I'd never been that impressed by the Prophecy of Ragnarok wonder. It seemed like a bit of a catch-22: only living units built in the city get the prophecy mark and raise the AC, but the effects of 90 and 100 AC will devastate those same units. However, recently, a workaround occurred to me. If you drown a warrior, that warrior will retain all its promotions, but is no longer alive. So, thumbnail sketch of the strategy: Get to Way of the Wicked ASAP and build Prophecy of Ragnarok. It doesn't have to be in a very high-production city - you're pretty much just going to be building warriors there. Have your empire run lots of cottages or farms+aristograrianism, as you're going to need a lot of money for upgrades. Have the PoR city spam warriors, while the rest of your empire concentrates on buildings, non-living units, or living units that are going to be sent to their death. At some point, convert to Octopus Overlords. When in OO, drown warriors and upgrade them to Stygian Guards as needed. When the AC approaches 90, make sure you have all your warriors drowned/upgraded, and take advantage of Lichdom and Eidolons to protect highly promoted mages and priests, if possible. Trigger wrath, declare war, trigger the apocalypse, and take advantage of the weakened state of your neighbors. Once the apocalypse triggers, you can switch to any other religion you like. Some other notes: Obviously, this works best on a water-heavy map, but the Stygian Guards are pretty good as long as there's a lot of coastal cities so you have options to take advantage of their water walking. Remember that Drowns don't provide military happiness, while Stygian Guards do. So if Drowns aren't needed in a war or for exploration, it can be better to wait for fanaticism before you start the upgrades. While not necessary, having the Ashen Veil holy city is a big boost to this strategy. Since the whole point is to trigger the apocalypse, having Stigmata of the Unborn in the PoR city means that down the line, all those Stygian Guards get an extra +50% bonus. Corruption of Spirit is on the same tech path as Way of the Wicked, so it's not too hard to bag both, although it means delaying building Prophecy of Ragnarok until you know where the AV holy city will land. All the other living-only promotions will stick with your warriors as they become Drowns and Stygian Guards, too. Courage (can be reached by Royal Guards casting Hope in the PoR city) is an obvious one, and Mutation is generally worth it, too. Valor is nice but hard to reach quickly (Hemah is an option). Another wonder that's worth building quickly is the Tower of Necromancy. If you have it, the undead Drowns will gain the Strong promotion, and will keep Strong when upgraded to Stygian Guards. Strong Stigmata Stygian Guards with weapon upgrades are a perfectly good endgame force (Iron/Mithril Strong Stigmata Stygian Guards are 15/18 strength before any combat upgrades). Summoning the Mercurians can be a great boon to this approach. You're already going for fanaticism to access Stygian Guards. All the death and destruction of the high-AC events will give Basium plenty of angels to work with. Don't switch to him if you want to pursue this strategy, but he makes a powerful ally. Conversely, the Infernals are a very bad opponent to have when this rolls around, as they are actually helped by a high AC. If they show up, try to take them out before driving the AC any further. Depending on what else is going on in the game, it can take a lot of warriors to drive the AC, so choose your civics wisely to keep upkeep costs under control if you are getting into stack-of-doom range. Of course, the more Stygian Guards you build, the better things will go for you when you unleash hell. You can always raze some cities or spread AV to take things over the top, too. Best civs to play this strategy with: Sheaim. Well, duh. This is almost just an addendum to the standard Sheaim strategy. Your other cities can build planar gates and pyre zombies while you wait for the apocalypse. This does shut down potential mage-spam until after the apocalypse, but that's the only big downside. Luchuirp. The other obvious, easy one, and arguably just as good as the Sheaim. You can build your standard golems in your other cities. This also means that, unlike the Sheaim, you have a reason to tech up the melee line, which will upgrade the weapons of your Drowns and Stygian Guards while it unlocks golems. Additionally, if you aren't under too much pressure, you can kamikaze Barnaxus, save the pieces, build the Shrine of the Champion in the PoR city, and then rebuild Barnaxus. An extra promotion for all those warriors-turned-Stygians is nice. Sidar. Not nearly as nice as the above two, but if you're waning all your elite living units, you won't lose anything too valuable when the apocalypse hits. Elohim. This is highly situational, but if you manage to capture a bunch of cities from the Sheaim, Luchuirp, and/or Infernals, you can build an army from their non-living units while pursuing this strategy. The Hallowing ritual allows you to throttle back the AC as desired and time the big push past 90 and 100. No other civ really has any particular synergy with this tactic. The Lanun, Malakim, Bannor, Kuriotates, and Khazad can all pull this strategy off, but it would require basically going all-in on the OO and building lots of Stygian Guards everywhere, or playing a defensive/builder game until after the apocalypse. After that, you're left with bad options: either civs that depend on their unique living units (Amurites, Balseraphs, Calabim, Clan, Dovielo) or civs that depend on their free upgrades to certain unit lines (Hippus, Ljosafar, Svaltalfar). Finally, you have the civs that can't convert to OO (Grigori, Illians, Infernals) and the civ that can't build warriors (Mercurians).