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Combat Instant is a Spell Type, or category of spells, in Master of Magic. All spells within this group have permanent or semi-permanent effects that do not require continuous investment of Icon Mana.png Mana. In other words, a Combat Instant may leave a lasting impact on its target, but the spell itself disappears completely once cast, and will never require any form of Upkeep Cost. As the name suggests, Combat Instants can only be used during battles.

Over a third of these spells are variable-cost, meaning that they can be cast with more Icon Mana.png Mana infused into them than their base Casting Cost. This reduces the amount of Icon Mana.png Mana and Spell Casting Skill remaining for other spells, but will in turn increase the power of the Combat Instant - typically by boosting its Spell Attack Strength, or otherwise improving its chance of success.

There are a total of 29 different Combat Instants in Master of Magic, spread across the different Realms, although 3 of these are really Instant Spells that can simply also be used in combat. The Icon Chaos.pngChaos Realm contains by far the most - 11 Combat Instants - the majority of which are meant to cause direct Icon Damage.png damage to one or more enemy units, or even destroy them outright.

Usage Edit

All Combat Instants must be cast during combat. As mentioned already, three Instant Spells can also double as Combat Instants, in which case it is possible to cast them during combat for an effect similar their overland one. Combat Instants run the gamut of Casting Costs, with some being incredibly cheap and others being incredibly expensive, not only as a result of many of them having variable Casting Costs, but also because some of them can have a major impact on the battle, such as spells that try to deliver Icon Damage.png damage to all enemies at once.

In all cases however, Combat Instants have absolutely no Upkeep Costs, as the spell itself ceases to exist after it has applied its intended effect. Since the spell dissipates after casting, it cannot be canceled voluntarily by the caster, nor can it be dispelled by opponents (although there are two exceptions here, as noted further below). Still, this does not mean that the effect cannot be undone - in fact most Combat Instant effects disappear at the end of the battle.

For example, the Icon Nature.pngEarth to Mud spell creates a patch of muddy ground on the battlefield, and then dissipates. It's not possible to dispel this effect, but the mud itself will disappear once combat is over and will not reappear during the next battle in the same location. The Icon Damage.png damage caused by direct-damage spells, such as Icon Nature.pngIce Bolt, also cannot be dispelled with magic - but it can be healed in any way that normally heals Icon Damage.png damage incurred during combat.

Targeting Edit

The majority of Combat Instants are offensive spells, and must be targeted at one specific enemy unit. There are also a handful of beneficial ones, which require a friendly target instead. Three of them must be cast on a map tile, two bring deceased units back to life, and two can be used on both the caster's own or opposing units. The rest take no targets at all, and will instead affect every valid target on the battlefield. The next section explores these groups in more detail. Some Combat Instants also have restrictions on their valid targets, and certain Unit Abilities can prevent them from being cast on a specific target.

If the casting of a Combat Instant requiring a target is successful, the game will prompt the player to choose an appropriate one. Selecting an invalid target will usually result in an error message, but the game will typically allow the player to choose a different target. Occasionally however, an "invalid" target can be selected, except the spell will have no effect on it, and ends up wasting its entire Casting Cost for nothing. This most commonly happens with attack spells against which a target unit possesses an immunity, or Icon Resist.png Resistable spells when a target has no chance of failing its roll.

Effects Edit

While Combat Instants have a wide variety of effects, they can easily be generalized into several groups of similar spells. In most cases, these categories also coincide with the targeting types or restrictions mentioned above. A common theme however, is that the energy channeled into Combat Instants dissipates immediately after its effect triggers, and thus can not be cancelled manually or dispelled by the enemy. The two exceptions are the vortices conjured up by Icon Chaos.pngMagic Vortex, and the enchanted strands created by the Icon Nature.pngWeb spell, both of which can be dismantled by opposing spellcasters (although they can't be voluntarily removed by the caster).

