Not unlike chess, TAK is a well balanced game that rewards the intelligent and creative player. During the time that I wasted playing TAK, I have learned a few things about this game and I share my wisdom with you below.
The following is intended as an advanced guide to playing the Taros kingdom forces in TAK, one of the four kingdoms in the world of Darien in which TAK battles are fought. I have chosen Taros because that is the kingdom with which I am most familiar. It is not intended as a game instruction sheet, for that please consult the game manual. Nor is it intended as a comprehensive strategy guide to TAK or a guide to playing any of the three other kingdom forces in TAK, though they are mentioned in my review. If you are interested in reading a more comprehensive strategy guide, a fairly good one can be read or downloaded here.
I have assumed that you, the gentle reader, are familiar with the basics of TAK and my notes are intended to go beyond the basics and offer some hopefully helpful notes and insights into the Tarosian forces, an evaluation of their strengths and weakness, and the tactics which I have found successful.
The first part of my guide discusses in some detail each of the Taros units. The second part includes a more general discussion of strategies, and the guide ends by offering a few comments about learning TAK and interacting with other players.
A Tarosian army is composed of Humans, Demons, Undead and some Monsters. The Tarosian troops are spawned from Cabals, Abysses and Temples. The following offers some comments on the troops types available in Taros, their strengths and weaknesses, their spells, if any, and some comments on tactics that I have found useful with each of them.
The Following troops types can be summoned from the Cabal:
Zombies: Cheap and easy to produce in large numbers, Zombies are painfully slow, don't do very much damage, do not recover quickly between blows. As such, they are cut down easily by enemy units but they are good at stalling an enemy advance by causing confusion and disarray among the enemy ranks when produced in numbers and may even overun enemy positions if produced in great enough numbers before the opponent is able to complete his or her defenses, a strategy known as the "Zombie Rush". Just make sure that you have some more powerful units to deliver the coup de grace, because Zombies alone will almost never be able to finish the job. Zomnbies are good at hindering a sudden rush by quick units and they are great to use as cannon fodder when you are making an assault in the face of Aramon Cannons. Zombies are also good if used in conjunction with Liches because a Lich's area attack does not damage them very much or with Weather Witches because their numbers can help to cover a Witch's advance. Another alternative tactic with Zombies is, instead of ordering them to patrol, you give them straight marching orders into the enemy line. Although they'll get mowed down, they may help to push the enemy back by penetrating deeper into his ranks, rather than stopping to fight, at which they are kind of useless anyway.
Executioners: Have glaive, will travel. Executioners are good tier 1 infantry units, and they are rated "best bang per buck" by the Stratos Strategy Guide to TAK among all Taros units. They are generally better than Zombies, unless you are really going for quantity over quality. Although, in my opinion, they are better than Aramon Swordsmen and Zhon Trolls, they are not as good as Veruna Warriors because they are slower. It's good to use them if you have a Dark Hand or Dark Priest around performing reanimations since, unlike Zombies, they leave a corpse and that way you can possibly eventually get 2 units out of an Executioner for the price of one. I have noticed that they do 'splash' melee damage to closely adjacent units with their glaives, which is nice if those adjacent units are enemies and annoying if they are your own.
Black Knights: Somewhat expensive and quite ineffectual in combat, they have short range with their bows and do laughably little damage. They are however, the fastest and most nimble Tarosian land unit. However, because they are ineffective fighters, their uses are somewhat limited. They are decent on spread out maps as scouts or to harass remote, illdefended locations and mana stones, and their maneuverability allows for flanking attacks to distract your opponent. It is also possible to use one to head off advancing infantry and run them around in circles giving the missile troops more time to pick them off. I have also sometimes used them as a rushing unit at the beginning of the game to try to pick off a builder or two, but they often don't do enough damage to do even that. Overall, they are capable of delivering little more than a pinprick so I wouldn't rely on them too much if at all.
Gargoyles: Give important sight to your missile troops and act as scouts, warning of advancing enemy. I sometimes let one fly to scout before I create any other troops, just to serve as an early warning system. They are critical if you have Fire Demons to enable the Fire Demons to take full advantage of their long range. They only take one shot to kill however and, like other tier 1 sight flyers, they give much too much exp to the enemy unit that kills them.
