Channeler allows the Wizard to ignore the Spellcasting Range, casting spells in combat with no extra Mana cost. Additionally, a Channeler pays only 50% of the Upkeep Cost of any asset that requires a Mana-based upkeep spell, such as Enchantments, Fantastic Units, etc..
When creating a new Wizard, this Retort costs 2 picks. A player-controlled Lo Pan without customization gets this Retort for only 1 pick.
Spellcasting in Master of Magic involves converting stores magical energy (in the form of Mana Crystals) into applied magical energy (in the form of spells and magical assets). The resulting energy has to be projected to the desired destination, and in some cases must be continuously funneled into an asset in order to maintain the magical effect for some time. The Channeler is simply a wizard who has learned how to efficiently control energetic transformations and finagle magical energy allocation with great skill, wasting little effort or base materials in the process.
The Channeler is capable of efficiently maintaining a large number of magical assets all at once, providing the necessary energy to keep them all operating for considerable lengths of time. Furthermore, due to his skill at projecting magical energy accurately over great distances, the Channeler has no problem casting spells at locations that are extremely far away from his current position. This is all a result of the skill described above, which the Channeler has honed to perfection.
No Spellcasting Range Penalties
Most wizards in the game have to adhere to a rule called the "Spellcasting Range". This rule applies only during battle. It multiplies the Casting Cost of any spell by a certain amount, based on the distance between the battlefield and the Wizard's Fortress. The further away the battle, the higher the multiplier, and thus more Mana must be spent for each spell.
Channeler Wizards, however, completely ignore this rule. Therefore, no matter how far away the battle is from the Channeler's Fortress, he will only be required to pay the normal Casting Cost of any spell.
This can conserve vast amounts of Mana for the wizard, particularly as his empire expands and battles begin occurring very far away. Also note that any battle on the opposite Plane to where the Fortress is would normally have a Spellcasting Range multiplier of 3x, which the Channeler similarly ignores.
The only case where the Channeler does not ignore the Spellcasting Range is when it works in his favor - i.e. when the battle is taking place at the Wizard's own Fortress. In this case, the Channeler enjoys a 50% reduction in the Casting Cost of all spells, like any other wizard would.
Note: Heroes and other Caster units use their own Mana, and are never affected by Spellcasting Range, regardless of who their master is. This is because they are on the battlefield, and do not need to project their magic over any appreciable distance.
Upkeep Cost Reduction
The Channeler is only required to pay half of any Mana-based Casting Cost her assets are incurring each turn. This allows the Channeler to either conserve a lot of Mana that would otherwise go to pay all those costs, or alternatively to maintain twice as many magical assets as other wizards of her means would.
Assets that require such an Upkeep Cost include the following:
- All Fantastic Units, including Torin the Chosen, but excluding Undead Normal Units and Chaos Channeled units. This reduction is cumulative with, and applied after that of Conjurer, which rounds separately and, unlike the reduction granted by Channeler, rounds individually on a per-creature basis.
- All Unit Enchantment that were cast on the overland map. Unit Enchantments cast during combat do not have an Upkeep Cost.
- All Town Enchantments.
- All Global Enchantments.
- All Town Curses.
The Upkeep Cost of assets that require Food and/or Gold is entirely unaffected. The Upkeep Cost of all magicks are totalled, halved, then rounded down if necessary.
Cost and Prerequisites
When creating a new Wizard, the Channeler Retort consumes two picks. This reduces magical potential to some degree.
This Retort has no prerequisites.
Lo Pan's 12 Picks
When starting a new game, if you choose Lo Pan but decide not to customize him in any way, you will receive the Channeler retort along with 5 Sorcery and 5 Chaos Spellbooks. This gives a total of 12 picks, whereas all other wizards are only allowed 11 picks.
Lo Pan is the only wizard who enjoys this advantage. It is the result of changes made from earlier versions, which the developers forgot to correct.
Wizards hoping to expand rapidly and/or win by conquest (rather than by casting the Spell of Mastery) may do well to choose the Channeler Retort. The Channeler will be able to conserve large amounts of Mana - especially during the later game - while doing battle in distant lands.
The reduced Upkeep Costs allow copious use of Enchantments, many of which can be maintained at the same time. This makes Channeler a good pick for Wizards who thrive on magically augmenting their armies and Towns. Similarly, a wizard specializing in Global Enchantments can maintain several of them simultaneously, though this winning strategy usually works only in the late game (when Global Enchantments become available).
Alternatively, the Channeler may create large armies of Fantastic Units, paying the same Upkeep Costs as other wizards would pay for an army half that size. In this case, the Channeler Retort is even more potent if combined with the Conjurer retort which further reduces both Casting Costs and Upkeep Costs for these units.