Part 2: Mictlan - Turn 4
Last turn I was running into a potential death trap! Let's check out how that went.
First impressions: One, that is a lot of icthyids, meaning a lot of nets. My honest impression when first viewing this battle was I would probably lose. That being said, let's analyze what I did as I should probably actually be talking about the strategy behind my thoughts.
I previously had my slingers in front of my jaguar warriors. This was so they could act as arrow catchers, since my jaguars primary weakness is ranged weapons. However, I know icthyids are entirely melee units, so I move my jaguars up front. I want my mages as far away from the fight as possible, just in case they end up passing out from casting spells and I do end up losing. I don't want them dying in the fight. Speaking of which, I brought up a second priest-mage to join the fight this turn. Take note of the spells they are casting in the top left.
This is the primary unit I will be using to ferry around my groups of jaguar warriors. Almost all of the priest-mages from my capital follow a specific pattern. They have B2H2 and 2 levels in one of WSN. They're all a specific unit so there is no randomization involved in what you get. However, the primary drawback of these mages is (besides being cap only and therefore competing with each other for recruitment) that they don't have any randoms at all. They're all preset in their paths and therefore you don't get any kind of variation in your mages. Which can be annoying for forging purposes, but oh well.
However, these guys are slightly different from the rest, mostly because they have H3 and B3. H3 is the important one for now, because it lets my guy cast a spell called Divine Blessing. Divine Blessing lets me bless every sacred unit I have on the battlefield, meaning all of my jaguars suddenly become tiny little killing machines. This is incredibly helpful as the groups become larger and as I start wanting to do special unit placement. Because I knew I was using this guy to bring a new set of kitties and he had divine blessing, I could change my other priest-mage to cast sermon of courage. It's another priest spell that has the small but significant effect of adding 2 morale to any unit hit by it (not just sacreds). Morale buffs tends to be more marginally helpful for units with lower base morale, so it isn't a huge deal with my jaguars, but it can help other troops a lot.
Anyways, back to the battle at hand.
These nets were the primary reason I was nervous about invading this province when it was listed as having 70 icthyids. A unit is immobilized, unable to attack, and has their defense reduced to 0 (Plus their shield value) when they are caught. It takes a strength check to break out of the net, but even if they do they've wasted their turn and don't attack. You can dodge a net attack, as its an attack roll like any other weapon, but that's one of the primary weaknesses of jaguars. Their defense is average without a water bless, and I definitely don't have one. This means they're very likely to get netted and screwed up.
Yep, dead to the last kitten.
Nineteen jaguars dead, but both my mages and all my slingers got out. At least I killed half of the fish.
I'll give a quick overview of my recruitment screen really quick, and why I haven't been talking about it. Along the bottom row we have all my commanders. I gave a brief overview of the cap only priest mages, and the other non-cap recruitables I will get to later when I have a second fort up. (Somewhere I might actually recruit them from!) I also have the scout and commander (Mictlan flavored) that are guaranteed with every nation.
Along the top, from left to right, I basically have five variations on the same kind of warrior. Some kind of sling or javelin, a melee weapon, and various amounts of armor. Everything but the far left one is almost entirely useless. The one of the far left has two things on the rest, the absolutely huge difference is it has map move 2, while everything else has map move 1. The other difference is it is cheaper and makes better patrol fodder. After that my units get somewhat interesting. Following the five warriors I have something called a dream warrior. They're still pretty bad, they have no shield, and only map move 1. However, they have magic weapons, which means they can be used to counter most generic thugs people will use which rely on buffs and abilities that are cancelled by magic weapons.
Then I have my three sacred units. The eagle warrior and sun warrior are both capital only. The sun warrior is pretty awful, it is basically another version of the regular warriors. The eagle warrior can fly when blessed though, so it means they can be used in helpful cases where jaguar warriors would fall short (needing to cross the distance of a battle field on the first turn rather than 3-4). However, they are much more fragile than jaguars, so for expansion purposes I use jaguars.
And finally, I began researching this turn, so let's talk about what I'm researching. I'll be upfront, in 99% of cases you shouldn't research construction first. In almost all scenarios you will get more benefit from other paths in the early game, where it is most important for you to have that benefit. Construction provides a huge amount of utility, but generally only after a certain point in the game. It suffers from two significant drawbacks. The first one being that you need gems to use construction effectively, something which takes time or research to get (using site searching spells from the various schools or manually searching for sites). Additionally, you need something to use your forged gear with. That either requires thugs (which means you need to be able to summon something or have recruitable thugs from your nation), or mage type items (but you only want boosters to cast ritual spells or cast spells that require research in battle). In the majority of cases construction won't help. Additionally during this time your enemies are researching spells that they /can/ use in battle and /will/ use in battle to kill you.
Okay, now that that's out of the way I will briefly go into why I am suicidal enough to go into construction. The first and primary reason is, I am planning on leveraging my jaguars to survive early game, even in the face of battle magic. They have enough staying power that they can push me through to midgame, or at least to the point where I get past just having construction, or something I can leverage construction with. The primary reasons I want construction are blood related items. Blood has a unique way of gaining gems, something I will get into later. However, there is an item that helps significantly, and I want that item. The latter is because it also has blood boosters, which will let me use some of the early blood magic more effectively.
Next turn: I go for easier bait.