Part 61: Turn 51Turn 51
First off we have some globals up! Anglia has used their massive research and gem lead to enforce on the world: Mother Oak. This is usually the first global to go up every game on turn 12 or so, for it to appear on turn 51 is just...not a big deal. It grants 10 nature gems and costs at least 50 to put up. It's good, sure, but at this stage of the game isn't incredibly meaningful.
Chasos, remember them, also cast a global and even better a cool national one! Truthweaving Purge causes attacks on death and blood mages in their dominion. 1) we're not in their dominion, and 2) we have no blood mages and not that many death ones. I guess it's an anti-U measure since they have lots of blood mages? There is no custom event text for this one.
It's a long time coming but we have a real battle army vs army battle against anglia this turn! Our force that was moving through the caves was met by the army that just took the cave throne where we last saw Bongo.
Their force isn't incredibly mage heavy but it still has enough mages to buff up the troops and cast Flaming Arrows before starting to spam evocations.
Meanwhile our force is Pongy the Ancient Clown himself, as well as Blood-Curdling the Thirteenth Clown, and a First Clown. Oh and a solid thirty Enormous Clowns. These are some of our very first expansion parties and even the freshest of them has 2 stars of experience, so all their stats are even higher than normal. Some of them are even still cursed from taking the lizard province in our cap circle for example! This is why I love playing giant nations.
The battle isn't even close. We put up Air Shield turn 1 and then just run forward without a single clown dying to ranged fire before melee is joined.
One squad of clowns runs to the back lines and starts obliterating the mages and artillery before the rest finish with the troops and the groups join up in the middle.
This kind of battle really demonstrates just how incredibly superior our troops are compared to Anglia's, and how a single A2 mage casting Arrow Fend will just invalidate a huge amount of what Anglia is trying to do. God damn I love playing this nation.
Our force will continue on to the now-emptied cave throne. We're going to be able to retake it back very quickly I think.
You can see also that Anglia moved a force onto the candle in order to try and pressure our lands out west. It's a medium sized force with a bunch of cav and then a handful of mages including one of the earth elemental royalty, Oreigenes the King of Mountains. None of these mages have any astral I'd like to quickly note for no reason in particular. Also that candle is going up be left for U to retake as previously agreed but I don't have much hope that they'll make an effort to deal with this force for me.
Anglia's main battleship of a force dodged back a turn to meet up with some more horses, they still absolutely refuse to commit. My force is going north to prevent them from getting to our lands but at this point I've giving serious thought to just going back to my cap so I can get some of these mages researching again. If they want to dance around like this and achieve nothing they're welcome to.
You can also see that we retook the last peninsula province this turn with our tiny force, and it looks like the draconians decided to not raid this turn and to just meet up in the lizard province? Weird.
Over in mantis lands, looks like they somehow dragged together enough gold for another mercenary band, and also what looks like their last 3 mages on the whole map? Meanwhile our force heading north crushes the weak resistance they can muster.
If anything I'm happy that they've got a force sieging their own cap because the AI will effectively NEVER move away from doing this. We can come back and deal with them at our leisure. Our main force on this side is going north onto Deep Thought Plains, the northmost mantis fort and it's on their border with U. Once we've taken this the mantises won't have anything but a handful of empty provinces left. Wait shit they did build one more fort in the middle there, whatever. It doesn't matter!
Next turn we're going to hit evocation 6, for one of the best spells in the game: Mind Hunt. This spell is so good that it's not uncommon for people to take a S4N5 bless of spell penetration with recouperation and base the majority of their strategy around it. It's a remote save-or-die attack that costs only 2 pearls and doesn't even require that powerful of a mage to perform. Its main weakness is that rival astral mages will counter it and leave your attempted astral assassinators with their brains drooling out of their ears. Taking recouperation bless allows the brains of sacred mind hunters to grow back but we don't have or need this because we have a pretty large number of Bearded Women - any that get feebleminded just have their items given to the next one up to the plate. For a few turns now I've been using the steel ovens to build up a stockpile of mind hunting gear and next turn we can start to make use of it. Starting to Mind Hunt on turn 51 is, like casting Mother Oak, not ideal but it very much still has the potential to turn the game around right here.
Looking again at this Anglian force, which does have astral mages in it including the powerful Ether Lord, I begin to have An Idea. Those astral mages are pretty annoying to me and if they were dead I'd be able to very easily snipe all the commanders leading this force with Mind Hunt.
Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar has been pretty passive so far this game, sitting around forging mostly and casting the odd ritual. HOWEVER do not forget that he is an insanely powerful twenty-six path mage, probably the strongest one on the map. Also because he is a big statue with 26 protection and 200 hp he's also seriously difficult to kill.
There's two battle spells that complete this puzzle:
1) Magic Duel, in which two astral mages pit their minds against each other. They take their base astral skill (items and spell buffs don't help) and add a d6. Whoever gets the highest lives and the lower (or both on a draw) die. One really nice thing about this spell is because it can only affect astral mages, then it doesn't care at all about a bunch of chaffy troops in the way. The only way to protect against it is to have large numbers of astral mage chaff, which Anglia doesn't have. The Ether Lord, shown below, has astral 5 base so by my calculation (I made a spreadsheet) I have a 83.3% chance of winning, then an 8.3% of a draw, then an 8.3% chance of losing. Even if I did lose I mean it'd be bad and I'd lose Eyes of God but I have a lot of clowns that could call him back pretty quickly. I like these odds. If instead our pretender is dueling anything weaker than the Ether Lord, then it's literally impossible for him to lose. No turkey related shenanigans can happen here!
2) Even if he's able to snipe the astral mages, Joaquin Phoenix's Oscar is not really set up for battlefield clearing. If he were to use a massive fire spell or huge numbers of wolves to try and clear out Anglia's troops then he wouldn't be using the time or energy to fight the mages. So I decide to use the spell Returning at the end of his script to come home so he pops in, nukes the astral mages, and then pops home leaving the army behind to get taken down with rituals. What could go wrong!
Unfortunately I didn't think of this last turn so I don't have any lightning resist items on hand. I'm a bit worried that my pretender might get hit with a stray lightning bullet and get stunned, or somehow chipped down or lightning bolted in 5 turns. He has Innate Caster so can cast even when stunned (or in melee) but I still decide to take the precaution of casting Resist Lightning first. This whole endeavour is a bit of a gamble but it's well past time to start taking the fight to Anglia instead of just being reactive. Wish me luck!
edit: oh and it's pictured in the screenshot above but I triple-checked that he had the required astral pearls for his spells.