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Old January 11th, 2009, 11:23 PM
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Default MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Middle-Age Caelum. A nation of trampling mammoths, high precision flying archers, powerful make-anywhere flying mages, and speed bumps? The speed bumps I refer to are their less then optimal infantry. Notorious for their failure as an effective fighting force, I've heard all too many times why that is. Its clearly because they are size three. Yet, I've found that is not entirely true. Though that is the first conclusion that I myself came to, a closer investigation reveals even deeper deficiencies. Aside from the Caelian Infantry, Caelum's units generally fall into one of two categories. They either have a massive resource cost, or they don't have a helmet. Not having a helmet means that every once in a while your low hit point units will have no protection at all. That's not all. A national disadvantage is that all of Caelum's units have a base encumbrance of 4. Not so bad until you also observe that they take additional fatigue from flying. You know, that thing they do. This fatigue seems to ramp up with the encumbrance from armor. A storm guard will generally take 7 fatigue to get to an opponent and then another 8 to thrust his spear. A total of 15 fatigue in the first round is abysmal. By the third or forth round your high resource units might as well not wear armor at all thanks to critical hits. Now factor in the size three and the lower then average defense. Your best units can't hold a line because they get hit more often, have terrible defense from round one, and when they do get hit their armor will likely do nothing for them. Thus is the problem with these ill-fated soldiers. Throughout this guide I'll put forth a couple of infantry squads that do work for Caelum and that don't sacrifice Caelum's largest advantage, the ability to fly.

For our pretender design, I'll start by addressing the issue of a bless. Forget it!!! Choosing a bless as the focus of a Caelum strategy is virtually suicide. There sacred units aren't just sub-optimal, they are tragically the worse you could hope for. The temple guard have the two worse quality that a human-like capitol-only sacred can have, a massive resource cost and map-move 1. This not only makes it difficult to amass the large number of them to the right location, but it also runs counter to our goals during pretender design. Ideally we want our units to be low in resource so we can splurge on a high dominion and a strong bless, not on production. The alternative is for them to be strong enough to take out large armies in very small groups, which is just not going to happen. Caelum also doesn't have any commanders who really benefit from a bless. They do have summoned units that would dearly love to be blessed, but the weakest of these are far off in conjuration 6 land. Now, I'm not saying we shouldn't keep a small bless in mind. I'm just saying that Caelum is a magic and scales nation and so we should address such issues first.

Caelum needs money for expansion, castles, and mages. Order 3. Cealum has cold resistant units and gets normal cash flow with cold 3. Cold 3. Caelum's life blood is research. Magic 1. Things I believe that can suffer are production, growth, and luck. Having any of these would be nice, but that could be said of any nation. I think you could get away with some sloth and misfortune for the purpose of this strategy. There are three magic paths that are the most important for us to obtain. Astral, Earth, and Nature. Put 4 ranks of each on any mobile awake pretender and you have the bare minimum of what this strategy requires. I personally like an awake Mother of Rivers with W4E4A4N4, Order 3, Sloth 3, Cold 3, Misfortune 2, Magic 1, Dominion 6. I find that the extra starting water gem income goes a long way with this nation. Obviously, if I've added three magic paths to a titan pretender there is plenty of points for anyone to work with. I also can't deny that many advantages are to be found by obtaining some death and/or fire. Still, this is what I prefer at this point in time.

Mammoths will still be your best mode of expansion. Back your mammoths up with wingless to improve their moral and keep them from being swamped on all sides. Recruit indy commanders from all around so that you can move these armies without sacrificing your research. The horn spire seraph is the most cost effective for research, yet the ice crafters are more useful later on. Conserve your money so you can afford your first castle as soon as possible. Have your god go out and scrounge up as many gems as possible while spreading your good dominion. Create a high seraph or two and look for those elusive air gems. You'll want at least two more castles before your first war starts. The real bottle neck for making Caelum as effective as possible is going to be your access to flying commanders. Fewer castles will equal fewer commanders. Your third castle will want as many resources as possible and won't need a lab or temple. Have it shell out storm generals and bodyguards every round till the end of the game.

