Unit Abilities are distinguishing properties of a unit, which differentiate it significantly from other units. There is a total of 54 Unit Abilities in the game (or 53, depends on exact definition). Each ability gives the unit a different advantage. As a result, a unit's set of Abilities determines how that unit would perform in various situations, compared to other units.
A list of all 54 Unit Abilities can be found at the bottom of this article.
Note: Unit Abilities are distinguished from Hero Abilities in several ways, particularly that Hero Abilities are exclusive to Heroes, and can be picked as Random Abilities. Unit Abilities are either possessed or can be acquired by almost any unit in the game - including Heroes.
In Master of Magic, each unit type has a set of properties that define its strengths and weaknesses. This serves to determine how well the unit would do in different situations.
The most mundane (and ubiquitous) properties are called "attributes", and nearly every unit has the same set. Attributes include Melee Attack, Defense, Hit Points, and so on. They are listed clearly at the top of a unit's details panel, and in many other places too. The value of each "attribute" determines how well the unit will fare in basic combat.
Additionally to these "mundane" properties, many units also have a set of assorted Abilities. These abilities give the unit an "unusual" advantage that most other units don't get at all. The variety of Unit Abilities is quite large - including 54 different types of abilities - and each of them gives a different advantage!
For example, one ability may enable a special action for all units possessing it. Another might give special bonuses that other units don't get. Yet another ability might even change the way the unit moves (whether in combat, on the map, or even both).
Thus, a unit's set of Abilities often gives it a distinctive advantage in specific situations. For example, a unit whose Abilities give it a Defense bonus against a specific kind of attack will be very useful when fighting enemy units that use this attack. A unit that can move quickly through a certain type of terrain is often used to lead other, slower units through the same kind of terrain.
With 54 Unit Abilities available, studying a unit's Abilities further helps to determine which units you need to get for your army - and also to figure out the proper uses of each unit you own, in combat or otherwise.
A Unit and Its Abilities Edit
A unit gets a set number of Unit Abilities the moment it is created. The number and type of these Abilities is determined by the game's rules, based entirely on the unit's type.
For example, a newly-created Sky Drake unit always gets the abilities "Magic Immunity", "Illusions Immunity" and "Lightning Breath 20", because the game data dictates that it should. The same works in reverse: a newly-created Troll Spearmen unit will never have Magic Immunity, Illusions Immunity or Lightning Breath, because the game data says that it shouldn't.
Once the unit is created, it will normally keep all of its initial Unit Abilities for as long as it continues to exist. Of course, many spells and magical effects are designed to add new Unit Abilities to a unit (whether temporary or permanent). Some effects can temporarily disable one of an enemy unit's abilities. But only one known effect, in one specific scenario, will actually remove one of a unit's default abilities (and only to immediately replace it with another ability!).
Since a unit's Abilities (or lack thereof) will often determine its usefulness to a great extent, it's necessary to understand how they affect the unit's performance. This is a key factor in all tactical and strategic considerations in Master of Magic.
The Abilities List Edit
In order to determine which abilities a unit has, all you need to do is look at the unit's details panel (right click on the unit). The bottom half of this panel is called the "Abilities List", since it is mostly dedicated to displaying the unit's Abilities, as well as any additional magical effects that the unit is currently enjoying / suffering from.
Each item on the list includes an icon, a label, and possibly a numeric value. Unit Abilities are distinguishable from all other effects in that their icon has a gold-colored background.
The label indicates the name of the ability. The value, if it exists, indicates the strength of the ability (read more on this below) where applicable.
A right-click on any ability icon will bring up a short in-game tooltip. Beware - they are commonly inaccurate, vague, or ambiguous. Refer to the various Ability articles for more accurate explanations.
Unit Abilities vs. Hero Abilities Edit
The game makes a clear distinction between two different categories of Abilities: Unit Abilities and Hero Abilities. While similar in many ways, the two have several fundamental differences. This article discusses only Unit Abilities, so please refer to the Hero Abilities article for more information on that subject.
In total, there are 67 Abilities in the game - but 13 of these are quite different from the others, mainly in that only Heroes can ever have them (as well as a few other distinctions). They are thus called Hero Abilities, and are discussed separately.
The remaining 54 Abilities are called Unit Abilities, and are discussed in this article. It's harder to define what Unit Abilities are; instead we define them as "not Hero Abilities". They are the exception to the rule, despite being much more numerous.
