Total War: WARHAMMER
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"The past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities."
- – Stephen Hawking
- – Isabel Allende
A trilogy of RTS games being worked on by the developer Creative Assembly, best known for the Total War franchise - which consists of pre-industrial age era Real Time Tactics battles with a somewhat simplified 4X/Grand Strategy overworld. The games themselves are being developed parallel to the historical games that Creative Assembly is best known for. Known to /tg/ as "Total Warhammer", "Total Waaagh!!" or some other similar derivative. The first game focused on the Old World, the second on the New World, and the third focused on lands from the Grey Mountains to Cathay and upwards into the Chaos Wastes. The grand vision for the three games is for them to eventually merge together to include all of the (relevant) parts of the Warhammer map and eventually all the major races in it (8th edition) and potentially some minor ones, in a combined campaign dubbed “Mortal Empires.” Even just two games in, it’s already a gigantic clusterfuck when you count all the various sub-factions and non-playable factions that have been added thus far (if you don’t use the end-of-turn fast forward button, it can take a long time to cycle through every faction’s movements, although things have improved since the Potion of Speed update).
The original reveal trailer, first shown on April 22nd, 2015 received overwhelmingly positive receptions, with each race considered to be well designed, aligned to the canon and having legendary lords which meant many relevant named characters would be in the game. Then on October 22nd, 2015 Sega announced the release of the game to be on the 28th of April in 2016 (later pushed back to May because they wanted to get the launch relatively bug-free). They also revealed a Collector's Edition, with some fancy Dwarfish items, and pre-ordering would give access to the Chaos Warriors faction. Predictably enough, many responded negatively to this reveal, citing that Creative Assembly were deliberately "taking the fifth faction hostage" in order to force customers to pre-order. The controversy got so bad that the reveal trailer had over 50,000 dislikes and some fans have gone so far as to dislike every video following the Chaos reveal trailer that was posted on the Total War channel. Due to the pressure from fans Creative Assembly chose to make the Warriors of Chaos faction free for all who purchased the game during the first week after launch and DLC for anyone who got the game later than that. With such damage control, and the fact this was probably the last chance to have Warhammer Fantasy Battle back, if at least as a video game, sales grew up to the point they snowballed into the then fast-selling Total War game ever, allowing for more and more DLCs and ensuring a second and eventually third iteration.
The game had one of the smoothest launches in Total War's history, and thanks to finally stepping into the modern era with a 64-bit engine it runs smoothly in ways Total War: Rome 2 and Total War: Attila never could. While the overworld map is simplified compared to Total War: Rome 2, a lot of it has reportedly been done to reduce management tedium and increase the focus on battles. Total War: Warhammer 2 was released on the 28th of September of 2017, with the pre-order bonus being a faction for the first game rather than one for the second game. Due to the success of the first part of the trilogy, the game has suffered far less criticism. The main complaint is that some believe it should be labeled an expansion pack rather than a full game, especially since it was being released just a little over a year after the first game. But with a bunch of new features like 4-player FFA multiplayer, quite randomized rogue armies ala Civilization's barbarians dicking around to annoy you, and a grand campaign called 'Mortal Empires' that combines the two games' maps together (if you own both games) along with a slew of QoL and UI improvements (and obviously the new races), it's fair for one to be hopeful for game three. Despite being a video game, the game is very well-liked by /tg/, and is considered by many to be Warhammer Fantasy's true successor. The Creative Assembly team working on Total War: WARHAMMER seem to be, by all appearances, major neckbeards as well.
- 1 Setting
- 2 Gameplay
- 2.1 Races
- 2.2 Climates
- 2.3 The Lores of Magic
- 2.4 Campaign Strategies
- 2.5 Battle Tactics
- 2.6 Factions
- 2.6.1 Total War: WARHAMMER 1
- 2.6.2 Total War: WARHAMMER 2
- 2.6.3 Total War: WARHAMMER 3
- 3 Future
- 4 DLC
- 5 /tg/ Approved mods
- 6 Books
- 7 The Memes
- 8 Links
- 9 Gallery
As you might expect, the game is set in the world of Warhammer Fantasy. The first game is set before The End Times, the course of which by definition will be altered or prevented entirely depending on the course of the campaign, focusing on the Old World and Badlands while the forces of Chaos take the stage as the main antagonists of the game (as usual) even if you play as Warriors of Chaos since once they start their grand invasion most NPC factions drop their feuds temporarily. Meanwhile, the second game focuses on Lustria, Naggaroth, Ulthuan and the Southlands, as the factions seek to control (or undo) the magical Vortex at the center of Ulthuan. Lastly, the third game will focus yet further westward, namely the Dark Lands and the enigmatic land of Cathay as Chaos Daemons proper from all of the Chaos Gods invade the world.
