Saturday, 7 July 2018

Testing the anti-entosis griffin (ship cost 1.5m) NSFW

I piggybacked a strat op to test out my new Griffin fit. The video contains some swearing from a rather stressed FC.


0.00 The main fleet took a fight, I jumped back to help them out. I kept a Lachesis permajammed until we bailed. I probably bailed a smidgin too early. When I sensed the FC was about to leave instinct took over and I warped off. It would have been better to stay on grid an extra 2 seconds to make sure the Lach didn't point something.

03.04 I blithely cross-jump a 70 man HAC fleet and go for their toasters. Pre-heat my mids and warp in at range. There are two Nereus supported by a frigate. The sequencing is quite important: align, lock, turn modules on, add jam one by one. My first jam hits so I target the second Nereus and my first jam hits on him too. That'll do, I leave before the frigate can get to me.

I then make a mistake and warp back to the same node. One of the Nereus is leaving, I re-jam the other one and warp off. My first two jams fail and it takes the third one to get him.

06.37 I warp to the node I previously wanted and it's quite well defended with several combat ships as well as the toaster. I jam the toaster but their interceptor gets a point on me. I manage to jam him with off-racial jams and escape.

I take my leave, the nature of entosis timers is that fleets spread out, particularly the toaster and there's no need to risk losing my ship in a system that's become too hot. Besides I've stopped them there, they won't be finishing the nodes for at least 2 cycles. A cycle is 5 mins on a T1 entosis module. Hopefully I'll have looped back around just in time to jam them again before that finishes.

09.16 There's places to dock and repair all over space. I use a citadel in NPC Curse to get rid of heat damage. This would also be a good opportunity to change my jammer loadout but I'm happy with 4 gallente.

09.59 Oh did none of your friends stay to protect you? An easy score for The Lone Jammer.

10.40 Spirited attempt by the Slasher pilot but he's not quite fast enoough to stop me warping in and jamming his friend. I warp off with him 44km and closing fast.

11.16 Hmmm, maybe this was a bit too much, I'm a little slow finding the Nereus and the fleet pops me before I can jam. With hindsight I probably should have avoided the very heavily defended nodes but I wanted to test the fit.

11.38 There's the loss mail from which you can pause the video and take the fit. 1.5m isk very well spent.


[Griffin, anti entosis]

F-89 Compact Signal Amplifier
Damage Control II

5MN Quad LiF Restrained Microwarpdrive
BZ-5 Scoped Gravimetric ECM
BZ-5 Scoped Gravimetric ECM
BZ-5 Scoped Gravimetric ECM
BZ-5 Scoped Gravimetric ECM

[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Small Particle Dispersion Projector I
Small Particle Dispersion Projector I
Small Particle Dispersion Projector I

Hypnos Scoped Magnetometric ECM x4
Enfeebling Scoped Ladar ECM x4
Umbra Scoped Radar ECM x4

Friday, 25 May 2018

Eve Online: Planning my Abyssal Tech module business

Next week's patch brings a new type of module upgrade process to Eve. From the patch notes.

Mutaplasmids and Abyssal Tech:

Mutaplasmids are a new type of item which can be used to permanently alter specific attributes on existing modules.
  • Mutaplasmids can be found in Abyssal Deadspace
  • All quality levels can be found in any difficulty tier, though the chances improve dramatically at higher difficulties
  • When a Mutaplasmid is used on a module, both the Mutaplasmid and input module are consumed and an Abyssal Tech module is created
Mutaplasmids come in three quality variations:
  • Decayed: Lowest range of effect
  • Gravid: Best average resulting effect
  • Unstable: Largest range of effect

Each Mutaplasmid can only be used on a specific corresponding module group. The following groups have been added:
  • Warp Scramblers
  • Warp Disruptors
  • Stasis Webifiers
  • Armor Repairers
  • Armor Plates
  • Shield Boosters
  • Shield Extenders
  • Energy Neutralizers
  • Microwarpdrives
  • Afterburners
  • Mutaplasmids alter attributes unpredictably by a percent value that falls within a specific range described on the Mutaplasmid
  • Once an Abyssal Tech module is created, it cannot be reverted to its components or rerolled with additional Mutaplasmids
  • Mutaplasmids can be traded on the market under the Ship and Module modifications section
  • Abyssal Tech modules cannot be traded on the market but can be traded in contracts or trade windows.
I plan to do  the following when the patch goes live:

- run the sites in a cruiser.

