Hard Trisk is a lot quicker to clear if you have:
- Leg TS
- Leg QS or Leg or higher IM (or open to use a power)
- 100% increased army caches
Use Leg TS & QS on all the big territories prioritizing territories with army caches while beelining to the big territory in the W & IM on the biggest merc camp (if you don't know where these are, you're not ready for this strategy yet), when you pop a QS on that territory & pop that merc camp, you'll have enough to get all the hospitals & markets, get all the remaining army caches, finish the Techs you feel like (I only do the ones that buff alloy values, sometimes not even those).
My personal preferred path is to go down to the SW of the circle you start in, head W to the hospitals in the S of the SW circle, then go into the NE of the SW circle from your starting circle over to the big territory in the far W. Also drop IM (power or artifact) on the biggest merc camp if you need to (you might, you might not, but doing it makes it easy). The key is to "ride the army caches" to the next big territory & merc camp, pop TS/QS/IM to get you to the next big territory/merc camp.
With good knowledge of the map, maxed Adv's listed above & high level supporting artifacts, this strat works well for HT.
But HEH is still more straight forward/easier/quicker. It's actually quite easy to use a similar strat on HEH to "ride the army caches" to the big 1.1T territory in the east & 800B merc camp in the Baltic. But again, if you don't know the level well and this doesn't make sense, don't do it until you do, else you'll likely just get lost and make a mess, and get in a bad spot in the level (no mercs, no money, low income, etc).
Same goes for HC as well, moving towards the 54B territory in the mid-W. But I find HC less intuitive than HT & HEH - the territory names give me trouble, and with the lack of water/coast/landmarks, it's tough to identify some of the hospital/market locations (even knowing where they are) well enough to get the best path to them. BUT if you Fog Bust it, it's easy.
That said - going back to the original question, should you do all this before Ascending? Before ASCENDING? Regular Ascension? For the first time? Hell no. I mean, you certainly CAN, but they are likely to take you 30+ days to clear, whereas if you leave it for 2nd/3rd Ascensions, they'll likely only take 3-10 days (dependings on your play style, play time, strategy, etc).
The main difference between 1st & 4th Ascension shows in your end stats, the % armies that come from each category.
1st Ascension - ~10-15% army camps, 10-15% drafts, 25% JS, 20% hospitals, 15% mercs, 10% caches
4th Ascension - <5% army camps, <10% drafts, ~15% JS, 25% hospitals, 20% mercs, 15% other***, 10% caches
4th Super Ascension** - <1% army camps, <1% drafts, ~10% JS, 40% hospitals, 15% mercs, 23% other, 20% caches
** = 4th Super Ascension after powering up again (with the benefits of high level artifacts, etc)
*** = 'other' category is armies not tracked in the stats, like armies saved by TS/QS/FH/DT, etc (I only use TS/QS, FH & DT are imho nowhere near as useful)
When I started, JS was high b/c I was careful about capturing where JS gets used to save armies, earned lots of money, bought lots of mercs, upgraded hospitals to the max, got some use of army camps, etc, didn't use TS/QS/IM/TW at all.
As I progressed, I beelined to the important stuff more without caring about JS (max minimal army spend to get to the important territories), leveraged high level Adv's, got more value from caches, invested less in mercs, used TS/QS/IM/TW more, don't upgrade hospitals as much. At this level, the armies from army camps, drafts & JS are fairly ignorable. And the armies from hospitals, mercs, caches & other are all a sliding algorithm, I do whatever makes sense for that level and I'm in the mood for. If my TS/QS/IM/TW cooldowns are @ 0, I used them, and if not, focus on the caches, empty the markets & buy mercs & upgrade hospitals, and therefore the %'s here vary depending on a given playthrough style, but collectively they form 88-90% of the armies required for the level.
Edited 7/4/2022 18:00:41