Tmi489's spell guide for kinda cool people (0.30)

The sequel to duvessa’s spell guide for cool people, made by a worse player who doesn’t care about trivial optimal as much. It’s an overview of spells, what they do, and how viable they are (IMO). I assume you know how magic in DCSS works.

This is up to date for 0.30.1. I can’t promise it will be accurate for later versions.

Other Foundational Stuff:

  • Subjectivity!!
  • I won’t be going over damage formulas or max power, since you can view it ingame or with the badwiki.
  • Pretend that Djinn and Gnolls don’t exist. Disjunction might not be worth 18 Translocations skill, but Dj gets 18 of every magic skill at the same time.
  • If you read the badwiki a lot, you’ll realize that most of the advice is similar. I can’t promise that i didn’t write the wiki entries as well.

Of course, if you find any errors in this please tell me so I can fix them.

Level 1 Spells


  • Brings an item towards you. Won’t drop items into deep water / lava. Power determines distance traveled. The Orb of Zot has a 1/3 chance to resist, and starts the orb run when apported.

If you can cast spells, Apportation is optimal. It lets you get the item before walking to it, a.k.a you get it before revealing monsters, and before revealing exploration traps. Saves turns, which lowers piety decay. Useful for ninja’ing runes / the Orb. Also, you can apport nets that are on monsters; apporting a net on your ally is very funny.


  • Creates 2 foxfire monsters within 1-tile radius, these can only spawn on empty tiles. Foxfires are 30 speed, last for 8/3 turns, have SInv, they never miss, and die after they hit an enemy. They must have an open path to an enemy to hit (e.g. doesn’t work if you’re adjacent to an enemy in a corridor, unless you’re in a corner, where only 1 foxfire can hit). You can swap places with the foxfire, but that destroys it.

Worst starting spell in the game. Sometimes you’ll be forced into a corridor, which means you instantly lose to any monster. Other than that, it’s quite strong. Essentially Magic Dart x2, which is great because Magic Dart is also a level 1 spell. High damage and never misses. Foxfires can block line of fire, but its hard to take advantage of (they move quickly).


  • Deals cold damage, range 1. Ignores AC and never misses. Slows cold-blooded.

The best level 1 damage spell in the game. Ignoring AC and EV is a really great effect for D:1 - D:2, slows adders too. Max damage is pretty low. Frozen Ramparts is better once you can cast it.

Kiss of Death:

  • Deals negative energy damage, range 1. Never misses. Drains you for 13.3% max HP on use (same as Ru’s Apocalypse).

This shouldn’t be thought of as a spell, it should be thought of as Reaver’s “emergency consumable”. Essentially a higher damage freeze - nukes D:1 gnolls, D:2 adders, and any D:1 enemy that rolls high in melee. It’d be better than Freeze, but non-Gnoll Reavers start with a high failure rate. It’s like Freeze x 2 or something, even after AC.

The drain at low level isn’t too bad, around 1-2 HP at XL 1, and it recovers after you kill an enemy. However, each drain brings you closer and closer to being one-shot by a dart slug or orc priest. Past D:4, it’s generally not worth using, except in emergencies where you really want to hit an enemy.

Magic Dart:

  • Deals physical damage. Full LOS range. Never misses.

Pretty average damage, not much to say about it. It allows Hedge Wizard / Conjurer to attack on D:1. Useful for activating Battlesphere or angering things.


  • Willpower check. If successful, deals negative energy damage, ignoring AC and EV. If target is killed in 1.0 turn after, it creates a skeleton (~27 turns). Range 5.

Higher chance of failing than Magic Dart (has ~80% success vs. D:1 enemies), but ignoring both AC and EV is pretty cool. Skeletons are nice allies, they deal damage and take damage for you. As allies, they can do ally things (like blocking line of fire).


  • Physical damage, range 4. Checks AC 3 times. Casting Sandblast takes 50% longer (1.5 decaAut instead of 1.0 decaAut).

Very strong damage for a level 1 spell, around the level of Stone Arrow (a level 3 spell). Also great MP efficiency; it costs 1 MP, instead of the 3 MP for Stone Arrow.

However, enemies get 3 actions for every 2 sandblasts. I.e. a monster will gets {1 or 2} turns after 1 sandblast, then {2 or 1} turns for the next sandblast. This trait is very risky in theory; many enemies can kill you with 2 max-damage turns.

For normal play, it’s still a great spell, as long as you fight enemies 1v1 / in corridors. For streak play, it kinda sucks as a starting spell. Once you have a good MP pool, use Stone Arrow whenever you can afford it, it has better damage per turn.


  • Electric damage, range 8. Pierces enemies, can bounce through walls to hit twice (“doublezapping”). Ignores 1/2 AC per hit, so it faces normal AC if you’re doublezapping.

It’s like Magic Dart x2 if you doublezap or pierce multiple targets. Unlike 2 Magic Darts, it can miss,. Worse than Foxfire-in-an-open-area, but unlike Foxfire you can use it in corridors. Always try to doublezap if you can.


  • Willpower check. If successful, slows enemy; enemies take 50% longer to act, i.e. they act at 2/3 speed.

Worth using against any enemy if you have nothing better. Slow means you take 2/3 as much attacks, it also allows you to escape attack-of-opportunity range and kite enemies. Due to the low power cap, it doesn’t really work past early D.


  • 70% poison, 30% physical damage on impact. Inflicts poison status on hit, even if no damage is dealt. Normal monsters are always poisoned, chance to poison an rPois monster is 33%.

If a D:1-2 enemy is poisoned, it’ll die, unless its a unique. Just walk back and let it die. Another level 1 damage spell, better on average than Magic Dart. Unlike Poisonous Vapours, it can kill endoplasms. It deals 0-3 damage against poison-immune monsters, it’s better to melee attack.

Summon Small Mammal:

  • Summons rat, bat, or quokka. Chance of quokka rises with power. Summon cap of 2 monsters.

Lets you pillar dance, which is huge for early game. And, against most earlygame enemies, you can stand back, spam this spell, and attrition them to death. If you run out of MP, you can run in circles around a pillar to reset a fight. As summons, they can do summon things (like blocking line of fire).

I think this is slightly worse than Freeze because you’re more likely to get screwed in the starting vault, but if you get a pillar then this is better.

Level 2 Spells


  • Teleports you to a random location in LOS. Has a cooldown (-Blink), reduced by power, eliminated at max power. -Blink only prevents the spell and evocable blink, tthis does not affect scrolls of blinking or dispersal.

Blink will usually bring you out of attack-of-opportunity range, it can also help you escape being surrounded. Any character with a low failure % should learn it. While not 100% reliable, it can create situations where, “if good position, don’t have to use consumable. If bad position, use consumable you would’ve used anyway.” Using blink near unexplored territory is dangerous, however.

LOS manipulation is helpful. You can fog scroll, back up a tile, and blink is likely to send you in that direction. If you’re clever, you can use terrain to the same advantage.

Call Imp:

  • Summons a cerulean imp, a melee monster that always spawns with a spear. Summon cap of 1 monster. Every 10 (20%) power gives +1 enchant to the spear, rounding down.

Worth learning on any background that starts with it, and worth casting before / at the start of any early-D fight. Imps wield a spear, meaning they can attack behind you/other summons. They are summons, so can do summon things (get you out of attack-of-opportunity range, blocking line of fire).

This spell used to summon different imps with summon cap of 4, where it was a very good spell.

Cigotuvi’s Dreadful Rot

  • Creates a miasma cloud on your location, which heavily poisons and slows living things inside. Most vulnerable enemies won’t enter willingly. You are immune for the turn you cast the spell and that turn only. You are drained for ~9% max HP when used.

A huge nerf from Conjure Flame; the drain makes it rarely worth using. Can be used to escape attack-of-opportunity range… but only in a hallway, and HW already has Call Imp, Blink, and Slow for that, these don’t slow you and can be used outside of halls. If you can drag enemies into the miasma cloud (potion of attraction, Lesser Beckoning), you can do pretty good damage.

Ensorcelled Hibernation

  • Willpower check. If successful, sleeps enemy. Enemies with rC+ are immune. Sleeping enemies are vulnerable to high-tier stabs. They’ll wake up on any hit, can wake up on noise or if stealth fails (min. 1 turn asleep). Slept enemies are immune to being slept again for some time. If you leave LOS, they’ll stay sleeping until woken up.

A spell for Enchanters; not great if you aren’t already into Hexes. Gives one high-power stab, which usually kills. Compared to Confusing Tough, it’s low MP efficiency, but better action economy. It has a low power cap, so it only really works against low will enemies. You should cast this spell when the target is already in stabbing range. Otherwise, you can wake the monster up as you approach.

Lesser Beckoning

  • Brings a monster into melee range. Power increases range you can do this.

Brings monsters into range. In early D, this’ll mostly be for centaurs (who don’t fire their bows in melee). It’s useful for Statue Form users & Chei worshippers too. Can also be used to drag monsters into clouds; not worth training for just for clouds, but Lesser Beckoning has the same skill as Blink anyway.

Momentum Strike

  • Physical damage, range 4, smite-targeted. If you hit, you cannot move (or cast this spell) for 5-8 turns. Not being able to move (Tloc miscasts, Tree Form) also stops this spell from working.

