A Ranged Attack is the term used to any attack made by a unit over a distance, using bows, throwing boulders, or shooting magical bolts. Many units may perform such an attack - almost half of all units.
The primary advantage of a Ranged Attack over a Melee Attack is that it may be performed at a distance - which gives some protection to the attacker. Due to the distance between the two units, Ranged Attacks do not provoke retaliation (Counter Attacks) from the target, so only the attacker gets to deal any damage! On the other hand, some Ranged Attacks become less effective the further away the target is - and very few are as strong overall as the strongest of Melee Attacks.
Furthermore, there is often a limit to the number of times a unit can make a Ranged Attack during each battle. Once a unit runs out of Ranged Attacks, it must resort to other means in order to hurt the enemy - and sometimes has to rely on much-weaker Melee Attacks to defend itself!
A Ranged Attack deals Ranged Damage, which is often identical to Melee Damage. The attacker makes a series of To Hit rolls to determine how much Damage is caused to the target. In most cases, the target then gets to make Defense rolls to try and block some or all of this damage. Ranged Attacks do not allow the use of additional special attacks like Gaze Attacks or Touch Attacks - but special properties are sometimes be added directly to the Ranged Damage the attack inflicts.
Initiating a Ranged Attack costs an attacker 10 Movement Points, or however many it has left (whichever is lower). Therefore, for virtually all units, only one Ranged Attack can be performed each turn.
During a battle between two armies, units may have different ways of inflicting damage upon their enemies. One of the safest ways to hurt an enemy unit is by performing Ranged Attacks against it.
In the Ranged Attack, the attacking unit (hereby: the "Assailant") fires one or more projectiles at the defending unit (hereby: the "Target"). The number and nature of these projectiles - be they simple arrows, large boulders, or magical bolts - greatly influences the amount of damage done to the Target.
Ranged Attacks may be performed at any distance - regardless of how far away the Target is. Ranged Attacks may even be performed when the assailant and the target are immediately adjacent to each other. However, with Missile Attacks and Boulder Attacks, the further the Target, the less Ranged Damage it will suffer on average.
The Target does not get to respond to a Ranged Attack in any way. It will suffer whatever Ranged Damage it cannot block, and has no opportunity to retaliate with a Counter Attack, as often happens during Melee Combat. Thus, the Assailant remains completely safe while performing this attack.
Only some units in the game may perform Ranged Attacks at all. Furthermore, each unit capable of making Ranged Attacks has a certain limit on the number of times it may perform such an attack during each battle. For most units, this is called the unit's "Ammunition", and decreases by 1 every time the unit makes such an attack. Other units, particularly Heroes, will expend Mana from their own Mana Pool when using such attacks; thus the number of Ranged Attacks they can make depends on their available Mana, and whether or not they spend any of it to cast spells during combat.
If a unit's Ammunition or Mana runs out, the unit may not perform any additional Ranged Attacks. It must resort to Melee Attacks or spell-casting to inflict any further damage on its foes. Ammunition and Mana are fully reset at the start of the next battle.
Ordering a Ranged Attack Edit
Initiating a Ranged Attack is simple: select a valid Attacker, and then click on a valid Target.
Select Attacker Edit
You must select an Attacker that complies with the following requirements:
- The Attacker must be under your control.
- The Attacker must have a Ranged Attack of any type.
- The Attacker must have sufficient Ammunition or Mana to perform another Ranged Attack.
- The Attacker must have at least 0.5 Movement Points remaining.
Once a valid Attacker is selected, place your cursor on the desired Target.
If the cursor changes into the image of an arrow, a Ranged Attack is possible against the selected Target. Click the mouse to initiate the attack. Conversely, a cursor shaped like a large red "X" indicates that this Target may not be attacked - probably because the selected Attacker has run out of ammunition! In such a case, the attack is not possible - you would need to maneuver in for a Melee Attack instead, or start moving the unit away.
