On the Master of Magic Wiki, an Attack Type describes the method by which any specific attack is delivered. The delivery method of an attack determines primarily when/where it can be used, and may also determine which immunities (if the target possesses any) will be triggered by the attack.
The most common Attack Type is the Melee Attack, which most units can perform, and requires the attacker to be directly adjacent to its target. When one unit makes a Melee Attack against any target, that target often executes a Counter Attack in retaliation.
Many units can make a Ranged Attack (of one of three possible sub-types), which may be performed at any distance (though longer distances sometimes weaken the attack).
Finally, a great many Unit Abilities, Unit Enchantments and Magical Items can allow a unit to make one or more Special Attacks. These are executed only when the unit makes a Melee Attack or is subjected to an enemy Melee Attack. Special Attacks come in several different "flavors", and can behave radically differently from one another.
Spells may also occasionally be said to make an attack on their target(s). This is normally referred to as a Ranged Attack.
The Attack Type only describes the delivery method of an attack. The effect of an attack on its target is called the Damage Type, and is discussed in a separate article.
The Master of Magic Wiki attempts to deconstruct and analyze the rules of the game in a manner that is easier to understand, and with as few exceptions as possible. Therefore, the "Attack and Damage" system was devised, which categorizes each attack in the game based on how it is delivered (known as the "Attack Type") and by the effect it causes to the target (known as the "Damage Type").
Any attack in the game, regardless of what effect it has on the target, can be said to have a certain "Attack Type". This determines when the attack can be delivered, limit which targets it can pick, and even determine which immunities it will trigger, if the target possesses any. Different Attack Types can behave very differently from one another, making it hard to generalize whenever speaking about them.
For the most part, all units have the ability to execute a Melee Attack on most enemy targets, and the ability to execute a Counter Attack whenever any enemy makes a Melee Attack upon them. Aside from a few special cases, mostly involving the use of ill magic, all units should be able to execute both of these.
Additional types of attacks are available only to certain types of units, or as a result of certain Unit Abilities or positive magic affecting a unit. A unit with more types of attacks available has more flexibility; some units rely on being able to switch between Melee Attacks and Ranged Attacks as the situation requires. Other units may be able to execute a variety of Special Attacks alongside their Melee Attacks, thus making them significantly dangerous in close combat.
Main Attack Types Edit
Attack Types can be broken into three primary groups: Melee Attacks, Ranged Attacks and Special Attacks. These are radically different from one another, though the specific Attack Types within each group are very similar to each other.
Melee Attacks Edit
- Main article: Melee Attack
The Melee Attack is the most common of all Attack Types. By default, each and every unit in the game can execute a Melee Attack. Only ill magic can prevent a unit from making Melee Attacks, and such cases are rare.
Once the attacker is assaulting the target, the target usually also gets to retaliate, using what is called a Counter Attack. Melee Attacks and Counter Attacks are nearly identical for most purposes, so the attacker and the defender are essentially both at risk, pitting themselves against one another to see who comes out on top.
The primary purpose of any Melee Attack and Counter Attack is to deliver Physical Damage at the opponent. Potentially, this will kill off one or more of the enemy Figures (ideally, all of them). Some Melee Attacks can deliver additional Damage Types, but this requires the presence of unique Unit Abilities and/or Magical Items. Without them, only Physical Damage is delivered.
The close proximity between the two units during a Melee Attack/Counter Attack also allows both the attacker and defender to execute any Special Attacks they may have (see below). This increases the potential harm delivered by either unit as appropriate.
Since Melee Attacks involve hand-to-hand combat, Walking and Swimming units normally cannot initiate a Melee Attack against any enemy Flying unit. Flying units, on the other hand, can attack any opponent. Counter Attacks are allowed against any incoming Melee Attack, but there are some magical effects that will prevent a unit from Counter Attacking.
Ranged Attacks Edit
- Main article: Ranged Attack
A Ranged Attack is an attack made by one unit at another, using either ranged weapons, launched boulders, or magical energy bolts. All Ranged Attacks can be performed at any distance on the battlefield, though most Ranged Attacks are significantly more effective when used at short range than at long range.
The primary advantage of a Ranged Attack is that the enemy may not immediately retaliate. Thus the Ranged Attacker remains safe while executing this attack (unlike Melee Attacks, which provoke a Counter Attack and thus put the attacker itself at risk).
Ranged Attacks are further separated into three "sub-types": Ranged Missile Attacks, Ranged Boulder Attacks, and Ranged Magical Attacks. These differ from one another in several ways, though on the whole they function the same (as described above). The primary difference is in whether or not the attack suffers penalties when used at a great distance, and which immunities it triggers if the target possesses any.
All Ranged Attacks deliver Physical Damage, whose purpose is to injure and kill enemy Figures. Certain Unit Abilities and other magical effects may add more Damage Types to this attack, making it more deadly in one way or another.
Just under half of all units possess a Ranged Attack of one specific sub-type. There is normally a limit to the number of times this attack type can be used in each battle - usually determined by the amount of ammunition the unit is carrying, or the amount of Mana it has left. Once these run out, the unit must resort to its Melee Attacks, Counter Attacks and/or Special Attacks, as available.
Ranged Attacks can generally be executed at any target on the battlefield, though again distance usually plays a large part in determining whether a target should be attacked at a given time. Ranged Attacks require the target to be visible to the attacker, so some effects (particularly Invisibility) can render a target immune to Ranged Attacks.
Note that spells which attack their target (often called "direct-damage" spells on this wiki) are said to deliver a Ranged Attack. This makes them simpler to discuss.
Special Attacks Edit
- Main article: Special Attack
There are either four or five types of Special Attacks, depending on whether or not the original game manual is to be taken at face value. They include Thrown Attacks, Breath Attacks, Gaze Attacks, Touch Attacks, and optionally Fear Attacks. The difference between them is in the sequence in which they are executed while the attacker and its target are locked in Melee combat.
Breath Attacks and Thrown Attacks occur first, and can only be executed by the attacker. Gaze Attacks are performed next. Finally, the attacker and defender exchange Touch Attacks at the same time as they exchange Melee Damage with each other. The sooner a Special Attack occurs, the more tactical advantage it can confer to its user.