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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:16 PM
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As some of you know, I'm taking a break from Dominions now due to real life overload. But I thought I'd share this LA Caelum guide I wrote a while back as a kind of goodbye-see-you-later-gift. It's originally written for CBM 1.6 so it will need some adapting if used with the latest CBM, but I think the concept will largely work even so. Anyways, here you go:

Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

LA Caelum is a nation not so often discussed it seems, there is no real guides for it, and the few mentions I have found have been qute brief or insubstantial.

Strange, since this is a really interesting and synergetic nation.

Let us start with the more obvious strengths of the nation.

1. Strong air magic. Yeah, Caelum is still Caelum.
2. Strong death magic.
3. Superior strategic mobility through the combination of flight, stealth and cloud trapeze
4. Cold and lightning resistant troops.
5. Accurate and cheap archers.
6. Excellent stealthy shock troops, the raven guards.
7. Mammoths

Your PD is weak, no doubt. Mostly due to the ridiculous combination of flying militia and archers. Basically your militia flies in and then gets shot down by your own archers causing your PD to more or less rout itself. On the plus side it will cause some problems to self buffing raiders, as they get attacked before having any chance to buff. To beef up your PD a bit you can put a commander there with some shielded caelian infantry set to attack closest. Those will offset the self routing effect by forcing the PD militia further back and hopefully catching most of the friendly fire. Anyway, don't don't waste your money on high PD.

The mages of Caelum have great potential and synergy, but to unlock that potential they really need some boosters. I suggest a forge lord to to get those cheap and early enough to make a difference, and to crank out hammers early and rings late. F2A4E4S4 gives you earth boots, elemental staffs, air boosters, crystal shields and rings. Those happen to be exactly what we need. Take him dormant, for scales I suggest Order3 Prod3 Cold3 Growth3 Mis2 Drain2 and Dom 6.

Early game.

You have great income and resources from your scales and can patrol your capital at 200% tax from turn one. Proper use of this gives LA Caelum a great expansion and early second castle. Tailor your expansion parties to your surrounding indies. Basically you want to send archers against barbarians, archers with arrow catchers, and for arrow catchers use iron crows or raptorian warriors, against tribes and maybe some others. And raven guard against the rest. Have them fly in together and team up for the toughest. This way you can quickly field many expansion forces flying around taking provinces in any order you like. Be sure to exploit this maneuverability to secure chokepoints and strategically important provinces. This of course means you will have to recruit some commanders in your capital, since indies don't fly. But that also helps you saving money for a second fort.

The other leg of early game is the possibly unequaled search capacity of Harab elders. I'm not kidding, flying in combination with their paths gives LA Caelum one of the best early gem incomes of the game. You'll want to send out a new one searching every other turn for the first year, making sure all provinces get searched as soon as they're taken. Air, death and earth gems and a trickle of water, just what we need when our pretender awakes.

This foregoes early research, and drain don't help. That's ok, all we need before year two is construction 2. When our pretender awakes he forges hammers until construction 4 where the classical mentor spam lets us catch up thanks to our elder having searched us the death gems.

This isn't really a way to become a research power house, this is just a way to sidestep one of our weaknesses. Namely that we'll need most our our mages fighting, casting, searching or forging to be competitive, especially the cap only elders. Our magic strategies simply require critical mass, so as few mages as possible carry the research with mentors while the rest is buzzing around stinging the enemy and tending the hive. That's also why drain don't hurt so much.

The forge lord has now spammed us a good pile of hammers, which bring us to one of our specialists.

The Iron crafters of Caelum lays a base for some unusual strategies. 70 gold for 1 earth and 25% forge bonus. Our forge lord provided us with a generous supply of hammers, as well as our first pair of earth boots. So we are really looking at 50% forge bonus and 2 earth whenever we need it. The first item that stands out to me is peircers for 2 gems. With our high precision flying commanders and scouts, we can easily field enough to make a force to be reckoned with, let it fly around and back up against small numbers of thugs and really tough units.

The second run of the mill item is earth boots. You get them at 5 gems a piece, and they bring you up in the range of serious earth power. Any e2 elder sent to the front should have a pair.

The third item is lightning rods, which lets you set up a corpse man factory. Corpse men aren't the most powerful summon eh? But LA Caelum actually seems tailor made to use them. Not only do you get discount rods for 2 gems and cheap mages who can cast the spell monthly, the corpse men is exactly what LA Caelum needs. The corpse men don't seem like much at first, but then realise they are immune to almost every tactic you're going to use. Freezing mist and other cold spells, check. Fatigue strats, check. Lightning barrage, check. This means you can do all your tricks in unison while a wall of corpse men holds the line. There's no need to build up over time, if you keep a generous rack of rods in your lab you can instantly churn out a great number whenever and wherever you need them. They're of course cannon fodder, expect them to die, but they're GOOD cannon fodder.