Ghost Ships: Their primary role is to carry and drop troops and they are the unit that I turn to when I want to deliver Weather Witches into the enemy base. When they are flying, they are invulnerable against melee attacks, so they can help against an enemy that is using all infantry troops, though they will never really do that much damage and they tend to have the annoying habit of wasting time by circling around their target in between shots, though they are decent enough at shooting down sight fliers such as Aramon Spyhawks. I sometimes use them to unload missile troops on top of a berm or other height not otherwise accessible from the ground or to ferry Dark Masons to a new building location. They are also handy to have around if your monarch is being hunted by Blade Demons or Knights, since a Ghost Ship can quickly whisk him out of trouble. It's good to have at least 1 or 2 around for these reasons. I usually build 1 or two at the very beginning since they are quite critical for delivering Weather Witches to their target or just in ferrying troops around, but I don't really rely on them to be a main combat unit. They give fairly wide vision and they are sometimes better than Gargoyles for this purpose since they do not die as easily. An important tip for dropping Weather Witches: the Weather Witch will be facing roughly the same direction that the ship is facing when dropped.
Dark Masons: The Dark Mason is the basic Taros builder. He is defenseless so keep him out of harm's way. Once your base has been established, it is good to keep them around to heal Gates. Be careful when healing other structures however. Typically buildings and Towers require a lot more mana to heal so making the Masons heal such structures can drain you quickly of mana.
Fire Demons: Their fireballs have long range and are guided, enabling them able to hit even flyers. Their long range means that they need sight to be fully effective which is best provided by Gargoyles, Sky Knights or Ghost Ships. Once the enemy positions are revealed, it's possible to be selective about targets. Some players swear by Fire Demons, insisting that they are the best troops to deliver the victory for Taros, however, in my opinion they have considerable weaknesses and they are somewhat overrated.
Here are some important limitations that should be kept in mind when making the decision to spawn and deploy Fire Demons, especially if you intend to use Fire Demons as your key unit:
Overall, if used properly, Fire Demons are very useful troops either on offense or on defense and they can be deadly if you manage to produce enough of them, creating a unrelenting stream of fire that washes away everything in its path, but they do have some important limitations which you should understand.
Skeleton Archers: Decent missiles troops but they are fragile and die quickly if forced to melee or if hit by enemy missile fire--and unfortunately, that kind of thing tends to happen rather often during war. They are relatively cheap for tier 2 units, but not particularly cost-effective when compared to the main missile units of other kingdoms. In addition to their inability to withstand much damage, they also suffer from a lack of accuracy with their flaming arrows. I have noticed several times that they can miss even a stationary target quite badly. Although decent against large flyers which are easier to hit, they are rather inefficient at hitting small ones such as Aramon Spyhawks or Zhon Bats. I use them to defend my base against drops and behind gates to support Zombies or Executioners. Although they don't have the range or cause the same damage as Fire Demons, unlike Fire Demons, their arrows do not cause any 'splash' damage to your own troops. They are good if you need missile troops in a hurry and are better than Fire Demons if the enemy is almost in your base since such close proximity nullifies the Fire Demons' long range advantage. Overall, they are middle of the road kind of troops, but you may find yourself relying on them fairly often for lack of a better choice.
Iron Beaks: They do pretty solid damage with their explosive eggs but they die easily if forced to fly in the face of even fairly weak anti-air positions. A small group of them can take out unprotected trebuchets and harass enemy lodestones and some ships. Although they have great difficulty hitting all but the slowest moving units, sending one to circle above a large melee in which the enemy has no missile cover will give you a unit that provides sight while occasionally scoring hits on enemies that stop to engage in melee with your units.
