I was saying last time that
I played on Impossible difficulty this time around, [almost] all the way with a (Chaos, Demonic) mage and all the way to beating Baron Ahey with a pure might (no spellcasting, at all) knight
I finally found time for a continuation, past Baron Ahey. Everything I said there goes, as far as the early game.
Moving on past Creiston Mines, it becomes painfully apparent the pure Might player does not really have an equivalent of the Mage's Pump. Sadly as that may be, c'est la vie. He does however get significantly more Leadershipi. Because army supply is such a paramount consideration, the Knight's gameplay entirely centers around taking over castle Necrocom as soon as possible. Once you do this, Violetta the Elf comes back out of her trance ; but most importantly Greenwort supplies switch to infinite Knights, Guardsmen, Swordsmen, Bowmen, Priests etcetera.
It may seem that there are other viable options for the Might player, besides the Human units. This appearance is readily dispelled if we consider them one at a time :
- Yes you could play Demons, just like the mage. After all you do get the +3 everything girl ring, which works on Succubi just as well for you as it does for him ; and then Demons are just as mean in your ranks as they are in his -- except meaner, and you get more of them. Yet... The main problem is that unlike the mage you can't pump the stacks. This conspires with your needing larger stacks to begin with to leave you stranded -- the apparent advantage of larger Leadership is actually rather flimsy, and readily flips over into the disadvantage of being stuck selecting Horde-level availability units only.
- You could marry the Elven princess and use Elves. There's a large number of female units among the elves, which allows you very high morale (same Agna's Ruby). The problem is that the Elvish units are kinda flimsy and don't really interoperate as well as the Human fare. Elf Knight is certainly playable, as you get usable Hordes, but I daresay it's a pain in the ass for no real benefit.
- You could go all Necro. There's massive Black Knight / Necromancer / Skeleton Archer / Ghost etc supplies throughout the map, if you're careful to not wasteii too many Archers in the mid gameiii. There are some mild advantages your Knight skill tree provides for this approach even. Still, for all the cool factor your army is fragile and poorly suited for the Dragon-heavy late game, not to mention you miss out on the morale bonuses, which is utterly terrible.
- You could try playing Dwarf. The major advantage of the high level archers is significant, both Cannoneers and Alchemists can stand up to a lot of rough play and besides they get no melee penalty. Gerda will provide you a little morale, even. The problem is your low and high level units are terrible -- there's really no place under the sun for either Miners or Giants. What are you going to do, play with three stacks out of five ?!
- Animals are a fine option throughout early and middle game, because of the 100% bonus to thorns damage crown and the 50% bonus to spiders damage belt -- not to mention the fully upgraded Druid Staff doing a further 50% for all animals. Such as you know, Beholders, Evil or otherwise. You are very much advised to use these into the ground, especially because your Hero's attack and defense bonuses have a disproportionate effect on the lower level units (which provide so little in the way of attributes of their own) ; but no matter how careful you are eventually you will run out of Thorns, and then of Spiders (especially the really good Fire ones you can buy by the thousand in Hell). And then it'll be time to move on, too soon to even notice the serious problem of absent Morale boosts.
Now consider the Humans against all that :
- You get extra skills from Training, including the useful Fire arrow for Archers (some things, such as Ents, are very vulnerable), the very useful Smashing Blow for both Swordsmen and Guardsmen, which pretty much doubles their damage every other turn, and then the utterly mindblowingly useful Circle Attack for Knights. This alone is a discussion ender, are you kidding me, hurt everything all around, not even limited to three slots like the Pirates ? So every time a weak unit sits next to some scary Dragon you can attack it and cut the Dragon stack while avoiding retaliation altogether ? And if you're surrounded you deal triple, quadruple damage even ? Good god, it can't be passed on, this wonder.
- You get 20% more army just like that. Iron Fist and Bowmen Commander take some time to max out, but once you do max them that's an extra 3 to 5k Leadership right there, ie about twice what you'll get out of all your artefact pile. Just as much of a discussion ender as the previous item, really.
- If you play your cards rightiv, which means not killing the weird zombie guy too early, and getting a proper wife (such as for instance the Dwarf mustachio model girl) you can end up with two Marshal's Batons. That's 2k Leadership between the two of them, sure, but also +2 Morale for Human troops. That's right, they stack. I don't expect this is intentional, we probably find ourselves well into game-breaking territory here, which I guess would make this a third discussion ender (and as close to a candidate for a Mage's Pump equivalent for Knights as can be devised).
