Welcome to the second part of the Wand Mechanics Guide. If you haven't already read or understood the Basic Guide To Wand Mechanics then it's heavily recommended you do so first before reading on, in order to properly understand the concepts and techniques discussed here.
This advanced guide will talk about how wands work their logic, how wand statistics affect the spells within them, and all (most) of the non-intuitive interactions spells and modifiers have with each other, including some tricks and examples on how to make them fire much faster.
Also, unless otherwise stated, all wands discussed in this article have the shuffle statistic set to "no". Any "shuffle: yes" wands are specifically listed as such.
Now, without further ado, let's get into it.
- 1 Concept: Casting Blocks
- 2 Modifiers in Casting Blocks
- 3 Multicasts in Casting Blocks
- 4 Casting Blocks in conclusion
- 5 Wands with a Spells/Cast greater than 1
- 6 Wands with "Always Cast"
- 7 The Wrapping Effect
- 8 How Wand Statistics are Calculated
- 9 Exploiting Negative Stat Modifiers to Make Very Fast Wands
- 10 Final Words
Concept: Casting Blocks
A Casting block is a concept used to explain wand behavior. It is not a term that appears in the game, but for purposes of explanation this is the term we will be using here. A Casting Block is defined as a set of instructions used in single cast operation by the wand, which can contain any number of effects and spells (as long as they're used at the exact same time).
Please note that there are other, more nuanced, ways to conceptualize what wands are actually doing, and those will be detailed in the expert guide, where that nuance becomes required. For now, Casting Blocks are a simpler way to explain the mechanics we'll be looking at today.
Here's some examples from the wands used in the basic guide:
This wand has 4 casting operations, and thus 4 different casting blocks each containing a single spell.
|Block 1||Block 2||Block 3|
|Block 1||Block 2|
This wand only has two blocks, one with the trigger at the start and a large block at the end containing all the rest.
Modifiers in Casting Blocks
As you saw above, a casting block goes beyond a single slot only if the spell is combined with a modifer or multicast. It is stated in the basic guide that a modifier must be to the left of the spell in order to work, but also that it wasn't technically true. The truth is that the modifer only has to be part of the same casting block.
But wait, isn't that the same thing?
Actually, no, not necessarily. As long as they're inside the block, it doesn't matter!
Here's two examples:
(It should be mentioned that in this case you're essentially wasting a potential spell as there is room for another one right after the Fire Trail, should the wand have an empty slot for it)
Multicasts in Casting Blocks
As seen the examples in the previous section, a multicast of some sort is needed to make a bigger Casting Block with multiple spells in it. This should be obvious by now, but did you know that you can actually chain multicasts together to create even BIGGER blocks?
Here's an example of that:
In this case:
- The game reads the first Triple Scatter Spell, adds the 2 Bubble Sparks and then finds another triple.
- It adds that triple to the mix and goes 3 more steps, incorporating an additional 3 Bubble Sparks.
- There are now no more things to add to the casting block and all 5 bubbles are cast at once.
Casting Blocks in conclusion
If you understand what we've been talking about so far, then here's an example wand with all the things we've discussed up to this point.
|Block 1||Block 2|
This wand casts an accelerated Bubble Spark, as well as a Spark Bolt with trigger (block 1) that bursts into a whole bunch of other spells on impact. Those spells are boosted with Damage Plus (all in block 2).
Wands with a Spells/Cast greater than 1
The majority of wands only have a Spells/Cast value of 1, which in simple terms mean they only cast one spell per click. But what about the wands that have a Spells/Cast value greater than that?
It's actually simpler than you might think: both shuffle and non-shuffle wands create a Casting Block when you click the mouse. This means that a non-shuffler follow all the same rules and functions as if you were using a normal multicast effect, like a Double Spell, so you can simply imagine there is an invisible Multicast icon at the start of the wand before the slots, able to accomodate a number of spells up to the value of the Spells/Cast.
Hence, a wand with "Spells/Cast: 2" and a spell layout like this:
Would behave EXACTLY like a normal "Spells/Cast: 1" wand with a layout like this:
It works for any value of the Spells/cast, just add more spells to the size of the Casting Block accordingly.
