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Old March 24th, 2008, 07:23 PM
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Default sauromantia

hi i am new to the forum but i aam an old player of dominions.
now i have a problem with sauromantia: i never played it and i dont know any strategy with them.
their cavalry seems ok and also the androphagus archer but other them and hydra there ius some good strategy?
now i am using an hydra tamer and 25 hydras to demolish enemy but is very repetitive
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Old March 24th, 2008, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: sauromantia

Sauromantia has many little advantages and a few big ones too. I'd personally say that the faction is capable of being competitive without Hydras at all, which makes their inclusion overkill.

1) An undead profit can generate longdead horsemen. Most other factions can only generate regular longdead, ghouls, and soulless with an undead profit. I start my games with research into Conjuration so that I can start a hoursemen factory. When mixed in with your normal calvary you avoid possible routing.

2) You can effectively use a bless strategy with them. Their sacred lizard riders are one of the fiercest blessable units of the age as they have a second life to fall back on. They also have a combat summon that uses no gems and generates a sacred unit. They also have dirt cheap mages capable of spamming the spell. Research into conjuration plus a death gem allows the same mage to generate a horde of the sacred summons. Let's also not forget that it's early age, sacred amazons are all over the place.

3) Take a look at your calvary again.

4) The Witch King. Sacred mounted mages that allows Saurmantia to generate everything that is great about death magic without needing your pretender god to help. That includes summoning Tartarian. Also, communion via blood magic (with cheap astral mages as your communion slaves) combined with the rejuvinate spell to wipe away the fatigue.

5) Let's not forget the Daughter of Typhon. Take a Hydra and give it more protection, more then double the hit points, +5 on it's fear, make it sacred, and make it immortal. Also, since it can be summoned, it can easily get to the front lines. Yet again, the whole Hydra thing is virtually overkill.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 09:35 PM

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Default Re: sauromantia

Enaries are amazing for Shadow Blast and, later, Nether Darts. They can do Eagle Eyes as well to give themselves good accuracy. They are one of my favourite mages in the game actually.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: sauromantia

Sauromatia is often overlooked when people consider the powerhouse nations, but when you really stop to consider what they've got going for them they are most definitely a contender for the spot of heavyweight champion of EA.
Baalz, you've lost your mind. Have you ever seen triple blessed jaguar warriors? What the heck do you do when Eath/Nature blessed Niefels come knocking on your gate? What about Vans…Vans!?! Ever heard of that little Lanka nation? That's just rushes, for the long haul you've got some serious magic powerhouses like Arcoscephale and T'ien Ch'i!

Well, sit back my friend, and let me tell you about the Amazon Queens.

First, let me lead with the obvious – Sauromatia has absolutely the best archers in the game. There's not even a close second place – gold & resource per pound, androphag archers are so ridiculously good I have a hard time convincing myself to spend gold on anything else until I've maxed out that recruit queue. To set this even farther over the top, they've got these archers in EA where armors are considerably lighter and archery is consequently more effective in general. If you put a couple infantry in front to catch the return fire, you'll handily be able to capture most indie province with very few losses and make an impressive initial expansion – completely irrespective of what the rest of your strategy is. These guys will also single handedly neuter many, many of the rushes you'll face. From jaguar warriors and vans to elephants nobody is going to fare well fighting through your PD while dozens of androphags pelt them from the back row. There are a couple things which will require to do something different (Lanka and Niefelheim come to mind), but in general these guys will let you pursue whatever other strategy you want, comfortably handling your initial expansion and defense.

Androphag archers are the exception to everything else though, in the fact that you'll basically always use them. Sauromatia suffers from the same "problem" that Lanka does – there are so many really good options to choose from you run a very real risk of not focusing enough on one and dropping the ball. Before I start talking about overall strategy, let me discuss the different tools you've got at your disposal (I'll leave off mentioning the options I don't consider top shelf though its certainly possible you can play around with them and come up with some new clever ideas).

