Armored Princess Spell Analysis Part 1: Chaos Magic

In Armored Princess, Intellect has been reworked. Now each individual point of Intellect is a boost of 5% of the base value (Down from 10%), while the 7-Intellect breakpoints provide a boost of 15% (Up from 10%) and it's now every 20 Intellect (Rather than 15) that you get an extension on the duration of various effects. Overall it's a lot more important to pay attention to the breakpoints than in The Legend, is the summarized version.

In the case of summoned creatures that don't scale via stack size increasing (eg Book of Evil, Phoenix), Orcs on the March has added the 'Magical Creature' effect, which causes such units to gain 1 point of Attack and Defense every 3 Intellect and also gain 2.5% Health and Damage for every single point of Intellect. This means that, even without direct modification occurring, these summons have much better late-game viability. 60 Intellect -a not-unlikely late game value for eg a Mage- would provide a 150% boost to HP and Damage as well as provide 20 Attack and Defense. That takes an Ancient Phoenix from a situationally useful but overall mediocre unit to something that can actually hold up in a scrap for a hit or two, and actually dominate against Fire and/or Magic-using foes.

Additionally, each point of Intellect is a 1% boost to the chance of your units to Burn, Freeze, and Poison. This is true not only of Spells but also of units, and in this case 1% is as in '+1 to the number'. So for example 10 Intellect means Level 3 Poison Skull is guaranteed to Poison the target (90%->100%), while 40 Intellect means Flaming Arrow is guaranteed to Burn the target. (60%->100%)

I'm not going to be covering Wanderer Scrolls. For the most part they're not very interesting, and indeed most of them are better off being sold rather than used. I like the idea of them, but their implementation is questionable. They also aren't very interesting to analyze -there's little point in comparing them (They don't compete), and most of the axioms for timing your use is generally fairly obvious. (ie 'save them for hard fights')

The one bit I'll cover is that the Wanderer Scrolls that summon units into your army automatically hit as close to your current Leadership cap as possible and the unit they generate is not random or fixed by Scroll or the like. It's determined by your current island. As such, before you use one of those Scrolls you should save, reload if you don't like the result, and go to a different island to repeat the process. Repeat until Call Colossus gives you your favorite dragon, or an early stack of Tirexes, or whatever. These Wanderer Scrolls are notable exceptions because selling them is vastly inferior to waiting until your Leadership is fairly high and using them, in terms of cash value generated, and also because they can potentially let you 'break' the game's ideas of when you should be getting something -an early stack of 2-3 Tirexes might be money-inefficient compared to waiting until later, but getting to use them when they're actually powerful is fun!

Before we start on Chaos Magic proper: Greasy Mist is gone, replaced by Oil Mist over in Distortion Magic. It's not missed.


Flaming Arrow
Crystal Cost: 1 / 3 / 5
Mana Cost: 5 / 5 / 5
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 70; Burning: 20%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 140; Burning: 40%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 210; Burning: 60%

Hits a single enemy for Fire damage with a chance to Burn the target.

No change.

... directly.

The big thing is that with Burn having been made to do actually good damage and with Intellect raising Burn chance, Flaming Arrow now is no longer just a cost-effective single-target nuke Spell but is in fact a great way of ensuring a target is taking strong percentile damage. 5-10% damage per turn is no joke when you're facing up against really big stacks.

A secondary effect of this is that even if you're not the Mage Flaming Arrow is a good tool for filling turns just for fishing for the Burn. 


Fireball
Crystal Cost: 5 / 7 / 10
Mana Cost: 10 / 15 / 20
Level 1 Statistics: Damage Center: 120; Damage Adjacent: 25-50; Burning: 10%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage Center: 250; Damage Adjacent: 50-105; Burning: 20%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage Center: 385; Damage Adjacent: 80-160; Burning: 30%

High Fire damage on one tile, with lesser Fire damage to adjacent tiles. All affected units have a chance to Burn.

Mana cost is up by 3 (At all levels), Crystal cost has been spiked in general, but in exchange damage climbs slightly faster.

The cost is mostly an issue because Mana supplies take longer to climb, generally speaking, and for a Mage Higher Magic needs to be equal to your Chaos Magic level if you want to double-cast Fireball per se. Otherwise it's not that big a deal.

As with Flaming Arrow, the chance to Burn is a lot more important now, and in fact Fireball is actually worth considering casting even if you're not a Mage just to try to spread Burn around.


Fire Rain
Crystal Cost: 7 / 10 / 25
Mana Cost: 7 / 12 / 22
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 70-80; Burning: 5%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 215-245; Burning: 10%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 360-410; Burning: 15%

Fire damage to all units in a 7-tile-covering circle, with affected units having a chance to be Burned.

Mana cost has gone up by 2 for all levels, Crystal cost for Levels 1 and 3 are higher, but in exchange damage acceleration is very slightly higher to drive me insane while I calculate the final result. (It's a 210% boost in damage per level, instead of a 200%)

Where Fire Rain was a Mage's staple nuke Spell in The Legend's late-game, in Armored Princess it's a lot worse off for two reasons: first of all, Burn is a lot more useful to inflict, which means its tiny Burn chance is an actual flaw relative to eg Fireball. Secondly, Higher Magic has been overhauled so that you can only double-cast if your first Spell is under a specific Mana cost, with the third rank's limit being 20 Mana or less -which the third level of Fire Rain is 2 points over.

This means that in Armored Princess the Mage is generally better off casting a low-cost Spell followed by a high-cost Spell, instead of double-casting a moderate-cost Spell, compounded by how Armored Princess and especially Orcs on the March has added some really exceptional high-cost Spells. In the endgame, Fire Rain isn't possible to use as your first Spell, and it doesn't make sense to use it as your second Spell when you've got Death Star and Black Hole.

As such, Fire Rain has gone from being the Mage Spell to being... well, basically worthless. Only the Mage is likely to have the magical firepower to make its damage worthwhile, and she doesn't actually want to cast it because Higher Magic makes other options make more sense.


Armageddon
Crystal Cost: 15 / 25 / 35
Mana Cost: 30 / 40 / 50
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 200-300; Burning: 30%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 340-510; Burning: 60%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 480-720; Burning: 90%

Astral damage to all units and objects, friend and foe, with a chance to Burn. Friendly units only take 50% damage.

It's still Astral damage, yes.

It does more friendly fire, costs 5 more Crystals per level, and it gains more damage past the first level. It also no longer ignores Spell immunity, making it actually usable. The high Burn chance also actually matters in real terms.

Overall though it's basically a gimmick, and unlike in The Legend it's not even a halfway-decent way of cheesing the final fight.


Kamikaze
Crystal Cost: 3 / 5 / 8
Mana Cost: 5 / 10 / 15
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 130-200
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 260-400
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 390-600

Attaches a bomb to a single unit, which detonates after either 3 turns or when the troop is destroyed, causing Physical damage to all adjacent units.

Minimum damage has risen 30%, making Kamikaze a more consistent Spell and in the process raising its average quality. No other changes. Directly.


