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Ranged Attack

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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 always 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 Icon ToHit.png To Hit rolls to determine how much Icon Damage.png Damage is caused to the target. In most cases, the target then gets to make Icon Defense.png Defense rolls to try and block some or all of this damage. Ranged Attacks do not allow the use of most special attacks like Gaze Attacks or Breath Attacks - but special properties can sometimes be added directly to the Ranged Damage the attack inflicts, and Touch Attacks may also be delivered through them.

Initiating a Ranged Attack costs an attacker 10 Movement Points, or as many as it has left (whichever is lower). Therefore, for virtually all units, only one Ranged Attack can be performed each turn.

Concept Edit

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 bolts of lightning - 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 Icon Ranged Bow.png Missile Attacks and Icon Ranged Boulder.png 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 a portion of the 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 Icon Mana.png 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 Icon Mana.png 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 Icon Mana.png Mana to perform another Ranged Attack.
  • The Attacker must have at least 0.5 Movement Points remaining.

Targeting Edit

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.

Visibility Edit

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:

  1. If the Target is Ability Invisibility Invisible.
  2. If the Target is behind a SpellIcon WallOfDarkness Wall of Darkness.

If visibility is impaired, the game will reject the selected Target, and no Ranged Attack occurs.

Note that there ways to circumvent both of the above restrictions, primarily through the use of magic. Refer to the articles on Ability Invisibility Invisibility and Wall of Darkness for more details.

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 arrows 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 Icon Figure.png 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:

  1. The game calculates the Assailant's Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Attack Strength. It then makes an Icon ToHit.png Attack Roll for each Icon Ranged Bow.png Bow. Each successful roll means a single registered "hit" by the Assailant on the Target.
  2. The game calculates the Target's Icon Defense.png Defense score. It then makes a Icon ToBlock.png Defense Roll for each Icon Defense.png Shield of the lead Icon Figure.png Figure. Each successful roll reduces the number of registered hits to the Target by 1.
  3. Each hit that made it through the Target's defenses inflicts Icon Damage.png 1 Point of Damage.
  4. If enough damage has been caused to the Target unit, one of its Icon Figure.png figures is killed. If this occurs, and the Target still has any live figures, the new lead Icon Figure.png Figure may then make additional Icon Defense.png Defense rolls to try to block additional damage.
  5. Step 4 is repeated until all hits on the Target have either been processed into Icon Damage.png Damage or blocked by the Target's Icon Defense.png Defense rolls. If the Target unit runs out of Icon Figure.png figures , it is completely destroyed.
  6. If the Assailant possesses any Touch Attacks that can be affixed to their Ranged Attack, these will be resolved simultaneously with the above process.

(Substitute Icon Ranged Boulder.png Boulders or Icon Ranged Magic.png Magical Bolts for Icon Ranged Bow.png Bows as appropriate - the process is nearly identical in all cases).

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.

The majority of Ranged Attack units perform a Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack using bows and arrows.

Several large creatures and war machines use Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks instead.

Finally, many magical units and creatures will fire Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magic Attacks at their enemies.

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 Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack indicates the presence of such an attack, as well as its strength, with a row of Icon Ranged Bow.png Bows. Note an exception regarding Slingers, where Icon Ranged Boulder.png Rocks are used to represent this, even though it is still a Ranged Missile Attack.

Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attacks generally deliver only Ranged Damage to their targets. This is the basic kind of damage, carrying no special properties by default.

It is very important however, that Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attacks are subject to Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalties based on the distance to the Target. The further away the Target, the less chance there is for each Icon Ranged Bow.png Arrow to hit its target - thus reducing the average Icon Damage.png Damage done to the Target (more on this below).

Units with Ability MissileImmunity Missile Immunity will have a Defense rating of Icon Defense.png 50 against this specific type of Ranged Attack. Few, if any, Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attacks are strong enough to puncture through, making this a very practical immunity to such attacks.

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 Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attack indicates the presence of such an attack, as well as its strength, with a row of Icon Ranged Boulder.png Boulders. Note an exception regarding Slingers, where Icon Ranged Boulder.png Rocks are actually used to represent a Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attack (see above).

Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks generally deliver only Ranged Damage to their targets. This is the basic kind of damage, carrying no special properties by default.

It is very important however, that Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks are subject to Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalties based on the distance to the Target. The further away the Target, the less chance there is for each Icon Ranged Boulder.png Boulder to hit its target - thus reducing the average Icon Damage.png 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 missiles. The visual effect accompanying this attack may differ from unit to unit, but for the most part they all work the same.

The details panel for a unit possessing a Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack indicates the presence of such an attack, as well as its strength, with a row of Icon Ranged Magic.png Flame Balls.

