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Thread: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

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    Default Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    This guide includes a wealth of advanced insider knowledge and tactical insight to give you a valuable edge with which to carve out a path to dominance in the Old World. However, one adage that is true for both veterans and first-time Total Warriors is this: walk before you run!


    The following rules have been tried and tested time and time again. Stick by them and you'll have your opponents' armies bending the knee in no time.


    • An army marches on it's masters coffers! The larger your armies become, the bigger a drain they'll become on your economy. War is expensive.
    • Maintaining Public Order is critical. Neglect your people at your own peril, as rising rebellions can seriously upset your campaign.
    • If you garrison an army in a settlement, the military presence will help bolster Public Order.
    • Keep your borders safe. Keep armies on the frontiers of your territory to dissuade would-be attackers.
    • As you expand, keep buildings that are related to supporting your infrastructure towards the centre of your territory. Gear settlements on the borders towards improving and recruiting your armies.
    • Don't be afraid to use money to buy peace if neccessary.
    • Disband units that you don't need any more, their upkeep cost may be better spent elsewhere.


    • In Total War: WARHAMMER, Lords and Heroes are much more powerful than generals in past Total War games and can easily hold their own. Make sure to put this to good use, but don't let them get incapacitated; your army's Leadership will suffer greatly.
    • Aim to keep unit Leadership as high as possible. If it drops too low, your units will attempt to flee the battlefield.
    • Don't be afraid to use cheap troops to pin down enemies and attract ranged attacks. In the world of Total War: WARHAMMER, expendable units are a feature, not a burden.
    • Magic at your disposal is limited by the Winds of Magic. When these cease to blow, your magic pool will no longer regenerate.
    • Prolonged exertion will cause your units to become fatigued, decreasing their attack and defence in battle.
    • Keep your soldiers together! Units with protected flanks enjoy a Leadership bonus.
    • Generally, ranged units are vulnerable to mounted units and cavalry. Cavalry are vulnerable to long melee weapons such as spears. Spear-carrying units are vulnerable to infantry with standard melee weapons such as swords.
    • Line of sight matters; if your troops can't see the enemy, you can't see them either. Conversely, keeping your hidden, in woodlands for example, will allow you to set up deadly ambushes.
    • Holding the high ground in combat will always give you an advantage, especially when charging downhill.


    Use these top tips, to make strides in your Campaign.

    1. Use multiple armies and March stance to conquer territory more quickly. Marching armies cannot attack or recruit but they can still participate in battle as reinforcements. When you capture a settlement with multiple armies, put one into March stance and send it off to your next target city. On the next turn, take this army out of March and put the remaining armies into March. Now you will have one army close enough to attack and the remaining armies marching close behind to reinforce.

    2. When playing a single player Grand Campaign, it's likely all opposing clans, tribes, Elector Counts and so on that survive long enough, will eventually confederate with the strongest of their Race (Empire, Greenskins, Dwarfs, Vampire Counts), thus becoming a large, powerful force to be reckoned with. It won't be easy, but taking out the strongest potential threats early in the game can save you a lot of trouble in the long run, as the rest of their Race are more likely to remain divided.

    3. Trade income increases as you build trust with factions you trade with. The longer a trade agreement is active, the more money you'll generate from it.

    4. Certain settlements have resource deposits nearby. These settlements allow you to construct special buildings that enable you to exploit these resources to increase either your economic or military power. Each race relies on specific resources to maximise their military might. By recruiting units from settlements that have certain buildings, or a surplus of relevant resources, you'll be able to recruit much stronger units from the get-go. Certain resources are useful to all Races, such as Iron, although this resource will benefit the various Races in different ways. Some resources, however, are specifically useful to individual Races.

    • EMPIRE: Pastures, Iron and Wood.
    • DWARFS: Iron and Salt.
    • GREENSKINS: Iron and Timer. Pastures or Fur-producing lands enable them to find wild animals in order to improve units such as Boar Riders.
    • VAMPIRE COUNTS: Iron for outfitting their Grave Guard and Black Knights and Timber or Fur-producing lands for bolstering their beastly units.


    Karl Franz, Prince of Altdorf, Elector Count of Reikland and newly-appointed Emperor. He is a proud warrior and a gifted statesman but remains untested in his new role, and many of the fractious Elector Counts remain distrustful of their new Emperor. Yet there must be accord in the lands of men, for the forces of darkness are gathering...

    The Empire maintains a well-disciplined military supported by powerful wizards, zealous heroes, varied artillery, excellent cavalry and fearsome war machines. In many ways, they offer the most balanced play-style of any Race: Jack-of-all-trades, and master of some.

    Empire Key Mechanic: Confederation

    One of your main campaign objectives with the Empire is confederation. In diplomacy, if your relations with another human faction are excellent and your strength rank is impressive enough, you'll be able to form a confederation. Their faction will merge with yours in every way; their settlements and armies coming under your control completely.

    Some Elector Counts are predisposed against your Empire however. Whether you choose to pursue a diplomatic solution or take their lands by force is a choice you must face. Be mindful of the diplomatic consequences of the latter approach... it's wise to win the support of a faction's friends before initiating hostilities with them, or you may make more enemies than you bargained for.

