Dominions 4

Dominions 4

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A Guide to Therodos - Telkhine Spectre
By iSeenUB4
[Videos Included]
This is a guide for the Early Age nation Therodos - Telkhine Spectre. The new nation is unique in its own sense. A freespawning dominion but also boasting a harmful effect a la Ermor but yet still dependent on Gold for infrastructure and mage recruitment. Its unique twists and possibilities of summoning Telkhines, which are super powered end-game mages, are quite enticing for this nation that I believe is quite hard to play.

This guide was created to teach players how to use Therodos based on my personal reflections and research. I shall attempt to give a template for the pretender that would be open to customization and hopefully fit needs both in Single-player and Multi-player and also covering Blitzes. In my attempt in doing this, this guide will list all the basic and hopefully strategies for Therodos that I believe are efficient or useful to know in order to operate this nation into full gear. This guide will also be sectioned appropriately to inform the reader about recommended research and how to levy Therodos' units to their full potential.
The Telkhine Nation

The Telkhine nation is a new contender for the Early Ages of the Dominions universe. However I believe it is a fairly hard nation to use. Its advantages on the other hand are quite enticing.

You have access to the best forgers of the Early Age. The Daktyl and the Kabeiros have paths and abilities such as Mastersmith and Forge Bonus that provide you a variety of magical items to fit your needs. You also have access to a level 0 Skull Mentor in the form of their Spectral Philosophers, which are essentially undead counterparts to Arcocesphalean Philosophers, with your negative scales of Sloth. They represent quite a very efficient use of Death gems for the Research Points they provide. Their national spell, summon Telkhine, permits them to gain access to using the Telkhines in late game, a powerful Chassis fit to take on Super Commander and Spellcasting Duties for your dying nation.

Therodos is essentially a Late Age (That starts in Early Age) Ermor, but unlike its undead counterpart, it still has access to living Mages. In fact, they require gold like every other nation. Secondly, Therodos is essentially a land nation that starts underwater in my opinion. All your underwater forts, save from your capital, will only have the Melia available to recruit. Your coastal forts on the other hand give you access to the humans of Therodos. The Kabeiros are great forgers and capable battle mages. The troops, on the other hand, are pretty lackluster. Human sacred version of your Kobyrant might be useful if you are running a major bless however it should be noted that its recruitment is limited at 2/turn therefore making it hard to mass. Inland forts are like underwater ones, you can only recruit Melias in there.

The negative dominion and thus the negative scales taken will also catch your opponent's eye, both the AI and human players will not like having a neighbour such as you. As your Dominion will leave the lands empty and dead like Ermor. Expect to be attacked early as well as having to face alliances.

This guide has videos:
Please check out the Video section for let's plays and videos and use this guide as a reference material to help you learn Therodos
Pretender Creation

Common pretender choices are towards immobile pretenders with a major bless or titan pretenders with minor blesses or my personal preference the Ghost King. However I do believe that perhaps the Telkhine God-King would be viable in a Multiplayer setting, despite the high cost he works as a great super combatant due to his foul vapour autocast and could potentially be an awake expander in the early game and then to summoning and other magely duties.

In the end the reasons for choosing a particular chassis as Therodos lies in two areas. You could afford an awake pretender to help you expand and also gain a minor bless or you could have a sleeping immobile pretender with a major bless or two. Those scales are easily affordable due to the Dominion of Therodos, the population kill incentives you to take negative scales as you cannot counteract the effect of the Dominion with Growth scales.

  • Dominion
    The dominon needs to be at least 9, as the more candles your fortress has the more spectral infantry will spawn in that province. It also provides you minor Awe on your pretender which helps out for early expansion against independents.

  • Turmoil/Order
    Turmoil 3 is a no-brainer, the dominion kill will deplete your provinces of population and thus render order useless.

  • Production/Sloth
    Sloth 3 is beneficial to your spectral philosophers and also synergizes well with the population kill. Eventually when population reduces to abysmal numbers, the resources gained from a province will suffer as well. There used to be options to take sloth 1 or 2 due to the sacred not being limited to a couple in the previous patch, but this has been nerfed so sloth 3 is a no brainer at this point.

  • Cold/Hot
    Despite Cold 3 synergizing well with your nation, depending on your opponents in that game, it may be beneficial to head for Hot 3. Being underwater at start essentially leaves you unaffected by the penalty. But since your dominion kills everything why not add on a Cold 3 or Hot 3 scale to deter opponents from invading you?
    My personal experience in invading dominion kill nations with an extreme temperature scale is very unpleasant. You will need you gear yourself with a lot of Nature food producing items or gems in order to avoid starvation, moreover fighting in such lands are exhausting to troops with not appropriate fire or cold resistance.

  • Luck/Misfortune
    The luck 3 scale is taken to counteract the turmoil 3, it will result in booms everyonce in a while. The events can provide a lot for Therodos. The national heroes are pretty terrific. You also have a lot of cross path spellcasters who can use the gems you get from the events. And more importantly it will provide you gold to build your precious coastal forts.

