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Old May 21st, 2009, 01:57 PM

Zeldor Zeldor is offline
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Default LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

Nation Evaluation [based on other LA nations, excluding Ermor and R'lyeh]
Early Game: 2/5 - the need of awake SC pretender costs them 150 points and their troops really really suck
Middle Game: 4/5 - great battle mages, very good research, very nice national summons
Late Game: 4/5 - death magic for the win!
Ease of use [SP]: 2/5 - even if winning with AI is easy, it's much easier with most of other nations
Ease of use [MP]: 2/5 - they don't get 1 only because they don't have to micro with blood economy; their weaknesses require a lot of diplomacy and good management

Introduction:

That guide won't be about how uber and great Agartha is, unlike some other famous guides LA Agartha is surely a fun nation with great potential. But it also has some serious flaws that make playing it a challenge. I will try to write here as much as possible about Agarthan capabilities, but they are so big, that everything cannot be covered.


Troops:

Agartha has one really really great feature - it can recruit all it's commanders and troops everywhere. Everywhere! But the sad thing is that most of them really suck...

* Units: All have darkvision 50. Make use of that!
- Agarthan Light Crossbowman: 10g 11r
They have 10 precision with crossbow bonus. Mapmove 2. What else do you want? It fires and it's all.
- Agarthan Crossbowman: 10g 19r
More expensive version of Light Crossbowman. 5 more protection and +1 encumbrance, -1 defense. Not worth it.
- Agarthan Heavy Crossbowman: 10g 27r
Even heavier version. Crossbowmen are for firing, not for melee fighting. Ignore their existence.
- Agarthan Light Infantry: 10g 10r
Another pathetic creature. Someone gave him a short sword so he cannot hurt anyone. At least he got a shield... and 5 encumbrance.
- Agarthan Infantry: 10g 22r
Yay! More encumbrace! 14 protection can help, but without Darkness he is just useless.
- Agarthan Heavy Infantry: 10g 27r
8 encumbrance! Still just short sword and now 17 protection. It can survive some hits, but only till he gets overfatigued [which will be very fast].
- Entrance Guard: 18g 37r
Even heavier infantry, now with castle defence bonus (2). With 10 encumbrance actual fighting is almost impossible and castle def bonus is not really big (but can help if you are desperate).
- Blindfighter: sacred 30g 37r
The one and only recruitable sacred unit of LA Agartha. Blind. He has 14 HP, 20 protection, 14 morale, 13 MR, mapmove 1 and 10!! encumbrance. Even the craziest E bless cannot save him. He is also a magic being, so magic leadership is required. With that MR it is even easier to counter him. Insane cost of recruitment means you won't make enough of them. And with short sword you cannot deal enough damage [don't even think about W9 bless with that encumbrance]. The only good use for them is as bodyguars for mages during Darkness [assuming at least minor E bless]
- Agarthan Sapper: 20g 18r
At last something of good value! Sappers with mapmove 2, sweet! Siege bonus (7) means you will be able to take down walls of any fort really fast. Battle-wise their stats are similar to Agarthan Light Infantry, but they are shieldless.
- Cave Knight: 100g 35r
The elite wonderful unit of LA Agartha. Without it they would be unplayable. 4-5 of them can own pretty much all indies! They have reasonable encumbrance (4), 17 protection, decent attack (broad sword and 22-damage Bite), good morale (14). 13 HP does not look like enough, but they have a second shape. Yes! Second shape is cave drake! 56HP cold-blooded high-protection beasts that cost no upkeep. Yep, no upkeep! They have animal tag though