Rictus: Hideous animated skeletal beasties, the Rictus are versatile missile units that are unfortunately often much too expensive to produce. Their advantages include a rapid fire rate, good damage, the ability to float over water, and the fact that they can fire over walls, though that can depend on the angle of fire. They have just as many downsides however, including the fact that their fireballs have considerably shorter range than Fire Demons, that they are slow to move and awkward to maneuver and that they die relatively easily. They are better than Skeletal Archers at shooting down sight flyers and it is fairly easy to train them up to veteran status after just a few kills at which point they do considerably more damange. Their ability to fire over Walls makes them good anti-ship defenders if you build a little pill box for them out of Walls by the shoreline. However, at a cost of 2893 mana, they are often prohibitively expensive. I do occasionally produce them if there is some body of water from which they can provide covering fire for my ground troops or if I am building my defense behind walls. Rictus are Undead and hence take only limited damage from Liches' life draining waves and mixing in some Rictus into your Lich attack squads may be useful. By the way, what is the plural of Rictus? Ricti?
Dark Hands: The mysterious Dark Hands are supposedly masters of the "mystical and martial arts". Sending these units into combat however, one quickly discovers that the martial arts part of their training apparently received little attention. It is a sad and costly mistake to bring these units into melee hoping to see much in the way of martial arts as they are badly overmatched against even a lowly Aramon Swordsman. Despite their wimpiness, they can be valuable in low mana maps for their ability to reanimate corpses into Liches (q.v.) which is their only useful ability. Although this is a procedure that requires some serious micromanaging of the Dark Hand and the reanimated Liches as to be typically pointless in high mana maps, in low mana maps, they can do much to sustain and fuel your advance, causing the bodies of the fallen to rise and strengthen your ranks at no mana cost. Although it is a tier 2 unit that essentially gives you access to tier 3 units without having a tier 3 building, the Dark Hand can only be used in the right circumstances. Not all troops leave corpses and if a unit is blown away by artillery or heavy missile fire, it also won't leave a corpse. Furthermore, the Dark Hand must stand next to the corpse to reanimate it, meaning that, unless your troops are pushing the enemy back, the Dark Hand often risks ending up a corpse himself. If he moves too close to danger, he is typically an easy target and with his slow move rate, he's not exactly an expert in the art of running away. The Dark Hand is a unit to which I sometimes turn in the event I have lost my monarch. He is able to animate faster than a Dark Priest. Note however, that although animations do not seem to take any significant mana to perform, you need to have a positive mana total to be able to animate corpses, otherwise it just takes ages to complete. Overall, I used to like Dark Hands, but recently they seem to have fallen out of favor from my arsenal because they just require too much micro-management.
Weather Witches: One of the few units that is capable of killing an enemy Monarch with a single spell, the Weather Witch wields devastating and potentially game-ending power. However, Witches are not only fragile and frustratingly difficult to control, they can also wreak deadly havoc in your own ranks if not given careful attention and managed with care. (Is it a surprise that a unit with such qualities happens to be a woman? I digress...).
Weather Witch Spells:
Overall, the Weather Witch is a powerful but very tricky unit. Be careful what spells she is armed with when she is in your base or near your troops or that of your allies, since the Weather Witch can cause horrible devastation if she unleashes her Tornado or Ice Storm inadvertently. I usually keep my Witches on passive until they have gained enough mana and I am ready to use them.
The Temple is the structure that produces many of your elite and specialized units, as follows:
Blade Demons: These Demons are the elite shock infantry troops of Taros. They are very tough, mobile, and deliver blows in rapid succession. Not only are they able to hold their own against the best top-tier infantry units of other armies, they also pose a threat to opposing Monarchs, since they do not die in one Monarch wave spell and are fast enough to catch some Monarchs in the open terrain.
Fire Spouts: These fire-spewing arachnid-like monsters are relatively cheap to produce and are good at blanketing both enemy infantry and flying units with their fire. They are also able to cloak, turning invisible long enough until they come into range and its a good idea to keep them cloaked if you are facing enemy troops with good hitting range or if you want to set up an snti-air shield to prevent flyers such as Aramon Spyhawks reaching your base. Their invisibility also occasionally allows them to serve as spotters for long range missile troops since they can creep up unnoticed and pinpoint enemy positions showing your Fire Demons what they should target, though their relatively poor sight limits their use as scouts. It's good idea to leave a cloaked Firespout on top of a hill or other vantage point for the same reason. They are quite tough but they suffer from a limited range.
