Armored Princess Unit Analysis Part 3: Elves

Elves were one of the more well-defined and diverse groups in The Legend, so Armored Princess doesn't need to do too much to improve them. It still makes an effort to refine them, and I appreciate that.

Racial relations-wise...

-1 Morale for Demonic presence in allies.
-2 Morale for Undead presence in allies.
-1 Morale for Dwarven presence in allies.
-1 Morale for Orc presence in allies.
-1 Morale for Lizardmen presence in allies.

... Elves don't get along with much of anybody in Teana.

As with Humans and Dwarves, the technical reduction in the rating for Undead and Demons is offset by Armored Princess' harsher Morale penalties. The addition of Orcs and Lizardmen to the ranks of units that offend delicate Elven sensibilities severely constricts viable options for Elf+non-Elf choices, as you're just left with Humans and Neutral units at that point.

Lake Fairy
Level: 1
Hiring Cost: 16
Leadership: 7
Attack/Defense: 3 / 3
Initiative/Speed: 7 / 5
Health: 8
Damage: 1-2 Magic
Resistances: 25% Magic
Talents: Hunter's Mark (Charge: 1. Designates an arbitrary enemy with the Hunter's Mark. Archers that fire on such a marked unit will automatically get a critical hit)
Abilities: Soars, No retaliation, Magic Resistance (25% Magic resistance), Fairy Dust (Melee attacks have a 30% chance of inflicting Weakness for one turn)

+1 Initiative (Which actually means they no longer occupy a unique Initiative+Speed tier), +2 Health, and they've picked up an actual Talent of their own!

Hunter's Mark is a nifty way for them to get more use out of their first turn, and it's a reasonably natural fit to how Elves have two natural archers. It would've been better appreciated in The Legend, where Tolerance would let you effortlessly field an army of Bowmen/Undead Bowmen/Elves/Hunters to potentially maximize that firepower, but it's still a big help to them in the here and now.

The AI doesn't seem to have any idea how to make good use of Hunter's Mark, though, usually just throwing it on a random unit without regard to whether they even have archer allies, and if they do said archer allies will often proceed to ignore the Mark. At least they usually prefer to move 4 tiles and then use Hunter's Mark, instead of using it from a standing position to waste their entire turn.

Sprite Forest Fairy
Level: 1
Hiring Cost: 20
Leadership: 9
Attack/Defense: 4 / 2
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 9
Damage: 1-3 Magic
Resistances: 25% Magic, -50% Fire
Talents: Dispel
Abilities: Soars, No retaliation, Magic Resistance (25% Magic resistance), Susceptible to Fire (-50% Fire resistance), Oblivion (Melee attacks have a 50% chance of using up all the target's Talents)

+1 to Leadership and Health, plus the the Oblivion Ability. Also, they have a nice new name.

Oblivion specifically wipes all charges and sets all reloads to maximum when it triggers, to be clear. It can of course be devastating to a unit that's heavy on charge Talents (eg how an Alchemist has 2 Repair charges and 2 charges for creating Droids), but even units like Demonesses with three reloading Talents can be quite badly impacted, especially if the Oblivion rolls keep happening.

Unfortunately, while Oblivion really seems like it should be a very solid reason to use Forest Fairies, it's also been gifted to Dryads, who were already very worth using, and remain so. Drat.

Werewolf Elf (Elf form)
Level: 3
Hiring Cost: 160
Leadership: 60
Attack/Defense: 16 / 16
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 2
Health: 55
Damage: 7-9 Physical
Resistances: Generic.
Talents: Transformation (Reload 2: Switch forms)
Abilities: Blades (Inflicts Bleeding on melee hits), Night Sight (+50% Attack at night or underground), Regeneration ('Top' member of the stack fully heals at the start of their turn), Tolerance (No Morale penalty from Undead allies)

+10 Health. That's... uh. It.

Admittedly, Werewolf Elves were hampered by being a melee unit that was on the fragile side for a melee unit, but I honestly don't experience much of a difference between the two games.

Werewolf Elf (Wolf form)
Level: 3
Leadership: 60
Attack/Defense: 16 / 10
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 55
Damage: 5-8 Physical
Resistances: Generic.
Talents: Howl (Charge: 1. All enemy Humans, Elves, and Dwarves of Level 1-2 are hit with Fear, and additionally have a 50% chance of skipping their turn entirely), Transformation (Reload: 2. Switch forms)
Abilities: Night Sight (+50% Attack at night or underground), Frenzy (20% chance to inflict Frenzy for 4 turns on melee attacks. Frenzied units are hostile to all units, but the effect ends after the first time they attack something), Regeneration ('Top' member of the stack fully heals at the start of their turn), Tolerance (No Morale penalty from Undead allies), Lycanthrope (When melee attacking Human units, including those Neutral units that are clearly human like Pirates and Assassins, or Elves, there is a 30% chance that 25% of the units killed in the attack will join the Werewolf's stack. At night or underground 50% of the units killed will join instead. Spellcaster units such as Druids and Priests can't be converted)

+10 HP and Lycanthrope gained.

