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Niefelheim is the realm of great ice giants. They are enemies of the Vanir. The frost giants are huge and strong and they are surrounded by a great aura of coldness. They also have lesser Jotun giants in their service. The mages of Niefelheim wield powers over Water and Death magic. The Jotun sorcerers know Blood and Water magic and other sorceries.


Niefelheim is drawn from the Norse mythologies. While Midgard was the home of Man, and Muspelheim the realm of fire, Niefelheim is the land of ice and darkness, ruled by Hel.


  • Giant-sized, expensive troops
  • Strong and varied magic paths
  • Most commanders are sacred (non-capital as well)
  • Skratti turn into werewolves
  • Niefels generate a freezing cold-aura, but weak against fire
  • Friendly dominion pushes harder against enemy dominion
  • Lots of thug and SC potential
  • Strong early-rush potential

National Features[edit]

Niefelheim gets a "free" 120 points by taking a Cold 3 scale. In fact, some units' (like Niefel Jarls) actually get stronger in cold provinces (+1 Prot/+1 AP per cold tick), so Cold 3 is actually an advantage that ALSO gives you points. Conversely, these units have more trouble in hot provinces.


All Niefenheim units are immune to cold and have a MR of at least 12, making them naturally magic resistant. Most of them have shields, which helps against missile fire. Supposedly their large size is hard-coded to cause a morale check in smaller enemy troops, thus magic that causes fear should be more effective. On the downside, their size means they tend to act as missile magnets and smaller enemies can mob them (each successive hit attempt on any given target in the same round has a better chance of connecting) and thus overwhelm them by shear numbers. Strangely, none of them have the Trample skill. Giants require double the food amount compared with "normal" human-sized troops.

Jotun Militia
Gold 20, Resources 17
These are truly mediocre infantry with a big axe, not good for much more than grabbing the weaker indy provinces, and tend to run away when the fight gets tough. They comprise a main component of your PD, so you should try and research some combat magic to boost their stats. With high hit points and strength, if you can cast a Berserker spell on them they can serve as meat shields.
Jotun Spearman
Gold 30, Resources 17
Decent "normal" medium-infantry stats, with the added bonus of health and strength. The long length of their spear means these guys should be able to deploy 2 rows deep, and they will cause a repel check on enemy infantry.
Jotun Javelinist
Gold 30, Resources 19
2 javelins and an axe. Imo the javelins are kind of just a gimmick that rarely do anything more than superficial damage. Its the axe which is interesting, with 7 damage. Add the giant's strength to that, and they can take out a lightly armored human opponent with 1 hit.
Jotun Hurler
Gold 30, Resources 9
The main justification for including these guys in an army is their siege ability. So you might have a siege train of Hurlers tag along behind your main force specifically for that purpose. Just like any archers, having a large enough group to release an effective volley gets the best results. Wind guide helps, and in groups of 100 or more they can let loose a pretty fearsome rain of stones. They have horrible defense skill, so once they are out of ammo (2 shots) they will probably get mauled pretty badly in hand-to-hand combat against skilled troops. Might be better to fire and run, so as to live to fight another day.
Jotun Huskarl (axe)
Gold 35, Resources 23
At least on paper, these guys look to be superficially the same thing as the Javelineer, only sans javelin. Whether the extra 1 point of protection and morale is worth the added cost, only the game dev knows. Imo, save the resources/gold and go with the Javelinist.
Jotun Huskarl (spear)
Gold 35, Resources 21
Ditto. Use the Jotun Spearman instead.
Jotun Hirdman
Gold 40, Resources 33
Armed with a long-sword (dam 9), these guys are the elite of the grunts. The description says 13 morale is "great", but this is the same as the Huskarls, and only 1 point more than the lowly Jotun Javlinist. I don't buy it. What we do see is all-around better stats for twice the resources and 30% more gold. Quality vs. quantity.
Niefel Giant
Gold 150, Resources 23
2x the health of Jotun troopers, plus higher strength, morale and MR. Pure vanilla, these guys don't actually fight any better than the Javelineer. Their real advantage is that they are sacred and have an AoE chill aura. The aura causes increased fatigue in adjacent non-cold-resistant troops and has a chance to freeze them as well. Once a unit's fatigue reaches 100%, it incurs huge combat penalties. Niefels benefit hugely from being blessed, and thus they tend to collect in the army being led by your prophet.
Niefels require some clever tactics and a little luck to combo well with friendly indy troops, who tend to get caught in the chill aura. Cold resistant magic should solve this.
Skin Shifters change to a ferocious werewolf form when injured.
Jotun Skin Shifter
Gold 70, Resources 5
Skin Shifters have great morale (15) and MR (14) plus decent combat stats. They regenerate 4 health per round. Oh yeah, ...and they transform into a werewolf if they are wounded. Pretty cool. These guys will often still hold the line when the rest of the Jotuns have run away. Their major downsides are their fairly low protection, no shield (can't block arrows) and high gold cost. SO they benefit from protective spells like Legions of Steel or Arrow Fend.