    Top Tip: Lavishing gold on the Elector Counts isn't the only route to strong relations; having a common enemy actively improves your diplomatic standing with an ally. When a Greenskin tribe strikes into your territory, call upon your friends for help! Those that join you will like you more over time.


    Legendary Lords

    Karl Franz and Balthasar Gelt are the Legendary Lords of the Empire. Karl Franz is a powerful warrior, and his Emperor trait raises the Leadership of the army under his control. As he embarks on quest chains, you'll begin to unlock his symbols of office, which bring tremendous bonuses. Equipping the Reikland Runefang or Ghal Maraz vastly improves both his combat abilities and Public Order right across the Empire. He also has a number of mounts to unlock including Deathclaw, mightiest of the Imperial Griffins.

    As Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, Balthasar Gelt brings a reduction in Wizard recruitment building costs and Wizard Hero upkeep costs. His Transmuter trait improves the experience level of newly recruited Wizards in his province, and in battle, he is a powerful Wizard in his own right, wielding the armour-busting Lore of Metal.


    With the relevant buildings constructed, Empire players can recruit six unique heroes: Empire Captain, the Warrior Priest and the Witch Hunter, plus the Light Wizard, Bright Wizard and Celestial Wizard. Like all Heroes, they may be attached to armies in battle. They can also execute a wide array of actions on the campaign map, which is a more effective way of leveling up these characters.

    Imperial Wizards: Battlefield spellcasters wielding the Lore of Fire, the Lore of Heavens or the Lore of Light. Increases chance of random magic item drops, reduces friendly construction costs, assaults armies on campaign map to heavily damage a single unit, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, drains enemy Winds of Magic, damages settlement buildings, reduces Corruption.

    Warrior Priest: Increases unit replenishment in parent army, increases friendly provincial growth, demoralises enemy armies, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, reduces enemy provincial growth, damages buildings in enemy settlements, and reduces Corruption.

    Witch Hunter: Reduces Corruption, damages city walls, can block army movement, reduces chance of successful enemy Hero actions against armies and settlements, assassinates enemy Lords and Heroes, and reduces enemy provincial income.

    Empire Captain: Powerful melee hero. Reduces corruption, trains units, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, improves friendly public order and reduces enemy public order, assaults garrisons, can assault enemy military units on the campaign map.


    The Empire has a good mix of all unit types except monsters (the only real monster you'll see is Deathclaw, Karl Franz's epic mount). Otherwise, they offer a very balanced playstyle, with a variety of artillery types, becoming available as you develop your settlements, and some of the best elite cavalry in the game.

    This means that in many ways they are the Race that are closest to traditional real-world military forces. A solid core of disciplined offensive and defensive infantry is supported by crossbows, rifles and pistols. Artillery can do a lot of softening-up before you engage in earnest, and is very useful in siege scenarios for destroying defenses or pummeling the troops behind the walls. An excellent mix of ranged and melee cavalry makes for versatile flanking forces which can whittle from a distance or hammer into the enemy lines. And with multiple schools of magic at their disposal, there's a spell for every situation.

    Key Units: Low-Tier

    Build solid infantry lines: swordsmen for attack, spearmen for defense. Halberdiers are a handy unlock as they have the Anti-Large trait - excellent for felling Trolls, Giants and the like. Mounted Pistoliers can be a real thorn in your enemy's side and are great for charging down routers.

    Key Units: Mid Tier

    Armour-piercing Greatswords and Halberdiers really improve the punch of your infantry line, and the heavily armored Reiksguard shock cavalry offer a mobile hammer-blow. Replace your Pistoliers with grenade-chucking Outriders for heavier mobile ranged damage.

    Key Units: Top Tier

    Demigryph Knights are among the best elite cavalry in the game. With lances and shields they're excellent anti-infantry units; with Halberds, they are expert monster-hunters. The Luminark of Hysh can cause tremendous damage at range, but requires guarding. The terror-inducing Steam Tank is powerful at all ranges, and has tremendous armor plating, making it an excellent centerpiece for your main infantry line.

    Top Tip: With their mounted gunpowder units, Empire armies are great at disrupting enemy forces as they approach. Outriders are experts at this, with their Vanguard Deployment trait. Hide them in treelines before battle commences, and you can begin to clip your enemy's wings before he knows what's what.



    The Empire relies on infrastructure buildings for its core income, many of which can be built in provinces which bear specific resources (if clay is present in a province for example you can build a Clay Pit and upgrade it to become more profitable). All income provided by buildings is then multiplied by the Province Capital building, with the multiplier rising as you upgrade it. Owned resources also contribute to trade income.


    The Empire tech tree works quite differently to those of other races as you'll need certain buildings in place as prerequisites before you can begin research. There are ten different categories of technology, each bearing three techs; so for example you'll need to build an Armoury before you can research Improved Heavy Weapons, Full Platemail Forging and Vehicle Armour Plating.

