Life Drain
SpellIcon LifeDrain
Realm Icon Death.pngDeath
Spell Rarity Common
Spell Type Combat Instant
Casting Cost Icon Mana.png 10-50
Research Cost Icon Research.png 160

Target makes a Resistance roll, and suffers an amount of Icon Damage.png Damage based on how badly it failed that roll (if at all).

For every Icon Damage.png Damage point suffered, the caster gains Icon Hits.png 1 Hit Point, or (if the caster is the wizard himself) +3 to his Spell Casting Skill pool permanently.

Extra Icon Mana.png Mana may be invested to inflict a Resistance penalty on the target (usu. increasing the amount of damage caused).

Life Drain is a Common Combat Instant belonging to the Icon Death.pngDeath Magic realm. It may only be cast during combat, and must be targeted at an enemy unit. For Icon Mana.png 10 the spell will attempt to drain Icon Hits.png Hit Points from the target and give them to the spellcaster. If the spellcaster is a Wizard, he receives an increase of Icon Mana.png 3 to the pool of his Spell Casting Skill for each Icon Hits.png 1 Hit Point drained. He will not receive any actual Icon Mana.png. The amount of drained Hit Points depends on how badly the target fails its Resistance roll when trying to block this spell (if it fails at all).

Every additional Icon Mana.png +5 invested into the casting of Life Drain increases the penalty to the target's Resistance by Icon Resist.png -1 (up to a maximum of Icon Mana.png +40 for Icon Resist.png -8). This vicariously increases the potential amount of damage that Life Drain can cause.

Targets killed primarily by Life Drain will come back as Undead units after the battle, under the control of Life Drain's caster.

Effects Edit

Life Drain attempts to draw the life energy out of a target creature. Depending on who casts this spell, the drained life energy is then either directed into the spellcaster (making him/her healthier), or converted directly into Icon Mana.png Mana used to increase the Wizard's Spell Casting Skill. The target's life energy is replaced with Icon Death.pngDeath energy, and may cause that target to become Undead if killed primarily by Life Drain.

Resistance and Damage Edit

When Life Drain is cast on an enemy target, the target must make roll a random number between 1 and 10.

The amount of Icon Damage.png Damage caused by Life Drain is then calculated as follows:

Damage = Random Roll - (Target's Resistance - (Extra mana / 5))

For example, if the target has a Resistance score of Icon Resist.png 6, if 10 extra mana is pumped into the spell, and if it randomly rolls an 8, then it suffers 8-6+10/5 = Icon Damage.png 4 points of damage.

If "Damage" is calculated as a negative number, the target has successfully avoided the effects of Life Drain entirely. For example, if the target has a Resistance score of Icon Resist.png 6, less than 5 mana is pumped, and randomly rolls a 2, damage would be 2-6 = -4, meaning that the target has not suffered any damage at all.

Average Icon Damage.pngDamage
Icon Resist.png 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Icon Mana.png 10 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 15 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 20 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 25 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 30 5.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 35 6.5 5.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0
Icon Mana.png 40 7.5 6.5 5.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0
Icon Mana.png 45 8.5 7.5 6.5 5.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3 0.1
Icon Mana.png 50 9.5 8.5 7.5 6.5 5.5 4.5 3.6 2.8 2.1 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.3
Average Icon Damage.pngDamage per Icon Mana.pngMana
Icon Resist.png 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Icon Mana.png 10 0.210 0.150 0.100 0.060 0.030 0.010 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 15 0.187 0.140 0.100 0.067 0.040 0.020 0.007 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 20 0.180 0.140 0.105 0.075 0.050 0.030 0.015 0.005 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 25 0.180 0.144 0.112 0.084 0.060 0.040 0.024 0.012 0.004 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 30 0.183 0.150 0.120 0.093 0.070 0.050 0.033 0.020 0.010 0.003 0.000 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 35 0.186 0.157 0.129 0.103 0.080 0.060 0.043 0.029 0.017 0.009 0.003 0.000 0.000
Icon Mana.png 40 0.188 0.163 0.138 0.113 0.090 0.070 0.053 0.037 0.025 0.015 0.008 0.003 0.000
Icon Mana.png 45 0.189 0.167 0.144 0.122 0.100 0.080 0.062 0.047 0.033 0.022 0.013 0.007 0.002
Icon Mana.png 50 0.190 0.170 0.150 0.130 0.110 0.090 0.072 0.056 0.042 0.030 0.020 0.012 0.006

All cells that are grey are either totally ineffective, or less effective than casting at a lower cost, and should be avoided; for best average results you should go for the highest mana cost you can afford that is not grey.

