Warriors of the North Unit Analysis Part 6: Demons



To save some space, here's the effects of the Demon Ability:

50% Fire resistance, -25% Ice resistance. Fights in volcanic terrain increase Defense by 50%, while fights in snowy terrain decrease Defense by 50%. Assorted spell immunities, but takes 50% more damage from 'holy' attacks.

The only new thing since Armored Princess is the Ice weakness.

I actually appreciate it, because Demons have always leaned toward being a bit of a super-species. having an actual exploitable weakness is nice. It's maybe a little wonky on the level that Demons have flipped from being a bit of a bane for the Mage to being outright super-weak to the Mage -the Soothsayer's primary damage source by the time he reaches Demonis is likely to be Blizzard, an utterly insane source of mass Ice damage- but Armored Princess already undercut their effectiveness in that regard and furthermore made it less necessary to set up units specifically designed to be an obstacle for the Mage since the Mage was no longer clearly the most powerful class by a wide margin.

Additionally, a new Ability common to Demons is...

Ardent
Critical attacks have a 20% chance of Burning the target, finishing off stacks increases Attack by 2 for the rest of the battle, and organic troops (Including other Demons) that are slain by this unit will leave behind a Burst of Rage. Any unit can collect the Burst of Rage for 1 Action Point and to grant 6 Rage to the owning Hero, but units with Ardent will also have their 'top' unit's Health fully restored to boot if they collect a Burst of Rage.

... a gimmicky new Ability.

I mean, it's cool they're trying to give Demons a racial mechanic at all, but Ardent is pretty eeeeh. It's thematically appropriate that Demons can generate extra Rage, since The Legend told us that Rage is supposed to be Demon magic, that they use Rage instead of Mana, but most of this only starts applying once you're finishing off stacks (Which generally means as the battle is finishing), while the chance to Burn on a crit is a low chance on a low chance to activate, even considering Warriors of the North has made crits apply to Talents as well.

Though do note that, strangely, Ardent will also heal a Demon stack for picking up one of Hilda's Mana/Rage chargers. I suspect this is unintentional, honestly, but it's a nice little benefit when it crops up... assuming it's not enemy Demons...

It's also worth noting that the Viking has some obvious synergies with Demons, providing generous crits and appreciating bonus Rage, but the implementation is a bit odd in practice. Who cares about having better odds than the other classes of burn-crits when your crits are so stupendously lethal the stack is very possibly dead or near dead? And being able to collect bonus Rage from kills isn't particularly necessary when you're going to get Rage Grasp maxed fairly quickly and have utterly insane maximum Rage about as quickly. It really ends up running more toward Demons being the way to go if you want to make your Skald more Rage-y. (The Soothsayer is too likely to be murdering everything at once with Blizzard to get that many Bursts of Rage generated at all)

Overall, I kind of wish Bursts of Rage had instead fueled Talents on Demons. I think that would've been a lot more interesting and useful.

To be fair, Demons are one of the factions that doesn't particularly need propping up...

Demons still don't care about racial Morale stuff.


Demon
Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 600
Leadership: 300
Attack/Defense: 30 / 30
Initiative/Speed: 4 / 3
Health: 240
Damage: 21-27 Physical
Resistances: 10% Physical, 50% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Running Charge: 1. +2 Action Points), Bloody Pentagram (Charge: 1. Creates a 7-tile circle that last for 2 turns, in which all friendly units below Level 5 gain +2 to Morale and Initiative. The pentagram vanishes after 2 turns), Summon Demons (Charge: 1. Summons to an adjacent tile a stack of Demon units chosen from any of choices below Level 5. The Leadership of the new stack will be 90 per head in the summoning stack)
Abilities: Demon, Furious (Never 'runs out' of retaliations), Domination (+30% damage against units that are Levels 1-3), Demon Rage (If currently out of AP, taking damage has a 50% chance of granting 1 AP and immediately providing another turn. Counterattacks from enemies don't count), Ardent

Ice weakness and Ardent, no custom changes.

Ardent would actually be pretty cool on Demons if you could get them early, but so far as I've seen it's not possible to get them early enough for a heal on them to be all that significant. Maybe in Ice and Fire in specific you'd be able to beeline to the Ice Gardens and get lucky -there's a druid who has thematic connections to demons, and his shop reflects this- but I'm not 100% sure about that and even if so you'd still be at the point in the game where 240 Health is moderately bulky, not 'hurl them into the fray assuming they'll survive'. It's another case where I'd like to see Warriors of the North's basic system ported into a new scenario, alas.