  • Magic/Drain
    I personally believe that taking Magic 3 is best for Therodos, it gives you a lot of good events comboed with T3/L3 scales. It turns your spectral philosophers into research beasts. On the other hand, I also believe that Drain 1-2 is viable in shorter games or in other situations. As the Drain does give your spectral troops some additional magic resistance and also synergizes with your negative dominion. The former makes your troops more resistant to banishment and other spells and the latter makes it really annoying to invade you. However unlike Ermor, you have human mages and the drain will tax them quite heavily during battles. Drain 3 is definitely a no-no due to the fact that it unlocks horrible events that will result in gem loss. Some of the events unlocked by drain 3 take off a percentage of your laboratory gems, which in midgame can be equel to quite a lot.

Therodos has sacred units in the form of the Kobyrant, a major bless or two (or even triple) was justifiable before the nerf. Post-nerf, the Kobyrants and their human counterparts are now limited recruitment therefore making it quite hard to mass.

Another unit to keep in mind for the bless would be the Melia, your sacred commanders recruitable in all forts. They are usually used for leading Spectral troops around and casting minor buffs. However with a minor or even a major bless they can afford to be very efficient thugs.

Major Blesses
The most useful major bless in my opinion would be Nature, with Earth as a runner up and Water last. The regeneration from Nature turns your Melias into self sufficient thugs as well as giving you the option of using Sacred Shrouds for Super Commanders later on. The Earth protection is useful as well but most of its usefulness comes from the reinvigoration. Finally Water would come as a runner up for the last position, the Quickness is really handy but will eventually exhaust your troops as for the bonus Defence it is a valuable asset for thugging in general and extending the life of your sacreds.

Minor Blesses
You could also go for an awake pretender and go for several minor blesses. Earth comes in as a a strong contender for a minor bless, the reinvigoration it gives can be useful both for your battle-mages (which are all sacred) as well as your thugs (fatigue is a thug killer). Water comes in as a close second for the defence skill buff it provides. Lastly comes in Astral, mostly picked for magic diversity, astral permits us to give some much needed Magic Resistance to your thugs.


[SP - This build is used in our video series] Telkhine God-King - Awake SC and Forger
Dominion 9, Scales Turmoil3/Sloth3/ColdHot3/Death3/Luck3/Magic3
Magic Paths: Air 3, Water 2, Earth 4, Astral 5, Death 1

Once you have researched the first couple of levels of alteration and give him a helmet he is set to go. Check out the Video Section for the video on using Demonax the Telkhine God-King!

[MP - Blitz] Ghost King - Awake SC and Rainbow Mage
Dominion: 9, Scales: Turmoil3/Sloth3/ColdHot3/Death3/Luck3/Magic3
Magic Paths: Air 4, Earth 4, Astral 5, Death 4

Solid awake pretender, you could forge him an earth armor and he is set. Once you hit Mistform at Alteration 3 and Construction 4, your Ghost King can be geared out to be a stealthy Super Commander.

For middle and end game, his cross paths give you the option to forge Crystal Shields and Elemental Starves which will provide a boost to your National mages who have a lot of crosspaths as well. Rings of Wizardry are also in reach with the Astral Coin and Helm at Construction 6. His Death 4 lets you summon Bane Lords or other Undead to help you gain more diversity and also in case you were unlucky at the Daktyl recruitment roulette, he will be able to summon spectral philosophers.

[Draft Pretender] Stonehenge the Monolith - Dormat Immobile Pretender and Late-game Drop-bomb
Dominion 9, Scales T3/S3/CH3/D3/L3/M3
Magic Paths: E4, S6, D5, N9

Unit Review (Spectral Infantry and Recruitables)

Spectral Infantry (Freespawn)
Your freespawns come in 4 different flavours: The Hoplite, the Peltast, the Archer and the Kobyrant. The spectral infantry spawns in provinces that have forts and a positive dominion, higher dominion will increase the spawn of the spectral infantry. Ephors can also be used to "Call Spectres" to summon more (However I find it rather uneffective). Everyonce in a while, there is a chance that a Spectral Commander spawns. He can be used to ferry your troops around and can work as a commander in a pinch.

Unfortunately for Therodos, the freespawns are undead but have human morale (they technically don't know they are dead) meaning that they CAN route. The spectral infantry will be led by a Melia most of the time in order to gain the inspirational boost. Another disadvantage of the spectral troops is that their weapons are spectral as well, meaning that if the enemy succesfully passes a magic resistance roll versus the spectral infantry's attack then the damage is null.

Hoplite: Your frontline infantry. They come with line fighter which means that they can be put into formations without losing any morale. They are quite decent and can hold their own, quite godly for early underwater expansion, however they will quickly fall off the efficiency scale by mid-game as your opponent researches anti-undead spells such as Dust to Dust and Solar Rays. They will represent the bulk of your army until you can replace them with summons.

Peltast: Your javelineers. A spectral version of a light infantry with a javelin. They are fairly useful for early game expansion, it should be noted that those guys can toss javelins underwater. Meaning that the unarmored underwater troops (without shields and armor most of the time) will fall to the javelins. By mid-game, the peltasts retire to be part of raiding squads and will most likely not join the main armies.