Lichs: These Undead attack by emitting a powerful life stealing energy around them. They are tough and are able to swim through the water. If there is a body of water, it's good to keep Lichs in it because water protects them completely from Fire Demons and offers some limited protection agaisnt other missiles. My favorite tactics is to keep them just inside the water, out of reach of melee units, and make them strafe the shore with their life draining energy bursts. Because of this they are particularly useful at attacking bridges and islands. If they have no way to hit the Lich from a distance, those enemies damaged by a Lich will move to the edge of the shore in the direction of the Lich so that you can also tie up enemy troops in this way. They are sometimes able to take out several enemies with each energy draining burst if the enemy units have been weakened and they can become very tough and quite deadly if you can level them up to Veteran status in this way. Undead only suffer a 160 Damage from their life-stealing waves (versus 800 against non-Undead being and structures) they are good to use in conjunction with other Undead troops, such as Ghost Ships, Zombies or Skeleton Archers. Liches do have their weaknesses however. Liches are vulnerable once they have expanded all of their mana energy. They are trypically not a match against other water creatures such as Zhon Swamp Beasts or Veruna Mermen unless attacking in numbers. They are able to strike against airborne targets, however they are easily distracted by fast flyers, such as Veruna Parrots or Aramon Spyhawks and will frequently waste time trying to catch up after them. They are also slow and can be easily captured by Zhon Harpies which are their bane.
Kamikaze Rats: While Aramon and Veruna have both mastered the techniques and uses of Mogrite (gunpowder), Taros was slow to adapt. The Kamikaze Rat is the first Tarosian attempt to use gun powder on the battlefield. Kamikaze Rats have just a single purpose. They cloak so as to apprach the enemy positions unseen. When killed, the gunpowder charge they carry produces a powerful explosion with a fairly wide radius of effect. It is usually enough to destroy a Trebuchet and most non-building units and they can heavily damage buildings. They are particularly useful at taking out high value but low Hit Point targets such as top tier builders and siege engines such as Veruna Mortars or Aramon Trebuchets. However, they require considerable micro-management to get them to arrive at their target and if they brush up against any enemy units or if an enemy flyer appears immediately above them, they can be spotted and quickly killed, so using them is always risky and quite often nothing much comes of it. They can also be dropped from a Ghost Ship. Anyway, I have a soft spot for rats so I try to avoid using these poor critters out of moral consideration unless the situation absolutely requires it.
Sky Knights: They are good at providing sight and a quick strike ability, something that is otherwise lacking in Taros. If the enemy doesn't have missile troops near the front line, it's nice to have one or two strafing his infantry. They are very expensive to produce however and they can be shot down without too much difficulty so be careful when he has missile troops around. They also have that annoying habit of circling around too much in between shots, like other Taros flyers. I generally only build them if I have a lot of mana to spare. They seem to ber fairly decent however at chasing down enemy flyers, including small ones like Aramon Spyhawks.
Mind Mages: Mind Mages are effective at nullifying enemy drops, as they can sometimes capture Rocs in flight or the Jungle Orcs or other units that the Roc drops. They are also great for defending against rushes by large clusters of troops, such as Aramon Knights, Veruna Berserkers or enemy Taros Blade Demons. They are particularly effective when casting their area mind-control spell from behind obstacles such as berms against large masses of enemy troops. They can cast their spell through any obstacle. It is best to wait until they have enough mana to cast their area spell because it does not cost much more mana than their single shot spell. Their spells will not work against Monarchs or Dragons.
Fire Mages: Fire Mages can be devastating with their destructive fire spells. Fire Mages are the units that probably benefit most from gaining experience as it greatly shortens the time to reload enough mana to unleash their devastating pyrotechnics as well as increasing the damage of their spells, so it is critical to save them and let them build up their experience as much as possible, though sometimes you may have to use one in a suicide attack to try to take out an important target.