* Commanders: All have DV 50 too, and like troops, most of them suck.
- Agarthan Scout: 20g 3r
Normal scout (stealthy +20), but with DV. Like it mattered for a scout...
- Cave Captain: 30g 22r
Nothing special here. Mapmove 2 leadership 80, Kite Shield (parry 6).
- Gate Lord: 50g 37r
Another joke. Mapmove 1, leadership 120 and amazing castle defence bonus (2!!).
- Blindlord: sacred 80g 37r
He can be useful only under one condition - if you enslave MA Ulm to forge you items. OH, there is no MA Ulm in Late Age, so that answers the question. Blind magic being, 16HP, 20 prot, 10!! Encumbrance, Leadership 10, equipped as badly as normal unit, so just Short Sword to attack with. Don't waste gems and time trying to thug him.
- Attendant of the Dead: sacred 100g 1r; 1D1E1H RP4
If you want to set someone to monthly cast Summon Umbral or build temples he is the best choice. He can skelly spam too. He needs Magic1 scale though to be effective researcher. Leadership 10N (normal) + 30U (undead) + 5M (magic beings)
- Servant of the Oracles: sacred 140g 1rl 1D1E2H RP4
More expensive than previous one and you don't get much in exchange. One more H (if you want preacher) and more leadership (normal 40 isntead of 10). Usually not worth paying 40% more.
- Ktonian Necromancer: 250g 1r; sacred 1F2E2D1H +110%(100+10)FESD RP8
He is simply wonderful. Of course not like that ridicously overpowered Zamzummite of MA Ashdod, but still great mage and researcher. You can build them everywhere and you should pop 1 a turn in every fort. They give you great research and have great use in battlefield. They have only 9HP, no protection and are old (biggest drawback is +2 encumbrance). At least minor E bless is adviced for them. With their paths they have access to really great battlefield spells, just to name a few: skelly spam, Gifts from Heaven, Bane Fire, Magma Eruption, Flaming Arrows (with phoenix power). They can also cast Blight and summon Tomb Oracles (and remaining Agarthan summons).
- Drake Lord: 120g 35r
Commander version of Cave Knight. It also has a second upkeep-free form of Cave Drake (but beware, Cave Drake only has 2 misc slots, nothing else and only 10 leadership).

National Spells:

- Awaken Cavern Wight [Conj3, D1E1] - 3D/1

Weak undead unit that you don't want to summon, ever.

- Awaken Sepulchral [Conj4, D2E1] - 4D/1

Nice undead unit, it is sacred, so works if you have a decent bless. IT won't be awesome, but good. Normally not worth it, as you can get 2 Umbrals for that price. And Umbrals are way stronger.

- Summon Umbral [Conj5, D1E1] - 2D/1

Troll on steroids. 68HP, ethereal, life drain attack, amphibian, undead. What else do you want? And yeah, he is stealthy. And full slots, so good candidate for GoR and thugging.

- Awaken Tomb Oracle [Conj5, D3E2] - 30D/1

Really cool SC. E3D3H3, so self-bless, earthpower, invulnerability, iron will, soul vortex. Works great until someone gets an idea to use flambeus. Don't let a guy like that leave, it's not fair to use things of such power. Anyway, they are amphibian, undead, 85 HP. Put good gear on them, evade flambeus and you can conquer almost everyone.

- Hall of the Dead [Conj8, D5E1] - 30D/20

Just more wights at better price. Still not worth it.

- Iron Corpse Reanimation [Ench3, E1D1] - 4E/3

Plain weak udnead, but a bit stronger. Use E gems for smth better.

- Reanimate Ancestor [Ench3, E2D2] - 5E/1

Poor man's thug. 25HP, never heals [really, never, not even in the lab], no magic, slow, has 2x short sword, but 19 basic protection. Also poor amphibian and undead, so you may find some uses for him with cheap gear [frost brand/demon whip x2, pendant of luck]. And those are E gems, not D, so could be worse.

- Flame Corpse Construction [Ench5, F1D1] - 1F/1

Someone please use it in action. Sounds like a really cool, but a bit high research. It is supposed to explode on death. If it as strong as inner sun, then it's really cool thing to have. Bad thing is that they come single and you need Ktonian Necromancer to summon them.

- Ktonian Legion [Ench6, E2D2] - 20E/17

Just lots of weak undead, don't bother.


