How to play Southern Mercenaries
Powerful, but expensive mercenaries are lawful. Villagers are neutral, cheap, weak. Key is to use both of them, combine them, to get both good economy and fighting force.
Villagers, levels 0-2
Village Peasant - Very weak unit, weaker than anyone else. Slow, terrible melee and ranged attack, low hitpoints. However, they are so cheap, that you can encircle enemies or simply put them on the way. Peasants heal rapidly in the villages. They have the taxpayer ability, so 100 peasants will provide 100 gold every turn. What is very nice. However, it takes 9 turns for single peasant just to get the recruitment cost. When you have a lot of peasants, you can also keep them far from any danger, because anyone can kill a lot of them in short time - and reduce you income.
Village Archer 0-II - Cheap, but not that bad unit. Usable for example against orcish grunts or even drakes. They are your basic damage dealers.
Village Fighter 0-II - Another weak, but usable unit. They can do some damage, bit someone much stronger can kill them during one turn. Still, in hand to hand combat they can injure stronger enemies. Fighters are good against skeletons, mages and if near mercenary leader, they can also kill very strong enemy. Remember, when one dies, another can ran to his place (hex) and continue fighting.
Village Mage 0-II - Cheap and fragile unit, usable only if you need their magic arcane damage. Surprisingly effective near leaders.
Village Thief 0-II - Thieves are useful when killing enemies from behind. They are fragile, but also cheap. With no special abilities other than simple backstab, this is a situation only unit. However, combination of backstab and high level leadership might be interesting.
Mercenaries, levels 1-3
Mercenary Lancer I-III - You need these guys to eliminatw almost everyone. Good against infantry, cavalry, mages... But for examply simple goblins can kill these expensive troops. Remember, that anyone can harm this units very well during the night. Also, keep distance from slowing units, because slowed lancers are a great target and they will die quickly. Make sure your economy is strong enough, when summoning more lancers at once, because every mercenary unit have double upkeep.
Mercenary Leader I-III - Leader and good fighter, very useful as a teamleader. Can improve attack of any villagers and mercenaries on lower level.
Mercenary Saberman I-III - Your universal fighter for every situation. Very good damage output. They do not have weaknesses like classic duelists, but they are also not a skirmisher units. Ranged damage is solid, so you can mass these guys, if you have enough gold.
Economy is very important for southern mercenaries, as half of the units do not need any upkeep - and peasants even produce gold. Mercenaries have a high upkeep, so combination of peasants and other units is a good idea. On specific maps, it is not a good idea to mass peasants, especially when you need good fighters quickly.
Faction is based on two very different unit types. You have multiple choices:
- get many villagers and capture and hold villages. This way you have no upkeep, and you can get a lot of additional villagers. When fighting gets tough, add one or two leaders, so your villagers will have a better attack. Big warning: Level 0 units have no ZOC (Zone of Control), so enemies can go around them (as if they are all skirmishers). Sometimes you have to use some peasants to block villages, so quick enemy scout cannot take them in one turn.
- same as before, but add some mercenaries to make a strong attack. Lancers and village fighters are a good combo, especially if you choose a Leader II as your main guy.
- use mercenaries as much as possible. Without villagers (or with very few of them), you have a powerful striking force very quickly. For 100 gold, you can have 4 mercenaries and you can start crushing your enemies very quickly. Problem is, that 4 units have upkeep like 8 normal units. So, this is like using queen in chess very early.
Against special enemies, add these units:
- Village mages can defeat special units with their arcane attack. It is possible you will loose some of them, don't matter how much you wish to protect them.
- Mercenaries, especially lancers, are deadly during daytime. Especially against basic units, they are perfect. But make sure you can protect them from sides against multiple enemies. They are attackers, not defenders. Simply make sure, that peasants or fighters are close, so your really important units will not die and can return to villages.
- You have no healing, no poison, no slowing attacks, no draining or anything similar. So, use your brute force or mass weak units. With more units, you can take down liches, woses, heavy infantrymen or berserkers. Thieves can help with strong targets.
- Mercenary leaders provide leadership. It means, your mercenaries are even stronger during the day. However, it also means, that they are NOT BAD during the night.
- Sabremen are your blade attackers, lancers are your pierce attackers. Use type that works better in the situation. You can also use basic or improved village fighters, who have impact damage.
High priority: Mercenary leader, very useful in this faction.
Upgrading mercenaries means to have even stronger unit, but with higher upkeep.
- Level 1 have upkeep 2
- Level 2 have upkeep 4
- Levwl 3 have upkeep 6
Upgrading villagers is nothing special. However, upkeep is free only for level 0 units and for unit designed as leader in campaign or multiplayer game. This faction is not good in ranged fighting, so try to upgrade some archers, it is more important than upgrading fighters.