|Spell Rarity||Very Rare|
|Upkeep Cost||30 per turn|
|# of Figures||1|
|Melee Attack per figure||30|
|Defense per figure||10|
|Hit Points per figure||30|
+30% To HitFire Breath 30
The Fantastic UnitEdit
Physical Description Edit
The Great Drake is Master of Magic's equivalent to the Red Dragon, a creature almost ubiquitous in any modern fantasy work. The Great Drake is essentially a gigantic lizard with a long, keen head, whose body is entirely covered in thick red scales. Two large batlike wings keep it aloft despite its massive size. The Great Drake can ignite its breath, sending out long plumes of flame at its enemies, burning them to cinders.
Attack Properties Edit
The Great Drake's ferocious attack has two components: A Melee Attack and a Fire Breath attack - each with an amazingly high Attack Strength of 30, and both enjoying a massive To Hit bonus of +30%. The majority of creatures in the game simply cannot survive both attacks together, and many will not even survive one.
With a strength of 30, the Great Drake's Melee Attack is easily the highest of all units in the game. With its total hit chance of 60%, this attack delivers an average of 18 points of "raw" damage. Even the most well-armored Champions are unlikely to block this much, so needless to say the Great Drake will outright kill most of its targets when engaging them in Melee combat.
On top of this, whenever it is voluntarily attacking an enemy target (i.e. not when Counter Attacking), the Great Drake unleashes a Fire Breath attack of the same strength - 30! This too enjoys the high To Hit bonus and has an average "raw" damage output of 18. Therefore, when the Great Drake assaults an enemy target in combat, it will deliver, on average, a total of 36 (before factoring in the target's Defense score). Only a handful of units possess anywhere near this many Hit Points.
The Breath Attack has the added benefit of being processed before Melee Damage is dealt by either side (the Drake or its target). As a result, any figures killed off by this attack will not even get to deal damage back at the Great Drake. Therefore, in any voluntary engagement with an enemy unit, the Great Drake has a good chance of eliminating most, if not all of its opponents before they deal any damage - and the Great Drake emerges completely unscathed. Any figures that do survive may then deal their damage - while being struck by the Drake's equally-devastating Melee Attack.
One important caveat to remember is that the Fire Breath attack delivers Fire Damage. As a result, opponents possessing Fire Immunity or Magic Immunity, and targets enchanted with Righteousness are significantly less susceptible to it - they are considered to have a Defense score of 50 for the purpose of blocking damage from this attack. Nonetheless, since this Fire Breath is so powerful, it does stand a good chance of actually inflicting damage to such units, as these protections only reduce the damage by an average of 15 points, as opposed to its output of 18.
Defensive Properties Edit
The Great Drake may not have the survivability of its lumbering cousin the Hydra, but it is still quite formidable in battle, and can stand significant hammering by enemy units. It possesses the second highest Defense score for default units, which is 10, and will therefore block on average about 3 points from incoming Conventional Damage attacks. Only powerful attackers will be able to get through this armor - and even if they do, they still have to chip away at the Drake's formidable 30 Hit Points.
In addition, the Great Drake has a very impressive Resistance score of 12. This makes it immune to most Unit Curses and other maledictions requiring a Resistance roll, unless of course they enforce a penalty of at least -3 on those rolls.
Other Properties Edit
The Great Drake is a natural flyer, with a Movement Allowance of 2. This makes it only an average scout, and although it can avoid most walking enemies on the battlefield, it is not as maneuverable as other dragons. Nonetheless, the ability to pick its targets in most situations is extremely important, and helps the Great Drake in delivering its powerful Fire Breath attack.
Basic Tactics Edit
Because of its immense strength, the Great Drake offers very few opportunities for actual finesse, and doesn't really require it either. In most cases its job is to simply make a beeline straight towards the most dangerous enemy unit and take it out. If other units get in the way, the Great Drake can either attempt to bypass them, or simply destroy them as well. Naturally, against similarly powerful enemies, it is also ideal to try and keep the initiative, so the Drake is always the one making the voluntary attacks - thus enabling it to fully utilize its Fire Breath.
The only other thing to really worry about - except perhaps for pesky high-level, well-equipped Champions trying to bring it down - are enemy spells. Though the Great Drake is immune to most Unit Curses, there are several types of spells that can and will significantly weaken it - possibly to the point where it can be overwhelmed by its enemies. The use of preventative spellcasting and/or plenty of dispelling magic may be prudent, when fighting another powerful Wizard.
