Total War Warhammer Factions Guide – Best Units, Leaders, Best Factions to Play

Your guide to Total War Warhammer factions with playstyles, difficulties, key units, leader choices with their starting units, pros and cons of each.

Total War Warhammer has released yesterday and millions of you are going to try out skills you have honed in the past Total War games. However, this one is different being the first game that adds such a detailed element of fantasy to the play.

In light of that, we think it is a good idea for you to keep a track of the available Total War Warhammer factions, their leaders, prominent units, as well as typical playstyles of each faction before you jump into the game.

Total War Warhammer Factions

This guide is divided into five parts, one for each faction with an introduction of each that talks about the playstyle of each faction, their level of difficulty as well as difficulties you will face.

Factions are followed by names and descriptions of the key units that each faction has, leader options you get to choose from with special skills and starting units of each, and lastly recommendations as to when and who should choose which faction.

Vampire Counts

Spearheading their troops with weak but magically resurrectable undead units, Vampire Counts keep elite units behind them. They build on Chaos like corruption and disorder being spread in enemy lines.

While difficulty-wise they are normal, they can be set up easily because they are not in a volatile region on the map. They lack diplomacy and also need elite unit support for their front liners. Map positioning is of high importance.

Best Units
Hexwraiths: Cavalry that is good at ambushes and ignores a number of physical attacks.
Terrorgheist: Flying monsters with replenishable health that can take on major elite units.
Varghulf: Ground monsters with replenishable health that can inflict terror on enemies.

Mannfred von Carstein: Good at melee and magic both, brings Varghulf, Fell Bats, and Crypt Ghouls to the table.
Heinrich Kemmler: Lore of Vampires’ expert wizard with Hexwraiths, Cairn Wraiths, and Dire Wolves.

You Should Pick If:
These are one of the uniquest factions because they are the primary element that puts apart Total War Warhammer and the previous conventional Total War games. You can choose them either if you want a strategy of weak forward units with strong backing or if you wish to play with something different in general.

The Empire

These are much more balanced than Vampire Counts, and have technologies and are very resourceful. They wish to patch up the empire, but the only way they know how to do that is by diplomacy and by force – depending on the situation.

Although difficulty-wise they are normal, they have the ability to produce powerful economy and hence army. They can also put Lords on duty to bring bonuses. However, their location is very sensitive as enemies surround them. Returning fans will connect more with them.

Best Units
Demigryph Knights: Cavalry units that can counter infantry that is good at ambushes. They wield a shield, an armor as well as a spear.
Luminark of Hysh: Another cavalry unit with long range and an aura of protection.
Steam Tank: As the name suggests, this is a large machine with gigantic damage all over the place but no routing.

Emperor Karl Franz: He has good leadership qualities, rides a mount, has Halberdiers, Handgunners, and Reiksguard, and is a good melee fighter himself.
Balthasar Gelt: Being a Metal Wizard he can take enemies down with magic though he brings Greatswords, Outriders, and Mortar to the table.

You Should Pick If:
You should pick this one if you are looking for another taste of the same i.e. the past Total War games. This is the perfect launching pad for you if you wish to remain close to previous games and still battle in the world of Warhammer with spearmen, swordsmen, cavalry and so on.


These creatures thrive only in battle and not in being away from the war, and they would even take tunnels to get there. The more they fight, the more the “fightiness” they have and the more they spawn “Waagh armies.”

Greenskins are a hard pack to face because of their aggressiveness. Once you start battling them, it won’t end any time soon. On their side, it is a hard battle because army will need to be replenished and they aren’t so good at economy. You could use your skills for a win with them, though.

Best Units
Arachnarok Spider: Just as the name suggests this is a giant spider, but it is also armored and it can poison enemies. It’s advantage is quick traversing in rough terrains.
Doom Diver Catapult: Long range siege weapons with a large area damage.
Giant: Monsters that are imposing and inflict fear and terror.

Grimgor Ironhide: His special ability is that he can buff Black Orcs which he brings alongside Orc Boar Boyz, and Doom Diver Catapult. He is a good melee fighter too.
Azhag the Slaughterer: He can ride a Wyvern mount, has Lore of Death spells, is a good melee fighter too and brings Forest Goblin Spider Riders, Orc Big ‘Uns, and Goblin Archers.

You Should Pick If:
If you get these, you are going to be n battle most of the time. Small, low budget attacks on enemies that are closer to them and bigger attacks with larger enemies and brittle leadership will be your bread and butter.


These guys have less ranged attacks, but more armored units comprising of monsters and infantry. Bad diplomacy, lack of trade, tons of raids on villages are their norm. Disorder, corruption and rebellion are their marks.

Difficulty-wise they are normal and also start the game safely away from the early attackers. In fact, geographically they are very well placed because they can attack in one direction and have to defend only that side as well. However, aggression and lack of diplomacy will be their downfall unless you are good at continuously attacking enemies.

Best Units
Chaos Giant: Monster with large amounts of damage that is anti-infantry.
Chosen: Strong infantry that can face toughest odds of infantry enemies with its armor and shielding.
Hellcannon: Focused at destroying enemy buildings, this is a strong siege artillery unit.

Archaon the Everchosen: Bringing Chaos Warriors, Chaos Warriors (Halberds), and Chosen (Great Weapons), he is a already strong but also has Lore of Fire spells, and good melee skills.
Kohlek Suneater: He is a monster with Dragon Ogres, Chaos Warriors, and Chaos Warriors (Halberds), who joins the fight with range melee.
Prince Sigvald the Magnificent: he looks human and is a good melee fighter starting with Hellcannon, Chosen (Halberds), and Chosen.

You Should Pick If
If you read about Greenskins and were interested, but backed out due to their difficulty, this one is the right choice for you. Chaos are aggressive, but not at the same level as Greenskins. On the other hand, they don’t have missile units which make them more suited for people who rely on cavalry and melee attacks.


They have strong artillery on the back of strong willed front-liners, but no magic. To make up for the lack of magic they have a big technology tree, though. Grudges allow you to take revenge on aggressive enemies, which they can go to using tunnels.

They are easy on the scale of difficulty for a number of reasons: firstly, they are reliable in combat, and beg for lesser micro-managing of events. Not only that, they are situated in the middle of mountains which gives them an edge in terms of defense.

Best Units
Gyrobomber: These are machines that can fly to enemies and land bombs on their heads.
Irondrakes: These are flamethrowers that can attack multiple enemies together.
Slayers: This is an infantry unit with strong axes; excellent at melee.

Thorgrim Grudgebearer: A respected leader of the dwarfs, he is as good a melee fighter as he is a leader who begins with Grudge Thrower, Quarrellers, and Hammerers.
Ungrim Ironfist: Beginning with Thunderers, Slayers, and Longbeards, this one is also a melee fighter and a good leader.

You Should Pick If:
Readers would have understood by now that this faction is very much suitable for newcomers, not only for the good defensive location of their territory but also because they require less micro-management. They are the easy to run because they are limited in abilities and expansive in health.

While that is all for now, let us know if there is anything else about Total War Warhammer Factions that we should add to this.

Sarmad is our Senior Editor, and is also one of the more refined and cultured among us. He's 25, a finance major, and having the time of his life writing about videogames.