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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:19 PM

iainuki iainuki is offline
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Default Nation Guide for Marverni

My primary sources for this guide were Baalz's guide to Marverni and a guide on StrategyWiki. I will note going in that Marverni is not the best LA nation, not by a long shot, but I would argue it's not the worst, either.

The Big Picture

Marverni is a nation without a lot of unique distinguishing characteristics. As a consequence, it tends to be underpowered, because as usual, it's possible to leverage advantages and minimize disadvantages, and Marverni doesn't have as much latitude to work with as other EA nations. That said, though, Marverni has some attributes worth discussing.

Advantages
  • Cheap buildings: All Marverni forts cost 800 and take 3 turns to complete and their temples only cost 200.
  • Capital independence: With the sole exception of their sacred boar warriors and lords, Marverni can recruit any of their units anywhere, so each fort/lab/temple combination adds to their recruitment ability proportionally.
  • Druids: Druids are powerful and versatile commanders with strong astral and earth magic, good leadership, and priest abilities.

Disadvantages
  • No heat or cold tolerance put pretender points at a premium.
  • Druids are expensive at 380 gold per, so Marverni needs lots of money.

This list is short, which is part of Marverni's problem: you have some extreme nations to counter and only a handful of tools to do it with. Note that because Marverni's starting troops aren't that spectacular, but that druids are, Marverni is not the greatest rusher, but gets stronger in the mid- and late games where it can deploy its powerful magic to its best advantage.

Commanders

Staples
  • Druids (380g/3r): One of the major reasons to play Marverni, druids are amazing multipurpose sacred casters that Marverni can recruit anywhere. Baalz covers their virtues in detail and I can't add much to what he said, but the general gist is that the earth/astral/nature combination offers some brutal attack spells and excellent buffs, while also providing good utility spells and forging. Druids also have 40 leadership, so by the midgame they can take over army leadership from ordinary commanders. The druid's only downside is that they are so expensive.

    As usual, some druid flavors are better than others. All S3 druids can teleport without boosters, but suffer in combat effectiveness unless you're deploying certain specific astral spells. The best evokers have E3S2N1, for access to blade wind and gifts from heaven without summon earthpower coupled with the ability to self-buff eagle eyes; E2S3N1 can fill this role, too, as well as casting astral battle magic when necessary. I usually regard E4S2, E2S4, W2E2S2, and especially rare combinations like E5S2 or E2S5 too valuable to use in combat: they can forge certain items, such as the astral rings, and cast certain ritual spells, like voice of Apsu, that are otherwise harder to obtain; however, sometimes you need to deploy W2 druids to cast counters, e.g. rain against Abysia, and in the late game, chances are you will have enough E4S2 and S2E4 druids so you can afford to commit them to make buffing your army easier. I normally use W1E3S2 druids to cast E3 buffs like legions of steel and strength of giants. Finally, W1E2S3 druids, since they are not so good at other tasks, make decent battle astral casters, when you need astral battle magic, but many of mine end up as researchers or forgers; and I tend to make W1E2S2N1 researchers or forgers since for combat purposes, there's some other druid that does what they do better.
  • Gutuaters (120g/1r): The other workhorse commander for Marverni, gutuaters are sacred priests with 2 movement and forest survival who get N1 and one of S1, N1, W1, or E1. They are the most efficient researchers Marverni has gold-wise, so they tend to handle the bulk of the researching, especially in the early game. Their mobility and ability to build every building means they also do a fair share of construction; those with the right magic paths make good support casters; and they can cast a variety of useful ritual spells and craft certain items. About the only thing gutuaters don't do at all well is leading troops. For the most part, N1S1/N2 Gutuaters make better combat casters, so you will want to use the other types for research, ritual spells, and crafting, though you will want to assign a few 2N Gutuaters to crafting and ritual spells as well.

Specialists
  • Sequani Stargazers (80g/1r): While their initial cost is cheaper than gutuaters, their lack of magic diversity, priest status, and movement makes them much less useful on the whole; and since gutuaters have lower upkeep because they are sacred and give 4 base research compared to the Sequani's 3, Sequani are not the best research-farmers, either. However, their guaranteed astral access makes them useful for crafting, casting ritual magic, and communion slaving, especially since you will want to use most of your 1S1N gutuaters in other roles.
  • Boar Lords (100g/15r): These sacred, capital-only commanders make a decent thug chassis; they are much better and quite competent in that role in CBM. Their big advantage is berserk and the consequent immunity to routing; because of the multiple-attacker defense penalty, the defense hit hurts but is survivable with appropriate gear. They make even better anti-thugs than they do thugs, though, especially since berserk makes them immune to fear and awe effects.
  • Carnute Chieftains (40g/15r): These have better combat stats than independent commanders and a small standard, but their major advantage is forest survival, allowing them to lead groups of Carnute warriors and other forest survival units through forest provinces at full speed. If your map is forested, they make good army leaders.
  • Eponi Chieftains (60g/18r): While they lack berserk, Eponi chieftains are a lot more survivable than Carnute chieftains because of higher defense and mobility and they also have the standard effect. However, their most important ability is base leadership 80; since it's coupled with 3 strategic movement, they can be worth recruiting in some circumstances over independent commanders.

