I usually think of spiritual as an economic trait, since it lets you micro your civics easily for burst periods of warfare and development. Spiritual does, of course, buff your disciple units with potency, helping them move and level up faster. For the most part I haven't put much stock into potency because priests are mostly support units. You rarely need more than 1 or 2 in a stack for their buffs (good priests) or collateral damage (evil priests). But the succession game we are playing on the MNAI forum got me thinking. I often see the AI build a lot of priests, and this time I noticed it was Spiritual Arendel building mass priests of leaves. Priests of leaves might be the exception to the rule where massing them is actually useful because they summon a strength 4 unit that can easily reach strength 6 with empower promotions and spiritual. This is roughly equivalent to having death 2 casters with 3 stacked death nodes, except it doesn't take any mana, is available earlier in the tech tree, and the casters can be mass-produced and don't take time to mature into mages. Of course, over the longer term spectre spam will be more powerful especially when civs like the Sheaim, Amurites and Calabim can start spamming their death 2 casters as well and get free promotions from the extra death nodes. The tigers are also permanent and can benefit from permanent buffs (mutation, courage, shield of faith, bless) more easily than spectres can. Spiritual does allow a few other tricks, which have been discussed in various threads on this forum. Disciples of Leaves, Empyrean, AV and OO can upgrade to non-disciple units but get to keep mobility and potency. Savants of course upgrade to mages, meaning that a civ like Malakim can use a desert shrine, a command post from Adaptive-->Organized, Apprenticeship, and some combination of Altar 1-2/Form of Titan/Theocracy/Conquest/Dies Diei/Charismatic to mass produce mages right out of the gate. Even if you don't have the full XP needed, Potency+Channeling I will get you the extra xp quickly. Malakim mages also have scorch and sand lion, making them effective summoners. Like the tigers, sand lions can benefit from Channeling II+Potency casters taking combat promotions. As noted on the AV/OO Prophecy of Ragnarok Luchuirp thread, Zealots can upgrade to Stygian guards. With Spiritual, this gives you a strength 7 champion that starts with march, water walking, mobility, and passive XP gain. This is one of the few ways to get a Spiritual-enhanced unit that can use metals. Unfortunately you cannot use the Drown upgrade path to do this, which is equivalent in gold cost (I believe) but cheaper in hammers. Also I am not sure if this is better than having an aggressive or raider Stygian Guard, but it may not have to be, because Spiritual gives nice economic benefits. The third main trick is upgrading Disciples of Leaves to rangers. I feel this has debatable utility. Rangers cost 180 hammers, so a non-ingenuity upgrade costs 245 gold coming from a disciple. Is it worth 245 gold and 60 hammers to have a strength 7 unit with free xp gain and mobility, that can't use metals and has a city attack penalty? Probably not. I generally don't think of rangers as units that are worth mass-producing for frontline warfare. The last one is using Empyrean disciples to upgrade to Rathas and Radiant Guards. In my view this has limited utility because 1) Rathas/RGs are hammer expensive and 2) they are hence too valuable to throw away in mass warfare. It's usually better to build a small handful for Sun 2 spam and make sure not to lose them. We have discussed OO/FOL/AV/Empyrean's disciple upgrade paths. Order and RoK of course can mass produce paramanders and crusaders which are disciple units buffed by spiritual. This option is definitely better than the ranger option, as they are also strength 7, don't require an upgrade using gold, don't have a city attack penalty, and are cheaper to boot. The problem is that they can't use metals either so they get outclassed by iron champions for the same hammer cost. Of course, spiritual's free promotions might make up for it. What's your experience using these units? (There's also a Spiritual Sidar massing Altar-buffed Spirit Guide confessors as their main force. I have tried it without Spiritual and it's extremely good. With an unrestricted Spi/Cha Varn Gosam, this could be the most broken strategy in this game.) What am I missing here? What other ways are there to use Spiritual as a primary military trait? Of what I mentioned, what's actually viable in a competitive Emperor+ game and what's just theorycraft? Do some of these paths become more viable with a Spiritual/Ingenious Varn Gosam?