DL Snake's Ascendancy Guide
- This guide was written before the mechanics change of Love and Peace
Alright I’ve been meaning to write this for quite some time but haven’t got down to doing it, so here goes!
Disclaimer: This guide is meant to help newbie mages start up, and I did not write it with the intention of giving you a stack (I merely suggest on how to go about building a stack) and also you will need to learn and adapt when you play in the high ranks, for which no guide can be written.
A: Building Guide– based on deep stacking
Firstly let’s look at the building guide; most people will say that an Ascendant mage needs to use heavy mana consumption. This is only half true. At less than 2500 land, an Ascendant mage will need to run more than 44% nodes to adequately stack up a proper army. If you run a deep stacked army, you will further need at least 200 barracks to have efficient recruiting. The rest = full bars, 1% forts, 299 workshops, 3 farms: 1 town*
After breaking 2500 land, you should start reorganizing your buildings. 299 workshops should stay until you break 4k land, where you might want to increase it to 499. Barracks should be increased to 250-300 at above 3k land and increase proportionally with each gain of 1k land (I calculate this based on if you get your barrack stacks wiped, you will still be able to regain them after a full turn run). Nodes can fall gradually from 44% to 35-39%. More attention (and land) should be given to your farms and towns. If you run into trouble with your mana, you might need more training with your resource management, might need to change your stacks, or you should start playing another colour. [Remember, I assume you’re running at full turns (180) or as close to full turns as possible].
B: Stacking guide
One can broadly classify Ascendant stacks into 2 categories. The first one, a Holy-Flying based stack; Dominions-Archangels-Pegasi, maybe with sprites added in for good measure. This stack can be used with relative success if you only choose to hit Nether mages below 10M in net power. If you wish to continue winning your battles, you should choose to switch to the second stacking category; the deep stack.
There are a variety of deep stacks recommended for Ascendant mages. One of the most popular ones is based on this model:
- Topstack / Midstack
- Fodder Killer / Ranged Fodder
- Ranged Fodder / Fatigue
Now let’s examine the exact stacks in those classifications:
Buffer stack – a flyer stack that acts as a defensive buffer above your top stacks, they absorb damage dealt to them and don’t die easily, allowing your top stacks (2nd-3rd) to cause the most damage while they take the brunt of your opponent’s attack (based on the fact most people’s 1st stack have the highest % of net power). Their net power must be lower in % compared to your top stacks (2nd-3rd, sometimes even 4th). Examples of buffer stacks an Ascendant mage can have are Archangels, Djinnies and Dominions.
Top stacks – the main damage dealers in your army. Usually ground based, the first top stack should be relatively durable (good at taking and dealing damage), and the rest are good killers. Examples of top stacks an Ascendant mage can have are Unicorns, Knights Templar (in tens of thousands, mind you) Spirit Warriors, Titans (never as your top ground stack). I generally recommend using on-colour stacks for your top stacks due to the ease of resummoning and the lower cost of casting the spells. You can imagine how frustrating it is to resummon an off-colour and to lose your concentration. Not to mention you being out of mana and not having an adequate army to defend your lands.
Midstacks – the stacks which are between your top stacks and fodder stacks. They are used both as a follow-up to your top stacks as well as a buffer for your fodder. Without midstacks, your fodders will be killed easily and you will have to waste turns to resummon your fodder every time. Examples of midstacks that an Ascendant mage can have are Mind Rippers, Medusae, Djinni, Werebears, Astral Magicians, Titans (yes they can be stacked as midstacks too), Angels (low midstack), Nymphs (some people consider them to be fodder/fatigue but they don’t come in large enough numbers to be fodders at below 3k land, and you can use the basic units (under Fodder and Fatigue) until you reach higher land and can afford mass nymphs to replace your dryads), Sylphs, Sirenes, Griffons, Mandrakes (not Treants because trees without on-colour Plant Growth are pansies), Wraiths, Horned Demons, and Salamanders. I listed them in order of popularity, ease of summon and viability.
Fodder – these are the land gainers of the army. Have them in the tens of thousands at the last 3 stacks and watch them win land for you if you won the battle. Remember to gain max land from a siege (3% of the victim’s lands); you must have at least 5000 units surviving AFTER the battle for every 1000 acres the defender has! Like Phantasm mages, Ascendants have the luck to have access to the best kind of fodder; ranged. By being ranged, they don’t get countered after they attack in battle, hence minimizing your losses (and the need to resummon them after a land run). Examples of fodder stacks are Soul Speakers, Dryads, Psychic Wisps, Pegasi, High Priests (for healing) and Knights. (Note that all except Pegasi and Knights also double up as fatigue stacks)
Fodder killers – these stacks kill your enemy’s fodders, if they win, they don’t gain as much land, and if they don’t, you irritate them to have the need to waste turns and resummon their own fodder. Not generally a popular type of stack used nowadays. Examples of fodder killers include Titan (additional strike), Horned Demons (ditto), Paladins and Knights.
