Age of Wonders: Planetfall - The Best Early Military Tech For The Assembly

Repurpose, conquer and assimilate, as all good cyborgs do.
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Strategy
Check out this guide for starting military tech for the Assembly faction in Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
Check out this guide for starting military tech for the Assembly faction in Age of Wonders: Planetfall. Paradox Interactive

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is finally available now across all platforms, and the initial consensus for this 4X turn-based strategy game has been very positive, with players noting Planetfall’s incredible depth and its interesting and unique factions. In my review for Planetfall, I noted how its successful integration of various mechanics along with the gripping sci-fi narrative was a big success for developer Triumph Studios.

It’s also notably easier to get into than other 4X strategy games, despite the vastness and particularly deep mechanics involved. That said, some players may find some aspects a bit daunting at first, in particular the very expansive tech tree, which allows you to cater your gameplay and strategy to how you see fit.

For this iteration we’re taking a look at the Assembly, one of the weirdest and definitely most out-there factions in Planetfall. The Assembly, despite their horrible and somewhat terrifying appearances, are the most tragic of all the races in the game. They are descendants of literal vat-grown and cultivated clones developed by a company within the Star Union that created augmentations for the military and high-societal elite. The collapse left them – quite literally – to their own devices, and they took to using those augmentations to enhance themselves throughout the next two centuries. Their form in Planetfall is the result of all those developments, and the Assembly is a great example of beings blurring the line between human and machines.

As to how they handle and play, the Assembly is obviously meant for more experienced players. They’re very dependent on Research, and early in the game they’ll feel weak without their valuable tech upgrades. Once you climb up that tree, though, the Assembly turns into a technological powerhouse, with freakishly powerful modded units and insane operations that can break factions in half, as well as perpetuating a never-ending cycle of rebirth thanks to their unnatural augmentations. If you’re the kind who likes playing with their food before ultimately devouring it in a flash of arc-powered weapons and undying hordes of cyborgs, then the Assembly is just the thing for you.

With all of that said, let’s take a look at some of the best early military tech upgrades to get for the Assembly during the starting phases of the game. You can also check out the best starting military tech upgrades to get for the Vanguard here, the Kir’Ko here, and the D’Var here. If you want a guide on some of the best society tech upgrades for starters, check that out here.

Tier 1

The Assembly has four tabs in their military tech tree: General, Firearms, Arc and Synthesis. Unlike other factions who usually have a set path to take when starting out with their military tech, there’s a bit more leeway for the Assembly as all of them are useful. However, if we’re taking into account Tier 2 upgrades, then the best one to get into first is Molecular Computing under General, which has a mod and an op.

  • Ocular Implants (Detector) (mod) – a defensive mod that can be applied to both Biological and Cyborg units. With this mod installed, the unit gains Detection, which is a very useful skill to have later in the game for when there’s concealed units on the map. Modded units also gain +1 to Strategic Vision Range; mod this to any fast-moving unit and you have a great way to scout the strategic map for your next move. During turn-based combat, this mod will also give units a 10 percent bonus to critical hit chance, as well as + 1 to shields.
  • Signal Shredding (op) – an instant offensive operation that you can use against any Mechanical or Cyborg unit. This sends a pulse of disruptive energy through the target, with a 12-strength chance of applying Stunned for one turn. If the stun doesn’t take into effect, the target unit instead receives Static Charge, a debuff that reduces their resistance to Arc damage by one for three turns. This is a very useful op to have against powerful mechanical units in starting armies, making sure that they’re either out of commission for one turn or just having them be more susceptible to all forms of Arc attacks.

Compared to other factions’ first upgrades on the military tech tree, the Assembly’s is a bit more underwhelming. That said, Ocular Implants is fairly useful thanks to the additional critical chance as well as the strategic map vision range. Signal Shredding may come in useful once you’ve got enemies using mechanical units, as destabilizing them in combat for a turn is invaluable. Fighting against an enemy D’Var faction, for instance, can yield amazing results.

Under the Firearms tab you get Subjugation Ordnance, which has been pretty much covered for both the Vanguard and the D’Var at this point. I don’t think that adding Bleeding to attacks is preferable to having a bit more chance to do critical attacks, and the Shredder Bomb is negligible next to the power of Signal Shredding, despite it only targeting a single unit.

The Synthesis tab is pretty good, with Synthesis Integration offering two mods and an empire upgrade. Guardian Daemon Shell is a defensive mod that makes your unit 25 percent harder to hit by any ranged attack. The mod also allows them to interface with any Synthesis technology scattered around the world, in addition to adding +1 to shields. Targeting Daemon Shell, on the other hand, gives a unit 10 percent accuracy and 10 percent critical hit chance. It’s a bit better than what Ocular Implants offer, but considering that the latter also gives benefits to the strategic map I’d only consider this upgrade secondary to Molecular Computing. The empire upgrade is called Integrated Military Networks and will allow all of your Mechanical and Cyborg units to interface with Synthesis technology, including your militia units.

