Total War: WARHAMMER Wiki

Armies on the battlefield are made up of units of many individual soldiers or, rarely, a "single entity" unit such as a character or monster.

How They Work[]

Each unit is independently controllable and represented on the battle interface by a Unit card.

One or more units may be selected at any time. Movement orders are issued to all selected units.

More advanced control-methods are also available to maneuver selected units.

On the campaign map, units can gain experience and rank over time and get stronger so long as they are not completely destroyed or disbanded.

Banners are displayed above units on the battlefield and indicate the unit’s type, strength, and allegiance. Unit behaviour is influenced by leadership and vigour levels.

Units may have active and passive abilities, spells, and breath attacks.

New units can be summoned using spells, items, and abilities, or they can appear as reinforcements during battle.

Roles of Units[]

Melee Units[]

Melee units are made for fighting in close combat (melee). They generally cannot attack from range.

Guard mode is an important button for melee units, as it prevents them chasing fleeing enemies if the player doesn't want that.

Ranged Units[]

Ranged units, aka missile units, can fire projectiles to damage the enemy from afar. Each will have a different range and amount of ammunition.

In battle, ranged units can be set to skirmish mode, where they will automatically run away if enemies come close.

Ranged units can also attack in melee, though they are usually not very good at it.

Hybrid Units[]

While all units can attack in melee, some units such as Lothern Sea Guard, Free Company Militia and Quarrellers are designed to be good both in melee and at range. Kislev has many hybrid infantry units, such as Streltsi.


Flying units can fly across the battlefield, above other troops and above terrain. They can land to attack in melee combat. Some have ranged attacks they can use while airborne. See Flying units below.

Weapon Types[]

  • Swords, axes, dual-weapons etc: These generally perform poorly against armoured units or large units, but do well against polearms.
  • Polearms: Spears, halberds, and similar weapons usually give the unit a bonus against large units, but are a disadvantage versus swords or axes.
  • Great weapons: Large, heavy melee weapons that often have armour-piercing damage.
  • Shields: Shielded units are able to block some portion (variable percentage depending on the unit) of the incoming missiles from the front.
  • Lances: Cavalry armed with lances (as opposed to swords or spears); they generally have increased damage when they charge.

Vital Statistics in Battle[]

  • Health: The current health of the unit, divided up between the remaining models in the unit.
  • Unit size: The number of soldiers/models in the unit. Some units such as Skavenslaves have as many as 200 soldiers, while most characters and large monsters only have 1.
  • Leadership: The current leadership (morale) of the unit. When this goes to zero, most units will rout or crumble.
  • Melee attack: Likelihood of a unit hitting when it attacks
  • Melee defence: Likelihood of a unit not being hit when an enemy attacks.
  • Charge Bonus: Boost to melee attack that fades over a short period of time after a unit charges.
  • Ammo: The current ammunition of a ranged unit. When this is spent, the unit cannot fire any more and can only engage in melee combat.
  • Fatigue: How much energy this unit has left. This also affects leadership – tired units are more likely to rout.
  • Mass: Units with higher mass are able to push and knock other units out of the way, leading to devastating charges.

Large Units[]

Units are either considered large or small. Infantry, war beasts, and most artillery crews are small. Cavalry, chariots, war machines, monstrous infantry, and monsters are large.


Units may have an attribute, indicating that unit's role on the battlefield. Some of the more notable ones are:

  • Expendable: These fodder units can be sacrificed to the enemy without much worry. In some cases, other units' leadership won't be harmed if these units rout or are destroyed.
  • Anti-large: This unit does extra damage to large units.
  • Armour-piercing: This unit does extra damage to heavily armoured units.
  • Decent melee combatant: This ranged unit can perform OK in melee, if it has to.
  • Causes Fear / Terror: These effects deplete enemy leadership (often found on monsters).
  • Hide / Stalk: This unit can become invisible to the enemy under certain circumstances.

Unit Abilities[]

Some units (especially characters) have special active or passive abilities in battle. Active ability buttons will be on the bottom left of the UI in battle when the unit is selected.

Unit Types[]

A unit's type broadly defines its capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Each of the factions has a sizable set of units to choose from.


Examples: Spearmen, Dwarf Warriors, Bleakswords

  • Infantry units are dense formations of men (or other roughly human-sized creatures) armed with hand-to-hand weapons, who march and fight on foot.
  • Massed ranks of infantry are the mainstay of most army compositions.
  • Infantry units are often heavily armed and armoured, but generally slow and vulnerable to being attacked at range or outmaneuvered by faster units.
  • Infantry are strong against enemies in front of them, but vulnerable when attacked in the flank or rear.
  • Infantry troops can carry a variety of weapon types such as swords, spears, and axes.
  • Infantry units are usually best arranged in a line, so that each unit covers the flank of the next.

