-By: Scott (PG_Sc077y)

One of the many tasks charged to the Press Gang is to answer questions about the game.  Sometimes we find ourselves answering the same questions over and over, and in this week’s rules focus article, I want to discuss one of the most commonly confused set of rules and abilities: “ghostly” and “incorporeal”.

Let’s look at these two commonly confused rules and what they do.

Ghostly: This model can advance through terrain and obstacles without penalty and can advance through obstructions if it has enough movement to move completely past them. It cannot be targeted by free strikes.

Ghostly allows you to move through terrain and obstacles without penalty. This means that your models basically have a super form of path finder.  In fact, abilities that would cause a model to loose pathfinder (like Baulder 1’s feat) don’t affect models with ghostly, because ghostly is its own separate advantage.

In addition, ghostly allows you to move through obstructions and charge over walls because it ignores penalties incurred by those terrain types.

Ghostly lastly has one big advantage, and that is that models cannot be targeted by free strikes while ghostly.  This allows units that are ghostly, and also have a 2” melee range to do things like charge completely past a model to target another deeper in the field, or even to get a back strike on their charge target by charging completely past it on one side, then using their 2” melee range to stay in melee range!

What ghostly doesn’t do, and something I have seen many new players make the mistake of, is assuming since you ignore terrain for movement, you can ignore terrain for line of sight.  This is not the case.  Just make sure you aren’t ignoring forests and obstructions for purposes of line of sight for things like charging a model and such.

The ghostly rule can be found on many models in the game, but the most common place you will see it is in Cryx, on Bane Warrior, Bane Knights, Bane Riders, Nightmare, and one instance of it in Circle Orboros, on the Pureblood Warpwolf.

Incorporeal: This model treats all non-Impassable terrain as open terrain while advancing. It can move through obstructions and through other models if it has enough movement to move completely past them. While charging, power attack slamming, or power attack trampling, this models does not stop its movement when it contacts an obstacle, an obstruction or another model. Other models, including slammed, pushed, or thrown models can move through this model without effect if they have enough movement to move completely past it. This model does not count as an intervening model. This model is immune to continuous effects and non-magical damage. This model cannot be moved by a push, slam or throw. When this model makes a melee or ranged attack, before the attack roll is made, it loses incorporeal until the start of its next activation.  This model cannot make free strikes while incorporeal.

I think incorporeal is a difficult rule to work through for people new to the game, because it does so many things, but also has a little bit of confusion with it in terms of how it is used.

Incorporeal allows you to move ignoring terrain, the same as ghostly does, and benefits from the same rules as ghostly in that you ignore intervening terrain when moving.  Where incorporeal differs, is that you can also ignore intervening models as well.  So while ghostly will not allow you to move through an enemy model, an incorporeal model will allow you to do so.  Essentially, you can move right past or even through a unit of enemy models, so long as you have a place to put your base.

Where I feel that incorporeal gets confusing for my newer players, is when you start moving through enemy models.  Incorporeal does not ignore free strikes.  While a model with incorporeal is immune to non-magical damage, it still will trigger free strikes when it moves out of the melee range or melee arc of an enemy model.  Most of the time, this doesn’t matter, as most models in the game do not have a magical weapon, but if it moves through or leaves the melee arc of a model with a magical weapon it will give up a free strike to that model following the normal free strike rules.

Just to clarify this, if I have a Void Spirit, an incorporeal model in Skorne, and he moves through and completely past 4 bane warriors, he will not take damage, as any free strikes that the Bane Warriors could take would be made by non-magical weapons, and since he is incorporeal, he is immune to non-magical damage.  However, if I moved say, through a unit of Exemplar Bastions, who all have magical weapons, he would trigger free strikes, and since those models do have magical weapons, and the void spirit is not immune to magical damage, well, it’s probably not going to end very well for the void spirit.

Something else worth mentioning is that incorporeal models are only incorporeal so long as they don’t attack. Once they attack, or take a combat action, they lose incorporeal until the beginning of their next activation.  That means that for the turn you attack, and your opponent’s next turn, they can retaliate on them, and I have seen a few plays mistake that and think they just couldn’t be damaged by non-magical weapons ever.  Along those lines, incorporeal models, WHILE INCORPOREAL do not count as intervening models, and do not block line of sight.  I have witnessed a newer player screening War Witch Denegrah with a unit of Blackbane’s Ghost raiders, the only problem was they had not made an attack, so they were still incorporeal.  While they were incorporeal, they didn’t block line of sight, and Denegrah quickly got killed by her opponent declaring her as a charge target and then charging her through the ghost raiders.

And that brings me to the final point.  Models that are incorporeal (while incorporeal) do not get to take free strikes.  In the above example, the ghost raiders could do nothing to stop the opposing player from charging his Black Dragons onto Denegrah, because they cannot take free strikes while incorporeal.  It’s a weird combination of rules and interactions to learn, but worth it if you have incorporeal models in your faction.

Incorporeal models are often found in Cryx, but there are a few elsewhere.  In Cryx, the Wraith Engine, Pistol Wraith, Machine Wraith, and Blackbane’s Ghost Raiders are all Incorporeal, in Minions, the Gremlin Swarm and Feralgeist are incorporeal, and in Skorne, the Void Spirit.