Ancient lich

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Version 0.26: 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 8103
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 near 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. Don't worry too much about conserving resources; if burning a consumable or two will greatly ease the battle, do so.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 or Earth Magic. Necromancy specialists can deal brutal amounts of damage with Dispel Undead, though it requires getting to and staying in point-blank range. Nearly all Hexes are useless against their infinite willpower, so don't bother with them.

Melee fighters should lure them around corners or use scrolls of blinking to get into melee range as quickly as possible; lest you get pounded by brutal attack spells or face dangerous summons. Once there, casting Silence or reading a scroll of silence will disable the vast majority of their abilities. It may be worth swapping to a Holy wrath- or antimagic-branded weapon, if avaiable. The lich's 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. Throwing a net at the edge of LOS guarantees that the lich won't be able to follow you for several turns, allowing a fairly safe escape. Nets distract monsters; letting any player, especially Short Blades users, multiple chances to attack for free.

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, and consider chugging a potion of resistance to patch up vulnerabilities; it may be wasteful, but better to be safe than sorry! 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 tear you to pieces, go for it. If you aren't confident of that, consider what safe escape routes you have available.


  • In 0.27, ancient liches (along with all other casters) will recieve one spell set. Dread liches were introduced as summoners.
  • 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.