Total War Warhammer/Tactics/Kislev

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This is the general tactics page on how to play Kislev in Total War: WARHAMMER.

Why Play Kislev[edit]

  • Kislev.
  • Because you like Humans, but don't want to debase yourself by playing as one of the feeble westerners (or southerners in this case)
  • You think that premodern Eastern Europe is underused as an inspiration for fantasy stuff.
  • You will likely be playing a more generalist playstyle that leans more into mobile skirmishing and Cavalry.
  • You want an excuse to blast Sabaton while playing in fantasy.
  • FUCKING BEARS!!!!! *BLAM* In the name of Tzarina Katarin Bokha, this man has been been sentenced to death for degeneracy, move along citizen.


  • Cavalry: Kislev has always leaned more towards the cavalry side, so expect that to be the case in the game. With Winged Hussars, Bear Riders and presumably good skirmisher cav you should have a very wide selection of horsemen to choose from, without the same crippling infantry Bretonnia has
  • Flexible Infantry: Many of your ranged units, such as the Ice Guard, will have weapons that will allow them to fight in melee, similar to Shades and Lothern Sea Guard. This means them getting stuck in melee won't be too much of an issue as they can actually defend themselves.
  • High Leadership: I guess when Chaos is squatting on your front door nothing really scares you anymore. With high natural leadership and a passive that gives you more when you're at half health it'll take a lot to get you to run.
  • Range: You have plenty of skirmish units that also function decently well in melee. Virtually all of your infantry can shoot and you have a lot of mobile ranged options on top of that.
  • Built for Total War: While they have more of a pedigree then Cathy does as far as canon goes, they have mostly been ignored in the table top game, which means CA has broad latitude in making units for there army in a way other factions didn't not. See Bretonnia's limited unit roster for example. As such they have potential to be more balanced then the other factions with no glaring unit type holes.


  • Lack of Heavy Infantry: You will likely be lighter in the infantry department, as is generally the trend with human factions. Tsar Guard seem to be on the level of Norscan Champions and Tomb Guard. Your ranged and cavalry will have to do most of the work in the battle.
  • Minimal Monstrous Units: Yes, your lords and some of your cavalry ride bears, and you can summon one very large elemental one. But you're rather light on the larger bruisers that are rather abundant in other armies.
    • Minimal Mounts: You'd better like horses or bears, because that's all anyone gets to saddle up on. Unfortunately, unless added in at a later patch or popular demand, even Katarin is restricted to either a horse or a bear to ride into battle rather than a war sled (aside her ice-gliding technique).
  • Absent Artillery: Though you do have the Little Grom, which is more than some factions have, you have no other dedicated artillery units. Your rather robust cavalry and missile infantry can compensate somewhat, but long range shootouts can and will turn against you if you can't close the distance.
  • Middling Armor: Well, ok you aren't Wood Elf bad but there is a noticeable dip in armor compared to a lot of other factions. Missiles and low AP units might hurt a bit.
  • No Air Units: This is not going to be a flying faction in any way. You have more than enough missiles to deal with enemy fliers but having to concede the sky means that your opponent has an easier time dictating the fight and choosing their targets compared to you.
  • DLC: Yeah, this will be safe to assume. The Kislev starting roster is rather light compared to some of the other factions from prior entries (partly because the other TW:W titles only had four starting factions as opposed to TW:W III's six, and all the unit variants actually serve their own purpose instead of just "oh, here's the exact same unit but with shields" which caused bloat and partly because Kislev has a lot of units doing two roles at once so no need for a spear AND an archer unit when Kossars do both), so it's safe to say CA/GW kept some of the list in the back pocket for a cash grab. Get ready to join the very large "We need to fork over extra dough to be relevant in multiplayer" club.