    Diplomacy and Expansion

    Unless you want to go gung-ho and smash all of the Elector Counts into submission (good luck with that!) it's wise to make some firm allies through Diplomacy from the get-go. This raises your chances of confederating with them, creates friendly buffer-states, increases trade income and brings you a step closer to your goal of uniting the Empire.

    The Empire can expand in pretty much any direction. To the west through the Grey Mountains lies Bretonnia. To the east, Sylvania and the Vampire threat, and to the northeast, Kislev. Whichever way you go, keep your campaign objectives in mind as they'll require you to occupy key provinces, by hook or by crook.

    Top Tip: Using the Offices panel (the icon can be found at the bottom-right of the campaign screen), Lords can be assigned key roles in your Empire. These Offices provide your Lords with significant buffs and benefits. Only Karl Franz may be Emperor however, and only Balthasar Gelt may be Supreme Patriarch.


    The long history of the Dwarfs is riven with conflict - their once-vast empire is a shadow of its former self, the clans scattered wide across the Old World. But even at the seeming wane of their power, a light remains.

    Thorgrim Grudgebearer, High King of the Dwarfs, has sworn an oath which has enkindled hope in his proud people. He will lead them to glory, and clear the Dammaz Kron - the Great Book of Grudges. There will be a mighty reckoning with the cursed Greenskin, as the Dwarfs drive them into submission and reclaim the fallen Dwarf Strongholds. The Dwarfs will reign as they once did!

    Dwarfs Key Mechanic: Grudges!

    As a Dwarf player, two of your key objectives are to recapture the fallen Dwarf Strongholds scattered throughout the Badlands, and to clear the Great Book of Grudges (you can view the Great Book by clicking the icon in the lower-right of the campaign screen). The campaign begins with a specific Grudge to set right. But be warned, the Dwarfs are proud, and easy to insult! As your campaign progresses, certain slights against you will generate new Grudges. Clear them opportunistically, but keep a regular eye on them. Leave too many Grudges unresolved, and there will be negative effects. Each you strike from the Dammaz Kron will bring you one step closer to re-forging the Dwarfen Empire!

    Top Tip: When one of your armies is blocked by a geographic obstacle such as an enemy settlement or a mountain, tunnel beneath it by setting your army stance to Enter Underway. You can only do this before the army has moved, but it means you can travel directly beneath anything blocking your way.


    Legendary Lords

    Thorgrim Grudgebearer and Ungrim Ironfist are the Dwarf Legendary Lords. With the High King trait, Thorgrim has an improved Leadership aura in battle. Armed with a great weapon and mounted on the Throne of Power, he is also a heavily-armored damage-dealer and thus well suited to an inspirational front-line role. Thorgrim's combat prowess can be further improved with legendary gear via the quest chains on his skills panel.

    Ungrim is the Slayer King. As such, he gets major cost-reductions for Slayer recruitment and upkeep, and confers a melee attack bonus on any Slayer units in is army. This bonus can be further improved with his unique Slayer King skill. In fact, he has a number of unique skills which give him major melee bonuses against large, daemonic and dragon foes. If you're looking for a monster killer, Ungrim is your Dwarf!


    With the relevant buildings constructed, Dwarf players can recruit three unique Heroes: the Master Engineer, the Runesmith and the Thane. Like all Heroes, they may be attached to armies in battle, and can execute a wide array of actions on the campaign map.

    Master Engineer: Can be equipped through skill upgrades with increasingly powerful artillery pieces, and improve his abilities and those around him with other skills. Increases campaign movement of parent army, reduces construction costs in local province, reduces movement range of enemy armies; assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords; reduces enemy artillery ammo amount in local province; damages enemy settlement walls; reduces corruption.

    Runesmith: Runesmiths employ a variety of runes in battle to augment their abilities and those around them. They can also reduce the chance of successful enemy hero actions against friendly armies and settlements, reduce Winds of Magic recharge rate for enemy armies, reduce Corruption in their province, assassinate enemy Heroes and Lords and damage enemy settlements.

    Thane: Powerful melee Hero. Reduces Corruption, trains units, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, improves friendly and reduces enemy public order, assaults garrisons.

    Top Tip: Examine the skill trees of the Dwarf heroes closely as many skills directly benefit the army they're embedded in, for example, the Master Engineer can train in Triangulation, and improve the damage output of all siege units in his army by up to 15%.


    Dwarfs are master craftsmen, armorers and weaponsmiths. From the humble mining pick to the devastating Flame Cannon, they pour centuries of knowledge and craft into every tool build.

    Dwarf armies feature no cavalry, and with a couple of notable exceptions, they're generally heavily armored. Combined with their smaller stature, this makes them slower on foot than other Races. But with so many expert ranged units and war machines at their disposal, this makes them the masters of positional defense.

    A typical Dwarf army works defensively - even in offence. A stout line of Dwarf Warriors in front, protecting Quarreller crossbowmen and Thunderer riflemen, is a formidable nut to crack. Add specialised and devastating artillery and expert melee infantry armed with Great Weapons, combined with the Dwarf's legendary Leadership,and you've a very tough fight on your hands.

