Alzorath's Eradication Guide
This Guide is no longer being updated due to my official retirement from the game. - Signed, Alzorath.
This Guide is based around the same format as my Phantasm Guide - it is an introduction for the beginner or intermediate player and will not guarantee you a hall, but will guarantee you a solid ability to work with red in most common situations. I am not including links except where I feel they are necessary, and I am not going to go into red Rushing strategy in this guide (nor research strategy), if I ever do write guides for those, they will be in seperate guides. This guide is for the "Standard Red" player, not specialist tactics.
About Eradication (Red), red is a color based around damage and destruction, and is by far one of the most aggressive colors to play. Red's strengths sit then, in the realm of warfare - as aggressive rankers and aggressive warmongers. They hold the only instant spell that can destroy forts in Volcano Eruption, they can decimate your item stores with Destroy Artifact, and they can deal turn-by-turn damage with Meteor Storm, Call Lightning, and Death and Decay. Eradication also has some of the most damaging units in the game, the 2 most well known being Salamanders and Chimera, making it one of the most dangerous catfish as well. A red can hunt any color, much like a blue, and will gain geld doing so through the use of one of it's most used enchantments for oncolor - Battle Chant. In this guide though, I will cover the most basic aspects of red - getting your land, keeping it, and stacking. For more in-depth red information, I will likely write follow-up guides.
Just like in the blue guide, we need to get you up to a decent amount of land, although it is not essential for a red to play and use most of its units, it is necessary if you plan to go anywhere besides catfishing/low spelling. Only unit you can't really use effectively at low land is the revered "Red Dragon". Anywho - here we go.
Gaining land is the first thing, in well, getting a bigger kingdom. Down low, it is easy enough to go with a standard method of gaining this land, again we approach it much like I did in the blue guide - you have 2 choices: DurableHitter+DurableFodder or DurableHitter+DeepFodder. But with red, you also have an equally viable 3rd choice: Heavy Hitter+DeepFodder. I'll explain each of these below, but I want to note - my preferred is "durablehitter+deepfodder" for red. Another important aspect of gaining land though is attacking, on blitz you can get well over 30 attacks, on server you can look at around 25, and on apprentice maybe 10-15 per turn cycle. You should practice managing your kingdom while attacking this much per turn cycle, it will help you climb up fast early and establish a strong position to utilize your strengths from.
Durable Hitter + Durable Fodder is the first one I will cover. Durable Hitter is basically your main hitter for your runs, in the case of red - you will want to use Efreeti. Durable Fodders for red include zombies, lizardmen, or troglodytes for the most part, but you do have other choices, these are my preferred with this strategy (I'm in favor of Troglodytes personally if you can get enough - otherwise I prefer lizardmen).
Durable Hitter + Deep Fodder is my perferred method, because it doesn't require additional summoning while running, and can get off a large number of attacks in a day due to that. Again we'll use Efreeti as our durable hitter because they simply are one of the best red units down low (as long as you avoid Mental Thrash). The deep fodder technique uses a mix of units, in my personal preference I like running a summon or 2 of salamanders behind the efreeti, and then a single summon of things like zombies, lizmen, dryads, soul speakers, shadows, etc. anything disbandable and reasonably useful.
Hard Hitter + Deep Fodder is a bit riskier, because sometimes you'll hit something that will totally waste your main hitter. In this I prefer Chimera, followed by flying units such as Wyverns, Pegasi, Sprites, and Sylphs, and maybe some ground ranged fodder behind 2 horns of valhallas worth of knights, or 2 peaches worth of gorillas. Remember, disbandable is good.
Now, in the above 3, you have to consider different strategies depending on your targets. Against opponents with units that have high Eradication spell resistance, you will likely want to use Giant Strength to give your units that extra damage, against units with little or no eradication resistance Stun works wonders knocking off massive chunks of resistances and endurance. Items also vary target to target - against heavy ultimates, you want to use Head of Medusa to get you more than enough kills, against other units you may want to consider either Bubble Wine, Potion of Valor, or any of the number of battle items like Javelin, Figurine, or Flask of Holy Water.
