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Total War: ROME II
Viking Sea Kings
Welsh Kingdoms

Politics and Intrigue

In this video we discuss the enhanced diplomatic options available to you in Thrones of Britannia. Learn how to manage your disloyal subjects with force or bribery, arrange marriages for your heirs and allies and perform underhanded actions.

New Battle Mechanics

We’ve so far talked a lot about the changes you can expect to see in the Grand Campaign of Thrones of Britannia. Today, it’s all about Battle. Here are our top 5 changes that you can look forward to trying out on the battlefield.

  1. Sheild-based warfare

This is the era of the shield wall. It’s the tactic with which Alfred beat the Great Viking Army at the battle of Edington, and remained predominant across battlefields of the era. To reflect this style of warfare, we’ve reduced the distance between soldiers in many units, with dense blocks of tightly-packed soldiers. We’ve also reduced infantry charge distances, as the short, sharp clashing of swords and shields makes combat feel faithful to this intimately intense combat style.

To complement this, all units with shields now have the Charge Reflect attribute, which means that if they’re stationary and braced when charged by cavalry, the horses will refuse the charge. You’ll see them rear up before slowly advancing into close-quarters combat, negating any bonuses from impact. Of course, this means you’ll have to be very choosy about where to point your cavalry – either at unshielded targets, or maneuvering them into positions where they can play hammer to your shield-wall’s anvil.


  1. Cavalry combat

Cavalry versus cavalry is a different ball-game. We’ve actually increased cavalry spacing in Thrones of Brittania, which promotes more realistic cavalry combat, as horses pass through gaps in the opposing unit and cycle round to clash again.


  1. Critical hits

Thrones will introduce a new critical hit chance for Battle that reproduces the ‘arrow in the eye’ effect. Now, impacts from both melee and missile attacks have a chance of dealing a critical blow, delivering 10 times their usual damage. This means you’ll now see the occasional solder buckle to the ground when charged or under a hail of arrows, as he’s dispatched by a particularly vicious blow.


  1. Unit modes

Guard mode makes a welcome return for Thrones, and maintains the functionality that makes it ideal for holding ground and not pursuing routers. As a small quality of life improvement, we’re also adding optional default settings for various unit states. So, you can now define Guard Mode, Skirmish Mode, Always-Run and  Group-Locking as on or off by default.


  1. New Settlement maps/Improved AI

A whole host of new maps have been made for Thrones of Britannia, including a lot less 'hard collisions' and a lot more 'soft collisions', meaning armies will be able to move through towns much more fluidly and fighting in the streets will be less confined to narrow corridors.


The Character System

The Character system has been reworked for Thrones of Britannia, allowing you to progress with your characters in a way that makes sense to you

The Character system has been reworked for Thrones of Britannia, allowing you to progress with your characters in a way that makes sense to you, and not having traits and abilities locked through a skill tree. So, you could create a general who makes your men formidable fighters, that only a fool would meet in battle. Or you could create one who can range far and fast, striking enemy settlements and sacking them for all their worth. You can also do this for governors who can boost your income from the region they govern, and boost food output, extend siege holdout times and much more. All the skills can be leveled up five times for greater bonuses. And throughout this process all the skills are unlocked and can be selected allowing you to decide how you want your characters to progress.


The Province System

Provinces have been made more influential, with key settlements within your regions that cannot defend themselves

Provinces have been made more influential, with key settlements within your regions that cannot defend themselves. If an enemy army invades your lands, they can take key strategic settlements such as, farms that supply your armies with food, when that is lost, and you do not have enough reserves, your men will begin to starve. Mines, that supply you with the coin to pay your armies, if men are not paid their swords are not yours. When you take one of these settlements you then take the surrounding lands with it, and you can garrison your troops inside, which will grant you replenishment from the local region. This now gives you the opportunity to (instead of having to siege your enemy and losing a lot of men) take away their coin and food, and watch as their army melts away.


The Tech Tree

The tech tree is now less of a tree and more a series of branches

The tech tree is now less of a tree and more a series of branches. Still split into military and civic, there are several branches to go down, all of which are locked from the start of the game, and must be unlocked through completing pre-requisite conditions. From recruiting units, or sieging settlements, and so on. This gives you some objectives throughout your campaign, and shouldn’t be ignored or it’ll seriously impact your late game. These technologies will unlock new buildings, grant public order bonuses, raise the starting capacity of units, and upgrades to later game regiments.


Unit Recruitment

Recruitment is not so simple. When recruiting a unit, you can select the army you want it in, and recruit it

Recruitment is not so simple. When recruiting a unit, you can select the army you want it in, and recruit it. However, it will not give you an entire unit, only a small band of men, which will replenish to a full unit over time. You can improve this by building granaries, souterrains, and arenas, all of which have replenishment multipliers. This changes the focus of unit construction, to unit replenishment and preservation, placing a much greater value on each unit, than in previous Total War games. It also prevents being able to recruit a huge army within one turn without a substantial amount of money.


War Fervour

War is a balancing act, and your people will always want what they don’t have. When you’re at peace, and prospering, your people will want war and conquest. When you are at war for years on end, your people will want peace. This is a scale, and when the scale is balanced everything will be well, when it tips in one direction or another bonuses and penalties will come into play, and the further it tips the greater these will become. This scale places restrictions on your rule. You cannot sensibly march your men off to war if they do not want one. There is only one way of dealing with the wants of the people, give them what they want. But do the people understand the cost?


The Welsh Kingdoms: Faction Breakdown

The Welsh Kingdoms are as divided as their Anglo-Saxon neighbours. Though they were further afield from the invasions of the Great Heathen army, some kingdoms have fared better than others.

The Welsh Kingdoms are as divided as their Anglo-Saxon neighbours. Though they were further afield from the invasions of the Great Heathen army, some kingdoms have fared better than others. Wales is a land of heroic men and heroic deeds and as such their kings will be well received by their people for following in that tradition. Heroism is a unique cultural currency for the Welsh that can be increased by winning battles, ranking up their characters, unlocking certain technology and owning welsh lands. The grandeur of a hero is always changing however and losing battles and settlements will undermine your status.

The Heroism bar is measured between -10 and 100. With each section the player fills through their heroic deeds, they will gain more and more bonuses to their campaign. Your men will not suffer cowards though, if the bar ever reaches below 0 you will face large factionwide penalties.

Both Welsh Kingdoms will also receive bonus supplies to their armies in friendly territory and increase to unit morale when fighting on home soil.

The Kingdom of Gwined occupy the northern-most territory of Wales. Secure in their borders, and with a military ally to the south, Gwined have one of the easier starting positions in Thrones of Britannia. A good start for less experienced players, Gwined can take their time establishing themselves before they are met with any great danger.

With the Legendary Battle Sites mechanic, Gwined characters can stand in the shoes of former heroes and conquer famous territory or re-forge old alliances. These missions will provide bonuses for their completion but can only be given when the mission the player currently holds has been completed.

The followers of Gwined characters are extra effective and will give increased benefits. Gwined can also field strong spearmen on the battlefield as well as exceptional archers.

