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Touch Attack

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A Touch Attack is one of the many Special Attack Types featured in Master of Magic. Touch Attacks are executed in addition to a unit's Icon Melee Normal.png Melee, Icon Ranged Bow.pngIcon Ranged Boulder.pngIcon Ranged Magic.png Ranged, and possibly Icon Thrown.png Thrown, Icon Breath.png Breath and Gaze Attacks. One Touch Attack will be delivered by each and every Icon Figure.png Figure in the unit whenever they perform their other attacks.

Touch Attacks are only available from two sources:

Each of these abilities provides the unit with a Touch Attack that delivers one specific kind of Special Damage. The type of damage delivered by the attack determines its effect, and it can be quite different from one Touch Attack to the next. Non-Hero units that do not possess one of the Touch Attack abilities by default will never be able to use a Touch Attack.

The strength of a Touch Attack is indicated in a unit's details panel as the value of its relevant touch ability. For example, a unit's details panel may list "Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch -4", "Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch 15", and so forth. This value can have different meanings depending on the type of damage delivered by the attack. For example, "Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch -4" inflicts a Icon Resist.png -4 Resistance penalty on the target. To understand how these values work, it is best to read the article explaining the relevant ability.

The strength of a unit's Touch Attack will likely stay the same throughout the unit's existence, and normally cannot be modified by any spells or effects. Again, specific types of touch-related abilities may behave differently from others, so please read the relevant ability articles for more information.

Concept Edit

In Master of Magic, the vast majority of units rely on, or are at least capable of, a physical attack against any target. This is called a Melee Attack, where one unit assaults the other using any physical weaponry - whether actual weapons, claws, teeth, and so forth.

In addition, many of these weapons will work not just by the force of physical impact with the target, but through additional magical effects that can cause various types of harm. The very contact between the weapon and its target delivers this effect, so it occurs only during the heat of close combat, when blows are being exchanged by the unit and its target.

Touch Attacks, as they are called, are therefore more of a special property of an, rather than being a "true" Special Attack. In all cases, the effect of a Touch Attack is delivered at the same time as another type of damage is being dealt - with both striking the target simultaneously. Perhaps the clearest example of this would be Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch, where poison is assumed to be injected into the target at the same time as it is hit by the attacker's weapons.

Of course, since the Touch Attacker must usually get into physical contact with the enemy in order to deliver the effect, it is also often exposed to the target's retaliation. A Giant Spider attempting to bite an armed man would have to expose itself to that man's weapon, at the same time as it is going for that venomous bite. Thus, Touch Attacks are seen as tactically inferior to Gaze, Breath, or Thrown Attacks, which occur before physical contact is achieved, and may kill or weaken the target in order to reduce risk. Touch Attacks, however, are far more common than any of those - and units possessing a Touch Attack are still very dangerous opponents, assuming a tactical advantage against them cannot be secured.

Effect Edit

The effect of a Touch Attack depends entirely on the type of Special Damage that it delivers. All Touch Attacks deliver one damage type, and the exact type is determined by the Unit Ability that gave the unit this kind of attack.

Unlike a Gaze Attack, Touch Attacks are delivered on a per-figure basis, that is, each Icon Figure.png figure in the unit will execute it exactly once, affecting only a single Icon Figure.png figure of the target unit (although resulting actual Icon Damage.png damage can still roll over ro multiple enemy Icon Figure.png figures). This also means that Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units will deliver their Touch Attacks as many times as they have Icon Figure.png figures. In return, however, their Touch Attack grows weaker in comparison if they start losing Icon Figure.png figures.

Execution and Sequence Edit

Main article: Melee Attack#Melee Attack Sequence

Touch Attacks are executed every time the unit uses any other Attack Type, with the exception of Touch Attacks conferred by Magical Items, which only deliver their Touch Attack Item Powers on specific types of attacks:

Placeholder =)

The placement of Touch Attacks in the Melee Sequence is dependent on the attack they are attached to: they will be executed in the same phase, simultaneously with this attack. It is also quite possible to deliver Touch Attacks multiple times during a single execution of the entire sequence if a unit also possesses other Special Attacks that the Touch Attack can be affixed to.