It is also important to realize while doing your first runs, you don't necessarily want to be oversummoned - you want enough units to gain land, and to be hitting as low power of targets as you can reach (general target selection tips & tricks will be covered in another guide), lets just suffice it to say that if you're hitting 5mill or lower on your journey to 3k acres, you're doing good. Aim for people with high acres or forts, and low power compared to those around them.
You will want battle chant running for all your attack runs - especially the first ones where you'll be finding gelders - nothing beats gaining 100 acres and 200mill geld, except for gaining 200 acres and 400mill geld.
After you get the land, you'll want to protect it, doing so for red is dependant on how you did your run. If you went the durable route with only a single big stack of fodder, you want to disband that fodder and summon up more efreeti. Use Stun on defense with mono-efreeti, I wouldn't bother with an item unless you are extremely paranoid, in which case a Bubble Wine or a Satchel of Mist would work best. If you went the durable route with multiple fodders, I assume you knew to summon up ranged units into these stacks - such as dryads, soulspeakers, wisps, and maybe even some nymphs, recruited FGs, and/or archers. You want to keep 1 of each ranged unit you have in your fodder pool, and disband everything else, again - Stun is your friend, and you can use Bubble Wine or Candle if you want. Now if you went the damaging route with Chimera, defense is a little more tricky - you want to of course ditch your fodder and summon up a lot of chimera, you want to gear yourself to take a lot of damage AND deal a lot of damage. You may very well lose land while defending with Chimera, but you will enter damaged fast. My preferred Method is the ever chaotic: Chain Lightning Defense (Cast Chain Lightning on Defense - it slaughters enemy stacks, and if it bounces back on Chimera you enter damaged fast as hell), if the Chain Lightning Defense is a little too edgy or risky for you, you can go Stun AND Bubble Wine..
Red is likely to lose land on its first defenses regardless of your strategies, because you simply don't have the setup to outdamage your opponent yet, but you'll take a lot of damage and dish it in the process regardless. After 3k land, defense for red becomes WAY easier because you can safely add RD and other undisbandables into the equation.
Red, like every other color, must learn to adapt to how the players around them are playing, and this requires knowledge and testing of the units. Below I've included a list of units reasonably available to red, along with some notes about the units, this by no means will beat first hand experience that will tell you how far you can stretch the units in any particular direction, but will hopefully give you a small grasp on what the general purpose and power of a unit is, and what it's capable of doing to a limited extent. You should eventually aim to be able to stack by gut, not by numbers, hopefully I will convey that well in my guides.
Red Dragon: Red Dragons are easily the most powerful units in the game, that doesn't make them unbeatable or even 100% necessary for a red mage, but they are helpful. Red Dragons are mediocre when it comes to offense, often not doing enough damage by themselves without the help of items or spells, but due to their high resists to spells and many different attack types, not to mention their assortment of abilities, they are very durable. Their major weaknesses are cold damage, lightning damage, and 'fixed unit kills' spells/items (Gaze of Death, Disintegrate, and Head of Medusa). Due to their high resists to spells though, they need not worry about Gaze or Disintegrate too much, however the threat of Head of Medusa Remains - by going heavy dragons you accept this risk and the fact that it will cost you battles. Now onto lightning and cold damage, They are actually more threatened by the Lightning Units (Djinni and Air Elemental) than they are by the cold units (Lich and Ice Elemental). This is because Red Dragons can usually outdamage or soak enough of the cold damage and deal enough back to at least break even unless stack power differences are extremely different, with Lightning damage though the units are much better set up to deal with red dragons, being able to soak RD damage, and deal more back - in other words, you have to hide the cold units, thus limiting their total power, while the lightning units can easily match toe-to-toe letting them have equal or greater power in the lightning units than the cold (oddly enough - the colors that use these untis are the same - Blue and black). This description was long, but I felt it important for one of the most powerful units in the game.