The Kingdom of Strat Clut inhabits the southern border of modern day Scotland. A Kingdom of the Old North that stood firm through the Viking invasions, Strat Clut will have a difficult start to their campaign. With no strong defensible borders to call their own and caught between two major powers in Circenn and Northleode, they will need to strengthen themselves or risk being crushed early on.

With that in mind, Strat Clut will earn bonuses for owning settlements next to eachother. As well as this, capturing certain major settlements has a chance of triggering specific missions for the Kingdom as well. As with Gwined’s Legendary Battle Sites, the player will have to complete their current mission before they gain another. Strat Clut can field the strong spearmen that the Welsh are known for as well as exceptional cavalry units.


The Gaelic Kingdoms: Faction Breakdown

The culture of the Gaels spreads across modern day Scotland and Ireland, both lands in equal levels of turmoil and seeking God’s chosen to rise and unite the nations under one banner.

The culture of the Gaels spreads across modern day Scotland and Ireland, both lands in equal levels of turmoil and seeking God’s chosen to rise and unite the nations under one banner. Both Gaelic Kingdoms playable in Thrones of Britannia pine for the throne of their respective countries, and to earn it they will have to prove their legitimacy.

Legitimacy is a unique cultural currency for Gaelic factions that scales between -10 and 100. You can earn legitimacy through the capture of settlements in your respective territory, (Scotland for Circenn or Ireland for Mide) by forging alliances with other scottish or irish factions respectively, or by reinforcing the armies of your allies. With each increase of your legitimacy your faction will receive bonuses to your warriors’ martial prowess on the battlefield and an increase in loyalty from your subordinates on the campaign map. However, dropping below 0 can have adverse effects on both. Legitimacy will also degrade with each turn.

When certain thresholds of legitimacy are reached it will trigger incidents that can benefit your nation and dilemmas in which legitimacy can be spent to trigger even further benefits to your Kingdom. Legitimacy can also be spent to annex other factions under your rule, further strengthening your claim for the crown. The cost of the annex will only be spent on successful attempts.

Gaelic characters will also start with increased loyalty and their faction as a whole will receive a large increase in income from church buildings.

The Kingdom Circenn resides on the Eastern coast of Scotland. The men of Circenn are hardy, and with the construction of a unique Souterrain building their armies will become immune to snow attrition.

The capital of Circenn, Scoan is said to have once been home to the stone of destiny. Playing as Circenn you will be able to undertake consecutive missions to take control of other settlements in search of the stone’s divine strength. On the battlefield Circenn can field good all-round infantry with some high quality spearmen. They also have very strong missile units and powerful, unique crossbow units.

The Kingdom of Mide is the most central of the kingdoms of Ireland. Many High Kings have come from Mide in the past and the current ruler, Flann Sinna, aspires to hold the title as well. Due to their strong central position and a bonus to diplomacy with all other Irish factions, Mide is a good choice for newer players or those looking for an easier start. Armies from Mide will be able to field excellent mid-to-high tier sword infantry, including the unique Gallowglass unit, as well as exceptional javelin infantry.

Every other Summer, Mide will have the option of hosting the Fair of Tailtiu: An event that sees people gather for games, funerals and even marriages. Players will be given a dilemma in which they can choose to either hold the fair, costing them gold but gaining them legitimacy, or to refuse instead which will cost the ruling character their influence


The English Kingdoms: Faction Breakdown

The English Kingdoms of Britannia inhabit the Southern most lands of the British Isles. After decades of Viking raids, the Kingdoms of West Seaxe and Mierce are ready to reclaim the lands of England under their own banners

The English Kingdoms of Britannia inhabit the Southern most lands of the British Isles. After decades of Viking raids, the Kingdoms of West Seaxe and Mierce are ready to reclaim the lands of England under their own banners, and they won’t hesitate to destroy each other to make that happen.

The English Kingdoms will enjoy the benefits of the Fyrd, part-time soldiers pledged to leave their farms for military service each year. These fyrdmen limit the amount of levy units that are available to recruit based on the number of settlements players control on the campaign map. You’ll need to be careful not to recruit more than your limit into your armies, as you may begin to throttle your food production. On top of this, all English military commanders have a larger aura on the battlefield and their soldiers will gain a melee attack bonus when fighting battles as the defender.

On the battlefield the English Kingdoms have strong armoured swordsmen and spear infantry at their disposal and can field impressive cavalry in late game battles.

The Kingdom of West Seaxe controls the southern coast of both England and Wales through its own occupation and the many smaller kingdoms that swear vassalage to them. Your vassals are sworn allies and will always join you in battle. You can view the amount of tribute they are sending you each turn via the summary tab in your economic overview. The generals of West Seaxe are well trained and will earn XP each turn, even when idle. Although lead by the famous King Alfred, players will also have to manage the Witan; An Anglo-Saxon council summoned by the King to discuss progress in the nation and proposals for West Seaxe’s future. The members of the Witan will provide a series of choices for the player to select from concerning the management of the kingdom over the next few turns, each with their own positive and negative effects.

The Kingdom of Mierce is situated north of West Seaxe on the border of England and Wales. Without the benefit of a coastal border, they will be beset on all sides by potential enemies. All units in Mierce’s armies will receive a morale bonus from their generals, provided he is still alive. The King of Mierce will also have to manage the ample gold supply that his faction accrues over the course of their campaign. Once the Miercian treasury reaches certain thresholds, the King can spread his ample supply of wealth between different parties to gain their favour, and bonuses for their campaign. It’s not always favourable to be giving out cash sums every time you have some in the supply though: To combat this, Mierce can research a specific technology to decrease the amount of money they have to spend to gain each bonus.


The Viking Sea Kings: Faction Breakdown

When the Vikings began to settle in Britannia, not all fleets were focused solely on the eastern coasts.

When the Vikings began to settle in Britannia, not all fleets were focused solely on the eastern coasts. The Kingdoms of Sudreyar and Dyflin travelled as far as the Western coastal isles of Scotland and the Eastern coast of Ireland. The Viking Sea Kings have stayed true to their ancestral desires for exploration and raiding, and have become masters of the seas that envelop the British Isles. Their navies will even be immune to seasickness and high seas attrition.

The Viking Sea Kings can periodically send their ships out to explore new lands, for plunder and colonisation. The Expedition bar is one of the unique mechanics that the Sea Kings have at their disposal. The bar will fill whenever your faction is raiding, sacking, blockading ports or ranking up your characters. Once the bar reaches 100 your men can be sent out on Expeditions to find new lands. Expeditions take the form of a choose your own adventure, in which you will be able to choose your direction and where to dock your ships. Upon finding new territory, you will be given options with how to proceed which can lead to bonuses for your forces and on the campaign.

As well as Expeditions, the Viking Sea Kings can also force tribute from their weak and coin rich neighbours. The tribute bar ranges from -10 to 100 and instead of only receiving its benefits once the bar is full, with each tier of the bar completed you will receive greater benefits to your campaign. Upon reaching 100, benefits will be felt on almost all aspects of income as well as improving influence. Should the player ever be forced to offer gold in diplomacy, their tribute level will decrease. If the Tribute level should ever drop below 0, the factions will suffer increased army upkeep costs and a drop in influence.

