Sabre Nether Guide
Well, I've played pretty much every color in my time, and I've always considered black to have been my most successful in my past few resets, so I might as write up a little guide for the wiki.
Basic Kingdom Management
Most people consider playing black to be difficult because it relies on undisbandable units with heavy population upkeep. With proper preparation, and a keen eye on your kingdom, you should have no trouble taking care of these population problems.
- Black is one of the few colors that is not going to have a horrible mana problem, due to it's Ultimate Spell, Black Sabbath. Black Sabbath lowers your population income and has an upkeep of 666 population per turn. In exchange for this, you will receive 666 Skeletons and Zombies each turn, as well as an increase in your mana income ranging roughly between 2-5k m.p. As such, you will not have to build an incredibly large number of nodes. Since we all know nodes are optimal based on % of your land, and not the actual number of nodes, I will advise that you use either 29.99%, 34.99%, or 39.99% of your land into nodes. This will depend heavily on your play, such as using more off-color units, or more heavily on your own black units. Obviously, the more you use population, the lesser you're going to want your nodes. I would usually suggest 34.99% when you're first starting out to really get the hang of it.
- Your forts, well we all know they keep you alive. You'll never need more than 10-15 maximum unless you're at war. Easy stuff :)
- Workshops, minimum of 299, but I prefer to keep 499-599 as I gain in land. Depends on how much land I'm gaining on my land runs. Early on, you won't need more than 299, it's a good number to stick by.
- You obviously won't need guilds, but sometimes it's nice to leave 15 or so to gain you the occassional item here and there.
- Barracks; early on with black, you won't be relying on your barrack units as much, such as Dark Elf Magicians, so you won't need more than 120 or so maximum until you've broken 3.5k acres.
- Barriers, you don't need'em yet.
The rest of your lands is going into farms and towns. Roughly you want to keep a 3:1 farms to town ratio, but basically you're just going to want to maximize your pop. So if that's 11% towns and 29% farms, go for it. Just get them maximized and optimal.
Basic Enchantment Setups
Enchantments you will always have on your mage include Black Sabbath, and Shroud of Darkness. If you plan on casting off color spells often, you will want to have Concentration on as well. I prefer to use Battle Chant as well for the extra AP, but some do not. This is a choice I leave up to you, decide what is best for you to do.
Since you will be receiving 666 Zombies every turn, you will be using them as your primary fodder unit to begin with. Early on, I like to use them as my top stack absorber, takes damage, but doesn't die that bad. As for my next stack, some prefer to use Unholy Reavers, some prefer to use Lichs, make your decision between one of these 2 units, it will decide who you are going to be hitting. Third unit, Horned Demons make excellent units at this stack, but unless you're hitting blues, not the best place to keep them. At third, I myself prefer to use Wraith. Fouth stacking is where I would put my Horned Demons normally. Afterwards, you're going to want a few ranged units like Medusa, Dark Elven Magician, even Salamanders work well in your lower stackings.
Most of the time, you are going to have Moon and Lucifer's favor on at all times. Sometimes you might want to substitute Lucifer for Satan instead. Moon will be essential for the extra mana, and Lucifer will help with the summoning amounts. Satan is useful for lowering your upkeeps on your undead.
When I begin my run, I would normally be using Zombie/Lich/Wraith/Horned Demon/Salamander/Dark Elven Magician/etc. Since I want to start lower on my run, I only have 3 units I can disband, Zombies, Salamanders, and Dark Elven Magicians, I choose to disband enough Zombies to keep them my top stack above Lich, and perhaps a few Salamanders and DEMs.
Beginning my attack run, I would start out attacking the biggest reds I could find at my 80% range using Lich, or the biggest blues and whites using UR. I try to make at least 10-15 attacks per land run, but that is based heavily on population/mana.
You will always beginning your land runs with full turns, that's a given, and keep a close eye on your population and your mana. You want try to end your run with 200k mana, but have enough of your army disbanded through attacks that you are gaining population and mana each turn.
You're going to want to try to stop your run with around 160-180 on Blitz, 150-160 on Server, and most likely 130-140 on Apprentice. Afterwards, you will begin to rebuild all the land you have gained determined by the % of your land.
Hopefully you will be starting to think about charging with roughly 100-130 turns to spare. Only charge 5-10 turns at a time, each time disbanding your skeletons and maybe a few zombies. Try to charge to full till you have around 60-90 turns.