Jotun Scout
Gold 50, Resources 7
Jotun Jarl
Gold 60, Resources 33
Jotun Herse
Gold 130, Resources 33
Jotun Gode
Gold 200, Resources 17
Gold 250, Resources 3
Gold 250, Resources 3
Niefel Jarl
Gold 500, Resources 43


Tjatse the Abductor[edit]

Tjatse is an ancient Niefel Jarl and lord of the icy fortress of Trymheim. He is a powerful sorcerer and owns an eagle cloak that grants him the ability to change shape. In the war with the Aesir in ages past he used this used this power to capture Idun, gaurdian of the Apples of Immortality. Now he follows the awakeneing God, eagerly awaiting the Illwinter and the rise of the Rimtursar. When in eagle shape Tjatse's power in Air Magic is increased, but his other magic skills are lessened.

A3 W3 D3 H2 HP:58 Prot:17 Mor:15 MR:18 Enc:4 Str:26 Att:14 Def:22 Prec:16 Mov:3/15 Ldr:100 Sacred, Susceptible to Fire 50%, Cold Resistant 100%, Chill

Tjatse is basically a Niefel Jarl chassis on steroids and is likewise considered sacred. He is your nation's best means to bootstrap into Air gems, and can cast both powerful rituals and combat magic in that path, so you might want to keep him out of combat till he has secured a steady Air gem economy plus forged some useful items. His eagle form is A4 W2 D2 H1 with slightly less combat stats, Flying, Mountain Survival, Patrol Bonus.

Angerboda the Great Hag[edit]

Angerboda, the Great Hag of the Iron Woods, is the oldest and most wicked of all giants. Her evil nature has turned her home into a forest of iron and ice. Her children are monsters born in the dark of the night. Angerboda has performed Blood magic and necromancy for centuries and has taught her evil ways to the Skratti of Jotunheim. The Gygjas are her servants, and they help her divine the past, the present, and the future. She has seen the impending arrival of the Illwinter and has come to aid the awakening God.

S3 D3 N2 B3 Cold Resistant 100%, Poison Resistant 100%, Mountain Survival, Supply Bonus 20

Angerboda is a souped-up Gygja mage. She has great paths for rituals and forging. As your nation's only Astral mage, you will want to keep her out of trouble till she has secured a steady supply of Astral pearls. If you are using a bless strategy, Empowerment into E1 allows her to forge Crystal Shields so your H2 priests can cast Divine Bless.