When looking at a Hero's Abilities List (see above), it is very easy to distinguish the Hero's Unit Abilities (if any) from his/her Hero Abilities (if any). Hero Abilities always have a rust-red background for their icon. Unit Abilities have a golden background. There are two exceptions regarding the Merging and Caster abilities, but that's not very important.
As repeated several times above, there are 54 Unit Abilities and each one has a different effect on the unit possessing it. Thus, each Unit Ability gives a different advantage, and makes the unit better than normal in specific situations as a result.
Unit Abilities can be informally grouped into sub-categories based on the type of effect they give. Many are similar enough to one another that they can be grouped this way, though again this is informal and subjective.
Special Attacks and Special Damage Edit
A large number of Unit Abilities will give the unit a new Special Attack that it did not previously have. The unit will automatically utilize this attack whenever it makes a Melee Attack against an opponent. Some Special Attacks can also be used when the unit is Counter Attacking to an enemy assault.
Most Special Attacks are vicious, and will either add a lot of damage output or just force the target to Resist or die. Very often, the strength of the attack is important (and possibly variable!), and would normally be indicated after the ability's name on the Abilities List.
Some abilities don't add a new Special Attack per se, but rather modify the unit's Melee Attack and/or Ranged Attack so that they deliver extra types of Damage. This makes the basic attack itself more dangerous, in one way or another.
Protective Unit Abilities are also quite common, and are actually called "Immunities". Most often, they will boost the unit's Defense score by a large amount - but only when struck by a certain type of Damage or a certain type of Attack.
Some immunities, particularly Magic Immunity, prevent enemy spells from targeting and/or harming the unit at all. These can be extremely valuable - and suitably rare.
Modifying Movement Edit
There are a few Unit Abilities whose purpose is to change the way the unit moves during combat or on the overland map. They usually do not alter the unit's Movement Type nor its Movement Allowance, instead changing movement costs and/or allowing the unit to ignore certain obstacles.
Very often, such abilities also allow the unit to lead other units through rough terrain on the overland map - increasing the movement speed of an entire stack. These units may be valuable in a strategic sense, providing other units with faster transportation.
Group Bonuses Edit
Other than stack movement changes (explained above), a few abilities give bonuses both to the unit itself and to every other unit stacked with it. An entire army can become more dangerous thanks to just one unit within it that gives bonuses to everyone else.
In most cases, these bonuses are non-cumulative, which means that if two or more units in the same army possess that same ability, the army only enjoys one of their bonuses (the highest).
Extra Actions Edit
Certain abilities allow a unit to perform an action that is simply unavailable without that ability. For example, in order to construct a new Settlement, a unit must possess the Create Outpost ability. Otherwise, this action is not possible at all.
Units possessing such abilities are often extremely important for properly developing an empire.
Other Effects Edit
Finally, some abilities have an effect that is so unique that it simply cannot be lumped into the above categories. Regeneration and Invisibility are good examples for this, as are Scouting, Caster, and so on. They are often very complex to explain, and sometimes difficult to understand. Nonetheless, they are often also quite powerful.
List of Unit Abilities Edit
The list below defines each and every Unit Ability' in the game, in alphabetical order, using the simplest terms possible to explain the essential effect of each ability.
For more in-depth information about any ability, simply click its name.
Note: In the "description" column, the value "X" represents the ability's strength, where applicable. Ability strengths can and often do differ from one unit to the next.