Useless or near
  • Marverni Scouts (20g/1r): Dominated by independent scouts. Find an independent scout province and recruit those instead.
  • Vergobrets (50g/1r): Like independent priests, but old. Build a temple and recruit independent priests instead.
  • Marverni Chieftains (30g/17r): Dominated by Ambibate chieftains, who are better in every way except for being slightly more pricey.
  • Ambibate Chieftains (35g/17r): Like Carnute chieftains, but with more defense and no ability to go berserk. However, since human commanders should not be much at the front lines anyway, neither of these matter much so Carnutes or Eponis tend to be better, depending on the circumstances.

Units

Staples
  • Marverni Bare Chested Warriors (9g/9r): While they don't have much protection and so tend to die like flies, they have a broad sword and a javelin so their offense is quite good. Because they are cheap, they are best used in mass numbers against hard-hitting monsters, including most dual-bless rushes, where it doesn't matter what your protection is; against glamored infantry where missile support is beneficial and it's helpful to overwhelm them with sheer numbers; and against enemies with spells or attacks that bypass armor, defense, or such. They don't fare so well against other heavy infantry cheap enough to be fielded in large numbers, e.g. Ermor's legions, massed missile infantry, and sometimes they don't have the firepower to cut through high-protection units.
  • Carnute Noble Warrior (17g/15r): In most games, you will want the bulk of your army to be Carnute nobles. They have better combat stats than the other nobles except for lower defense and they can go berserk, which in addition to making them hit harder and take less damage, also makes them immune to tactics like fear spells. They can stand toe-to-toe with almost any humanoid heavy infantry in the EA and give as good as they get, and for the most part archers just piss them off because of their shield and armor; their axe, higher strength, and berserk makes them better at dealing with high-protection units than the Marverni bare chests. They are not so good at handling offense-heavy units, like tramplers and dual-bless combinations, since those attacks cut through their armor and they cost almost twice as much as the bare chests. One final note is that Carnute nobles combine well with Marverni province defense, most of which is offense-heavy lightly-armored troops: a squad or two of Carnutes can noticeably lengthen the lifespan of the province defense and make it much harder to break through it.
  • Eponi Knights (30g/18r): Marverni's only mounted unit is cheaper than most cavalry. While they lack a lance, they have a javelin and so like Marverni bare chests can inflict some damage before closing to melee. They usually serve best as flankers and in other roles requiring mobility, but they are also a decent counter to some tramplers and low-attack troops.

Specialists
  • Marverni Horn Blowers (20g/5r): These are well worth mixing into early battles: standard (12) is much more effective than the standard (5) most of the commanders come with, because of its improved radius. Later on, heroes and magic items will tend to replace them, but its often useful to leave one in each province with province defense since they can make those troops much less likely to rout. I normally put a commander forward enough to be in range of where the main battle line is likely to be, then give the horn blower orders to guard the commander, to keep them in range of the troops without getting them killed.
  • Ambibate Noble Warriors (14g/17r): While not as good in general as Carnute nobles, they have higher defense and don't go berserk, so they are useful in the same heavy-infantry roles in situations where berserk or low defense is a liability, the most common of which is guarding commanders so that when struck by a stray arrow they don't go charging into the main battle.
  • Boar Warriors (30g/15r): Marverni's sacred troops, they are capitol-only. Stats-wise, they are improved Carnute nobles, and for the most part, they are best used that way: while they benefit from some blesses, they are not so powerful that it is worth going all-out to boost them nor are there any real bless synergies that can turn them into unstoppable death machines. If you have a decent minor bless, that plus the better stats and morale boost can make them worth the increased cost, but sometimes it's better to sink the cash into casters. I tend to mix them in with Carnute nobles unless I want to create an all-boar-warrior specialized unit for a particular purpose.

Useless or near
  • Marverni Slingers(9g/3r): Not much better than most independent missile infantry, the best that can be said for them is they have a shield. However, in most cases you're better off using independent archers or just forgoing missile weapons in favor of spells; their only role is helping kill lightly-armored independents early on.
  • Marverni Javelineers (9g/5r): These are identical to Marverni Bare Chested Warriors, except they cost fewer resources and they're strictly inferior; since having too few resources for a given amount of cash is not a problem Marverni should ever have, never build these.
  • Marverni Noble Warriors (11g/17r): Cheaper in gold than an Ambibate noble, a Marverni noble is inferior in every way. In general, Ambibates are worth 3 extra gold.
  • Ambibate Bare Chested Warriors (11g/8r): While they have slightly better melee stats than the Marverni bare chests, they cost more gold and lack a javelin, which in almost all circumstances means they're not as good.
  • Carnute Bare Chested Warriors (13g/6r): Almost as costly as the noble version, the Carnute bare chest isn't nearly as good. While they still have better melee stats than the other bare chests, their berserk is a lot less useful because without the armor, they don't get many chances to go berserk: it's common for the first hit to kill them. In general, the nobles merit every bit of the increased cost.

