Illusion Damage (sometimes called Illusory Damage or Illusionary Damage) is a type of Special Damage that can be delivered by various units in tandem with their attacks. An attack delivering Illusion Damage lowers the target's Defense to 0 for the purposes of blocking that attack. Thus, any attack containing an Illusion Damage component will inflict more harm on its target, on average.
Illusion Damage can be difficult to understand as a separate Damage Type since it inflicts no actual Damage on the target. An attack delivering Illusion Damage must deliver it in tandem with other damage types, commonly just Melee Damage or Magical Damage, as these will be the components that actually hurt the target. Illusion Damage only makes it easier to inflict that damage, by reducing the target's Defense score temporarily. Once the attack is over, the target's Defense score returns to normal.
Illusion Damage is found as a component in the attacks of two Fantastic Units and one Champion, thanks to their innate Illusion ability. Furthermore, Heroes may be equipped with "Phantasmal" weapons; These will add an Illusion Damage component to one of the Hero's attacks.
Illusion Damage is responsible for negating the target's Defense score temporarily, making it an irrelevant factor in damage calculations. Illusion Damage delivers no actual damage on its own, relying on other components of the attack to do so. The target's Defense is restored once the attack is concluded.
No Defense Edit
Whenever an attack containing an Illusion Damage component strikes any target on the battlefield, the target temporarily loses its ability to defend against this attack.
In technical terms, the target's Defense score is reduced to 0 during the resolution of the Illusion Damage attack, and is thus extremely vulnerable to any other Damage Types that the same attack also delivers.
- For example, lets take a target unit with 7 Defense. Normally, this would allow it to make 7 Defense Rolls against any incoming Melee Attack, potentially blocking a fair amount of the incoming Melee Damage. However if the same attack includes an Illusion Damage component, the target cannot make any Defense rolls against it, since its Defense is 0 for the duration of resolving the attack. Thus, the target will suffer much more of the incoming Melee Damage (on average) from this enhanced attack.
The same principle would apply when using Illusionary Ranged Attacks, which deliver Ranged Damage and Illusion Damage together. The target's Defense score is reduced to 0 by the Illusion Damage, allowing the Ranged Damage (or Magical Damage) to get through unimpeded.
The target's Defense is reduced to exactly 0, regardless of how high it was before struck by Illusion Damage. Therefore, the higher the target's original Defense score, the more effective the Illusion Damage is against that target. Dropping a unit's Defense from 10 to 0 is a significant penalty, and can potentially make a tough opponent easily defeatable. On the other hand, reducing a unit's Defense from 2 to 0 is not as impressive - although if the attacker is also quite weak, every little bit helps.
The reduction in the target's Defense applies only for the duration of the attack. Therefore, as explained below, an attack must deliver Illusion Damage in tandem with at least some amount of Physical Damage in order to exploit the target's reduced Defense. An attack that delivers only Illusion Damage would be useless: it lowers the target's Defense score, and then does nothing to exploit it before finally removing the penalty.
No Actual Damage Edit
Illusion Damage is distinct from most other damage types in that it delivers no actual damage on its own. It is responsible solely for reducing the target's Defense rating - whereupon a Physical Damage component needs to actually hurt the target. Therefore, all attacks delivering Illusion Damage must deliver it in tandem with Physical Damage (which causes physical harm to the target) in order to exploit the Defense penalty!
Thus, it should not be surprising that Illusion Damage is always added to a unit's existing attacks. Most commonly, it is added directly to the unit's Melee Attack: Such an attack would deliver the Illusion Damage first, and then inflict Melee Damage on the target to exploit its reduced Defense.
Illusion Damage is added in the same way to a unit's Ranged Attack (if it possesses one), which would then deliver Illusion Damage followed by Ranged Damage. While Illusion Damage technically also works with Thrown and Breath Attacks, in practice, it is only possible to achieve for Thrown Attacks.