- Iron Marionettes [Alt5, E3] - needs one earth gem to cast, it's AoE25 increased speed for undead, so lovely spell; remember the word ANY in the description, while not tested, it may buff enemy undead units too

Pretender Design:

Designing a proper pretender for Agartha is more important than for many other nations. Let's get to it point by point:

* Scales:
- Order/Turmoil: There is no debate here. Agartha is order nation, the more gold the better. Order 3!
- Productivity/Sloth: You'd think that Productivity will be necessary to recruit their troops. That's totally true. But other truth is that Agartha does not need its troops. Depending on strategy you want either Sloth3 [recommended], neutral or Prod 2-3 [worth more in CBM].
- Heat/Cold: They have no temperature settings, but it's good to get some points here, depending on your strategy. So Heat1 if you go with Cave Knights [cold-blooded cave drakes] or Cold1 [Chill aura on summons].
- Growth/Death: Even though their mages are old, they have D mages, which reduces the risk of getting nasty afflictions from old age. So Death 1-2 in smaller games, Growth 2-3 in larger [for more income!]. Be sure you have smth worth to invest death scales in [probably Prod scales].
- Luck/Misfortune: Next no-brainer. Misfortune 2! Obvious with Order3.
- Magic/Drain: If you can afford Magic 1, it's great. But their mages have 8RP and are recruitable everywhere, so 80 points from Drain 2 are nice to have and don't hurt much [especially with ability to forge skull mentors and lanterns]

* Chassis:
- Awake SC: Probably the only really viable option for LA Agartha. If you feel lucky go for dormant, but don't cry later
- Risen Oracle: You really want to not take so cool pretender? Undead, Immortal, Amphibian, Fear... You NEED dom9 or dom10 for him as he is unable to kill anything with his quarterstaff, so he requires awe+fear combo.
- Great Mother: Because she is cool and tramples! Fits other nations better, but she can do the job of early expansion well and gives some E/N bless useful for national summons and mages.
- Cyclops: Some people love him, gives good E access, is much better at early fighting than RO.
- Prince of Death: Overpowered pretender, so works for everyone. Vulnerable though and Risen Oracle with awe+fear is as good as PoD in owning indies, and immortal.
- Blesser: I personally don't see any viable bless strategy for Agartha. 10 encumbrance and equipment on Blindfighters [and need of magical leadership] does not give you good enough expansion to safely get to national sacred summons. But if you can expand well early on you can get a decent bless for mages/summons.
- Cyclops: E9 for reducing fatigue and getting additional protection. But even +5 reinvig from E10 means Blindfighters have 5 encumbrance. Works wonders for mages though.
- Lord of Rebirth: Gives all great gifts for sacred needs of Agartha - E bless for reinvig/prot, N bless for small regen, D bless for mages to cause more afflictions. Proposed setup: E6/9D4/6N4.
- Oracle/Sacred Statue: Gives you great scales and S9 bless, but that is not much useful for Agartha [except the fact of how good S9 mage is in late-game].

* Magic paths:
Agartha lacks W, N, B and A on it's mages. And they can get only S1 [S2 with extreme luck]. S1 is enough for site searching and you should be lucky enough to get national Olm hero with W magic. It's relatively easy to find indie N1 mages and get site searching in N that way [enchantresses are quite common]. I'd advice getting air magic to fill the diversity or getting high N for GoR/forging/bless. It of course depends a lot on the pretender you take. Bless options were discussed in chassis section, so let's take a look at possible SC pretenders:
- Risen Oracle: E + D + A/N/S [one of those, or none]
- E3-5 [Summon Earthpower is quite far in research, you'd want to have Ironskin/Invuln earlier, also E4 bless and ability to get globals later]
- D3-5 [3 for Soul Vortex, 4 for minor bless, 5 for next level of Fear]
- A4 [mobility - cloud trapeze, Gargoyles!, forging air boosters, site searching, air queens; you can go with A3 if you can get a booster from somewhere]
- S3+ [mobility - teleport, forging, immortal mind duealer]
- N4+ [minor bless, GoRing, forging, Strength of Gaia]
- Great Mother: E + N
- E4+ [protection, bless...]
- N4+ [regen! stacks with ring of regen and personal regeneration! also bless...]
- Cyclops: E
- As much E as possible, preferably E9 [expensive!]
- Prince of Death: D + E/N/A
- As much D as possible [fear!, tartarians!]
- A2+ [mobility, Whailing Winds!]
- E2-3+ [protection spells]
- N [personal regeneration, smaller chance of afflictions, which hunt PoDs]


