Age of Wonders 4 – Dragon Lord Build

Dragon Lord Build Guide

Culture: Industrious, we like prospecting, Steel Fury Chant and Steelshapers. The skill that makes our dragon end every turn in defence mode is also really nice.

Leader: Materium, Nature, Astral or Order dragon. They all work quite well, Materium Bolster Defence stacks are a bit harder to come by than Bolster Resistance and as Industrious we can convert them to heals, Strengthen and Fortune. Nature is also a solid pick since Regen is hard to come by, but then you’ll rely entirely on your supports for Bolstering. Order sacrifices some bolstering and debuff power for more crit and morale (also crit). We can get Fortune from Steel Fury Chant, but we can’t get morale. Astral is similar to Materium but we Bolster magic defence (which we can convert to other things anyway) and instead of generic +resistance we get + a lot of lighting resistance and lightning damage.

Your mileage may wary but for this build we’ll go Nature Dragon, otherwise you might want to pick Fertility tome for Regen stacking.

Body Trait: Resistant. There can be some arguments for Tough, Bulwark and Resilient too, I think on average Resistant is the most useful though.

Mind Trait: Adaptable to further emphasise on your advantage of reaching high level early and eating everyone. Defensive Tactics is another good option that will help your armies in this build more than your dragon. Arcane Focus would be good too, and we’re going to use some magic damage units later in this build.

Society Traits:

  • Artefact Hoarders – this is basically a must if you want to play into hoard mechanics at all, as it makes it more than twice as effective

2nd is more open, some good options:

  • Mana Addicts – for max earlygame clear and combat power, would take it for super early rushes
  • Fabled Hunters – also good for rush and super aggressive early clear, but more on the eco side. Good synergy with one of the cheeses we’re going to do.
  • Adept Settlers – for more standard long term eco build.
  • Mana Channelers – with mana from Artefact Hoarders we can pump out lots of summons, though CP will be a bottleneck.

Overall if you have doubts I would go with Fabled Hunters if you want to lean into early snowball and rush off the back of it, or Adept Settlers if you want to try out a more long-term play (not necessarily the strongest dragon playstyle tho).

How to Build The Dragon Before T4:

Go Dragon skills, take all Tail Swipe and Breath upgrades (Comet and Quickened Breath), Dragon Aura, then switch into Warfare, go Bolstering, Defensive Master, Killing Momentum, the rest of the skills for the prereqs focus on boosting armor, resistance and HP. it can be a decent option to get Ancient Governor (if you do, do it as early as possible), but respec out of it later, it’s not worth it in the midgame+.

for the 1st aspect take Materium for more crit and armor, for the 2nd I’d take Materium as well for the best CC ability.

How to Build The Dragon Once You Hit T4:

Go Dragon skills, take all Tail Swipe and Breath upgrades (Comet and Quickened Breath), Dragon Aure, then switch into Magic, get DIstant Evocation, Frost Evocation, Gilded Magic, rest try to focus on armor/resistance/hp upgrades. Switch into Support for remaining levels to 20, since you probably want to keep an army around now, get hp & army buffs. Alternatively go Warfare, you don’t have enough points to get to Killing Momentum but you’ll get to Defensive Master.

For the 1st aspect take Materium for more crit and armor, for the 2nd I’d take Order for the mass Distract, and heal/dispel on allies. Or Astral for immunities & a different DoT than what Nature gives us.

Tome Progression:

T1:

Warding, Faith, Rock – we basically just want our Steelshapers to become as strong as possible to support the dragon, with these they’ll stack max Bolster Resistance stacks and drop fat 80 hp heals in no time. Faith gives us some good research boosts also.

Static Shield cast on dragon is pretty underrated.

Rock for another stackable defensive buff on Dragon (+3 armor and resist). And we’ll need more Materium Affinity later.

T2:

Revelry, Scrying – more aoe buffing with even some extra Regen stacks, AoE resist debuff vs our breath so that we can CC and kill things easier with it.

T3:

Pandemonium, Teleportation – Give our dragon teleport once we respec into magic line, vessels of chaos is great of mopping up things that survive Breath as they’ll have a lot of debuffs, so is Chaos Eater, who synergises greatly with both Breath and Tome or Scrying (Mental Mark).

(Need +1 Materium here, but it’s trivial with Aspects)

T4:

Golden Realm, Astral Mirror

Here we get our Gilded Magic for 100% stun on breath if we have 20+ morale, Materium Aspect and 5 Fortune stacks (easy).

Astral Mirror has been hit pretty hard and no longer works on heroes and mythics, but it’s still good as one of the only permanent summons now, especially if you combo it with shield and polearm units and mirror veil so that killing reflections means taking a ton of damage for most units in the lategame (industrious halberds have a stacking melee reflect that works on physical too). Magic deflection is good to put on your chunky dragon too.

T5:

Both Archmage and Creator are pretty solid, but if in doubt go Archmage

In practice I would also take almost every Astral tome and some Shadow ones that give research posts too now, since it’s kind of essential for teching fast, especially now that a lot of the tasty stuff costs more affinity points in this patch. It wasn’t the case last patch, but in this so far I feel like if you don’t go Astral, Shadow or even both you’re gimping yourself.

Tips on Item Farming to Maximize Hoard Income:

  • Use prospecting (duh)
  • Use vassal farming if you’re ok with it. You can kill and (re)vassalize a vassal every 5 turns this patch which would still give you a steady stream of items. You may want to grab several t1 & t2 shadow tomes in this case to also make use of Stolen Power & Knowledge extraction
  • In addition to Vassal Farming you can also infestation farm by spamming them with Incite Revolution from Pandemonium (can cast it on your vassals you declared war on, or AIs in single player)
  • In single player you can trade items with AI for really cheap now, again use at your own discretion
Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 496 Articles
Being a big gaming fan, I believe that I have a lot to share with other gamers. I got my first official job in the game industry in 2005 and continue to develop there. It's a true blessing when your passion, hobby, and job combine into something one. My favorite console is the Nintendo Switch. I think you can all guess why. Because I just bought a Steam Deck. I love playing on PC, but my main love for me will always be Xbox. Anyway, it's complicated and simple at the same time. After all, I'm back in the days of the ZX Spectrum (1994)…

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