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  #1  
Old January 5th, 2009, 04:41 AM
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Default Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

This was written for vanilla game, no CBM or other mods.

Early Arcoscephale is one of the bit harder nations to play. They have no exceptional national troops, mages have to be communioned in order to become really useful (communions can be quite tricky for some people, check the guide by baalz) and they are rush bait. They also have some exceptional strengths, such as huge early research by philosophers, mages who are sharing the title of best communion mages with Pythium's theurgs (who suffer from old age and worse magic versatility), priestesses with healer 100, oreiads with seduce and sceptics who can be used for the underhanded dominion kill.

Mediocre national troops force one to take an awake or dormant pretender for aiding in expansion and defending against rushes. I used a dormant Prince of Death, astral5 death5 dominion strength 9, scales were order3, sloth3, growth3, misfortune2 and magic1. Dormancy gives points for improved scales and also some time for philosophers to research necessary early selfbuffs, such as personal luck and body ethereal. Combined with awe+0 from dom9 which gets a huge boost from the innate fear aura of Prince, he is almost invulnerable against ordinary troops. Some early construction0 forgings such as blacksteel armor are also useful for him because of his undead form, which does not take any encumbrance from armor. Later in game he can buff himself with astral shield, resist magic and soul vortex which is the ultimate antichaff-spell. Note that priestesses cannot heal his afflictions because he is undead.

Do not use wind riders for bless. They cost too much and suck.

After all independents have been taken, he can fly from province to province to look for death sites, because you have no other access to death except your pretender, unless you are lucky and find some magic site or independent province which can supply you with death mages.

Do not use him against astral nations, because he will get magic dueled or horror marked into oblivion. Death mages will dust to dust him.

In the late game his paths give you access to high astral and high death, the winning magic paths of late game. With order and growth, you should have enough gold to build additional cheap castles in forests or mountains fast. Arcoscephale also has laboratories which cost only 250 gold, making castle spam even better. A factory for massing mystics costs only 1050 gold for you, making research extremely easy.

Tartarian spam is perfectly applicable for this nation, with the Prince summoning the well of misery and some demilichs with lichcraft and an oreiad with nature random and thistle mace casts mother oak for nature gems to burn in gift of reasoning the tartarians and the gift of health for curing their afflictions. You have no death income in capital so trade for gems or be lucky in site searching with the Prince. Wishing and arcane nexus also are available because of astral5, just equip the Prince with starshine skullcap, crystal coin and ring of sorcery. You must be the first one to reach construction8 in order to wish with the Prince without empowering him in astral (dimensional rod, the ring of sorcery also can be replaced with the tome of higher power (mage engineer with astral random with ring of wizardry) in order to spare pearls). If you succeed to be the first one, do also snatch the death artifact which increases one's death magic by 3. It actually isn't hard to imagine Early Arcoscephale reach construction8 first due to their insane research machine.

In midgame vine ogre spam can work with battlefield wide nature buffs such as mass protection and mass regeneration.

Mystics are awesome. They can deter an elephant rush with conjuration3 and thaumaturgy4. Just put up a reverse communion in which a master casts the power of spheres which makes all your slaves +2 astral, perfect for paralyze spam. This can also be used against thugs and supercombatants. They can reach a huge variety of spells which to use in battle with communion, reverse or not, such as fireball, fire cloud, ice strike, falling frost, blade wind, magma eruption, acid spells, gifts from heaven, soul slay and astral fires. Oreiads with air random can support with thunder strike. All those spells are conveniently in the evocation tree. Your mystics with both water and earth random can also cast rust mist which is outright cruel against big men in strong armour. Myrmidons are perfect for keeping the enemy still while your mages do the damage.

Dwarven hammers are forgeable by mystics with two earth randoms and earth boots.

Oreiads with earth random can be used as cloud trapezing stonerainers, script them with summon earthpower and rain of stones, add ironskin if you care for your mages. This can be extremely devastating if you equip them with sacred shrouds, giving them +150% affliction chance because of your death5 Prince. They can also be thugged up if you need to cut a crucial retreat path during a combat. They have awe+5 so province defence is almost helpless against them. Cloud trapeze, buff with mistform, mirror image, air shield (awe doesn't help against missile attacks!), iron skin and strength of gaia and give them a brand and some cheap shield, maybe also a pendant of luck. Some reinvigoration equipment will help with the fatigue, such as boots of messenger and/or girdle of strength. After the strike they can go into hiding and sneak either back or for extra raiding.

You have access to the remote site search spells of every path but death (which is covered by your pretender) and blood. This gives you a huge influx of gems that can be used for summoning elemental royalty or be alchemised for additional pearls. For air queens, equip an air random oreiad with ring of wizardry and forge an air booster (or equip her with the tome of high power if you managed to get it). For fire kings, empower a fire2 mystic once in fire and give him the ring of wizardry and then forge the burning helmet. You could also empower your pretender twice in fire and then with ring of wizardry and flame skull summon the king of banefires who then proceeds to summon the fire kings. For earth kings, earth2 mystic with tome of gaia (earth random oreiad), earth boots and ring of wizardry.