- buy faction, deadspace and officer modules. Enhance these modules using the new process.

- sell enhanced modules on contract and on forum wts boards.

- buy underpriced modules off contract.

Instead of covering all enhanced modules I'm going to focus on that subsection of modules that can be used on Alliance Tournament flagships. The obvious uses for expensive over-priced modules are AT flagships, supers and titans and the subsection I'll be covering is of interest to both user groups. After the AT I'll probably broaden my coverage.

These are the modules permitted on AT flagships as per the new rules.

  • Flagships may ignore meta level restrictions for the following module types (this means they may fit faction, officer, cosmos, deadspace, and abyssal (mutated) versions):
  • Turrets and Missile Launchers
  • Smartbombs
  • Afterburners and Microwarpdrives
  • Warp Scramblers, Warp Disruptors, and Stasis Grapplers
  • Target Painters
  • Sensor Boosters and Signal Amplifiers
  • Overdrives, Nanofiber Internal Structures, and Inertial Stabilizers
  • Weapon and Drone Upgrade Modules
  • Armor Plates and Shield Extenders
  • Damage Controls
  • ONE Shield Booster or up to TWO Armor Repairers

These are the modules in both categories (except Warp Disruptors which are irrelevant in the AT.

  • Warp Scramblers
  • Armor Repairers
  • Armor Plates
  • Shield Boosters
  • Shield Extenders
  • Microwarpdrives
  • Afterburners

What I now have to figure out is how to value each module. For some modules I think cap is the only thing that matters. No one's going to care  too much about the CPU or  capacitator usage on an 18km range scram that is destined for a Barghest flagship. For an armour repper though a module might be less valuable if it gets a bad roll on a secondary stat even though what most people will care about is amount repaired.

 I'm going to start my spreadsheet by using the Jita sell values for the various modules that exist unmodified. I anticipate that people will value based on the number regardless of how it got there, eg all 15km scrams are worth about the same even if one is Officer and one is Abyssally enhanced deadspace.

I'd love feedback on this project.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

MTG Arena: my mythic tracking spreadsheet

I've played Arena quite a lot since I got into the closed beta in February. It's come to me that one of the trickiest questions is how to spend your hard-earned gold and that led to me writing a spreadsheet to track my mythics.

Here's my thinking:

- a collectible card game limits you by limiting your access to the rarest cards.

- commons, uncommons and to a lesser extent rares are cards you're quite likely to get anyway and so shouldn't be the focus of how you build your collection.

- wildcards can and should be used pretty freely with the more common cards and help you to quickly build playsets of the ones you want. Mythic wildcards are a much rarer and more precious resource.

- mythics include some of the most interesting and flavour-rich cards.

- mythics include some of the most powerful cards.

- therefore it's best to spend your gold on packs that will most improve your mythics collection.

The spreadsheet has 5 columns.

Column B is personal. You should copy the sheet and edit in your own values. For me if a card is Legendary I'll usually limit it to 1 because drawing two means a dead card in your hand, if a card is confusing I'll limit it to 1 until I understand it better and if a card is expensive I'll limit it to 1 because I don't need many top end finishers in a deck. By all means start with my numbers if you're lazy but it really is better to look through Gatherer and make your own list. (Links to the Gatherer search for each set's mythics are in the spreadsheet).

Column C is where you keep track of your mythic collection. Don't put a bigger number than Column B so if you want 1 but you have 3 put 1 in this column.

Column D calculates the total mythics you want from that set but don't have.