Early game:

You have pretty much 3 options for early game. They are nothing special and all leave you quite vulnerable to many rushes. They go as follows:

1. Awake SC pretender + Cave Knights. Why them? Because it's the only thing you can afford, paying for awake SC. You can go with Sloth3 and still recruit enough of them. 4-5 in one group clear most of indies. And you don't have to worry about normal stuff, like heavy cavalry or barbarians. They work great against them. Be careful with big lots of xbowmen though. Cave Knights are also the best thing you can field against tramplers [so Caelum and Patala], they are size4, so it won't be really great, but you can use same tactics that are used for elephants - put some S1 mages with them and spam body ethereal. In that setting they will win 1:1 against ethereal elephants [and Caelum won't put S mages to make mammoths ethereal, so that makes it even better]. And the best thing about cave knights is that when they die, you stay with 56 HP 0-upkeep tough cave drake [but they are animals, with all penalties of that].

2. Masses crossbowmen - Marignon is much better at it, but you can give it a go. It requires production scale, as they cost lots of resources. And you'd want more of them than standard, as their precision and encumbrance are really not great. Add some heavy infantry as blockers and you should be fine. But remember - nothing more than fine. Your mages can't cast wind guide, arrow fend or flaming arrows [you can get that with F2 random guy + phoenix power, but that's a loooong way]. You should have dormant SC with that strategy, to help you later [or fill that A/F gap].

3. Bless - in vanilla I don't recommend it. You must take productivity 2-3 for that to work. So it means you will wreck other scales to afford that [and you must have Order3 after all]. Even with that, it will be almost impossible to make any serious amount of them outside your capital. And even there it will be slow. And you will have to sacrifice mages to lead them. And mages will be easy to get killed, so you will have to walk around and get delays. And you'd want more than 5 in expanding group, so they don't get owned by their own insane fatigue. So really - not a strat for vanilla game. It can work in CBM though, with some changes I convinced QM to introduce. That is H1 Blindlords, they have magic leadership, are sacred, can bless them and won't die to first arrow. More info in CBM section.

Conquer as much as you can and try to get some peace from neighbours, so you can enter mid-game, where Agartha shines. Walk around with necromancers and site search like crazy. You have really broad paths, so your gem income should be nice [be sure not to attrack aggressors that way though].

How to deal with rushes?

The answer is quite brutal - you can't. You'd need a bless nation to counter a bless nation, pretty much. You have some ways to slow enemy down, until you can get more research, get predender awake or get gear for him though. Naked SC gets owned by sacreds. Best thing you can do is skelly spam, counter-raiding and trying to research important stuff ASAP. And use diplomacy With CBM you can be rushing.


Middle Game:

Middle game is where LA AGartha shines. You can use full potential of their mages. They are simply awesome, if you can keep them alive. Some great spells to play with:
- death cloud [really devastates normal armies]
- gifts from heaven
- magma eruption
- earthquake

You should also have geared Tomb Oracles [and you have good paths to make gear for them] to raid enemy provs or even kill whole armies. You should be spamming Umbrals with your cheap mages [see Tricks section for them].

Biggest problems here are:
- lack of mobility [try to get some flying boots and hope you are lucky with indy mages]
- magic duel: can eliminate all your S-random necros from the action
- undead dependancy: umbrals, sepulchrals, tomb oracles are all undead, so anti-undead counters really hurt them and limit your options

What to focus on here?

In mid-game you should get your position stronger. Take care of any weak neighbours you can, without people gangin on you. Use your mages, but keep your research going. You don't need big resources on fighting here, before end-game madness starts. So use suicde mage squads, TOs, stealthy umbral raiders... Just remember that you can pour devastating amount of damage on enemy, but your forces are quite vulnerable, so you cannot give him a chance to counterattack.
At that stage you should also think about getting into tartarian business. So either grab a Chalice or start thinking about how to wish for it or cast GoH, so you can do it when needed. Use your mages to get demiliches and D boosters, you will need them for tarts and Ghost Riders, your main weapons in late game.