Fire Mage Spells:
Dark Priests: Described by the game manual as a "master of magical destruction", the Dark Priest is less of a powerful offensive unit but actually more of a versatile multi-purpose unit, able to attack quickly, heal, animate Ghouls and conjure Divine Lodestones to upgrade your mana as well as two other special creatures. His most important function is conjuring Divine Lodestones to upgrade your mana but he has other important functions. He's a good unit to have if you need to heal a gate or other structure in a hurry as he is very quick at zipping around the battlefield. He is also the only unit that is able to conjure the Angel of Death or the Black Dragon, though such units are only useful under certain limited circumstances. He has a range of three decent though not spectacular blasts to choose from and he is often the unit I turn to if I have lost my monarch. They can zip and and out of battle in a hurry and their BALL LIGHTNING spell is guided. When an enemy Monarch comes into to wave, the Dark Priest can quickly retaliate. I usually switch between using him to blast and using him to animate Ghouls.
Dark Priest Spells:
In addition to these abilities, the Dark Priest can summon Divine Lodestones and conjure Angels of Death and Black Dragons.
Ghouls: These can be animated from corpses by the Dark Priest. They are reasonably tough and make decent infantry units. However, animating them requires some time and considerable micro-management so it is generally not worth the trouble to try to animate them unless you are in a bind for more troops. Their stats imply that they can do some splash melee damage.
Fallen Angel: These can only be conjured by the Dark Priest, though Lokken is able to take over the job of conjuring them once the Dark Priest has begun it. These are handy at taking out Mortar and Trebuchet positions, though they are expensive to produce and are not that difficult to kill. It's a good idea to set them on defenisve patrol around your base whilke you await for them to build up enough mana for their area damage spell. They are quite handy at defending against drops. They are usually a good bet when you are getting shelled from dug-in Aramon or Veruna positions.
Black Dragon: They can only be conjured by the Dark Priest. They are extremely tough and quick, but they need to amass a large number of kills to be able to use their terrible splash attack. I don't try to make them very often, which is probably a mistake, and you should consider making them on a many-mana map.
Mage Towers: Mage Towers are good at providing sight and defense. They don't do as much damage as Veruna Bastions or Aramon Strongholds but they are more versatile. Unlike the latter, they can swivel to fire in every direction in a hurry and they have less of a problem firing at units right next to them. Because of this they provide somewhat better defense against fliers and drops. They can also be used to consolidate and hold siege points. It is a good idea to ring them with Walls, if possible, to keep infantry troops at bay. Mage Towers are expensive however and their range is somewhat limited. If they are left unprotected, they can easily fall prey to Catapults, Trebuchets or other long range weapons.
Caged Demons: It's highly debatable whether these are at all worth building, however I sometimes build them when I have mana to spare. They provide the same radar range as Mage Towers but they provide little sight range and cause very low damage. They cannot fire over any obstacles. Generally a bad choice.
This is the master of your forces. Although Lokken can splash with his wave like other Monarchs, he is probably the weakest and vulnerable Monarch out of the four. His first two spells do less damage when compared to other Monarchs. So be careful about engaging the other Monarchs in Mon-fights. Although Lokken is usually able to scare away Thrisha, if he is caught in the open by either Kirenna or Elsin, these two will hand Lokken his head on a stick. He has neither the fire power, not the speed to match these two in open combat. His limp also leaves him vulnerable to rush attacks by Veruna Berserkers or Aramon Knights. Keep a Ghost Ship handy to pick him up if he gets into a bind. His redeeming qualities are that he is tied with Elsin for the most Monarch Hit Points and that he can cloak (by hitting the K key). What is annoying is that, although he is the master Necromancer, it is Elsin and not Lokken that is able to resurrect fallen units. Go figure.
