Total War: Warhammer/Tactics
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Welcome to the general tactics dump for Total War: Warhammer and it's sequels. Something to help with noobs and lower the bloat on the main page. If you want to take this knowledge to the online scene (God help your soul) take a look at the community made Banner Rules at Total War: Warhammer/Tactics/Banner Rules
In many ways, Warhammer plays like your standard Total War game. It features real time battles with an army of roughly 20 units max on each side. There will be at least two armies on the field and whoever is able to completely shatter the other side first wins.
Each army has it's own collection of Infantry, Missile troops, Cavalry, Artillery and Monsters to play with, each offering a different play style. For instance, Dwarfs offer a defensive solitary play style focused around heavily armored infantry and strong missiles where as the Beastmen are an aggressive hit and run faction designed to get in, hit the enemy and break leadership, then get away before the enemy can counterattack. The asymmetrical play style of the factions is a massive part of the appeal.
The battle maps also play a huge role in how battle play out. Some maps are heavily forested, meaning missile heavy armies may struggle due to increased cover for the enemy. On the flip side, some maps have a lot of water, debuffing units unless they have the aquatic trait. It is smart to take a look at your terrains before you plan how you're gonna win.
If you play ranked multiplayer, there will be a limit to how many of a certain kind of unit you can bring, mainly to stop you from missile kiting your enemies to death with a mass horse archer spam. As such, focusing on what you might need for the match up is key.
Every faction has a mix of different kinds of units. While they are all different, they each fall under one of these categories.
- Lords: The generals of your army and your most important unit. He can buff leadership and other stats and usually tends to be a beast in combat either through melee or magic. Problem is that if they die, the whole army suffers for it so you have to protect this man. You can also only bring one.
- Heroes: Your secondary leaders, usually coming in both melee and mage form. Not as much as a badass as your lord, but are usually cheaper and you can bring more than one.
- Melee Infantry: Simply put, the foot boys you are throwing into melee. These infantry tend to be slow but also tend to be pretty good at holding the line and dealing damage in prolonged melee compared to missiles and cavalry. Their job is usually to engage the enemy front line and either hold long enough for your other elements to do their job, or break through and begins pouring into the enemy backline.
- Swords/Axes/anything the Lizardmen use instead: Generally tend to be more DPS focused. If you are buying sword infantry, you get them because you want them to deal damage to the enemy frontline.
- Dual Swords: Infantry that sacrifice a shield in exchange for an extra weapon. They tend to have much higher attack than the standard sword infantry and usually carry an Anti Infantry bonus, so they are much better in the frontline fight at DPS. However, they have lower defensive stats and a vulnerability to missiles, and the fact that they usually rely on Anti Infantry means they aren't as versatile as the standard sword unit.
- Spears: Your more defensive option. Not as good at killing things but better at holding the line than swords. They also usually come with an anti-large bonus, meaning they do more damage when fighting bigger targets. Many also come with some kind of kind of charge resistance. Units with both will completely turn the tides on enemy cavalry.
- Great Weapons: Infantry that usually carry two handed weapons like great swords and great axes. They tend to have majority AP damage, so they do more damage than normal sword infantry, but also don't have shields so missiles are very effective against them. Most units with great weapons also tend to have a low attack speed, leaving them vulnerable against hordes.
- Halberds: Great weapons for spears, really. Same thing with great weapons, trades a shield and lower attack speed for more AP damage.
- Missile Troops: Your ranged boys. Good at dealing damage from a safe distance but generally suck in melee. They tend to come either with arc fire or line fire. Arc fire like archers can shoot over allied troops and don't need line of sight, but do less damage. Line of sight troops like guns tend to do way more damage, but need to actually see their enemy before they can shoot, so if allies or terrain is in the way, they might not get a shot in. Luckily, their difficulty in positioning correctly is negated by one simple fact: while only the melee troops in actual contact with the enemy will attack, all 120 units of archers will attack at the same time.
- Bow Infantry: Often, but by no means always, the lowest tier of missle infantry you can recruit. Usually trades raw damage for greater range, the ability to fire indirectly and rate of fire.
- Crossbow Infantry: Basically the same as bow infantry, but they trade range for rate of fire (although not much) and more armour-piercing damage. Notable for covering a large variety of different units, such as the rather mediocre Imperial Crossbowman to Darkshards.
- Gunpowder Infantry: Loud, smelly, and more often than not more dangerous for their user than the enemy (a mechanic entirely missing in-game), these are all kinds of primitive guns. They hit hard, don't care about armor and usually come in unpleasant numbers for the receiving end. The only major downside to them being that they can't shoot indirectly, so you have to make use of clever unit deployment and/or flanking to get the most out of them. Of course, if they are forced into melee it is usually an absolute disaster, more so than other ranged units.
- Hybrid Infantry: Sitting comfortably in between ranged and melee infantry, all of these guys (and gals) can switch between ranged and melee combat at the press of a button. The Elf factions in particular use a lot of them (with Great Weapon Shades and Lothern Sea Guard being outright the best options) so be prepared to not charge them blindly with cavalry; nearly all of them are more than capable of dealing with lower tier cav on their own.
- Weapon Teams: Exclusive to Skaven, these are Clan Skyres crazy contraptions of the shooting, burning and drilling variety. They trade unit size in exchange for an ungodly volume of firepower; once they are properly set up, there is hardly anything stopping them. On top of that, they are also armoured and have large HP pools, giving them a surprising resilience against counter fire from enemy ranged units. Beware of cavalry, for what they posses in offensive power, they lack on the defense.
- Others: Some kinds of missile only show up on one kind of unit and even then there is only one faction that can use them, so i'm putting slingers, javelins and that sort of things into this umbrella category. Mostly rather weak weapons that either benefit from being used in great numbers (slings and javelins) or really strong weapons that suffer from limited ammo-capacity (Norscan Axe Throwers come to mind).
- Hounds: Technically, these units can be any kind of very fast, cheap melee cavalry and not just doggies but whatever. These cheap puppers are used to harass and interrupt Artillery crews, chase off routing units, chew on squishy casters and Heroes and sometimes take out a ranged infantry unit. They're not tough by any means of the word but they're fast and can hold a unit back in a few crucial moments. Some of them are specialized to the point where they can be used for other roles, like the Poisoned Warhounds that can charge into the backs of the enemy line to apply a rough debuff.
- Cavalry: Boys on horse (or other fun creature) back. Mobile and has high charge but tend to fall apart fast in prolong melee.
- Shock Cavalry: Lance cavalry with loads of Charge Bonus but little in the way of defense; charge them into the sides and backs of the enemy, retreat after 10-15 seconds and repeat until the enemy is mashed, red pulp on the ground... Or crushed bones, or green shroom-mush or what-else. One of the reasons you bring Spears and Halberds is to keep these dudes away from your lines. They're also often decent at countering other Cavalry units.
- Melee Cavalry: Rare mounted troops that excel in longer engagements (but not forever; they're still cavalry). They usually use Great Weapons, Halberds or Sword'n'Board. Almost never used alone; they're better at quickly engaging and messing with a line battle you're already engaging with with you troops.
- Skirmish Cavalry: The deeply annoying yet totally crucial lighter cavalry. Annoying because they are tiresome to micromanage and run away all the time when fighting against them, and infantry can never catch them. Crucial because Skirmish Cavalry can fight in melee but usually work better as ranged, mobile units harassing the enemy's ranged units with melee attacks, countering enemy Shock and Melee Cav with ranged attacks and higher movement speed, and shooting into the back of the enemy line.