A “support spell that does damage”. High damage for the level / MP cost, with a very obvious drawback. Lure an enemy to a stairs or explored area, then cast this spell once to open a fight. Risky outside of completely explored areas.


  • Sends you to the other side of a rock wall. You spend (1 + # of walls) uninterruptable turns in the old location, then get initiative on your new position. If you fail due to the wall being too deep, or deep water/etc. in the landing spot, you waste MP and the turn. (It can displace monsters)

Niche escape spell, worth learning if you can afford the spell levels / skill training. Usually, spending 2-4 turns doing nothing is deadly, but sometimes it’s your only option. Escapes attack-of-opportunity range, can escape being surrounded. Good for the orb run, can also be used to stab sleeping enemies.

Poisonous Vapours

  • Inflicts poison. Smite-targeted, full LOS range. At 30 power (60% pow), 2 casts will always inflict max poison. Useless against rPois enemies.

Great damage spell (against not-rPois enemies) for its level. Low level, smite-targeting, and full LOS range are very valuable. Ignores AC and EV, too. You can kite enemies after you poison them.

With Ignite Poison, it becomes a Depths-tier spell. PVapours → PVapours → Ignite Poison deals 8d13 AC-ignoring EV-ignoring smite-targeted damage. This can one-cycle just about every not-rPois thing in Vaults, and two-cycle most things in Depths. It’s very consistent, and it saves MP compared to something like Stone Arrow or Iron Shot. (The one flaw is that it doesn’t work against rPois enemies, which means you need another killdudes)


  • Fire damage to a random enemy within range 4. Never misses. Inflicts rF- if damage is dealt.

Another great damage spell. Strong on its own (good damage + perfect accuracy), rF- makes it stronger, rF- also makes other fire spells stronger. Most importantly, it lets FE kill things in corridors. The random target doesn’t matter if you’re fighting 1v1.

Searing Ray

  • Fire a piercing ray, range 4. Waiting (s or .) will cause another beam to fire, with the same strength, but costs only 1 MP. This can be done up to 3 times. If you fire using f f or autofight, it tracks the enemy you aim at. If you fire using f ., it fires in the same direction you aimed at.

A good damage spell, an upgrade over Magic Dart. On its own, Searing Ray can kill most non-unique monsters before Lair.

Static Discharge

  • Electric damage to adjacent enemies at melee range. Can “arc” to another target that’s adjacent to the original one (including yourself, at reduced damage). Limited number of arcs. Never misses, ignores AC.

Doublezap shock is better for MP. In 0.29 it was really good, in 0.30 it’s eh (self damage hurts). In a hallway, you can hit 2+ enemies while being hit by 1 in return.

Sublimation of Blood

  • Turns HP into MP. Can’t kill you directly. Needs blood (can’t cast if Gargoyle, undead, under DDoor, etc.).

This spell is heavily power dependent. If you just invested enough to use this spell, it isn’t worth it. Having more MP can mean you win a fight, so it’s good, just needs investment and a careful player. Can be used to regen out-of-combat faster if you have +Regen.


  • Makes noise. Killing an enemy yourself gives +1 slaying and (if adjacent) 1d3 HP heal. Recasting the spell resets slay bonus.

For melee fighters, it’s worth casting in many (but not all) melee fights for the free slay. In a corridor, it’s usually worth using. Good against groups. I don’t think its worth training on a plate armour melee, but can be good for dodgers.

Level 3 Spells

Call Canine Familiar

  • Summons hound, wolf, or warg. Canine summoned depends on power. Summon cap of 1 monster.

Another summon spell. Pretty strong, wolves and wargs can kill things in D and Lair. All 3 canines are fast, so if a wolf is behind a monster, you can walk back while the wolf gets free hits.

Wolves are much stronger than hounds, so it’s worth recasting to get them as soon as you hit the minimum of 30 (30%) power to get them.

Confusing Touch

  • Melee hits deal 0 damage. If you hit, check willpower. If will check successful, confuses the enemy and ends the spell. Confused enemies can’t use spells or abilities, and are vulnerable to low-tier stabs. When moving or making a melee attack, they have a 2/3 chance of moving randomly instead.

MP-efficient hex. Unlike Ensorcelled, Confusing Touch gives you multiple hex “attempts” for 3 MP. And with Short Blades, you can swing faster than you cast spells. Therefore, it remains effective at much lower success rates than Ensorcelled is (like 10% or 20% are acceptable).

While confusion only allows for low-tier stabs, confuse doesn’t end after 1 stab. And it makes caster enemies near-useless (melee enemies can still be a threat).

Dazzling Flash

  • Checks HD (hit dice) to everyone within 2 tiles. If successful, blind enemy for 4-8 turns. Blind enemies treat you as invisible; they are vulnerable to low-tier stabs and get a to-hit penalty.

A hex that checks HD instead of willpower. Decent for hexers, since it works against high will. For Conjurers, it can be used to escape attacks of opportunity, but killing with Searing Ray can be the better option. (Conjurers also get IMB, which is more reliable)

Frozen Ramparts

  • Affects walls within 2 tiles of the caster. Creatures adjacent to these walls (and in LOS) will take ice damage. Only 1 wall affects a creature at a time. Never misses, slows down cold-blooded creatures. Moving ends the effect.

IMO, this is the single best spell in the game. Very strong, consistent, MP-efficient damage. Melts through all non-resistant enemies by itself in D & Lair. Most undead are normal speed, so you can avoid them. The wall requirement might be bad in certain tele trap / shaft situations, that’s the biggest con I can think of. (Also, don’t try to kill a D:4 ogre or something with this spell)

Gell’s Gravitas

  • Pulls creatures in a 5x5 square towards its center. Monsters that collide take minor damage. Angers allies.

Can get you out of attack-of-opportunity range with 100% reliability. Damage is low, unless used against a large group of monsters. Can pull monsters into clouds.


  • 50% ice, 50% physical damage in AOE, radius 2-3.

Very awkward targeting makes it difficult to use without summons/allies or fast move speed. It’s alright for Reaver, and can let IE hit undead / ice beasts, but not the best option otherwise.

Ignite Poison

  • Poisoned monsters take AC-ignoring fire damage, depending on poison inflicted. Turns clouds of poison / Mephitic Cloud into flaming clouds.

Amazing spell when combined with any other poison magic.

Godsend for Venom Mages. Mephitic Cloud can be turned into flame clouds, allowing you to hurt enemies that are rPois. You’ll want another killdudes by Lair branches, but works otherwise.

Poisonous Vapours + Ignite Poison + Olgreb’s Toxic Radiance is a combo viable into Zot, so long as you have another killdudes. I’m not joking (view PVapours / OTR’s section for more details).

Inner Flame

  • Willpower check, smite-targeted. Inner Flame causes enemies to be hurt by flame clouds (6-21 dmg) when damaged. When monsters with Inner Flame die, they explode and create long-lasting flame clouds. Most monsters have a 3x3 explosion, giant monsters (elephants, giants) have a 5x5 explosion. Inflicting Inner Flame on allies won’t anger them; the explosion will, however.

Inner Flaming your summons / undead is always funny. If you have ranged attacks, using Inner Flame just for the 6-21 cloud damage per hit can be a possible strategy. Poisonous Vapours and other piercing / smite-targeted attacks work well. Please don’t hit yourself with the explosion.

A big investment for Hs starts, not worth investing XP for at the start of the game, but probably? worth it later. FEs don’t have a way to precisely hit enemies, so this spell isn’t great for them either. For other characters (namely those who make allies or those with PVapours), it’s a pretty decent-to-good spell, though.

Mephitic Cloud

  • Creates noxious fumes around a 3x3 area, not guaranteed per tile. Aimable center point up to range 4. Creatures without rPois inside a cloud check HD (XL for players) every turn. If successful, confuses. (See Confusing Touch)

Similar to Confusing Touch. Great at disabling casters like orc wizards/priests. Can be used with Ignite Poison to create flame clouds, allowing VM to hurt through poison resistance.

Compared to CTouch, it’s loud, might not hit a tile you want, can hit you, checks rPois, and is triple school. However, confusion is still a powerful effect. Mephitic Cloud doesn’t check willpower + has better range, so you can confuse enemies and go upstairs if you fail.

Ozocubu’s Armour

  • Gives bonus AC to the player; power increases the AC, encumbering body armour reduces it. Moving ends the effect. Doesn’t work in statform but works on any other transformation.

Great for anyone in light armour (like robes / troll leather), whether you are caster, ranged weapon, or transmuter. Gives some extra defense, which makes up for the squishy nature of these types of characters. The no-movement restriction is significant, but if you move, all you lose is the 3 MP to cast the spell.

Portal Projectile

  • Ranged Weapons & Throwing become smite-targeted, and gain a significant accuracy bonus. Each projectile costs 1 MP. No MP = spell doesn’t do anything.

Useful to Ranged Weapons users, who are already in light armour. Not worth it for most Throwing characters; the main appeal of throwing is javelins, and javelins pierce through enemies (which is a better form of smite-targeting). For Hs I don’t think it’s worth rushing to get it on D:2-3 but it’s worth it as soon as you can comfortably killdudes.

