Ancient lich

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Version 0.25: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
ancient lich LAncient lich.png
HP 71-144
HD 27
XP 8291
Speed 10
AC 20
EV 10
Will Immune
Attack1 20 (touch: drain experience)

Type of Meat None
Resistances rF+
Vulnerabilities Holy
Habitat Land
Intelligence Human
Uses Open doors
Holiness Undead
Size Medium
Type lich, lich
Flags Evil
See invisible
A lich who, having existed for countless centuries, has grown almost unimaginably powerful through the study of dark magic.

Useful Info

Ancient liches are extremely powerful undead casters with a wide array of resistances and access to several deadly attack spells that can deal ridiculous amounts of damage or summon devastatingly powerful allies. If you are not confident in your skills, escape is strongly advised. Ancient liches can rarely be found on the last floor of the Vaults, in the Abyss, the Crypt, the Tomb, and the Realm of Zot, and are a common sight in the orb chamber of Zot:5.


Spell set I
Slot1 Bolt of Cold (3d37) Wizard flag
Slot2 Force Lance (3d27) Wizard flag
Slot3 Summon Greater Demon Wizard flag
Slot4 Slow Wizard flag
Slot5 Invisibility Wizard flag
Spell set II
Slot1 Bolt of Draining (3d33) Wizard flag
Slot2 Poison Arrow (3d34) Wizard flag
Slot3 Haunt Wizard flag
Slot4 Banishment Wizard flag
Slot5 Haste Wizard flag
Spell set III
Slot1 Bolt of Fire (3d37) Wizard flag
Slot2 Iron Shot (3d44) Wizard flag
Slot3 Summon Greater Demon Wizard flag
Slot4 Confuse Wizard flag
Slot5 Invisibility Wizard flag
Spell set IV
Slot1 Corrosive Bolt (3d28) Wizard flag
Slot2 Lehudib's Crystal Spear (3d48) Wizard flag
Slot3 Petrify Wizard flag
Slot4 Haste Wizard flag
Spell set V
Slot1 Lightning Bolt (3d29) Wizard flag
Slot2 Orb of Destruction (9d20) Wizard flag
Slot3 Paralyse Wizard flag
Slot4 Haste Wizard flag

Tips & Tricks

First and foremost, understand that ancient liches are some of the most powerful casters in the game. When dealing with them, don't worry too much about conserving resources; if burning a consumable or two will greatly ease the battle, do so. A character with Haste and Might, for example, will have a much easier time than a character relying on their skills alone. Berserking is chancey, as ancient liches often generate in places where you don't want to be attracting a lot of attention, but the boost to HP and damage can make a huge difference.

As liches resist most elemental damage, combat casters should rely on pure Conjurations and Earth Magic (although Lee's Rapid Deconstruction, sadly, cannot target them, and their AC is high enough to minimize its shrapnel damage). Necromancy specialists can deal brutal amounts of damage with Dispel Undead, though it requires being at point-blank range and will still take several castings to get the job done. Nearly all Hexes are useless against their infinite magic resistance, so don't bother trying to enchant them.

Melee fighters should wield holy wrath- or antimagic-branded weapons if they are available, and should lure them around corners or use scrolls of blinking to get into melee range as quickly as possible; wasting turns rushing into the fray will result in you getting pounded by brutal attack spells or having various dangerous summons join the fight. Once you get close to the lich, casting Silence or reading a scroll of silence will disable the vast majority of their abilities. Their melee attacks might not be insignificant, but they're a good deal safer than most of their attack spells.

Throwing nets are very useful against ancient liches. Hitting one at the edge of your line of sight with one guarantees it won't be able to follow you for several turns, allowing a fairly safe escape. Hitting one in melee range will make it vulnerable to stabbing attempts, allowing Short Blades specialists to make very short work of them.

Of course, since it's unlikely that you'll be able to take them out without taking a single hit, being able to survive their spells is advisable. Don't go after them while wounded, apply any useful buffs you may have available (Repel Missiles, Haste, etc.) and if your character has any significant holes in their resistances, consider chugging a potion of resistance; it may be wasteful, but taking 100+ damage in a single turn stings.

As always, remember that killing a summoner destroys all its summons. If you are confident you can finish off an ancient lich before its summoned fiends can finish off you, go for it. If you aren't confident of that, consider what safe escape routes you have available.


  • Prior to 0.18, ancient liches had random spell sets.
  • Prior to 0.16, ancient liches would generate with one of four predetermined spell sets.