I've actually never seen Lycanthrope trigger in Armored Princess. I have no idea if it works. It seems like something that would make Werewolf Elves more appealing in player hands, but it's also low-odds to trigger and only takes a portion of the converts so... you're probably better off with Vampire Bats if you care about the Lycanthrope effect.

Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 750
Leadership: 130
Attack/Defense: 23 / 20
Initiative/Speed: 7 / 5
Health: 120
Damage: 10-17 Magic/Physical
Resistances: 25% Magic
Talents: None
Abilities: Magic Resistance (+25% Magic resistance), Horn of Light, (30% more damage against Demons and Undead) Defender of Beauty (+2 Morale to allied Forest Fairies, Lake Fairies, and Dryads)

+3 Initiative, no other changes. It doesn't jump them past that many units, and a number of the high-Initiative units have risen even further, so this is less of a gain than you might think, but it does mean Unicorns are difficult to pull ahead of with lower-Initiative units.

It also means that Black Unicorns aren't so strongly an overall upgrade over them, which is nice.

Black Unicorn
Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 950
Leadership: 150
Attack/Defense: 27 / 24
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 140
Damage: 12-21 Magic/Physical
Resistances: 25% Magic
Talents: None
Abilities: Magic Resistance (25% Magic resistance), Horn of Light (30% more damage against Demons and Undead), Tolerance (No Morale penalty from allied Undead), Blood for Blood (Retaliatory strikes always crit against Elves-the-species)

Black Unicorns have picked up 2 Attack and Blood for Blood. That's... seriously it.

I'd have preferred a stronger set of distinctions between them and Unicorns, but oh well.

Level: 2
Hiring Cost: 50
Leadership: 20
Attack/Defense: 4 / 12
Initiative/Speed: 4 / 3
Health: 25
Damage: 1-3 Magic
Resistances: Generic.
Talents: Summon Thorns (Reload: 2. Generates a Thorn Hunter or Thorn Warrior stack in a chosen adjacent tile with a total Leadership of 8-10 per Dryad in the summoning stack), Elven Song (Charge: 1. All Elven allies have +3 Initiative for 5 turns), Lullaby (Reload: 3. All enemies below Level 4 that are not immune to Mind effects fall asleep for 1 turn)
Abilities: Soaring, No retaliation, Beauty (30% chance for male humanoids to Miss when attacking this unit), Charm (Melee attacks have a 20% chance to temporarily convert male humanoids into allies), Wood Fairy (+1 Morale for allied Plants), Oblivion (Melee attacks have a 50% chance of using up all the target's Talents)

They've picked up Oblivion, horning in on the Forest Fairy's new shtick, but they've actually lost a point of max damage. Also they're now 'Wood Fairies' instead of 'Tree Fairies', apparently.

Also, I don't know if Charm genuinely didn't work in The Legend or if I was just really unlucky, but I've seen it trigger in later games, and it's worth mentioning that if it triggers, the target unit actually doesn't get injured by the attack; the Charm occurs in place of the damage. Probably overall a positive, since it means going to finish off a stack can still get you a surprise Charm, and one that actually matters rather than a mocking 'well you Charmed them but now they're dead so that was a waste of a lucky roll' sort of thing. Though it can be a bit annoying when it's the last enemy unit and you're trying to end the battle...

Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 800
Leadership: 260
Attack/Defense: 30 / 36
Initiative/Speed: 2 / 2
Health: 260
Damage: 25-30 Physical
Resistances: 10% Physical, 50% Poison, -100% Fire
Talents: Running (Charge: 1. +2 Action Points), Wasp Swarm (Reload: 1. Ranged attack which does 12-15 Physical damage and 12-15 Poison damage to a single target)
Abilities: Plant (+100% vulnerability to Fire, +50% resistance to Poison, immunity to mental effects, assorted secondary implications), Entangle (50% chance to Entangle enemies with melee attack, reducing AP to 1 for 2 turns)

Picked up 60 HP and Entangle. Also got slightly renamed. Overall result is that they're much better at tying down enemy melee, which is actually kind of at a right angle to the Ent's basic capabilities.