Fire Elemental: These are powerful ground units, that can actually do decent damage, the problem is they do have some major weaknesses in magic and psychic, and Liches and Unicorns will rip these to pieces. My recommendation is to hide these in your ground stacks if you use them - do not put them on the top of your ground stacks unless you're very sure why you put them there. Fire Elementals are also the only red unit that can really be expected to be put toe to toe with treants of the same power (although note: many greens will keep a LOT of power in Treants, so chances are FE are facing a larger enemy stack).
Chimera: These are massively heavy hitters WITH a good attack type. Chimera Fire Breath is massive compared to all other units with any type of breath attack. They will outdamage many things - even those that usually hunt them if you use the right assignment. Chimera do have a downside though, they are glass - they die in droves to many things (even though they kill it immensely in return). A bad roll on the 'random' multiplier will spell doom for these units, so minimize the effect of that by hiding them behind something solid unless you're mono-stacked chims. Also help minimize the effect of it by either stacking a LOT of chimera as red, or none at all (other colors can get away with less for various reasons, due to stacking issues it's harder for reds to get away with it).
Hydra: Nice ground units, good for hitting Mind Rippers, even though they're outclassed by Horned Demons in that respect. These are all around very, well, average complex units. They don't do massive damage, but they don't take massive losses unless put in a very bad pairing. A ground based red will frequently want to use these to push down other stacks, but don't rely on them to be the battle winner.
Efreeti: One of the most loved units in the game, because they're strong defensively, fast, and fairly powerful. They aren't the most offensive unit in the game, but with that 4 init primary almost guaranteeing a first hit that also fatigues, they are nothing to be scoffed at.
Salamander: 1 init, but massive primary attack. These die pretty bad, but will kill massively if they get to put in a solid hit. On a ground stack that relies on these, you will usually want to consider Ash to give them that first hit, although personally I prefer hiding them in the lower ranks where they only get a mild hit, and then can bash whatever they match with.
Hell Hound: The offensive power of RD, the defensive power of chimera, and they don't have flying, honestly I avoid these unless necessary to deepen my stack...
Wyvern: Not great, not completely horrible. These are red flying fodder, personally I prefer pegasi or wraiths - wyverns just don't do it for me, although they can do some damage with flameblade, they don't survive well even with scales.
Lizard Man: Good little scaley creatures, Troglodytes are better, but these are summonable. They're basically Red Zombies when it comes down to it - although you don't get these passively like blacks get zombies. I will occassionally use these as fodder.
Dwarven Deathseeker: Usually lose more power than they destroy, but are good for an 'instant damaged' stack should you really want that - personally I prefer hurting people in return as I head to damaged, rather than just giving up land and entering damaged instantly.
Fire Giant: Ranged, 3 init, huge damage, and can pretty much go toe to toe with almost every unit up through averaged. They won't do much to KT, but are the favored rushing unit among reds due to their ability to hunt every color except white (or a smart, skilled blue - but not many of those rush).
Troglodyte: A little poisonous creature, much like lizardmen in usefulness, but these do poison which gives them a little bit of an attack type advantage over the lizards. Troglodytes are a favorite unit for fodder while rushing with red, alongside archers and FG.
Dwarven Elite/Dwarven Warrior: Not great, but they work as far as militia-type units go. These are your basic run of the mill small, recruitable, melee unit. These don't have much compared to their white, green, or black counterparts, but they are useful for filling out numbers and stacks when you're rushing - other than that I wouldn't bother.
Ogre: Not worth the upkeep or the pop space really, they are ok units just too expensive for my blood, you can get much better armies for cheaper upkeep and recruit cost.
Lich: Good for ground reds to use, hard to summon, but are nice units overall, if you have the patience and luck to get them topstack on the ground they're powerful there. Problem is it's so inefficent for a red to use them top ground (you will likely never get them as your very top stack unless they're all you're summoning and you're very low). Good unit for red if you're going ground, otherwise ignore.
Vampire: Vampires are great against units such as Wraiths, where they can use charm to reduce the primary damage. However they don't do well against units with holy attacks, or big secondary attacks due to their low life. Use with caution, but are very valuable to a flying red at higher lands.