The Kingdom of Dyflin Resides in the modern day capital of Ireland, Dublin. They also hold the Isle of Man that sits in between Ireland and the mainland of Britannia, making for a fantastic central hub from which attacks can be made on England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Though Dyflin do not have the most difficult start of all the factions, they will be plunged into war almost straight away.

Dyflin have formed a strong economy of forced labour since they initially settled in Ireland, and now hold the largest slave market in all of Britannia. Slaves can be earned by winning battles, raiding and sacking enemy lands, occupying enemy settlements or from your vassals. At the end of each turn a percentage of those slaves will be sold on to new masters giving an alternative source of income for your faction. With the building of the thrall trader, Dyflin can increase the percentage of slaves that are sold each turn and the building or upgrading of these traders will also provide an instant cash bonus. The large host of slaves that Dyflin have in their workforce means that they will be able to build new buildings with a 15% discount.

On the battlefield Dyflin have access to very strong axe infantry as well as the Norse unit of Berserkers. The Dyflin roster as a whole has a good diversity of units and can also field some strong javelinmen.

The Kingdom of Sudreyar inhabits the western coast of Scotland and the Isles off its shores. Starting in isolation and with a strong military ally to their East, these Vikings do not have a host of issues to deal with at the start of their campaign but with a slow start they will have to be careful not to be left behind.

The Kingdom of Sudreyar hosts a Field of Assembly, a gathering of free men and lawmakers who meet to decide on matters of the day. The assembly will decide on missions that the army should be sent on in exchange for reward. You will only be able to work on one mission at a time and will need to complete your current assignment before a new one can be given to you.

The forces of Sudreyar boast very strong sword and axe infantry as well as access to Berserkers and norse units. Sudreyars armies have a good diversity of troops and will gain +5 supplies when in foreign territory.


The Great Viking Army: Faction Breakdown

The Great Viking Army made their presence felt across the eastern coast of the British Isles and have now staked their claim on the land.

The Great Viking Army made their presence felt across the eastern coast of the British Isles and have now staked their claim on the land. The Viking settlers have not forgotten their roots and continue to raid and sack enemy territory, gaining a bonus to the income it generates. The Great Viking Army has also not forgotten their bitter war with the Anglo-Saxons and their armies will receive morale boosts when fighting against them.

The new kings of Danelaw will have to play a delicate game of appeasing the English and the Danes under his rule. The Here King mechanic is a cultural currency used by the Kingdoms of the Great Viking Army that splits the public opinions of the People and the Army on your nation. Each have their own gauge that ranges from -50 to 50 that will drop and rise based on your actions on the campaign map. Choices that favour the English people like choosing to occupy non-English territory you have sieged or ransoming your captives after battle will raise their opinion of you. Likewise, actions that favour your war hungry armies will raise their opinion of you as well. Both parties offer benefits to the running of your nation when they are kept happy, and in reverse allowing their opinion of you to drop too far can be crippling. It’s not just the way you run your nation that will affect these however, certain dilemmas will appear, as well, that will ask you to choose between the two and favouring one side will almost always upset the other.

The Kingdom of Northymbre sits not far from the Scottish border, ruled by the Viking King Guthfrid. Rumoured to be a former slave, Guthfrid does not command much influence in his court and is liable to low loyalty from his characters. Combined with a starting location flanked by 3 major powers, Guthfrid has one of the more difficult starts in the game. Still holding a grudge from the murder of King Ragnar, the faction of Northymbre will receive missions to enact revenge. All missions of Ragnar’s Legacy will focus on fighting the Anglo-Saxons and raiding and occupying their lands, but will only trigger when Northymbre is at war with an English faction.

Northymbre’s forces have a bonus to their charging ability, and access to Berserkers. They also have good all around infantry including the powerful Northumbrian spearmen and very strong axe infantry.

The Kingdom of East Engle reside on the most easterly point of the British Isles, sharing a border with West Seaxe and the vassals of Northymbre. With rich lands and a coastal border, East Engle have a much easier start. Employing the strong axemen, beserkers and well rounded infantry of their northern brethren as well as the powerful Anglian Champions.

The faction leader Guthrum is the King of Danelaw and enacts his will through force and aggression. As such, the faction of East Engle will receive missions which will give unique rewards for fighting with your neighbours.


Dark Elves: Battle Tactics

Learn how to use the Dark Elves in battle to crush your enemies and unlock your chilling murderous prowess

When preparing for battle, have a look over the building browser in your settlements to view what units you have unlocked for recruitment. Make sure the Conscription Halls are built in one of your controlled settlements to give you access to some cheap, low-tier infantry units. When you have a level 2 settlement and some money in the treasury, try building the Plateau of Dark Steeds or Den of Outlaws to unlock access to cavalry early on in the game, useful for flanking and giving you an edge in battle.

If you have control of a Black Ark, always attempt to battle within its bombardment range, shown by a dashed circle on the campaign map; this will give you access to the bombardment army ability in battle: a considerable advantage over your foe.

The Druchii are an extremely aggressive race, which comes strongly into play during battle. They have a lot of amrour piecring units: useful for taking down heavily-armoured enemies. At the top of your screen you will see the Murderous Prowess bar which tracks deaths on the battlefield – on either side – with a significant buff that kicks in when the bar is full. You will want to fill this bar as quickly as possible, so kill as much as you can, as fast as you can.

When setting up for battle in the early game, place a line of infantry at the front, such as Bleakswords and Dreadspears as they are the cheaper options open to the Dark Elves at the beginning of the campaign. To the sides, place some cavalry such as Dark Riders to protect from flanking, but also to chase down any routing enemy units to rack up vital kills for triggering Murderous Prowess as soon as possible.

When the battle begins, send your units in as fast as possible to hit that vital kill count as soon as you can, but watch out if the enemy hangs back! If you have any artillery such as Reaper Bolt Throwers, use these to spray ammunition into the enemy to soften their ranks if they are not engaging.

When the Murderous Prowess bar is full, the ability will trigger automatically giving your forces a buff to their leadership, melee attack, charge bonus, armour-piercing missile damage and a big boost to their vigor. They will glow purple for 90 seconds – be sure to engage in as many attacks as you can in this time, as you will be much more powerful than your opponent!


High Elves: Battle Tactics

Learn how to control your Asur forces and crush any enemy under the force of their martial strength.

In the setup of the battle, try to anchor your flank to an obstacle, such as a river, so you only have to focus on the other side of your army. If possible, try to place your units on the high ground, as archers shooting from a higher elevation have better accuracy and further range. Units fighting downhill have the advantage too, as it is harder for the enemy to attack uphill.

The best practice when setting up your army as a High Elf is to place rows of armoured spearmen in the frontline, which protected skilled archers and powerful mages further back from the enemy. This allows the archers and mages to damage enemy units from a long range, while the spearmen protect them from cavalry charges and hold a strong defensive barrier against attack. It’s also recommended to have some cavalry behind the front line just in case any enemy units do manage to break through, or attempt to flank you from the side.

It’s best to place your slowest troops at the front of your army and the fastest at the back, allowing them to come into the fight at speed when needed. Remember to keep units in reserve, usually your best, so they can swoop in when the enemy is weakened. No use wasting their health on the low-tier frontline of an enemy!


