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A character receives a free Reach — which does not add Paradox dice — per dot of her highest-rated Arcanum that meets or exceeds the spell’s requirement. For example a mage with four dots of the Mind Arcanum gains two free Reaches when casting a spell that requires Mind 3.

~ M:tA 2E pg 112

Are the dots that meet (in the example above mind 3) and exceed (mind 4) counted together, or is only the fourth dot counted and there's is an implicit free reach when casting that I remember being mentioned, but I can't find a reference to.

That is, if I am right in my recollection, mind 3 and 4 both provide 1 free reach, but mind 5 would provide 2 free reach, with the 2nd and 3rd being free regardless it your dots in mind.

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All dots are counted. For example, if you are trying to cast a Mind 2 spell and have Mind 4, you would get three free reach, one from meeting the spells requirements, and two from exceeding it by two dots. (There is a handy table on pg 325 under "Step Three: Assign Reach")

Having Mastery in an arcana does nothing special to reach, Mind 5 would give you an additional free Reach in your example, same as Mind 3 and Mind 4.

The one exception to this is if you are casting a Rote spell, where you calculate free Reach as if you had 5 dots in the Arcana no matter your current Arcana rating (pg 112, fourth paragraph under Rotes). For example, if a Death 2 mage had Suppress Life (Death 2, pg 130) as a Rote, they would get 4 free reach and could thus cast it instantly at sensory range with advanced Duration and Scale without risking Paradox.

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