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ashdod-ma

MA Ashdod, Reign of the Anakim

Lore

"Hinnom, Ashdod and Gath are heavily influenced by ancient Israelite, Canaanite and Philistine concepts. I have always been intrigued and fascinated by biblical mythology, and had long I wanted to include the Nephilim and biblical Genesis myths into the game. However, I was worried that I would not do the sources justice, so it took a while before I finally got down to finish the nations. The Bible, the Book of Enoch, the Dead Sea scrolls and the Ras Shamra texts of Ugarit and interpretations of these texts are the main sources of the nations.

Hinnom draws more heavily on the biblical and Enochian tradition, while the veneration of the deified dead kings of Ashdod draws inspiration from the Ras Shamra and Canaanite/Ugaritic concepts of the dead. The rephaim/r'p'm of the Ugaritic texts are ghosts or deified dead rather than giants, so Ashdod turned out a bit different than I first intended, with death magic replacing blood. The shift from blood to death gave the nation a different and interesting mood." -Illwinter

Time had not been kind to Hinnom, though one could say that that bloodied land deserved little more than a great purge. By the end of the Early Age it had become clear that the Nephilim were dead, and their blood had begun to dilute as the Rephaites multiplied. Those who still had "pure" Rephaite blood became known as the Anakim and divided into three clans: Talmai, Sheshai, & Ahiman. They each lived in different cities, but this changed when the Talmai’s city of Kiriath Sepher was destroyed by the Abysian Anathemants in an invasion that became known as the Tide of Fire. The Fire-resistant Anakites quickly rebounded, and slew the invading force with the help of the lesser Rephaite archers of Gilead. Still, with the damage done being irreversible, only the Twin Cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon remained for the Anakites. With their best days and their best heroes behind them, the Giants of the new Rephaite state (led by Ashdod) transformed their bloody worship of the Nephilim to worship of their deceased Melqart ancestors, limiting the cannibalism that defined their Early Age forefathers to a funerary tradition meant to honor them.

General Overview

Despite the mood and the weird access to Magic, Ashdod is oppressively strong. You have to jump through hoops to get back to the Blood and Guts that defined the previous Age, but you don't need to do any of that stuff. All you really need to do is crank out Anakim from your capital, grab some popcorn, and watch your "small" armies of SCs curb-stomp everyone in the early game. Ashdod's flaws – which certainly exist, don't get me wrong – are pushed out of the picture frame by just how cool and powerful its capital guys are. You also get Old Testament Angels, which are neat.

National Features

Race Military Magic Access Priests Buildings
Prefers 2
Wasteland Survival
Size 3, 4, & 5 Giants
Gluttony
Fire Resistance
Expensive Heavies
Longbowmen
3 Misc Slots
death 44 (uncommon)
fire 33 (rare 4)
earth 33 (rare 4)
astral 33 (rare 4)
Summons:
blood 22 (requires death 44holy 11)
nature 33 (requires astral 44nature 11)
air 44 (requires astral 77fire 33)
holy 22 Capital Only
holy 11 in Forts
Giant Castles

"Uncommon" is 1-in-8, with a 5-in-8 chance of at least getting death 33.

Capital Special Sites

The Twin Cities Mount Seir
Enables recruitment of Zamzummite, Adon,
Talmai Elder, Sheshai Anakite, and Ahiman Anakite
Produces 1deathgem per turn
Produces 2earthgem1firegem1astralpearl per turn

National Units

Perhaps even more than Hinnom's, Ashdod's recruitable lineup provides several very powerful options at great expense. This weakness is partially mitigated by being in a more gold-rich age than its Early Age predecessor and losing the appetite for human flesh. Nevertheless, the innate high cost of the giant chassis means that Ashdod will always be hungry for gold, typically hitting the limit of sustainable recruitment far earlier than most Middle Age nations purely from buying Anakim.

Commanders

Although giant mages are a great boon in the late game, Ashdod pays a pretty penny to have all of its mages be size 4+. Ashdod's general-purpose combat mage, the Rephaite Sage, costs a hefty Gold155, and its capital-only mages all cost over Gold300. This makes mage-intensive tactics (such as mass evocations or point buffing) difficult to achieve with national recruits. On the bright side, they are a lot more durable than their human counterparts, opening up more opportunities for thug play and providing some protection from battlefield-wide magic.

