Malakim advantages

DirtyFinger

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Apr 20, 2008
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Just playing my first game with Malakim (deity level). I admit, I thought they suck because nothing about them seems to stand out, but they seem to have some pretty hefty advantages even though they are not very obvious.

First, let's sum up what Malakim have:
* Adaptive Leader: Varn Gosam
* +1:commerce: in deserts.
* Nomad promotion . extra movement and attack in deserts.
* World Spell: Religious Fervor - Instant priest in every city.
* Unique Unit: Lightbringer - Weak (2:strength:) and expensive (60:hammers:) disciple unit with sentry promotion.
* Unique Unit: Camel Archer - exactly the same as horse archers but don't need horses (don't need camels either).
* Unique Building: Desert Shrine - replaces pagan temple and gives +2 XP to disciples
* Free racial Mage spell: Summon Sand Lion - a temporary 6:strength: summon spell.

Doesn't look like much.

And here's what this means when actually playing:

Floodland Farms 5:food: 5:commerce:
When choosing Aristocracy and Agrarianism civics, plus Sanitation tech and Financial trait ... who would ever want to build puny towns ? Towns take ages to grow and are fat morsels to every invader.
Malakim get +1:commerce: for desert tiles and Varn Gosem is adaptive, allowing him to chose Financial as a trait.
Of course, without Flood Plains anywhere near you your economy might have to go others ways than aristograrian.

Desert River Mines 3:hammers: 3:commerce:
Desert Hills near rivers are usually pretty useless. But Malakim with financial trait can make even these crap tiles useful.
One more hammer with Arete civic.

Desert River Farms 2:food: 5:commerce:
No, even Malakim can't irrigate deserts. But they can irrigate plains and scorch them. This sadly doesn't create flood plains, but at least deserts with a farm on it, yielding 2:food: with Sanitation. Of course, you could just just keep the plains for 3:food: 4:commerce:. Depends on what you need and where the enemy troops are standing.

Desert River Forest Lumbermills 2:hammers: 3:commerce:
Got a plains field with forests ? Scorch it and you get a desert with an intact forest. If next to a river you gain commerce bonus which together with the malakim desert commerce bonus triggers the financial trait.
Overall it's not that much of an advantage compared to the regular plains forest lumbermill (1:food: 2:hammers: 1:commerce:) but if you're going for wealth you might want to consider it. Also, forest plains are good places to put your invasion army in. Move Mage, scorch, move rest of army and gain all the desert bonuses.

I guess you noticed by now that even though Malakim are supposedly desert people, they really are river people. Beach boys, so to speak.

Lightbringers: Instant Mages
Awesome replacement for scouts since they start with Sentry and Mobility (if you take Varn Gosam as leader).
They upgrade to either divine or arcane units, which means you can churn out mages very fast since it's quite easy to get 10 XP for new disciple units. Since Varn Gosam is adaptive you might want to change to charismatic very late in the game after researching Strength of Will. By then your holy city should be able to turn out 16XP Lightbringers, which means instant Archmages!
Cost for upgrading Lightbringer to Mage/Priest: 126:gold:
Cost for upgrading Mage to Archmage: 245:gold:
Cost for upgrading Priest to High Priest: no idea

Lightbringers: Potent Mages
Lightbringers also start with the Potent promotion, which means that they gather XP for doing nothing. They keep that promotion after switching to mage, which means that they get free XP from potent and channeling, assuming that both effects are cumulative. This is basically like a free Arcane leader trait, since you don't care about double production speed of Mage Guild since you only need one for upgrade purposes.

Lightbringers: Experienced Rangers
Lightbringers can be promoted to Rangers, just like Disciples if Leaves can. And your Rangers start with Mobility I, Sentry I and loads XP. Anyway, from Rangers the path to Druids and Berserkers opens ...

