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Battle: Basic Tactics

This video will give you a feel for some of the basic tactics you can use on the battlefield in Total War: WARHAMMER II. 

This video will give you a feel for some of the basic tactics you can use on the battlefield in Total War: WARHAMMER II.

To move a unit in battle, left-click to select it, before right-clicking the location where you wish them to move to. In Total War: WARHAMMER 2, units in battle will charge towards a target by default. For more information, check out our battle keyboard and mouse controls video.

Missile units will fire-at-will automatically, meaning they fire at enemies in range as they see fit. However, constantly reloading and firing will both tire your troops and use up their ammunition quickly, but not necessarily wisely. You can leave this button enabled most of the time, unless you wish to specifically target a certain enemy unit. They will also have Skirmish Mode enabled, this means they will keep themselves at a safe distance from the enemy and not engage in melee. This is especially effective for missile cavalry, as their fast pace allows them to shoot the enemy and skirmish away before they can take any melee damage, and then fire another round.

Most units can hide in forests, meaning they can launch a surprise attack without the enemy knowing of their location. Hills and other terrain features that block the enemy’s line-of-sight can also be used to conceal units – an army, including your own, must have line-of-sight to an enemy in order for it to be visible. The best practice is to control high-ground to give you an overview of the battlefield.

Units fight most effectively against an enemy that is directly in front of them; troops will take more casualties and their leadership level will suffer when attacked in the flank or rear. To avoid being flanked, be sure to line up your infantry units in a strong line formation with their sides touching for protection and so that the enemy is unable to reach around behind.

Mounted troops such as cavalry are good for flanking due to their speed: charging them into the flank of an enemy will impart a big leadership shock, whereupon they can retreat and charge again.  However, mounted troops are vulnerable against spear weapons, so try to use them against massed infantry such as swordsmen or unprotected artillery.

If you have a strong infantry frontline, you can use this to contain the enemy as they attack you, keeping them in position with their backs open and vulnerable. Then, charge your mounted units into their rear, causing great casualty and lowering their leadership significantly. This is known as the “Hammer and Anvil” technique, where your infantry is the anvil and the cavalry the hammer.

Additional armies drawn into battle on the campaign map appear as reinforcements, and will emerge at the edge of the battlefield during the fighting. They take time to appear, so the army being reinforced is vulnerable for a short time until they join their ranks, so plan your fight accordingly!

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Battle: Keyboard and Mouse Controls

This video will teach you how to control the camera and give your units orders on the battle map.

This video will teach you how to control the camera and give your units orders on the battle map.

In battle you can select a single unit by left-clicking on it, or select multiple units by left-clicking and dragging a box around them. You can also hold down Ctrl when left-clicking to select multiple units individually. Units may also be selected by left-clicking their unit cards, seen on the bottom of the screen here.

To move the camera around the battle, use the WASD keys; you can hold down shift to move around a little faster. Use the Q and E keys to rotate and scroll the mousewheel to move up and down. Lastly, hold down the mousewheel and move the mouse to rotate the camera in any desired direction.

You can press ESC at any time to open the menu, which allows you to change the options or even concede the battle.

To order units into position, simply right-click where you want them to go. If you right-click and drag on the terrain, you can order selected units into more precise positions. Hold down spacebar when in battle to see unit destinations when they are moving.

Press Ctrl + A to select your entire army at once, and left-click away from your army to deselect any selected units. With multiple units selected, hold down both ALT and drag your cursor to order them to move together, whilst keeping their formation. You can press BACKSPACE to halt selected units at any time.

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Campaign: Keyboard and Mouse Controls

This video will help you maneuver around the campaign map effectively.

This video will help you maneuver around the campaign map effectively.

To move the camera about the campaign map, use the WASD keys or hold the middle mouse button and drag. You can select armies and settlements by left clicking and order selected armies to move or attack by right-clicking the destination or target.

To zoom in or out, scroll the mousewheel up and down, or by using the Z and X keys. If you scroll out far enough the strategic map will be displayed, showing the areas you have discovered. You can also rotate the camera with the Q and E keys.

When in the army or province overview panels, you can also click on the army or settlement to move your camera over to their location.

Lastly, press escape to access the game options, where you are able to save and load games, as well as access the options.

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Campaign: What the UI Is and Does

This video will show you how to use the user interface on the campaign map.

This video will show you how to use the user interface on the campaign map.

When you first enter the Eye of the Vortex campaign, you’ll be faced with the campaign map. On the very top at the left are some buttons, the leftmost being the game menu. Here, we can save, load, or open the game options. The Advisor will appear from time to time to offer assistance to the player.