I mentioned in The Legend that Kamikaze is technically a negative status effect and that this would matter more in later games. Here we are in Armored Princess, where negative status effects lower the victim's Morale, thus reducing their damage output and increasing how much damage other units do to them. The latter point is particularly convenient, since the ideal way to use Kamikaze is to drop it on a unit and then kill the unit as fast as possible so it catches other enemies in its blast.

It's also one of the better Spells for a Mage to consider as their first cast in a turn once they have Higher Magic, since its cost is consistently within limits and its damage output is really nice when it detonates.


Ice Snake
Crystal Cost: 8 / 14 / 20
Mana Cost: 10 / 20 / 30
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 130; Damage Adjacent: 20-60; Freeze: 20%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 275; Damage Adjacent: 45-125; Freeze: 40%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 420; Damage Adjacent: 65-200; Freeze: 60%

Targets an enemy unit, inflicting Physical damage to it and lesser damage to all adjacent units. Affected units have a chance to be Frozen, reducing their Speed by 1. Affected enemies with at least 50% Fire resistance are guaranteed to be Frozen.

Base damage in the center has been slightly lowered, damage acceleration is slightly slower in general, Mana cost grows faster after Level 1, Crystal cost has been spiked in general.

Like Fire Rain, Ice Snake has gone from being a solid Mage nuke Spell in the late game to being something you'll probably never cast ever. The Mage doesn't want it because it doesn't fit into Higher Magic's requirements, and the other classes don't want it because nuke Spells aren't really their thing. The potential for Mass Freeze is the only point in its favor.

At least it's still pretty uniquely good at that part, particularly when fighting Fire-resistant enemies.


Poison Skull
Crystal Cost: 2 / 3 / 5
Mana Cost: 5 / 7 / 10
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 40-140; Poisoning: 30%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 70-250; Poisoning: 60%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 100-365; Poisoning: 90%

Targets a single enemy unit for Poison damage, with a chance to Poison the target as well.

No change.

Directly, of course.

Where in The Legend Poison Skull was frustrating and tended to be shunted aside by Flaming Arrow due to its rising Mana cost, unreliable damage, and Poison damage type frequently hampering it, in Armored Princess Poison Skull spends a fairly lengthy chunk of the game being your go-to tool for probably inflicting percentile damage on a target. It's not until you've got Chaos Magic 3 and around 40 Intellect that Poison Skull goes back to being mostly pushed aside by Flaming Arrow.

Even then, Poison Skull is the only way to inflict Poisoning with a Spell, and so against eg Demons Poison Skull will shine as a way to wear down big stacks with a low cost.

And of course Poison Skull is also actually worth considering maxing as a non-Mage to get that reliable Poisoning chance ready to go.

Armored Princess has been quite kind to Poison Skull, in actual truth.


Hell Breath
Crystal Cost: 2 / 5 / 10
Mana Cost: 10 / 15 / 20
Level 1 Statistics: Fire Damage: +20%; Duration: 2 turns
Level 2 Statistics: Fire Damage: +30%; Duration: 3 turns
Level 3 Statistics: Fire Damage: +40%; Duration: 4 turns

A single allied unit does additional damage with its basic melee attack, with this additional damage being Fire-typed regardless of what their own base damage is. Cannot be cast on Demons.

No change.

Hell Breath is still fairly difficult to justify casting, and it's only been made worse by increased access to Fire damage units.


Plague
Crystal Cost: 5 / 15 / 20
Mana Cost: 5 / 15 / 20
Level 1 Statistics: Characteristics Decreased: -15%; Duration: 2 turns
Level 2 Statistics: Characteristics Decreased: -20%; Duration: 2 turns
Level 3 Statistics: Characteristics Decreased: -25%; Duration: 2 turns

Infects a single target with Plague, which lowers Attack, Defense, and HP by a percentage. The Plague is infectious, spreading to friend and foe alike, though Demons, Plants, and inorganic units are immune to the Plague. Undead can carry the Plague, but will not suffer the stat penalties.

Spiked Crystal cost, but the first level has half the Mana cost. Not sure why they spiked its Crystal cost at all, let alone so much.

Regardless, Plague's core issue -that there's better ways of achieving the same basic idea- hasn't actually changed. Use Necromancers if you want to inflict Plague, and if you just want to immediately stat-down a single target Pygmy is a better choice. Just like in The Legend.


Fear
Crystal Cost: 3 / 3 / 3
Mana Cost: 10 / 10 / 10
Level 1 Statistics: Duration: 2 turns
Level 2 Statistics: Duration: 3 turns
Level 3 Statistics: Duration: 4 turns

Inflicts Fear on a single target, which prevents the unit from attacking units of a higher Level than itself.

No change.

There really isn't anything to add to that.


Doom
Crystal Cost: 4 / 8 / 12
Mana Cost: 20 / 20 / 20
Level 1 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-2; Duration: 2 turns
Level 2 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-3; Duration: 3 turns
Level 3 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-4; Duration: 4 turns

Afflicts a single enemy unit with Doom, which causes all attacks against them to be critical hits.

No change.

Well, not directly.

Indirectly, crits are now always 150% damage. For non-Warriors, this means Doom's damage increase is usually higher than in The Legend, since they tended to struggle to generate Rage in The Legend. For the Warrior, this tends to be a damage decrease compared to The Legend, since Rage was abundant.

It kind of doesn't matter though because seriously Doom sucks.


Weakness
Crystal Cost: 5 / 5 / 20
Mana Cost: 5 / 5 / 20
Level 1 Statistics: Duration: 2 turns
Level 2 Statistics: Duration: 3 turns
Level 3 Statistics: Mass; Duration: 3 turns

Affected units always roll minimum damage. Weakness cannot affect Undead or inorganic units.

No change.


Sheep
Crystal Cost: 8 / 16 / 24
Mana Cost: 30 / 35 / 40
Level 1 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-2
Level 2 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-3
Level 3 Statistics: Target's Level: 1-4

Converts a single target enemy into a sheep for 2 turns, preventing it from attacking, counter-attacking, or using Talents, disabling access to Abilities, and normalizing movement type. Additionally, a Sheep-ed unit is not under player control.

No change. Same points apply: cast the lower-Level version against lower-Level enemies, and Intellect scaling doesn't apply.

For the Mage, Higher Magic's overhaul makes Sheep a lot less abusable. You can't cast it as your first Spell, period, and it's usually better to have your second Spell be something with a more pronounced impact. There's still plenty of situations Sheep is useful in, but it's no longer quite so ridiculous in the Mage's hands, which is good because it really was quite ridiculous at times in The Legend.


Sacrifice
Crystal Cost: 10 / 20 / 30
Mana Cost: 20 / 30 / 40
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 250; Efficiency: 40%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 500; Efficiency: 50%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 750; Efficiency: 60%

Inflicts damage on one allied unit to add health to a different one. The added health can increase a stack's size.

Cost has gone up by 10 Mana at every level, Crystal cost has spiked, and the efficiency of Health transfer has reduced by 10% at every level.

This makes it a bit clunkier to abuse than in The Legend, but it doesn't really change how you use it. It's not like the Mage was all that prone to opening a double-cast with Sacrifice in The Legend anyway.


