Sacrifice: God per-level Comparison

This is fairly late, but whatever.

Level 1

Level 1 is complicated, since you've got four spells coming all at once. Persephone has by far the worst basic attacking spell and one of the worst basic ranged units, but Druids are okay and Shrikes are uniquely good in a way that can be worth leveraging all on its own. Rock is deeply flawed and Gargoyles tend to be largely inferior to Spitfires in practice while Earthflings tend to be largely inferior to Flame Minions and Fallen, but Troggs are uniquely useful, period. Scythes are uniquely bad past the early game and Insect Swarm is usually inferior to Fireball, but Fallen are one of the better ranged units early in a match and Locusts are one of your best wizard-killing tools early in a match and in fact never become entirely irrelevant since there's no flying unit that can truly replace them.

I personally tend to be torn between Pyro and Stratos here, as everything under Pyro is good at this level and Stratos' only flaw is that Sylphs are terrible bar maybe micro-intensive kiting shenanigans being employed, but every god has points in its favor.

Persephone is probably the weakest pick, but having a flier that can survive basic attack spells is a non-trivial advantage at the beginning of a match, and later in a match... you're probably not using level 1 units anyway. If your goal is to try to dominate the early part of a match, she's certainly a contender.

Level 2

Level 2 is a bit more straightforward. Charnel is almost never worth picking at this level; Necryls are terrible and their role easily filled by other levels, while Protective Swarm is inferior at any given thing and doesn't really pull ahead of other shields through the synergy of its effects. If you want a shield that helps protect you from being swarmed by melee units, Air Shield will usually perform better and comes with the actually-fairly-useful Vortick, not to mention always being better against ranged units. (Which tend to be more consistently useful and thus more consistently relevant and thus important to be protected against)

I personally tend to be torn between Stratos and Pyro here; Stratos is the well-rounded choice while Pyro gives you a big edge in offense, with the Tickferno notably functioning as a 'real' ranged unit that can be used to displace your level 1 ranged unit. Stratos 1 followed by Pyro 2, for example, pretty neatly covers the issue of Sylphs being terrible, which is pretty great. Nonetheless, Persephone's Ethereal Form is uniquely useful, even able to buy time when you're being Desecrated, while James' Skin of Stone is consistently excellent and Basilisks are decently useful. Charnel is thus the only god who is a fairly hard sell at this level.

Level 3

Level 3 is mostly about two things: your mid-tier melee unit, and slowing or disabling the enemy. Charnel and Stratos don't provide mid-tier melee here and James' idea of disabling the enemy is weird and not actually a good idea to try to use on wizards, but otherwise it's fairly consistent.

I personally tend to find Pyro and Persephone the most compelling picks here. Trolls are incredibly good as stalling Guardians and are quite solid melee units in general, while Firefists are one of your best picks for a reasonably disposable melee unit that can run up and kill ranged units with a Speed Up assist. This becomes particular important once artillery starts showing up, but this early on the Firefist also tends to win melee brawls since the lethality of combat hasn't risen enough for them to tend to die before their damage gets quite high. Rings of Fire is also the most spammable of the slow/disable spells, which makes it the easiest to keep using while still getting the opportunity to slap it on an enemy wizard when their shield drops (As opposed to not using it because you want to be sure you can catch them when their shield drops), while back on Persephone Grasping Vine completely immobilizing a target is a pretty good way of ensuring a wizard is going to die, taking away their ability to dodge ranged attacks and stay out of reach of melee.

James is hard to argue for at this level, and Stratos' main advantage is that he's the only option at this particular level that provides a ranged attacker. Freeze is okay but not particularly great, and Squalls are probably the worst of the snipers outright. Charnel is in a similar position to Stratos; Blights are primarily worth considering if you want an early melee flier, as outside of showing up so early they're pretty clearly inferior to all the other melee fliers, and Slime is... impressive if you can land it, I suppose, but it doesn't last very long and it has a long cooldown.

Level 4

Level 4 is one of the more unusually diverse levels, I have a hard time arguing for Stratos just because Storm Giants are awful -and in particular directly compete with Netherfiends, which tend to be better- while Chain Lightning is usually basically 'Dragonfire but faster but less effective' while Dragonfire is right there. But, outside that every option goes in completely different directions.

James gives you early artillery and has a general focus on stunning/disrupting enemies, with both the Flummox and Erupt able to prevent enemies from contributing for precious seconds. Early artillery is a pretty huge advantage all by itself, instantly crippling the utility of enemy basic fliers, harming the effectiveness of groups of basic melee, and just generally being a bit of a pain to properly counter, and the disruption potential can make a big difference all-around.

Persephone and Charnel both give your forces longevity in different ways; Persephone's is going to be the better choice if your forces are oriented toward reasonably tough units (Such as if most of your picks are James) and also the better choice for denying the enemy experience, not to mention Gnomes are a fantastic ranged unit, while Charnel's Animate Dead is much more useful at the highest level and Netherfiends are one of the best units for countering artillery in the game.