Archer: Spectral archers. They are definitely a good add-on to any Therodos army and helps perform underwater expansion at a crazy rate (Underwater units are not equipped to deal with arrows) since they can shoot underwater. Their damage is also magical like every spectral weapon which is a bonus however it also means that a successfull magic resistance roll negates the attack.

Kourete: Your spectral sacreds. A weaker version of your live Kouretes, the low protection score and spectral weapon turns out to be quite ineffective for this unit. Blessing them usually puts them in berserk and out of formation. This eventually leads to their death due to not being part of the ranks and being seperated. I do not personally find them that useful.

Cap-only Mages

Daktyl - A1, W1, E2, ?1 (FAWED + FAWED%10), Mastersmith (1), 240g, Slow-to-Recruit, Sacred
Your dwarf mastersmiths, slow to recruit and fragile. Every Daktyl should be kept preciously, as they can be used to forge quite an extensive list of items. The ones with Death are the most important ones, as they are used to site-search for Death gems and summoning Spectral Philosophers. If you are really lucky and acquire a F1D1 Daktyl then you are able to forge Skulls of Fire (+1 booster).

Hekateride - 2W, 3N, 2H, 1? (AWEN + AWEN%10), Awe (6), Inspirational (2), 365g, Slow-to-Recruit, Sacred
Expensive mage, however she will be able to cast high level battlefield enchantments for your thanks to her high water and nature magic. By mid-end game, she can be used to lead magical units with morale thanks to her inspirational bonuses. Hekaterides with 4N can forge a Thristle Mace to put her at 5N to cast Mother Oak if no big Nature Nations are in-game (Since you will most likely have Alt5 for Maws of the Earth). Alternatively they can be used as quite potent mages for battlefield magic, with Bone Melter (AoE Soul Slay) and Falling Frost (Cold 3 dominion) the Hekateride can prove to be quite effective. However due to their expensive and sparse nature you should field them with extreme care.

National Mages and Commanders

Kabeiros - E1 1? (FAWE), Forge Bonus (1), Provides Resources (5), Increases Unrest (1), 125g, Sacred
The human mage of Therodos, note that he can only be recruited in coastal provinces. He is the workhorse of your nation, his forge bonus coupled with a dwarven hammer provides you cheap 2 gem items such as frost brands and girdles of might. Their cross-paths permit them to forge a variety of magical items as well. The Kabeiros is quite weak for an early age mage, however they are the only massable ones that Therodos can recruit reliably.
  • E2 - Those Kabeiros can used to field earth evocations, buffs and debuffs provided by researching Alteration and Evocation. With Summon Earth Power and an Earth Boots they can be at 4E which makes them prime casters for any types of earth spells: Earthquake, Curse of Stones, Maws of the Earth, Iron Bane. In a pinch they can also be used to summon Earth Elementals which work great against human sized enemies due to their trample and mindless traits.

  • E1F1 - These can be used to forge a variety of Earth + Fire crosspath items such as Fire Brands and Shields of Gleaming Gold. Alternatively with an earth boots, they can be used to Summon Earthpower and then Magma Eruption to help out with battlefield magic.

  • E1A1 - Your quill forgers, with a dwarven hammer they are discounted at 2 air gems a piece which is a great discount for the RP it provides. Later on, you can give them an earth boots and you will have a Rain of Stones caster.

  • E1W1 - They can be used to forge cheap frost brands and amphibian shambler skin armor for your other Kabeiros to go underwater if they need to. Alternatively they can be used to spam Frozen Heart on unsuspecting enemy thugs.

Melia - N1, ?1 (EAW), Inspirational (1), Awe (4), Decreases Unrest (1), 165g, Sacred
These lovely ladies will start off as your generals. With the innate +1 morale bonus coupled with Inspirational (1) they give your spectral troops +2 Morale right off the bat. You can add on morale boosting items such as the Helmet of Heroes and the Horn of Valor to make your spectral troops almost unroutable. Around the mid-game to end-game the Melias can start performing as really cost efficient thugs.

More on the thugging section.
Unit Review (National Summons and Heroes)
National Heroes

Axiocersa the Kabeiride - W2, N3, Inspirational (1), Awe (4), Decreases Unrest (5), Sailing, Holy 1
This national hero works as a buffed up Melia, her leadership bonuses are similar to your Melias but she comes with Sailing. It will be very useful to use her as a leader by providing morale boosting items such as the Helmet of Heroes and Horn of Valor in order to make your spectral troops resistant to morale shocks. Also her high paths in Water and Nature can work as a very good buffer for your army.

Dexithea the Telkhine - A4(5), W3(4), E3, N3, Holy 3, Healer (2), Sailing, Mastersmith (1), Shapechanger
Dexithea was recently nerfed in the recent patch, which makes her probability to spawn only activate after a certain amount of turns has passed by. Nevertheless, she is a powerful mage and also combatant similar to your Telkhines. With the added bonus of being a Healer, Dexithea is best kept in the lab for healing, forging purposes and should only be deployed when really needed. It would hurt to lose such as powerful unit. Despite being capable as a super combatants, her high magic paths would be the most beneficial using her as a battlecaster.