Demon Knight: Just like with blue using these, you shouldn't even bother. They only do well against white, and you can find much better things to use on the ground as red, you don't need these adding another liability to your ground units.
Horned Demon: Lovely ground units, great if you're a ground red hunting deep blues. These slaughter MR, and if they can reach them Djinni and AA. These are usually on the top of my list for recommendations for a ground red.
Ghoul: Another nice little unit, these are like zombies that are actually useful to red. You get them through Blood Ritual usually, because summoning them is much slower and inefficient. You can stop blood ritual from creating them by dispelling it, It will take a few tries but you can dispell Blood Ritual by doing '1 mana dispels' where you put 1 mana into the dispel screen, and try to dispel it, takes 3-5 tries usually. Life Steal, Melee Paralyze, and Decent Life & Damage are their advantage, their low init and lack of resistances are their weaknesses.
Wraith: Essential for an all flying red in my opinion, these act as both fodder AND enforcers for a red if you stack them in fairly large quantities. Their nice attack ratio, magic paralyze, and flying make them a perfect candidate for reds. They work lovely with Giant Strength or Stun. Their weaknesses are holy damage and their init (2) which lets some heavier hitters take them down first. These units do well against mid-range damagers, won't do great against things like chims that will flat out outdamage them. They are blocked by Vampires also if you need to counter them.
Shadow: Ok, I don't use these on ground red, but they are nice little units, they'll just die to a lot of things with the exception of melee (if rust gets through though, even that will toast them).
Griffon: Griffons eat a lot of mana, and eat geld too. They CAN be used in red all-flying stacks, and possibly a few other special stacks, however I tend not to use them in any real quantity because they're resource hogs compared to your other options, and only mediocre in general without extreme focus made on making them viable (although flameblade does do this).
Werebear: Another green animal that's decent and can be used with flameblade, these are actually good for red ground stacks if you are running flameblade, but their 1 initiative hurts them because they're not exactly sturdy (I find salamanders to be more sturdy). Worth considering occassionally though in a heavy melee-unit stack.
Gorilla: Good little fodder unit, heavy on the geld though, so I don't use them as red except from peaches for fodder or a quick powerup (and for powerup I prefer lizardmen). Don't dismiss these though, they fall into the same boat as Werebears, even though they aren't quite as powerful in either area.
Nymph/Dryad: Green ranged fodder/fatigue. If you're a ground red, use these, sometimes even flying reds use a single unit of each for fatigue - although they die off pretty quickly so you're usually better off just using a sacrificial sprite for that. They work well behind some bigger higher damage red stacks, and nymphs can actually do some damage themselves with decent quantities, and aren't hard to summon.
Treant/Mandrake/Creeping Vines: I don't use these as red, some do, but honestly these are worthless without good Plant Growth, and the only color that gets good plant growth is green. I recommend you don't bother with them either.
Angel: Flying white average, a pain to summon, but you can cast maybe 1 or 2 casts of these as a fake stack - although usually I don't find it worth the trouble, you may find yourself needing another fake occassionally with an all-flying though - so they are worth mentioning, if not worth actually considering summoning.
Astral Magician: Not much use to red, because they summon so horribly, and are only very specialized use. I wouldn't bother even considering using them as a red, you're much better off just getting a solid unit that does ok in the situation to handle cases where you need these.
Soul Speaker: Another ranged fodder fatigue, you can use these with red ground stacks if you need another stack, don't bother trying to summon a lot of them though - not only will they cost you the battle in large numbers, they're inefficient to summon in large numbers.
Pegasus: Lovely flying fodder, a little mediocre on the summoning rate, but work well with flameblade. Definitely worth considering if you're using an all-flying stack, only partially worth considering otherwise.
Archangel: again good units, but not worth the gold you'd be spending on getting them, and trying to summon them is just as far out of the question.