Stone Arrow

  • Physical damage, range 4.

The most basic level 3 spell. Ignores all resistances, making it a good spell for any Conjurations user. Kills things in D / Lair / Orc definitely. Can work in for S-branches, even if it isn’t pretty.

Summon Guardian Golem

  • Summons guardian golem. Guardian golem shares half damage with non-player allies. If the golem is reduced to < 1/2 HP and still alive, it gains the Inner Flame status. Golems with Inner Flame explode on death, dealing 3d20 damage and creating long-lasting flame clouds. Summon cap of 1 monster at a time.

Absolutely devastating in a corridor. 3d20 damage + flame clouds for 3 MP, yes please! Anything that can’t kill the golem in time can be killed by a canine. However, enemies won’t attack the golem unless it’s in their way (i.e. in a hallway), since the golem never attacks on its own. The damage sharing is alright, nothing impressive, just don’t let yourself get hit by the explosion. If needed, recasting the spell will bring another golem with full HP.


  • Increases movement speed (-20% move delay) for a short time. Afterwards, slows you (+50% delay) for a time. Cannot bring you below 0.6 move delay. Suppressed if in water (and not flying).

Worth having if you can cast it. Great for repositioning. If you’re near an upstairs, its also a great escape spell.

Teleport Other

  • Willpower check. If successful, inflicts Teleport status. After 3-5 turns, teleports monster to a random square on the level.

Can be used to send a threatening monster elsewhere for a while. Checking willpower isn’t great, since succeeding a will check relies a lot on power, and training TLoc is expensive. Like scrolls of teleport, it can send the monster anywhere, so it isn’t 100% reliable. Kinda like Blink, in “it can save a consumable, sometimes”.

Teleport Other + source of frenzy (atropa) can be used to kill monsters out of LOS, though it’s very cumbersome (you need to succeed Tele Other, then succeed atropa, then you hope you don’t wake up Grinder or something).

Tukima’s Dance

  • Willpower check. If successful, turns a monster-wielded weapon into a summoned dancing weapon on your side. Works on melee and ranged weapons, doesn’t work on staves. The dancing weapon targets its owner and expires soon after the owner dies. It drops a normal weapon on death, even for Gozagites.

For most weapon-wielding monsters, their weapon is a huge chunk of damage. Ogres go from 37 to 17 max damage, for instance. That’s pretty big! Centaurs and all melee orcs are other good targets. The dancing weapon itself is fairly strong, but weaker than the actual enemy until max power.

Vampiric Draining

  • Negative energy damage, 1-range. Never misses, ignores AC. Heals you for half damage dealt. Doesn’t work at all on non-durable summons.

Good damage spell for Necromancers. Not much to say. Necromancers will need some way to deal with undead enemies, though.

Vhi’s Electric Charge

  • Target an enemy up to 4 tiles away. Using beam targeting, you teleport to the tile next to that monster, and make a melee attack. You displace monsters in your final destination, you bypass all non-grate non-wall obstacles in your way. You get bonus electric damage, up to x2.33 at max distance + max power, plus a minor accuracy bonus. Time taken is the longer of one melee attack or one movement.

Obviously it’s best for melee characters. You can retreat back to known area, then charge, this way you won’t attract monsters. Can be used for weird repositioning stuff, even if you don’t use melee. Just beware of attack delay.

Volatile Blastmotes

  • Creates a cloud of blastmotes on your tile. If something else steps on the blastmotes, or if the blastmotes are hit with fire, they explode. It deals damage, and it knocks back everything not in the center.

I’ve never used this spell. At least it gets you out of attack-of-opportunity range, but only in a hallway/chokepoint.

9 Thanks

Level 4 Spells


  • Physical damage, LOS range, smite-targeted. Each open tile (no monster, player, wall, etc.) around the target adds bonus damage. Doesn’t do extra damage to flying creatures anymore.

The open space bonus matters a ton. With 8 open spaces, it deals +16 damage per die, which is a lot for a 2d5 damage spell. Overall, on the stronger end of spells. Air Elementalists can use it as a main damage spell for a while; it can also be used to hit monsters resistant to Plasma Beam. Other casters can use it for smite-targeting (space bonus is independent of power), though PVapours + Ignite Poison is better if you have it.

For reference, 50 power Airstrike at the time of duvessa’s guide dealt avg. 11 damage, with +50% dmg against fliers. Nowadays, 50 power Airstrike does avg. 14 (4 open spaces) or avg. 22 (8 open spaces).


  • Willpower check to everything in LOS. If successful, affected monsters take damage equal to (damage they deal), ignoring their own AC / EV.

It’s good with allies. “On it’s own”, it’s a pretty bad hex, but Animate Dead is also level 4.

Animate Armour

  • Summons an animate armour. Stats are based off your current armour: AC of (base AC * 2), hits twice for (AC + AC^2 / 2) per hit. Always has poor HP and moves extremely slowly. Enchant won’t increase damage. But the summon does benefit from enchantment, artefact properties, etc., since the armour wears itself. Summon cap of one monster at a time.

With a robe, it does 4 damage per hit. With fire dragon scales, it does 40 damage. By the time you can cast in something like FDS, though, it’s a slow and frail summon. It can work for hybrid characters, but it takes a lot of effort. (Also the usual summon benefits).

Animate Dead

  • Gives Reap duration. During Reap, when killing a living creature (and certain undead like death scarabs), you have a 75% to 100% chance of creating a zombie. Zombies last indefinitely until 1. they die, 2. you leave the floor, or 3. you cast Animate Dead again.

The first “snowball” necromancy spell. Great to amazing for group fights; once you kill a few monsters, the zombies start fighting the living, and any remaining undead help for the rest of the floor. Useful for all sorts of characters (except AOE blaster casters, I suppose), still ridiculous as ever with Kiku.

Cause Fear

  • Willpower check. If successful, monsters flee. They’ll run away (and not attack you) until they are: attacked, cornered (>1 turn where they can’t move away from you), or the duration runs out. Same as the scroll of fear, but less power (less likely to beat willpower).

Silly Hexes spell. If you have, say, a 30% success chance, then 30% of a group feared is still significant. I wonder what happens when you cast it again? Oh, there goes 51% of the group. Not great in emergencies, but helps prevent emergencies before they happen.

Dispel Undead

  • Physical damage, range 1. Only works against Undead.

It’s very clear what this spell does. Good for Necromancers with no way to kill undead. Unfortunately, they don’t start with this spell (Kiku has 66% chance to gift at 3* piety). By the time you get Dispel Undead, there aren’t too many undead, plus most ways of killing things will kill undead. Can be useful for ancient liches ig.

Flame Wave

  • Fire damage. Never misses, hits everything within range 1. Waiting (s or .) will create another wave with range 2, with the same strength, but at the cost of 1 MP. Can done again for a range 3 wave. Vehumet worshippers can do a fourth wave with range 4.

Very average damage. Moderate MP efficiency; the first blast is overpriced, the 2 others are cheap. Slightly underpowered IMO, though FEs might not have a better option.

Like other fire spells, it creates LOS-blocking steam when used over water. While the steam is very short-lived, you can use it in Shoals to break mesmerize.

Fulminant Prism

  • Creates a prism. After 2.0 turn. it explodes in radius-2. The prism acts like a stationary monster, but isn’t considered a summon. It has some HP, but can be destroyed, creating no explosion (<1.0 turn) or a small one (>1.0 turn).

The prism itself can be used to block line of fire (e.g. malmutates). Otherwise, its a decent damage spell for Conjurers and hexes users. A bit fiddley, but you can learn common patterns in order to hit enemies. Learning how to kite with Fulm Prism is a good idea.

Iskenderun’s Mystic Blast

  • Damages creatures in range-2 AOE. There’s a chance to knockback, increasing with power, decreasing with monster size. Can’t knock stuff into deep water/lava, but knocking stuff into walls/monsters/impassible liquids deals extra damage. On knockback, enemies are stunned for 4 - 9 aut (0.4 - 0.9 turn).

Blink for Conjurers, useful for anyone with Conjurations training. Pushes enemies back, meaning they are no longer in melee / attack-of-opportunity / staircase range. Moderate damage, but nothing great. It damages allies, so a bit sad for summoners and the like.

Leda’s Liquefaction

  • Creates mud in a power-dependent radius around you, it moves with you. You move 0.3 decaAut slower and lose flight, monsters move 0.6 decaAut slower, and fumble attacks as if in water. Swimming monsters are slowed/fumbled by Leda’s but flying monsters are immune. Radius is reduced as duration runs out, there’s a period where it only affects you.

A worse Swiftness that also penalizes melee enemies. A bit expensive for the effect.

Manifold Assault

  • Makes a melee attack against 2-4 random targets (halved for Unarmed) in LOS. No stabs, cleave, or aux attacks, certain unrands won’t work at all with this spell. Takes as long as a melee attack.

Best used for Transmuter types, even with the ad-hoc UC nerf. Statue Form gets to hit targets from full screen, Dragon Form gets a 38 + UC base attack from full screen. Many of my heavy armour characters don’t have the MP pool to effectively use this spell, melee combat isn’t very strong per individual hit.

