Spearmen (Shields)

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Wh main emp spearmen shield.png
Infantry spear.png
CategorySpear Infantry
Unit size90
Icon treasury.png Cost (MP): 400 (375)
Icon hourglass.png Turns: 1
Icon income.png Upkeep: 100
Icon stat health.png Health: 69
Icon stat morale.png Leadership: 60
Icon stat speed.png Speed: 30
Icon stat attack.png Melee attack: 20
Icon stat defence.png Melee defence: 42
Icon stat charge bonus.png Charge Bonus: 4
Icon stat damage.png Weapon Damage: 19
Modifier icon armour piercing.png Armour-Piercing Damage: 6
Icon stat speed.png Melee Interval: 4.4 s
Modifier icon bonus vs large.png Bonus vs. Large: 15
Icon stat range.png Range: 1
Icon stat armour.png
Shielded units will block the following percentage of missile damage from the front Shield: 30%
  • Charge reflector vs large.png Charge Defence vs. Large: When bracing, this unit negates the charge bonus of any large attacker.
  • Hide forest.png Hide (forest): This unit can hide in forests until enemy units get too close.

Spearmen (Shields) is a Empire melee infantry unit in Total War: Warhammer. Spearmen provide the backbone of the Empire's battle line, a defensive row of spears against the enemy charge.

Description[edit | edit source]

Equipped with a cheaply manufactured spear, a formation of spearmen makes an excellent defensive unit. Those who charge a well-formed unit of spears are faced with an impassable wall of sharp steel points, providing an "Anvil" for the Imperial Army whilst the "Hammer" strikes the killing blow. With their long reach, each rank of Spearmen are able to strike at their enemy, even when they themselves are not within the front ranks.[1a]

Spearmen are more common in the northern provinces due to the cheapness of the spear's manufacture and the lack of large-scale industry to field and maintain comparatively more expensive troops like Empire halberdiers and handgunners. In the southern provinces, the longer and heavier pikes are preferred for being ideal in defensive and offensive situations, due to the influence of distant Tilea and their preference for pikes. Nevertheless, Spearmen regiments are still a common sight amongst the battlefields of the Empire, especially campaigns situated within the north.[1a]

Strengths and Weaknesses[edit | edit source]

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shielded: Shields have a chance of blocking arrows, bolts, rifle shots and similar small arms fire - but only in a forward facing arc.

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Click here to add a strategy!

The Proper Use of Spearmen with or Without Shields[edit | edit source]

I often see people forgoing the Spearmen as lowly placeholder units to be replaced once Swordsmen and Halberdiers become available, or merely as cannon (and often literally monster) fodder to save on gold.

This is not the case gameplay and lore wise. It's true that melee and shock cavalry of Chaos, Vampire Counts, Bretonnia, and other human nations have enough armor to negate the Spearman's bonus against large. But Spearman were not made to get stuck in prolonged melee against the unit's you're thinking of.

Shock cavalry is different from melee cavalry in that they are meant to charge in then get out. Melee is to act as fast response brawling unit. As such the former has tons of charge bonus but poor base attack, and that bonus is instantly negated by bracing. The Latter on the other hand has less charge but better melee and often has armor to survive prolonged fights.

Chariots, like in real life, were used in war as either a mobile archer platform to carry archers and loads of arrows for them to be loose in high rates, or as a primitive bulldozer with bladed wheels, armed driver and passenger, and powerful horses. As such, their main strength is to be constantly on the move, utilizing their Charge Bonus and mass to plow right through infantry lines with ease from an angle and then continue the momentum to get out at the expense of skills in prolonged combat. In other words: when moving, they are wrecking balls, get them stuck, and they become punching bags.

Spearmen are used to defend against or deter charges from large units and shock cav. That way the halberdiers can close in while the swordsmen deal with enemy infantry. Empire units work best when working together, and this is no different.

The heavily armored knights aren't the only cavalry around, nor is cavalry the only Large units in the game.

VS faction units[edit | edit source]

Remember, a Spearman exists to counter lightly armoured large units. If you send them to fight regular infantry, you are wasting their potential (and most likely their lives).

Empire[edit | edit source]

The light cavalry of The Empire is restricted to skirmishers. As such, the spearmen will mainly be used to hold up their shields and hope to survive projectile volleys until they are in position and absorb the charge, bogging them down for counter flanking. Make sure not to spread out the spearmen too thinly otherwise the defence bonus is negated and these men are sent flying across the field.

