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  #1  
Old March 1st, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Baalz Baalz is offline
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Default Carrion Woods

So, I'm working on a guide for LA Pangea and I wanted to see if I'm missing something. Carrion woods is a really neat spell that would be fun to make work, but it seems like it's unplayable in a way that's impossible to overcome. It kills your population. That by itself is not that bad, all the autospawn dominions kill your population. The difference is that it can be dispelled, and in MP it most certainly *will* be dispelled as soon as you start looking like you've got a competitive shot at winning - people will pool their gems, pearls are easy to get through alchemization and dispelling is just easier than putting it up in general. After you've had it up for any length of time having it go down (with the implicit threat of more dispels if you try and put it back up) is completely game over - you've got no population now. I don't see how you could possibly cast this in any MP game you wanted a shot at winning. Anybody see an angle I'm missing?

If it's a dispellable global I can't see how you can reasonably have it kill your population for this reason. Maybe it could instead raise the unrest in your dominion - that way it would axe your income only while it was up, along with a recovery period afterward. There's a big enough detriment of having planned your strategy around this spell and having it not there, but having the inevitable dispel meaning you're irrecoverably out the game is impossible to overcome even if the spell only cost 1 gem (what exactly do you do when all the global slots are filled? Happens every game I've ever been in.)
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Old March 1st, 2009, 10:39 AM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Isn't CW rather hard to dispel? Given how easy it is to power with additional gems? I don't see how having 0 pop is going to stop you casting it again.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:21 AM
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cleveland cleveland is offline
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

I used it to great effect in a CBM 1.21 game a while back. From the CBM 1.3 thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleveland View Post
Yeah my population has been dying off, but with all those freespawn, I never had much need to recruit any rank-and-file troops. Further mitigating the problem is that I took Growth-3 to complement Carrion Woods (increases freespawn), offsetting the pop death. Consequently, my ability to buy mages really wasn't hindered too badly.

There was a time when money was really tight, mainly because I'd racked up like 45 Pans @ 23gold/turn...with turmoil 3, dom10. To free up cash, the great Trans-Across-Pangaea Campaign was swiftly implemented, wherein all Pans were immediately ordered to cast the 3N spell Transformation. Hilarity ensued (stealthy Moose death mage leading a bunch of Shades, feebleminded 4-clawed foul-spawn-of-doom patrolling down unrest with the help of black hawks, etc). Problem solved.

All-in-all, Growth-3 with Carrion Woods is probably comparable to taking Death-3, except there's no supply penalty, you get free gems, and a crap load of respectable chaff.
Further, the chaff you get are top quality...they actually push the envelope into respectable troops. From some other thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cleveland View Post
I'm currently playing LA Pan in MP, though it's a CBM game, so LA Pan is really a completely different nation: in CBM, Carrion Woods is level zero, so I put it up as soon as I could and relied on the manikin/undead animal freespawn to expand.

But, that makes me uniquely qualified to comment on a Pangaean undead strategy, which I've been using now for ~40 turns. I don't want to tip my hand (DonCorazon stop reading now!) but I can give you some thoughts.

First, to answer a few of your questions:
"Are there any other kinds of 'better' manikins available through reanimation that I didn't get so far?"
Sounds like you've seen them all, though it's worth mentioning you'll occasionally get Mangradoras, which have 2 sleep vines + claw, 25hp, respectable att & def (9), and 13MR.

I seem to remember people mentioning using an ogre manikin or something like it as a SC chassis?
LA Pan has an undead "Ettin Mandragora" hero, so you'll only get it through the "Suddenly this guy appeared at your gates...!" event. It's an excellent chassis, with 3 hand slots, 2 head slots, and an L1 priest (self bless). Vine Shield + Boots of Behemoth + Regrowth and you've got an early game quasi-SC.

Did I miss any other means of acquiring manikins?
You can cast the Const3 spell Construct Manikin, though I don't recommend it.

Now the big question:
How useful do you rate them?
They frankly aren't very useful on their own, BUT are very useful to LA Pangaea.