Now, the only differences between an innate Spell/cast and using a multicast modifier is that the latter often costs extra mana to use whereas the innate abilities of a wand are always free. Also, Spells/Cast numbers higher than 1 are fairly common and can reach as high as 25, whereas to reach those numbers with modifiers you'd have to chain many of them together (wasting slots) or make use of the extremely rare Myriad Spell.
How the Shuffle wand does it
The shuffle wand, of course, complicates things a bit by creating a casting block out of a set number of randomly selected slots. As in the basic guide, we'll be using a hypothetical scenario to explain this behaviour.
Here's the wand used above in the Casting Blocks Conclusion topic. Imagine that this setup is in a shuffle wand with "Spells/Cast: 4"
Now, what a shuffle wand COULD do (on a single click of the mouse) is:
- Select slot 2, slot 6, slot 9 and slot 12.
- The Bubble Spark, Bouncing Burst, Bouncing Burst in slot 10, Magic Bolt and Energy Orb is all cast at once, all of them with a Damage Plus boost. (All the affected slots are marked as spent) (Testing in Spell Lab, multicast shuffle wands do NOT automatically select the spells to the right of selected spell modifiers. So while this outcome is possible, it is only one of many possible outcomes)
This would've created a casting block that looks like this:
|Slot 1||Slot 2||Slot 3||Slot 4||Slot 5||Slot 6||Slot 7||Slot 8||Slot 9||Slot 10||Slot 11||Slot 12||Slot 13||slot 14|
|Block 1||Block 1||Block 1||Block 1|
As you probably already knew, Shuffle wands are pretty much useless to try and combo with, and one with a high Spells/Cast value seems to be even worse...
... or is it?
As you saw in the example above (and the shuffle examples in the basic guide), using a combo chain with it is pretty much a wasted effort but you CAN exploit it to your benefit by using ONLY the amount of spells listed as Spells/Cast, and no more.
So, if you have a Shuffle wand with a "Spells/Cast: 4" then you can try doing something like this:
Despite it being a shuffle wand, with no options to select anything other than the 4 things you put into it it will ALWAYS cast 3 Bubble Sparks with Speed Up (on all of them), no matter what. Unlike the previous example, this actually IS useful.
Wands with "Always Cast"
Sometimes you will find rare wands that have the "Always Cast" text in its infobox, followed by the picture of a spell or modifier.
How this operates is that the wand will add that spell/modifier to any Casting Block that is manually fired by you. So, if it has the picture of a Magic Missile then it will add one of those to the Casting Block and fire it. If it had a picture of a Chaotic Path, then your manually fired Casting Block will be affected by that.
So while the base mechanics of "Always Cast" are pretty simple, the pecularities come in the form of the statistics.
An "Always Cast" spell or modifier have:
- The same Cast Delay as the wand
- No positive mana drain (ie, free to cast)
- Infinite charges (if applicable)
This means that if you manipulate the Cast Delay and Recharge down to zero, the Always Cast spell would fire every game frame at zero mana cost.
The Wrapping Effect
With the establishment of how Casting Blocks work and interact with everything else, there is one more mechanical oddity we need to discuss: the phenomenon of spell wrapping. A spell wrap is defined as the thing that happens when a wand reads from the beginning of the wand when it should have reached the end and triggered its recharge. It loops, or "wraps around", to the start.
Spell wrapping can occur in 3 circumstances:
- When a multicast cannot find enough spells to reach its quota (does not apply to multicast provided by the wand directly).
- When a modifier cannot find a single spell to the right of it.
- When a Trigger/Timer cannot find a single spell to the right of it.
When any of these 3 conditions occur, the wand will go back and re-read the slot list from the beginning in order to find spells to use. It will do this only once per recharge. The only limitation of this function is that it cannot re-read its own casting block.
Clever use of spell wrapping can really increase the power of a wand, even one with low slots.
|Block 1||Block 2||Block 3|
|Block 3 continued|
In this example, the wand will:
- cast a Spark Bolt on the first mouseclick
- cast another Spark Bolt on the second mouseclick
- cast 2 Spark Bolts at once on the third mouseclick
- then reset and recharge
|Block 1||Block 2|
|Block 2 cont.|
Here, the following occurs:
|Block 1||Block 2||Block 3|
|Block 4||Block 5|
This one is a bit tricky. Here's what happens:
- on first mouseclick, you cast a Spark Bolt with trigger. It carries the Speed Up, Double Spell and two Bubble Sparks with it to cast when it hits something.
