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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:38 PM
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Default EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Baalz, what is best in life? Playing a nation that keeps making you exclaim “cool!” every time you look at a new facet. I hadn’t really taken a close look at EA Ulm, but once I had I wonder why this is not a nation who is more universally feared. They’ve got so many solid things going for them, this is a nation you should be watching closely the whole game.

Steel Warriors. These guys are smaller/cheaper sacreds and cap only so you can’t really base your whole strategy on them, but they are totally awesome and you should use as many as you can get. Let me paint a picture for those of you thinking Ulm is a nation where the women call the shots. You’re going to want to take a major earth bless (bear with me) which turns these guys into near unstoppable juggernauts (well, by the human scale at least). They start out with a 12 protection. Add an earth bless. Add legions of steel. Add wooden warriors. Now let’s add in a minor nature component to the bless so that your mid 20’s protection can really go the mile. Add in a 13 defense on a size 2 guy, plus a length 3 weapon with a 13 attack skill (which works as a poor man’s awe against most guys wielding weapons who have a chance to get through your protection) and realize you’ve got a net 1 encumbrance. But wait, that’s just half the bundle of joy. Let’s look at what we’re laying out on the offense. That 13 attack skill (which is going to rack up stars before you know it) is delivering a 13 strength plus 9 damage weapon plus strength of giants comes to 26. That’ll spit some shields and kneecap some giants! These guys are worthy of the name Conan and half the justification for springing for such a nice blessing. To prove the gods love Conan they also gave these guys 75% frost resistance ensuring that there’s no giants they can’t slay. Drop a winter ward on them then use freezing mist for a nasty combo. Of course, they’re also plenty nasty enough with nothing but that blessing for indie clearing, particularly with their backup singers.

Now, there is some truth to the fact that the women of Ulm carry much of the weight. The men give you important power concentration, but the women are going to provide the bulk of your armies. Why? Because they kick ***! There’s not much reason at all to recruit any male troops other than steel warriors, these vicious vixens have you covered. The shield maiden and steel maiden are both excellent infantry units, you’ll use depending on what you’re facing. Shield vs double sword, I’ll leave that choice as an exercise for the student, but also realize that these ladies are stealthy.

This is one of the things that you should not loose sight of. Much like Vanheim or Pangea, EA Ulm is a stealth nation with fearsome raiding potential. You’ve got very solid stealthy units, and stealthy archers to back them up – no PD is safe. Did I mention you’ve also got stealthy combat mages? Speaking of your archers, the warrior maidens can also only be described as incredible. Its medium infantry plus an archer all wrapped up in a stealthy package for a reasonable price. What’s not to love? Unless you’re fighting someone practically immune to archers (Abysia, etc.) you’ll probably want to recruit mostly these lovely lasses by default because they’re very effective switch hitters. You should end up with some double air warrior smiths (wind guide) and some double fire ones (flaming arrows) fairly early so massive amounts of archers should be something that elicits a wicked grin.

Alright, now let’s take a look at your mages. You might, at this point be thinking that I spent too much on the blessing for a nation with cap only sacreds. But you don’t have cap only sacreds. You’ve got sacreds you can recruit from every single fort. I’m speaking, of course, of the shaman. Again, let me paint a picture for you. Earth bless. Summon earth power. Boots of the messenger. On a unit cheap enough to be spilling out of every fort you put up, who can cast….magma eruption, destruction, blade wind, falling fires, raise skeletons, bane fire (don’t be afraid to pass out a couple gems to get the guys who are close to casting the spells you really wanted to cast). Oh, and with some boosters - relief because your reinvig wasn’t enough already. The potential magic output is staggering….near unending skellispam blocking for a rain of evocations that never quits (with none of the risks of communions), all on mages who bless up to a 13 protection with regen even if you’re too lazy to self buff them, take the time to apply ironskin and the enemy can’t even hurt them if they make it to the back. Oh, did I mention they also potentially self buff eagle eyes? Go with wind guide for the bigger battles, your evocation slingers will thank you. Oh yeah, and eyes of aiming are only 2 gems, look into that. But wait, there’s more.

Those paying attention will probably already know where I’m going with this after reading my MA Ulm guide. Sacred earth mages. Well now, we’ve got potential thugs coming out of our ears and a nice forge bonus. Blessing, earthpower, ironskin, plus some nice options not available to MA Ulm like elemental fortitude. Toss in some good armor (along with some bracers of defense to double up on that earth blessing), a fire brand and a shield of beaten gold and start carving away with your almost 30 protection, high defense and regen. By good armor I mean elemental armor. Stick that on top of your elemental fortitude and stick an evil grin on top of that.