    Key Units: Low-Tier

    Dwarf Warriors make a stout army backbone and Miners are siege specialists, as they make light work of gates. Supported with Quarreller crossbowmen and Grudge Thrower catapults,they make a doughty and effective fighting force.

    Key Units: Mid-Tier

    The heavily armoured Longbeards make a great replacement for basic Dwarf Warriors, and get extra defences against charges from large enemies. When the charge is complete, counter-charge with Slayers who, while lightly armoured, carve through large targets with ease! Rifle-bearing Thunderers add long-range armour-piercing damage to your repertoire.

    Key Units: High-Tier

    Very heavily armored Irondrakes can be equipped with either devastating flamethrowers, or armor-piercing Trollhammer Torpedoes. Gryocopters and Gyrobombers transform your attack capabilities, giving you the tools to strike hard and fast across the battlefield, bombing your foes into submission.

    Top Tip: Hold the line! Capitalise on your defensive prowess by deploying uphill of your enemy, and let them struggle against your weight of fire. In situations where you must advance, keep formation: solid defenders and ranged infantry up front, artillery behind them, and watch for flanking cavalry units.



    Dwarfs are very good at generating income in their settlements. Province capitals not only apply multipliers to income generated by individual buildings, they also provide multipliers from income generated by adjacent provinces under your control! The Throne Hall of The High King, a tier-5 infrastructure building, also increases your tax rate across all your provinces. Dwarfs also generate income from trade agreements and by exploiting natural resources.


    The Dwarf tech tree is perhaps the most detailed of any Race. It's divided into two main branches - civic and military - and brings bonuses to just about every area of your campaign.

    Diplomacy and Expansion

    Dwarfs are most likely to form alliances and trade agreements with other Dwarfs and human factions. Such ventures will help strengthen relations for the inevitable rise of chaos, and if peace can be secured with Estalia, Tile and the Border Princes, then your campaign against the hated Greenskins will potentially be much smoother.

    After clearing any early-game local Greenskin threats, expansion for the Dwarfs means defeating them and reoccupying the fallen Dwarf strongholds, detailed in your Objectives panel. Whether this means pushing west initially and securing the holds bordering human territory, or driving south towards the southern World's Edge Mountains is up to you - both are valid approaches. But, initially at least, try not to engage a war on too many fronts!


    From the desolation of the Badlands come the Orcs and the Goblins, collectively known as the Greenskins. None match them for raw brutality, and in the case of the Goblins, sheer mischievous spite. For thousands of years the Greenskins have encroached upon Dwarf and Human territory. Their holdings reach as far north as the domain of the Border Princes, and butt up against the World's Edge Mountains to the east.

    A Greenskin army is a terrifying sight. Orcs, Goblins, bellowing giants and a menagerie of barely-tamed beasts and monsters lurch and roar their way towards their enemies. To do battle with such a host is to meet pure, animal aggression face-on.

    Greenskins Key Mechanic: Fightiness!

    The aggression-state of a Greenskin army is represented by its Fightiness rating , the vertical meter to the right of the Lord's portrait. Inactivity and military defeats will cause it to fall. Left unchecked, this decline can lead to animosity, causing units to fight amongst and damage themselves, and ultimately rebelling against you altogether. To improve Fightiness, the army must win battles or initiate a WAAAGH! which summons a second, AI-controlled army to support it on the map, hugely improving its military might as long as the parent army maintains its WAAAGH! state.

    Top Tip: When your Greenskin armies are in enemy territory but not fighting, put them in the Raidin' Camp stance. Alongside a rise in Fightiness, they also gain numerous combat benefits from raiding and it's a chief source of income for the Race.


    Legendary Lords

    Grimgor Ironhide and Azhag the Slaughterer are the Greenskin Legendary Lords. Grimgor is the mightiest and fightiest of the already fearsome Black Orcs and is accompanied into battle by his own Black Orc bodyguard known as Da Immortulz. His unique Warlord trait confers a Leadership bonus for any Black Orc units in his army.

    While Azhag is Grimgor's equal in his warrior prowess, he can become a more versatile battlefield presence over time. One of Azhag's quest chains rewards him with The Crown of Sorcery, an arcane headpiece that gives him access to the Lore of Death Magic. At level 25, he can also be mounted atop Skullmuncha, his mighty Wyvern, transforming the way you use him in battle. Azhag also has the Slaughterer trait, improving his Leadership aura.


    With the relevant buildings, Greenskins can recruit three different agents: the Goblin Big Boss, and the Night Goblin Shaman and the Orc Shaman. Like all Heroes, they may be attached to armies in battle, and can execute a wide array of actions on the campaign map.

    Goblin Big Boss: Powerful melee warrior upgradeable with mounts, reduces enemy agent action chances when embedded in an army, inhibits enemy army movement, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, reduces income in enemy regions, destroys gates in enemy settlements in preparation for siege.