Direct Damage Edit

The largest group of Combat Instants are commonly referred to as "direct-damage" spells. These perform a specific type of attack, usually against a single enemy unit, and follow the game's generic rules for dealing Physical Damage. That is, the spell has an Attack Strength and needs to make an Attack Roll, and the target can reduce the Icon Damage.png damage it takes via a Defense Roll. The following spells belong to this group:

Spell Attack Types Base
Strength
Max
Strength
Notes
Icon Life.pngStar Fires conventional Icon Ranged Magic.png 15 Icon Ranged Magic.png 15 only affects Icon Chaos.pngChaos and Icon Death.pngDeath units
Icon Nature.pngIce Bolt conventional, Cold Icon Ranged Magic.png 5 Icon Ranged Magic.png 45 Icon Ranged Magic.png +1 per every extra Icon Mana.png 1
Icon Sorcery.pngPsionic Blast conventional, Illusion Icon Ranged Magic.png 5 Icon Ranged Magic.png 25 Icon Ranged Magic.png +1 per every extra Icon Mana.png 2
Icon Chaos.pngDoom Bolt Doom Damage Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 -
Icon Chaos.pngFire Bolt conventional, Fire Icon Ranged Magic.png 5 Icon Ranged Magic.png 25 Icon Ranged Magic.png +1 per every extra Icon Mana.png 1
Icon Chaos.pngFireball Area Damage, Fire Icon Ranged Magic.png 5 Icon Ranged Magic.png 25 Icon Ranged Magic.png +1 per every extra Icon Mana.png 3
Icon Chaos.pngLightning Bolt Armor-Piercing Icon Ranged Magic.png 5 Icon Ranged Magic.png 45 Icon Ranged Magic.png +1 per every extra Icon Mana.png 1
Icon Chaos.pngWarp Lightning Armor-Piercing Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 makes up to 10 attacks (Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 down to Icon Ranged Magic.png 1)

In addition to these, Icon Chaos.pngFlame Strike is also a direct damage spell, except that it automatically affects each and every enemy unit on the battlefield, rather than being targeted at a single one, like the spells above. It has an Attack Strength of Icon Ranged Magic.png 15, and deals Area Fire Damage or, as this is commonly termed on the wiki: Immolation Damage. In terms of its targeting, Icon Chaos.pngFlame Strike naturally falls into the group that requires none, but its effect is identical to a mid-strength Icon Chaos.pngFireball cast simultaneously at every opposing unit.

Finally, a special case of a direct damage Combat Instant is Icon Death.pngLife Drain. Both conceptually, and based on the in-game Spell Typing, Icon Death.pngLife Drain is Icon Death.pngDeath's version of a single-target variable-damage spell. However, unlike all others, it does not use the conventional Physical Damage mechanics. Instead, Icon Death.pngLife Drain forces its target to make a single Icon Resist.png Resistance roll, and bases its Icon Damage.png damage on the difference between the result of this roll, and the number that the target would have had to roll to avoid the effect completely. Consequently, rather than increasing its Attack Strength, infusing Icon Death.pngLife Drain with extra Icon Mana.png Mana applies a Icon SpellSave.png -1 penalty to this roll for every Icon Mana.png 5 spent. This translates directly to one point of Icon Damage.png damage on a theoretical Icon Resist.png 0 Resist target.

Despite this, many players, including the authors of the unofficial patches, consider Icon Death.pngLife Drain to be a "Resist-or-suffer" type spell. As a result, starting from the Insecticide patch, when this spell is cast by a Hero, it will benefit from any Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save modifiers granted to that Hero by Magical Items. However, this is not the case in the original game.

Regardless of their mechanics for dealing Icon Damage.png damage though, all Combat Instants in this group share the common property of being completely negated by the Ability MagicImmunity Magic Immunity ability and, in the case of Icon Chaos.pngChaos or Icon Death.pngDeath spells, also Icon Life.pngRighteousness. In this, they differ from conventional Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks, against which both of these effects merely increase their possessor's Icon Defense.png Defense score to Icon Defense.png 50. None of the above spells can ever get any Icon Damage.png damage through these effects. This is also different from Ability ColdImmunity Cold Immunity and Ability FireImmunity Fire Immunity which, if they apply, will grant the same Icon Defense.png 50 against spells, that they would against regular attacks bearing the attribute they protect from.

Resistable Spells Edit

Sometimes also called "Resist-or-suffer" spells, these magics ultimately also cause Icon Damage.png damage to one or more enemy units, but in a very different manner. Icon Sorcery.pngBanish, Icon Life.pngDispel Evil, Icon Nature.pngPetrify, and Icon Death.pngWord of Death are the simplest spells in this group, although the first two of these have restrictions on the types of units they can affect. They all work the same way however: each Icon Figure.png figure in the targeted unit must make an individual Icon Resist.png Resistance roll, or be slain one way or another. This effectively translates into one Icon Figure.png figure's worth of Icon Damage.png damage caused to the unit as a whole for every failed roll.