|Armor Piercing||--||Special Attack||Armor Piercing Damage: When this unit attacks, the target's Defense rating is temporarily assumed to be 50% lower than it really is.|
|Caster||Y||Extra Action||This unit can cast spells during combat. It can spend up to X per battle.|
|Cause Fear||--||Special Attack||Cause Fear attack: Each figure in the target unit must Resist or stop its attack immediately.|
|Cold Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit cannot be hurt by any spells that deliver Cold Damage or Blizzard Damage.|
|Construction||Y||Extra Action||This unit can build new Roads. X is an (invisible) multiplier on speed.|
|Create Outpost||--||Extra Action||This unit can build new Settlements.|
|Create Undead||--||Misc.||Opponents slain by this unit will rise as Undead to serve the unit's owner.|
|Death Gaze||Y||Special Attack||Death Damage Gaze Attack: Each Figure in the target unit must Resist at a penalty of -X or die instantly.|
|Death Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit cannot be hurt by most Death spells and related Damage Types.|
|Dispel Evil||--||Special Attack||Dispel Evil Damage Touch Attack: One Figure in target Death or Chaos unit must Resist at a hefty penalty or die instantly.|
|Doom Bolt Spell||--||Extra Action||This unit can cast the Doom Bolt spell once per battle, for no Mana cost whatsoever.|
|Doom Gaze||Y||Special Attack||Doom Damage Gaze Attack: Target unit suffers exactly X damage without any chance to Defend itself.|
|Fireball Spell||--||Extra Action||This unit can cast a basic Fireball spell once per battle, for no Mana cost whatsoever.|
|Fire Breath||Y||Special Attack||Fire Damage Breath Attack: Target is struck with up to X Fire Damage.|
|Fire Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit cannot be hurt by spells or attacks delivering Fire Damage or Immolation Damage.|
|First Strike||--||Special Attack||First Strike attack: This unit delivers Melee Damage and/or Touch Attacks before the enemy can retaliate.|
|Forester||--||Movement Modifier||This unit and its entire stack move more easily through Forests.|
|Healer||--||Group Bonus||This unit's entire stack heals much faster at the start of each overland turn.|
|Healing Spell||--||Extra Action||This unit can cast the Healing spell once per battle, for no Mana cost whatsoever.|
|Holy Bonus||Y||Group Bonus||This unit's entire stack receives +X, +X and +X. The value of X is invisible.|
|Illusion||--||Special Attack||Illusion Damage: Target units cannot make any Defense rolls.|
|Illusions Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit may make Defense rolls against Illusionary Damage, and is immune to most Sorcery spells, and enemy Invisibility.|
|Immolation||--||Special Attack||Immolation Damage Touch Attack: Target unit suffers up to 4 per figure. Each figure defends separately.|
|Invisibility||--||Misc||Enemies cannot see this unit both on the overland map and during combat, cannot target it with Ranged Attacks, and suffer -10% to Melee Attacks.|
|Large Shield||--||Misc||This unit receives +2 against all attacks other than Melee Attacks.|
|Life Steal||Y||Special Attack||Target suffers damage based on a Resistance roll (at -X). The Life Stealer is healed accordingly. Undead may result.|
|Lightning Breath||Y||Special Attack||Armor Piercing Breath Attack: Target's Defense score is momentarily halved. It is then struck with up to X Magical Damage.|
|Long Range||--||Misc||When using its Ranged Attack, this unit will never suffer a distance penalty greater than -10%.|
|Lucky||--||Misc||This unit receives +10%, +10% and +1. Opponents attacking the unit receive -10%.|
|Magic Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit is protected from most spells, all Magical Ranged Attacks, and most Special Attacks.|
|Meld||--||Extra Action||This unit can take control of a liberated Node, and may also be able to protect it against other Melding units.|
|Merging||--||Movement Modifier||During combat, this unit can move to almost any tile on the battlefield for the cost of only 1 Movement Point.|
|Missile Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit is protected from all Ranged Missile Attacks.|
|Mountaineer||--||Movement Modifier||This unit and its entire stack move more faster through Mountains, Hills and Volcanoes, but slower through Grassland.|
|Negate First Strike||--||Immunity||This unit is protected from enemy First Strike attacks.|
|Non-Corporeal||--||Misc||This unit moves very fast on the overland map, ignores most obstacles and rough Terrain, is immune to a few spells, and can pass through City Walls.|
|Pathfinding||--||Movement Modifier||This unit and its entire stack move quickly over any kind of land Terrain.|
|Plane Shift||--||Movement Modifier||This unit can freely switch between the planes of Arcanus and Myrror.|
|Poison Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit is protected from any Poison Touch attack.|
|Poison Touch||Y||Special Attack||Poison Damage Touch Attack: Target unit must Resist X times in a row or suffer up to X Damage.|
|Purify||--||Extra Action||This unit can clear Corruption from any land tile.|
|Regeneration||--||Misc||This unit regains 1 Hit Point at the start of each combat round, and may be fully healed and even resurrected after combat.|
