Melee Fighting

Orb Magic

Magic Items

Ranged Weapons






Ranged attacks:

All-in-all, ranged attacks are very effective, but magic levels will not increase as quickly if you rely on ranged weapons for all your distant combat. This can be completely circumvented by using certain types of magic, but it's worth bearing in mind. The strongest approach is to use ranged attacks when mana is limited, when an opponent can only be hit with the arcing trajectory of a bow, when a group of enemies can be hit by a bomb, or when you're absolutely safe from retailiation.

The ranged weapons, in order of their effectivity:

bombs 10
glaive 9
fire bow 8
long bow 7
short bow 6
axes 4
knives 3
catapult 2

detailed description:

Catapult :

Damage: tiny
Area: -
Ammo: Unlimited
Ammo cost: -
Rating: 2
The catapult is only really useful as a combat weapon in the library at the start, but is necessary to clear the area. Throughout the first half of the game, while ammo is short, it can be a useful tool to activate enemies, but is otherwise somewhat useless.

Knives :

Damage: low
Area: -
Ammo: 60
Ammo cost: 2
Rating: 3
Everything knives do is done better with magical items or magic orbs, since the magic attacks regenerate their energy, can be used at close-range, are generally more powerful, and, most importantly, knock opponents back when they hit.
The best niche that throwing knives fit is when you are up against a few ranged opponents that are firing from the same direction. Since you can use a shield, you can block their attacks (safer than dodging) and retaliate with a knife before putting your block up again.
This is the safest way of dealing with ranged opponents outside invisibility/potions, and the ice wand, firebrand, and lightning staff are less effective at it because they are likely to run out of ammo before their target(s) are dead.

Short bow :

Damage: average
Area: -
Ammo: 105
Ammo cost: 1.7
Rating: 6

long bow :

Damage: above average
Area: -
Ammo: 105
Ammo cost: 1.7
Rating: 7
Extremely useful, and the ranged weapon of choice for a good portion of the game. I'd advise spending money to buy arrows between each mission, at 25 gold for 15 arrows they are cheap - for the price of a mana potion you can go from empty to maxed out on arrows, and still have cash left over. Second, get used to leading opponents (firing in front of them as they run towards you) rather than targetting them directly. If you lead an opponent with a bow at long range, the arcing shot will not fly over their head, and they won't try to dodge.
Also note that like most ranged weapons the bow will not knock it's targets back, meaning you'll have to get used to switching back to melee weapons when enemies close in on you. This doesn't extend to flying opponents - flying opponents are always knocked back by ranged attacks, and given their inability to sidestep, bows are very effective against flyers.
Finally, it's worth mentioning the 'sniper' characteristic of the bow. That is, in many rooms there is a 'trigger' point at which opponents will charge at you. Any enemies that get 'knocked' by an attack will also set off such a trigger. Since the bow doesn't knock them, it will not activate the room's scripted events. This means that in some rooms shooting a bow at 1 target will get only that enemy running after you, instead of the whole room. In other rooms (for example the statue in rain where edith is getting slapped around) the bow sometimes doesn't even activate the target, meaning the enemies will literally stand still as you kill them.
Another example of using the bow to beat the triggers in is in the ice caves below winter. In the room with the invisible chest, your party is rushed by 2 guards. After fighting them, they run away, and 4 Yetis and 2 ice demons will come to attack you.
If you use the bow to kill the 2 guards, none of the rest of the fight will trigger, and you can safely move on.
Finally, I'd like to note that it's worth getting the long bow quite early. I'd advise doing it after you do winter, but before doing the fire tree. It's easy to get the long bow without losing any health, if you remember that bears will die quickly to magic, and giant bees die quickly to ranged weapons (even throwing knives!)

Throwing axes :

Damage: above average
Area: -
Ammo: 50
Ammo cost: 3
Rating: 4
Basically the same as throwing knives, above, but far more powerful. Not a bad item, but there re better things to spend your gold on.

Fire bow :

Damage: high
Area: -
Ammo: 100
Ammo cost: 4.5
Rating: 8
- Absolutely awesome ranged weapon. Has the versatility of arcing shots like the bow, but does tons of damage. The ammo is relatively expensive at 45 gold for 10 arrows, but at this stage of the game you should have plenty of gold. As such, immediately upon finding the fire bow, before entering the prison barracks/chains area, it's worth stocking up to 100 fire arrows.

Bombs :

Damage: very high
Area: medium
Ammo: 25
Ammo cost: -
Rating: 10
- Without bombs the sewers would be much more difficult, but using bombs the section is somewhat easy. They are probably the best non-potion ranged weapon because of their use against crowds, a situation where melee weapons cannot be used without getting hit. They are easily dodged, but if even 1 enemy fails to dodge, then the explosion will damage all the other enemies that *did* dodge. Thus bombs should not be thrown at single targets, and the more targets you throw at, the more chance of hitting (and the more damage your hit will do, of course).
In short, bombs are your only really practical area-effect ranged attack aside from the spray effect of Ice2 and Acid2.
Unfortunately, there is no way to buy more bombs, so there's a finite amount of them in the game. I'd suggest using a few in the sewers, and exhausting your supply in deadgate and the dig.


Damage: extremely high
Area: 3 targets
Ammo: unlimited
Ammo cost: -
Rating: 9
The glaive is extremely powerful, knocks targets, and has unlimited ammunition. I'd call it the best ranged weapon, but since it's obtained so late, it's use is limited, and his has a serious weakness against multiple targets. The glaive will try to spread it's damage around as much as possible, so if an enemy is near you, it's very likely they will hit you as your glaive flies around attacking bats in the sky.
It's possible to somewhat circumvent this problem with one of the glitches of silver. Any weapon switching will recall your glaive wherever it is. This includes switching specials. This means if there is  more than 1 opponent on the screen, but you just want to fight a single target with your glaive, you can throw the glaive, then when it hits your clicked target, select a special, then immediately throw another glaive at the same target. You'll never acheive the attack speed of the fire bow, but since the glaive knocks it's targets back, you'll be able to defend yourself well with it.
Also, while hitting 3 targets per shot sounds nice, those hits will be inflicted only in the time it would take to shoot 3 arrows at the enemy, and you can't throw another glaive until the old one has finished. This means that the '3 hits' advantage of the glaive is merely the ability to move while firing, and since it's hitting different targets, it's debatable whether the extra damage and move-while-firing of the glaive is worth it's shortcomings.