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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.

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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.

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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?

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Tomb Kings: Battle Tactics

The legions of the dead are vast, but they are also frail, Skeleton Warriors and spearmen are best suited to holding back the mortals, not cutting them down, so don’t rely on them to do any heavy lifting.

The legions of the dead are vast, but they are also frail, Skeleton Warriors and spearmen are best suited to holding back the mortals, not cutting them down, so don’t rely on them to do any heavy lifting. Death will never be wasted, when a warrior falls, their soul will be passed into the Realm of Souls, where it will benefit and heal those still fighting, and ultimately summoning ferocious Ushabti to the field of battle, an elite monstrous infantry.

Tomb Kings have a wide range of large units, putting these units against their specialist area will benefit you greatly in battle, putting one of these units in the wrong place could lose you the battle, knowing which units to sacrifice and which to protect will serve you very well.

Your army is split in to two halves, constructs and undead, be careful, certain spells and abilities are tied to one of these types. You can ascertain the unit type by looking for the ‘Constuct’ or ‘Undead’ ability on the unit card

In battle keep your eye on the Real of Souls bar at the top of the screen, as you take losses it’ll trigger increasingly powerful map-wide healing effects. Once the third stage of the Realm of Souls is reached, it will unlock an army ability which summons a unit of powerful Ushabti

It’s important to consider careful when and where to summon your Ushabti, it may well be worth waiting to summon them on a weak flank, or on top of an unguarded unit of archers further back.

‘The Restless Dead’ - The Lore of Nehekhara’s passive ability - triggers map-wide healing/resurrection whilst spells are being cast, when used in conjunction with the Realm of Souls it can result in substantial amounts of healing.

With such magical prowess it may be worth investing in both the Hierotitan and the Casket of Souls, both are powerful units in their own right, but also come with abilities which increase your Winds of Magic pool and regeneration.

Skeleton Warriors/Spearmen are free and have a substantial missile block chance, use them to not only feed the Realm of Souls but also to soak up missile fire that would otherwise target your precious elite units

The infantry of the Tomb Kings are comparatively less armoured than other factions, use them to shield your armoured constructs from the enemies armour piercing attacks

The Tomb Scorpion’s charge attack is able to burrow under smaller units, use this to charge missile units behind the melee infantry

The chariots of the Tomb Kings come in much larger unit sizes than that of other races, use their weight and numbers to punch through infantry – avoiding braced spear infantry of course!

Khatep is the Lore of Nehekhara’s most powerful caster, but combining him with a Lore of Light Liche Priest will allow you to pin the enemies, ripe for Khatep’s two potential vortexes

Alone, a unit of Skeleton Archers isn’t much of a threat, but when combined with High Queen Khalida’s buff and the debuffs of the ‘Chosen of the Gods’ and the ‘Blessed Legion of Phakth’ regiments of renown they can do real damage to even armoured & shielded units

Tomb King infantry are often outclassed in a straight fight, but when they fight near their Tomb King they will fight all the harder due to the passive ‘My Will be Done’ ability

Always remember to keep your Necrotect hero nearby your ‘Construct’ units, this will increase their combat stats and give you the ability to heal them.

Similar to the Vampire Counts, losing your lord can be devastating, to help avoid this try keeping a Tomb Prince near your lord who will reduce incoming physical damage with his Guardian ability

Settra’s Chariot of the Gods is the most powerful chariot available, but, like all chariots risks becoming trapped in dense formations of infantry. To prevent this, remember that the ‘Wrath of Ptra’ ability is able to blast a path through infantry

When reduced to half health Tomb King Lords and Heroes have access to a variety of powerful ‘curses’, meaning that even a wounded Tomb King character is dangerous.

Consider what the opponent is likely to field, if you’re expecting infantry bring a Warsphinx, if you’re expecting other monsters or cavalry bring the Necrosphinx

Sepulchral Stalkers are a formidable defensive unit, with charge defence vs large and a disruptive short ranged missile attack they’re well able to fend off any cavalry charge


Though large, both the Tomb Scorpion and Sepulchral Stalkers are able to tunnel in to a vanguard position before the battle begins, deploying them ahead will allow them to support one another against the majority of threats they’ll face

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Tomb Kings: Campaign Tactics

The Tomb kings have risen, and are set to restore the ancient Kingdom of Nehekhara which has been decaying for centuries, carved up by foreign invaders, and now plunged into war once again as each Tomb King to fight for dominance.

The Tomb kings have risen, and are set to restore the ancient Kingdom of Nehekhara which has been decaying for centuries, carved up by foreign invaders, and now plunged into war once again as each Tomb King to fight for dominance.

Books of Nagash
The books of Nagash are powerful tomes containing the secret spells of Nagash, the first necromancer. They’ve become scattered throughout the world, and are sought by the Tomb Kings to claim control of the Black Pyramid of Nagash, part of the victory conditions in the Eye of the Vortex campaign.

The books are in the possession of other factions, some held within settlements and some held by Rogue Armies. All of them must be defeated or conquered to take possession of the book.

TIP: Rogue Armies carrying the Books of Nagash wont declare war on you. Make use of this time to watch where they patrol and bolster up your forces, as they’ll likely prove a tough fight with experience troops in their ranks.