The primary advantage of a Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack (compared to other Ranged Attacks) is that it suffers no Icon ToHit.png 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 Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks deliver Magical Damage to their targets. This is important primarily because Target units possessing Ability MagicImmunity Magic Immunity will have a Defense rating of Icon Defense.png 50 against this specific type of Ranged Attack. This gives practical immunity to the Target from Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks, but not total immunity. Ranged Magical Attacks possessed by Heroes can become strong enough to defeat even this obstacle.

Limitations on Number of Ranged Attacks Edit

Unlike Melee Attacks, Ranged Attacks only have a limited number of uses during a single battle. The number of times a unit can use its Ranged Attacks per battle is extremely important. Furthermore, unlike Melee Attacks, most units can only make a single Ranged Attack per turn.

Ammunition Edit

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
Ability Quiver Arrows/Rocks/Spells x8 Ability Quiver 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 Icon Ranged Boulder.png Boulder Attacks per battle, while a unit of High Men Magicians can make 4 Icon Ranged Magic.png Magic Attacks per battle.

Mana as Ammunition Edit

Several units (especially Heroes) who possess a Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack do not use Ammunition at all when performing this attack. Instead, they spend Icon Mana.png Mana directly out of their own private Mana pool (not their controlling wizard's).
Each Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attack performed by such a unit takes Icon Mana.png 3 out of its pool. If there is insufficient Icon Mana.png Mana remaining in that unit's pool, it may not make any further Ranged Attacks for the remainder of the battle.
Spellcasting also draws Icon Mana.png 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.
The unit's Icon Mana.png Mana Pool is completely replenished at the start of the next 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, this 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.

Apart from over-geared Heroes, only the UnitEnchantment Haste Haste spell can break these rules, as it will allow some units 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! In addition, UnitEnchantment Haste Haste also causes the enchanted unit to fire two Icon Ranged Bow.png/Icon Ranged Boulder.png projectiles on a single Attack command (but not Icon Ranged Magic.png).

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 Icon Damage.png Damage output of a Ranged Attack is subject to random variations based on the Attacker's Icon ToHit.png To Hit score. The use of the Icon ToHit.png 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 Icon ToHit.png To Hit value can be heavily influenced by the distance between itself and its Target. This occurs for both Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile and Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks, but not Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks. The greater the distance, the heavier Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalties are applied for the attack. However, this can never lower a unit's chance to hit below Icon ToHit.png 10%.

While this doesn't affect the maximum potential damage that can be inflicted by the Attacker, it does lower the statistical average Icon Damage.png Damage it will cause with each attack.

Range Icon ToHit.png To Hit Penalty with Long Range
1 Tile (adjacent)* No Penalty No Penalty
2 Tiles No Penalty No Penalty
3,4 or 5 Tiles Icon ToHit.png -10% Penalty Icon ToHit.png -10% Penalty
6,7 or 8 Tiles Icon ToHit.png -20% Penalty Icon ToHit.png -10% Penalty
Etcetera Final to hit is at least Icon ToHit.png 10% Icon ToHit.png -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.

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 a gate or breach in the wall.

Ranged Attacks against enemy targets that are immediately adjacent to a standing wall section are handled differently than attacks against those that are not. Either way though, the walls grant a Icon Defense.png Defense bonus to all units inside! Even walls destroyed by Ability WallCrusher Wall Crusher units or special spells will still give some bonus to units hiding behind them.

Target's Position Target's Icon Defense.png Defense bonus
Inside the walls but not immediately adjacent to a wall section Icon Defense.png +1 in Version 1.31
Icon Defense.png +3 in Insecticide
Adjacent to a standing wall section Icon Defense.png +3
Adjacent to a destroyed wall section Icon Defense.png +1

Special Attacks and Damage Types Edit

Main article: Special Attack
See also: Special Damage Types

Most Special Attacks, such as Gaze Attacks or Breath Attacks, may not be delivered when the unit makes a Ranged Attack against any target. Touch Attacks, on the other hand (especially those conferred by innate Abilities), will usually apply.

It is quite possible for a unit's Ranged Attack to deliver multiple types of damage simultaneously. A good example is the Demon Lord, whose Ranged Attack delivers Magical Damage as well as a Ability LifeSteal Life Steal Touch Attack (which, in turn, delivers Life Stealing Damage). As a result, the process of calculating the amount of Icon Damage.png Damage caused to the target is quite different.

There are many units delivering two or even more additional Damage Types with their Ranged Attacks. This 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, 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:

The latter 2 cases are problematic, if a ranged Icon Movement GroundGround unit tries to attack a Icon Movement AirFlying unit: The ranged unit won't do any damage in contrast to the flying unit!

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-Icon Death.pngdeath Encounter zone with strong ranged units inside (e.g. Colossus, Storm Giant). He just has to move the Icon Movement AirFlying Shin Bo towards the enemy and continuously hit the Space button. The ranged units will eventually kill themselves without harming Shin Bo.

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