For Age of Wonders 4 players, this is a comprehensive guide to handcraft your own race, for maximum conquering pleasure!
Are they simply not up to your standard, when you try to invade another realm?
Are you afraid, your race is a laughing stock in an astral sea?
Fret no longer! with my simple guide, your chosen people will be ready to commit full-scale genocide, invasion, or conversion and everything in between!In my work, I will try to cover the most obvious synergies and a couple which are better hidden. However note, that perfection consists not only of your race traits, but also of the environment in which you wish them to thrive, the tomes you wish them to research, the chosen culture they partake in, and the type of victory you envision for them. Therefore I will take special note of skills and traits that can be good in general, as well as those that can be borderline useless but are actually quite powerful in the right circumstance
Remember to shape your people, to match them to the level of challenge you wish to partake in. If you want to have an easier time, to conquer realms of queen Artica, use a race that adapted themself to become the frostling, but if you are ready to challenge yourself, let it be known, it can be done even with sun and sand loving kitty cats
Remember the most important part of any creative process is fun! And a bit of roleplaying may be exactly the kind of spice you need to make your conquest tastier!
If you are new to the game, you don’t need to read whole walls of text. I included TL DR at the beginning of each section behind spoiler!
With basics covered lets get crafty!
traits are what define your chosen vessels, and those can be changed in total disregard to their physical form. Yes, you can make swimming moles, but they probably prefer to be called Beevers by then.
Body traits part 1
if you struggle with early game pick up Tough
if you struggle in end game pick up Resilient
if you don’t struggle anywhere in particularly and wants good perk pick up unicorn mounts, or keen sighted
- grants an extra 2 def and 2 res when in defence mode
On average, this is a horrible trait to have, because the game strongly promotes aggressive plays, and eliminating enemy units as quickly as you possibly can. however, there is one exception to that rule and that’s industrialist culture. Not only it gives your heroes an excellent trait to pick up, that allows them to enter defence mode even after the attack, but it also possesses by far the most useful defensive unit in the game bulwark, Note however, that even industrialist culture, could probably find better use a more generalist trait
- your units regenerate an extra 5 hp per world turn
it’s an excellent trait that can hasten your conquest by 5-10 world turns on average and save you from some truly dicey situations.
Outside of your own domain (which is to say everywhere where you actually want your armies to be all the time really), your troops will regenerate 5 hp extra per world turn. So in effect, this trait doubles your off-combat regen. Ways to heal your troops between fights are scarce, far between and expensive, therefor this trait is very helpful and useful on all levels of play.
if you can’t make up your mind, this trait will be great always, and in every situation
Take note, that there are realms, that inhibit world healing, and this trait, basically nullifies it!
- Your race units gain plus 10hp
This translates to about 20% effective health pool at the beginning of your conquest, and will slowly get progressively worse the longer your conquest takes, due to higher base health pools of more advanced units
On average, I would advise you against this trait, because other defensive options, scale batter,
A possible exception to that would be rush strategies rallying heavily on chaos lore. Chaos mages tend to amass great numbers of low-tier units, for which health is more beneficial than other defensive statistics.
- +20% accuracy on physical and magical ranged attack
This skill is insane! Good enough to build your entire strategy around it.
Ranged units in an age of Wonders 4 are exceptionally powerful and therefore somewhat rare and spread out between tomes, however, you always will have a couple, and they all will benefit from it.
All support units benefit from this skill, and you should always have at least one support unit per stack
all battlemages unit benefit from the skill
all archers from tier 2 of your culture benefit from it, and will GREATLY improve your early game experience
particularly beneficial are materium lore users, and high culture. those 2 have access to extending range for your units further and therefore are prone to exposing themselves to lower hit chance. this trait completely nullifies this weakness.
It’s also a strong pick for mystic culture, who will most likely spam battlemages heavily and have access to one of the best tier 3 battlemage units.
However, basically, all cultures and lore users will have someone who could use this buff and become a kingpin of your army, and make your enemies pinheads in return.
- makes your units 30% harder to hit by a ranged attack
This skill is deceptively hard to properly score. It should be easy, I rated the inverse of it as insane, and therefore if it counters it hard it should be insane as well right? not to mention that all lores and cultures use ranged units to some extent. Well, things are not so easy.
It is important to note that proper use of ranged units requires a human mind, and NPC factions for obvious reasons lack it, lowering the overall danger that ranged unit pose for your armies. On top of that in my 150 hours of exploring the fourth age of Wonders, the only factions I encountered that reliably uses ranged units are Mystic and High, and even they favour battlemages and their multiple hex attack that do not have a miss chance at all.
that makes use of this perk unreliable at best.
Don’t get me wrong, there are always some units in enemy armies that will be ruined or at least debilitated by this perk, however, I would personally advise you to take a more general perk.
In pvp however, if you know you will face high or mystic culture, or nature, materium or order lore user, this skill should perform exceptionally well.
- gain +3 status resistance
This is probably the best defensive stat overall, and definitely the one that gains more value, the closer you are to the endgame.
Firstly it is rare, to find any improvement to it, unlike defence and resistance, which makes it inherently more valuable,
secondly, you would be hard-pressed to find a single enemy stack, either natural or enemy army, that doesn’t use a status effect to some extent.
enemies that use mind control, like order and nature lore users, as well as fairly common natural creep nymphs can be completely debilitated by missing their iconic skill.
