Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki
Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki

Halberdiers is a Empire melee infantry unit in Total War: Warhammer. Halberdiers are stalwart defenders, able to hold the line behind a wall of Halberds, cutting enemies to ribbons.


Equipped with the fearsome halberd, a long-shafted weapon with a heavy blade, this weapon is capable of smashing through heavy armour and the tough hides of deadly creatures in equal measure. Halberdier regiments are amongst the most numerous infantry type due to the Emperor's requirement that each Elector Count maintain a standing force of Halberdiers because of their strength and versatility on the battlefield.

Wearing only a chest-plate, these men go to combat without a shield, but bravely engages their enemies in a tight formation, using the powerful swipes of their blade to compensate for their lack of armour with bone-crushing force. Such troops are suited for both defence and offence, capable of holding ground in a narrow passage against numerically or physically superior opponents, as well as being the spearhead of a massive Imperial assault. As such, these men are a very common sight on any Imperial battlefield.


  • Anti-Large: Anti-large units have an advantage against targets that are at least as large as a horse. This advantage can be a damage bonus against large targets or an attack that focuses on a very small area. However, some units are simply better against large targets because their attacks are slow and easy to dodge by skilled melee combatants.
  • Armour-Piercing: The damage of armour-piercing weapons mostly ignores the armour of the target, making them the ideal choice against heavily-armoured enemies. They are often heavier and attack at a slower rate though, making them less efficient against poorly-armoured targets.
  • Charge Defence Against Large Foes: When standing and bracing against a charge of large enemies (such as cavalry or monsters) this unit will negate the enemy's charge bonus.


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GodDamnNameStealer's Basic Guide to Halberdiers[]

The key thing to understand about Halberdiers is that their use is very much dictated by both the army you are fighting against, and the units you direct them to attack. Thus, this guide consists of 6 sections; general rules of use and one section for specific, notable units of each army.

General Rules

  • + Halberdiers have very solid defensive stats for a t1 unit; with a 38 defense score and CDvL (charge defense against large), these are your go-to unit against the vast majority of cavalry charges you will encounter on the fields of battle.
  • + Armor piercing quality makes the halberdiers an arguably better anti-cavalry choice than spearmen; most light cavalry is something like pistoliers or marauder horsemen-good at ranged, terrible at melee, which means your halberdiers will probably never close with them. The vast majority of mounted melee units are armored, which means that spearmen will usually lose a straight up fight against them, even with the anti-large bonus. 1v1, halberdiers stand a MINIMUM 50/50 chance of winning against any armoured mounted melee unit. The only two units that MIGHT break this rule is Chaos Knights and Demigryph Knights, and even then it's a foolish commander who takes that gamble.
  • - Halberdiers have low armor and no shields, which makes them vulnerable to ranged attacks.

Halberdiers vs. Empire

  • Halberdiers vs. Greatswords is a tolerable match-up if necessary, but greatswords have a substantial anti-infantry damage bonus and a much faster attack speed. Any prolonged conflict will likely see the halberdiers annihilated, though they will probably inflict substantial casualties in the process.
  • Empire Knights and Reiksguard are both large and armoured units, and neither of them have attack or defense stats high enough to compensate for these weaknesses. Toss your halberdiers against them without fear; just don't get flanked.
  • Demigryph Knights are also viable targets, but they are substantially more dangerous than regular knights. Between their noticeably faster attack speed, their small AoE attacks, and the fact that they cause fear, it is quite possible to find your halberdiers breaking and routing if left unsupported. It's best to keep a friendly unit or hero nearby just in case, or to use ranged units to whittle them down beforehand.
  • While it is quite difficult to close to hand-to-hand, halberdiers can actually handle Steam tanks quite well if they can avoid being shot to pieces before they get there. Steam tanks are both armored and large; what's more, their melee AoE is relatively small for a top-tier "monster" unit, and their base is large enough that a very large portion of your halberdiers can attack all at once. Your halberdiers will almost certainly be heavily damaged, but I have more than once killed steam tanks with them. It's important to remember that steam tanks cause terror though, so you will probably need more than one halberdier unit to keep morale up long enough to finish the job.

