July 04, 2011

A bargain!

Today only, on Amazon, a real bargain on red summons!


I was rather surprised to see that. Here's what the bookshelf looked like:


The manual doesn't say what the casting discount is for 12 books. 8 books is 10% off, 9 is 20%, 10 is 30% off, and 11 is 40% off, so presumably 12 books is 50% off. Chaos Mastery is 15% off. Conjurer is 25% off.

It looks like they added all the discounts together rather than multiplying them. 50+25+15 == 90% off, and a Hydra, which ordinarily costs 650 mana, costs just 65. Definitely a bargain. (And maintenance cost was only 11 mana per turn.)

I had managed to locate a flight spell, so the rest of the game I ran a stack of four flying Hydras around and finished clearing the board. Flying Hydras are much better than Great Drakes because they're cheaper, and because they're tougher, and they're faster (3 move versus 2), and especially because they're regenerators. Great Drakes keep getting wounded and only time will heal them. Hydras don't have that problem.

And now I'm going to try an all-black game. It looks like the preferred campaign units are Shadow Demons, then later Wraiths, and ultimately Death Knights.

UPDATE: Of course, the obvious question is, what if it had been 13 spell books? Would that be another 10% discount, making the summon free? I had 13 books of one color in one game but I didn't note just how much the discount from that was.

UPDATE: Just finished the all-black game. At one point I did indeed have 13 black spell books, and the discount is indeed 60%. Then I found Conjurer, and Death Knights, ordinarily 600 MP to summon, were just 90. Add Channeler, and they only cost 3 MP per turn to maintain.

Death Knights are truly awesome. I had a single one take out a Sky Drake in one combat round. It had to hit the Drake twice, but it only took about one quarter damage. Experience with Great Drakes was similar.

Djinn and Colossuses were the things that caused me the most trouble, but not intolerably so. Air Elementals were simply opportunities to recharge.

And Zombies, Skeletons, Ghouls? The problem with them is that they're already dead, so you can't life-steal from them. Easy to destroy, but occasionally getting in a shot, leaving the Death Knights damaged. Nothing for it but to seek out a few caves and hope there are bears in them. (Yummy! Good for recharging!)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 06:32 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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The 11-black games I've played, I took Wraiths to start.  All the benefits of your flying hydras (speed, life drain for regeneration, hard for starter units to even touch), plus they leave free defenders behind to garrison your cities ("death halberdiers" or whatever don't take any food/gold/mana, though they don't heal if they get hurt... and I don't think they reduce unrest like live units.  Nobody wants to be policed by Uncle Phil's corpse.)

Shadow demons are good if you want to hop to myrror without cracking open a tower, and having all 4 enemy wizards storming it constantly.

Posted by: Mikeski at July 04, 2011 08:24 PM (GbSQF)

2 The big weakness of those all black death armies, of course, being White magic.  So many spells that hose your undead.

Posted by: metaphysician at July 06, 2011 08:29 AM (hD30M)


I dunno. I ran into Ariel in one game, but I was able to completely foul up her cities, with Pestilence and Cursed Lands and stuff like that. She wasn't a threat.

Also, I find that with Black magic I can start scouting earlier, and start conquest WAAAY earlier, than with any other color I've been playing.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2011 08:36 AM (+rSRq)

4 Which is weird, since I've faced all white AIs that spam the big enchantments everywhere.  Though maybe you got to her before she got the infrastructure up?  After all, it costs a lot of mana to power all white.

Posted by: metaphysician at July 06, 2011 12:38 PM (hD30M)


Yeah, exactly so. I am finding that in the all-black game I can get out and find my enemies -- and start fouling them up -- much, much earlier than with red or green or white. Even a single unit of Shadow Demons in the early game can make a huge difference.

The real unbalancing spell is Warp Node, which is the level-3 spell I choose to start with. It is cheap to cast and costs nothing to maintain. A couple of times now I've take my stack of two shadow demons (it's better that way, and still not that expensive) and started clearing nodes near an enemy wizard. When they grab them, then I put Warp Node on them. Do that about three times, and they're totally screwed. Three warped nodes will suck 15 mana every turn, and it leaves them with nothing for mana income.

Then a Famine spell, or Pestilence, or Cursed Lands, and they're toast.

I usually don't kill them, though it usually wouldn't be hard. I leave them around as "pets"; to keep the game going.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 06, 2011 01:17 PM (+rSRq)

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