Thirdly, almost every ruler near the endgame will rely on some kind of debuff, that they will be incapable to apply to you reliably because of this perk.
If you know you will face dark culture or shadow lore users, this perk gains even further value because of the tendencies of that faction to really on heavy debuffing.
- gain +2 resistance
Strong cookie cutter perk. resistance will decrease all magical dmg ur units take. On every battlefield, you will face mages, heavy enchanted units, and rulers themself trying to hurt your units more directly, and this perk makes it harder for them to do so.
This perk is also particularly useful to the barbarian cultures because it mitigates their inherent weakness. most barb units have abysmal resistance, and therefore those 2 points are more valuable to them. putting them roughly on par with other cultures’ units
- The negative status will last -1 turn up to a minimum of 1
If status resistance is so good, then this must also be amazing right? wrong! You need to remember that most fights in Age of wonder4 are short and brutal, and combat by turn 3 is almost without exception either already done, or decided. Furthermore, most pesky debuffs will be reapplied continuously, and have a baseline duration of 3 turns, meaning debuffs are a bit like STD, and if u units got it, it will probably have it till it dies.
Prevention is simply a more efficient strategy
Body traits part 2
- all units get +10 physical dmg
overall okayish skill, that is never particularly good or bad. It is more useful to barbarian cultures because all of its units deal exclusively physical dmg, and materium lore, because of its unique units, like golden golem and Zephyr that are physical dmg dealers as well. if you pick this perk, remember never to cast or research elemental enchantments like burning or frost arrows, because it will lower your physical dmg capabilities.
- gain plus 2 defence
my third contender for the strongest generalist pick. Defence scales better than health, and it’s useful for every single unit you could possibly have. While I would argue that in an endgame where magical cataclysm spells will be common, status resistance and resistance would be more valuable, it’s undeniable that higher defence will make your chance to make it into the endgame significantly better. And unlike extra world regen, this trait works in combat making it easier.
If you struggle in the early game, this perk will help you significantly.
Special Mounts perks
The kind soul of Redpine has already penned an excellent and in-depth guide to those perks (although he made a mistake, in high culture, it’s not a support but tier 3battlemage that gets mount)
Therefore I will try to be short and precise
- Never ever pick nightmares! they are trash tier, Their looks is all they got.
- Spiders are potentially the most game-breaking thing currently in the game
- Unicorns are great picks always, specifically for dark and feudal cultures
- Feudal industrial and dark are probably the only cultures for which wolfs are worth considering
Note that this perk will have the greatest visible effect on your strategy mid to endgame, and therefore I strongly recommend to at least once give it a go
Mounts the in-depth analysis
Picking the mount perk will improve 3 things: scouts, one cultural unit, and rulers and heroes will be granted improved starter mount. Let’s analyze those benefits one by one.
Scouts will improve for every culture with the exception of mystic.
+10 hp for them is massive and will often be a difference between having a scout and having to train another scout
It will not improve the scout’s movement speed because it is already on cavalry level
It will also grant them skills depending on which mount you picked up
Grants you a 90% chance to lower the morale of the adjacent melee unit by 5. you never ever want your scouts to be in melee and therefore nightmares are complete and utter trash, the fact its a chance, only adds further insult to injury
Grants a teleport ability. it’s a potentially useful skill that allows your scout to escape from melee pursuers, or to reposition them for a finishing blow, note however that dmg output of scouts is terrible so said unit really needs to be on its last leg for it to work. Unicorns synergise particularly well with industrious scout, which uses a crossbow, and therefore needs only one action point for full dmg potential anyway.
A 20% boost to dmg is technically nice, however, u never want too many scouts in your stack, limiting even potential use of it. Also, note that basic math says, that is irrelevant by how much you want to multiply 0, the result will be zero. and while scout dmg output technically isn’t 0 per see, it is dangerously close to it. Howl on its own can be useful, in particular to the dark culture that benefits greatly from weakened, Note however that trying to cast a close-range howl is a suicide tactic for your scouts.
Now this is a game changer. Generally speaking, spider scout (SS) is a potent strategy enough to build your entire game around it, and in the case of small maps, can grant you victory on its own.
casting web increases the dmg output of scouts immensely. Added benefit of immobilization, is enabling you to use scouts alone because out of 6 webshots, you are bound to immobilise most of your melee opponents making scouts completely safe. On top of that web is one of the very few skills that can be cast even when pinned by melee units!
This means you can have strong, fast-ranged units, that on top of that cost pennies in front cost, upkeep and draft. You can print close to an infinite number of them. If you ever wanted to feel, like a fantasy Genghis Khan, now you can! hearts of Iron is no longer the only Paradox game, that allows you to conquer the world with your core SS units!
One of your culture units will be granted mounts
Those are the units that will become almost always a workhorse of your faction. They often will be spammed the most during mid to endgame, therefore any buffs for them are very valuable.
All of them have increased movement speed (also on the world map!) as well as extra hp increasing their survivability by quite a bit
For feudal and dark cultures that already had t3 mounted units, mounts will simply be replaced.
