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Special Rules

With the vast number of races, creatures and heroes that inhabit the realms of Middle-earth, it should come as little surprise that many of them possess a variety of attributes, skills or abilities that set them apart from each other — from heroes that coat their weapons in exotic toxins to monsters that instill fear into their prey or even possess the ability to set their enemies on fire. These are represented by special rules, and many models will have a selection of them. Here we have compiled a collection of the most common for easy reference purposes.


Many of the models in the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game have special rules that represent their abilities and unique character. As you play the game, you'll notice these in the profiles of Hero and Warrior models, and sometimes on specific pieces of wargear too. All special rules can be classed as either Passive or Active.

A Passive special rule is one that takes effect regardless of other factors. They require no particular thought or effort to enact. For instance, a Troll is still terrifying even if it's not thinking about being scary at that moment. Passive special rules still take effect even if the model is under the influence of another ability that would render it unable to move, such as the Transfix Magical Power. Examples of Passive special rules include Terror and Ancient Evil.

An Active special rule is one that requires the user to physically act, think or move. These special rules are not usable if the model in question is under the effect of another ability that renders it unable to move or act, such as the Transfix Magical Power. Examples of Active special rules include Ancient Enemies and Rúmil's Swift Parry.



Some races have been fighting each other for so long, they know their enemy's weaknesses and are well-equipped to exploit them on the battlefield.

A model with this special rule re-rolls 1s To Wound when fighting in combat against models with the keywords listed in the brackets in its profile. For example, a model that has the Ancient Enemies (Elf) special rule will get to re-roll 1s To Wound against all Elf models.



There are those that dwell in Middle-earth whose evil is boundless: even the sight of such a creature is a portent of doom.

An enemy model within 18" of this model suffers a -1 penalty to its Courage. Note, this is not cumulative with other similar penalties such as those provided by Goblin Drums, The Harbinger of Evil special rule and so on.



Many warriors have made sly, cunning murder an art form. They fight most effectively when their prey is outnumbered — or better yet, completely unaware of their assailant's presence.

This model receives +1 to their To Wound rolls when making Strikes against a Trapped model. This bonus is cumulative with other bonuses, such as using a two-handed weapon.



Whether the venomous fangs of a Giant Spider or the vile poisons used by the Hâsharin, many in Middle-earth use toxins to defeat their foes, or in some instances their prey.

This model must re-roll all failed To Wound rolls when making Strikes in close combat.



These weapons were forged in ages past, during wars of terrible hate and desperate survival. Enchanted to slay the direst of foes, such weapons kill more readily than mere steel alone.

Bane weapons cause D3 Wounds rather than 1, per successful Strike, on specific races — the race in question will be presented as Xbane, where X is the race in question. For example, a model with the Orcbane special rule will cause D3 Wounds per successful Strike against models with the Orc keyword.



The weapons possessed by the dead cut deep into the resolve of their enemies, causing them to succumb to wounds to the soul.

When determining what number models with this special rule need To Wound their opponents, use their opponent's Courage rather than its Defence on the Wound chart. Models with this special rule cannot use Special Strikes.



Experts in hand-to-hand combat, these heroes draw strength from the slaying of their enemy's leaders and use their victories to spur themselves onwards to glory.

If this model kills an enemy Hero model in a Fight, they immediately regain a single point of Might spent earlier in the battle.



Noble warriors that have sworn an oath of service to their commanders, they will sooner fight to the death than fail in their duty.

All Warrior and Hero models from the same army list with this special rule will automatically Bodyguard the Hero from the same army list with the highest Heroic Tier. If there is more than one Hero with the highest Heroic Tier, the controlling player may choose. As long as the bodyguarded model is alive on the battlefield, this model passes all Courage tests. Models that are part of an allied contingent (see page 133) must select a model from their own army list.



Some warriors are able to shoulder burdens that those of a less powerful build would be unable to lift.

When fighting with a two-handed weapon, a model with this special rule does not suffer the -1 penalty to their Duel roll.

Additionally, Burly models may carry a Heavy Object and move their full distance.



The under-realms of Middle-earth are inhabited by agile, creeping things that climb and scale rocks with frightening ease.

A model with this special rule adds 1 to all Jump, Leap and Climb tests. They also suffer no penalties for fighting in the dark.



There are those that have been raised to ride swiftly and with great skill from a tender age.

Whilst mounted, an Expert Rider may re-roll the dice when making Jump, Swim and Thrown Rider tests.

While mounted, a model carrying both a shield and a bow will still receive the +1 Defence bonus for being armed with a shield. If the model dismounts, they will lose this bonus.

Additionally, an Expert Rider can pick up Light Objects without having to dismount (see page 109).



The most skilled archers can react to their enemies almost without thinking, their reactions allowing them to fire multiple arrows with lightning speed.

A model with this special rule may fire twice in the Shoot phase. These shots are resolved one at a time, meaning that the shooter can target the same model twice or two different models, once each, if they wish.



Some within Middle-earth remain unphased even in the face of the most fearsome foes or incredible odds.

This model automatically passes any Courage test it is required to make.



