|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Spell Type||Combat Instant|
Target unit that has died during the current battle is restored with full Health and figures, but is now Undead.
|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Animate Dead is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.|
Animate Dead fills the corpses of a dead unit with dark energy. This energy allows the caster to manipulate the corpses, forcing them to move and to fight under his command. The result is an Undead unit with similar capabilities to the original (previously dead) one, which may last until the end of the battle or even beyond.
Valid Targets Edit
In order to cast Animate Dead, at least one valid unit must have been completely destroyed previously in the same battle. While all units are still alive on the battlefield, the spell may not be cast.
Most dead units are valid targets for this spell, with some particular exceptions:
- Dead Heroes are not valid targets.
- Dead units with Death Immunity are not valid targets. This includes all Death units and the Undead.
- Dead units with an innate Magic Immunity are not valid targets.
- Dead Fantastic Creatures that are normally summoned only for the duration of a battle, such as Fire Elementals and Phantom Beasts, are not valid targets.
All other units are valid targets for this spell.
Note that both dead enemies and dead friendlies are valid targets. It is therefore possible to animate both, though the consequences are somewhat different as explained below.
Restoring the Dead Edit
When Animate Dead is cast on a target dead unit, that unit returns to life.
The unit also receives its full Movement Allowance for the turn, and may move, attack, or cast spells immediately if necessary.
The new unit is placed on a random tile within the caster's half of the battlefield, close to the center of the map. It is not possible to decide where the unit will be created, and the location is not related in any way to the place where the unit died on the battlefield.
The new unit retains all the properties it had before death - except any Unit Enchantments that affected it (those are lost upon death).
However, this new unit is now Undead - and this has several important implications on its abilities.
Undead Units Edit
- Main article: Undead
When a unit is reanimated, it returns as an Undead unit. This has several effects on the unit's abilities and behavior from this point onwards.
Undead units retain all of their pre-death properties and abilities. The only thing lost in the transformation are any Unit Enchantments that affected the unit before death. This includes any mutations caused by Chaos Channels, if present.
Undead units gain 4 new immunities common to all Death creatures: Poison Immunity, Illusions Immunity, Cold Immunity and Death Immunity. This makes the unit resilient against many different Curses, Special Attacks and other spells and effects.
Note that the Death Immunity given by the transformation into an Undead creature means that a unit may not be reanimated twice. In other words, once Animate Dead has been cast on a unit, it becomes an invalid target for the spell even if it dies again during the same battle.
On the other hand, Undead units are now considered to be Fantastic Units associated with the Death Realm, and are thus vulnerable to spells that only affect such units. They may no longer be targeted by spells that only affect Normal Units. Furthermore, the Undead are especially vulnerable to several kinds of Life Magic spells which they find exceptionally difficult to resist.
Undead units do not heal naturally between overland turns. They may not be healed by any effect other than the Regeneration spell. This means that an Undead unit is usually very short-lived: it will eventually lose all its Hit Points and be destroyed.
Finally, Normal Units turned into Undead units lose their Upkeep Costs entirely, and no longer require any Food or Gold. For Fantastic Units, on the other hand, the Upkeep Cost (paid in Mana) is increased by 50% when they become Undead, making them considerably more expensive than before.
At the End of Combat Edit
Depending on the unit's allegiance before it was killed, an animated unit may or may not return to the overland map once the battle is over - assuming the unit survives to the end of the battle at all.
If the reanimated unit was part of the Animate Dead's caster's army at the very start of the battle, it will return to the overland map after the battle as an Undead version of itself. Thus, the unit has literally been saved from death, and can continue fighting for its master in later battles.
Note that friendly reanimated Fantastic Units will now have an Upkeep Cost that is 50% higher than normal. This can end up putting a serious drain on your resources, if the unit already had a high Upkeep Cost. Remember to check Mana expenditure after the battle to see whether the unit is worth keeping at all.
If the reanimated unit was part of the enemy's army at the start of the battle, it will never make it out of the battle alive. Such a unit will automatically be destroyed once the battle is over. It is not possible to keep this unit at all after the battle. Casting Word of Recall on the unit in an attempt to circumvent this will simply cause it to be destroyed automatically.
Usage EditAnimate Dead may only be cast during combat, for a basic Casting Cost of 50.
When the spell is selected for casting, the game will display a list of all valid targets (see above for exceptions). Targets are listed in the order in which they died - the first unit that died is listed at the top.
If no units have yet fallen during the current battle, or none of the fallen units are valid targets, the game will not allow this spell to be cast at all.
When the spell is cast, a blue pentagram will appear on the battlefield in a randomally-selected tile, close to the center of the map but within the caster's half of the battlefield. The newly-reanimated unit appears in this tile, and has a full Movement Allowance; it can move, attack or cast spells immediately if necessary.
As a Very Rare Death spell, Animate Dead may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 3 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Animate Dead may not be acquired at the start of the campaign regardless of how many Spellbooks the wizard possesses. It must either be Researched during the game, or acquired through other means.
Wizards with 3 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Animate Dead during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Death Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Animate Dead has a base Research Cost of 3,000.
With at least 3 Spellbooks, the Animate Dead spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
Animate Dead can be a good way to "save" a valuable unit from death, or at least ensure that despite losses your army can continue fighting. It is an impromptu version of Black Channels, which turns a unit into an Undead unit on the overland map, but also has several advantages over that spell.
For one, Animate Dead can be cast on a dead Fantastic Unit to turn it into an Undead unit. This is something that cannot be done with the Black Channels spell at all. The benefits of this include adding all 4 Death-creature immunities to the unit, and permanently associating it with the Death realm so that in the future it can benefit from spells like Darkness. On the downside of course, reanimated Fantastic Units have a higher Upkeep Cost, are more vulnerable to some spells, and do not heal naturally. Then again, the unit has just fallen in battle, so Animate Dead prevents it from being lost permanently!
The other benefit is that Animate Dead can be cast on fallen enemy units as well. Although the unit will only remain alive for the duration of this battle, it can bolster your forces for this battle. It is best to cast Animate Dead on the strongest dead enemy unit - the costs are the same regardless of the target, so this makes more sense.
Known Bugs Edit
Although it is not supposed to, Animate Dead actually allows keeping revived enemy units after combat.
Casting this spell can cause the graphics to break, units get displayed at their past location(s) in addition to where they currently are.
Casting this spell with more than 6 dead units to select from crashes the game.
AI players are unable to use this spell.