In practice, overall Demons are that bit less threatening now that you can pick on an Ice weakness. The Soothersayer in particular is, as previously covered, likely to be murdering Demons-the-faction en mass with Blizzard. For the player Demons are probably overall buffed -with the exception of Ghosts and Cursed Ghosts showing up regularly in battlegroups, it's fairly rare to encounter a battlegroup that incorporate Ice damage at all. The main exception is the surface of the Ice Gardens has Ice damage quite regularly, but you get access to the Ice Gardens before Demonis, and while you're not likely to have completely cleared out the surface of the Ice Gardens prior to accessing Demonis, you may well be most of the way done by that point, depending on priorities and a bit of luck.

So their newly-added Ice weakness only occasionally crops up from your perspective, whereas Ardent is overall a buff, if a small, erratic one.

Unfortunately, they mostly play the same. The one circumstance Demons-the-race collectively play very differently is when it comes to fighting summon spam, where the dead summons leads to Bursts of Rage leads to covering more ground at a time and healing some damage and so on.


Cerberus
Level: 3
Hiring Cost: 210
Leadership: 90
Attack/Defense: 18 / 18
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 90
Damage: 9-11 Physical
Resistances: 50% Fire, -25% Ice
Talents: Leap! (Charge: 1. Charges an infinite distance in a straight line to do 12 Physical damage to a single enemy. Three-headed does not trigger)
Abilities: Demon, Three-headed (In addition to the primary target, melee attacks strike at the tiles to the side. Still no friendly fire risk), Ardent

Aside from Ardent being added and Demon now providing an Ice weakness, no change from Armored Princess. Ouch. They still needed something to separate them from Demons, and they didn't get it. In fact, now there isn't even a Skill for increasing counterattack count, so they're actually worse off than in Orcs on the March!

Demoness
Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 400
Leadership: 160
Attack/Defense: 26 / 24
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 2
Health: 100
Damage: 10-18 Physical
Resistances: 50% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Whip Attack (Reload: 1. Attacks an enemy 1 tile apart through a free space for 10-18 Physical damage, with no retaliation), Charm (Reload: 2. Attempts to take control of an enemy humanoid troop, which can be adjacent or one tile away. If the target stack is 128 Leadership per Demoness or less, the attempt will succeed, lasting for 2 turns. If they're above that but otherwise valid, the Demoness instead does 10-18 Physical damage to the target with no chance for retaliation), Infernal Exchange (Reload: 3. Swaps the positions of any two units)
Abilities: Demon, Beauty (30% chance to evade attacks from male humanoids), Ardent

Just the standard Demon stuff of an Ice weakness and Ardent.

Infernal Exchange is actually a bit less significant than in prior games, overall, as unit mobility in Warriors of the North is higher on average, particularly when you're looking at the mid-late game where units gaining Speed from level-ups is fairly widespread. By a similar token, using Whip Attack and Charm to harass enemies while backing away is a less viable strategy overall. The main point in their favor is that they're clearly the best Demon unit to bring to bear against Dwarves thanks to Drunkenness. As Demonis shows up before Dwarves do, this overall works to the player's advantage -you're unlikely to bring a Dwarf-heavy army into fights involving Demons, whereas it's entirely possible you'll have picked up a pile of Demonesses and be running them anyway when you get to the Dwarf-heavy part of the game.

... not that there's any part that's all that heavy on Dwarves in Warriors of the North... there's two places they show up a decent amount, one island and a brief run through the Creiston Mines. But still.

Though it is worth noting that their average damage output is functionally higher since Whip Attack and Charm can now potentially crit.

Archdemon
Level: 5
Hiring Cost: 6000
Leadership: 1600
Attack/Defense: 66 / 66 (+13 / +12)
Initiative/Speed: 8 / 9 (+1 / +1)
Health: 766
Damage: 88-99 Physical (+20%)
Resistances: 20% Physical, 10% Magic, 80% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Boiling Lava (Reload: 4. All enemies take 33 Fire damage)
Abilities: Demon, Teleportation (Movement bypasses intervening units and terrain), Power Over Fire (80% Fire resistance and cannot be Burned), Restoration (Purges all negative status effects at the start of their turn), Sunder (50% chance for melee attacks to kill half the enemy stack in addition to normal damage), Ardent

Gains 2 Runes from leveling.

They've picked up the usual Demon traits... and Boiling Lava, making them noticeably more appealing for the player, since they're now able to contribute without having to get into the thick of things!

They're also one of the more notable beneficiaries of Ardent, as their high Health and high Defense (Not to mention some of their important resistances) means even quite late into the game it's possible to finagle things so they're dodging casualties and then picking up Bursts of Rage to keep fighting in melee while still putting off the casualties.

