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Ranged Boulder Attack

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This article deals specifically with Ranged Boulder Attacks. For an overview of how Ranged Attacks work in general, see Ranged Attack.

A Ranged Boulder Attack is one of three kinds of Ranged Attacks available in Master of Magic. When a unit is capable of making a Ranged Boulder Attack, its details panel will show the strength of the attack as a series of Icon Ranged Boulder.png Rocks. The same icon is used on this wiki to represent Ranged Boulder Attacks and/or their strength.

Ranged Boulder Attacks are often very strong in numerical terms, capable of piercing through heavy armor very easily. Furthermore, many units possessing this type of attack also possess the Wall Crusher ability which allows them to tear down enemy City Walls during siege combat. Ranged Boulder Attacks do suffer from Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalties based on the distance to the target: the further away the target, the higher the penalty. Thus they are significantly less useful at long range. However, for some units the maximum size of the penalty is limited, making them almost as useful at long range as they are up-close.

Finally, Ranged Boulder Attacks do not trigger any of the target's immunities. Thus, no target is really safe from Ranged Boulder Attacks, and only extremely-heavy armor has any chance of averting their damage.

Like all other Ranged Attacks, Ranged Boulder Attacks may only be used a limited number of times per battle. This number is displayed in the unit's details panel.

Ranged Boulder Attacks are somewhat uncommon. All Catapults and Warships, which are available to several races, possess a strong Ranged Boulder Attack. 2 unique racial units also possess this ability, as well as 3 different Fantastic Creatures. There are no Heroes who possess a Ranged Boulder Attack.

Ranged Boulder Attack Properties Edit

A Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attack is one of three different types of Ranged Attack in Master of Magic, with the other two being Ranged Missile Attacks and Ranged Magical Attacks. There are several important differences between each of these attack types. The advantages and disadvantages of Ranged Boulder Attacks are explained below - for an overall comparison, see Ranged Attack.

No Immunities Edit

A Ranged Boulder Attack will never trigger any of its target's immunities. Magic Immunity, Missile Immunity and Weapon Immunity are useless against this attack. This gives Ranged Boulder Attacks an important advantage when fighting an army possessing such units.

Furthermore, due to the relative strength of most Ranged Boulder Attacks, which for some units exceeds Icon Ranged Boulder.png 10, very few units will have sufficient armor to block all of the Icon Damage.png Damage the attack delivers. Only well-armored Heroes, powerful Fantastic Creatures, and units with several Unit Enchantments increasing their Icon Defense.png Defense score have any chance of avoiding this damage entirely.

Thus, when it is important to inflict heavy damage on well-defended targets, Ranged Boulder Attackers are a good bet.

Distance Penalties Edit

On the other hand, Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks suffer from an important disadvantage that seriously affects the way they are used in combat, especially when compared to the simpler (and sometimes deadlier) Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks: they suffer Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalties based on distance to the target.

The penalty equals Icon ToHit.png -10% To Hit for every 3 tiles of distance between the shooter and the target. Therefore, the shooter suffers Icon ToHit.png -10% at a distance of 3 tiles, and Icon ToHit.png -20% at a distance of 6 tiles. The game's original manual indicates that Icon ToHit.png -20% is the largest penalty possible, but the Strategy Guide implies that the bonus could be even higher (i.e. Icon ToHit.png -30% at 9 tiles, and so on).

At a distance of 1 or 2 tiles from the target (i.e. either adjacent to the shooter or one empty tile apart), the shooter suffers no Icon ToHit.png To Hit penalty at all.

As a result of this penalty, Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attackers will sometimes want to close the distance with their target before spending any of their ammunition. This is particularly important when the target is in fact heavily-armored, requiring the shot to inflict more hits to increase the chances of getting through that armor. Against softer units, a Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacker may nonetheless prefer to quickly expend its ammunition despite the long range.

The same principle is also important to remember when fighting against enemy Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attackers: if you wish to minimize damage, keep your units as far away from the enemy Boulder troops until they've depleted all of their ammunition. After that you can close the distance more safely.

Supporting Abilities Edit

Many Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attackers possess important Unit Abilities that are specifically tailored to improve the usefulness of their attack.