    Night Goblin Shaman: Battlefield spellcaster (uses the Lore of Da Little WAAAGH!), increases chance of random magic item drops, reduces friendly construction costs, assaults armies on campaign map to heavily damage a single unit,assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, drains enemy Winds of Magic, damages settlement buildings.

    Orc Shaman: Battlefield spellcaster (uses the Lore of Da Big WAAAGH!), increases chance of random magic item drops, reduces friendly construction costs, assaults armies on campaign map to heavily damage a single unit, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, drains enemy Winds of Magic, damages settlement buildings, can be upgraded to ride a Warboar.

    Top Tip: Like all Heroes, the Goblin Big Boss broadcasts a Leadership-buffing aura in battle. Beef him up with magic items and mount him on a Giant Spider, and you have an expert cavalry commander to lead your wolf and spider riders into the fray!


    The Greenskins have a broad roster featuring cavalry, infantry, monstrous units and artillery. It's also a very quick and maneuverable force, featuring melee and ranged cavalry of various types.

    One thing you'll notice early on is how quickly basic units such as Goblins and Orc Boyz will turn tail. Low tier means low Leadership when it comes to the Greenskins, and many of your early battles will involve a rout-and-reform cycle. They may run, but they'll generally get their nerve back, so be ready to nudge returning units back into the fray. Get your Lords upgraded with mounts as soon as you can so they can relocate to trouble spots and inspire stragglers.

    You'll do a lot less of this with your mid-tier armies as higher-Leadership units such as Black Orcs come into play, and your Lords and Technologies start really leveling up to provide big Leadership bonuses to the army.

    Key Units: Low-Tier

    Multiple inexpensive units dominate your armies early on. Field a good mix of ranged and melee infantry (Orc Boyz, Goblin Spearmen) and ranged and melee cavalry (Goblin Wolf Riders/Forest Goblin Spider Riders). Use your cavalry to veer close and prompt a disruptive response from the enemy before fully engaging your melee troops.

    Key Units: Mid-Tier

    Once you have Trolls and Big 'Uns you're getting some real punch in play. Keep their leadership up with Lords and Heroes and they'll stay firm while your Rock Lobbers soften up enemies on the advance. They can take a pounding, giving your Spider Riders time to sneak round and deliver shocking flank attacks.

    Key Units: Top-Tier

    Expensive but excellent, Black Orcs should form the backbone of your army, with cavalry support courtesy of Boar Boy Big 'Uns. Field Arachnaroks to inspire terror and deal huge damage, and multiple Doom Divers can put paid to infantry blocks from the word go. Doom Divers can also be controlled in first person, allowing for some impressive, if tricky, long-range sniping.

    Top Tip: Getting your Warbosses mounted on Wyverns transforms them and the way your army works. They're great for delivering coup-de-grace terror strikes on already weakened units, or if you're feeling gutsy, diving into the heart of a clash to create an inspirational focus for the troops!



    Unlike other Races, Greenskins don't make a great deal of money in their settlements. They don't exploit natural resources for trade and profit - indeed they don't trade at all!

    To get the money flowing, start by building a Pile o' Shiny Stuff in each province. This gives you a base income to maintain your armies and develop your settlements. Beyond this, your major income is attained by winning battles, sacking or looting settlements, and the Raidin' Camp stance. Each of these activities can yield more income as you upgrade key skills in your Lords' campaign skill trees. In short, Greenskins make most of their money through aggressive actions.


    Greenskin technology is all about improving the combat capabilities of their armies. The Goblin Workshop is a single branching tree offering multiple unit improvements. Combined with your Lords' battle skill trees, Leadership-improvement techs can make an enormous difference to the staying power of Greenskin units, reducing the rout-and-return cycle so you can focus more effectively on unit maneuvers and keeping your linse and detachments intact.

    Diplomacy and Expansion

    To begin with you'll be surrounded by fractious Greenskin tribes and the odd roving Savage Orc warband, so things can be pretty unstable. You'll want to secure some alliances with other tribes early on before truly establishing your dominance, giving you time to form a solid buffer against the Dwarf Clans. Don't anger the Dwarfs too early,or you may find artillery-heavy incursions sweeping towards you and halting your expansion!

    Top Tip: In those turns where you're not fighting and advancing, you may well run into cash flow problems. To combat this, specialise one or two of your lords to become cash-cows using their campaign skill trees. Popping them into enemy territory when times are hard, get them raiding, and reap the rewards.


    All tremble before the unliving aristocracy of Sylvania! Masters of Death Magic and Necromancy, they are powerful battle-mages, capable of raising the dead and commanding legions of zombies, skeletons, misshapen horrors, ethereal wraiths and bat-winged monstrosities. As their holdings expand they leave their unholy mark on the land, causing the light to dim, the mists to rise, and trees to twist and wither.

    Playing as the Vampire Counts is a unique challenge. You'll need to get to grips with their Corruption mechanics for starters. While they field no ranged units in battle, they more than make up for it with a thrilling variety of creatures, including some of the best flying units in the game. Some of their warriors are ethereal, capable of striking down the most heavily-armored foes, and are incredibly hard to hit without some form of magical attack.

