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Cracking Legendary Update
Cracking Legendary Update:

You can now crack legendary two ways, by attack, as before, or by siege. The attack route has been made much more difficult and more appropriately balanced across kingdom by the fear cap which is now 35%. Most kingdoms can now achieve a similar amount of fear for the purpose of capturing PCs. However, if you have the time to spare, you don't need fear or valor or any wizards at all, you just need a sufficiently large value vs PC. It will benefit you greatly to decide early on in the game whether you want to be able to outright attack legendary castles, or simply be able to siege them.

The change allowing for the siege of legendary castles makes the kingdom trait siege engineering a much more valuable one. Towns may be besieged in two turns, and War machines have a very high value vs PC, although, you may only have five of them. But war machines probably have a base value vs PC double that of most other troops, giving you an army that is a little easier to feed and pay. The factors that contribute to value vs PC are, as far as I know:

Individual brigade value vs PC (estimates can be found online, I think, or you can observe them yourself by isolating a single brigade in a group and looking at the values), which is modified by Brigade level: Green (75%), regular (100%), veteran (125%), elite (175%). I mistakenly wrote that brigade level is not reflected in the value vs PC and value in current terrain in another article, I believe that it is.

Leader bonus
Moral bonus

So, how do you build an army capable of besieging a legendary castle? Simple, no need to consider brigade special abilities, spells, fear, valor, nothing. Just recruit troops and attack stuff, double feed that group until it's at 120 moral, winning battles should take it the rest of the way to 160. You want to train your leaders to warlords or close, and your brigades to elite or close. This will give you an army with as few brigades as possible so you can afford to feed it yet powerful enough to have 175k+ value vs PC. If your army is larger than 50 brigades and you still haven't hit 175k value vs PC, you really need to train more. For larger legendarys built on cities which had citadels placed on them, you may have to build up to 250k or more.

For this endeavor, kingdoms with military traits that allow for a greater chance of leader and brigade advancement are obviously at an advantage, as are those with stronger brigades. So, as it should be, military kingdoms will now more easily take legendary castles than mage kingdoms. At least by siege...

Refer back to my original post “Cracking Legendary” for kingdom specific information on which troops types are available for your kingdom. Attacking a legendary castle with the new fear rule will be much more challenging for the wizard kingdoms which have access to many more fear troops and the crack the sky spell. I will lay out a general strategy that can be used by many (but not all) kingdoms:

First: Get yourself to 35% fear. You can and should accomplish 25% fear by a level 5 wizard casting the fear spell (or crack the sky, but not both), this will give you the most flexibility in troop composition. The remaining 10% can be achieved by the following: Ruthless, the siege engineering trait or a fear companion (see cracking legendary).

Second: Choose a single strong base troop and train your leaders, brigades and moral as explained in the siege section of this article. A good troop in the north are Vikings, very strong vs PC. In the south, Mythians maybe, I have never used them but they look good vs PC. Paladins, technically they are good vs PC, but very expensive to maintain (unless you are the Sacred Order, then go all paladin). Don't forget when choosing your region certain troops may only be recruited in certain regions. Any troop type will probably do, but the stronger the troop vs PC, the fewer you need and the cheaper your army will be to maintain. Troops with better value vs PC will be those with better ratings in short range missile, long range missile, first and second melee and storm, while having smaller values in charge, which is not figured in value vs PC. If you intend to remain in your own region and need to recruit 40 brigades, you may need to make use of the raise census spell.

Third: Use a level 5 wizard to cast valor and max out all possible bonuses to group value. Artifacts, forged weapons/armor, troops (see cracking legendary). I suspect 100% bonus is possible for some kingdoms, that is on top of leaders and moral. An example:

Valor: 25%
Minotuar: 15%
Standard: 10%
Orcs: 15%
Trolls: 30%
Forged: 25%
Other artifacts: varies

Use the formula in the cracking legendary article to estimate your actual value vs PC. Lets say your target is 175k. The 35% fear brings it to about 115k, you'll need to be about 4-5x this so when your group gets to about 500-600k, go for it, although I suspect this is a bit of overkill. We will have to experiment.

