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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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  • King Arthur II
Hello.

I've been playing King Arthur II since it was released, off and on. I've wrapped it on normal 7 times and had some pretty sound strategies worked out. Then I played on Nightmare and realized that my strategies were lacking a little. So it was time to do some serious thinking. For one, adaptive thinking became critical. Bottom line, I had to take a step back and examine all angles of the game and figure out how to use everything that it has to offer to my advantage. The following is a small guide to help you win those fights that otherwise are too difficult, or simply cost too much gold from unit loss.

Keep in mind that if you want to follow the strategies in this guide it might be useful to start a new game. One thing I find about both King Arthur games is that your decisions early on matter a great deal, and often times the game because difficult/impossible if you don't make good choices early on.

Units


Archers

While not as destructive as the archers in King Arthur, King Arthur II's archers can become really potent weapons. There's 2 obvious things to keep in mind: They have range, and they get decimated in close combat. It seems simple, but this means that you need to keep them protected, and make sure they have targets they can keep hammering at without taking any damage.

Using archers against enemy archers is not a good idea. While the enemy is notorious for using his archers against yours, he doesn't have to worry about unit cost, nor does he really care all that much if he loses troops. If you use your archers to attack his, you've pretty much wasted them. Yes they'll do damage, but you've effectively removed them from battle while his infantry come in to attack yours at full strength. Much better to keep his archers busy in other ways, while you use your own to decimate his infantry. By the time your own infantry is ready to engage, you'll have a strong advantage.

I recommend using magical attacks against archers. Cavalry are good too but they are vulnerable to spearman and the enemy almost always has a few spearmen around. It is really distressing to see your cavalry mow over the enemy archers before they have a chance to do any damage, only to have them eaten alive by spears and swords. More on this later.

I generally use 4 archer units early game, then replace 1 or 2 with different unit types as they become available. I also keep 1 spearman unit of whatever type guarding one of the archer units. This is the last line of defense. If the enemy gets around your defenses somehow this 1 spearman unit could make the difference between losing a couple hundred individual archers and losing none. And because he can eventually be upgraded to cost zero gold to fill up ranks, as long as there's 1 left it won't cost you a thing. There's many battles where I don't use him, but there's also been many battles where he's saved me from the deep stinky stuff.

As far as upgrades go, I generally sink my first few skill points into accuracy. Damage is good, but not if he can't hit anything. I have found that 70 for accuracy is a good amount, then everything else into damage. First skill upgrade I generally give him the one that increases accuracy by 50. I see no need to give him any points in defense or HP, because ideally your archers won't ever get touched by the enemy. Focus on damage with these guys.


Light infantry

I never use them, so I wouldn't know how to help strategize with them. If anyone has a good strat using these guys I'd be happy to know it.

Heavy Infantry

These are the backbone of your army. They have good shooting defense, so they can charge an enemy line while taking minimum damage from arrows. If you've taken the 'good' morality, upgrade them first with healing. I generally trigger it a few seconds after they make contact. This gives them the edge at the beginning of their fight, healing damage taken from arrows and giving them a chance to do as much damage as possible without losing any troops or very few. After healing wears off, they should have the advantage of numbers and make short work of other enemy infantry units. 2nd skill point should be the one that lowers magic shield with every few enemies they kill. This becomes incredibly useful, especially if you're like me and keep 5 or 6 heavy infantry units at all times. You can decimate the enemy magic shield really quickly, leaving his archers open for magical attack if he started the battle with high magic shield. I generally set these guys up flanking each side of my archers, angled inwards towards the enemy's advance, with my 3 heroes in front. This way, my archers are protected, and they can close in on the enemy quickly.

Not much else with them. Keep them alive with healing and buffed with a warlord's command circle. I do my best to keep ALL of my infantry units within the command circle. It's not always possible, though.

Cavalry

Early game I use 4 of these guys, later stages I have 2 or 1 (once I get flying units, they're the first to be replaced). Send them running around the battlefield in groups of 2 to capture locations. If they run into the enemy, they'll have the strength of numbers to take care of any threat, or you can split them up individually once you've assured that everything is clear. I find cavalry to be incredibly versatile, yet almost useless in the early part of any battle. Like I mentioned earlier, if you send them in to take out archers, you might accomplish that but you leave them very vulnerable until the rest of your army catches up, usually too late. Instead, have them run around the map, capturing locations and scouting for advantages. Once the bulk of your army is engaged, at this point you've usually captured the locations that interest you or that are accessible to you.

If the enemy still has some archers at this point you can most often bring your cavalry in at to finish them off using trampling. This is done SO much better in KAII than it was in KA. An entire archer division can be trampled without losing any momentum. Furthermore you can also change course without losing momentum, so no worry about having to redirect your cavalry in mid-charge if you lose your line of attack. In delta formation (the triangle one lol) They can even pivot to charge from a different corner of the delta without losing much if any momentum. You can also use them to trample over enemy heavy/light infantry that are attempting to flank once your own infantry is engaged.

So that's it for the basic unit types. I won't cover all of the special units because most of them will fit into the categories above. I haven't found much use for wolfbreed, so never build them. They make good scouts, as they can get to a location quickly to capture it, and change into warriors to defend it, but I find I can accomplish the same thing with talonfolk much more efficiently. Simply put, I find wolfbreed do not offer any sort of advantage that other more diverse units can't fulfill. Giants are fantastic in normal difficulty. On nightmare I find they lose units to quickly, and because they only start with 5, they become very weak very quickly. Though I haven't tried building an army of 6 giants yet so maybe stacked they can wreak serious havoc.


