"Combat Instants" is a category of spells in Master of Magic. All spells within this category are meant to have a permanent or semi-permanent effect which does not require continuous investment of Mana. In other words, a Combat Instant may leave a lasting impact on its target, but the spell itself disappears completely. This distinguishes between Combat Instants and the other major spell category, Enchantments.
As their name suggests, all Combat Instants must be cast during combat, and the majority of them must be targeted at a specific unit on the battlefield. Several Instant Spells require no target at all - affecting as many targets as they can find automatically.
Several Combat Instants can be cast with more Mana invested into them than required for the actual casting. This reduces the amount of Mana and Spell Skill remaining for other spells, but will also increase the power of the Combat Instant - whether to do more damage or to have a higher chance of success.
Once a Combat Instant is cast, it will perform its effect immediately. While the effect can last for a long time afterwards and/or have permanent repercussions, the Combat Instant itself dissipates immediately. As a result, the spell has no further presence in the game, its effect cannot be dispelled or canceled, and there are no Upkeep Costs to be paid in order to maintain that effect.
There is a total of 29 different Combat Instants in Master of Magic, belonging to different Realms. The Chaos Realm contains the majority of these - 11 Combat Instants - all of which are meant to cause severe damage to the enemy army.
All Combat Instants must be cast during combat. A few spells classified as Instant Spells are also classified as Combat Instants, in which case it is possible to cast them during combat for a similar effect.
The majority of Combat Instants must be targeted at one specific unit - either friendly or enemy. There are often restrictions on which types of units are valid targets for the spell, and some unit abilities protect them from being targeted by specific kinds of enemy Combat Instants.
Combat Instants run the gamut of Casting Costs, with some being incredibly cheap and others being incredibly expensive - at least with regards to the common Spell Skill casting limits enforced during combat. 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. On the other hand, the effects performed by a Combat Instant may cause the target to suddenly receive its own Upkeep Costs. This is explained in the articles for specific spells that behave like this, such as Animate Dead.
Since the spell dissipates after casting, it cannot be "canceled" voluntarily by the caster nor by opponent wizards. 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 Earth to Mud spell creates a patch of muddy ground on the battlefield, and then dissipates. It's not possible to dispel, but the mud itself will disappear once combat is over and will not reappear during the next battle in the same location. The damage caused by a direct-damage spell, for example Ice Bolt, cannot be dispelled with magic - but it can be healed in any way that normally heals damage incurred during combat.
Some Combat Instants are cast without the need for a target - they will automatically affect as many valid targets as they can find on the battlefield. All other Combat Instants require a target upon which to inflict their effects. The majority of Combat Instants, being attack spells, must be targeted at an enemy unit. A few, like the Healing spell, must be targeted at a friendly unit. Finally, a few Combat Instants must be targeted at a location on the battlefield itself.
When the casting a Combat Instant is completed, the game will ask the player to choose an appropriate target. Selecting an invalid target will cause an error message, and usually the game will allow the player to choose a different target. Occasionally, a spell will allow choosing an "invalid" target, but will then have no effect on the target and end up wasting its entire Casting Cost for nothing.
A few Combat Instants will only affect specific types of units; for example, Banish can only affect Fantastic Units, doing nothing to Normal Units or Heroes (it cannot be targeted at them at all). Other spells may only affect targets belonging to a specific Realm, for instance the Star Fires spell which can only be used to attack Death or Chaos creatures.
More commonly, Combat Instants must take into account the various immunities often possessed by units - whether innately or thanks to a magical effect. Those units may either shrug off the spell's effects, or be invalid targets for the spell. For example, the Petrify spell cannot be used against any unit possessing Stoning Immunity. Almost none of the Sorcery spells can be used against any unit possessing Illusions Immunity.
Again, in case the target is immune to a certain spell, that spell may either refuse to target that unit (asking for another target instead), or fail to affect the unit and waste its entire Casting Cost for nothing.
The majority of Combat Instants are meant to inflict direct damage upon the target(s), and are thus often referred to as "direct-damage" spells. In most cases they perform a specific type of attack against the target, which is treated like a Magical Ranged Attack - with To Hit rolls to determine damage and Defense rolls by the target to block damage.
Other spells may force the target to make a Resistance roll, often at a penalty to its Resistance score, in order to affect that target at all. If the target succeeds its roll, it may be able to completely ignore the intended effect!
Whichever effect is inflicted by a Combat Instant, it cannot be canceled by the caster and cannot be dispelled by the opponent - because the Combat Instant itself ceases to exist after being cast.
Naturally, damage caused by direct-damage Combat Instants can be healed in several different ways, but there is no way to undo, for instance, the effect of an Earth to Mud spell. Virtually all Combat Instant effects that do have some sort of continuous implications on the battlefield will disappear at the end of the battle. Very few actually remain in place after the battle is over, such as the effects of the Animate Dead spell.
