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Are Wizard Kingdoms Weak In Maelstrom?
This post is mainly for new or returning players to help settle the opinion that wizard kingdoms don't stand a chance in the new Maelstrom game.

Wizard kingdoms dominated 3rd Cycle The Choosing so they were toned down a bit for 4th Cycle Maelstrom but they shouldn't be counted out just yet. Wizard kingdoms are still pretty powerful despite popular opinion against them.

Sure, in Maelstrom, there are several disadvantages for wizard kingdoms: (1) regional character/bonuses don't favor wizard kingdoms as much as other types, (2) wizard kingdoms now start off with fewer wizards and their levels were reduced [e.g. no more starting with a pwr-4], (3) wizard development is impaired since a Wizard's Tower is now required to go beyond 5th level, and (4) spell lists were rearranged to improve balancing between kingdoms with some not having access to every spell in the game. But despite these disadvantages, wizard kingdoms should not be counted out just yet.

While others may consider you to be weak and easily conquerable, survivability in the early going is quite possible in Maelstrom. There are several approaches to a wizard kingdom's initial strategy towards protecting oneself from a pending attack:

1) Build up your capital defenses. This option is now better with Maelstrom since you can build fortifications which provide a solid boost to pc defense values in a single turn. Consider taking Glyph of Protection for your kingdom's customization since it provides a nice +7,000 increase to your capital's defense at a mere cost of 2 customization pts. Also, consider casting Strengthen Walls spells which wizard kingdoms get at 2nd or 3rd level. Easily affordable to raise all of your wizards at that level and you'll have 6-7 wizards available to cast that spell for 2-3 turns (approx. +30,000 defense). Combined with a Glyph of Protection, your capital could have a defense rating of 40-50,000 by turn 3 without building any fortifications!

2) Rely on Dome of Invulnerability to protect you. I think all wizard kingdoms get Dome at 6th level but you just need one wizard in the initial stages to cast this spell. Raising a pwr-3 to 6th level will cost approx. 141,000 gold which is possible within the first 2-3 turns of the game. Combine Dome with a Castle fortification (which prevents siege) and your capital should be safe for the first 10 turns or so of the game. However, the Dispel Dome spells were lowered for nearly every kingdom and since others get dispel sooner, this option may not be that beneficial as before but it is still a solid opening play for most circumstances.

3) Plan on using Ambushing, Invisible, Teleporting groups as a defense. The Warlock kingdom is more favored for this option since they get the teleport spells earlier than the other wizard kingdoms. With the Warlock, two 5th level wizards could teleport an invisible army of 10 brigades to wreck damage against any foe. Being invisible certainly has its advantages for a surprise attack/defense of the realm.

4) Demonic Visions regional spell which inflicts -10% morale and -10% attrition on opposing forces. This spell is worth developing but will require patience since it takes about 3-4 turns on average to cut down an enemy force in half (1st turn: 100k combat value becomes 80k, 2nd turn: 80k becomes 64k, 3rd turn: 64k becomes 51.2k). Ask a military kingdom what it would be like if they had a 100k strong group that gets cut down in half the size in just 3 turns. However, since the Dispel Regional and Protect From Regional counter spells were lowered and are now fairly common, this option may not be as great as it once was but it is still an option to consider for a wizard kingdom. 

5) Go for the pure power play with Summon Death and destroy enemy forces at will. Forget about building up pc defenses or protecting them with domes, go on the offensive with death and don't take crap from nobody! Summon Death destroys 2-4 brigades of troops and inflicts a -15% morale loss on remaining troops BEFORE combat. There isn't any defense against it so dominate others with it. The only real restriction is that only one group may cast death against another so split up your wizards so that each of your four groups can cast it against the same target. That's 8-16 brigade loss for opposing forces with an average loss of 12 brigades plus a -60% morale loss on any remaining troops. That'll make the military kingdoms cry!

Some say the above opening moves require too much gold (especially option #5) but such is possible in Maelstrom. A quick calculation shows they are feasible options, for example:

On turn 1, a typical wizard kingdom will have 55,000 (treasury) + 13,333 (sell 40,000 food) + 25,000 (chivalry) + 40,000 (customization) = 133,333 gold.

On turn 2, add 30,000 (gold production) +8,333 (sell 25,000 food) = 171,666 gold. If the +1 influence customization option was sold on turn 2, that's another 10,000 gold for 181,666 gold. Scrap 5 fleets at 10 quality for another 25,000 gold = 206,666 gold to spend in just first two turns.