|Resistance to All||Y||Group Bonus||This unit and its entire stack receive +X.|
|Scouting||Y||Misc||On the overland map, this unit's Sight Range is exactly X tiles in each direction (including diagonals).|
|Stoning Gaze||Y||Special Attack||Stoning Damage Gaze Attack: Each Figure in the target unit must Resist at a penalty of -X or die instantly.|
|Stoning Immunity||--||Immunity||This unit cannot be hurt by any Stoning Damage attack.|
|Stoning Touch||Y||Special Attack||Stoning Damage Touch Attack: The target unit must make one Resistance roll per Figure or lose one Figure per failed roll.|
|Summon Demons||Y||Extra Action||This unit can summon up to X Demons during each battle, for no Mana cost whatsoever.|
|Teleporting||--||Movement Modifier||During combat, this unit can move to almost any tile on the battlefield for the cost of only 1 Movement Point.|
|Thrown||Y||Special Attack||Thrown Attack: Target is struck by up to X Damage.|
|Wall Crusher||--||Misc||During siege combat, if this unit attacks a target immediately inside of a city wall, there is a 50% chance to break the adjacent wall.|
|Weapon Immunity||--||Misc||Units attacking this unit with a Normal Melee Attack temporarily increase its Defense score to 10.|
|Web Spell||--||Extra Action||This unit can cast the Web spell at any target, once per battle, for no Mana cost whatsoever.|
|Wind Walking||--||Movement Modifier||This unit and its entire stack can move at a fast rate on the overland map, as though they were all Flying.|
Acquiring Abilities Edit
As stated earlier, each unit is created with a pre-defined set of default abilities based on its type. However, there are many effects in the game that can add a new Unit Ability to a unit that did not possess it by default.
Not every ability can be added - some are unique to those creatures that have them by default. For example, all Extra Action abilities (see list, above) are unique; you'll never be able to add them to any unit except those that already have them be default.
The most common way to add a new ability to a unit is through Unit Enchantments. When such a spell is legally cast on a unit, it will bestow it a new Unit Ability which lasts as long as the spell continues to exist. Most often, it is necessary to pay a per-turn Upkeep Cost to ensure that the spell does not dissipate. An ability added by a Unit Enchantment will have a purple background on the Abilities List.
Another common way is to add a spell-like Item Power to a Magical Item, and then give that item to a Hero. While the Hero is holding this item, he/she acquires the new Unit Ability. The ability is lost if the item is ever removed. An ability added by a Magical Item usually doesn't show up on the Abilities List at all, but when it does it will have a brown background.
A less common method includes turning a unit into an Undead unit or a Chaos Channeled unit (there are various ways to do either). In both cases, the unit receives one or more permanent abilities that it may or may not have had previously. It is impossible to remove those extra abilities, since it is impossible to revert a unit from Undead or Chaos Channeled status.
To Hit Bonus: Not a Unit Ability! Edit
When this icon appears, it indicates that the unit is benefiting from a To Hit bonus, raising its To Hit score above 30% by the specified amount. Conversely, some ill effects (such as Curses) can cause a negative number to follow the To Hit label, indicating a penalty that has dropped the unit's To Hit value below 30%.
To Hit, however, is classified on this wiki as one of the primary unit attributes - i.e. the same as Melee Attack Strength, Defense, Resistance and so forth. It is even indicated with a custom icon, , which was designed based on the large yellow icon seen in the game.
When the unit's To Hit score is 30, it is not displayed at all. Thus referring to it as a Unit Ability would put it at odds with all other Unit Ability, making it an uncomfortable exception. It is much easier to treat it as an attribute - particularly because the vast majority of units have 30% To Hit by default, without any icon displayed.
Thus, To Hit is not listed above, and is not referred to as a true Unit Ability. Instead of saying that a unit has 30% with a To Hit ability of strength +2 (which is how it appears in the game), we simply say it has a To Hit score of 50%.
Ranged Attack Ammo: Not a Unit Ability! Edit
Similarly to To Hit bonuses, as explained above, the number of Ranged Attacks a unit can make per battle (known as its "Ammunition") is also displayed as a unit ability, with its own icon, label, and number. The icon is that of a quiver on a brown background:
When this icon appears, it indicates that the unit may only make a limited number of Ranged Attacks per battle, and the number following the label indicates that exact limit.
Not all units capable of a Ranged Attack have this icon in their Abilities List. This is because many (but not all!) Magical Ranged Attackers use their own Mana pool to pay for their Ranged Attacks, instead of ammunition.
As a result, ammunition is treated on this Wiki as being a unit property. The concept of "ammunition" is explained on the Ranged Attack page, as it only applies there.