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Old January 12th, 2009, 10:42 PM
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Default EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Helheim has valkyrie recruits, but it’s the eagle kings who drop from the sky while Ride of the Valkyries plays in my mind. These are the guys who define air power, they strike with the speed and power of the lightning which is their defining attribute. Niefelheim are the sons of winter and Caelum doesn’t aspire to be the cold kings, let’s put the cold out of our mind and prepare to ride the lighting.

The strategy outlined here is for CBM, though while it certainly won’t work verbatim in vanilla most of the concepts carry over and can be applied with a bit of creativity. This is also a bit of a trick build out the gate but I think really takes the essence of Caelum and runs with it.

Few nations more perfectly embody their subtitle, Caelum is all about the eagle kings. They’re capital only so we’re going to be making use of other tools at our disposal, but there is almost nothing you need done that an eagle king can’t do better. We’ll be recruiting an eagle king every single turn from turn one, outside of true emergencies nothing else takes precedent – not castles, not troops, not mercenaries, nothing. They’re your gunships, your artillery and the heart of every army you’re ever going to field and you only get one per turn so make sure you take it. I know, they’re expensive but I’ll show you how to do it starting on turn one.

What we’re going to do is take advantage of one specific change CBM makes, Summon Yazatas is pushed down to conj-1. This is a great change, as the Yazatas fit with the eagle kings like peanut butter fits jelly. They’re tough, they’re holy, and they have awe. They also are fairly expensive, hard for Caelum to summon and lack an offensive punch, but let’s charge them with 50,000 volts and see how they look.

As we’re unabashedly focusing on eagle kings lets go ahead and invest in a blessing for them. Let’s look at an awake enchantress with something like A2 E9 S4 D3 N4, sloth-3, cold-3, death-3, luck-3, magic-1 and a dominion of 4. A bit odd? Well, part of this is to give us what we need for a jaw dropping initial start and part to carry that through to late game. Without further delay, here’s my trick start (reliant on CBM and normal research).

Turn 1: Enchantress researches conjuration, scout becomes prophet, starting army patrols, taxes set to 170%, recruit an eagle king.

Turn 2: Scout goes out, everything else stays the same. Note: we’re not attacking anything. Scout is looking around, make note of any exceptionally tough indies. Finish up conj-1 then switch the rest of your points into evocation.

Turn 3: Everything the same, all research pushed towards evocation.

Turn 4: Same thing, no attack.

WTH? I thought we were talking about a very fast opening and here you’ve got the first 4 turns without attacking a damn thing! Well, I didn’t quite list everything you do on turn 4, you also alchemize enough gems (along with the 3 pearls your enchantress has generated and anything from your luck-3 scales) for your pretender to cast summon Yazatas. Meanwhile your 3 eagle kings finish up research on evocation-2.

Turn 5: You’re feeling sick as you haven’t conquered a single province yet. The other players are sending you messages wondering if you’re really playing, it’s time to show them what it means to be a sky lord. You’ve got 4 eagle kings and 6 Yazata – and here’s the thing. Each eagle king with a single yazata bodyguard is capable of taking out most indies in the game. The reason is – they have awe, with the blessing they have very high protection and some regen, and….they have lightning immunity. Script the yazata to guard commander and the eagle king to blessing, air shield, hold, hold, attack one turn, cast spells. The Yazata bodyguard will stay in the same square as the eagle king (halving the attacks he takes), and their awe + protection + regen will give them significant staying power, while the eagle king starts dropping that seldom used spell – shockwave.

Now, this sort of thing wouldn’t work super well against a real army as you’d run into larger groups, higher hitpoint guys, clever battlefield placement, etc which would often make you pass out before they route. Against indies/PD though who charge forward in one or two big blocks you’ll win 95% of the time as you’re only accruing 10 fatigue each round and shockwave carves a big chunk out of the melee units surrounding you, while lightning bolts steadily chew up any remaining archers (who you’re effectively immune to – so take your time).

So, each eagle king is an indie clearing bulldozer who also happens to fly at a strategic move of 3. Now is where you start hearing Ride of the Valkyries as each of your kings should have no trouble attacking a different indie each turn with no overlap or terrain bottlenecks. This means you’ll be at 5 provinces on turn 6, 10 by turn 7 and have 6 expansion parties ready with extreme mobility. That’s blistering by any measure and should easily put you at the head of the pack before the indies are all grabbed on any but very small maps.

Then, of course you’re not weak once you run into neighbors, those two man hit squads work just as well against PD and there’s not many nations who can at this point of the game handle your mobility or losing 6-8 provinces in the opening round of a war – early year two that is. This isn’t, of course, going to carry us through to victory and defeat a real army, so let’s see where phase two takes us.