Infantry. Contrary to pretty much every other nation you've only got one kind, but that's ok because they're good for the price. Real good. This is one of your weakest units and it would practically qualify for elite troops for some nations. Anyone who's tried to take an indie province from amazons should realize that though they lack the offense to punch through thick armor a couple extra points in defense and attack go a long way. These are going to be your best choice for blockers for your archers.

Sauromatian Lancer - Sauromatia hands down has the best archers. For non-sacred cavalry they have to tie for having the best. These guys are often overlooked, but they're every bit as good as LA T'ien Ch'i's better known cavalry. Fighting their way across the battlefield into withering composite bow fire, what does your enemy win if they make it? Yeah! A first strike lance charge! Switch these guys forward for an immediate flanking charge when you need that sort of thing – they're very capable switch hitters with a map move of 3.

Cataphract – These are basically the heaviest cavalry of EA and give you a very solid fist when you need a good heavy cavalry charge. The Sauromatian Lancers are more versatile, but if you know you definitely want the specialists these guys will give you a bigger hit when they connect.

Sacred cavalry – you've got two flavors and they're both pretty good. I prefer the Oiorpata for the extra defense, protection, and speed (which helps the first strike charge), but I won't think less of you if you go with the Androphag for the extra hitpoints and bonus lizard you get when they die. Either way, if you look at their stats, they're pretty close to Vans minus the glamour. They're not quite as versatile as the vans due to the lack of stealth, but with a good dual bless they're very close to as effective on the battlefield. A F/W bless is the standard choice for vans, and it'll work equally well for these sacred cavalry, but if you decide to go the dual bless route I prefer a less standard W/E bless for reasons I'll get into in a moment.

Last but not least, hydras round out your strategic choices for troops. They make you essentially immune to any tramplers (it’s comical if you haven’t seen a huge force of elephants try to run over a small group of hydras), and make great kamikaze squads to lead the charge (well ahead!) for major battles. After fighting past hydras and getting good and well poisoned your enemy now must get through your PD (who conveniently sit around shooting bows rather than running into the hydra poison) before they can hit your skellispam to FINALY contemplate those Androphag archers raining death down on them from the back row. Not many things have the endurance and hitpoints to make it that far even in large numbers.

Enarie - These are very respectable mid line mages and nice, cost effective researchers who can forge their own skull mentors. There are a few nations with better research, but not many. On the combat front there's the obvious skellispam which is quite effective en masse, and the not quite as obvious communion potential. Saruomatia doesn't have the raw firepower that comes from earth, air and fire schools, and their astral really isn't strong enough to frontline. What they do get though, lends itself very well indeed to small, easily managed and fielded communions. Picture this – 4 slaves, 1 master. Master is equipped with a rune smasher (if you can get one, skull staff if not), eye of the void, and spell focus. Master is scripted to communion master, power of the spheres then shadow blast X3. With +7 penetration and the number of effects scaling with mage power this is every bit as devastating as the level 9 firestorm evocation – except you cast it at level 5 and you managed it with a handful of research mages. You can pass out skull staffs and use a reverse communion (see my guide to communions) to get a swarm of D4 guys spamming anything from drain life or disintegrate to a combination of darkness and skellispam. And heck, remember I haven't even gotten to your good mages yet.

Witch King - This guy is an amazingly powerful death mage. You'll get plenty of D4 ones which means cheap access to the really nice high end death magic like ghost riders and tartarians. If you've got them available where you need them (they're cap only) these guys are an easier choice for the death spam (drain life, disintegrate, etc) than communions of eraynes, but there's also no reason you can't combine them via Sabbath spells (again, see my communion guide for the benefits of a little blood in your communion). Finally, this guy has the right stuff to be a thug if properly equipped, casting soul vortex, barkskin, resist elements, personal regeneration, blood vengeance and (depending on randoms), quicken self/breath of winter. He can't self bless, but he is sacred so make sure you have somebody else bless him if you've got a nice one.