LOW MANA(2-3) MAPS: I try to build several Cabals and have them start spewing out Zombies at the beginning, eventually switching the production to Executioners. If possible, also a Ghost Ship or two to provide sight and to be used to deliver Weather Witches to their target. I build Gates to defend my base and to consolidate captured territory. If I notice that the ground troops are simply getting chewed up by the opponenets defenses as they get near, I will usually turn off the spigot on the Zombies or Executioners, or just order them to be produced into my base. No point in sending them to a certain death and giving the opposing units veteran status. Eventually, I try to build an Abyss. From the Abyss, I usually produce 1 or 2 Weather Witches to provide protection against any Monarchs raiding my base or to be used to take out enemy clusters, Gates or buildings. From that point on, if I forced to go on the defensive, I usually summon Skeleton Archers, moving them behind the buildings which I use as a shield. I may build a Mage Tower to help protect my base, ideally behind a building or Gate and ringed with Walls, if possible. If I am on the offensive, I will typically summon at least a handful of Fire Demons to fire on the enemy positions from a distance. I may also produce a Dark Hand to animate Liches from corpses since troops are less plentiful on low mana. I may skip the Temple entirely unless it looks like it is a deadlocked game and I will have enough mana to build it without seriously compromising my defenses.
MEDIUM MANA(4-7) MAPS: I will start with a Cabal and then an Abyss. From that point on, I will either build another Cabal or a Temple. After making a Ghost Ship or two, I will concentrate on making Executioners out of one of the Cabals and Gargoyles to provide sight from the other. The Abyss will spawn a couple of Weather Witches at the beginning and then either Skeleton Archers or Fire Demons. Once the Temple is completed, if the battle is either going very well or very badly, I will make offensive units. Maybe produce a Fire Mage to start, and then Fire Spouts, Blade Demons or Liches, if there is a body of water nearby. If the battle is stalemated and the front line is not moving, I will try to make a Dark Priest to upgrade my mana and eventually possibly summon a Fallen Angel to help break open the game.
HIGH MANA(8+) MAPS: Because the map is quite large, you will probably need a lot of Fire Demons and Gargoyles to provide sight. Once I have established a front and my mana has been upgraded, I will try to make an Angel of Death or Two, or just concentrate on making Fire Demons.
AGAINST TAROS: Since there are not that many players who understand the Taros armies well, this is a matchup I usually enjoy. If the opponent has Fire Demons, use Gargoyles to distract them and Fire Mages to take them out. It is usually safe enough to use your Monarch on the offensive to take out his Fire Spouts and infantry, but be wary of Weather Witches or hunting Blade Demons. If your opponent deploys Fire Demons, send Gargoyles to do suicide flyovers over the enemy Fire Demons which inevitably causes all of them to turn and focus on the Gargoyle, leaving distracted and vulnerable. Use that opportunity to eliminate them with a Fire Mage or Fallen Angel or even a Monarch wave.
AGAINST VERUNA: Be careful that the Veruna player doesn't set up a defensive perimeter close to your base because it will enable him to begin shelling your positions from a distance with Mortars and Catapults againat which Gates will usually be useless. For this reason, try to prevent him from setting up any defensive positions in the middle. You may have to drop some Weather Witches to eliminate any Gates he has set up. Fire Demons are usually good against his infantry and for taking out Bastions from a distance, but watch out for a sudden rush with Berserkers. If he has ships, it's best to take them out with Fire Demons. If your base is by a river or lake be prepared for a very tough fight against Veruna. Be careful about building too close to any shoreline, as Veruna is able to bring up formindable naval fire power to shell your positions. Not only that but you have to constantly be on the lookout for the Veruna Monarch lurking in the waters nearby. Keep a Weather Witch handy and give the Veruna Monarch a chilling surprise when he comes ashore to wave your base. Make sure that you destroy any Lighthouses as they provide a panoramic view of the terrain and reveal your troop movements and targets for Mortars. Destroy the Lighthouses with Fire Demons or Fire Mages and keep him in the dark. Use Fire Mages to rain fiery destruction behind his Gates. Be wary of aerial attacks with massed Dirigibles. Although they are slow, if they make it to your troop positions, they will leave you totally devasted. Try to wave any large concentrations of Dirigibles with your Monarch if possible.
