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Old January 20th, 2008, 05:45 PM
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Baalz Baalz is offline
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Default Nation guide: MA Atlantis

MA Atlantis – Kings of the Deep. An apt name as the Kings of the Deep are exactly where you need to be thinking with this nation.

Ok, before I get into specifics I want to set you into the right mindset for playing this generally considered weak nation. There are two major driving forces which are going to dictate your game as MA Atlantis. The first is that you’re underwater. The second is that the other two underwater races are a whole lot faster out of the gate than you are. This is critical to keep in mind, you will always be rushed as MA Atlantis - you have to start planning for it even before turn one. Assuming you can live long enough its equally important you also have to have a plan for taking the war onto land.

Now, onto your troops.

Atlantean infantry – Various flavors, not good for too much other than being rather blah meatshields. The one good thing is their weapons and (mostly) armor is weakly poisonous, so this can be effective in certain situations. That’s what your PD is made of so it can be enough to convince high cost elite troops (Vans, etc) that there are less expensive targets to steamroll. They can also be an effective deterrent to a small subset of thugs which are not poison immune.

Shamblers – nothing too special but the best you’ve got for general purpose troops. The unarmored shamblers only cost one resource and are a reasonable choice for levying emergency troops on short notice. War shamblers aren’t so much bad as they’re definitely subpar for being the best thing you can recruit.

War lobsters – Expensive, aquatic only, and disposable…yet surprisingly effective. These guys have fragile riders who quickly die under most any attack leaving a high hit point, hi protection trampling critter of questionable loyalty (they’ll randomly attack friendlies as well). Think of them kinda like a cross between elephants and gladiators – devastatingly effective when massed (unless a counter is present) but disposable (you don’t keep the lobster after the fight if the rider dies). These guys are most useful for sticking in the front lines to soften up the bad guys after breaking their initial charge.

Mother guards – again, these guys aren’t so much bad as that they don’t compare well to other nation’s super elite holy units. They’re too expensive to be worthwhile without a bless and not good enough to justify the points of getting a good bless, being capital only.

Commanders – all are amphibious:

Scout – He scouts.

Shambler chief – General troop herder

Consort – a reasonable good blessable early thug chasis except you’re unlikely to have a good bless. High encumbrance is another pain, but he can be useful if you’re clever.

Coral queen – H3 priests are generally pretty useful and she’s no exception. She’s also got enough hit points to ignore a stray arrow or two (including the seeking kind) and has poison barbed armor. A tad on the expensive side for not being a mage, but she’s recruitable everywhere and for priesting she’s top shelf.

Initiate of the Deep – Your cheap mage, capital only. You won’t really want to get these guys, get the much better and only a little more expensive Seers of the Deep.

Seers of the Deep – By the time you get your second castle up your capital should basically be making one of these guys every turn mostly because your capital is the only place you can get them. They’re really good for the price, the only downside being that they’re capital only and old. These guys give you reliable access to astral magic.

Kings of the Deep – The centerpiece of the Atlantean nation, these guys just about have it all. Enough hitpoints to make them an effort to kill and astounding magic diversity. These are your ready made thugs, your powerful artillery, and your uber troop buffers all rolled into one…and they’re recruitable everyone. See section below for more details.

The thing to keep in mind is your troops are just straight up subpar. They all have their niche uses, but they definitely are not going to win the game for you against the best stuff most any other nation can bring. Specifically, the two other water nations are going to beat the snot out of you at anything resembling an even fight. So, as I mentioned before you have to play MA Atlantis with the mindset of starting turn one as the underdog. Every gold R’yleh or Oceana spends on recruiting troops you’ll need to spend 1.5 or 2 if you try to fight them straight up.

With that in mind you don’t want to do that. You want to minimize how much of your gold you spend on subpar troops, and since that’s all you’ve got you want minimize how many national troops you get. You’ve got a lot of options once your research starts ramping up, but (IMO) Atlantis absolutely needs an awake combat pretender to stand any chance at making it that far. There are a couple reasonable options, but keeping in mind that the primary role you need your pretender to fill is to be your backbone until your Kings of the Deep can take that role, my favorite by far is the Ancient Kraken. With a 10 dominion and the accompanying awe this guy will handily take out any independents, and recuperates those unlucky afflictions everybody gets. With such a high dominion he’ll be useful defensively all the way through mid game as your national mages can buff him. To those saying he becomes useless pretty fast due to lack of slots I say try this : Ancient Kraken inside a 10 dominion outfitted with an antimagic amulet, ring of regen and a lycanthrop’s amulet. Turn one you have a handful of mages cast (and then retreat) body ethereal, iron warriors, luck, quickness, iron will. That bad boy is now protection 20, with 690 hitpoints (regenerating 130 something per turn), lucky, ethereal, and a MR pushing 30 (depending on your magic scale) with 8 armor piercing attacks around 35 damage and an AOE poison attack….oh yeah and +3 awe. Change out your equipment depending on what you’re actually fighting and I guarantee nobody is going to call you useless. Bonus, this requires no magic paths on your pretender, so even if he does manage to go down to a lucky soul slay leverage those H3 priests and he’s quickly back for more at just the price of those cheap items you put on him.