Why? (implied)
1) Manikins (and here I'm referring to all the undead stuff Pan gets) are completely different from everything else in Pan's arsenal. To counter them effectively, your opponent will need to field banish-spam priests, which diverts funds/attention from more cost-effective counters to your Minotaurs, Centaur Warriors, Dryad Hoplites, and Harpies. If he decides your manikins aren't a threat...

2) Massed manikins are surprisingly effective. The sleep vines attack, when it hits, is devastating to fatigue; it only takes ~3 hits to knock an opponent unconscious, after which death is certain. This is an excellent counter to small groups of elite troops, and to lone SCs.

3) Manikins have surprisingly high magic resistance. They're still vulnerable to banish-spam, obviously, but L1 priests will only connect ~30% of the time against the standard manikin (MR=12); some of the undead animals are lower, while some are higher.

4) Pan gets several undead-only national spells. Most notably Regrowth, which gives undead the ability to regenerate. Not terribly useful for a manikin, but very nice on an undead Elephant, very very nice on a Wraith Lord, and very very very nice on a Tartarian. Puppet Mastery is also good, particularly when faced by those pesky archers or when storming a castle.

5) They're 100% poison resistant. Pan is notably lacking in battlefield damage spells for the LA. Blade wind is an option against, say, Mictlan, but most troops will be wearing too much armor for BW to be of use without Destruction. But every one of your Pans can cast Poison Cloud.

6) Pan is the Buff Master. What it lacks in direct damage spells, it more than makes up for in troop buffs. First Wooden Warriors, then Mass Protection (or Marble Warriors), then Army of Lead (or Gold). Throw on some Weapons of Sharpness & Strength of Giants, and all of a sudden the mighty Tartarians of Tien Chi are crying out to the rest of the world for help.against your shambling horde of rotting orange peels. Maybe even summon a Lamia Queen or 2 with a Panic Apostate and drop some Darkness for good measure.

7) As Pan, you'll be awash with nature gems. You'll be trying to think of ways to use them, least you feel like a total dope for having 1000 N just sitting there. Carrion Ladies are your best reanimaters/cost (2 manikins/turn @ 16N gem cost). It may not seem like much, but you can easily have 10 by turn 30...by turn 100, those 10 will have generated over 1400 free, need-not-eat, upkeep-free troops.

Your 2 best reanimations are are the undead elephants & centaurs. The elephants are just like normal elephants, except they don't rout (with morale 50) & can't be soul-slayed (mindless). The centaurs are armed with a vine bow that entangles enemies, which can be surprisingly effective against small groups of elite troops.
To summarize, in CBM, Carrion Woods is damn effective if you get beeline for it right out of the gate.

1) It generates Nature gems, so if you can get it up by ~turn 10, you can certainly expect to accumulate a stockpile of Nature gems large enough to re-cast it with an undispellable # of gems by turn 30, when you can expect someone to take it down.

2) You get respectable chaff that are certainly good enough to rely on for the early game. In mid-game, they're buffable into a formidable force (mass protection & weapons of sharpness is key here).

3) Thanks to #2, you don't need to recruit (m)any troops, saving huge amounts of gold.

4) You can transform all your mages to eliminate their upkeep.

5) If you take Growth-3 - which you should, as your rate of freespawn is dependant on Growth - the pop loss is really not so bad...probably comparable to Death-3.

6) When your chaff becomes obsolete, you've bootstrapped your way into Tartarians, supported by Tarrasques. Army of Lead!

IN CBM! It's probably quite useless in Vanilla. Hope this helps.

