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 Melee, Ranged, and possibly Thrown, Breath and Gaze Attacks. One Touch Attack will be delivered by each and every Figure in the unit whenever they perform their other attacks.
Touch Attacks are only available from two sources:
- units possessing one of the many Unit Abilities that bestow such an attack (e.g. Stoning Touch, Life Steal, etc.)
- Heroes with Magical Weapons enchanted to confer some type of Special Damage (this will only apply to attack types associated with the weapon).
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 " Stoning Touch -4", " Poison Touch 15", and so forth. This value can have different meanings depending on the type of damage delivered by the attack. For example, " Stoning Touch -4" inflicts a -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.
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 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.
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 figure in the unit will execute it exactly once, affecting only a single figure of the target unit (although resulting actual damage can still roll over ro multiple enemy figures). This also means that Multi-Figure Units will deliver their Touch Attacks as many times as they have figures. In return, however, their Touch Attack grows weaker in comparison if they start losing 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:
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.
|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 First Strike ability and is allowed to use it (i.e. if the defender does not possess 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 (Nagas and Death Knights), and two Heroes (Mortu and Roland), who can ever have both 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 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 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 Figures as appropriate.
Special Touch Attacks Edit
- enchanting Non-Fantastic Units possessing the Poison Touch ability with Chaos Channels to get an additional Breath Attack (Manticores, Nightblades, Wyvern Riders, or Tumu). In this case, however unlikely, the Poison Touch will be executed along with the Fire Breath, and can significantly increase its effectivenes, especially in the case of Multi-Figure Units (such as Nightblades with their 6).
- equipping Axes with Touch Attack Item Powers on Heroes who have innate Thrown Attacks (Bahgtru, Gunther, and Shalla). In these situations, the Touch Attack also gets delivered by these Heroes' Thrown Attacks. Although still only affecting a single enemy figure with each throw, an Axe containing multiple Touch Attack powers will deliver all of those simultaneously, and may be quite capable of destroying multiple enemy figures before they get a chance to retaliate.
- the Chaos Spawn delivers its 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 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 Life Steal ability on both their Melee and 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 resistance-based, and certain Spells offer protection against some Realms, but not others.
|Icon||Name||Touch Attack Damage Type||Color||Counter|
|Poison Touch||Poison Damage||-|
|Life Steal, Vampiric*||Life Stealing Damage|
|Stoning Touch, Stoning*||Stoning Damage|
|Dispel Evil, Holy Avenger*||Dispel Evil Damage|
|Death Touch*||Death Damage|
|* : Item Power|
Each of these Damage Types behaves differently than the others, although they all share the common concept of 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 Resist or suffer Damage Points.
On the other hand, since all of these attacks (including Poison) can be resisted, having a high Resistance score can render units completely impervious to all but the strongest Touch Attacks. In particular, the 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 Melee Touch Attacks, this means reducing the Melee Attack strength of the unit to 0. The Sorcery spell Mind Storm, in particular, is very effective at this against units without Illusions Immunity. It reduces all offensive stats by a whopping 5. Other spells that may be useful are listed in the following table:
|Darkness||-1||No||only affects Life creatures|
|True Light||-1||No||only affects Death creatures|
|Black Prayer||-1||No||affects all enemy units|
|Weakness||-2||-2||unit can still make ranged attacks|
|Mind Storm||-5||No||doesn't work against targets with Illusions Immunity|
|Warp Creature||x½||-1||one of 3 separate effects|
|Shatter||set to 1||Yes||may not be cumulative with other spells|
|Warp Wood||disabled||No||destroys all ammunition*|
|Invisibility||disabled||No||doesn't work against targets with Illusions Immunity|
|Mana Leak||-1 / round||No||-5 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. Death Gaze and Stoning Gaze also use the same Damage Type as Death Touch and Stoning Touch respectively.
The main difference between the two attack types lies in the way they are resolved when dealt or suffered by Multi-Figure Units. Touch Attacks deliver their effect once for every Figure with the ability, and affect the target once for each of these. In contrast, Gaze Attacks are only executed once (regardless of Figures with the ability), but in turn are applied separately to every Figure in the target unit. In other words, the amount of Resistance rolls made against the attack will be the amount of attacking Figures for a Touch Attack, and the amount of target Figures for a Gaze Attack.
- Take a Basilisk for example. This creature possesses the Stoning Gaze -1 ability. It is also a Single Figure Unit. Lets say it is fighting a unit of Recruit High Elf Spearmen ( 8 figures with Resistance 6).
- Whenever the Basilisk attacks or counterattacks, it will execute its 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 Figure in the Spearmen unit, forcing it to make 8 individual Resistance rolls (since High Elf Spearmen have 8 figures). With the -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 Stoning Touch -1 ability instead? As a Touch Attack, this would be executed once for each Figure with the ability. With the Basilisk being a 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 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.
- Cockatrices are the only creatures possessing a Stoning Touch ability. Their unit has 4 figures, and their Touch Attack carries a -3 Resistance penalty. Lets say they are trying to take out a Behemoth (a single figure with Resistance 10).
- When they attack the Behemoth, the Cockatrices will execute four individual Touch Attacks on it, since they have 4 figures. With -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 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 figure, it would only have to make one successful Resistance check. Even with a -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 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 Figure counts, while Gaze Attacks excel versus high Figure count units.