For high, industrial, and mystic its t3 unit will be granted a mount
For the barbarian culture, its archer t2 unit will become cavalry
Continues to be trash tier for all of those units.
3 of them are ranged and don’t want to be in melee never ever.
Shock cavalry of dark and feudal cultures will have very little use for it because will rarely find themself adjacent to enemy units that are still alive.
You can make a case for Bastion to have a possible use for it, given its a unit that actually enjoys being surrounded by an enemy horde, and will have 2 or maybe even 3 chances to proc demoralize per combat, however, the potential gain is so minuscule, that even he can probably benefit from other mounts more
Ranged units love to teleport, it can be used to gain greater range in the first turn, to better reposition in other turns, and if push comes to shove, it allows them to safely disengage without any retaliation. A great pick for them
As for shock cavalry, it greatly extends its use. They only need one action point to deal full dmg, meaning they can immediately attack after teleport not losing any of their dmg capabilities. In practice, it opens a lot of tactical options for you.
You can engage enemy turn 1 using teleport as a range extender
Bypass enemy frontline completely, and instagib squishy ranged units
Or simply reposition yourself, and flank said frontline with ease.
Even bastion can enjoy better repositioning capabilities.
A strong recommendation from me!
All t3 culture units are spamable, mid to endgame, meaning all will benefit from 20% dmg increase which is great on its own(and yes it stacks with 20% feudal core bonus). Wolf is extra useful for dark and industrial cultures. All dark units benefit from attacking weaken enemies, and Bastion’s basic attack is mediocre at best, and howl on top of debuffing capabilities in many cases will be a stronger attack for him, than pummeling enemies.
Now this is SS tier 😀
All ranged units are greatly improved by the ability to cast web. In general, it can be their saving grace when engaged in melee and web can be cast interchangeably, with high, and mystic t3 unit basic blast greatly increasing its aoe dmg output.
Bastion from industrial can benefit from the web as well, in the same manner, that it can benefit by a howl, to simply improve its dmg capabilities. It’s a useful form of crowd control on top of that helping him pinning multiple units.
For Dark and feudal Knight’s web will most likely be the least useful, and for those cultures, I would recommend unicorn or wolf instead.
Your ruler and heroes will get mount improved from a get-go
Note that there are only 4 types of wpn, that can be used with mounts! Lance, magic orb, 1hand melee and shield, and physical ranged wpns. If you plan to use spear, 2hand, or staff you are out of luck!
Generally speaking, it’s the least noteworthy improvement. Nonflying mounts are common enough, and I cannot think of a single case of a hero that would rather have a nonflying mount than a flying one. however, it can be a nice early-game boost.
continues to be trash tier. It is also quite common at that. it looks prettier than a basic horse, and that’s bout it.
Howl ability for heroes tends to be weaker than most of the other possible actions, and heroes tend not to clump so much to other units, making it harder to benefit from a 20% dmg increase, Exception could be ranged hero, for him it is beneficial to simply carry along a scout with the sole purpose of standing next to the hero increasing its dmg by 20%
Teleport is universally good, particularly with lance, and your heroes will always find some use for it, either to avoid being where they do not want to be or to appear when the enemy doesn’t want them to be 😀
- SpiderSpider mounts for heroes are very common, and on top of that in their cases, you will probably want to use other skills or single target dmg capabilities instead of the web. It is useful of course, but nowhere near game-shattering like it is for your units or scouts.
Feudal should go for “Overwhelm tactics”.
Nature lore should pick “sneaky”.
Everyone else look at those 2 traits and pick the one you like more
- units gain experience at a 30% increased rate
I found this trait to be bad on its own, and terrible compared to other options. it offers some early game boost, however, your first stack will be champions in no time regardless. When the midgame changes to endgame you either will suffer continues loses, meaning your troops will not have enough combat opportunities to use this trait, or you will steamroll, meaning your units will quickly hit champion medal anyway, and not benefit from this trait at all. On top of that, the only evolving unit in the culture’s roster is the pikeman for feudal, and he evolves, into a tier 2 shieldman. All other units that would benefit from extra exp gain to evolve, are not of your race, and can’t benefit from it 🙁
- your magic attack gains a +15% dmg increase
fantastic perk, that becomes borderline overpowered for mystic and high because of their t3 battlemage unit. all lores also tend to have one or two units, that will be buffed by it significantly.
if nothing else feels useful for you, it is a safe pick for sure, that always finds some use.
- Your units resist 50% of moral dmg
morale loss in PvE is used only by undead natural camps, and dark culture, and npc rulers tend to use more of a scattershot tactic with their morale debuffs. Without a focus, terror tactics, rarely make any impact
Unless you are facing another player that you know is bound to use terror tactics (dark or order lore) this perk is practically useless.
There is however small synergy with the culture trait “mana addicts” effectively removing its downside
- grants +1 def and resistance if standing next to the unit that also has this perk
Stong generalist perk, in most cases standing next to other units, is achievable making this perk effectively 100% up.
This perk offers strong synergies with a feudal culture that tend to benefit from clumping already and chaos lore because it tends to amass great numbers of t1 and t2 units, that benefit the most from small gains in stats.
