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Old July 25th, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Default LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

I've always enjoyed abysia, because they can be relied on in any age to provide some sort of very solid play. Coming back to dominions after a while, I have to admit I love the changes brought to them, but I haven't seen any talk about them at all, I suppose because of the profusion of new and awesome nations.

Troops:

Abysia's funny in that their best troops are in the EA; when everyone else is lightly armored, they have purebreds everywhere and tough armor. Here, in the LA, you mostly have humanbreds, who are quite servicable, but not the same as the infantry of old.

There's effectively four versions, before you hit the new unit and the sacred. Axe-throwers, who are the only abysian missle unit, light infantry, heavy infantry with and without shields. Light infantry comes in spear and axe forms, and I typically prefer the spear for the lack of attack malus and repel chance. Heavy shielded infantry comes in axe and morningstar forms, and again, I don't feel the extra damage is worth the loss of accuracy. Heavy unshielded infantry hit very hard, if you're facing ermor or someone else who's unlikely to have missle troops, coming in Battleax and Flail versions. I use the battleaxes on giants and, later in the game, swarms of summons, and flails on the chaffier troops, but the main force of my armies is always the morningstar and shield troops.

The Warbred hits like the proverbial truck, with a high base strength boosted by berserking and a strong battleax as a weapon. Their 50% fire resistance means you can't quite use the fire-based battlefield enchantments and evocations as well, which somewhat restricts their use... but the berserking adds a lot of punch to armies that, for some reason, aren't based on the ancient Abysian principles of Shake and Bake. The lack of perfect fire resistance also means they will berserk if you "accidentally" tag them with fire flies or another weak evocation.

The Sacred is, well, a slow tough Abysian. Darkvision, heat aura, the usual encumbrance and high protection pairing. They're too slow for a real bless strategy in a large game, IMO, and the gold cost seems a bit high... but I like them anyway. Best used with Earth and/or Nature blesses, with earth winning out thanks to the mages. I never put fire on my pretender since flaming skulls are accessible, so lesser likely options are astral (always worthwhile thanks to endgame magics) and... well, that's about it. Their shields negate any urge for air, they don't have much use for a death bless, water's unlikely, and Blood is possibly the worst bless in the game.

Commanders:

Clocking in with twelve commanders, 4 assassins, and nine different mages, there's a profusion of options here.

The new mage-assassins are quite effective, with the fire or death assassin better in the beginning thanks to basic attack evocation or raise skeletons, and the Blood variant being more useful later, thanks to Hellbind Heart and Life for a Life.

You've also got a profusion of battle magic, but you have to mix it carefully. Summoning skeletons that are going to get mixed in with your likely to get falling-flames troops isn't a great way to win battles. The three main setups I've had thus far have been skellyspam and Darkness with sacreds and sometimes Heat From Hell, pure evocation, and sabbaths suddenly dropping large battlefield enchants.

Sabbaths are possibly the most interesting part of your blood economy, because you don't have any national blood magic to make an immediate target, and dropping utterly huge fire, astral and death magics on the battlefield never gets old. You've got a basic cheap blood hunter, holy to cut down on the upkeep, and a variety of fire, astral, and earth packing warlocks, apprentices, and sanguine anathematics. Just don't expect precision here, because all your mages are old and only getting older.

National Magic:

Smoulderghosts are interesting, in that they're sacred here, but there's an issue: You don't nationally produce death gems, just Fire. Still, they're reasonably priced, and can make excellent blockers for your battlemages, and hat's usually what I use them as, guards to prevent assassination and flier swarms.

Scorpion Men suffer from the same problem of being a magic type you don't produce nationally, but by the time you have them researched, you should have a massive income in Earth anyway. They're worth every gem, and on top of that are just plain fun with their base weaponry.

Awakened Fossils are novelty units. Cool novelty units, but not something to really worry about.

Inner Furnace also isn't worth seriously considering, on any large map you'll never have enough sacreds to make it useful. Nice if you happen to be in the right situation, but not worth working towards as a research goal.

Pretender Design:

I tend to stick to nationals or simply rare ones, because I don't play much MP at all. Still, Abysia has a good set of those, with the Divine Glyph being a reasonable fire and astral source, the Scorpion Man being a good SC to come out dormant so there's equipment waiting, and the Moloch is rather fun for sheer destructive capability, from bless and his own powers.