- Chariots: Those sweet ones that swing low. Chariots are a bit rare and are used to break through enemy lines with impunity, cycle-charging like a maniac. They are dismantled very quickly in prolonged melee and tend to not do a lot of damage unless they're charging. One of the hardest type of unit to use properly because they need to be micro-managed at every turn. Also out of every unit, chariot suffered the most when they are out of vigor (aka exhausted), which lowers their speed to the point they can't knock over as many infantry as it wishes during charging and gets caught easily in the crowd as result. So always remember in campaign to not get attacked during march stance while fielding those bad boys. Some chariot units have ranged weapons but don't use them as a ranged unit, make sure to turn melee engage on. Their small unit sizes means that their ranged attacks tend to be a lot worse than other units and if they are staying out of melee they are not using their ability to break through enemy lines. That being said, a chariot having ranged attacks isn't a reason to not use it, think of its ranged attacks as just inflicting some extra damage and more importantly, a leadership penalty as it charges and retreats. Many players forego chariots altogether due to their micromanagement and fragility, which is to their detriment. Properly used, they can shatter enemy lines and ruin morale.
- Ranged Chariots: Unlike the former category where missile attacks are just a way to deal a little extra damage and a leadership penalty, these chariots are specialized for ranged combat and should only be charged into an enemy when out of ammo. Their function is often similar to that of an artillery unit but more mobile, blasting enemy units with powerful ranged attacks and retreating should opponents try to reach it.
- Monsters: A category that covers a bewildering amount of different units, every Monster does something different for the faction it's found in. Usually they are either infantry-slayers, monster/cavalry-eaters or huge battering rams meant to break up the enemy's line. A few factions even have "artillery" monsters balance their exorbitant cost by being able to hold their own in melee. Some monsters (like Giants) are cheap and cheerful units you can just throw into the enemy for a spell, while others (like the Dread Saurian) can easily eat up a fourth of your money in multiplayer matches. The only faction without access to a monster is the Dwarfs (Gyrocopters does not count).
- Monstrous Infantry: Monsters that generally come in a small units size and feature slow, relatively tanky monsters designed to help out in the front line. Here's a tip, do NOT throw them in alone, team them up with other infantry. That way the enemy units will have to split their damage across 2 different units instead of being able to focus your monsters down.
- Monstrous Cavalry: Faster, harder hitting but also squishier than the infantry option, they are meant to be used a lot like cavalry. Use them as heavy flankers and for pure raw charge bonus and can even be decent in prolong melee. Their downside often comes in the form of cost, frailty and lower model count compared to most cav.
- Single Entity Monsters: Big super monsters meant to be a gigantic problem for the enemy and generally have impressive stat lines along with a combination of fear and/or terror. Their attacks can stagger smaller monsters. However these guys tend to be expensive and have a massive target that says "Shoot me" in every language in the Warhammer world, so use them wisely. They become overpowered if the unit size setting is not set to Large or Huge (the settings the game was balanced for) because while their health is reduced their other stats are not and their attacks damage a higher percentage of a unit.
- Warmachines: Single entity monsters, but mechanical. These range from imperial Steam Tanks to the Skaven DOOMWHEEL. What all of them have in common is high armour, high morale, large HP pools and very powerful ranged attacks.
- Fliers: Your flying units, ranging from cheap fliers meant to bog down missiles and artillery to fucking dragons. Their edge is that since they can fly they can engage on their terms and you can get them anywhere in the battle they need to. Their downsides comes in needing breathing room to take off again and generally frailty. Even dragons aren't a unit that can stand being in melee for too long, so you got to micro them well. Be warned: soaring around in the skies means ranged units can fire freely without being blocked by either the terrain or their own troops. Many fliers are also large units and can be easy pickings. Wait for them to be preoccupied or flank them so they have to reform their formation before firing.
- Artillery: Your good old catapults, bolt throwers, cannons or what ever crazy contraptions your race can bring to the table. Can lay down an absolute whooping from very long range, some being table to take down even the scariest monsters with fairly little problem. However, they are garbage in melee, are ridiculously slow, are somewhat expensive, and need extra room and a clear line of sight to even fire, which means they need protection more than just about any other unit type in the game. However, it pays off by racking up hundreds of kills before the enemy even meets your front line. Important to note is that while the contraptions themselves offer cover to their crews, they aren't invulnerable and can be destroyed by ranged units and magic.
Each unit in the game has a unit card, which shows the player what they are generally good and bad at. Noobs might be confused as to what the fuck all these words and numbers mean, so here is the breakdown!
- Health: Fairly simple, how much health the unit has. If the unit has more than one model per unit, you can divide the total health by the number of models to see how much health each model has. It's important to know that the threshold at which a model actually dies is surprisingly high and the game itself speads the damage units suffer evenly among the models in that unit.
- Armor: This stat helps mitigate damage coming at your unit. If they are hit by a missile, melee attack, or a spell, a RNG roll goes off to see how much of the non-AP damage goes through the unit's armor (between 50 and 100 percent). Every point of armor is a percentage of reduction, NOT a flat amount. The more armor the unit has, the lower percentage of non-AP damage that will get through. More info on AP and non-AP damage below.
- Shield: If the unit has a shield, this is where it's factored in. Shields help block missile fire coming at you. It comes in two tiers (technically three, but you never see gold shields outside of campaign buffs). Bronze shields block 33% of missiles where are a silver shield block 55%. Keep in mind this only works on small arms fire and not artillery because a shield isn't gonna fucking save you from a cannon. A very few units can deflect arrows (and bullets somehow) with their weapons, being treated as having a bronze shield even when they carry none.
- Leadership: How much morale the unit has. The higher the number is, the less likely your unit is going to rout and run for the hills. Run off the battlefield or rout three times and that unit is gone for the rest of the battle (but not necessarily dead). If it reaches 100, the unit may as well be unbreakable.
- Speed: Fairly simple, the higher the number, the faster the unit. Each unit has a speed cap determined by the animation model, beyond which it cannot move regardless of the speed value. It is not visible to the player.
- Melee Attack: This determines the likelihood of your attacks hitting the other unit. The higher the number, the more likely the attack is to hit against an enemy. This number is often rolled against the next number in this list.
- Melee Defense: Widely considered one of the most important stats in the game. Melee defense is the likelihood your unit has to block the attack of the other unit attacking it, causing it to sustain no damage; However, before either Melee Defense or Melee Attack is applied, there is a base chance of hit of 40% (35% in WH2) before Armor is applied. There is also a minimum of 10% (8% in WH2) and maximum chance to hit of 90%. If you have a choice to buff either Melee Defense or Armor and already have the means to deal with ranged units, take Melee Defense. Because what's better than mitigating damage? Not taking damage at all!
- Weapon Strength: How much damage your attacks do. This stat tends to be split into multiple categories. There are also two hidden mechanics: damage on weapon sweeps is split evenly between all enemies hit and weapon strength does not factor in attack speed.
- Weapon Damage: How much damage is going to be rolled against the enemy armor to see if it gets mitigated or not. Generally, if this makes up the majority of your Weapon Strength you want this unit fighting unarmored units.
- Armor-Piercing Damage: Or AP damage for short. If your attack gets through the other unit's Melee Defense, this is the amount of damage that's going to get through no matter what. If the Weapon Strength is mostly Armor-Piercing, then you want these guys going up against heavily armored units to tear through them.