Warrior sorceresses – these guys are very cost effective recruitable thug chasises and are the reason I like the E/W bless. With just that bless and a frost brand (self buffing with barkskin) you've got an immensely cost effective thug. Set 4 Oiorpata to guard commander and now for 360 gold + 5 water gems you've got a force capable of tearing through almost any PD, or providing very capable flank support to a real army. You're not going to be able to solo them like this (without the Oiorpatas), but they are cheap and recruit everywhere so use them in pairs (or more) and as your gem supply grows throw a few extra items on them. With an amulet of resilience you can comfortably self buff regeneration, quickness, and breath of winter, and with a good shield (I like the shield of the accursed) and chainmail of displacement your defense will soar well into the mid thirties while your protection hits the high twenties – definitely solo-able. Really though, you'll be amazed how far they can go with just a frost brand, this is the reason I always keep several in my laboratory and mix several WSes into my researches despite the fact they're not as cost effective for that – you've got a very effective defense force in each castle. There are 4 possible random picks for WSes, with different best ways to use each:

W – These guys make the best thugs once you start having some extra gems to equip them. Quicken self is generally best reserved for the point you can equip them with more reinvig than their blessing gives them, but it's worth the gems to see this little buzzsaw tearing through the enemy ranks. Against particularly strong opponents (Neifel giants or Lanka's baddies or any thugs) forego the frost brands and dual wield serpent kryss or dusk daggers – so long as you work in small groups your defense should be plenty high enough to give you time to work so long as no one is just surrounded. Against real SCs consider axes of hate – there's not really anything that can stand up to several double quickened, dual wielded axes of hate attacking them from all sides.

N – These guys make casting the nature self buffs much more palatable. I seldom think personal regeneration is worth the fatigue hit for N1 mages, but with these guys it's even worthwhile to equip heavier armor and a thistle mace (dual wield something else as well, like a snake bladder stick) for fighting swarms of small guys where protection + regen is much better than higher defense. These guys are also the easiest way to get those N2 goodies like haurespex, thistle maces, vine shields, rings of regen, etc.

B – By and large these are all going straight to bloodhunting. Your capital gives you a small blood income, and con-4 is going to be a high priority for other obvious reasons, so by the time you're ready to start blood hunting these guys should all just forge themselves sanguine rods and have at it. Sauromatia is not going to be a top tier blood nation like Lanka or Mictlan, but it is fairly strong in blood, about on par with Abyssia in my opinion. More on this later. If you're unfamiliar with blood hunting strategies, make sure you check out my blood hunting guide included as a subsection of my Mictlan guide.

D – Well, I haven't found a real good use for these chicks because of the prevalence of larger death mages you'll have running around. These are generally who I leave to research and defend my heartlands. Don't get me wrong, they're still hellaciously scary chicks, just not quite as much so as their sisters.

Alright, so now that we've got the notes what kind of song do we want to sing? The thing about Sauromatia is they can really pull off almost any type of strategy very competitively. Dual bless rush? Check. Scary SC pretender? Ever seen a dom 10 gorgon? Good scales? They've got the chops to fight off a rush with no SC or big bless. Turtling? With strong death and blood magic and a fairly easy way into astral (eraynes can cast arcane probing) they can have a very scary power curve. Recruitable anywhere thug swarming? I just covered that. Scary dominion push? Temple dom spread + blood sacrifices.


Alright, time to talk about overall strategy. Some of this I briefly touched on in the first section, but I'd like to weave this into a more cohesive tapestry.
Scales – Most nations have one or two scales which they really should always take, Sauromatia can do most anything so long as you play your strategy to match.

Order/Turmoil – Gold is always good and Sauromatia has no lack of great stuff to spend it on and lots of players will take Order-3 all the time for any nation. However, depending on what your other choices are it may make sense to go with Luck/Turmoil

Luck/Misfortune – Obviously this is tied to your order scales for synergistic reasons. Again, plenty people stick with misfortune for all their games, but Sauromatia benefits more than average from luck. For one their national heroes are very nice and help with magic diversity. For another, despite their many astral mages they have no native astral income so bootstrapping into astral site searching can be expensive if your only option is to alchemize those death gems you were hoping to use for skull mentors/staffs. Random gem types are either useful explicitly (if you've got a E/W pretender you've got a pretty good spread) or at the very least to power your initial arcane probing. On the other hand your main research mages have a chance of preventing bad events, so you can mitigate misfortune scales by having your research centers on your best provinces.

