When there was 1,000+ realms an age, burning was commonplace, and hard to spot. With fewer players, GMs must be more judicious in their burning. That leaves us to the questions above. Is their value in the scummer/burning anymore and what should a scummer/burning look like/create in a war?
Some players have pointed out that 10k Bunar is a great way to start a war. I whole heartedly agree...if your opponent does not have a lot of scum and top spell. I try to look at Guild War or any war for that matter as a (Not how much land I can take in the first strike) but how much I can prevent my opponent from conducting a successful counterattack. For example, attacking a Sidhe realm with war and reducing it from 20k acres to 9k acres...is not going to win the war at all, in fact, you probably just doomed yourself. Ask a player like Seska, I am sure he can enlighten you why you failed to be Sun Tzu and exploit your enemies primary threat before initiating full fledged warfare.
So with that said, let us start with the basic lesson. What race should be doing your scum work? Lets take a look at the guild races. This may seem elementary, but to this end, I still see the wrong races doing the primary scum work. Much of this appears to be because the GM wants to be accountable for failures, when in reality the GM needs to trust the player with the correct race to do the scum work themselves and he will better avoid the failure (teamwork and communication). The most obvious choice for Scum is the Centaur hands down. Why? Well, I need to reference http://www.monarchygame.com/troopinfo/g ... ce=Centaur. You will note that a Centaur has the best Burn Unseen and Seen over every other race....which is awesome. 10% Structures unseen saves turns and time, and allows those who do other activities like war and sorc better to continue those functions. So, what if Centaur is not available? I would immediately turn to Human. They have a strong burn unseen at 9.5% and a great offer rate which means you can make those realms bigger faster than the Vampire cousins; http://www.monarchygame.com/troopinfo/g ... race=Human. Sidhe is also close, but I would prefer to reserve their turns for what they are best at...the Parking Lot/Sorc Kill. Other races such as Goblin, Droben, and Elves should almost always be avoided in use as a scummer/burner. Scouting is ok if you got the extra turns and time, but burning needs to be left to the professionals...war is not an amateur hour. (In a defensive war, this changes a bit, as speed is often more important than precision.) (Tip: GM if you like being the big scummer on the block, play a Human or a Centaur...you can have your cake and eat it to!)
So we have our Human or Centaur, so what's next. What is the advantage in burning? Well as I mentioned above, we want to eliminate our opponents ability to counter attack against us. My goal in the prosecution of war is to make my enemy as predictable and one dimensional as possible. So, all I need to worry about is temples then right? Wrong, a fort heavy realm, minus the guildhall support structure suffers from a smaller economy and should therefore also have guildhalls burned. Burning temples takes away an enemies ability to have offensive and defensive weapons, while burning guildhalls hampers economy and slows down warrior type realms.
So when should you burn? I think burning should only be done within close proximity of war preparation or during an actual war. Open burning can often be disastrous, as you might get an entire guild on your doorstep...which is never good...especially if you have people who are not available and a guild with only partial turns. With such a small player base now, tracking a scummer and related activities is pretty easy to spot. With that in mind, listen to your GM. If your GM is new, listen to the grizzled vet in your guild. Keep your nose hairs clean until you need to muck something up.
So, the big question, how much burning should I do? Well I have a few examples to run through...which should help the masses. But, here is some common sense; if it doesn't pass this test, you are wrong. When burning during war, you are attempting to gain some significant tactical advantage. The average build rate for a realm of 20k acres these days is about 18. So if you are burning someone to 30/burn on Guildhalls...you are in effect actually having negative production. Why? 2 turns they can build 36 structures which nets +6 buildings of your two turns used. You want to maximize your strategic and tactical turn usage. I usually stop around 800 structures (between 70-90/burn) if not working a Parking Lot. A Parking Lot varies by the race and temple count, but I usually go to 49/burn for 3500+ temples on a Level 4 Sorcerer and Up, and 19/burn for a Level 3 and down. This ensures a faithless strike.