Column E calculates the total mythics you want from that set but don't have as a percentage,

The best way to develop your collection is to choose the set with the highest column E number in the purple box, the set most likely to provide you with a Wanted Mythic. Over time as you open packs of the set with the best Column E number that number will drop until a different set now has the best column E number.


- copy the spreadsheet.

- use the Gatherer links to browse the mythic cards in each set and change the numbers in column B to reflect your own preferences.

- in Mtg Arena edit a new deck and search for rarity = mythic and status = owned. Put your numbers in Column C. Going forward amend this column every time you get a new mythic.

- Compare the number in the purple box for each set. The biggest number shows you which set is best. If in doubt avoid the set that is currently being used for prizes as you'll collect this set passively. (Currently Rivals of Ixalan). In my own case (at the time of writing) it's still worth opening RIX because there are so many mythics I want from it.

- make decks, pwn noobs.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

MTGO: Rivals of Ixalan Friendly Sealed Leagues After Action report

I've mentioned before on this blog that at the beginning of each new Magic The Gathering expansion I try to cram in a bunch of Sealed Leagues as the return on investment is very high. This is unusual for a hobby that generally bleeds money, albeit for a very intense and enjoyable competitive experience.

Rivals of Ixalan, the latest set, launched 2 weeks ago on Monday 15th Jan and I've decided that it's time to cut my losses on this particular run. I'll go into MTGO hibernation until April now (probably.)

I played 7 leagues of 9 matches each, each match a best of 3 so that's somewhere between 126 and 189 individual games of Magic which is quite intense. I'm about $8.70 down. Looking at this another way I paid on average 5.5 cents per game which as they're pretty fun is perfectly acceptable.

I decided to stop fairly early in this Magic season because I wasn't that thrilled by the format. Here are my specific gripes:

- 2 packs of the new set and one of the old set (Ixalan) knocks significant value off the cashouts after each league. They're changing from this system and good riddance.

- the very overpowered bomby rares reduced the fun. My most fun plays are where he attacked, anticipating that I would block just so, which allows him to play surprise combat trick which (plot twist) I countered by playing a trick of my own which (double plot twist) he had allowed for and then in a shocking denouement it turns out I had just enough mana to cast a Spell Pierce, a very crappy counterspell that managed to be just enough. Those plays are fun. What is not fun is "You have X overpowered card, you win."

In this picture I actually have played three such cards and you'll see my opponent shares my views about overpowered rares.

More salt than a CODE mailbox

- another issue for me is that for some reason I was off my game. I seem to have just about played through it but I was making uncharacteristic mistakes, unforced errors. I think what it might be is that previously when not playing MTGO I played the Free to Play version so I kept my hand in. I came to this having not played Magic for months and it showed with some really poor plays. (The worst was probably letting an opponent play a powerful Enchantment spell, Profane Procession, when I had a Negate counterspell in my hand with mana to cast it and knew I was specifically waiting for a spell like that so I could counter it. Instead I just spaced and passed my response phase. Total punt).

I have other things to do in gaming, I'm really enjoying Dominions 5, I have got into the Magic Arena beta and I want to get active in Eve again so I'll draw a line under this Magic expansion here.

Some people have expressed an interest in my spreadsheet. Here it is, but note the listings of cards from the shows is incomplete (it misses the second LR set review show) and my results are below the card ratings. Older sets you view at your own peril as the info there should not be relied on.

My criteria for ratings is to take the highest rating for a card that any show gives it because it's useful to me that someone thinks it's an A even if the others don't. Ratings are a jump off point for card evaluation, not a guide to building a deck.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Dom 5. Mekone campaign, turns 1-10.

I generate a 4 player map, me vs 3 difficult AIs. It spawns me in an odd place, disconcertingly central. I've discovered the hard way that being in the middle is a way to get invaded from multiple directions. It's tough to be Poland.

This shapes my early game strategy - I need to head south and secure the peninsula behind me quickly before other civs expand to my northern border. If I find a civ on that peninsula I'll have to kill it, their only content would be me.

