Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki

Battles are a game mode in the Total War: Warhammer series where two or more armies fight each other in real time. During a battle, units from opposing armies engage in combat against each other.


A battle can occur in campaign mode when two enemy armies meet on the campaign map, or when an army attacks an enemy settlement. Players can choose to autoresolve if they don't wish to play a battle themselves.

The strength of a defeated army in campaign mode is greatly reduced after a battle, affecting the controlling faction’s ability to continue the war. However, the victor's units may also be damaged to a greater or lesser degree.

Battles also happen in other modes such as online multiplayer matchmaking and custom battles.

Armies may deploy their troops prior to battle. If the battle is fought at a settlement then the victor gains control of it on the campaign map.

In a battle, one side is the attacker and the other side is the defender. If the battle ends in a tie, then the defender wins by default.

Battles are won by killing or routing all enemy units.

Types of Battles[]

Field Battles[]

A battle between two or more armies on the campaign map, and does not involvement settlements or garrisons. In online competitive multiplayer, all battles are field battles for fairness.

Ambushes and Intercepts[]

Ambush battles or intercept battles happen when one army surprises another on the campaign map. The surprised army cannot deploy.

Minor Settlement Battles (without walls)[]

Functionally the same as a field battle except that if victorious you will capture the settlement.

Siege Battles[]

A siege battle happens when an army attacks a major settlement, or a minor settlement with walls.

Naval Battles[]

A battle fought between two embarked armies (or a Black Ark) on the water on the campaign map. It can be fought or auto resolved as usual. Naval battles are generally fought on islands. Ship combat is out of the scope of the game.

Set Piece Battles or Quest Battles[]

Set piece battles are special battles where they player fights a scripted challenge. They can be access in campaign through legendary lord quest chains, or as a standalone game mode from the main game menu.

Battle User Interface[]

  • The battle interface is made up of many separate elements such as the Army panel and its Unit cards, the radar map, the Winds of Magic panel and the Unit Portrait panel.
  • The balance of power indicator shows the current relative strengths of allied versus enemy forces.
  • The radar map shows the position of allied and enemy units at a glance, while the tactical map shows a more in-depth overview of the battlefield.
  • The battle can be sped up or slowed down with the time controls. Press P to pause the battle, ESC to get to the game menu.

Order of battle[]


Army commanders may arrange their units for the coming fight during the deployment phase of the battle. Once deployment is completed the battle begins.

Units may be positioned within the designated deployment zone. The attacker deploys before the defender. The defender may view the attacker’s arrangement during their own deployment.

  • Vanguard units may be positioned outside of their army’s deployment zone.
  • The defender has no chance to deploy during an ambush or intercept battle.
  • Selecting a unit with left click then right clicking and dragging on the map.
  • The small yellow arrows indicate which way a unit will face.


Total War: Warhammer III[]

There is now a timer for reinforcement, determined by various factors, making it easier to take on two armies with one smaller one as they are naturally split. It also means that a tiny army backed up by a bigger one is a much less dangerous prospect, as you can win the battle before their reinforcements arrive. The Lightning Strike ability has also been modified to a three point skill and now massively increases enemy reinforcement time for the first two ranks, enabling Lightning Strike battles at the third. Finally, if you’re the one with reinforcements on the way, you can move the reinforcement marker on the map to a place of your choosing, at the cost of extra time until the reinforcements arrive.

  • Oracles of Tzeentch have +100% enemy reinforcement time prediction accuracy as a faction effect, and -50% friendly reinforcement time.

Total War: Warhammer I and II[]

Additional armies drawn into a battle on the campaign map appear as reinforcements. Reinforcing armies appear at the edge of the battlefield during the fighting.

Reinforcements may take time to appear, during which the army being reinforced is at risk of being defeated in detail.

The battle commences[]

  • Units do damage to each other through melee engagements, missiles, abilities and spells.
  • Units can be grouped together by selecting several units (using shift+left click, or ctrl+left click) and then pressing ctrl+a number. For instance ctrl+2 will put units in control group 2, now they can be selected by just pressing 2.
  • You can also press ctrl+g which will put the units in the lowest control group number which has not been assigned. The units will be 'locked' in their current formations and relative positions. If you select ctrl+g again this will 'unlock' the grouping.
  • To charge an enemy with melee units, select the melee unit and then double right click on the enemy. When two melee units clash, they will combat each other.
  • If you have an enemy already enaged with one of yours or they are indisposed or unaware you can make attacks against enemy units to the side or rear of the enemy unit. Attacks to the side are called flanking attacks. Attacks to the rear are called rear attacks.
  • Be aware that certain unit behaviours can be changed using buttons at the bottom of the screen.
  • Guard Mode (which stops units from pursuing fleeing enemies) is particularly useful.
  • Turning off Fire At Will can help conserve ammo.
  • Make note of Skirmish Mode for ranged units (especially ranged cavalry). This will cause them to automatically run away from enemy melee units.
  • Remember some units can hide in trees or behind hills. Some units are too big to hide in trees or are flying so can be seen above the trees.
  • Remember to make use of spells, abilities, breath attacks and army abilities.
  • Try to protect ranged units with melee units. Use cavalry to charge into the back and sides of vulnerable enemies and benefit from flanking.
  • Use warbeasts like Harpies and Dire Wolves to harass artillery and weak ranged infantry.
  • Units with a "bonus vs. large" are good against cavalry and monsters. Units with "armor piercing" are good against high-armour targets.
  • A unit has a health value for each of its entities. When each unit entity suffers it's entire 'health' in damage it dies. When all the entities in a unit are dead that unit has perished and generally will not return ever, so becareful with your unique units.
  • Legendary Lords and Heroes will not die, but will be wounded (out of commission) for a number of turns if killed in battle.
  • Units also have leadership values. When a leadership value is dropped low enough the unit will flee opposing units until it feels safe. If the unit is broken or has fled the battle field it is defeated and will not return this battle.
  • If a small remnant of troops remain on the battle field or flee the battle they will be returned to your army with losses. These troops should be replenished or consolidated before sent into another battle if possible.
  • Don't worry too much about units marked "expendable". Your troops will not be dismayed if they die or flee.
  • Once one army has dealt a decisive blow to another army's health and leadership the opposing armies moral suffers army losses. (see army losses under leadership)
  • Army losses generally ends the battle except for unbreakable foes who are too stubborn or stupid to flee.

The aftermath[]

After a victorious battle in campaign:

  • You will be get loot money which will be added to the treasury.
  • You have a chance to steal items that the enemy lord was holding.
  • You have a chance to gain items, followers, banners and the like (including runes for Dwarfs).
  • Dark Elves factions will also get slaves alongside loot.
  • Skaven and Ogre Kingdoms factions will also get food alongside loot.
  • The armies of Khorne will additionally receive skulls.
  • If you captured a settlement battle or siege battle, then you will be presented with settlement options.
  • If it was a field battle, ambush battle or intercept battle:
    • If it was the first battle the two armies have fought this turn, then the loser may retreat.
    • If you can chase the losing army down and defeat it again, then it is destroyed.
    • Some stances may affect whether armies can retreat.
    • In any case, you will be presented with post-battle options.

If your army loses the battle:

  • You may lose money and items to the enemy.
  • If it was a field battle, you may attempt to retreat. The enemy may chase your army down and destroy it entirely.
    • Some stances may affect whether armies can retreat.
  • If you were fighting for a settlement, then the enemy may capture/sack/raze the settlement etc.

After a battle in other game modes:

  • You will be presented with a win/loss screen showing the armies involved and how many troops they brought/lost.
Battle mode