Dark Elves: Campaign Tactics

Millennia have passed since the Dark Elves, or Druchii In the Elven tongue, violently split from the High Elves. Banished from Ulthuan, the spiteful and wicked Dark Elves plot the demise of their former brethren from Naggaroth, their home continent.

Millennia have passed since the Dark Elves, or Druchii In the Elven tongue, violently split from the High Elves. Banished from Ulthuan, the spiteful and wicked Dark Elves plot the demise of their former brethren from Naggaroth, their home continent. They have been ruled throughout their long history by Malekith, the Witch King.

Diplomacy doesn’t come naturally to Dark Elves: they are a cruel people devoted to the pursuit of bloody warfare and conquest is much more instinctive to them. This comes into play during the Eye of the Vortex campaign – to win, the Dark Elves must either complete all the rituals and win the Final Battle, or destroy their rival factions and maintain control of 50 provinces.  If you wish to go for the domination victory when playing as Dark Elves, be prepared to steamroll through the other factions as diplomacy isn’t necessarily the best option.

You have the choice to play as either the vengeful Malekith or his exiled mother Morathi, in the North or South of Naggaroth respectively. Malekith is a mighty leader with great loyalty from his subservient lords, as long as they stay loyal, of course. Moving over to Morathi in the South, when playing as the Cult of Pleasure be aware that her forces spread Chaos Corruption, but also gain a bonus to loyalty and hero actions performed by her agents are cheaper.

The Dark Elves are most at home to the North of the Campaign Map and can settle here without worry, but watch out for the desert lands to the East. These harsh sands are uninhabitable to the Druchii, causing significant debuffs to any who may settle there. When expanding your territory, focus on these Northern green areas first to make sure your faction is strong enough to handle the disadvantages.

To perform rituals as a Dark Elf, you must first collect enough Scrolls of Hekarti, shown at the top of the campaign screen. For an early-game boost, try gaining control of Ghrond, as this is a vital ritual location and unlocks the ability to construct a temple of Hekarti within its walls.  Make sure you have amassed a sizeable force before attacking though, as they will not be defeated gently.

When capturing a settlement such as Ghrond, you may notice that looting, occupying and sacking will reward you with slaves, these are a resource used by the Dark Elves to boost the tax income of a province, and can also be used in exchange for rites, which we will touch on in just a moment. Slaves can also be gained from victory in battle and raiding – those unfortunate enough to survive a defeat by the Druchii will be worked to death in one of the many mines of Naggaroth. For a quick boost to slave numbers, consider sacking an enemy settlement and taking the inhabitants for work!

To see information about your current slaves, press the slaves button on the bottom right of the campaign interface; this will open up the slaves panel. Here you can see a list of your provinces and the number of slaves in each, as well as their decline per turn. On the right, you can see the effect the slaves are having in each province, including their income and the influence they cause to your public order. The higher the number of slaves in a province, the more detrimental they will be to your public order. If you have a province with a high number of slaves and a low public order, you have the option to halt any additional slaves from entering the province, so any further captured slaves will be shared about your other provinces instead. Also, if a province doesn’t have many slaves at all, consider requesting additional slaves so in future, the provinces become more balanced in number. Remember that the number of slaves in a province will naturally decline over time, as they die from being overworked.

As mentioned earlier, slaves can be used in exchange for powerful rites: when you have amassed 1000 slaves and built 2 Slave Penn buildings, you will have access to the Sacrifice to Mathlann rite, which unlocks the recruitment of a Black Ark. These are great, floating city-ships that can reinforce armies, build new units and even bombard enemy forces during battle. Dark Elves do not have access to global recruitment, so Black Arks form a vital part of any invasion.

Once available, recruit the Black Ark to your faction by clicking on its recruitment button on the province overview panel when a controlled port is selected. From here you can recruit new units to its force and access its building browser. Build up your Ark and armies, sail on over to Ulthuan and claim the High Elf Isle back for its rightful owners!

Technology for the Dark Elves works in tiered upgrades. If your faction is struggling for funds, try researching the “Battle as Business” technology as this will give you a boost of income for both raiding and post-battle loot. For increasing growth in your provinces, research “Founded on Tyranny” as this will give you a plus 10 boost in all of your provinces! When you have more coin in your treasury, then you can move onto Upgrade 1 and above for access to even more powerful technology.

Dark Elf Lords have varying devotion to the leader of their faction, known as loyalty. You can check how loyal a Lord is on their character info panel on the bottom left – this is shown in a measure of 0-10 – 10 being the most loyal and 0 the least. If a Lord reaches 0 loyalty, they will rebel and take their army to form a new faction. Keep an eye on the loyalty of your Lords and if it drops too low, be sure to appease them by recruiting more units to their army, or by gifting them items.


High Elves: Campaign Tactics

The noble High Elves, or Asur as they call themselves, are among the most ancient and powerful of all races.

The noble High Elves, or Asur as they call themselves, are among the most ancient and powerful of all races. From their mist-shrouded home continent of Ulthuan, they defend the world from the encroaching evils that threaten it. The High Elves are an extremely defensive faction and Ulthuan’s lands are no exception; the inner kingdoms of Ulthuan are defended by Fortress Gate settlements: siege-weapons cannot be used to attack these bastions.

There are 2 routes to victory as a High Elf, your faction can either complete all the rituals in the Eye of the Vortex Campaign and win the final battle, or destroy the rival factions and maintain control of 50 provinces. Be careful if you decide to go for domination, some climates are uninhabitable to High Elves…

New to Total War: WARHAMMER 2 is the Vortex: High Elves can spend way-fragments to spend on rituals which are used to influence the Great Vortex. Any faction which completes its final ritual and defeats its rivals will gain control of the vortex and win the campaign, but you will have the option to intervene when an enemy faction attempts a ritual using an Intervention Army. These do not operate under your control, but instead cost money – the more money spent, the great the military power of the army that appears!

High Elves also have access to powerful rites, which grant strong bonuses and unique abilities such as providing more influence per turn in exchange for money. For example, if your faction is having problems with Chaos, Vampiric or Skaven corruption… you can pay to “make it go away”. Once used, rites are subject to a cooldown period before they can be used again.

The society of the High Elves is hierarchical in nature, which can be seen in Total War: WARHAMMER 2 in the form of “influence”, as seen at the top of the campaign screen. High Elf courtiers watch for any opportunity to gain in status at the expense of their peers; influence is extremely useful to any High Elf player. The influence of a High Elf faction grows as events fall in their favour and can be spent on recruiting lords and heroes; the higher a character’s influence cost, the better the trait that they will start with. However, some characters cost no influence but have detrimental traits.

High elves can also spend influence on Intrigues at the Court – whispered deals in the halls of power that pull strings to improve or worsen the diplomatic relations between factions. These are initiated on the Intrigue at the Court button on the campaign interface; factions to be target can be selected from the dropdown lists here. You can choose to either improve or decrease diplomatic relations between the selected factions, but remember that intrigues cost more to deploy if they are used repeatedly!