Don't be afraid to empower the smiths later on either, you'll want at least one with astral for matrixes, crystal shields and coins. And one with fire for golden shields and fire brands.

Mid game

Now your pretender needs something to do before construction 6 when the serious boosters become the routine. Use this gap to build up a generous reserve of flying carpets and crystal shields.

Flying carpets, come again? Yep, normally those are rarely with it, but with the forge lords discount combined with the special character of this nation a stack of carpets adds tremendous flexibility.

Which bring us to the warfare. LA Caelums big strength is in its manouverability, you do NOT want to send equal stacks of units toe to toe with other nations troops in big glorious battles. What you want to do is to raid like a bee hive on speed until your opponent is a nervous wreckage along with his economy, and then bring it all in from everywhere at once to kill his armies with totally unfair odds. Your nationals are great raiders, especially the raven guards, but a bit fragile once someone starts preparing to face them.

That's where the flying carpets and crystal shields come in. The shields let the elders join with the raiding squads for some juicy support, be it air elementals or weapons of sharpness (fantastic with a squad of raven guards) or freezing mists or whatever buff. It takes the raiding to a new level.

The carpets let those same elders bring along whatever key tough unit was missing for the raid in question. Examples: Two behemoths to buff up with quickness and gift of flight, a bunch of wights or Earthbounds or whatever to beef up the frontline, some mechanical men to deal with elemental damage etc etc. You can also use several carpets together to extend your flying advantage to any summon, indie mage or troop you'd normally have to leave behind for that crucial battle.

The carpets, so to speak, takes you off the ground.

Later in the game, if you have been careful, you'll have the carpets left to give to SC:s and thugs. Be it tartarians or mechanical giants or whatever, the carpets allow boots of quickness and some bodyguards to fly along with your bad boys.

Now for the big battles, since you won't be able to totally avoid them. First of all, you need a frontline which is not your flying regulars. Anytime you can't shock your enemy to bits in the first few rounds of combat, your flying infantry stays out of it!

Your first alternative to that frontline is the Earthbounds you've been dumping your capitals excess resources in, they are in fact excellent troops once you realize they don't fill the classical role of a sacred but rather are elite heavy infantry. Behind them a horde of wind guided archers and mages.

But as that soon gets obselete you'll turn to summons. And the summons in question are mechanical men and corpse constructs. Both these are immune to almost everything you'll want to do with your mages in battle. Our forge lord supplies boosters a la carte, your choice of elemental staffs, rings of wizardry and air bags. There will be no problem whatsoever casting big spells like wrathful skies, fog warriors, army of X, curse of stones, rigor mortis, darkness, wind of death and so on. And of course you will always field skelespam, freezing mist and thunderstrikes.

This is where the corpse construct shines, fog warriors and army of x (or marble warriors) turns them in to a wall of meat that happily ignores the barrage of fatigue, poison, decay, cold AND lightning spells. Few enemies will be immune to all of those however, so you simply adjust your script to exploit the current weakness.

You have handy access to support your military strategies with some remotes; Arouse hunger, Seeking arrow and Blight conveniently filling the niches of harassment, assassination and fort lockdown respectively. And each using using their own type of your three main gem supplies. Use them en masse when the right moment comes.

Make a fort dedicated to spit out raven guard captains and scouts. The raven captains make great anti thugs with good attack, ambidextrous and flying, as well as being sneaky troop herders for your raven guards. The scouts, apart from scouting, make good wielders of peircers and bows of whatever.

Special mention is warranted to the possibilities opened up by cloud trapeze. First of all you can get your best mages anywhere in an instant to join the action. But more important, you can drop a myriad of counters on top of enemy raiders and SC. A bunch of elders with water bottles dropping from the sky can ruin the day for lot's of bad boys. Buff those water elementals with iron skin and quickness before falling back to skelly spam. Similar tactics include buffed air elementals backed by lightning, and many other scripts. For big chaffy armies and communions there is the eternally devastating rain of stones, you'll want to use that a lot in fact.