In full disclosure, you are going to occasionally get an unlucky roll and lose an eagle king at this point with somebody ignoring your bodyguard, overcoming your awe, avoiding your defense, getting a critical hit from your fatigue and rolling high damage. High offense swarms of guys like barbarians give you the biggest risk, though you’ll do surprisingly well against heavy cavalry due to their size. Steer clear of barbarians & lizard men (with your kings that is, these two make excellent targets for your high precision archers) as well as skeletons or anything which ignores your awe though and you should win the vast majority of the time. That’s just not good enough though, I want to win *all* the time. It’s very literally the case that for most of the game you don’t have a real force – army or raiders, without an eagle king and they’re cap only. That means they’re not expendable and outside of your first expansion (of necessity a little bit risky) you’re not going to deploy them without a high degree of confidence of success. To be a power later on you really need to have critical mass of eagle kings and you’re only ever going to get one per turn so you just can’t afford to lose them. That’s ok though, as tough as they start out it’s nothing compared to what they become.

Once you hit alt-3 you’re now looking at mistform & stoneskin (if you go with iron skin make sure you add resist lighting!) which brings you up into the realm that you don’t need that bodyguard anymore, well, once you deal with that encumbrance that is. With their default equipment I’d still suggest using Yazata bodyguards (they’re great all the way through the whole game in this role), but you’ll also want the flexibility to deploy your gunships with cloud trapeze and that can easily be done with most any gems your nice rainbow pretender scraped up. The critical thing is the encumbrance, so you’ll want any of the 2 encumbrance armors, or better yet – if you’ve got the gems the robe of shadows works fabulously by giving you a zero encumbrance armor and etherealness (use iron skin/resist lightning with this one). For reasons I’ll get into in a minute you generally don’t want to spend your air gems on equipment, but if that’s all you’ve got lightweight scale mail isn’t a terrible choice – your earth buff will bring you the rest of the way on protection. Bracers of defense also stack wonderfully with your earth bless. Now, just stick earth boots on and summon earthpower - now you can also lay down invulnerability. Lucky pendants are always welcome, but the point is to put every eagle kings to deadly use and you can use them in this capacity very cheaply (because you really want earth boots, have your pretender out site searching then use your first pair of earth boots to set an eagle king up to gnome loring mountains, you should build up a decent income pretty quick). They also, of course, do fine with a more conventional frost brand and standard equipment rather than spamming shockwave. Finally, with that blessing and summoning earthpower it’s pretty easy to get them to double digit reinvigoration, dropping their armor encumbrance leaves a juiced up caster who won’t quit.

While your expansion eagle kings are trying to decide between original recipe or extra crispy, what used to be a very expensive 400 gold eagle king every turn starts being a drop in the bucket as your income surges wildly. Leverage that into some more castles and start cranking out some research mages (eagle kings have better things to do). Harab Seraphs are very cost effective researchers, but you’ll also want to build up a corps of Caelian Seraphs because we’ll be putting them good use shortly. Pump all the death gems your pretender manages to scrape up into dark knowledge, we’re not going to be spending any death gems early on with the assumption that we’re building up to a very respectable death income which we’ll just leave to mature until later. Meanwhile your rainbow pretender is doing a solid job site searching, you’ll probably end up with a couple big water income events from your luck by the time you want to start casting voice of aspu (after constr-6 unfortunately, for water bracelets).

You’ll also want to slowly build up some Temple Guards. I’d never dream of justifying a bless based on these guys, but as long as you’ve already sprung for a blessing which so well fits them we might as well go ahead and use them. In a cold-3 dominion with a blessing these guys have a 19 protection, throw a legions of steel on them and they’re all the way up to 23 with an effective encumbrance of 2 and some regen. Very nice for tying up bad guys, and to give them some teeth they’re 100% cold immune and it is ridiculously worthwhile to give your recruit anywhere Caelian Seraphs a water gem to cast the very accessible (evo-3) freezing mist. AN damage – nothing which isn’t cold immune will stand a chance at chipping away at the temple guards. Of course this gets *much* more accessible and nasty once you can pass out tons of water bracelets, but certainly keep it in mind for the early part of the game as all you’ll need is evo-3 and it really is a devastating spell.