  • Empire Knights: Heavily armored and Anti-Infantry means that Halberdiers are a better match up. Due to the cost of Halberds, it is advisable to use the Spearmen to block the charge and have the Halberdiers sandwich the attackers. Also the Shielded variant of Spearmen have a chance to block projectiles while no Halberdier ever carries one. However, bringing Handgunners and Outriders for support is still advisable.
  • Reiksguard: The same as above, but bring more troops.
  • Demigryphs: Recommend using the Halberdiers here, as well as whatever anti armor units you have. Spearmen are deadmen here.
  • Pistoliers: In tabletop, the Pistoliers are young, glory seeking nobles that desperately wish to join the many Knightly Orders of the Empire and often break ranks to charge at most likely certain doom hoping to prevail and earn a promotion. This has not carried over to the game. Spearmen are lightly armoured, and the first variants you get are unshielded. Pistoliers are fast moving, fast firing, skirmisher cavalry that are poor against armour (which spearmen don't have much of), possess Vanguard Deployment, and can sit back and fire from over the head of their plebeian soldiers and into yours. These skirmishers will harass you from afar unless you either outrange or outrun them. That, or you can just wait until they run out of ammo.
  • Outriders: An upgrade from Pistoliers are these disciplined veterans. Armor Piercing Missiles coupled with Vanguard Deployment, high speed, and the height advantage to bypass friendly fire on allied infantry, make them one of the best units in the game. The bad sides to them is that they have low armour, they eventually run out of ammo, and their melee isn't as good as their ballistics. Have Spearmen with shields draw their fire while your ranged units shoot back. Attack them with your own skirmishers when you have the chance, preferably pistoliers (irony is a delicious side effect). Alternatively, you can just wait until they run out of bullets.
  • Outrider Grenade Launchers: These men are a different story, due to the grenades. Best to use your cavalry against them rather than your infantry.
Bretonnia[edit | edit source]

A majority of cavalry that will be fielded by Bretonnia is armored. That doesn't mean Spearmen are useless against the feudal tin tyrants though.

  • Knights:
    1. Knights Errant: they mainly rely on charge bonus being shock cavalry. Use the Spearmen to protect your flanks and deter any charges. A useful tactic would be to lure out the knights with crossbowmen/musketeers/free company and feign a charge against them, before quickly withdrawing the unit back to your lines as fast as possible, right through a unit of spearmen. The enemy will most likely scoff at your tactic, send the Knights to charge and then focus on something else. If performed well, your cav will be relatively unharmed while the haughty Knights will have impaled themselves. If possible, follow this up by flanking the no troubled knights with your own knights or a nearby unit of halberdiers.
    2. Knights of the Realm: Do not send your cavalry against these guys. These nobles are skilled at killing large units. Bring them low by sandwiching them with halberdiers while flanking them with outriders.
    3. Questing Knights: Keep these knights away from your lord, captain, and infantry. Attack them with Knights of your own and gun them down with handgunners and outriders.
    4. Grail Guardians and Grail Knights: These living saints are very problematic. The former is anti-infantry and the latter is anti-large. Bring ample amounts of halberdiers, handgunners, and use whatever spells you can to help.
    5. Pegasus Knights: These units are listed as Melee Cavalry which means they will withstand prolonged combat, on top of that they can fly over the heads of Spearmen and Halberdiers and will chase down your large units with easy. Sure they can go after your ranged units, but these are Bretonnians, They would rather have a challenge. Don't bother going air to air against them, use handgunners and attack with halberds when they get grounded
    6. Royal Pegasus Knights: Same as above, except harder.
    7. Royal Hippogryph Knights: The Demigryph Knights of the sky, terrifying, but no shield. Bring them down with spells, missiles, and if you need them, loads of spearmen or halberdiers.
  • Peasants:
    1. Mounted Yeomen: Despite being listed as Melee Cavalry, the Mounted Yeoman have worse stats overall than the Knights above save for a marginally higher defence skill. Fitting, seeing as the nobility most likely wishes to get rid of these "living oxymorons" and equip them poorly for the task. Despite this, expect to see more Yeoman than actual Knights due to their low cost. They are very fast and have vanguard deployment, so be careful.
    2. Mounted Yeomen Archers: Use crossbowmen and pistoliers.
    3. Grail Reliquae: Fandom gone wrong. This is a dead guy carried aloft on the saddled spine of his dead steed by the most obsessive members of his fanbase. The Fanatics that carry the Grail Knight corpse do so with rapturous joy and their 'lessers' often genuflect, prostrate, and worship whenever the bones rattle, believing the sounds to be words of divine wisdom or holy commandments. This may (definitely) not be true but that doesn't stop the peasantry from fighting braver in its presence, allowing them to last longer in battle and allowing their general to do more important stuff than manage their subjects. (Note: this thing is infantry, so don't bother)
Greenskins[edit | edit source]