Note: If the selected Attacker and Target are situated in adjacent tiles, the cursor will change to the image of two crossed swords - the same as the cursor indicating that a Melee Attack is possible. However, if the selected Attacker complied with all the requirements above, a Ranged Attack will be performed instead. This is probably an unintentional oversight by the developers, though it is often beneficial.
In order for any Ranged Attack to occur, the Attacker must be able to see the Target. There are exactly 2 cases where visibility can be impaired:
If visibility is impaired, the game will reject your selected Target, and no Ranged Attack occurs. If you do not wish to attack a different, visible target, you may cancel the attack with no penalties.
Ground vs. Air Edit
Unlike Melee Attacks, a Ranged Attack may be performed by any unit against any enemy Target, regardless of their respective abilities. The only prerequisite is that the enemy Target must be visible to the Attacker (see above).
Dealing Ranged Damage Edit
- Main article: Ranged Damage
The main goal in most Ranged Attacks is to deliver Ranged Damage - damage from physical projectiles such as bows and massive thrown boulders, or damage from forceful magical bolts hurled at the enemy.
Unlike a Melee Attack, which often involves a complex exchange of damage between the attacker and its target, a Ranged Attack consists simply of the Attacker attempting to deliver as much Ranged Damage as it can to the Target - and the Target attempting to block as much of it as possible. The Attacker will try to kill off as many of the figures in the Target unit as it can, or otherwise injure the Target as much as possible.
To process the damage dealt by the Assailant to the Target, the game runs through the following steps:
- The game calculates the Assailant's Ranged Attack Strength. It then rolls a random number for each Bow. Each successful roll means a single registered "hit" by the Assailant on the Target.
- The game calculates the Target's Defense score. It then rolls a random number for each Shield. Each successful roll reduces the number of registered hits to the Target by 1.
- Each hit that made it through the Target's defenses inflicts 1 Point of Damage.
- If enough damage has been caused to the Target unit, one of its figures is killed. If this occurs, and the Target still has any live figures, the unit may then make additional Defense rolls to try to block additional damage.
- Step 4 is repeated until all hits on the Target have either been processed into Damage or blocked by the Target's Defense rolls. If the Target unit runs out of figures , it is completely destroyed.
Ranged Attack Types Edit
You might notice that different Ranged Attack units have different icons representing their attack strength in the unit's details window. This indicates the type of ranged attack such units perform, and may influence how the game handles damage caused by such an attack.
Ranged Missile Attack Edit
- Main article: Ranged Missile Attack
The majority of Normal Units who possess a Ranged Attack, including Bowmen, Slingers and other similar units, make their attack using hand-held physical weaponry: they send a multitude of small physical projectiles (e.g. arrows) at high speed towards their target.
The details panel for a unit possessing a Ranged Missile Attack indicates the presence of such an attack, as well as its strength, with a row of Bows. Note an exception regarding Slingers, where Rocks are used to represent this, even though it is still a Ranged Missile Attack.
Ranged Missile Attacks often deliver only Ranged Damage to their targets. This is the basic kind of damage, carrying no special properties by default.
Very importantly however, Ranged Missile Attacks are often subjected to To Hit penalties based on the distance to the Target. The further away the Target, the less chance there is for each Arrow to hit its target - thus reducing the average Damage done to the Target (more on this below).
Note that units with Missile Immunity will have a Defense rating of 50 against this specific type of Ranged Attack. Few if any Ranged Missile Attacks are strong enough to puncture through, making this a very practical immunity to such attacks. A few spells and/or inherent Unit Abilities might also affect the Target's ability to reduce damage to itself from a Ranged Missile Attack.
Ranged Boulder Attack Edit
- Main article: Ranged Boulder Attack
Large Fantastic Creatures such as Stone Giants, and advanced war machinery like the Catapult, will hurl massive boulders at their enemies. The impact force of such attacks is often enough to get through armor easily, though they are more useful against singular, powerful targets.
The details panel for a unit possessing a Ranged Boulder Attack indicates the presence of such an attack, as well as its strength, with a row of Boulders. Note an exception regarding Slingers, where Rocks are actually used to represent a Ranged Missile Attack (see above).