- Anti-Large Bonus: Damage that is not factored into the roll unless they are fighting something the size of a horse or bigger. If they have this stat, throw them against cav or monsters. Applies to both Melee Attack and non-AP damage.
- Anti-Infantry Bonus: Same as Anti-Large, only meant against infantry or smaller. If they have this stat, they are infantry blenders. Applies to both Melee Attack and non-AP damage.
- Magic Damage: Certain units and some Legendary Lords inflict their attack as magic damage. This is useful against enemies with physical resist like Plague Monks and absolutely needed against supernatural enemies like Cairn Wraiths (whom are known for having 75% physical resist, being a ghost and all). Be wary, though: more units in the game have magic resistance than physical resistance, including every dwarf unit (they were created to resist the winds of magic after all). Of course, this is also the damage types of many of the spells in the game. Good news for units that largely rely on Magic Damage came in the form of a developer Q&A on Discord: Warhammer 3 will rework Magic Resist into Spell Resist, making Magical Attacks on units actually worth a damn and many of them into potent can openers.
- Fire Damage: Like Magic Damage, it deals extra damage to those weak to its damage type (AKA units associate to trees like Treeman, Tree Kin, Dryad and Durthu, because fuck them racist elf loving trees, right?). Unlike the tabletop version, flaming attack deal extra damage against units that are capable of regenerate health (vampire, trolls, ghouls) instead of just stopping their regeneration. Apparently, CA hates fire damage for some reason and stated in the game that flaming attacks are weak to heavy armor units despite Irondrakes being able to deal AP damage on the tabletop, due to their flame being able to melt armor. We'll just have to wait and see if CA is willing to fix it. Also, like Magic Damage, some units such as Dragon Princes and Irondrakes have Fire Resistance against its effect. Both Physical resistance and Fire resistance will apply for fire melee damage and fire missile damage. As of Warhammer 3 it now reduces healing for all units, were as before it just did bonus damage to regenerating units.
- Charge Bonus: A bonus to both Melee Attack and Weapon Damage (split between Armor-Piercing and non-Armor-Piercing based on percentage) that lasts for 15 seconds after running into an enemy. It starts decaying immediately upon contact with enemy and is almost negligible after 10 seconds. Note that walking into an enemy unit is not the same as charging, you have to actually run into them. You also have to cover a small distance in order to build up the charge bonus.
- Ammunition: A stat unique to ranged units that tells you how much ammo they have. If the unit has 20 ammunition, then they can make 20 shots before running out. This stat goes down as they shoot, allowing you to keep track of how many shots you have.
- Range: Simple enough: the higher the range, the farther a unit can shoot.
- Missile Strength: The same as Weapon Strength, only this stat doesn't worry about Melee Defense. If it hits, it's doing damage (including if it hits your own troops). It also has all the subcategories of damage listed under Weapon Strength. The value given in the stats is actually over 10 seconds, not per shot (because what constitutes a single shot of a flamethrower?).
- Mass: An important stat that isn't mentioned anywhere inside the game but is still important. Units come in two kinds of sizes: small (anything on foot) and large (anything that's mounted or at least as tall as a man on a horse). The larger the unit, the larger the mass. What's important is how mass affects charges and such, because it determines how one unit able to withstand them. Lowly infantrymen (and heroes and Lords on foot) will get knocked around alot when that Necrosphinx - a massive ancient Egyptian robot wielding two fucking swords - starts attacking them. Knocked down models are unable to move and fight, which can give you an edge. The enemy Lord can't bother you if he ragdolls after every hit. Mass also determines how easily a unit can push through a blob of units, whether it is to retreat or whether it is to attack the ranged units by plowing though the melee infantry line. Nothing can stop a two-ton War Mammoth when it decides it doesn't want to be there.
Some units have special passive abilities that have a variety of effects; the most common will be listed here.
- Flying: Does what it says on the tin. Can only be engaged by other flying units and ranged attacks or magical projectiles. If all units in the army are flying they must attack or lose the battle, likely so defenders can't cheese by dealing with ranged units and waiting for the timer to give them the win.
- Causes Fear:Not to be confused with "Causes Terror", Fear inflicts a penalty on the enemy units' leadership, making them more likely to flee. Most monstrous and/or supernatural enemies have this ability, and some Lords and Banners have it as well. If a unit causes Fear, it is itself immune to it. Like Terror, it falls under Psychology, so some units are immune to it.
- Causes Terror: Units that cause Terror can cause large drops in enemy leadership when they charge, or when they're causing large amounts of damage to the enemy; this is on top of the leadership damage they already cause just by charging. All units that cause TERROR are immune to Terror, and are completely ignored by units that are immune to Psychology.
- Frenzy: A unit with frenzy gains a significant bonus to their melee stats as long as their leadership is above 50%.
- Aura of Command: Found on every Lord and Hero, they project an Aura around themselves that increases Leadership for friendly units. Most Lords and Heroes also can be skilled to make their Aura of Command better and/or to include more bonuses. Doesn't stack.
- Aquatic: Aquatic Units fight better and move faster in wet terrain, such as rivers and swamps. Unsurprisingly, most Vampire Coast units have this.
- Stalker: Stalkers remain invisible to the enemy until a certain distance, regardless of line of sight. The only things that can break their invisibility are close distance and if they start to attack. Certain units can fire while invisible without breaking it.
- Sniper: If they have this, they'll most likely also have STALKER. Units with this ability do not reveal themselves when making ranged attacks. Examples include Empires Huntsmen and Chameleon Skinks.
- Strider: Striders ignore any movement and vigour penalties from terrain; they will always move with 100% movement speed, but also can move through obstacles, such as trees.
- Perfect Vigour: Like the name implies, units with Perfect Vigour never suffer fatigue; no matter how intensely they fight, no matter how hard they run, they will always remain at their peak performance from the beginning to the end of any battle.
- Berserk: Once a unit with Berserk falls under a health threshold, they will start a rampage, causing you to lose direct control over them. They will always attack the closest enemy unit they can see. It wears off after a few seconds or if their morale gets broken. Lizardmen call this ability Primal Insticts and it gives them a few stat bonuses but works the same way.
- Vanguard Deployment: An interesting ability with a lot of potential uses; it allows for a unit to be deployed outside your normal deployment zone. Several Legendary Lords can aquire traits and skills that give units this ability (or in the case of Skarsnik, basically your entire roster for the first half of the game).
- Sundering strikes: A very rare ability, melee attacks made by a unit with this ability reduces the armour of the enemy hit with it by 30% for 20 seconds.
- Ethereal: All supernatural enemies (such as Ghosts) have this. Ethereal units take next to nothing in damage from physical attacks and only Magic Damage does damage against them.
- Ward Saves and Resistances: Not technically a passive ability, but the game does not do the best job at explaining it, so i'll explain it here. Ward Saves are a flat damage reduction against everything that your unit or character gets hit with, Resistances only against certain kinds of damage. Many characters can have these and in the campaign it is advisable to get them wherever possible. Both Ward Saves and Resistance cap at 80%, so there is (sadly) no invulnerability cheese possible.
- Spell Resistance: As of the the latest Discord Q&A (can be read here) Magic Resist will be reworked into Spell Resist. Works like Magic Resist before, but only affects spells.