Enemy Great Drakes Edit
Great Drakes are surprisingly common, especially when playing a high-difficulty game. They will be found guarding the most valuable Chaos Nodes and occasionally Towers of Wizardry - and may be accompanied by any type of smaller Chaos creatures.
Even a single Great Drake can be a challenge to overcome. Ranged Attack units may cause it some damage from afar - if they can get through its armor - although they may then become targets for the Drake's devastating attack. By the same token, Conventional Damage spells can also be useful, although most Special Damage ones will not affect the creature. On the other hand, spells that are either indirect (e.g. Invisibility), or ignore Resistance (such as the Web + Cracks Call combination), can work very well against the Great Drake.
Although not exactly slow, the Great Drake is not exceedingly fast either. This is important because units with a Movement Allowance of 3 or more can still outmaneuver it, even to the point of attacking it once and then disengaging completely, so the Drake won't be able to make voluntary attacks against them at all. This effectively cuts its damage in half. Alternatively, Magic Immunity or Righteousness can also significantly reduce the damage caused by its Fire Breath, although they won't be able to eliminate it completely unless used in combination with a Prayer enchantment, which raises their damage reduction to an average of 20.
It may also be a viable tactic against a single Great Drake to try and mob it with strong Melee Attack units. Ideally, this involves moving the units in such a way that the Drake ends its turn next to at least 3 of them, who can then attack one after the other. While this usually results in a number of casualties, it can at least be attempted with units that are not of the highest tiers. The biggest caveat is that the Great Drake is a flying unit, which means that ground troops can't engage it by default. However, this may he resolved with spells such as Flight, Chaos Channels, or Web. Death Wizards can also gain access to the last spell by creating Undead out of Giant Spiders.
Ability Overview Edit
- This unit has an extra 30% chance to hit its target with every die of its Attack Rolls. This improves its statistical chance to inflict more Damage with each attack it makes.
Fire Breath 30 Edit
- Whenever this unit makes a voluntary Melee Attack against an enemy target, it also delivers a Fire Damage Breath Attack with a strength of 30.
- As a Breath Attack, this damage is delivered before the enemy gets the chance to retaliate. Any figures in the target unit that are killed by the attack do not get to deliver any Melee Damage.
- This attack does not occur when the unit is Counter Attacking against an enemy assailant. However, it does enable the Great Drake to engage flying units even if afflicted with a Web.
- Targets possessing Fire Immunity or Magic Immunity, or enchanted with Righteousness are considered to have a Defense of 50 against this attack. It also triggers conditional protections granted by Bless ( +3), Resist Elements ( +3), or Elemental Armor ( +10).
The Summoning Spell Edit
Great Drake may only be cast overland, for the base Casting Cost of 900. Upon successfully casting the spell, the new Great Drake unit will appear in the Town currently containing the Wizard's Summoning Circle, with full Movement Allowance, and may move and/or attack immediately as necessary.
To keep the Great Drake in play, its controller is required to pay an Upkeep Cost of 30 per turn. This is drawn automatically from the caster's Mana pool at the beginning of each turn while the unit exists. Failure to pay this Upkeep due to lack of Mana will lead to the Great Drake immediately disappearing, along with any Unit Enchantments currently affecting it. However, this upkeep is for the unit, not for the spell: Summoning Spells can not be dispelled by the enemy once cast.
Naturally though, if the unit is destroyed, then it is gone from the world entirely, and there is no further need to pay its Upkeep Cost. Units summoned on the overland map may also be dismissed manually from their unit statistics window the same way as any other overland unit (during their controller's turn, while not in combat).
As a Very Rare Spell of the Chaos Realm, Great Drake may become available to any Wizard who acquires at least 3 Spellbooks. With any less, the spell can normally 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 Great Drake to be researchable (at some point) in the campaign is roughly 10% (with 3 books), which gradually increases with the amount of Chaos Spellbooks possessed or found during gameplay. With 10 or more, the spell is certain to show up sooner or later, unless acquired from another source. It has a Research Cost of 4,500, although its research is quicker for Wizards possessing the Sage Master, Conjurer, and/or Chaos Mastery Retorts; or a bookshelf containing 8 or more.
Great Drake may not be acquired at the start of the game, regardless of the amount of Chaos books selected from the starting picks. It must always be either researched or found. However, a bug exists in the official game, that may occasionally allow Great Drake to be researched with only 2 books despite its Rarity. This can happen if, and only if, the second Chaos Spellbook comes from Treasure, as it then allows a random Very Rare Spell to be researched, which has a flat 10% chance of being this spell. This oversight is corrected in the Unofficial Patch 1.50.