Independents
  • Elephants (100g/20r): The main reason why Marverni likes elephants is that it doesn't have any of its own large tramplers and that the nature magic spells berserkers and touch of madness let elephants go berserk, covering a lot of their liabilities, and it can also buff their MR, elephants' other major weakness.
  • Woodsmen (10g/4r) or Crystal Amazons (12g/4r): The two best independent archers common in the EA, because of their 11 and 12 precision, respectively, 2 strategic movement, and other qualities. While they are only armed with shortbows, many EA troops have light armor so the shortbow does enough damage for some uses. The tribal archers, while not as good in combat, are the only other independent archers I'd consider using in any substantial numbers. While archers are not essential by any measure, they make useful counters to certain troops, and if you have access to flame arrows or wind guide, the combination of javelins and arrows can be lethal.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 01:31 PM

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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Key Spells

Conjuration
  1. Tangle Vines (N1): Any gutuater can cast this spell and it is cheap to research, making it useful for assisting expansion against independent provinces; they are also surprisingly effective against certain classes of thugs, since a gutuater spamming them can achieve a virtual pin, allowing ordinary units to beat the thug to death over time.
  2. Cave Drake (E2): Marverni gets 3 earth gems/turn from its initial site and these tend to be the best summons available at low levels of conjuration in earth. They're best used as tanks for more offense-heavy troops like Marverni bare chests.
  3. Power of the Spheres (S1)

    Voice of Apsu (W2)

    Summon Earthpower (E2): An essential spell for combat druids, it gives druids with E2 access to gifts from the heavens, blade wind, legions of steel, and strength of giants; and lets druids with high earth cast them with much less fatigue.

    Sounder of Boars (N2): At a quite reasonable price of 1 nature gem per, you get 20 size-3 trampling boars. While not capable of a true trampling rush, they offer a decent cavalry-like force that can run over weaker enemy units like archers and can be blessed. They tend not to have the protection or defense to survive long compared with, e.g., Eponi knights.

  4. Boar of Carnutes (N1E1): Boars of Carnutes make good midgame additions to your commander mix. While they are better intrinsic fighters than human commanders, their lack of most item slots means they can't be geared up to be useful as thugs; however, they have a lot of hit points and so are unlikely to die from stray arrows or a unit or two making it to the back ranks, unlike unequipped humans. They also randomly generate lesser boars, though not enough to replace normal losses except under the least demanding of battlefield conditions; and have fortuneteller 15, so are useful at warding off Misfortune effects in key provinces (such as your starting province) and where your armies are active.

    Contact Naiad (W3N1): Because Marverni has trouble getting more than 1W1N on the same caster and can't get more than 2N or 2W without boosters, the naiad is often a useful supplement with its 3W3N combination.
  5. Contact Lamia Queen (N5D2): This summon offers the easiest way into death magic for Marverni, especially if you can forge the Jade Mask artifact as well: empower with death an N2 caster and use a ring of sorcery/wizardry, a moonvine bracelet, and a thistle mace.

  6. Earth Attack (E5)

    Faerie Court (N5): While probably arriving too late to make a significant difference in the game, the faerie queen gives Marverni an easy way into air magic.

Alteration
  1. Eagle Eyes (N1)

    Earth Grip (E1): The druid's version of tangle vines; useful if you have druids in combat early in the game since it arrives with the same 40 research points as Earth Might.

    Earth Might (E2): Not a great buff, but Alteration 1 gets both this spell and Earth Grip.
  2. Earth Meld (E2)

  3. Wind Guide (A2): This buff increases precision on all spells and missiles, making it a huge benefit both for independent archers, Marverni bare chests, and druids.

    Destruction (E3): A good spell in general against heavily-armored opponents, it also combines well with blade wind.

    Swarm (N1): Notable mostly for use by teleporting druids to slow down province defense so they can rout it with evocations.
  4. Wooden Warriors (N2): A great if fatiguing buff for your human troops; use N2 gutuaters to cast it.
  5. Iron Pigs (E3N1): Marverni's iron pigs are sacred boars: they fill much the same role, but have much higher hit points and protection, though low MR.
  6. Creeping Doom (N3)

    Mass Protection (N3)
  7. Will of the Fates (S4)
  8. Army of Lead (E5)

    Wish (S9)

Evocation
  1. Astral Projection (S1)
  2. Arcane Probing (S1)
  3. Magic Duel (S1)

    Healing Light (S1N1): One of the few healing spells with good range, Marverni has S1N1 gutuaters to spam it; it combines well with Carnutes, who need to take damage to go berserk.
  4. Blade Wind (E3): One of the two powerful earth evocations for druids, blade wind is best-suited for taking out massive numbers of low-protection troops; with it, one druid can substitute for an entire squad of archers. The spell's major liability is its huge fatigue cost, so it requires boosters, items or spells, and high-earth druids.
  5. Gifts from Heaven (E3N1): The other power evocation for druids, gifts from heaven does enormous damage to a small area, with low precision, making it ideal for taking out high-hit-points, high-protection units.
  6. Mind Hunt (S4): Marverni can remote-attack enemy commanders with the best using this spell.
  7. Storm of Thorns (N2): Not a great argument for going to evocation 7, but if you end up there, it's a nice attack spell N2 gutuaters can spam without difficulty.

Construction


  1. Legions of Steel (E3): This spell looks a lot better than it is because of the way the AI script handles it: casters will preferentially target the lowest-protection units, even if they're unarmored and thus receive no benefit from the spell, before higher-protection units. For Marverni, keeping the archers and bare chests out of range or mixing bare chests in with the Carnutes helps, but there's nothing to do about the druids themselves: they *will* cast the spell on themselves first even though it does nothing for them. If the AI wasn't so broken, legions of steel would be quite strong, but as it is, it's notable mainly for being a buff that's in construction.



