Hey guys. I know custom factions are inherently unbalanced but I’ve literally spent thousands of hours playing this game so I wanted to try my hand at creating the most overpowered custom faction. It actually turned out to be a lot of fun and I got to understand a lot of the ins and outs of each faction better by messing around with their traits. I used to see a lot of forum posts extolling the virtues of Broken Lords with Cellulose Mutation, but I come to you today after hundreds of hours of experimentation to present what I believe to be the actual most overpowered custom faction possible. I present to you my custom Roving Clans!
- Roving Clans
- Brace Yourself (-5 points)
- Westward Ho! (+15 points)
- Dreams of Glory (+5 points)
- Merchants 2/2 (+16 points)
- Mercenary Comforts (+20 points)
- Dust starved 1/2 (-1 point)
- Hydrophilic (+15 points)
The Philosophy Of The Build
The Roving Clans, as with any other faction, will always have certain characteristics no matter what custom traits I give them. They will always have the Setseke (and a very buffed up Setseke during Dust Eclipes), their settlers will have 6 movement instead of the standard 4, their quest rewards and starting Hero will improve dust production through trade routes, their standard unit composition will be relatively solid but nothing exceptional (except for the Yirmak, whose high damage, sweeping strike and sweep strike back make it a standout unit) and they will get the Mercenary Corps technology in Era II instead of Era IV.
The first and most significant of these characteristics for my strategy is the Setseke. The Setseke is the reason why I gave these guys the Dreams of Glory trait (+50% cost reduction to settlers). I did this because I want to maximize the growth I can achieve during my first Dust Eclipse. You are always going to have a Dust Eclipse happen around the time of your first empire plan. Because of this, it is imperative that you get out as many Setseke as you can before that happens. I can usually crank out 3-4 Setseke before the first Dust Eclipse. Once the Dust Eclipse happens, you basically run at your nearest opponent and wipe them out. There is not a single faction in the game that can do anything to survive this rush. The Setseke are way too powerful at this point in the game. Depending on the difficulty you are playing on, your opponent will have 2-3 cities. Add to that your 3-4 Setseke and you can colonize 6-7 regions before your first winter. Here is where the Westward Ho! trait becomes important. With this trait, 6 cities will put you exactly at 40 approval which is what you need to remain relatively productive.
Now why do I focus so heavily on going ultra wide like this and ignore the first empire plan altogether? Well, it’s because of the way trade routes work. Each city in this build has 3 available trade routes once they build their Right of Way. That means that at the very least, you’ll want 3 cities in adjacent regions to trade with. However, another very important aspect of trade routes is distance. The longer the distance between cities, the greater the yields in dust and science from the trade route. This means that if you have a very wide, unbroken empire your yields from trade routes will be massive. Having 6-7 cities with manageable approval at the beginning of Era 2 will ensure that you will be swimming in Dust and your science progression will be quite fast. So what are you gonna do with all that dust? Here we come to the next part of the strategy: Mercenaries.
Mercenary Comforts is very synergistic with the Roving Clans playstyle. First of all because their trade routes will give them alot of dust to buy Mercenaries with, but also because they get the Freelance Guards technology in Era II, which decreases their buyout cost considerably. There are a number of things you can do with these Mercenaries; you can pacify villages, you can search ruins and collect pearls, you can wipe out another neighbor (because Mercenary armies are very strong in eras II and III) or, you can do my favorite thing with them which is to conquer the seas. Two mercenary boats can subjugate 2-3 oceans worth of Fomorians easily in Era II and will propel you far ahead of your competitors. If you REALLY wanna maximize your dust production, colonize an island or continent 2 oceans away from your main continent, conquer the oceans in between and watch your dust production skyrocket from the trade routes. What do you do with all this money? Buy more Mercenaries of course (or do whatever you want really, you’ve basically already won the game).
Lastly, I want to talk about the Hydrophilic trait and why i take it. Out of all of these, this is the trait I consider the most replaceable with something else, but after alot of testing I’ve found this trait to be the most effective. You can focus on traits that give you more dust, or that improve your combat potential, but honestly, what I’ve found the Roving Clans need most is some production and science to help get them quickly through Era 1 and be more successful with their first Setseke rush. This trait covers both of those bases, while also encouraging them to settle terrain that will yield them alot of dust in the mid-lategame. Coastal cities are excellent for buying mercenary ships, they get great production once you unlock Cargo Docks and their dust output is astronomical. Sure they don’t lend themselves well to the ideal triangle shaped cities but with Westward Ho! you’ll find that approval is hardly ever much of a problem, even when you’ve settled 20+ regions.