Trade agreements are used by the High Elves to spy on their trade partners. This grants them full visibility over the campaign map territory of any faction they have agreed trade with – trade agreements with other factions can be made via diplomacy. This can be used in conjunction with court intrigues to manipulate wars been other factions without ever having to lift a High Elf finger…

The key in battle to any High Elf army is its defence – High Elves are a very defensive race with “cheap”, low-tier spearmen and archer units which can be used to make a defensive line. Although, bear in mind when playing as High Elves that their units are some of the most expensive in the game, so best build up your treasury before kitting out a full army.

The best first step in recruiting a High Elf army is to make sure that you have built the Militia Camp in one of your controlled settlements, as it will unlock the recruitment of spearmen and archers, the cheapest and most basic units available in the High Elf army roster. This is only a level 1 building, so you should be able to build it in any settlement.

When you are ready for some more advanced units, try building the Archive to unlock the ability to recruit mages. These grant you the ability to use spells in battle, one of the best strengths of the High Elf race. You can use spells to buff your army, such as restore hit points, or to cause all sorts of damage and debuffs to the enemy.

The Grove building allows you to recruit Great Eagles, a monstrous beast that bears down upon its enemies in the battlefield with bestial fury and cruel determination.

Finally, possibly the coolest units you can unlock through these building trees are dragons, starting with the Moon and Sun dragons which unlock after the construction of a Dragon’s Lair. If you upgrade this building to a Dragon Keep, you can recruit a Star Dragon… The most expensive High Elf unit! This terrifying beast causes both fear and terror in the enemy and has the ability to destroy entire units with a molten blast of its white-hot breath.


Skaven: Battle Tactics

The numerous, and sometimes expendable, Skaven are a tricky race to master in battle. Learn the secrets of their mad machinations here.

The Skaven view some of their ranks to be expendable, such as the Skavenslaves and Clanrats, and would happy throw 100 of their number into the fray in exchange for 1 kill. When setting up your army for battle be sure to add a meatshield of Slaves and Clanrats towards the front to soak up enemy attack, keeping your more important Skaven, such as the Lord, protected towards the back. When recruiting your army, try to keep a mix of elite units and cheap, low-tier units – use these expendable hordes to pin foes in place allowing your more elite Skaven to strike.

The only Skaven melee unit well-armoured enough to withstand a cavalry charge are the Stormvermin, so it’s best to place a couple of these towards the sides of your composition to protect from flanking – don’t worry too much about the Clanrats or Slaves, of course.

Gutter Runners are great at ambushing as they are able to move in the open without being seen by the enemy; they also have vanguard deployment so be sure to place them sneakily to soften the enemy blow before your forces meet.

The Skaven have no cavalry options, so the best practice for flanking can be found in Rat Ogres and the Doomwheel: Rat Ogres have the highest charge bonus so should be charged into the enemy wherever possible, and the Doomwheel is most effective in the flanking position. It is also the fastest Skaven unit in the roster, so place it towards the back of your army and send it in later to harass the enemy when they get close. Direct the Doomwheel into the sides of enemy units, plough through them and hastily retreat to charge again.

Place some artillery options towards the back of your army, such as the formidable Warp Lightning canon – a long-range, hard-hitting machine capable of taking out strong, single targets.  If you have the gold, the Hell Pit Abomination is the absolute pinnacle of Clan Moulder’s horrifying monster-breeding program, and is too horrible to die. When death is imminent, the Abomination has a chance of either regaining some health, or releasing a pack of ravening Skaven instead. They are weak to fire though, so be sure to protect them from flaming attack where possible. Send the abomination towards heavily-armoured enemies, as its attacks are both powerful and armour-piercing.

Perhaps most important to Skaven battles is the Menace Below, an army ability allowing you to summon rats from the pestilent earth, hindering the progress of enemy units or protecting your elite units from flanking attacks. Its best used to focus your opponent’s attention where you want it – on your expendable Skavenslaves and Clanrats – and away from your more vulnerable, elite units. This ability has limited uses, but additional uses can be purchased on the pre-battle panel by expending food.

Lastly, all Skaven units get faster as their leadership decreases and even faster when they break: this makes them difficult to fully exterminate as a fleeing Skaven unit will leave the battlefield before many enemy units can catch up with them.


Skaven: Campaign Tactics

The verminous Skaven are a race of malevolent and self-serving ratmen. From deep under the ground, they fight tooth and claw against the other races, and eachother.

The verminous Skaven are a race of malevolent and self-serving ratmen. From deep under the earth, they fight tooth and claw against the other races – and each other – to further their personal standing within the Skaven hierarchy and to serve their diabolical god, the Horned Rat. In-game, the Skaven are a high-risk, high-reward faction who approach the campaign with their own unique strategies and a distinctive battle-style, consisting of a mix of expendable swarms of infantry and highly-skilled elite units such as the Warp Lightning Cannons and the much coveted Doomwheel.

The Eye of the Vortex campaign provides two routes to victory as the Skaven: either complete all 5 of the rituals and win the final battle, or destroy the factions displayed here and maintain control of 50 provinces. Due to the Skaven desire to remain hidden, it’s highly unlikely for a Skaven faction to forge diplomatic relations with non-Skaven. However, territorial expansion doesn’t necessarily suit the Skaven either: it’s best to create a spread-out empire that becomes almost impossible to eradicate. Skaven have the power to create new cities right under their enemies’ noses and can inhabit almost anywhere on the map, excluding Ulthuan. The snowy peaks to the North also pose moderate debuffs to settling there, but not as seriously as the home isle of the Elves, so try to avoid settling in this area unless you are confident your faction can handle the disadvantages.

Warpstone is the vital component to the Skaven rituals, collect this to fill the ritual bar and conduct rituals faster than your enemies to win the campaign.

Around the map you may notice settlements with odd glowing Warpstone icons next to their names: these are vital locations for rituals. When playing as Queek Headtaker, he begins his campaign nearby the Caverns of Sotek; occupying this settlement will grant you the option to build a Warpstone deposit, a mining facility that generates 10 Warpstone per turn. This is a quick, useful way of boosting your ritual currency income, allowing you to conduct rituals faster.

Settlements of the Skaven are not ordinarily visible to other races, instead appearing as uninhabited ruins: this is known as the Underworld. The other races will not discover the Skaven threat hidden below a settlement until they attempt to colonise or hunt for treasure there, but keep in mind that heroes can perform a scouting action on ruins to see if they truly are abandoned. Skaven factions can see the settlements of other Skaven factions without having to scout them, so only the Skaven know the true extent of their empire at any given time.

In the early campaign when playing as Skaven, raiding and war are a good source of income. Unlike other factions, the Skaven do not rely on buildings to generate money from cities: all Skaven buildings produce gold to some extent. When colonising a new settlement in an enemy province, try spending some of your food resources to raise the starting level of the settlement, allowing you quick access to more advanced buildings. Then, you can recruit elite units in a matter of turns, allowing you to easily plough through the rest of the province in a short space of time: a true Skaven uprising.

Skaven also have access to some powerful rites: in exchange for gold, these provide powerful buffs to your armies or faction, such as summoning a powerful DOOOOM! Engineer at your capital, which is a cheap, early-game option at the price of 800 gold. This Hero can cause a catastrophic earthquake in a foreign settlement, making it ripe for the taking.