Resistance Penalty Edit

If Life Drain is cast with the basic Casting Cost of Icon Mana.png 10 (no extra Mana added), the target's Resistance score is unaffected. This means that the maximum amount of Icon Damage.png Damage this spell can cause is exactly 10 minus the target's Resistance score. Targets with Icon Resist.png 10 are therefore completely immune to this spell.

However, you may add up to Icon Mana.png +40 to this spell's Casting Cost as required. Each Icon Mana.png +5 you add will inflict a penalty of Icon Resist.png -1 on the target. This both makes it harder for the target to avoid being damaged, and increases the potential amount of damage that Life Drain can cause.

Example #1 Edit

We have a target with Icon Resist.png 6.
We cast a Life Drain spell with no extra Icon Mana.png Mana on this target (casting cost is exactly Icon Mana.png 10). The following will happen:
  • If the target rolls 1-6, it avoids damage completely (a 60% probability).
  • If the target rolls 7-10, it will suffer damage from the spell (a 40% probability).
  • The maximum amount of damage is 10 - Icon Resist.png 6 = Icon Damage.png 4.

Example #2 Edit

Same target, Icon Resist.png 6.
We cast Life Drain with an extra Icon Mana.png +20 on this target. This results in reducing its Resistance score by Icon Resist.png -4. The target now has Icon Resist.png 6 - Icon Resist.png 4 = Icon Resist.png 2. The following will happen:
  • If the target rolls 1 or 2, it avoids damage completely (a 20% probability).
  • If the target rolls 3-10, it will suffer damage from the spell (an 80% probability).
  • The maximum amount of damage is 10 - Icon Resist.png 2 = Icon Damage.png 8.

Example #3 Edit

Same target, Icon Resist.png 6.
We cast Life Drain with an extra Icon Mana.png +40, the maximum allowed. We're reducing the target's Resistance score by Icon Resist.png -8. The target ends up with a score of Icon Resist.png 6 - Icon Resist.png 8 = Icon Resist.png -2. The following will happen:
  • The target has no chance of avoiding damage completely.
  • The minimum amount of damage is 1 - Icon Resist.png -2 = Icon Damage.png 3.
  • The maximum amount of damage is 10 - Icon Resist.png -2 = Icon Damage.png 12.

Its worth noting that in version 1.31, Life Drain is the only resistance based spell targeted at a single unit that doesn't inflict an additional Icon SpellSave.png Resistance Penalty, when cast by a hero wearing Magical Items with "- Spell Save". However, in the unofficial patches 1.40 and 1.50 the Save Penalties do apply. For example, if a hero is wearing a staff and a ring with Icon SpellSave.png -4 Save both, then a Icon Mana.png 10 Mana Life Drain spell cast by this hero will be as powerful as a usual Icon Mana.png 50 Mana Life Drain spell (both inflict an internal Icon SpellSave.png -8 penalty).

Siphoning Effect Edit

When Life Drain causes damage to its target, it will transfer the drained Icon Hits.png Hit Points to the spellcaster. Depending on who cast the spell, this can end up doing one of two things:

If Life Drain's caster is a Wizard, that Wizard receives 3 points in his pool for Spell Casting Skill for every Icon Damage.png 1 Point of Damage caused by the spell. When the pool is full, Spell Casting Skill increases and this extra skill can be used in combat immediately.

If Life Drain's caster is a Hero, that Hero receives a number of Icon Hits.png Hit Points exactly equal to the Icon Damage.png Damage caused by the spell. This effectively heals the Hero! Furthermore, if these siphoned Hit Points exceed the Hero's natural Maximum Hit Points limit, he/she will gain "bonus" Hit Points beyond this limit. Note however that any Bonus Hit Points (shown in the Hero's details window as golden hearts) will disappear at the end of the battle.

Create Undead Edit

When a unit is killed off after a large amount of damage has been done to it by Life Drain, there's a chance that this unit will come back to life at the end of the battle as an Undead unit under the control of Life Drain's caster.

This happens if the total amount of damage done by Life Drain, Life Steal, and by Ghouls (with Create Undead) exceeds the regular melee damage, and also exceeds the instant kill damage from effects like Stoning and Death. Note that the amount of life stealing damage can exceed the remaining hit points of the unit, but this is also true for other types of damage.