- u gain +6 def against retaliation and opportunity attacks
deceptively strong perk. Every melee unit attacked will retaliate unless flanked and this perk will make said retaliation roughly 40% weaker. Opportunity attacks are rare, but sometimes they are unavoidable, it will significantly lower the punishment your support and mages will suffer for using their skill while pinned. Players who often use shock units will also greatly appreciate extra protection while disengaging. Dark culture uses shook troops the most and therefore has the best use case for this trait.
this perk is strong however for every player, lowering the casualties your units will suffer in melee combat, lowering healing required for keeping them up in the shape
- Your units can move extra 2 hexes in the first round of combat
I found this perk deeply underwhelming, 2 hexes are usually not enough to make a significant difference in the first round.
It can be however of some use if you favour using shock cavalry
A somewhat exotic but insane synergy exists with shadow lore tier 4 tome of Oblivion, Within it, there exists the world map combat spell “ritual of Somnia” that gives every enemy unit a 90% chance to be stunned for 2 turns at the beginning of combat. combine it with this perk, effectively wipe enemy stack effortlessly and completely safe from retaliation
- your opportunity and retaliation attack will deal 40% more dmg
an ok generalist perk, you will always deal some retaliation dmg, and while opportunity attacks are rare, they can happen, specifically when an enemy will try to disengage their pinned ranged units, in the hope of killing off your wounded unit. It synergizes greatly with nature lore users. their race enchantment “supergrowth” grant extra retaliation attacks. Most melee materium units also have more retaliation attacks
- gain a 20% crit chance while standing next to another unit that has this perk
Probably the best generalist trait, it has insane synergy with feudal culture, that has a baseline 20% dmg for clumping
remember you do not need to clamp up entire hax, you can move your units in pairs, and still maintain all buffs of this type while eluding punishing aoe attacks!
- gets +25% flanking dmg
Great generalist perk! You should try to use flanking attacks as much as possible, and if u do not want to pick an overwhelming tactic trait for whatever reason, you should probably pick this one.
Notable synergy is with feudal and dark. Those cultures possess great shock cavalry that will reliably flank.
Order lore synergy is also notable. inquisitor, eagle rider, and tyrant knight order lore unique units are faster than average, which allows them to flank reliably.
However, the greatest synergy I am yet to describe. You would think this is the favourite perk of Keanu Reeves and American police departments because just like them, synergies with nature lore are simply breathtaking.
Nature via tome of the beast has access to the “mark as prey” spell, which causes distracted debuff. ALL ATTACKS AGAINST DISTRACTED ENEMIES ARE FLANKED. this spell cost 5 cast points, and 5 mana making it the cheapest spell in the game. It will be probably the most spamable spell of that lore till you get to tier 4. This synergy will make fighting early mid-game natural camps with tier 5 and 4 units a breeze. Clearing ancient wonders including max tier will become a joke, and every hero that will attempt to face you will rue the day they ever stepped on your lawn.
If you think it’s not breathtaking enough, make your enemies suffer the fate of allergic in spring via spell “exhilarating pollen”, located in tier 4 nature tome of paradise. It has a 90% chance to cous distracted to all enemies present on the battlefield. Chances are good this is the only combat spell you will need in the endgame as a druid.
- damage penalties from your unit casualties are halved
In the age of Wonders4, the number of models in your unit is not just cosmetic. Each time one of them dies, dmg of the entire unit will lower
In general, I don’t think, casualties dmg debuff is strong enough to warrant picking this perk over other generalists, there is an exception, however. if you plan on using Chaos lore tome of hordes, you will most likely do it for spawnking minor race transformation, which increases dmg significantly but increases the number of models as well. this makes you vulnerable to casualties dmg, and in that case, I strongly recommend you protect yourself via this perk.
Mind Trait adaptation
if you want to have an easier or harder time or wish to roleplay a bit, pick this, and shape the realm you are about to invade accordingly.
Above its brothers stands the Arctic adaptation thanks to its shadow lore synergy.
in shadows lore, in the tome of the cold dark, there exists a spell marching winter. While cast on one of your cities, for small upkeep of mana it will slowly terraform all of its domain plus 2 tiles extra into snow wasteland. for each snow province within your domain, it will grant +2 of food and hammer production. at the time you should have access to it, you should have roughly 15 pop cities so it will grant 30 food and production basically for free. and that is not all. For some reason, snow will slowly but surely level down the mountains, turning inaccessible tiles, into possible productive ones. On top of that, this tome is one of the most synergistic around, offering frostling transformation, that makes you race resistant to frozen, move faster on snow tiles, and have a small but notable bonus to morale (critical chance boost in practice) whenever you fight at the snow. And thanks to the world combat spell “flash freeze” in the same tome, you will always fight in the snow
If you plan to tip your toes, into some dark cold magic, arctic adaptation can be a thing for you!
a couple of important facts to note
you can pick 2 of them but some are incompatible
they are grouped within magic lores, and picking a society trait will also grant one dot of corresponding lore.