Nearly all of the spells in this group apply a Icon Resist.png Resistance penalty to their targets. In fact, Icon Sorcery.pngBanish can even be infused with extra Icon Mana.png Mana to increase this penalty at a rate of Icon SpellSave.png -1 per Icon Mana.png 15. Icon Life.pngDispel Evil is also much more effective (represented by an additional Icon SpellSave.png -5) against units with the UnitEnchantment Undead Undead attribute, than against other targets. These are creatures reanimated through Icon Death.pngDeath magics or Life Stealing Damage, and should not be confused with the Fantastic Units "naturally" associated with the Realm of Icon Death.pngDeath, whom never actually possess this property.

Single target Resistable Spells can be cast by Heroes with greater effectiveness than by either Wizards or other spellcasting units. This is because Magical Items imbued with the Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save Item Power invariably always apply to these spells. This enchantment is also cumulative, so a Hero can have multiple such items, which then stack with both each other, and any built-in Icon SpellSave.png Save modifier that the spell already has by default.

There are also two larger-scale Resistable Spells: Icon Death.pngDeath Spell and Icon Life.pngHoly Word. Again, the latter one has a restriction on the affected units, but otherwise these spells work similar to Icon Chaos.pngFlame Strike and Combat Enchantments. They require no targeting, and instead seek out every enemy unit automatically. They also both have a Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save penalty, and like Icon Life.pngDispel Evil, Icon Life.pngHoly Word is much more effective against UnitEnchantment Undead Undead than against other targets.

It is worth noting that in the original game, likely due to balance reasons, Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save modifiers granted by Magical Items do not apply to these larger scale spells. However, this is also changed in the unofficial Insecticide patch, which means that from v1.40 onwards, the Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save Item Power does work with both Icon Death.pngDeath Spell and Icon Life.pngHoly Word.

Finally, the last spell in this group, Icon Chaos.pngDisintegrate, works slightly differently than the others. One could even say that this is the "ultimate" single target Resistable Spell. Instead of allowing for a Icon Resist.png Resistance roll, Icon Chaos.pngDisintegrate will check whether the target has any chance of failing such a roll. If it does, the spell will automatically, and always, destroy that target. Otherwise, it will naturally have no effect. While Icon Chaos.pngDisintegrate has no native Icon Resist.png Resistance modifier, Magical Items imbued with Icon SpellSave.png Spell Save penalties do apply to it, even in the official game.

It may also be worth noting that all non-Icon Death.pngDeath spells in this group actually deal Irreversible Damage. That is, the Icon Figure.png figures killed by these spells may not be healed until the battle is over, and if a unit dies mostly as a result of this type of Icon Damage.png damage, it will not be possible to resurrect it by any means either.

Non-Resistable Spells Edit

Three of the offensive Combat Instants can not be Icon Resist.png Resisted by the target unit. Of these, Icon Nature.pngCracks Call is arguably the most powerful: it has a static 25% chance of destroying the enemy unit regardless of its defenses, but will not work at all against Ability NonCorporeal Non-Corporeal, Icon Movement AirFlying and, starting with Insecticide, Ability Merging Merging units. Icon Chaos.pngWarp Wood is much simpler, and will only rid a unit with Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attacks of all its remaining Ability Ammunition Ammunition; while Icon Nature.pngWeb doubles as a Unit Curse, and will cause the target to be unable to act until it breaks free, and to lose its natural ability to Icon Movement AirFly for the remainder of the battle.

Dispel Magic Edit

The two Combat Instants that can be cast on friendly and hostile units alike are Icon Arcane.pngDispel Magic, and its enhanced version Icon Sorcery.pngDispel Magic True. Both of them are meant to try and remove all hostile spell effects from their targets, with a success chance dependant on the Casting Cost of the spell that created the effect, versus the Icon Mana.png Mana spent on the dispel. To support this, both spells can be infused with extra Icon Mana.png Mana, although the Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery version always has 3 times the Dispel Strength.

