I would like to start this guide on how to become a strong summoner as a Soothsayer. I've come across this idea the first time I found a scroll "Call of Nature". Because I often play summoner/necromancer characters in RPG's, I decided to see if KB offers this way of game play as well. Before you hate or like this post, note that I'm not through with the game yet. So I don't know who well it performs in the endgame.
The key to play as summoner is, of course, to summon minions to your aid. Important as summoner, or mage in general, is initiative in fights. If you don't get the first turn, you may already have lost. To get this, use units with high initiative and boost it further with some might skills. But more to that later in the skills section. There are a couple of summoning and useful spells in KB and I'm going to list and comment them now:
SpellsCall of NaturePath of Magic:
20 / 30 / 40Effects:
Summons creatures of level 1 - 2/3/4 with total leadership of X to your aid.
Probably the first summoning spell you will come across in KB. The leadership and thus the strength of your spell seems to be linked to your intellect and probably as well creation. At least your own leadership does not influence this skill at all. I would not recommend using it as I consider it a waste of crystals and mana for one reason: If the spell summons a horde of Dragonflies or other lvl 1 creatures in a battle against an equally strong or stronger opponent, you're practically doomed to lose.Summon PhoenixPath of Magic:
20 / 25 / 35Effects:
Summons a Phoenix to your aid. There may only be one Phoenix.
A very useful summon for three reasons: First of all it is probably your strongest summon. Secondly the initiative and speed is great for a summon. You enable the Phoenix to quickly get to the other side of the battlefield in your first turn, which makes it very likely, that the enemy ignores your other units and attacks the Phoenix instead. Lastly, the Phoenix may be resurrected as a unit's skill once it's dead and it would be it's turn.Book of EvilPath of Magic:
20 / 25 / 30Effects:
Summons a book which can cast destruction or negative spells upon the enemy. Needs to be fed to gain charges for spells.
My personal favourite summon. It does quite devestating damage with spells from time to time and despite it being classified as somewhat of a mage, it's formidable in melee and the one with least mana cost. While you do not want the book to feed on your own units (which get completely swalloed and vanish) you can let it attack (counter attack does not count) an enemy in melee to yield one charge of spell. It is quite slow however and if used as first summon, it's spells are too dangerous to use since if it casts chain lightning and the enemy already got closer to you, you will yourself suffer many casualties. So use it as a melee fighter or get close enough to the enemy in the first round to summon it right around your enemies.Demon PortalPath of Magic:
15 / 25 / 35Effects:
Spawns a demon portal that will generate a demon troop of level 3 - 3/4/5 after one round.
This one is particularly good on arenas with many obstacles because the portal counts as obstacle where no friend or foe may walk through. Otherwise it's a decent summon, but you can never know what you getfrom level 3-5.Ice BallPath of Magic:
20 / 25 / 35Effects:
Creates an ice ball to your services. There may only be one iceball.
Despite looking damn awesome, I don't really like it because of the way it works. Similar to the Horsemen skill the ice ball gets 100% damage increase for every cell passed. It's good for charging in and deal good damage in one go, but the damage after is pretty below average. It has a speciality though that makes it cool to watch: It theoretically has unlimited speed, but it stops (and does damage) when it hits any sort of obstacle, be it friend, foe or just the border of the arena.PermafrostPath of Magic:
15 / 25 / 35Effects:
Spawns an egg in a chosen location which will hatch Scrugg warriors of level 3 / 4 / 4 after one full round.
This summon I consider really useless because the egg can be destroyed much like a statue or a cursed cross. Enemies like to hit it first so you will only waste mana. The warriors itself are average and can be melee or mage.PhantomPath of Magic:
15 / 20 / 25Effects:
Makes a copy of the selected unit for 3 rounds with X% of the original unit's health.
Not really a summon spell, but still something to add warriors. The X seems to be related to your characters level. Can be useful if you have creatures, that summon other creatures on their own like the Ice Dragon. This could enable yourself to spawn pretty big armies fast. If you'd like to go on a melee mage tour, why not ;)Calm ragePath of Magic:
1 / 1 / 1Effects:
Converts up to 35 / 45 / 55 Rage into 19 / 25 / 32 Mana
Not a summon, but believe me, in long boss fights you will love this spell. Your summons are really strong but at some point they will die and if your mana pool runs dry you're gone. It will probably make you not use rage abilities just to get that extra mana boost.Edit: New opinion about this spell - higher ranks than rank one are a waste in my opinion since I found an artifact that transforms 5 rage into mana at the start of each round and enables me to get a mana regeneration of 13 per round + any mana for dead troops. Which is usually by far enough to end a battle with full mana and rage. So you can save up some skill points by not using Distortion magic 3.SacrificePath of Magic:
20 / 30 / 40Effects:
Damages a friendly unit to restore health and and add units of another troop.