This means it can be valuable to pick traits of lore we do not plan to research whatsoever, to gain access to the first couple of skills for free.
each lore has one perk locked within Pantheon and needs to be unlocked to be visibleTLDR
Prolific swarmers combined with Scions of Evil or wonder architects are probably the strongest combos for a variety of reasons.
if you don’t like any of these perks Fabled hunters, rituals cannibals, adept settlers, talented collectors, and runesmiths are very close behind them
feel free to mix and match them all
Lore of Order
At the time of writing lore of order empire development (the tree) research, is the most self-centric of the 6, offering close to no synergies whatsoever
the only generalist perks low enough in the branch worth consideration are no2 “diplomatic channels” offering an extra 1 whispering stone, and no4 “career soldiers” improving exp gain for most of your units. You can always find some use for extra whispering stone, but extra exp is definitely not worth deliberate dip.Chosen uniters
- 10 good alignment
- Gain +20% income from vassals
- Shield units and polearm units start with an extra 1 rank
- starts with an extra shield or polearm unit
- starts with diplomatic focus already researched (extra whispering stone and saving of 100 imperium)
This trait is good only for order lore users, for the rest is completely passable
Good alignment is worthwhile, it is generally quite tough to ammas positive alignment and jump-start can be quite beneficial
As an order lore user wants to vassalize a lot and quickly, an extra whispering stone can be instrumental in stealing all the free cities from your rivals. Also at the typical moment of unlocking its research, imperium is usually quite a precious and scarce resource, needed for a great many things, so an extra 100 in that crucial moment may be more worthwhile than its numerical value might suggest.
Extra ranks are also quite beneficial for order lore users because via rally the lieges they tend to amass quite a mob of those units.
Devotees of Good
- Cities gain +10 city stability per level of good alignment
- Your empire gains +5 imperium per level of good alignment
- 10 positive alignment
- Support units and polearm units have a +1 rank
- Start with extra polearm OR support unit (seems to be completely random)
Generalist A tier
if you want to play as a goody two shoes, you definitely should pick up this trait
while at first glance, this trait looks weak, don’t let it deceive you! imperium is the rarest and most precious of resources in this game, and every opportunity to get more of it is incredibly valuable. For most lores, the only reliable way to do so is via one-time upgrades to mage tower, and conquering ancient wonders. With devotees of good, you start with the first tier of good alignment, and it should not take you too long before you reach tier 2, meaning in the mid-game you can have 50% greater imperium income than any other. Extra city stability is also insanely valuable because it allows you to quickly reach higher threshold unlocking percentage buffs to food, draft and hammer production in all your cities
the only thing that prevents it from being S tier is the fact that it can be quite tough to reach pure good tier 3 rank, and growing your alignment will cous you to miss out on some yield opportunities in events, as well it will prevent you from pillaging
- The throne city and cities that share a border with the Throne City gain +20 stability and 20 gold income
- capital City starts with 1 extra pop
Trash tier, never pick this up
20 gold income seems laughable small, during the entire game it will amass to 5k roughly, putting it slightly ahead of most perks.
city stability is ok, but there are many better ways to get it
extra 1 pop will save you either 3 turns or 30-15 imperium.
and to add insult to injury, other cities need to border your throne city to get any bonuses.
- Rally of lieges occurs twice as often
- you start with the closest free city revealed and instantly gain 25 allegiances with it
Order pick only
free city revealed and extra allegiance is nice and all but it’s unlikely to do anything particularly valuable for you. good practice at the beginning of each game is to produce at least 2 extra scouts, and they are bound to found the free city on their own quickly enough
The true power of this perk lies in lowering the cooldown of rally the lieg by half, but for it to be effective, you need to HEAVILY infested into the order skill tree to buff it. With said buff, it can be quite insane, how often you can spam your mob crusade.
Lore of Chaos
Chaos lore empire development is considered extremely valuable and synergistic, and I strongly recommend dipping into it early somehow. Picking up its social traits is a great way to do it, and this alone increases the value of each perk significantly. I recommend a strong investment into chaos if you either want to be evil or don’t mind becoming such, first 7 perks benefit basically every single plausible empire, and a relatively small investment will net you all of them by turn 80
- Cities require -10% food for gaining new population
- Tier 1 units have a +1 rank
- Non-magic origins unit upkeep is 20% smaller
- Starts with an extra t1 unit
The S tier generalist perk!
If you don’t know what to pick, pick up this one!
Lower food requirements should translate to about 4-5 extra pops by endgame, which is massive. Also, it will lower the cost of imperium rushing your pops, which is beneficial in the early game
early game will be easier with extra rank on your units, and lower upkeep on your troops offer easily thousands of coins saved during the entirety of the game
In case it’s not enough, this perk synergies further with chaos, order and nature lore users.
Chaos has a variety of ways, to gain tier 1 units, and will commonly have extra stacks of mobs that benefit from extra medals, and lowering of the upkeep.
Order will often have to recruit lower tier units via rally the lieges mechanic
Nature players will often rely on semi-random summonings of animals, a significant part of which is tier 1, particularly important are goretusk piglets, which evolve to tier 3 powerful goretusk matriarch, and 1 extra rank helps with that significantly!
There are also elemental summoning spells scattered between tomes, that also evolve, and like piglets, they benefit from extra rank in that process.
Generally speaking there simply isn’t a scenario when prolific swarmers is not a beneficial perk to have.
- units gain corps eating ability ( free action, 1 turn cooldown, consumes corpse for 15 temporary hit points)
- -10 alignment
- The nearest city-owned gains +3 mana and +3 food per tier of non-magic units killed or lost after successful combat.
