July 09, 2010

Master of Magic -- custom mage

So today I tried creating a custom mage. I haven't yet ventured into black, red, or blue magic; I'm still getting used to green and white. I had been playing Merlin, who has 5 white, 5 green, and the Sagemaster skill. My general frustration with it has been: too much white, not enough green.

So I created a wizard today with 2 white, 8 green, and Nature Mastery. With 2 white books I was able to guarantee that I'd get the Guardian Spirit spell. Next time I'm considering going for 3 white so that I can also guarantee myself the Healing spell, but maybe not.

By the end of the game I had found 2 more green books, one blue book, and a couple more retorts. It wasn't too bad.

Some of the races make good ones to conquer and add to your empire, but they aren't good ones to begin with. I tried one game using High Men, and it didn't go well. They have some excellent units, but you have to build a ridiculous number of buildings before you can create mages, priests, or paladins. Much better to capture High Men.

One of the reasons I like the Halflings as a starting race is that their slingers are not only really good, but also they can be created very early. Of course, having an Alchemist's guild makes them better (it makes all units better) but they're OK without that. So all you need is an armory, and you can create them.

The Halflings also have good morale; they'll put up with more taxation without rioting. And they're really productive, and have a good supply of buildings.

The booby prize race is Gnolls. When I find an opposing mage and see that his starting race is Gnolls, I know I don't have to worry much about him.

Lizardmen are another race I like to conquer. But as a starting race, they're just too limited. Too many important building types they can't create. But I love conquering them, because I love dragon turtles. And you get those as soon as you build a stable. I love dragon turtles because they move speed 2, they're amphibious, and they're tough as hell.

Slingers and Dragon Turtles aren't necessarily better than High Men mages etc but they're earlier and easier and not really any worse. And that's a huge advantage.

I finally found a way to fight against air elementals. You need the green "Call Lightning" spell, and once that's going it'll hit the elementals even if you can't see where they are. I managed to get that going in a blue node one time, which was lucky. But they still scare me more than anything else I've run into so far.

I fought a demon lord. I was using a very advanced stack, and in fact it wasn't all that hard to take him out. He summoned one demon before I nailed him, but a web took care of that.

I have fought invisible stalkers. I have fought against shadow demons. I have fought against doom bats. I have fought against fire giants (five at once!). I have fought against a colossus. None of them have given me anything like the kind of trouble that air elementals invariably do.

And when I finally get tired of green magic and move on to blue, the ability to summon air elementals will definitely be something I make sure is in my spell book!

In the mean time I have found that summoning earth elementals is a really good way to defend a city that doesn't have a lot of conventional units.

...but Call Lightning is even better. It's one of my favorite spells.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 10:08 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 625 words, total size 4 kb.

1 It's been years since I've played the game (I haven't had a chance to play it since I bought it on GoG) but I still remember how awesome the dragon turtles were.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 10, 2010 12:17 AM (PiXy!)

2 I actually liked starting with the Lizardmen on higher difficulty levels. You can get to the Dragon Turtles fast enough to not be defenseless, unlike starting with some of the other races as you observe. They're not the best ultimate unit by any means, but you can get them early and crank them out and that makes up for a lot. Plus they're amphibious, at a time in the game when nearly nothing else is.

The other thing that is rarely worth it is starting in Myrror (if I remember the spelling correctly). It's too expensive for what you get. The one exception is if you are playing with a lot of opponents, but you happen to be the only one there. Especially if you're playing on a small enough map that you can plug up the towers, and leave them to fight amongst themselves while you expand freely. (Although I think the game tries to prevent this and since it's been a while, I may be recalling times where I took out my opponent on Myrror quickly.)

As I write this, the top rotation picture is a pic from Macademi Wasshoi with someone with glowing eyes and what appear to be wavy magic power lines. Very appropriate.

Posted by: Jeremy Bowers at July 10, 2010 07:28 AM (0aoV1)

3 I believe that high man mages can also target air elementals with their 1-shot Fireball spell.  ISTR that's how I usually handled them.

Posted by: BigD at July 10, 2010 08:26 AM (LjWr8)


Personally, High Men is the easiest start race to have.  I certainly never had any trouble with them (Admittingly, I will admit being biased towards them.), but you are right in that the best units require a lot of buildings in a city before they can be produced...

...But given the strengths of the Paladin units, small wonder that you need to build to the very top of the contruction chain if you want to build them.


Posted by: cxt217 at July 10, 2010 03:42 PM (azrE8)

5 One of the nice things about this game is that there are so many approaches to playing it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 10, 2010 05:01 PM (+rSRq)

6 Are there any 'styles' that are notably weak/broken?  Not just in the "needs specific usage" sense, but in the "does not work in any useful way sense".

( most likely because some component of the 'desired' strategy doesn't work as intended )

Posted by: metaphysician at July 10, 2010 07:49 PM (OLeXB)


By "style" do you mean magic color? Several of the races are severely crippled. Most noticeably, you have to be suicidal to choose the Gnolls as your starting race.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 10, 2010 08:25 PM (+rSRq)

8 > I have fought against fire giants (five at once!)

Don't you mean "Seven at one blow!"


Posted by: DavidVS at July 10, 2010 10:02 PM (+nsU1)


"Are there any 'styles' that are notably weak/broken?"

Sure. Build nothing but settler units at your starting city until it has a population of 1, and send them all to attack a magic node until some enemy wizard comes along to put you out of your misery. Then complain because "real world settlers were tougher and better armed than these, so this game sucks."

As for a game breaker... 13 blue sorcery books + Conjurer + Sorcery Mastery. Start with 11 blue books and save scum whenever you get a spell book or retort anywhere until you get two blue books and the retorts, and you get a 60% + 15% + 25% = 100% reduction on the cost of sorcery summoning spells. Then summon 9 sky drakes per turn until you can't afford the upkeep any more.. or better yet, dismiss them after using a stack to conquer any enemy city or monster lair within 4 squares of your Summoning Circle (or enchanted road leading from it), then summon up a fresh set. You can do this with green and red magic, too, but sky drakes move the fastest, are part of the same school of magic that can cast Enchanted Road, as well as getting their sole weakness - slingers - covered with Guardian Wind. 

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at July 10, 2010 11:34 PM (4njWT)

10 Playing Jafar (all blue, Alchemy), it comes in very late, as does air elemental. And yes, they're nasty.  There is a spell that will reveal them, True Sight.  Then they can be targeted by ranged units.  I think it's a rare white magic though; I've only ever gotten it once in about five games.

However, for sheer nastiness on the field, Elven Lords and their Armor Piercing ability (half enemy defense) can be... well, evil.  Five of those, well supported, can ruin anyone's day.

Posted by: ubu at July 11, 2010 09:55 PM (wxR6Z)

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