Not a summon, but you could get any unit you want increased in numers. Especially useful with creatures you can't buy any more.ResurrectionPath of Magic:
10 / 20 / 30Effects:
Heals and resurrects units in one troop of level 1 - 2/3/4
If you are lazy like I am and do not like to walk over to merchants in order to fill your stocks of troops if a battle goes not as you planned and take losses, you can use resurrection instead. Could be combined with the sacrifice tactic to revive sacrificed units.
I will not describe skills because everyone can read their description on their own. If it is a special skill, I will add a comment to it. I will only write down the essential ones. Every addition is of course only benefitial.Might
Onslaught 3 - Initiative is most important for mages to get the first turn at all costs
Quick Draw 3 - More initiative for archers, more chance to get the first turn.Mind
Nothing really required here, but Learning on 3 is useful to level up quickly. Scouting is nice as well to get some extra intellect and intel.Magic
Order Magic 3 - For your Phoenix summon
Chaos Magic 3 - For the majority of your spells
Transmute 3 - A summoner without mana is pretty much a dead summoner
Concentration 3 - See above
Creation 3 - Phoenix and Book of evil summons get increased power by enhancing Creation
Note that I didn't list Alchemy here because in my opinion you will not use it. You don't need to learn many more spells because I would simply spawn more and more summons rather than strengthening them. Many spells also don't affect Mind immune and level 5 units, those you will have. The Stat boosting skills are really important as well of course, but not as much as being able to cast summons. Higher Magic is not required in my opinion, unless you'd want to summon two level 2 books of evil rather than one level 3 one.
In general I like to have units with very high health and probably as well regeneration capabilities like trolls in order to not have losses when that mean enemy archer targets them instead of your summons. But because you're going to take the Quick draw skill, which increases archer's attack, you probably want some long range archers as well. My personal favourites are:Ice Dragon
Very durable if not fighting fire, high initiative. Able to summon one companion that has a 30% probability of escaping a blow. Good for fetching treasures and getting an extra tanking unit in the way. Probably going to be replaced with Demonologists.Black Dragon
Lowers initiative of level 1-4 enemies by 1, high initiative. Good for fetching treasures and keeping the first turn over the whole fight.Cyclops
Sniper with bad initiative and average damage, but high life. Good to take out bone creatures. Durability makes them somewhat of a more tanky archer.Ranger
Sniper with good initiative and exellent damage, but low life. The best archer I've discovered so far. Bad against bone creatures, but above average against anything else.Royal Thorn
A ranged unit that summons it's own little minions and good damage at medium life. This unit is like little necromancer itself. Every 4 rounds it summons either Thorn Warriors or Thorn Hunters. Thorn Warriors are extremely powerful melee units if they reach an enemy unharmed. They have one charge of a special ability to turn any fallen troop into either Thorn Warriors or Thorn Hunters. Thorn Hunters are a short ranged unit that has the same speciality as the Thorn Warrior. All in all a very versatile unit.
Rare unit management
As you can see, I rely on rare units and you might wonder, where I do get them. Well, as I didn't play the game through yet, I don't know many more locations to buy them from than in Verland Wastelands and Arlania, but with a simple trick, it should be possible to gain an infinite numbers of almost any unit in the game.
You will need:
- A (very) weak enemy
- Spell "Sacrifice"
- Spell "Resurrection"
If you see a weak enemy and you're short in a specific other unit like black dragons, attack that enemy and occupy him with a mighty Phoenix. You probably shouldn't even let him and your ranged units attack the enemy as he dies far too quickly if you do.
While your enemy is busy fighting your Phoenix, you may sacrifice your rangers or any other troop resurrection works on. You now have more of another troop and an almost dead donator troop. In the coming rounds, use resurrection on the sacrificed troop until it's fully replenished. That will usually take 2 rounds of resurrecting. While doing that, make sure that your Phoenix does not kill the whole enemy by sending him back and forth that the enemy troop never gets far enough to actually hit your Phoenix and cause a counter attack.
This sounds very simple and it also is simple, but you need to be careful for one reason: Sacrifice can give you more units in a troop than you can support with your leadership. If the difference is not that big, you will simply lose control of that troop and the computer steers it. However, if the difference is pretty big, the said troop turns hostile and attacks you instead. Even if your enemy is killed you won't win the fight until you diminished your own troop again at least to the size where to computer steers it. So for sacrificing you will sometimes rather want to use the level 2 or even 1 version of the spell (Shift + Spell / Ctrl + Spell) in order to prevent disaster.
Note though that some special units can't be reproduced using the described tactic. The only known case so far is the Ice Dragon. It probably is because he is highly resistant to magic.