First and foremost, more than half of these units possess the Wall Crusher ability, which enables them to take out enemy City Walls at a distance. The chance of bringing down a wall with a Ranged Attack is set at 25% per shot (regardless of the actual strength of the attack). This is the main reason to create Catapults and bring them along when expecting siege combat.

Secondly, several Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attackers possess the Long Range ability. This puts a hard limit on the distance penalties the unit can suffer when attacking distant targets. The limit is exactly Icon ToHit.png -10% To Hit, which means that a target at 3 tiles is as hard to hit as a target way across on the other side of the battlefield. Thus, units with this ability will often unleash their Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks early in the battle, and do not need to risk approaching the enemy in order to get a good damage output.

Units with Ranged Boulder Attacks Edit

The game contains exactly 7 units that possess a Ranged Boulder Attack, though several of these are widely available to most empires. These 7 units are the only units that possess such an attack: no unit may acquire a Ranged Boulder Attack under any circumstance if it does not have one by default.

Normal Units Edit

4 of the Ranged Boulder Attack units in the game are Normal Units from various Races. Among these, 2 are standardized units - the Catapult and Warship - which are available to a number of Races. The other two are unique racial units: the Air Ship and Steam Cannon. All 4 are Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single-Figure units, but possess a strong attack to compensate.

All 4 units also have plenty of ammunition for their Ranged Boulder Attacks, capable of firing at least 10 shots per battle - much more than most Ranged Magical Attackers and slightly more than most Ranged Missile Attackers. The Warship is unique in this regard, since it has no real limit on the number of times it can fire - making it extremely powerful in the hands of a capable player.

Normal Units equipped with Icon Melee Mithril.png Mithril Weapons or Icon Melee Adamantium.png Adamantium Weapons receive a bonus of Icon Ranged Boulder.png +1 or Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 (respectively) to their Ranged Boulder Attack. Those weapons as well as Icon Melee Magic.png Magical Weapons will also give a Icon ToHit.png +10% To Hit bonus to Boulder Attacks.

Normal Units acquire Experience over time, which slowly increases the strength of their Ranged Boulder Attack. Some can become surprisingly powerful by the time they reach Level 4 ("Elite") or higher. The table below lists a unit's strength when it is still at its lowest Icon Experience Level.png Experience Level with no bonuses whatsoever.

Icon Unit Name Default Attack Strength Ammunition Supporting Abilities
Unit Icon AirShip Transparent Air Ship Icon Ranged Boulder.png 10 10 Wall Crusher
Unit Icon Catapult Transparent Catapult Icon Ranged Boulder.png 10 10 Wall Crusher, Long Range
Unit Icon SteamCannon Transparent Steam Cannon Icon Ranged Boulder.png 12 10
Unit Icon Warship Transparent Warship Icon Ranged Boulder.png 10 99 Long Range

Fantastic Units Edit

3 Fantastic Units may make Ranged Boulder Attacks. All 3 have the Wall Crusher ability.

Fantastic Units with a Ranged Boulder Attack are very limited in terms of ammunition, capable of performing only 2 of these attacks during each battle. Fortunately, all 3 are very powerful Melee Attackers as well, and can switch to a Melee Attack once their shots are depleted. All 3 of these units are also fast enough to enable them to close the distance with the enemy while firing, thus potentially negating the distance penalty and inflicting more Icon Damage.png Damage on their opponents, before rushing in for Melee.

Icon Unit Name Realm Attack Strength Ammunition Supporting Abilities
Unit Icon StoneGiant Transparent Stone Giant Icon Nature.pngNature Icon Ranged Boulder.png 15 2 Icon ToHit.png +20%, Wall Crusher.
Unit Icon Colossus Transparent Colossus Icon Nature.pngNature Icon Ranged Boulder.png 20 2 Icon ToHit.png +30%, Wall Crusher.
Unit Icon FireGiant Transparent Fire Giant Icon Chaos.pngChaos Icon Ranged Boulder.png 10 2 Icon ToHit.png +10%, Wall Crusher.

