So far, what we've seen suggests to me that an important factor in the success of a side is not the discipline
of the casters, but how well they're used.
FAQ, for example, was a very small side, but had a whopping eight casters. With their foolamancer, lookamancer, and predictamancer, they were able to avoid all attacks, or even awareness of their existence, for over a thousand turns; indeed even Charlie was unable to locate them, and they were only brought down by betrayal from the inside.
And I'd argue that most of their casters were underutilized because of Banhammer's philosophy.
Contrast to Goodminton, which had two casters that were basically ignored by their Overlord - and yet, when they got a third caster who outright demanded the ruler's attention, their star was ascendant (until running headlong into another side that made clever use of their casters.
In a general sense, the key to winning an engagement is in playing a game that's fundamentally different from what your opponent is playing - either by a different set of rules, or on a different level. And each discipline has the potential to do that. Some examples we've seen or which seem obvious to me:Predictamancy
: Predictamancy allows you to know fate - which at first blush seems locked in. But, as Phillip and Marie put it in LiaB 90
Marie: I don't like how those Connys ah looking. Stay close and watch them.
Phillip: Relax. He'll get through the door, you know that.
Marie: Yes, fine.
But in one piece, we don't know.
What this suggests to me is, Predictamancy can tell you that battles will happen, and might tell you if you're fated to win or lose those battles. And, sure, you can try to fight or trick fate - but, alternately, you can acknowledge that, say, you're going to lose a particular battle and thus not commit key forces to it, or in knowing that you are fated to win a battle you can capitalize on that known victory. That's an awesome, game-breaking amount of intel if you use it well.Turnamancy
: Well, of course we've seen Charlie and Vanna's link that ended GK's turn, and that's enormous - it put GK's entire army in a terribly vulnerable spot (it actually reminds me of the old Star Trek Novel The Final Reflection
). But beyond that into the realm of things an individual turnamancer can do, you've got the rather mundane utility of speeding up production times. More important is the ability to "turn" prisoners, who can then offer terribly revealing intel, not to mention bolstering forces. Sure, turning a bunch of stabbers is "meh", but it means a side with a turnamancer could potentially capture casters and high-level warlords and suddenly become much more powerful. And self-powered vehicles, which I presume can extend move, have incredible strategic value: consider, say, the use of an armored personnel carrier - you're laying siege to a city, and suddenly reinforcements that should have been five turns away show up and now you're outnumbered. It's effectively a force multiplier, allowing a smaller army to have the effectiveness of a larger army by being able to reach more places.Dollamancy
: We don't know what kind of upkeep dolls need, but I'm getting the impression that they're much cheaper than living units for their relative value in combat. They definitely allow a side to have a much larger army than expected, and seem to be great for defense. My take is, dollamancy doesn't directly seem to break the game on the tactical level, but it lets you win by economics where you might lose on the battlefield.Dirtamancy
: We've seen with DigDoug, and also in the Battle for Gobwin Knob that a dirtamancer is incredibly useful for hardening positions. In the real world, fortifications are extremely effective force multipliers, allowing a small number of soldiers to hold out against a vastly larger army; it's I think fair to assume that is the case here as well. Which is a pretty big deal, since it means you don't need as big of an army for defense.Dittomancy
: Look, this DEFINES "force multiplier". We don't know the exact mechanism here, but consider that it might allow for a Chief Warlord to literally
be in two places at once.Thinkamancy
: Oddly, this one seems to me to be one of the least (directly) effective game-changing disciplines. Sure, they're convenient, but they only know what your units know, they can certainly make communication more efficient, and that's huge, but their big game-breaker is the linkups. Those linkups, well - the sky's the limit. Haffaton in its heyday was unimaginably powerful; it's only Olive's ego that fucked that up.Flower Power
: Yeah, the ability to prevent engagement until your forces show up? Kinda handy. And, interestingly enough, most effective when your florist is not
embedded in your army. Your florist can keep battles in abeyance until you've got the personnel in place to win. As a really nasty combination, have a florist stop the engagement, then use a turnamancer to take the enemy warlord.Carnymancy
: A carnymancer can make a rule, or suspend a rule? You attack a city with a whole lot of melee units, and melee attacks no longer get any bonuses? The defenders slaughter you, because you were planning on a different set of rules - THEY have ranged attacks planned.
I could go on, but my point is, each discipline can potentially change the nature of the game and confer an incredible advantage. The key is engagement with the casters and lateral thinking in their application.