- Poisoned Attacks: Poisoned attacks reduce the enemies melee stats and movement speed for 10-20 seconds. Some units have different kinds of poison that work in the same way and usually cause the same effects with greater severity. Fun fact: table top version's poison deal constant damage to a unit model each turns, it was changed to stats debuff in this game due to how broken it is when it was put in practice in an actual total war game (In Total War Attila, The Antean faction has a unit called Poison Archers that fires constant damaging poison arrows. If used right, it can annihilate an entire enemy line even on the hardest difficulty).
- Regeneration: Units with Regeneration heal themselves over the course of a battle, up to a maximum that varies greatly on what faction you play, but is usually 60% of the HP stat. Usually more "neat to have" than outright useful, but some units (Like Malus Darkblade) can have outright broken regeneration, so keep that in mind. Important: Regeneration does not replenish dead models on a unit that has more than one.
- Unbreakable: An unbreakable unit will never flee and always fight to the last man, regardless of losses and the situation on the battlefield. Can be a two-sided sword, as most unbreakable units are very expensive elite units that you most of the time really do not want to lose. Iconic units with this trait are the Dwarf Slayers (because slayer oath) and Empire Flagellants (because they are Sigmar's Zealots). Sadly not fearing death also means not bothering with armor so most such units die if a ranged unit as much as looks at them.
- Expendable: Your meat-shield ability. Expendable units do not cause a leadership penalty when they flee from the battle to other units except other expendable units. Very important to keep in mind with the more horde-centric factions of the game like Greenskins and Skaven; this makes tarpits possible without having your main line completely collapse.
- Wounds: A game three trait specifically for single entity units. Once they fall below half health, they lose a chunk of their speed and their weapon damage in both standard and AP. Done to nerf single entity spam, and makes sense given an injured monster wouldn't fight as well as an uninjured one.
- Undead: The Undead work differently from regular units in that they are functionally Unbreakable (meaning that they will never flee), but their Leadership status comes in six steps that are distinct from regular units (here from good to bad): "Strong Binding", "Stable Binding", "Weak Binding", "Critical Binding", "Crumbling" and "Disintegrating". Starting with "Crumbling", the unit will continually lose HP at a slow, but steady pace. "Disintegrating" is the severe form and only occures when the morale would normally be Shattered for living units, the unit will die in a few seconds.
- Daemonic: Signifies that the unit it a Daemon. Pretty much works exactly like undead, the unit is unbreakable and instead starts taking damage when leadership is down before being "Banished" back to the Realm of Chaos.
Magic works in a similar way to the TT game, although there are some differences, but, played right, Magic can be a devastating force that can turn a loss into a victory.
First, the Basics: Like in the Lore, how much Magic you can use depends on the Winds of Magic and how strong they are blowing. On the campaign map, there are visual indicators for how strongly the winds blow but you can also just hover your cursor over any given place on the map and get a number. This number indicates your base power reserve on the battlefield. Certain Lord and Hero traits, followers, and skills can increase your reserve. If it isn't obvious enough, you need a spellcaster Hero or Lord on the battlefield to use one of the many varieties of Magic. All spellcasters know a Lore of Magic; this determines what spells they can learn and use. Some Lords know two Lores or, in the cases of Teclis, Morathi and Alarielle, have an assortment of spells from all Lores. To use spells, you simply select the desired ability and follow the on-screen on placing it. The system is intuitive enough that it doesn't need much explaining and the in-game spell browser even has a video of every spell in action. Once you cast a spell, the cost of it will be deducted from your available power which will regenerate over time at a rate based on your remaining power reserves. Your available magic outside of your reserves is capped at 30, but the amount of spells you can cast is limited via the overall power reserve; once it is drained, you won't get more unless you use abilities like Arcane Conduit. More on Arcane Conduit later. Spells have a chance to be miscast, inflicting minor damage to the spellcaster. You can, at an additional cost in spellpower and a higher chance of a miscast, double click to overcast a spell for more powerful effects, provided you have the spell skilled out.
An exception to the aforementioned rules are bound spells; these are spells that come from magical items your Lord or Hero pick up after a battle or are spells from a different Lore of Magic certain characters can learn, or, more commonly, spells that are tied to a specific item. Bound spells do not cost spellpower or affect power regeneration and have a fixed cooldown, but can often only be cast a fixed number of times. For example, once leveled up, a High Elven mage of any Lore can cast Fireball four times for free except for a 90 second cooldown between each cast.
There are a lot of Lores of Magic to choose from, generally speaking, they can be put into two categories: The Generic Lores (Fire, Light, Death, Beasts, Heavens, Life, Shadows, Metal) and Faction specific Lores (Skaven Spells of Plague, Skaven Spells of Ruin, Skaven Spells of Stealth, Lore of the Big Waaagh!, Lore of the Little Waaagh!, Lore of High Magic, Lore of Dark Magic, Lore of the Deep, Lore of Nehekhara, Lore of the Wild, Lore of Vampires).
The generic Lores are accessible to most factions with some missing here and there. The Empire generally has the broadest variety of Lores (namely, all, plus Lore of Metal through Balthazar Gelt) to choose; Bretonnia and the Wood Elves the least. Faction specific Lores are usually only available for one faction, with some exceptions through bound spells and special characters. Each Lore comes with a passive attribute that affects units map-wide. Before we dive into a deeper description of the Lores themselves, a word on Arcane Conduit and Greater Arcane Conduit.
Arcane Conduit is an active ability that replenishes your power reserves and increases the power recharge rate for 30 seconds, after that, it goes on a 60-second-cooldown. Use this ability! Extra spellpower is never bad and the power you have on hand cannot decay away; only your increased recharge rate reverts to normal after the effect ends. But it's never bad to just use it. It is a no-brainer. The premier mage characters even have access to Greater Arcane Conduit, which is simply a permanently active version of Arcane Conduit. Certain magical items as well as some Lore attributes can increase your reserves and recharge rate as well.
Onto the Lores then.
- Lore of Fire: Fire, so much fire that it has the potential to make the Salamanders jealous and a Sister of Battle rethink her career choice. Provides a few handy buffs, and one of each type of offensive spells. The AOE spells have longer duration than other lores. The Lore attribute makes the enemy more vulnerable to Fire damage, which synergizes well with a variety of units and increases its own damage even further (Lores apply during the countdown to cast). The best Lore of Magic for dealing damage against foes that are unarmored, trees or mummies. Otherwise its offensive spells fall under the "master of none" category when compared to other lores. Archaon the Everchosen's preferred Lore, for some reason.
- Lore of Light: Provides some very good buffs, a mediocre but cheap projectile, and a fairly cost effective Vortex but the main reason to pick this is a Net spell that stops any poor suckers from moving so your missile and artillery units can shoot them. If you want your wizard to primarily buff up your units and stop enemies moving close to your unit, this is your Lore. Also one of the rarer lores, with only four factions (Empire, High Elves, Lizardmen and Tomb Kings having access to it.
-Banishment does not do more damage to undead, that's a myth based on how lore of light worked on the tabletop. In fact, because it does pure ap damage but low base damage it's actually worse than most vortexes on lightly armored units like most undead
- Lore of Death: Basically the opposite of the Lore of Light. Consists primarily of spells that debuff enemy units and some unmissable point-and-click spells. Lore attribute increases your power recharge rate which is never a bad thing. Important to note is that this Lore is the only Lore available to Greenskins other than the Waaagh! Lores. Azhag the Slaughterer uses this Lore (courtesy of his magic crown), as well as Arkhan the Black and that pompous fuck Mannfred von Carstein.