Next up are the help pages, if you find yourself stuck at any point, simply open them up and browse through the available topics. Any orange text you see in any of the panels or advisor text can be clicked to link to their respective help pages. We also have the spell browser which allows you to look through the various spells available in the game as well as the camera settings.

Moving to the right, on the central bar we have the treasury: this is the amount of funds available to your faction. To the right of that is your predicted income next turn, try to keep this in the green or you won’t be able to fund your armies!

Next to that we have each faction’s ritual currency indicator and ritual bar: ritual currency contains the knowledge and power required to conduct rituals. The races fighting for control of the Great Vortex each collect different types of ritual currency; the Skaven for example collect Warpstone. For more information on rituals check out our Eye of the Vortex campaign videos.

On the right here we have another small panel, press this plus button to open a minimap: you can click anywhere in here and your camera will pan over to that location.

Above that you will find drop-down lists of information relevant to your faction: your current missions and quests, important events, a list of your lords and heroes, a summary of provinces owned and discovered, and finally a list of other known factions. Click the next button to view the Faction Summary screen, which shows some information about the history and overall state of your faction On the bottom right here we have the end turn button, clicking this will end your current turn and progress the game. Be sure to attend to any notifications here before you can end your turn. You can see your current turn number just below.

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Battle: What the UI is and Does

In this video we'll explain how to use the user interface on the battle map.

In this video we’ll explain how to use the user interface on the battle map.

When you enter a battle, this is the screen you will see. On the top left you have access to options, the help pages and the spell browser, much the same as the campaign UI. To access the game menu quickly, simply press ESC.

In the middle is your faction’s icon, the battle timer displaying how much time is left of the battle and the balance of power indicator, which shows the current relative strengths of allied and enemy forces.

To the right we have the radar map. This shows the position of allied and enemy units at a glance, while the tactical map shows a more in-depth overview of the battlefield. To access the tactical map, press tab and your camera will zoom out to give you a bird’s-eye view.

Above the radar map are the time controls, here you can speed up, pause or slow down time. You can also pause the battle by pressing P.

To the bottom left is a portrait of the unit you currently have selected. When a Lord or character with abilities is selected, they will appear on this panel.

Each unit in your army is represented on the battle interface by a Unit Card. These are shown on the bottom of the screen. The number of soldiers remaining in a unit are represented by their green bars, their level of experience by the number of chevrons and their remaining ammunition, if they fire any, by the brown bar just below the health. A Unit Card will flash red when it comes under attack and turn grey when that unit is routing. Other information indicated on a Unit Card includes whether the subject unit is moving, firing missile weapons or being fired upon.

Press I to toggle the unit details panel to see more detail about a selected unit.

The spells available to a wizard are shown on the Winds of Magic panel on the bottom right when the wizard is selected. The reserve of magic is represented by the blue bar to the right, and the current available power is represented by the large number in the porthole.

Armies may occasionally enter battle with army-wide abilities that are not tied to a Lord or an individual unit. You can browse and activate these from the Army Ability panel.

Hold down the spacebar to see a whole host of information. You can check any of these boxes on the right here to toggle various differences. When you have ordered a unit to move, you can see their target destination and the path they are taking when space is held.

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Battle: Unit Cards, Stats and Abilities

In this video we'll learn how to read unit cards, stats and abilities when reading into what your units are capable of.

In this video we’ll learn how to read unit cards, stats and abilities when reading into what your units are capable of. The stat sheet of your units will give you a good idea of their strengths and weaknesses in combat:

The melee attack determines the chance of a successful hit upon the enemy when engaged – this skill can be improved by battle-hardened troops gaining experience through melee fighting. Similar to melee attack, the melee defence determines the chance of a unit being successfully hit by the enemy in melee. However, this only applies to melee and provides no protection from missiles!

Another important aspect of a unit’s stat sheet is whether or not it has armour-piercing damage, which mostly ignores any armour the target may have. Armoured units can block damage from any source apart from armour piercing, so it’s best to send your armour-piercing troops against heavily-armoured enemies. However, armour-piercing units are generally heavier and attack at a slower rate, making them less efficient against poorly-armoured units.

Some of the more elite units can cause fear or terror in the enemy: fear will frighten all enemy units, reducing their leadership when nearby. These units are also immune to fear themselves.

Terror can cause a melee target to rout for a short period of time, and units that cause it are immune to both fear and terror.

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Battle: Unit Types, Strengths and Weaknesses

In this video we'll learn about the strengths and weaknesses of some of your units and how those can be applied against the enemy.

In this video we’ll learn about the strengths and weaknesses of some of your units and how those can be applied against the enemy.