Productivity/Sloth – Again, two ways to play this. You've got very good national troops and you can obviously crank out more of them with points in productivity. This is a very reasonable choice. You've also got very good low resource troops (archers) and powerful thugs/sacreds who you can use without resources. This is also a reasonable choice. Going with sloth scales gains you a lot of design points but it removes some of your flexibility – sometimes what you really want is an overwhelming heavy cavalry charge. On the other hand, without sacrificing productivity you're gonna have a hard time landing a nice bless. Choices, choices….

Death/Growth – General wisdom is it's bad to have death scales if you want to blood hunt. It's (relatively) ok to have death scales if none of the guys you're using are old. Well, both are true, take your pick.
Magic – no special considerations here, consider mostly how important research is to your strategy
Heat/cold – Sauromatia likes it neutral

Pretender choice

If you want a SC pretender it's hard to argue for anything other than the gorgon. Only a few nations have access to her, and Sauromatia may be the only one that does who also benefits from her magic paths. A E/N bless works pretty well even if it's not a major bless, and it adds a strong earth element in which complements Sauromatia nicely.

If you're thinking more along the lines of the E/W bless I'd suggest a Father of Winters. He ends up being a pretty bad dude himself by the time you can equip him (you were planning on heading straight to cons-4 anyway, right?), and on top of the optimized bless that gives you strong access to two completely new paths.

Lady of Springs is a decent choice if you want to go for a W/N bless, and she’ll give you some water gems to help crank out those frost brands.

There are a couple other reasonable choices, and given Sauromatia's flexibility you can make a lot of stuff work.

It's a bit hard to talk about your overall strategy given the variety of ways you can play this nation. As I mentioned earlier one big risk is that you do a little bit of everything and not do anything well. There is a delicate balancing act you must perform between focusing and specializing, and being flexible and adjusting to what your opponent is doing. So, rather than trying to discuss strategy in a point A to point Z way I'm going to discuss little mini strategies to give you an idea of some effective things you can do and leave it as an exercise for the student to weave these into an overall tapestry.

I don't really want to rehash what I've already discussed above, but there are a few more points to consider as far as how your units interact and overall strategy.

Androphag archers –They work very well as support for Warrior Sorceress - so long as the WS script resist poison and have a shield the WS are immune to the very effective arrows raining down around them. If you're short on water gems for frost brands, you can send WSes out with just their default gear and some backup Androphags – it's surely enough to kill most PD. Also, if you do have a nature bless your sacred cavalry will be almost immune to the arrows and can be effectively used in close combat. As I touched on before these guys work stunningly well in combination with your PD – set them in the back row and they'll provide just as much PD backbone as having a mage back there. Have their leader retreat and they'll flee when your PD breaks having rained poison and death onto the advancing army. Very effective hit and run.

One more dirty little trick you shouldn't forget is the linebacker communion in combination with Sabbath and reinvigoration (see my communion guide). All those WSes you've got sitting around blood hunting can be pressed into service, blessed, and buffed with luck, astral shield, resist magic, soul vortex, barkskin, resist elements, blood vengeance, regeneration, quickness, breath of winter (maybe more depending on what non-national mages you've managed to get)…and then charge forward with 0 fatigue, a dual bless and a frostbrand. Ouch.

So, what to do with those blood slaves you've got flowing in? Lots of options obviously, but Sauromatia is rather uniquely in a position to easily summon something I think is very underrated - the vampire count. Invest in 4 or 5 of them and you've got a ridiculously effective in-dominion defense force. Leave them making vampires when not otherwise occupied and you'll build up a little posse of stealthy, flying immortals who will make anyone trying to move into your dominion rue the day they did. But Baalz, vampires are teh suck! You will never make me fear them! Ah, my friend, you haven't had the joy of fighting a cleverly crafted vampire resistance.