In fact, it’s amazing how much better the warrior smiths of EA are compared to MA. The stuff you can apply that forge bonus to without empowering now runs the range from bottles of living water to winged boots to rune smashers and you can even get up to staffs of elemental mastery with a little work. What’s even better is you’ve got the mages to site search fire, water, earth, air, death and nature so if you do this right you’ll have plenty of gems to leverage in the gem rich EA.

You have a good spread of magic, but you’ll potentially have a hard time casting the larger spells so let’s plan for that. Your bad *** infantry would really like some nice fog warriors and mass flight, and it’d be nice to be able to lay down a grip of winter when the situation merited it for your 1 encumbrance 75% CR Conans. Staffs of elemental mastery are pretty expensive and hard to get, much easier is adding a touch of astral to your pretender so that he can forge crystal shields. A2 smiths with a crystal shield can cast mass flight (think that might work well with a swarm of buffed Conans and dual weapon steel maidens?). 2 A2s working together can storm -> storm power -> fog warriors. A F2 with a crystal shield and fire skull can drop a firestorm (hmmm, mechanical men anyone?). A W2 with a shield, robe and bracelet can drop demon cleansing (haha, just try it Lanka/Yomi). A F/W one can drop acid storm - awesome late game as there’s no way to get a resistance and it does AP damage. Use this in combo with, say, high reinvig skelispamers (buffed with ironskin and regenerating from their blessing), swarm, elementals, etc to tie up the bad guys. Nature has it’s own booster which does a better job than the shield, but don’t neglect the nice stuff you can get up to in that path from mass protection to gai’s blessing (did I mention you can drop almost every battlefield wide elemental damage spell?). It could probably go without saying that earth buffs should also be ubiquitous, Conan with weapons of sharpness, quickening and mass flight will chop up anything from demon lords to tartarians and look stylish doing it. Steel maidens aren’t that much less scary and you’ll have a couple orders of magnitude more of them. What your opponent can possibly do once you're regularly dropping all this stuff together I'm not sure. Leverage fairy trod and cloud trapeze for some nasty surprises nobody would expect out of Ulm, even your PD is pretty damn nasty with these buffs. Don't forget the really nice stuff you can drop with no particular effort to, this is a nation just begging for half an excuse to drop a rain of stones or thank you for your thoughtfulness in bringing thugs into their battery of charm spam. I did mention rune smashers were cheap, and your mages tough enough to sit on the front line right?

Now, you’ve got almost no astral, no blood (other than hopefully boostrapping up to blood stones), and fairly weak death magic. On first glance you might think this means you’re going to struggle late game. Hell no you're not. Why? Because you don’t need most of the things you get from these paths late game. Sure they’d be nice, but they’re not necessary and you can be very competitive without them. If flying Conans of Doom aren’t mobile enough for your needs and even your stealthy Fox Force Five ninja chicks are having trouble just remember that you’re crapping out a steady stream of very configurable thugs every turn. Your neighbor set up an early tartarian factory? Conveniently enough you’ve now got two dozen guys equipped with flying boots and holy scourges. Or demon banes. Or serpent kryss. Or whatever the hell it is your opponent really wishes you weren’t forging quite so cheaply and sticking on the reasonably priced guys streaming out of all your forts. Who needs SCs when you’re swimming in anti-SCs and some of the best combat mages in the game who are immune to everything while dropping the really nasty stuff from under double digit reinvig? Your recruitable units and mages scale up to the degree they’re competitive with the stuff everybody else wanted death and blood for and with a bit of cleverness all that stealth, flying boots and cloud trapeze goes a long way towards mitigating the lack of astral flexibility. True, you’re not going to be wishing for what you want or spamming ghost riders, but if you can’t be hella scary with the tools in your chest then you’re just not trying very hard. You probably don’t even want to spend many gems on summonings/rituals, with that fat forge bonus and all the hammers you’ve built up by now forging stuff to stick on your mages/thugs is probably the most efficient thing you can do.

Alright, now we’re cooking with butter. Here’s how I maintain my title of evil bastard. You’ll want to shoehorn into bloodstones just as much as MA Ulm, it’s a tough call weather the extra boosters for your combat mages are more useful or the extra gems but the good news is you don’t have to decide, you get both (meaning all those shamans can use boots of the messenger and summon earthpower). You should slide into late game with a respectable earth income. Save up your gems over a couple turns and use your pretender to drop forge of the ancients. With forge of the ancients up your smiths forge items normally costing 5 gems for 1 gem apiece without using a hammer. Shields of beaten gold and fire brands for 2 gems apiece. The implications of crapping out 50 items a turn without exhausting your gem income combined with a virtually unlimited supply of self buffing thug chasises is mind boggling. Even if the forge is dispelled the very next turn you got so much of a return on investment it’s not even funny. If the fools you’re playing with *don’t* dispel it….I have a hard time imagining how you’d manage to lose.