  2. Weapons of Sharpness (E5): One of the single most important late-game buffs, this spell makes Carnutes that much more deadly and helps negate some of the advantage that high-protection and ethereal units have.
  3. Forge of the Ancients (E5): What more can be said about this spell that hasn't already?
  4. Golem Construction (S3E2): Golems give Marverni a real thug unit and complement some of the weaknesses of its mortal-based army; also, as Baalz notes, they handle quite well some of the possible counters to druids.

Enchantment


  1. Strength of Giants (E3): One of the most important early buffs druids can cast, the strength boost complements the general high-offense and mass-numbers Marverni strategy; note that it also increases javelin damage and range.
  2. Flaming Arrows (F4): The earlier-arriving complement to weapons of sharpness for missile weapons, flaming arrows gives a substantial boost to massed Marverni bare chests.

    Antimagic (S3): Less important when it first arrives than later, antimagic is an essential counter to some of the late-game mass kill spells.
  3. Ritual of Returning (S2)

    Dispel (S3)

    Eyes of God (S5): The first powerful global that arrives at enchantment 5, information as always is invaluable so Eyes of God can be worth the investment, though don't expect it to stay up; also note that if someone counters it with Fate of Oedipus, being blind doesn't affect mages using spells that don't need precision much at all.

    Gift of Health (N5): Given the reliance Marverni places on old druids has, gift of health is an even better spell for it than for most nations.
  4. Arrow Fend (A3): Since Marverni fields so many infantry with light armor, protecting them all from arrows offers substantial benefit.

    Relief (N5)
  5. Awaken Treelord (N5): One of the three treelords has blood 1 and represents an easy, though late and not particularly efficient, way to pick it up for blood sacrificing and forging.
  6. Mass Regeneration (N4)
  7. Gift of Nature's Bounty (N7): This global enchantment solves Marverni's money problems, if you're unfortunate to have a game last long enough. Three words: "mass druid recruitment."

    Arcane Nexus (S8): Of the gem-generating spells, arcane nexus is by far the best because it scales with the number and power of your opponents: the more gems they use, the more you get. That said, arcane nexus is another game-winning global, because if you keep it up, that probably means you've won.

Thaumaturgy
  1. Returning (S2)

    Communion Master/Slave (S1): Since all Marverni's mages can have astral magic, it has great potential to link them up in communions. A particularly useful application of early communions is to boost the holy level of druids and/or the prophet so they can cast divine blessing and fanaticism; since all divine spells are 0-fatigue, there's no risk to the slaves, and fanaticism can buff 200+ bare chests in one spell.

    Curse (N1S1): Curse is a versatile counter to a variety of early-game rush strategies and also has value as a deterrent to enemies: even if they win, they will still be cursed and have the consequent afflictions.
  2. Gnome Lore (E2)

    Haruspex (N2)

    Sleep (N2): Sleep makes one of the best elephant counters because of their low MR.

    Berserkers (N2): If you don't want to wait for your Carnutes to go berserk because you have to punch through awe, fear, or high protection, berserkers can help.
  3. Astral Window (S2)

    Teleport (S3): One of the most important spells for Marverni, since it gives the slow-moving druids unparalleled mobility.

    Panic (N2): While Marverni does not have easy death access to complement this spell, I find it works quite well anyways as a way of routing enemy armies in combination with druid evocations and Carnutes.
  4. Gateway (S4)

  5. Vortex of Returning (S4)

    Charm (N3)

  6. Astral Travel (S5)

    Master Enslave (S8)

Combinations:
  • Sleep Cloud (Evo 3, N2) + Curse of Stones (Alter 4, E3) + Stellar Cascades (Evo 5, S2): In general, I don't feel that in the lightly-armored EA environment that fatigue spells offer much until enemies start passing out from them, since hits tend to kill anyways and there isn't enough armor for the critical hit increase to offer noticeable value for your caster investment. That said, combining several fatigue spells can make enemies pass out, especially against enemies experiencing bonus fatigue anyways, like C'tis fighting in cold climates, or in long battles.
  • Boars or Elephants + Berserkers (Thaum 2, N2) or Touch of Madness (Thaum 4, N3) or Growing Fury (Thaum 5, N4): One of the major dangers of tramplers is that they will rout and run back through your own lines, but making them go berserk nicely eliminates this handicap.
  • Eagle Eyes (Alter 1, N1) + Blade Wind (Evo 4, E3) or Gifts from Heaven (Evo 4, E3S1): Blade wind and, especially, gifts from heaven don't have great precision, so combining them with eagle eyes makes them quite a bit more lethal.
  • Blade Wind (Evo 4, E3) + Destruction (Alter 4, E3): Destruction breaks enemy armor while blade wind is much more effective on targets with less protection.

Key Items

Magic Trinkets
  • Black Steel Tower Shield (E1), Enchanted Shield (S1), Raw Hide Shield (N1): While Marverni has more earth gems early, I prefer the enchanted shield or the raw hide shield for protecting evocation druids from arrows, because usually only druids using buffs can afford the fatigue from the black steel tower shield.
  • Berserkser Pelt (N1): More of a specialized item, the berserker pelt offers the cheapest and earliest way to send a boar lord berserk at the beginning of the battle, but costs some protection.