Highlights include the Adon, carrying on the Melqart's legacy of being a recruitable supercombatant, and the Zamzummite, a powerful mage-priest that gives Ashdod high death access all on its own.

Image Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Edomite Scout
35
19
1
Stealthy (50)
Wasteland Survival
Mountain Survival
Forest Survival
A more expensive Scout that costs fort turns. Buy independent scouts instead if at all possible!
Kohen
85
3
1
holy 11random010%
Sacred
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (1)
Wasteland Survival
An expensive minor priest with a bit of leadership. The cheapest national priest for Anakite expansion/raiding parties that can't afford Adon shepherds.
Rephaite Commander
100
35
1
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (3)
Wasteland Survival
An expensive, 80 leadership commander. Adonim can take over leadership roles outside of the very early game.
Emite
125
3
2
death 11random1100% 9
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (1)
Wasteland Survival
Fortune Teller (10%)
A smaller Zamzummite that can be recruited from all forts. Relatively inexpensive, but has less reliable combat power than the Rephaite Sage due to unfocused paths. However, they are the cheapest death mage available for massing Ashdod's excellent Longdead Rephaim via Reanimation.
Rephaite Sage
155
3
2
random2200% 13
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (1)
Wasteland Survival
Adept Researcher (4)
Rephaite Sages have great combat magic paths and are pretty fast researchers, but are rather expensive due to their giant size. Each random has its uses, whether it be buffs, Soul Slaying, casting evocations or summoning elementals.
Adon
305
91
4
Capital Only
holy 22random2200% 5
Sacred
Resist Fire (6)
Wasteland Survival
Gluttony (8)
Inept Researcher (8)
A recruitable supercombatant with three misc slots and good personal buff paths. With great default gear and incredible combat stats that are improved by whatever bless you choose, Adonim make great solo operators with minimal gear and can be very scary embedded into a larger army.

Of Ashdod's three cap-only commanders, Adonim are also the most competent generals, capable of leading 120 units in formations with a +2 morale bonus.
Zamzummite
315
3
4
Capital Only
earth 11death 22holy 11random2100%
100%
15
Sacred
Resist Fire(5)
Gluttony (1)
Wasteland Survival
Spirit Sight
Zamzummim are vital for Ashdod's magic diversity, being Ashdod's only mage with crosspaths outside of the lesser Emite as well as an easy ticket into high death magic. They bring skeletons and darkness to Ashdod's major battles and are great ritual casters off the battlefield.
Talmai Elder
370
3
4
Capital Only
random3300%
10%
19
Sacred
Resist Fire (6)
Gluttony (6)
Adept Researcher (8)
Forge Bonus (1)
Wasteland Survival
The peak of Anakite sophistication. Although an upgraded Rephaite Sage seems like a pretty good deal, Sages are almost identical to Talmai Elders in terms of combat ability for less than half the price, and don't take up precious capital fort turns. Where Talmai Elders come in useful is for breaking into higher fire, earth and astral and casting a few key high-path spells in combat; otherwise, Ashdod's other cap-only mages are much more impressive.

Troops

Ashdod lays claim to one of the scariest sacreds in the game: the Anakite. Anakim are durable and deadly troops that lesser nations plan their early game rush defense against, but they are also cap-only and extremely expensive in both gold and resources, meaning you will only ever have access to limited numbers of them. Despite this, Ashdod often runs into supply issues due to the giants' ubiquitous gluttony.

Outside of the capital, Ashdod can recruit size 4 Rephaim and human slave chaff. The Rephaim of the Middle Ages compare rather unfavorably against their closest competitor, the Jotun giants. They have less strength, no javelin, and no heavy armor options; even worse, they cost more on average for these worse stats. Still, giants hit hard enough to evaporate human troops and Ashdod has easy access to magic paths that help offset these weaknesses, particularly earth.