Scenario 1: Large enemy army invades. 4 vampire counts and a couple dozen vampires stealthily fly into the path of the army so they will be the defenders and get the first move. Meanwhile vampire count 5 (or anybody really) outfitted as a thug flies into the province the enemy army is moving from.
Opening turn – the 4 counts cast - rush of strength, blood rain, shadow blast, shadow blast, all the vampires stand around and take an archer volley.

Turn 2 – (you’ve empowered one of your counts in blood) bloodletting + your choice of harm or shadow blast. Enemy army, -4 moral from blood rain, -1 from hostile dominion, (dare we hope you timed this as they moved from a wasteland and some of them are starving?) has just taken significant AN/AP damage across most of their ranks and now your vamps fall on them for 17 armor piercing damage all over them. If they break, they all die. If they kill you….you're back the very next turn with more experienced vampires.

Scenario 2: Enemy army invades, but it's an elite small army with a bunch of thugs/tough guys and the above strategy seems unlikely to work. Stick black hearts on your counts and have them fly into army's path. Assassinate enemy leaders and cast raise skeletons (to keep them busy), hellbind heart X4 – or leech/life for a life if they've got too high MR. This should be very effective even with most bodyguards, and again, if you fail you're out just a couple blood slaves and an easily replacable black heart.

Scenario 3: Enemy is raiding with stealthy/teleporting thugs/SCs. Sprinkle your counts around into likely raiding targets and leave them creating more vampires – don't even need a lab so they're being productive while hanging around. They're stealthy so your opponent won't know where they are. Turn 1 – bad guy appears and vampires surround him before he can cast any buffs, while the count, positioned all the way forward, depending on your mood casts hellbind heart, leech, life for a life, or disintegrate. If you get some bad rolls, well you just deploy your now more experience vamps someplace new next turn. *note: this will work even if the raiders are stealthy/flying groups rather than thugs, you just need to tweak your scripting a bit depending on what you're facing.

All in all, there are worse ways to invest a few hundred blood slaves while the rest of your troops quite capably carry on without needing them. Several stealthy life for a life casters can really make your opponent reconsider the wisdom of dropping tartarians all over you, particularly when he…can't…kill…them!!!!!

Foul vapors can be a great support spell to cast after your WS frontline casts resist poison on itself. It can also be great to have Enaries cast resist poison before starting the skellispam factory…a page right out of C'tis' book. Laugh as your opponent tries to claw his way past your undead chaff getting progressively more poisoned with each step.

Warrior Sorceress with a nature pick + a thistle mace makes a tough and cheap enough charm spammer to place near the front lines, perfect for it's short range. Stick an eye of the void and spell focus on her if you're feeling generous.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 11:33 PM

Shovah32 Shovah32 is offline
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Default Re: sauromantia

Baalz, do you even sleep?
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:39 AM

Renojustin Renojustin is offline
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Default Re: sauromantia

He's my hero; I had to start a Mictlan game after I saw his guide and it's one of my favorites yet.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: sauromantia

Shovah32 said:
Baalz, do you even sleep?
Only on sundays.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Amhazair Amhazair is offline
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Default Re: sauromantia

Baalz, you're absolutely awesome, you know that?

That signature of yours contains several of the better thought out and explained advice guides on this forum.

Now I have to find time to play a game with Sauromatia. I liked them from when I first got the game, but never got around to actually playing them and lately just kinda forgot about them.
But your post definitely reminded me of their existence.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:37 AM

Zenzei Zenzei is offline
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Default More praise for Baalz

I've to agree with Amhazair. Baalz's detailed explanations of strategies etc. and solid examples certainly help out new players like me to catch up on things way faster.
I've been around a month or so but I really think, no, I know that my dominions-fu has skyrockected from its starting level , still a long way to go though, and reading Baalz's guides has played not a small part in it.

In short, I approve of Baalz.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 12:48 PM
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Baalz Baalz is offline
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Default Re: More praise for Baalz

Thanks for the warm sentiments guys. I'm actually working on a part 2 of the above involving higher level strategy. I saw this post though and figured I'd post what I had as a starting point of the discussion.
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