This guide will provide answers for you. We will separate out the uw to all 3 ages. Then, we will break down different nations, and lastly say: this is how uw fighting is.
In the Early Age, there are five underwater nations that can be roughly grouped into two (fish) categories: disadvantaged nations, and advantaged nations.
There are a few nations that can also go from land to water, such as Fomoria, but for the most part Early Age UW is dominated purely by UW nations.
Starting with Early Age R’lyeh: They have efficient Water/Astral mages, a good corps of mind blasters available for recruitment, high-level Astral magic proficiencies, and fairly efficient troops and chaff, who do enough damage as well to be relevant. These are all strong-points for the nation, and if looked at in isolation, they seem pretty potent.
Why is it disadvantaged? Despite being fully capable of fighting any other UW nation in the Early Age, it struggles to fight on land. This is because there is only one mage who is naturally amphibious for EA R’lyeh, and so they struggle to field effective magic on land in large enough quantities. While their(who is amphibious) is fairly proficient, it has to do somewhat clunky communions to make full use of its Nature or Earth access, and also has low morale. It is because its best commanders cannot be cheaply or easily brought on land (particularly the lack of chest slots for hurts) that EA R’lyeh is one of the weaker EA UW nations.
Next up we have EA Pelagia. Similar to R’lyeh, their underwater capabilities are pretty good: They have strong Water mages, potent communions, and a good troop lineup, including a cheap, fairly efficient sacred which has magic weapons. The is also an effective, fairly efficient line-holder troop, and their overall UW fighting capacity is pretty solid.
Unfortunately, similar to R’lyeh, they struggle to go on land. Unlike R’lyeh, they cannot even easily bring their best troops onto land either. The best they can really do is light infantry in the form of themermen. In addition, their amphibious mages, the and the , are both limited in terms of what they can cast, and so despite having access to both and Pelagia struggles to maintain its strongest magic on land. Pelagia’s Astral magic does scale quite potently into the late-game, however, as they have a unique ability to transform Water gems into Astral pearls on a 1 to 1 basis (twice as efficiently as alchemizing).
The last bad EA UW nation is Oceania. Illwinter hates Oceania. They have no heroes, basically no summons, their roster looks like a worse version of Pangaea (but UW), they have no efficient researchers, their normally built forts are 1 cp (they can use 35 to make 2 cp forts, on forests or kelp forests), and their transition onto land is awkward, albeit relatively easy.
On many custom maps, Oceania is very very bad because of a lack of UW kelp forests, however, they probably have the easiest time transitioning onto the land of the “disadvantaged” EA UW nations. Besides 2 to 11 which is more awkward to use without any casters; s gain feet, and some of them will have 2 and the ability to actually wear (so you have plenty of Earth magic, at last), but they will also lose a point in Water magic. Overall, the magic options may even be slightly better, but you have to exchange gear properly to not lose boots when moving from land to water (and you cannot make boots underwater), making the transition a bit more tricky.s, all of Oceania’s troops and mages can easily walk from the UW onto land. In this regard, anyways, Oceania can very easily march onto land. It is awkward because the troops change form. s go from
Oceania’s main strengths lie in having relatively good Earth access, with competent Water mages underwater and very good Nature mages in any location. Unfortunately, they suffer somewhat versus matchups like Therodos, or Pelagia, as their Water elementals are generally the weakest (no easy way to buff ), and they lack native magic weapons or efficient means of killing ghosts.
Behold the great Oceanian counter-gambit!
It has come to the author’s attention, that there are some small issues with the Oceanian section. In their glorious wisdom, the Pantokrators of Illwinterheim have decreed that the portion of the description for which says “Can be cast in shallow seas” is correct, while the portion which says “or forests” is not, as if it’s a kelp forest in deep sea, it doesn’t get cast properly, and this has definitely never tilted the author at all, or created a false impression in the mind of the author. Ahem, regardless, the spell is more widely available than first assumed in this overview.
An additional benefit that Oceania has, in both EA and MA, is that it possesses stealthy troops, and a stealthy commander both in the low commitment 40 leadershipand more expensive 80 leadership s. This allows for stealthy raids, although the amount of stealthy troops is more limited than Pangaea enjoys, and the troops themselves are undisciplined.
There are also 2 more advantaged UW nations in the EA, the first being Atlantis. Atlantis has an easy time transitioning to land, even easier than Oceania in fact, as all their troops and mages are just directly amphibious. They have the same forging and casting paths UW as they do on land, and their mages are good for fighting in both locations.
