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Spiritual as a mainline military trait--how to (ab)use?

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Strategy & Tips' started by akatosh, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    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?
     
  2. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    One thing I just thought of. While it's probably not worth mass producing disciples-->rangers, it probably is worth producing 4 disciple-->ranger-->beastmasters. For national units, you typically want them to be as elite as possible. If you don't already have highly promoted recon units to use then saving a levelup by getting free mobility and getting a faster path to combat 5 for your beastmasters is probably very nice. A combat 5 beastmaster has 28 strength.
     
  3. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    potency only boosts passive XP gain, it does not provide it. therefore, it's useless on units that don't gain XP passively.

    I don't think you can pick Ingenuity via Adaptive, but I could be wrong here.

    the main allure of the disciple of leaves -> ranger path is being able to have rangers with march, something they normally cannot get ;)
     
  4. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Wait, so potency on a disciple does not do anything? Because the disciple itself does not have channeling 1?
     
  5. Doug Piranha

    Doug Piranha Chieftain

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    Yes, potency helps disciples because they have <bFreeXP> in Civ4UnitInfos. Units that have <bFreeXP> and no Channeling promotions will only get passive XP if they get the potency promotion.
     
  6. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    So out of the following units:

    Stygian Guard
    Ranger
    Beastmaster
    Ratha
    Radiant Guard
    Paramander
    Crusader
    Paladin
    Eidolon

    Which ones have <bFreexp> ?
     
  7. Kiech

    Kiech Chieftain

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    I am sensing a theme for the next SG...
     
  8. Doug Piranha

    Doug Piranha Chieftain

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    None of them. Just adepts, disciples, and druids.
     
  9. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Wow, that sucks. Is there any point at all to making Paramanders and Crusaders against anyone but Infernals? Sheaim, maybe?
     
  10. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    they are good if you are allied with basium as each of them is a potential angel
     
  11. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    someone oughta "balance" param and crusader then :D
     
  12. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    If you're looking to spam tier 3 units that can turn into angels, Radiant Guard->Champion is probably the most efficient path.
     
  13. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Why not just build straight champions?
     
  14. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    Because champions may or may not have a religion, while RG->Champions will be Empyrian.

    If you're talking about Basium himself, then sure, build champions. I'm talking about the other player on the team.
     
  15. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Hmm, ok. Unrelated question: do vampires autogain xp? They have Channeling I and II. I've never noticed because I usually feast them once or twice so if they get auto xp, it never leads to new levels.

    And: to the original question. Are there any priests worth mass-producing other than Priests of Leaves?
     
  16. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Chieftain

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    Vamps don't get free xp
     
  17. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    I don't know about Stack-of-Doom level mass production, but Ritualists and Cultists both have nice damage spells and are worth having lots of if you don't have lots of mages working Maelstrom or the like.
     
  18. akatosh

    akatosh Chieftain

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    Don't they have damage caps though? As in, Ring of Fire does up to 40% damage... no need for more than 3 Ritualists to get to 40%.
     
  19. doktarr

    doktarr Chieftain

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    Yep, that's right. You don't need more than a 2-3 per stack. It's just more than the 1-per-stack that you want with Order priests, or the 1-per-production-area that you want with Runes priests.
     
  20. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter Chieftain

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    In addition to what doktarr said, Champions upgraded from Radiant Guards retain the Sun II promotion and can cast Blinding Light, unlike "regular" Champions.
     

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