|Spell||Mana (blasts)||Mana||Max charges||Range||Duration|
|Angel of Death||51||510 000||1||3072||Depends.|
|Armageddon||100||1 000 000||1||3072||Depends.|
|Bloodlust||100||1 000 000||4||4096||2 minutes|
|Earthquake||17.5||175 000||2||4096||10 seconds|
|Erode||21||210 000||2||4096||5 seconds|
|Firestorm||40||400 000||2||4096||18.3 seconds|
|Flatten||12.5||125 000||3||4096||1 second|
|Ghost Army||1.8||18 000||4||4096||?|
|Hypnotize||8.5||85 000||3||4096||40 seconds|
|Invisibility||5||50 000||4||4096||2 minutes|
|Land Bridge||6||60 000||4||5120||?|
|Magical Shield||6||60 000||4||4096||2 minutes|
|Swarm||4||40 000||4||6144||15 seconds|
|Teleport||100||1 000 000||4||Infinite||?|
|Tornado||9||90 000||3||4096||17 seconds|
|Volcano||80||800 000||1||3072||13 seconds|
Source: Populous constant file. Some durations from the player The_king_dbm, also known as Myth.
 Amount of mana required to charge that spell expressed in the amount of blasts that amount of mana would charge.
 Either dies by damage taken, dies by itself in 2500 turns (208.3 seconds at default speed) or dies after killing 40 units.
Spells are cast by the shaman, a slow and weak but very powerful unit. Charging spells is crucial for Populous victory. Spells can cause a great amount of damage – but they are not neccessarily more powerful than troops. Some spells alter land, but damaged land can never be sunk. Lava from earthquakes and volcanoes will damage huts by only one wood piece. Theoretically, charging only one spell at a time is more effective, as very rarely (if at all) two tasks have the exact same priority in-game.
Animation cancelling: It’s important to animation cancel spells to avoid getting struck by lightning (crucial) and for a marginal shaman speed increase. After casting a spell, your shaman will enter the casting spell shaman animation (shown above) and stay on it for ~0.9 seconds. When your shaman is in that state, it’s easy to kill her with a lightning. To prevent this, simply move your shaman right after casting a spell. With your shaman selected, click once on the target of your spell and then immediately click once on a direction on the ground to cancel the animation and start moving towards there.
Casting spells when your shaman is dead: If your shaman has been hit by a lightning and has zero health, and you cast a spell before she finishes dying, you’ll lose its charge but the spell won’t be cast.
Spell panel tricks:
Ctrl+right click on a spell: Toggle whether a certain spell is charging. For example, say I’m charging earthquake and lightning, but need a quick blast. I’ll ctrl+right click blast, earthquake and lightning will stop charging and only blast will be charging. If I ctrl+right click blast again, blast will stop charging and earthquake and lightning will start charging.
Shift+right click on a spell: Toggle whether all spells are charging.
Ctrl+click when casting a spell: Keep spell selected after casting.
Blast: The most versatile spell. General-purpose, offensive or defensive, scales from no to massive damage. Quickly charged in certain situations, very expensive in others. Sometimes incredibly cost-effective, sometimes not at all. Blast creates a small fire ball of fire. If clicked directly on an unit, the blast will follow it (this is not true of any other spells, especially not lightning!). When directly cast on an unit will cause considerable damage to the target (more so if they fall on lower ground, less so if they fall on higher ground – which depends on the direction the unit is facing when cast on). An indirect blast near a target will do very little damage. An indirect blast which hits right on the target will cause the same damage as a direct blast. Any time a blast hits an unallied unit, they will be sent in the direction they are facing (possibly a bad thing if it’s a shaman facing your base). 5 blasts will take a single wood piece out of a regular or training hut (even if only a single wood piece is taken out it takes a long time to repair it) – VERY useful on training huts. Both direct and indirect blasts can be used to throw units to the water.
Blasts can kill hundreds of units at once if they’re all together. An attack based on blasting braves or trees can range from not at all cost-effective to very cost-effective. Make sure to always be very balanced with such attacks; going into someone’s base mindlessly and trying to blast every single brave or tree is going to result in your loss, but if you use your brain, you can pull it off. With such types of attacks, always consider the hut-men balance: Destroying huts hampers the production of braves, and killing braves hampers the production of mana. As cheap as blast may seem, if you use too many blasts early game, you’ll surely lose. If your shaman is rolling towards water, cast a blast immediately to stop her. If your shaman is dead and your opponent’s shaman is near your reincarnation site, select blast and keep clicking it a small distance away from the reincarnation site several times per second – once your shaman reincarnates, she’ll immediately start moving in that direction, thus dodging an incoming lightning.
Important tricks: Cast blast (several times if the lava is not gone by when she lands) when your shaman is caught on lava to stop her from dying. Cast blast when your shaman is caught in a firestorm to be able to regain control of her. If an enemy shaman blasts you and you blast her right after, she’ll take damage and you won’t if you time it right (it takes training to get the exact timing down, but after you’ll increasingly be able to do it more consistently to the point you easily do it right every time). It’s possible to blast first, wait for them to blast back, and then blast them again – all within a second! If you time it right, they’ll take damage and you won’t!