Those that possess the Fell Sight are seemingly able to see around corners and detect those that cannot be seen.

A model with this special rule does not need Line of Sight to be able to Charge.

Additionally, they may target models with the Stalk Unseen special rule with no penalty.



Able to traverse woodland terrain with incredible ease, there are a select few knights that are a deadly foe whether on the battlefield or within the forests of Middle-earth.

A model that has this special rule, and the Woodland Creature special rule, will also apply the effects of Woodland Creature to their mount, so the whole model treats woodland terrain as clear terrain for the purposes of movement.



From the Great Eagles of The Misty Mountains to the Fell Beasts of the Nazgûl, many creatures in Middle-earth possess the ability to soar amongst the clouds — providing a serious advantage upon the battlefield.

This model may ignore all intervening models and terrain as it moves — flying over buildings, woods and so on. The model may not end its movement within woods or upon any terrain that its base will not safely balance upon (flat rocks, hills and the like are fine, but don't try to perch your model precariously upon trees, sloped roofs, and so on). When flying, a model may move up to 12". A model with this special rule may still choose to use their normal Move value if they wish, however, they will gain none of the benefits of the Fly special rule if they move in this way. If a model with the Fly special rule walks into a wood, they cannot use the Fly special rule again until they have fully left the wood.

Furthermore, a model with this special rule may pass 'over' enemy Control Zones without charging the model — as long as they end their move outside of the Control Zone.



The dread servants of the Dark Lord spread dismay where they pass.

An enemy model within 12" of this model suffers a -1 penalty to its Courage. Note, this is not cumulative with other similar penalties such as those provided by Goblin Drums, the Ancient Evil special rule, and so on.



Many races will harbour a simmering resentment towards others in Middle-earth who have wronged them or dealt them injustices. Upon the battlefield, these grudges can thrust themselves to the forefront of battle, causing warriors to seek out vengeance for acts of the past.

A model with this special rule adds 1 to their To Wound rolls when fighting in combat against the models with the keyword listed in the brackets in its profile. For example, a model that has the Hatred (Man) special rule will get +1 to their To Wound rolls against all models with the Man keyword. A model that has the Hatred (Mordor) special rule will get +1 to their To Wound rolls against all models with the Mordor keyword.



Over the years, many heroes develop a close bond with their steeds. They have ridden into many a battle upon their mounts, protecting them in the same way as they would those they fight alongside.

Whilst this model is mounted, they may choose to expend their own Fate points to prevent Wounds caused to their mount.



There are a few, truly exceptional, leaders who possess an incredible level of tactical awareness when it comes to commanding an army. In the heat of battle, they are able to respond almost instantly to counteract moves made by their foes.

Whenever an enemy Hero attempts a Heroic Action within 6" of a model with this special rule, this model may call the same Heroic Action without spending Might, even if they would not usually have access to it.

Sometimes a model with this special rule will have a number after the rule in brackets, e.g., Master of Battle (5+). In this situation, whenever an enemy Hero attempts a Heroic Action within 6" of a model with this special rule, roll a D6. If the dice score equals or beats the number after the special rule, this model may call the same Heroic Action without spending Might — even if they would not normally be able to call the same Heroic Action.



Whether they possess exceptional skill with their keen-edged blade or raw strength, many warriors are capable of cleaving their enemies asunder with a single swing of their weapon.

For each Strike that successfully Wounds in close combat, this model inflicts 2 Wounds rather than 1.



Only the greatest Heroes have been touched by destiny — and they will make their mark upon the history of Middle-earth and etch themselves into songs and legend for years to come.

A model with this special rule may expend 1 point of Might each turn without reducing their own store of Might.



Slamming into the ranks of the enemy, these monsters charge with enough force to fling large numbers of warriors sprawling to the ground.

If a model with this special rule charges into combat, it will gain the Knock to the Ground and Extra Attack bonuses (see page 62) as if it were Cavalry, with a couple of exceptions:

This model will Knock to the Ground any model that it Charges, including Cavalry or Monster models, with a lower Strength value than it, even if the charged model has a Strength of 6 or higher. The rider of a Cavalry model will automatically suffer the Knocked Flying result for its Thrown Rider test.

Additionally, this model will still get the Extra Attack bonus if it Charges, or is subsequently charged by, Cavalry or another model with this special rule.

If a model with this special rule is a Cavalry model, the mount will count as being In The Way of its rider, except that the rider will only be hit on a 5-6; a roll of 1-4 will hit the mount.



Some races make their homes upon mountain passes and scree-strewn slopes, so they are easily able to navigate the perils that come from traversing high and rocky places.

Mountain Dwellers may re-roll any Jump, Leap and Climb tests. In addition, they may move through rocky areas that are classified as difficult terrain as if they were open ground.



Many races will coat the edges of their weapons with a deadly poison, turning even slight flesh wounds into life-threatening situations.

Poisoned weapons must re-roll To Wound rolls of a 1 when that weapon is being used. The weapon that is coated in poison, and therefore benefits from this rule, will be listed in the model's profile. For example, a model with the Poisoned Sword special rule will re-roll all To Wound rolls of 1 when using their sword. A model with the Poisoned Arrows special rule will re-roll To Wound rolls of a 1 when firing their bow.