In either campaign (Eye of the Vortex or Mortal Empires) 8 of the 9 books can be collected, with one being already held by Arkhan the Black which cant be taken from him. Each book offers a different bonus when they’re collected, from increasing unit capacity, to bonuses to trade and income. Take the time at the start of each campaign to see where the books are and what each book offers, as the effects they carry are randomized at the start of each campaign and each Tomb Kings Legendary Lord will have books in different parts of the world to collect.

Day of Awakening
Tomb Kings have a unique recruitment process, raising legions of the dead takes a lot of power, but it is free. There are restrictions to the amount of higher level units that you can recruit. To begin Tomb kings can recruit two limitless units, Skeleton warriors, and spearmen.

To recruit higher level unit’s and increase the capacity, you’ll need to construct specific buildings to unlock the unit and grant you an initial capacity. The more of these buildings you have the larger your capacity will become.

Now if you should lose a settlement containing these buildings, your capacity for that unit will be reduced. Your armies will be unaffected, but you may find that you have now exceeded the current units capacity.

TIP: You may find it more advantageous to disband wounded units without much experience and recruit a fresh unit of the same type within a couple of turns, rather than waiting for the wounded unit to replenish itself which can often take much longer.

 

Dynasties
Tomb Kings have a limitation with the number of armies that they can field at one time, and must awaken more Tomb Kings to command further armies. To do this they will spend time looking into their past, to discover long lost dynasties, their army traditions, and former Kings.

Having discovered one of the six major Nehekharan dynasties, you will be awarded with a new army slot, standard Tomb King Lords can be recruited straight away like any other faction, but a more powerful Lord, of the dynasty you have just researched can be recruited instead, by researching the top slot of that dynasty. Make use of the Canopic Jars you have been earning in the campaign to unlock this more powerful commander for your new army.

Take note though that once a Dynasty has been researched, the time is will take to research your next Dynasty will be greatly increased. The time spent on researching these dynasties can be improved by capturing additional settlements, with major settlements providing larger research boosts, over minor settlements.

TIP: Try capturing iconic Warhammer capital settlements (Khemri, Atldorf, Lothern, etc..) to gain much larger research boosts when playing as Tomb Kings.

Additionally, further benefits can be had within the Dynasties panel from unlocking Tomb Heralds which improve the quality of units within your Lords army, announcing both military and civic decrees to enhance your kingdoms infrastructure and Heroes which can be unlock and the capacity of them you can field via Gold or Canopic Jars.

Mortuary Cult and Canopic Jars
Throughout the campaign you will gather canopic jars from winning battles, taking settlements and engaging with dilemmas. These can then be used, along with tradable items, and gold, within the Mortuary Cult to craft magical items, that can be equipped to your Lords and Heroes.

TIP: Trade Resources can be secured either through military conquest in capturing a region and constructing a trade resource building within it or by the agreement of a trade agreement with a faction which already has access to the trade resource.

They can also be used to awaken Legions of Legend, elite units with specialist abilities and attributes to bolster your ranks and strengthen your armies, or to craft a new Dynasty, allowing you to field an additional army within the campaign.

TIP: To find a trade resource location quickly, left-click on the trade resource icon from the crafting recipe to have the game show you the closest location of that trade resource to your factions capital.

Rites
The tomb kings also come with their own rites to help them along the way, which provide a wide variety of benefits, using these at the right time can make a huge difference down the line, giving you bonuses to create stronger armies from the start, help with colonizing ruins, summon sandstorms to cause attrition to invading armies, and spur growth within your regions.

TIP: Try using the Great Incantation of Ptra on ruins of a major settlement if one is available, it will produce a far greater return on your investment for performing this Rite.

Buildings
The Tomb Kings economy can certainly play out quite differently to other races, with only basic infrastructure buildings on offer to aid growth and your treasury.

TIP: Make use of the cheap income buildings throughout your regions to provide a constant cash injection however small it may seem to start with.

More enticing military buildings can be used to bolster forces in the early game, but it can quickly stifle growth and development, thus preventing you from getting to the later, and far stronger, units in the roster.

TIP: If you’re after the higher tier units then focus on depth rather than breadth with your faction capital. It can be tempting to upgrade your minor settlements main building, but keep the growth back in reserve to quickly get your capital to level 5 and have the option of constructing the buildings that go with it.

Victory Conditions
For victory in the Eye of the Vortex campaign you’ll need to secure 5 of books of Nagash, gain ownership of the Black Pyramid and win the campaigns epic final or meet the domination victory conditions, which focus you on destroying a number of the main factions in this campaign.

Victory in the Mortal Empires campaign is somewhat different with the focus being much more on securing your local lands and then expanding out into the world to conquer your biggest rivals. The Books of Nagash still feature here in this campaign, but are not a part of your victory requirements.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Battle: Basic Tactics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: Keyboard and Mouse Controls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: Unit Cards, Stats and Abilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: Unit Types, Strengths and Weaknesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: Siege Battles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: Deployment and Battle Terrain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Battle: How to Use Lords and Heroes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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