Leadership, sometimes called morale or resolve, is a measure of a unit's will to continue fighting. If a unit’s leadership level drops too low then the troops will waver and eventually rout/break from the battlefield and stop responding to orders. Broken/routing units can also rally and come back into the fight. The leadership state of a unit is shown on its tooltip.
Wavering and Routing/Breaking
A unit’s banner flashes when it wavers, and turns white when it routs. Routing units do not respond to orders, and will run away from the battle. Units can be demoralised by allies routing, meaning that a single rout can cause a chain-reaction in the army. Some of the causes of routing can be:
- Encirclement: A unit attacked from more than one side will lose resolve much faster than if only engaged from the front. Use rear ranks to encircle and attack. See flanking.
- Cavalry charges: Several hundred kilograms of horse, rider, and armor crashing into someone will put a dent in morale. Shock cavalry excels at breaking enemy lines unless they can defend themselves with spears or halberds.
- Spears or Halberds usually have the ability Charge Defense Large (CDL). Troops with CDL may brace facing an on coming charge from large entities such as cavalry or monsters. When they do so they negate the beneficial impacts of the charging attack.
- Elite troops have the ability Charge Defense All (CDA). Troops with CDA may brace facing an on coming charge from any entity large or small. When they do so they negate the beneficial impacts of the charging attack.
- Lords falling in battle. This has enough impact to potentially send the whole army packing.
- Terror and fear - effects on certain units (usually monsters and undead) which lower enemy leadership (see below).
- Having low vigour (ie: being tired/exhausted).
- If faster or stronger units are nearby.
- If flanks are secured by nearby allied troops.
- Spells can temporarily buff or debuff leadership.
- If the unit has taken damage. Damage sustained impacts leadership both in quantity of damage and how fast it has impacted the unit.
- If a blow is decisive enough (fast and powerful) it can waiver an enemy unit's moral causing them to flee.
- When a unit wavers whatever command you are performing is dropped.
Eventually when a unit's leadership is extremely low (usually after multiple routs) they will become Shattered - they will rout and cannot rally (see below).
Rampaging units should not be confused with routing. They are different states.
Vampire Counts, Tomb Kings, Vampire Coast units never rout, as they are undead and do not experience fear. Instead when their Binding (leadership) drops they will lose health and troops via crumbling. If leadership drops extremely low -equivalent to shattered for normal units-, the unit may start disintegrating and lose health/models at an even faster rate.
In Total War: Warhammer III, units which are daemonic have the Daemonic Instability passive. When their leadership is low, instead of routing they will take damage over time. If their leadership is extremely low -equivalent to shattered for normal units- they may become Banished!, losing health at an even more rapid rate before dying and disappearing from the battlefield.
Routing units may rally if they feel safe. Units that are routing on the battlefield may rally and begin responding to orders again once they have retreated a safe distance from the enemy.
A unit will not rally if there is no lord present, or if its leadership state becomes shattered.
The Encourage ability of the Lord may also be used to raise the leadership of routing units close-by, so that they may return to the action.
Undead units won't rally, but they may stop crumbling.
Units which are shattered will not be able to rally. A unit can only rout three times before it will shatter the next time its leadership breaks
If the entire army as a whole has lost many of its units, this causes every unit of an army to waver and rout regardless of Leadership when triggered. Unbreakable units will continue fighting.
Being targeted by archers and artillery units provide a negative leadership effect (-8), regardless of if those units hit. Artillery is scary.
If a unit has its flanks (sides) guarded by nearby friendly units, then it gets a leadership bonus.
Encourage by nearby units, Heroes, or Lords raises morale.
Units that begin their charging animation gain a +15 Leadership when charging until their charge bonus wears off (~10 Seconds)
Undead: The unit is Undead (does not rout, immune to terror, becomes unstable when is low).
- ! - Rampage: When this unit gets hurt it may go on a rampage against nearby enemy units, attacking the closest one and ignoring any orders given.
- ↑ Expendable: This unit is comparably cheap to recruit, maintain and replenish.
- ↓ Primal Instincts: When under pressure, the primal instincts of these natural predators take over. They then may go on a rampage against nearby enemy units, attacking the closest one and ignoring any orders given.