Olgreb’s Toxic Radiance

  • Poisons enemies in LOS on cast and for a very short duration. Non-poisoned enemies have a 100% chance to gain 1 poison stack. Poisoned enemies have a 50% chance (per 1.0 decaAut) to get another poison stack. Also deals 1-5 impact damage. No effect against rPois.

Good (no Ignite Poison) to excellent (Ignite Poison, or if you’re in Orc or Spider) crowd-control spell. With Ignite Poison, it’s useful even into Zot: stuff like deep trolls, draconians, and orb guardians will die after a few cycles of OTR → Ignite Poison.

Passage of Golubria

  • Creates 2 portals, one within 2 tiles of your location, one within 2 tiles of a chosen tile. Portals can only form on floor tiles (no shops, water, etc.); the spell requires at least 1 valid space. Entering the portal, or using < > on one, causes you to pop out on the other side; this only destroys the portal entered. Portals last much shorter if you’re in Zot or holding the Orb of Zot.

Since the nerf, you need good spellpower to get any sort of range from this spell. Ability to ‘semi-controlled blink’ is great, though. It can be used to lower turncount, it can be used to get away quickly. From duvessa’s guide: “When doing a teleport swagjack or the like, cast it before your teleport goes off, and if your teleport puts you in a bad place, cast it again so you can go back to your original location.”.


  • Willpower check. If successful, causes Petrifying (slow, vulnerable to low-tier stabs, 33% dmg reduction). After a few turns of Petrifying, it turns into Petrified (paralysis, but 50% damage reduction).
    Succeeding Petrify on a Petrifying monster causes Petrified immediately.

It’s a spell that can kill things, isn’t efficient as your main killing spell. For stabbers, Earth / Tmut is a lot to invest for what’s essentially an ordinary hex. For EE, it isn’t great for MP (willpower check = multiple attempts) or speed (it takes multiple turns to get Petrified).

It’s pretty good for disabling “threats”, though…(assuming you get some SBlades + Stealth training). You can petrify stuff like hornets, hydras, and uniques, and if you succeed they just die. If you don’t, then you can go up the stairs or burn a consumable. Essentially a worse/free para wand.

Petrifying/Petrified targets are vulnerable to LRD. This ignores AC, but due to the damage reduction, using a wall LRD on a non-petrified target is almost always better.

Sticky Flame

  • Fire damage, range 1. Causes Fire status, which deals avg. 5 damage/turn. Insubstantial monsters (ghosts), and those standing in/flying above water, can’t be set on fire (but still take impact damage).

Since the introduction of attacks of opportunity, this spell is pretty sad. Sticky flame → run away → sticky flame can kill things. Even with AOO, that can still be worth doing, since with AOO you take 33% attacks instead of the usual 100%. You can also sticky flame → flame wave. Fast species can kite with this spell, but they can also kite with Foxfire.

Summon Ice Beast

  • Summons an ice beast. Summon cap of 1.

The stats of an ice beast aren’t particularly good (D:4 monster, even if boosted by power), but it works well in Lair, since most monsters there are cold-blooded. For summoners, you might as well use SIB if you find it. For IE, it’s a summon, it can deal extra damage, block line of fire, and doesn’t cost much MP. And, high(ish) failure SIB can be used by IE to deal with enemy ice beasts.

Ever since the nerf to summon caps (across the board), it isn’t nearly as good as it used to be. If you aren’t taking trivial/optimal use of summons, SIB can feel underwhelming.

Summon Lightning Spire

  • Summons a lightning spire in a random location, range-2. Lightning spire shoots bolts that can doublezap. Summon cap of 1.

For a summoner, it’s a another summon, that’s about it. Sometimes the spire can’t shoot because it hits you. For Air users, lightning spire has good MP efficiency, and decent damage overall. Sadly can’t be used to block shots. Tip 1, you can spawn the spire and kite enemies around a pillar. Tip 2, if the spire is in your way, you can attack it (ctrl + direction) and the act of betrayal will cause it to disappear.

Used to be a god-tier spell, since you could place the spire wherever you wanted. This let you doublezap, it made kiting easier, and it could block line of fire like Fulminant Prism.

Level 5 Spells


  • Electric damage. Never misses, ignores half AC. Hits monsters adjacent to you, monsters adjacent to monsters adjacent to you, etc. (up to LOS).

Damage is pretty low for a L5 spell. It’s worse than single-zap Lightning Bolt, though Lightning Bolt could miss. At moderate power (50-60), it’s worse than open space Airstrike, a level 4 spell with full LOS range. Admittedly, I haven’t used this spell much.


  • Willpower check, range 1. If successful, halves enemy HP, can never directly kill. Does nothing against monsters with rN+. Has a very high enchantment power multiplier, so it’s much more likely to succeed than a normal hex.

Most characters who can kill a monster at 1/2 HP can kill them at full HP. However, there are some characters who can kill monsters at 1/4 HP, but not full HP. Two casts of Agony can do that. It’s a decent spell if you’re already invested in Necromancy, but melee range is a significant nerf.

Alistair’s Intoxication

  • May confuse intelligent creatures, does not check HD or will, rPois resists 2/3rd of the time. If it did something, it can inflict Vertigo (small penalty to EV and spell success) to you.

It’s hard to justify over Mephitic Cloud, which is an HD check, but with multiple chances to confuse. In Shoals, Vaults (Vaults:5 in particular), Depths, Zot, there can be a lot of enemies in an open area that are past Mephitic Cloud’s range. But, unless you’re going for Noxious Bog, it’s generally not worth the XP.

Borgnjor’s Vile Clutch

  • Inflicts constriction (reduced EV [1/2 at the minimum], can’t move, increasing damage over time) to monsters in a piercing line. Can’t affect insubstantial creatures, slimes, or those over deep water/lava, won’t affect allies. Also doesn’t work against invisible if you can’t SInv. Constriction ends if you leave LOS.

The god spell of current version. Constriction does a lot of effects. You can clutch to kite most things. With a scarf of shadows, you can kite at the edge of LOS. Greatly reduces enemy EV, which makes all the Earth attack spells even better. Divides enemy EV by (2 + mons_size), where mons_size = 1 for little, 2 for small, etc.

Damage is nerfed in 0.31-trunk but it’s still a bonkers spell. Also doesn’t work on TRJ or orbs of fire, but it’s an Earth spell, Earth has options to kill these two.


  • Fire damage. Never misses. A 3x3 explosion, requires line of fire to the center point. Explosion can hit outside LOS (around corners, past fog, etc.).

A pretty average spell. Flame Wave is more MP efficient, but Fireball uses less turns and has actual range. Attacking outside LOS is funny, but most players aren’t gonna take advantage of it.

Freezing Cloud

  • Creates 8-10 freezing clouds, centered around a smite-targeted area in range-5. In an open area, it’ll create a 3x3 square (with 1 cloud missing/sticking out). In a corridor, it flood fills. Freezing clouds reduce the range of fiery beams on contact (but not Fireball), and like other clouds, they disappear if you leave LOS.

Frozen Ramparts as a level 5 spell. A strong, MP-efficient, reliable killdudes. It works great for Lair, Lair branches, Vaults, and everything in between, and it’s still useful in Depths/Zot. The damage is just good, it never misses and works for multiple turns. The cloud’s damage doesn’t scale with power, so don’t bother training other than failure rate.

Lair, Snake, Swamp are filled with cold-blooded enemies, slowed by these clouds. Spider is filled with high EV enemies, and clouds ignore EV. Can kill ghost moths, too (if ghost moth is in melee range, but in a freezing cloud, it’ll die).


  • Physical damage, all tiles in range 1. Never misses. Enemies hit have a 50% chance to be malmutated (-8 AC, -HD, which also lowers willpower and spell damage). Contaminates you on successful cast; if the Contam bar is light grey, the next Irradiate could contaminate you. At 0 contam, you have 2-3 safe castings of Irradiate, not counting miscasts.

Valuable spell for anyone who can afford it, which is most Conjurations users. Fairly high damage that never misses. Most things will die in 2-3 castings of this spell. If not, the -8 AC makes it easy to finish the job. Malmutate is particularly great for hexers, since it makes enemies easier to hex. Nerfed, but still useful.

Iskenderun’s Battlesphere

  • Creates a battlesphere. Whenever you cast a destructive spell (see the spell’s description), it shoots at a random target in its line of fire (physical damage, never misses). You can fire through the battlesphere, it can’t fire through you. Battlespheres can block line of fire of enemies and take damage, though it always backs away from enemies and can’t be controlled. Battlespheres can only shoot so many times before running out. Not considered a summon.

It works, it’s an irresistible, moderately strong Conjurations spell, decent MP efficiency too. Greatly increases the effective power of Magic Darts, Stone Arrows, etc. Can kill things in Lair branches. duvessa’s guide said something about using it during exploration, yeah that still holds true.

Lee’s Rapid Deconstruction

  • Physical damage, reduced thrice by AC, never misses. Creates a 3x3 explosion on a smite-targeted wall (inc. doors, grates, etc.) or monster (made of bone, rock, ice, metal). When using on a monster directly, it ignores the monster’s own AC. Stronger when used on metal or crystal. Deals ice damage (reduced normally by AC) if used on an ice monster. Requires LOS to the wall/target, but can hit monsters around corners.