Whilst the weak of will may quickly and easily be enthralled by a skilled practitioner of magic, there are some who possess a natural resilience to the power of the enemy.

If this model is targeted by a Magical Power, it may use an additional 'free' dice when it makes a Resist test, even if it has no Will remaining or decides not to use any Will points from its store.



Fire is a deadly, yet effective, weapon when used against living things. In the swirl of battle, few warriors have the presence of mind (or the time) to extinguish the flames that threaten to engulf them.

A model may be set ablaze through a number of means. When this happens, the model immediately suffers one Strength 9 hit. If the model survives, it will suffer a further one Strength 5 Hit in each End phase until the blaze is extinguished.

To extinguish the blaze, the model must either lie down and then crawl 1", or enter a water feature, at which point the blaze is immediately put out.



Some races train their warriors to form an impenetrable wall of overlapping shields, protecting their friends and preventing foes from breaching their lines.

If this model is armed with a shield, whilst in base contact with two or more non-Prone models with this special rule that are armed with a shield, this model gains a bonus of +1 to its Defence. This bonus is only available whilst on foot.



The ability to walk silently and undetected is a rare gift indeed, and the stealthiest fighters can avoid being seen if they so wish.

If a model with this special rule is partially concealed from view by a piece of terrain, they cannot be seen at all at distances of more than 6" — they appear to melt into the background. This means that enemies cannot Charge, Shoot or target them with Magical Powers or special rules at ranges of greater than 6", unless they have a completely clear view of the target.

If the model is riding a mount, Stalk Unseen has no effect.



Within the bowels of the world lurk creatures that are more used to hunting than fighting in wars, and as such can be startled when what they thought was easy prey fights back!

Each time a model with this special rule suffers a Wound, it must take a Courage test. If the test is failed then the model flees the battlefield and counts as a casualty. This is an exception to the usual rules for taking multiple Courage tests in a turn.



Some creatures are able to scale any surface, climbing over rocks and scaling walls with ease — an advantage that can prove decisive on the battlefield.

A model with this special rule can climb on any surface, regardless of angle. They can therefore move at full speed over any type of difficult terrain and ignore all obstacles except for water features and gaps such as chasms, ditches and other spaces, which they have to jump as normal. The model must be able to balance safely upon wherever it finishes its movement — no spiders finishing upside down, for example!



Some warriors will stop at nothing to protect those close to them — whether they are their kin, lord or someone they are very close to.

Models with this special rule will have a specific model in brackets after the special rule. Whilst the named model is alive and on the battlefield, this model passes all Courage tests.



From towering beasts to undead horrors, there are many creatures within Middle-earth whose presence is enough to chill the blood and cause even bold warriors to stumble in fear.

Should a model wish to Charge this model, it must first take a Courage test before it moves. If the test is passed, the model may Charge as normal. If the test is failed, the model does not Charge and may not move at all this turn.

Sometimes, a model will only cause Terror in certain enemies. In these instances, the creatures that are affected are clearly listed, and only those models need to make a Courage test before charging this model. For example, a model with the Terror (Orc) will cause Terror in all Orc models.



In The Shire, the throwing of stones is widely considered an art form, and a well-placed shot can stun or even kill its target. Other creatures also have a knack for hurling stones or rocks, and while less accurate, they are usually much more deadly!

If this model does not move at all during the Move phase, then in the Shoot phase it may make a shooting attack with the Strength and range specified in the model's profile.



Whether through bull-headed stubbornness or practiced agility, some warriors can keep their footing in the face of the buffeting and chaos of battle.

If a model with this special rule is knocked Prone, roll a D6. On a 4+, this model keeps their footing and is not knocked Prone. If this model was mounted when knocked Prone, and passes the roll to keep their footing, they will stay on their feet but they will still be separated from their mount. This model may still make this roll even if it automatically suffers the Knocked Flying result and, if the roll is successful, will not suffer any of its effects.



Certain spirits are only kept in existence by some unnatural and dark power. Should they become disconnected from this power, they will vanish like smoke upon a breeze.

This model must give up 1 point of Will at the end of the Fight phase if it has been involved in one or more Fights that turn. Note that if a model is in base contact with an enemy model then it must fight — it cannot choose not to fight! Once the model is reduced to 0 Will points, it is banished and therefore removed as a casualty. If a model with this special rule uses their last Will points to cast a Magical Power with the Instant duration, the effects of the Magical Power will be resolved before the model is removed as a casualty.

Additionally, a Hero wearing The One Ring is not invisible to this model as they are to others. Furthermore, this model does not need to give up a point of Will if they are fighting a model wearing the Ring — not even if other enemy models are included as part of a Multiple Combat.



Creatures, such as the Elves that dwell in Mirkwood and Lothlórien, are just at home amidst the tangle of roots and trees as they are on the open plains.

An Infantry model with this special rule may move through woods and forests that are classified as difficult terrain as if they are open ground. Note that this doesn't mean they can automatically climb terrain in those areas, nor move through tree trunks or jump fallen Obstacles.