The Instant Spells Icon Arcane.pngDisenchant Area and Icon Sorcery.pngDisenchant True also double as Combat Instants, and may be cast during battles without the need to even select a target. They normally affect a tile on the overland map which, in combat, translates to the entire battlefield. They automatically try to remove every Unit Enchantment and Unit Curse that the opponent may have in play, in addition to all hostile Combat Enchantments, and possibly even Town Enchantments if the battle is taking place in an enemy Town.

Friendly Unit Spells Edit

There are only four Combat Instants that affect friendly units. Two of these, Icon Arcane.pngRecall Hero, and the (originally also an Instant Spell) Icon Sorcery.pngWord of Recall serve to provide a hasty way out of the battle for their target, who is instantly teleported to the caster's Summoning Circle, effectively removing it from combat. Icon Life.pngHealing and Icon Life.pngMass Healing, as their name suggests, instead restore lost Icon Hits.png Hit Points to one or all units on their caster's side. Naturally, the latter spell requires no target, and will affect all friendly units equally.

Raising Dead Units Edit

Icon Life.pngRaise Dead, and its dark counterpart Icon Death.pngAnimate Dead both need to target a unit that has already been destroyed in the battle. This is accomplished through a special interface, that lists only the names of the valid targets, with no additional information. The Icon Life.pngLife spell works exclusively on friendly units, and while Icon Death.pngDeath is indiscriminate about its targets, neither spell can be cast unless there is at least one unit that it can call back to existence. Unfortunately, in the official version of the game, both of these spells have serious bugs and can corrupt, or even crash the game. Insecticide fixes some, but not all of these, and the Unofficial Patch 1.50 is required to be able to cast them safely.

Tile Spells Edit

Three Combat Instants need to be cast on a tile on the combat map. To be more precise though, Icon Chaos.pngDisrupt can only be used on a tile that has a City Wall section running through it, and will in turn automatically reduce that to rubble. Icon Nature.pngEarth to Mud transforms a 5 by 5 square of tiles into thick muddy ground that Icon Movement GroundWalking units have significant difficulties crossing, centered around the tile it is cast on. Last, but not least, Icon Chaos.pngMagic Vortex summons a whirlwind of chaotic energy that will wreak havoc on any units it passes by. This is not a unit, and the caster has only very limited control over its movement, although it is susceptible to being dispelled from the battlefield.

Call Chaos Edit

Finally, there is one spell that does not quite fit into the above groups. Icon Chaos.pngCall Chaos is a battlefield spell that requires no targeting. When cast, it will try to randomly inflict one of several effects on every opposing unit. However, not all of these effects are harmful, and there's also a chance that nothing will happen to one or more of the units. In addition, the effects that do hurt their targets are either Icon Resist.png Resistable, or cause conventional Physical Damage which can be defended against.

List of Combat Instants Edit

The following list details all 29 Combat Instants available in the game.