This perk is very good, and if you struggle with combat I would highly recommend picking it up, to make fights significantly easier. The alignment bonus is nice and all, but evil alignment is very easy to gain, so it’s not particularly valuable. Corps eating on the other hand is amazing. Offers your units a great way to sustain themself, overall lowering your casualties significantly
While yield boosts don’t look like that much, it’s actually quite a significant and valuable bonus. You always find some use for mana, and any bonus to food is great. It can be difficult to properly calculate how much you gain from it, and of course, it will differ from moment to moment, but it will be around 3000+ mana and food conservatively during the whole game which is quite a lot.
- nearest city gains +3 gold and draft per tier of units killed after successful combat
- -10 alignment
- Get 2 random hero items
Ritual cannibals small runt of a brother.
It’s good only for roleplaying Attilla the Hun.
instead of healing u got 2 random hero items,
instead of food which is always useful you get draft which is considerably less valuable, and will quite often end up converted into food with a -75% loss
Gold is significantly easier to come by than mana, and for is less valuable in most situations
on top of that those 2 hero random are truly random. I rolled a couple of times, and once I managed to get a nightmare mount, and tier 2 shield. which means you can be screwed by randomizers really really bad.
- Razing cities grants permanent +40 gold +20 mana and +20 knowledge income
- can not obtain new cities and conquered cities can only be razed
- suffer -300 relation with free cities and empires
This perk removes a “challenge” from the one-city challenge!
If you wanted to try a hyper-aggressive playstyle this is a perk for you, note however that having only one city will be more and more punishing the longer game takes, and you are also incapable of claiming magic victory.
I would advise you to take steps to secure early food production, to make your throne city as massive as you can. Cannibals is an obvious combo choice.
Also replacing alignment province upgrades(seed, root, heart of magic) is a pain, but it is possible! you need to replace it with any basic province upgrade, and then you special ones will unlock again.
The first perk of astral is extremely beneficial to non-mage godir, to elevate their casting points hunger, second one will also smooth out tome research by a lot. All further points are in the category of nice to have, but not worth extra effort to get.Ancient wise ones
- When tome is unlocked, one random skill from that tome will get -60% to knowledge cost
- You start with 1 extra knowledge research done
it is undeniably a strong generalist perk, it will be however counter-intuitively most valuable for non-shadow and non-astral focusing godir. The reason is, that Shadow and Astral have a lot of other bonuses to knowledge, which makes this perk either insignificant or completely redundant
On paper, it looks fantastic and a must-have for magic victory. in practice, I managed to reach magic victory on round 72 without this perk easy. And to be honest, knowledge was the least of my worries in that rush. You need some economy to be ready to fend off, both natural spawns and players that will declare war on you.
- 10 combat casting points
- 10 world casting points
- Combat spells cost -20 mana to cast
- You start with extra spell researched
Very strong generalist perk, particularly valuable to non-mage godir.
An extra jump start in research is always nice, extra casting points are useless for mage godirs, but very valuable to other types.
But -20% cost is an amazing scalable buff, that will remain useful thru the entirety of the game, and arguably will become even more useful in later stages, allowing you to spam spells more
- Summoning spells cost -50% mana
- Magic origins units have a +1 rank
- Start with an extra magic origin units
The true punishing cost of summoning spells hides in upkeep! It can be however quite powerful if you commit to rush tactics.
One option is a tome of a zealot. It’s a unique summon, because its upkeep is paid in gold, elevating your mana hunger quite a bit. In no time you can gather quite a mob of crusaders.
Another valid strategy is picking up any elemental books. Minor elementals evolve quicker with an extra one rank, and their evolved forms are quite the powerhouses. You can semi-reliably transform your cheap kid elementals, into the adult form, especially if you pick up experience leader trait on your heroes.
- All units gain attunement mana addicted (gain lifestyle for 1 turn if combat spell is cast, if no spell is cast during its turn, suffer -5 morale)
- Battle mage units and support units have +1 rank
- Start with an extra battle mage unit or support unit
Extremely powerful trait for all godirs.
Life steal can increase the survivability of your units by an amazing amount. Moral in most cases can be ignored completely, given it is rare for fights to take longer than 3 turns, so it’s unlikely low morale will have any effect on you.
but be weary, just because in most cases you are safe, you should not forget it can screw you hard. I personally lost the fight I should have won, because I used many expensive spells at the beginning of the decisive siege, and simply lacked mana to continue casting spells after turn 3. Because of that my units started to fumble, and they dealt less dmg, prolonging the fight, and finally faltered and routed. It will serve you good to learn from my mistakes and acquire some low-cost spells just in case
Lore of Nature
Truly game-changing stuff is at the end of nature branch, the beginning of it, however, is nowhere near as impressive. Quicker city founding with an extra pop, and increasing average food gain of a city by 20 is very nice of course to have, but probably not worth early focus.Adept settlers
- 1 city cap
- Founding cities cost -25 imperium
- Newly founded cities gain +1 pop
- throne city starts with +1 pop
S Tier generalist perk
It will save you anything between 200 to 1000 imperium depending on how you count. The city cap bonus is inherent, and not research unlock, meaning you can get the fifth city to your cap for a mere 200 imperium and not 500 like all the other godir.
