Total War: ELYSIUM – Forging Troy

Elysium

James High
August 3 2020

The mythical Greek city of Elysium is now welcoming it’s most famous toga-wearing Inhabitants! Our first new faction Troy, brings with it a new General, 19 cards, and a keyword, the heroes of the Iliad are joining the battle in full, toga-wearing force. There are many familiar faces: Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, and the Citadel of Troy itself!

Heroic Endeavors

Each faction has its own keyword, and Troy is no exception. Heroic reads, “Activates if this is played onto an empty line”.

The inspiration for this mechanic came from an aristeia. This is a scene in epic Greek poetry, like the Iliad, where a soldier has their finest moments. Achilles’ aristeia happens when he learns of Patroclus’ death; he stands alone against the entire Trojan army and destroys it.

Like Achilles, a Heroic card shines when it stands alone against the enemy. To activate its powerful effect, you’ll need to play it onto an empty line.

Designing a new keyword is the first step in the process of creating a faction. A fun keyword is a bedrock of a card set. A third of the cards either feature or support that keyword, with the rest directed towards different playstyles.

We went through a period of experimentation before landing on Heroic in its current form. The other contender was a version that read, “Activates when this attacks an enemy that costs more”. This proved difficult to activate, though, as it required the Heroic card to survive an attack on a stronger enemy. Its activation was entirely conditional on what your opponent played, so you couldn’t build a deck around it.

The release version of Heroic is a broader mechanic. Many existing, movement-based cards find new life in a Heroic deck. Most importantly, it’s a mechanic that flourishes in Elysium due to its line system.

The King of Mycenae

Agamemnon is the General launching with Troy. When Helen of Sparta is stolen from his brother, he rouses the Achaeans into a formidable alliance. A fearsome warrior, he will sacrifice anything to succeed against the Trojans.

With the Alliance at his back, Agamemnon sailed for ten years across the Aegean Sea to Troy. His Signature Card, Voyage, allows you to make that journey a bit quicker. When you play it, he moves to your other line. In addition, it costs nothing! This makes it an essential part of any Heroic deck. Whenever he’s the only card on a line, you’re one Voyage away from making it empty!

Most Heroic cards are best played on the frontline to get straight into combat. As the greatest javelin thrower in the Achaean army, Agamemnon can attack from the backline. His passive reads, “Whenever another ally is deployed onto an empty line, this gains Short-Ranged this turn.” This is particularly useful, as you can keep the frontline clear to activate Heroic while sniping enemies from the back.

With careful use of Voyage and his passive, Agamemnon can dance around the battlefield, throwing javelins and creating empty lines for his Heroic cards to shine.

The Heroes of Troy

Agamemnon and the faction’s 19 cards are from the upcoming title, Total War Saga: Troy. With such a vibrant collection of characters, myths and units, it was difficult to narrow down the list of who to include in our roster.

Our first consideration was a character’s historical clout. Is this someone people name when they think of the period. Achilles, Hector and the city of Troy fit into this bracket; these are the recognizable faces of the Iliad.

The second is whether a unit’s ability will translate well into Elysium. Units with distinguishable traits and abilities are easy to abstract into our ruleset. The Minotaur is an example of this; he’s big, carries an axe and likes to charge!  

Thirdly, we consider their popularity. This is whether the fanbase has latched onto a standout unit. We couldn’t gauge popularity when we started designing the faction, as Troy wasn’t announced. Since its unveiling, though, the Cyclops has found its way into people’s hearts and would qualify for this.

It was also important that each card we picked would fit into a specific archetype. These are groups of cards with a similar game plan. To allow this, we split the faction into three archetypes drawn along thematic lines.

  • Heroic Archetype – Creating empty lines to activating Heroic.
  • Structures Archetype – Building Structures to outlast your enemy.
  • High Attack Archetype – Powering up a single Unit to unleash its potential.

All cards must fit into one, or ideally more, to encourage synergy with existing cards and keep deckbuilding fresh.

It’s worth remembering these 19 cards are just the start for Troy. Like other factions, Troy will expand over time. If your favourite character didn’t make the initial roster, expect them to show their face soon.

The Achaeans

Originally disparate groups, these Greeks were bound together by the promise of returning Helen of Sparta, who was stolen by the Trojan, Paris. Led by Agamemnon, they sailed across the Aegean to lay siege to Troy.

The Achaeans support a dynamic playstyle where you consistently try to create empty lines by moving your Units. Heroic is the name of game. Fewer, higher-quality Units is the way to achieve this. Strategies that flood your lines will struggle to activate Heroic. There are lots of cards that support this playstyle, giving or gaining bonuses when other cards played onto empty lines.

The Trojans

Paris fled to Troy, his home, after he stole Helen of Sparta. Although disgusted by his brother’s actions, Hector vowed to protect the city. He organized the city’s impenetrable defence, bringing the Achaeans siege to a standstill.

With the Trojans, a Structure deck will be fully viable in Elysium for the first time. They encourage you to build the walls of Troy on your frontline, keeping your General and support Units protected. Many Trojans cards also get bonuses when you play Structures. When it all gets too much, try using Demolition on your Structures to clear the enemy board. If you survive to the late game, it’s time to go on the offensive.  The Citadel of Troy reads, “Daybreak: Your Structures attack the enemy General.” The better you keep your Structures defended, the greater the pay-off.

The Ancient World

Troy is our first new faction in Elysium, but they will not fight alone. A Troy deck has access to three different pools of cards.

  • Troy cards
  • Ancient Era cards
  • Timeless cards

The Three Kingdoms faction is also in the Ancient Era, but you won’t be able to add these cards to a Troy deck. A deck is comprised of a single Faction, Era and Timeless cards.

It’s an exciting time for city of Elysium, now the Greeks have sailed in. We can’t wait to see what cool decks you build with the new faction!

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