You’ll employ the same tactic with the iceclad who are not nearly as tough, but do fly so they give you much better mobility than the map move 1 temple guards. They’ll build up slowly with their resource cost and your sloth scale, but that’s ok because you’re not going to need a ton, you just have to hold a couple turns for the cold to set in. Note, 19 protection (with legions of steel) is significantly tougher than the 15 protection they’re at in cold-3 so I’m going to say something you’ll probably be tired of hearing by the end of the guide – you’ll struggle to do this without eagle kings. With earth boots and summon earth power you’re suddenly a flying earth-buff machine who can toss in a couple blade winds or destructions once you’re done buffing. You’ll also want to line up some indie N1 mages, give them a thistle mace and a pair of flying boots as wooden warriors stacks beautifully on this strategy. The freezing mist will numb and fatigue your enemies who are also hopefully fighting at an encumbrance penalty from the cold…ghost grip is a wonderful thing to spam in largish numbers from all those mages who only cost you 80 gold. This is, assuming you can find something tough enough that it doesn’t just freeze solid and shatter into a thousand pieces from the freezing mist alone… Freezing mist is your crowd control, frozen heart is your sniper rifle, and it’ll quickly drop anybody not immune. Once you do pass out those water bracelets mass cleansing water will blast away low level undead faster than anybody could dream of skellispaming.

Now, the one-two switchup you’ll employ against cold immune (remember, it works fabulously even against cold resistant troops) enemies is leveraging tempest warrior’s 75% shock resistance. Out the box it’s certainly respectable enough to use as is, but there’s no reason not to toss a thunder ward down before the (come on, you knew it was coming) wrathful skies. Here’s the thing about wrathful skies, unlike every other nation in the game you’ve got a strong air income and a literal swarm of A4 guys any one of which can fly in, cast storm then wrathful skies. You don’t use wrathful skies just for a few big battles, it should be absolutely ubiquitous from a very early point. Even your PD is 50% resistant, so a pair of eagle kings can buff them to immunity while the storm keeps them from flying in and dying quickly and the bad guys get fried fighting, then chasing down the stragglers of your PD. Too sweet!

I don’t want to dwell too much on the really obvious stuff, but I’d be remiss in not at least pointing out that an eagle king casting storm lets every one of your research mages summon storm power, which leads to that iconic wall of thunderstrike spam. For anyone who hasn’t experience this know that 30+ thunderstrike casters will drop anything, from a group of tartarians to thousands of longdead if they’re not completely lightning immune. They all fly *and* cloud trapeze, so critical mass for critical fights isn’t difficult. For more modest engagements half a dozen eagle kings can lay a ridiculous hurt down before retreating from behind PD – that’s how you “fire and flee”! Nobody should ever begin to think about attacking you with anything non-lighting immune (remember, it works fabulous even if they’re resistant) troops. Doesn’t matter what their protection or defenses is, and barely matters what their hps – only their lighting resistance. Don’t forget, wind guide is not just for archers! Any mass evocation fest benefits greatly from it, and thuderstrike is no exception.

You’re going to want to develop a very strong air income. To extend the analogy, Caelum is a big capacitor and you want to store up your energy (air gems) into a deadly force and unleash it explosively in periodic bursts which drain you at a vastly unsustainable rate. You’ve not got the staying power to stand toe to toe with giants or Vans, you need to blast them and fall back before they hit back. Keeping that in mind, you don’t want to spend your air gems on run of the mill stuff, you want to charge that capacitor. Things to do explosively – Cloud trapeze (20 eagle kings will straight up ruin somebody’s day whether you spread them out and attack every one of his provinces or clump them together and bring the sky down on his big army before it can move). Seeking arrow (the AN damage can fell even SCs if you cast enough, each one does 8 with a die roll and anybody who lives will carry the damage they took to their fights this turn). Wind ride (charm them if you can, or just target anybody with items you might like to have. “oh, you thought you were going to cast storm warriors next fight? I’ll just go ahead and help myself to that winged helm and bag of winds…”). The one run of the mill thing you will spend your air gems on…is auspex. Other than that, you’ll forge a few bags of wind and staffs of storms and stockpile the rest of your air gems for the turns when you’re ready to bring the thunder. I’d love to recommend Gale Gate, but generally it’s too far out of your research path to make sense to get until all the global slots are good and taken. If you’ve gotten some nice indie enchantresses you plan on spamming charm with though you might consider making Thaum an early-ish target and be prepared to put up the gate if one of the globals goes down for some reason.

**Advanced Tactics**

So, what I’ve laid out here sounds pretty nasty, but it’s also kind of predictable. Never thought I’d say focus on cold and lightning with Caelum, huh? Well smart guy, what do you do when your opponent sticks lighting rings on undead and marches a bunch of mechanical men at you? Not looking so smug now, are you? Well, lets see what types of kitchen sinks EA Caelum has to fling over the wall at tough lighting and cold immune (remember…yeah, yeah, they’re 100% immune).