I send my scout south and turn my free commander into my prophet. I think these commanders make fine prophets rather than queuing a more powerful type then waiting for it.

I recruit a Geronte as my commander, 4 discobolus and then mull over choosing 13 Helote Ekdromos or 4 Gigante Ekdromos. I'm capped by resources, the gigante use up all my gold, the Helotes leave me 56 gold. I decide on the Gigante, I'm hoping they will survive early battles where I'd lose a couple of Helote.

Now for research planning. Here are the givens:

- I'm going for Thaumaturgy 8 to cast our unique spell.

- My mid-game will rely on powerful commander units with magic items so I will need Construction.

- Almost everyone is Fire/Death.

- My Pretender is mostly irrelevant.

Let's see what Thaumaturgy gives:

Thaum 2: Bonds of Fire. Decent single target spell.

Thaum 3: Rage. Single target, berserk enemy may attack friends.

               Augury: Site search ritual.

               Iron will: Aoe magic resistance buff.

Thaum 4: Prison of fire. Multi target spell

               Gnome lore: Site search ritual.

Thaum 5: Pyre of Catharsis. Disease cure ritual. This could be useful with my elderly magi.

                Raging Hearts. Province attack ritual.

Thaum 6: Melancholia. Province attack ritual.

Thaum 7: Purgatory. Anti-undead global enchantment.

Thaum 8: Hydrophobia. Combat aoe, effects multiple units with rabies.

                Gigantomachia. Dominion conflict bonus world enchantment.

OK, looks like quite a nice set of spells, it needs the spell that gives +1 fire skill for my Fire 2 guys like Polemarchs to cast Prison of Fire. That's at Conjuration 3. I like that we've got both our site search spells in this tree as I'll need lots of gems. No gems are needed for combat magic until Hydrophobia at level 8.

Now let's check Construction. I'll ignore the summon creature spells, we need all our gems for ritual magic and item creation:

Cons 2: Lesser magic items.

Cons 3: Legions of Steel. Buffs armour on a squad of soldiers.

Cons 4: Greater magic items.

Cons 6: Very powerful magic items.

Cons 7: Weapons of Sharpness. Combat mass buff.

            Forge of the Ancients. Ritual, improves item creation.

Cons 8: Unique magic artifacts.

It's easy to forget that there's a couple of combat spells in this tree. We will need to make Earth Boots for most of our casters to cast Legions of Steel.

Thoughts: it's weird to play Fire and not immediately rush for Fireball but I think that's how I'll play this. It may not be optimal.

So we'll rush Thaum 4 to enable our site searching, then Conj 3 for the path buffing spells, then Construction 6 for items and Legions of Steel then Thaum 8. I miss out on some useful Alteration buffs like Stoneskin, powerful Fire evocation spells, a few useful Enchantment spells and rituals including Flaming Arrows and the gem fountains. I'm ok with missing out on that stuff, we pick up attack spells and buffs on the way to the high-level stuff we really want.

Our end game is contesting Dominion. Between our high starting Dominion, civ Dominion conflict bonus, global enchantment Dominion conflict bonus, temple spam and stealthed inquisitors hiding and preaching we can wipe out belief in our enemies, the False Gods of humankind.

The game starts in Spring, the best time of year to recruit old commanders. So we'll focus our precious early game commander points on Gerontes unless something goes wrong with the army of expansion.

Let's now review our enemies. We have Niefelheim (frost giants), Yomi (demons) and Pelagia (tritons, heavily aquatic). The tritons must be with me in the south somewhere with the two others probably up north. If that is correct and the giants and the demons find each other before they attack me  then the position isn't quite the trainwreck it first looked. Pelagia shouldn't be very effective at fighting me on land.

OK. We're set.

Turn 3.

I set up my army under the command of my Lochos Prophet. My valuable Gigantes infantry are on the left flank, my expendable Helotes are centre-left, then there's a large gap then my lunatic frisbeers are on the far right flank. 4 Gigante Ekdromos, 25 Helotes, 4 Discobolus. I attack a province with 30 Light infantry.