Necro Call
Crystal Cost: 5 / 10 / 20
Mana Cost: 10 / 20 / 30
Level 1 Statistics: Total Health: 500
Level 2 Statistics: Total Health: 1000
Level 3 Statistics: Total Health: 1500

Animates a single corpse as a friendly Undead unit. In addition to Necro Call's health limit, the actual headcount caps the production in an intuitive way: a stack that began life as 5 units cannot generate 500 units just because your Mage's Necro Call can theoretically do so, it can only generate 5.

Parameters as a Spell are unchanged from The Legend. The addition of new Undead and new non-Undead calls for an updated list. The summarized version is largely as in The Legend, but now Pirate Ghosts can arise from Pirates and Sea Dogs (And nothing else at all, nor is this a guaranteed result),  and the number of Bone Dragon possibilities has risen by 2 even though no new dragons exist! (Tirexes and more surprisingly Hayterants both qualify)

If you're interested in just seeing the un-summarized, un-commented list for yourself, here it is straight from the .txt file, Orcs on the March edition.

skeleton=,sprite,dryad,werewolf,druid,sprite_lake,robber,peasant,footman,goblin2,goblin,robber2,pirat,pirat2,skeleton,satyr,
archer=,elf,elf2,bowman,archer,
pirat_ghost=,pirat,pirat2,
spider_undead=,spider,spider_venom,spider_fire,spider_undead,
zombie=,werewolf,druid,wolf,robber,footman,zombie,miner,orc2,barbarian,orc,satyr,
zombie2=,footman2,zombie2,dwarf,cannoner,alchemist,catapult,barbarian2,ogre,orc2,miner2,troll,gorguana,gorguana2,ingeneer,witch_hunter,goblin_shaman,orc_hunter,
ghost=,druid,griffin,ghost,alchemist,giant,hyena,catapult,bear,graywolf,brontor,gorguana,gorguana2,
ghost2=,ghost2,bear_white,bear2,ogre,shaman,unicorn2,unicorn,troll,giant,griffin2,ingeneer,ogre_chieftain,shaman_blood,
vampire=,bat,werewolf,horseman,knight,vampire,footman2,pirat2,priest,priest2,assassin,witch_hunter,
vampire2=,bat2,archmage,vampire2,assassin,
blackknight=,horseman,knight,blackknight,paladin,
necromant=,druid,archmage,necromant,demonologist,runemage,
bonedragon=,bonedragon,greendragon,blackdragon,reddragon,tirex,highterrant,

The least intuitive names in this list are 'Satyr' (Faun) and 'Ingeneer' (Engineer). Additionally, 'graywolf' is Werewolf Elves in Wolf form (While Werewolf is Elf form) and 'Ogre Chieftain' is Orc Chieftain. Otherwise everything is reasonably guessable if it's not a one-to-one match with the English release nameset.

It's somewhat worth noting that the Mage can't open a double-cast with Level 3 Necro Call, unlike The Legend, but that wasn't some staple thing anyway so... whatever.


Demon Portal
Crystal Cost: 6 / 16 / 26
Mana Cost: 15 / 25 / 35
Level 1 Statistics: Level 2-3; Troop Leadership: 700
Level 2 Statistics: Level 2-4; Troop Leadership: 1400
Level 3 Statistics: Level 3-5; Troop Leadership: 2100

Generates a portal at an arbitrary location of the caster's choice, which occupies the tile, blocking other units from entering. The following turn, the portal is replaced by a stack of Demon units, randomly selected from the types within the level range given.

The Crystal cost has been spiked for the purpose of making a Number of the Beast reference. No other mechanical changes, unless you count Executioners existing.

The level limit still works out to:

Spell Level 1: Imps, Scoffer Imps, and Cerberi.

Spell Level 2: As above, but gain all Demon units aside from Archdemons.

Spell Level 3: Add in Archdemons, but remove Imps and Scoffer Imps.

Just with the caveat that Executioners are now a part of 'gain all demon units aside from Archdemons'.

Though since Demons were overall buffed by Armored Princess, Demon Portal is in turn overall more useful even though no significant changes have been made to it. The inability to double-cast it with a Mage is somewhat a nerf, I guess? But only for a Mage, obviously.

Regardless, it works out much the same as in The Legend.


Book of Evil
Crystal Cost: 3 / 6 / 9
Mana Cost: 15 / 20 / 30
Level 1 Statistics: Summons: Book of Evil, Level 3
Level 2 Statistics: Summons: Book of Evil, Level 4
Level 3 Statistics: Summons: Book of Evil, Level 5

Generates a friendly Book of Evil, which has a Talent that allows it to cast random spells. The Book can recharge this Talent by consuming allied stacks.

The Spell end of things has all the same parameters as in The Legend.

So let's have some actual unit stats!


Book of Evil (Level 3)
Level: 3
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 20 / 15
Initiative/Speed: 3 / 2
Health: 200
Damage: 20-50 Physical
Resistances: 50% Poison, 80% Magic, -100% Fire
Talents: Random Spell  (Charge: 1. Casts a random damaging spell or negative effect on a random enemy), Drain (Charge: 1. Only appears when out of charges for Random Spell. Can consume a friendly unit of 200 or less Health to add 2 charges to Random Spell. This can go over Random Spell's charge cap)
Abilities: Powerful Spells (The Book of Evil casts Level 1 Spells), Magic Immunity (80% Magic resistance and immunity to Spells), Persistence of Mind (Immunity to mental effects), Vulnerable to Fire (-100% Fire resistance), Eyeless (Immunity to Blind, Precision, and Greasy Mist. Also can detect invisible creatures)

They've picked up 5 Attack. And Drain has been made weaker. It's a good thing Orcs on the March adds in Intellect scaling!

think Drain scales with Intellect now, but I'm not entirely sure. It's possible it now secretly operates on something like a percentage of your Hero's Leadership. I really have no idea, honestly.

Regardless, the main thing here is that Book of Evil scales with Intellect and so can actually tank some hits into the late game without having to be specifically fighting foes using Magic or Poison damage to last a turn. In particular, it's actually practical to occasionally get in a bite on an enemy unit for a Random Spell recharge without it being a silly-situational thing.


Book of Evil (Level 4)
Level: 4
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 30 / 25
Initiative/Speed: 4 / 2
Health: 400
Damage: 30-75 Physical
Resistances: 50% Poison, 80% Magic, -100% Fire
Talents: Random Spell (Charge: 1. Casts a random damaging spell or negative effect on a random enemy), Drain (Charge: 1. Only appears when out of charges for Random Spell. Can consume a friendly unit of 400 or less Health to add 2 charges to Random Spell. This can go over Random Spell's charge cap)
Abilities: Powerful Spells (The Book of Evil casts Level 2 spells), Magic Immunity (80% Magic resist and immunity to spells), Persistence of Mind (Immunity to mental effects), Poison Protection (50% Poison resistance), Vulnerable to Fire (-100% Fire resistance), Eyeless (Immunity to Blind, Precision, and Greasy Mist. Also can detect invisible creatures)

+10 Attack and +5 Defense over the last game.