Lightbringers: Experienced Stygian Guards/Paramander/Crusader
Everyones favorite waterwalking Demon could be a former Lightbringer. Send out a Cultists (who was a former Lightbringer, too) and a couple of Stygians and no coastal city is safe.

Lightbringers: Combat Medic
You can promote Lightbringers directly to Stygian Guards (and the other guys). But if you can spare the extra turn, promote to disciple first, then to whatever. That way you also get the Medic promotion for free. March will be granted for free upon promotion to Stygian Guard (and so on).

World Spell: Religious Fervor
Creates one Priest of your state religion in every one of your cities. They start with as much XP as you have cities with that state religion.
The late game benefits are obvious: Lots of instant high level priests, depending on the size and faithfulness of your empire.
A less obvious early game benefit: Instantly build temples in every single city of yours on the same turn you aquire a new religion.
And the least obvious benefit: Sometimes you find disciple prisoners in dungeons. This allows you to tempelize your empire before even researching a religion.
Of course, you have to research Priesthood first, so it's not exactly too much of an advantage.

Unique Building: Desert Shrine
Replaces Pagan Temple. Gives +2 XP for Disciples. And since your Lightbringers are Disciples ...
After researching Mysticism you have access to at least level 2 Lightbringers. Level 3 if you manage to get 4XP more frome somewhere. This brings Lightbringers' combat values at least up to par to level 1 warriors.

Unique Building: Citadel of Light
This building gives your units an additional 5% defense (wow) and actively attacks enemy within 2 tiles of the building's city. The description says it launches a fireball but I suspect it rather does something like the Pillar of Fire spell - I've never seen a fireball but I see occasional burning enemies. Nice for coastal cities.

Adaptive Leader: Varn Gosam
Starts with creative, which is a great trait in early games but less useful later on. Switch to whatever you need for the next 100 turns. You also start with Spiritual, which is permanent.
In my first real Malakim game I voluntarily chose Expansive because the flood plains caused a bit too much of those green smileys. However, there are better choices.
  1. Financial is great if you are near lots of flood plains, i.e. rivers. Which is likely if you play the erebus map.
  2. Philosohpical is obvious. You are aiming for GP Prophets anyway, so why not double the speed. Thanks to floodplains you should be able to produce plenty of food to afford many specialist priests.
  3. Charismatic: This opens the door to instant high priests and archmages. Chose this late in the game, preferably by the time you have researched either Strength of Will or Theology.
  4. Aggressive sure is nice: New Lightbringers start with Sentry I, Mobility I, and Combat I and all the XP you can cobble together with Altars, Desert Shrines, Civics, etc. I'd only take this if the military situation demands it, though.

Nomad promotion: Desert Combat & Movement Bonus
Geee, great, +20% desert attack & defense. Double movement in deserts. Total crap compared to Elven/Dwarfen Forest/Hills bonus.
Really ?
No, since most of you probably forget one tiny detail: You can't create hills and you can't create forest (excluding world spells). But with sun mana you can reduce plains to deserts (not sure if you can turn grasslands to plains, too), which will come in very handy for your invading army. And plains are plenty. You basically create roads and fortifications in one single turn if you take one little adept along. But of course, you don't have adepts - you have instant mages.
And if certain units seem to strong then lure them into a desert field. Your units get +30% attack while the victim gets -25% defense.
And even if your invasion fails: The defender won't be too happy about the scorched earth in his once lush landscape. Eat sand!
And even better: Nomad is not a race promotion. If you should somehow aquire enemy troops (domination, dominate, etc.), they'll get the Nomad promotion in addition to their race promotion. Should be awesome for dwarves defending a desert hill.

Summon Sand Lion
Each Mage (which - as we have learned - can be produced quite cheap and fast) gets Summon Sand Lion for free.
A Sand Lion has 5:strength: +1:strength: fire and 3:move: and the Nomad promotion.
This is pretty strong, especially if you compare it to the other free summons, like the FOL priests Tigers.
On the other hand, Sand Lions can only be summoned on desert tiles which means that a mage with the scorch spell comes in even more handy. They also disappear after one round and they can't be put in cages to be gawked at like the summoned tigers from the treehugger priests.