The Life Drain's caster must win the battle for this to happen. His army must also have room for the resulting unit, so armies already containing 9 units at the end of the battle will not receive the new Undead unit (it remains dead).

The Undead unit retains its previous properties. Fantastic Creatures brought back as Undead have a 50% higher Upkeep Cost than normal, while other units lose their Upkeep Costs altogether. Non-Fantastic units will retain their experience level, but will gain no more experience after coming back as Undead. Note also that Undead units do not heal naturally. Finally, Undead units are permanently associated with the Icon Death.pngDeath realm, and gain several immunities common to all Icon Death.pngDeath creatures.

Usage Edit

Life Drain may only be cast during combat, for a basic Casting Cost of Icon Mana.png 10. Up to Icon Mana.png 40 extra Mana may be added to this Casting Cost, with every Icon Mana.png 5 inflicting Icon Resist.png -1 on the target. Note that only multiples of 5 have any effect, so casting the spell with Icon Mana.png 13, for example, is a pointless waste of Mana. The casting Wizard may not spend more Icon Mana.png Mana than he has in his Mana pool, nor spend more Icon Mana.png Mana than his current remaining Spell Casting Skill allows.

Life Drain must be targeted at an enemy unit. While you may target any enemy unit, units possessing the Magic Immunity are not affected by the spell - wasting valuable Icon Mana.png Mana. Strangely enough, Life Drain does work against units possessing Death Immunity, including the Undead themselves! However, these units, as well as Combat Summons, won't rise from the dead to serve you.

Life Drain is shown on screen as a trio of Icon Death.pngpurple sparkles bubbling up from underneath the target unit. Damage is dealt immediately, as is the siphoning effect. The unit may or may not turn into an Undead at the end of combat, if Life Drain's caster wins the battle at all.

Acquisition Edit

As a Common Icon Death.pngDeath spell, Life Drain may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least one Icon Death.pngDeath Spellbook. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least Icon Death.png7 Spellbooks.

Customized Wizards possessing up to Icon Death.png10 Spellbooks at creation time may choose this spell as one of their default spells before starting the game, in which case the spell will already be researched and available for casting immediately on the first turn. Wizards with Icon Death.png11 Spellbooks are guaranteed to have this spell available for casting as soon as the game begins.

Wizards with Icon Death.png6 or fewer Spellbooks who have not chosen Life Drain as a guaranteed spell have a random chance of being able to Research it. The chance for this spell to appear increases with the number of Icon Death.pngDeath Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With Icon Death.png7-10 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research if it is not alraedy available for casting.

Life Drain has a base Research Cost of Icon Research.png 160.

With at least Icon Death.png1 Spellbook, the Life Drain spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.

Strategy Edit

Life Drain is very poor at shelling out direct combat damage. This spell should be reserved for targets of opportunity, when there is something to be gained reasonably through Life Stealing Damage. These "victims" present themselves from time to time in the form of enemy units with severely-weakened or inherently-bad Resistance. They are ideal fodder for Life Drain's siphoning and reanimating effects, as described above.

Used over a long career, Life Drain can help the Wizard train his Spell Casting Skill, acquire undead fantastic units for his front lines, and raise up zero-maintenance garrisons for his cities. Heroes can use the spell to replenish their own life during battle, in addition to possibly reanimating their victims.

Additional Power Slider

Additional Power Slider

LifeDrain Efficiency

To cast this spell efficiently, stealing the maximum amount of life per mana spent, the Slider should either sit at zero or be maxed-out, at +40, depending upon the target's resistance.

  • If the target's resistance is Icon Resist.png 4 or less, no additional power should be put in.
  • If the target's resistance is Icon Resist.png 5 or greater, the slider should be maxed.

As is the case with other adjustable spells, a Hero with Life Drain Spell Charges on his weapon can max out the slider with whatever mana he has in his casting reserve, and not have to pay for it.

Note that a resistance score of Icon Resist.png 4 is pitiful— usually seen only among the Icon ExpLevel 0.png Recruit level troops of the mundane races.

The effective cost of Life Drain skyrockets when applied against units with even moderate resistance. In fact, it is important to seek out ways of lowering enemy resistance when performing any sort of Life-Stealing attack. The most readily-accessible way is Death's uncommon Black Prayer, though there is also the Chaos Realm's common Warp Creature and Sorcery's rare Mind Storm, which Death wizards are most likely to gain by recruiting Aerie.