Part 46: Inferno Campaign, Map Three, Part OneThe game seems to realize that, hey, we ignored this guy for eight maps. So they're so kind as to let us jump straight into Kiril's third map.
So these are the exotic islands of the Naga. If I didn't know better, I'd think we were home in Sheogh.
Sarah's here somewhere, following the same path to the Library. She'll be leaving a trail of Chaos in her wake.
That's kind of her. I guess we just follow the Sulfur Brick road.
There are a few things to get into before we start on the map. The first is that Daeva is now recruitable in the Hall of Heroes, as she's a Mercenary Hero. The second obvious thing is that Xana joins a Tears Kiril as a Secondary Hero. About time.
Born the daughter of a great wizard in the Seven Cities, Xana's life changed abruptly when a fit of jealous rage caused her to conjure an Imp into the folds of her cheating sweetheart's robes.
Burnt at the stake for the crime of summoning Demons, Xana awoke from her grizzly death as a Succubus in the castle of the Arch-Demon Kha-Beleth, deep within Sheogh.
Intrigued by her new life, Xana is content to do her master's bidding.
Sweet and sincere and a lover of poetry, Xana is possibly the only resident of Sheogh who never speaks a false word.
While Xana is a Tears Hero, she posseses many offensive Fire-based spells, as is fitting for a Succubus. While she has decent firepower, she would have been far better as a Blood Hero. She also knows some passive skills, but has almost no starting defensive skills whatsoever. So we'll have to use her to burn through things quickly with her spells till she gains a couple levels.
Onto the map, there are possibly more things to conquer than any other map - we face both the Stronghold and the Sanctuary, who have a grand total of 9 Towns and 8 Forts between them. We actually likely won't even have the time to build all of them up. That's not to say that the map is hard - there are little to no invasions and many of the Towns and Forts are underdefended with weak Heroes with small armies. If you look at that first screenshot, you can also see the map is about to get very easy very early, as we have a couple of Champion creatures asking to join us.
The Pit Lords do not come to you because of me, Griffin. They are drawn to your power.
Are you saying that to cheer me up, or to scare me?
Defeated, wounded and jailed, Urgash, the Primordial Dragon of Chaos, is consumed by hatred for his sister Asha and her Creation. Ur-Hekal, the Demon Overlord of Hate, is the expression of that endless enmity and the mighty Pit Fiends are his most spectacular agents. It is said that the only creature a Pit Fiend does not hate is itself, and even that is open for discussion.
Pit Fiend Damage: 53-59 (Might) Defense: 28 (46%) Magic Defense: 24 (42%) Health: 275 Initiative: 45 Movement: 7 (Teleporting) Range: None Destiny: 8 Morale: 5 Cost: 1690 + 1 Crystal Growth: 1/week Abilities: Large Creature, Hateful Retaliation, Blade of Hatred, Blinded by Rage, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Hateful Retaliation posted:
Never underestimate a raging Pit Fiends intelligence. They may fight like a possessed creature, but they have one hell of a good memory! Those legendary words of advice were given by the Arch-Angel Harrodal to Pavel Griffin the week before he was slain in battle against a legion of demons. Pit Fiends never forget to retaliate against a creature that has done them damage in a battle, no matter where they are on the field of battle. They seem to keep a mental hate list, and there is always room for another name.
Whenever the Pit Fiend retaliates, instead of simply attacking the stack that attacked them, it instead deals Magical Fire damage to any creatures that have ever attacked them in the battle.
Blade of Hatred posted:
Suddenly, all I could think about was that Rapheous owed me three crystals, and that I needed to make him pay. So I threw a fire ball at him.
In this excerpt from a Seven Cities Court martial Trial the wizards were the first to understand the maliciousness of the Pit Fiends power of Hatred. When confronting a Pit Fiend the attacker might become momentarily infected by its hate. At that point anything can happen, and one might even attack an old friend over some ridiculous old squabble, until brought to reason by an attack from the true enemy on the battlefield.
The Pit Fiend's attacks have a chance to drive their target into a frenzy, causing them to attack a random adjacent stack on their turn with no retaliation. If there are no adjacent stacks, they simply Defend, even if they are a shooter. The effect is dispelled after one turn or if they are attacked again before their turn.
Blinded by Rage posted:
A Pit Fiend is driven by Hatred the way a cart is driven by a horse. Nothing can control its anger on a battlefield and it is immune to all mental attacks that would affect even the strongest of wills. Ur-Hekal, the Demon Overlord of Hate, is said to be the only power capable of making a Pit Fiend stop an attack, and since Ur-Hekal has never found a good reason not to attack someone, his favored creatures are considered uncontrollable even by the Princes of Sheogh.
Pit Fiends are immune to all negative effects influencing the Mind.
It's a sad day for the Inferno, as they join the Haven and Necropolis in losing an iconic creature - the Haven's lost their Swordsman/Crsuader and the Necropolis their Zombie, and the Inferno have lost the Imp (traditionally their weakest unit) and the Devil (traditionally their strongest). But back to the Pit Fiend. They have solid damage and decent defenses, to start with. They have the best mobility of the Champions, and are the only Inferno unit capable of teleporting (Lilim don't really count, since they're primarily a shooter), making they very valuable in sieges. Interestingly, they can act as a bit of a pseud-crowd control, albeit an unreliable one that requires a bit of luck and Morale, using Blade of Hatred, as a Frenzied unit with no creatures around them will just lose their turn. Beyond that, they're just a solid frontline fighter - Hateful Retaliation is nice, but the fact that their retaliations are Magical isn't so nice for our Might-based Kiril. At least their ability to Teleport won't cause them to get in the way of our Cerberi and Juggernauts.