Image Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Human Slinger
7
2
3
Slave Notable for being a very cheap Flaming Arrows vehicle, but otherwise has very low damage output and will not live long on the battlefield. Has the same problem as other archers of being made obsolete by Storm/Arrow Fend.
Human Slave
7
3
3
Slave Human slave militia armed with a basic spear. While Ashdod's giants (especially their expensive sacreds) are not especially efficient for siege strength, Ashdod has easy ways to generate chaff with Reanimation and Horde of Skeletons, making human slaves somewhat redundant.
Edomite
20
17
15
Wasteland Survival The Ashdod Edomites are generally inferior to their Early Age counterpart, the Avvim. They have poorer Attack and Defense scores, lower strength, and low protection, though they retain their fairly high damage javelin.
Being your only Javelinists, they provide invaluable support for your frontline men.
Amorite
40
27
17
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (2)
Wasteland Survival
Ashdod has several options for giant infantry. None are particularly well-armored or skilled, but all share the innate giant ability to hit things really hard.

The Amorite has the lowest protection of the bunch, but comes with a poison-tipped spear. Unfortunately, the poison is not super useful - with giant strength, Amorites will kill far faster by simply hitting things very hard than by relying on poison.

Gileadites pay 2 more resources for 2 more protection, but are otherwise very similar to Amorites. Both Gileadites and Amorites have some ability to repel due to their length 4 weapon.

The Bashanite is the elite out of the three, though for 10 more gold it only gains small stat increases. It also trades the spear's length 4 repel for higher damage output.
Gileadite
40
29
17
Bashanite
50
33
21
Gileadite Archer
40
47
17
Resist Fire (5)
Gluttony (2)
Wasteland Survival
The archers of Ashdod carry on the Hinnomite tradition of being the most heavily armored troop of their lineup, and carry a short sword sidearm in addition to their massive bow. Compared to ordinary short bows, the Gileadite Archer's great bow deals nearly twice the damage and has 10 more range - however, they are expensive in both gold and resources to mass, and their arrows are just as vulnerable to the normal counters (e.g. Mist and Arrow Fend)

Unfortunately their melee skills (especially defence) are very poor, so they are heavily reliant on their protection if they make contact with the enemy.
Sheshai Anakite
130
53
29
Capital Only
Sacred
Berserker (2)
Resist Fire (9)
Wasteland Survival
Gluttony (5)
The Anakite is Ashdod's signature unit, a powerful base chassis that can be made even more intimidating with a good bless. Anakim are durable, have great melee skills and two weapons to make up for their low unit density. Their downside is their immense cost, which makes losing even a few of them a major economic blow. In other words, Anakim are kind of like pathless thugs, and benefit greatly from judicious use of point buffs such as Protection and Body Ethereal.

Sheshai Anakim go berserk, which lowers their defense skill but improves their attack, brings their protection up to 16, and prevents routing. Ahiman Anakim have even better melee skills than the Sheshai and excellent protection, but cost almost twice the resources! In practice, the fact that Ashdod's giants will almost always be outnumbered magnifies the effect of protection; combined with the defence-lowering effect of berserk, this makes Sheshai Anakim substantially less survivable than Ahiman Anakim. Nevertheless, these are strong (and more importantly, cool!) troops that take center stage early in many Ashdod strategies. Just don't let them overshadow the other stuff Ashdod can do!
Ahiman Anakite
130
96
29
Capital Only
Sacred
Resist Fire (6)
Wasteland Survival
Gluttony (5)

Heroes

Ashdod's three Heroes are the three Sons of Anak, the patriarchs of the three tribes of Anakim. All three of them are incredibly Old, so they won't last quite as long as their descendants. They also take a minimum of 20 turns to show up, but it's not like you need them in the early-game anyway. All three are Sacred, and all three have Gluttony (10) & Wasteland Survival.