Last edited by cleveland; March 1st, 2009 at 11:42 AM..
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Not particularly hard to dispel, it costs 50N to put up so you've got a 20 gem advantage on each dispel. Just thinking about what I would do if I was in a MP game and Carrion Woods Pangea looked like a threat...wait until all the global slots are filled then pile up whatever gem types I've got in abundance to cast whatever global seems good. Even better, pick a global advantageous to several nations (or just people worried about Pangea) and pool the gems from interested parties. Simultaneously dispel Carrion Woods and drop your powered up global, there's a 50-50 chance the dispel will go off first and (assuming it's successful) the new global will take the free slot. If the dispel doesn't go off first there's still a 20% chance it'll try to overpower CW. Now, what do you do as Pangea? You took a N/D pretender because you had to to cast CW, so you've not got a strong astral one and no astral mages, you can't dispel anything. What do you do at that point as Pangea? Dump all your nature gems (guess you've been stockpiling against this day and thus not spending any nature gems) in an effort to overpower one of the globals? What do you do at that point when 5 nations kick in pearls to dispel it again? It's not at all a stretch to see this happening if you're looking like you're going to be in a position to win, and it's not all that unlikely if you're just fighting a war with the wrong nation. Dumping blood slaves into the two blood globals is a pretty common way to bump off other globals, if somebody does nothing at all but supercharge Looming Hell with their blood economy you've got a 20% chance of being royally screwed.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Thanks Cleavland. I think the critical factor there is that the pop loss doesn't sound as bad as I thought it was. I was thinking along the lines of LA Ermor so once you're looking at a dispel you've effectively got no infrastructure. Let me go test with that thought, I've got some really nasty stuff in mind if I can get it to work.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

PS - I took an awake Carrion Dragon with Growth, Turmoil, Sloth, & enough Nature & Death to cast CW unboosted, expanded with him & Minotaurs. Started down Enchantment for Haste (for the Minotaurs). Got CW up, used the nature gems to make Carrion Lady shepherds. Surged down Alteration for Mother Oak & Mass Protection. Then Conjuration for Spectres (and zapfried a bunch of unsuspecting Mindhunters hehehe). Construction for Weapons of Sharpness. Enchantment for Faery Trod. Alteration for Army of Lead. Construction for Faery Queens, then Tarrasques.

Hint: Early on, script the Carrion Dragon for (attack)(Tune of Growth)(Tune of Growth)(Tune of Growth)(Tune of Growth)Attack Closest. He wades into melee, entangles everyone around him...eventually they rout due to fear. Bring along an undead priest for the tough battles, who can cast the Pangaen undead-regen spell on him...this spell also works on Tartarians

Last edited by cleveland; March 1st, 2009 at 11:46 AM..
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  #7  
Old March 1st, 2009, 11:51 AM

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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Wait, Carrion Woods give Nature gems? Is that CBM only? How many?

There's nothing about it in the description.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Speaking from experience, CW is hard to dispel because Pan is awash in Nature gems (usually has Mother Oak up as well by the time anyone can even think of dispelling it plus CW generates gems itself) and people aren't too sure/worried what Carrion Woods is doing. I think we banded together and dispelled one of Cleveland's globals only to have it go up right away, then gave up. While you can always imagine situations where players band together to dispel globals, I think CW is one likely to stand. Only the guy fighting Pan will really cry about it....

Of course, Baalz, if you write a guide and scare everybody, then maybe it will be a high priority dispel target

I have yet to see a primarily undead nation win a game, even with LA Ermor. It seems to me that while all strategies have counters, masses of low HP undead are particularly susceptible to being controled, mastered, stoned, solar rayed, banished, and generally dissed. Ultimately Undead Mastery seemed to be the bane of CW Pangea in our game. All those cute little mannikins so lovingly cultivated were too much to resist It the got down to who had the first attack advantage to cast undead mastery and follow up with Antimagic to be the master of the mannikin horde.

Thanks for reminding me about the Tart regeneration Cleve. Very nice. Oh I think you meant to say Conjuration in that last line about Fairy Queens...
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Old March 1st, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Massed dispel pools do happen but they're generally reserved for spells that most players want to get off the board ASAP, ie. AStral Corruption, Burdens, Forge, Nexus, etc. Carrion woods is one of those sneaky spells that most players will let fly for a moment so I think you can use that to your advantage.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Carrion Woods

Yeah, I guess I was thinking that if you're playing to win you will (hopefully) get to the point that most players want to get it off the board ASAP because of your position and the drastic effect the dispel will have on you. You can't really expect to win without passing through that point, usually before you'd really like to if you're playing against good players. I think the key is that you are not completely crippled if it does get dispelled, I had been thinking you'd have all 0 population provinces left (like Ermor), sounds like that's not the case. I'm not a fan of putting all your eggs in a basket that can be yanked out from under you....
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