In a way this will be the last legacy of the original Warhammer Fantasy Battle, with hundreds of thousands of neckbeards probably migrating to the digital format from the now doomed 8th edition. Not only has CA (and GW, by extension) gone out of their way to faithfully include every playable faction from the actual tabletop, but they've gone out of their way to make formerly obscure/background factions such as the Vampire Coast and (soon) Cathay into fully fleshed out factions with their own unique units and mechanics. Unfortunately, though each game has their own campaign that focuses on the default factions included, players will need to shell out some money if they want to truly indulge in the complete campaign experience, Mortal Empires, which is only playable if you own all of the games in the franchise (which, if you buy them at launch/full price, will end up totaling around $180 once game number three launches. That's not factoring in DLC factions like the Wood Elves or Tomb Kings). And even then it's still cheaper than most decent tabletop armies.
These are the characters that only appear in Total War: Warhammer, being non-existent, or at least not mentioned, in the source material.
A mysterious old man with a white raven "pet". Was first believed to be the Imperial Light Wizard in the announcement trailer who got corrupted by Chaos after reading a tome of Tzeentch and summoned a Lord of Change with a smash of his staff, although this was later Jossed (and was then later unJossed). He is, for whatever reason, always the Advisor to the player's chosen faction during the Grand Campaign, advising them on how to manage their empire and what to do next, and also narrates their introductory cutscenes; he can be annoying but is nowhere near as bad as the advisors in previous Total War games. In game 3 he actually plays a role in the narrative, were he's working to free/kill Ursun in exchange for a drop of his blood to free him from being enslaved to a magic book. Hilariously, he is accepted by every single faction with not a single fuck apparently given, whether they are either the mighty Mazdamundi, the mightiest Slann that could read minds like books and smell Chaos coruption, or Malekith, the cruel king of Naggaroth that cannot be ordered around by anyone from a mere inferior race. At least in game 3 the story goes out of it's way to explain why all the factions are listening to him. Even the famously misanthropic Beastmen, although this is at least addressed at the start of Khazrak's campaign where it is clarified that he does want to kill the old codger, but he tolerates him as a middleman between him and...
- Sarthorael the Everwatcher
A Lord of Change and the Advisor's real master in the Chaos-themed campaigns. He was responsible for the conflicts the player ends up fighting out, having basically manipulated sundry factions into conflict either for his own amusement, to further his own plans, or possibly both; knowing his boss any of those explanations is possible. In the 100+ turn of the Warriors of Chaos campaign, he reveals himself and kills off the Advisor, chuckling that all are pawns to the Great Deceiver. A really hard bastard to kill as well as a Lore of Metal caster, although his lore will probably be changed to the Lore of Tzeentch in the future. He accompanies Archaon for his End Times invasion if you play as any other faction, but decides to challenge Archaon's position as the Everchosen in the Warriors of Chaos campaign. He was featured in the epilogue cinematic as the same white raven he disguised as from game 1, who came to witness The Advisor's "ascension". In the epilogue's flavor texts however, he was said to have sent by his master to "guide" The Advisor (now got his eyesight taken by the Tome of Fate) to their next goal, going full circle back to game 1. Beating said campaign unlocks him in normal battles. He also got a Tzeentch faction named after him in game 3, which sadly
he does not actually lead. He does lead it now in Immortal Empires, and recieved an upgrade to an Exalted Lord of Change. However, he starts off as Teclis's starting enemy and is lucky if he makes it pass turn 5.
- Gnashra Shroomchewa
A Goblin Great Shaman stars in the first total war react video.