So where do you start and stop? Let us talk about Guildhalls/Markets/T1 Buildings. I tend to target realms with over 1,000 guildhalls for targeting. As for temples, if I can get my opponents below 8% temples and remove both top spell and fog, that is ideal. So we will take two 6 realm guilds for a war; this is your opponents configuration. You are the lone scummer/burner for your guild, how do you manage the following situation? (Caveat: For this scenario, we will use a Centaur unseen at 10% burn rate and loot at 19%)
30001 Elf -- Acres 14.5k -- Temples 2,900 -- Guildhalls 1,100 -- Forts 1,160 -- Scum 6k -- Defense All Griffons -- 1.5 mil
30002 Sidhe -- Acres 13.5k -- Temples 2,500 -- Guildhalls 810 -- Forts 800 -- Scum 10k -- Defense All Shamans -- 36.0 mil
30003 Human -- Acres 16.5k -- Temples 1,700 -- Guildhalls 1,650 -- Forts 1,000 -- Scum 9k -- Defense All Pikemen -- 3.2 mil
30004 Goblin -- Acres 12.5k -- Temples 1,000 -- Guildhalls 950 -- Forts 400 -- Scum 1.5k-- Defense All Trolls -- 7.5 mil
30005 Human -- Acres 13.0k -- Temples 1,625 -- Guildhalls 1,300 -- Forts 750 -- Scum 7k -- Defense All Dragons -- 19.5 mil
30006 Elemental -- Acres 12.5k -- Temples 1,250 -- Guildhalls 1,875 -- Forts 150 -- Scum 2.5k -- Defense All Cherufes -- 42.0 mil
Looking this list over there is a lot to do...and with only 150 turns we have a lot to accomplish our objective above. So lets begin the list, you immediately subtract 12 for your scout run, leaving you with 138 turns. Then, you probably want to intercept caravans on all six targets, another 12 turns if there is no fog, leaving you with 126 turns. The most obvious threat is the temples from the Elf and Sidhe, but that is not the only real threat. Your GM may say we can "roll" the 13k Human so ignore him. This is where analysis immediately notes the top spell threat and cash available...if he is online...you have a problem. So looking over the list, 30001, 30002, and 30005 all need temples burned. 30001 - You decide to burn 11 times for (22 Total turns) bringing him to 910 temples; you hit 30002 8 times for (16 total turns) bringing him to 968 temples, and 30005 5 times for (10 total turns) bringing him to 959 temples. This now leaves you with 78 remaining turns for activities. Look at the cash next. 30006 seems cash rich. Do you take the cash? No, leave it to a needy warrior, the low scum should ensure they can use the cash gains effectively and the difference between 17-19 percent stolen is negligibly and allows your scummer to save his caravan for another realm after refort. So 30006's cash is reduced by half by a greedy warrior. 30002 and 30005 are your other viable cash options. You decide to loot 30002 5 times reducing the realm to (+24 to you) 12 mil cash on hand (10 turns) and 30005 2 times (+7 mil to you) for (4 total turns). This now leaves you with 64 turns remaining. Lets look at the Guildhalls. With 30005's temples removed, the guildhalls will not be a threat as your warriors roll the realm...so no pressure there. That leaves the focus on 30003 and 30006. But, don't forget the golden rule...also target 30001 because it is fort heavy. So you target those three 30001 - 4 times for (8 turns) reducing it to 721 Guildhalls; 30003 - 6 times for (12 total turns) reducing it to 789 guildhalls; and 30006 - 8 times for (16 total turns) reducing it to 807 guildhalls. This leaves you with 28 Turns remaining.
What is your net effect on the battle/counter ability so far? 30001 and 30002 are about worthless except for GR/Sorc kill at this point, their ineffective troop types will leave them effectively paralyzed. 30005 will be smashed hard and not have any counter ability. 30006 is going to make a warrior rich and because of its low fort count, become easy prey for a warrior. 30004 is also low fort count and will become a warrior victim. That leaves you with...the "hard target". Obviously, you have a sorcerer in your guild...so any turns you have left can be used to burn 30003 some more...then your sorcerer follows you in. This effectively nullifies an effective counter...all the while ensuring a productive first strike. (Oh and they are not moving cash at all...)
This is what burning is all about...and why it is necessary for an effective first strike.
On defense, it works much the same, but you probably want to target the temples mainly...and allow for sorc kills and pls...
Note that as a scummer always save 4 turns for refort...either Knights or Chirons to augment your forts after a burn...don't become the proverbial soft underbelly target in your guild's defense.
A key piece to remember about burning temples and guildhalls...open land is always taken first...so if you only get a partial break on them and take their open land after a burn...you have sealed their ability to rebuild to 12% temples and suic sorc...unless they also tithe...which costs even more turns.
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