Troop setup

First battle, initial positions for my army.

My Gigantes make great progress down the left flank, reinforced by the helotes which quickly routs one of the enemy's infantry squads. Those units then march forward to the enemy rear. Meanwhile the other enemy squad reaches my discobolus who despite not wearing much are actually reasonable in melee. We lose one but then the enemy routs. That was our only loss for 29 killed and we capture our first province.

Same battle, halfway through

The next decision is whether to push on with this stack or return to the capital and reinforce. I decide to reinforce as it means two turns' worth of units.

Our scout has checked the peninsula to our south - it's all independents. Phew!

As we've captured a forest I decide to switch over from building Gigante Ekdromos to the better Gigante Hoplites. We only get 3 instead of 4 which saves 40 gold, money we will need soon for castles.

Turn 3

My Prophet becomes famous and gets heroic quickness which allows him to move and attack faster in combat. A little wasted on a general/caster,

He picks up fresh troops and heads for a new conquest. I plan to have him conquer my cap circle, the provinces around my capital in a ring without needing to come home for troops. After that he'll come back to collect several turns worth of recruits then head south to conquer the peninsula.

Turn 4

We win a fight against a group of Barbarians with considerable ease. Barbarians are a hard-hitting independent unit armed with 24 damage great swords. We killed 26 Barbarians and 2 Barbarian chiefs for the loss of 1 Helot Ekdromos. The Discobolus managed to kill 5 of the enemy without killing any of our own guys.

A death match is being held but I'm not ready yet. I probably should get ready to compete in these as Polemarchs are really good against sacreds and many of the powerful commanders people send are sacred. I decide to switch research to Con 2 so I can equip a basic gladiator.

In the capital I am now gold-limited. I have run out of gold before running out of resources. I queue a Geronte and 3 Gigante Hoplites which is all I can afford. I doubt I'll make another Discobolus this game.

Turn 5

An Oni Shugo won the Death Match. A nasty opponent.

My main army fights a bunch of light infantry. Light v heavy infantry in a slugging match. We lose a gigante ekdromos and a helote ekdromos while killing 45 of them. Very light losses, our expansion is going well.

In an event in Mekone my people weren't happy that we had no Ephor to start the krypteion, our national special event that gives us a free assassin. Definitely an oversight, I swap out Geronte for an Ephor in the recruitment queue. That leaves me very short on gold, I can only afford two gigante hoplites this turn. All this unrest is doing my war machine no favours.

We find Pelagia, they're in the sea to our south west. This is good as it's possible they won't be competing with us when we conquer the peninsula to our south east.

Turn 6

We finish Construction 1. Nothing interesting.

Our main army attacks a farm province. On the left our gigantes hoplites and ekdromos progress unopposed, in the centre a squad of light infantry engages our helotes with half its number while the other half moves on our Discobolus. The Discos kicked their arses and routed them, we lost 3 helotes in the centre before the gigantes infantry sealed the deal in the enemy's rear. Another solid win.

In the sea to my south west Pelagia has cleared a throne.

Money's looking better, between the conquest of a 100g/month province and a little less unrest in my capital. I set my recruitment to one Geronte and 4 Gigante Hoplites per turn. I want to get a Polemarch but I'll wait until I can do it without reducing Hoplite production. The Gigante Hoplite is an extremely powerful unit for 40 gold (I haven't lost one yet on campaign) but they are cap only and further limited to 4/turn. I'd like to be recruiting those 4 every turn for the entire game to maximise the numbers of one of my civ's genuine advantages.

Turn 7

We fight a bunch of infantry. Their heavies engage our line while their light storms our Discobolus. We pay a high price for leaving them exposed on our right flank, 3 Discos spin their last. It may not be correct to position them that way but when I had them in a more orthodox position in other games they caused terrible friendly fire. Possibly the correct answer is just not to recruit them.

It was still a sound win, 48 killed for 3 losses.