Lesser Magic Items
  • Dwarven Hammer (E3): The most important lesser magic item by far. You should have recruited enough druids to have an E3 one by the time you have construction 2, and your first action upon finishing research should be to forge a dwarven hammer, then equip it and forge another.
  • Crystal Shield (S3E2): As it is one of the most useful items for druids, period, the crystal shield's only downside is that it is quite pricey in gems. While it is encumbering, the path boost more than compensates for the fatigue in most cases, and it also offers great protection; note that a crystal shield increases holy, helping druids cast divine blessing and fanaticism.
  • Barkskin Amulet (N1): A great cheap thug item for boar lords.
  • Horned Helmet (N1): The best cheap offense-enhancer for boar lord thugs, it also offers decent head protection. In most cases, even later on, the cheapness of the horned helmet makes it competitive with the frost brand, especially since the frost brand is not likely to kill more than two troops a turn anyways.
  • Ring of Water Breathing (W1): Given a land province that has amphibious troops, rings of water breathing can give you enough caster support to let you capture underwater provinces. In particular, while blade wind and gifts from heaven don't work underwater, most of Marverni's best buffs still do; as above the water, the key is overwhelming numbers.
  • Pendant of Luck (S1): Marverni simply cannot have too many of these for protecting their commanders, thugs, mages, or otherwise.
  • Eye of Aiming (A1): These items are great for evocation druids, and they even stack with eagle eyes.
  • Robe of Missile Protection (A1): When possible, I use robes of missile protection as standard druid gear since they are so much cheaper for the protection than the alternatives.
  • Eye Shield (N2): By dropping enemy attack to 0, the eye shield is the first item that enables boar lords to act as thugs: even with the decreased defense from going berserk, most hits from the blinded enemies won't land. Unfortunately, you have to take a hit in the first place for the effect to activate, so the eye shield is not as good as the vine shield and, in combination with other items, will allow boar lords to kill only light defense without troop assistance.
  • Cauldron of Broth (N3): When fighting with large armies against enemies with supply-killing dominions, supply items are important, though usually more to avoid the -4 morale than the afflictions. In most cases, Marverni will need to forge a thistle mace before being able to make a cauldron, which means that while the cauldron arrives at construction 2, in practice it's delayed until construction 4. I tend to prefer cauldrons to endless bags of wine because they take up fewer commander slots and only need one dwarven hammer and caster action per forge; however, in raw gems per supply point, endless wine bags are cheaper.
  • Clam of Pearls (W3N1): Construction 2 opens clams of pearls, but Marverni won't be able to forge them without water boosters, which usually first become available at construction 6. When they do open up, their best use without Forge of the Ancients to mass-produce them probably involves using them to cast battle enchantments without carrying pearls.
  • Jade Dagger (N1B1): Useful if you have the blood economy to blood sacrifice en masse and usually easy for Marverni to get if they have access to blood.

Greater Magic Items
  • Robe of Shadows (S2): While more expensive and not as good as the robe of missile protection, because it does not protect against magic arrows and missiles from spells, the robe of shadows offers astral-only protection for druids.
  • Crown of Command (S2)
  • Whip of Command (N1)
  • Herald Lance (S2): The herald lance is not much of a weapon, but it boosts the Marverni chieftains' standards and still lets them use a shield or another weapon. It is generally not worth forging and equipping without also using a horn of valor.
  • Horn of Valor (N1): A wonderful cheap item for the various chieftains, it converts their standard (5) to standard (25), with the increased area making it possible for one chieftain to cover most of an army.
  • Vine Bow (N1): The vine bow is not a good weapon, but Marverni lacks good choices for bows for its human commanders, and the vine bow is cheap and often better than nothing.
  • Endless Bag of Wine (N1)
  • Lycanthropos' Amulet (N2): A better way to get initial berserk on a boar lord than the berserker pelt, it also offers a strength boost and regeneration. Eventually, it will turn the boar lord into a werewolf, but few live long enough for that and it's not a huge disadvantage.
  • Boots of the Messenger (N1): Boots of the messenger are a useful and cheap item for casters casting high fatigue spells like blade wind or wooden warriors; however, for druids most often the demanding spells are earth, so earth boots tend to be better in most circumstancse if you can afford the increased gem cost. Boots of the messenger are also useful for boar lord thugs.
  • Birch Boots (N1): Inferior to boots of the messenger for most purposes, birch boots deserve an honorable mention for a valuable if specialized purpose: when paired with a frost brand, they give cold immunity; with that, the reinvigoration is just an added bonus.
  • Vine Shield (N2): The key item for all of Marverni's thugs, neither boar lords nor golems should leave home without it once it becomes available. It's arguable whether or not boar lord thugs are even worthwhile without it: certainly, they need troop assistance.
  • Thistle Mace (N2): The standard nature booster, by the time you get Construction 4 you should easily have an N2 gutuater or druid to forge it.
  • Frost Brand (W1): While the frost brand in itself is cheap, it doesn't offer complete protection from its own frost aura and that protection does not come cheap. That said, it still makes good thug gear and especially for golems, whom you are investing more in anyways, I recommend it.
  • Crystal Coin (E2N2): The first astral booster, crystal coins are best used to get boosts for forging or casting ritual spells, especially teleport (between labs) and gateway, since they are too expensive to equip on many combat mages.
  • Earth Boots (E2): A huge deal for Marverni, earth boots open up higher earth items and spells as well as all but eliminating fatigue problems from earth evocations. If you can afford them, you want to equip a significant portion of your druids with these items.
  • Crystal/Slave Matrix (E1S1): Crystal matrices are more useful for Marverni in general than slave matrices since it tends to run traditional communions where the slaves don't have much to do other than to cast communion slave and hold position; the notable exception is when using items that cast spells at the start of battle, like crystal shields do power of the spheres, to pass those buffs to the slaves. If you're using communions, a few crystal matrices are well worth the investment.
  • Stone Sphere (S2E1): While less flexible than the spell, the stone sphere can save gems if you do a lot of scrying, particularly if you have more earth gems than astral pearls.
  • Blood Stone (B3E2): If Marverni can get access to blood magic, forging some of these is well worthwhile, since they not only provide an earth boost but also provide earth gems in the field for casting spells that require them.

