Old World: Reserve Move and You

The Old World is a setting filled with flying monsters, barreling Cavalry, and in some cases locomotive engines. But, today, we’ll be talking about one of the fastest and most utility filled rules in the book: Reserve Move. 

Spread very sparingly through both mainline books and the legacy armies, Reserve Move is a highly prized ability that rarely strays from Light Cavalry. With the most recent FAQ ruling on characters joining these units, however, we can be confident that this rule will be a test of individual skill from both players. This rule does not affect all equally though, as any undead unit that can not march will gain more out of this rule than the average unit. Here we will be exploring some of the main ways to take full advantage of reserve move, as well as how to play around it should you face it across the table.

Credit: Bair

How Does it Work?

If the majority of models in a unit has Reserve Move then it can make one additional move at the end of the shooting phase. The restrictions are that the unit can not have marched, fled, or charged during that turn, and the additional move can not be a march. It can be any other manoeuvre however allowing for some very mobile units. 

Restrictions and How to Avoid Them

Conveyance spells often have the limitation that the target can not move before the cast (with a notable exception that we’ll talk about later). However, a reserve move happens after Conveyance spells have already been cast, giving extra movement to a unit that wouldn’t normally be allowed to benefit from both the spell and a move. 

Another restriction we can avoid is wizardly dispel ranges. The general concept of the spell timings would have wizards of the same level risk having their magic missiles and vortex spells dispelled if they want to be in position to dispel the enemy hexes and enchantments. By joining a unit with Reserve Move the cunning mage can shoot all their spells outside of dispel range and then duck back into dispel range right after, giving a potentially large increase to magic phase power. 

The last rule avoidance we’ll talk about is very intended and is localised entirely within Tomb Kings, who are not allowed to March at all except with Fly units. Reserve Move gives a second move with an extra manoeuvre making it a better-march (sort of) for them; getting them down the board faster and in a much better position. Amusingly, your Casket of Souls only can’t move in the remaining move phase, this is the only phase it’s not allowed to move in, so casting Reserve Move on it lets you take your normally-immovable casket for a casual stroll at the end of the shooting phase to help love that safety bubble up the field. That mighty 4″ move might not seem like much, but keeping your Light of Protection is huge!  

Magic and Extra Movement  

Gee, Games Workshop lets you move three times? This is a somewhat generic option that a few factions can do, and it revolves around Lore of Battle and a Wizard. Arcane Urgency is one of the few conveyance spells that requires the target has already moved, instead of not yet moved. If you really really need your glade riders 27 inches up the board but not in march column, then look no further! This move has even more benefits over marching as you can change your formation in-between moves, about face, do a little dance and spin the spot, then still be in great position next turn for a charge or whatever the heart desires. 

A Unique, Green, Combination

A much more specific scenario comes in the form of ambush Goblin Wolf Riders. In the new and shiny O&G arcane journal lurks a little green lad by the name of Kiknik Toofsnatcha. Leveraging the ability to give Ambushers to Wolf Riders, we can now have a unit come on from a board edge and then move again with Reserve Move. This is an entirely unique combination of abilities so far, and so this type of movement should be highly prized. On top of that, you can attach this special character to them and then he gains Reserve Move as well, although it’s strange he doesn’t come with it stock. Be wary though, the unit still suffers from Impetuous, so keep them safe or in a position you really want to be charging from next turn. The final thing that Goblin Wolf Riders allow is to remove their skirmish rule for closer order when in the nomad army of infamy. This allows any character to join that unit of wolf riders, but being in nomads will limit you to only mounted characters, so enjoy your Reserve Move on a slightly expanded roster of characters on any Cavalry model or light chariot. 

A Necromancer’s Best Friend 

Our third and final entry is a handful of combinations within the Vampire Counts army. Like Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts sport more Reserve Move units than the average army, but they use them in different ways. The first major difference is that there are a few gaps to squeeze in characters where you might not have thought to do so. Spirit Hosts do not have Unbreakable like most other swarms, so they can be joined by a character. They do, however, come with Ethereal, which limits your choices to Banshees and Spirit hosts. This is clearly intentional but something that feels quite under the radar is that Dire Wolves have no real restrictions on who joins them at all. Normally a unit like this would have Skirmishers (like the Crypt Ghouls) and so who joins them would be limited, but not these good undead dogs. You can slap any character in this unit, assuming the character does not have fly. This means that your combat lord can join this unit with your full 2+ armour save should you take the right items, which is a unique situation to find yourself in as a Reserve Move enjoyer. The closest the other factions get to this is a Wood Elf Glade Lord on Elven Steed, but they won’t be anywhere near as durable. To top it off you can also just throw your Necromancer in here, which just really gives incredible movement for your Invocation of Nahek, the perfect partner to keep up with some Blood Knights as they tear off across the board. The cherry to this undead cake is being able to take a Battle Standard Bearer that gives out Reserve Move to the unit they join, which has quite a few combinations so I’ll leave this one to your imagination, reader! 

credit: @raineraugsburg

Traps and Pitfalls 

We’ve touched on a few of the pitfalls of the Reserve Move rule, but let’s just roundup some of the common rules that will block you from using this rule where you might have had the idea to try it. Beware the Skirmishers rule! Your characters can not join units of Skirmishers unless they are the exact subtype of unit that the unit is. This is a problem for a lot of Reserve Move units as some characters can’t choose the right type of mount to join them, so make sure you check the mount type you’re buying for your character before trying to join units like this! Ethereal, Unbreakable, and Fly are the other limiting rules for Reserve Move as all three of these need both character and unit to have the respective rule. 

How to Defeat This Type of Speed 

A more common interaction with Reserve Move is, how do you beat it? Most armies don’t have very many good options to take this type of unit, so we need to be able to stop it in its tracks. Luckily most of the Reserve Move units out there have very bad armour saves and low toughness, which allows a more ranged focused list to shuffle them off the board before they do too much damage on the flanks and rear. In particular Magic Missile spells are your best friend against most Reserve Move units, just as it is strong against most Skirmisher units in the game. You can also attack a unit in the Reserve Move rule itself, by trying to force the unit to do something that locks it out of its own rule. Goblin Wolf riders come with Impetuous but a way that a lot of armies can give this out is with the spell Phantasmagoria, and as Dark Magic is a common spell Lore to take due to its other spells, it’s a good way to use a seemingly less powerful spell when you roll it (or select it). Largely there are not too many options you can utilise to catch fast moving skirmishers that really don’t want to be caught, especially if they have a Wizard in them to augment their movement further. So, if you think this might be a weakness that your army will be frustrated by, then you might need to think of a little bit extra ranged support to be added, or just attempt to out move your opponent on the battlefield! 

Reserve Move is a coveted ability that can see its way to be used in unique and fun ways, while also rewarding player skill and a little bit of mind games with your opponent. Faking where you’re going might cause an opponent to use a spell or ability in a way that does not take into account your second (or third!) movement. A fantastic rule to be sure, and in the coming weeks I can’t wait to try more games utilising it. 

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