July 02, 2011

Master of Magic, the strange way

I tend to get stuck in a rut, playing MOM with the same setup over and over. For a long time I played Myrran, with Draconians, and at least half my spell books being green.

But that started getting dull, and I decided I wanted to try something different. One idea was: 11 books of a single color. Since I love Green magic so much, that was the obvious one to start with.

With 11 books, you start the game with all ten first level spells, plus two second level and one third. I always went with Path Finding, Change Terrain, and Iron Skin.

Since it was 11 books, that meant no retorts, which meant starting on Arcanus. I played High Men, and soon came to know the virtues of the Paladin unit. You reach a certain point where you can deploy a stack of 8 Paladins, with Regeneration, Stone Skin, Endurance, Water Walking, and Path Finding, and you can readily clear the board. Nothing can stop them. (Chaos Spawn are the only enemies I even slightly feared.)

But that was beginning to turn into another rut, so I decided to try 11 white books, and chose True Sight, Prayer, and Incarnation. That was a lot more difficult, and it became clear that I had to use High Elves, because a pure-white strategy demands a lot of mana and in the early going that was the only way to get it.

The big problem for me was, no Wall of Stone spell. Before, even when I was playing a predominately white or predominately red game, I always included a couple of books of green just so that I could guarantee to have Wall of Stone.

If it was three green books, it would be Wall of Stone and Water Wallking. In the all-white game, not having Water Walking proved a huge impediment. Only reasonable way to get off my starting island was with ships, which I am not in the habit of building.

On the other hand, the Plane Shift spell can, if you are lucky, compensate for that a bit. Depends a lot on the relative layouts of the land masses on both sides, but sometimes you can cross a strait on one side by shifting to the other and walking across dry land.

The main point of an all-White game is to get Torin going as soon as you can. Which can still take a while, because Torin has an 11 mana per turn maintenance, and even with High Elves that can be difficult to come buy in the early game.

With 11 white books he only costs 300 to summon, however, so if you get him killed it isn't all that hard to get him back again. But I did end up converting gold to mana a lot earlier in that game than I usually do. Most of the time when I do that it's just because the gold is piling up; this time it was because I desperately needed the magic.

I reached a certain point where I began praying for specific treasure: a magic item I could give to Torin which had Water Walking or Flight, or something! It turned out to be a green spell book, which gave me Water Walking, Change Terrain, Web, and Natures Cures. I tell you, green magic sure is useful.

I think I'm going to try an all-red game next. That one may demand a lot of mana, too, because the only way to survive in lots of summons. So the spell choices? I think Lightning Bolt, Flame Blade, and Doom Bolt.

UPDATE: A pure red game turns out to be pretty easy in the early going. Where in a pure green game you can defend your cities with Wall of Stone and Web, in a pure red game you defend your cities with Fire Elemeentals, which is even cheaper. Where in the green game your goal is Behemoth or Colossus or Great Wyrm, and in the white game you aim for Torin, in the red game it's all about Great Drakes. Once you get that spell, you're really ready to kick ass.

I'm playing it with High Elves, but I don't think I'd have to. Given that with 11 red books, a fire elemental only costs 12 mana to summon in combat, you don't have quite the mana starvation problem that all-white has in the early game.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 01:17 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I love the Masters of Magic posts! 

It is interesting what spells different people use.  For instance - I rarely ever bother with Wall of Stone.  I might build walls as the last upgrade on a city - but spend mana?  It makes sense with draconians - but I don't play them.  And I find that I need that extra gold of maintenance for other things.

And when I use Green, my favorite spells are Earth Lore, Web, Change Terrain, (and Regeneration, Path Finding, big summons).  Water walking doesn't make my list because - I can't get by without at least 2 Sorc spell books, sometimes 3: Floating Island is super convenient (and much more mana-economical than water walking), and Phantom Warriors save my rear all the time.  Phantom warriors are cheap and very effective against most invaders - except undead.

White and Blue used to be my favorite.  Now you have me playing mostly green and blue.  Sometimes I'll subtract green and add a red for Node Mastery.  The only thing green lacks is a cheap throwaway combat summons - Earth Elemental takes a while to get, and probably doesn't qualify as cheap.

Has anyone found a good way to deal with Air Elementals? 
Aside from a super strong regenerating summons, the most effective technique I've found:  Dark Elf Mages - you don't have to "see" the Air Elemental to Doom Bolt it, and 1 doom bolt kills 1 Air Elemental.

How about Sky Drakes?  Aside from a summoned monster or 4 from the same level and buffed, I really haven't found a good way to deal with them.  Other monsters can be web'd and pounded from afar.  Sky Drakes?  Not so much.

Posted by: Ach at July 03, 2011 04:56 AM (WDqbn)

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