Stage Attacker Defender
1 Thrown Attack / Breath Attack,
Touch Attack (Special)
Gaze Attack,
Touch Attack (Special)
2 -- Gaze Attack,
Touch Attack (Special)
3 Melee Damage,
Touch Attack (Melee)
Melee Damage,
Touch Attack (Melee)

If the attacker possesses the Ability FirstStrike First Strike ability and is allowed to use it (i.e. if the defender does not possess Ability NegateFirstStrike Negate First Strike), then the sequence of combat is altered: the defender's Melee Damage and Touch Attacks are delivered last, after the attacker's Melee Damage and Touch Attacks have concluded and their effects have been fully applied. This gives the attacker a significant advantage, and gives their Touch Attacks similar tactical advantage to those conferred by other Special Attacks.

It may be worth noting, however, that there are only two Units (Icon Sorcery.pngNagas and Icon Death.pngDeath Knights), and two Heroes (Icon Death.pngMortu and Icon Life.pngRoland), who can ever have both Ability FirstStrike First Strike and a Touch Attack, thus the above may have more practical relevance for defending against enemies with Touch Attacks (i.e. by using Ability FirstStrike First Strike Units).

Melee Touch Attacks Edit

When associated with Melee Attacks, Touch Attacks are executed at or near the very end of the Melee Attack sequence - simultaneously with the delivery of Melee Damage. This means that the effects of a Touch Attack on its target (particularly killing off enemy Icon Figure.png Figures) will not have any impact on the current combat round. It will not diminish the strength of the opponent's retaliation, and thus does not reduce the risk to the Touch Attacker, like other Special Attacks often do.

Touch Attacks may be executed by either or both of the participants during a Melee Attack. Normally, all Melee Damage and Touch Attacks are delivered simultaneously: The game first calculates the effect of these, and only then (once the calculations are done for both combatants) does it apply the damage to each unit and kills off Icon Figure.png Figures as appropriate.

Special Touch Attacks Edit

Apart from Ability FirstStrike First Strike, there are three ways for a Touch Attack to resolve before Melee Damage is dealt during a Melee Attack. These are actually all attached to other Special Attack types:

  • enchanting Non-Fantastic Units possessing the Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch ability with Icon Chaos.pngChaos Channels to get an additional UnitEnchantment ChaosChannels FireBreath Breath Attack (Manticores, Nightblades, Wyvern Riders, or Tumu). In this case, however unlikely, the Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch will be executed along with the Icon Breath.png Fire Breath, and can significantly increase its effectivenes, especially in the case of Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units (such as Nightblades with their Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 6).
  • equipping Icon Thrown.png Axes with Touch Attack Item Powers on Heroes who have innate Ability Thrown Thrown Attacks (Bahgtru, Gunther, and Shalla). In these situations, the Touch Attack also gets delivered by these Heroes' Icon Thrown.png Thrown Attacks. Although still only affecting a single enemy Icon Figure.png figure with each Icon Thrown.png throw, an Axe containing multiple Touch Attack powers will deliver all of those simultaneously, and may be quite capable of destroying multiple enemy Icon Figure.png figures before they get a chance to retaliate.
  • the Chaos Spawn delivers its Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch every time it makes its Gaze Attacks (but only once per Gaze Attack phase, not once for each of its 3 such attacks).

Ranged Touch Attacks Edit

Furthermore, some Touch Attack abilities can also be enchanted onto Icon Ranged Bow.png Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Weapons. This will result in their effects being applied simultaneously with dealing Ranged Damage (but will not work in Melee combat). Demon Lords and Ravashack can also execute their innate Ability LifeSteal Life Steal ability on both their Icon Melee Normal.png Melee and Icon Ranged Magic.png Ranged Magical Attacks by default.

Effect types Edit

The following table shows the available Touch Attacks from Unit Abilities or Magical Items, including the type of Special Damage delivered, and the Magical Realm the attack is associated with (if any). This latter is important because all of these attacks are Icon Resist.png resistance-based, and certain Spells offer protection against some Realms, but not others.