Like Pelagia and R’lyeh their workhorse mage has baseline 2 with possibilities in Earth and Astral magic to help pointbuff elementals. They also have possible Fire crosspaths which can help with other elemental or Evocation spams on land, giving them a bit more flexibility above the seas than has been seen so far. Basalt kings are competent thugs and even super combatants, with good paths and strong statlines. Atlantis also has plentiful magic weapons on plenty of hard hitting troops, and easily spammed more efficient chaff as well. Their main weakness, generally, is their inability to natively deal with the that every other EA UW nation can cast.
The only EA popkill nation, as well as an UW nation, Therodos is one of the most interesting nations in the Early Age. They have popkill, but not total popkill in forts, and while they have sparse underwater recruitment options, they maintain potent mages and an UW start. Meanwhile, they want to transition onto land to gain access to their workhorse mages, and they are probably the most at home on land of all the EA UW nations.
Therodos has several tools which allow them to compete underwater. These include freespawning ghosts with magic weapons, who can be difficult for some UW nations to deal with early in the game. In addition, they have fairly killy sacreds, options to produce pretty good quantities of sacred thugs who can also tank, and some ability to spend their Water gems to make elementals as well, although their elementals are arguably the worst of the EA UW nations.
One potential trick that is difficult for many other UW builds to deal with is an awake MA Ermor or LA Lemuria, and can even keep a trickle of gold from forted provinces, allows them to more easily scale their income and infrastructure compared to other popkill nations, and even field gold-costing mages in mass.pretender, who automatically casts at the start of each combat. This combined with a screen of poison-immune ghosts, available very early in the game when Poison Ward and other counters are unavailable, can be very ferocious. In addition, the fact that they don’t quickly reduce their income to zero like
Early Age Agartha has a fully amphibious lineup of troops, mages, and sacreds, including Water mages which can help fight underwater. Combined with its Earth and Death magic, and the ability to make forts and recruit sacreds underwater, means that Agartha in the Early Age actually has fairly viable capacity to contest underwater, although because it has to split focus towards land as well it is still unlikely to easily overwhelm a proper underwater nation.
The Middle Age is filled with sharks, and every UW nation in the Middle Age is somewhat viable, both on land and under the seas. MA underwater consists of five nations again, with a single land nation having pretty potent UW fighting capacity in the form of MA Xibalba. There are also a few undead free-spawning nations such as Sceleria, Ermor, Asphodel, and even Nazca who can fight UW, but to a lesser capacity than the actual UW nations there. Despite all the UW nations in MA being pretty good, some of them excel even more on land, while some others are a bit better underwater. We will go in the order they are listed in game this time.
We will start with MA Atlantis. MA Atlantis trades in ubiquitous magic weapons, extra strength, and fire/cold resistance from the EA for ubiquitous Coral armaments and a cheaper lineup overall. The sacreds no longer lack a helmet, and do not have 10 encumbrance, so they are also more viable in the MA. While they do not have as many units with 2 attacks, the s especially still hit hard, and the nation can feel comfortable with its troop lineup overall.
It retains its access to a 2 workhorse mage, while its strong mage, the , is slow to recruit but not limited to the cap. The top end Earth access dips treacherously from 4 to only 2, but this is made up for somewhat by much better Astral access overall. In addition, they can get all the way up to 5, and could even spam from their Kings of the Deep if necessary.
s can be somewhat useful into specific matchups early on (such as Ys), although being aquatic they aren’t usable on land.
Overall, MA Atlantis just has very solid mages, troops, and is flexible enough to easily fight underwater or on land. It also notably has some of the best leaders in the game through 3 for throne claiming).s, but they are quite expensive (they do have
Moving on to MA R’lyeh. Middle Age R’lyeh keeps many of the benefits from the Early Age: cheap and efficient troops, efficient 2 mages who are good at researching, high levels of Water and Astral magic; at the same time they cut down on their weaknesses. Most of MA R’lyeh’s lineup can move from UW onto land, and this includes their best mages and troops. s, while resource intensive, are also one of the better troops in the game, with decently high damage magic weapon, good protection, all for the price of 13 gold; they are a significant improvement over the EA troops. In addition, mind-blasters are still prevalent, but this time they can also move onto land, meaning that MA R’lyeh can seriously put in check any nation without good levels of Magic Resistance through use of Astral magic and mind-blasters.