-A favorite lore in multiplayer for powerful direct damage spells you cant avoid, still good but not as effective in single player. purple sun is maybe the best of the armor piercing vortexes, its very large with good ap, some base damage, and disrupts enemy formations by throwing them around. With banishments similar cost (17 vs 18) purple sun is usually as good or better in every situation except it's duration.
- Lore of Heavens: A bit of an odd lore consisting of exactly one good buff for melee units and three potentially powerful but random damage spells and a very niche Lore Attribute that weakens flying units. Better than Fire if you expect to fight single or armored units.
- Lore of Beasts: A very diverse, jack-of-all-trades lore that abuses cheap spells, with the most significant spells being summoning a Feral Manticore (or a Great Eagle if you're playing High Elves or Wood Elves) and Flock of Doom which is weak normally but excels during sieges; Otherwise, it tends to be overshadowed by other Lores. If you have access to better Lores, you can skip it. The Lore attribute is interesting as it recharges your power reserve as well as increase your recharge rate for 29 seconds when you cast a spell, effectively giving you a good discount on your cheaper spells.
- Lore of Life: The ultimate defensive utility Lore. It has lots of spells that buff the survivability of your units and has two decent enough damage spells as well as being the only Lore that has multiple healing spells. The Fae Enchantress and Alarielle the Everqueen speciallizes in this Lore. The Lore attribute heals all friendly entities (not units, entities!) on the map for some HP which is convenient. However, be warned: healing cannot revive already dead entities in a unit! It is widely considered to be an extremely powerful Lore of Magic if used correctly. Especially if running Sigle entity doom stacks it cant be beaten, heal up to full after every fight. lore attribute works better on low health infantry but other 2 healing spells are much better on small units of monsters or single entities.
- Lore of Shadows: A hybrid Lore that is best suited for a more subtle approach. Most of the buffs and debuffs are good enough. Pit of Shades is one of te few stationary vortex spells but overcomes this by vacuuming up nearby units to deal consistent damage to them. What makes it stand out is the Lore attribute granting gives your units a whopping +24% speed boost, which is not to be underestimated.
- Very good lore for AP damage spells, all 3 are highly effective vs armor. plus a good single target debuff and a potent weapon strength buff. maybe the most versatile jack of all trades lore since its damage spells all work against armor. can damage all unit types very well except single entity and its buff and debuff can handle them indirectly. less effective than fire or celestial vs lightly armored chaff generally though miasma is very efficient vs high unit sizes.
- Lore of Metal: Certainly the rarest of the Lores (only the Empire's Balthasar Gelt, High Elves and Chaos' forces have access to it), it mainly focuses on debuffing and buffing armor and weapons. It can reduce enemy armor, can increase your own, and can debuff weapons. The take away spell is Final Transmutation, which is a massive AOE damage spell that gives EVERYTHING a middle finger (over a couple of seconds). Did we mention the passive that gives more AP to all your units? Balthasar's preferred Lore as the self-proclaimed (and frequenly proven) "Lord of Metal". Great for fighting factions that love to throw armor at you but only OK against everyone else.
- Often considered pretty weak, too much focus on buffing/debuffing armor makes it less useful late game in campaign, hounds is usually considered pretty bad, that alone means 3 of the spells are pretty situational or weak. still the other 3 spells are pretty good. best used on gelt who gets extremely cheap casting. Final transmutation is like an AOE spirit leach, only good on single entities and small units but still great.
- Lore of the Little Waaagh!: As befitting for da Gobbos, tons of stuff that give your hordes of Goblins a fighting chance against the enemy. Little in the way of direct damage, but useful nonetheless. Curse of the Bad Moon is one of the optic highlights of the game, and a great spell to boot. The Lore attribute reduces the enemies power recharge rate.
- Lore of the Big Waaagh!: As subtle as a truck racing down a highway with 250 mph ON FIRE. Perfectly suitable for da Orks t' get Krumpin'. Foot of Gork is a devastating spell that can potentially end a battle with a single cast. 'Ere we go! is one of the best offensive buffs in the game and, combined with the Waaagh mechanic, this is a seriously dangerous Lore for anyone facing against it. Wurrzag the Great Green Prophet specializes in this Lore. The Lore attribute increases your power recharge rate. Decent enough.
- Skaven Spells of Ruin: The first of the three Skaven Lores, and the most offensively minded. Warp Lightning may be the most cost effective damage spell in the game, the other spells are rather niche but nonetheless useful. Howling Warp Gale can help a lot with flying nuisances such as Dragons, leaving them vulnerable to your considerable arsenal of ranged weapons and artillery. Ikit Claw uses this Lore, Warlock Enginners and -Masters use it exclusively. The Lore attribute lowers enemy Leadership and Melee Attack, giving your front line a bit more room to breathe, which you can then fill with Warpfire and Warpstone Bullets. flensing ruin is underestimated, overcasted it preforms as well as final transmutation overcast in terms of damage done per winds spent.
- Skaven Spells of Plague: Occupying the gap between pure utility of the Skaven Spells of Stealth and the pure damage of the Spells of Ruin. Whats interesting about this Lore is that it has not one but two spells that summon units and its ultimate spell causes immense damage while simultaneously debuffing the enemy - did I mention that Grey Seers with this Lore can summon Stormvermin? One of the best Lores, even if the most shiny bits are difficult to access outside of Clan Pestilens, since it requires you to level up either a Plague Priest or a Grey Seer for a considerable time to make full use of it - but when you can make use it, the enemy-things will feel it, yes-yes. Lord Skrolk uses this Lore and is the best candidate for using it.
- Skaven Spells of Stealth: The only Lore in the game designed to be used with a spefific sub-faction and, frankly, it does show. It offers a lot of utility and a decent Vortex spell but gets overshadowed in almost every regard by the Lore of Plague and the Lore of Ruin - unless you take the Limitations of Sniktch's campaign into consideration. It's still rather niche and, if you're playing as the other Skaven factions, you're better off using either Ruin or Plague.
- Lore of Vampires: Brutal. Definitively the best Lore in the entire game. Wind of Death will wipe entire units off the floor, averaging hundreds of kills per cast. Some general utility is found in using Raise the Dead to summon units to flank, tank damage, or bodyblock for your more valuable units and its Lore attribute heals (and revives) your undead minions. Its starting ability is also the best healing spell in the game in the form of Invocation of Nehek: a cheap, effective spell that uses excess healing to revive dead entities. There is little that can beat this Lore, which makes it only fair that it is exclusive to the Vampire Counts and Vampire Coast. Count Noctilus can use this Lore as well as all Vampire Lords.
- Lore of High Magic: Another jack-of-all-trades lore that is exclusive to High Elves, Spellweavers and Slann. It can do a bit of everything. Healing, direct damage, buffs, debuffs, AOE explosions and a passive damage reduction. Has the main drawbacks that jack-of-all-trades do: they can do a bit of anything but don't excel at anything and, since High Elves have access to ALL the generic lores, it's often better to pick one that fits their specific needs on the battlefield. One of the more useful spells is Tempest, a vortex spell that damages and heavily slows flying units, locking them in place for your archers or fliers to attack. Eltharion is the only Legendary Lord who specializes in this. people only take it in multiplayer for tempest pretty much, crap in campaign. its not even the best jack of all trades lore.