Despite that, I haven't found much use for either lion-headed titan at all. The usual suspects are of course an E9N4 cyclops, D-something Prince of Death with high awe, and a Great Enchantress to rainbow, and all of them add quite a bit of punch to the nation. You don't really NEED an SC, per se, but it definitely speeds your way to more castles and that critical mass of armies and mages you need. Similarly, an early rainbow mage, even in paths you already have, can help alleviate your unpleasant lack of astral, death, and earth income. If you go rainbow, remember that the blesses that affect your mages to any strong effect are Earth, Death, and Nature, and as TheMenacer pointed out, dealing afflictions with your damage is a strong bonus. You don't need to be able to automatically make a blood stone, but if you want to use your pretender to kickstart the factory because you don't envision buying seventy-odd thousand warlocks, skimp on the blood, not the earth. The bless is better, and it's easier to empower or come by a booster for blood with your national mage picks.

One of the things you're going to be forced to do late game, if it gets that far, is diversify into Nature. This isn't hard, mind, since it's common on all three pretender archetypes. What you'll want to do is summon a faerie court eventually using your pretender, and use it for all your nature magic needs. You need GoR, healing isn't bad, and it gets you mobile air magic for Arrow Fend.

Scales, of course, are still Heat 3, and production is nice, but honestly in the late game you're going to go to a blood economy anyway. I tend to Drain 2 and simply building massive piles of skull mentors and lightless lanterns with gems. Luck/turmoil and order/misfortune are up to you. Castles are expensive, but you need gems badly, and site searches take some income to start.

Tricks of the Trade:

Blood Stones should be everywhere. You can become possibly the strongest Earth power in the LA once you get going, but you have to get going. With the blood stone, even a 1E random warlock can become 2E, which can make boots to earth power and blade wind. And every warlock with any E can communion or sabbath, which makes for some very impressive blade winds. Or Earthquakes, Petrify, or the usual buffs.

Heat From Hell and skellyspam combo very nicely, though earth items and bless may be required to keep it up, since your natural D is weak. 2D is the best you naturally get, so you'll want to climb the ladder once you get some gem income going to drop Darkness on top of that and really grind out some victories.

Speaking of grinding out victories, this is the era with LA Ermor in it. This means, of course, that all those mage priests are going to be pulling double duty, and gain double-effectiveness from the sabbaths I'm frankly obsessed with for this nation. Sabbaths and communions buff Holy as well, and H5 priests raining down Banishment are nothing to sneeze at. You've got also got a really incredible toolkit against SCs, though the finesse of employing it is probably beyond me. Petrify, Disintegrate, Life for a Life, Infernal Prison, Soul Slay, and Hellbind Heart can all be spammed out of a sabbath, and with a massive earth income you can usually afford penetration boosting items.

Similarly, Earth and Astral make for some nice thug and SC gear, though again, it's somewhat difficult to get the gem flow started. You've got flame and eventually shadow brands, reinvig gear, horror shields, and AMA everywhere Stymphalian wings are fun. I don't use proper SCs that much, since I enjoy big armies and battlefield magic too much, but its worth considering Linebacker Sabbaths (from Baalz wonderful communion guide). Being able to skimp on the Luck Pendants and mix armor with etherality can often be the edge you need, letting you mix your slow-moving large armies with quicker moving but no less effective thug groups.

Good chassis for this are the obvious Elemental Royalty, Scorpion Men, Bane Lords, and if you get bored enough, this is a shockingly good use for Reawakened Fossils. Wraith Lords and Vampires deserve special mention here, because you don't want to gear them up in the standard fashion. Instead, give them a small handful of gems. Generally, I use soul vortex on the wraith lords and send them out to attack, which leaves a small sabbath to rain down death-based attack magic. Sometimes, the best bet is more bodies, in which case you summon a lot of lammashtas turn one, soul vortex turn two, and attack rear with everyone. They'll win or die or win AND die, but since you recycle them, you lose just the small handful of gems, rather than give your opponent free thug gear.

If there's anything fun or tricky I missed, let me know, and I'll add it in... Or write a better guide! I may revisit this one myself when it's not late and fix up some formatting, or add MP-ready pretender builds if someone more experienced than me is willing to contribute. Edit 1: Spelling fixes and made a bit more readable. Edit 2: Added a bit more information. Edit 3: Replaced Burning One with purebred. My taste for flourishes backfires!
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  #2  
Old July 25th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

Very nice, I guess that Valerius will add this to his strategy guide.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 02:23 AM

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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

One thing that I've found to be really outstanding on this nation is a death bless, if only because sacred, death-blessed assassins mess up enemy commanders. Plus that fits in really nicely with a PoD which someone may very well be taking for the early game SC. Plus, death blessed sacred fire mages are absolutely hilarious when you can toss around fire evocations with impunity thanks to your fire immune troops.