- You click again, the Energy Orb with trigger fires, but it cannot find anything to its right so it reads from the start and finds the Spark Bolt with trigger which it carries with it. Upon hitting, the spark bolt is released. When that hits, the set contained in block 2 fires again (it is now technically block 5).
- Reset and recharge
|Block 1||Block 2|
But here is an exception. If you cast a Spark Bolt with trigger which carries the second Casting Block and the Casting Block ends with a trigger/timer spell, it doesn't read the Casting Block which triggered itself. So this example will just shoot the Spark Bolt with trigger and after it triggers the second block, the wand will start recharging.
How Wand Statistics are Calculated
Before we go into this part you should read up on what each wand statistic does on the Wands article of the wiki.
As stated in the Wands section, Cast Delay and Recharge time are wand statistics that can be either increased or decreased with certain spells. In addition to this, multicasts and modifiers will also add or remove from these two stats when cast. There are modifiers that can modify the other stats of a wand as well, such as Spread.
A trigger spell, such as Spark Bolt with Trigger, will absorb the total mana drain and Recharge Time of the Casting Block it casts into itself as you fire it. It will not absorb the Cast Delay, which means that any +Cast Delay inside of a Casting Block activated from a trigger is completely IGNORED. Doing that means you can, for example, rapid fire Lightning Bolts with impunity, just add them to a trigger and go ham.
Cast Delay is the cooldown period after a Casting Block has been activated, making you wait until you can cast with the wand again. Cast Delay is always triggered on a per-block basis, and the + or - Cast Delay for every spell inside the Casting Block is added together to form the cooldown.
Example: This wand has an innate cast delay stat of 0.20 seconds
|Block 1||Block 2|
The Firebolt has a Cast Delay increase of +0.50 and the Spark Bolt also gives an additional +0.05. The Double Spell has no stat modifier at all, and while Bouncing Burst gives +0.03 it's at the end of the wand which means its cooldown triggers at the same time as the recharge.
So, when you fire this wand there's a waiting period of 0.75 seconds (0.20 + 0.50 + 0.05) before you can cast the Bouncing Burst in Block 2. That's really all there is to it. Just add up the modifiers and you have your cast delay.
The same that goes for Cast Delay works for Recharge time, but with the difference that it only triggers at the end of the wand cycle. This means that while Cast Delay resets between each Casting Block the Recharge time can keep racking up modifiers to it all the way until the end of the wand.
Additionally, the Cast Delay and Recharge timers are NOT mutually exclusive. They can absolutely run at the same time, and so if the last Cast Delay of the wand is higher than the Recharge then you'll find that even though the recharge is finished you cannot actually cast because the Cast Delay timer (which is usually invisible, see below) is still going.
If you attempt to cast when the Recharge timer has run down, but the Cast Delay timer has not, a cool down bar representing the Cast Delay will appear where the Recharge timer usually is.
Spread and Mana Recharge
The Spread statistic is added to spells on a Casting Block basis, exactly like Cast Delay. Mana works the same, but is also added across Casting Blocks IF they are bound together via a trigger spell.
There are two ways to boost the mana of a wand: Either using the Add Mana modifier or soak yourself in Concentrated Mana from a Potion. As this guide is about wands, we'll talk about the modifier only.
The Add Mana modifier both has + Cast Delay and a -30 Mana drain, which means that it subtracts the amount of mana its attached spell uses. If it goes into the positive, the affected spell will actually increase mana istead of draining it. Used correctly, it can seriously increase the time before you run out of mana on a fast firing wand, or even make the wand completely FREE to use!
The Luminous Drill each have +10 mana drain, which is completely canceled out by the -30 from the Add Mana. That means this Wand doesn't consume any mana at all to use. It's completely free and will fire the Luminous Drills forever until you let go of the mouse button, no matter how crap the wands mana recharge stat is.