Good AOE damage, being smite-targeted and never missing are also good qualities. Doesn’t really work in Swamp / Shoals (there’s no walls), but decent good just about everywhere else. Watch out for armoured targets, though, LRD won’t do much against 60 (20 * 3) AC.

Metabolic Englaciation

  • HD check against all not-rC+ enemies in LOS. If successful, slows enemies down. Not a traditional HD check; HD lowers the duration, and if the duration is 0, then it fails. Otherwise has a min duration of 2 turns. Double duration against cold-blooded.

Somewhat useful to debuff groups, even if doesn’t kill directly. Checks HD and rC+, instead of Cause Fear’s will check.


  • Creates silence aura, preventing noise. You can’t use scrolls, god abilities, or spells. Monsters cannot use spells marked as “wizard” (deep elves, ogre magi…), “divine” (orc priests, death knights…), or “vocal” (warning cry). Notably, all demons use “magical” abilities, e.g. they are unaffected by silence. Whether an ability is stopped by silence can be viewed by x v. Radius of the silence aura decreases with duration, eventually only silencing you. Lowers your stealth by 50.

Usually I find silence scrolls and phial of floods sufficient for silencing needs. Training a spell to prevent using spells is still awkward! I suppose it can be useful in Elf:3 in a killhole, since silence may prevent elementalists from blowing it up. Obviously it isn’t worth training Hexes / Air just for that.

The scroll casts silence at power 30 (4-5 radius).

Summon Forest

  • Requires open space; you can’t be adjacent to more than 4 solid features. Temporarily turns walls into trees, adds some trees, maybe some water. Then creates a dryad. Dryad angers trees (passive dmg/time) and summons constricting vines. If the dryad dies, you still have to wait for the trees to wear off before recasting. The trees from this spell are as hard as stone walls, you can’t burn or dig them down.

Great spell for Summoners. Mad trees and vines combined deal significant DOT damage. Constriction is a good effect. Summon Forest can kill most things in Lair branches, which are usually open anyway.

You’ll want to tell the dryad to retreat so that it doesn’t charge in and die. Having other summons out also prevents dryad death.

Summon Mana Viper

  • Summons mana viper. Mana viper has an antimagic bite, which gives magical abilities a chance to fail. Summon cap of 1 monster.

Antimagic is a nasty effect against monster spellcasters, even demons. The summon cap of 1 hurts (not great against OOFs anymore), but it can still bully plenty of monsters. It’s valuable to hexers in particular, since it lets them switch over to Summonings school.

Against not magical enemies, Mana Viper is stronger than ice beast/wargs, but weaker than cactus giants. Cactus Giant is level 6 single-school, which is easier to train for a not-Sp not-Fe not-Vp focused on Summonings.

Yara’s Violent Unravelling

  • Smite-targeted: dispels magical enchantments (everything a potion of cancellation clears, and some monster effects), will also cause summons to disappear. Causes malmutate (-AC, -HD for monsters) and some damage in a 3x3 explosion in the process.

Great for removing stuff like haste and RMsl, as well as certain monster gimmicks like Bind Souls or Word of Recall. Can cancel your own effects, but this gives you a malmutate. Inflicting malmutate on monsters is great for hexers, since it lowers AC, HD, and willpower. If you really wanted to, you can use curare or your own summons. Actual damage is poor, don’t use this as a damage spell.

Level 6 Spells

Conjure Ball Lightning

  • Creates 3 ball lightning. These seek targets (and the player, if nothing’s nearby) and explode in 2-3 radius. Explosions hit out of LOS.

Most players aren’t trivial optimal and will kill themselves without rElec, and kill themselves with rElec. It works great in open(ish) areas with tons of monsters (close, but not next to you) - Orc, Slime:5, Tomb:3 are the main examples. You can detonate Ball Lightning prematurely with a stone, Magic Dart, or any other sort of damage.

Death Channel

  • Gives DChan. On kill (living / demon / holy), create a spectral thing. Spectral things have their own (very long) timer, but also end if DChan ends. Unlike the other Necromancy spells, it works with other Necromancy spells.

Animate Dead, again. Animate Dead + Death Channel is even better at destroying crowds. If you have leftover zombies after casting Animate Dead, DChan still lets you create minions. As of the Necro revamp, Kiku now “works” with Death Channel, making it as ridiculous as ever.


  • Willpower check, enemies in range (1-4, power dependent). If successful, teleport immediately. Else, monster is blinked away. Has an independent willpower check to confuse enemies.

IMB does a similar thing, but it’s level 4. Even though IMB has a good chance to fail, you can cast it multiple times and you’ll likely succeed once. It’s mostly useful to Sp or Fe, who have inflated Tloc values. Dispersal + Discord is stupid, but isn’t realistic for a 3-rune game.

Eringya’s Noxious Bog

  • Requires open area. Creates bog tiles (4d6 dmg/turn; shallow water otherwise) in range 4. Bog always poisons normal enemies for max poison, rPois enemies for half poison every turn. Flying enemies are immune. You’re immune to damage/poison, but still take shallow water penalties.

Nasty high damage/turn and MP efficiency with Ignite Poison. Unlike other poison spells, it can kill rPois enemies. But it’s very strict (no fliers, no poison immune, open area), making it a terrible “main” killdudes. If you have spare XP, you can go for it (effect is really strong!), but you can also go for a tower shield instead.

Iron Shot

  • Physical damage, range 4.

It’s Iron Shot (Leda’s Unmaking in 0.31). It’s not great on its own merits, its great because it deals decent damage that can’t be resisted. Iron Shot can kill orbs of fire (OOFs), and that’s all you need to win the game.

Plasma Beam

  • Fires 2 bolts (1 elec + 1 fire). Both beams are aimed at the furthest target in range, using the same LUA targeter as any regular spell. Elec bolt ignores 1/2 AC, so this spell checks x1.5 AC in total.

Very awkward schooling, Air and Fire have nothing to do with each other. Most fire spells are Conjurations, so there’s little other incentive to train Fire skill. Air Magic is better in this front due to the existence of Airstrike and MCC, so this is mainly a spell for AE. (But even then you’ll want Conjurations for stuff like Iron Shot).

If you can get past the schooling, it’s a pretty strong killdudes spell. On paper, it’s like x1.5 stronger than Iron Shot (but due to the schooling, you’ll have worse power). Also, Plasma Beam can be resisted, checks x1.5 AC, and is very loud. Better damage and range can’t be ignored, though.


  • Inflicts Simulacrum status on a monster (living / demonic / holy, can’t fail). When it dies, you create 1 or more simulacra, increased number with power.

Simulacra have high damage but are frail. The spell burns MP like mad when compared to Animate Dead or Death Channel. Usually, Animate Dead is better, and BVC is better at burning MP. If you already have a mass of zombies, or if there’s only like 2 enemies, Simulacrum is not useless. But even then it’s a lot of XP to invest into.

More viable (i.e. actually good to have) for Kiku worshippers. Simulacrum + Wretches can kill orbs of fire until you drop to 0* piety (which is a real problem if you’re doing that).


  • Fire damage, range 6. Shoots a piercing bolt in each of the 8 directions you can move (4 cardinals, 4 diagonals). Can’t be aimed.

Can hit all adjacent enemies, which is cool. Otherwise, Bolt of Fire was more fun to use. Usually stronger than Fireball. If you know monster AI (i.e. you start backing up), you can get multiple monsters in the line of fire.

Summon Cactus Giant

  • Summons cactus giant. Cactus giant has spines which deal 5d8 vs melee attackers (once / enemy turn, so no nuking lerny). Summon cap of 1 monster.

The stat stick of Summonings spells. Cactus giant offers high HP and high damage in melee range (most monsters will melee if in range). Unlike Hydra, it lasts for an existent amount of time. Good for the usual summoning stuff. Hellmonk says this scales better with spellpower (power influences its HP).

Level 7 Spells


  • Willpower check. If successful, inflict daze (25% to do nothing) + blind (treats you as invisible). Always inflicts weak (2/3 melee damage) and antimagic (chance to fail magical abilities). Casting it resets the duration, instead of stacking duration. High enchantment power.

The “capstone” Hexes spell. Not a great killdudes spell, not worth training on non-Hexers, but it can let hexers kill if you got nothing stronger. Better than Confusing Touch: the massive power multiplier lets you hex high will enemies, and it has better turn efficiency, and it debuffs things. It can be good if you go Hexes → (another kill dudes), since Enfeeble can nerf ancient liches and OOFs.


  • Creates 2-6 ghosts (wraiths, freezing wraiths, shadow wraiths, phantasmal warriors) around an enemy. These only target said enemy until it dies, then the summons quickly disappear. Summon cap of 8 monsters.

It’s a summon, it’s even better at blocking LoF. It can let Necromancers / Kiku worshippers kill OOFs, though it isn’t great at doing so. Since you need to recast for each enemy, it’s kinda poor for MP. Haunt → Immolation is funnier than usual,

All three wraiths can slow enemies, even OOFs / other people with infinite willpower. Phantasmal warriors can also halve willpower.

Malign Gateway

  • Creates an eldritch tentacle in 1-2 turns, requires openish space. It attacks enemies. Has a chance to turn hostile. Only 1 Malign Gateway (you, monster, Zot trap) can exist on the level at a time.