- Lore of Dark Magic: The unique lore of those assholes in Naggaroth. Where as the Asur Lores do have a few spells that help out their troops, Dark Elves say "Fuck that, let's just use our magic to torture the other guys!". Home to a really good debuff that can help swing fights, and the stand out is Soul Stealer, an AOE damage spell that heals the caster. Unfortunately, aside from those two, the others are just subpar damage spells, a debuff to armor, and a magic recharge spell that hurts the caster. All in all, it has a few stand out options but not one you really want to go all out in. Malekith specializes in this lore.
- Underestimated especially in campaign, power of darkness is the most effective WOM generator skill in the game it gives 3 times as much winds reserves as arcane conduit (30 vs 10) and 4 times as much winds gain speed (plus 60% vs 15%). Chillwind does 24 pure ap damage, 2/3 as much ap as a pendulum spell does. While Chill wind wont kill models much it can deal lots of cheap ap damage to infantry and cavalry, while being fast, cheap, and easy to aim. Doombolt is pretty good for the large AP damage done with good tracking, basic version is as about as good versus armor as overcast amber spear but much better AOE range to hurt units as well. Finally blade wind is a decent, cheap vortex that does about as well vs armor as firestorm thanks to the lore attribute, good vs hordes. You can even just use a dark caster as a winds of magic battery for another caster. also the wood elf lore attribute gives a nice boost to missile damage with every spell cast mapwide. comparable to the other damage lore's like fire, celestial, and shadow. excels most vs single targets and armor usually. can do the most single entity damage out of those 4 lore's and can be comparable to death and metal at that role thanks to Soul Stealer, Doombolt, and Word of Pain.
- Lore of Nehekhara: If you couldn't guess by the name, it's the Lore of the boney bois. It is a buffing lore, through and through, which can give additional damage and anti large, protections, and missile power. Given the fact that your average Tomb King soldier is a literal pile of bones that barely knows which end of the sword to poke the bad guys with... yeah, this can help out a lot. Settra and Khatep use this lore a lot. Overall it's... ok? The damage spells are VERY subpar, and with access to the Lores of light and death, there's really no reason to pick it. The passive heal is nice but won't let you compete with Vampire healing.
- Lore of the Deep: A Lore made up by CA and designed specifically for the Vampire Coast. It has three specific purposes: 1: Damage and dishing out LOTS OF IT (Vangheist's Revenge is one of the coolest looking spells in the game and can seriously lay down the pain), 2: Buffs to missile troops, which helps any gunpowder faction and 3: Summons. You can summon zombies, zombies with guns, and giant crabs to really push the fight in your favor. Cylostra was given this lore by Stormfels, and Luthor Harkon gets it in campaign when you fix his fractured mind. Is it a fun lore? Absolutely! It's a blast! Are the other lores for the Vampire Coast more practical from a competitive standpoint? Sadly, also yes. You can just use the summons on a deep hero with a vampire general so that's something. Its summons are likely more cost effective then lore of vampires depending on what you need. best as a supplement to vampires, not competition.
- Lore of the Wilds: Beastmen got shafted in a lot of ways in their race pack. Their unique Lore of magic was NOT one of them. Wilds has some surprisingly good damage spells that can really help the goat men clear through crowds. Also, a passive that make restores vigor is never one you can complain about. Oh, did we mention they can summon a Cygor? As in literally have one crawl out of the ground and throw shit at the bad people? Yeah, people like to complain about the shit missing in the Beastmen DLC (with good reason, mind you) but, in terms of their unique magic, Beastmen actually got it pretty good. Obviously, it's Malagor's favored lore.
- Lore of Ice: One of the two Kislev exclusive lores of magic in Warhammer 3. Assuming nothing about the lore changes before game 3 comes out, this lore will primarily be providing both damage and slowing capabilities to the battle field. The main spell here is Heart of Winter which gives an increasing slow and AOE damage all in one. It also provides good defensive utility with the passive and a large Damage reduction ability. We won't know how good it is until game 3 is actually out, but it looks to be solid for controlling enemy mobility and bursting them down.
- Lore of Tempest: Placeholder for Warhammer 3. The other lore of magic exclusive to Kislev
- Lore of Tzeentch: Placeholder for Warhammer 3.
- Lore of Nurgle: Placeholder for Warhammer 3.
- Lore of Slaanesh: Placeholder for Warhammer 3.
- Lore of the Great Maw: Placeholder for Warhammer 3.
Spells themselves, just like in the tabletop game, come in six flavors: Buffs/Debuffs, Projectiles, Breaths/Winds, Vortexes, Bombardments, and Direct Damage.
- Buffs/Debuffs: Pretty self explanatory. You cast them on a unit or group of units, and it improves or weakens a unit's stats. Overcast buffs usually have an area of effect that affects multiple units; you can these spells cast either on one unit or just out in the wild. To be affected by any buff or debuff, a unit must have at least half its models within the area of effect.
- Projectiles: Similar to a ranged attack, it fires one or multiple projectiles in a straight arc at a target of your choosing. They tend to be cheap and very accurate, but need a line of fire to work. Best used by Casters who have access to a flying mount and to snipe monsters or single characters.
- Breaths/Winds: Basically a directional AoE attack. Winds hit the whole area their indicator... indicates, while Breath spells expand in a cone shape. The indicator can sometimes be deceiving; some Breath spells and all Wind spells have a much larger range than the indicator suggests (most notably overcast Wind of Death from the Lore of Vampies AKA the best spell in the game) and it comes down to experience how each spell works best but, fret not, there is not much to it. Like all AoE attacks, they can cause friendly fire. What the game doesn't tell you immediately is that you can change the direction of your Wind or Breath Spell by holding the left mouse button before casting. Also, the Wind spells can deviate from the straight line the indicator shows, which can be quite annoying, but they'll never go as off-course as Vortexes. If a Breath/Wind hits a wall it'll be reflected, potentially letting you hit units that aren't lined up.
- Vortexes: Big pie plates and usually the most potent damage spells in any given lore. Almost all move randomly over the map while they are active but all cause massive damage to units that have a lot of models in them. They never start moving where they can do the most damage so it's best to use them on an enemy unit surrounded by other enemy units. A few lores (shadows, plague, deep) have stationary vortexes, perfect for siege battles.
- Bombardments: Think of them like off-map artillery from other RTS games. You pick an area, and a certain amount of projectiles come down from the sky, inflicting damage. Use it for large units already fighting, otherwise they tend to see it ad get clear in time.
- Direct Damage: Direct Damage spells work differently from the other damage spells; they directly inflict magic damage to a units HP stat rather than its models, like a damage-over-time effect and don't inflict friendly fire. However, unlike the others, individual models can resist them. Usually your more reliable character sniping spells (with Spirit Leech from the Lore of Death being the most effective for its cost), although there are some that work better against whole regiments (Like Final Transmutation from the Lore of Metal or Flensing Ruin from the Skaven Spells of Ruin). Ethereal units really hate those.
You still want to know more? Well just head over to Total War: Warhammer/Tactics/Magic and you will find knowledge a plenty.
Not all battles are fought under the same conditions. While most battles will be pitched encounters where you and your opponent are literally starting on an even field, some encounters will reflect overworld conditions.
Plain vanilla, what you'll most likely be fighting in campaign and multiplayer. You and your opponent will start on opposite sides of the battlefield, with someone being "defender" and "attacker." While most of these maps are generally even, sometimes the defender will start out in a favourable, elevated position. Other times, the defender will literally be in the bottom of a steep cliff, with beastmen hordes crashing down on them. The battlefield nominally reflects the type of terrain/environment your army was on the map.