The only downside of this perk can show itself when you play on a very small, or crowded map, where it may be difficult to find enough space to establish a fourth and fifth city. Thankfully natural city-states and other players can be… “evicted” if need be 😀
- fisheries yield +2 gold +2 food +2 draft
- naval units cost -25% resources
- naval units cost +2 rank
- Start with basic seafaring (your units can embark on water, extra 50 imperium)
If you plan to play on the coast or island realm, this trait will be S tier. if not it’s utter useless trash.
fisheries are basically a farm that you build on water providing 5 food per turn. With this perk, it will provide 11 resources per turn.
the fourth upgrade in the nature empire development branch will provide another 2 food per fishery, raising the total to 13 resources per turn
And finally, if you gonna have 4+ fisheries(which on a coast or island map you very likely will) you will most likely build a seafarers guild, that will grant an extra 12 resources. After all of this one tile of the fishery will provide you with 25 resources per turn, a feat hard to pull off even by the most profitable special provinces.
Ship units when discounted and upgraded can also become very useful, they are fast, which makes them perfect for catching enemy stacks off-guard, and will be perfectly capable to clear even the toughest natural camps, saving your heroes and armies some time.
- gain 100% resources from clearing and infestation, ancient wonder or resource node
- ranged unit and skirmisher units have +1 rank
- Gain extra archer units at the start of the game
Great cookie-cutter trait. you will easily gain more than 6000 extra resources during the course of a typical game, While somewhat unreliable which yields you gonna get, those are very srs numbers, and on top of that a lot of it is frontloaded, allowing you to jumpstart your economy
in capable hands archers are the most overpowered kind of units in the game.
4 most notable synergies are
with tomes of winds (materium tier 2), inquisition (order tier 2) and glades (nature tier 2) all of which have a powerful ranged unit that will serve you well till the end of the game.
The fourth one is a barbarian culture because it has 2 units that benefit from it (sunderer and fury)
Synergy becomes stronger if Barbs picked the mount body trait, (especially spider) because it will possess a unique mounted archer unit that will benefit from extra rank
Talented collectorspantheon unlock
- Cities gain +5 gold, mana, knowledge, food, production and draft for each magic material in their domain
- Start with magical material nearby
an above-average perk
The average game will take around 100 turns, meaning you will get 3000 extra resources from your capital city alone. It’s not uncommon to have 2 resources naturally per city, improving your theoretical yield to a whopping 15000. and that’s not all. Your outposts will also gain +5 mana, gold and knowledge for your imperium extra for all resources you claim by them. I tend to have each game a 3-5 resource outpost making this bonus quite substantial as well.
So conservative theoretical gain should land somewhere between 10 and 15k per game, and it is realistic to reach even 20k. those gains while sneaky are MASSIVE, and as a cherry on top, magical material also will provide you with some extra resources, and will provide you with its bonuses, and will make collecting sets easier.
the only downside of this perk is the fact that is extremely passive, it does not provide truly interesting bonuses, and some of those yields are bound to be wasted on resources you neither want nor need.
Lore of Materium
Every single empire should aim to have the first rank of materium development as fast as you possibly can for smoother expansion, and improved dungeoning and logistics in mid to endgame. I recommend also rushing for rank 4. The breastplate of a champion is an excellent item for a hero that deals with physical dmg, turning it from mere champion to the god of war.
- Quarries yield +2 gold
- special province improvements cost -50 production
- capital city start with a workshop and stonewalls
Below average perk
Realistically you will gain below 3000 gold over the course of your conquest which pales in comparison to bonuses other perks provide
special province speed-up is substantial both in early and endgame scenarios, but will shave off 3-4 turns max per city. not really earth-shattering. 3 extra building in the capital represents the most substantive savings, of about 10 turns, 500 gold (possibly more if you planned to rush it)
It’s definitely good enough to pick it if you like it, but most other perks provide bonuses that will be more beneficial to you.
- unit enchantment research cost -30% knowledge
- unit enchantment cost -30% upkeep
- Shield units and polearm units have +1 rank
- Start with an extra shield or polearm unit
Easy A tier for generalist
Every lore uses enchantments to some extent, and this perk can shave 500 mana per turn in the endgame. even in the early game savings can be substantive and can grant you the liberty to spam combat spells much more than you otherwise would. it’s not unrealistic for this perk, to save you over 10k mana during the course of a whole game. enchantments are very often kingpins of their tomes, and you always want to research them, meaning your research savings will be realized as well.
- Ancient wonders do not require pop in order to be annexed
- Cities gain +20% production per annexed ancient wonders
- starts with 1 nearby ancient wonder cleared close to throne city
And yet another S tier!
It’s one of 3 perks, that offer extra imperium (+5 from ancient Wonder basically immediately). % buffs are very rare and 20% is massive. I tend to focus on my throne city development, and in most of my games, I tend to finish all construction by about turn 85. With wonder architects, I finished building all structures and most special provinces by turn 56, amoust 30 turn improvement. the somewhat subtle gain of extra pop u no longer need to sacrifice for annexation can be surprisingly strong. The best part however lies with annexing far-away wonders. Usually, you need to build an outpost for 2 turns and 50 gold, then wait for 3 turns and spend 100 gold for work camp. now let us analyze how it looks for owners of this perk.