Image Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Sheshai - First Son of Anak fire 44holy 22
13
Will get this bonus to their STR, PROT, & ATT if scratched, but will also lose this much DEF and go off-script Berserker (+4)
Fire Resistance (15)
Old Age (935/730)
Sheshai has fire 44 outside of combat, allowing you to reach fire 55 if you didn't get a Zamzummite and fire 66 if you did; if you have enough , either one is then able to summon a King of Elemental Fire, while the latter can hold up Eternal Pyre for more "Firepower". Though he's the oldest Son, he can relatively-safely burn away the worst effects of Old Age (Disease) with Pyre of Catharsis. It's a shame that most of his descendants don't use his Armor.
Ahiman - Second Son of Anak earth 44holy 22
13
Fire Resistance (5)
Old Age (907/750)
Ahiman's earth 44 allows him to cast Army of Lead and/or Army of Gold with zero required setup time in battle (thanks to Earth Boots), allowing you to make your Anakites even more invincible on Round 2 instead of Round 3. He doesn't require Alteration 9 to shine, however, still capable of summoning a King of Elemental Earth (or three) and casting most of the big Earth Rituals.
Talmai - Third Son of Anak
fire 11earth 11astral 44
holy 22 17
Fire Resistance (5)
Fortune Teller (15)
Old Age (880/745)
Talmai's astral 44 and his three Miscellaneous Item slots let him climb to astral 88 with the Crystal Coin, Starshine Skullcap, Ring of Sorcery, and Ring of Wizardry. He could cast Master Enslave by himself, and he might even survive the casting (though you probably shouldn't try it).
Also noteworthy (for Ashdod) are his crosspaths: he'll probably be your only Mage who can cast Strange Fire and Call Hashmal, and it doesn't take too many Boosters to get him to Call Ophanim. With 3 Astral boosts and 2 Fire boosts (which is actually doable without Booster Artifacts or Empowerment, thanks to the Ring of Wizardry, though you might as well Empower this guy in Fire to save on ), he can even cast Call Merkavah.

If an Adon and a Zamzummite are in the same province, the province has at least 8 friendly dominion, it is at least turn 25, and Ditan is not currently alive, there is a 4% chance each turn that the Zamzummite will sacrifice himself to summon Ditan, a powerful earth 33nature 33death 33holy 22 Malik, and his assembly of 1d6 Ditanu units. This can happen regardless of Research level or the Zamzummite's skill level but can only occur once per game, making Ditan effectively a national hero with a minimum turn 25 arrival. See National Spells for more details on the Ditanim.

One of your Zamzummim and an Adon have organized a great banquet for Ditan, greatest of the deified Rephaite Lords. By sacrificing himself at the feast, the Zamzummite has traded life for life and passed into Sheol, allowing Ditan and his assembly to manifest in the world of the living.

Magic

Magic Access

Ashdod has four paths: Fire, Earth, Astral, & Death. The Anakim and most of the Rephaim follow the old Hinnomite tradition of going all-in on whatever path Fate chose for them, made abundantly-more-obvious by the surgical removal of Blood from their diet, but they've chosen fairly-decent paths to laser-focus on. Whatever path your Adon ends up with, he'll have a powerful defensive self-buff to make his Supercombating even easier:

  • Earth gives him raw stat boosts, such as Ironskin, Earth Might, and Iron Will.
  • Fire gives him Fire Shield and Phoenix Pyre.
  • Astral gives him Astral Shield and Body Ethereal.

Your Talmai Elders focus on being the bigger Mages, and a few of them might have a coveted crosspath (a lot of their potential crosspaths are useful, such as astral 33fire 11, earth 33astral 11, and fire 33death 11).

Rivalling the Anakim in importance in their own capital are the Zamzummites, however; these smaller Rephaite Mage-Priests have a 1-in-8 chance of having death 44, which is easily boosted to death 66 through the Skull Staff & Skullface. Ashdod has two powerful Death Summons that the Zamzummim can call upon; the Malik provides Ashdod with blood 22 (at Conjuration 8, a bit late-game), but requires the death 44's life in return. The Zamzummites are just as valuable for their crosspaths, capable of forging the Skull of Fire and the Crystal Coin, allowing you to climb to fire 55 & astral 55 respectively (with the Flame Helmet and Starshine Skullcap). Earth is still unfortunately capped at earth 44 for the nation without Empowerment, as the Malikim are short one level in Blood needed for the Blood Stone.