If another army is close enough in the overworld map, they will arrive as reinforcements; the direction they come into the battlefield from is affected by their position on the overworld map, so you can have reinforcements come in from the back of your opponent's deployment zone. One change brought by TWWH3 is that this will take time, generally around 1-2 minutes. While this can be affected by certain traits or ancillaries, the attacker can also initiate a "lightning strike," which will either add another minute or two to the timer, or lead to a blitzkrieg attack with no possibility of reinforcements. At the very least, lightning strike battles will leave the attacker WINDED or EXHAUSTED, which does even the battle in the defender's favor somewhat.
When first encountered, the defending army will be given an option to stand and fight, or retreat, an option you only get once. If you fight and lose, you can still have your army survive if you have units mostly intact. If they choose to retreat, they can still be attacked if the opposing army chooses to chase them; losing this battle will cause you to lose your army entirely.
A variation of the above, and pretty much everything is the same, except there is a natural chokepoint between the two armies. Chokepoint battles are initiated when the attacker needs to cross an overworld terrain feature like a bridge or river-crossing. Generally, the defender gets to deploy over a wider area on their half of the field while the attacker's forces have a more narrow deployment zone, but this depends on where the armies are in relation to the obstruction.
While "chokepoint" would make you think a single narrow mountain pass, most of the maps have 2 or more "chokes", so putting all your units to defend a single pass is an easy way to get yourself encircled.
All armies can take the AMBUSH stance, where they'll do their best to hide their forces and attack armies that cross their path. Ambush success rates can be influenced by a number of factors, including campaign skills, faction bonuses and even the area on the world map you're attempting to set an ambush up in. Some armies, like Skaven and Beastmen, have ambush as their default attack stance. When ambushing your opponent cannot benefit from reinforcements, but the ambushing army can. An army in Ambush stance can be detected either by independent heroes coming across them or if the defending army has a high enough ambush defense chance, in which case the battle will proceed as a normal engagement.
Ambushing armies can position themselves anywhere on the map, while the defending army marches from one end of the field to the next. Ambushing armies are HIDDEN until someone attacks, or they are spotted by the General.
Another addition in TWWH3 is an escape zone. Ambushed armies will attempt to flee the field, taking them out of play. If the Ambusher is victorious, the opposing army will be totally destroyed.
In the campaign modes of Total War: Warhammer, this is probably going to be the second most common type of battle your armies engage in. Whenever an army assaults a settlement, they will encircle and besiege it. From there, they have a number of options. Settlements without walls can immediately be engaged in battle. Cities with walls (mostly major/capital settlements) will have a few extra defenses in place that require potential preparation. If it's an army with no artillery, monsters or monstrous infantry with the Siege attacker perk, they will need to spend at least 1-3 turns constructing siege equipment in order to actually begin the assault. Armies that do have entities capable of breaking down the enemy gates can immediately assault walled settlements, though they may still elect to construct siege equipment if they so desire.
Battle can be avoided entirely if so desired; armies can simply starve an enemy city out by besieging a city until the city's Hold Out Timer runs out (usually 12 turns on average, plus or minus a few turns based on traits earned through skills or campaign performance) then claiming the city. Armies and Garrisons within the city start suffering attrition the longer such sieges last and all city construction/recruitment is put on hold for the duration of the siege.
Of course, it's not much of a war game if you don't commit to the battle proper. Against capital/walled cities, attackers are stationed outside the city walls (obviously), with any siege equipment they may have constructed. Most infantry can man such siege equipment in order to more efficiently breach the city, though if nothing else they can create ladders to scale walls and (eventually) beat their way through a gate. Doing so without siege equipment is dramatically more exhausting, however. Many artillery platforms can not only attack gates and towers, but they can also focus their firepower against the city walls themselves to full on crack open holes for your forces to enter through. Defenders can vanguard deploy some forces outside their walls if they so choose, but for the most part will be able to position their units on or behind their walls. A random note on walls: flying units are really effective at assaulting walls, any model that gets thrown off the wall instantly dies, and it's a lot harder to tarpit a dragon when it's clogging up the wall.
Defenders will typically enjoy the use of (debatably useful) towers to help whittle down the attackers while they approach the walls, though they will need to have at least one unit stationed behind a tower for it to remain active. Defending armies will always have a city garrison available to defend (the strength of which is dependent on the city's tier as well as any defensive buildings constructed within it) as well as any banner army currently stationed within the city.
The goal for the attackers is simple. Take the city. They can do this in one of two primary ways. The first, and most frequent way this occurs, is the elimination of the defending armies. The second way is the capture of the primary victory point within the city. By capturing and maintaining control of it for 200 seconds, the attacker can forcibly claim the city even if there are still defenders present. Conversely, the defender must prevent this from happening. Unfortunately for the defender, they either need to rout the attackers entirely or hold out for the entire hour of the battle while protecting the city's victory point.
Total War: Warhammer 3 introduced a rework of siege battles, both for minor and major settlements. In general, settlement battles are now larger in scale, with more of the actual city being involved in the actual battle. There are now a number of supply points spread throughout the city which provide the controller with a stream of...well, supplies. So long as defenders hold those locations, they will continue to receive resources of which they can construct additional defensive structures and towers throughout the city. Attackers can capture these points to cut off these supplies and destroy any fortifications constructed at that point.
Minor settlements are now properly represented as with their own, distinct maps. Unlike walled siege battles, minor settlements take up the entire center of the map. Aggressors have the entire perimeter of the settlement in which to deploy, granting them substantially more flexibility in picking their engagements. Defensive structures and towers are limited to those the defenders construct over the course of the battle.
Major settlements are larger and now in many cases have bridges, walkways and elevated platforms overlooking or undercutting sections of the city, allowing for more diverse engagements and routes throughout the city.
Various races (Skaven, Beastmen, Dwarfs and Wood Elves, for example) have alternate movement stances that allow them to ignore otherwise impassable terrain and slip past enemy armies that may be blocking your path forward. The Dwarves and Greenskins had the ability first, and they do it by traveling underground hence why even if Wood Elves don't dig, it's called 'subterranean'. However, enemy armies have a chance to intercept armies moving near/across them in that stance in a battle not terribly dissimilar from an Ambush battle. Like an Ambush battle, the tunneling army is at your mercy; they cannot retreat from an interception. Most tunneling armies will be totally wiped if they are intercepted and are defeated, but some, like the Beastmen and Wood Elves, can still regroup after being defeated. Unlike Ambush battles, armies will deploy normally and neither of them will have any notable tactical advantages in deployment options over the intercepted. You can decline an interception if it is your best interest (say, your army is too weakened to fight or you need to conserve your strength for a more opportune target... which is real unlikely all things considered) and allow them to go forth unmolested. But this section assumes you do the correct thing and intercept underway/worldroot traversing armies.
The battlefield itself is substantially more constrained over a regular field; a long narrow tunnel/hallway will typically make up the zone of combat, putting units that rely on maneuverability at a notable disadvantage over those that hold their ground. Gunlines and artillery tend to be quite powerful on these maps due to the (generally) limited cover and dramatically reduced space for armies to spread out. While some such tunnels have some elevation differences (such as beast paths/world roots, because they're not really "underground"), many of the underway maps also tend to be quite level, for better or worse.