Medusa: Great units, but don't exactly work out for red because they summon slow. If you really must use them, try augmenting them with purchases off the market, but honestly I wouldn't bother, you have much better options efficiency-wise on-color and in black/green.
Sirene: Much like Astral Magicians, not worth it for red, summon too hard and inefficiently and only specialized use.
Sylph/Sprite: Fliers, magic damage, I usually use both in all-flying red as 'fakes' to distract enemy attacks. I rarely use them in any large quantities though - I prefer using more solid and easy to summon units (although these aren't exactly hard - wraiths are faster to summon, and pegasi work well with flameblade).
Psychic Wisp: Much like SS, fat, and a bit annoying to summon en-masse. You can use them though, don't bother getting a lot, just keep enough for fatigue and maybe fake if you use a ground stack - that is if you use them. You can usually fill up 10 stacks better with other stuff.
Mind Ripper/Djinni: Great units, same thing as the Spirit warriors, Unicorns, and Archangels though - just too bloody inefficient to consider using for the most part - and too expensive. Although I can imagine it would be fun using MR in a ground red, you just wouldn't have the gold to spare.
Cavalry: My favorite rushing unit for blue, merely support though as red (if even that), these eat militia and archers alive (which are 2 common rushing units). I usually use Troglodytes instead of these as red. (and sometimes I don't even use Troglodytes)
Archer: I like having these around, in rushing I'll use them to add numbers to my stack behind my Fire Giants, because they are still decent, while rushing I'll use Fire Arrow with these when hitting heavy Faerie Dragon Greens (since FD resist red spells anways, making archers Fire Ranged Missile makes them into mini-Fire Giants). These don't serve much use to red late reset, although you can do the 1 barrack for 2 archers a turn thing.
Renegade Wizard: Great buyable unit, expensive to upkeep. They are a little weaker than Dark Elf Magicians, but are good units to use, I prefer just having Fire Giants though - much easier on the resources.
Falcon/Mercenary/Starving Peasant/War Hound/Trained Elephant: the 5 melee mercenary units, great with flameblade, although a few are a real pain to upkeep - Falcons are great fliers with the right assignment, the other 4 really just depend on the situation, Mercenaries and Starving peasants are the most viable of the 4 non-fliers though.
Assassin/Bounty Hunter: Assassins are good if you're hunting blues, they're just another strong poison unit you can match up to MR to beat them, they also do well against Djinni and AA if you get them flying. Bounty Hunters are good low stack ranged units, thanks to much of their Missile Ranged being secondary - they can bypass charm effects on some units, and do well against averages/simples/barrack units without decent accuracy reducers or good missile ranged resists.
Fanatic/Werewolf: Rare to come by, but good units none the less. With Fanatics just keep them around when you get them - they don't really hurt anything and are a free upkeep, not to mention the overall strongest units in the game. Werewolves aren't as overpowered, and you have to pay their upkeep, but when you get them, you get them in huge numbers - think twice about what you'll do with them. Werewolves are also melee - so you know what that means (flameblade) :).
Frog/Sheep/Squirrel: Free Upkeep, 1 NP units. Squirrels fly. I like keeping a bunch of these 11th stack and lower so they don't enter battle but still protect from pillages. (Frog/Squirrel come from Total Newbie Handbook, Sheep come from shepherdess) - sometimes I let them creep up if they're getting huge in numbers, with flameblade they can actually do some damage provided they don't die first.
Spells and Items
Spell and Item recommendations vary based on the stacking you use - remember to always focus items/spells on augmenting your goal, and never use item/spell combination that contradict or diminish the returns on each other.
Examples of Good One-Goal Combinations:
Stun + Oil: Focused strictly on lowering resistances, in-particular fire - good for fire heavy stacks.
Stun + Candle: Double up on the same effect, this will kill enemy efficiency AND resists if stun pasts resists.
Gravity Pull + Missile Shield: This focuses on knocking down enemy fliers, while keeping yours airborn, making only ranged units able to attack provided enemy units don't resist Gravity Pull - missile shield helps reduce the damage from the ranged attackers.