The "secondary" Damage Type delivered by the attack has to be Physical Damage - any damage type which forces the target to make Defense rolls against it. Otherwise, the Defense reduction would not really help. For example, a hypothetical attack delivering Illusion Damage along with Death Damage does not benefit, since Death Damage forces the target to make Resistance rolls - not Defense rolls. Since it doesn't exploit the Defense penalty from Illusion Damage, the attack is not overall any more effective.
Naturally, Illusion Damage has no effect on units whose Defense score is already 0 - such as Phantom Warriors, Phantom Beasts, or any unit affected by the Berserk spell. These units already cannot make any Defense rolls, so Illusion Damage is redundant against them.
Furthermore, if a target possesses Illusions Immunity, it will negate the Illusion Damage component of any incoming attack. When such an attack is made against an Illusions-Immune target, the target's Defense score will not be reduced. The attack can still hurt that target, but has to get past its armor first as normal.
It's also important to note that the Defense penalty from Illusion Damage is applied after the target's other immunities are triggered (see the section in the Defense article for a detailed list). Thus, practically all immunities that would normally apply to an attack (including Magic Immunity) will be superseded by the Illusion Damage component unless the target also possesses Immunity to Illusions. The only Defense bonus that is not overridden by Illusion Damage is that granted by City Walls (whether intact or damaged).
- Ranged Missile Attacks are a prime example for this. These attacks normally hurt their target by inflicting Ranged Damage on it. However, when a Ranged Missile Attack is used against a target with Missile Immunity, the immunity raises the target's Defense score to 50 - and will thus completely block all but the strongest Ranged Missile Attacks.
- Now, if an Illusion Damage component was added to the same Ranged Missile Attack, it would also reduce the target's Defense to 0. The question would then be: which effect is applied first? The answer is: the immunity, every time. Thus, Missile Immunity is of little help against a marksman shooting Illusionary projectiles.
Sources of Illusion Damage Edit
Illusion Damage is fairly rare, and found mainly as a component in the attacks of specific units. In this case, its source is the Illusion ability, which adds Illusion Damage to each of a unit's attacks. In addition, Heroes may equip themselves with Magical Items possessing the "Phantasmal" Item Power, which adds Illusion Damage to one of the Hero's attacks.
Units with Illusion Edit
- Main article: Illusion
The benefit of Illusion Damage depends greatly on the unit's existing attacks types and their strength, with stronger attackers generally benefiting more from Illusion Damage - though the weakest Illusionary units are still quite powerful thanks to it.
Refer to the article on Illusion for a full list of all units possessing this ability.
Phantasmal Weapons Edit
- Main article: Phantasmal (Item Power)
Another source of Illusion Damage comes from weapons imbued with the "Phantasmal" Item Power. This enchantment can be placed only on Heroes' weapon slot equipment (Swords, Maces, Axes, Bows, Wands, and Staves).
When the enchanted item is equipped on a Hero, it adds an Illusion Damage component to the attack associated with the item. A Sword or Mace will add an Illusion Damage component to the Hero's Melee Attacks and Counter Attacks. An Axe will, in addition, convey the effect to Thrown Attacks (for Bahgtru, Gunther, and Shalla). A Bow, Wand, or Staff will only apply the component to the Hero's Ranged Attacks.
During the custom Item Crafting process, the "Phantasmal" bonus is only available to Wizards possessing at least 6 Sorcery Spellbooks. Weapons containing this bonus seldom appear as rewards for defeating Encounters due to the spellbook restrictions on these particular items.
Note that, as explained above, "Phantasmal" does not change the actual strength of the attack, nor the types of damage it delivers. The only difference is that the attack will now also deliver Illusion Damage to nullify the target's Defense score as described above.
The Hero's attacks will only deliver Illusion Damage while the Hero is holding the enchanted item. If the item is removed or lost, the Hero's attacks no longer deliver Illusion Damage.
Psionic Blast Spell Edit
The Sorcery spell Psionic Blast can be seen as a Magical Damage attack with an Illusion Damage component. It will ignore the Defense of units that have neither Illusions Immunity or Magic Immunity. Units with Illusions Immunity will make their defense rolls as usual, while units with Magic Immunity are completely immune to the spell.