Orcs are generally bigger, stronger, and more armoured than humans. However, their warriors often trade armor for more muscles. These guys are half the reason why Spearmen exist. Bring Swordsmen to deal with Goblins, Greatswords to aid Swordsmen to fight Orc Boyz, Spearmen to guard against charges from their monsters and cavalry, and Halberdiers to deal with whatever armour foes they have.

  • Giants: Giants have as much armor as an average human, unleash hell with your projectiles while repeatedly impaling their feet with the Spearmen and their bonus vs large.
  • Trolls: Not much more armour than state troops, Spearmen benefit from bonus vs large but still require support.
  • Arachnarok: Halberdiers, Handgunners, Demigryph Halberds, and Great Cannons are much better in this battle. Bring lots of those units and leave spearmen behind if you are going to face this nightmare of a spider.
  • Spider Riders: The Poison attacks can be problematic. The slow speed and low armor should allow you to easily catch them with your cavalry, use the spearmen to hold the line and protect the ranged units and artillery from these oversized bugs until help arrives.
  • Wolf Riders: Poor armor and bad stats mean that these savage goblins rely on attacking missile infantry and artillery crews to deal damage to the army. Protect them with a wall of spears and you should be fine, just remember to brace and to protect your frontline infantry as well.
  • Boar Boyz: Their poor armour makes them vulnerable to Spearmen. Although Halberdiers can work too, their armour piercing that can be used on Black Orcs and Warbosses is wasted here where the higher attack speed of the spearmen should compensate. Be sure to brace though.
  • Boar Boy Big'unz: Same as above, just with better armor.
  • Savage Orc Boar Boyz: Far better damage output than 'civilized' orcs except no armor whatsoever.
  • Boar/Wolf Chariot: Poor armor, worse melee defense, and in the wolf chariot's case terrible melee attack. The Chariots are reliant on charging to get damage done, be sure to brace and you'll be fine. Support still necessary.
Beastman[edit | edit source]

The other half of the reason that Spearmen exist. Majority of Beastman units have little armor and poor leadership. Break the charge, fight a bit, then gun/cut them down as they flee. Do not spread forces away from each other, make sure your units are capable of supporting each other to counter the Vanguard Deployment shared by most units.

  • Beastman Lords and Gorebulls: Use Handgunners, Halberdiers, Great Cannons, Outriders, and Demigryphs against these monsters amongst monsters.
  • Bestigors, Gors, and Ungors: Best to leave these to Greatswords and Handgunners for the Bestigors, and Swordsmen and Crossbowmen for the others. Support with Knights and Reiksguard charging at the ones without spears, or to cut them down when they flee. Pistoliers will aid in gunning down the lesser Gores, have Outriders go after Bestigores.
  • Warhounds: Never faced hounds before, but from the stats present in this wiki, Spearmen should work just fine. Armoured units should be able to deal with these things with ease as well.
  • Razorgore: Being Anti-Infantry and Armour Piercing, you should rain crossbow bolts and pistol ammo on them before they get close. Several Spearmen overlapping and braced should be able to deal with them.
  • Centigors: These guys are Melee Cavalry. But Great Weapons or no, they are still unarmoured. Spearmen should brace to protect Crossbowmen and Pistoliers, who will unleash volley after volley into the Centigors as the fiends charge and are skewered on the spears. Then the Pistoliers should then give a short chase after the beasts route.
  • Minotaurs: Be sure to keep the Spearmen supported by the Lord's leadership bonus, coupled with Crossbowmen shooting from the rear, and Pistoliers in reserve. The Spearmen, if there is enough, should be able to negate their charge and deal with the Minotaurs easily if properly supported. Send Pistoliers after Minotaurs that break. Demigryph Halberds and artillery will help alot as well.
  • Beastman Giants: Basically the same with regular giants.
Chaos[edit | edit source]


Dwarfs[edit | edit source]

If you're bringing Spearmen against these guys in multiplayer, I suggest you go back to school.