As standard, evocation is one of our first research goals. Evocation 2 starts us off with Lightning Bolt, Colt Bolt, Arcane Probing, Slime, Rain, and a few others. Later on we'll want to get to evocation 5 for Storm, Thunder Strike, Falling Frost, and few other goodies. However, after evocation 2 I think it better to skip to construction 4. The reason being that we have these flying units and these forge bonuses and its about time we combined them into something viable. At construction 4 and W1 there isn't much our crafters can actually make. However, we only need one thing, Ice brands. If we've managed to scrounge together enough earth gems for Dwarven Hammers, we can make an Ice Brand for only 2 gems a piece. If not, we can still make them for only 3. Now take all of those storm generals from our extra castle and give each an Ice Brand and about five or more bodyguards each. Group several of the generals together and we now have a respectable raiding force. This force works because it has a lot more offensive power then our regular melee squads had before. Those AoE cold damage strikes will win you battles well before the fatigue sets in. The bodyguards are just there to absorb blows. Since most human sized units will vanish in front of the generals, their offensive power combined with their ~14 protection and 17 defense keeps them from dying first. Against a real army they are just a component of all the things you can use against the opposition. On their own they do quite well against indies and modest PD. That said, a reliable flying raiding force for very few gems, very little gold, and very little research makes Caelum more dangerous then they have ever been. Finally, don't be too concerned about losing a few brands. They are easily replaced and are not much of a threat to your cold resistant armies.

Lets talk about bodyguards. For straight up protection and defense, we want the iceclad. One problem though, they are hard to accumulate, especially if we took any sloth. They also have a map move of 2, which hinders the flexibility of our forces. Next on the list is the storm guard. They can fly in storms! This quality is important as you can use them to guard our Ice Brand wielding storm generals while giving them mage support. They are also resource intensive, though not as much as the iceclad. They also have a map move of 2. If mobility is what were after, we are going to want to use the caelian infantry. They are the only move 3 unit with a helmet. They're not that heavy on resources and is likely what you should use in the early part of the game. Don't overdo it on bodyguards. Too many and your generals won't get to their targets.

After construction 4 our research can deviate in several directions. Going to construction 6 yields us practically immortal size 6 tramplers within our own cold 3 dominion. The Bottles of Living Water can be forged for 5 gems each and the unit they yield can fly over enemy provinces along with our flying commanders. Hello raiding force Mark II! Getting an ice crafter to W2 is easy since each crafter can make their own water bracelet for 2 gems. The elementals have amazing moral and magic resistance, have a chill aura, keep your commanders safe from mundane assassinations, can be used under water, are immune to darkness, and don't take away from your gold income at all. Another research option is to go back to evocation for obvious reasons. A third consideration is the alteration tree for another use of our water gem income. A lot of the spells here can add survivability to our mages, improve their aim and the aim of our archers, and allow for lucky ethereal mammoths. All this for just alteration 4. At alteration 4 you also get Wolven Winter. This spell is a very important spell for the survivability of our raiders since their armor is dependent on the cold. If we want those Bottle of Living Water to produce tramplers while raiding, Wolven Winter will be needed for that as well.

Once you've accumulated 50 spare air gems you'll want to empower an ice crafter. Use a hammer to forge a Winged Helmet and Bag of Winds. Now you can boost the crafter to A3 and still have the slots to hold a hammer. Now you'll want to forge several things using this guy. Winged Shoes for your non-flying summoned SCs is nice. Perhaps a Spirit Helmet or Copper Plate or Chainmail of Displacement. If your research is suffering you can forge Owl Quills for 2 gems a piece. The real winner for me though is the Wall Shaker. For reasons I'll explain later, this will be a valuable part of our strategy. Now you might immediately argue that if I'm after a siege bonus, the Gate Cleaver is twice as effective for the same number of gems. I'll reply by saying that we are getting Wall Shakers at half cost. I would also argue that, since earth has to be boot-strapped to Caelum, you will likely not have the earth gems to splurge on such things as Gate Cleavers. If you do, great, don't let me stop you. You're still going to want Wall Shakers.