Icon Name Touch Attack Damage Type Color Counter
Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch Poison Damage - Ability PoisonImmunity
Ability LifeSteal Life Steal, Vampiric* Life Stealing Damage Icon Death.png Ability DeathImmunityAbility MagicImmunity UnitEnchantment ResistMagicUnitEnchantment BlessUnitEnchantment Righteousness
Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch, Stoning* Stoning Damage Icon Nature.png Ability StoningImmunityAbility MagicImmunity UnitEnchantment ResistMagicUnitEnchantment ResistElementsUnitEnchantment ElementalArmor
Ability DispelEvil Dispel Evil, Holy Avenger* Dispel Evil Damage Icon Life.png Ability MagicImmunity UnitEnchantment ResistMagic
ItemPower Death Death Touch* Death Damage Icon Death.png Ability DeathImmunityAbility MagicImmunity UnitEnchantment ResistMagicUnitEnchantment BlessUnitEnchantment Righteousness
ItemPower Destruction Destruction* Disintegration Damage Icon Chaos.png Ability MagicImmunity UnitEnchantment ResistMagicUnitEnchantment ResistElementsUnitEnchantment ElementalArmorUnitEnchantment BlessUnitEnchantment Righteousness
* : Item Power

Each of these Damage Types behaves differently than the others, although they all share the common concept of Icon Resist.png Resistance being used to protect against them.

Main article: Special Damage

Poison Damage is by far the most commonly delivered by Touch Attacks, forcing the target to Icon Resist.png Resist or suffer Icon Damage.png Damage Points.

Life Stealing Damage is also fairly common, can heal the attacker while hurting the target, and can raise the target as an UnitEnchantment Undead Undead.

Stoning Damage and Dispel Evil Damage are less common. They force the target to Icon Resist.png Resist or die - often while it is suffering from severe penalties to Icon Resist.png Resistance.

Immunities Edit

Nearly all Touch Attacks performed against a target possessing Ability MagicImmunity Magic Immunity are completely ineffective. The only exception is Ability PoisonTouch Poison Touch, against which no spells confer direct protection.

On the other hand, since all of these attacks (including Poison) can be Icon Resist.png resisted, having a high Icon Resist.png Resistance score can render units completely impervious to all but the strongest Touch Attacks. In particular, the Ability Charmed Charmed Hero Ability will make Heroes possessing it practically immune to all Touch Attacks. A more comprehensive list of Resistance Modifiers can be found in the Resistance article.

Disabling Touch Attacks Edit

It needs to be mentioned that as a result of the duality of Touch Attacks (that is, them being dependent on a delivering Damage Type), it may be possible to completely disable a unit's Touch Attack. This can be achieved if it is possible to reduce the magnitude of the delivering attack's strength to 0 or lower. When this happens, the delivering attack is never executed, which results in the Touch Attack itself never being executed either.

For example, in the case of Icon Melee Normal.png Melee Touch Attacks, this means reducing the Icon Melee Normal.png Melee Attack strength of the unit to Icon Melee Normal Lost0. The Icon Sorcery.pngSorcery spell Icon Sorcery.pngMind Storm, in particular, is very effective at this against units without Ability IllusionsImmunity Illusions Immunity. It reduces all offensive stats by a whopping 5. Other spells that may be useful are listed in the following table:

Spells reducing attack strength
Spell Effect Resist Notes
CombatEnchantment Darkness Icon Death.pngDarkness Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged BowIcon Ranged MagicIcon ThrownIcon Breath -1 No only affects Icon Life.pngLife creatures
CombatEnchantment TrueLight Icon Life.pngTrue Light Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged BowIcon Ranged MagicIcon ThrownIcon Breath -1 No only affects Icon Death.pngDeath creatures
CombatEnchantment BlackPrayer Icon Death.pngBlack Prayer Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged BowIcon Ranged MagicIcon ThrownIcon Breath -1 No affects all enemy units
UnitEnchantment Weakness Icon Death.pngWeakness Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged Bow -2 Icon Resist.png -2 unit can still make Icon Ranged Bow.png ranged attacks
UnitEnchantment MindStorm Icon Sorcery.pngMind Storm Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged BowIcon Ranged MagicIcon ThrownIcon Breath -5 No doesn't work against targets with Ability IllusionsImmunity Illusions Immunity
UnitEnchantment WarpCreature Offensive Icon Chaos.pngWarp Creature Icon Melee Normal Icon Resist.png -1 one of 3 separate effects
UnitEnchantment Shatter Icon Chaos.pngShatter Icon Melee NormalIcon Ranged BowIcon Ranged MagicIcon ThrownIcon Breath set to 1 Yes may not be cumulative with other spells
SpellIcon WarpWood Icon Chaos.pngWarp Wood Icon Ranged Bow disabled No destroys all ammunition*
Ability Invisibility Icon Sorcery.pngInvisibility Icon Ranged BowIcon Ranged Magic disabled No doesn't work against targets with Ability IllusionsImmunity Illusions Immunity
CombatEnchantment ManaLeak Icon Death.pngMana Leak Icon Ranged Magic Ability Quiver-1 / round No -5 Icon Mana.png Mana each turn
* : only useful against the player in v1.31

Comparison with Gaze Attacks Edit

See also: Gaze Attack

Gaze Attacks have as many differences from Touch Attacks as they have similarities to them. They are included here as reference mainly because of them being the only other way for units to deliver some of the Special Damage types generally associated with Touch Attacks.

