|Spell Type||Unit Curse|
At the start of each combat turn, the enchanted unit has an equal chance of:
|As of Master of Magic v1.31, Confusion is known to be malfunctioning in at least one way. Please read the Known Bugs section below. The earliest game version that does away with (all of) these, thus in which Confusion works fully as intended, is v1.50.|
Units possessing the Illusions Immunity ability may not be targeted by this spell.
Confusion can force an enemy unit to perform one of four random actions each combat turn. It is one of the strongest Unit Curses in the game, inflicting a -4 penalty on the target's Resistance roll. Heroes can even improve on this, as the spell is subject to Spell Save modifiers provided by Magical Items.
Random Actions Edit
Once a unit has been successfully inflicted with Confusion, the game will roll a random number between 1 and 4 at the start of each of that unit's turns. Depending on the result of this roll, the unit may be forced to perform one of the actions described below. The chance for each outcome is equal (25%), and since the roll is completely random, the unit may be forced to perform a different action each turn, or do the same thing repeatedly - it's all based on luck.
If the unit is forced to perform any activity, its action will occur immediately before any other unit from its army gets to move.
Action #1: Do Nothing Edit
- If this action is picked, the confused unit will do nothing for the remainder of its turn. Its controller may not move the unit, nor initiate any attack by that unit. It is essentially stunned. However, the unit may still Counter Attack as normal, if any other unit makes a Melee Attack against it.
Action #2: Move Randomly Edit
- If this action is picked, the unit will spend all of its Movement Points wandering about randomly. The game simply picks a direction at random and moves the unit one tile, over and over until the unit runs out of Movement Allowance.
Action #3: Temporary Enemy Control Edit
- If this action is picked, the unit is temporarily placed under the control of the player whose side cast the Confusion on it (i.e. the enemy). They get to move the unit as though it was their own, and make any attack or use the unit's other abilities (if any). Chronologically, this happens after the caster's other units have moved, but before the rest of the target unit's army gets to move.
- The unit may attack its own friends as though they were enemies. Immediately afterwards, when its friends get to move as part of their own turn, they may also attack the Confused unit as though it was an enemy. This allows them to get rid of it, as it may be a liability to the well-being of the rest of their army!
- Control is returned to the unit's owner at the end of the turn.
Action #4: No Effect Edit
- If this action is picked, the unit is not affected by Confusion this turn, and retains full control over its actions. It may move, attack, or use abilities as normal.
Confusion may only be cast during combat. It has a base Casting Cost of 15, and must always be targeted at an enemy unit that is not already under the effect of this curse. The target gets exactly one chance (as a unit) to Resist the effect with a default modifier of -4, although if Confusion is cast by a Hero, this may be improved by Magical Items bearing a -Spell Save enchantment. The curse will last until the end of the battle, until it is dispelled, or until the target unit is destroyed; whichever occurs first. While the spell is in effect, the targeted unit will have a ring of sparkling blue lights orbiting above it, indicating that it is Confused.
If at any point during a battle all of a Wizard's remaining units are affected by Confusion, and all of them simultaneously trigger Action #3 (temporary control by the enemy), then that player loses the battle immediately. Their remaining (Confused) units are destroyed! However, the victor is not awarded either Fame or Experience for these units.
As a Common Spell of the Sorcery Realm, Confusion may become available to any Wizard who acquires at least 1 Spellbook. With none, the spell can naturally not be learned during the campaign. This is the minimum requirement for it to be traded for, appear in Treasure, or be found in the spoils of victory when conquering the Fortress of a rival Wizard who already knows it.
The base chance for Confusion to be researchable (at some point) in the campaign is roughly 30% (with 1 book), which gradually increases with the amount of Sorcery Spellbooks possessed or found during gameplay. With 7 or more, the spell is certain to show up sooner or later, unless acquired from another source. It has a Research Cost of 130, although its research is quicker for Wizards possessing the Sage Master, and/or Sorcery Mastery Retorts; or a bookshelf containing 8 or more.
In addition, Confusion is available as a Hero spell. It is known by Valana the Bard, although it's worth noting that she can't actually cast it at her initial level. She either needs to become at least a Commander (level 4), or otherwise equip Magical Items to gain enough Mana to use Confusion.
Confusion is best used when cast at a powerful or valuable enemy unit. On average, that unit will be unproductive to its owner during 75% of the battle, and every 1 in 4 turns on average it will be able to attack its own friends, thus benefiting Confusion's caster immensely. Thanks to the -4 penalty, most enemy units stand at least some chance of being affected by the spell, so it can be cast on all but the most Resistant enemies.
When Confusion is cast on the player's own units, it's often worth sacrificing a turn with any adjacent units and move them out of the way, to prevent them from being attacked by the Confused unit. Enemy Wizards with access to Confusion can be extremely dangerous against small armies, and should be approached with caution. If all of the remaining friendly units are afflicted, and trigger action #3 at the same time, the result is immediate defeat and the loss of all of those units.
With adequate Mana stores and Spell Casting Skill, Confusion can be used to assist with Rampaging Monsters, provided that the stack is a single unit (which the most powerful monsters often are). If successful, one need only require a single unit garrison to hold out against monsters such as Earth Elementals, which can be inflicted with Confusion to wait out the spell's #3 effect, thus ending the battle in victory for the casting Wizard.
Known Bugs Edit
Confusion suffers from multiple bugs in the latest official game version, some of which can be highly beneficial to its caster. It is a Unit Curse which, by default, may only be dispelled by the player that controls the affected unit. Since control of a confused unit can change from turn to turn, this fact presents a strange but powerful exploit, due of an additional and important bug: the control change actually becomes permanent if either the "Done" button is clicked before the unit runs out of moves, or the side that gained control of the unit is an AI player.
In both cases, the temporal control change effect is removed without returning the ownership of the unit to its original. Once this happens, dispelling Confusion results in the unit permanently switching sides, as it is no longer subject to the random effect that could return it to the other player. This is also exacerbated by yet another bug. Namely, that Unit Curses are always autonatically removed by even the weakest dispel type spells in the official game. That is, no dispel attempt is made, as would be the case for any other persistent Spell Types. Even the cheapest Dispel Magic will do the trick.
A unit that has undergone this process is always destroyed at the end of the battle. This occurs even if the side that "captured" the unit manages to win the battle - or even if the unit is teleported out of combat after being captured, such as through the use of the Word of Recall spell. This can be an ingenious and rather sneaky way of getting rid of an enemy unit. However, it can only be done if the unit is already under the player's non-temporal control.
It's also worth noting that if a Wizard "captures" one or more units in this way and then goes on to win the battle, they do not get any Fame reward for any "captured" units. This is because Fame is rewarded for actually killing enemies. The same is true if the battle is finished automatically as a result of all enemy units coming under the third effect simultaneously.
Finally, the AI has an erroneous advantage when being on the receiving end of Confusion. Action #2 is not implemented for the AI players. If they get this random result, they will still be able to move the unit as if nothing happened! This means that there is actually only a 50% chance per turn of them not being able to use their Confused unit.
All of these bugs are fixed in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.