National Spells

Battlefield Spells:

  • Evocation 4 astral 22fire 11: Strange Fire
    A side-grade to Falling Fires that ignores Fire Resistance and does a lot more damage to Demons & the Undead. Unfortunately, this spell is a bit of a secret to even Ashdod; only one-in-sixty Talmai Elders can cast this, half of them requiring an Astral Booster to pull it off. The Fire-Resistance-avoidance is also only really noticeable against guys that have a lot of it, at least when compared to Falling Fires.

The Honored Dead
Ashdod reveres the original generation of Rephaim and their Melqart kings (even though their sins earned them their own version of Hell), and the Zamzummim were designed for honoring them. With enough Research into Conjuration, a Zamzummite with enough Death Magic can bring them to the surface. They're summoned with funerary banquets, which mirror the old Feasts where Melqarts would gorge themselves on their kin, and summoning a deceased Melqart (a Malik) even requires the Zamzummite to feed himself to it. These dead guys all have the following traits:

Image Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Ditanu
Conj 6
death 33holy 11
25deathgem
death 11holy 11random1100%
9
Fire Resistance (6)
Fear (6)
Shattered Soul (5)
With this guy, you can crank out Adon-tier thugs from every Fort with a Zammy!
Be mindful of his PTSD, though, it causes him to throw tantrums.
Malik
Conj 8
death 44holy 11
55deathgem
Kills Caster
death 22blood 22holy 22random2200%
17
Fire Resistance (8)
Fear (12)
Spreads Dominion (1)
Shattered Soul (15)
Think of this guy as a Prophet without the Pretender powers.
Starting your foray into Blood with this guy is a fun meme.
He comes with 4 Ditanim as troops, by the way.

Messengers of the New God
New to MA are the Abrahamic Angels, with Ashdod getting access to five of the ten tiers of Angels in the Old Testament. They cost Astral Pearls, or (thanks to Alchemy) twice their price in other kinds of Gems, but all but one of them require a secondary path due to their nature. Due to this dilemma, summoning most of them is somewhat tough for Ashdod's mortals; for example, most of them require the same paths as Strange Fire, but with higher levels in Astral and/or Fire. All Angels have the following traits:

Img Unit Name Special Attributes Comments
Malakh
Conj 4
astral 22
9astralpearl
holy 11
Stealthy(60)
Fire Resistance (5)
Shock Resistance (5)
Awe (+4)
Invulnerability (15)
A humble messenger, at least relative to the other Angels.
His true value lies in his mobility, but he's not a complete wimp outside of that.
Just give him some gear to work with before having him fight.
Hashmal
Conj 6
astral 33fire 11
21astralpearl
holy 22
Fire Resistance (25)
Shock Resistance (5)
Fire Shield (10)
Awe (+5)
Invulnerability (20)
Ethereal
Inquisitor
A holy Fire Elemental with working hands and charisma.
He's stronger than the Malakhim, but he's also less flexible.
Malakhim can at least compensate for some of their weaknesses with Armor.
On the other hand, Hashmalim are far better Preachers.
Arel
Conj 7
astral 44nature 11
39astralpearl
nature 33holy 33 11
Fire Resistance (5)
Poison Resistance (20)
Shock Resistance (5)
Healer (3)
Awe (+6)
Invulnerability (15)
Supply Bonus (30)
Female
A Qedesot with wings and morals.
She's more of an Ind or Gath summon, but she's worth the trouble.
Your old Sages and often-outnumbered soldiers would love a healer.
Also, Illwinter misspelled their name; they're known as the "Erelim".
Ophan
Conj 8
astral 55fire 22
49astralpearl
holy 33
Fire Resistance (15)
Poison Resistance (25)
Shock Resistance (15)
Fire Shield (11)
Awe (+6)
Patrol Bonus (+50)
Inanimate
Ethereal
Trample
A twelve-eyed pair of Wheels, typically serving in God's Chariot (the Merkavah).
Small foes shall be run over, while large foes shall be smoldered.
Only their lack of hands (for holding Weapons) holds them back.
That's an issue that lots of inhuman summons have, actually.
Form 1 Chayot
Conj 9
astral 77fire 33
222astralpearl
astral 44holy 44
"Life #1"
The Merkavah's "body", commanding 4 Ophanim as troops.
Each of its four faces are given a different life in Dominions.
While in one form, the paths of its other three forms are technically each -2.
All forms share these powerful traits:
Fire Resistance (22)
Poison Resistance (15)
Shock Resistance (22)
Fire Shield (17)
Awe (+7)
Invulnerability (30)
Spreads Dominion (1)
Sight Vengeance
Counts as the Sun

