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

Featuring dinosaurs and other animals with laser guns mounted on them.
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AoWP Amazons
Check out this guide for starting military tech for the Amazon 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 mentioned 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.

The last faction in Planetfall are the Amazons, which stuck with a lot of people thanks to their rather outrageous and cheesy sci-fi designs. The Amazons started out as genetic engineers, and before the collapse they were working on terraforming a frontier world. Once the fall of the Star Union happened, they found themselves stranded on the frontier planet thanks to a broken hyperspace drive. The only way to survive these harsh conditions was to use their knowledge of genetic engineering to modify the planet’s many inhabitants and form a symbiotic relationship with them, which leads to how they are now in Planetfall.

The Amazons’ playstyle revolves around biological warfare and environmental manipulation. Most of the units under their tech tree are wild animals that have been modified to serve their cause, which gives them this quirky bio-technical look. A lot of their power comes from these units and their subsequent upgrades, and early on you’ll learn to dominate the battlefield with these beasts. It’s also important to note that due to their attunement with nature, farming resources is pretty easy for the Amazons. The only thing left to do is to try and capitalize on the strength of their resources, and there are a couple of branching paths within both military and society tech trees for you to do so.

With all of that said, let’s take a look at some of the best early military tech upgrades to get for the Syndicate 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, the D’Var here, the Assembly here, and the Syndicate here. If you want a guide on some of the best society tech upgrades for starters, check that out here.

Tier 1

AoWP Grounding Harness
Grounding Harness is essential for protecting your Heroes through Stagger Resistance. Photo: Paradox Interactive

The Amazons have four tabs in their military tech tree: General, Biochemical, Laser and Xenoplague. The best route to go early on is the General tab, as here is where you’ll find the many units that best benefit the Amazons. You can also go for a Biochemical route early on with your Huntresses, although that’s only worth taking once you’ve got more units that can utilize its many upgrades. Under General tab you’ve got Protective Grounding, which has a mod and an op.

  • Grounding Harness (mod) – this mod can be applied to non-Mechanical Land units. This is a great early game mod to deter melee attackers, since it grants the unit Stagger Resistance in addition to +5 to Arc resistance. Equipping these on your Huntresses and other ranged units gives them an edge, even against melee frontliners that like to flank. The additional +1 to armor is pretty good, too, and you can get out of dodge if ever you’re attacked by a melee unit that can shred armor thanks to that resistance to Stagger.
  • Protective Growth (op) – a great clutch op for zoning and hex control. After priming, it summons thick roots to protect a friendly ground unit, healing it for 10 health and immobilizing it in its place for two turns. While immobilized, the unit gains +4 armor and regenerates 25 percent of its maximum health per turn. In essence, it turns a unit into an unmovable mass of regeneration while in use. Besides using it for clutch reasons, you can also use it to ground a powerful ranged unit in place while deterring enemies from attacking it, making it great for control of certain hexes and zones.

The real power of this upgrade comes from the Grounding Harness, as if combined with another mod higher up in the tree, you can get pretty powerful units early on. Stagger Resistance in particular is very useful against certain units that like to overwatch after attacking, such as certain melee neutrals. The Arc resistance is incredibly useful against Assembly units, and you can negate a ton of their damage in the early game, at least until they counter you by switching to lasers. Protective Growth should always be on standby, and the fact that it lasts for two turns makes it a must-have in a lot of situations.

Looking over Biochemical and you’ve got Biochemical Applications. It’s not as useful as Protective Grounding, but if you want a more aggressive playstyle early on then I’d consider this route. The upgrade has an op and a mod; the Acidic Composite infuses Biochemical Weapons with acid, giving it the Melt Armor ability, which removes one armor per hit. There’s also Biochemical Maceration, which is an op that releases an agent in a one-hex radius, affecting units’ Biochemical resistances and reducing them by three for three turns. It also has an 8-strength chance to slow, which gives it some form of utility as well.

As great as Xenoplague is, it starts to show off its usefulness later in the game when skirmishes become part of every turn. The Alpha Strain Inception features a mod and an op; the Xenoplague Parasite is a defensive mod that gives units the Hyper-evolved Immune System skill, giving it +2 to all non-Psionic resistances. It also endows Ferocious Determination, which makes the unit immune to any morale debuff and mind control effects. The op is called Parasitic Strike, and it basically takes a target Biological or Cyborg unit and damages it for 10 Biochemical damage, with an 8-strength chance to disperse a Parasitic Infection. This infection can jump up to two times to a nearby target within the span of two hexes.

Tier 2

AoWP Arborian
Taking Arborian Commune will grant you the Arborian Sentinel unit. Photo: Paradox Interactive

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’ve invested in Protective Grounding, the next upgrade is Arborian Commune, which grants you a new unit.

  • Arborian Sentinel (unit) – the Arborian Sentinel is a powerful Tier 2 unit that’s highly useful for supporting your units and giving them the chance to flank certain positions. It’s a heavy plant unit equipped with a powerful Light Laser Cannon, and can use its roots to grasp an enemy unit in place. For best results, equip it with a Grounding Harness to turn it into a nearly invincible siege unit.

Having at least one Arborian Sentinel in your stacks can immensely help you out in turn-based combat, especially if you find yourself spawning in less-than-ideal places. Its crowd control capabilities are incredibly ideal to have at the early phases of the game, and should give beginners some breathing room in terms of positioning due to how much leeway the unit can provide as a cushion for bad unit placements.

You’ll find the first Laser upgrade at Tier 2, but its uses, like so many other factions, are debatable. Heavy Laser Applications feature a mod and an op: the Incinerator Module bestows an 8-strength chance to cause Burning for three turns for units with Laser abilities. Then you’ve got the Laser Strike, which deals 25 Burning damage with Massive Impact to an enemy target, which also has an 8-strength chance to inflict Burning.

The second-tier upgrade for Xenoplague is Pustule Mutation, and for this one you’ve got a unit and an equipment included. If you’ve invested in the Alpha Strain Inception first, then taking this route is great due to Mutation: Pustule, a unit unlock that works a bit differently than what you’d do for other units. You can only create this units from killing enemies affected by the Parasitic Infection debuff. After combat, you’ll spawn units called Pustules under your command. These biological critters can leap around the battlefield as well as apply a rather infectious bite, continuing the infection process all over again. The upgrade also has the Pestilence equipment, which is a melee weapon that has an 8-strength chance of applying Parasitic Infection.

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

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