    Vampire Counts Key Mechanic: Vampiric Corruption

    Certain Vampire Counts heroes and buildings generate Vampiric Corruption within campaign map provinces, and this is the key to how the Race works. Vampire Lords travelling through uncorrupted terrain will suffer attrition as the untainted land beneath their feet damages them and every unit in their army. For this reason, it's wise to send Vampire Count Heroes ahead of your hordes to spread corruption. Certain buildings can also generate corruption in adjacent regions too, destabilising nearby regions and preparing them for your military expansion.

    Corruption also has the bonus effect of reducing public order in non-Vampire Counts territory. If the controlling faction leaves Vampiric Corruption unchecked, it can ultimately lead to Vampiric rebellions, which are very handy for you!

    Top Tip: Vampire armies can activate the Channeling army stance. This slows the army's movement but if battle is joined, any casters in the army will enjoy a large buff to their Winds of Magic starting amount and recharge rate!


    Legendary Lords

    Mannfred Von Carstein and Heinrich Kemmler are your choices of Legendary Lord. Mannfred is a potent magician with access to both the Lore of Death and the Lore of Vampires. His unique traits give him the ability to heal friendly undead units, grant melee buffs to Fell Bats and Dire Wolves, and access more Winds of Magic than standard casters.

    Heinrich is a Master Necromancer. He pays considerably less to raise units from the dead, with major reductions in upkeep costs for undead units. He also grants an instant experience buff to Necromancer Heroes recruited within his province.


    With the relevant building constructed, Vampire Counts can recruit different Hero types. All are powerful in battle to a greater or lesser degree, and they can be further improved with Magic Items. Their core functions are as follows:

    Wight King: Powerful melee warrior, spreads Vampiric Corruption, trains units, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, improves friendly and reduces enemy public order, assaults garrisons.

    Necromancer: Assaults enemy armies on the campaign map, spell caster (Lore of Vampires), damages enemy settlements on the campaign map, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords, reduces construction costs.

    Banshee: Spreads Vampiric Corruption, damages city walls, can block army movement, reduces chance of successful enemy Hero actions, assassinates enemy Lords and Heroes.

    Vampire: Spreads Vampiric Corruption, damages enemy buildings in Campaign, inhibits enemy/boosts friendly population growth, demoralises enemy armies, assassinates enemy Heroes and Lords.

    Top Tip: Wile all Vampire Counts Heroes can assassinate other Lords and Heroes, Banshees are far and away the best at it, as they can improve their chance of successful slaying by up to 15% in their skills tree.


    Vampire Counts field no ranged weapons of any kind. But with their unique combination of solid infantry, fast-flanking cavalry, excellent flyers, terror-causing units, powerful magic and immunity to panic, they're a force to be reckoned with.

    One of the Vampire Count's greatest military strengths is their ability to raise the dead. This is useful in battle as your Necromancers can bring extra units of zombies and skeletons into play, but it's also a way to instantly recruit full units into your army on the campaign map wherever you are in the world.

    Undead units are unbreakable and will never rout. They will, however, crumble. When an undead unit's Leadership drops too low, it will begin to fall apart.

    Key Units: Low-Tier

    Dire Wolves provide excellent fast-moving cavalry punch, great for flanking and rear attacks. Fell Bats are fast and maneuverable but very weak - save them for hunting artillery, and avoid flying them over archers, Pistoliers and riflemen. Unlock Crypt Horrors as soon as possible - they're excellent at killing core infantry in melee.

    Key Units: Mid-Tier

    Vargheists are monstrous flyers and good all-round damage dealers, making them excellent rapid-response artillery hunters and infantry-mashers. Grave Guard (armored melee infantry) and Black Knights (armored heavy cavalry) are your go-to army staples.

    Key Units: Top-Tier

    Cairn Wraiths and their mounted cousins the Hex Wraiths are Ethereal units, which means non-magical attacks do little damage against them and their attacks make a mockery of physical armor. The Terrorgheist is your ace card, soaring down on rancid leathery wings to case terror and dole out tons of heavy AOE damage.

    Top Tip: Fear and terror are your allies! Units such as the Varghulf and Terrorgheist are best used against enemies you've already pinned and flanked, which will start to lower their Leadership. Send one of these terror-inducing fiends into their rear and you'll put the foe to flight in no time!



    Vampire Counts income comes largely from four sources: province capitals, victory in battle, trade and the exploitation of campaign-map resources such as gold, clay and so forth. Use the overview map to spot which provinces produce which resources, and balance your choice of territorial expansion between military/strategic importance and profitability. Vampire settlements in resource-producing regions will offer building options to generate income based on these resources, and you'll make more from any trade agreements you have.


    The Vampire Counts tech tree consists of four ancient grimoires, three of which provide improvements to different classes of undead unit. The fourth - the Lahmina Book of Blood - is more campaign-focused, bringing improvements to growth, income, corruption and diplomacy.

    Diplomacy and Expansion

    Early on, you'll receive missions to conquer Sylvania, returning it to your control. Theses are well worth doing, not only for the valuable mission rewards, but they're easier to gain than other territories due to the heavy levels of Vampiric Corruption already present in the Sylvanian provinces.

