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Version 0.28: This article is up to date for the latest stable release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.
Bestows a mutation on a target. The mutation is almost always harmful. It cannot affect artificial beings, and the undead will decompose if affected.

Malmutate is a monster-only spell which attempts to mutate its target. If Malmutate is used on a player, there is an 80% chance that it will cause a bad mutation and a 20% chance it will cause a random mutation. Willpower is useless against this, but mutation resistance functions normally.

When used on a monster, the victim gets the Wretched enchantment, unless the monster is an abomination or an ugly thing. This enchantment has the following effects:

Abominations change their tile and ugly things change colour instead of the aforementioned effects.

Undead and nonliving monsters are immune. Undead characters cannot mutate, but will decompose and take stat damage.

The following enemies cast Malmutate:

Players can inflict similar effects with the Irradiate spell or the Plutonium Sword. Wretched stars and corrupters can also cause temporary bad mutations, which will gradually disappear as the player gains experience.

Tips & Tricks

  • Malmutate requires a line of fire, rather than being smite-targeted. If you do not have mutation resistance, do your best to take cover until you can either get away or kill the caster. Any method of breaking line of effect will work -- teleporting away, reading a scroll of fog, ducking around a corner, ducking behind summons, ducking behind other monsters... As long as the caster cannot target you, your genetics are safe.
    • Summoning spells are particularly effective for blocking Malmutate. Either you'll get one or more meat shields who can either help you take the monster down or keep them busy so you can get away (depending on the situation), or you might get a nameless horror -- which, while still quite dangerous, can block Malmutate long enough for you to reach a staircase.
    • Alternatively, just cast Necromutation if you are capable of doing so. Your stats might take a hit, but that will fix itself as you continue to explore and fight.
  • Your best method of dealing with Malmutate is generally going to be either killing the monster in question as quickly as possible, or not dealing with them in the first place. If you can snipe them from behind cover with smite-targeted or piercing attacks, by all means do so.
    • Fortunately, neqoxecs and shining eyes are fairly fragile. Cacodemons, while difficult opponents, are manageable enough if you're ready to explore areas where they are common (the Abyss, Hell, or Pandemonium). Orbs of fire are so incredibly dangerous that it's already worth hitting them with everything you have.
    • All malmutators are chaotic, and thus vulnerable to silver, most often found with the already piercing javelins.
  • If you do end up taking some mutations, it's usually not immediately lethal. If you have any potions of mutation saved up, those have a decent chance of fixing your problems (though they might leave you with a set of new ones).


This spell was added in 0.12, replacing the monster version of Polymorph Other.