Malign tentacles can 1v1 or (X)v1 most enemies in a 3-rune game. Including OOFs, since tentacles are immune to fire. A bit clunky due to the space requirement, but it works. Summoners have other spells to kill in tight spaces.

Monstrous Menagerie

  • Summons manticore, lindwurm, or sphinx. Power increases chance of sphinx. Summon cap of 2 monsters.

The most bland L7 Summoning spell. It’s still a summon. Benefit of Monstrous Menagerie, is that all its monsters can shoot from range (great for exploring), and it has a summon cap of 2 instead of 1. Sphinx paralysis is nice when it happens.

Orb of Destruction

  • Createsan orb of destruction. It deal physical damage and ignores EV. Orbs have 30 speed and aren’t limited to normal movement; they have a “position” and “angle” defined by floats. Orbs can hit walls or other orbs (creates a massive noise), but nothing else can interrupt it. There’s a damage penalty if the orb hasn’t moved 4 or more tiles. Doesn’t count as a summon, it doesn’t block line of fire. Monsters ignore orbs for pathing; they don’t intentionally dodge.

It’s Orb of Destruction, it can kill anything in the game, like Iron Shot it isn’t particularly good at it. The aiming kinda sucks, though. Orbs start with a small, random offset, so casting in a 1-tile hallway is likely to fail. Can be paired with Iron Shot (IOOD has full screen range, Iron Shot can be used in short-range & corridors), if you don’t care about spell levels.

It can kinda attack from outside LOS but not really. The monster needs to be in LOS the turn before the orb deals damage, but you can move out afterwards. So if you keep a monster at edge of LOS, you can get out-of-LOS hits.

Ozocubu’s Refrigeration

  • Cold damage, all enemies in LOS. Never misses. Damage reduced for enemies that are adjacent to either the player or another enemy.

By itself, it’s AOE against spread out targets, and a single-target spell from full screen range. Freezing Cloud is good against clumped targets that Ozo’s is bad at, so not much is lost there. Pretty funny with Immolation scrolls, which can be used to get past the “cramped enemy” damage penalty.

Spellforged Servitor

  • Summons a spellforged servitor. It casts the first spell that’s <=50% failure in a pre-determined list The ones you need to know are: LCS > IOOD > Iron Shot > Plasma Beam > Stone Arrow. Servitor attempts to cast a spell (75%) every 1.8 turns (moves at normal speed).

Amazing spell for Conjurers, it’s a summon. Servitor can cast multiple crystal spears for 7 MP, which is worth it, even without the other benefits of being a summon. Moderate HP and good resistance, too. Not as impressive for Summoners, but they can pick up Stone Arrow and monsters cast Stone Arrow much stronger than you can (for some reason).

Orb of Destruction is very bad for servitors, since monster AI doesn’t aim it properly. Give it LCS or Iron Shot instead.

Summon Hydra

  • Summons hydra, # of heads depends on power. The hydra is very short lived (9 turns). Summon cap of 2.

The “Conjurations spell” of Summonings. Lets summoners burn through MP for extra damage. Has the usual benefits of a summon, too. Most monsters have poor AC / EV, which makes hydras stronger than they seem.

1 Thank
Level 8 Spells

Borgnjor’s Revivification

  • Reduces your max HP (usually 6% to 8%, up to 15% in theory), and sets your current HP to the new maximum. Can be used to cancel Death’s Door, which paralyses you for 2-5 turns.

Most situations in the game can be solved by healing to full HP. HP penalty is better than being dead, just don’t 100% depend on a 1% failure rate. Good for Kiku worshippers (and Sif), usually too expensive (XP-wise) for other characters.


  • Willpower check to everything in LOS. If successful, causes monsters to become frenzied (like berserk, but monsters attack other monsters, and cast spells).

By the time you can cast Discord, there isn’t much you can actually use it on. Cause Fear does most of what it does. Discord + Dispersal can be used to kill from outside LOS, but this requires getting Discord up.


  • Creatures an aura, range-4. Monsters inside have a chance to blink away. The closer they are, the higher the chance, nearly guaranteed when adjacent.

Controlled Blink wasn’t worth casting in a 3-rune game, so Disjunction definitely isn’t. Useful in Zigs, that’s about it. Also, if you’re a Sp or Fe with high Translocations (for Malign Gateway), it can make the orb run easy.


  • Fire damage, never misses. Creates a 3x3 explosion on each monster in LOS. Can never hurt you or allies.

Weaker than Fireball against single targets. Good in areas with tons of enemies, namely Vaults:5, Tomb. Also trivializes TRJ. As pure Fire, it’s very difficult to train unless you’re going for Fire Storm. (Almost all other fire spells are Conjurations, so characters want to lean on Conjurations skill, not Fire itself). Amazing spell for Megazigs, but until your 5th or so zig, Fire Storm is better.


  • Inflicts Infested status on 5x5, smite-targeted area. Enemies that die become death scarabs. Scarabs are fast and slow enemies on hit. Works on all enemies, including demon / undead / nonliving. Bypasses Gozag’s gold touch. Can infest outside of LOS. Strength of scarabs doesn’t depend on the enemy killed.

The gimmick of this spell is that it works on nonliving and undead. Good for extended. Unless you worship Kiku, it’s not worth it for a 3-rune game, IMO. Outside of Zot, Animate Dead works well enough, and in Zot, the concentration of enemies is too small (again IMO). But Kiku can summon Wretches, which let you make scarabs anywhere.

Lehudib’s Crystal Spear

  • Physical damage, range 3.

Iron Shot with more damage and 1 less range. Usually Iron Shot can kill enemies. LCS can kill them faster, but most of the time, you could use Iron Shot with a bigger shield instead.

It’s great to have in your spell list if you have Spellforged Servitor, since servitors will use LCS over IOOD, if you don’t care about the spell levels.

Maxwell’s Capacitive Coupling

  • Needs you to wait (s or .) for 3-7 turns. Afterwards, instantly kills the closest enemy, randomly chosen if multiple are equally close. Kill all monsters, uniques aren’t immune, monsters with elec immunity aren’t immune.

Kills OOFs and TRJ, that’s good enough to win the game. It’s like 3 times more MP efficient than LCS or Iron Shot. Aiming at the nearest target kinda sucks (it has a tendency to hit summons, for example). But most of the downsides can be negated by using the stairs, or making a killhole. You can use Plasma Beam or Airstrike when you can’t use MCC.

Summon Horrible Things

  • Summons 2-6 large abominations and tentacled monstrosities. Summon cap of 8 monsters.

It’s a summon spell. It summons multiple things per cast, which is huge, and unlike Haunt they last a long time. Also, tentacled monstrosities constrict, which is a great effect.

Level 9 Spells

Chain Lightning

  • Elec damage, ignores 1/2 resistances and 1/2 AC. Targets the nearest creature in LOS. Then, “arcs” and hits everything within 3 tiles of the first one. The next arc hits everything within 3 tiles of a previous target (but each monster can only be hit once).
    Only does full damage to the original target, and only if they’re in melee range. Damage reduced by x2/3 per arc, also reduced by x2/3 if target isn’t in melee, reduced by x2/3 again if past 4 spaces. You can get hurt, but at 1/6 normal damage, and you can never be the first arc.

The strongest single-target spell in the game (except MCC), with decent AOE too. But as a level 9 spell, its a meme for most not-Ash not-Veh characters; MCC can kill rElec enemies just fine. For Veh characters, it’s still a pretty big XP investment.

Death’s Door

  • Sets your HP to 1-20 and makes you immune to all damage for a minimum of 16 turns. Cooldown of 1-3 turns after it ends. Can be cancelled by Borgnjor’s Revivification, but this paralyses you for 2-5 turns.

The best escape spell in the game. You should be able to escape in 16 turns, and if not, then Revivification exists (the only book with DDoor also has Revivification). Outside of Sif, it’s irrelevant for a 3-rune game, though.

Dragon’s Call

  • DCall duration: summons dragons over time when hostile monsters are on screen. Each dragon costs 2-3 MP. No summon cap. Has a cooldown when the duration ends.

Each dragon has ranged attacks, and you summon a lot of them. It has a real niche over other summoning spells; it’s better at killing OOFs than Haunt / Horrible Things, and is less finicky than Malign Gateway. But as a level 9 spell, its a meme for most not-Ash characters. Both Malign Gateway and Spellforged Servitor can kill OOFs.

Fire Storm

  • Fire damage, ignores 1/2 resistances. Blasts a 5x5 or 7x7 area, creates flame clouds and friendly fire vortices. Can attack outside LOS, but to attack from past normal LOS range requires 7x7 explosion, Vehumet’s range increase, or some way to decrease LOS.

It’s a good AOE spell, it kills things. But as a level 9 spell, its a meme for most not-Ash not-Veh characters. For Veh characters, it’s still a pretty big XP investment.

Polar Vortex

  • Cold damage, ignores 1/2 resistances. Creates a vortex that spins around you, which gains radius (up to 5) as it goes up. It lasts for 6 turns and has a cooldown of 3.5 - 4.5 turns. Rotates enemies counterclockwise, gives them short-lived flight. Reduced damage if not in an open area.