    Once you have your first two provinces and get them developed to exploit the natural resources there, you'll be in a reasonably strong financial position, and can focus on military recruitment and support buildings. These heartlands can sustain you for a good period of time before you need to expand, and it's well worth getting some trade agreements with human and Dwarf factions in place if you can, to further strengthen your economy.

    Top Tip: If you can, keep a slush-fund of a couple thousand Dark Magic in the bank for emergencies. When an enemy army makes a beeline towards one of your unprotected settlements, you can hire a new lord and, via the Raise Dead recruitment menu, give him an instant army - all in a single turn.


    For the very first time in a Total War game, players can rally powerful wizards and nefarious necromancers to smite enemies with magical storms, melt their armour and reverse death itself with devastating spells that split the sky and consume the battlefield. These hints and tips will help you to make the most of this new arsenal and truly master the Winds of Magic.

    Pick Your Battles

    Th potency of the Winds of Magic varies across the campaign map and fluctuates over time. Look for the swirling effect indicating that the Winds are strong in a province. If magic users and items are a key component of your army, this gives you access to additional magical power in any battle that takes place there.

    See Into the Future

    Look out for the casting symbol during the wind-up phase of spellcasting. This will give you a valuable insight into what's heading your way and what your opponent is targeting with their spell. You then have two options; try to evade the spell or attack the caster. A spellcaster who is attacked during this wind-up phase cannot complete it.

    Careful Spending

    At the start of each battle, you and your opponent will each have access to a limited amount of magic, depending on the composition of each army. Spend this resource wisely. To inform your strategy, study your opponent's magical attributes and magic levels before deployment. If your army contains a spellcaster who can restore your magic more rapidly, be sure to leave enough in the pot for them to do so.

    Resist the Irresistible

    When casting a spell, you may have the option of using Irresistible Force, which will upgrade it for a more powerful effect. Such spells can b devastating but with a significant risk of quite literally backfiring. However, the use of Irresistible Force can be really effective under the right tactical conditions. In certain contexts, it may even be worth sacrificing the spellcaster to turn the tide of battle.

    Know Your Enemy, Know Yourself

    Before going into battle make sure you are familiar with any restrictions your spells have. In turn, knowing the restrictions of your opponents' spells may help you spot a weakness you can use to your advantage; to review the mechanics and appearance through handy videos, right-click on a spell icon at any time.

    All spells in Total War: WARHAMMER fall into the following classifications:


    What is it - The spellcaster targets an area, creating a persistent supernatural vortex that moves through the environment causing a variety of different damage types. This can also take the form of a fast, direct wind or a static explosion.
    How to use it - Cast this on defending enemies to break their defence. By anticipating your enemy's movements and casting upon the ground, Vortex spells can be used to effectively halt enemy charges. When deployed correctly, Vortexes can turn a choke point into a death trap for your enemies.


    What is it - From an unseen source, the spellcaster calls done one or a series of deadly projectiles to rain death upon the enemy.
    How to use it - Bombardment spells can be devastating when used effectively. They are one of the most effective ways of eradicating bothersome flying units and groups of enemies.


    What is it - The spellcaster summons forth magical projectiles and launches them at the target.
    How to use it - Spellcasters armed with a magic missile become, in effect, mobile artillery. Imagine turning the tide of battle with a magical cannon mounted on a winged creature!


    What is it - The spellcaster utters a dreadful curse, negatively affecting the foe's targets stats or damaging them directly.
    How to use it - Hexes are best used during an engagement to turn the tide of a close skirmish. They are also effective when used on charging enemies.


    What is it - The spellcaster harnesses the winds of magic for restorative purposes, either buffing the friendly target's stats or healing them outright. Augments can also provide positive bonuses that manifest in far more sinister ways...
    How to use it - As in the case of Hexes, Augments are best used to turn the tide of close engagements as well as to bolster your defence preceding an enemy charge.

    What is it - A Ward Save is a powerful magical barrier that can allow the caster to resist certain types of damage or even negate them entirely.
    How to use it - Study your opponent's spells and attacks and counter their casts and charges with different Ward Saves. Types of Ward Saves include: Fire, Physical, Magic, Missile and All!


    What is it - Breath spells emanate from the spellcaster in a tear-shaped wave, bursting through enemy lines, expanding as it goes.
    How to use it - Use Breath spells to make a hole in enemy battle lines, then flood the gap with your own troops for a double-whammy of damage and Leadership penalties.


    My five favourite spells from Total War: WARHAMMER.


    A long channel of deathly wind will travel the length of the enemy army. Although the damage caused to each individual unit is not great, used at the right time and place (essentially when there are large numbers of enemy units in a column or on the march), the overall effect of this spell can be devastating. Type: Breath/Wind ; Level: Gold ; Wind up time: Long ; Power Cost: 15/High ; Accessible to: Vampire Counts.