Food is a necessity to Skaven factions; they rely on the availability of a stockpile, providing bonuses when food is plentiful and penalties when scarce. Hover your cursor over the food bar on the top of the UI to see your current level of food and the buffs/debuffs applied when the amount increases or depletes. Each Skaven army consumes an amount of food per turn, so make sure your food reserves can handle an additional army when raising one! The amount devoured per army can be seen on their overview panel.

Settlements with the pastures resource are extremely useful to the Skaven, as they provide the option to construct buildings that provide food per turn. When playing as Lord Skrolk, he starts next to Subatuun in the Lost Valley – try to capture this as soon as possible and construct the Putrid Rice Bog, which provides 2 food per turn. Food can also be gained from battles and sacking settlements.

Skaven gradually spread corruption as they settle, as they naturally befoul anywhere they linger. This results in settled provinces to become less hospitable over time, even for Skaven. If the corruption level becomes too high, a province may revolt, causing a Skaven uprising army to spawn. Be sure to deal with them swiftly before they become too powerful! They may just provide a useful amount of food, too...
However it’s not all bad news: a high level of Skaven corruption in a province will grant you additional uses of the Menace Below in any battles fought there, an army ability we will touch on later.

The Skaven tech-tree is a rat’s nest of short branching pathways; you’ll start with a choice between boosts to your Skavenslaves and Clanrats, your heroes and stealth units or your economy: but these initial choices don’t prevent you from branching into other areas later. The option to start researching will unlock when a specific building has been constructed in one of your settlements. If you are trying to expand rapidly, try researching “Harsh Production Quotas” which will provide you with a +10 boost to growth.

Back on the campaign map, Skaven armies have access to a unique stance known as Stalking, used to hunt and surprise their enemies. While in the stalking stance, Skaven armies have a chance to ambush their enemies when attacking normally, taking them by surprise and gaining a great positional advantage. Use this stance whenever you want to attack an enemy and attempt to ambush them, even when they are aware of your presence!

Each Skaven Lord has a measure of willingness to follow the leader of their faction, known as Loyalty. This can be seen on the character info panel on the bottom left by a measure of 0-10 – 10 being the most loyal and 0 the least. If a Lord’s loyalty drops to 0, they will rebel, taking their army with them to form a new faction. Keep an eye on the loyalty of your Lords and if it drops too low, be sure to appease them by recruiting more units to their army, or by gifting them items.


Lizardmen: Battle Tactics

Learn to use the powerful and adaptive Lizardmen in battle.

The various breeds of Saurus – from Warriors through to Temple Guard – are formidable frontline fighters that match most foes to the death (even if they do go feral along the way). The best practice is to place them at the front of your army, forming a formidable defensive line of protection. Saurus also have Predatory Senses, allowing them to sense when hidden prey are close by; particularly useful when fighting against Skaven.

To the sides, try placing some Cold One riders in preparation to flank any enemy that might be giving your slower frontline trouble. Flying Terradon Riders also make great flankers, and their powerful rock-dropping can devastate massed enemy infantry.

Skink Skirmishers and Chameleon Skinks both have vanguard deployment: if you have some Chameleon Skinks in your army, try deploying them closer to where the enemy will advance. They have access to the Stalk ability which allows them to move concealed in any terrain, are resistant to ranged fire, and have a poison attack that weakens enemy speed and damage – the perfect way to soften a foe before your forces meet.

The smaller units in the Lizardmen roster, as well as the giant ones, have the advantage in shallow water as it doesn’t bog them down. Where the enemy will be hindered by the mud, Skinks can happily rush through, giving them a large advantage in melee. If there are no hills around, try to position your troops by any shallow water you can see, giving them an extra line of defence against the enemy.

The Lizardmen Legendary Lords have high leadership over their troops, making units less likely to rout. However, even the most loyal of Lizardmen may be overcome by their Primal Instincts, causing them to rampage when their hit points drop to lower than 50% of their base. This explosive fury is best understood as routing in reverse: you will lose control of the rampaging unit, but instead of fleeing it will pile into the nearest enemy and keep fighting until it falls or rallies. While losing control of a unit in the middle of a fierce melee may not alter the outcome of a battle, you’ll need to be careful to manage your approach to battle to ensure that rampage doesn’t kick in before the right positioning can be achieved.

Lastly, given the slow speed of many Saurus units and Lizardmen monsters, the forces of Lustria need to find inventive ways to get around enemy lines and disrupt ranged units. At your command, Lizardmen armies have the ability to summon a unit of vicious Feral Cold Ones to run amok amongst an unexpecting enemy. The perfect time to use this is right a your warriors are moving into missile range: as their archers nock their first arrows, give them a much more immediate problem to deal with.


Lizardmen: Campaign Tactics

Hailing from deep within the jungles of Lustria, the cold-blooded Lizardmen are the most ancient race of all. They are comprised of multiple species – the agile Skinks, the monstrous Kroxigor, the warlike Saurus and the completive Slann.

Hailing from deep within the jungles of Lustria, the cold-blooded Lizardmen are the most ancient race of all. They are comprised of multiple species – the agile Skinks, the monstrous Kroxigor, the warlike Saurus and the completive Slann, who lead the Lizardmen with their matchless wisdom and command over the Winds of Magic.

In the Eye of the Vortex campaign, there are 2 ways to obtain victory: either complete all the rituals and win the final battle, or destroy your rival factions and maintain control of 50 provinces. However, when playing as Lizardmen, it is not necessarily desirable to expand beyond the borders of Lustria: the Lizardmen are most at home in the jungle climbs of their homeland and will not thrive in the snowy North, for example. The climate here is uninhabitable – although you may control these settlements if you choose, there will be significant debuffs in settling here. The Lizardmen Legendary Lords should also take an interest in each other’s starting positions as both contain lizardmen ruins.

The Lizardmen have access to a ritual currency known as Ancient Plaques, these are to spend on rituals which are used to influence the Great Vortex. All around the campaign map, you may notice some settlements have strange, glowing Ancient Plaques by their names: these are vital locations for rituals. Try seizing control of one of these settlements and looking through the building browser, you may find a unique building train that would most certainly boost your production of Plaques…

When playing as Lord Mazdamundi, he starts very close to a mysterious, ruined settlement called the Mirror Pool of Tepok, perhaps this could be of great use to you. Tread carefully though, as some ruins may be more than what they seem… Make sure you have built up your army sufficiently before exploring this seemingly abandoned place.

Kroq-Gar begins on the other side of the map altogether, but also very close to a vital ritual location. This one seems a little less mysterious, and perhaps a little easier to seize.

Lizardmen also have access to powerful rites: in exchange for money, these provide various buffs to your armies – perhaps the most powerful being the ability to summon a ferocious army of Feral Carnosaur, Stegadon and Basildon units at your capital, as well as unlock the ability to summon “Feral Cold Ones” during battle. These benefits come at great expense however, so focus on building up your treasury so you can use this formidable army ability in combat as early as possible.

Settlements of the Lizardmen are linked by a network of power known as the Geomantic Web, an unseen matrix of energy which crosses the entire world. By increasing the power of the Geomantic Web in a province, a Lizardmen faction can increase the potency of any commandments issued there. The Web’s links can be viewed by holding down the spacebar.

As soon as the Geomantic Web has been restored and your empire is generating the resources and ritual currency needed, focus instead on defence: secure Lustria against invaders and work on completing the rituals that will allow you to trigger the final battle for the Vortex.

