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, Replace - Does it count?

Asphyxious1 has a spell literally called Teleport.

Placed and Replaced are in the unfortunate situation of being defined in the rules, but sometimes the rules follow that definition and sometimes they don't. Thankfully it only really matters if you are a) immune to places or b) when you get placed, you enter an area that does damage/debuff/etc.

So let's run through the different ways the rules use the word "place".

  1. Teleporting Place
    Example: Place this model within 3" of its current location
    This version does meet the main definition, so anti-place abilities work vs it and, if you place yourself into an area of damage, you will take that damage.
    This is what most players think of when they talk about "Place Effects".
  2. Spawning Place
    Example: Add to play one Grunt model. Place the Grunt within 3" of this model and in formation.
    This version also does meets the main definition.
  3. Deployment Place
    Example: The second player deploys their models on their chosen side of the battlefield, placing them completely within 10˝ of that edge
    This version sort of meet the main definition.
    It is considered to meet the definition for "entering" terrain (so if you deploy in burning forest, you'll start the game on fire).
    It is not considered to meet the definition for "cannot be placed" rules. Otherwise models that are immune to being placed (such as Colossals) could never be put on the table!
  4. Template Place
    Example: Place a 4" AOE cloud effect anywhere completely within the spellcaster's control range
    This version does not meet the main definition.
  5. Replacement Place
    Wording: When replacing one model with another, place the new model [...]
    This is where it gets weird - in general any "replace" is also a "place" and so does meet the main definition ... but the most common types of replace write an exception for themselves. See #6 to #8
  6. Replacement - Field Promotion
    Wording: Replace the Grunt model with the Leader model [...] and is not considered to have entered an area
    This one writes an exception for itself so does not meet the main definition.
  7. Replacement - Dragoon Dismount
    Wording: Remove the mounted dragoon and replace it with the dismounted dragoon model [...] the dismounted form is not considered to have entered an area
    This one writes an exception for itself so does not meet the main definition.
  8. Replacement - Other
    Example: Replace the chosen marked soul with the horror and remove the marked soul from play.
    This one does meet the definition.

Place & Replace - General

Any time a model is placed in an area, and meets the main definition, it counts as entering that area. So it will take damage from stuff like a Scather, suffer corrosion from stuff like Caustic Mist, etc.

A "place" never count as an advance 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.

When it comes to replacing models and base sizes:

  • If they are the same size, you put the new model down in exactly the same spot.
  • 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.


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.


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 just before it entered the building, and it'll stop there as a failed charge.

However, if your opponent is friendly, they might let you rewind the charge entirely and make a normal advance instead. In the picture this is what happened, and the Wraith used its normal movement to move 7" to the green spot and the Crusader is safe.

Diagram for "Voluntary loss of movement" example.