Dynamic effects that can alter your unit's performance during the course of a battle, and things to keep in mind in general.
Fatigue and Vigour
As you may expect, running across massive battlefields, slogging through waist-high water, running up hills and shouldering through dense trees to then engage heavily armed (and armored) foes in a fight to the death can be a bit draining, be you man, elf, greenskin or even lizard. This will manifest in the form of gradually degrading combat performance as your units get worn down through the various stages of fatigue. Running and combat of any kind will start to drain vigour from a unit, while standing or walking slowly replenish it. Terrain does play a role in how quickly fatigue is lost (i.e., charging and fighting uphill is substantially more draining than charging or running downhill).
- Fresh: The initial vigour level for any army not caught in Force March at the beginning of any battle. Fresh to the field, no wear or tear and eager to spill blood on your command. There are no penalties at this stage (obviously).
- Active: Your troops have performed some minor skirmishing or ran a modest distance, so the pep to their step is gone. A 5% melee attack debuff slightly hampers their combat effectiveness.
- Winded: Your troops have engaged in combat and/or have spent a significant amount of time running. A 5% speed and melee attack debuff and a 10% melee damage and reload speed debuff kicks in.
- Tired: Your troops have engaged in extended combat or have run about the field extensively. The initial starting vigour for armies attacked while in a Forced March stance. Exhaustion starts to take it's toll; a 10% Speed, Melee Damage and Charge Bonus debuff accompany a 15% Melee Attack and Reload Speed debuff.
- Very Tired: Combat and maneuvering around the field have all but drained your soldiers. 10% debuffs to melee damage and armor, a 15% speed debuff and a 25% melee attack, charge bonus and reload speed debuff claims a heavy price from your soldiers.
- Exhausted: The final stage of fatigue. Intense, extended combat after extensive maneuvering with little to no respite has put your troops on their last legs. A 10% melee defense and damage debuff, a 15% speed debuff, a 25% armor debuff, a 30% melee attack and charge bonus debuff and a 35% reload speed debuff severely cripple your exhausted units, putting them at a severe disadvantage against any fresh troops they may have yet to face.
This is a universal mechanic that applies to all factions, including Undead ones (they just have different names for the various stages), so you'll always want to keep this in the back of your mind as battles tend to wage on. These penalties (or lack thereof) can make a significant difference in a unit's combat performance, especially if they're further buffed (or debuffed) by magic, abilities or items to give them an edge.
Similar to Exhaustion, Morale determines the willingness of your units to keep fighting. Morale is affected by different factors: such as by being flanked, the death of your Lord, or being hit by artillery/guns.
When a unit's leadership reaches a critical low, their banners will flash and the unit will begin to BREAK. Broken units will flee and attempt to disengage; their leadership will slowly rise so long as they're out of combat and the LORD is still on the battlefield. Since BROKEN units can still regroup and return to the battle, it's a good idea to chase them away with light cavalry to stop them from regrouping. Otherwise, should they continue to take more losses, the unit will SHATTER and will not regroup at all.
Effects and Attributes that affect morale:
- Encourage: This affects morale positively. Encouragement is a generic buff given by Heroes, Lords, and certain units (like Cathayan Airships, Longbeards). They raise Leadership and can even help BROKEN units rally quicker.
- Lord Dies/Lord Flees: On the other hand, when your Lord dies or flees, you army will take a permanent leadership debuff until the end of the battle. DISCIPLINED units will not need to worry, however. Great when you have an army of battle-hardened Dwarfs or Cathayans, absolutely fucked when they're Undead.
- Fear and Terror: Already mentioned above. Fear is constant, Terror is caused when charging. Causing Fear or Terror makes one immune to Fear/Terror.
- Unbreakable: As mentioned above, being UNBREAKABLE or IMMUNE TO PSYCHOLOGY makes you immune to psychological effects. Unbreakable units will also fight to the death, so long after the rest of your army has broken, they will continue to hold. Ungrim is notable for often being the last one standing (if he isn't focused down, that is)
- Flanks Secured/Flanks Exposed/Attacked in Flanks/Attacked in Rear: Positioning is important in TWWH, and unlike older TW games, there are no fancy formations that give you 360 coverage. When your unit's flanks are secured by another friendly unit, they gain a small bump in leadership. When a unit is attacked from their sides, or worse, in the rear, their leadership will drop and they will be more likely to break and disengage.
- Charging/Being Charged: Unbraced units will take a Leadership hit when they see a unit of raptor-mounted raptors or chaos-tainted horsemen rushing at them. Having Charge Defense mitigates this.
- Being tired
No battle is ever truly fought on an even playing field (in this particular case, we're focusing on the the literal sense). From small hills to towering settlement walls, units may find themselves looking down upon the hapless masses desperately crawling their way up the slopes or they might desperately find themselves shielding themselves from a hail of arrows from on high.
Elevation can play a significant role over the course of a battle. Units traveling up hills not only move more slowly (thus reducing charge bonuses), but suffer increased fatigue gains (up to 150%) and deal less damage to enemies fighting above them (up to 30% less). Conversely, enemies charging down hill lose less fatigue, do so more quickly (increasing charge bonuses) and deal up to 30% more damage against foes below them. The benefits/consequences aren't just limited to melee infantry however. To no-one's surprise, firing at enemies beneath your position confers a substantial advantage; not only does this allow your archers/gunners to shoot over potential obstacles, but it also gives them up to a 30% damage buff against their targets as well. Should your archers or gunners find themselves at the base of a hill or wall, not only do they suffer up to a 30% damage reduction, but their shots are far more likely to be blocked by battlements or terrain, wasting precious ammunition. These percentages are calculated entity to entity and based on the relative slope/height difference between the two (depending on the terrain, two different entities in the same unit might deal more or less damage than each other based on how they're engaging the enemy).
A collection of tutorial images and infographs made by various anons on /v/ and /twg/. Some are more coherent than others
Some factions like Skaven or Cathay have ranged units that are too slow for regular chevrons, but deploying your troops behind the front lines and then baiting the enemy in with artillery works almost as well. In this specific example, R is Ratling Guns, J is Jezzails, and G is Globe Mortars while the lightning bolts are Warp Lightning Canons and the star is your lord
Tericio tactics are a more in depth tactic with more moving parts which is marginally better than chevrons but a lot more fun. It is only effective on factions like Empire or Kislev whose ranged troops have decent speed, do not try this with Dwarfs. Consider replacing common artillery pieces like cannons with artillery units capable of some self defense, such as Little Grom. Doing so gives your backline melee infantry more flexibility as it does not need to stay quite so defensive
For defensive ranged races with slow units and a strong frontline like Dwarfs or Cathay, putting a box of units around your ranged units can make you very hard to break. Corner camping is considered one of the cheesiest and most overpowered tactics in the game for a very good reason, it will win you battles that you should not have won
A blob army doesn't have to be defensive, factions such as Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings, Greenskins during WAAAGH! and Skaven are quite adept at simply swarming the field with giant blobs of units. This is best done when you handily outnumber the enemy, usually with either multiple armies present for the battle or with lots of summoning
By end game, most factions will have a doomstack army that they want to build, which features the most powerful units in that faction's roster buffed to the gills and then spammed. In this example, a Tomb Kings player might use a doomstack of Warsphinxes and Greatbow Ushabtis to simply rush the enemy and destroy them with very little tactics necessary
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