On the flipside, this is probably the least annoying iteration of Archdemons to fight. While dropping a Boiling Lava to hit all your troops can be annoying, it reduces their tendency to pick on your most vulnerable troop and mess up your formations, and more importantly their weakness to Ice finally gives a way to kill them very quickly. It's particularly worth noting that your ultimate attacking Rage move does potentially thousands of Ice damage, meaning no matter your class you have a solid way of outputting Ice damage.

It's little things, but the overall result is nice. This is my favorite version of Archdemons, full stop.

Imp
Level: 2
Hiring Cost: 80
Leadership: 40
Attack/Defense: 16 / 12
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 4
Health: 32
Damage: 3-6 Physical
Resistances: 50% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Fireball (Charges: 2. Throws a fireball at an enemy target in the distance, doing 3-6 Fire damage to the target and 30% of that to all adjacent units. Like normal ranged attacks, cannot be activated if an enemy is adjacent to the Imp)
Abilities: Demon, Strike and Return (Returns to its original position after performing a melee attack), No retaliation, Ardent

Just Ice vulnerability and Ardent.

That's overall a poor trade for Imps, as they already have an innate Burn chance on Fireball hurling and don't like to be in the thick of things to be able to grab Bursts of Rage. +2 Attack per kill is essentially ignorable, as well.

On the other hand, they benefit pretty decently from the newly-gained potential for Fireball to crit. Since each target rolls separately for an attempted crit, you'll actually get Fireball crits on a pretty regular basis. So while Warriors of the North's modifications to Imps per se are probably overall a hit to their performance, particularly as enemies where you'll just Lord of the North them for massive damage, the actual overall result is that Imps are more glass cannon-y than any prior game.

The bigger strike to their appeal is Archdemons having gained Boiling Lava, as a Demon attacker who can hit enemies at range to a limited extent is better filled by the Archdemon.

Scoffer Imp
Level: 2
Hiring Cost: 120
Leadership: 60
Attack/Defense: 16 / 16
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 3
Health: 52
Damage: 4-7 Physical
Resistances: 50% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Fireball (Charges: 2. Throws a fireball at an enemy target in the distance, doing 4-7 Fire damage to the target and 30% of that to all adjacent units. Like normal ranged attacks, cannot be activated if an enemy is adjacent to the Scoffer Imp), Sneer (Reload: 4. Targets a single enemy below Level 5 which hasn't moved yet. The unit attempts to target the Scoffer Imp with a basic attack, ignoring all other units)
Abilities: Demon, Strike and Return (Returns to its original position after performing a melee attack), No retaliation, Ardent

Weak to Ice and has Ardent now, like so many Demons.

Same basic story as Imps: easier to kill, Ardent isn't very useful, pushed aside some by Archdemons (Though Scoffer Imps having Sneer gives them a bit more of a place), Fireball crits help their damage output.


Executioner
Level: 4
Hiring Cost: 1600
Leadership: 360
Attack/Defense: 40 / 30
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 2
Health: 280
Damage: 24-26 Physical
Resistances: 10% Physical, 50% Fire-25% Ice
Talents: Running Charge: 1. (+2 Action Points), Execution (Reload: 1. Melee attack that does 36-39 Physical damage to a single target. If the target stack is finished off by Execution, all enemies suffer -1 Initiative for this turn and the next, and furthermore enemies below Level 5 have a 50% chance of becoming Afraid)
Abilities: Demon, Furious (Never 'runs out' of retaliations), Domination (+30% damage against units that are Levels 1-3), Demon Rage (If currently out of AP, taking damage has a 50% chance of granting 1 AP and immediately providing another turn. Counterattacks from enemies don't count), Terrify (Enemies attacking have a 30% chance of suffering Fear, unless the attacker is Level 5, immune to Mind effects, a Demon, Undead, or a Lizardman), Ardent

Just the usual Ice weakness and acquisition of Ardent.

Like Demons, if you could manage to get Executioners reasonable early, Ardent would actually be really cool on them, and as-is it's a minor little bonus. Executioners having Execution makes them a favored target for landing finishing blows already, so they're still probably one of the main Demons -after Archdemons- that gets good mileage out of Ardent.

The potential for Execution to crit makes it a bit trickier of a decision for timing its usage. Even if it can't kill a target stack with its regular max roll, it's still worth considering going for an Execution if the target stack would come pretty close to death, just in case you roll a crit. This can be contrasted with Armored Princess, where Talents couldn't crit and a crit from a regular attack would do pretty much exactly the same damage as a high roll on Execution.

But overall they still play largely the same.

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Demons in Warriors of the North are probably at their easiest to fight in the series, purely because they've gained a noticeable Ice weakness and what's generally your ultimate attacking Rage move does significant Ice damage and isn't that hard to get launched by the time you're actually fighting Demons. This is a bit of a surprise, but not an unpleasant one.

Next time, we cover how the Undead have changed.

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