|Req. Town Buildings||Parthenon|
|Dark Elf Priests|
|# of figures||4|
|Melee Attack per figure||3|
|Ranged Attack per figure||4|
|Defense per figure||4|
|Hit Points per figure||1|
Priests is the name of a Normal Unit Archetype. It is a template defining the baseline attributes and abilities of 4 Normal Units, all of which are called "Priests". Each of these units is a variant of the basic Priests archetype, and is produced by a different Race. The archetype is discussed in this article, and each variant has its own, separate page.
Priests may be built by the High Men, Nomads, Beastmen, and Dark Elves. Other races have no access to Priests by default, though many races can produce weaker units with a somewhat similar role, called "Shamans".
Priests are important support units. On the battlefield, they can use a strong Ranged Attack and can even switch to a respectable Melee Attack when necessary. Furthermore, they can cast the Healing spell once per battle to help any friendly unit survive. Outside of combat, the very presence of Priests in an army significantly speeds up that army's natural healing rate. Finally, Priests are capable of Purifying Corrupted land tiles.
In Master of Magic, those who devote their lives to the worship of the gods and to the study of religion can eventually unlock divine favours which are anything but mundane. Priests are not only capable of applying medical during and after combat, but are also capable of channeling magical energy in destructive force. Their zeal for their gods also manifests itself in improved combat skill - both defensive and offensive.
Priests will therefore often leave their flocks and join the army as it marches out to war. They can be seen as sturdy support units, who can help the army survive from one battle to the next, but also as useful combat troops who can directly contribute to winning battles.
Baseline Properties Edit
The following section describe only the "baseline" properties of the Priests archetype. Most of the actual units produced will have innate racial bonuses that deviate from this baseline template. Read the section on racial variants below for more information.
Attributes and Abilities Edit
To produce Priests, a town must have a Parthenon. This means that Priests will only begin to appear near the middle of the campaign. Towns specializing in religious construction may become viable production centers for these units a little earlier. The baseline production cost is 100 per unit, making Priests some of the more expensive standard units in the game. Once under your employ, a unit of Priests requires an Upkeep Cost of 2 and 1 each turn.
A unit of Priests contains 4 figures by default. It may never have more than 4 figures. This low figure count puts them at risk of being quickly annihilated by any strong attack. Each Priest lost reduces the unit's damage output by 25%, so it is important to keep this unit healthy if possible.
Priests are surprisingly capable in combat, possessing both a respectable Melee Attack of strength 3 and a slightly-stronger Ranged Attack of strength 4. These attacks can be expected to deliver about 0.9 and 1.2 points of Damage per Priest, respectively, and so are usually only effective against low-tier enemy units. Priests can use their Ranged Attack up to 4 times in each battle, and will often do so immediately at the start of the battle since this attack does not suffer To Hit distance penalties. Once this attack is gone, discretion is required in deciding whether the Priests should be risked in Melee combat.
Priests possess a good Defense score of 4, but only 1 Hit Point per figure. This is the main reason why they will not often be called to use their Melee Attack - it's a little too risky and they are a little too expensive for this task. A Resistance score of 7 gives them good protection from various enemy spells and Special Attacks, so they are fairly-well-protected as long as they stay far from the enemy.
During combat, Priests can cast the Healing spell once per battle. This can help turn the tide of a battle by saving one unit from being destroyed. Outside of combat, the presence of Priests in an army stack boosts the "natural" per-turn healing rate of all units in that stack by a very large amount, restoring the army to full fighting strength within a very short period of time (usu. no more than 4 turns regardless of the severity of the injuries).
Finally, Priests have an important strategic role since they can Purify land tiles that have been corrupted by Chaos effects such as the Corruption spell, Great Wasting and so forth. The Purification process is faster the more Priests are simultaneously attempting to Purify the same tile, so it is recommended to have entire groups of Priests (and/or Shamans) moving and working together in this role.
Basic Tactics Edit
Priests are often attached to a large army, providing it with both offensive and defensive support. Priests will generally start the battle by expending their Ranged Attacks at any low-tier enemy units, weakening the opposition. Priests do not need to advance before using their Ranged Attack - it is equally powerful at any distance. After these attacks are expended, the Priests can decide whether to close in for Melee combat or to stay back in reserve.
Look for good opportunities to cast the Healing spell. It is particularly good for restoring Multi-Figure units, especially Normal Units, since these often have low Hit Point counts and may regain several figures thanks to the Healing they receive. Powerful Single-Figure units also make good targets for a Healing spell, saving them from death and/or allowing them to fight on a little longer.
Once the battle is over, keep the Priests within the injured army in order to speed up its recovery from battle damage. An army containing any number of Priests should take no more than 4 turns to return to full combat effectiveness. Such an army can go from one battle to the next with almost no delay!
Finally, especially if the cheaper Shamans are not available, keep one or more units of Priests ready to clear any Corruption that may occur within your empire. The faster you respond and begin Purifying, the less damage this Corruption will cause to your economy. Naturally, if there are no remaining Chaos-wielding rivals, there is rarely any need to keep those Priests back; attach them to an army instead.
Only 4 different Races have access to their own Priests units. Each Race produces a different type of Priests unit, which not only looks different but may also have different properties compared to the "baseline" template described above.
List of Variants Edit
|Beastmen Priests||150||1||4||1||4||4||4||8||2||Ranged Attack x4, Healing Spell, Healer, Purify|
|Dark Elf Priests||200||1||4||1||3||6||4||10||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healing Spell, Healer, Purify|
|High Men Priests||100||1||4||1||3||4||4||7||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healing Spell, Healer, Purify|
|Nomad Priests||100||1||4||1||3||4||4||7||1||Ranged Attack x4, Healing Spell, Healer, Purify|
- Identical to baseline template (see above).
- Identical to baseline template (see above).
- Beastmen Priests are significantly more suitable for combat than other Priests, and can be used as a strong and versatile infantry. Most importantly, they have 2 Hit Points per figure, which makes them harder to kill. A +1 Resistance bonus also makes them less vulnerable to enemy ill effects.
- Beastmen also get a +1 Melee Attack strength bonus, which allows Beastmen Priests to be more effective in close combat. They are, in fact, stronger than most enemy low-tier Normal Units. Coupled with the higher Hit Points, Beastmen Priests can more freely engage such units once they run out of Ranged Attacks.
- Of course, it is always important to weigh the risk to the Beastmen Priests against their combat usefulness, since they are quite expensive. They are 50% more expensive to produce than baseline Priests, and have a slightly-higher Upkeep Cost as well. You may wish to keep them away from stronger enemies if at all possible.
- Dark Elf Priests are more comparable to other races' Magicians in terms of combat use, since they get an innate +2 Magical Ranged Attack bonus. This makes their Ranged Attack quite dangerous, and they may be able to wipe out or seriously injure a few enemy units right at the start of the battle.
- Dark Elf Priests also get +3 Resistance, which brings their total score to 10 - just enough to become immune to several types of enemy spells and Special Attacks.
- On the other hand, Dark Elf Priests are extremely expensive, costing twice as much to produce as the "baseline" Priests, and having a very high Upkeep Cost or 4 per turn. Due to the high cost, it is advised to keep them back on the battlefield and not engage enemy units in Melee combat if possible. The Dark Elf Priests' defensive properties should keep them somewhat safe as long as they stay back.
- The higher costs also mean that Dark Elf Priests should be used only for combat and front-line duties: if you have access to any other type of Priests or even Shamans, use those for Purifying instead of the Dark Elf Priests.