Name Realm Rarity Casting
Cost
Research Short Description
Disenchant Area Icon Arcane.pngArcane -- 50 300 Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on the battlefield.
Dispel Magic Icon Arcane.pngArcane -- 10+ 100 Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on one target unit.
Recall Hero Icon Arcane.pngArcane -- 20 350 Target friendly Hero is instantly teleported to the current location of their master's Summoning Circle.
Dispel Evil Icon Life.pngLife Uncommon 25 450 Each Icon Figure.png figure in target Icon Death.pngDeath or Icon Chaos.pngChaos unit must resist at Icon SpellSave.png -4 or be destroyed. Undead are even more susceptible.
Healing Icon Life.pngLife Common 15 100 Restores Icon Hits.png 5 to the target unit.
Holy Word Icon Life.pngLife Rare 60 1700 Each Icon Figure.png figure in each enemy Fantastic Unit must resist at Icon SpellSave.png -2 or be destroyed. Undead are even more susceptible.
Mass Healing Icon Life.pngLife Rare 50 1600 Restores Icon Hits.png 5 to each friendly unit on the battlefield.
Raise Dead Icon Life.pngLife Uncommon 35 620 One unit destroyed during the battle is returned to life with 50% of its Icon Hits.png Hit Points (and thus Icon Figure.png Figures).
Star Fires Icon Life.pngLife Common 5 40 Target Icon Death.pngDeath or Icon Chaos.pngChaos unit is struck with a Icon Ranged Magic.png 15-strength Magical Damage attack.
Cracks Call Icon Nature.pngNature Uncommon 20 300 Has a 25% chance of killing a target enemy unit.
Earth to Mud Icon Nature.pngNature Common 15 20 Turns a section of the battlefield to mud, slowing down corporeal Icon Movement GroundGround units that move through it.
Ice Bolt Icon Nature.pngNature Uncommon 10+ 400 Strikes the target with a Cold Damage attack of adjustable strength.
Petrify Icon Nature.pngNature Rare 35 960 Each Icon Figure.png figure in the target enemy unit must Icon Resist.png Resist (with no penalty) or be turned to stone.
Web Icon Nature.pngNature Common 10 100 Holds an enemy unit in place until it breaks free, and removes the unit's Icon Movement AirFlying ability until the end of combat.
Banish Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Rare 20+ 1120 Each Icon Figure.png figure in a target enemy Fantastic Unit must resist at Icon SpellSave.png -3 or be destroyed. The penalty can be further increased by spending additional Icon Mana.png Mana.
Disenchant True Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Uncommon 50+ 350 Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on the battlefield. Dispel Strength is 3 times that of Icon Arcane.pngDisenchant Area.
Dispel Magic True Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Common 10+ 40 Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on one target unit. Dispel Strength is 3 times that of Icon Arcane.pngDispel Magic.
Psionic Blast Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Common 10+ 250 Strikes the target with an adjustable strength magical Illusion Damage attack.
Word of Recall Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery Common 20 160 Teleports a target friendly unit to the Town currently containing its owner's Summoning Circle.
Call Chaos Icon Chaos.pngChaos Very Rare 75 3000 Inflicts a random effect on each enemy unit on the battlefield.
Disintegrate Icon Chaos.pngChaos Very Rare 50 2000 If the targeted enemy unit has Icon Resist.png 9 or less, it is completely destroyed on the spot.
Disrupt Icon Chaos.pngChaos Common 15 40 Destroys a targeted City Wall section.
Doom Bolt Icon Chaos.pngChaos Rare 40 1120 Target enemy unit suffers exactly Icon Damage.png 10 that can not be blocked except by Magic Immunity or Icon Life.pngRighteousness.
Fire Bolt Icon Chaos.pngChaos Common 5+ 60 Strikes an enemy target with a Fire Damage attack of adjustable strength.
Fireball Icon Chaos.pngChaos Uncommon 15+ 560 Makes an attack of adjustable strength dealing Immolation Damage to an enemy unit.
Flame Strike Icon Chaos.pngChaos Rare 60 1600 Every enemy unit on the battlefield is struck by an Immolation Damage attack of strength Icon Ranged Magic.png 15.
Lightning Bolt Icon Chaos.pngChaos Uncommon 10+ 300 Target enemy unit is struck by a magical Armor Piercing Damage attack of adjustable strength.
Magic Vortex Icon Chaos.pngChaos Rare 50 1200 Creates a powerful tornado that moves semi-randomly across the battlefield, severely damaging everything in or adjacent to its path.
Warp Lightning Icon Chaos.pngChaos Rare 35 880 Target enemy unit is struck by 10 successive Armor Piercing Damage attacks of decreasing strength, starting with a strength Icon Ranged Magic.png 10 attack.
Warp Wood Icon Chaos.pngChaos Common 10 20 Target enemy unit possessing a Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack loses all its ammunition, and cannot use this attack for the remainder of the battle.
Animate Dead Icon Death.pngDeath Very Rare 50 3000 Returns a unit that's died back to full health, turns it into an Undead unit, and places it under the caster's control.
Death Spell Icon Death.pngDeath Very Rare 50 2500 Each Icon Figure.png figure in every enemy unit on the battlefield must resist at Icon SpellSave.png -2 or be destroyed.
Life Drain Icon Death.pngDeath Common 10+ 160 Causes Icon Damage.png Damage to a target enemy unit equal to the amount it fails a Icon Resist.png Resistance roll by, and proportionally either grants Icon Hits.png Hit Points to the caster if it is a unit, or contributes to their Spell Casting Skill if a Wizard.
Word of Death Icon Death.pngDeath Very Rare 40 2000 Each Icon Figure.png figure in a target enemy unit must resist at Icon SpellSave.png -5 or be slain.