Late Game:

That may be tough for AGartha, if you haven't prepared for it. Your mages are weak and vulnerable. Your troops are useless. Your thugs/SCs are undead and at that stage anti-undead weapons are flooding everyone's labs and spellbooks. And mid-game problems do not vanish. But you have some tools here:

1. Tartarians. Obvious for every nation, Agartha is death nation, so it's easier and more natural for them. And you really need tarts, their high HP and diversity and mobility on A/E ones.

2. Ghost Riders: Ultimate raiding tool. Spam them on enemy to grab his provs, kill small armies, cut off retreat routs, make his armies/SCs route, make mages use their scripts and gems, break sieges, etc. If enemy uses heavy movement counters, use umbral stealthy groups to take provs, instead of scouts.

3. Lots of mages with Disintegrate spam: great way to defend against raiders or to be a support for tartarians [and still, it's not like you can't use them anymore, they are great on battlefield, but will die often, you should have plenty of them though, so don't worry about that].

At that stage you should be taking down your entire enemies in few turns. Get few ghost riders a turn, grab his non-fort provs, dropt tarts on his armies and take forts in 1 turn with Crumble. You want a blitzkrieg, so people cannot realise what's going on until it's too late. After mid-game you should be in a position that you can march to victory, without worrying about provs, enemy armies etc. Just put devastating power on VPs.


Tricks:

Some things to use:

1. Twiceborn necromancers - unreliable averagely priced way to get thugs with great paths. If you are lucky you get not important afflictions and you have really cool guy for a good price. And if you are really lucky you can get +1D for returning from dead. So I'd suggest using D3 mages here, getting D4 that way may be great [chance is about 10% to get it, if you are lucky you won't have to summon any demiliches].

2. Stealthy Umbral armies - get Black Servant, give him rod of the lepper king and you have stealthy leader to lead a group of Umbrals. Just stay away from mind hunts.

3. Suicide earthquakers - Necromancers are cool, but fragile. But they can do a lot of harm before they die. You can get a group of them and send them against big enemy armies. With some body ethereal and plain luck, you can take huge army with a volley of earthquakes.


Countering LA Agartha:

I think that by reading the guide you know it by yourself. But I will repeat it - early game is where Agartha is most vulnerable. But there are still probably some easier targets


CBM Notes:

There are 3 big changes in CBM [except standard cost cuts, spell tweaks etc]:

1. Umbrals at level 7, not 5. Which is fair, as they are uber. But be aware of that.

2. Flaming Arrows need higher research, so don't count on them for your crossbowmen.

3. Blindlord is now H1. So bless strategy works now! You have solid guy to lead blindfighters. You can expand with them and make necromancers research Darkness. You are set for life then. I'd suggest trying E9D9 bless [E9F9 would be pricier], even 5 blindfighters can own a lot. And blindlord is really sturdy, so you don't have to worry about dead leadership and stopped expansion.

Also defense bonuses on Agarthan troops got increased, so they somewhat make sense now, if you don't know which heavy infantry to use.


Notes:
I got totally lazy, I had to finish it months ago, after winning Kingmaker with it, huh. My Kingmaker build was awake dom9 order3, sloth3, heat1, growth3, misf2, drain2 A3E4D3 Risen Oracle. Don't try it thoug, it was for huge map and very diff research.

There are probably some holes and mistakes here, as I had it 60% done before Kingmaker finished and made remaining 40% now. So no contact with that nation for some time. Mid and late game section could be bigger, but I had no real wars in Kingmaker then, and using 100 tartarians does not count as guide entry
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LA Agartha guide

Last edited by Zeldor; May 21st, 2009 at 02:39 PM..
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  #2  
Old May 21st, 2009, 03:11 PM

P3D P3D is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

"Your mages can't cast wind guide, arrow fend or flaming arrows"
You need one F2 necromancer, a Flaming Skull and Phoenix Power.
But Steel XBows are 12 damage not 10, so Wind Guide is more useful if you can hold on some A2 magi.