Very Powerful Magic Items:
  • Ethereal Crossbow (S1): A decent cheap missile weapon, it also gives underwater armies the potential for ranged attacks. It does enormous damage, but only to one target and once per two turns.
  • Starshine Skullcap (S2): Starshine skullcaps are the cheapest astral booster, enough so you can afford to equip a significant quantity of druids with them.
  • Banner of the North Star (S4): The banner has two purposes for Marverni, acting as another standard booster for their commanders and increasing the astral power of their mages, usually for use in communions. Either purpose alone probably does not merit the expense or the MR hit.
  • Ring of Sorcery/Wizardry (S5/S6)
  • Gate Cleaver (E3): A useful item for countering certain kinds of SCs and thugs, its more mundane purpose is that with one or two and a large army, Marverni can usually break open the walls of almost any fort in a single turn.
  • Treelord's Staff (N5): A nature booster that often isn't necessary, though it can help to forge one when casting high-fatigue nature buffs or reaching for certain nature spells like gift of health or nature's blessing.
  • Boots of Quickness (W2): These are more golem equipment than something to put on a boar lord because of the price, but have obvious benefits for any thug and even ordinary commanders with missile weapons.
  • Water Bracelet (W1): The first water booster that Marverni will likely be able to forge, water bracelets allow you to bootstrap water as high as you need it to go for all practical purposes.
  • Bottle of Living Water
  • Moonvine Bracelet (N3S1): The second and more useful nature booster that becomes available at construction 6, the moonvine bracelet, thistle mace, and astral rings make it easy to get as much nature as you need.

    Artifacts
  • Gate Stone (E6S6): The gate stone is one of the most game-changing artifacts and Marverni is well-positioned for it.
  • The Chalice (N4S3): Another powerful artifact that Marverni should be able to forge the first turn after reaching construction 8, it works best when combined with the lamia queen and jade mask for getting access to Tartarians, though it can also heal diseased druids and thus compensate for not having gift of health.
  • Boots of Calius the Druid (N3)
  • Boots of Antaeus (E4N1)
  • Tome of Gaia (N2E2)
  • The Sword of Aurgelmer (S5)
  • Boots of the Planes (S5)
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  #3  
Old July 13th, 2009, 01:32 PM

iainuki iainuki is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Pretender Design

As always, there are two ways to design a pretender for a nation: cover its weaknesses or enhance its strengths. One significant weakness is that Marverni does not have a notably strong early game, and as Baalz notes, taking an awake combat pretender compensates for that, but there aren't many Marverni-specific considerations in designing such a pretender, so I won't cover that here; I suggest some more general guide on SC pretender design.

While druids are a strength, their cost is a weakness, so Marverni needs to generate significant amounts of cash. I haven't made an intensive study of the Turmoil+Luck versus Order+Misfortune gold generation question. However, I will note that Marverni has some clear reasons to prefer the Order+Productivity+Growth combination even at equal gold: druids are old and the Growth scale helps keep them in better health; some nature spells benefit from Growth; Marverni needs resources to build Carnute nobles and Marverni bare chests, instead of druids; and because it fields massive mortal armies, they need supplies, again benefiting from Growth. Thus, I tend to agree with Baalz that Marverni needs good scales; also, the Order+Productivity+Growth combination becomes stronger the longer the game goes on, and as Marverni is not a great rush nation, combining the two creates some synergy. In general, I don't think taking too much misfortune is a good idea: it costs the use of heroes and undercuts Growth because of the myriad province disaster events that kill population. However, I will play Misfortune 1 or 2, and note that Boars of Carnutes have fortune teller (15) when they become available, allowing you to protect yourself from Misfortune events to some extent. Finally, taking a positive magic scale can quite help Marverni's research, because 4 research per gutuater isn't much and 8 per druid isn't much better.

Marverni has easy access to astral, nature, water, and earth, so there is not much point in taking those paths on your pretender as well. It benefits most from adding blood and air, with an honorable mention to fire. Air has great items for druids, including eyes of aiming and robes of missile protection, as well as great spells for buffing large armies, like wind guide and arrow fend; it also opens spells and items offering resistance to lightning, giving Marverni access to defenses against all elements at reasonable levels of research. Druids and gutuaters can both make blood sacrifices, offering Marverni the option to dominion-push, but it has no native blood access so blood-hunting is trying: having blood magic on your pretender gives you enough slaves so you can sacrifice freely and opens the possibility of using blood in e.g., forging. However, in general, using true blood magic doesn't pay off that much for Marverni. Fire offers the brutal flaming arrows, which affects javelins as well, and some evocation spells that complement those available from earth, both in timing of availability and effect type. Death does not offer a whole to Marverni when you splash it on your pretender.