I also mentioned sceptics in the beginning. If you are the sneaky type, you can try to score a dominion kill with them. For additional power, forge stone idols with your e2s1 mystics with earth boots or e1s2 mystics with starshine skullcaps. However, recruiting sceptics can hurt your mage recruitment too much not to be affordable.

The seduce ability of oreiads doesn't trigger often enough to be actually worth attempting, but it can be used for assassinating important mages or commanders. Apply standard thug equipment and buffs here.

The point of this nation is to survive early game so they get their research and gem income going, so they can shine in the later phases of the game.

Last edited by Juffos; January 6th, 2009 at 02:03 PM..
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  #2  
Old January 5th, 2009, 05:12 AM
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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

Thanks, nice guide. Oreiads Rain of Stones sounds good. Don't forget to try to seduce blood vine mages if you find any, there are 5 per province usually, so you should be able to get at least one.

Also, if you've got a Ring of Wizardry then have an A3 Oreiad make a staff of storms. You can bring it along for both better thunderstriking and lightning, and also cast Fog Warriors with 4 gems, after summon storm power.
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  #3  
Old January 5th, 2009, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

Death on Pretender isn't necessary to site-search. They can find everything with Acashic Records anyway. And I would Prefer Wyrm or Cyclops as SC for them - it seems counterproductive to have best healers in the game, then use SC they can't heal.
Also, in SP I used chariots for early indy expansion...
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Old January 5th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

Oreiads make pretty wicked thugs. Stealthy, able to cloud trapeze and having awe. Script something like mistform, iron skin, personal regeneration, give them a frost brand, vine shield & armor of displacement and some reinvig and they start peeking up into real army killer territory. Even better, take a minor bless for them for some real fun.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:12 PM

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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

I like your guide, there's only one thing that restrained me from ever taking Arco, so many good capital only commanders.


Those mage engineers are great for defending castles.
Give then a flying carpet and double their defense bonus, you can also give then Lycantrop amulet for great strength and thus even bigger defense bonus.
You can get an air or astral random engineer to teleport/cloud in a fort that needs some time.

EDIT> Hm, it seems that I am very wrong here? It seems that the items do not stack here.
I tough it would make a nice trick.

Last edited by Executor; January 5th, 2009 at 06:26 PM..
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Old January 5th, 2009, 08:16 PM

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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

The Virtue pretender available to Arcos is pretty cool. It has awe+4 and resistances, and you can cast air shield with no research. Plus it starts with dominion 4, so raising it to 10 (for +7 awe!) is cheap.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 09:40 PM

Alpine Joe Alpine Joe is offline
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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

I have a couple problems with this build:

1. dormant pretender: The pretender you have is pretty expensive and not really affordable awake. But you have sloth scales so without an awake pretender expansion is going to be really rough. And what if you run into an aggressive neighbor before your pretender pops out? EA Arco is a common rush target and EA is full of big nasty dual blessed sacreds looking for a tasty target just like you. Sure, sometimes you get lucky, but you cant really count on that. You really have nothing capable of withstanding say, a dual -blessed jag/sun warrior rush until your pretender arrives. Hell, a few skinshifters can annihilate you in the fall or winter, since you'll have nothing that can stop them.

2. You have national healers. Why not get an awake SC pretender who can be healed by them? The virtue or wyrm are the best choices here because, well, why not use healing if you have it. The POD gives you access to death magic, but conjuration isn't a big school for arco. You are much better off leveraging your huge research to construction and outfitting golems instead.

I'm sort of a noob so i'd love to hear the reasons the above is stupid.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 10:35 PM

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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

Juffos,

Why ephebophilia? Oreiads, you mean? I'm kind of puzzled trying to work this out.

-Max
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Old January 5th, 2009, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

It might be reference to EA Arcoscephale basically being old Greece, which was sometimes very hedonistic.
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Old January 6th, 2009, 10:47 AM

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Default Re: Early Arcoscephale - Ephebophilia incarnate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpine Joe View Post
I have a couple problems with this build:

1. dormant pretender: The pretender you have is pretty expensive and not really affordable awake. But you have sloth scales so without an awake pretender expansion is going to be really rough.
I find that a handful or two of chariots can plow over most indies without breaking a sweat - and I play with indies set to 9. (Elephants and heavy cav can be a bit problematic without some additional troops to keep them occupied while the chariots flank and take out the softer troops behind them. But, other than that, it is pretty smooth sailing.) You might have to wait a couple of turns to get expansion going (with Sloth 3), but every few turns thereafter you can start another expansion vector. I haven't done any MP games yet, which makes me a bit of a noob as well, so I don't know how that stacks up against other people's expansion rates. But, it definitely outpaces any AI I've played against yet.
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