Faction traits[edit]

  • By Our Blood: A trait all Kislev units have, when their health drops bellow 50% health they get a 16 leaderships for 35 seconds, meaning they can better hold out when they take a lot of damage all at once. Probably is a more of a two edged sword, since as mentioned before, you are not all that good at soaking up damage and can lead to problems down the road, since one unit fleeing can easier cause your whole frontline to collapse once the buff runs out - it will just take a bit longer.


Legendary Lords[edit]

  • Tzarina Katarin: The new Tzarina after daddy went MIA fighting Chaos. She's a mage lord character with access to the Lore of Ice and at least 1 bound spell. She is faster than other infantry lords thanks to her ability to ice-surf over the map. She has surprisingly good combat stats for a mage, though her lack of armor and AP means you shouldn't throw her against dedicated combat characters. In lore, she had a horse and sled mount, but in game the sled mount was replaced with a bear because apparently GW hates fun and variety when it comes to mounts.
  • Kostaltyn, Supreme Patriarch of The Great Orthodoxy: This greased up Rasputin looking mother fucker is a new character likely created by CA and GW in order to help flush out Kislev's roster. Supreme Patriarch of the Cult of Ursun and leader of the great Orthodoxy thing, basically Kislev's Volkmar, so safe to expect a lot of buffing and support abilities as opposed to him being strictly a combat lord. His lore stats that he is VERY hard to kill, being stabbed twice but kept on fighting, implying he is also going to be very tanky. He, along with the Patriarch, also have 4 buffing abilities, though we only know about Ursun's Roar giving charge and leadership and Salyak's Lullaby giving healing. It is currently unknown if he's going to be the lover of the Kislev queen. It has been confirmed that they do NOT like each other.


  • Boyar: You pure melee lord with a horse and bear mount. Since you don't have a pure melee Legendary Lord this guy will actually be pretty valuable as he will be your only lord option for fisticuffs with enemy units in melee. Just like normal generic melee lords, will probably be less versatile than legendary lord options.
  • Ice Witch: Magic Lord for Kislev, with lore of Ice and Tempest confirmed. They are confirmed to have a bear mount, which will help them out a lot in melee. More to be revealed later


  • Patriarch: Kislevite warrior priest of Dazh Ursun. This chad rides a bear and can cast at four miracles, two of them buffing charge bonus and leadership or healing units around him. While his mount means he's likely to be at least decent in melee, like his Empire counterpart he's primarily a support character and will probably lose to dedicated duelists.
  • Frost Maiden : Hero version of the Ice Witch. has the same magic and same mounts at a cheaper cost, so she will be surprisingly decent in melee for a mage character but nothing spectacular.



  • Armoured Kossars: An armored infantry choice featuring variants with an axe and shield and a mace-like great weapon. They trade out the bow with a pistol that allows them to fire off a shot before combat is joined, which can help them weaken an enemy before the main engagement begins.
  • Tzar Guard: The elite infantry line for Kislev wearing thick snazzy fur cloaks, and likely their strongest (scratch that, only) pure melee infantry since they appear to be the bodyguards of the Tzar. Have a sword and board and greatsword variant.

Hybrid missile units[edit]

  • Kossars: Bow and axe troops, early game troops which with their decent melee stats can fend for it self in melee to some degree unlike most other archers. Running light cavalry into these guys may cost you some more horsemen than you may have initially bargained for, especially if they're the Kossar with Spears variant which actively have anti-large. They are also your cheapest infantry unit meaning in the early game and probably multiplayer they will fill the role as your front line.
  • Streltsi: Their weapon is a gun that is also an axe. A mid tier missile unit with armor piercing in melee and at range. Again, like a handgunner that can fend for it self a bit in melee. these guys are going to be most useful against heavily armoured factions (Dwarfs, Khorne, Warriors of Chaos) but against more lightly armored factions there really is no point (Skaven, Wood Elves, Beastmen.)
  • Ice Guard: These ladies are what happens when a Sister of Avelorn and a Lothern Sea Guard have a baby, only it came out human somehow. With a magical bow with frostbite, a dual sword variant for fighting infantry and a glaive for cavalry and monsters they will be pretty hard to crack, though they will likely be super expensive to make up for it. Unknown right now what capacity these ladies will be most useful in, but they will likely make up a fairly elite fighting unit that can also double as a ranged piece..