In addition to all of these other tools, MA R’lyeh also gains access to the Void Gate, a mechanic that allows all sorts of potent sacreds to be summoned, albeit at a relaxed pace. Even more importantly, they have any-fort (including coastal) 1 assassin mages, with mind-blast capabilities. This can be a significant threat, particularly with ample access to . Like Atlantis, MA R’lyeh has a very solid lineup, and perhaps even more tools overall, making it a very strong nation in the Middle Age.
MA Pelagia is also much stronger. It maintains some of its stronger aquatic mage, the (albeit weaker), and the , but also includes some newer, potent mages, such as s (who can get 2, 2, 2, or the aforementioned paths plus Astral), or even s (who can cast interesting Acid spells and give Pelagia Fire access). They even have more interesting summons in and s, giving them better access to forging and Nature magic than they would otherwise enjoy. When all is added together, they have loose access to every path but Blood, with competent access to Astral, Water, Air, Earth, and Nature magic.
Backing up this strong lineup are more impressive troops, both above and below the waves. Knight of the Deep is similar to MA Man's , but is also sacred, and isjust as impressive as that implies. With 3 attacks (one magic), good stats, and being sacred for 70 gold, Knights of the Deep might be the best underwater sacred in the game for actually fighting underwater. In addition, strong line-holding troops such as s raise their UW fighting potential to a whole new level. On top of this, the inclusion of Earth into their MA lineup brings their point-buffing capabilities on par with R’lyeh, and above Atlantis or Oceania, making them ferocious in an UW knife-fight.
They also have better access to land, able to make the reasonably armored, fairly heavy-hitting, who is amphibious. In addition, they have slightly better coastal recruitment selections in MA. Combined with (rusty) sacreds/commanders who can also go on land, and s who are also amphibious, MA Pelagia has much better land-fighting capabilities than its EA counterpart.
The depressed pony is next again. Oceania is better by several degrees in the MA, but is still on the weaker side overall. It is at least a competitive nation, but probably the worst overall of the MA UW powers. The first thing one might notice about MA Oceania is that aside from some new armor, very little in the lineup has changed since EA. All the mages are the same, many of the units (including the sacreds) are the same. There are still no heroes (did we mention that earlier?) and no summons, and it still feels like a weaker UW version of Pangaea.
Despite that, it is at least a stronger nation because the troops that it does gain are pretty good.s and s are both well armored and hit hard enough to be relevant in combat throughout the game. Having well-armoured units also synergizes well with the Earth magic that Oceania does have, making their mid-game options better. In addition, they can naturally construct 2 cp forts in the MA, which are even slightly better than their summoned forts, giving them overall more recruitment capabilities, especially in terms of mages. Combining these things together elevates them somewhat, but their mage weaknesses (the is the main mage, and it is 355 gold, slow to recruit, and has 284 yearly upkeep) and general lack of flavor remain the same.
Answering the question “What if Elves lived underwater” is Ys. The underwater ponyland which harbors the dreaded ??Morvarc’h Knight??s, Ys has plenty of powerful, but expensive, sacreds. Much like Therodos, Ys also has a lot of good coastal recruits, and once again it is probably the most eager to fight on land because of this.
In UW combat, Ys has some weaknesses, and some proficiencies. Because their overall magic access is similar to Pelagia in some ways, they have the same capacity to buff their Water Elementals. Unfortunately, they lack cheap access to 2, relying on either 25% randoms on s, or on their cap only ??Morgan Sorceress?es, who are also vital high-level Air mages. Morvarc’hs are also stronger on land than under water, because they gain a fire-breath attack that helps them clear chaff, and can utilize their sailing on land. Merrows, the principal non-sacred UW troops for Ys, are also somewhat underwhelming, with below average attack and defense stats in exchange for more hp/strength. The matches up quite poorly with other line-troops of UW nations.
Ysian coastal troops are overall a bit more efficient: All the Kernou troops are relatively cheap, with ok stats. In addition, Marverni Druids from the EA, and grant adequate Earth and Astral magic, with Nature in communions.s are quite similar to
Notably, Ysian Druids can random paths to let them cast, either through being master Matrix-ed into a communion or using pretender or empowering to make a . Overall, Ys has good Air access, with competent Water, Astral, and Earth magic as well. They lag behind in terms of Water magic somewhat compared to other UW nations, which contributes to their weaker state
While it starts on land, and has no guarantee of even a coastal start, MA Xibalba is somewhat unique thus far in that it is both capable of sending troops and mages underwater, and also capable of making more troops and mages once it gets there. While EA Fomoria has amphibious troops/mages, and nations such as Ur and Uruk have recruitable mages underwater, MA Xibalba has both and can easily transition between the two as well. It has competent Water mages, enough Earth to easily slap on Earth buffs, Death which can help contribute to massing or even skelly-spamming, and enough Nature to pointbuff , or put up Foul Vapors. As such, while it is by no means stronger than any of the other MA UW nations, it can at least compete with them all to some degree.