As for bless strategies, there are not many synergies available. Boar warriors have shields, so don't benefit much from the minor air bless; lose defense when berserk and *want* to get hit so they can go berserk, which work against the major water bless, in addition to the danger of fatigue; don't receive any particular benefit from MR or twist fate from the minor/major astral blesses; and don't have enough hp for the minor nature bless to do much and can already go berserk, so don't benefit as much from the major nature bless. Marverni boars benefit more from several of these, especially the air bless and nature bless, but don't benefit at all from the major earth bless because they don't wear armor. Meanwhile, the major earth bless is less good than it looks for boar warriors because berserk counts as "natural" protection and stacks less well with high levels of armor. Thus, the remaining blesses that aren't antisynergistic with boars or boar warriors are fire, blood, and death. Because Marverni benefits so much from good scales and doesn't have any dual blesses with strong synergies, it is generally just not worth taking the negative scales to get a dual major bless. However, it can be useful as a surprise strategy, since most people would not expect a bless-rush from Marverni.

Approaching the Game

Early Game

Marverni needs to expand as much as possible early on: unlike some nations, it can't afford to sit in a corner and research its way to victory. However, almost as paramount for Marverni is to avoid early wars, since early Marverni only has some decent infantry to compete with the various bless rushes and powerful capitol-only troops other nations can field. The one exception is if you chose a supercombatant pretender, in which case you can expand and engage in early conflict according to what your supercombatant can manage. For conquering independent provinces, Carnute nobles are the soldiers of choice as they won't take many casualties from the independents when managed right; Marverni can also benefit from supplementing with mercenaries, depending on resource and cash limitations, to speed up conquest. For supplemental casters, the usual options are gutuaters casting tangle vines (Conjuration 1) or druids with earth meld and earth might (Alteration 1). I prefer to make my first prophet either the starting Marverni scout or a first-turn recruited Sequani stargazer: the former has stealth for spreading dominion and making a noncaster prophet gives you some additional casting power in the opening, but a stargazer prophet has astral access so can use a crystal shield, power of the spheres, or communions to boost holy for purposes of banishment or casting fanaticism. Even for subsequent prophets, there are no real better alternatives unless you find an appropriate independent.

Unlike some nations, Marverni need not rely on its capitol, and with its cheap forts and temples, it's to Marverni's advantage to throw up another fort early so as to double its potential caster recruitment, usually a druid for combat and purposes like crafting dwarven hammers with a gutuater for research with adequate cash. I tend to choose the position most on strategic considerations, but I'll note that some independent troops are on a par with Marverni's main troops and can add some useful diversity. One other consideration is that the plains fort that Marverni can build, the motte-and-bailey, has the best administration value, at 20.

I consider the following research levels approximately marking the transition to the midgame: conjuration 3 for summon earth power, alteration 1 for eagle eyes, evocation 5 for blade wind and gifts from heaven, enchantment 3 for strength of giants, and thaumaturgy 3 for teleport. It is not always best to go straight for these spells and certainly not in a linear order--for instance, often some construction is worthwhile, though it is not worth a beeline. My "default" research path looks like conjuration 1, thaumaturgy 1, evocation or enchantment 3 followed by the other, thaumaturgy 2, evocation 4, conjuration 3, alteration 1, and evocation 5. However, there are so many possible variations, especially since Marverni is not locked into a certain strategy and can take advantage of a lot of different counters, that it's hard to give good general advice.

Midgame

Once you have two or three forts, a healthy number of druids, and most of the research mentioned above done, you've entered what I consider the Marverni midgame. The midgame is where Marverni is strongest, I would argue, because the crazy stuff in the endgame has not yet obsoleted their human troops, but they also have enough druids and research that the power of their good path combinations can tell, and moreover, if you chose good scales as I recommended, the advantages of the Order+Productivity+Growth combination will give you much more cash than nations with negative scales. During the midgame, Marverni wants to either win the game or establish a strong position for the endgame.

The best general answer on how to choose targets for expansion is "diplomacy." You want to prey on the weak and control the strong, but more important than either is to find allies and kill people who refuse to cooperate with you. Aside from that, though, Marverni has a lot of flexibility in the choice of targets: with enough research, appropriate choice of druid spells can counter almost anything so there's often no tactical reason to prefer to attack particular nations. However, ceteris paribus, nations with neutral or growth scales will add more to your own assets and are more of a threat in the endgame so you should go after them first; the other thing to watch out for are other nations with good endgame magic, so you can halt them before they get to that point.

Marverni should often aim to get a blood economy going in the midgame, with a few druids empowered for forging items and a few gutuaters empowered to act as blood hunters. The easiest way to get started is to put blood on your pretender or find a province with independent blood mages, usually amazons, but if you didn't do that, find an independent scout province and start hiring and blood hunting until you can empower and break in. I do not often research blood magic with Marverni, since I prefer to use the blood slaves for sacrifices and forging, but some blood magic can provide a useful supplement to your other paths if you want to make the investment.