Gaze Attacks have their own, special placement in the Melee Sequence, and are the only other Special Attacks usable while Counter Attacking. Ability DeathGaze Death Gaze and Ability StoningGaze Stoning Gaze also use the same Damage Type as ItemPower Death Death Touch and Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch respectively.

The main difference between the two attack types lies in the way they are resolved when dealt or suffered by Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units. Touch Attacks deliver their effect once for every Icon Figure.png Figure with the ability, and affect the target once for each of these. In contrast, Gaze Attacks are only executed once (regardless of Icon Figure.png Figures with the ability), but in turn are applied separately to every Icon Figure.png Figure in the target unit. In other words, the amount of Icon Resist.png Resistance rolls made against the attack will be the amount of attacking Icon Figure.png Figures for a Touch Attack, and the amount of target Icon Figure.png Figures for a Gaze Attack.

Example 1Edit

Take a Basilisk for example. This creature possesses the Ability StoningGaze Stoning Gaze -1 ability. It is also a Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single Figure Unit. Lets say it is fighting a unit of Icon ExpLevel 0.png Recruit High Elf Spearmen (Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 8 figures with Resistance Icon Resist.png 6).
Whenever the Basilisk attacks or counterattacks, it will execute its Ability StoningGaze Stoning Gaze. Since this is a Gaze Attack, it will get executed once for each Melee Attack or Couter Attack that the Basilisk makes. However, it will apply separately to each and every Icon Figure.png Figure in the Spearmen unit, forcing it to make 8 individual Icon Resist.png Resistance rolls (since High Elf Spearmen have Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 8 figures). With the Icon SpellSave.png -1 modifier, each Spearman has a 50% chance to survive, and thus the Basilisk will kill, on average, 4 Spearmen with its Gaze Attack.
So, what if the Basilisk had the Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch -1 ability instead? As a Touch Attack, this would be executed once for each Icon Figure.png Figure with the ability. With the Basilisk being a Icon SingleFigureUnit.png Single Figure Unit, this would mean once for each Melee or Counter Attack, just like above. However, this time, the ability would only apply once. Thus, only one Icon Resist.png Resistance roll would be required of the Spearmen, with the Basilisk being able to kill at most 1 of them (with a 50% chance) with its Special Attack.

Example 2Edit

Cockatrices are the only creatures possessing a Ability StoningTouch Stoning Touch ability. Their unit has Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 4 figures, and their Touch Attack carries a -3 Icon SpellSave.png Resistance penalty. Lets say they are trying to take out a Behemoth (a single Icon SingleFigureUnit.png figure with Resistance Icon Resist.png 10).
When they attack the Behemoth, the Cockatrices will execute four individual Touch Attacks on it, since they have Icon MultiFigureUnit.png 4 figures. With Icon SpellSave.png -3, the Behemoth has 70% chance to survive each Touch, with a total of (0.7 * 0.7 * 0.7 * 0.7 * 100% = ) 24.01% chance to survive all four. That is, about 3 out of 4 times (75.99%), the Behemoth will turn to stone.
If the Cockatrices had Ability StoningGaze Stoning Gaze -3 instead, the Behemoth's chances of survival would be the other way around. In this case, the Cockatrices would only execute one Gaze Attack. Because the Behemoth is a single Icon SingleFigureUnit.png figure, it would only have to make one successful Icon Resist.png Resistance check. Even with a Icon SpellSave.png -3 penalty, it would still have a 70% chance of not turning to stone.

As a general rule of thumb, this makes Touch Attacks more useful for Icon MultiFigureUnit.png Multi-Figure Units, whereas this does not matter for Gaze Attacks. At the same time, Touch Attacks are much more deadly against units with low Icon Figure.png Figure counts, while Gaze Attacks excel versus high Icon Figure.png Figure count units.

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