Dominions 4

Dominions 4

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EA Caelum: Aerial Cavalry
By Shinuyama
How to kill people as EA Caelum, a lot.
Caelum - The Man, The Bird, The Legend
Caelum, all three nations by that name, are based on Zoroastrian and Middle-Eastern myth, at least in part. You play as bird-men, descended from the glorious Yazata and the inglorious Daeva, the servants of the two great powers of Zoroastrian legend that clash eternally as signposts of Good and Evil.

What makes this important in the world of dominions is that you can fly, and other people cannot.

The Fighting Birdman: Aerial Piracy Edition
See, if your enemy can't catch you (because you can fly), they can't fight you. And if they can't catch you, you can raid their lands with impunity. So you have - all their money, all their gems, all their mobility, and you have it for zero cost. See where i'm going with this? It's the same place I go to with Vanheim. To control movement is to limit your opponent's choices. To take their economy places them in a time pressure, which further limits their choices.

An opponent with limited choices is one that has to out-think you in order to win.

Because you get to decide where to fight them, and therefore the force strengths in play - you can see what gems and mages they have on the field, and therefore know what their game plan is. You have time to hit a research goal, move more mages up from research, even spam a few mammoths, archers, or other specific counters. You have time.

I cannot stress enough that that is the key of any mobility based strategy - using your mobility to gather information and plan out your opponent's movements in order to achieve victory.

That is the key to using Caelum - realizing that your mapmove 3 flying units give you an almost insurmountable advantage that limits your opponent's options - they must react to your movements which cover a huge amount of ground. Even if they shut down your mobility, they have paid for that - they have paid in blood and gold. Leaving you with enough of a blood and gold advantage that you should proceed to win.
The Military Birdman: A Raider's Retrospective
Raiding can make you a god. Raiding can make you a king. Raiding can make you a very, very, very wealthy man.

But raiding has limitations.

Here are the Three Golden Rules of Raiding:

1. Don't go anywhere that is defended in force.

2. Always ambush - never defend.

3. Don't raid by half-measures.

To unpack that last one a bit, if you are going to raid, raid. Don't potter about with one raiding force for every 5 provinces they have, don't mess about near the front line, you hit every single province you can hit and you hit them HARD.

If they let you, good. Move your army up and begin reducing their fortresses/preparing for their counter-attack. If they don't let you, destroy them in detail. If they march on your forts - prepare a defensive ambush with ideal force composition at a place and time of your choosing with a defensive movement trap - moving your force in the same turn they move theirs in, resulting in a defensive battle.

To explain the others, they are somewhat more simple. Don't send your raiders where they are going to die. Don't leave your raiders somewhere to get hit - fly a bunch of them in where the enemy will go, ambush them, and then fly out the next turn.

Being light of foot is more important than being effective. Creating a sense of pressure is just as important as taking provinces. Holding provinces is utterly unimportant in any sense - you are not taking things to hold them, you are taking them to win the war, then at that point you can consider them actually yours.
Turning Your Enemies Into Pieces of Smoking Meat
Do I have your attention? Good.

So far i've described how your movements are going to look on the overall strategic map. But there's a time to put away the grand strategic point of view and look instead at what you are going to do to make a lot of people who were previously alive - dead.

Caelum has two major tools to do that, Air Elementals and Thunderstrikes. They can be complementary but often aren't - generally you will want to pick one or the other. You will also need a huge amount of mages on the battlefield, and a large amount of air gems, to make either spell do the walking for you. Luckily, your mages are mapmove 3 and flying, and your major searchable path is air.

Your mobility can force the fight to occur on your terms, and cloud trapeze can be used in extremis, although only defensively. Air Elementals (Conj 5 - Summon Air Elemental) trample enemies smaller than them, and use Armour Negating lightning damage against heavily armoured size 5-6 foes. Timed to coincide with an assault by your Stormflying infantry, the enemy will be taken apart by them while struggling to deal with hordes of caelian infantry. Thunderstrike (Evo 4) comes down like a ton of bricks on one square, and deals a point of lightning damage to every single square surrounding that square. Lightning resistance lowers it's effect, but that one square still gets hurt.

Storm leads to Summon Stormpower, and the latter must be cast after the former is already up, enable both these tactics in a major way by increasing the air path of mages who cast it by 1. This removes the need for extra gems to cast the spells at all, and makes extra gems used increase the number of casts instead, which is where you will spend a lot of air gems.