Pyro, on the other hand, is all about making things die; Dragonfire is terribly punishing to mob-based tactics, while Pyromaniacs are one of the better units in the game for killing wizards and ultimate units since the burn damage doesn't care about non-Ethereal Form shields and doesn't care about ultimate unit ranged resistance. These can both fill different kinds of holes in your forces, and they're reasonably complementary with each other; Dragonfire helps you punish swarming tactics, Pyromaniacs help you punish wizard-oriented strategies and ultimate-unit-spam.

And even with Stratos, Chain Lightning and Storm Giants are both good ways of punishing swarm tactics, with Chain Lightning's speed and reasonably predicting arcing behavior giving it a big edge at ensuring the stuff you want dead is what dies. So while it's probably the weakest choice, I can see builds taking it anyway.

Level 5

Level 5 is mostly where you get melee fliers, while every single spell is some kind of area of effect option.

I personally prefer Charnel at this level, as Deadeyes are amazing and melee fliers are not, in my opinion, actually an essential part of a force, with Demonic Rift being a very solid attacking spell to boot, but every god has at least some merit here.

James provides probably the best melee flier at being a melee flier while offering a very solid attacking spell in the process, Stratos offers one of the best attacking spells in the entire game and Seraphs can use their special ability to do some nasty things if you're willing to invest the micro, Pyro's Pyrodactyls are surprisingly useful if you're able to spare the micro for their oil bomb while Explosion is basically a better version of Erupt if you didn't take James 4, and... well, Persephone is probably the hardest sell, since Gremlins overlap so much with Seraphs while Rain of Frogs is difficult to argue as being competitive with Soul Wind, but Rain of Frogs is unusually reliable at accomplishing something and notably is a way to slow down wizards right through their shield spell. If you can get the frogs to hit them, anyway.

Level 6

Level six is where you always get an artillery unit. Even the Boulderdash basically functions as artillery for a lot of purposes even though its mechanics are sniper mechanics, and arguably it's your best choice for an 'artillery' role, period. It's really frustrating that artillery units can't fire over obstacles intentionally, because if they could this would be much more nuanced of a decision.

Something worth pointing out is that the Boulderdash, as far as cross-god sniper comparisons goes, is functionally fragile in spite of being a James choice, and in fact is in some sense the most fragile of the snipers. While it has the most HP of any sniper, it also costs twice as many souls as the other snipers, and Sacrifice doesn't actually have that many infinitely-scaling splash damage effects; most multi-target effects have a fixed upper limit, and many of the exceptions are so either incredibly lethal (eg Volcano) or erratic in their strike effects such that results are unpredictable in general. (eg rain spells) So being less vulnerable to splash, relatively, doesn't offset their souls-to-HP inefficiency in most cases.

Stratos is probably the worst pick here. Awful, expensive artillery coupled with a weak disruption/damage spell is just cringe-worthy. Persephone is better, but not by a lot; the heal spell is usually inferior to Rainbow or even to a regular Heal, and the Mutant gimmick is just bizarre and unhelpful.

James is the best pick for giving you battlefield control coupled with impressive raw damage and almost no melee vulnerability (Melee is prone to instantly dying to Boulderdashes for daring to get close), Pyro is the best pick for raw damage period, while Charnel giving Wailing Wall offers some useful quirks, such as making it more acceptable to run through your own wall to pick up souls if things are coming apart. Abominations are also probably the most durable option here, since they're cheaper than Boulderdashes. In conjunction with Charnel leeching, they're prone to surviving longer than you might expect. Notably, they're possibly the best Guardian choice if you want something that's lethal at a distance without dying instantly... assuming no melee gets involved, but the only options for escaping that Guardian weakness are terrible at fending off attackers.

Level 7

Level 7 is two things alongside two things: your units are all either hilariously durable meatshields that are weak to spell damage or are short-range glass cannons, while your non-unit spells are all either rain spells or walls.

Persephone and James are the relatively weak choices here. The Ent is pretty fantastic for supporting your army, but using Ents for their capabilities as a combatant tends to be a dubious choice compared to the Yeti, while Vinewall doesn't even work and is probably the worst wall even if you ignore that. (Among other points, a wizard would be able to completely ignore a non-buggy Vinewall by Shielding itself) The Jabberocky has nothing going for it other than its raw durability, and frankly the Ent's Protector ability means it's generally tougher in real terms, ignoring that Protector benefits allies to boot. Furthermore, the Yeti's superior speed and ability to freezelock enemies tends to be more useful in real terms. Meanwhile, Bombardment is largely 'Rain of Fire, but worse'; unless you specifically want the combination of a rain spell and a meatshield unit, the Jabberocky doesn't really have anything going for it. Even that's dubious since Stratos' Fence is also incredible damage in a large radius, and it's actually harder to avoid and more consistent as area denial!