Book of Evil (Level 5)
Level: 5
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 40 / 35
Initiative/Speed: 5 / 2
Health: 600
Damage: 50-120 Physical
Resistances: 50% Poison, 80% Magic, -100% Fire
Talents: Random Spell  (Charge: 1. Casts a random damaging spell or negative effect on a random enemy), Drain (Charge: 1. Only appears when out of charges for Random Spell. Can consume a friendly unit of 600 or less Health to add 2 charges to Random Spell. This can go over Random Spell's charge cap)
Abilities: Powerful Spells (The Book of Evil casts Level 3 Spells), Magic Immunity (80% Magic resistance and immunity to Spells), Persistence of Mind (Immunity to mental effects), Poison Protection (50% Poison resistance), Vulnerable to Fire (-100% Fire resistance), Eyeless (Immunity to Blind, Precision, and Greasy Mist. Also can detect invisible creatures)

+15 Attack and +10 Defense, but it's still mostly the Intellect scaling that saves the day.


Eviln
Crystal Cost: 5 / 10 / 15
Mana Cost: 15 / 25 / 35
Level 1 Statistics: Kills: 30%, Resurrects: 10%
Level 2 Statistics: Kills: 40%, Resurrects: 20%
Level 3 Statistics: Kills: 50%, Resurrects: 30%

Destroys a target corpse in an unoccupied tile, producing an Eviln in the tile. If a non-Undead unit enters the tile the Eviln occupies, the Eviln goes off like a Trap, ending their turn and inflicting Astral damage equal to a percentage of the stack's base total Health. If an Undead unit enters the tile, their turn will still end, but the Eviln will heal them by a percentage of the stack's original size, resurrecting dead members of the stack. Additionally, the Eviln has a 'turn' every round, and if a unit is adjacent to it when its 'turn' rolls around, it will jump at them from its tile for the same effect, minus ending their turn. This 'turn' has an Initiative of 1.

The first new Chaos Magic Spell in the base version of Armored Princess. You might remember Evilns from a quest in The Legend. Or maybe you're like me and completely forgot that was actually a thing in The Legend, either way.

A point worth noting is that an Eviln doesn't start having 'turns' until the round after the one it was generated in. This is more important in later games, but for now it's still limiting Eviln's utility as an attacking Spell. It also makes it a little less useful as an Undead-restoring Spell, for that matter, but generally if you're using Eviln to keep your Undead topped off this will be occurring in the late stages of a battle, when it's not as important to squeeze every drop of effectiveness out of your troops.

As a support Spell for keeping an Undead army topped off, Eviln is pretty neat, giving Undead armies a way to resurrect any of their unit types without costing you other units or having to engage in shenanigans like Sacrificing Vampires and then having them restore themselves in bat form. It's pricier than Resurrection, but since it scales as a percentage its utility isn't dependent on Intellect, making it particularly appreciated for the Warrior and to a lesser extent Paladin, who have bigger armies than the Mage and will tend to build with less of a focus on Intellect.

As an attacking Spell, Eviln is basically competing with Soul Draining. They both can't hurt the Undead -though Eviln will still hurt eg Cyclops, which Soul Draining can't- and are both expensive and percentile damage. Soul Draining is cheaper prior to Level 3, but it's also less damage at every level. On the other hand, Soul Draining does its damage now, with no need to generate a corpse: wiping 50% of an enemy stack is obviously way better than wiping 30% of it, except Soul Draining can be used to open a fight with 20,000 damage in the endgame, whereas Eviln can only achieve those kinds of damage numbers if you're leaving some enemy stack lightly-harmed or unharmed while getting a kill. And even then, you have to be able to arrange for this healthy stack to actually walk into the Eviln, or at least stop next to it on a turn it can lunge out after them.

The overall result is that Eviln as an attacking Spell tends to lose out to Soul Draining, which is particularly bothersome because Soul Draining is actually pretty bad, as we'll be covering in a little bit. If you're playing the base version of Armored Princess, Soul Draining doesn't exist to act as competition, but the factors that make Soul Draining bad still apply to Eviln, and then Eviln's own fiddly limitations are stacked on top of it.

As such, Eviln is generally best to ignore unless you're using it to keep Undead armies going.

One mechanical point of interest: it's wholly intuitive but still worth mentioning that an Eviln can be flown over (Including Bone Dragons, if they don't want the benefit), but Soaring units cannot pass through an Eviln's tile without activating it. This makes Eviln slightly more general for stopping an enemy from passing through an area than an actual Trap. This provides it one of its few unique niches, where if a corpse is conveniently blocking off a chokepoint a Soaring unit is going to try to swoop through, Eviln is difficult to beat for stopping said Soaring unit.

Another, weirder mechanical point: Eviln can't coexist with Traps. This only rarely crops up in Armored Princess -it requires either setting a Trap atop a corpse and then turning the corpse into an Eviln, having a Soaring unit die on top of a Trap and then turning the corpse into an Eviln, or spawning an Eviln and then setting a Trap in its tile- but it's a lot more noticeable and relevant in the next couple of games. Specifically, an Eviln will cause a Trap to go away if it's generated atop the Trap, and a Trap will vaporize an Eviln if set in the same tile as it.

Also note that the AI behaves as if it doesn't 'see' Eviln. Enemy Undead won't seek out Eviln, and non-Undead won't balk at the idea of walking into the death energies. You can see enemy Eviln just fine, so this isn't like how the AI pretends it doesn't know where your Traps are to mimic how you can't see enemy Traps. It's just the AI being stupid in a way it's usually not supposed to be. Oops.


Death Star
Crystal Cost: 20 / 25 / 30
Mana Cost: 30 / 40 / 50
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 180-230
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 325-415
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 470-600

Targets a single empty, normally-traversible tile. All units in a direct line in every direction from the targeted tile take Astral damage. Ignores Spell immunity.

The other new Chaos damage Spell.

There's not much reason to bother with Armageddon most of the time now that there's a source of Astral damage that isn't guaranteed to murder your own stuff. And that can be used to murder Black Dragons without killing your stuff, at that.

Death Star has the interesting quality of being much improved by acquiring Tactics. With Tactics, you can arrange your army to have a gap to avoid nuking one of your units, right on the first turn. This is particularly notable given that Death Star can, against the typical formation of 5 stacks in a ragged line, consistently hit 4 stacks at once. The only Spell in The Legend that could consistently hit 4 or more stacks on turn one with no shenanigans was Geyser, which was hampered by a high cost and poor damage. Death Star is still expensive, but its damage per target is actually incredible. Kamikaze has an equally strong high roll, and Armageddon can hit a bit over 1/6th harder on its highest roll, but those are both hampered by much more problematic qualities. (Guaranteed friendly fire on Armageddon, Kamikaze is substantially delayed in its damage and can't directly 'chain' by casting it multiple times on the same target)

It's still tricky to use Death Star to full effect, and in particular Keeper fights have the annoying quality of usually having the Gremlin Towers located in formations that prevent you from quite arranging to hit more than one or two Gremlin Towers. If you can manage to quickly knock out a Gremlin Tower -while still being able to cast a Spell in the turn, of course- a lot of times dropping a Death Star where the Gremlin Tower was can hit a lot of units/other Gremlin Towers, but usually if the Gremlin Towers are fragile enough for you to pull that off, the fight is easy enough that this isn't some hugely helpful trick.