Lysagora the Telkhine - A4(5), W3(4), E3, D2, N2, Holy 2, Healer (1), Sailing, Mastersmith (1), Shapechanger
Lysagora is Dexithea's sister and has also been affected by the nerf to the spawn chance. She is a powerful version of her sister with Death included. She immediately provides you the option of opening up Death if it was previously unnattainable. Due to her unique nature and power, and like her sister, you should only deploy her carefully. It would be more beneficial to use her as a battlecaster rather than a combatant.

National Summons

Ephor - Sacred Reanimator, Cost: 7 Death Gems
The starting ephor will most likely become your prophet and set to Summon Spectres until he must move on to claim a throne. I believe that they are not worth spending the Death gems on to summon compared to summoning a spectral philosopher. Every once in a while they will spawn thanks to the dominion, their duties are mostly to call spectres in forts.

Spectral Philosopher - Philosopher (2), Cost: 11 Death Gems
These guys are your research batteries, I cannot stress the fact that they are really important to Therodos. Despite the recent nerf, increasing their costs, they are still powerful researchers. Summoning them essentially equals to forging a Construction Level 6 Skull Mentor (10 gems, 8 with Hammer).

A Skull Mentor provides you 18 research points for 10 Death Gems, whereas the Spectral Philosopher gives you a researcher for 11 Death Gems. The Philosopher provides you 19 research points in a Sloth 3 and Magic 3 province, but more importantly it gives you a dedictated researcher (he's not old unlike his Arcocesphaleon counterpart) to give research items to. So all in all, I believe that the Philosophers are an important summon for the success of Therodos.

Telkhine - F2, A3(4), W3(4), E3, D2, ?1 (FAWED), Mastersmith (1), Reaper (5), Sailing, Autocasts Telkhine Malediction (Foul Vapors) in battle
Spell: Summon Telkhine (Conj8) W5, A2 - 69 Water Gems.
Your late game summon, perhaps capable of rivaling Tartarian if you were able to steal the Gift of Health away. Having the insane mobility of Sailing and the ability of being kitted into a Super Combatant leaves you a variety of options on how to mobilize those Telkhines. However due to it being a late game spell at Conjuration 8, it is hard to have any practical experience in Multiplayer at the time. I shall add-on more information as it becomes available.

Spells of Interest:
- Soul Vortex
- Earthquake
- Rain of Stones
Research Priorities

Dominions 4 is an organic game, meaning that it is hard to plan and stick to specific research goals as everything is highly situational and can change depending on who you are facing. However I believe that every nation has natural synergies to certain spells, I shall list all the research goals that I deem valuable for Therodos.

Construction is a no-brainer for Therodos, the Kabeiros forgers and Daktyl mastersmiths benefit the most from this school. The brands and shields acquired at construction 4 permits you to start thugging out your Melias to supplement your armies. Later at construction 6 and upwards, you gain access to the Staff of Elemental Mastery which prove to be a very powerful booster for your multi-path low level magic paths. The possibilities of gaining Golems (Pretender) provide another useful chassis to your Super Combatant needs.

  • Construction 2 provides you Owl Quills and Dwarven Hammers, you can gain a solid research boost by crafting montly quills at 2 air gems a piece by equipping a Dwarven Hammer to a Kabeiros
  • Construction 4 provides you Frost/Fire brands and vine shields which are fundamental items to creating Melia thugs.
  • Construction 6 gives you even more research boosts and equipment. You can now forge the Lightless Lantern with a Daktyl which will provide an even better research boost than the quills. Secondly you gain access to new shields: Gleaming Gold (Awe) and Lantern Shield (Will'O'Wisp) which are new tools for thugging out your units.
  • Construction 7 gives you the option of summoning Golems. Golems are great Super Combatants with their low emcumberance and mindlessness. The forge bonuses and cheap magical items from Therodos synergizes well with this.

Alteration is the buffing school. It is needed in order to give your freespawns some leverage in power. The etherealness is great right out of the gate, adding on buffs such as protection, ironskin and liquid body helps them to gain even more standing power. Secondly, thanks to your Earth casters, alteration also provides you Maws of the Earth and other debuffs such as Curse of Stones. Maws of the Earth (Earth Meld as well) is a perfect spell for Therodos, your units are floating meaning that they will be unaffected by the Maws of the Earth so make sure to use this to your advantage.

Unlike most nations that research Enchantment for Flaming Arrows, that is not the case for Therodos. Enchantment provides a lot of utility to leverage your freespawns on the battlefield as well as a replacement for them by mid-end game. Foul Vapors synergizes well with Therodos' spectral poison-immune freespawns and spells such as Enliven Gargoyle, Claymen and Terracota Soldiers can be cast by your Daktyls and Kabeiros.