As soon as you can scrounge together 50 nature gems you'll likely want to empower an ice crafter. Hitting construction 6 allows us to turn the crafter into a W3N1 mage using boosters. It should be easy to figure out where I'm going with this. With a hammer you should now be able to produce clams for only 9 gems a piece. Only 2 of those gems are nature. The sooner you can accomplish this, the better. These astral pearls will power our late game and afford us most of our summons. After needing water gems for the Ice Brands, the Living Bottles, Wolven Winter, and now the Clams of Pearls, you can see why the awake mother of rivers looks more and more appealing as a pretender chassis.

Now that you have a healthy supply of astral gems, you'll want to look to Caelum's first national summon, Summon Yazatas. The yazatas are Caelum's flying sacred troops. For three astral gems a piece, they aren't that cheap for what they are. However, you shouldn't overlook them, yet not because they are sacred. The part that interests us is their awe +1. This quality makes them viable front-liners in my opinion. In order to truly take advantage of it, we are going to need alteration 6 and construction 4. For the fun of it I'll paint the entire picture with evocation 5 included. First, you light up a Storm and Storm Power a bunch of caelian seraphs. Have the yazatas hold and then attack. Cast Mists so we can worry less about arrow fire and enemy evocations. Have several ice crafter cast Quicken Self. For round two your caelian seraphs will now cast False Horror of all things. Now have your ice crafters cast Panic twice each. How you say? With those Wall Shakers you made earlier. If you brought some extra ice crafters you can have them spam Frozen Heart. It has 100 precision and will ignore all those precision penalties we just stacked. The yazatas should still be holding. Interesting, false horrors can fly in storms! Round three gives us more False Horror and more Panic spam. Now the Yazatas go in. Oh look, they can fly in a storm as well! Now you see how the false horrors help us. Aside from absorbing blows meant for our real solders they also produce fear. Their damage output means nothing and isn't really the point. Between the horrors and the panic, your yazatas are now untouchable by any regular unit, and we haven't even scripted a bless yet. Continue casting False Horrors, Panic, and Frozen Heart until you can't script no more. Since the yazatas are immune to shock damage, and since you should be able to produce Copper Plate or Rings of Tamed Lightning for 2 gems each, throwing in Wrathful Skies and Wind Guided Thunder Strikes is synergistic with this strategy.

The combination of False Horror and 2x Panic a round from Wall Shakers makes air magic a rival in the fear department. You could even cast Dark Skies using a high seraph if you think it won't get dispelled or if it will achieve victory in a crucially important round. As an added bonus, Caelum also has D1 randoms. That should be enough to get you thinking about all the other fear effects you can throw out there, provided you can get a little boost of course. Fear is one of Caelum's handiest weapons considering they have both summons with awe and the ability to fly armies behind enemy provinces. Use those raiding forces we talked about. If you can't win in a straight fight, cheat and force an enemy to run away to provinces they no longer control.

Now lets talk about Call Amesha Spenta, your other national summon. You can summon up to six commanders with this spell. Each one is unique in the same way the elemental royalty are unique. Physically the strongest of them is comparable to the weaker royalty. What they lack in strength they make up for with several unique advantages. First, they all fly, have full body slots, are sacred, have full shock resistance, and have awe +4. On top of that they each have differences from each other. Let's start with the three strongest. Spenta of animals has animal awe +7 on top of the regular awe and is N5H3. Spenta of sky and metals has A4E3H4. Spenta of Fire has full fire resist and is F5H3. Now for the three weaker ones. (Note that they are only weaker due to fewer hit points and one point of strength.) Spenta of waters has recuperation, is a full healer, and is W4H3. Spenta of the earth is simply E4N2H4. Finally, the spenta of plants is E2N3H3 and immortal. Barring any conjuration bonus, it would take you 360 astral pearls to gather all of them. That said, you will likely find a use for all of them, though all of them you may not get. I appreciate them as additional magical diversity for my flying armies. Though they have all the makings of a super combatant.