Exploiting Negative Stat Modifiers to Make Very Fast Wands
If you've watched any streamers play Noita, or experimented with the spell system yourself, you probably will have stumbled upon the weird and powerful magic that is the Chainsaw spell. Chainsaw's primary effect is that it directly sets the cast delay of the block that it's in to zero. That includes cast delay from the wand and cast delay from and preceding spells, but it doesn't include spells that come after the Chainsaw in the block. As you can imagine, this is an extremely powerful effect, allowing you to cast spells with gargantuan cast delay as if they were a mere bouncing bolt.
In addition, Chainsaw reduces Recharge Time by 0.17s, so stacking enough of them in a wand in the proper way will allow you to reduce both the Cast Delay and Recharge Time of the wand to zero. In this situation, you'll cast one casting block per frame. for a total of 60 casts per second (including any blocks that the initial block casts with triggers or timers). Good stuff. Here's our first example:
Wand statistics: Cast Delay: 0.25, Recharge 0.50
|Block 1||Block 2||Block 1 Continued|
- First, the multicast happens, which means that Block 1 now will contain Spark Bolt with Trigger (and thus Block 2) and 2 more spells
- Then, the trigger happens, which immediately creates Block 2. To begin with, Block 2 needs one spell before finishing.
- Now the Add Mana happens and the hex-cast happens. Block 2 now needs six more spells before finishing.
- Block 2 consumes the five bouncing bursts and the single chainsaw, and finishes. These six projectiles will be launched when the trigger is detonated.
- The chainsaw in Block 2 reduces the recharge time by 0.17s, but has no effect on cast delay since it is inside a trigger.
- At this point, we return to Block 1, since it still needs two more spells and Block 2 has ended. The final two chainsaws are consumed as a part of Block 1, and get fired at the same time as the spark bolt.
- Both chainsaws in Block 1 reduce the recharge time by an additional 0.17s, for a total of -0.51s. So, we have minimized our recharge time.
- The chainsaws also set the cast delay of block 1 to zero, meaning that we have minimized our cast delay as well. With this, our wand will fire once every frame, for 60 shots a second.
So, this spell has a net casting delay of 0 and recharge time of 0, which means it casts every game-rendering frame. So, we will cast every spell in this wand 60 times a second, costing 16 mana per frame. If you added an extra Add Mana to the wand it would be completely free.
Note, however, that the two chainsaws each add +6 degrees of spread to Block 1. This spread impacts all spells in block 1, including the Spark Bolt, so this wand will be somewhat inaccurate. To fix the spread, we could move one of the chainsaws into Block 2. We only need one chainsaw in block one in order to set the cast delay to zero. If we want to mitigate the remaining spread from the chainsaw or the base stats on the wand, we could use a Reduce Spread modifier in Block 1 or start using Luminous Drill instead of Chainsaw for cast delay reduction (Luminous Drill provides -0.58s cast delay for 10 mana).
Also note that it is important that we place the chainsaws after the Spark Bolt in Block 1. If we placed them before, then the cast delay would still be set to 0, but the Spark Bolt would apply its +0.05s cast delay to the block, leaving us with 0.05s cast delay in total. This is negligible, being less than the length of a frame, but combined with other factors it could become meaningful.
If you don't have any Chainsaw spells and want to make zero delay wands anyway, you'll need to get a bit more creative. Chainsaw is the best spell for this purpose, since it provides infinite cast delay reduction and some recharge reduction for 0 mana cost. However, there are alternatives, like Luminous Drill mentioned above, Digging Bolt, or material spells like Cement, and many other projectiles and modifiers that reduce either cast delay, recharge time, or both.
Here is an example of constructing a rapid-fire wand from a sub-par wand and spells.
Wand stats: 0.50s Cast Delay, 1.50s Recharge Time.
|Block 1||Block 2||Wrap to Block 1|
So, how does this wand work? First, let's evaluate Block 1.
- The two Heavy Spread modifiers reduce Recharge Time by 0.50s and Cast Delay by 0.24s, and add 1440 degrees of spread.
- Add Mana increases Cast Delay by 0.12s and adds 30 mana to the wand.