Worse damage/turn than the other level 9 spells. Good MP efficiency. But as a level 9 spell, its a meme for not-Ash not-Veh characters. Since it’s a low range spell that forces you into the open, it’s good to have with high defenses… which most not-Ash characters won’t have if they want to cast a level 9 by Zot.


  • Physical damage, everything in LOS. Breaks walls (inc. stone/metal walls) randomly. Does more damage against anything LRD is good against. Does less damage against flying or insubstantial enemies.

Can be used to break vaults, including Zot:5 lungs, even at highish failure rate. As an actual damage spell: anyone who can cast this spell can use Iron Shot or LCS instead, which can win the game on their own.

Form Spells

These are all getting removed in trunk, so these get their own subsection.

Beastly Appendage:

  • Gives you Horns 2 and Talons 2 aux attacks, melding helm/boots/bardings. Armataur / Naga / Merfolk / Felid won’t get talons, but the foot slot is still melded. Octopodes get Spiked Tentacle.

It’s a spell that gets Transmuters past D:1 / D:2, alright for other melee too. Cast before every melee fight, at least before you get both helm & boots. You might want to wear armour that makes this spell 100% failure, though.

Spider Form:

  • UC +2 base damage and venom branded. AC = 2, gain EV bonus due to being tiny. rPois-. Melds all armour and weapon, no throwing. Minor spell failure penalty.

Venom is an incredibly strong brand for early D, and Spider Form is just venom brand: the spell. Its worth casting at Tm start even without Tmut training. 30% to 50% failure is tolerable and won’t kill non-felids. Forget rPois- exists: at XL 3, Spider Form is more likely to kill adders than Appendage. Not worth casting if not a Tm.

Ice Form:

  • UC +9 base damage, freezing branded. 120% HP, AC = 5-17, lose EV due to large size. rC+++ rF- rPois. No blood. Melds all armour and weapon, no throwing.

It’s a spell for Transmuters in mid-D and Lair. Freezing slows most creatures in Lair, though you still won’t want to melee hydras. Not worth casting if not a Tm and not a Djinni.

Blade Hands

  • UC +19 base damage. Off-hand punch is better. Melds gloves, weapon, shield. Spell penalty.

It works, damage is better than a GSC. A bit at odds with Transmutations, since heavy armour increase spell failure.

Statue Form

  • UC +9 base damage. 130% HP, AC = 20 - 38. ALL actions slowed by 3/2, all melee attacks do 3/2 damage. Melds body armour, gloves, boots. rTorm rElec rN+, poison immune, vulnerable to LRD/shatter.

It can kill orbs of fire. Not worth casting for weapon users or blaster casters, unless you really want rTorm, or if you’re Op / Fe.

Dragon Form

  • UC +35 base damage. 150% HP, AC = 16, EV reduced from giant size. Fire breath (piercing, creates flame cloud if you aim with ‘.’). Melds all armour and weapon, no throwing. rF++ rC- unless Draconian (uses your colour, unless red [normal] or white [rC++ / rF-]), also rPois.

Base damage is extremely silly, you can get like 10 actual Unarmed skill, and still be able to kill just about everything. Despite 150% HP, you are still pretty frail.

Storm Form

  • Power-dependent UC damage, UC gains cleaving + elec. Bonus AC and EV. Blinkbolt ability; allows you to attack and send yourself to the end. Melds all armour and weapon, no throwing. rElec insubstantial.

Capstone form spell. Nuts damage and cleaving with high power; use a staff of air + robe of archmagi to make it strong. It’s good but not worth switching Transmutations to (unless Op or Fe).


  • UC +3 base damage, drain branded. +6 AC. Will+ and undead resistances (rC+ rN+++, poison + torm immune) and vulnerabilities (holy, holy wrath, Dispel Undead). Can’t drink potions. Spell enhancer for Necromancy, cant use DDoor or Revivification.

The ultimate meme spell. Only worth using in extended and zigs.

Other misc stuff

How do you rank the elemental schools?

For the early game, Ice is clearly the best, there’s zero competition. Fire would be close, but Foxfire means you can die in the entry vault. Earth isn’t far behind, but 1.5 casting speed means it sucks for fighting multiple enemies, and introduces bad RNG.

From the mid game onwards, I would lean towards Earth, since BVC is amazing and LRD / Iron Shot are both great. Air isn’t far behind Earth. Most Fire spells are also Conjurations, so the actual Fire school isn’t worth training too much. Ice just has Freezing Cloud in the midgame (L 5-6); it’s really good, but it’s only one spell. I find that Ozo’s Refrigeration isn’t that good for L7 either.

Should I train Spellcasting for max MP?

I think its worth training Spellcasting when its costs (1/2 XP of a spell school), since 1 Spellcasting = (1/4 of every spell school at once) for the purposes of power/failure. Many good spells are dual-school, so 1 Spc = 1/4 * 2 of a normal spellschool = 1/2. This should be enough MP for you.

(If you aren’t being hyper-optimal, having more MP does makes the game easier to play. So there’s decent merit in training Spc, especially if your defenses are already good.)

How do you rank Crawl’s options for killing stuff?

I’m not a person that can properly answer this question. Even though people keep on saying “a background is only a starting package”, there’s many times where sticking with your background is the best choice.

Here’s the answer on “what do you prefer on a Gnoll?” instead:

  • Earlygame, summons are the best. In general summons let you block line of fire, and they have their own HP pool. In the earlygame, summons let you pillar dance, which is massive. Most early enemies are melee, and summons are good vs melee. And no early-game enemy uses abjuration. Summoner as a background starts with Guardian Golem, which can kill just about every OOD inside a hallway.

  • Midgame (Lair branches onward), I’ll usually rely on broken busted spells like BVC or Freezing Cloud. Poison + Ignite Poison works better than most options, but you need another killdudes.

I think that non-Berserker melee has a clear disadvantage over casters, ever since attacks of opportunity. However, it isn’t worth switching to direct-damage spells on a melee start, you have low Int and need to get lucky with spellbooks.

Do you think it’s optimal to hybridize?

Many spells can killdudes just fine, so training for another killdudes is redundant. If you don’t have a killdudes spell, it can be viable. Some backgrounds (VM, Ne, arguably IE) have big issues, since certain early-D enemies are resistant to all of their spells. In that case you need to train a way of killing quickly (as soon as you get PVapours / Ramparts/ Vamp Drain castable).

You can also get a dagger of venom / elec on D:1 and use it for the rest of D, though a dagger of venom works even at 0 skill. I also think that BVC is such as good spell, that it lets you hybridize.

Overall, I don’t think heavy melee → magic is a good idea, but magic → melee is good with BVC.

How strong are spells compared to 0.20?

I haven’t played much < 0.25, but I have seen a lot of it. Here are my conjectures:

Conjurations / Elemental spells:

Earlygame spells are definitely much stronger in 0.30. Scorch, Frozen Ramparts didn’t exist. Sandblast was better (1 turn cast) but required stones, which could sometimes screw you over. No spell hunger is also a buff. Of course, everybody’s earlygame is much much worse due to attacks of opportunity, and mage starts begin with potion of magic (which is on the worse end of starting consumables).

Past earlygame, all the caster starts no longer get level 5 spells, which stings. The spells themselves are pretty good though. Instead of level 6 bolt spells, level 5 stuff like Freezing Cloud, Vile Clutch, Irradiate let you kill most mid-game things. The spells themselves might be stronger. Though, like the early game, the Lair branches and Vaults are harder in current versions.

Lategame spells haven’t really been touched, it’s pretty much the same.


VIle Clutch was introduced in 0.21, and that’s the Necromancy spell.

My gut feeling is that Necro (outside of BVC) has been nerfed, but thinking about it says otherwise; it’s a net buff, but a lot got removed.

  • Necromancer’s D:1-3 is stronger due to Pain + Animate Skeleton → Necrotise. But, in old versions, every character could learn and use Animate Skeleton, and it was the bomb.
  • Animate Dead got a buff (50% → 75% to 100% of kills into Zombies; in 0.30 you only have to cast once at the start of the battle). The old version could let you do more “optimal” things.
    *Rip corpse rot though, corpse rot let you put miasma on any tile with a corpse, which was pretty reliable with Kiku receive corpses.

Plus, Kiku got a midgame buff, since Death Channel and Infestation now work with Receive Corpses (Unearth Wretches).


All summon caps were nerfed in 0.28, which nuked the strength of almost all spells. Ice beast was good in Lair branches, mana viper could kill orbs of fire. I would say it’s a well-deserved nerf. To compensate, summoners get full XP from summon kills.


The combo of PVapours + Ignite Poison + OTR hasn’t changed since 0.19, though PVapours is a bit easier to use. Noxious Bog got added, but comes pretty late in the game, IMO too late to care about.

1 Thank

Fun read, like the original one. Maybe worth mentioning that Foxfires have SInv and block line of fire, and that Sticky Flame reveals invisible creatures. Also recommend playing with Arcjolt some more, spell is crazy good against packs, you just need to be slightly more durable than DE to take full advantage of it (or be with Hep).

Surprised you rate IE that high for the early game. rC being the second most common resistance early on (after rPois), no level 2 spell and the starter being range 1 make them weaker than EE, AE or FE in my eyes.