I have enough gold to recruit a polemarch, looks like we will have a Champion for the next Death Match. I'm also able to recruit 4 Gigante Hoplites, with my excellent Scales and the two forests in my cap circle I have more resources than I know what to do with. Helote Hoplites or Gigante Ekdromos could be an option but I'll need castles soon so I decide to save my money.

My cap circle is complete, my army returns to the capital.

Turn 8

I finish Construction 2 and Thaumaturgy 1. Time to make my Polemarch some items. I look up Oni Shugo in the Mod Inspector. They're sacred and they summon wolves in battle. They use a No Dachi greatsword, throw flames or javelins and get Death 2 plus a random path.. I decide I'll need trampling boots for the wolves. I'm limited to Fire 2 Earth 2 by my cheapo magic team. What I'd really like is morale in case it casts Frighten spells. There's nothing suitable so I make Lodestone Amulet and a Burning Pearl for some magic resist, fire resist and attack.

My Prophet reinforces. He now has 17 Gigante Hoplites, 5 Gigante Ekdromos, 11 Discobolus, and 19 Helotes. That's a very strong army to take the southeast peninsula. I consider splitting it and sending the Polemarch to take provinces in a different direction but decide not to for now.

Turn 9

I accidentally make another Polemarch as I had it on repeat and forgot to change it. It's fine, I'm more than happy to have another. I make the same item set for him.

My scout finds Yomi on the west edge of the map. They don't seem to have expanded much. Unfortunately their natural expansion direction is either south into Pelagia's attempts to take some shore or east into us. That probably means Niefelheim is in the far north east and is very likely to come for me. I decide I need to expand east and simply kill Niefelheim when I meet him. I'll still proceed with the plan to conquer the peninsula.

Turn 10.

My main army finds a bunch of dress-wearers with blowpipes and it goes about how you'd expect.

I finish Thaumaturgy 2 for a nice single target Fire spell.

My scout spots Yomi easily taking an independent province to his south. It does seem he will be on a collision course with Pelagia.

I discover a problem with the peninsula plan. The far two provinces are across rivers. These are currently frozen. But if I invade and the river thaws I could be trapped the far side. I can't take that risk in late winter with my main army. I'll have to come back later, probably with thugs who have rings of water breathing. I turn my main army around and aim for the north east, towards Niefelheim and the fearsome Frost Giants.

My new province might be a good place for a city as it would control the peninsula and it has the potential for the recruitment of Woodhenge Druids which would give me another magic path.

Turn 10 map

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Dom 5: Madness? This is Mekone! part 1 set up

New DLC for Dominions 5 arrived this week which included a race called the Mekone, a race of Spartan giants. I am now leading my awesome giants (and their puny human slaves) in campaigns to conquer the world and slay your puny human gods. When I am in your presence, Mortal, you may call me Argghh, no please stop but otherwise call me Leonidas.

This is my Pretender God for this campaign, an imprisoned scales-heavy statue. (Statue of me of course!)


The Mekone have no sacred units (although we do have sacred commanders). This is our roster:

Helote Peltast: cheap slave light infantry

Helote Ekdromos: cheap slave medium infantry

Helote Hoplite: cheap slave heavy infantry

All Helote units cost 8 gold and 3g/year upkeep. The armoured units cost more resources. Generally I find that a nation starts out resource-constrained in Dom5 then moves towards being gold-constrained. My initial impression is that Helote Ekdromos are good units at the start of the game, giving a lot of bodies for the battlefield pretty cheaply. All helotes can get promoted, the promoted form has 4 higher base morale.

Perioeci Peltast: light infantry

More expensive than Helotes without being better. Freedom is wasted on humans.

Discobolus: almost-naked athletes who chuck discus at the enemy. And at the ranks of Helotes screening for them. Very resource cheap which makes them a decent choice at the start. The discus hit really hard (I've seen several hits over 40 damage). They are very dangerous to friendly melee combatants. I've now started arranging my lines as follows: (troops I care about) (troops I don't care about) (big gap) (discus-chucking nutters in their underpants).