I'm actually not sure why you'd want to use Ents in Armored Princess. In The Legend, they were probably the better choice when compared against Ancient Ents just because they could close and fight simultaneously. In Armored Princess, Ancient Ents are a tarpit to prevent enemy melee from reaching your proper ranged units (That happens to be able to get opportunistic ranged attacks in), while Ents are.... an awkward pseudo-ranged unit?

Note that Entangle overrules effects like Haste but not effects like Running. No amount of extra Speed will ever get past Entangle, but a direct injection of Action Points will do just fine, basically. In spite of using the same graphics as Slow, the 'Haste wipes out Slow' interaction doesn't apply.

Ancient Ent
Level: 5
Hiring Cost: 3600
Leadership: 1200
Attack/Defense: 50 / 60
Initiative/Speed: 1 / 1
Health: 1400
Damage: 100-140 Physical
Resistances: 10% Physical, 50% Poison, -100% Fire
Talents: Wasp Swarm (Charge: 1. Does 60-90 Physical and 60-90 Poison damage to a single target with an effective range of 4. Cannot be used if an enemy is adjacent), Summon Wasps (Reload: 1. Recharges Wasp Swarm), Running (Charge: 1. +2 Action Points)
Abilities: Plant (+100% vulnerability to Fire, +50% resistance to Poison, immunity to mental effects, assorted secondary implications), Entangle (50% chance to Entangle enemies with melee attack, reducing AP to 1 for 2 turns)

They've picked up Running (Huzzah!), +10 to Attack and Defense, +400 Health, and Entangle. No longer are they an immobile turret that tries and kind of fails to be fairly bulky when enemies get in melee, now they are indeed threatening and even able to go out and punch something opportunistically if they feel like it!

Entangle in particular is noteworthy for the fact that the AI always prefers to make an attack if possible: thus, Entangled enemies will simply attack the Ancient Ent, instead of trying to get out of its reach or get closer to your own ranged units. This allows Ancient Ents to lock down even stuff like Horsemen essentially forever (Between the attack and the counterattack, you're rolling a 50% chance twice a turn on an effect that lasts 2 turns: the odds are quite poor for your to fail Entangle rolls long enough for Entangle to clear up and them flee), though unfortunately not Archdemons as they simply purge the Entangle and get back all their Action Points.

Since Ancient Ents are astonishingly durable, this tarpitting effect doesn't even cost you all that much money, generally speaking.

Level: 3
Hiring Cost: 270
Leadership: 80
Attack/Defense: 21 / 15
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 2
Health: 50
Damage: 4-5 Physical
Resistances: Generic
Talents: Double Shot (Reload: 2. Ranged attack that does 8-10 Physical damage to a single target)
Abilities: Archer, Sniper (Unlimited range), No Melee Penalty

No change from The Legend.

It is worth commentary that with Dragon Arrows notably nerfed, Elves-the-unit being Snipers is a much more significant quality. Otherwise, the context hasn't really changed either.

Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 700
Leadership: 150
Attack/Defense: 27 / 18
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 2
Health: 110
Damage: 9-11 Physical
Resistances: Generic
Talents: None
Abilities: Archer, Sniper (Unlimited range), No Melee Penalty, Hunter (+50% damage against 'beasts')

+1 min/max damage and +20 Health, as well as Hunter-the-Ability.

Hunter-the-Ability is thematically nice, I guess? It's not like 'beasts' really need any more problems, honestly, but sure, whatever. The main thing here is the broader trend of ranged units being a bit less horribly fragile. The other main-ish thing is that whether you should run Hunters or Elves-the-unit is a little more complicated of a decision, since Hunters are a bit better while Elves-the-unit are not. I approve of that, even if I still largely ignore Hunters in practice. Of course, with Hunter's Mark being a thing, you might even want to run them together...

Level: 3
Hiring Cost: 240
Leadership: 100
Attack/Defense: 16 / 22
Initiative/Speed: 2 / 2
Health: 100
Damage: 4-8 Magic/Physical
Resistances: 25% Magic
Talents: Summon Bear (Reload: 2. Summons a stack of Bears, whose stack size is determined by having their Health be 20-25 per Druid in the casting stack), Training (Charge: 1. Take control of an enemy animal stack whose Level is 1-3, whose Leadership total is 80 or less per Druid in the casting stack. The control lasts for 2 turns)
Abilities: Power of Forest (Range: 6. Ranged attack does splash damage, no friendly fire), Magic Resistance (25% Magic resistance), Harmony Aura (+1 to Morale for allied Elves)

-10 to Leadership cost, their Health has more than doubled, Summon Bear has switched to Reload and had its Health-based summoning effect go up by 5, though Training has been slightly nerfed in compensation for all this amazingness. Druids were quite disappointing in The Legend, so this is a very pleasant surprise.