In Late Age the UW arena is markedly different from either of the earlier ages, as there is a noticeable lack of nations that actually start underwater. Instead, there are several nations that can competently expand underwater, but which start on land, and many of these nations can recruit mages uw; some even rely on it.
The only nation that actually starts UW is LA R’lyeh, the one that canonically defeated all other UW nations by the end of the Middle age. An oddball nation with a lot of quirks, popkill which dramatically reduces its strength, and only a few bonuses to make up for these downsides. One nation in particular, Jomon, will most likely even attempt to go UW despite having limited capacity to do so.
We will start with the only proper uw nation, LA R’lyeh. LA R’lyeh’s dominion has two prominent features which help define the nation, and set it apart from its MA predecessor: popkill and spread insanity. The mage and troop lineup for LA R’lyeh is essentially identical to MA, making the dominion the primary difference between the two.
Like all other popkill dominions in the game, LA R’lyeh’s spawns freespawn for them. Unfortunately, LA R’lyeh’s freespawn is the worst in the game, much of it requiring magic leadership, continuing to eat, costing upkeep, and being aquatic, and therefore unable to move onto land. Meanwhile, your dominion kills your population which makes it impossible to play similarly to MA R’lyeh, and your own commanders will suffer from your insanity dominion. This can sometimes result in helpful consequences, such as spawning extra prophets for you (something only LA R’lyeh can do), and there are some other helpful features of LA R’lyeh, including better access to sacreds from the void, and the Void Spectre summon, which gives extra 4 access for just 25. Despite this, LA R’lyeh is one of the least fun, and least powerful nations in the game overall.
There are a few “proper” land-based UW nations in the LA, most notably LA Atlantis. LA Atlantis, unlike its earlier two iterations, starts on land (a coastal province), and plays out very differently from the earlier two nations. It has a strong, capitol-only mage in the form of the giving it access to a lot of valuable spells such as , and , but its workhorse mage exists underwater, namely the . Forgiving Fathers are similar to the earlier two workhorse mages for Atlantis, with a mix of Water (primary), this time with Astral secondary, but still WSFE randoms.
Meanwhile, the troop situation is almost opposite: LA Atlantis has troops that are very strong in Cold 3 because of their Ice Protection trait, and these troops are both stronger on land (because UW maxes out at Cold 1) and can only be made there. While still fully amphibious (as all of their troops/mages are), this means that they want to recruit troops on land, but secure underwater provinces for mage recruitment, an interesting dichotomy. Regardless, LA Atlantis has strong troops, solid mages, with an especially potent cap-only mage that makes them one of the strongest nations with the capability to go UW in LA. Unlike some other nations, they enjoy an easy transition both UW, then back onto land, and their entire lineup can traverse either terrain.
Erytheia is another potent amphibious, land-based nation. A spiritual successor to the Pelagia line, LA Erytheia also incorporates the qualities of Arcoscephale’s s into many of its mages. For this reason, it has potent access to all of the elemental paths, as well as Astral. Many of its coastal-recruit troops are hoplite-style formation fighters who have the capability to go underwater, where it can recruit more hoplites. It also inherits many of Pelagia’s strong aquatic troops, and while these cannot be transitioned back onto land, they are quite potent and allow Erytheia to stand toe to toe with any other nation fighting for UW in the Late Age. In addition, Erytheia can still convert Water gems into Pearls using a weaker version of the , and it also maintains the capacity to summon in competent forgers and stronger Nature mages like MA Pelagia did. In combination with overall better Astral access due to its land mage lineup, Erytheia is a very stable, competent hybrid nation, although it lacks “knock-out” troops or mages.
Another, slightly less competent, hybrid nation is LA Mictlan. LA Mictlan is a mix between EA Mictlan and Atlantis, with strong capitol-only Water mages backed up by amphibious sacreds all available from its land start. This is easily enough to break it into UW, where it can recruit additional amphibious troops and Water mages. Unfortunately, the only path available underwater for Mictlan is more Water, so while LA Mictlan will likely take UW provinces for extra income and gems, they’re much less likely to heavily contest the water, and fort up provinces for additional mages or troops. That being said, if they do need to fight a war UW, they have easy access to Water mages to do it with.