Baalz has some good suggestions for midgame tactics for Marverni, including teleporting druids. While druids with province defense support can rout impressively large armies, I've had some trouble teleporting in and routing the PD before something reaches me. Thus, I tend to be a bit more conservative than Baalz and use teleporting druids in pairs, with bottles of living water and swarm to delay the defenders while the druids kill them with blade wind or gifts from heaven. At construction 4, boar lords can help speed up conquest by capturing lightly-defended provinces, and while they can't teleport, they fill the role of blockers for evoking-druids well.

During the midgame, the most advantageous research for Marverni tends to shift from combat spells to rituals and construction for items. The biggest goal is without question construction 7, which offers forge of the ancients, the casting of which is tantamount to declaring "I'm going to try to win the game now" but may still be worth it; golems; and weapons of sharpness. Enchantment 5 deserves an honorable mention for gift of health, which is also quite powerful for Marverni because it all but eliminates aging problems for druids. Also, conjuration, construction, and enchantment together offer some magic diversification potential that Marverni is well-equipped to take advantage of. Meanwhile, evocation offers few compelling spells above level 6, and alteration does not have many useful spells between 1 and 4 for Marverni, only a handful at 4 and 5, and then another gap between 5 and 8.

Endgame

Most games, in my experience, don't make it this far, but for completeness' sake, I will give a brief overview. While good scales and Marverni's general abilities should give it a strong resource base for the endgame, the major problem it faces is that mortal armies become more and more obsolete as various supercombatants and mass-kill spells become common. Now, Marverni is better-equipped than most nations to deal with this problem, because it has great army buffs that counter some of these problems and mitigate others, but it also has no intrinsic tools for playing that game, with no notable supercombatants of its own, whether recruited or summoned. Thus, how well Marverni handles the endgame depends on how well it can juggle spells to counter its opposition and assemble abusive combinations.

There are two standard methods of obtaining supercombatants for the endgame, tartarian gate and wish, along with the unique summons. Marverni, obviously, manages better at wish, since it can forge clams and cast wish without any independent mages at all. You will want to start your clam-forging operation during the midgame to ensure you have enough astral pearls when you finish research on the high-end spells. Once you have the gems and research to cast wish, wish for pretender chassis and use gift of reason to mass-produce supercombatants. Unfortunately, this method is more expensive than getting tartarians, though usually pretender-chassis supercombatants are higher-quality and wish has a better variety of other potential uses.

For army buffs, enchantment and alteration offer the most powerful high-end spells. In addition, at level 9, both of them have insanely powerful rituals: wish, which besides supercombatants can produce massive quantities of gems and blood slaves as well as taking specific artifacts from other players; nature's blessing, which will end all your cash problems forever; and astral nexus, which is more or less a game-winning move on its own if you can keep it up. Thaumaturgy gives essential mobility spells, and also has a few powerful combat spells of its own. Construction 8, for artifacts, offers some of everything if you can get there first. Finally, conjuration becomes the ultimate magic-diversity school and offers tartarians at level 9, if you've branched out into death magic, as well as the unique summons, most of whom also have supercombatant ability.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:25 PM

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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Nice guide!
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Old July 13th, 2009, 02:30 PM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Slingers are *not* useless.

They are much better than bare chested warriors for dealing with glamour. 1. Because glamour doesn't affect missiles (iirc) and 2. They are soooo cheap to mass. Doesn't matter whether you pop glamour with 20 pts of damage or 1. So pop it with as cheap a unit as possible.

Slingers + windguide
Slingers + flaming...
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Old July 13th, 2009, 09:31 PM

Illuminated One Illuminated One is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Yep, slingers can be a great in masses.

Slingers + Tangle Vines/Earth Meld against low protection elites
Slingers + Destruction against high protection elites.


I wouldn't use the Eponi knights for javelin throwing. Getting the first strike is better than javelins.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 09:41 PM

Frozen Lama Frozen Lama is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

no lance for eponi knights
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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:24 PM

Illuminated One Illuminated One is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Yep, but two attacks, which are more likely to kill than a javelin.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 07:57 AM

Sombre Sombre is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

I think the categorising of slingers as being useless is mainly due to the fact they're not really any better than indy slingers, which are readily available in ea and aren't exactly restricted by resources. So you would hardly notice it if marv had no recruitable slingers.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 11:46 AM
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Fantomen Fantomen is offline
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Default Re: Nation Guide for Marverni

Nice guide, lots of good points there.

I disagree (like others here) that the slingers are useless. in addition to what others have said they make cheap(expandable) archer screens because of their shield and archer status.

The carnute barechest is *not* useless at all. In mid to late game these guys surpass their noble brothers because you can mass them so easily and buff their protection.

Don´t overlook the matrixes you can easily forge. Like Baalz mentions in his TC guide a couple matrixes and a crystal shield can save you two turns in combat. In Marverni midgame that means wooden/marble warriors+legions of steel+strength of giants and maybe antimagic or weapons of sharpness on your carnute barechests or pd turn one. Exensive yeah but that communion can teleport wherever you need it so if you have one your opponent needs to count on it in every battle. And you want to invest in those druids anyway.

Marverni should take luck *and* order IMO. The bloodhenge druids are so good for kick starting bloodstone production that the lack of synergy is neglible.
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