Vs. Dwarfs

  • There is no contest here; if you must pick a bottom tier melee unit to fill your line of battle, it MUST be halberdiers. Except for slayers and artillery crews, every single dwarf infantry unit is armored, and frequently shielded as well. Swordsmen and spearmen will almost certainly get wrecked. It might be worth taking a few swordsmen to soak up missile fire, but they will do very little damage in melee.

Vs. Vampire Counts

  • Grave Guard are an iffy prospect. While they are armored and have worse base stats than halberdiers, they have extremely high damage and a noticeably faster attack speed. A general rule of thumb is that Great Weapon Grave Guard are good targets, while Sword and Shield Grave Guard should be avoided if possible. Keep in mind that they also cause fear, so regardless of combat performance they might make your halberdiers break and run anyway.
  • Black Knights are pretty much the same as Empire Knights-hunt those suckers down and kick their rotten teeth in.
  • Regardless of type, the various monster units of the VCs follow the same general rules; get mixed in if you can, but keep heroes and other friendly units nearby to counter the effects of fear and terror. For the biggest units like the Varghulf and Terrorgheist, keeping a few ranged units nearby to shoot into melee is also a good idea.

Vs. Greenskins

  • Oddly enough, Halberdiers vs Black Orcs is a good match-up for the halberdiers. The halberdiers attack is higher than the BO's defense, their defense is higher than the BO's attack, halberdiers aren't armored and so have an ultimately higher weapon damage than the BO's, and they greatly outnumber the BO's as well. The only thing the BO's have going for them is much higher health, a hefty charge bonus, and a faster attack speed. In any prolonged fight, the halberdiers are likely to win, and even if they don't, they'll really f up the black orcs.
  • While it is best to kill Giants and Trolls with ranged attacks whenever possible, halberdiers perform about as well against them as any infantry unit can. However, since giants are not armored, it is best to use spearmen against them when possible, as the spearmen will have a much higher DPS.
  • Orc Boar Boyz, Goblin Wolf Riders, and chariots are excellent targets for halberdiers. While they are not armored, their stats are bad enough that it's not too much trouble to dispatch them. Just take care to make sure you are braced for them-they have some of the deadliest charges in the game.
  • While Arachnarok Spiders are technically a ready-made target, their monstrously high health, armor, and their fast attack speed makes this a very dangerous match-up for the halberdiers. The addition of the howdah-mounted archers, with poison attacks for everyone and terror as well, means that you'd probably need a minimum of three entire halberdier units with hero leadership support, to stand a chance.

Vs. Warriors of Chaos

Hypothetic battle[]

A basic rundown of the above is that the performance of Empire units are dependent on the occasion as they have the potential face any army, provided that you have done your research:

Halberdiers have a base damage (meaning it scales down according to the armor of the opponent) of 8. In comparison the Spearmen have 20. While both units have an anti-large bonus, the halberdiers only have a 14 against the spearman's 17. Meaning the spears deal 37 dmg while the expensive halberds are a mere 25. As to attack speed, the individual Spearman can attack every 3.8 secs while a Halberdier has to wait an extra 1.7 secs to attack.

Sounds like the cheap guys are infinitely better? Well not really. Because the armor-piercing in this game scales up the more armor the enemy has.

The Halberdiers have a whopping 19 AP stat while the Spearmen are merely 5.

Here come some Undead Black Knights, due to being large they are affected by the Anti-large but have an armor of 80. The spear's attack is reduced to 6.8+5 AP. The Black Knights are laughing their skulls off as the spear tips do nothing but scratch the rust and grime upon their armor as they mow down the mortals like wheat. The Halberdiers come in to save the day with their 5+19 which scales up according to the armor.

The Black Knights are now reduced to angry, dismembered torsos wiggling upon the ground as the halberdiers holler in victory.

However, their relishing is short lived for some Crypt Horrors have arrived. The Halberdiers, overconfident, rush to face them head on. The moment they raise their weapons to strike, they are snatched up in clusters by the waist and shoved by the handful into the mouths of the ravenous undead. The cannibalistic fiends move on to do the same to the spearmen. But as soon as they reach out their hands, they find their appendages impaled and immobilized by dozens of spears. They howl and struggle fruitlessly as a dozen spearmen pin them down while their comrades begin rapidly stabbing freely at the abominations joints and vitals. Bones are pierced and muscles and organs are cut and ripped as the Horrors die. Those that break free run in terror to heal are soon engulfed in flames casted by a crackling Bright wizard on his pegasus.