Gigante Ekdromos

Gigante Hoplite

40 gold, 32g upkeep. Very strong, well-armoured giant infantry. The hoplites are better armoured and cost more resources. I prefer to recruit the hoplites and gradually switch over to them as my economy moves from the resource-constrained start to the gold-constrained phase of the game.


Perioeci Scout: typical Dom 5 scout. There's less need to recruit them as our nation gets free stealthy assassins.

Neodamode Commander: human Leadership 60 commander. Cheap way to collect up units and ferry them to better generals. You wouldn't want to fight a battle with one.

Lochos. Our actual cheap commander. Giant, leadership 80, taskmaster 2. Outclassed in every way by Polemarchs.

Geronte: cheapest Priest/FE Mage/researcher. Old. Sadly a full research station of these guys has a winter health crisis that rivals the British NHS. Like most Mekone priests has the Inquisitor skill opening a possibility of sending them in stealthed to attack enemy dominion.

Ephor: Priest/FAE Mage/researcher. Even deeper into old age that the Geronte. (For some reason this unit has shorter lifespans). One is needed in each city for an annual event.

Polemarch: excellent thug/general/FE battlemage. Comes equipped with 4 items including a God-slayer spear which will wreck gods, titans and sacred units.

Archon: powerful FAE mage/researcher. Minor priest skills. Our only robe-wearer that doesn't start out with old age.

Basileus: powerful FAWE mage/priest/researcher. Old.

Cyclops: powerful FAWE mage/researcher/item crafter. Has Master Smith 1 which adds 1 to his path levels when making magic items. So with one point in Water he can craft boosters which will get him up to 4 or 5 skill in Water for crafting certain powerful items, notably items that let you lead land armies into the sea. Not sacred unlike all our other magi.

Laertes (spelling?): stealth/assassin units. Can't be recruited. Generated free by an annual event from any city that has an Ephor.

Old age management: stray thought. Old age strikes at midwinter so there's some play in when you recruit these units. A Geronte recruited in late winter gives you almost a year of service before there's even a chance of his health breaking down. Or you could recruit a Basileus in mid Winter and discover that the month after you paid 300 gold for him he's already dying of pneumonia.

National specials

We get two things that are restricted to our nation only: an item and a spell.

God-slayer spear. Good item but our Polemarchs come pre-equipped with one.

Gigantomachia. Hard to say how impactful this global enchantment is. We'll make it our end-game goal so we can try it out in this playthrough.

Monday, 15 January 2018

My favourite magic items so far from Construction skill 0-4

Magic items can be very impactful but they also risk the sinking of a substantial amount of gems and effort into an inconsequential effect so it's important to pick and choose. They compete for gems with rituals and empowers and to my mind, at least in the early game, generally win. I'd rather make a magic item than summon a handful of monsters.

Absolute all-star:  

 Shroud of the Battle Saint (S), Prot 9 (body), unit is always Sacred and Blessed. Depending on how you designed your god this is way more powerful as a buff than a simple Ring of Regeneration which might be the equivalent of one of your blessings. The Shroud gives all of them passively. If your commander is already Sacred then Flask of Holy Water (W) does just as well.

Construction Level 0 stand outs:

For me it's the resistance rings, particularly the poison resistance ring which for some reason does double and gives poison touch too. Once you know who you're fighting it can be very powerful to buff your commanders against them.

Construction Level 2

The magic factory you have probably assembled in your capital can be considerably enhanced at this level.

Dwarven Hammer (EEE) reduces gems used in making magic items by 2. It costs 15 so it doesn't pay for itself until the 8th magic item so you want a couple of guys who craft all the time rather than having everyone on research and then suddenly 7 of them craft an item whenever you roll a new thug.

Owl Quill (A) +6 research. Make one for all your researchers. With some civs this will almost double your research production.

Halberd of Might (E) may be the most powerful weapon stats wise and it has reach so you'll repel a lot of attacks. Other weapons may have fancy effects but this is normally going to be better unless you need an AOE weapon.