As these attacks often takes place in your dominion, and often means suiciding the precious cap only mage, it makes a lot of sense to prep a bunch of elders with twiceborn. Let's say you drop a pair of twiceborned elders on a big army, both dropping RoS and dying in the process. Next turn you get them back as undead thugs with *perfect* self buffing paths(soul vortex/ironskin/mistform). Want to add insult to injury?, why not send those right back to finish off what's left of that army?

Late game

For lategame you have the usual approach of tartarians and other sc, but your flying lets the national troops keep a role as light raiders contrary to other nations. If you use the EDM mod make sure to use mechanical giants and wendigos liberally. Your pretender can lay down a number of globals, summon golems, and be worked up to wish. You have national paths for poison golems and have rushed construction as well. But I won't go into detail here.

As a bottom line I'd like to emphasize you have to play this nation aggressively, and whatever you do go all out with it. It relies on critical mass and overwhelming your enemy, giving no respite for a single moment. Be everywhere, sting like a bee, run with the wind and never get caught.

Make all opposition EAT ELECTRIC DEATH!

CBM 1.7 addendum

I don't want to people to think the guide is made obselete by CBM 1.7, so decided to take the time for a little addendum. Note that the original guide has been thouroghly playtested with CBM 1.6 in several MP games, both blitzes and normal games, so I can safely claim it is competitive. Contrary to that, the following is theory based on general experience, and yet to be tested.

CBM 1.7 nerfs the forge lord and removes hammers, at first glance invalidating the strategy, but after some analysis I don't think these changes reduces LA Caelums relative power.

First of all, the relative advantage of a national smith is greatly increased! So it makes sense to invest a bit more heavily in the iron crafters. Make more peircers, as well as consider what advantages, both military and diplomatic, you can squeeze out in being the best forger of earth trinkets in LA. The relative cost of empowering decreases, as ability to forge discounted items of other paths increases in value, so I'd be much more willing to empower smiths in new paths like air, blood, water etc. A special mention of fire here, you have nothing to do with any fire gems except empowering smiths to eventually spam some lanterns, if you're lucky you could have them replace the mentors.

As wraithlord mentions, you will have less mentors. I'd still make a few to free up battle mages, but no longer as a central part of the plan.

So we need another way to compensate for drain or change the scales, a replacement for the liberal use of expensive boosters in battle, and bring in some more flying summons to compensate for less flying carpets.

To beef up raiding I want to bring in some yazatas, and to leverage heavy battle magic I want matrixes to make artificial communions, of course this will require more astral empowered smiths. So all in all, the need for astral gems increases greatly.

I'd probably take an awake enchantress. That will give me the tool to start off an astral economy quicker, and allow me to make sure I have the paths for the still cruical air, death, earth and astral boosters. As well as keep my supercharged economy and give me a different way to compensate for drain. (tests may reveal you have to take magic, but I'd like to test that in some real games first), She could also do some site searching perhaps, but beware of the opportunity cost for that.

It might be worth it to take a little blood on the enchantress. Allowing us to start off a small blood economy to add to our smiths versatility with blood trinkets and to build up some access to vampires and storm demons. No idea if that would be worth it though, I did it as a side strat (through scouts hunting) in one of my games for the original guide but it ended before I could evaluate it properly.

Gargoyles may find a new niche in our raiding groups as damage sinks, you have national access and hopefully a freed up pile of earth gems not spent on hammers.

So in conclusion:

Take an awake rainbow instead of forge lord. Still make the boosters, just not as many, and use them to unlock your empowered smiths rather than handing them out to elders. Get more astral going. Shift focus slightly from forging to summons. Replace supercharged Elders with artificial communions. Keep the general focus on aggressive raiding with raven guards and strong economic scales. EDM is now incorporated, start spamming wendigos early to prepare for late game

Last edited by Fantomen; January 24th, 2011 at 03:19 PM..
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:25 PM

krpeters krpeters is offline
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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

I tried a corpse-man strategy once. Like you said, LA Caelum seems perfect for it. But they have a really severe weakness: undead and low MR (4!!!). Any prophet or several H2s can easily obliterate a corpse-man army.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:30 PM
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Fantomen Fantomen is offline
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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

They have MR 14, not 4. So are actually good at soaking up banishments.

Edit: Hmm...yeah, a CBM change it seems.

Last edited by Fantomen; January 19th, 2011 at 11:40 PM..
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Old January 19th, 2011, 11:35 PM

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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

cbm change iirc. so yeah. 14mr basically
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:11 AM

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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

QM decided to nerf an already underused summon into oblivion?
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

Thanks 4 the guide Fantomen. Hope to C U back here soon.