Starting Sites[edit]

  • Enables recruitment of Niefel Jarl, Niefel Giant and Jotun Skin Shifter.
  • Produces 4 W gems, 2 D gems / turn

National Spells[edit]

Pack of Wolves
  • (Conj 3, N2) The caster summons a pack of 25 Dire Wolves and binds them to his service. Cost: 25 N gems
  • (Blood 6, B5 W3) The caster sacrifices the blood of innocent virgins in an attempt to revive the old Rimtursar, ancient giants of terrible might and the ancestors of Jotun. The giants are slow to awaken, but their presence will cause blizzards and severe cold all over the world. The Illwinter is the most feared of all omens and unrest will increase worldwide. The spell lasts until someone dispells it or the caster dies. Cost: 120 Blood Slaves, cannot be cast underwater

National Summons[edit]

Gems z


Scale Design[edit]

Taking Cold is a given (you actually get penalized if you don't have Cold 3). With few exceptions, Niefelheim's troops and commanders generally cost 2x to 3x as much gold per unit as for other nations. It is rarely lack of resources that limit your production, rather lack of cash. So taking both Order and Sloth to pay for it works just fine. Growth or Death really depends on your overall strategy. Your economy, troop production and supply will benefit from growth, however you do have enough Death mages in your repertoire to make a death-based strategy work. Misfortune can easily wipe out the benefits of Growth, or enhance the carnage of a Death scale. So I take Luck/Misfortune depending upon Growth/Death. Your mages get a guaranteed 5 research each even in a Drain scale. You have the means to forge Skull Mentors for your mages, and your Niefel SCs' worst fear is enemy magic. So at the risk of a slow start, if you concentrate on researching to Construction 4, a Drain scale is viable. Niefelheim's dominion is hard-coded to push into enemy dominion. But you should get high dominion to enhance this, and force the enemy to deal with your adverse scales.

So all told, recommended scales could be:

  • Growth Strategy: Order 2 Sloth 3 Cold 3 Growth 2 Luck 1 Drain 3
  • Death Strategy: Order 3 Sloth 3 Cold 3 Death 3 Misfortune 3 Drain 3

Pretender Design[edit]

Between them, Niefelheim's national mages and heroes have all magic paths covered accept for Earth. This shuts out some very important magic items: Dwarven Hammer for forging, Crystal Coins, Bloodstones, etc. So Earth is a good path to consider for your pretender.

Niefel Giants and Jarls are some of the best non-pretender sacred SC chassis in the game, which really screams for your pretender to take magic picks that bestow at least a minor bless buff. With the right major bless and magic, each Niefel can become a SC terror on the battlefield. So unlike some others, your nation can get by just fine without an SC pretender. On the other hand, Niefels are vulnerable to fire and heat scale, so relying too much on a Niefel-bless strategy can backfire in mid-game once your enemies have developed counters.


Why take an awake Pretender? Mostly to gain a hefty research boost and secure a larger gem income through early site searching, maybe forge a few items you wouldn't otherwise have access to so early. But you might also do an early rush on one of your neighbors, and it is nice to have your pretender in play to cover your vulnerability while your army is thus preoccupied. The price you pay, though, is a weaker bless. Niefelheim already has plenty of thuggery potential in its troops, so you don't need to rely on the Pretender to gain territory. Using the scales listed above we can come up with:

  • Growth Strategy- Monolith F4 W4 E4 S4 N4, Dominion 6
  • Death Strategy- Monolith F4 W4 E4 S4 N6 B4 Dominion 10

The Monolith comes with some disadvantages: it can forge a Dwarven Hammer, but won't be able to wield it, and you won't be able to site search till you have researched Thaumaturgy 3 (Teleport) and Construction 2 (Astral Clam). But it gives you a powerful rainbow pretender you won't be afraid to take into battle with a minor bless in 5 paths, 20 research and a respectable dominion 6. You can get this same level of bless stats on a smaller more mobile rainbow pretender with full slots (ie. Great Sage, Frost Father) if you are willing to take Dominion 5.