Spells and Abilities affecting Ranged Boulder Attacks Edit

Icon Name Description
Attack Strength
Icon Melee Adamantium Adamantium Weapon Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 (requires Alchemists' Guild and a nearby Adamantium Ore)
Icon Melee Mithril Mithril Weapon Icon Ranged Boulder.png +1 (requires Alchemists' Guild and a nearby Mithril Ore)
UnitEnchantment Lionheart Lionheart Icon Ranged Boulder.png +3
UnitEnchantment BlackChannels Black Channels Icon Ranged Boulder.png +1 (normal units become Undead)
CombatEnchantment BlackPrayer Black Prayer Icon Ranged Boulder.png -1 for all enemy units
UnitEnchantment MindStorm Mind Storm Icon Ranged Boulder.png -5 if unit hasn't Illusions Immunity or Magic Immunity
UnitEnchantment Shatter Shatter Attack is reduced to Icon Ranged Boulder.png 1 if normal unit fails to resist
GlobalEnchantment ChaosSurge Chaos Surge Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Chaos.pngChaos (Chaos Channeled units)
CombatEnchantment ChaosNodeBonusAura Chaos Node Aura Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Chaos.pngChaos (Fire Giant, Chaos Channeled units)
CombatEnchantment NatureNodeBonusAura Nature Node Aura Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 for all units associated with Icon Nature.pngNature (Stone Giant, Colossus)
CombatEnchantment Darkness Darkness Icon Ranged Boulder.png +1 for all units associated with Icon Death.pngDeath (Undead units);
Cloud of Shadow and Eternal Night have same effect
CombatEnchantment TrueLight True Light Icon Ranged Boulder.png -1 for all units associated with Icon Death.pngDeath (Undead units);
Heavenly Light has same effect
Ability Leadership Leadership Icon Ranged Boulder.png +1 for all accompanying normal units if hero reaches Icon ExpLevel 5.png 6th Level
Icon Ranged Boulder.png +2 if hero has Super Leadership and reaches Icon ExpLevel 7.png 8th Level
To Hit Modifiers
Icon Melee Magic Magical Weapon Icon ToHit.png +10% (requires Alchemy or Alchemists' Guild); same goes for Icon Melee Mithril.png and Icon Melee Adamantium.png
UnitEnchantment HolyWeapon Holy Weapon Icon ToHit.png +10% (cumulative with Icon Melee Magic.png Magical Weapon)
Ability LongRange Long Range limits range penalty to Icon ToHit.png -10% (otherwise penalty is Icon ToHit.png -20% if target is 6 to 8 tiles away and Icon ToHit.png -30% if target is 9 to 11 tiles away)
Ability Lucky Lucky Icon ToHit.png +10% (also: Icon ToBlock.png +10% To Block)
CombatEnchantment Prayer (High) Prayer Icon ToHit.png +10% for all allied units (also: Icon ToBlock.png +10% To Block)
UnitEnchantment Vertigo Vertigo Icon ToHit.png -20% if unit fails to resist
CombatEnchantment WarpReality Warp Reality Icon ToHit.png -20% for all units not associated with Icon Chaos.pngChaos (Chaos Channeled units)
Non-listed Defense
Ability LargeShield Large Shield Icon Defense.png +2
Other
Ability Invisibility Invisibility unit can't be attacked unless opponent has Illusion Immunity
UnitEnchantment Invulnerability Invulnerability absorbs the first 2 damage coming from each enemy Icon Figure.png figure; unit gets Weapon Immunity
CombatEnchantment Blur Blur roughly 10 % of all enemy Icon Ranged Boulder.png attacks will miss (regardless of hit roll)
UnitEnchantment Haste Haste Icon Ranged Boulder.png Boulder attack is executed twice (also consumes double ammunition), Icon Movement GroundMovement is doubled
UnitEnchantment Immolation Immolation every enemy Icon Figure.png figure is hit by a Icon Ranged Magic.png 4 Fire Damage attack (To Hit modifiers have no effect)

Note: There are some abilities and spells that only affect Icon Ranged Bow.png Ranged Missile Attacks and not Icon Ranged Boulder.png Ranged Boulder Attacks, namely: Flame Blade, Metal Fires, Weakness, Guardian Wind, Missile Immunity, Weapon Immunity, Warp Wood, Eldritch Weapon.

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