But it can be quite worth it anyway.

Regardless, Death Star is likely to be the Mage's primary damage-dealer for a large portion of the game, basically right up until Black Hole shunts it aside. The need to target empty tiles can be a frustrating limitation, but very often it's no big deal.

If you're not a Mage, Death Star is... existent. It can occasionally be used for killing Spell-immune units, but usually you'll be prioritizing other Spells. Ones that don't cost an absurd amount of Mana and that do things other than raw damage, which will generally fail to impress if you're not a Mage and so aren't able to rapidly increase Intellect, max Destruction, etc to get that raw damage to actually-impressive levels.


Chaos Dragon
Crystal Cost: 20 / 30 / 40
Mana Cost: 30 / 45 / 60
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 60-110. Summons a Fire Dragon.
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 95-175. Summons a Flaming Dragon.
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 130-240. Summons an Infernal Dragon.

Any open tile is targeted. A Chaos Dragon is summoned to the location, and all adjacent units take Fire damage, ignoring Spell immunity. Only one Chaos Dragon can be on the field at a time.

A new non-Rage-inspired Chaos Spell in Orcs on the March.

The Chaos Dragon is, unusually for a Summon-exclusive unit, not considered to be Neutral, but rather a Demon. There are very few purposes this matters for (Especially since no enemy Hero will ever summon a Chaos Dragon), but it does mean that Demonologists are hilariously ineffective against them, due to hitting their strongest resistance. A curiosity possibly relating to this is that units with a leech effect (eg Vampire Bats, Ghosts) will, when attacking a Chaos Dragon, play the animation and sound effect for a successful leech, but won't actually gain any health. Or maybe it has to do with their Bone Ability? I'm honestly not sure.

Speaking of the Bone Ability, the Chaos Dragon series is a fantastic abuser of an AI quirk common to the entire series: AI ranged units that end up with a hostile adjacent to them have a very strong preference for backing off and then performing a ranged attack on the unit that was next to them, even if there are other, better options within their effective range. Between the sweet set of resistances and the Bone Ability, there's very few ranged attackers that aren't basically wasting their time by allowing themselves to be drawn into attacking a Chaos Dragon.

Also interesting is that the Bone Dragon is, in fact, considered to be a dragon in the sense that Knights get double damage against them.

Let's have some stats!


Fire Dragon
Level: 3
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 33 / 33
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 7
Health: 350
Damage: 60-100 Fire/Astral
Resistances: -50% Poison, 75% Magic, 50% Fire, 50% Astral
Talents: None
Abilities: Infernal Creature (Resistant to Fire, Magic, and Astral damage, cannot be Frozen and takes less damage from 'ice' effects, immune to mental effects, passively detonates explosive barrels, +50% Defense in lava regions, weak to Poison, Burns units that initiate a melee attack on it, and when killed Burns all adjacent units), Flight, Bone (30% damage from arrows), Incinerates (Hits one tile beyond its target in addition to its target. Units killed by its melee attack -at either distance- become a Rage Cluster, which grants 1 Action Point and 5 Rage when walked into. Additionally, its melee attacks have a chance to Burn), Thing of Chaos (Allied Demons gain +1 Morale), Anti-Magical (Immune to most Spells), Power of Chaos (The first time this unit should die, it survives with 1 HP. Additionally, if at the beginning of its turn it has less than 5% of its max health, then it will heal to 30% of its max health)

Some odd points to note: the 'Burn everything nearby on death' effect is buggy. The unit who finished it off will actually fail to be Burned, and bizarrely will in fact have any pre-existent Burn cleared by killing the Fire Dragon. Incinerates has the somewhat easily overlooked caveat that the target has to leave behind a corpse or else it won't leave a Rage Cluster. As such, Gremlins, Objects like Ice Thorns, the Droids and ghost-type units, and many 'derived' units like units produced by the Phantom Spell are exempt from producing Rage Clusters. (Incinerates is also just a bit glitchy: sometimes the generated Rage Cluster will immediately vanish as if collected, but provide no Rage or Action Points to anything. I've never identified whatever pattern underlies this oddity)

Also note that the retaliatory Burn effect doesn't apply to enemy retaliations. If the Fire Dragon starts the fight, the target might be Burned by its breath, but it definitely won't be Burned by the retaliatory Burn effect. It's only guaranteed if the other party starts the fight.

The Chaos Dragon series are also very notable for being one of the only units in the game (And, indeed, the series) with decent Astral resistance, and its combination of high resistance to Magic, Fire, and Astral damage all at once is unique and very powerful in certain situations. Especially when backed by resistance-boosting passives (By which I mean gear and the Guardian Angel Medal), it's a great unit for distracting enemies to then drop Death Stars or Fiery Phantoms on while shrugging off the friendly fire. Like the Phoenix, it's also a fantastic unit to summon into Keeper fights, and it's an amazing summon for tying down enemy ranged units, between immediately hitting them with damage on summoning, being able to appear right on top of them without any need to move one of your own units closer, and being able to absorb a ridiculous amount of punishment through its regeneration and resistances. Obviously it's particularly effective at locking down eg Priests, and less so for Physical ranged attackers like Goblins. Luckily, there's no 'true' ranged attackers that use Poison damage, so its vulnerability to Poison damage isn't much of a limitation in this kind of role.

At this step (ie the Fire Dragon in specific), its regeneration is reliant on the survive-one-hit effect to contribute, as its base HP is a bit lackluster and Intellect boosting of HP is percentile. It's still a great unit, but it has a habit of dying relatively quickly if you're reckless with it. To get maximum use, you'll tend to need to control the number of attackers that can reach it (Which is a bit of shame, since the retaliatory Burn is one of its more useful qualities), and at times try to arrange for it to be chipped down to low health without dying and then let its next turn roll around for the heal. It's at its best in Keeper fights, by far, and it might not be worth dumping the quite high Mana price into it in more typical fights, unless you're dealing with a formation made entirely/primarily of units it significantly resists. (This will usually mean Fire and Magic attackers, since the only normal unit that does pure Astral Damage is Goblin Shaman with their ranged attack, who will usually be part of an Orc formation, which is otherwise primarily Physical attackers)

Of course...


Flaming Dragon
Level: 4
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 43 / 43
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 7
Health: 700
Damage: 100-180 Fire/Astral
Resistances: -50% Poison, 75% Magic, 50% Fire, 50% Astral
Talents: None
Abilities: Infernal Creature (Resistant to Fire, Magic, and Astral damage, cannot be Frozen and takes less damage from 'ice' effects, immune to mental effects, passively detonates explosive barrels, +50% Defense in lava regions, weak to Poison, Burns units that initiate a melee attack on it, and when killed Burns all adjacent units), Flight, Bone (30% damage from arrows), Incinerates (Hits one tile beyond its target in addition to its target. Units killed by its melee attack -at either distance- become a Rage Cluster, which grants 1 Action Point and 5 Rage when walked into. Additionally, its melee attacks have a chance to Burn), Thing of Chaos (Allied Demons gain +1 Morale), Anti-Magical (Immune to most Spells), Power of Chaos (The first time this unit should die, it survives with 1 HP. Additionally, if at the beginning of its turn it has less than 5% of its max health, then it will heal to 30% of its max health)

... the Flaming Dragon is much better equipped to take care of itself.