I'm not entirely sure what all is considered to be an 'animal' by Training. Bizarrely, spiders aren't, yet all the snakes are.

One thing to keep in mind in mirror matches: enemy Druids are really fond of stealing your Bears with Training, and are basically guaranteed to be able to do so if you haven't already nearly wipe them out. And possibly even then.

Level: 2
Hiring Cost: 80
Leadership: 60
Attack/Defense: 16 / 15
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 23
Damage: 1-4 Physical
Resistances: 10% Magic, -10% Fire
Talents: Faun's Magic (Charges: 2. Can heal an adjacent Plant for 12 Health per Faun in the healing stack, potentially reviving the dead), Fatigue (Reload: 3. An enemy stack whose turn has ended, below Level 5 and whose Leadership is less than 120 per Faun in the casting stack is put to Sleep for 2 turns), Nightmare (Reload: 1. Target currently sleeping enemy takes 5-12 Magic damage, and immediately awakens)
Abilities: Enchanted Projectile (Range: 4. The Faun's ranged attack lowers the target's Attack and Defense by 1 for the rest of the battle. This effect stacks), No Melee Penalty, Fears Darkness (-2 Initiative at night and underground), Forest Spirit (+10 Defense if there are allied Plants. Gains +2 Initiative every time an allied Plant stack is completely destroyed by an enemy unit)

Literally the only new Elven unit in Armored Princess, by which I actually mean Orcs on the March. That's okay though, Elves already had the most toys of any 'proper race' aside the Undead back in The Legend. Interestingly, their name in the code is 'satyr', which perhaps explains why they're an Imp reskin even if Faun works just as well.

I find it amusing they throw a seed at enemies, personally. It's also interesting to note that while the Faun is an Imp/Scoffer Imp reskin -even their sound effects are largely identical, distractingly- they actually have a novel melee attack animation where they throw a punch, contrasting with the Imp preference for kicking enemies.

Fatigue and Nightmare sound a lot cooler when you first look at them in-game than their actual performance. Fatigue's in-game description doesn't reference the part where the unit's turn has to have already passed -which means you can't use it to prevent a unit's turn from going through in the here and now- with only the name being any kind of hint, while Nightmare's description makes it sound like it hits all currently Sleeping enemies, not a single chosen target. It's certainly much harder-hitting than the Faun's regular attack (3 times max roll and five times minimum roll), but I'd been getting excited about combining Nightmare with the Dryad's mass-Sleep. Nope. They're still naturally synergistic allies -the Initiative boost Fauns get for dead allied Plants is fed naturally by the Dryad spawning Thorns, after all- but it's not nearly so wonderful a combo as you might first think.

That said, Fauns are pretty obviously meant to bolster the viability of Ents and Ancient Ents, with anything they contribute beyond undoing Plant casualties being gravy. Given that one of the flaws with Ancient Ents is that they're a meatshield you can't undo casualties on normally, that's a pretty notable niche, and makes Elven armies a little more capable of real diversity in the player's hands. The odd thing is the game tends to give you really early access to Fauns, but you're still going to have to wait a while on access to the big Plants they're meant to support.

If you're not using them to keep your Plants going, Fauns are just a fast-but-short-ranged supporting ranged attacker. There's certainly worse units, but they're surprisingly forgettable in implementation. The fact that they lower a target's Attack and Defense each time they hit it is basically invisible in real play, so much so that I've actually never confirmed it working.

As enemies, Fauns are even more forgettable. They're painfully fragile, making it easy to just kill a large portion of a stack before it gets to do anything, and I don't think I've ever seen the AI use Faun's Magic at all. They're willing to use Nightmare if something of yours happens to be asleep anyway, and I've once or twice seen them use Fatigue -but not exactly intelligently- but overall it's reasonably appropriate to treat them as a really crappy generic ranged unit. Even their high Speed is weirdly non-notable: for some reason, AI Fauns have a bad habit of just straight-up trying to melee units you put adjacent to them, even though they should be almost impossible to pin into melee combat. They have No Melee Penalty, to be fair, but so do eg Beholders, and Beholders are perfectly consistent about getting out of reach if they can, so I don't really get it regardless.


Overall, Elves haven't changed too much, including that they still show up late in the game primarily, but the tweaks do mostly serve to give all their units at least a theoretical shot, which is nice. I especially appreciate the attempt behind the Faun, even if its execution needs refinement: being able to use my walking trees to absorb punishment without feeling like I'm throwing away Gold is much-appreciated.

Next time, we're going to be covering the big thing to talk about in Orcs on the March: the Orcs.


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