Jarenth Plays: Warlock: Master of the Arcane — Episode 9: Anti-Freeze

In the previous installment of I Don’t Know Either Why I Won’t Just Say ‘This LP’, I rushed headlong into a city battle with Nicolas Frost, a.k.a. ‘Wizard Santa’. Given that at time of writing my city is in the grip of a modest early summer, I’m strangely reluctant about beating up a guy named Frost. Maybe we can be friends instead? And he could send a magical blizzard this way? That would be cool, no pun intended.

It’s probably not going to go this way, though. I guess I’ll have to settle for second best: taking all his cities and riches and striking his name from the annals of history.

Look at this kickass empire. Isn't it cool?

Another day, another build order. I build…

…actually, let me just stop right there. The game’s gotten to the point where I’ll often have multiple cities build-ready per turn, and most of the things I build there aren’t exactly exciting. It’s as boring for me to write ‘and then I built a Craftsmen District and two Farms’ as it is for you to read them. So from now on, I will only highlight the interesting buildings: unit construction (that we haven’t seen before often) and special resources. If I don’t mention a particular city, but you happen to notice that it’s increased in population, that means I’ve built generic resource buildings and/or increasers there. Mana Traps, Granaries, Tax Offices, you get the idea.

With that in mind, this turn I build nothing interesting.

Go away, Fishing Village! Nobody's interested in your shenanigans!

I keep punching on the city of Dracford, after summoning a Rune of Protection in an attempt to draw city fire. Yes, it’s a little cheesy to abuse AI targeting quirks to abuse losses. But you know what? You can choose to not use it, and then you can be the one bringing the obituaries to the grieving Goblin widows. Or Rat widows, as the case may be. I’m fairly certain Bats don’t marry, but we might be getting off-topic at this point.

I use my Bats to scout, and all they find in range is one unit of Wizards. Which makes it all the more surprising when Frost’s turn rolls around, and suddenly, three units of Swordsmen just appear.

I'm not being melodramatic. They didn't walk in or anything. They just *appeared*.

Between three Warriors, those Wizards, city fire and that Magic Tower Frost is currently building, my chances have suddenly taken a turn for the worse. I queue up a Firestorm spell, only to find it has a two-turn cast time. Time for a tactical retreat, then: I leave one weakened Goblin Spearman as a sacrifice (I in no way just sent it the wrong way) and send the rest of my units up a little, hoping to draw the Swordsmen out and stall for time so more of my units can arrive. I contend myself with building an Enchanter’s Workshop in Viperhall (giving the Enchanted Weapons perk that does something mysterious) and Research-boosting Excavations in Doomford.

If you’ve ever played Risk, you might be familiar with the mental trap of ‘I need to at least get one win!‘. Hungry for some battle prowess, I order my Zombies and Imps in the east to attack pretty much anything close-by, without looking. This proves a costly mistake as the Imps charge a unit of Monster-eating Spiders, uphill on bad terrain (both of which grant +50% combat strength). Imps are fairly weak even when at full health, and even though these Imps had seen their fair share of battles, the ill-advised attack kills them instantly.

They died as they lived: surrounded by fire and monsters.

Damnit. I know they were Imps, and as such inherently weak and disposable, but they’d been with me since the early days, and I feel bad for getting them killed due to carelessness. Rest well, Imps: I will avenge your needless deaths.

In brighter news, Operation Pretend To Run Away Like A Coward has been pretty effective, and Frost has even been so kind as to leave his troops in a closely grouped formation. I rain a Firestorm down upon them, then move my troops back in, in-formation and ready for battle. Let’s see how he reacts to this.


Predictably, he reacts by blasting the living hell out of my Rune of Protection. Oh, Warlock AI. Never change.

Seriously, what did stationary objects ever do to this game's AI?

I reply to that, obviously, by just summoning a second set. Have fun being useless, Magic Tower!

"Haha, I'm breaking your system!" -- Me, talking to my computer.

Then, more wailing on Dracford. Frost has the right idea by putting one unit of Warriors in the city, but now that my tricked-out Elven Archers have arrived — and with both my Vampires and Noble Werewolves in close pursuit — it’s really only a matter of time. Unless he pulls some amazing army ace from somewhere, but at this point I don’t see that happening.

It doesn't happen.

That’s one Frost city down, with some money and a unit of Stubborn Knights for my troubles. I quickly build a Magic tower on the border with Ravenhood, a 9-population city close by. There’s three more cities in sight: 2-Population Norcastle in the south, and 5-Population Garuta and 4-Population Icebridge in the north. None of these cities are Frost’s capital, though, implying that his capital will be larger — and therefore, more dangerous — than ghost-man’s. I build a Magic Bazaar in Burnlin, research the incredibly pointless Fireball spell (which only takes 2 turns, and is therefore mostly chosen to free up a spot) and only then remember that I got a unit of Stubborn Knights. Are they cool?

I'd say they're kinda cool.

And… that’s really it for this episode! I may have only captured one city, but it came at heavy (if unrelated) losses. I now have a foothold in Frost’s territory, I have a bead on four of his cities, and if all goes according to plan, I’ll be sipping fancy cocktails in the smoking ruins of his capital before my turn total hits triple digits.

Next installment: *Most* things go according to plan.


  1. “Maybe we can be friends instead? And he could send a magical blizzard this way? That would be cool, no pun intended.”
    Temperatures did drop by the time of posting, so that’s cool.
    (hey, if you’re not going to make it..)

    “I use my Bats to scout, and all they find in range is one unit of Wizards. Which makes it all the more surprising when Frost’s turn rolls around, and suddenly, three units of Swordsmen just appear.”
    And that’s what I was not-spoilering last post. They do this *all the time*. You really need to rush in a Flying scout with 5+ movepoints and a three-tile sight range to see any of their army and just off-screen it with an Apocalypse or whatever to prevent that.
    You were pretty lucky it’s just three Swordsmen, too. I usually get up to six units around that point. Guess he was otherwise occupied?

    The reason they can do this, by the way, is because units move a lot faster in home territory. They technically did move, but they weren’t on screen when they started moving, so it looked like a teleport.

    “(I in no way just sent it the wrong way)”
    By far my biggest gripe is how small the Defend button’s hitbox feels to me. I mis-click that one moderately frequently and send units to their deaths (or waste a turn, which is about as bad). Blargh.

    “None of these cities are Frost’s capital, though, implying that his capital will be larger”
    They have been playing as long as you have. Odds are, their capital is around the same size. It’s skewed only a little by food shortages, and less likely by a Prosperity spell too.

    Stubborn Knights are nuts. The Elven archer equivalent of melee units. Fairly cheap, very effective, but easier to acquire (Donkeys seem to be ridiculously common, unlike Elven villages). Their high base damage means they benefit quite noticably from all the damage buffs.

    1. I appreciate you not spoiling it, then. I was really taken by surprise by this development.

      Prosperity is the only spell I’ve ever seen Frost casting on the Diplomacy screen. His capital will likely be a little larger than mine.

      I technically wrote this post two weeks ago, when there was still a halfway heatwave going on. Does this mean I peered into the future, determined that it would be cooling off at this time, and timed the post around it? Probably.

  2. I’ve never used Stubborn Knights. I’m not exactly certain why. I think it’s because I usually jump at the chance for 10 gold production bonus in the early stages and then don’t find the next donkey resource until much later.

    Also Undead and Beast can eat ass.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *