LPG - Movement

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This article is part of Warmachine University's Learning to Play the Game (LPG) series, which is "Intermediate Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
(See also Basic Training and Advanced Training.)


Movement and positioning is critical to strategy in Warmachine. There are many spells/abilities that give models extra ways to move, and they all use standardised wording which have specific meanings. This article is to help familiarise you with some of these standard wordings.

This intermediate lesson is a follow-up to the basic training lesson 101 - Movement & Combat

Place Effects

Asphyxious1 has a spell literally called Teleport.

Place is a defined game term but, unfortunately, it is also used outside of that definition. (Thus it's one of the few examples of where PP has missed their goal of creating crystal clear rules, IMO.) Place is used in five ways:

  1. Place this model within X" of its current location - This is when a model "teleports" and is what most players think of when they talk about "Place Effects".
  2. Place model A within X" of model B - This is when a model "spawns" a new model as an "add to play" or "return to play" effect.
  3. Place models within X" of your deployment zone (etc) - This is where it is used outside of the definition, and the word "put" would probably be better.
    Models that are "immune to being placed" can still be placed when you are talking about this sort of "place". Otherwise you'd never be able to deploy them!
  4. Place a wall template anywhere completely within this model's control range (etc) - Again, the word "put" would be better.
  5. Place is also used when talking about replacing models - see the section below.

Whenever a model is placed in an area, they count as entering it for the purpose of taking damage etc. However, "places" never count as advances so won't trigger stuff like Countercharge.

"Place Effects" completely ignore terrain and intervening models, regardless of height and LOS. For example, the Jump ability can be used to move a model through a 10 storey building. Similarily, a spawned model can be put on the opposite side of terrain and/or out of LOS from the model that is spawning it.

Replace Effects

Replace is yet another defined game term but, like place, it is used outside of that definition. Replace is used in three ways:

  1. When the Leader model in a unit is destroyed, and a Grunt model is Field Promoted. You replace the Grunt model with a Leader model.
  2. When a Dragoon model is dismounted, and you replace the horse model with an infantry model.
  3. When a model is transformed into another model. For instance Soul Gate.

The word "place" is used several times in the rules for how to replace a model but it doesn't have the same definition as a "place effect" as described above - except for the one case where it does. As I said, this is one example of where PP hasn't made crystal clear rules (and why we're going over it).

Generally if a model is "replacing itself" then it doesn't count as a "place effect". (For instance, if a Grunt model is field promoted to a Leader model while standing in an acid pool, it doesn't count as entering the acid pool again.) But if one model is replacing a different model, then it does count as being placed.

If the models replacing each other are different sizes, you don't need to centre them on each other. Instead:

  • When a smaller model replaces a larger one, it has to be fully within the bigger circle.
  • When a larger model replaces a smaller one, it has to fully cover where the small circle was, plus overlap somewhere. If there is not enough space to place the larger model, you can't replace it - you do not jiggle the models around to make space.

+2" vs +2 SPD

Since a model can move a number of inches equal to its current SPD, a buff which gives +2 SPD often works out the same as one which gives +2".

The only difference is when a model uses its Normal Movement to do a run, which is 2x SPD. Say you're normally SPD 4:

  • Running with +2 SPD: (4+2)×2=12 inch run
  • Running with +2": (4×2)+2=10 inch run

Moving through models/obstacles

Quite a few models have the ability to move through other models and/or terrain - the most obvious examples being Flight and Incorporeal - but what happens if a model loses that ability while overlapping something? This could be as simple as a flying model being hit by a free strike which causes knockdown, or something slightly more complicated like an Incorporeal model entering the area affected by an Exorcist.

The answer is: it depends. It depends on whether losing the ability was involuntary (like the "getting knocked down" example) or voluntary (like the "moving towards a model that debuffs you" example). Often you will have to "rewind" the model's movement until it gets to a point where it can legally be placed.

    Involuntary    

If your movement is stopped involuntarily and you're overlapping models, then you apply the rule of least disturbance. If you're overlapping terrain, you "rewind" the movement to where you first entered the terrain. If you overlap models at that point, then apply the rule of least disturbance.

Since losing this movement was involuntary, you don't regain the rewound movement.

    Voluntary    

The special rule that lets you voluntarily move through other models/terrain will always be worded as "this model can advance through [x] if it has sufficient movement to move all the way through [x] ". If you can't get all the way through it, you don't get to apply your special movement rule at all.

If you start moving through [x], get halfway, then realise you've lost your special rule, you've created an illegal game state. You "rewind" to just before you entered [x] and pretend you never entered it at all.

Since all that movement was voluntary, you do regain the rewound movement and can try again.

    Example - Losing your special movement rule mid-move    

A Machine Wraith has the Incorporeal ability which allows it to move through models & terrain. It is SPD 7 so can advance 7", or charge 10". The Wraith wants to charge the Crusader and end in the blue spot.

Unfortunately a Sanctifier is nearby and it has an anti-Incorporeal aura, which causes the Machine Wraith to lose Incorporeal at the red spot, while it is overlapping the building. Since it can't be in the building when it loses Incorporeal, and because the charge was voluntary, it has to rewind to before the charge started.

In the end, it uses its normal movement to move 7" to the green spot and the Crusader is safe.
In fact, if you actually declared a charge before checking anything, your opponent would be within their rights in saying you only rewind part of the charge movement (to just before the Wraith enters the building). Your opponent could make you keep the first part of the charge, and overall it would be a failed charge.
That scenario depends on how 'friendly' a game you are playing.

Diagram for "Voluntary loss of movement" example.