When there is a group of firewarriors coming to your shaman, what you must do is cast a blast in front of them, move your shaman away from them, cast another blast in front of them, move away, and so on. After 5 blasts, they will all be dead, even if they are somewhat separated, no matter how many they are. When two shamans are in a melee fight with each other, any blasting the other will result in almost no damage being caused by the blast; then the blasted player has an easy opportunity to blast and cause damage, as the shamans will be at a distance. If you want to blast first in such a fight, then hold ctrl while casting blast, cast blast out of range first to make your shaman stop fighting the other shaman temporarily, and then, immediately after, cast blast on the shaman. The melee fight effect is related to the fact that, sometimes, when someone with his shaman selected is repeadetly clicking on someone else’s shaman in order to melee fight them, and then the attacker gets blasted while he keeps clicking, no matter at what distance they are, the blast damage will be reduced to almost zero. (this doesn’t seem to work every time)
Convert: In some maps, there are wildmen which can be converted by anyone and turned into braves. If this spell and wildmen are available, it’s crucial to stop charging blast at the start and charge only convert, concentrating all mana on it, use it on all available wildmen and then stop charging it and charging whichever spells you want. Some wildmen can become stuck near water and can only be converted after they are blasted to land. Note that many wildmen near water are NOT stuck and can be converted). You can know which ones are stuck if you observe them for a short time.
Ghost army (GA): Ghost army creates ghosts. The type of ghost depends on the location of the spell. For instance, casting near a shaman will create a ghost shaman, which is useful to distract one’s opponent. If cast near nothing, it will simply create a few ghost braves. Ghosts will appear as real followers to the opponent, but they can be killed in a single hit. Ghosts are useful to slow down an enemy shaman, making it easy to lightning or blast her in the process. Ghosts can be cast in front of an opponent’s towers, distracting them from attacking the shaman – however, your opponent can invalidate this by simply selecting his firewarriors inside towers and shift+clicking your shaman when she is in range, which will make them attack your shaman without running out of the towers. A much more effective use is to make ghosts attack each of the enemy towers and blast the firewarriors which come out. Ghosts can enter training huts, but not regular huts. It’s suggested to keep ghosts patrolling, so that they are not selected when you select idle braves to train them and they waste time in the queue.
Electric’s well-placed earthquake damages 7 of Kayin’sbuildings
on Pressure Point by one wood piece, and causes land damage. (video)
Swarm: When cast on units, very slightly damages them and causes them to run away for a short period of time. While running away, they can’t attack. They are useful to stop firewarriors from shooting. A shaman will only be affected by the spell if she was inside a building. A swarm will only enter a building if cast NEXT to it (a swarm won’t affect a building if it’s cast on it). Note that a shaman can always regain control of herself immediately by casting blast.
Earthquake (Eq): Good offensive spell that causes considerable damage to buildings or even completely destroys them, affects the shape of land, and kills any units it catches (if not blasted out of the lava). It can completely destroy buildings by making them explode (on high ground) or sink (on low ground), but when its lava hits buildings, it will only damage them by one hit point. On high land, it will make land lower, and it can completely sink good portions of land on low land. Some players use landbridge before their opponent’s earthquake collapses to stop buildings from sinking. Try to destroy enemy training huts with it if possible, and if not, as deep as possible in the opponent’s base – as it’s much harder to reach than the front, and you can always easily attack the front, while you may not always be able to attack deep into someone’s base. Try to cast it in the centre of buildings, but don’t underestimate the power of using it to damage and change the shape of your opponent’s land. Make a balanced use of it. Your own earthquake’s lava will kill your own units, although it won’t harm your shaman. However, your earthquake can cause land to sink and thus your own shaman to drown. To avoid this, make sure your shaman doesn’t walk near where the specific point you clicked the earthquake on. Note that a shaman can always cast blast while caught in lava so that she can’t be damaged by the lava while she is jumping. An earthquake is controlled by randomness, but this changes almost nothing at all, except in unofficial maps like Sessrumnir Palace which are not played competitively in which landbridge is off and earthquake has a 50% chance to sink a critical path. Internal link: earthquake randomness study.
Firestorm (FS): This spell damages all units which are not in towers and makes them run away. Very useful to enter enemy bases. Fully destroys 4 buildings if properly cast on them. Can be userful to kill shamans sometimes. Note that a shaman can always regain control of herself by casting blast, although if she’s still under the line of fire she’ll imediately lose control again. Magic shielded units are protected from firestorm.
Tornado (torn): Offensive spell. Lasts 7 seconds. Goes in random directions. Casting it directly on a building will destroy it.
Magic Shield (MS): Offensive and defensive spell. Extremely cost-effective. Forms a temporary magic shield on the units which it is cast. Each cast affects up to six units, and lasts two (2) minutes. Magic shielded units are immune to directly cast spells, except hypnotise. An indirectly cast swarm will affect magic shielded troops if it passes over them as it would non magic shielded troops, and will knock magic shielded troops out of balloons (Swarm always knocks units out of balloons and boats, in the latter case resulting in all the units drowning). Magic shielded warriors and preachers are immune to firewarrior blasts. Shamans surrounded by magic shielded followers are immune to a lightning cast directly on her, but not indirectly. Can be hit by indirectly cast swarms.