Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki

Shades is a Dark Elves missile infantry unit introduced in Total War: Warhammer II. Betrayed and outcast by their peers, they bring savage vengeance to any who cross them.


The ancestors of the Shades once ruled Clar Karond but were betrayed and exiled by their peers. Now the outcast clans have become utterly at home in the wilderness of the Blackspine Mountains, moving as silently as ghosts through petrified forests and razor-sharp rocks. Their lives are vicious, even by the harsh standards of Dark Elves. Every day is a battle for survival with the dread beasts of the mountains; every night a gauntlet of drum-driven king-sacrifice and death duelling. The Shades' hardiness makes them valued additions to any raiding fleet, and many Dreadlords expend much wealth in enticing them to their cause. When the army attacks, the Shades infiltrate the enemy battleline. From this position, they can harass the foe with volleys of dark-fletched bolts, or strike out and slay war machine crews with glinting blades.


  • Armour-Piercing Missiles: The damage of Modifier icon armour piercing.pngarmour-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.
  • Stalk: This unit can move hidden in any terrain.
  • Vanguard Deployment: This unit can deploy in an expanded deployment area, allowing it to start the battle within striking distance of the enemy - or somewhere unexpected.


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Compared to the cheaper Darkshards, Shades enjoy a moderate increase in firing rate, higher movement speed and better melee stats at the cost of not having shields. However, their primary job remains the same: to shoot the enemy until he´s dead. Due to not having the ability to fire on the move or in a 360 degree arc as well as having a rather short range, Shades make for relatively poor skirmishers. In any situation where they´re forced to stand and engage in a missile duel with enemy units, they will fare considerably worse than Darkshards. Although their Vanguard Deployment and Stalk abilities can be used for attacking from an unexpected angle or ambushing lonely artillery crews, it´s questionable how useful this is compared to the high missile block chance shielded Darkshards provide.

They do also have better melee stats than Darkshards, making them much more survivable when engaged or harassed in melee. They employ a loose formation which makes them less vulnerable to missile fire. Stalk also allows them to attack an enemy unexpectedly, reducing the need for shields. While Darkshards are a solid unit in the beginning and mid game, (and are definitely servicable into the late game) Shades offer equally strong ranged attacks with better melee stats and the ability to stalk and ambush.