Another less potent hybrid nation is LA Xibalba. Like MA Xibalba, LA Xibalba can easily make troops capable of going UW, and they have Water mages available both UW and on land. The units have developed from partial to perfect Darkvision, allowing them to fight in deep water with no penalty. They do not have access to a workhorse Water mage, however, which means that they have less benefit compared to MA Xibalba once they do get UW. Despite this, they are almost more likely to appear there, as they often have less competition in the LA.
The only nation thus far with no UW recruits is Patala. Patala has cap only amphibious sacreds and mages which allow it to go underwater, including Water mages, so it is able to contest UW provinces to a more limited extent. It does not gain much benefit out of this, as it cannot recruit any mages or troops underwater and it cannot construct forts.
A less orthodox UW competitor is Lemuria. Lemuria, unlike MA Ermor, has fully amphibious troops in large quantities, allowing it to easily go underwater, and contest the water once it gets there. In addition, Lemuria still gets freespawn underwater and benefits strongly from going there. Despite having few to no real Water mages, Lemuria, much like Therodos, can flood provinces with ghostly chaff, including more elite undead ghost thugs sprinkled in. All of its ghostly mages can also come underwater, meaning it can pull of full + plays beneath the waves.
The least capable nation on this list to fight underwater is Jomon They are only included here because Jomon really really wants to contest for underwater and are therefore likely to do so. Jomon has absolutely nothing within the nation that allows it to easily go underwater; their best option to break into water early is through the Earth Snake pretender, a very generic way to go underwater. Additionally, Jomon has limited access to Water mages on land, and no native Water income, making it particularly poorly suited to using mages or thugs to get UW, unlike nations such as Ur or Uruk.
This being said, Jomon’s strongest troops and mages are located underwater.are quite potent Water mages, thugs and overall mages. They have excellent mapmove (34), and can fly underwater which makes them particularly maneuverable beneath the waves. Jomon additionally has s, which are competent, if expensive, line-holders. It still takes quite a bit of time to set up a fort underwater for Jomon, and if any of the other nations mentioned here wish to, they can contest the Jomon UW before Ryujin production ramps up, leaving them at a severe disadvantage contesting water in the early game. By the mid-game or late-game, assuming they can establish forts UW, Jomon can become a strong water power, capable of fighting the likes of Atlantis or Erytheia beneath the waves.
Without getting into specific matchups, we will detail here how UW fights can be taken, what magic paths/spells are useful, or viable, and which are less so.
Fire Magic: Aside from, Fire magic is basically useless underwater. The only path with less UW utility is Blood, and honestly there are a few Blood spells available on the strategic map that can be targeted underwater that make even this claim dubious. The few spells that remain are mostly protections from cold or heat elemental magic and also include the fairly useful spell , which can do armor negating heat damage.
Air Magic: Much of the Air magic in Evocation is still useful, including things such as Lightning bolt. Often, people will not really consider the use of Air magic underwater, and socan be fairly effective in stopping Water Elementals, one of the UW-bowl’s strongest units. Additionally, high level spells such as and (which both should definitely not be available underwater, but are) can be cast, which can radically impact any battle they are involved in. This is one of the reasons that Pelagia can compete later into the game with Atlantis or R’lyeh. Other strong spells such as , , or the various Air crosses that result in clouds, cannot be cast, and therefore Air is overall weaker than it would be on land.
Water Magic: As expected, UW warfare is dominated by Water mages. This is not because Water mages have awesome Evocations, or even particularly impressive buffs or battlefield wide spells UW (although there are some useful buffs and battlefield spells available). No, instead it is primarily because of the Conjuration 5 spell.
Making Water Elementals, and then using mages to point-buff them to make them more potent, is one of the strongest tactics in the UW “meta” that can be used. Water elementals have 4 relatively high damage armor piercing attacks, with full physical resistances and good stats. Underwater, they also have 20% regen. Once fully buffed and with their solid stats, Water Elementals can hold off chaff such as skeletons, the small UW creatures spawned by , or even main line-holding troops more or less indefinitely. They can easily chew into normal enemy formations, and are fully capable of surrounding and harassing down thugs, until they punch through any defenses and kill whatever it is they are striking. Water elementals are the reason that rushing Conjuration 5 is a standard move for UW nations that have other UW nations at their borders.