2 Thanks

Dang, you beat me to the punch. I’m a bit disappointed that this guide doesn’t have all the minutiae though, that was the most fun part of the minmay spell guide to me (I have a list of all this stuff written down but never posted it). Some things I noticed for this guide/ funny details:

spoiled for length
  • Foxfire “works” in corridors as long as the enemy isn’t adjacent to you already (but only the one that spawns in front of you will hit, of course).
  • Worth mentioning how much stronger Kiss of Death is than comparable spells. Max power freeze is 1d10.5, max power kiss is 2d13.
  • Because Ensorcelled Hibernation sleep does not wear off over time, you can sleep something from los range and then run away from it, or put it to sleep near a wall and then passwall back into line of sight and stab it. Monsters slept by it also have 10 less “perception” until they wake up, so stealth checks are easier to pass. It doesn’t work against rC+ monsters or undead (can’t sleep) at all though.
  • If you try to passwall into terrain that was habitable when you started but has changed to become uninhabitable at the end of the delay, you return to the starting location. I don’t think this happens anywhere except abyss.
  • Static Discharge chooses a number of targets based on spellpower (specifically, 1 + random2(2 + pow/25)) and starts arcs at each of them, so you get more total damage out of the spell if multiple monsters are adjacent to you and each other.
  • Sublimation of Blood is incapable of refunding its own mp cost until you have more than 6 spellpower. At reasonable power values you can use it to rest quicker out of combat if you have a hp regen item/mutation.
  • Call Canine Familiar chooses the monster with a roll of pow + 1d21 - 11, >60 gets a warg else >40 gets a wolf, so it has pretty severe breakpoints. Once you’re in the power range for a wolf it’s probably best to precast it out of combat, since the gap in power between wolf and hound is large.
  • Confusing Touch duration is instantly reduced to 1 turn if you hit something that’s immune to confusion or has infinite willpower.
  • Frozen Ramparts checks AC, so it’s less damage per turn than Freeze at equal power (but ofc is higher damage per cast and has a higher power cap).
  • Gell’s Gravitas can force stuff into clouds. This might be the best use case tbh.
  • Chance for Mephitic Cloud to spawn clouds on adjacent tiles rises with spellpower, becoming guaranteed at max power (125 + pow / 225 chance rolled on each tile). Worth mentioning that it’s also range 4 while confusing touch is melee range.
  • Tukima summons scale with spellpower, they’re only as good as hostile dancing weapon spawns at 100 power.
  • Animate Armour’s summon has all of the properties of the armour it’s based on because it “wears” itself. Also, it doesn’t get dismissed if you change armour while wearing it (the duration is thankfully too short for this to be very useful).
  • IMB deals extra damage if the monster collides with something (formula identical to Gell’s collision damage)
  • Casting Petrify on an already petrifying monster will fully petrify it immediately if successful. Most relevant with Dithmenos shadow.
  • Lightning Spire’s electrical bolt has an absurdly high to-hit of 35.
  • All of the “mass enchantment” hexes (Anguish, Discord, Cause Fear) get an effective 50% spellpower boost before their power cap. This means that power above 134 doesn’t do anything to improve them.
  • Fear Scroll casts the spell at max power. Silence scroll casts the spell at 30 power.
  • Constriction ev reduction is dependent on monster size. For the smallest monster size, it’s halved. Each size up from that adds 1 to the divisor, so eg a SIZE_LITTLE monster (like enchantress) has ev divided by 3, and the largest size divides it by 7. So BVC evasion reduction is better than it looks.
  • The “open space” requirement for Summon Forest is precisely that there are no solid features adjacent to you. Also, awaken forest can’t be active for multiple monsters at once, so a dryad casting it will prevent a spriggan druid from doing so.
  • Dispersal has a second willpower check that confuses the monster for 1 + random2avg(1 + pow/10, 2) turns. This is almost never relevant but it is very funny.
  • Cactus Giant hp scales extremely strongly with spellpower (hp = pow + 27), unlike most summons where it scales moderately as a secondary effect of increasing HD.
  • Enfeeble sets the duration of each status it applies to whatever value it rolls, rather than increasing the status duration, so it can’t be “stacked” like some effects.
  • Haunt has multiple summons which slow on melee hit (and one which halves willpower, but that’s less relevant).
  • Spellforged Servitor is normal movement speed, though it does have 18 aut spellcasting delay as you noted.
  • Ignition explosions do not hit allies or the player.
  • Death’s Door will display the message “Your time is quickly running out!” about 5 turns before expiration.
  • Polar Vortex has an insane damage formula. Among other things, each point of its damage has a 1/81 chance to be negated by each point of the monster’s AC. Also it has a 5% chance per 10 aut to destroy trees if you aren’t worshiping Fedhas. Also, the effect ends instantly if you blink, teleport, use stairs, use a transporter, enter a portal, or enter a passage of golubria.
  • Shatter can give you penance without warning if you follow a god that cares about harming allies and shatter breaks a wall between you and an ally that was not in line of sight when you cast the spell.
7 Thanks

This is an excellent resource, thanks for taking the time to write this up. All the advice about Freeze being the best level 1 spell and IE being a strong start has inspired me to question my own assumptions around that - perhaps having !Mana at the start means it’s possible to recover from miscasting freeze at XL 1.

In case it's useful, here's some extra details about fire spells
  • Foxfire is very quiet. This means you can cast it 1-2 times before an enemy wakes up, giving you that bit of extra damage before the enemy starts approaching - or a chance to step out of LoS if the spell fizzles.
  • If you’re forced to use foxfire in a corridor, you can use a right-angle turn to maximize the number of hits: when standing in the corner, one will spawn between you and the enemy, but the other now can move diagonally past you to get in a second hit.
  • You will always get to take at least one action after casting foxfire before it hits an enemy, so it’s often better to cast foxfire before other supporting spells (ie. scorch/inner fire).
  • You can (relatively) safely inner fire enemies with reaching/ranged weapons, since they have no reason to stand next to you.
  • Inner fire’s damaging cloud can be triggered by poison, making inner fire + poison dart a very mp-efficient (if noisy) way of taking out early-mid dungeon enemies. (It’s a handy quick-kill for Sigmund, in particular.)
  • Plasma beam’s otherwise awkward schooling provides a nice mid-game bridge for fire mages with poor conjuration aptitudes (or otherwise avoiding that school.) Scorch → Inner Fire → Plasma beam → Ignition can cover everything up until Zot (although it lacks a way to deal with Orbs of Fire.)
  • Ignition may be expensive XP-wise, but it’s incredibly strong for all three of the 3rd rune options, meaning you can easily upgrade a 3-rune game to a 5-rune one if you get it online.
  • Fire Storm deals significant damage to OoFs (half damage ignores rF), and spawns vorteces that can potentially block LoF. (It’s my preferred way for 5+ rune characters to clear Zot.)
And a few for melee-focused magic
  • Wereblood’s heal only triggers from enemies that are adjacent to you. It doesn’t require that you kill them physically, however, so Irradiate (for example) can trigger the healing.
  • Wereblood doesn’t give any benefits when a summon or ally gets the killing blow. (I don’t know whether enemies’ lethal friendly-fire/self-attacks interact with wereblood.)
  • Vhi’s Electric Charge can apply confusing touch and trigger confuse stabs. (I think it works with most non-sleeping stabs, but confuse is the one I’ve seen first-hand.)
  • Manifold Assault’s MP cost means that each melee attack should meaningfully lower the enemy’s health - so it’s not a good choice with many otherwise excellent weapons (demon whips, speed-branded artifacts, etc.) Using a two-handed or heavy-branded weapon can make it easier for MA to contribute meaningful damage - but both of those have non-trivial tradeoffs.
  • For melee-based characters, Manifold Assault can be an alternative to throwing. That’s particularly relevent for Dex-focused builds, since light armor makes it easier to cast and throwing damage doesn’t scale off Dex.

Foxfire in corridors, just go to a corner and both can get around you. It is also very MP efficient when you spam a bunch of them at range. It’s a great spell that I’ll even memorize on non-FE if I find it before Lair.

3 Thanks

Just my two cents, but Freeze might do the most damage of all the level one spells, but it’s downside of only having a range of 1 is massively bad. As a caster, my main goal in the game is to not take damage. So I am always fleeing before a monster can touch me. I’d rather use something like Firefox on stairs and bring the enemies to me. And go up the stairs before they have a chance to damage me.

Foxfire is a very strong spell, I don’t disagree that it’s good - but it’s bad as a starting spell. Some entries won’t even have usable corners. If you’re in a corner and adjacent to an enemy, you get 1 foxfire hit/2 turns, solidly worse than other starting spells (though not instalosing). And if you get surrounded in a corridor, you’re dead, more dead than any other background.

Once you get to XL 2, or an area you can use the spell, foxfire/FE is gold, the only problem is the chance of instalosing.

The real benefit of Freeze is that it has the best matchup against fast enemies (quokka, jackal, adder), you can’t really avoid being in melee with them. Freeze lets you win fights, since you can’t reset fights on D:1, that’s more important than “not taking damage”.

Now that AOO makes 10 speed enemies a bigger threat, I suppose Freeze is worse. But IMO it’s still the best/2nd best of the starting spells.