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Version 0.29: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
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. These mutations are permanent until removed (via a potion of mutation, gifts from Jiyva or Xom, or rarely from random mutation).

Undead players cannot mutate, but will decompose and take stat drain, which can be cure by gaining XP.

Against Monsters

When used on a monster, the victim gets the Wretched enchantment, with the following effects:

Undead and nonliving monsters are immune. Abominations change their tile, and (very) ugly things change their colour, but are otherwise unaffected by Malmutate.

Monster Spell

The following enemies cast Malmutate:

The following monster may inflict Malmutate on a melee attack (25% chance):

Players can inflict similar effects with the Irradiate spell or the Plutonium Sword.


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 deep Abyss, Hell, or Pandemonium). Orbs of fire are so incredibly dangerous that it's already worth hitting them with everything you have.

Malmutate requires a line of fire, rather than being smite-targeted. 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.

If you do end up taking some mutations, it's usually not immediately lethal. The ones to watch out for are berserkitis and No Unsafe Scrolls / No Unsafe Potions, which can restrict your options in battle. 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).

Tips & Tricks

  • Mutation resistance protects against mutation; unfortunately, the only sources of complete immunity are the mutation Mutation Resistance 3 (as a level 3 mutation, rare) or by being undead (species, or the very high level spell, Necromutation).
    • Followers of Zin get a piety / 1.6 % chance to resist mutations (100% at six stars of piety).
  • 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.
  • All malmutators are chaotic, and thus vulnerable to silver, most often found with the already piercing javelins.

See Also


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