Ranged / Missile Units[]

Examples: Crossbowmen, Thunderers, Archers.

  • Ranged units have ranged weapons which they use to attack enemies from afar.
  • Ranged units are best employed in battle to stand back from the action and fire, sling, or hurl projectiles at the enemy.
  • Some ranged units fire in an arc over the enemy (such as Glade Guard and Quarrellers).
  • Other ranged units will fire in a straight line. For instance, Handgunners, Thunderers, and Skink Skirmishers.
  • Ranged units have a maximum range. They will automatically fire at enemies within this range (unless fire-at-will is deactivated), but cannot shoot enemies beyond it.
  • Be aware that friendly fire is possible with all ranged units – they can harm your own units.
  • They are generally lightly armoured and weak in melee combat.
  • They may use the skirmish ability to automatically retreat from an advancing enemy.
  • Ranged units must use ammunition to fire. When all their ammunition is gone, they can only attack in melee. Ammunition replenishes at the end of a battle.
  • Some characters are ranged, such as the Waystalker.
  • Vampire Counts have no ranged units.

Flamethrower Units[]

Examples: Irondrakes, Flame Cannons, Warpfire Throwers.

  • A type of ranged units armed with flamethrowers or similar weapons.
  • They fire a long stream.
  • Infantry versions are short range; artillery versions have a longer range.
  • High damage – especially against low armoured massed targets.

Hybrid Units[]

Examples: Free Company Militia, Lothern Sea Guard.

  • Hybrid units are missile units which are also good in melee combat.
  • Generally have a shorter range than dedicated missile units.

Cavalry / Mounted Units[]

Examples: Chaos Knights, Forest Goblin Spider Riders, Mounted Yeomen, Grail Knights, Cold One Riders.

  • Cavalry are humans (or human-sized creatures) who ride into battle on horses (or horse-sized creatures).
  • Mounted units are typically very fast and maneuverable, but generally more expensive and fewer in number than infantry.
  • Note the difference between heavy cavalry, which are generally heavily armoured, and light cavalry/fast cavalry, which aren't.
  • A cavalry charge can impart a big leadership shock to an enemy, particularly if delivered to the flank or rear of an enemy unit.
  • Useful for picking off weak or isolated units (especially ranged units and artillery) or chasing routing units.
  • Mounted troops are vulnerable against spear weapons or in prolonged engagements.
  • Some Cavalry are Flying Cavalry, such as Terradon Riders.
  • Dwarfs and Skaven have no cavalry units of any kind.

Ranged Cavalry[]

Examples: Pistoliers, Mounted Yeomen Archers, Ellyrian Reaver Archers, Dark Riders, Marauder Horsemen (Throwing Axes)

  • Ranged cavalry are missile unit cavalry.
  • They are best used as skirmishers: shooting enemies, then running away if followed, taking advantage of their speed.

Shock Cavalry[]

Examples: Chaos Knights (Lances), Knights of the Blazing Sun, Orc Boar Boyz, Knights Errant, Blood Knights

  • Shock cavalry refers to cavalry which does a lot of damage initially, but is not good in sustained combat.
  • This type of unit is good to charge repeatedly (called "cycle charging") but should not be left in combat for long.
  • Typically armed with lances.

War Beasts[]

Examples: Norscan Ice Wolves, Chaos Warhounds, Dire Wolves, Squig Herds

  • War beasts are animals or monsters which are smaller than a cavalry unit (smaller than a human riding a horse).
  • They are typically very fast and have low mass and armour.
  • War beasts are good at harassing vulnerable ranged units and artillery crews or chasing routing units.
  • Some war beasts can fly (such as Fell Bats, Carrion).
  • Warbeasts are typically low-value, expendable units.


Examples: Giant, Wyvern, Arachnarok Spider, Imperial Griffon, War Mammoth, Sun Dragon, Feral Carnosaur, Hell Pit Abomination.

  • Monsters are huge, powerful creatures that inspire terror into their enemies. They are larger than monstrous infantry or cavalry.
  • They are best used for scattering and disrupting formations of enemy infantry.
  • Monsters with the siege attacker attribute can be used to attack gates in a siege battle.
  • Many monsters can fly.
  • The size of monsters makes them vulnerable to attacks by missile units, artillery, and spears.
  • Some monsters are available by themselves, whilst others only appear as mounts for characters.
  • Dwarfs have no monster units.

Monstrous Infantry[]

Examples: Chaos Spawn, Minotaurs, Trolls, Crypt Horrors, Rat Ogres, Kroxigors, Ushabti.

  • Monstrous infantry are large creatures, much larger than a human, but smaller than a monster.
  • Generally come in units of 10 to 30.
  • Like cavalry, they have high mass. They are generally a little slower than cavalry but usually have more staying power in melee combat.
  • Some are flying (such as Vargheists), or ranged (such as Ushabti (Great Bows)).