Fatigue – these stacks have high initiative and will strike first in an attack. They will hit your enemy’s stacks, causing some damage (fatiguing them), thereby allowing your other stacks to take advantage of their decreased HP. Examples of fatigue stacks an Ascendant mage have access to are Catapults.
I repeat again that the most popular model is this:
- Topstack / Midstack
- Fodder Killer / Ranged Fodder
- Ranged Fodder / Fatigue
Other models are also used:
- Midstack / Fodder
- Fodder / Fatigue
- Topstack / Buffer
- Buffer / Midstack
- Fodder / Fodder Killer / Fatigue
(A) can be used to hit any colour with relative good chances to win against Nether and Phantasm, okay chances to win Ascendant and Verdant and low chances against Eradication. (B) (Dominions-Archangels as 1st and 2nd) have good chances versus Nether, okay chances versus Eradication, Ascendants and Phantasms and low chances against Verdants (C) is a largely a ground based stack, with minimal use of Buffer stacks. It comes together with the use of Carpet of Flying. If the carpet goes through on attack, it has good chances against almost all colours. Without using carpet, it has good chances against non-flyer Phantasms and Nethers, okay chances against non-flyer Verdant (THL+SOL) and Ascendants, and low chances against Eradication.
C: Enchantments guide.
Concentration is a must. Enough said.
Weather Summoning should be used, especially above 2500 land, to save lands from building farms.
Mind Bar is not really worth the mana upkeep, unless you’re at war, or unless you got an increased Spell Level. Face it fellow Ascendant players, a Spell Level of 421 just don’t cut it.
Plant Growth is no good. It does nothing if it is not cast by a Verdant.
Resist Elements is okay if you are expecting a lot of counters by Eradication mages as it does not help on attacks (note the spell description: Through intense concentration, this spell will create an invisible barrier that increases all your units resistance to enemy eradication spells. Once they're enchanted, they receive effective protection against elemental spells.). Your mage will not receive resistance to Eradication magic, rather your army will.
Sunray is iffy. It increases your resistance to Nether and Phantasm magic. It’s only worth it if you got an increased Spell Level (ala Mind Bar).
Love and Peace is a wonderful enchantment. You can use it for gelding, for defence and you can use it for offence (well how else do you upkeep that expensive stack of yours?) At low lands, Love and Peace can and should be used every third full turn, just to regain your gold. At above 3.5k lands, you should run it at all times, to upkeep your stack and to avoid running into geld trouble later on. Especially if you plan to use Titans in top/mid stack range. Yes it does affect your attacks, but it beats running into gold trouble later on and being unable to resummon your army. Alternatively, you can do what everyone else does, use Regular attacks.
The Holy Light is THE offensive enchantment to have. Always cast it before logging off (after you resummon your army) and have it on when you go on your attack run. Used with Sword of Light, it significantly increases your attack potential. Remember it decreases your mana income by 20% (in addition to the 100 mana used to upkeep it), so always dispel it after you go on your attack run, then rebuild, charge, resummon and finally, recast it.
D: Spell and Items Guide
Spell and item combos have been one of the favourite questions posed by a lot of beginners (the most popular being how to stack?). Let’s explore this in detail.
Items which are good for general, all purpose use are Carpets of Flying (makes your entire army fly), Ashes of Invisibility (adds 5 to your army’s initiative/sets your army’s initiative to 6, bottom line is you attack first), The Spider’s Webs (decreases your enemy’s army’s initiative by 1), Satchels of Mist (decreases accuracy), Strange Metallic Cans (heals units; resurrects a sizable portion of your army), Brooches of Protection (increased resistance to Melee attacks) and Potions of Valor (increases your army’s AP).
Spells which are useful for Ascendant mages are Blinding Flash (decreases the accuracy of your enemy’s army), Sword of Light (adds Holy attack to your melee units), Platinum Hand of Healing (heals your army, especially useful if you’re using Knight Templars en masse) and Resurrection (resurrects a sizable portion of your Dominions).
On defence, if you are using Mono-Dominions or a Holy-Flyer based stack, you should use Resurrection with Strange Metallic Can. If you are running a deep stack, you can choose to use Platinum Hand of Healing with Strange Metallic Can, OR use Blinding Flash with Satchel of Mist. The first resurrects your army; the second decreases your opponent’s accuracy that they hardly hurt your army in the first place.
On attack, let’s try a colour specific type. Against Nether mages, use Sword of Light with Flasks of Holy Water. If you know they run an anti-Holy stack, ie Demon Knights on top or mono Horned Demons with Flight, you could switch it to Blinding Flash with Carpet of Flying.
Against Eradication mages, use Blinding Flash with Carpets of Flying (as they are fond of all flying stacks) or Scroll of Protection from Fire (obvious reasons) or Strange Metallic Cans (to help your army recover from Eradication’s strong attacks). If you know they use Flame Shield, then use Oil Flasks.
