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The Virtues of Expansion Titans

Oh noble readers, you have gone too long
without seeing the glory of
Gaze upon my guide, ye mighty, and weep
at how I present this niche strategy as the universal ideal!

By: Mandarbmax
With help from: 7thpath, Bamboo, Ben, Causk, Forest Boy, Naaria, & Zan

Expansion titans are sick as hell but require a lot of micromanagement to reach their full potential and I’m here to tell you how to do that. They expand damn near as well as awake monster pretenders, cost about the same (often less), and then go on to give you a free win in your first war if used well and remain kick ass SCs for the rest of the game instead of just turning into a big dumb pig like monsters do once people research incinterate. Having full slots is super nice.

How to

Ilahats want it, Ilahs want to cast it

Cast Personal Regeneration (Ench 2) and wear some shitty constr 0 armor and you are good to go!

Your first two or so turns will be spent researching away as fast as you can and recruiting some mages to help out. If you can you should recruit at least one Astral (or Earth) mage to forge some Enchanted Ring Mail Armor. Blacksteel Plate is even better but you can’t alchemize to get E gems as easily as you can to get S pearls and you wanna get moving ASAP. No bitching about losing gems to alchemy, you will make them back a dozen times over thanks to your strong start.

Once you have your armor and personal regen scripted you can just throw your Pretender at just about any indies shy of Barbarians and be good to go. While they are out though you should try and research more spells for them to cast! If you have fire magic you want to get Fire Shield online, watching indes blow themselves up is cathartic. Otherwise just run up Alteration for Barkskin, Enlarge, Mossbody, Temper Flesh/Liquid Body, Body ethereal, or whatever else you can cast. This will let your titan ramp up in power without needing to stop expanding though you can run a scout with new gear to them if you really need.

By the time expansion is over you should have enough research done to have quite a SC as long as you took at least a few pertinent magic paths even at a low level. Ethereal regenerating 30 prot physmoss titans are serious threats at any stage of the game but having such a pretender coming right out of expansion is huge. They can waltz up and shit all over an enemy army with all but the most hellish of blesses unless special countermeasures are used to stop your bipedal terror. Your first war is all but guaranteed and even if you are on the receiving end of an early 2v1 you will be fine.

Blood vengeance is the weakest blessing because it only works after the sacred one has been wounded. Conversely the best blessing is one which kills foes before they can do any harm. Tiddy Tyrant is such a blessing for her nation.

As the game moves on your expansion titan will evolve to fit the needs of your growing and advancing nation. In the mid game they will become highly mobile heavy raiders and army escorts and perhaps also cast globals they have the paths for. Late game they will continue casting globals but may also become big battlefield spell casters like master enslave or army of gold and make use of magic boots and teleport spells (up to and including gateway) to secure a throne rush victory. You can’t know how the game will progress and exactly how best to use your titan in 60 turns but devote some thought to it before the game starts and you will thank yourself when you reap the benefits later and bathe in skrub tears.

Conditions for success

A list of things you want but don’t need for your expansion titan to be successful.

  • Magic 3 scales - Magic scales start you off with more research done at the start of the game!
  • Randomized starting research - You can get lucky and start with Enchantment 2 this way! Sure you can get unlucky with Enchantment 0 but at least then you will probably start with some Alteration or Construction. Spread magic starting research means you get 0 in all schools. Fuck that.

MA Tien Chi has awesome mages for titan support

You may not like it but this is what peak performance looks like

  • Early age - Early age means more gem income to start for you to use to make starting armor!
  • Late age - Late age means you probably start with a citadel so you can get your research going faster early. Keep an eye out for crossbows though and don’t be shy about casting air shield if you can.
  • Recruitable fluffers - Being able to recruit someone to cast Body Ethereal, Mossbody, or other useful effects for your Pretender is great! Not only can it be used to buff your titan with effects otherwise unavailable but even for titans which can cast those spells themselves it can be good to fluff the effects to save on fatigue and casting time, particularly in tough fights this can be the difference between life and death.
  • Recruitable Earth or Astral mages - to forge starting armor with.
  • Earth gem income in your capital - So you can forge superior Blacksteel Full Plate (anyone can alchemize to make Enchanted Ring Mail Armor)
  • A Pretender with built in armor - If they come with armor you don’t need to spend time forging them any.
  • A Pretender with Nature magic - Nature casts Personal Regeneration which lets a lot of otherwise weak candidates expand.
  • A Pretender with broad magic paths - Having Nature is good but having other stuff lets you do more later on. Look for magic phase options in particular (Air or Astral).
  • Access to healers - Even with regen chip damage, particularly early on when defenses are at their weakest, can give your beloved titan afflictions. Afflictions normally don’t slow a titan down much but being able to get rid of that pesky unhealing wound is like a free cast of Enlarge!