Examples of Good Complimentary-Goal Combinations:
Battle Lust + Ash of Invisibility: Battle Lust improves the offensive power of your units while lowering their life, Ash lets you utilize your attacks as if all units have 6 initiative - hitting first they will take less damage by killing more.
Flame Blade + Candle of Sleeping: Improve your melee units' accuracies, reduce the enemy resistances, add fire to your units, and reduce enemy efficiency. Focuses on lowering damage on you and raising damage you deal immensely.
Giant Strength + Candle of Sleeping: Similar to Flameblade+Candle, except it punches up the primary damage of all units, and doesn't add accuracy. (works on non-melee though).
Examples of Bad One-Goal Combinations:
There aren't any as red that I can think of off hand - more damage is always better, and that's what red does with it's spells, MORE DAMAGE!
Examples of Bad Multi-Goal Combinations (opposing/interfering goals):
Flameblade+Strange Metallic Can: either focus on damage, or focus on preventing damage, this is just wasting your resources, red is a color of damage, and doesn't have much in the way of healing - aim to do more damage or prevent it, not heal it, as red.
Flameblade+Satchel of Mist: Same as above, Stun+Satchel is a mediocre assignment worked to reduce damage taken, but this is just contradictory - you want more damage, don't bother with satchel.
Some Commonly Used 'good' Combinations (this is a short-list to get you started, there are many other worthwhile combinations, but I'll leave them for you to discover on your own):
- Flameblade+Candle: Resasons were mentioned above.
- Stun+Web: Used with barriers, this is a specialty assignment designed to combat Liches, you want barriers to prevent an Ash from getting through.
- Stun+Oil: Used to push up the power of a heavy fire stack.
- Stun+Vial of Venom: Specialty anti-blue setup - many blue/white units are weak to poison, so you take advantage of that by giving your melee units poison damage on their primary, and augmenting damage done with Stun
Some notes on 2 other important spells even though they're non-battle:
Battle Chant: +% AP, -% Life, and gives you gold when you win attacks, most reds run this non-stop and for good reason. You can dispel it on defense if you aren't comfortable with the -% Life, but usually that's easily compensated by forts or just by sheer outdamaging.
Volcano Eruption: This spell increases in damage the closer you are to the person you're casting it on. It is a deadly spell that destroys darn near everything if it passes barriers. It's the only spell that can destroy forts without the target taking turns.
Stacking with red gives you a lot more choices than many people take advantage of. The main reason for this is that it is easier to use a simple straight forward stack and gain nice effects with it than it is to have to put more effort into a complicated stack and have only slight room for improved abilies and a reasonable chance of actually diminishing your strength by not being fully aware of why a specific stack does good while others don't.
In this stacking guide I will take you through the thought process behind the most common red stacking - all-flying. It is important to realize that red can stack much more than simple all-flying, it just requires more than the mere basics of thought on stacking. If I write a more advanced follow-up to this guide I will likely include some pointers for more advanced red stacking knowledge.
Anywho, lets get started - first we need a list of all stacks that fit our base criteria of "this unit must have FLYING". This cuts us down to a list of 13 units: On-color: Red Dragon, Chimera, Wyvern Adjacent (Black/Green): Vampire, Wraith, Griffon Opposing (White/Blue): Angel, Pegasus, Sprite, Sylph Market: Falcon, Djinni, ArchAngel
First, we want to take out the units that just aren't viable: Djinni & ArchAngels. Reason being they are prohibitively priced (Usually way more than they're worth for a red mage). This leaves us with 11 units,now it's time to focus on our goals with this stacking, and since we're red that goal is straightforward - do damage, but that doesn't mean we should do it without thinking.
First though, yes, we pick out our truly aggressive units which number as 2: Wraith and Chimera. Luckily both of these are tremendously aggressive, unfortunately neither takes damage exceptionally well, so we need to protect them.
So we go on and pick out from the units, our defensively strong units, which adds up to 3: Red Dragon, Vampire, and Griffin.