Hero: Teutorix
Your civilization hero has 12:strength: and 2:move:, which is pretty high. He also ignores building defense and is probably the best hero for attacking cities (not counting dragons and stuff).
You need to research Blasting Powder to be able to build him.

Malakim Palace Mind/Sun/Life Mana
The big disadvantage of Flood Plains are unhealthyness. Life mana gives you one health each, even though the spells ain't that great (Sanctify, Destroy Undead, Resurrection).
Mind mana grants you the inspiration spell, which means that your mages can boost research and GPP when not blasting enemies apart. Charm person convinces living enemy units to not attack, which is great when outnumbered. And all time favorite Domination for unit stealing is available on Mind III. Mind mana also boosts your research by 3% for each node.
And Sun mana has great spells: Scorch is more useful for Malakim than for anyone else (but I admit, the usefulness is limited). Blinding Light is a lifesaver. You can stall whole armies and halt an entire invasion with a just few mages. And the Aurealis summon is a 6:strength: elemental with +2 sun affinity, which can get pretty nasty if you decide to stockpile sun nodes.

Aristograrian Synergy
Aristocracy and Agrarianism work very well with Malakim, especially if you choose the Financial trait later on. Even better, you get to build Royal Guardians, which have a high defense and the Hope spell. Fortify one in your Altar city and your strongest Lightbringers also get the Courage promotion. This safes you the trouble of having to build a Spirit Node.

Overcouncil Domination
Malakim are really suited for dominating the overcouncil. Their civilization's hero Teutorix grants an extra vote in the overcouncil. Couple that with the empyrian religious hero Chalid Astrakein and you get another vote, virtually granting you control of the Overcouncil and all the factions on it.
__________________

Edit: Added some suggestions from PekkaR and Cabbagemeister in the lightbringer and sand lion section.
Edit: Added Ranger/Stygian Guard info. Thanks PekkaR
Edit: Added Combat Medic & Aristograrian Synergy
Edit: Overcouncil Domination. Thanks Ekolite and Sephi (whose initial mention of this I forgot :))
Edit: Citadel of Light credits: someone67 :)
 

DirtyFinger

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I can. Just found out about the Sand Lions. :D

Man, Malakim are strong in mid game.
 

JonathanStrange

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It's ironic though that the Malakim don't, in my experience, seem well handled by the AI. I play at Deity level, Normal speed, and in game after game, their biggest contribution is their farewell speech.

For you Malakim players, have you seen many Malakim AI civs prosper? Do they do better in certain maps? What kind of maps? Are there any Malakim qualities the AI just doesn't get.
 

Luckmann

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It's ironic though that the Malakim don't, in my experience, seem well handled by the AI. I play at Deity level, Normal speed, and in game after game, their biggest contribution is their farewell speech.

For you Malakim players, have you seen many Malakim AI civs prosper? Do they do better in certain maps? What kind of maps? Are their any Malakim qualities the AI just doesn't get.
It's actually pretty wierd. I don't think I've ever seen a Malakim AI truly shine, despite the fact that the mechanics should be easy to grasp by the computer. It's a pretty straight-forward civilization, without anything particulary special. Not saying it's underpowered, just that the advantages it does have is primarily in resources and straight-forward units.

It's not like some other civilization, such as Kuriotates, that have very different mechanics - I can see the AI making stupid decisions as those, easily. But the Malakim? It's one of the countless mysteries of Erebus.
 

DirtyFinger

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AI controlled Malakim cities usually had gigantic stacks of lightbringers, which made them easy pickings. Seems like the AI didn't grasp the joy of promotions.
 