Example: Keeper of the Bridge

Keeper of the Bridge
EA Ulm does quite well with an expansion titan, it helps them kick start their troop expansion and gets them lots of land early on to pull ahead with; you don’t want to be playing EA Ulm from behind anyway. Their miserable sacred troop makes the choice to not take even a small bless very stomachable. This bad boy right here can cloud trapeze in to kill anything that you can’t just throw more forest warriors at and anything which can handle this titan in a fight will probably die to a sufficient volume of forest warriors.

Chassis: Awake
Keeper of the Bridge
Paths: air 22water 11earth 22nature 22
Bless: None
Scales: Dominion strength5Order0Productivity1Cold3Growth3Misfortune2Magic3

Notes on not getting shanked to death

Test your build thoroughly. Seriously, you want to have a good bit of practice and intuition under your belt before the real game gets going. I suggest at least 5 tests to turn 5 (to get your super early game down for a variety of starting research outcomes) and another two tests where your Pretender survives to turn 12 to test expansion and learn what kinds of indies can kill your Pretender. Expansion titans don’t always need Nature magic to succeed but it sure does help. If you decide to try one out be sure to test it thoroughly.

Image from a natgen game with Pretenders Enhanced

There really isn’t any replacement for practice and intuition when it comes to keeping your Pretender alive through expansion and beyond because there are just too many factors to consider. That being said there are a few things to keep an eye out for. Eternal Knights; those 2h AP swords will mess you up in a hurry while other troops take the hits and they often don’t show up on the scouting reports either.

Other sorts of AP attacks can also fuck your shit up too; keep an eye out for enemy players using Greatsword of Sharpness thugs mixed in with regular troops or lots of water elementals. Speaking of elementals, Air elementals can stunlock anyone not resistant to shock damage and slowly chip them to death with AN attacks. Direct killing methods aren’t the only thing which can kill a titan, spam strategies can tie your titan up until the turn timer hits and forces a retreat, possibly into enemy territory!

Obviously magic kill spells are a way other players will try to kill your titan so beware that sometimes you really need to stack your resistances! Just as a Serpent Kryss is a classic Golem killing weapon because its poison is so strong, so too 5 cold resistance will not save you from Frozen Heart spam.

Titans are very much a sort of finesse weapon. There's a lot which can go wrong using them, especially if you're less experienced than your opponents. You pay more for less raw power than a monster and the monster would make your expansion larger, and likely be used in much the same way in your first conflict but the Titan certainly outscales. Against competent opposition you're going to have to invest a lot in keeping it alive.

Nations that summon sacreds in combat like T'ien Ch'i, Fomoria, and Vanheim can benefit quite a bit from a Pretender’s autobless with a weapon bless.

Be smart and think ahead to cut off an opponent’s scheme before they can put it into practice, you only have the one titan so you can’t learn from your mistakes like you can in other situations. The exception to this rule is if they miss your titan! Be unpredictable and elusive with your titan, hitting them when they think they are safe and dodging their counter attacks.

  • Magic phase movement and boots of walking real fast are both helpful in this regard.
  • Occasionally scripting your titan to retreat from combat, particularly when you expect your enemy to use magic phase attacks against you, is another superb way to escape death.
  • Having a scout holding Shademail Haubergeon moving with your titan is another good way to avoid getting wrekt by 3 Cloud Trapezing Quickened Niefel Jarls with Serpent Krysses and heroic strength because you can just swap to the Shademail and hide.

Q&A on best use

Q: What are you looking for in a titan chassis when picking the one you want?
A: A broad selection of paths which will be useful in SCing, particularly early on. Coming with armor is really nice too and can save you from having to forge your own to start. Other miscellaneous chassis abilities such as Awe, Fear, multiple attacks, or flight are nice to have too.

Q: What paths do you prioritize apart from nature 22?
A: Nature is obviously important but so is Earth (for Ironskin and Temper Flesh primarily), Water (for Mossbody and Liquid Body mostly), Air (Cloud Trapeze! Mistform, Mirror Image, and Flying Shield are nice too), and Fire (Fire shield is not to be underestimated) are my favorites.

Q: Any good path combos?
A: Nature and Water for Mossbody + Liquid Body is obviously great. Air and Earth combined for Flying Shield is almost as good too. Blood and Astral combo nicely too because Power of the Spheres helps you cast Hellpower with less fatigue even before you get into putting up Astral Corruption.