Mage Kingdoms: The new rules also doubled the damage of battle magic, and don't forget spell density, which makes battle magic more effective vs larger armies and PCs. So, mage kingdoms can forego some army building and instead build powerful wizards. Having three level 9 wizards casting Crack the sky (has a fear and command tornado effect), Earthquake and Command Tornado, along with their presence will have an awesome effect on a legendary castle.

Tips on training:
Training troops is not easy, but training your leaders up generally takes longer. The difference, obviously, is that leaders must be trained much more often to get to their peek efficiency. So what I suggest is a two-pronged effort. During the first turns of the game, scout out all your artifacts and go after them, this should give you a bunch of leader raises. You will also loose some leaders, getting artifacts is dangerous, but you should generally speaking come out ahead unless you really get RNG boned. After you've got all your artifacts, just use your starting troops and attack one of your towns a few times, you should try to get up to commander or marshal with three leaders.

After you have your leaders start recruiting your base troop, place groups at all your towns and mass recruit. If your kingdom brigades suck really bad (SO, UN, possibly others), you could choose to eliminate them if you need the room for other troops. Remember you can only have 10 different troop types, 3 troops each of regular, veteran and elite is 9 slots alone. If you also have greens... you start to see why you can only have a few different troop types. Not having enough slots for troops to advance is frustrating. You might separate your army for training, with three troop types in each of two groups. Once you have eliminated all the greens and regulars, you will be more able to fit all your troops in one group.

If you are going to build a combat army instead of just a siege army, also summon your minotaur, undead and recruit your companions, flesh out your whole army. Build a fortress on one of your towns then recruit x3 to make it go neutral. After a couple of hits, you will have to upgrade it to a greater castle to continue to get gains. In order to get troop promotions, you must loose at least 5% of your group in battle, AND the battle must last until the Storm phase. So, your army can't be too overpowering, and if you army is too small you will lose way too much in training. Obviously the goal is to loose exactly 5%, but shoot for between 5% and 10%. Use fear spell (or not use fear) to fine tune the outcome of the battle. As you level up your group, you could also remove all your elites from the group instead of increasing the value of the PC you are attacking, this saves healing those troops, but might also result in greater losses of the young troops. Always keep your best troops healed up during training. You might even take a turn or two between attacks and heal to make sure your attrition doesn't get away from you in your elite troops.

I used to have a spreadsheet set up to where I could calculate losses within a couple of percent, but I sort of obsessed about it so much I was loosing interest in the game, so now I just kind of guess. To make an estimate of loss, just look at your group value vs PC and the defense of the PC. If your group is say 100,000 and the PC is 25,000 your base loss should be right around 25%, assuming leaders are zero and your troop defense is average. But now take into account the toughness of your troops, a fear spell, leaders also add defense, you'll have to play with it. A little defense goes a long way, if you have a warlord, for instance, the damage you take could be reduced as much as half, in some cases. A troop with good defense might take only half the damage a troop with average defense might take. If your troops are really tough like Red Dragons, you'll have to have a lot smaller army to make sure you lose at least 5%. You might also use shield in training to help fine tune your looses to right above 5%.

And I know it sucks, but 5% of a group of 40 brigades means you'll probably lose at least 2 brigades, probably more. Count on it, plan on replacements, especially for your specialty troops. You can cushion the blow with weak troops like zealots or skeletons, but plan on loosing a couple of your best as well. The price of victory. As your troops level up and get tougher, you'll lose the best ones less often. As a troop promotes it not only gets stronger, it also gets a higher defense number so elites are less likely to be eliminated than their regular compatriots.

As an added bonus, having an army of elite troops and warlords gives you a stupid amount of status points, and rightfully so, its not easy task to accomplish and they are a force to be reckoned with. To fund your army building, one way or another, you'll want the production of a couple of regions, maybe even three. You can do that by taking your neighbors, or increasing your own production with fertile fields, hidden ore, bounty, summon angel, bazaars, granaries, ports and 600 orders.

Good luck taking down the big walls!
I love your writing and thoughts. Appreciate it.

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