The Flaming Dragon works much the same as the Fire Dragon, except better, but in particular its doubled base Health means it's a lot more able to get into that narrow 5% Health range without specifically relying on Power of Chaos keeping it alive through a lethal hit. This means the Flaming Dragon is far better able to keep tanking hits, though it's still not fully reliable and this obviously demands you have the Intellect/Summoning Skill to keep up, so if you're not a Mage it's questionable whether it's worth spending the Magic Crystals to upgrade it.

Then we get to...


Infernal Dragon
Level: 5
Leadership: 1
Attack/Defense: 53 / 53
Initiative/Speed: 6 / 7
Health: 1,200
Damage: 180-300 Fire/Astral
Resistances: -50% Poison, 75% Magic, 50% Fire, 50% Astral
Talents: Abyssal Flames (Reload: 4. Strikes the the target and both enemies next to it, no friendly fire risk. They take 150-250 Fire damage and are knocked back 1 tile. The damage scales to Intellect in the same way the Infernal Dragon's base Damage does: if it's getting 50% more Damage on its base damage, then Abyssal Flames will hit 50% harder too)
Abilities: Infernal Creature (Resistant to Fire, Magic, and Astral damage, cannot be Frozen and takes less damage from 'ice' effects, immune to mental effects, passively detonates explosive barrels, +50% Defense in lava regions, weak to Poison, Burns units that initiate a melee attack on it, and when killed Burns all adjacent units), Flight, Bone (30% damage from arrows), Incinerates (Hits one tile beyond its target in addition to its target. Units killed by its melee attack -at either distance- become a Rage Cluster, which grants 1 Action Point and 5 Rage when walked into. Additionally, its melee attacks have a chance to Burn), Thing of Chaos (Allied Demons gain +1 Morale), Anti-Magical (Immune to most Spells), Power of Chaos (The first time this unit should die, it survives with 1 HP. Additionally, if at the beginning of its turn it has less than 5% of its max health, then it will heal to 30% of its max health)

... the Infernal Dragon.

If you're kind of glossing over these stat blocks: Infernal Dragons pick up Abyssal Flames, a Talent that dramatically extends their utility. The ability to dish out damage without provoking a retaliation at all is really useful as a first action for the Infernal Dragon, especially in fights where you're technically basically outmatched.

And of course their base Health nearly doubles again. The Infernal Dragon is often able to casually tank repeated hits using its raw durability and regeneration, making it an incredible damage soaker even against units its resistances don't apply against, not to mention a great distraction, and Abyssal Flames can be used to keep enemy melee from getting to you for even longer, or can be combined with effects that slow enemies down to keep them from doing much of anything for a turn, not to mention doing free damage.

Though as an aside, I've never actually seen the 'barrels detonate from proximity' effect in action on any Chaos Dragon type. I'm not entirely sure it's a real effect.


Totem of Adrenaline
Crystal Cost: 5 / 10 / 15
Mana Cost: 10 / 20 / 30
Level 1 Statistics: Totem Health: 100, Enemy Defense: -3, Radius: 1, Adrenaline added: 2
Level 2 Statistics: Totem Health: 300, Enemy Defense: -3, Radius: 2, Adrenaline added: 4
Level 3 Statistics: Totem Health: 500, Enemy Defense: -3, Radius: 2, Adrenaline added: 6, Enemy Morale penalty: -1

Converts a corpse into a Totem of Adrenaline, which lowers the Defense of nearby enemies and once per turn grants nearby allied Orcs some Adrenaline. Enemies immune to mental effects don't lose Defense. The Totem is weak to Fire damage (-100/-50/-25%) but resistant to Physical (25%), Poison (80%), and Magical damage. (10/25/50%, based on Spell Level) Its Initiative is 3/5/7, based on Spell Level.

I'll be honest and admit I've never used Totem of Adrenaline except to test its mechanics. It's an interesting idea, but the requirement to have a corpse before you can set it severely limits it. If you could set it freely, it could be used to support a more defensive Orc strategy, huddling around the Totem and spamming Adrenaline-burning effects while it helped keep your troops topped off. The corpse requirement means it will usually only be available in the closing stages of the fight where your Orcs don't need help getting Adrenaline, means your choice for placement is limited, and can be further hampered by issues like enemy units deciding to stand on top of the corpse you were intending to use before you get a chance to cast the Spell. The Defense penalty it imposes is neat, but too minor to pursue for its own sake, and again if there's a corpse, you're usually in the closing stages of the battle and so very possibly don't need the damage boost anyway.

Curiously, the Defense penalty seems to scale with Intellect or something, as in-game I've seen up to -12 Defense listed in the Spellbook. I'm not sure of the details of how that works, though.


School of Piranha
Crystal Cost: 10 / 15 / 20
Mana Cost: 15 / 20 / 25
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 80-120
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 160-240
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 240-360

A 'wave' of fish spreads out in one direction from an unoccupied, normally-passable tile, doing Physical damage to all units they pass through. Ignores Spell immunity.

It's Evil Shoal, but as a Spell!

And strangely, it ignores Spell immunity. I've long wondered if that was deliberate or something to the tune of some of the Rage code not being properly converted/cleaned up. After all, summons bypass Spell immunity, and one can argue School of Piranha is basically just a really short-lived summon as far as the conceptual end of things goes.

School of Piranha is in this awkward place of being somewhat lackluster damage per target while being relatively pricey on Mana. If you compare it against Fire Rain, for example, Level 3 Fire Rain's low roll is the same thing as School of Piranha's high roll, while costing less Mana. The two main things School of Piranha has going for it is a huge, highly controllable strike zone (Often allowing you to hit all five enemies and none of your units, or hit 9 out of 10 enemies in larger formations while, again, not hitting your own units) and the fact that you get far earlier, far more reliable access to it than Death Star and so for the Mage Evil Shoal may well be your only tool for murdering eg Black Dragons with your Spells. It's especially frustrating how Evil Shoal is always one step ahead of the equivalent tier of Higher Magic limitation, meaning you can't just double-cast it at full power. (Unless you currently have Higher Magic a level ahead of Chaos Magic, of course, though this is only really decently effective if you're talking using Higher Magic 3 to double-cast Level 2 School of Piranha)

Still, School of Piranha is invaluable in fights against large numbers of foes, especially if they're in odd, spread-out formations -which is common when attacking castles- and its set of qualities mean there's a decent array of niche situations no other nuke Spell can beat it out in for safely dishing out damage to most or all the enemy army, so even though its pricing is awkward and damage lower than I'd prefer, it remains strongly usable until, well, basically when you get Black Hole.

If you haven't guessed yourself, Black Hole kind of renders most of your damage Spells moot.