Q: If you go for Astral what path level would you consider minimum?
I’d say astral 77 is a good place to be for safety from casual Magic Duel kills but even that can be a bit iffy. You can bring an astral 11 pretender out solo against a nation without astral access but if you bring your astral 11 titan out solo against MA Pythium you are in for a bad time. If your titan has Astral and you are fighting an enemy Astral nation it might be a good idea to keep your pretender screened with some of your own astral mages who can eat Magic Duels for them.

A notable exception to the "Don't take low Astral rule" is the Svartalf Mastersmith who can safely take up to astral 22 and shift to Linnormr, taking a -2 to all paths, and then be safe from Magic Duel.

Q: Do you have minimum att def stats to be viable?
A: Nope, you can go try some repel shenanigans if you want but in my experience the best way to run an expansion titan is to treat them like a Monolith with legs who just sort of aggressively survives at people, T-posing at them until they flee, unable to face off against such powerful dabs.

Q: Does it need to have multiple attacks if it has no fear?
A: Neither is required at all but both are nice.

Q: Do you often bring a fluffer with you?
A: Yes! Fluff your thugs! Unless you have a specific reason not to fluff your thugs, such as magic phase moving when your fluffers can’t keep up, then you should fluff your thugs, all thugs, not just your expansion titan!

Q: How do you protect the fluffer?
A: Script them to retreat and if they die anyway then they die, not the end of the world.

Example Expansion Titans

Teteo Inan
Snake Skirt Long Jacket is a classic for EA Xibalba, and her Skull Necklace means she doesn’t even need starting armor! Fear and lots of attacks are just gravy. This one can even cast Hellpower for some silly high stats too!

Chassis: Awake Teteo Inan
Paths: earth 44nature 55blood 55
Bless: 2x Reinvigoration,
Berserker, Blood Bond
Scales: Dominion strength5Turmoil1Sloth3Heat3Growth3Misfortune2Magic3

Annunaki of Love and War
This Ur build has magic phase movement, physmoss (Mossbody + Temper Flesh), Ironskin, Foul Vapors, Flying Shield, Breath of Winter, Personal Regeneration, Mirror Image, Mistform, and built in awe! Beware though that you can fluff most of these effects later on so play accordingly.

Chassis: Awake
Annunaki of Love and War
Paths: air 22water 11earth 22nature 22
Bless: None
Scales: Dominion strength5Order0Productivity0Heat3Growth3Misfortune2Magic3

Titan of Crossroads
Expansion titans can even be trinities! As long as you are careful to make sure that they can all cast personal regeneration on themselves you can even get them to be able to all teleport at the same time too! They will rely more on fluffing later on more than most but in exchange for three SCs year 1 that is a perfectly fine trade.

Chassis: Awake Titan of Crossroads
Paths: astral 55death 44nature 55
Bless: +3 Magic Resistance, Spirit Sight
3x Undying, Berserker
Scales: Dominion strength4Turmoil1Sloth1Heat3Growth3Misfortune3Magic3

Father of Winters
Bogarus is infamous for its rough early game unless extremely good scales are taken but an expansion titan can alleviate that weakness without shredding your scales! In addition to the usual power of physmoss, regen, and mistform the Father of Winters also has great stats (particularly in cold 3) and a length 3 greatsword for repels and an absolutely massive cold aura which you should not underestimate! The luck and magic scales are great for firebird memes and research too!

Chassis: Awake Father of Winters
Paths: air 22water 22nature 22
Bless: None Scales: Dominion strength4Turmoil3Sloth2Cold3Growth3Luck3Magic3

Lord of The Desert Sun
Don’t let this stop you from taking a hellbless though! This build should be good enough to give EA Abysia an illegally good early game. Taking an awake hellbless titan has non-combat uses too such as rushing Mother Oak, summoning worms that walk late game, or switch hitting by moving with an army as a huge support caster who is immune to battlefield wipes. Burning Ones with this bless, Mass Regeneration, and Enlarge from Army of Giants will fuck shit up. Free divine blessing too! Don’t forget to fluff with Iron Warriors and Body Ethereal for maximum carnage.

Chassis: Awake
Lord of The Desert Sun
Paths: fire 55nature 66
Bless: Awe, Barkskin
Scales: Dominion strength4Turmoil3Productivity0Heat3Growth3Misfortune3Magic3

Dharmapala of the Underworld
If you feel really silly you can take a hellbless expansion titan and use them with recruitable thugs such as Bakemono Sorcerers functioning as miniature expansion titans. Please note that this specific build is untested and very memey and is offered more as inspiration than as a ready to go build.

Chassis: Awake
Dharmapala of the Underworld
Paths: fire 77death 1010nature 77
Bless: Awe, Fear, Regeneration
Scales: Dominion strength6Turmoil3Sloth3Cold3Death3Misfortune3Magic3

mandarbmax-expansion-titans.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/25 05:05 by mandarbmax