We start off with a very small territory with a Gold Mine already under our control. Gold will hardly be an issue on this map - in fact, we'll have too much of it. Which is just as well, as other resources will be in short supply early on so the Marketplace will be very helpful. There are Stronghold territories directly to the south, and more to the west and east, so we have a fairly sprawling territory to conquer.
Now, why does grabbing the two free Pit Fiends make the map so easy? Intimidation, the level 15 Might skill. I've mentioned it in Sandor's last map, but here it's blantantly unfair, as you'll be able to easily coast past most early stacks and towns with them alone. In fact, you don't even see any Champion creatures till late on this map, and none of them are forced fights, just neutral stacks. So if you build a bunch of Pit Fiend dwellings you basically have a free 5 turns or so to smash enemies down by just deploying Pit Fiends. By the end of this map, my Kiril's Intimidation was lasting 8 turns, which is pretty crazy. Once you start building up enough Elites, you can also use them to clear our Cores faster, as well.
You say the Orcs are made with demon blood? Now I know why I like them so much.
Our scouting party was taken completely by surprise. Why would Sarah do this?
This wasn't Sarah.
These markings... Orcs? The wizards created these monstrous beasts with our own blood to decimate our own kind.
We have a secondary quest to take out something that's stalking Kiril. We can ignore it for most of the map.
There's a Fort almost immediately south of our starting territory. You can also take a glimpse of the Sanctuary territory, which we won't be exploring till near the end of the map.
As one might expect, Xana works best with the Inferno's ranged creatures, Succubi and Breeders, especially since they deal Magic damage and benefit from her starting Fire Power talents. Xana starts off with low stats compared to Kiril and so creatures under her can't really take a hit, forcing her to have to take them down quickly. Her fire spells are fairly powerful and allow her to whittle down stacks fairly early - Fire Bolt in particular does very nice damage and has a low cooldown. She won't be clearing most early stacks at first though, especially as they get larger and her spells take out smaller percentages of enemies, but she's alright for now. You'll want to quicky pick up Tactics though, then an Elemental spell or two. You could go for the healing skills afterward, or expand on her Fire tree more by picking up Fire Storm and Immolation.
There's also an Orc town very quickly west of the first Fort. This should be our main base and Advanced Town Portal. We could press west here, but there won't be any invasions from here for a long time anyway and the fights are more difficult. It's best to clear out the east side first.
Something in the trees. What's out there, Azzie? Something. Something is hunting us.
Yes... I can't wait to meet it. It's powerful.
A single Stronghold Hero rode up here, and then for some reason, just stopped. Ah well, Kirils is heading up this way anyway, so massacre away!
There's a One Way Portal exit as well as an entrance to the underground here. We'll tackle the latter later, but for now, we'll push north.
Another Fort here. We also find our first Crystal Cavern here, very much welcomed. Because most of the map is fairly lax, we can build up our towns fairly freely - I'd say get the Core upgrades first, then start building Elites while trying to get Pit Fiends as soon as possible, as they will be carrying most of the weight on this map.
I think the game is mocking me.
At the end of the path is another Stronghold town. We also find the first of 4 Moon Fragments here, guarded by that Earth Elemental stack. More Tear of Asha collecting on this map!
We'll wrap off this update by looking at one of the two new Elite upgrades this map (we covered Lacerators last map).
Breeder Mothers are Breeders who have mastered the primordial drives of proliferation and are able to duplicate themselves.
No one has ever found a Breeder Father, and for good reason. Breeder Mothers have no need of anything other than the immense chaotic primal power of Urgash to increase their own numbers, along with the flow of Imps that continuously spurt from their bodies.
Breeder Mother Damage: 16-19 (Magical, Fire [Ranged], Might [Melee]) Defense: 14 (28%) Magic Defense: 17 (32%) Health: 75 Initiative: 45 Movement: 5 (Walking) Range: Half Destiny: 10 Morale: 4 Cost: 550 Growth: 5/week Abilities: Large Creature, Mobile Shooter, Mana Leech, Proliferation, Fireproof Skin, Vulnerability to Light, Living
Breeders breed fear. Breeder Mother breeds good reason. This Orc proverb used to illustrate the difference between an Orc of too many words and an Orc of action, draws it origins from the demonic creatures that they have fought bravely for centuries. Breeders multiply extremely quickly, and when one thinks that there are already a good number, there always seem to be a few more than originally counted.
The Breeder Mother stack gets a free Reinforcements (20%) at the start of the battle, which stacks with any other similiar abilities, like Reinforcements.
While the Breeder was a disappointment all around, the Breeder Mother is... not too bad, actually. It retains all its old problems (half range, low movement and health), but recent patches gave it something very valuable: Mobile Shooter. Mobile Shooter solves a lot of the Mother Breeder's problems - now it can continue to attack even when struck in melee, making use of its Mana Leech. It can also make better use of its Half Range, allowing it to move away from a nearby unit and fire for full damage or closer if need be. Proliferation isn't the best of skills, but a free Reinforcements each fight doesn't hurt, and makes the Mother Breeder pretty good for creeping. A disappointing lack of specials admittedly, but at least it's no longer the dead weight it's pregrade was.