Also note that the resurrection spell does not work on quite a big palette of units. You can't resurrect Cyclops, Ice Dragons, Green Dragons and Royal Thorns. My guess is that only troops belonging to the main races are resurrectable. I wasn't able to resurrect a beast unit so far and I suppose that undead won't work either. The latter I haven't been able to test yet though.
Opportunist on purpose
I recognized that sometimes my Book of Evil hypnotizes an enemy troop, which is under my command for several rounds then. I did not really like to actually fight with them, but suddenly I had a very wretched idea. And it showed that my idea was working as I hoped and more evil than I could imagine. I used sacrifice on the hypnotized troop and gained some own warriors. Of course, one must still be careful not to overdo it and get rioting troops, but still it's a very useful tool of getting rid of the charmed enemy. An alternative and for lower amounts of hypnotized troops one can as well use them to feed the Book of Evil. It swallows the troop whole, killing it in the process while benefitting of the meal.
For those of you bored playing summoner or who simply whish to get the gameplay to a the next level, get the Hypnosis spell on level 3 and tear your enemy apart in even unfairer ways.
Items of Interest
I will list items here that I personally find really useful. For the rest of your items make sure that you've got minimum 65 mana to summon a Phoenix and a Book of Evil and focus all the rest of your items on intellect. Your summons will become much stronger just by increasing intellect and since they are your main damage dealers and tanking units, you should care for that.Rage Eater
Found in: Merlassar in a shop (probably fixed, as it is part of a set and I've found it there as well in another play through)
Description: During combat, the Rage Eater takes 5 points of Rage and transforms them into mana.Living Book
Found in: Merlassar in a shop
+ 2 Intellect
+ 20% power of the spells Demon Portal, Permafrost and Call of Nature
Play StylePhase I
You don't have any summoning spells yet and need to rely on your army's strength. First island (Nordlig) will be very likely exclusively Phase I.
On your turn use Magic Missile on the enemy's ranged units. If he's got Necromancers, they are your target nr. 1. Wait with advancing your units until the enemy has moved close enough that you reach them with possibility to strike. I used Defensive rune and rage skill to get maximum damage at minimum losses with Berserkers. Stat focus is mostly on intellect to boost your only destructive spell. If possible no fights against targets stronger than "slightly weaker".Phase II
You found a scroll of Book of Evil, Summon Phoenix or Demon Portal and learned the spell. You use it on your first and every following turn and concentrate the fire of your own ranged warriors on the enemy's ranged. In this Phase you will still have losses from time to time, but they are surely smaller than in Phase I. You shouldn't use the Book of Evil's spells yet as they can easily kill half your own troops through an unlucky chain lightning. You will now likely be looking to get enough mana to cast at least 2 summons. If possible, no fights against targets stronger than "slightly stronger"Phase III
You now have at least Summon Phoenix and Book of Evil as Spells on level 3. You can fight efficiently and take losses only rarely because your initiative is still not yet good enough and some enemies might outrun yours. Your first summon is from now on Phoenix, which you send right into the enemy's lines on it's turn. On every round after, you summon Books of evil right in front of the enemy. They will not run towards your own units. Still direct your summons and ranged fighters against the enemy's archer and mages as they are the least predictable. Use Book of Evil's spells with great care: Between your enemy and your summons must be a space of 4 empty cells in order for safe use of the spell. Otherwise you might end up with a dead own army. Stat wise you should now begin to focus on Intellect again. It makes your summons so much stronger and you're going to have around 75 mana now anyway with some mana recovering abilities from the skill tree. If possible no fights against targets stronger than very strong.Phase IV
You now also have the skills Onslaught and Quick Draw on level 3. You now always get the first turn and can send your Phoenix into battle efficiently enough that you have no losses at all. Proceedure is the same as in Phase III. You can now fully use your Book of Evil to your likes as it's highly unlikely that there are less than 4 free cells between you and your enemy. Now it's only: Go for Intellect. More mana is not necessary. I had 120 in this phase and it never got near depletion. If possible no fights against targets stronger than deadly. Look out to get good archers or mages for your army.Phase V
Final Phase. You now have the Valkyrie Regina and her ability "Regina's Messenger". Use it on your first turn at the enemy lines. Your summon in the first round is now your choice and depends on your enemy's attack element and what he's weak against. You now might consider using also other summons (I haven't tested their strength yet). Be careful though that you summon something at the enemy lines because one hit and your lava golem from Regina's Messenger ability is blown to oblivion.
I really like to play a summoner. I can win battles against very strong and even deadly enemies at no losses. Getting far enough to get the right scrolls IS difficult and I'm speaking about normal difficulty. You will have losses there and I guess there's no way around it. I will keep you up to date to tell you if this playstyle also works in the endgame.