This touches on my next point, Atlantis needs gold like it’s going out of style to get up a second and third castle as fast as possible and start cranking out the Kings of the Deep (who are not the cheapest things in the world). Again, there are certainly other viable strategies but with your great national magic diversity I see no need to put any magic on your pretender at all. If your pretender is “naked” then once you get several Coral Queens to call him you can use him exactly like an immortal – he’s back in action a couple turns after dying. A pretty nice bonus for pumping all your design points into excellent scales. Scales – you’ll want Order, Sloth and Cold (cold dominion doesn’t negatively effect underwater income, though hot does). The other three you can put to whatever your personal preference is.

Your Kraken can attack indies on turn one and should take one province every turn until you run out. At that point when he’s not fighting move him to wherever you want your dominion pushed. You’ll want to push your dominion as far as you can, not only is it a very beneficial dominion, it’s also directly part of your defense so long as you’re counting on your Kraken to defend you – dominion strength strongly effects how powerful he is. For this reason it’s important to push your dominion early, investments in temples pay off in several different types of dividends. For this, as well as being able to call back your Kraken quickly it’s a good idea to build up a couple Coral Queens even though they don’t initially seem like they’re helping much. Depending on what you’re fighting a half dozen smite spammers can be a pretty good deal.

Now, outside of indies your Kraken is mostly going to be a defensive tool because he’ll be fairly puny inside enemy dominions. You’re never gonna win fighting a purely defensive fight, so what to do? First off, as I said before you want to severely limit how much money you put into recruiting national troops. It’s probably worthwhile to make a lobster expansion party or two to supercharge your initial expansion. Once you get critical mass they’re not nearly so disposable against indies. Outside of that though, save your gold and focus on getting castles 2 and 3 up as soon as possible. When you do meet a hostile nation you’re going to try to sucker them in to fighting in your dominion so your Kraken can molest them (trust me, it’s not hard to make Atlantis look like a good target). In the early parts of the game if you can crush your opponent’s primary army you secure a very big leg up. If you can get such a leg up, you follow up by leveraging your superior gold (because you haven’t been pumping out troops and have an awesome dominion) to take advantage of another feature of the big blue ocean, lots of low resource indie troops. Specifically shamblers (same as your national troop) are all over the place and you can easily recruit 30 per turn out of several provinces right along your border assuming you have the gold. As I said before, these guys are not going to win you a fair fight, but if you’re pressing an advantage gained by a decisive victory and superior economy you can compound the advantage rather rapidly by snatching several border provinces as your opponent most likely sticks to much more slowly recruiting his superior castle troops. You’ll take losses, but you’ll also compound your gold lead with every province you take. Drowning your opponent in flesh is a good way to counter mindblasters, while against Oceana you’re going to want to use war lobsters against the heavier armies while using your shambler hoards to raid and avoid real confrontations. You have to always keep in mind that you’re the underdog and you have to fight just like the scrawny guy set upon by a burly thug – hit him hard with everything you’ve got and for the love of god don’t try to straight up mach strength with him in a direct contest.

Meanwhile you’re cranking out mages as fast as you can with a laser beam focus on conjuration if possible. You may need to sidetrack to alteration if you’re hard pressed (more on that in a second), but you’ve got three critical goals under conjuration. The first is Voice of Tiamat at con-4, this spell gives the water nations a huge leg up in the gem income department. As all the water nations are going to be getting this fairly early it’s not going to give you an advantage so much as make sure you’re not at a severe disadvantage. The next two major goals are both at con-6. Shark attack is like having nuclear weapons for underwater fights…if one guy has it and the other guy doesn’t the fight is probably already decided. The other is the often overlooked Atlantis national summon the monster fish.

