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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.

Reaching is a property exclusive to and innate to polearms. Reaching weapons may attack from two spaces away, one tile greater than usual. You may also attack through monsters, though not with perfect success.

Useful Info

You will automatically make reach attacks when appropriate while auto-attacking with Tab, and you can manually make a reach attack with the v command.

Other than the extra range, reaching is nearly identical to other melee attacks. When attacking from a distance, you won't make auxiliary attacks, and you won't be hurt from attacking spiny monsters. That only applies when attacking from a distance; using a polearm on an adjacent enemy will trigger aux attacks and spiny as normal.

If there is a monster or obstacle between you and your target, there is a chance that your reaching attack will fail. See below for details.

Reach Attack Failure

Reaching may fail if there is a monster in the way. If there are two possible paths to attack the tile (i.e., the attack is like a chess knight's move [1] with no walls in the way), they are randomized. Then, if a monster is in the way, there is a 50% chance that reaching fails. You will then hit the intervening monster if it is neutral or hostile, and fail if they are friendly. See the below examples:

 A reaching attack on Monster M:
 Example 1:                      Example 2:                    Example 3:
 .......  .......  .......       .......                       .......
 ..@....  ..@AM..  ..@A...       ..@A...                       ..@A...
 ...A...  .......  ####M..       ...BM..                       ....M..
 ....M..  .......  ####...       .......                       .......
 With A interposed.              With A and B interposed.      With A interposed, plus
                                                               one free avenue of attack.
  • Example 1: There's a 50% chance that the attack on M fails. If A is friendly, the attack fails outright. If A is hostile, the attack is redirected to A.
  • Example 2: There's a 50% chance that the attack on M fails and is instead directed on the intervening monster at A/B (randomly chosen). If A/B is friendly, the attack fails outright. If A/B is hostile, the attack is redirected to A/B.
  • Example 3: There's a 25% chance that the attack on M fails. If A is friendly, the attack fails outright. If A is hostile, the attack is redirected to A.

The message given when an attack fails due to a friendly monster blocking your attack is less than informative:

"You could not reach far enough!"

Immobile and/or neutral monsters like bushes and toadstools are treated like mobile, hostile monsters when determining whether they block an attack. Reaching attacks may be freely made through inanimate statues with no penalty. However, reaching attacks may not be made through iron grates.

Friendly monsters you can fire projectiles through, such as Fedhas plants or Hepliaklqana ancestor, are treated as empty squares for reaching attacks.


The artefact demon trident Rift has a special, smite-targeted reaching attack. It has an extra tile of reach (3 tiles), and completely ignores intervening monsters and obstructing terrain (including grates).


  • Even when you consider the 50% failure rate of attacks made through friendly units, reach attacks can be extremely useful for characters with access to summoned or permanent allies. When dealing with monsters capable of casting dangerous enchantments like Banish or Malmutate, letting your summoned units block the enemy's line of fire while you poke it from behind is a perfectly valid strategy.
  • If you can both move and attack faster than your enemy can move, it's possible to kite melee opponents with reach attacks. Simply flee the enemy until you're two spaces away, then stab at the enemy until it closes the gap. Repeat until the enemy is dead.

Reaching Attacks by Monsters

Any monster wielding a polearm can make reach attacks, just like you. However, there are also some monsters that have inherent reaching attacks:


  • Prior to 0.14, reaching was also available as a brand which could generate on whips and demon whips.
  • Prior to 0.10, polearms did not have intrinsic reaching. They would only be capable of reaching if they had the reaching brand.
Melee weapons AntimagicChaosDistortionDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHeavyHoly wrathPainProtectionReachingSpectralSpeedVampiricVenom
DisruptionDragon slayingReapingSilver
Launchers AntimagicDrainingElectrocutionFlamingFreezingHeavyPenetrationSpeed
Throwing weapons AtropaCurareDaturaDispersalPoisonedSilver