As I mentioned in the other thread, if one goes for E9 bless, B4 would help blindfighters a lot. If one goes with Blessed Blindfighters instead of Cave Knights, Luck-Turmoil works too.
What about an imprisoned Enchantress with E9(10)S(4)6B4 bless?
If one wants to address the vulnerability of the blindfighters. With Drain 2 your Blinfighters than have an MR of 16.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 03:19 PM

Zeldor Zeldor is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

I mentioned that you can get flaming arrows with just phoenix power [and appropriate pick on Ktonian Necromancer]. It makes it a bit heavy on research though, putting it in a place where it's not so great anymore. It's surely a good thing to use, if you get access to it.

Bless works in CBM only. CBM makes that nation more cool to play, with tweaks to other summons too [I should write more about it]. MR is not a huge problem on blindfighters, at least not when you are using them [later you should rather use sepulchrals and TOs]. I don't think they are worth just E9 bless and B is not enough to give enough power. You want to kill enemies fast, so fatigue does not kill you. So F9 or D9.

And I am fanatically against taking turmoil with any nation, unless settings are really special [tiny map]. You want money for forts and necromancers.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:01 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

I love LA Agartha! I'm a sucker for strong recruitable-anywhere mages, especially with Death magic.

* I've found that LA Agartha can have pretty average expansion against indies in the early game with 30-odd crossbowmen and a handful of cave knights. You don't necessarily need a production scale.

* I would avoid blindfighters for expansion even with the CBM H1. They're too hard to mass and don't do enough damage. Your expansion will be slow.

* Umbrals are greatly improved if you throw Iron Warriors on them before sending them into combat.

-Max
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:05 PM

Zeldor Zeldor is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

MaxWilson:

They are good enough with CBM changes, cost reductions etc. And you can use that bless for Sepulchrals, TOs and mages. E9 gives additional protection for them and nice reinvigoration. D9 adds that increased affliction chance for all spels they cast [and add shroud for rituals].

You don't need to mix xbowmen and knights. 4-5 knights alone clear indies. You can make 2-3 knights a turn even with sloth3, so expanding party every 2 turns. It makes really solid expansion rate.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:11 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeldor View Post
MaxWilson:

They are good enough with CBM changes, cost reductions etc. And you can use that bless for Sepulchrals, TOs and mages. E9 gives additional protection for them and nice reinvigoration. D9 adds that increased affliction chance for all spels they cast [and add shroud for rituals].
I don't oppose taking a good bless for Agartha, or even using blessed blindfighters in combat at some point (even though you tailor your bless to your Sepulchrals/TOs/mages). However, my experience has been that even with a good bless, if you try to use blindfighters for expansion you will expand much more slowly than if you use regular units.

Maybe CBM changes enough stats to make it worth it, though. I wouldn't know. I am pretty positive that just giving H1 to the Blindlord wouldn't be enough.

-Max
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Old May 21st, 2009, 04:21 PM

Zeldor Zeldor is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

You don't have to sacrifice so much. You can take imprisoned E9D9 master lich, with dom5, order2, prod2, cold1, growth0, misf2, drain2.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 07:09 PM

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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

I like to use the TOs a lot

For them, I personally prefer E9N4, Earth Mother is suited for it and its not so damned expensive. The bless isn't great for the Blindfighters, but its OK for working through indies with them; and after that, with their high resource cost and low map move, they become nearly strategically useless anyway.

I don't think that Order is a must. I think its a must if you plan on using Cave Knights, but anything else is so resource intensive and not that expensive that you'll probably have more gold than you can spend.

I like to use TOs a lot, and need lots of gems more than money. I tend to take at least a little Turmoil and lots of Luck.

If you're taking Death scale anyway, think about Magic3 because it opens the plague+deathgems event, and you simply can't have too many death gems as Agartha.

The Flambeau is a problem, but with 34+ prot (easy with TOs) luck pendant, and 12+ hp regen a turn, its very sufferable. I've recently found that with those stats and a tad of luck TO's can handle even Bane Fire, and I'd say Bane Fire damage is about what Flambeau would present.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 05:27 AM

Agema Agema is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

Does the 3x damage versus undead mean 3x weapon damage, or 3x (weapon damage + Str)?
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 05:31 AM
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Reay Reay is offline
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Default Re: LA Agartha - Armies of Darkness

The latter.
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