Overall I personally prefer Stratos and Pyro at this level, but Charnel can be argued for on the basis of Plague's fairly ridiculous effectiveness being paired with the Styx being a perfectly solid unit. Also noteworthy is that while the Styx and Warmonger are similar, the Styx's superior ability to manage crowds means that while the Warmonger's firepower advantage is nuts the Styx isn't actually invalidated by it. The ability to deny the enemy souls in conjunction with Intestinal Vaporization or Bovine Intervention is also very much worth mentioning as an advantage. Styx are also surprisingly decent Guardians, since melee trying to counter them is prone to dying on the way in while normal mid-range attackers that end up crowding each other into the Styx's range just end up dead while healing it.

Level 8

James is the one weak link here; Bore should be a pretty amazing spell, but in practice is extremely difficult to get any use out of, while Bovine Intervention is sufficiently redundant with Intestinal Vaporization that Charnel pairing it with the actually-useful Death is a big point in Charnel's favor.

Persephone and Pyro both have problems -Meanstalks is pretty bad, and Blind Rage is even worse- but Charm is so good it's fine that Meanstalks is lackluster and Volcano is pretty amazing. The main issue with Pyro is the lack of a gibbing/stealing option, which can be killer depending on your opponent's lineup. Stratos is the god who has the best combination of spells at this level, but he also suffers from a lack of reliable ways to deny the enemy souls, depending in part on the map.

Of course, all of this in part depends on what the rest of your levels are like. If you've got plenty of mass damage effects, Stratos and Pyro aren't bad choices, but they're probably less useful choices than Persephone or Charnel.

Level 9

Every option is valid here. They just fill different roles.

The Dragon has two qualities in its favor. Breath of Life is one of only two options for resurrecting the dead; if for whatever reason you want that capability but either didn't take Animate Dead or would like to have something that doesn't burn up wizard time and mana, Dragons are it. More unique is that Dragons are the only melee ultimate unit: this makes them the only ultimate unit who does full damage against other ultimate units (Hellmouths being in second place through poison damage), it makes them the only ultimate unit that doesn't care about Guardian resistances (Again, Hellmouths aren't too far behind), and it makes them the ultimate Manalith smasher in conjunction with being a lightning-fast flier.

It's unfortunate that the physics of the game so consistently get in their way, but Dragons have a perfectly solid argument through those qualities.

The Rhinok is, of course, broken. If you don't care about playing fair, the Rhinok is your choice. Its only flaws are that the other ultimate units can pick and choose their fights much more consistently and that the Rhinok can struggle a bit at actually killing other ultimate units -particularly since its Halo of Earth is doing halved damage to them. But if you've already got tools in the rest of your army for fighting off ultimate units, such as Deadeyes and Charm/Intestinal Vaporization/Bovine Intervention, and you don't care about fairness, then just run Rhinoks.

Silverbacks are insanely fast and can punish enemy lightning use, but their main things are that they do splash damage -the Rhinok being the only other proper competition here- and they freeze targets. The freeze effect makes them the choice for hunting down a wizard and not letting them contribute anything (Once their shield is down), and combined with the area of effect and their sheer speed means it's genuinely difficult to bring unit-based counters to bear. Who cares that your mob of Deadeyes can kill them fairly quickly, given that the Silverbacks zip into their face instantly and start disabling/killing them en mass? A shielded wizard breaking out something like Death is the closest thing to a reliable counter, and it still has flaws. In some ways, they're actually more broken than Rhinoks...

The Phoenix is probably the overall best of the ultimate units at extremely high soul counts, since its range advantage lets large groups of Phoenix actually work together in a way no other ultimate unit can properly match. It's also tied with the Rhinok for 'melee is not really a good answer'; melee fliers, even Dragons, will die alarmingly quickly to their free Fireform effect, and if any ground melee manages to get close enough to get in attacks it's probably going to burn nearly instantly. The mana drain also makes them one of the better ultimate units for dealing with enemy wizards, and unlike the Silverback freeze it doesn't care about shields. They're, oddly enough, probably the most rounded of the ultimate units.

The Hellmouth is a fantastic Guardian if you don't mind tying up 5 souls at a time and the enemy has Pyro, Stratos, or Persephone for their Level 8 slot; without Death, Intestinal Vaporization, or Bovine Intervention a Guardianed Hellmouth is a tremendous pain to actually kill. Non-melee options will do pathetic damage, and melee ends up letting the Hellmouth heal itself and actually fight back against units. And since it gets massive damage boosting since it does poison damage, it just murders things. For more offensive utility, the Hellmouth is a decent anti-wizard option thanks to homing poison attacks taking away mana regeneration and doing decent damage even through shields (Aside Ethereal Form), and if the enemy is running Pyro or Stratos for Level 8 Devour Soul can make for a vicious key piece. (Assuming you have Animate Dead, at least, but why wouldn't you?) More generally, the Hellmouth is a really good tool for ensuring the removal of key enemy pieces, since its attack's homing property is so thorough. Only the Rhinok matches the Hellmouth for 'the enemy is in range: the enemy is taking damage'.


Next time we return to Sacrifice, we actually do those Skirmish videos.

See you then.


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