Conjuration is taken in order to gain access to Summon Earthpower early game. It is an important buff for your mages, as it provides not only +1 Earth but also Reinvigoration which helps you cast more before your mages pass out from the fatigue. Conjuration also helps by providing access to thugs chassis and summons. Eventually you will want to research Conjuration for the end game for Telkhines and elemental royalty. In battle the summon Elementals spells is powerful, ideally when you decide to you use. You want to go overkill to overwhelm the enemy. The Earth Elemental is particularly excellent at trampling human nations.
General Strategy

As a general strategy you should respect the following guidelines:
- Establish as many coastal forts as you possibly can
- Interact and conduct diplomacy with your neighbours to avoid getting ganged on
- Recruit mages as often as possible off your capitol province
- Investing in finding Death Sites or gems for summoning Spectral Philosophers is always a good investment
Early Game
Early Game and Expansion Phase
Your starting expansion army is very good, those handful of spectral infantries can expand underwater with ease and also head onto the surface without much harm. While it is highly possible to do turn 1 expansion with your starting army, it is safest to wait until the 2nd turn to know what indies you are facing. In the scenario where you have taken a powerful awake expansion God such as the Earth Serpent, you should go for a turn 1 expansion. [Except if you are planning to Turn 1 throne province expansion]

By the end of Year 1, you will want to have at least 12 provinces excluding your capital and at least one coastal fort. Coastal fortresses are CAPITAL to Therodos' success in the mid-game and thus end-game. You will NOT benefit from staying underwater, as any forts that are not coastal (a coastal fort is one province bordering a sea province) will not have anything to recruit except the Melia. Moreover due to your cap-only mages being slow to recruit, you essentially will have half of the battle mages your opponents will be fielding, therefore it is of upmost importance to get a coastal fortress up to start up your Forge factories and research.

You should ideally be recruiting Daktyls every turn with a couple of Kouretes (if your gold permits) and save up gold for more forts. Ideally you want a Daktyl with 1 in Death to be ready to summon Spectral Philosophers as you get the gems and another to sitesearch. Meanwhile for your research needs, you should be bee-lining for Construction 2 at the very least to give you access to your precious Dwarven Hammers and also Owl Quills to help out the abysmal research of Therodos. [At least until you can start summoning your Philosophers.

Towards the end of Year 1, you should prepare your sitesearchers. Make sure you have a Daktyl and a Hekateride ready by the start of Year 2 to go site-searching. You WILL NEED those magical gems by mid-game as people start researching to counter your spectral infantry. So do make use of the diverse paths that Therodos has and find those magic sites.
Multiplayer Games Tips:
If you are playing Multiplayer, you should ideally make peace with your neighbours and perhaps trade for more Death gems, as you will most likely have an excess of Water and Earth gems. Therodos wants to get as many death gems as possible and thus philosophers to catch up on research.

Mid-game Strategy:
By mid-game you should start to analyze your gems and your situation and plan your research accordingly. If you are somehow still at peace, you could bee-line straight for Construction 4 or 6 in order to get your Melia-thug-factories going. Otherwise it may be wise to head towards Alteration 5 to gain Maws of the Earth and other various buffs to bolster the survivability of your spectral troops. It is also noteworthy to try mention that Therodos can cast Mother Oak if they get a 4N Hekateride, since you are already heading for Alteration 5. It is not a bad idea to attempt to get this nice global.

Ideally for mid-game, you would want at least 3 coastal forts with high dominion spawning freespawn enough for you to disregard large losses. One advantage of freespawns is that even if a battle was a stalemate, you essentially lose 0 gold if all your commanders survive. So even though you lost a battle, you are still inflicting economical damage to your enemy. With your harmful dominion and ermorian scales, it will be a pain for anyone to siege your forts. As Therodian forts are not palisades but castles which take quite a big army to siege. Coupled with your dying dominion and death scales, no army can confortably siege your lands without nature mages or supply boosting items.

Now is the time for Therodos to plan and use their stockpiled gems, Enchantment and Conjuration gives you a lot of options to summon a frontline that can take some punishment. Take time and summon units that would help bolster your main armies, do not forget that you have buffs from alteration to help you out. Moreover at Alteration 3 and Construction 4, it is a prime time for you to deploy your Melia thugs. Ideally you will want to be forging like crazy with your Kabeiros to make use of their cheap 2gem items.
As late game approaches, you should have all the Throne provinces you conquered forted up and also with a high dominion which makes it unattractive to siege. Your spectral infantry is pretty much used as Chaff and most of your armies will have summoned units that you planned for to replace your troops by for late game.

Due to the insane amount of variables for late-game, I believe that Therodos should look onto those spells and keep their focus on building Super Commanders and gain control of the Thrones. By now, your lands should be dead and very unattractive to siege so therefore you should be heading the thrones with your kitted out combatants and casters.

Spells worth casting for Therodos:

Elemental Royalty - Water and Earth Royalty at W5 and E5 respectively.
Therodos has a good shot of getting the Elemental royalties of Earth and Water, the high paths provided by the Daktyl and Hekaride permits Therodos to forge their way to Earth 5 and Water 5. The elemental royalty can be kitted out as both Super Combatants and Battlefield mages capable of wiping out whole armies.