Tier 2

By now you should already have a settlement in place, as well as established some of your units. If you’ve got some Covert Ops in place, use them to figure out unit compositions in nearby enemy bases, just so you know which military tech upgrade to invest in next.

If you picked Molecular Computing, now would be a good time to follow it up with an investment towards Reverse Engineering, which provides you with a powerful new unit plus equipment for your Hero to use.

  • Reverse Engineer (unit) – the Reverse Engineer is a powerful unit that highlights the technological marvel of the Assembly. This unit has an active ability called Create Construct, which allows it to spawn a unit on any nearby hex. The spawned unit can be used for its melee attacks, as well as a powerful self-destruct function that will heavily damage everyone in a 1-hex radius. In addition to this, the Reverse Engineer has Reassemble, which can bring back any dead light Cyborg unit to life with 50 percent of its max HP. The skill can also heal any living Cyborg unit for 35 percent of its HP. These two skills will often change the tide of turn-based battles when used correctly, but the particularly high cost of the Reverse Engineer balances it out.
  • Arc Blaster (equipment) – this is a Hero weapon that fires a blast of Arc energy at the target. It’s nothing too special, but the range can be good on other Heroes who spawn with less than optimized weapons.

The only real reason to invest in this upgrade is the Reverse Engineer, and getting it as early as possible will often ensure easy victories ahead in small-scale battles. Scavengers for the most part benefit a lot with a Reverse Engineer in tow, so long as you can keep the unit safe from flanking attacks and the like. Balancing out your range for Reassemble with a proper distance to avoid enemy fire is key to success with the Reverse Engineer, as the unit itself tends to be a bit clunky to use overall.

The General tab also offers Auxiliary Resource Extraction as a second-tier upgrade, although use of this is much more situational. The Reprocess Colonist op does as the name suggests, which is to repurpose one of the colonists in your chosen colony to boost your production facilities temporarily. The effect gives 50 percent increased Production for three turns, which can certainly be useful if you’re running low or you want to fund a particularly large endeavor, but you’re basically trading it off for less map control as you gain settlement grounding slower. The second op is Sample Collection, which you can use in the strategic map to damage all units in the targeted army for 20 percent of their current health, as well as reducing all of their resistances by one for the same strategic round. It also provides you with three to five Research Points for every unit you damage.

The first upgrade under the Arc tab is pretty useful as well, which includes a mod and an op. The Static Buildup Module can be applied to any unit with an Arc ability, making your attacks with that unit result in an 8-strength chance to apply Static Discharge. It’s great early on, as with many Arc blasters you can keep the effect stacked permanently across all enemy units. The op included is called Arc Discharge, and it’s used to target a powerful Arc blast into a single enemy unit, dealing nine Arc damage with the High Impact effect. The attack can also jump to two additional targets within three hexes of each other, which is pretty far when taken into account.

Finally, under Synthesis you can go for Daemon Deployment, a series of ops that are great for late game strategic pushes. The Internal System Overload Hack is basically the same as the Arc Discharge, but this time enemies are Compromised at the start of every turn-based battle for one strategic turn. Deploy Maintenance Daemons capitalizes on the units Integrated with Synthesis technology, letting you heal a stack on the map for full health and granting them Finely-tuned for one strategic turn, which translates to 10 percent accuracy and damage. Zero-Day Vulnerability is a pretty good op that targets enemy colonies themselves, but the high cost is hard to justify early in the game.

Stay tuned here for more guides on Age of Wonders: Planetfall.

Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Age Of Wonders: Planetfall Review - Creative Space Empire Building Limited Only By Your Imagination
It might be too expansive for its own good, but for players who can look past that and place themselves in the shoes as a commander leading a space-faring faction to salvation there's no better 4X title out there. Age Of Wonders: Planetfall is a success for Triumph Studios, proving the developer can deliver on proper world-building to take their acclaimed series to the vast reaches of space.
  • Expansive turn-based and 4X elements, with tons of freedom of choice.
  • Diverse races, with lots of distinctions between each one.
  • Strategic gameplay rewarded and limited by your own creativity and imagination.
  • In-depth tech tree with a ton of branching paths to go through.
  • Easy to get into for casual players of the genre.
  • A bit daunting at first, which may put off and overwhelm some players.
  • Lacking in sound design and the music department.
  • Not very intuitive at times, with some tedium setting in once your empire gets bigger.
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