It would seem like the guide concentrates greatly on items and forging and thus, on hammers. However in CBM 1.7 DH are unique and this will make your strat that much less viable.

Other points you mentioned are helpful nonetheless

I'm not sure I'm convinced to take Forge lord. I'd either go for a sleeping RBW researcher or awake scales SC.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 09:26 AM

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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NooBliss View Post
QM decided to nerf an already underused summon into oblivion?
Isn't that the other way around?

4 MR in vanilla and 14 in CBM. I don't have the game in front of me, so I can't check, but the dom3db lists them as 4mr.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

I don't want to people to think the guide is made obselete by CBM 1.7, so decided to take the time for a little addendum. Note that the original guide has been thouroghly playtested with CBM 1.6 in several MP games, both blitzes and normal games, so I can safely claim it is competitive. Contrary to that, the following is theory based on general experience, and yet to be tested.

CBM 1.7 addendum

CBM 1.7 nerfs the forge lord and removes hammers, at first glance invalidating the strategy, but after some analysis I don't think these changes reduces LA Caelums relative power.

First of all, the relative advantage of a national smith is greatly increased! So it makes sense to invest a bit more heavily in the iron crafters. Make more peircers, as well as consider what advantages, both military and diplomatic, you can squeeze out in being the best forger of earth trinkets in LA. The relative cost of empowering decreases, as ability to forge discounted items of other paths increases in value, so I'd be much more willing to empower smiths in new paths like air, blood, water etc. A special mention of fire here, you have nothing to do with any fire gems except empowering smiths to eventually spam some lanterns, if you're lucky you could have them replace the mentors.

As wraithlord mentions, you will have less mentors. I'd still make a few to free up battle mages, but no longer as a central part of the plan.

So we need another way to compensate for drain or change the scales, a replacement for the liberal use of expensive boosters in battle, and bring in some more flying summons to compensate for less flying carpets.

To beef up raiding I want to bring in some yazatas, and to leverage heavy battle magic I want matrixes to make artificial communions, of course this will require more astral empowered smiths. So all in all, the need for astral gems increases greatly.

I'd probably take an awake enchantress. That will give me the tool to start off an astral economy quicker, and allow me to make sure I have the paths for the still cruical air, death, earth and astral boosters. As well as keep my supercharged economy and give me a different way to compensate for drain. (tests may reveal you have to take magic, but I'd like to test that in some real games first), She could also do some site searching perhaps, but beware of the opportunity cost for that.

It might be worth it to take a little blood on the enchantress. Allowing us to start off a small blood economy to add to our smiths versatility with blood trinkets and to build up some access to vampires and storm demons. No idea if that would be worth it though, I did it as a side strat (through scouts hunting) in one of my games for the original guide but it ended before I could evaluate it properly.

Gargoyles may find a new niche in our raiding groups as damage sinks, you have national access and hopefully a freed up pile of earth gems not spent on hammers.

So in conclusion:

Take an awake rainbow instead of forge lord. Still make the boosters, just not as many, and use them to unlock your empowered smiths rather than handing them out to elders. Get more astral going. Shift focus slightly from forging to summons. Replace supercharged Elders with artificial communions. Keep the general focus on aggressive raiding with raven guards and strong economic scales. EDM is now incorporated, start spamming wendigos early to prepare for late game
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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

I've no experience with Wendigos.

Would anyone who has care to elaborate on how to get the optimal bang for a buck from them?
i.e. how many turns to grow?- Where?
When should they see battle?
What roles can they take?
Pros+Cons etc...

Could be a nasty weapon in LA Caelum arsenal.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:45 PM

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Default Re: Return of the raptors – Eat electric death!

they approximately grow 1 path every 1-2 months sitting still (faster if you eat carrion? But I've never done so, too risky to bring along on the front lines before they mature.)

they start at path 1, and matures fully at path 8, so give or take a year. Grow them at your lowest pop provs (or one with gold sites where you want to bring pop down to 0 anyway), fort a bonus to keep them safe, they eat pop.

They can see battle anywhere around starting around path 6 (or 9-11 months of growing) when they have enough hp/mr and paths to be useful, though that's only 2-3 months away from path 8, I usually wait unless I am in great need of them... they get increase to all stats as they grow, HP, MR, Str ...etc

They are awesome battle mage and SC alike, W4D4 at maturity! I always get a headache debating what role to use them in. Do note they are undead (hence weak to anti-UDSC gear and anti-UD spells. They also have a 50% fire weakness.)

I think the pros and cons are pretty obvious given the details provided
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