Summon Telkhine - W5, A2 and 69 Water Gems
As discussed previously in the Unit Review, you will eventually get to summoning your nationals which are very powerful units and are very versatile in which-ever role needs to get filled. This spell is accessible by Therodos mainly by the Pretender or National Heroes. Otherwise you will have to empower and forge boosters to reach the spell requirements.
 + + + + /
Example: A Hekateride with 2W and A1 will need boosters to get access to the national spell. With the Water Bracelet and the Robe of the Sea, she is now at W4. Next we need one more level in Water and one in Air in order to be able to summon Telkhines. Our options are either empowerment or trading with other options. If your pretender has taken Astral and can forge Rings of Wizardry you can bypass empowerment and trading and gain access to your National summon. Another option is to use the Staff of Elemental Mastery which requires A4E4 or W4F4

Golems - S3, E2 at Construction 7 for 30 Astral Pearls. S2
Only accessible if you have invested in Astral and Earth for your pretender. Golems are viable and strong super combatant chassis that can be outkitted with the items forged by Therodos for cheap. Alternatively, giving an Earth Coin and an Starshine Skullcap to the Golem puts him at S4 letting him cast Turn 1 Astral Tempest on your enemy with 4 Astral Pears. The option to teleport with a Starshine Skullcap provides him extra mobility over armies and should not be ignored.

Vengeful Water - W7, Global Enchantment at Thaumaturgy 7, 70 Water Gems
This is accessible to Therodos if you have Rings of Wizardry and had a lucky roll on a W4 Hekateride. With the Water Bracelet, Robe of the Sea and the Ring, she will be directly at W7. Otherwise the other option of getting to it would be to summon a Water Queen and have her cast the global enchantment with the boosters.
Thugging and Synergies for Therodos
Synergies and Combos
Your spectral troops and readily accessible Earth and Air Kabeiros, and Water & Nature Hekaterides give you access to a few powerful spells that synergises well with the Floating and Ethereal nature of your freespawns.

- Foul Vapors N3W1 at Ench5 for 1 Nature Gem
You have undead units and your Melias have natural Poison Resistance thanks to having 1 in Nature. Your troops are immune to poison, and you can recruit Hekaterides that can cast it as they get out of the fort. It synergizes well with the Spectral Infantry and is a definitely good strategy against armies who do not have Poison Resistance.

- Earthquake - E4, Evocation 5 - 3 Earth Gems
Castable by your E3 Daktyls after Summon Earthpower, alternatively gearing out an E2 Kabeiros with Earth Boots (+1E) will also make it castable. Its a spell that affects the whole battlefield and destroys human armies if done properly. Thanks to "Floating", a trait that all your Spectral Infantries have, they are immune to Earthquake and thus unaffected. Adding a Ring of Levitation is mandatory to allow the mage to survive.

- Rain of Stones - E3, A1, Evocation 7 - 1 Earth Gem
This spell counters human armies like no tomorrow unless they script a Turn 1 Fog Warriors. This is a direct counter to Communions and moreover it synergizes well with the Spectral Infantry due to them being Ethereal. I would not recommending risking Daktyls to cast this spell. Instead you would be best to give the job to disposable Kabeiros with an Air pick. They would be able to do it on Turn 2 by casting Summon Earthpower on the first turn with an Earth Gem (Making him into E2A1), and then casting a Turn 2 RoS with another couple of Earth Gems. As him being at E2 permits him to use two earth gems, so one is used to make him into E3 (just for this spell cast) and the other is used for the spell requirement of one gem. Note that this tactic should be used with multiple E1A1 Kabeiros as the mage will definitely go unconcious after casting this spell.

- Grip of Winter is another battlefield enchantment that is usable by Therodos. However it is situational, depending on your enemies and your scales you may not really benefit from using Grip of Winter. Ex: Fighting Cold Resistance Units such as Niffleheim

I will attempt to give you a brief overview of thugging and provide you examples with every variety of Melia that Therodos can recruit.

Thugging and Super Combatants are units that can perform specific tasks and they are commanders. Super Combatants are commanders capable of soloing whole armies if equipped properly and scripted. Thugs have a more humble role where commanders specialize in certain roles. More importantly, using thugs is only efficient when you can efficiently forge the items they need to perform their role.

The roles I intend to thug the Melias out are:
- Raiding
The ability for a Melia or two to go solo small province defense and raid the enemy provinces.
- Army Support
Your spectral troops' magical weapons have a disadvantage at times, mixing Melias in your armies provide an additional punch to your damage output.
- Anti-thug
Very specific role, these Melias are equipped to hunt down other Thugs and forgo defenses to go for high single damage.

Here a few important pointers I believe are essential to thugging out any unit:
- Layers of Defense

Due to how the mechanics of the game is, even if you have a really high defense of 30, but you are facing about 20 attacks a turn. That number is severely reduced down, meaning that even though an enemy with a weak attack skill of just 10 eventually will be able to hit you because you are rolling at a lower defence due to it being the 20th attack. [For a visual example, take a thug and send him against a high province defense and press 3 on the battle screen. Take note that the defence goes down as he receives more attacks in a turn]

Which is why layers of defense such as: [These are only a few examples]
• Awe
Awe will reduce the number of attacks you receive and thus a reduction in the penalty defense you receive is reduced.
• Etherealness
Ethereal units only receive 25% of normal attacks. Magical weapons ignore this though.
• Mistform
Mistform will make all attacks deal 1HP unless it is a particularly high damage hit, which will then dispel Mistform.
• Regeneration
Regeneration gives you HP back every round based on a percentage of the units' maximum HP.

