Greek God Power guide
Bolt is one of the most diverse God Powers (GP) in AoM/T and can easily be used for so many different things to give you an advantage that it can be tricky to decide when would be the best time. So I'll just list off some possibilities and give my opinion on each one.
Bolting an opposing Norse players starting Ulfsark can very often be very rewarding and give a Zeus player a slight edge in speed. However most Norse players have learned by now to be prepared to build a second Ulfsark fairly early against Zeus players so it isn't always as much of an advantage as it could be.
Some good times to use the bolt on Ulfs are:
If you catch a lone Ulfsark building a temple near your home.
If you catch the starting Ulfsark building a dock, this is easily done on maps such as Highland, Anatolia (I usually send one scout down one shoreline and a villager down the other to ensure I will find his ulf to bolt), but not so easily on Midgard, and not at all on Medit.
If you catch the starting Ulfsark building a house before you reach 15 population yourself, in all likelihood if he's building a house at that point he forgot to build one early on to account for possible bolts, taking out his ulf at this point could really hurt him
Bolting your opponents first MU can also be a great use, it can really slow down any attacks by your opponent and allows you to have a slightly slower classical time if you wish. This is also a reason why bolting a starting ulfsark isn't always such a great idea, if you save it for this point you can take out a much more expensive unit that could potentially do a lot of damage to an unprotected economy early on.
Saving bolt for a critical time when you need to take out a large MU or a ram can also gain you a big advantage, if one unit is likely to cause you a whole lot of trouble then bolting it might not be such a bad idea.
I like to use bolt on opposing Greek players first or second heroes sometimes. It costs them a lot of resources and allows me to build a couple of MU for raiding early on if I want to.
Saving bolt for the Son of Osiris is a pretty good use for it obviously, the key against Isis is to try to get your opponent to move the SoO far enough out of monument range that you can strike it with your bolt. The way I do this is by checking the borders of where their monuments cover. You can do this by simply selecting the bolt gp and testing around the map to see where it can and can not be cast. Once you know the borders it's much easier to just simply pull out bolt when you know he's getting close to the maximum range. That's the one good thing about the Isis monuments, the player who is using them can't really tell how far the radius of their protection runs.
As well, saving bolt for opposing Titans can be very useful. Against Atlantean players who have healing Titans I usually won't use the bolt until after I get their Titan to 1000 HP, that way the bolt will kill it while the player thinks his healing Titan is still safe for a while.
This is a pretty simple GP, however it can be useful for a lot of situations. I very often see rookies (and even some good players) use this GP right off the start on their original TC, even in team games they sometimes do this. This is the biggest mistake you can make with this GP (other than not casting it at all I guess). Sentinels is a very useful GP and shouldn't be wasted in such a way. By placing it down like that, you don't leave many options to take over a second TC early, and it also prevents you from giving some free help to any partner who happens to get doubled off the start. Personally I like to save this GP either for a partner who gets doubled or to help secure a forward TC that would otherwise be hard to hold on to. Very often you'll see players advance to classical quickly, build a second TC at a forward position and then cast Sentinels on their forward TC right away. While this isn't horrid it certainly isn't great either simply because of the fact that it leaves your main base a little more vulnerable. If you still have the GP to use in any way you wish then it's less likely that your opponent will attack any of your TC's too quickly because you can still cast this GP to help save it somewhat. However if you use it up then there is no possibility of it coming into play when they attack your home TC so you've lost a bit of an edge simply by using it. This isn't to say that you shouldn't use it, but wait until you know for sure that it's going to be useful to you.
This is a pretty straightforward GP right? Sort of. The way 99% of people use this GP is to cast it right off the start by their starting TC. While this isn't a bad thing by any means I think there is a better way on land maps (water maps dropping it right away is definitely the way to go). On many maps what you end up doing by dropping the lure stone right away is you end up taking 1 deer from each of your own hunting spots. These are likely spots that you are going to be hunting from anyways, so you'll end up building a mill there no matter what. Stealing from these spots is rather counter-productive. I prefer to wait until I've at least taken care of my closest safe hunting before casting this GP (or that's my theory anyways, often I forget), so long as the map isn't very low on hunting you should still pull in enough hunting to make full use of this GP, and chances are better that the animals you lure in won't be ones you were planning on hunting anyways.