Monstrous Cavalry[]

Examples: Demigryph Knights, Necropolis Knights, Royal Hippogryph Knights, Rotting Prometheans.

  • Monstrous cavalry are units riding medium-sized monsters (creatures larger than horses).
  • Generally have even more mass than regular cavalry.

Wizards / Spellcasters[]

Examples: Bright Wizard, Chaos Sorcerer Lord, Slann Mage-Priest.

Flying Units[]

Examples: Feral Manticore, Harpies, Vargheists, Gyrocopter (Brimstone Gun), Terradon Riders, Royal Hippogryph Knights.


Examples: Great Cannon, Flame Cannon, Hellcannon, Plagueclaw Catapult, Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower.

  • Artillery are a type of missile unit that can fire at the enemy over long distances.
  • Most useful against dense infantry formations, monsters, and fortifications. Less useful against cavalry, flying units ,and war beasts.
  • Most artillery are machines, crewed by infantry. If the infantry are all killed, then the artillery cannot be used until another crew is ordered to crew it.
  • If an enemy artillery crew of the same race as you is all killed and you have a space in your army, there is a chance you will capture their artillery unit after the battle.
  • Generally move slowly, and their crews are vulnerable in melee.
  • Artillery crews can abandon their artillery equipment (for instance if they rout), and then man it again.
  • Artillery units generally have very limited ammunition.
  • Like other ranged units, they will fire-at-will unless it is toggled off.
  • Vampire Counts and Wood Elves have no artillery units.


Examples: Grudge Thrower, Plagueclaw Catapult

  • Fire indirectly over your troops and over walls.
  • Generally less accurate than direct-fire weapons.

Siege Artillery[]

Examples: Great Cannon, Warp Lightning Cannon

  • Not to be confused with Siege Equipment (see below)
  • Do high damage to single targets and fortifications / buildings / walls.

Field Artillery[]

Examples: Organ Gun, Flame Cannon

  • Simply indicates that this artillery unit is best employed against enemy units, not enemy fortifications/buildings/walls.

Monster Artillery[]

Examples: Cygor, Bastiladon (Solar Engine), Ancient Stegadon, Bone Giant

  • Artillery units which are monsters; they have no crew.
  • Some may be called specialist artillery in the game.

Magical Artillery[]

Examples: Luminark of Hysh, Casket of Souls

  • Artillery units which have special magical attacks.
  • Not all artillery units with magical attacks are actually listed as magical artillery in the game (for instance, the Screaming Skull Catapult and Bone Giant are not)

War Machines[]

Examples: Gyrocopters, Doomwheel, Steam Tank

  • War machines are mechanical units which can move around freely in battle mode and do not have a crew.
  • Sometimes they double as artillery; other times they do not.
  • Beastmen and Wood Elves have no war machines.


Examples: Tiranoc Chariot, Skeleton Chariot, Gorebeast Chariot.

  • Chariots are somewhat similar to war machines and cavalry.
  • They typically have lower numbers per unit than cavalry but also lot of mass and can punch through enemy lines on the charge.
  • Chariots require more free space to operate properly and because of this get caught in sustained combat easier, being as vulnerable in it as cavalry.
  • Some chariots are ranged, operating similarly to ranged cavalry (for example Goblin Wolf Chariots).
  • For magical chariots, please see the section on support units below.
  • Most have good armour.
  • Wood Elves and Dwarfs have no chariots.

Support Units[]

Examples: Grail Reliquae, Runesmith, Bastiladon (Revivification Crystal), Black Coach, War Mammoth (Warshrine), War Altar of Sigmar

  • Support units boost friendly troops within a certain radius using aura abilities.
  • They can usually strike at foes with magical attacks.
  • Very diverse: support units might be infantry, characters, magic chariots, or monsters.

Siege Weapons[]

Siege weapons are large, constructed weapons of war that are used to attack the fortifications during siege battles. Rams are used to breach the city gates, and siege towers are used to get troops on top of the city walls.

  • Siege weapons are equipped by infantry units, who are then able to push them towards the enemy fortifications.
  • A selected infantry unit can be instructed to pick up some siege equipment by right-clicking on it.
  • A selected unit can be ordered to drop an equipped siege weapon by clicking the Drop button.
  • A unit carrying siege equipment can be instructed to attack a section of the enemy fortifications by right-clicking.

Game settings[]

  • The actual size of the unit is determined by the Unit Size setting in Graphics/Advanced Settings:
    • Small unit sizes will reduce the total number of models per unit to 25%.
    • Medium to 50%.
    • Large to 75%. Large is the default for Multiplayer.
    • Ultra will see units at full size (100%).
  • Units' total HP scale down as well.