The Major Bless Effects of Nature provide your sacred commanders with 10% Regeneration which is powerful for thugging and SC purposes.

- Fatigue Management

Fatigue is important, very important, I have lost so many thugs and SCs because I have not managed fatigue properly. As fatigue increases for every action based on the encumberance score and magic. You increase your chances of receiving a critical hit, this can often mean life or death for thugs and SCs.

Therefore that is why spells such as Summon Earthpower and items providing reinvigoration such as the Girdle of Might and Boots of the Messenger are often given to thugs and SCs for fatigue management.

The Minor Bless effect of Earth provides reinvigoration, which is a great buff for any sacred thug or super combatant to manage their fatigue. Note that this effect stacks with the reinvigoration that items provide.

- Efficient Thugging
Ideally for your thugs you want to be spending the least amount of gems possible for the work that they perform. A budget of about 7-10 gems is a fair range for efficient thugging, some extreme examples can be close to 5 gems and some gold. You want Dwarven hammers to reduce your forging costs as much as possible. Think of it on a timeline, you save 2 gems forging with a dwarven hammer, those two gems can represent two turns of waiting if your income was at +1 only. You want to as little gems as possible to get capable thugs.
Your Kabeiros with the Forge Bonus of (1) and easy access to Dwarven Hammers (Forge Bonus 2) provide provide you a total of 3 gems discount on every forge. And the crosspaths that Kabeiros have often provide a lot of forging options.
Thugging the Melia

Your Melias come with a super layer of defense in the form of Awe (4). This Awe is four times more powerful than pretenders get for investing in a 9 Dominion score. And the different types of crosspaths the Melia can acquire opens a variety of buffs.

Standard Loadout: Frost/Fire Brand and Girdle of Might, optional: Magical gems

The Brands are the standard loadout kit for thugs intending to raid small province defense. It is also used for SCs when they are deployed to deal with whole armies. The Girdle of Might provides a Reinvigoration bonus to your media for fatigue management purposes. Given your forge bonuses, this is a total investment of 2 Water Gems and 2 Earth Gems for the Frost Brand and Girdle of Might respectively.

Situational: Shields and other items

Shields such as the Vine Shield add an additional layer of protection to the Melia against Morale ignoring chaff such as the Longdead. Similarly the Charcoal Shield deals 7AN fire damage to the undead as unlike Awe your Vine Shield and Charcoal Shields proc on hit. The Vine shield does not negate a hit then entangle, it rolls against your defense and then gets entangled. You still suffer the penalty.

Other items such as the Axe of Hate and the Elf Bane are items used to specialize in fighting other thugs. You will most likely be dual-wielding weapons and hunting down thugs and avoiding armies as they are not geared to look after defense.

Now here is a list of what each Melia can cast in battle to improve their thugging abilities.
  • N1A1 Melias
    These are your mistform thugs, with an air gem these ladies can cast mistform to provide an added layer of protection and take on quite considerable amount of enemies. Comboes well with Rain of Stones
  • N1W1 Melias
    With the ability of casting Liquid Body and maybe Quicken Self [Careful about the fatigue]. These Melias can fight underwater and on the surface without much trouble.
  • N1E1 Melias
    These Melias can buff up their protection with Ironskin and other Earth spells bringing her protection in the ranges of 20+ with an Earth Gem she can also cast Summon Earthpower for additional reinvigoration. Similarly they are resistant to Rain of Stones as it deals Physical Blunt damage and your protection can reduce it.

The following blesses have worked very well with my experience with Therodos so far:
- Major Nature Bless
The regeneration is great for thugging purposes, it also gives you the option to use Shroud of the Saints (at Astral gems a piece) to give any chassis the regeneration bonus.

-Minor Blesses

Earth: Reinvigoration is always handy for fatigue management and contribute to your thugs and their survival. The major bless for +5 added protection seems to be a waste for Therodos.
Water: A minor water bless adds some Defence skills to your Melias and providing them another boost to their survivability even though it is one of the weakest defences.
Countering Therodos

Dominion: Your only option is either preventing them from coming onto the lands and an aggresive use of priests to preach the dominion away is what must be done on the early game.

Spectral Infantry: They fall out of use as the game progresses forward, great expanders and decent fighters out of the gate as well as freespawns. However as the game progresses forward research to deal with them is easier unlocked and accessed.

Spells such as Dust-to-dust, Solar Rays and Banishment are all counters to the spectral infantry. Otherwise a major Fire or Death bless, or equipment that provides magical damage are also a good counter in the early game.

Thugs: Unless Therodos has a source of Astral mages (either through the pretender or finding one), the thugs are vulnerable to being sniped by rituals. The lack of Astral on Therodos is an apparent weakness that prevents them from accessing the late game.