It's somewhat arguable as to where the best place to put this GP down is. Personally I prefer to always put it on the back-side of my tc (the side closest to an outside edge) with enough room inbetween to fit Â¾ of a house. The reason for putting it on the backside is that most of your animals will be coming from the opposite direction. This means that you have the oportunity to shoot them on their way in which should take them directly by your TC. This just means that you have more opportunity to create less walking time for yourself. I leave space inbetween the TC and the lure stone simply in case some hunting happens to get in there. It's a real pain to have to walk all the way around the lure stone if you hunt something large right beside it.
This is a pretty handy God Power. Some of its best uses are to slow down an enemy rush while you yourself either tech up to Heroic, or boom from a second or even third TC. Pestilence can also be used to great effect to give you an advantage in a fight over important pieces of land. For instance you might want to take over an empty (or even occupied) TC near the middle of the map. If you and your opponent both have roughly equal armies and you can stop them from getting many reinforcements by using pestilence then you can gain a pretty big advantage for yourself which should give you the win (assuming your barracks aren't half the map away). Another great use for this GP is in combination with Curse, cast Curse on an opposing army, then cast pestilence on his largest group of barracks and you can really walk over your opponent badly. This is how I often deal with the Flaming Weapons GP, pestilence his barracks and Curse his units and the flaming weapons will die out before he can get any extra units out to beat you up with.
Another great use for this GP has always been to cast it on enemy docks upon hitting classical. This can either buy you the time to tech up to Heroic and build siege ships/scylla, or it gives you an edge in numbers early on. Unfortunately with the advent of shooting docks (boooo) very often that advantage in numbers isn't as powerful as it could be.
The most dynamic GP in the game. Really this GP is the reason why both Zeus and Poseidon can be much much better than Hades in many situations. The best uses for this GP would have to be the blocking of: Ancestors, and Flaming weapons, however it also has many other great uses. Some of my favorites are to cast it just after starting the foundation of a forward TC either unoccupied or that your enemy has just lost, take down the TC, start building a new one and cast Cease Fire, it can buy you all the time you need to get reinforcements to your forward position and gives you an extra TC in the process. Of course sometimes you won't actually need to use Cease-Fire to make this tactic work, but if you do you've got it so you may as well use it.
Another great use for Cease Fire is to buy you the time you need to build up a new army. If you lose a battle pretty badly and your opponent outnumbers you by a lot, or if you are just too slow to advance very often Cease Fire can buy you the time you need to replenish/build up a large enough army to deal with your opponent.
Sometimes its even useful to save this GP until Mythic age to help you get your Titan finished off, I personally don't usually save it until this point but it could be just the ticket to save your Titan Gate.
Another great Classical GP. I tend to use this GP fairly early on to give extra push to my hoplite rushes, or just to help me win an important battle over some key ground. One of the better combinations for this GP is to use it after you've used Bronze, this will heal up all those extremely tough units so they can last for the whole duration of their Bronze GP. This GP probably shouldn't be used on ships as it doesn't tend to give enough HP back to the ships to be worthwhile. One of the big keys to using this GP is to make sure that you and your opponent are fully engagd in battle. If you cast it too soon on an army that isn't hurt very much your opponent may be able to simply run away causing half of the GP's power to be nullified due to the fact your troops aren't hurt too much. By waiting until you are fully engaged you at the very least get a few good hits in on your opponents units if he tries to run away from you.