Ice Mist Scimitar (AW) decent weapon with AOE exhaustion and +10 resist cold. Well worth considering against Water/Cold races.

Mace of Eruption (FF), Thunder Whip (A) the only Construction 2 AOE damage weapons.

Gloves of the Gladiator (NN) but who needs AOE when you can get 4 attacks?

Boots of the Behemoth (E), Boots of Giant Strength (E). Earth gives the only good lowbie boots. Trample is really powerful if your champion is big (eg Dai Oni) and is fighting lots of weak troops.

Dragon Helm (F) really nice collection of bonuses including great protection and a small morale buff.

Bracers of Protections (E) extra protection and defence for a very cheap price.

Handful of Acorns (E) this is great in a Death Match because 3 little shrublings will really waste the other commander's time and resources. If he hits one of these he's not hitting you. Considerably improves your commander's chance to win.

Construction Level 4

Some decent AOE weapons: Frost Brand (W), Snake Bladder Stick (N)

Various skill booster items which are significant because they unlock items you couldn't make before. Thistle Mace (NN), Skull Staff (DD), Armour of Twisting Thorns (NNBBB), Earth Boots (EE), Flame Helmet (FFFF), Winged Helmet (AAAA), Bag of Winds (AAAAA), Blood Stone (EEBBB), Brazen Vessel (BBBBB), Crystal Coin (EESS), Water Lens (W)

Herald Lance (SS) at last, a good weapon for a general or use Whip of Command (N) if you're leading slaves.

Wand of Wild Fire (FFF) good weapon for a mage, chucks Fireballs, a great AOE spell.

Skull Standard (DNN) is a great aoe fear and panic weapon for a general or his/her support.

Wraith Sword (DD) is our first lifestealing weapon.

Elemental Armour (FEE) is a great suit of plate for commanders who don't need to use Shrouds.

Crown of Command (SS) and Helmet of Heroes (FE) are both great hats for generals

Spirit Mask (DDN) is an absolutely fantastic hat for a Deathmatch duellist.

Amulet of Giants (N) is a combo item with the trample boots or defence against tramplers like Elephants.

Bane Venom Charm (DD) unlocks a behind the lines attritional strategy. It's best with Summon Shade as the shades are immune to the disease. It's not very obvious how impactful it is but it wouldn't take much to do more than the cost of a shade plus this plus a cheap +stealth bonus item. More potent later in the game or against higher difficulty AIs.

Cornucopia (NNN) 2 temporary Nature gems and +50 supply make this a very powerful item for your main armies once you've unlocked strong Nature magic like Haste (Ench 4).

Horn of Valour (N) +1 inspirational leadership. Nothing fancy, but might swing close battles.

Sanguine Dowsing Rod (B) improves Blood hunts. Gotta catch em all!

Skull Mentor (DD) +14 Research, will stack with the Owl Quills if you're both Death and Air, makes a perfectly adequate alternative if not. The cost of 10 gems each and harder prereqs make it worse than the Owl Quill.

Charcoal Shield (FF), Vine Shield (NN) punish attackers, making these shields great for thugs.

Now a few general points:

- it's usually better to make a 2H weapon rather than a 1H weapon and shield. Less crafter time less gems for the set. There can be exceptions if you particularly want a certain set or if cost is no object for this particular commander.

- basic Thug gear is Shroud (or Flask of Holy Water) plus Halberd of Might. You can give them more stuff but they will do 90% of the job with just those two items and it might be better to make more Thugs than to overload one.

- next items to give Thugs in most circumstances are the Boots of the Behemoth and Amulet of Giants.

- Astral items get a bonus because of the way Alchemy works. If I run out of Astral gems I can alchemise any gems I don't need at 2 for 1. If I need Fire gems and I have surplus Earth or Water gems I turn them into Fire gems at a rate of 4 for 1.

- Many commanders start with items. When considering giving a commander a new magic armour, helm, shield or weapons check what mundane armour they're already wearing.