JonathanStrange

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You know, one of these days, I willl try them. You don't see too many Malakim supporters - not since the Unification Wars anyway - and your post intrigues me. They're sort of a mysterious civ to me; they're usually the distant civ crushed on an undiscovered continent.

And I'm becoming bored with the Ljosalfars and Svartalfars...

So Malakim may bring me out of my "this game's no longer fun" mood.............
 

civ_king

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Nice writeup
 

Sephi

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a few things to add:
instant archmages (charismatic+lots of xp boosters altar/dies dei/command post/etc.)
overcouncil domination (Chalid+teutorix)

oh, and even though floodplain farms are really good, floodplain towns are still better for well protected cities. Even if you plan to use aristo, I would cottage spam atleast one city with a lot of floodplains and build the commerce wonders like brewhouse there.
 

DirtyFinger

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a few things to add:
instant archmages (charismatic+lots of xp boosters altar/dies dei/command post/etc.)
overcouncil domination (Chalid+teutorix)
Good point. I think you need about 15 XP to get instant archmages ... i'll have to check that out.
Overcouncil domination didn't strike me as particular difficult in any of my games, so I didn't mention it. Besides, you don't really need empyrian for malakim even though there are plenty of synergies.

oh, and even though floodplain farms are really good, floodplain towns are still better for well protected cities. Even if you plan to use aristo, I would cottage spam atleast one city with a lot of floodplains and build the commerce wonders like brewhouse there.
Yeah, but you need 5 turns to make a farm and 75 turns to make a town.
 

Monkeyfinger

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Farms on plains is just ******ed no matter what civic you're running, unless you need it to chain irrigate to grassland. You're going to have all the food you need from grassland/floodplains farms, so why not keep that hammer and get an equal/better commerce yield after 10 turns?
 

Senethro

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Becuase its not equal, otherwise the same logic would apply to grassland farms but more so. The spare food goes into specialists or plains/mines.

That said, my plains are normally hammer improvements or riverside cottages.
 

DirtyFinger

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Farms under Aristocracy yield +2:commerce:. If you need commerce more than hammers then you can consider it. But on the whole I agree that huts on plains are the better long term investment.
 

Sephi

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Overcouncil domination didn't strike me as particular difficult in any of my games, so I didn't mention it. Besides, you don't really need empyrian for malakim even though there are plenty of synergies.
Malakim is the only civ, that can get 4 votes in the overcouncil. How useful that is probably depends on your playstyle but I would definetly call it an advantage.
 
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Malakim is the only civ, that can get 4 votes in the overcouncil. How useful that is probably depends on your playstyle but I would definetly call it an advantage.

Iirc you can get more votes if you have vassals (at least when I go overcouncil, my vassals seem to vote with me), so you can get 4 votes the old fashioned way of bashing someone's skull.
 

DirtyFinger

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Need more deserts. Can you convert grasslands to plains or tundra to deserts? Scorch doesn't do it.
 

PekkaR

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Aah great. I've been playing mostly Malakim for couple of months now and I've meant to write a post like this, only a longer one... Because I'm too verbose for my own good. :p

So it became too large a task in my mind. It's easy to add a few comments after yours though.

Floodland Farms 5:food: 5:commerce:
Desert River Mines 3:hammers: 3:commerce:

Yes! On Erebus maps especially it seems like I get a desert start more often than not, and nearly always there's a river to be found nearby. These are great.

Note starting in the desert makes your surroundings fill up with Hill Giants. Use the first Lightbringer for fogbusting near the spot of your planned 2nd city before that starts happening around 5th to 9th turn. You've been warned. If you have a private pocket of desert that you don't want to settle, you could maybe grab some Hidden Nationality giants from there a lot later with beast taming. ;)

Teutorix
I rarely use him since I may feel the game is settled before I could get Blasting Powder. Greatest downside with Malakim, for me, is that they "have no civ-specific hero" (that I'd actually play with).