Against Ascendant mages, use Blinding Flash with Vial of Venom (their weakness) or Carpets of Flying. You should try to avoid the intention to ‘out-heal’ another Ascendant by using healing items and hoping you cause more damage than he did.
Against Verdant mages, use Sword of Light with either Brooch of Protection (to offset Verdant’s strong melee attack) or The Spider’s Web (their Treants’ initiative will be reduced to 0) or Oil Flasks (to let the Phoenixes kill themselves with Fire Burst).
If you should be out of any specific items to use, you can also use the multi purpose Potion of Valor, one can always use the extra AP provided by the potions.
E: Hero Guide
Bottom line, any hero with Valor is good. So I’ll just make that broad statement and let it be that.
Now on to other heroes, a level 16 Shaman comes in useful for her Channeling Ability, also useful is the Wall of Thorn ability that comes with level 18 ones. A level 16 Vampire Hunter is also useful for his Turn Undead ability if you choose to attack Nethers, Phantasm and Eradication as they have the tendency to use undead units. The Demon Hunter ability at level 18 is also a huge boost. Just remember to run enough Soul Speakers or Spirit Warriors to ensure your Hunter don’t meet with a sudden demise. A high level Illusionist is extremely useful if you obtain the Illusion ability. A Merchant is useful for the gold income, I am adverse to the idea of Alchemists due to their high mp upkeep. A Warlord might be useful, but once you get a Shieldmaiden, which is a lot more useful, you can forget the need to get the Warlord. Priestesses are useful for the healing abilities but are generally overrated for Ascendants as we already have adequate healing factors. Shepherdesses are useful only if you get their Peace with Nature ability, but otherwise they are generally useless. Bards are also good heroes to have, with their Song ability alone making them worth it. However, you need to be careful as they will command any stack of the Sprite race, so make sure you have enough of them in case you get stack wiped.
F: Strategy Guide
Firstly, complete your research in as quick a time as possible. Build 299 workshops, 180 farms, 70 towns, 16 forts, and the rest are guilds (roughly 1100), no nodes, no barracks and no barriers. Once that is done, destroy 100 workshops and convert those into guilds. Research Ascendant spells at 1600 land until you reach the Ultimates, then get more land (roughly 2k) to build 200 nodes and more guilds. Research Phantasm until Concentration, and then cast it. Be sure to have enough mana to Summon Archangels 3 times. You should have a roughly positive mana income, enough to support Concentration and 800 Archangels (use Resurrection on defence). Complete your research, be sure to recast Concentration every time your Spell Level increases by 100. Once you have completed your research, destroy all but 200 guilds to maintain some form of item generation, build 44% nodes, the rest into a balanced Farm and Town ratio. Slowly but steadily increase your barriers to full bars. Next full turns, disband all Archangels, explore for roughly 30 turns, and build up your farms, towns, forts and barriers. Your nodes should be maintained at 44% if you have not exceeded 2.5k lands. Cast Love and Peace and Weather Summoning. MP-charge until full; if you have more than 80 turns, explore and build some more. Summon Dominion twice if you got less than 2.5k land, summon 3 times if you got more. Use Resurrection on defence.
Next full turns; disband enough Dominions to have a positive mp income, then continue exploring, recast Love and Peace once it runs out and continue the process until you reach the explore limit. Once you are here, you should be generating at least 1M gold per turn with Love and Peace on, with 35-39% Nodes, 1% forts and full bars. Once you are here, you can choose to either go on a gelding run (remember to have enough mp to resummon your Dominions; you should be able to summon them twice, assuming you have at least 20 of them after your disbanding), or go on a Locate Artifact run. It doesn’t really matter as you’re generating 1M per turn anyway. I tend to buy a lot of fodder items such as Bottled of Eversmoking, Cosmetics, Missile Shields, Dozens of Silver-tipped arrows, etc etc to ward of the pillagers from my more expensive items. If you wish to whore for heroes, then you will have to be prepared to lose gold and items to pillages as you need to stock up on a lot of money to buy the heroes. If you only wish to item whore, always keep your gold at below 200M, that is, spend it on item bids instead of keeping it so that the pillagers won’t get too much money off you. Usually what I do is if there are a lot of lesser items for sale (as mentioned in the Items guide) I will place bids on them, if not, I will save my money until roughly 400 M and spend them on Magical Compasses. This is an accumulative process so you have to be patient. How long you wish to whore is up to you and up to your guild, you can’t exactly be whoring if your guild gets dragged into war could you? I generally recommend Ascendant mages to whore for at least a month for items to use on attacks.
Once your whoring days are over, you can begin to stack your real army as per recommended in section B. Since you are already at 3.5k lands, I would strongly suggest you running Love and Peace at all times. Alternatively you can go mono Dominions until 4.5k land by whoring for Magical Compasses. In fact if your gold storage is high enough, you can try not running Love and Peace and just go on with your attacks until Love and Peace is needed again. Once you reach this stage, you are on your own. Good luck!
DL_Snake --DL_Snake 12:00, 14 May 2006 (CEST)