped with a Water Bracelet and Robe of the Sea can cast Demon Cleansing. Also take a look at some of the Astral items you can forge, like Herald Lances.

Giants
Usually have low MR so you can spam Disintegrate, Charm, and Enslave. For those low protection Utsgard Woodsmen use lots of archers. Even better, give any high defense commander an Eye Shield, and watch their nation crumble (thanks to Cleveland for that lesson).

Anything not Cold Resistant
Frozen Heart, repeat.

Wife or Significant Other
"We need to spend some time together - why do you think that game is so fun" Your on your own on this one buddy - this would take a whole book of strategies....


See thread for helpful contributors - thanks.
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  #2  
Old July 25th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nation

Cool guide!
In my experience LA T'ien Ch'i is a pretty tough nation with lots of possibilities. One thing I like to do is let my battle mages fight up front (especially ancestor smith), even with old age they are quite the fighters (thinking of Discworld and Cohen the barbarian).

Oh, and old age on ancestor smiths disappear if they get a nature random giving them 15 (18 with the magic sword that he comes with) in both basic attack and defense value, 15 in MR and 15 in morale. The cost is only 200 and they are sacred.
Basic spells for them to cast in melee (besides personal buffs) are of course the thematic hand of dust/death and fist of iron (haiaaa!).
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Old July 25th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

This guide was likely crafted by enslaved manikins...

Brilliant guide DC. Recommend highlighting TC's remote assassination abilities; I lost sleep trying to figure out how to counter both Earth Elementals AND Ashen Angels.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 04:05 PM

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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Good work DC! One question though, how strong earth bless would you recommend and how's your god initial status (awake/dormant/jail)?
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Old July 25th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Dedas and C, thanks for the comments, I never noticed the N staved off old age and should definitely talk about remote assassination, which also includes Mind Hunt.

I will update the guide later.

Zenzei, I went with a dormant Cyclops E9 bless – no other magic. Synergizes nicely with your mages already respectable armor, and the reinvigoration is key to getting the most use out of your mages in long battles. I never really missed Fire magic – I had some Enchantresses who could forge Rune Smashers which are great to use in conjunction with Disintegrate, Charm and Enslave. I did slightly miss Blood magic in the endgame where spamming Doom Horrors and Disease Demons are cost-effective tactics but you can get Blood magic through Tarts or Enslaving then Gift of Reasoning your foes. I think forgetting about Blood and Fire though is not a significant sacrifice given TC’s complete versatility everywhere else, and the fact you can protect yourself from fire with Army of Gold – an Earth spell and your mobile horsemen can quickly recapture lands taken by Doom Horrors as well as protect almost 100% against Disease Demons.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 05:24 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Hehe, very good guide DC. A couple thoughts you might want to include:

Though it's implied you might want to make a special note that weapons of sharpness fits very nicely in your research path, casting ability, and units. Summon earthpower + boots + 1 earth gem makes most anybody not quite sure if they want to close on those horsemen or just sit under the wind guided barrage. Plus, armor piercing on the first strike lances will take out virtually any SC if he's dumb enough to come alone.

Also, I find it hard to justify using air gems for anything much other than winged shoes so your mages don't slow down your rapid movement. You definitely hit the nail on the head that one of LA TCs great strengths is mobility, bring your mages along for the fun.

Also, it's worthwhile to consider a death blessing which offers some interesting strategies with holy archers and holy mages. The death weapons don't pass to missiles or spells but the extra affliction chance does. Who wants to run through your solid PD, with ancestor vessels and blade wind spewing smiths bestowing liberal afflictions while sitting in the back row then running away without a loss when the PD breaks? Very effective hit and run tactics if you're being invaded by an overwhelming force. Then for the really evil there's fun things like +400% affliction rain of stones. This also solves the problem of Celestial soldiers not having magic weapons.

Also, with your awesome archery I find destruction is a very high priority for research. Remember, destruction not only removes armor it also destroys shields! Those composite bows are practically 50 cal machine guns against armorless guys with no shields.

I'd also fill out the celestial chastisement section, this is a great spell under the right circumstances. Think charm except they take unresistable AN damage if they *pass* the MR check.

Ancestor vessels' arrows cause fear, and you've also got mages who can spam panic and terror. There are worse uses of your death gems than conjuring ghosts or other fear aura troops while leveraging your mobility to cut off the retreat of whoever you're planning on routing. Don't discount how effective this can be, particularly if you're clever about fighting in your dominion and you time it so that the enemy is partially starving. Pay attention to the terrain and leverage your mobility to control when and where the fighting happens. Hit and run, hit and run, causing afflictions all the way, then blamo that huge army chases you into a wasteland and promptly breaks and is killed to a man with hardly a friendly casualty.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 05:52 PM

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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Death bless may not be the best bless, even for LA T'ien Ch'i, but I think it's the best nation to take a Death bless with.

Sacred archers and mages. There is no other nation that benefits so much from Death on it's sacreds.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Thanks Baalz, great input - as usual what I expect from your evil genius. I will include when I update the guide. On the air gem point, I may overestimate its value but came to feel Fog Warriors is almost a must in major late game clashes so tended to use my Air gems on Bags of Winds and Winged Helmets, not too mention an Air Queen when available. Air gems always felt in tight supply so it is a tough call on how to allocate them. Terrain can slow down your cavalry so I guess the choice on Winged Boots depends on how your map looks. I also liked forging Bows of War - 5 air gems and 13 magic arrows helps counter Fog Warriors, especially when you throw it in the hands of a Sleeper with Boots of Speed.

On spamming panic and terror, this goes to my point about the Death casters being so useful it is challenging to decide how best to use them. I found Wrath of the Ancestors a very effective Death spell - 20+ little ethereal paralyzing spirits can completely plug up your enemies efforts to get to your archers, locking them down under a rain of arrows.

And I think a Death blessing is a perfect fit for TC and fun to use just to make you a totally unpalatable enemy.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Might be worth noting that while your mages tend towards the old, you do have a national ritual ('Inner Alchemy') that can reduce age. The usual 'ring of regeneration to stave off death by disease' road is also accessible. A ring will also help stop the Master of the Iron Crutch from dying of his own leprosy cloud.

Regarding Lu-Tung Pin, I don't recall his stats, but he's a flying immortal who's a decent swordsman, but better used as a combat mage -- he's rather nasty with Astral Fires, for instance.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 08:23 PM
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Default Re: LA Tien Chi: Strategy for the Battle Mage Nati

Thanks, Taqwus - added.
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