    This towering cyclone of fire can be used to deal significant damage to both ground and airborne units. Type: Vortex ; Level: Gold ; Wind up time: Long ; Power Cost: 13/High ; Accessible to: Lore of Fire users.


    This spell can be used to temporarily freeze any enemy unit. It's the perfect way to buy some time and deal some damage to a big monster heading your way intent on destruction. Type: Hex ; Level: Silver ; Wind up time: Long ; Power Cost: 10/Medium ; Accessible to: Lore of Light users.


    The true potential of some spells is only unlocked when combined with smart tactical maneuvers. The Brain Bursta, for instance, causes minor damage but knocks the entire target unit to the floor, making it far easier to cripple morale or break their line. Type: Vortex/Explosion ; Level: Bronze ; Wind up time: Medium ; Power Cost: 6/Low ; Accessible to: Greenskins.


    For the first time in Total War you can generate and deploy new units whilst already engaged in battle. With this terrifying spell, you can launch a surprise ambush from behind or quickly raise a skeletal shield to block an attack to your flanks. The spell is disabled if you have a full 20 stack army. Once a unit dies or withdraws you'll be able to use the spell again. Units raised in battle are lost at the end of that battle. Type: Augment ; Level: Silver ; Wind up time: Medium ; Power Cost: 9/Medium ; Accessible to: Vampire Counts.

    Members thankful for this post (4):

  2. #2
    These titles are too shor Member TonkaToys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Hitchin, UK

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    Thanks Frazzle; I look forward to following your advice.

    My first Greenskin campaign isn't doing so well, largely because I took umbrage at some dwarves passing through my lands and so started a war with them before I was really capable of beating them, which is exactly what you say to avoid.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    Haha well that's why I wrote this guide, to help you poor fellas out. Though you should have known better than to have sided with the gobbos haha.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    It's different to Rome in that there's no 'imperium' limit to how many armies you can recruit, but... one thing that caught me out is every army increases the support cost of all your armies. So if you've got two huge expensive stacks, recruiting two more lords, even if you don't recruit any units with them, increases the costs of the two big stacks as well. Quite a lot...

    Also, confederating can drop your income drastically if your new confederates have a lot of armies.

  5. #5
    Member Member Oleander Ardens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Thumbs up Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    Amazing Guide, thanks a lot! Some personal remarks, I played the Empire and the Dwarfs into the late game on hard. Some observations:

    1. I love the game, a great new way to have Total War. Somehow it is a strange enjoyable mix between Total War, Heroes of Might and Magic in the for me new Warhammer World.

    2. The roleplay element is big and powerful mages, runesmiths and other heroes have a might impact on the campaign and the battle map.

    3. In later battles you will be very buzy with all those strange units, spells and abilities so I advise even experienced players to try out slow motion and use the tactical overiew tab from time to time in the big battles.

    4. Expanding across the map will earn you a diplomatic penalty as in previous games but so far the impact on your tax income seems to be considerably less harmful. Gold seems to flow out in rivers of gold from my Dwarven Karaks while the Empire cities still create mounts of silver. As Dwarf with three full low-level stacks, 18 settlements and trade I'm have still a surplus of 13000 gold per turn.


    5. Armored&Shielded Dwarfen warriors combined with the crossbow Quarrelers are a stunningly effective combinations, more so if you research those early tech upgrades and upgrade your specific Lord's skills. Miners are prominent early garrison troups and profit pretty much the same upgrades as the Warriors. IIRC their base values for attack and defence get more then doubled!

    Orcs and Undead waves just break like against solid rock. Doubly so when your Lord casts "Stand your ground" and the Runesmith runes up your lines.
    Last edited by Oleander Ardens; 05-30-2016 at 18:40.
    "Silent enim leges inter arma - For among arms, the laws fall mute"
    Cicero, Pro Milone

  6. #6
    Travelling Knight Content Manager Nigel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Twynham Castle

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    Quote Originally Posted by Oleander Ardens View Post
    ... Somehow it is a strange enjoyable mix between Total War, Heroes of Might and Magic in the for me new Warhammer World.
    This is my feeling exactly

  7. #7

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    No problem bro!

  8. #8
    Member Member Oleander Ardens's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Default Re: Total War: WARHAMMER: Insider Guide

    Two DLCs have now added legendary among other elements "Regiments of Renown" for Men, Dwarfes, Undead and Greenskins. They are basically unlockable elite mercenaries limited to one unit per faction. and thus an interesting new strategic ressource which can be used in various way.

    i) More effective and overall arguably more efficient then their standard counterparts they bolster any stack

    ii) They often enable access to unit types like horse skrimishers or artillery which is not yet available or easily recruitable.

    iii) Part of them may constitute a strategic reserve to enable a rapid concentration of force against new threats or tough targets.


    P.S: Overall I'm still very happy with my many milita stacks lead by capable generals. An nod to the Oda way. Of course later Chaos demands two or more elite ones, especially if raiding and razing.
    Last edited by Oleander Ardens; 10-31-2016 at 19:33.
    "Silent enim leges inter arma - For among arms, the laws fall mute"
    Cicero, Pro Milone


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