Ranged Boulder Attacks often deliver only Ranged Damage to their targets. This is the basic kind of damage, carrying no special properties by default.
Very importantly however, Ranged Boulder Attacks are often subjected to To Hit penalties based on the distance to the Target. The further away the Target, the less chance there is for each Boulder to hit its target - thus reducing the average Damage done to the Target (more on this below).
Ranged Magical Attack Edit
- Main article: Ranged Magical Attack
Units capable of casting spells are often also capable of a long-ranged attack using magical bolts. The visual effect accompanying this attack may differ from unit to unit, but for the most part they all work the same.
The primary advantage of a Ranged Magical Attack is that it suffers no To Hit penalties based on distance to the target. This attack is equally effective against any Target on the battlefield regardless of how far away it is.
All Ranged Magical Attacks deliver Magical Damage to their targets. This is important primarily because Target units possessing Magic Immunity will have a Defense rating of 50 against this specific type of Ranged Attack. This gives practical immunity to the Target from Ranged Magical Attacks, but not total immunity. Some Ranged Magical Attacks can become strong enough to defeat even this obstacle.
Limitations on Number of Ranged Attacks Edit
Unlike Melee Attacks, Ranged Attacks often have a limited number of uses, both during a single battle and during a single turn. The number of times a unit can use its Ranged Attacks per battle is extremely important. Almost all units can only make one Ranged Attack per turn.
Any unit that can perform Ranged Attacks at all is limited in the number of such attacks it can perform during each battle.
For most units, this limit is called "Ammunition". It is indicated by a special ability icon in the unit's abilities list, which appears in the following format:
|In the game||On this Wiki|
|Arrows/Rocks/Spells x8||Ranged Attack x8|
The number at the end of the label indicates how many Ranged Attacks remain. Each Ranged Attack uses up one Ammunition point.
A unit that runs out of Ammunition may no longer perform any Ranged Attacks against any Target until the end of the current battle. Of course, it may still make Melee Attacks, and might still be able to cast spells.
Ammunition is reset to its full value at the start of the next battle. Note that this "full value" is different for each unit. For example, a Stone Giant may make only 2 Boulder Attacks per battle, while a unit of High Men Magicians can make 4 Magic Attacks per battle.
Mana as Ammunition Edit
- Several units (especially Heroes) who possess a Ranged Magical Attack do not use Ammunition at all when performing this attack. Instead, they spend Mana directly out of their own private Mana pool (not their controlling wizard's).
- Each Ranged Magical Attack performed by such a unit takes 3 out of its pool. If there is insufficient Mana remaining in that unit's pool, it may not make any further Ranged Attacks for the remainder of the battle.
- Spellcasting also draws Mana from the unit's private Mana pool, so such units need to decide whether they prefer to cast spells or make Ranged Attacks - or any combination of these two options - to most efficiently use their Mana to help win the battle.
Movement Costs Edit
Any Ranged Attack initiated by a unit costs that unit 10 Movement Points, or as many as it has left (whichever is lower). Since virtually all units have fewer than 10 Movement Points per turn to begin with, a Ranged Attack will therefore eat up all of the unit's remaining Movement Allowance.
As a result, a unit may only make one Ranged Attack per turn. Also, it means that a unit may not perform any other action after it makes its Ranged Attack, until the start of its next combat turn. However, it may perform any action before the Ranged Attack, and then make the attack - so long as it has any number of Movement Points left (even 0.5!).
Units with 0 Movement Points remaining may not make a Ranged Attack. Normally, you cannot even select them to begin with.
Note that the Haste spell can break the rules, as it will allow some units (especially well-equipped Heroes) to get a Movement Allowance higher than 10 points per turn. Such a unit may be able to make a Ranged Attack and then have sufficient remaining Movement Points to move - or to attack again!
Environmental Effects Edit
The usefulness of a Ranged Attack can change greatly from situation to situation, regardless of the properties of the Attacker and the Target. Environmental variables, particularly distance between the Attacker and Target, can strongly influence it - usually in a negative way.