Lizardmen technology is cheap and flexible relative to other factions, so you’re not committed to following a single, defined path.  If you are having troubles with your treasury, the Tablet of Crafts is a great place to start as it leads onto a boost to industry income, and then to a big reduction in building costs.

The spawning pools of the Lizardmen will occasionally bring forth an especially gifted set of warriors; a special mission will be issued to you when a blessed spawning event occurs. Once this mission is completed, the blessed units can be recruited immediately by clicking on the Blessed Spawnings button on the Province Overview panel. This will recruit your army with warriors of unusual potency.

Armies of the Lizardmen have access to a unique stance on the campaign map called “Astromancy”. This increases the army’s vision and defence, and allows for vanguard deployment of certain units in battle. Adopt this stance if you are attacking with Saurus Warriors or Spears with shields in your current army, as they will be able to deploy outside of the deployment zone!

To unlock the ability to recruit shielded Saurus Warriors or Spears, first you must construct the Sacred Spawning Caverns in a settlement: a level 2 upgrade of the Underground Lagoon. When a Lizardmen settlement is upgraded to level 3, you have the options to build a Terradon Hatchery or some Cold One Caves – these allow you to recruit flying Terradons and Cold One riders respectively. These are great early-game cavalry: useful for flanking and taking out enemy artillery.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Campaign: Provinces and Settlements

This video will explain how territory is divvied up on the Campaign Map, how to manage said territory and the garrisons that protect your lands.

This video will explain how territory is divvied up on the Campaign Map, how to manage said territory and the garrisons that protect your lands.

Territory on the Campaign Map is divided into provinces, each province contains multiple settlements which can be attacked and controlled. Settlements are cities or ports on the map from which provinces are defended and controlled. Ownership of a settlement grants ownership of the territory around it. To attack a settlement, first select an army and then right-click on the desired target location.

To protect a settlement, the ruling faction may position an army inside to defend it from attack; settlements also produce their own garrison army which will automatically defend it when attacked. These armies have no upkeep cost, but can be depleted by repeated battles.

Although a faction may expand and capture any settlement, some are located in climates unsuitable for your faction to colonise, causing slower growth and a variety of other penalties. Plan your expansions accordingly! Around an army or settlement is a zone of control: enemies cannot pass through these, except to attack the owner. This can come in useful when protecting a settlement, placing an army at a potential pathway to it would force any would-be attacker to engage the army first.

Buildings may be constructed within a settlement by the faction that controls it to boost its production capabilities or defences – construction and repair options may be browsed on the Province Overview panel. For more information on buildings and their uses, check out our video on buildings in the campaign.


Campaign: Rituals

This video will introduce the central mechanic of the Eye of the Vortex campaign for Total War: WARHAMMER II - Rituals.

This video will introduce the central mechanic of the Eye of the Vortex campaign for Total War: WARHAMMER II - Rituals.

Rituals are how factions can influence the Great Vortex within the Eye of the Vortex campaign. To begin a ritual, a faction must first accumulate sufficient ritual currency, represented by the icon next to the Rituals Bar at the top of the campaign UI.

To initiate a ritual, click on the corresponding button on the Rituals Bar: once begun, a ritual takes several turns to complete. They are conducted at several ritual sites across the campaign map, the locations of which are indicated on the Rituals Bar while casting. While a ritual is underway, energy is channeled from these sites to the Great Vortex and the forces of Chaos will seep into the world, potentially attacking the ritual sites.

Rival powers can attempt to interrupt the ritual by attacking the ritual sites, and may hire intervention armies to support their assault. To call an intervention force during an enemy’s ritual attempt, click the interventions button to the right of the Rituals Bar. These armies cost money to hire and the more money spent, the greater the military power of the army that appears.

A ritual can be successfully interrupted by capturing one of the ritual sites. Failed rituals may be attempted again after a short time.


Campaign: How Turns Work

This video will touch on how turns on the campaign map work and how to navigate them.

This video will touch on how turns on the campaign map work and how to navigate them.

Time is advanced in the form of turns in the campaign map, click the End Turn button to progress the game onwards. Once your turn has ended, other factions will take their own turns in which they can move armies and recruit units, etc. The number of your current turn can be seen on the bottom right, underneath the End Turn button. The game will automatically save each turn and can be saved manually during your turn, except on Legendary difficulty, so choose wisely! If you decide to load up an old save, simply go to the game options from either the main menu or within a campaign. This is useful if you make a tactical error and want to try again. To take it one step further, simply press CTRL + S within a campaign game to quickly save, or CTRL + L to quickly load the last saved game.


Campaign: Rogue Armies and Hordes

New to Total War: WARHAMMER II are rogue armies. These are warbands of desperate outlaws and are often comprised of unusual combinations of troops.

New to Total War: WARHAMMER II are rogue armies. These are warbands of desperate outlaws and are often comprised of unusual combinations of troops.

Rogue armies begin as hordes and will appear from time to time, typically in sparsely-populated terrain, and will eventually seek to establish a permanent presence on the campaign map by colonising a ruin or assaulting an occupied settlement. They are usually not immediately hostile, but will cause disruption by raiding the lands they move across.


Campaign: Public Order, Taxes and Corruption

In this video we'll be showing how public order affects your provinces and how you can keep it under control to avoid rebellions.

In this video we'll be showing how public order affects your provinces and how you can keep it under control to avoid rebellions.

Clicking on a settlement opens the province overview panel: on the left of which, is all the information about the owned settlements in full.
Checking the box titled Tax Province will provide your faction with increased income, but also negatively effect the public order. Hovering over Income will show you what buildings in your settlements are providing you with money. Un-ticking this box increases the number next to the public order total. This number is the amount that public order will change by next turn. Hovering over this will show what is affecting this number.

Public order is a measurement of how happy or repressed the citizens are in a faction, if it reaches minus 100 the province will revolt. If this happens, a rebellion army will appear and, if left to gather strength, may attack nearby settlements. If a revolutionary army appears, do not hesitate to crush it!

Below public order is a measurement of Chaos, Vampiric or Skaven corruption in a province; excessive corruption can lead to unrest and attrition, and even an eventual uprising if left unchecked. Corruption also effects public order; the lower the level of corruption, the higher the public order bonus will be. If public order drops too low in a corrupted province, then a Chaos, Vampiric or Skaven uprising will occur in place of a standard revolt.

Factions can use Heroes, construct certain buildings or deploy Lords with certain skills or followers to combat corruption and raise public order in their provinces. Having an army garrisoned in one of your provinces will also work to suppress those rebelling against you and raise public order.


Campaign: Technologies

In this video we'll briefly explain the technology screen in which you can upgrade the technical prowess of your armies.

In this video we'll briefly explain the technology screen in which you can upgrade the technical prowess of your armies.

Factions can research technologies over time. These bring a variety of civic and military benefits. To start research into a technology, open up the technology panel by clicking on the technology button in the bottom right panel. Only one technology can be researched at a time, and each lead to other technologies on this panel, much like a tree. Hover over a technology to reveal its tooltip to learn what benefits it will provide; some technology research options also unlock after the construction of specific buildings.