Additional strong spells include, a host of buff spells such as , and disabling spells such as . also works underwater, unlike , so it is sometimes recommended that you should dump Cold when picking an UW nation. Unfortunately, there are basically no strong Water-based UW evocations.
Notably, Water magic is also the best way for a land nation to get underwater, and once there, to maintain a hold on the provinces they take (most of the gear that allows otherwise air-breathing troops or commanders to go UW requires water magic to forge). Whether it be on the strategic map, in forging, or in combat, Water magic is vital to fight underwater.
Earth Magic: Many of the good Earth buff spells are still castable underwater, as are, and even damage spells such as . Overall, Earth magic is still quite useful for providing troops buffs, especially for point-buffing Water Elementals. Because of this, Earth magic fulfills many of the same roles and niches, although because Water Elementals are so dominant, and troops are generally faster uw, many of their spells are somewhat less efficient ( is less likely to hit, it is harder to get as many buffs on troops before combat, Earth Elementals lose to Water Elementals).
Astral Magic: Like Earth magic, most of the Astral spells are still castable underwater, aside from those that are solar-themed. This means that, point-buffs and mass buffs, as well as single target spells like and , are all still viable underwater. Similar to Earth, there are a few spells which are no longer available, but Astral still fills the same niches, as it does not really gain anything in UW combat. Again, point buffing Water Elementals with , as an example, can greatly increase their combat capability, especially against other Water Elementals, and is one of the reasons that Therodos and Oceania have poorer Water Elemental fighting capabilities.
Death Magic: While some spells such asand are not available underwater, some of those that synergize well with mass undead, such as and are. Because many undead also have the native capacity to fight underwater, Death is actually one of the more helpful paths to maintain underwater. Counter spells such as Undead Mastery and are also still available, which means that Death magic is actually still quite flexible underwater. It can also still summon thugs like s, or extra mages such as s beneath the waves just fine.
Nature Magic: Nature magic is also still widely applicable underwater. If anything, the lack of many Fire-based spells to punishmakes it stronger. Additionally, an inability to deal with things like can severely harm or take off-guard some water nations (especially Atlantis), so Nature magic has some counter-play in specific matchups as well. There is not really a stand-out Nature magic spell, per se, but similar to some of the other paths, you just use Nature similarly UW as you would on land.
Blood Magic: Blood has very few usable spells that can actually be cast UW, however, it does have a couple spells that can target UW, and cast remotely. This includes, , , and probably several others as well. While you can neither bloodhunt, nor bring blood slaves underwater, Blood nations still maintain some capability to project their magic into underwater provinces, meaning that Blood is not totally irrelevant, despite seeming to be strictly limited.
In the earliest stages of the game, UW is focused on expansion similarly to most land nations. Unlike land nations, the UW portion of the map is likely to be limited to just a few players, often only to one or two. If there are two players who start underwater in connected water, a situation may occur known as an Underwater knife-fight, where both nations are encouraged to fight each other for control of the entire water area. While this is not guaranteed, it is common enough for awake pretenders to be a common occurrence UW, so as to help with this early war. Some sacreds such as Knights of the Deep, Morvarc’hs, and even Atlantis’ sacreds are also widely used early for UW combat.
One tactic if an UW nation has extra money, is to simply all in by investing into more troops, including independents. This can be viable because there are generally fewer resources available underwater, meaning fort recruitment may be maxed out for some nations before all the available gold is used up. Nations such as R’lyeh, who have mind blast, also try to mass a critical amount of mindblasters to enable their troops to compete more effectively, and often there is a rush to research Conjuration 5 for Water Elementals. While you should research each matchup for its theory if you do intend to enter a game as an UW nation, you should know that all-ins are somewhat more likely because existing underwater makes your flanks somewhat safer; people do not want to contest you very early for your underwater provinces. A very often switch is into scales should you not share a border with another UW nation.
In the Late Age, most UW contesting nations also need to consider who they border on land, and aside from Jomon (which is often built specifically to go UW with an awake pretender), these nations tend to build for a more “standard” land-focused game. Even LA Atlantis and Erytheia do this because bless-focused builds rarely help them expand UW faster, whereas scales are overall more beneficial.
As the game scales on, hiding underwater becomes less safe, and people may start to contest you using their own Water mages, summons, or the undead. It is important to realize that simply “camping” underwater does not really improve your chances to win the game, so you should not be afraid to expand onto the land and pick additional fights; you should invest mages to improve your position, not just to improve your research.
Lastly, this is just a draft atm, so please feel free to leave comments, subject to review, and any helpful suggestions for future sections or edits.