Now we have a grand total of 5 units, but 2 of them are adjascent complex - which is a pain for a red to realistically maintain - lets cut the more resource intensive of the two as far as upkeep goes: Griffin. That leaves us with 4 units we can realistically summon: Red Dragon, Chimera, Vampire, and Wraith.
Now, we organise these based on our choice of prey - lets choose red since we know what they will usually stack as of the writing of this guide: RD/Chim/Wraith/fodde&fakes. - so we set it up to break even or win, to make it simple: RD/Chim/Vamp/Wraith. The reason that works is due to their abilities, but I'll leave it to you to crunch the math from the FAQ to figure out the exact numbers should you wish - for now, just trust me on that one (this is assuming RD/Chim/Vamp/Wraith are fairly balanced in numbers like 30%/25%/20%/15% roughly).
Now - we probably won't have enough units with this even at 4k, but we'll be getting pretty close, probably around the 15000 unit mark, enough to take land from 3k, but we really want to let ourselves have some breathing room in unit numbers, and also get more than 4 stacks deep, even if we just have fakes. Lets aim for about 25-40k units. So lets look at our 'fodder' choices: Pegasus, Falcon, Sprite, Sylph, Wyvern, and Angel.
Now we know Angels are a pain to summon for red, so we'll drop them right off the bat, and you may not want to spend the gold on falcons unless you plan to make them a major player in your strategy (you can get them right behind Wraith and they'll work ok with flameblade/Candle). So lets just assume we trim it up and come up with Wyvern, Pegasus, Sprite, and Sylph for our fodder/fakes.
So we summon up a little bit of them here and there and probably end up with something like: RD/Chim/Vamp/Wraith/Pegasus/Wyvern/Sylph/Sprite, it may be only 8 deep, but it'll work for what we want - hunting other red fliers.
So now we have our stack, and have worked through the key points of offense, defense, and targetting (you should work through several stages whenever you're considering a 'general stack' for your mage, and if you hit a snag at one point - see if there's a way to fix it at another point). In this guide I have addressed 'can I do damage?' 'can I take damage?' 'what can I hunt?' 'what's efficient for me to use/summon/maintain?' - there are more steps, but including them all in one guide would be overbearing and unnecessary - even though you subconsciously should address them all eventually with your stacks. As with the blue guide, this sample stack is for after you're well into or above the 3000-5000 landmark.
Note 1 Red, like other colors should try and run full barriers as much as possible, it is one of the easiest colors to ruin with a good item, only one more prone to it is green. So be careful, and keep those barriers - you shouldn't have many mana problems so you have no excuse heh.
Note 2 Red's key items are Oils and Candles if Flying based or Candles and Ashes if Ground Based or Mixxed. (just because I don't list them as key items, doesn't make them useless - items like Oil are still great for ground, but Candle is vastly superior, items like Bubble Wines, Potions of Valor, and Missile Shields are lovely items as well as far as 'cheaper items' go)
Note 3 Red shouldn't have to summon up or down for general offense and defense, they can hit hard, and should focus on doing so both on offense and defense. This means don't switch your stack unless you're changing it in general - you shouldn't need to change it for offense/defense/anything. This also saves you resources - you should try to log off when around 4-6k land, with enough resources to do AT LEAST 5 attack with your current resources, more the better (more attacks = more chances to get good geld from a solid attack).
Note 4 I can't reitterate it enough - the stack I gave is not the only red stack by far, there are many varied red strategies, some better than others, some easier than others, some harder than others, some just plain confusing, and some as blunt as a hammer. 'how can I do enough damage', 'how can I keep from taking more damage', 'how can I take max land', 'what can I do to compensate for weaknesses if anything', and finally 'what items and spells will work best with this?' Should be considered, but this is by far not an all-inclusive statement, but these will cover most your bases except for the metagame (look at those around you, what do you think they're stacking, would you win if they got their ideal spell and item through on you? - would you win if they blocked both your spell and item?). In this Eradication Guide I also introduced the "Hunting" consideration of where you can setup to hunt a specific color, and still be effective in general.