Basically what I'm saying is death bless for president.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 09:12 PM

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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

Quote:
Carcaroth said:in the EA; [...] they have Burning Ones everywhere
Capital only, much to the relief of every other nation.
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Old July 28th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

Very nice guide, have you tried LA and MA Abysia yet?- I was hard pressed to come up with a good strat. for them, what with old age problem on most of their mages.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

For MA Abysia, you trade out all that lovely death magic for Demonbred mages, packing F2B2 and flight. Where LA Abysia is similar to LA Ulm, starting slow and tough and just getting tougher until you're throwing down massive everything, MA Abysia seems to feel a bit speedier.

The sacreds are still slow, but have dual weapons, so a weak fire bless might be viable, and if you take a moloch you're going to hit like a bomb. The aforementioned demonbreds make excellent thugs/assassins, they can sabbath up for real, ahem, firepower, and their mobility doesn't require a certain level of astral and pearls every time you want to do something sneaky. You no longer have Darkness, but you do have all-flying, all-destroying, royal flying circus armies of devils, imps, and demonbreds dropping blood lust and potentially earth buffs flying in on PD and/or castles. Where LA is the king of the blood stones, you're going to want to be the king of the Infernal Contracts in the MA... and prince of blood stones. Don't underestimate the value of Mechanical Men, because you can still throw Fire around with impunity. I also typically aim to craft a warlock to teleport in, cast Crumble, and rapidly speed up sieges so that my singing dancing gypsy troupe of demons can keep moving.

Beyond that... much of the same applies. Earth and nature still rank at the top for blesses, heat three, fire and blood make fine secondary bless effects... However, here, you don't want drain, because you don't have Death magic. You want Magic 1, and this means you need to be a bit more economical.

I like the pretender design someone here mentioned, that being E4S4B4 Great Enchantress with good scales, but you can pull it out with a Great Sage if you want to shoot straight for construction to thug out. You can also slap N4 on there to counteract the disease issue via shrouds and have a very nice weak multi-bless. Boots of Youth on all your important mages who got nice random picks is a given, but the regen lets you keep mages around a bit longer.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:33 AM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

Good advice

Few remarks,

demonbreds are not natural assassins, they are not even stealthy. Excellent mages/thugs though.

Why do you need to teleport a warlock for casting crumble, isn't it cast from a lab?
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Old August 1st, 2008, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

yep that was what i was thinking. ^^ It's a ritual iirc.

Tnx for the nice guide n further advices
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

You're absolutely right on the part of crumble, the warlock isn't necessary to teleport in... Not sure why I remember doing such, in fact.

Second: You're right on them not being NATURAL assassins... but they're one of the best targets for a Black Heart in the game. Black hearts are cheap, effective, and clock in at that same Cons 6 you want for Boots of Youth anyway. Flight, Life for a Life or Infernal Prison, Phoenix pyre, or simply lobbing ranged damage spells, with incinerate, if you have it researched, being the winner. Honestly, they're probably better than the same slaves spent on gear for either of LA Abysia's mage-assassins.

On that same token, apart from their speed, I don't feel they're really that great as mages... they're going to be the ones who wind up casting your summon archdevil, they're going to be the ones who spam infernal prison against tarts in the lategame, but the everyday heavy lifting apart from leading those specialized strikeforces is best left to Anathemant Dragons or Warlocks, IMO. The two benefits the demonbreds bring to the table for your average battlemagery are Not Old and Eventually Has A Million Experience. Those are both awesome, but when you're looking at an anathemant dragon or a warlock instead, I often go for the raw firepower. Great assassins, very good thugs, quite reasonable mages, but usually I'd rather have them doing one of the first two than standing in the back and casting fire magic. An exception is made for large sabbaths, but as much as I'd enjoy such an occasion, those come along rarely.
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Old August 1st, 2008, 12:59 PM

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Default Re: LA Abysia: Discussion and a Proto-Guide.

If, as Wraithlord says, demonbred aren't stealthy Black Hearts won't make them assassins. They may get the order?, but can't enter an enemy province to use it.
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