AGAINST ARAMON: This is the kingdom against which I usually have the most trouble. Almost all of the Aramon units are excellent. Perhaps the most feared of these are the dreaded Trebuchets, able to lob projectiles from far across the map. The range of the Trebuchets is so long that the Aramon player is often able to shell your positions from his own base. With a grouping of Mage Archers and Cannons, the Aramon player will also be able to inflict massive casulaties against any direct airborne or land assault on his positions. If that isn't enough, Aramon can also amass Knights to mount quick and deadly assaults on your Fire Demons or deep into your base. Take out his Trebuchets and Acolytes with Kamikaze Rats or Fire Mages, if you can get them close enough for their Fire Storm spell to go off. Assault his Gates by dropping Weather Witches to do Ice Storms and Tornadoes. You should be aware that if he has any Acolytes healing behind his Gates or buildings, those structuresare all but invulnerable due to the unearthly healing ability of Acolytes. Try to sneak in a Fire Mage close enough to fry any Acolytes healing behind the Gate with a Fire Storm spell. Because of their power and cost to build, it is critical you target the Acolytes early and often. Keep your own Fire Demons protected with Gates and by mixing in other troops to help thwart Knight charges and keep a Mind Mage or two around to help blunt any Knight charge. Try to inflict as many casualties as you can on his Cannons with your Fire Demons by taking advantage of the Fire Demons' slightly greater range. If you let too many of his Cannons reach their range and begin shelling your posititions, you're basically fucked. I'm sorry for using such foul language, but I want to prepare you for the worst.
AGAINST ZHON: Protecting your base is the key against Zhon. You should either ring your mana with Walls or Gates or develop a strong anti-air defense. A Mage Tower or two and a horde of Fire Demons or Skeleton Archers. Some units to provide early warning of a drop, such as Gargoyles or Ghost Ships are also helpful. Mind Mages are also great for protecting against drops as they can capture the Orcs or Spirit Wolves dropped from Rocs and even sometimes the Rocs themselves. The other Zhon units which are of concern are Stone Giants and massed Hunters. Stone Giants are troublesome. They have more hit points than the Zhon monarch and greater range than Fire Demons. Try to rush them, if you can with Zombies and Blade Demons to swamp them and sneak in a Fire Mage or two or Weather Witches dropped from Ghost Ships to take them out. When the Zhon player amasses a large gathering or Hunters and begins moving towards your base, expect trouble. Rather than sending your troops in a steady stream, you should amsass your troops as well and wait for them to approach.
There are quite a few good players who play TAK on Game Spy and many games are fiercely fought and highly competitive.
If you want to learn how to play TAK, the best way, in my opinion, is to get into games with the best players, try your best and watch and learn as much as you can. You'll get your ass kicked at the beginning, that's for sure, but hopefully, if you know how to learn from your mistakes, you'll get better.
It helps a lot to have a gracious attitude if you are a beginner and to listen to what other players have to say. My favorite TAK players on GameSpy are probably Spielmaniac and JustSnow. When I was a beginner, Spielmaniac was gracious enough to impart some of his considerable knowledge about the game to me and because of this I can say that I have learned from one of the best players in the game. If you see either of these players online and you are serious about learning the game of TAK, don't be afraid to send them a chat or get into the game with them. Even though you may not have that much experience, just having either of these superb team players on your side means your side will be hard to beat. If you are looking to learn specifically about how to play the Taros forces on TAK, I'd have to say that the players Seven-of-Nine and Kangaxx are two of the best Taros players that I have played against and you can learn a lot just by watching them play.
As far as clans go, there are quite a few of those on GameSpy and if you become a decent player, you will likely be recruited at some point into one clan or another, sometimes quite aggressively. Clans may provide you with camraderie, playing tips and training which can be quite useful. However, I personally find that clans have too much of the flavor of college fraternities, and I don't mean that in the most positive sense, if you know what I mean. Anyway, with so many players in clans, my thought is that it's cooler to go solo anyway.
If you have any questions or comments about this Taros strategies guide, have anything you agree with or disagree or if you'd like to share with me your own secret strategies, please feel free to contact me on GameSpy (I am Mike_Newb on GameSpy) or you may e-mail me at