Range Penalties Edit
- Main article: To Hit
As explained in the Ranged Damage article, the Damage output of a Ranged Attack is subjected to random variations based on the Attacker's To Hit score. The use of the To Hit value for Ranged Damage calculations is overall similar to how it is used during Melee Attacks.
One exception however is that the Ranged Attack unit's To Hit value can be heavily influenced by the distance between itself and its Target. The greater the distance, the heavier To Hit penalties are applied for the attack. While this doesn't affect the maximum potential damage that can be inflicted by the Attacker, it does lower the statistical average Damage it will cause with each attack.
|Range||To Hit Penalty||with Long Range|
|1 Tile (adjacent)*||No Penalty||No Penalty|
|2 Tiles||No Penalty||No Penalty|
|3,4 or 5 Tiles||-10% Penalty||-10% Penalty|
|6,7 or 8 Tiles||-20% Penalty||-10% Penalty|
|Etcetera||Final to hit is at least 10%||-10% Penalty|
* "Adjacent" means the attacker and the target are right next to each other (including diagonals). This is Melee Attack range, but as explained above, Ranged Attacks may also be performed at this distance.
Note: The Strategy Guide says that it is possible to get more than a -20% penalty if the target is even further away. The game's manual states that -20% is the limit. What it means is that the final to hit will be at least 10%. So with the default 30%, the penalty is limited to -20%.
Firing into City Walls Edit
During battle in a town protected by City Walls, Ranged Attack units with any ammunition remaining may attack any of the enemy units, regardless of their position inside the walls. This is unlike Melee Attacks, which can only be performed through the gate in the wall.
Ranged Attacks against enemy targets that are not immediately adjacent to a standing wall section are handled normally - as described above.
However, a Ranged Attack against a unit that is adjacent to a wall section gives a Defense bonus to that unit! The target's Movement type also affects the size of the bonus. Walls destroyed by Wall Crusher units or special spells still give some bonus to certain units hiding behind them.
|Target's Position||Target's Movement Type||Target's Defense bonus|
|Inside the walls but not immediately adjacent to a wall section||any|| +1 in Version 1.31|
+3 in Insecticide
|Adjacent to a standing wall section||Walking or Swimming||+3|
|Adjacent to a standing wall section||Flying||+3|
|Adjacent to a destroyed wall section||Walking or Swimming||+1|
|Adjacent to a destroyed wall section||Flying||+1|
This Defense Bonus usually helps reduce damage to the target, though due to the rules of Ranged Damage application it may or may not help - being based entirely on random rolls.
Special Attacks and Damage Types Edit
- Main article: Special Attack
However, it is quite possible for a unit's Ranged Attack to deliver several types of damage simultaneously. A good example is the Demon Lord, whose Ranged Attack delivers Magical Damage as well as Life Stealing Damage. As a result, the process of calculating the amount of Damage caused to the target is quite different.
There are many units delivering two or even more additional Damage Types with their Ranged Attacks. It is always a result of either an innate Unit Ability, a Unit Enchantment, or an Item Power. Therefore, to learn whether a unit's Ranged Attack has any special properties you should know about, it's usually best to refer to its list of abilities (in the unit's details panel).
Known Bugs Edit
A ranged unit may use its Melee Attack instead of its Ranged Attack against adjacent enemies. This happens when:
- Melee Strength is at least two times as big as Ranged Strength
- enemy is immune to the Ranged Attack (e.g. Missile Immunity, Magic Immunity)
- enemy is invisible (provided ranged unit has no Illusions Immunity)
Imagine the following situation: A human player knows the Flight spell and has the hero Shin Bo the Ninja in his service. In this case, the player is able to defeat every non-death Encounter zone with strong ranged units inside (e.g. Colossus, Storm Giant). He just has to move the Flying Shin Bo towards the enemy and continuously hit the Space button. The ranged units will eventually kill themselves without harming Shin Bo.