Now I haven’t really talked too much about your pretender or scales, just some magic paths you’ll probably want. Strong earth, weak nature and astral. There’s a couple different ways to go from an awake SC to an imprisoned amazing scales guy, or you could stack some more stuff on that Conan bless. Adding minor water and/or blood blessings would be welcome additions and get you pretty easily into clams and blood stones, while air will let you forge those boosters which can be significant boon. Lots of different reasonable ways to spend your points.

So, what else can I say? You can easily be immune to whatever your opponent likes to do while dropping whatever he really wishes you wouldn’t and at the end of the day Conan and all his friends have your back. What more could you want?

Last edited by Baalz; February 21st, 2009 at 02:35 PM..
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Old February 21st, 2009, 01:53 PM

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Default Re: EA Ulm - What is best in life?

YAY!!! I don't feel bad now putting a bless on SWs. Great Job as always!
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Great! I'm only a little concerned about you potentially not being the real Baalz, though. A Baalz who has always insisted on the usefulness of Stick and Stones + Strenght of Giants, wouldn't have missed Throwing Axes + Strenght of Giants, expecially recommending the spell early for sacreds

Jokes aside, I suspect it's a precise choice but I think I don't get the reason for this? Maidens are of course great but I wouldn't underestimate even the shock effect of 50 strenghtened Axe Warriors, throwing doom before entering the carnage

Last edited by Tifone; February 21st, 2009 at 02:51 PM..
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Old February 21st, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

The really cool think about sticks and stones is you get a double attack and are leveraging off either the strength of a gorilla or the numbers of cheap monkeys and have unlimited ammo. Axes don't have near the same synergy, particularly when your other choice is warrior maidens.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Undoubtly true, still I thought they would have got a "niche" mention from you

Could you provide an example Pretender? I know you usually don't like too much giving standardized suggestions of this but I'd love to get an idea.
I was thinking on the line of a (CBM) W4 E9 S2 N4 B2 Imprisoned Master Druid with Dom5 Or3 Pr2 Cold3 Misf2 Mag1 for your strategy. Suggestions?
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Old February 21st, 2009, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Not a bad choice at all. Another one I was looking at was the forge lord: Imprisoned 2f 4A 9E 3S 4N. Order 0 Production 2 Cold 3 Death 3 misfortune 1 magic 1. Your scales take a big hit, but then you're cranking out for less than half price air boosters, crystal shields, dwarven hammers, elemental staffs and rings of sorcery/wizardry. You can forge the hammer of the forge lord if you get there in time which puts you in the range of being able to afford 2 air boosters for lots of air smiths, and passing out rings of wizardry/elemental staffs for combat mages.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

The reason why EA Ulm's not too feared is because as you mentioned, they have weak death and no astral access. So you can move around stealthy armies like Van/Hel (though Van arguably doesn't really stealth abuse) but you have no spectres nor stealthy astral mages protecting you from mind hunt zapping (Which will come into play around the same time as geared/buffed stealth raiders). Pre gearing/buffing, you're basically playing worse off version of Pan. That's not to say EA Ulm is unplayable, just very bleh.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Thanks for the answer and an interesting build, a bit more on the "walking on thin ice" side for me personally, as it's a lot on the mid-late game while I think Ulm is a bit too vulnerable early, expecially as here you're giving away both an SC Pretender and hordes of sacreds/maidens/axe throwers/cheap archers. Surely that enormous supply malus makes some sort of defence though, but won't stop early SC Pretenders/Eagle Kings/Niefels/Skelspammers.

@ Kissblade: as far as I understood Baalz's aiming, here, for a large amount of recruitable shamans and thugs, not for a few SCs, so the damage of getting mind hunted in such an environment is not the same. And surely there are few opponents that can field a S4 mage for every thug you send out every turn

Last edited by Tifone; February 21st, 2009 at 05:41 PM..
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Why would you not have specters? You'll have plenty of D mages for site searching, several D2's who with a staff can summon specters.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: EA Ulm - Flying Conans of Doom

Forgot they can get d2, I didn't see you mention buffering your raiders with some s spectres so I just assumed that's all they had. My mistake.
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