If you declared war with any of the Dwarfs in the campaign, especially if just to get on the good side of an elector count. I hope you get crushed into dust.

Vampire Counts[edit | edit source]

The Midnight Aristocrasy have access to ancient armoured units and the powerful Blood Knights. However, most of the undead monstrosities, though terrifying, are unarmoured. Use Halberdiers for the Knights, and Spearmen for the monsters (except the Terrorgheist), but make sure both are supported with Lords, Warrior Priests, Magic, and Missiles due to the Undead rule existing. The Lore of Light's Light of Battle, Net of Amyntok, Pha's Protection can aid in this task.

  • Vargheist: Vampires who could not learn how to properly control their urge for blood. They have a preferance to dealing damage, and when excited deal even more. Debuff and debilitate them with spells, harass them with projectiles before they get close, and keep the Spearmen from routing with the abilities of lords and heroes.
  • Varghulf: Vampires who willingly succumbed to bestial rage and hunger, probably thought it would be awesome and are now too dumb to regret it. Their attacks are armour piercing, thus are slow to attack your men who will be numerous and swift of strikes. They are not armoured, rapid weapons such as crossbows and pistols can reliably damage it. However, they are fast. In order for missiles to work, either use pistoliers or slow them down with spells or infantry. Their poor leadership from willingly becoming mere beasts, means that they will easily route, giving you brief respite. However, they have regeneration, so unless they completely flee the field (which is unlikely) you will have to face them again at full health. When they run, shoot their rotting posteriors with great cannons, or crossbows, or magic, or pistoliers, or all of them, to ensure they will return to the grave rather than the frontline. Lore of Fire works wonders in negating regeneration.
  • Crypt Ghouls: Believe it or not, these monsters are inbred cannibal humans that joined the vampires to feast on their victims and are still alive. They are still infantry, and their poisonous attacks will slow down your units. Spearmen will need to rely on their fast attacks to tack down the monsters listed here, keep these creeps away.
  • Crypt Horrors: Ghouls that a Vampire fed with his own blood. Though he/she gains the revilement of other vampires he also gains a powerful soldier that then makes him more soldiers, granted that it doesn't eat them first (unless for some reason, he/she decides to animate the waste, Lore of Dung anyone?). They possess Regeneration and Armour Piercing, set them alight with flames while stabbing them with spearmen who are supported with missiles, magic, and prayer.
  • Black Coach: In real life, a chariot was used in war as either a mobile archer platform to carry archers and loads of arrows for them to be loose in high rates, or as a primitive bulldozer with bladed wheels, armed driver and passenger, and powerful horses. The Black Coach is a carriage that ferries unholy energies gained from the dead and dying, which it converts into added power for its charge and durability. Like the chariots of the orcs, it relies on charging to deal full damage. Unlike the orcs, it's melee skill and damage as well as the feeding on magic for resistance allows it to last longer in combat. Slow it down or stop it with magic, pepper it with projectiles, and surround it with a ring of spears supported by lords and heroes.
  • Master/Necromancer: Being spellcasters, the Necromancer (Lord or otherwise) will be unarmoured. I've often seen them on horseback, probably to dart across their fell army reinforce the dark magic that binds them. This should make them susceptible to the Spearmen. Being undead however, means the Necromancer will still drive off your soldiers by his fearsome smell alone.
  • Corpse Cart: A chariot whose job is to stay away from the front lines as the driver uses the energies harnessed from his vile vehicle to buff the undead around him with various auras. Has regeneration but no armor, should be easy prey, but are best be taken out with projectiles, artillery, or cavalry.
  1. Vigour Mortis: produced by the regular variant, the atrocious pun manages to enliven the dead around the cart, giving them better ability to strike and parry.
  2. Balefire: In lore, the warpstone that powers balefire drives men to madness, ingame, it negates magic. If you are relying heavy on magic, crush this.
  3. Unholy Lodestone: an arcane bell that sends fell sorcery with each ring, this magic repairs damage done to the surrounding undead. If you dont want to fight all day, kill this fast.