Mammoths, I’m not a huge fan of, they’re expensive, and too easy to counter. As a surprise though, against an opponent who clearly doesn’t have the right counters because you’ve never yet fielded one of the beasts… (mass) flight and (mass) quickening are great force multipliers, and throw haste down with the guy who was casting wooden warriors for something that looks like a *lot* of big shaggy gifts from heaven. This fits great into our hit hard and fast theme, but I wouldn’t field them as standard troops. They’re not only easy to counter, but they sacrifice one of your biggest strategic advantages – flying. What I prefer, once your research matures is a big upgrade to your trampling options.

Eagle King #1: Summon Air elemental. Eagle King #2: Iron warriors. Caelian Seraph: Quickness. Repeat. Works great in combination with almost anything you were gonna do anyway. For larger scale destruction, all those Caelian Seraphs who just stormpowered up cast summon air elemental and an eagle king drops marble warriors. 20 flying, protection-15 ethereal size 6 enc-0 tramplers will cause way more than 20 gems worth of damage against the right opponent. Explosive use of air gems! I don’t really like the living clouds option as it summons smaller air elementals who don’t trample nearly as well. Of course haste stacks well with all those options.

I briefly touched on sticking earth boots on the eagle kings, but I didn’t fully explore this avenue which you’ll ride hard if your two primary vectors of attack are neutered. Each pair of 7 gem boots (with a hammer) gives you a guy who can cast stone rain first turn and walk (er…fly) away from it. You don’t need to forge anything else, give him 2 earth gems, stone rain and retreat. If it’s not critical to drop round one it’s a healthy idea to cast mistform first. This is another thing which should be ubiquitous, add groups of unarmored mages to the list of enemy things never seen long in Caelum territory.

As I mentioned already, don’t overlook the option of spamming destruction; 3-4 casters can make a dramatic difference along with the high precision (wind guided) Caelum archers. Weapons of sharpness also opens up some nice offensive options I’ll leave as an exercise for the student in combination with staples like fog warriors and mass flight (you don’t really want to stick with Caelum infantry if you’re counting on melee to carry the day).

I don’t like to use eagle kings as anti-SCs because it goes against my policy of not deploying them where there’s a decent chance they’ll die. You do have a better option though, and it’s not obvious. Caelian Seraphs have the perfect paths to be SC seeking tomahawk missiles. Mistform, quicken self, attack large enemy monsters. Weaponry varies depending on what you’re trying to kill, but can be anything from dual wielding dusk daggers to a demon bane or holy scourge (for the two most likely big things which are frost and lighting immune). The mistform makes them ignore the first hit no matter who is swinging, and a half dozen of these guys flying in halfway through his buff cycle will drop the toughest SC. Expect a high attrition rate, but it can still be a cost effective way to counter fully decked out SCs and with very modest research they’re realistic to field against more modest troops – 10 quickened guys dual wielding frost brands will cause some serious damage in the time it takes to pop their mistform, particularly if you drop wooden warriors or something like it on them and send in a bunch of false horrors ahead of them. You’ve been recruiting very few troops, and other than one eagle king per turn your mages are pretty cheap. That mean you should have a whole lot of them, so don’t be shy about using them as troops in situations where they merit it.

In the MA Caelum guide AreaOfEffect lays out some great synergies with storms, false horrors, and fear which translates very well to EA, check his guide out for details. False horrors in generally should be one of your staple spells once it’s researched, cast in large numbers they are wonderful diversions from the guys doing the damage and their overlapping fear stacks up quickly.