This leads into my next topic, your next research target is alteration. Underwater fights differ from land fights in a couple important ways, but arguably the biggest difference is the lack of good evocation spells. This ties in with the lack of conventional archers to make the goto spells for underwater domination alteration spells (the lack of archers means your mages can and should be mixed right in with your troops for optimal buffing). I outlined a suggestion for a very nasty Ancient Kraken above, the same logic applies to any other reasonably tough chasis. If you’re sorely pressed early on the con-3 summonable krakens are pretty darned tough for the cost with similar buffs (iron warriors, quickness, iron will, body ethereal, luck), but the crown jewel is the monster fish. This guy has 128 hit points, decent MR (especially when buffed) and most importantly has a rather unique attack. It does 25 damage (factoring its strength), but X2 vs smaller beings and is AOE 1. That means anything which is not size 6 or has a whole lot of hit points dies regardless of defense or protection and it can gobble up a bunch of smaller units in a bite. Cast quickness on him and each one of these guys is clearing two squares per turn regardless of how fancy the enemy troops are. Throw iron warriors and body ethereal on him and it takes a loooong time to do 128 damage to him. Throw iron will on him and he’s got a respectable 17 MR so those typical animal counters aren’t gonna help. Now figure he’s only 10 gems so you should have several (he’s not being swarmed by himself) and you begin to see why I like these guys so much. Support them with some reasonable chaff and a few war lobsters to break the enemy’s initial charge (while you finish buffing) and this becomes a very tough nut to crack.

Well, this is one example (my favorite), but obviously the logic can extend to whatever your summon of choice is. Many people disregard mages underwater because of the lack of good damage dealing spells, you don’t have that luxury playing as Atlantis. Your mages (and summons) are going to be the backbone of your army, your troops just plain suck.

So, you’ve invested heavily in all this underwater only stuff and you’ve managed to conquer every underwater province on the map. Now what? Now you’ve got to shift gears because you’re no longer the underdog, you’re a submarine. Though this seems simply trite at first, I don’t mean this in a symbolic sense, I mean it in a strategic one. Strategically, on the land you have to think of a land nation as a battleship while you’re a submarine. If you surface and start trading blow for blow you’re gonna come out the looser almost every time. That’s not how submarines fight, and it’s not how Atlantis (actually this is applicable to any underwater race trying to take to the land) can successfully fight on the land. A couple things to keep in mind. 1) You’ve invested in some aquatic only heavy hitters and have several other significant advantages fighting under the water against land-lubbers. 2) Assuming you’re in control of most of the water you’ve got very long borders with several nations which are likely lightly defended.

The first point is important because it’s going to be extremely rare for a land nation to launch an offensive war that takes them under the water anytime before extreme late game, and if they do you’re generally sitting pretty as you can inflict casualties much easier that way before bringing the war back to them. This means you very rarely want to have NAPs with land nations initially, they’re much more limiting to you than they are useful. At the point you’re in control of the water you should have several long relatively undefended borders to choose from and the freedom to choose your target.

This is where it’s important to remember the submarine analogy, you have to make sure that the fight is over before your opponent has a chance to react. Look for a target that 1) You have a long coastal border with 2) Is just a little smaller and weaker than you 3) Is involved in another war front 4) That you can make a war alliance against with somebody else. 5) That you can gain political advantage from taking out (use this as an opportunity to make an ally of his enemy)

What you want to do is hit him with an overwhelmingly large barrage of torpedoes…er…raiders in a totally unannounced sneak attack. With a long border and teleporting thugs you should look at attacking 12+ provinces the turn he realizes there is a war on, and having 20 by the time he has a chance to react. Remember, you’re looking to take out PD and capture territories, not kill big armies so hit him everywhere at once. If you choose your target well and time this right (as he’s otherwise engaged and you have a wide vector of attack) it will be over before it starts. Remember, if you sneak attack a castle with no troops in it your opponent won’t be able to recruit any troops there unless he can break the siege which can be a problem if the nearest army is not very close. Use the element of surprise to its full advantage and don’t let that battleship bring its big guns to bear.

At this point you should be sitting pretty with all the water provinces, a good chunk of land, a strong gem income, strong research and a strong ally or two. Your options are pretty open at this point and I’ll leave them as an exercise for the student.

Now, here’s some suggestions on what to do with your mages.

Initiate of the Deep – I told you not to get these guys, didn’t I? You can use them for Frozen Heart if you disregarded me….

Seer of the Deep – Astral & water buffs as outlined above – body ethereal, luck, quickness. Gatewaying troops around (cap + crystal coin). You can use them for communions as well for truly sick falling frost spam. In a pinch you can use them to mind duel those Starspawn who are trying to Soul Slay your Monster Fish (use the ones that are diseased because they’re old. ). With a cap and coin these guys are also mind hunt capable and Atlantis can easily forge rune smashers, eyes of the void and spell foci. Speaking of Mind Hunt, not only does Oceana not have any astral mages, but also there are no (to my knowledge) underwater indie astral mages so mind hunts will be a shooting gallery.

King of the Deep – As I said above, these guys are the centerpiece of your nation and I’m going to have to break down each random pick to do them justice. Now, keep in mind that these are also your mainline researchers so don’t be shy about pulling them to other uses as need dictates, one of your big advantages is that you’ve got a large pool of them to pull from as needed. Also, I’m only going to talk about the 4 100% random pics, you’ll get several more flavors with the 10% pick which give you important diversity into things like crystal coins.