Stone Rain
Crystal Cost: 10 / 15 / 20
Mana Cost: 30 / 40 / 45
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 50-80; Area: 3 tiles
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 100-160; Area: 7 tiles
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 150-240; Area: 19 tiles

Strikes an area for Physical damage, with no friendly fire risk.

It's Rockfall, but as a Spell!

... and it's still awful.

It's heinously expensive -you can't double-cast even the Level 1 version, ever- with godawful damage. It's also actually lost its doubled effectiveness against mages! It's only vaguely decent at Level 3, where its insanely huge strike zone means I can't just say 'why aren't you casting Fire Rain?', and in that case the question is instead 'why aren't you casting School of Piranha?' which has its own insanely huge strike zone -and has it from Level 1- and also does Physical damage if you care about that for some reason, but costs far less while doing just plain better damage. (At every level, School of Piranha's low roll is equal to Stone Rain's high roll)

It's also got some odd bug that causes the Spellbook damage prediction to flat-out lie to you, and only that part of the game. If you hover the Spell over enemies in actual combat, the damage/kills preview will be the correct value. This is especially unfortunate as the lying value is really, really high, and if it were true Stone Rain would actually be a useful Spell, if niche due to its high cost. As best as I can tell, the Spellbook is referencing Gizmo's damage values for Stone Rain, leading to the lying. Which would be really unfortunate if so, as Stone Rain really would've been saved by having Gizmo's values instead.

As-is, about the only time it would be worth considering is for firing off into a massive melee where your units are mixed in with enemy units. And even that is questionable, given options like Geyser and Black Hole exist.

It's really too bad, this was a great opportunity to make one of the worst Rage skills in The Legend usable, and... Orcs on the March fell down on the job, and quite badly.


Soul Draining
Crystal Cost: 10 / 20 / 30
Mana Cost: 10 / 20 / 40
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 10%
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 20%
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 30%

A single organic target suffers percentile Astral damage. (ie Undead, Plants, Droids, Cyclops, and Objects are all invalid targets) Does not scale with Intellect.

It's Reaper's Soul Draining, but as a Spell!

It's actually surprisingly hard to justify using it, though. Poison Skull and Flaming Arrow now also inflict percentile damage via Poisoning and Burning respectively, and at Level 3 they'll normally be 100% guaranteed to Burn/Poison the target thanks to Intellect now boosting such chances directly. While Soul Draining's percentage is higher past the first Level (Burn and Poisoning will do 5-10%, or with Battle Alchemy maxed it'll be 6.5%-13%), that's per application. Burn and Poisoning last 3 turns, and while there'll be a per-turn reduction in damage (If we say they high roll each time, using base numbers, you'll remove 10% of the original stack size, then 9%, then 8.1%, assuming nothing else does damage) it's still the case that Flaming Arrow and Poison Skull are just massively more economical, and they both work on nearly anything.

There's still a few cases where Soul Draining is worth considering -such as against massive stacks of Archdemons, who will purge Burn and Poisoning before they get a chance to do damage- but overall it's just not that great due to Armored Princess making Poisoning and Burning percentile. And remember, you can stack them, not to mention inflict them from non-Spell sources, and can even inflict them en mass! (eg via Fire Rain, Chaos Dragon, Alchemist's Potion of Poison...)

The other problem being Soul Draining is just so horribly expensive. It's sort of tolerably decent at Level 1, it's realistically more efficient at Level 2 but now it's more obvious that Flaming Arrow and Poison Skull are more economical, and at Level 3 it's just outrageously expensive for only 50% more damage then Level 2. It'd be a lot easier to justify using it if it was more like 15 Mana flat. Or if they'd gone with 30/40/50% kills and otherwise left it the same, which would make it an ideal Spell for softening up massively oversized stacks.


Black Hole
Crystal Cost: 20 / 25 / 30
Mana Cost: 30 / 45 / 60
Level 1 Statistics: Damage: 150-250
Level 2 Statistics: Damage: 300-500
Level 3 Statistics: Damage: 450-750

All enemies suffer Astral damage. Does more damage against higher-Level units, specifically 12.5%/25%/37.5%/50% more for Level 2/3/4/5, respectively. Ignores Spell immunity.

There is never any reason to cast Armageddon ever again after you've gotten the Scroll for Black Hole.

... well, unless you're trying to deal with a Keeper fight, I guess, as Gremlins are immune to Black Hole. Surprisingly, Bosses are not, and indeed Black Hole is really useful in Boss fights since it does astonishing damage to the Boss while likely clearing out whatever chaff they've summoned without you having to go out of your way to target them; among other points, it treats Bosses as Level 5 and so gets the maximum damage bonus against them.

This damage modification seems to have suffered from some translation butchery (Just like in The Legend...), as the Spellbook description says that Black Hole's damage varies with the Spell's Level, which is a 'well, duh' description. Probably the Russian description correctly alludes to it being affected by unit Level, and this somehow got misunderstood by the translator.

Regardless, Black Hole is also, in a massive reversal of The Legend, a Spell so powerful it pretty much redefines how you play if you're a Mage, and maybe even if you're not! There's rarely any reason to bother with any other damaging Spell once you've got Black Hole except if you're trying to be economical or if you're a Mage looking at what to do as your first cast in a turn, because Black Hole just hits everything for massive damage with nothing you'll fight meaningfully resisting it.

Black Hole is, in fact, so powerful that it kind of ruins the Mage's endgame, as a lot of fights will be butchered on the very first turn, and then dead on the second.

So I'm actually kind of glad it never comes back, because yikes is it ridiculous. Fun to mess around with occasionally, but kind of irritating that it exists when you're trying to enjoy the game's depth and you keep coming back to the point that Black Hole erases the need to engage with the depth.

------------------

Next time, we cover Order Magic's changes in Armored Princess.

Comments

  1. I have seen the "barrels detonate from proximity" effect on a Chaos Dragon. Once. Fighting goblins, and a Goblin Catapult used explosives to put an explosive charge next to a chaos dragon, which immediately went off.

    So: If you are fighting Goblin Catapults. And have a Chaos Dragon summoned. And there's a space for the explosive that won't harm any AI units. And there's nothing better for the catapult to do. Then it can happen. It's kind of a niche effect. Presumably you could do this with your own catapults, if you really wanted.

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  2. Seriously I do not get what the devs were thinking with "Book of Evil". It's only remotely useful in the first half of the game, when you don't have access to some of the spells it casts yourself, and even then just barely - it's basically a gimmick. You summon it and pray it does Lightning on its turn, which is the only good spell it casts for its obscene mana cost. More often than not, it casts something like weakness on one stack and you've just wasted your cast on a 35 mana summon that casts 5 mana spell.
    It's quite beefy but with its slow speed, it usually can't go anywhere meaningful, AI doesn't prioritize it in its targeting anyways and if you need a meatshield summon, you are better off casting Call of Nature or Demon Portal every time. So a useless spell, basically, and the only reason to cast it sometimes is to grind some medal in Dark Side (I think).
    Why the devs didn't let the player choose which spell to cast with the book is easily beyond me, for its mana cost it would be more than justified and it would transform this useless unpredictable RNG mess into something actually worthwhile.

