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Plane Shift (Spell)
Realm Icon Life.pngLife
Spell Rarity Uncommon
Spell Type Instant
Casting Cost Icon Mana.png 125
Research Cost Icon Research.png 350
Effects

The targeted stack is teleported to the same location on the other Plane.

The spell fails if the destination tile either contains enemy units, or is water tile that the stack (as a whole) could not normally enter.
Advisor Sorcery Buggy Feature
As of Master of Magic v1.31, Plane Shift (Spell) is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below.
This article is about the Life Magic spell called "Plane Shift". For the inherent unit ability of the same name, see Plane Shift.

Plane Shift is an Uncommon Instant Spell from the Icon Life.png Life Magic Realm. It may only be cast on the overland map. For the base Casting Cost of Icon Mana.png 125, the spell will teleport an entire army stack from Arcanus to the same map location on Myrror, or vice versa. If the stack can not move over water, Plane Shift will fail if the destination is a Water Movement tile (Ocean or Shore), wasting its entire Casting Cost. Trying to shift to a tile containing a unit owned by anyone other than the caster will also fail the spell, as will having more of the caster's own units on the other side than what could be combined with the shifted stack on a single tile.

Effects Edit

Plane Shift instantly transfers an entire army to the opposite Plane. This is a fairly straightforward process, which revolves mainly around figuring out the destination and whether or not the targeted army can legally be teleported there. The spell will always affect all units on the target tile, and treats the whole group as a single stack for determining the validity of the destination. Selecting only specific units prior to casting Plane Shift has no effect on this mechanic.

The Destination Edit

When an army is Plane Shifted, it will move from its current set of coordinates to the same coordinates on the other Plane. To see where the stack will end up after the Plane Shift, simply move the overland view such that the stack is visible on it, and then click the "Plane" button in the upper-right corner. The tile now visible where the army stack previously was is the destination tile for the teleport.

Note that it is possible to Plane Shift into unexplored territory - i.e. when the destination tile is still unrevealed. In this case, the destination, and any tiles immediately adjacent to it, will be explored even if the Plane Shift fails in the end.

Invalid Destinations Edit

While Plane Shifting an army stack, the game tries to make sure that the destination terrain can be legally entered by all units in the stack. If it is invalid for any of the units, the spell will ultimately fizzle - wasting its entire Casting Cost.

For the destination to be valid, the following two rules must be observed:

  1. The stack's combined movement type can not be Icon Movement GroundWalking if the destination is an Ocean or Shore tile that Icon Movement GroundGround units could not normally enter without the help of a Transport ship or Ability WindWalking Wind Walking unit.
  2. The destination tile may not contain units that are neutral, or owned by other players.

In either case, the teleportation fails, and the stack is returned to its original location.

Abnormal Valid Destinations Edit

On the other hand, the two rules above do not cover the following cases - leading to various odd situations:

  • A stack may freely teleport into an enemy City that is not garrisoned by any enemy units. This does not immediately conquer that Town - the stack must be moved out of the Town first, then back into it, to initiate the game's conquest mechanism. In fact, that Town can then produce new units (or have them summoned into it) without triggering combat with the interloping army!
  • A stack may teleport on top of an Encounter Zone. This does not trigger combat with the zone's guardians. To trigger a battle, the stack must be moved off the site, then back again.
  • A stack containing Icon Movement SailingSailing units may freely teleport onto a land tile on the other Plane. However, the Icon Movement SailingSailing units in this stack can then only move into adjacent Ocean or Shore tiles, or Plane Shift back whence they came. If neither option is available they will become trapped and unable to move.

No Movement Costs Edit

It is important to note that Plane Shift does not cost any Movement Points to any of the stacked units. For example, if a unit had its full Movement Allowance of 3 Movement Points available before being Plane Shifted, it will still have the same number of Movement Points available after the teleportation.

Usage Edit

Plane Shift may only be cast on the overland map, for a basic Casting Cost of Icon Mana.png 125. It must be targeted at a tile containing at least one friendly unit. Once the spell is cast, the stack's icon on the map will appear to dissolve until it vanishes. The overland view is then switched to the other Plane, and the stack will be shown reappearing on the destination tile.

At this point, if the destination is invalid, an error pop-up will be displayed explaining why the stack cannot be teleported. The entire stack then reappears at its original position on the original Plane. If this occurs, the destination tile and all tiles adjacent to it are still revealed if they were previously unexplored, but the units remain where they were prior to casting the spell. Plane Shift's entire Casting Cost is wasted.

Acquisition Edit

As an Uncommon Spell of the Icon Life.pngLife Realm, Plane Shift may become available to any Wizard who acquires at least Icon Life.png1 Spellbook. With none, the spell can naturally not be learned during the campaign. This is the minimum requirement for it to be traded for, appear in Treasure, or be found in the spoils of victory when conquering the Fortress of a rival Wizard who already knows it.