Once you start combining everything it starts to become rather nasty. Replenishable ice elementals thumping forward, storms and mists lowing precision, flying squads of awe units backed by false horrors taking the lead while ice brand squads rip apart the rear ranks. What doesn't die from an AoE weapon strike or a random lightning bolt from Wrathful Skies runs away in utter terror. If they go to hide in their precious castles your forces can easily break down their walls thanks to Wall Shakers and the natural bonus that all fliers have. Caelum is fast a furious. I haven't even mentioned the huge number of battlefield spells available in just the air department alone. Fog Warriors, Arrow Fend, and Mists of Deception are just a few. Use your god to snag ivy kings and golems who can start battles with N5 and S4 (higher with crystal shields) thanks to the boosters you can now make. Or just focus on the spenta, which are also brought to you by your handy awake pretender. Last thing I would say is to never forget the basics of what Caelum has. There will be times where high precision short bows and standard evocations are going to be the most effecient. There will also be instances where a momoth or two will save your better units by being natural targets for spells or supply the extra trampling you might need against hordes of undead. All-in-all, I think Middle-Age Caelum might be the best Caelum of all.

That's all for now. Good luck.
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Strategy Guide: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying
Strategy Guide: LA Man - Death and Taxes
Strategy Guide: MA Mictlan - An Introduction
Guide Supplement: LA Man - Castle Warfare
Referance: Prophet Transformations

Last edited by AreaOfEffect; January 17th, 2009 at 11:21 PM..
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  #2  
Old January 12th, 2009, 12:11 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

My apologies to Jim. This guide has been in the making for quite a while and once completed I couldn't keep my ideas to myself.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:16 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Thanks, that sounds like a fun strategy!

One thing you might add is that in CBM, Wailing Winds is only Evo 4 and D3A1 to cast, so a D1 High Seraph with a Skull Staff can cast it with 2 gems.


nitpiks: Thunderstrike is only Evo 4, and you wrote "Bottles of Living Bottle."
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:26 AM

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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Nice guide.

I too have found bottles of living water a great investment.
Here's a trick how you can use them on the defensive.
Get two flying commanders, one of them a cheap mage (or an expensive mage depending on what you're expecting/wanting to do).
Give two Bottles of Living Water to the one commander, and fly/cloud trapeze him and the mage into a province that is going to be attacked.
Put the guy with the Bottles at the very front and script him to retreat.
The mage should stay and cast whatever spells he can.
The commander with the bottles gets to retreat before the enemy can do anything about it - so he is virtually immortal in battle. But the elementals or going to stay as long as the mage is in.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Quote:
Originally Posted by vfb View Post
nitpiks: Thunderstrike is only Evo 4, and you wrote "Bottles of Living Bottle."
Thunderstrike is between Evo 2 and Evo 5, which is why it is listed. In regards to the typo, thanks and fixed.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Quote:
Originally Posted by vfb View Post
you wrote "Bottles of Living Bottle."
What a terrifying image. O_O! Sounds like an unique artifact to me.
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Old January 12th, 2009, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Quote:
Originally Posted by KissBlade View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by vfb View Post
you wrote "Bottles of Living Bottle."
What a terrifying image. O_O! Sounds like an unique artifact to me.
So you haven't met the bottle woman?
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Old January 12th, 2009, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Nice guide, AoE. But, what you think to do with early ice and lightning immune sc?
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Old January 12th, 2009, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Quote:
Originally Posted by AreaOfEffect View Post
All-in-all, I think Middle-Age Caelum might be the best Caelum of all.

I totally agree with this.

And no apologies needed, of course! This strategy (not exactly a guide, per se), highlights what is so great about Dominions..... it is a beautiful way to use the strengths that Caelum has, and yet, is strikingly, and globally very different from what I'm putting together. If I wasn't so invested in exploring other directions, I would be itching to try this out, looks like a fun way to play them!
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Old January 12th, 2009, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: MA Caelum - Fear of Flying

Very useful thing in early wars is flying mammoths. 3 mammoths with "hold and attack archers" script and seraph witth "gift of flight*3" script. 3-4 such squads together can be devastating.
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