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  3. A note about Fire Rain. I agree that its burn chance sucks but for a mage in mid game, who likely has no access to Death Star or Black Hole, it's actually quite useful to double cast oil + fire rain. Fire vulnerability scales with intellect and can reach huge levels, moreso if you oil units that were fire vulnerable in the first place. Droping fire rain on top of that can wipe or almost-wipe stacks even on hard/impossible, and surely will leave them severely weakened. A lot of fights also tend to have armies split with stacks gobbled up in the middle, so hitting 7 targets at once is pretty common. If a lot of stacks can be hit, it's actually superior to just double casting fireball, since fireball's adjanced target damage is lackluster.

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    1. Wait, Oil Mist's vulnerability effect scales with Intellect? Huh. I';; need to reinstall Armored Princess and double-check that at some point, that would make it a lot better than I'd thought if so.

      I will note that Fire Rain is still held back by the luck factor of access. A Mage is assured Fireball access, whereas eg my first Mage actually found Death Star before Fire Rain, and Black Hole shortly after Fire Rain.

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  4. In both the Legend and here Ice Snake have 100% Freeze against targets with fire resistance of 50% and more, just like Geyser.
    I should have told you about it back in the Legend section but forgot :(

    I should have propably right it in the Legend Chaos Magic post but Fear original name refers to specifically sudden reflex-like fear moment. Like if you sitting alone in a dark room when someone suddenly touch your shoulder.

    Sheep is actually Ram in the original. One can guess it from the icon. I guess it was changed because in English 'ram' doesn't have that much of connotations, unlike 'sheep'?

    One more thing I propably should have said earlier (the Legend post) - Sacrifice is considered to be attack spell and thus scale with the make skill or artefacs like Dragon Cloak. Some people consider it to be obvious, some - very much not. So, I have no idea if it's a new info for you or not.

    I see a poster above do not understanding the point of Book of Evil. I don't know if he/she ever read it, but this is an example of something that sounded cool in theory but became less cool in reality. Devs just like the idea of carnivorious living grimoir (I mean, it does sounds pretty cool if you ask me) and tried to make it work.

    Eviln deals Astral damage. Aslo, you had not mentioned it but Eviln have ini of 1.

    Yes, Russian description of Black Hole tells about damage depending on unit level.
    Random note: when Crossroads were just released, Black Hole, along with some other former rage abilities, caused crash when used during a boss battle. Lazy coding is lazy:)

    Speaking of Black Hole, remember me being surprised about it's English description of the Legend speaking about morale affecting it's damage? Well, originally enemies were supposed to use morale system and Black Hole indeed used it for damage. There is still script for it.
    And I actually knew it yet somehow forgot :(
    So it seems that English localization for some reason used waaay outdated description.

    Also, Hell Breath was supposed to scale with int at one point.

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    1. Hmm, Black Hole seemingly use pretty much the same damage calculation as in the Legend.
      I have no saves where there are level 1 enemies but Imps (who are level 2) took higher damage than what was shown in the spellbook.

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    2. Also, you asked about the component of 50 - it's the full damage bonus in percents. It's simply reduced by 1/4 for every level below 5 (and bosses are indeed considered to be level 5).

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    3. Huh. I hadn't noticed how much the devs actually have a pretty strong 'the cold is really hard on heat-loving creatures' all the way back to The Legend. I'm a little surprised Warriors of the North didn't pass out Ice weakness more aggressively to eg Black Dragons. In any event, done some testing to confirm this stuff and updated posts appropriately.

      The Fear bit is interesting, both because that type of specificity is new to me, but also because it neatly fits to the actual mechanics -I'm much more used to video game fear effects being the 'irrational mortal terror' sort of fear, where the afflicted run away from all threats or stumble about randomly, whereas with the description you've provided... I can totally see the mechanical behavior being a very direct representation of units flinching if they look directly at higher-Level units, where they can function if they don't focus on it (The classic "Don't look down" mantra comes to mind) but can't just push past the fear to attack anyway. That's really neat!

      To be honest, I'm not sure why Sheep isn't named Polymorph or something similar. That said, a couple of relatively obvious possibilities for 'why not Ram' are 1: ram is a verb for charging into something, so the translators might've felt it had confusion potential ("I'm going to Ram that unit" sounds like a completely different action) and 2: 'sheep' is gender-neutral while 'ram' is specifically for a male sheep. As there are explicitly female units in the game, the translators might've been uncomfortable with the implication of a temporary gender change.

      I hadn't specifically thought about Sacrifice's mechanical classification, and am mildly surprised it's classed as an attacking Spell. So it gets boosted by Destruction?

      Updated with the Eviln information; I determined the damage type ages ago and just... forgot to update it.

      That Black Hole thing at least partially explains the localization error. Still weird, but much less inexplicable.

      I'm not following the Black Hole damage bonus explanation. I think you'll need to provide the specific numbers it arrives at for me to follow, in this case.

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    4. You know, I always found strange how English supposedly have more than twice more words than Russian yet it's not rare for me to have problems with Russian words that have no direct equivalent in English or technically have, but it's a more general word while in Russian we have more specific ones.

      Yes, Sacrifice is boosted by Destruction or any artefact with "+ to spell damage" effect. The latter is obviously very easy to test.

      Okay, I often have problems with explaining things in English but I'll try my best to make it simple enough.
      Black Hole works (or should work atleast) like that:
      We have base damage. We have a bonus damage component called "level_influence". It's 50 in the unmodded game.
      When Black Hole attack someone, it checks target's level (unless it's object, which are fully ignored by the spell), than it uses it to determine bonus damage multiplier, using this formula:
      (target level -1)/4*level_influence
      Bosses count as level 5 creatures.

      For example, we cast Black Hole on Orcs (Damn illiterate pigs! They totally should be exterminated for it!!!11) Orcs are level 3 unit. Level_influence is always 50, thus we have:
      (3-1)/4*50 = 25

      Than base damage gets percental damage bonus equal to this number, that it get's increased by INT modifier, and than by any "+ spell damage" effects, like "Destroyer" or artefacts.

      My quick test on level 2-5 enemies match the expected numbers. Like I said earlier, I have no saves with level 1 enemies.

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    5. It's long been my impression that most languages prefer to invent words for specific ideas where English would rather use a sentence or paragraph of more generic words. (As in, novels semi-commonly go 'here's a sentence informing you a character is afraid. Now here's a paragraph trying to communicate exactly what specific form of fear they're experiencing')

      I've heard the 'English has more words than X language' before in regards to several languages, and have never been sure if that's 'well, yeah, English is quick to mug words from every other language, of course its word variety is larger' or 'a not-really true claim people make because it makes English sound superior by a really dumb metric'. Either sounds plausible to me.

      So basically it's +12.5%/25%/37.5%/50% against Level 2/3/4/5 units. Alright.

      Retesting, I'm getting results against Level 1 units that are in the damage range, including the upper portions, so... I guess I misunderstood, back in the day? I'm updating the post appropriately, in any event.

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