The Chayot's lives are listed from top to bottom.
He can die in Form #4, but he can freely cycle through forms outside of battle.
Form 2 air 44holy 44
"Life #2"
Form 3 fire 44holy 44
"Life #3"
Form 4 earth 44holy 44
"Life #4"

Lingering Demons of Old

Ashdod retains the demon summons of its blood-sacrificing predecessor, but is not able to natively summon any of them. Independent nature mages are relatively common, making Mazzikim easier to access, but the powerful blood demons are beyond Ashdod's ability to summon cost-effectively.

  • Conjuration 3 nature 11 for 3naturegem: Summon Mazzikim ( Mazzik×8)
    Nature equivalent of Summon Imps, but cast outside of battle. Can disrupt enemy lines, harass unprotected mages, or patrol blood hunting provinces without costing mage fatigue or scripting slots in battle. Can have their strength boosted with Blood Lust, allowing them to actually do damage.
  • Conjuration 5 nature 44 for 15naturegem: Summon Lilot ( Lilot×1)
    Lilots are dream seducers, which is unfortunately the less effective kind of seduction, due to the extra MR check involved before the Morale check for the seduction itself. Lilots are also not mages, limiting their options in an assassination battle. 15naturegem is a significant investment already, and more gear is required for a Lilot to reliably survive their first assassination, making their use questionable.
  • Blood 3 blood 22 for 23bloodslave: Summon Se'irim. Wasteland Only ( Se'ir×5)
    Summons sacred, triple-attacking berserker demons. Unfortunately Ashdod is the odd nation out of the Hinnom line and only gains (very limited) blood access at Conjuration 8, otherwise Se'irim would be a fantastic sacred summon to accompany the Anakim.
  • Blood 4 blood 33air 11 for 28bloodslave: Summon Shedim. Wasteland Only ( Shed×3)
    Summons lightning-flinging, flying demons. Their lightning attack is similar to Lightning Bolt but the damage is based on strength instead, making Shedim mini evocation mages that scale with strength buffs. Much more mage turn-efficient than the generic equivalent, Bind Storm Demon.

Notable Generic Magic

Discuss the top few generic spells that most increase a nation's combat power or synergize with national strategies. These will generally be early-to-mid game spells since individual spells matter much more during those periods of the game. Some examples are Foul Vapors for MA C'tis, Horde of Skeletons + Sabbath Master/Sabbath Slave for the Niefelheim line of nations, Mother Oak for the Pangaeas, Wailing Winds access, etc. For broader advice on magic use, link to Not-Lola's Basic Magic Use Guide.

This is also a good place to point out notable magic weaknesses, such as a lack of nature access making a nation vulnerable to Foul Vapors.

Magic Items

List and describe any unique national items or discounts in this section, discuss and compare with similar generic items. Also discuss generic items that are useful and accessible for the nation. These may include:

  • Thug gear (if the nation has good thugs)
  • Research boosters (particularly if the nation needs help researching or is already very good at researching)
  • Other items that synergize with the nation (e.g. Dwarven Hammers for MA Ulm)

National Items

National Discount Items

Generic Items

Strategy

Power Curve

This is probably the most difficult section to get consensus for. Describe how strong the nation is during expansion, the early, mid and late game, and what makes it strong/weak at each of those points. This should give readers an idea of where the weaknesses of a nation lie (if they have not been shown already) and when to take advantage of a nation's strengths.

Expansion Strategies

List some example expansion strategies here. If a strong bless or pretender is required then leave the specifics for the pretender section.

Example Pretender Builds

List some example pretender builds. Try to use the following format to keep authorship and pretender design rationale clear.

See More

ashdod-ma.txt · Last modified: 2022/07/05 04:06 by wigglefig