A unit’s strengths, weaknesses and capabilities depend on its type; each faction has a sizeable set of units to choose from. Units can be divided into seven approximate categories: infantry, mounted units, missile units, monsters and giants, flying units, wizards and artillery.

Many of the golden rules of ancient warfare apply: cavalry are thwarted by spear-wielding infantry, spear-wielding infantry suffer against swordsmen, swordsmen are vulnerable to archers, and archers are in trouble against cavalry. If you ever get stuck, try referring to this time-worn wisdom.

When building an army, aim to balance your elite high-tier units with enough protection from lower-tier, especially when playing as the Skaven, for example. The Skaven roster contains many elite, hard-hitting units which are slow and not very well armoured, so will need units of infantry to keep the enemy at bay.

Generally speaking, an army should have a frontline composed of infantry such as swordsmen or spearmen, with a few cavalry units to the sides to protect them from flanked attacks.

Behind the frontline, try placing some missile units such as archers, so that they may open fire upon the enemy but are not left vulnerable and exposed. Missile units are generally less armoured than infantry, so will need some protection.

Behind that, if you have any, place some artillery such as catapults or canons at the very back of your formation. Artillery units are extremely slow and cannot run, so are vulnerable to being wiped out by the enemy as they struggle to rout. However, they do have a very long range, so don’t need to be as near to the enemy as missile units. Keep in mind that the further the enemy is from them, the lower their accuracy!

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Battle: Siege Battles

In this video we will learn how to attack and defend settlements on the campaign map and how to enact those siege battles on the battle map.

In this video we will learn how to attack and defend settlements on the campaign map and how to enact those siege battles on the battle map.

An army may lay siege to an enemy settlement over many turns, surrounding it in attempt to starve out the besieged defenders. Those inside must either sally forth, or seek outside help to avoid starvation or defeat.

To lay siege a settlement, simply attack with a selected army by right-clicking on it: this will bring up the Siege panel. The skull and cross bones emblem will show you how many turns until the settlement’s garrison’s supplies run out and they start to starve, and the hourglass icon shows how many turns remain until they surrender. Press the crossed swords button at the bottom to surround the settlement and begin the siege.

Some settlements are fortified, such as province capitals, and siege weapons are usually needed by the attacker to reduce any fortifications. These can be constructed on the siege panel, and are represented by the two building icons under ‘available siege equipment’.

There’s the battering ram, used for breaking down gates, and the siege tower which will protect any units attempting to climb an enemy wall. A siege equipment’s cost is displayed underneath, and costs labour force to build. Some pieces of equipment will take multiple turns to build due to the amount of labour force you can exert each turn. The total amount of labour force is governed by the size of your army. Click on a siege equipment icon to add it to the construction queue: this will show you how many turns remain until each piece is built. When you are happy with your construction queue, click the Continue Siege button on the bottom to return to the campaign map. Artillery and monsters can also be used to attack fortifications, such as the stegadon, which has the Siege Attacker ability shown on their unit info panel.

During battle, the defender may station units on the walls to defend them, and direct the fire of their wall towers against the enemy. To fire a controlled tower, left-click on the icon above the tower, and right-click on the desired enemy target. To climb the walls and face the enemy as the attacker, selected infantry can be instructed to scale the fortifications either unprotected and much slower with ladders, or with a siege tower defending them from attack if you have constructed any.

Siege weapons are manned by infantry or missile units, who are then able to push them towards the enemy walls; instruct them to attack a section of fortification by right-clicking. A selected infantry or missile unit can be ordered to pick up siege equipment by right-clicking on it, or drop it by clicking on the Drop Siege Equipment button at the bottom of the UI.

Watch out, defenders may target siege weapons with missiles to attempt to destroy them before they reach the walls!

The goal of the attacking army in a siege battle is to kill all the defenders or force them to retreat, or capture the control point located in the centre of the fortress by placing units in the square box around the point itself. The attacking forces will need to hold this point for a specific amount of time, conquering the fortress.

There are also control points located on top of the gates, if there are no defending units nearby and you have placed attacking units on top of these points, the gates will be captured. This will allow easy access for your attacking troops to enter the fortifications.

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Battle: Deployment and Battle Terrain

In this video we'll learn about the best ways to set up your armies for battle and how the terrain can affect their performance in combat.

In this video we’ll learn about the best ways to set up your armies for battle and how the terrain can affect their performance in combat.

Under the Lord, armies are subdivided into units. Orders in battle are issued to units, not individual troops. Select multiple units by left-clicking and dragging a box around them – this allows you to re-position them or command multiple orders at once.