Pulling into late game your pretender is going to be in a good position to use that solid death income you’ve been building up. D3 goes to 4 with a staff, to 5 with a cap, and behold you’re popping out liches and therein whatever death stuff you like from tartarians to ghost riders. Of particular interest is specters, a handful of stealthy astral mages will do absolute wonders for discouraging mind hunt blasts which would otherwise be tempting due to your apparent lack of astral support. Stick a cap and coin on any S1 specter and place them ahead of time where you plan on dropping in an eagle king raider and watch your opponent scream, do this a couple times and watch how fast those mind hunts dry up. Your respectable 4 astral allows you to summon ameshas with whatever astral pearls you’ve got – which honestly is probably gonna use most of your astral all game before you run out of guys to summon(along with the occasional amulet of luck or antimagic). Your pretender also can do any nature heavy lifting you want, lamia queens make a great way to lay the nature buffs I’ve been talking about and can quite possibly shoehorn you into blood (bloodstones bring your earth support up to a whole other level). Earth your pretender obviously has covered, you’ll probably be using all your earth gems on earth boots, but earthblood deep well you’ll pick up when you go for mass flight and can be a great investment if your pretender has uncovered some nice sites and a solid earth income – cranking out earth boots is never gonna get old. This leaves fire, blood and amusingly water as the only things you’ve not got heavy muscle in, but fire and blood can safely be ignored (unless you get the chance for bloodstones) and you’ve got enough water to do site searching (after a water bracelet) so you should be fine there as the stuff you really want can be forged by W1 mages (water bracelets, frost brands & demon banes). The Spentas will add nicely to your diversity as well, though obviously it’s best not to bank on getting a particular one so they’re more bonuses than strategies. AreaOfEffect lists the different Spentas in the MA Caelum guide if you want to see what your possibilities are.

Finally, what does our opening strategy look like if you replace that old diesel engine with a nuclear power plant? How ‘bout dropping shimmering fields rather than shockwave? Bag of winds and an extra air gem and each eagle king can drop that from point blank range. Now that’s riding the lightning.

Last edited by Baalz; January 12th, 2009 at 10:56 PM..
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Old January 12th, 2009, 10:46 PM

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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Another one? You are a strategy guide writing machine!
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Old January 13th, 2009, 12:49 AM

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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

I particularly like the Air Elementar + Iron Warriors idea. Very mage-intensive, but the whole point of having flying mages is that you can get away with mage-intensive stuff by involving them in every battle.

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Old January 13th, 2009, 08:22 AM

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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

I remember this one, that was a stellar start. But undead are a big problem early on, especially ghouls.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Can't Caelum PD go kill the ghouls while the Eagle King is still buffing? Or do they just shoot themselves as usual?
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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Executor View Post
I remember this one, that was a stellar start. But undead are a big problem early on, especially ghouls.
I don't think ghouls are a particular problem for Caelum, I wouldn't mistake a tactic which worked very well in a specific situation with something this nation has problems with. Arouse hunger is a great spell to cast 8 or so times as a surprise at somebody who has only put 1 PD all over, doesn't matter what nation they're playing. Sauromatia also has some of the very best PD in the game which makes reconquering the lost provinces a bit of a problem when you're suddenly at the bottom of a 3 person dogpile without much research done. I wouldn't mistake a good sauromatia ambush tactic with a weakness of Caelum, if I recall correctly the ghouls never took another province after the first round because I raised my PD to a mere 5 all over.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:53 AM

LumenPlacidum LumenPlacidum is offline
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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Since I started playing I was hoping that someone would write a good guide on EA Caelum. They're one of my favorites, but since I was just starting I could never figure out how to prevent their soldiers from just diving whole-heartedly onto the spears of their enemies. Maybe now I'll develop a feel for them.

Thanks for this!
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Old January 13th, 2009, 10:36 AM

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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Arouse hunger was a good surprise spell for one turn to take out as many eagle kings as possible, after that of course you'd bump your PD a bit.

Of course all that was a specific situation tactic, but I still think undead are a problem or some demon units. Low level summons are very cheap in CBM and you have a limited amount of eagle kings.

Ghouls have a fatigue attack, like axe of hate (which is seriously underrated).

But I still do think that was a brilliant tactic.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 11:59 AM

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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

I don't like giving away too many tricks, especially when I"m fighting caelum. But in CBM, confusion has just gotten....
Ridiculous.

1 air path. 5 effects. With an eagle casting - you're getting +1 penetration and <5 fatigue, iirc.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: EA Caelum – Ride the lightning

Yes, undead and demons are Caelum's classical weak point, I go at length to address how to deal with cold & lighting immune opponents. Early on, with light research you're going to have to be a bit creative, but the good news is that your opponent also doesn't have a lot of research done. An early war with lots of undead summons means it's pretty unlikely that you also have to worry about solid mammoth counters. 10 flying, quickened mammoths will splatter the hell out of attempted skellispam and banes alike - even ones with rings of tamed lightning. Once research ramps up a little thunderstrike and wrathful skies should handle the crap out of almost all undead and demons troops alike. I also list several potential counters from buffed air elementals (devastating against things like mechanical men) to Seraph anti-thugs which should handily slay things like ice devils with rings of tamed lightning (demon banes are cheap). In what capacity do you feel undead are a problem that I didn't address? You shouldn't really be leaning on unsupported eagle kings casting shock wave too much past your initial expansion...
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