Under Death scales, we can take it further to improve the minor bless a bit and go up to 10 Dominion, which will not only strongly push our scales into enemy territory (we want our giants to always fight in cold 3), but gives our pretender Awe. The Skratti works similarly with only slightly less magic picks, if you prefer to have a mid-weight combat pretender with full slots who can move around.

Using only this rainbow bless, our sacreds won't be SC status, but they damn well will be the best elite thugs on the battlefield. The Niefel Jarls can be further equipped with magic items that will enhance whatever spells buffs you cast to elevate them to SCs. The entire palette of magic items and rituals is open to you.


You can get a dual-bless E9N9W4 imprisoned Cyclops with Dominion 4 and nearly balanced scales (Order-3 Sloth-3 Cold-3 Drain-3). What this gets you are giant berserking Niefel Jarls who rarely take damage (Defense 14, Prot 17-20) and, even if they do, just go berserk (Prot +2) and regenerate the damage back. Attack 12 isn't stellar against cavalry but as you keep fighting, your opponent's fatigue keeps rising at about 20 points per round because of your chill aura--and every 20 points of fatigue is like -2 to defense, -1 to attack. And the Niefel Jarl is tough enough to survive the pounding until the aura kicks in. This might work with only E9N4 for half the price if you need good scales or an awake pretender.

Another alternative is taking N8W8 imprisoned Son of Fenrer with dominion 4, Order 3, Productivity 1 (giants are expensive!). Make one Niefel Jarl your prophet, and recruit about 4-6 Niefel Giants. The key is in their high Hit points, this means they will regenerate at least 10 Hit points per turn, plus the water bless means their defense is in the high 20s (varies due to domain for prophet but normal Niefel Jarl -defense =24), so they hardly get hit anyway. This should be capable of handling most indies level 5. Research construction 2 as soon as possible and equip your Niefel Jarls with luck pedants (50% of attacks that cause damage are negated), and they will even be harder to kill. Construction 4 gets you ring of regeneration (10% regeneration) which gives you a total of 25% regeneration (18 hit points per turn). Want more? Forge a Hydra Skin (construction 6) and you get another +10% and regenerate a incredible 25 hit points per turn. But even better is if you are lucky enough to get a Gygja with S2 (about 7% chance),you can forge a Robe of shadows (construction 4) that gives etherealness and ignores 75% of non-magical attacks.



One really interesting thing about Niefelheim is that most of the commanders are sacred. Even the scouts. One thing that might be interesting to try is to make a Scout prophet and a bunch of dual-blessed Niefel Scouts (50 gold each, non-capital-only) and go raiding behind enemy lines like Pangaea and Vanheim do. Note that a javelin from a Scout will kill most humans in one hit. Of course, you wouldn't want to do this until you'd reached a point where the capital-only limitation was hurting you more than the one-commander-per-fortress limitation.

Niefel giants seem to do well in small, tight groups. "Guard commander" on a squad of 3-4 works to keep them in contiguous blocks that stop them from getting surrounded and lets the cold auras stack.

Some Niefel Jarls have a path in air (very rare ones have 2) as well, so you can script them to cast Bless (or divine bless), Air shield (add mirror image and even mist form for tough battles) and attack. Set Niefel Giants to guard commander. This works well in small to medium maps.

Later on, try to forge Bone Armor (40 death gems, Construction-6) with a Death-3 Niefel Jarl, although you'll need to make a Skull Staff and a Skullface first to boost him to Death-5. Bone Armor gives you continuous Soul Vortex, which lets you leach life and fatigue off of adjacent enemy units (as much as 20 hp per turn and 80 fatigue, although if you're surrounded by enemy units and at 80 fatigue you're as good as dead since each one has about a 50% chance of crit-hitting you). Combine this with a cheap Pendant of Luck to effectively double your hit points. Bone Armor certainly doesn't make you invincible, but it suits the Niefel Jarl better than just about any other SC, and it does add a lot to his survivability of he manages to lose his guards. Meanwhile, pelt everybody with Falling Frost.

Research Order[edit]