Water (5W) – slap a water bracelet and a robe of the sea for a 7W mage. This is going to be your heavy artillery on land, most of the water evocation spells scale exponentially in effectiveness as the mage’s power grows and having 5 or 6 7W guys casting (as appropriate) Falling Frost, Cleansing Water, Ice Strike, or Living Water is a pretty ridiculously effective given the cost of the mage and how many times they can cast it before passing out. Keep these guys as artillery in your army, they’re the least useful as thugs and paradoxically not terribly useful for fighting underwater. For late game most anything not cold immune will have a hard time standing up to a couple Niefel Flames and being armor negating even cold resistant troops will go down to several castings if they’re not totally immune.

Fire (3W 2F) – As artillery look at Acid Rain in combination with the falling frost/ice strikes cast by your water Kings to destroy those tougher enemies. This scales with water power as well so these guys will benefit from water bracelets and robes as well. As thugs slap good reinvig on them and think fire shield, phonix pyre, fire resitance and breath of winter to take out pesky cold or heat radiating enemies.

Earth (3W 2E) – These guys have several uses, but in case you didn’t pick up on that yet I love using them to buff. Iron Warriors and Iron Will I’ve mentioned, but also with earth boots and summon earth power these guys can lay down more potent Weapons of Sharpness or Army of Lead. As thugs think Summon Earth Power, Invulnerability, Quickness, Iron Will, Breath of Winter for situations where you need some uber protection.

Astral (3W 2S) – These are your super mobile teleporting thugs. Slap an astral cap, frost brand, decent shield and armor, some reinvig items then script Body Ethereal, Personal Luck, Breath of Winter and they’ll take out most PD (modify your equipment and scripting depending on what you’re actually fighting). You'll want basically every one of these you get as a thug, use the Seers of the Deep for any other astral needs you have.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:12 PM

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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Fantastic guide!
There was a time/When people were alight/Stop this cold black machinery/Before we kill this mystery
- Leæther Strip
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:30 PM
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Meglobob Meglobob is offline
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Good guide Baalz.

Never played MA Atlantis, perhaps this will inspire me!

Baalz said:-
Ancient Kraken inside a 10 dominion outfitted with an antimagic amulet, ring of regen and a lycanthrop’s amulet.

Does you Kraken ever turn into a werewolf?

I assume its no big deal, as you can kill him off and get your H3's to call him back. It would be annoying if he changed the month before a big fight, especially if he was defending your capital.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:34 PM
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Baalz Baalz is offline
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Meglobob said:

Does you Kraken ever turn into a werewolf?

I assume its no big deal, as you can kill him off and get your H3's to call him back. It would be annoying if he changed the month before a big fight, especially if he was defending your capital.
He didn't in the 100 turn test I ran nor the actual game I'm playing so if its possible the chaces are slim.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Very good guide!
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Old January 20th, 2008, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

It's really an excellent guide, Baalz. I realized the power of Kraken , but you made me look at many things from another side. Thanks. Actually, this is the best guide I've ever found in this community. That's my personal opinion. MA Atlantis as it is isn't really a top notch, moreover, in comparison with most of MA races, it seems to be one of the weakest. Well... It seemed It's just an another confirmation of the fact that not the race makes the game, but the player...
Just one question. Where do you expect to get nature for forging lycanthrop's amulet and ring of regen (and, probably, other tasks)? It's quite hard to get underwater as I don't remember any (rather common) underwater indies with nature except amber clans with 10% of one pick and a cost of 180.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Theres one or two very common underwater nature sites with are revealed without searching and give one nature gem income. You'll probably pick up a small nature income without trying, and as you've got nothing to spend them on over 20 turns or so this will build up enough to empower one of your KOTD who has an astral pick. Now, use that guy to sumon a Niad (using water gems). Now the Niad can cast haurespex for a couple turns until you've got enough to forge a thistle mace, at which point the guy you empoered can start casting haurespex as well and now you're into nature in a major way as your empowered guy can make a moonvine bracelet so your Niad can cast N5 spells. In Evermore that's exactly what I did to get the Mother Oak up and now Nature is my biggest income.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

Having fallen to your Atlanteans in an MP game while playing R'lyeh, I can only say I wish I could have read this before we played that game.
Be forewarned, anything I post is probably either 1) Sophomoric humor, 2) Satire, 3) A gross exaggeration of the power I currently possess, 4) An outright lie, or 5) Drunken ramblings.

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Old January 20th, 2008, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

As usual, good guide!
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Old January 21st, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Nation guide: MA Atlantis

thanks for the guide!
My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?
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