The first step of a battle is deployment: you must position your units within the designated deployment zone, shown in game as a yellow, glowing border. The enemy’s is shown in red. When the deployment phase is finished, the battle will begin. Survey the terrain around before deploying your units to use it to your advantage, such as hills, as units with the high ground possess a significant advantage when fighting on sloped terrain.

If there are hills or areas of high elevation, the best practice is to position your missile units on top: this will give them a height advantage which increases their range and allows them to shoot over your melee units, preventing them from being obstructed. Watch out for obstacles! If your missile or artillery units are obstructed by an obstacle, they won’t be able to shoot at the enemy. Try to avoid these areas and keep your units as far from them as possible.

Units moving through shallow water receive a serious penalty to their movement speed, as well as their overall effectiveness in combat – imagine how hard it would be to brandish a sword while wading through a swamp. This doesn’t apply to giants of course, as they can simply stomp their way through. In the same vein, you can use these areas for a significant advantage: order your melee units next to the water with your missile units behind. They will be able to shoot at the slower-moving enemy whilst your melee units pick the stragglers off.

Hills, mountains, rivers and forests can be used to conceal troops from an enemy as an army must have line-of-sight of an opposing unit to see it. However, most units can hide in forests, even within line-of-slight, as long as they are not moving quickly.  Forests are perfect for preparing ambushes on the enemy and long strips of trees can even be used to flank the unsuspecting foe.

The best practice for an army set up is to place your missile and artillery units towards the back and your infantry at the front, allowing them to protect the units behind. If you have any mounted units, place them near the sides of your formation to allow them easy access onto the battlefield when the fighting begins: they can be used to flank the enemy and attack them in the side or rear. Units receive a significant debuff when flanked, so try to flank the enemy wherever possible! Each infantry unit should cover the flank of the next to both protect and form an impenetrable line of defence.

Some units with the vanguard ability can deploy outside of the deployment zone, try hiding these in forests or behind obstacles in order to conceal them from the enemy. This is useful for ambushing foes when they least expect it and to disguise the true strength of your army.

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Battle: How to Use Lords and Heroes

In this video you'll learn about the mighty Heroes and Lords at your disposal in Total War: WARHAMMER II

In this video you’ll learn about the mighty Heroes and Lords at your disposal in Total War: WARHAMMER II

Heroes and Lords can be recruited on their respective recruitment panels, located on the Province Overview panel. To raise an army, you first need a Lord, as what good is an army without a leader? Heroes are not available from Turn One of the campaign, but become unlocked when their specific building has been erected in a settlement; their building requirements are shown on the Hero Recruitment panel. Heroes and Lords can level up by gaining experience points, albeit a different process to Unit Experience, as well as acquiring new items, followers and banners.

Heroes can move independently of armies and can freely move into enemy territory. They are used to strengthen your armies or settlements, or to strike against enemy targets. For example, Skaven can recruit Assassins, which can be sent into enemy territory in attempt to sabotage an army or assassinate another Hero. Tooltips on the various Hero action buttons show more information about that action, including its chance at success. A Hero with more experience will have a higher success rate in actions!

Looking at a character in more detail allows us to see their current rank as well as how much experience is needed for them to rank up. Clicking on this icon brings up the Character Details panel. The leftmost section of this panel shows us character stats and effects which influence both the campaign and battle. Hover over any of these stats to learn more about them.

How many skill points a character currently has to spend are displayed in the top-right and can be used in exchange for unlocking the skills in the tree. Again, hover over the skills to learn what they do. Certain skills will even unlock mounts for the character.

Characters gain rank and items and develop traits as they perform successful actions. Clicking the magnifying glass button brings up the Details screen. Here we can see what the character currently has equipped as well as any traits or items the character may have obtained. We can also see their current location, as well as how much it is costing you per turn to upkeep their army.

Characters can gain magical items and banners from victory in battle: these can be equipped by selecting them down here. Banners can be equipped on the pre-battle screen onto specific units to provide them with various stat bonuses, attributes and abilities.

When going into battle, armies are led by a Lord who leads and encourages the troops. The Lord appears in battle as a single-person unit – Lords provide a leadership boost to nearby troops, improving their courage in battle. The area of a Lord’s leadership boost is shown as a blue circle when the cursor is placed over them. Try to protect your Lord in battle – they are your most important unit! Without them, troops are much more likely to rout and run away from the enemy.

Select your Lord to browse and activate their abilities – these are shown around the Unit Portrait panel on the left-hand side. To cast a spell, first left-click a spell button and then left-click a target; many spells may be overcast by left-clicking on the spell button a second time before casting. An overcast spells has a greater effect, but also a chance of being miscast and dealing damage to the caster, so use this warily.

When a spellcaster is selected, the spells available to them are shown on the Winds of Magic panel, on the bottom right.

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