  • Horse archers: Fast skirmishing Cavalry, though fragile they have decent melee offense so as long as you don't get hit they can charge on occasion.
  • Kossovite Dervishes: Your quintessential light cavalry unit with high speed and Vanguard Deployment. Given what we've seen from Winged Lancer, they will likely have very high charge and speed compared to most light cav but they will likely be squishy even by light cav standards. Don't ask me why they're called Dervishes when this is a Eastern European themed faction not an Islamic one (also noteworthy is that at least in some maps Araby have a region called "The Land of Dervishes"), true Russia proper does go that far South but not Kislev.
  • Winged Lancers: The Winged Hussars have arrived and they are a mid tier cavalry unit. With anti large and a big charge bonus they are typical cycle charges. Charge in, get back repeated. There big difference is that they are very fast and that they DO have fear representing how they caused a panic check on the table top during a flank charge.
  • Gryphon Legion: An elite group of Winged Lancers who act mostly as mercenaries but are sworn to show up when the Tzar/ina calls for there aid. They're not an ROR are but are instead a ""The same unit but better" in the same vein as Reiksguard are to Empire Knights. With fear and high speed they threat to be dangerous units
  • War Bear Riders: with a less cool than expected name, the war bear riders are still here to kick and then eat some ass. good stats, good armor, anti large, and armor piercing they are anti-large cavalry experts.


  • Kislev War Sled: Similar to the War Wagons from the Empire, only this time pulled by bears. Described by their unit spot light as having light (presumably more ranged focused) and heavy (presumably more melee oriented) variants. One of these has "wings" like their heavy cavalry.


  • Elemental Bear: A massive, unbreakable bear made of ice, stone and the will of Kislev’s people. It is more is capable of throwing hands (paws?) with any greater demon. Rivalling the Dread Saurian in size, it has a breath attack to accent it's melee power.
  • Snow Leopard: Showed up in the trailer, so presumably a powerful war beast for Kislev. Judging by the cat like physic it will be faster but frailer than most standard monsters. Expect a lot of AP to give it more of an assassin playstyle.


  • Little Grom: No, they didn't kidnap Grom and put him on a diet. It's a giant ass ice mortar pulled by polar bears. Does it get any more Russian than that? Since it's a single model artillery piece it will likely do heavy damage, though it will likely sacrifice the pure damage of other huge artillery like Queen Bess and The Hellcannon in exchange for mobility and maybe better melee stats. I mean it's pulled by polar bears, it should be able to defend itself. Appears to be channeling Grom's spirit however, as it has 'collision attacks' dealing additional attacks when colliding with enemies. Better get out of the way of the bear train coming for your ass

Multiplayer Strategies[edit]

You have two big themes in your roster, aggressive cav and hybrid infantry. Compared to Empire Cav Winged Lancers and Gryphon Legion are faster, harder on the charge, but less durable, meaning they are focused way more on hit and run and not as good in grind fights. Combine that with the fact that most of your infantry double as melee and ranged troops, and you are basically a far more aggressive Empire. However, it requires a lot of finesse to pull off, as you troops, while brave, are hardly durable and will fall apart fast. You can use Little Grom to play defense, but generally you seem to be better on the attack. Once the game comes out and we have multiplayer experience we will let you know how to gain victory for the Motherland!

  • Beastmen: You'll probably do okay against these guys. You won't outrange them by much but you have a lot of ways to slow them down and they have low armor, so your archers should turn them into pincushions. Your fast shock cav will be able to match their speedier units while your bears and monsters will provide punch where needed. Beastmen rely a lot on swarming you with speedy flankers to shut down your ranged units but your hybrid infantry will be able to hold out against these threats until you can rescue them.
  • Kislev:
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