Thunderstrike needs Aim or Wind Guide, but Air Elementals don't - just supporting Tempest Warriors or Spire Horn Infantry, Hold and Attacking to coincide with a third-turn mass-cast of Elementals.
Fog Warriors is helpful, as is Mass Flight (largely for mammoths), but the keys to the kingdom are in Evo and Conj. Storm is cast by an Eagle King, and the majority of your battlemages will be Airya Seraphs (in the early/mid game) and a mixture of Airya Seraphs and Harab Seraphs in the lategame. Parting the Soul can make up for a lack of chaff/blockers inefficiently or shut down thugs, Skeleton Horde can do so from your D-random Harabs, Rain of Stones can remove blobs (harab E random, 1 gem to cast Summon Earthpower, 2 gems to cast Rain of Stones), Mist can add to Storm's effect on prec, Phantasmal Army can hold a line under certain circumstances, but ultimately none of those will win you wars in the way that Thunderstrike or Summon Air Elemental will. Living Air and Shimmering Fields are the upgrades, although they are used slightly differently due to smaller elementals and shorter range, respectively.

For everything else, you rely on mammoth hoof, shortbow arrow, and magical ice lance.
Logistics and Tactics: Birdmen and Birdfeed

------------------------------------'You don't know the power of the Dark Side.'-----------------------

Most of your raiding parties will be composed of lance-wielding caelian infantry. Spire Horn Warriors for the larger part, although the more heavily armoured Airya Infantry to add a bit of staying power to the group. There will be 30 birdmen in your groups, as it's not worth wasting a flying commander on anything less. The cost in flying commanders is fort turns, and it is not a small cost given the number of Airya Seraphs you're looking to put on the field as fast as possible in the earlygame and midgame.

You will combine these raiding groups to take out retaking armies, or to flash-siege a poorly defended fort on the opposite side of the enemy from the warfront.

Your 'field armies', rather than occasional squads of mammoths for specific counter-tactic roles or your ubiquitous flying soldiery, will consist solely of corpse constructs. Created via a lightning rod + storm spindle + harab casting create corpse construct every turn from now to forever. Wolves are also fine, made via indies. They get used as blockers or for siege purposes, not to fight.

Mammoths are deployed with Gift of Flight and/or Fog Warriors against targets that can be trampled but where you have lots of gold and not many available mages or air gems to use Air Elementals instead. Fog Warriors is also useful to safely deploy Rain of Stones on your own troops/mages.

S3E2D3F1W1 on a dormant pretender accesses your national summons in Conj, but you might be better off ignoring them entirely and going purely scales. Order, Growth, and Production are all very useful, with Magic being the nextmost. Like usual, you can replace order with turmoil/luck if you want to be all wacky. Production lets you spam troops when you need to. The F/D is the most disposable part of the pretender as you have those paths nationally and can empower into the summons slowly and painfully if that becomes necessary or useful. The S/W gets you Ancestral Fravashi (H3s who can cap thrones) and w2 water spenta, although you have no native S access, so finding enough pearl income to afford these things is going to hurt. E2+ gives you crystal shields and boots to make RoS easier to cast. Dwarven Hammers are not a top priority except to save Air gems when forging air boosters, very much an edge case.

Expansion is hold and attack rear with lances, or use mammoths and arrow/lance decoys. Practice with it until you get good, it's a zero sum game.

You need to be very unafraid to spend money to put the force where you need it. Your men are caelians, size 3 and awful at fighting. Your mages need to be massed for best use. If you don't toss money and resources at whatever is actually causing you a problem, it will snowball and you will lose the ability to effectively do so.

Sometimes it might feel like you're overdeploying. This is not true. If anything, you will always be deploying too few things for the problems you will be facing. When in doubt, always resort to overwhelming force. Just think to yourself -

'What would Charles vi Britannia do?'

'Replace our army with giant robots and conquer the world using highly trained noblemen'
elfposer Jul 2, 2017 @ 1:13pm 
very helpful thx
Zymeth Sep 1, 2016 @ 9:32am 
Rly nice guide - I bet that for many it was useful.
Yasha May 28, 2016 @ 9:08am 
Well done explanation, which provides a good insight into this face. The difficult part of Dom4 for me is remembering enough of the 800+ spells to apply them to a specific race!
jojeck May 28, 2016 @ 12:23am 
Nice write up, thanks