Because this is a materium lore perk, you will naturally quickly unlock the first empire materium upgrade, and Outposts cost you only 25 gold and they are built in only 1 turn. And here is the kicker, you can annex Wonder immediately after the outpost builds for free, without the need for a work camp. It is realistic for you, to build an outpost while you approach wonder, and annex it the same turn you clear it, smoothing the whole process by an incredible margin, and allowing you to enjoy its many benefits, immediately. and on top of that, you do not lose the ability to build workcamp and claim extra gold main, mana nodes, or rare resources that are within range.
It’s unbelievable how much this perk smooths gameplay
- City structures cost 100% more production but ran +1 stability and +5 gold in addition to normal effects
- units tier 3 have plus +1 rank
- city cap is decreased by 2
- Start with an extra t3 unit
very interesting challenge perk, that changes battlements into goldmines.
Bonuses are massive, early tier 3 will help you in the first 20 turns immensely, t3 are also the workhorse of mid to endgame, and an extra medal on them is a huge buff.
debuffs, however, are also huge, a basic workshop takes 10 turns to build instead of 5, and the city cap limit will probably hurt you in the long run.
It’s important to note, that the city cap is lowered and not blocked like for chosen destroyers, you can still increase it by imperium like everyone else.
This perk has strong and obvious synergies with other materium perk architects of wonders, which will offset increased building costs, and help out with getting imperium for improving your cap.
Another option is amazing settlers from nature, which will help you more with imperium and city cap, with no production benefit, however.
Lore of Shadows
while shadow lore offers great bonuses for specialised empires, it offers very little to most of them. However, literally, the first perk in its branch is probably the most overpowered trait in the whole tree system. netting you easily 10k knowledge + during the course of the game. This is very likely more than your throne city will produce in the entire game. An incredibly easy way to get the first perk with no effort whatsoever is to simply pick up scions of evil, and I highly recommend you to do so
- battle mage units and support units have +1 rank
- battle mage units and support units provide +5 combat casting points at the start of combat
- start with an extra battle mage unit or support unit
Technically not-mage godir could use extra combat casting points, but probably could not use it even if they wished so, blocked by mana economy.
Every trait that offers improvements to battlemages and support, offers better bonuses as well.
Scions of Evil
- Your cities gain an extra +10 draft per level of negative alignment
- Your empire gains +5 imperium per level of negative alignment
- All units are recruited with +1 rank when you reach pure evil alignment
- Shock units and shield units have + rank
- Start with an extra shock unit or shield unit
Like every perk offering imperium, this is S tier.
Being evil is very easy and actually quite beneficial in an age of wonders, and pure evil alignment can be done by pillaging just one player and razing his cities. +1 rank on all units is an enormous boon. the only sour part of this amazing package is an extra draft, which is the weakest of yields by far. However knowing you gonna have it anyway, you can skip building armoury, improving your overall city economy and sequencing of buildings,
It’s true, that it’s good to be bad!
- Cities and provinces have a +2 vision range
- Scout units have universal camouflage
- outpost starts with watchtower
- You start with Wayfinder enchantment already active and with no upkeep
- Start with an extra scout unit
in a void this perk is great, and all of its bonuses have many uses. It isn’t however in the void and needs to be compared to perks that offer a 3000+ yield bonus. Free Watchtower and scout simple cannot compete with something like that
- pronouncements cost 50% less (friendship and rivalry)
- trade deals with free cities cost you 0 resources
- start with an extra scout unit
- start with diplomatic focus already researched (extra whispering stone, savings of 100 imperium)
the straight-up better version of shadow walker unfortunately still not that great, on top of extra scout, you save 100 imperium on whispering stone research, (it’s arguably more than that because it saves you from spending imperium during a very busy spending period)
It is possible, if highly unlikely to cobble up all saving to about 3k per game, putting it roughly on par with most of the other perks. it will require however some cooperation from the realm, and other npc not stealing your vassals.
I had fun roleplaying game with this perk, as shadow order hybrid diplomatic focus, however without a shadow of a doubt I could have picked a few other perks, and enjoyed greater benefits.
And at very last you get to craft yourself, your own avatar
What kind of godir are you friend?
Wizard Kings is more useful but Champion isn’t that far behind. the biggest difference in practice is a smaller casting pool. If you wanna play champion, don’t stop yourself its completely valid
- gain extra 20 stability in all cities
- gain 10% gold income in all cities
- all non-hero units gain +20% exp
- Start with +100 relation with free cities
extra stability can be very helpful, but generally speaking, you will have ways to deal with it. The main difference would be sequencing, allowing you to prioritize economy above stability a bit
Exp boost is actually very nice because it works not only with culture units but helping with t5, t4 and all evolving units
gold income is always nice and % base buffs are rare and powerful
+100 relation is close to useless, it will never make any difference in your diplomacy, hostile states will be hostile, and peaceful will be peaceful
- all cities have +10% mana income
- gain + 5 casting points per level of your ruler
- wizard kings have overchannel ability in combat allowing them to cast 2 spells in one turn, once per combat.
Mana is generally rarer than gold
you should reach level 10 by round 50 or so, wich may mean doubling of your casting points
overchannel can be used effectively, but remember your ruler needs to be present physically on the battlefield.
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