- Luminous Drill reduces Recharge Time by 0.17s, Cast Delay by 0.58s, and consumes 10 mana
- In total, Block 1 has: -0.70s Cast Delay, -0.67 Recharge Time, +20 mana, and insane spread.
- Since we have more negative cast delay on this block than there is on the wand, Block 1 will only take a single frame to cast.
The purpose of Block 1 is to add mana to the wand and reduce its recharge time in the span of a single frame. It does not do anything offensive - the luminous drill has too much spread to be usable.
Now, let's look at Block 2, the offensive meat of our wand.
- Double Spell puts our Luminous Drill in the same Canting Block as our Glowing Lance, meaning that their cast delays will be added together instead of invoked separately.
- Speed Up makes our Glowing Lance shoot directly ahead instead of arcing downward, making it a much more consistent and usable spell.
- Remove Explosion gives us -0.25s Cast Delay with no downside (since these projectiles do not explode to begin with).
- Glowing Lance adds 0.33s Cast Delay and costs 30 mana.
- Luminous Drill removes 0.58s Cast Delay and 0.17s Recharge Time, costing 10 mana.
- In total Block 2 has: -0.50s Cast Delay, -0.17 Recharge Time, and 43 Mana Cost.
- 0.51s Cast Delay from the wand, minus 0.50s, leaves us with 0.01s Cast Delay on Block 2. A frame is 0.016s long, longer than our Cast Delay, so again we only need a single frame to cast Block 2.
And now, we've shot off our Glowing Lance. But there's still one more spell on the wand: Light. Light is an inexpensive modifier that doesn't do much - perfect for wrapping. So, the purpose of Light is to wrap around and cast Block 1 again before the wand resets. In doing so, we'll get an additional -0.67s recharge time and +20 mana on the wand, and again, this will cost us only one frame. Essentially, we are doubling the positive effect of Block 1 at the cost of spending an additional frame to cast it again.
After we do this, the wand will reset. Let's tally up the total statistics on our wand. From block 1: -0.67s x2 Recharge time, +20 x2 mana. From Block 2: -0.17 Recharge Time, -43 mana. And the total: -1.51s Recharge Time, -3 mana. That's enough negative recharge time to make recharging instant, and we are only spending 3 mana per cast. Pretty good, given what we started with, right?
So, how can we make this better? Well, first is to notice what the problem is. The problem with our wand is that we are only shooting our offensive spell one every three frames, leading to a mere 20 shots per second. The other frames are being used up by repeatedly casting Block 1 to reduce recharge time and add mana. With better spells and a better wand, we don't have to do this. Here's a very similar wand that can shoot 60 instead of 20 Glowing Lances per second:
Wand stats: 0.45s Cast Delay, 1.35s Recharge Time.
|Block 1||Block 2||Wrap to Block 1|
The idea here is to put our Heavy Spreads, which we can't put into Block 1 lest our lances go everywhere, inside of a trigger. A block casted by a Trigger does not take an additional frame to cast, so all of Block 1 and Block 2 will be cast in a single frame. Then, Light will wrap and cast the entirety of Block 1 and Block 2 again on the next frame.
We'll still be casting all of our recharge reducers twice before we need to recharge, so we're not losing any Recharge Time reduction by doing this. However, we're now casting each Add Mana only once per cast of our offensive spells, instead of twice like before, so we're getting half as much output from them. That's why we need two Add Manas to make this wand work instead of just one.
However, it's worth it, because we now have triple the fire rate on our Glowing Lance. We're also shooting a Spark Bolt triggering a Digging Bolt alongside our lance, but that's just an added bonus.
There are many other projectiles and modifiers that reduce Cast Delay and Recharge Time, and they all can be used to good effect, but must sometimes be used in creative ways. Hopefully, these examples and mechanics will help you figure out what to do with a useful spell that's not detailed in this guide.
That's all for now. Now go build some epic wands! And if you find out anything else we forgot to cover here, or you find a mistake, please feel free to add it in or fix the mistake!
If your thirst for wand crafting knowledge is still not sated, there's still the Expert Guide To Wand Mechanics to dive into. There we discuss how the game processes wands on a near-code level. Not for the faint of heart, but if you master it then the spell system will hold no more secrets from you.