Religious Fervor
I have a bad habit of saving it for later and then not needing it. Anyway, nice for grabbing Ritualists after a short switch to AV, or helping with a religious victory.

Lightbringers: Instant Mages

Lightbringers are much more! They and Desert Shrines make Varn Gosam even better at abusing Spiritual than others are.

All Spiritual players should remember this:
- Swapping civics has 10 turn cooldown, swapping religions 5 turn cooldown.
- Order makes you Good, AV makes you Evil. RoK and Empyrean make you Neutral if you're Evil, OO and CoE make you Neutral if you're Good. FoL never changes your alignment.
- Swapping religions/alignments only makes you lose high priests, religious heroes and couple of special units like Shadowriders. You can keep any mix of paladins, eidolons, beasts of agares, priests, stygian guards, paramanders or druids. Religious heroes can be later rebuilt but start without exp or promotions again.
- You can achieve higher than normal starting experience for Disciple units thanks to Altars of Luonnotar and/or Dies Diei.
- Disciple units start gaining experience as disciples (T2) IF they have Potency.
- Disciple units keep Mobility I if they're promoted to something else, and Potency if they stay in priest and mage lines.
- You can promote from Disciple to Arcane: Savant lvl 4 --> Mage (You miss one free promotion that Adepts get, and can only start taking spells at level 4. Note Mage immediately gets one free promotion.)
- You can promote from Disciple to Recon: Disciple of Leaves --> Ranger (They lose Potency so wait as disciple to gain exp first? Thanks to Medic I you can give them March if you do it before promoting further. Recon units can't normally get it.)
- You can promote from Disciple to Melee: Zealot --> Stygian Guard (Weapon upgrades! They lose Potency so wait as disciple to gain exp first? March can be taken early thanks to Medic I.)
( - Consider the alignment swapping implications for what you plan to do about Overcouncil and Undercouncil.)

About Lightbringers:
- Gives Sentry I to all units promoted from them.
- Allow you to build cheap units everywhere without building requirements, then promote them in suitable central cities.
- Allow you to cherry pick ones that spawn with Council of Esus and promote them to Recon line. (If you have all the techs and buildings, and don't manually go through Disciple of Leaves but jump straight to Ranger, they shouldn't lose Esus. The religion gives recon units extra abilities.)
- Note you should promote to disciples of some kind as soon as you know what you want the end result to be so they start gaining experience with Spiritual.
- Note that while Drowns made from warriors get Nomad, you should always promote Stygian Guards from (Lightbringers-->)Zealots. Besides the obvious this is important also because promoting from Drown keeps the fire vulnerability.

Don't try to do everything at once when playing Spiritual/Malakim. Just using couple of these synergies/tricks per game can be enough work - or research spent.

Decius as leader

I think playing with Spiritual and Adaptive is so great that Decius is like the hard mode for Malakim. Even the first Lightbringer will have only 1 movement... Decius could be a little better at pulling off a raider build with Malakim. This depends on the fact that you don't need Horse resource to build Camel Archers so you know you can get them, and play somewhat like Hippus. I'd rather just switch Varn Gosam to Spiritual+Raiders if I wanted to do it though.

For you Malakim players, have you seen many Malakim AI civs prosper?

Malakim players are least likely to see it since they're playing Malakim themselves most of the time. :p

I've seen AI do well with them maybe once... Outside deserts Malakim can be played as a generic civ if one wants to. Which makes the ineptitude of AI Malakim even more mysterious I guess.

Need more deserts. Can you convert grasslands to plains or tundra to deserts? Scorch doesn't do it.

No you can't. It would fit Scorch but probably make it too strong for a level 1 spell. Even now scorching any plains tiles of your neighbors who gave you open borders is a nasty way to harass them or prepare for invasion. From plains hill (extra hammer, 25% defense) to desert hill (no defense bonus) just before a Nomad (attack bonus to desert) invasion... :p

Would Gibbon Goetia even need open borders to get on the city tile? o.O
 
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