Flying units

Get them. As soon as you can. All flying units should stay away from archers, especially talonfolk, but apart from that they can devastate an enemy horde. Your talonfolk should be ripping around the battlefield capturing locations and eliminating stragglers. Once you've taken out the archers one way or another (usually with spellcasting) your flying units can come in and mop up. I often send them against heroes. 1 talonfolk unit can keep a hero busy so that he can't cast spells or do much of anything else. Plus, it'll take very little damage. Get 2 talonfolk onto a hero and you can take him out so fast you won't notice it's done while you're paying attention to other things.

Guardians, arch guardians, seraphs, dark angels and gargoyles aren't as fast but their damage is almost unbalanced. Take out or otherwise render useless enemy archers and these guys will clean house for you with little to no casualties. But it is in my experience best to keep them away from battle for the first part. Like cavalry, you can use them as scouts right at the beginning, then send them in to clean house while the rest of your army has the enemy units/heroes distracted.

It's pretty much my goal to work towards at least half my army as flying units. They are that awesome.


That's it for now. Time's running short. I'll be back in a bit to run through how I use my different heroes, as well as to highlight global strategies and tactics - how to set up your army at the beginning of a battle and maintain that setup throughout the fight, as well as more complicated tactics designed to split up the enemy forces so that you can have your way with them.

In the meantime, if you guys have anything you'd like to add or share, please do so.

-H
 

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  • King Arthur II
Heroes

Warlords

This is my favorite hero class. On normal difficulty I prefer mages, but on Nightmare I find I need at least one of them in my army. 2 if I can. The command circle keeps your army strong and healthy, and to the best of my ability I keep my main strength within it. It is THE edge I need in the battle. Otherwise the battle is too evenly matched.

Slow is a great spell. You can upgrade it cheaply (2 skill points) and it lasts a long time, and recharges very fast. It is perfect for removing enemy cavalry from the equation, allowing your archers to kill them off. If you can get 2 heroes with slow in your army, even better. It allows you to slow down every unit that you want your archers to kill. The healing spell the warlord comes with is extremely useful. Keep your infantry buffed, healing, as much as you can. You can also cast it while engaged which is fantastic.

Champions

I don't use them much. They're generally filler. Sir Lawrence is good because he has shildbreaker charm, which lowers enemy magic shield anywhere on the map. Very useful spell if you have a mage in your army. I often put him with Morgana as I find they compliment eachother quite well. There isn't much to this class I find. They're all about melee damage. They can put the hurt on the enemy, but I find a warlord is much more useful all around, if the option is there. Some come with teleport which is really useful. They can teleport in mid-fight, as it has no casting time. This means that if your archers are in danger when an enemy is flanking your engaged infantry, you can teleport right into the middle and stop them in their tracks. With cleave and lightning strike you can finish the unit off quickly and then return to the main fight.

Mages

Damage Damage Damage. On normal difficulty, after about halfway through the campaign, I can start wiping out entire armies just with my main hero if he is a mage. This isn't as easy on Nightmare. Regardless, the mage is a potent addition to your army.

Poison is the most useful spell in his inventory. Its has ludicrous range, so you can start taking down the enemy's magic shield almost immediately after a battle starts. Once his magic shield is down, you can use poison again to eliminate archers. At full level, with a few points in spellpower at level up, you can take out an entire archer division with this spell. Fireball is excellent against archers as well if you can time it right or they're standing still as they plink away uselessly against your heavy infantry or cavalry. It's also incredibly useful against flying creatures, especially gargoyles, because unlike when casting it on the ground you can target an air unit. No need their distance and vectors. Curse of Shadows works in the same way. The other shadow spell (can't remember what it's called) is also amazing. It has a normal spell penetration so you can use it to do damage more quickly. If the enemy is all bunched up, you can use your warlords/champions to slow some of the down, then cast it. It targets a unit specifically, so as they move around the radius follows them. On slowed units they don't have enough time to get out of range before the spell runs its course. It is extremely satisfying to do so much damage against 3 or 4 units all at once. If your mage has flamewall, this is also an excellent spell. It can be cast only on the ground, but can help prevent flankers. It has no casting time either which is really useful. Fast recharge time too.

The setup I like the best is 2 Warlords and 1 Mage. That is not always possible throughout the game, as you need to balance out your armies as well, but for the first 2 chapters it is definitely possible and I recommend it. Your 2 warlords should be in the thick of battle with fully upgraded command circles. Do this and you will lose very few soldiers. Meanwhile your mage can blast away at enemy archers, then you can sweep in with your cavalry to take out diminished units and stragglers.

More to come, time's running out again :)

-H
 

Slan

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Poison is the most useful spell in his inventory. Its has ludicrous range, so you can start taking down the enemy's magic shield almost immediately after a battle starts.
Nice tips! Only wanted to add that you can safely cast area-targeted spells anywhere as long as the enemy has a higher level Magic Shield than the spell's Penetration level. Technically the Magic Shield works much more like a jamming device than a shield: it prevents the enemy's spell from coming to existence rather than the owner from being harmed from the spell, so you don't really need to target your enemy with the spell, you only need to cast it. Keep in mind though that certain spells can only be cast at units and not directly on the ground, those don't work as well for breaking Magic Shields. Also make sure that their Magic Shield won't drop too low just before your Mage finishes casting that Fireball right in the middle of your front lines :D