The base chance for Plane Shift to be Researchable (at some point) in the campaign is roughly 10% (with Icon Life.png1 book), which gradually increases with the amount of Icon Life.pngLife Spellbooks possessed or found during gameplay. With Icon Life.png8 or more, the spell is certain to show up sooner or later, unless acquired from another source. It has a Research Cost of Icon Research.png 350, although its research is quicker for Wizards possessing the Sage Master Retort, or a bookshelf containing Icon Life.png8 or more.

Plane Shift may also be selected as a starting spell by players who allocate all of of their picks into Icon Life.pngLife books when creating their Wizard. In this case, it will be available for casting as soon as the game begins.

Strategy Edit

Plane Shift is an exceptionally useful spell, with a plethora of different strategic applications, the most basic one being simply scouting. Units can be sent to the other Plane to begin exploring it, locating rival empires and easy-to-beat Encounter Zones without cracking a Tower of Wizardry. Icon Movement AirFlying units are naturally best suited for this, both because they make good scouts, and because they are unlikely to try to teleport into an invalid destination (Icon Movement AirFlying units will only fail to Plane Shift if the destination contains enemy units). Ability NonCorporeal Non-Corporeal units such as Icon Life.pngGuardian Spirits are also an excellent choice.

Units can also be sent to beat Encounter Zones on the other Plane. This can be useful for early-game Myrran players, who could benefit from some easy rewards since most of the Encounters on Myrror are quite difficult. This pertains primarily to Nodes, which are much harder (even if much more beneficial) on Myrror - though this also necessitates Plane Shifting some units to protect the Nodes after they've been captured (not to mention a Icon Life.pngGuardian Spirit or Icon Arcane.pngMagic Spirit to Ability Meld Meld with them).

Next up is expansion. Whether it is by Plane Shifting Settlers into an unoccupied continent on the other Plane, or sending an entire army to take some neutral Towns there, establishing an early presence on both Planes can have multiple benefits - although it may require capturing a Tower of Wizardry to effectively maintain this presence (i.e. to defend the Towns acquired on the other Plane).

Finally, Plane Shift can be used to launch a surprise attack against an enemy empire or even a single Town on the other plane. Enemies who do not have a presence on the player's Plane cannot stop their units from moving right "underneath" their Towns and then Plane Shifting straight into an attack position. This can dramatically cut down on the dangers of moving an army through the enemy's own territory. It may even be possible to launch a surprise attack on the enemy's Fortress Town this way - without encountering any resistance en-route.

Note that when planning to use Plane Shift to put a serious presence on the other Plane, it is significantly more cost-effective to pool as many units together in the same spot, Plane Shift all of them, and only then split them back up into separate armies as necessary. This requires a single Plane Shift rather than several. At a later stage in the game, the Icon Life.pngPlanar Travel spell may be more cost-effective. Though it only targets specific units, it allows those units to shift back and forth as necessary, making it ideal for assault groups.

Known Bugs Edit

Plane Shift has both some genuine bugs, and an exploitable feature that is highly unlikely to have been intended to work as it does. They result from missing / miscoded condition checks that do not consider all possible scenarios correctly.

Melding Exploit Edit

Because Plane Shifting into an Encounter Zone does not trigger combat, it is possible to exploit this spell to take over Nodes without a fight. This is accomplished by moving a Icon Arcane.pngMagic Spirit or Icon Life.pngGuardian Spirit to the same coordinates where a Node is on the other Plane. The spirit can then be Plane Shifted to land on the Node and Ability Meld Meld with it without engaging its guardians. A Node melded with this way will produce Icon Power.png Power as normal.
Note that this does not remove the creatures guarding the Node either! They can be engaged later to get the reward for defeating them. Even better, if the enemy wants to take the Node, they'll have to fight those creatures - so it's a free garrison for the Node. On the other hand, this does prevent guarding the Node with the player's own units (the Node's owner does not get to control these defenders during an assault).

Road Building Exploit Edit

Plane Shift can also be used to build Roads on Ocean or Shore tiles, where these cannot normally be built. This is described in more detail on Roads page.

AI Cast Crash Bug Edit

When the spell is cast on a tile not visible for the human player, the game does not show the animation of the stack vanishing from that Plane. Because of this, it also skips memory allocation and loading the sound. This causes the game to crash, as it will try to use these resources regardless, especially when the stack reappears at a visible location. Only the AI can use the spell this way: the affected tiles cannot possibly be a legal target for the human player. As the AI consistently picks the same target, this can easily render a save file unusable.

4th AI Planar Seal Bug Edit

A less severe bug also exists: The AI doesn't cast this spell if any player has Icon Life.pngPlanar Seal in effect - except the fourth AI Wizard, which is never checked. So, even if they have Icon Life.pngPlanar Seal in effect, all AI players, including the fourth Wizard himself, will attempt to use Plane Shift. However, the spell will be countered by Icon Life.pngPlanar Seal regardless, so the bug ultimately only results in the AI wasting resources.

Stack Disappearing Bug Edit

Finally, if Plane Shift fails, it is possible that the stack returning to its original location simply vanishes from the map for the rest of the turn, or until it is moved. However, this likely only happens if it is the only army stack the player possesses. The army still exists, and can be selected from the Armies Screen, just not from the main overland view.