Attacking Therodos: Taking on Therodos' lands and capital are going to be hard if he is already established. As the Dominion kill effect progresses forward, the lands become barren and supplies are scarce. You either preach away the dominion early and invest in priests, or bring nature mages and supply generating items for those long sieges.

Economic Warfare: Therodos is always gold-hungry and their dominion kill does not help them as the game progresses forward. Their only option is to invest into summons, raids and economic ritual spells are all viable tactics to impede on Therodos' transition into the late-game.
Video Section

Dominions 4: EA Therodos SP Let's Play Guide
This is a series that is an add-on to the guide, I am playing a single-player game versus 7 impossible AIs as Therodos. The video shows the basic tactics used by Therodos represented in the guide.

Dominions 4: EA Therodos Multiplayer Blitz
This is a series where I am using Therodos in a Blitz Multiplayer game. Note that blitzes are usually faster games (played in 3-5 hours compared to month-long games) and people tend to rush and get the game over with.

Dominions 4: EA Therodos SP with Growth Scales
This is the original let's play with Therodos, in an attempt to fix the gold and pop-kill problem by countering it with growth and order scales. This attempt shows why it is not a viable strategy for Therodos as the Population-kill is stronger than the bonuses provided by the Growth scales and cannot be countered.

The Definitive Guide to Dominions 4
This series covers the basic concepts of Dominions 4 in concise videos. It will teach you the ropes of the game which will then permit you to experiment on your own.
Currently empty, will be updated and filled out as new questions arise
Author Information

Hello I am iSeenUB4, part-time YouTuber and long time fan of the Dominions series. I have been playing Dominions since the first release of the game, and have been on the Shrapnel forums and around a couple of other forums but mostly as a lurker.

This is my guide to Therodos, a new addition to the family of Dominions' nations. The unique theme and somehow mistaken identity of the nation can result in very interesting strategies.

Why this guide?
Dominions itself is a very deep and vast game, multiplayer adds a whole new level of content to the already abundant single player of the game. Therodos however tends to be tricky due to the fact that it is a popkill nation that requires gold to recruit its mages. This guide helps to give pointers to see Therodos and their advantages that they have and how to employ these resources. Moreover it acts as a reference sheet about interesting facts and comboes that I have discovered and performed as Therodos.

This under-appreciated and perhaps underpowered land nation that starts underwater has quite a few surprises and I hope it will motivate people to try their hands out at Therodos and contribute their findings for discussion and updating this guide.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed reading the guide as much as I enjoyed writing it. Feel free to contact me whichever way your prefer. Comment on the guide, send me a message on Steam or drop by my YouTube Channel!

You can follow me on Twitter @iSeenUB4
Visit my YouTube Channel for more Dominions 4 content at
manu25ko Aug 13, 2022 @ 3:38pm 
Gorgeously put together! What a beautiful read. Pleasant and very well formatted. I seriously mean it. Well done.
Ball Hair Dec 14, 2020 @ 11:30pm 
Great Guide :)
Mali Belizec Mar 31, 2019 @ 10:44am 
That was a great guide and very interesting read.
The Enclave Dec 11, 2018 @ 10:02pm 
Is there any chance this guide might be brought over to dom5?
Kcat42 Jan 19, 2018 @ 9:03pm 
Raven feast will not work in underwater provinces so you can't use it on the capital. EA provinces outside the capital tend to have lower populations as well. Furthermore your archmage option underwater is a pathetic, aquatic, water based one. The fire arch mage is reserved for nations that start above water.
iSeenUB4  [author] Jan 19, 2018 @ 8:40pm 
@MarkOfWisdom I am glad you find this helpful! Therodos has suffered from being badly designed from the start as well as hit by an unecessary nerf hammer. Whereas other popkill nations tend to go out of control. Therodos does the exact opposite where its not even strong to start with and has a lot of trouble to snowball
iSeenUB4  [author] Jan 19, 2018 @ 8:39pm 
@ArdaSevanoS thanks for your support man! I started creating a couple of basic guides targeted towards teaching new players how to play on my youtube at

By the end of the series I hope to have taught everyone the basics so new player's aren't afraid to experiment :rufussmile:
MarkofWisdom Jun 24, 2017 @ 9:13pm 
Love the guide, it really helps give ideas on where to start and what to aim for as a baseline for this bizarre nation. Most of the nations that have DomKill effects are less popular for good reason, but the Telkhine seem to be even worse off because of being in the era of super powerful magic casters everywhere, as well as having conflicting needs like living units and gold needed for mages while LA Ermor's DomKill and units are synergistic and help each other, especially since you only need gold in LA Ermor for forts, labs and temples
Halkrath May 22, 2017 @ 3:35pm 
Hey man I really like your videos and this guide was awesome and very well-detailed! I believe I speak for the most of the struggling newbies when I say that we would LOVE to see such guides for every nation!
iSeenUB4  [author] Jan 31, 2017 @ 7:42pm 
@Grekhaus I usually avoid Order 3 as the pop-kill is too much to make it worth using. Otherwise the Misfortune 3 + Death 3 unlocks very nasty random events that I would rather avoid. On the other hand, I have to admit I have not tried Raven Feast rushing to get more Death Gems over site-searching for them