Sure, you'll be sacrificing other things but if you're a nut-job like me, you can have pretty high level wizards early in the game with that much gold. Raising a pwr-2 to 5th level costs on average 84,000 gold so count on having two pwr-5 wizards (perhaps three if you have your other wizards cast Create Gold) and you should be able to defend yourself in the game.

Especially, if you play the Necromancer or Sorcerer kingdoms which get the Summon Death spell at 5th level. You'll rip apart any invading forces that dare to enter your realm! So even though some players say that wizard kingdoms don't stand a chance in Maelstrom, consider one of the above options and show them you mean business.
Summon Death does have a defense against it. The SA, for example, is completely immune, as I found out the hard way in a recent game by casting it against them 3 straight turns with absolutely no effect.
(02-23-2019, 11:28 AM)Eregnon Wrote: Summon Death does have a defense against it. The SA, for example, is completely immune, as I found out the hard way in a recent game by casting it against them 3 straight turns with absolutely no effect.

Yes, that's true. I was thinking of counter-spells only.

The kingdom trait, Magic Resist: Death, provides a 33% chance of not being affected by the Summon Death spell.

The trait, Magic Immune: Death, provides a 100% chance of not being affected by the spell.

Kingdoms in that have the resist version are: BL, HA, NE, RA, RD, SA. Kingdoms that are immune are: AN.
I missed the thread where it was postulated that wizard kingdoms don't have a chance in Maelstrom.  Where was that?  Is this common opinion that wizards don't have a chance?

Uncle Mike proposes a all-out wizard development approach, and he is perhaps trying it in the first two games with mage kingdoms.

The main part of the argument as I took it was that you can, at the expense of pretty much all else, get your wizards up fast.  But, how are you gaining territory while all is spent on groups/wizards at starting PC's and no money for strategic development outside magic like influence, agents, nobles, economy, territory, High Priestess, gaining artifacts, exploration?  Spending all customization just on gold obviously means you don't have magic items or extra nobles, etc.  Selling influence and not having gold to spend on it means you won't be doing much but research.

On the other hand, if what seems to be the case in the Maelstrom Premier, the typical approach is everyone allows everyone else to get to tight control, it will be more feasible for all kingdoms to do the kind of development they want. 

I would have a different take on the drafts of the first two games than concluding that because mage kingdoms didn't fly off the board as in The Choosing, that first, with 12 regions which are brand new and so just speculation, they are viewed more importantly than kingdoms, which players generally are comfortable with the fact they are all pretty well balanced, and more so now in Maelstrom than in The Choosing, with changes in traits, everyone getting at least P5 assured, some staple spells available earlier for the less magical kingdoms, and the suggestion that even the Red Haired Step Children of The Choosing may be preferred here is being tested in selection, with the Amazons, Nomads, Ancient Ones, Atlantians - the RHSC, all going in these games above old favorites in The Choosing.  Obviously, from a design perspective, I think this is a good thing. 

What I will look to more than the draft selections is how players generally alter their play style - their tactics and strategy.  Right now, with just too little evidence to be a valid sample, I think there is less early game aggression than we will see in later games.  While we associate time and so development most with mage kingdoms, all want to develop, and with the fortifications and other building improvements to provide income, status quo, counter espionage, and greater advancement, we will see how that weighs into the opening, as in the first six turns, and soon, into the midgame, say through turn 12 - 15.
I was thinking the same thing, Rick. Who said magic was weak? In this Maelstrom, I merely chose the region/kingdom combo for a strategy I wanted to try. I think magic can still emulate other kingdom strengths, so mages are still vey strong. Will look forward to seeing how the results turn out.
I literally decided at the last second to try the Ancient Ones vs a Wizard Kingdom. I just with AN because it had a ton of new traits added.
I was curious as to why the Dwarves lost a trait (trick of the trade) and didnt gain anything in return? No other traits and no extra starting brigades like many of the non magic kingdoms did?
(02-23-2019, 08:05 PM)Rytek Wrote: I was curious as to why the Dwarves lost a trait (trick of the trade) and didnt gain anything in return? No other traits and no extra starting brigades like many of the non magic kingdoms did?

DWs did well when mages kingdom were not around in 3rd cycle.
SO, its no longer the Hidden realm of the Socerer.

Why do former dispersed kingdoms still get +2 to there ESO? Seems this might be a good customization to take.
Are the new spells in the game and if so can we be reminded what they are and what they do?

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