Campaign: Diplomacy

In this video we will be discussing the intricacies of diplomacy and how to use the systems to your advantage.

In this video we will be discussing the intricacies of diplomacy and how to use the systems to your advantage.

To initiate negotiations with another faction, click on the diplomacy button at the bottom right of the campaign UI. Information about your faction is shown on the left; you can see your allies, enemies and trade partners as well as the resources you are currently trading. The central panel shows a list of known factions and your relations with them: the green colour represents that a faction is friendly towards you, the brown indicates relations are neutral and the red, hostile. If you hover your cursor over a faction you can see a list of things that have a positive and negative impact on your relations - useful to know if you would like to be on better terms with a faction!

You'll also be able to see their relative strength over them – the more yellow you see on the bar next to their strength rank, the stronger you are in comparison. You can also view the treaties that have already been signed between your faction and others and whether you are currently at war. The second-last column shows if trading is possible between your factions and if you are currently trading with one another, and lastly, we have the aforementioned attitude.

Click on a faction to move your camera over to their location or double-click to open negotiations. To add an offer or demand, just press the button at the top of the diplomacy section to see your options. The colour of the diplomacy icons here represents how likely the other party are to agree to the offer, green being high and red low.

Non-aggression pacts are the ideal first step in building friendly relations with another faction; a faction breaking a non-aggression pact will incur significant diplomatic penalties which make it less likely that other factions will trust them in future. Military access allows you to move through one another’s territory without any diplomatic penalty and defensive allies are sworn to protect each other if war is declared on one of them.

Military alliances are a stronger version of defensive ones and will replace the latter if signed. Military allies are under oath to support each other if attacked or attacking another Lord or Race, however significant diplomatic standing must be built up between the two before an alliance proposal is likely to succeed.

Lastly, if you are negotiating with another faction of the same Race, you may have the option to confederate – this means that their faction will be assimilated into your own, including their settlements and some of their armies. However, watch out as you will also inherit their armies and upkeep! For example, if they had minus 2000 gold per turn, your income will also decrease by that value. Confederating also incurs a significant penalty to public order, so make sure your faction can handle the hit before proceeding.

You can also ask a faction to break a treaty it has already agreed with another faction. You can demand or offer a payment either to extract money from another faction to make your own offer more desirable; using the arrows to adjust the amount you send. You can also offer a small, medium or generous gift to a faction to improve your standing with them. You can also ask them to join a war against a third-party, and lastly and perhaps most importantly your faction can declare war upon theirs! This will end any current agreements you have with their faction and may cost you your deals with other factions, as they will pick sides.

When you have decided your negotiation, its success rate will appear at the bottom of the panel. Try adding in an appealing monetary gift to sweeten the deal if it’s not looking likely to succeed.


Campaign: Recruiting Armies

In this video we'll be showing you how to recruit new units to your armies and how to raise new armies to take the fight to multiple fronts.

In this video we'll be showing you how to recruit new units to your armies and how to raise new armies to take the fight to multiple fronts.

Recruitment takes time, costs money and the recruiting army must remain stationary whilst recruitment is taking place. To recruit new units to swell the ranks for an army, simply click the Recruit Units button at the bottom of the screen and a new panel will open. Depending on what military buildings you have constructed in your settlements, different and more advanced units will appear here – but watch where you choose to recruit! The local recruitment options show all units that are available in the local province. It will remain empty when not in controlled territory. The global recruitment pool is shared across all armies in a faction, even when in foreign territory! However, these units cost much more and take longer to recruit. Lastly, watch how many units you are recruiting at once: each unit requires an upkeep payment per turn, so make sure there’s enough in your treasury and predicted income.

If you would like, entirely new armies may be raised from the Recruit Lord panel to allow wars to be fought on multiple fronts. Recruit a new Lord to appoint them to lead the new military force, and then recruit units under them by the method we just mentioned.


Campaign: Army Movement, Stances and Exploration

In this video we'll show you how to move your armies around the campaign map on both land and sea, and we'll be explaining how your army's stance can affect how they move.

In this video we'll show you how to move your armies around the campaign map on both land and sea, and we'll be explaining how your army's stance can affect how they move.

To move an army, or hero, simply select by left-clicking and then right-click on the desired destination. If the destination is further than the army can move in one turn, the movement will take place over multiple turns.

The distance a selected army or hero can move is displayed by a yellow highlighted boundary which can fluctuate depending on what stance an army is currently in. You can also see this amount represented in the bar on the bottom left of the screen as shown in the video. Around an army is a red zone of control: enemies cannot pass through these except to attack the owner.

Roads that cross the landscape usually provide the fastest and safest method of travel – some races have their own special movement abilities which allow them to cross impassable areas, such as the Skaven who use the Underway. These are called Stances and can be seen on the bottom left corner of the campaign screen when an army is selected. Armies can modify their movement, behaviour and abilities by adopting Stances. An army may raid enemy territory by entering the Raiding Stance; raiding brings in money and has detrimental effects on the target. Raiding in enemy territory causes unhappiness in the targeted province.

There are a variety of different terrain types on the map, some of which are dangerous and may inflict attritional casualties on armies passing through, so watch your step… Hostile terrain types such as snowy wastes, deep ocean, deserts and swamps are uncomfortable for travelling troops. Watch out – should a Skaven plague spread to an army, all units will suffer attritional casualties for the duration of the plague!

Unexplored areas of the campaign map are obscured by the Fog of War – this may be lifted by sending an army or hero to explore in that direction. However, High Elves may use espionage to lift the Fog of War over the territory of any factions they trade with.

Sea areas of the map may only be charted by boat, but armies must take time to construct and dismantle their ships as they transition between the land and water. Be careful, an army will not be able to move further on that turn when switching between, unless they move through a port. The oceans sometimes throw up chance encounters such as wrecked vessels or shifting islands. Armies at sea which are close to such encounters may be able to plunder them for rewards. Set sail for a treasure hunt, but watch out for storms that might also cause attrition!


Campaign: Buildings

In this video we learn how buildings are built, maintained and how they can be used to grow your empire, recruit new armies and keep your populace happy or detained.

In this video we learn how buildings are built, maintained and how they can be used to grow your empire, recruit new armies and keep your populace happy or detained.

Buildings may be constructed within a settlement to boost its production capabilities or defences; they cost time and money to build, but grant a variety of benefits when completed which are shown on their icon tooltips. Buildings are constructed in slots: new slots are unlocked in a settlement when the central building is upgraded. Growth causes population surplus to accumulate in a province – this surplus can be spent on upgrading that central building to unlock new slots; this increases the settlement size. A settlement decreases in size when sacked or occupied.

Existing buildings can be upgraded to other buildings of the same type, but watch out for limitation in a settlement’s maximum level size! A building can only be upgraded to the level of the settlement building.

Buildings are usually specialised towards a specific purpose, such as unit recruitment or generating income. Military buildings specialise in allowing recruitment of new unit types, improving recruited units or in allowing more recruitment. Defensive buildings such as walls specialise in providing garrison units or improved fortifications. For more information on garrisons, check out our provinces and settlements video. Lastly, economic buildings generate taxes or produce resources, if available in the local province - these resources can then be traded with other factions for income.


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