Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions introduces a brand new alien faction, the reptilian Shakarn. They’re heavily focused on covert operations, infiltration, sonic weaponry, and more. Here’s our Shakarn faction guide to help you out.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions: The Shakarn faction
The units of the Shakarn faction primarily rely on sonic and omni weaponry. Omni weapons even use two damage types — kinetic and thermal. In this manner, the Shakarn can gain boosts from mods or techs that increase the capabilities of both. We’ll discuss these in a while.
The Shakarn faction also has several noteworthy racial traits:
- Aquatic Deployment – This tech is automatically available at the start of your Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions games. Units are also aquatic in nature which allows them to traverse water tiles on the campaign or battle map easily.
- Epimorphic Regeneration – Units will automatically regenerate a bit of health at the start of your turn.
- Xeno Debilitation – Units have lower resistance to status effects.
- 10% bonus to racial tech research.
- Infiltrate Operations Center action will allow you to steal racial tech trees.
That last one is quite awesome to see first-hand. We’ll also get to this shortly.
I’ve yet to try out crazy combinations with the Shakarn in Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions, but, sufficed to say, I’m liking what I’m seeing. For the secret tech, my custom commander has Promethean primarily because certain mods can help boost thermal elemental damage (when using their omni weapons).
For the perks, I chose the following:
- Martial Tradition – Weapon research cost reduction and extra AP when a commander kills a unit in battle.
- Military Detachment – Larger starting army.
- Shakarn Heavy Equipment – Gives you an omni sniper rifle that does kinetic and thermal damage, as well as a sonic pistol that can fire repeatedly to cause kinetic damage.
- Stubborn – Although it does decrease knowledge a bit, I’m hoping that the innate bonus to racial tech research can offset that penalty. Likewise, your commander’s army will have +2 resistance to status effects to nullify the Xeno Debilitation trait.
Early on, you’ll be given a choice between Domok Instructors (crit and resistance) or Zardas Instructors (evasion and universal camouflage). These perks represent two castes in the Shakarn’s hierarchy and are mutually exclusive. Your commander and heroes will also gain the Call Insider skill, one that allows them to summon a unit (with melee and ranged capabilities) during battles.
Early techs and mod choices
Next up, let’s talk about the all-important feature that the Shakarn faction has in Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions. It’s their unique focus on infiltration and stealing tech. As mentioned in our expansion review, it’s a refreshing take on how you’d play your matches. If you’ve ignored operations in the past, then the Shakarn will make you love this facet of the game.
For military techs, check out the following:
- Sonolysis Application – The Focused Sonolysis Module increases a unit’s damage with its sonic weapons and allows them to remove armor with each hit. Since sonic weapons can fire repeatedly, you’re looking at armored units getting shredded.
- Weighted Holograms – The Weighted Holograms effect boosts the damage of your Infiltrator units (ones that can create a mirror copy of an enemy target) while also allowing them to “holoshift” into mechanical foes.
- Propaganda Propagation (seen below) – These provide you with two operations. The covert op greatly reduces a target’s diplomatic relations with all other races (perfect for manipulating the AI to go to unnecessary wars). The strategic op, meanwhile, boosts production at the cost of energy if you have a Propagation Tower.
For society techs, the gist is simple: get Planetfall Procedures and Frontier Facilities (for your colonizer unit), and then some extra economy development techs from time to time. The meat and potatoes, however, comes from the operations branch of the tech tree. Everything herein boosts their capabilities when it comes to infiltration and espionage, from stealing maps (revealing enemy capitals) and whatnot. Still, there’s one that’s an absolute game-changer. Take a look at Intelligence Gathering – Infiltrate Operations Center:
That covert operation, when used by other races, just lets them see additional info. In the hands of the Shakarn, though, it lets you use the racial techs of your target. Check out an example below after I successfully used the covert op on my Kir’ko opponent. The Vanguard techs, meanwhile, were obtained after finding one of their colonizers. Imagine having access to various units that are exclusive to a faction thanks to an early-game op. How cool is that?
Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions: The Age of the Lizardmen
The Shakarn race might look like dastardly and conniving reptiles, but they’re extremely exciting to play as in Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions. Gaining the capabilities of your rival races and using their exclusive units, and focusing primarily on schemes and operations, it’s quite a definite change of pace in how you tackle your matches.
We haven’t even talked about their doctrines such as Homeworld Reminiscence (+12 food and +4 happiness to cities when they have a river or coastal feature), as well as Propagation Towers (buildings that use holograms and propaganda to increase happiness, boosted by the aforementioned strategic op).
Their usage of different types of weaponry — sonic repeating weapons and omni weapons that combine kinetic and thermal damage — provide a unique twist to how you build-up your commanders and units. With regards to the NPC factions, I haven’t tried choosing the older ones, but you can’t go wrong with befriending the Therians, the foxy, furry pals added by the recent expansion. They’ve even got mods to further boost regeneration for your lizard units.
With their laser-like focus on espionage and cool weaponry to back in up, the Shakarn are a breath of fresh air for Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions. Make sure you’re using your Insiders, Infiltrators, Deadeyes, and Tacticians to confuse your opponents until such time that you can deploy your gargantuan Sonokarn to lay waste to everything in your path.