Dominions 3: The Awakening/Nations/Sauromatia
Sauromatia, a group of nomadic tribes ruled by amazon queens, is a predecessor of Pythium and exists only in the Early Age. The cannibalistic tribe of Androphags ride beasts taken from the swamps of Pythia and wave banners of human skin.
- good archers (good morale, good precision, composite bows, and even poison arrows)
- good medium infantry (amazons with above average morale)
- good and cheap medium cavalry (sauromatian lancer with above average stats)
- very good sacred cavalry, if you try a bless strategy
- powerful but dangerous Hydras
- free slaves right off the bat, and all priests can perform sacrifices.
- base heavy infantry
- a fair spread of magic
- high-level priests
- a scout in your starting army
Most units are good but quite expensive: Order is not an option for Sauromatia. Order makes Luck less attractive but the available heroes are really interesting and I suggest to keep a neutral Luck scale to try to get them. You don't have a huge reliance on resources so you don't need high Production, but I suggest to keep a neutral scale too, to be able to produce medium units in good numbers.
The lack of heavy units initially seems to suggest a SC pretender approach. Even a Wyrm or a Manticore without magic could be a good choice, especially on a small map (and they can lead poisonous hydras without problems). An immortal pretender is interesting too, since even independent priests can sacrifice the free slaves to improve your dominion where and when necessary.
The Amazons are good and you can build a lot of them, but they are vulnerable to missiles. Ask your composite archers to target the enemy archers as "counter-artillery" to protect the amazons when you have a chance.
Raiders are not that useful, Lancer are better as a cavalry choice. Foot archers are cheaper if you need archery.
Cataphracts are only marginally better than Lancers but much more expensive, both in gold and resources.
Androphag Archers are really good, especially in a counter-artillery role and against troops with a weak morale (poison arrows kill slowly but their effect stacks and they are disastrous for morale). Unfortunately, they are limited to your capital for recruitment.
Oioropata and Androphags are very similar but Oioropata are slightly cheaper. Very interesting units for a bless strategy (Fire 9 and Astral 9 come to mind).
Hydras are powerful: they get 9 attacks per round on up to 3 different targets (all in the same square), poison nearby troops with their foul odors, have great HP, high MR and regenerate. However, your own troops will become poisoned when fighting around them so learn how to use them effectively or they will hurt you more than the enemy. Mix hydras with undead units or Vine Men as they are immune to poison, or use them in defense, as local militia is expendable.
The Soothsayer and the Spirit Guides are cheap and can be used both on the battlefield (to cast Body Ethereal and Call Ancestor, respectively) and in labs to do research (especially in a Magic dominion).
Body Ethereal is very nice and Enaries can even cast it on hydras (but should cast resist Poison first, of course). Enaries can cast Protection too, to make your lancers almost invulnerable (prot 20) against ordinary troops, and later Nether Darts. Raise Dead is important to get early, too.
With the Soothsayer you have a good Communion slave. Bear in mind that with four soothsayers (for instance) instantly give any Enarie (with Communion) or Witch King (with Sabbath) +2 in all their magic paths on the battlefield (and the spell Power of the Sphere gives one more level)... which enables Mass Protection, Antimagic, Doom, Battle Fortune, Relief, Rigor Mortis, Undead Horde, Darkness, Foul Vapors (for a Witch King with water magic) etc...
One Enarie leading a Communion with two Soothsayers can cast 10x Raise Dead before the Soothsayers collapse.
With the Witch King you can reach Death 3 or 4. They are useful to get an undead army (Behemoth, Arouse Hunger, Pale Riders, Carrion Reanimation, Manikins etc). Behemoth is specially good with Body Ethereal!
The Witch Kings are your only blood mage but are so expensive that I don't think that a blood strategy is possible for Sauromatia. Your few slaves are probably better invested to improve your dominion or to forge some rare items, like the Black Heart or the Twin Spear.
 National Features
- Sauromatian Archer
- Gold 10, Resources 5
- Sauromatian Amazon
- Gold 13, Resources 12
- Gold 20, Resources 12
- Gold 20, Resources 14
- Sauromatian Raider
- Gold 25, Resources 18
- Sauromatian Lancer
- Gold 25, Resources 23
- Sauromatian Cataphract
- Gold 40, Resources 34
- Androphag Archer
- Gold 12, Resources 6
- Gold 60, Resources 14
- Gold 50, Resources 16
- Hydra Hatchling
- Gold 35, Resources 1
- Gold 250, Resources 1
- Gold 20, Resources 3
- Gold 60, Resources 14
- Sauromatian Manflayer
- Gold 80, Resources 37
- Warrior Priestess
- Gold 110, Resources 34
- Warrior Queen
- Gold 90, Resources 34
- Gold 60, Resources 4
- Spirit Guide
- Gold 60, Resources 1
- Gold 150, Resources 1
- Warrior Sorceress
- Gold 160, Resources 16
- Gold 100, Resources 14
- Witch King
- Gold 300, Resources 13
- Hydra Tamer
- Gold 40, Resources 3
- Air 2 / Astral 2 / Death 4 / Nature 4 / Research 14
- Shogu the Man Eater
- Death 4 / Nature 1 / Blood 3 / Research 10
- Delgnat the Partholonian Sorceress
- Air 3 / Water 2 / Death 4 / Research 11
- Undead / Immortal
 Starting Sites
- The Bitter Stream
- Enables recruitment of Oirpata
- +3 Death gems
- +1 Water gem
- The Great Cauldron
- Enables recruitment of Androphag Archer
- Enables recruitment of Androphag
- Enables recruitment of Manflayer
- Enables recruitment of Witch King
- +2 Blood slaves
- The Enchanced Isle
- +1 Nature gem
- Swamps of Pythia
- Enables recruitment of Hydra Hatchling
- Enables recruitment of Hydra
- Enables recruitment of Hydra Tamer
 National Spells
 National Summons
- Gems z