I love this GP, it's not as powerful as some others however it can definitely give a melee army all the power it needs to push into a heavily fortified area. Bronze isn't so useful for armies that consist mostly of archers simply due to the fact that archers aren't nearly as useful in an offensive capacity (taking down buildings), as well if your archers are getting hit by something chances are pretty good that they'll die anyways because they don't have very high health or armor values to begin with. Using bronze to help take over a critical point on the map such as a TC or an important gold mine can be useful, however using it while trying to chase down an enemy is a pretty big waste. The best times to use this GP is when you know that your opponent is either going to have to fight you or he's going to lose something fairly important to him. In general the longer you wait to cast this GP the less useful it becomes due to your opponent having more time to put up towers and buildings to slow down any advance you try to make.
This is a great GP contrary to popular belief. In fact in an army vs. army situation this is a much better GP than Bronze is. As a result that's actually one of the things that I save Curse for, if you curse a Bronzed army it really causes the Bronze GP to be a lot less useful and should allow you to win the battle assuming you had equal armies going into it. As mentioned before Curse is also a great counter to Flaming weapons, but usually only in combination with Pestilence. The best times to use curse are when you are either ready to make a big push for a key point on the map, or if you are simply being over-run by too many units to keep up with. Curse can possibly buy you the time you need to build up a force to deal with whatever your opponent has going for him/her.
While this GP doesn't give as many direct benefits as its counterparts it certainly has its uses. The only problem I really have with underworld passage is that the god you must pick in order to obtain it doesn't give a good MU or good MT's (Myth Techs). Underworld is great for team games as it can give you and your ally the ability to quickly pull off double teams while not being vulnerable in either position. As well I love this GP on maps such as Medit as it can give you the ability to strike from either side of the map very quickly while your opponent likely won't be able to protect both sides.
One great use for this GP is to place it down near an enemy TC then start flooding that TC with Hoplites/rams/whatever to take over the TC quickly. As well it can be used to get your army in place to deal with enemy Titan Gates before they are able to complete them.
Another nifty thing you can do in a long drawn out game is underworld to an important point on the map that will allow you to cut off their trade route by building walls/fortress'. There are just so many possibilities for this GP, basically any situation where surprising your opponent from an awkward angle for them which can cause you to gain an advantage is a good use of this GP.
Some mistakes that I see people make with Underworld Passage is that they will often place them in areas too vulnerable to attack when they in fact hope to use the passage for quite a while. Remember if you are using it to give quick passage to help double, or to quickly move your army from one side of the map to the other (like medit) then don't place the passage right at your front lines, the closer you put it to the front the faster it will be killed off. Of course if you are using it for a quick sneak attack/tactic then don't worry so much about it being placed safely as placing it somewhere that it's not likely to get noticed right away.
This GP is great basically use your common sense when casting it, the only rules to follow are to make sure you don't cast it near enemy buildings, especially buildings that can be garrisoned into. If you do this you lose a lot of the power that Lighting Storm gives because it does very little damage to buildings, as well your opponent might just garrison their army resulting in the bolts doing no real damage to his military force.
Again a very useful GP. The rules in this case are to not use it against Poseidon players as you'll suddenly be flooded with militia. One of the better uses of this GP is to help take down a fortified TC, but keep in mind that it is only helping it's not actually going to take down most TC's on its own, so don't just cast it and pray that the job will get done. If you still have cease fire by this point in the game it's a pretty good tactic to EQ a TC while villagers are running in to take it over. I also like to use this on clusters of enemy houses. If your opponent happens to put all of their houses in roughly the same area one earthquake can quickly take out most of their population capacity which can gain you a pretty big edge. As well EQ is great for taking out Titan Gates, I'm not sure exactly how much damage it does to a Titan Gate, however it is fairly significant and is one of the better GP's at stopping Titans from being built.
Vault of Plenty:
Not a powerful GP in comparison to the other two available to you, however useful nonetheless. Vault of plenty gives 3 of each resource (except favor) every 3 seconds (if I remember right) which with walking time is equal to roughly 8 or 9 upgraded villagers. This means you should be able to field 4 more hoplites/toxotes/whatever than your opponent, which while it may not seem like much can really add up. As well it also ensures that you've got a non-stop supply of gold coming in which can sometimes be the difference between life and death in this game.