Okay, you know what, time to build a file guide. As soon as set 11 came out, I was drawn to the new Mage Soldiers. They’d never really had any support before, and it looked like there was a potential to use some underused cards in this time round. I’ve seen a number of Mage Soldiers out there, but it’s not as straight forward a file as it may seem so the file’s I’ve come across have had differing results. This is just my attempt at putting some likely candidates forward for a MS file.
Just a note that this is my first time writing a guide for this game, so if anyone thinks I’ve written something badly or missed something out do tell.The Mage Soldier Archetype:
With the addition of new Mage Soldier support as a tribal file, it’s now making an appearance in Folrart. With the Ryu-Balmoa combo supported with Chamail, Mage Soldiers look like a fast, hard hitting file that racks up the damage quickly and decisively. On first appearances it looks like it plays a lot like a Gowen rush file, and that’s somewhat unsurprising as half of the file is made up of Gowen cards, but mage soldiers have a few tricks up their sleaves in how they deal their damage, and there are a few different ways to play them.Variations:Tribal:
Get a stack of Mage Soldiers and back them up with Balmoa and Chamail for the MS support. You may even want some Wiz Kingdom units in there for double support for certain units such as Ryu and Greatsword Soldier.Red Rush:
Mage Soldiers could even just be a way to get into Mid-Red filetype. With Antilla and Ryu generating loads of SP early game it wouldn’t be too difficult to move into the famous stars of Gowen such as Dilate, Sakura and Bringer.Control:
Running a file where your frontline cannot be harmed by regular attacks presents a serious problem for your opponent. If you also sit there removing or disrupting any units that have problematic Action or Auto skills with grim and SS support, your opponent may have nothing they can do. Return, Diondora, and Rasam SS are essential in this file type.Survival:
A slight variation on the Control type of MS. It still focuses on returning and engaging problematic units with SS such as Rasam, but has ways of bringing the front line back again and again with Ascarat and Forbidden Book and other SS, or other revival type grims and SS.Bread & Butter:
Here’s generally what you want to include in your MS file, if you don’t have these guys you might want to look elsewhere.Balmoa:
This is the guy you want around, and likely the reason you’re playing with Mage soldiers. With his essential auto skill giving your units protection from attack, he’s there to keep your guys alive. Remember to use his meditation if he’s not going to kill or help kill a unit, because that bonus will gradually get larger and a double striking 50 attacker at 5 agi is pretty significant.Ryu:
Yep, the top two units in this file come from set 11, what a surprise. You’ve likely heard of this guy already. Lvl 4, attacks twice, generates a gowen lvl, grimbanes for 0SP, and if he’s immune to attack, he gets even bigger. However this guy is likely to be your main tank thanks to the restricted nature of Mage Soldiers. With Balmoa’s attack protection and buff, Ryu can get to 60 Atk for a double attack at 4 agi, so he’s certainly a hard hitter for his lvl. Just be sure to keep him protected and supported, or you’ll find he’s gone pretty quickly, and you don’t want that.Return/tidal/wrath/etc:
With mage soldiers, you’ll be playing with Falkow, and that means returns. I know Returns have the staple of cheapness and what have you, but you’re likely to have only a few staple units in your MS file, and that means you’ve got SP to burn on returns to keep the sides even on field presence. What kind of returns and how many really depends on personal preference and availability. My build has 4 return type grims: 1 Tidal, 2 Return, and 1 Wrath.
And that’s it for the bread and butter cards. There aren’t many cards that are particularly necessary for Mage Soldiers to work. Flavour Units:
Now we’re on to the flavour of the file. Decide which type of MS you want to use and then focus on a strategy that you like. Many of these units can work in one MS file or another, but not necessarily in all of them. We’re still technically in the early stages of Mage Soldiers making a stand in Folrart, so don’t be afraid to try new things.Chamail:
Some would look at her and see “Red & Blue Mage Soldier? Clearly she belongs in this file” but honestly she’s not for everyone. Like most multisphere cards, she has good stats for her lvl, she can get the attack protection from Balmoa, and her start skill buffs allied MS’s. However with her 30 HP and the fact that without a MS in front of her you’d need rank 5 Gowen to give her agi 4, it restricts her to a 2nd row unit, and if she’s already protected by others, then she doesn’t require the Atk protection from Balmoa. That’s not to say she’s bad of course, her skills and power are still significant for her level, but she’s not Wiz Kingdom like Ryu, so she’ll miss out on those bonuses if you’re aiming for them. She’s not for every MS file, but she can easily fit in many.Antilla:
With Ryu’s Flame Awakening autoskill, you can generate an extra 3 SP a turn, which is tremendous. This can lead into much bigger units later on, but you’d have to keep your Gowen lvl around the 2-3 mark to take full advantage of it, meaning all that SP you’re generating either sits there, or is used for other Falkow grims and units. She’s also Wiz Kingdom, so don’t forget about potential bonuses there.Simulacrum of Annarose:
With an extra 3 Lawt added to the cost, this may seem a little out of your way, however she’s another Mage soldier to take advantage of. Her auto skill can halt an opponent’s attack if they’re dependent on their atk trait, also delivering a solid attack. Plus, if your opponent relies on a single large unit you may have effectively stopped them in their tracks. It’s also valuable to note that Chamail’s auto-skill will damage enemies of 0 Atk, so there’s a potential combo there, and Chamail’s +1 agi can be given to Simulacrum, to be sure of her going before her target.Ascarat:
She seems an odd choice, being typically a grim count unit, however Ascarat is both a Mage Soldier, and Wis King. Furthermore, if you’re primarily Wis King units, she can bring some of them back from the grave if you have Forbidden book in your file. With Ryu’s grimbane taking out your grim count, you might not be able to use her DF buff abilities, but if you can judge when to use Ryu’s skill, you can get a little extra protection for your frontline.Sorcerer Monk of Regus:
This is one of the most typical closing units for a Falkow file. Burn up all that leftover SP into sphere lvls for a double strike of up to 135 damage, or hold onto the SP for a single powerful strike. One use for Antilla’s leftover SP.Bog Wyvern:
Another closer, but naturally comes with risk. For starters, is much more expensive than Sorcerer Monk, and if you play it, it’s likely going to be the last thing you do play.Faytis:
She’s a good addition to almost any Falkow file that runs lvl 4s or higher. Just be careful you don’t play her while you’ve got Chamail on the field.Great Spirits: Salamander/Undine/Sylph
They’re good in almost every file. Salamander can pinpoint that last little bit of damage, or pose an early 30 atk danger, and they’re the typical sacrificial lambs for activating SS or to Assassin. Many of your units will have around 4 agi in a MS file however, so while the agi manipulation of Undine and Sylph may not be needed particularly often, they can still save you in a time of need.Dilate:
Yes, because it’s a mid red/blue file, I can’t go far without suggesting him. He may be higher in Gowen than you may want if you’re trying to go for the Antilla-Ryu bonus, but he’s still a fast, tough as nails unit with an epic 1SP slash. Just be aware that if he’s in the front with a couple of mage soldiers, he’s going to be taking the brunt of the attack.Bringer:
Once again, I can’t mention Mid red without mentioning Bringer. The cost of his open skill is also rather mitigated by the use of Ryu-Antilla combo, so it may not be as far out as some other Gowen units. Just be aware that he has been nerfed a couple of times, so he’s not as lively as he once was. He also has the same problem as Dilate, that he’ll be taking the brunt of the attacks.Diondora:
I know I mentioned her as one of the variation files, but considering you’ll have a lot more offensive capabilities in Mage Soldiers, and her return isn’t targeted, it may be difficult for her to work in this type of file. If you build your file with this in mind however, she may have a chance to shine, but don’t expect it to work like other Dio files. This is a very different environment for her.Magic Sword Dual-Wielder:
An underused Gowen card that I feel has hidden greatness. At Rankup 4, you have a lvl 3, 50 HP, 30 Atk, 4 agi unit that can deal extra damage for 1 SP. Also worthy of note is that her attack skills also reduce atk by 20 or agi by 3, which can help set a unit to 0 Atk for Chamail, or just reduce a potential threat. Remember though, her skills are still random, so be aware before you spend the SP.Ex Wizard soldier of Regus:
Often a first turn or early turn staple of Falkow or Wiz king files. Lvl 2 with a free revive with decent stats to both survive and deal some damage in an early game field. Not essential, but could be useful depending on your file structure.Magic Greatsword soldier:
Another staple in wiz king files. This is where you could be spending that massive amount of SP you’ll be making with Antilla by pumping your sphere lvls into attack power.Magic Scythe Soldier:
Another underused card that may have potential in a MS file. Rng 2 pinpoint could be viable if he’s in the front row with a Balmoa attack protection. Still, would be difficult to use however. Unless…Foveontsa:
This MS had some use when he first appeared and he’s reappeared occasionally without blowing us away, which is a real pity. He’s such a unique unit and nobody else does what he does. Stick him between Balmoa and maybe another pinpointing unit in the second row, and suddenly Balmoa’s double strike doesn’t seem so weak when it has the potential to hit back row support at agi 5.Mizarria:
Another multisphere Gowen Falkow MS. She’ll have different stats depending on your Gowen lvl, either 40 atk or 4 agi, but her action skill engages one unit and damages another for 1 SP. Could be useful.Elite Mage Knight of Regus
Not a mage soldier unfortunately, however a high lvl unit with grim protection and a nasty action skill that damages then buffs and heals the unit. Remember however that the damage comes before the unit is buffed, so don’t spend the 2 SP expecting a 40 damage attack on the first shot. With all that Antilla SP, you may be able to play him early and get a solid tank on the field.Grims:
So as you can see, there are many choices for flavouring up your MS file, but be sure to pick a theme and stick with it. Remember, with MS your focus will be on hard and fast damage with a field of supported units. And this brings us to what flavour of grims we may wish for.Elemental Burst:
+10 atk and +1 agi for all units for a turn, as well as 20 damage to 2 random units. As a multisphere gowen/falkow grim, it once again seems like a no brainer, however what you’ll likely be using it for is the temporary field buff, the damage is just a perk. Seeing as most of your field will have high agi anyway however, this may not work as great as you might think. It is certainly a good grim, but be sparing with it. Worthy of note however, is that with Balmoa on the field, he will refund 1 SP for you.Gowen Damage grims:
I’m listing them in a group here as listing them seperatly would be a bit silly. They all do the same thing essentially but with slightly differing effects and costs. You’ll likely want to stick to low cost Gowen grims however, as your Gowen lvl might not climb that high in what is primarily a falkow driven file. To substitute Fire arrow however, you might want to use Final Showdown instead to use your likely higher Falk lvls. Some good Gow damage grims to use include: Dragon Breath, Final Showdown, Falkow Pike, River of Fire, Boulder Drop, and Fire Snake Whip.Reinforcements from the Sky
A new set 11 grim that gives attack protection for your whole field. It may be useful if you’ve lost Balmoa or need just that extra turn to power Ryu’s attack power, but most of the time if you’ve lost Balmoa you’ve probably lost your front line too. You might want to keep it, but at max only 1 if any.Balmoa attack buff grims:
I specify Balmoa, because really, why would you want to play them on anyone else? These grims come in the form of Magic Weapon and Invisibility edge. They’re both 1 cost grims, so you’d get the SP back for them anyway, but they’re both good choices to put on him for his double strike anyway. The problem is of course that if you do so, it’ll only stay till he revives. Have maybe 1 or two if you really want. Rapid growth & Meaning of Failure:
Depending if you’re using Antilla or not, your SP could vary greatly. As you’ll have around 3 in both Gowen and Falkow, you can choose either, but I prefer Rapid growth for its definite bonus rather than a chance of getting nothing with MoF. Your SP should be good without too many of these so only pack one if you’re running Antilla, and maybe two if you’re not.LP and Soul Skill track:
So we’ve talked about units, we’ve talked about grims. Now it’s time to move onto the 5 cards that define your life, or at least the life of your file. Your Soul Skills. Soul skills are probably the most flexible in your file, as there are few SS that support mage soldiers specifically, and you probably shouldn’t go for them anyway. These are just suggestions.
Typically you’ll be running an 8-9 LP file with Mage Soliders, and because you’ll likely be running with only a few key units, engage and return such as Rasam, Pixy Aquamancer, etc would be vital.
1st: Distrier/Asuet, sphere generator, Gafc, etc
Typically you’ll have your first SS to generate sphere lvls or SP in a file that uses lvl 4 and higher units, so this could include Samurai Girl, Owl Sage, Dryad solider or any of the +2 SP SS. It can also have a damage & generating skill, such as Distrier / Asuet, Heierrat musketeer, or Carrier [Lost one].
2nd: Engage, cheap return, stall… varied
By this stage you’ll probably have the start of your Ryu-Balmoa combo on the field, or you’ll have something else that will build into the combo and you’ll want something that will be able to keep your field solid before you start losing units. It really depends on the flavour of MS file you’re running, wether you want to be more aggressive or conservative.
3rd: Engage, Damage, cemetery retrieval
Because Ryu & Balmoa are your key units, you may want some kind of cemetery retrieval to keep them going. Depending on your Gow/Falk ratio you could end up using Librarian Bernet SS if you think you’ll be pinpointing Ryu. Otherwise some more engage or damage never hurts.
4th: Often similar to 3rd, but may include revive
By now you may have lost a few sets of cards, but hopefully your opponent has lost some too. You may want a revival card here, such as Renally if you have many characters, General Zagar, or Awakened Esria. As usual, a 1 LP revival is easier to target.
5th: 3LP anchor
If you think you’ll be playing all your grims, Hirume is a nice anchor, or Bringer, Ex Diosaur depending on your availability. Weaknesses of Mage Soldiers:Returns/removal/ engage disruption:
Yeah, it seems a bit redundant to put this here as this type of thing disrupts many files, however like any strategy that relies on good support and few units, returns and engage can decimate your flow and remove your key units while they assault your support. You’re still sitting around the 3-4 lvl range though, so as long as you’re keeping your file with enough backup SP you shouldn’t be out for too long.SP drain
Despite being able to generate lots of SP, you still need SP for it to build. Missing out on a few early SP can seriously slow you down, while your opponent builds up their field.High DF
Depending on your own removal abilities, high DF can pose a problem. Ryu’s high damage is commonly split into two attacks, meaning that DF will be doubly effective against him, as well as Balmoa’s double strike. Agi Manipulation
Generally, Balmoa goes first, then Ryu, then Antilla (if you’ve got her). This order ensures a protection, sphere generation, and SP generation. But if that’s disrupted your careful timing goes out the window. Elite Fencer is a particular problem, as they’ll likely aim for Balmoa, rendering his attack protection useless.Character destruction
Both your key units are characters, and a number of good support are also characters. Cards like Sakura, Storm wizardess, and particularly Volfied can easily trounce your characters.
And that's it for the guide for now. I might add to it or post up some pics of example files later, but as a free player I don't have all the cards I'd need to do so
Hope this helps people.