- Guardmen give Swordsmen and Bowmen a boost of morale, while Knights carry it naturally. This, together with the Batons means you'll have 3 units at High (+30% attack, +30% defense, 2x as many Criticals) and the other two at Good (merely 20% attack, 20% defense and 1.5x as many Criticals). As one of those two will be (I'm guessing) Inquisitors and as they can't get criticals when resurecting, which is their principal utility anyway, you're really not missing out on all that much! Considering my Knights have 63 attack and 58 defense (out of the 27/27 native) which is to say above Black Dragons I'd say this Morale thing is well worth it, even before factoring in the criticals (and with any luck you get the 20% more criticals weapon too, making the whole thing a gory fiesta).
So that just about settles it : you want Human units, and the path to unlocking the supplies is through conquering Necrocom. This is perfectly feasible for a level 15, but you will need some specific supplies :
- You must have a stack of Succubi. This is a deal breaker.
- You must have one overpowered stack. This is also a deal breaker.v
- It'd be nice to have Black Hole, because there's so many enemy stacks there. You might get by without it.
- It'd be nice to have Ice Orb, because the 20`000 HP crystal is very vulnerable to a long straight line. Ball can take it out in two tries, it's a life saver especially if your army was marginal and the battle ran long.
These arrayed, your strategy is very simple : have the Succubivi teleport your overpowered unit in place of the Necromancer unit. The rest of the battle consists of your pounding the living daylights out of the Necros with your remaining four stacks outside the barricades, while your single solitary overpowered unit wreaks havoc inside the castle. Griffins are particularily well suited for this -- because they retaliate to every melee attack they can flatten the whole garrison in a couple of turns.
The overpower factor should be about 2.5x to 3x, which means you will be spending about 200`000 to 300`000 gold pieces on this army, so start saving up. Don't go too crazy with it either, because the whole idea is for the defenders to whittle your stack back to your own control before everything else you have dies out. If the ronin stack is too large they won't be able to do it and they you'll find yourself facing your own, bought-and-paid-for units kill your remainder and deliver the victory to your enemies.
It's very easy indeed to get to Castle N : from Violetta's funhouse take the bridge right (not left) into Great Forest. On your right side there's a bookvii, guarded by some unit but there's a circuit available so you can run in no problem (hit the Rage fountain on your way in, you want maxed Rage anyway). Once in you have to duck another guard, which is again easy, keep to the left on the beach side while the going's good and then go right by that wishing well and up the hill into the large cemetery. That's it, avoid the last guard in front of the castle (and the bats before, though they're not hard) and listen to commander what's his name deliver his final orations.
In general the Knight absolutely wants well over 100 Rage, maxed out Rage generation and usage skills for well developed Rage Spirits and the Crown of Blackthorn installed. If you're lucky enough to get the Pain Skull (Rage equivalent of the Mage's Mana Predator) you're doing great already. In any case the Black Hole does 1`500 damage to all enemies, which very much includes Dragons, even those immune to magic. This can sum up to a solid 10-15k over a large enough enemy. Soul Draining can be trivially upgraded to 40-50%, meaning you can hit an oustandingly large stack for another 10, maybe even 20k of damage. This pretty much beats the Mage in pure DOT terms, and we're not even done, the Ice Orb can easily hit those pesky gremlin towers for 10k+ on a critical hit. Yum. Glot's Armor is also very much worth the mention, because it will absorb one hit, no matter how strong it is -- so you can protect the retaliation tank with it. Fire isn't worth bothering with past the early game, where it does hit Mage types pretty hard and there's often no better alternate options for it.
So decked and arrayed, the Human Knight is a paragon on the field -- two heavily armored infantry units plus a very heavy infantry backed by a stack of Archers and a stack of Inquisitive resurrectors construct what's essentially a model Cuisinart. You'll be blending enemy units like nobody's business.
- Speaking of which : because the leadership you get on level-up is a percentage of your current, whereas the Rage you get is a fixed value, you wish to always choose Rage against Leadership at the early levels and vice-versa later on. When exactly to switch is somewhat of an open question, but about 14-15k Leadership is probably just about right. [↩]
- A task made easy by how well they're hidden out there in the North of the Gray Wasteland. [↩]
- Such as for instance by temporarily switching to a Succubus-and-Dwarves outfit for a few dozen fights.
I think the she-devils have a lot of fun in the Snow-white role, even! [↩]
- If you already have it, it won't spawn naturally, just like in any Roguelike. But if you don't have it, and it spawns, you can then go get the fixed spawn and have two. It's worth having two. [↩]
- To overpower stacks you pile them up in your reserve, then visit a town, where you click the unit from your reserve to the town's garrison, and from the town's garrison to an empty slot in your inventory. Voila, you now have an overpowered (ie, above your maximum Leadership level) unit. [↩]
- Make sure you wear the ring, you need the extra 3 initiative like you need air. [↩]
- There's another one in Magic Valley just by the Great Forest entrance if you muck this one up for some reason, but it's less convenient. [↩]