List of Combat Instants Edit
The following list details all 29 Combat Instants available in the game.
|Disenchant Area||Arcane||--||50||300||Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on every asset in the targeted area (or in the entire battlefield).|
|Dispel Magic||Arcane||--||10+||100||Attempts to dispel all enemy-cast spells on one target unit.|
|Recall Hero||Arcane||--||20||350||Target friendly Hero is instantly teleported to the current location of the caster's Summoning Circle.|
|Dispel Evil||Life||Uncommon||25||450||Each figure in target Death or Chaos unit must resist at -4 or be destroyed. Undead are even more susceptible.|
|Healing||Life||Common||15||100||Restores 5 to the target unit.|
|Holy Word||Life||Rare||60||1700||Each figure in each enemy Fantastic Unit must resist at -2 or be destroyed. The Undead are much more susceptible.|
|Mass Healing||Life||Rare||50||1600||Restores 5 to each friendly unit on the battlefield.|
|Raise Dead||Life||Uncommon||35||620||One unit destroyed during the battle is returned to life with 50% of its Hit Points and Figures.|
|Star Fires||Life||Common||5||40||Target Death or Chaos unit is struck with a 15-strength Magical Damage attack.|
|Cracks Call||Nature||Uncommon||20||300||Has a 25% chance of killing a target enemy unit.|
|Earth to Mud||Nature||Common||15||20||Turns a section of the battlefield to mud, slowing down units that move through it.|
|Ice Bolt||Nature||Uncommon||10+||400||Strikes the target with a Cold Damage attack of adjustable strength.|
|Petrify||Nature||Rare||35||960||Target enemy unit is hit with a Stoning Damage attack (no Resistance penalty).|
|Web||Nature||Common||10||100||Holds an enemy unit in place for one or more combat turns, and removes the unit's Flying ability until the end of combat.|
|Banish||Sorcery||Rare||20+||1120||Target Fantastic Unit must Resist or be destroyed. An adjustable penalty to Resistance is applied to the target.|
|Disenchant True||Sorcery||Uncommon||50+||350||Attempts to dispel all rival spells in a targeted tile. Dispelling potency is adjustable, and is three times more effective than a Disenchant Area spell.|
|Dispel Magic True||Sorcery||Common||10+||40||Attempts to dispel all rival spells on a targeted unit. Dispelling potency is adjustable, and is three times more effective than a Dispel Magic spell.|
|Psionic Blast||Sorcery||Common||10+||250||Strikes the target with a Illusory Magical Damage attack of adjustable strength.|
|Word of Recall||Sorcery||Common||20||160||Returns the targeted unit to the Town currently containing the caster's Summoning Circle.|
|Call Chaos||Chaos||Very Rare||75||3000||Inflicts random effects on each enemy unit on the battlefield.|
|Disintegrate||Chaos||Very Rare||50||2000||If the targeted enemy unit has 9 or less, it is completely destroyed on the spot.|
|Disrupt||Chaos||Common||15||40||Destroys a targeted Stone Wall section.|
|Doom Bolt||Chaos||Rare||40||1120||Target enemy unit suffers exactly 10, regardless of its Defense score.|
|Fire Bolt||Chaos||Common||5+||60||Strikes an enemy target with a Fire Damage attack of adjustable strength.|
|Fireball||Chaos||Uncommon||15+||560||Makes an attack of adjustable strength delivering Immolation Damage against an enemy unit.|
|Flame Strike||Chaos||Rare||60||1600||Every enemy unit on the battlefield is struck by an Immolation Damage attack of strength 15.|
|Lightning Bolt||Chaos||Uncommon||10+||300||Target enemy unit is struck by an Armor Piercing Magical Damage attack of adjustable strength.|
|Magic Vortex||Chaos||Rare||50||1200||Creates a powerful tornado that moves semi-randomly across the battlefield, severely damaging everything in its path. Lasts until the end of combat.|
|Warp Lightning||Chaos||Rare||35||880||Target enemy unit is struck by 10 successive Magical Damage attacks of decreasing strength, starting with a strength 10 attack.|
|Warp Wood||Chaos||Common||10||20||Target enemy unit possessing a Ranged Missile Attack loses all its ammunition, and cannot use this attack for the remainder of the battle.|
|Animate Dead||Death||Very Rare||50||3000||Returns a unit that's died back to full health, turns it into an Undead unit, and puts it under the caster's control.|
|Death Spell||Death||Very Rare||50||2500||Each figure in each unit on the battlefield must Resist at -2 or be destroyed.|
|Life Drain||Death||Common||10+||160||Causes Damage to a target based on how badly it fails a Resistance roll. The caster gains proportional Hit Points or Mana.|
|Word of Death||Death||Very Rare||40||2000||Each figure in the targeted enemy unit must Resist at -5 or be destroyed.|