- Sneek Scratchett, The Scribe
The adorable, trendy dressing, glasses wearing underling of a Skaven clan in the eye of vortex campaign. He works for Grey Seer Vulscreek in order to serve his clan and revive the great horned rat. He stars in a hilarious react trailer where he makes fun of Malekith's mother issues and Teclis' appearance, among other things. Later returned in Laboratory mode where he overreacted about the oversize hell pit abomination, a shit tons of DOOMWHEELS, floating elves (done by setting their gravity 10%) and a massive fuck load of Skaven in a unit increased by the unit size modifier.
The Grey Seer that ordered the scribe around. He and the council are the mastermind to the vortex race, as a way to fool every faction into drawing the magic into the vortex and have its magic absorb into some kind of bell device, then summon their god, the great horned rat into the material realm after the bell was tolled 13 times. However, it requires the sacrifice of an entire Skaven clan where one of its members must spill their blood on the bell clapper. The Grey Seer told the scribe Sneek Scratchett to tell his lord that the lord should spill his blood on the bell clapper, and told that in doing so, the scribe would be dooming his clan to be sacrificed to the horned rat. This is supremely idiotic, as obviously the scribe as a member of that clan would be one of the rats getting sacrificed. As you might expect, Sneek Scratchett took exception to that.
A skink priest working for the lizardmen player faction in the eye of vortex campaign. After he saw the twin tail comet in the sky with a telescope and decided to follow Mazdamundi's plan since his actual slann master is still sleeping. Alongside his Kroxigor companion Tar-Grax, he hopes to help restore the great warding by activating the geometric web using the five lost keys mentioned by Lord Kroak. In the epilogue, he returns to inform his slann master of what has transpired, only to be foretold that N'kari is coming for their buttholes in the future, which is also foreshadowed in Arkhan's epilogue in the black pyramid campaign. In true Lizardmen fashion his name is a play on the phrase "You cannot do that".
A handsome specimen of a Kroxigor, serving as Yuk's companion/assistant/bodyguard. Sadly there is little else to write about this handsome fellow as he shows little character through the story, mainly just mimicking Yuk's reaction to the various rituals (though that's fitting of a Kroxigor).
- Felicion Heartkeeper
A Dark Elf sorceress and seer currently "employed" by Malekith to aid in his quest to control the vortex. Like all Dark Elves sorceress, she dresses in nothing but a skimpy bikini and loin clothing, despite living in the cold of Naggaroth. Amusingly she acts like a complete sycophant towards Malekith, but is extremely catty to Morathi. Accompanied at all times by a mysterious assassin, who is surely nothing more than a nameless killer with no backstory or further significance at all... Has the pleasure of being the first fully canon gay character in the setting. The plotline around her is really awesome: the story and the characters bring up again and again how she's a betrayer, tease how she's going to backstab the Witch King sooner or later, show her selling out even those closest to her, then the end of the campaign comes and... Malekith is the one that betrays and kills her before she can do the same! Goes to show cunning and genre-savvy he really is. Bet you weren't expecting that, bitch!
- The Nameless Khainite Assassin (Shadowblade)'
Accompanies Felicion after the first ritual. Was actually her brother. Shows no emotion even when he is doing his job: murder. Responsible for dispatching the targets whose blood is needed to create Malekith's elixir for the vortex: a medusa, a high elf prince (who was lusting after Felicion's body and was killed while Felicion gets turned on by his death scream), Felicion's old tutor (who was badly scarred by magic that part of his body shifting back and forth), a female Dreadlord who had taken to leading a band of Norscans in the chaos wastes (and Felicion's lover), then finally SPOILER: Felicion herself (because CA loves to kill off pretty girls, see Galifreius down below). Despite his cold-blooded nature it is implied Shadowblade does mourn for his sister's death, and even asks Malekith to give him her soul cage in the epilogue; in the hopes of perhaps restoring her to life. Malekith, in one of his less dickish moments (or because he is in a good mood since he now controls the vortex), actually grants this request, even noting that Felicion had served him well. Notably he isn't technically a game only character as he exists in the main canon as well (and we are not even sure if they are the same persons).
- Loremaster Talarian
A High Elven loremaster who advises Tyrion and Teclis in their efforts to stabilize the great vortex. He sports white hair and was accompanied by a female squire of Tyrion known as Galifreius (see below) in search for the five shards of star crown (shattered by Malekith long ago. Thank you Druchii) so he could give it to Caledor inside the vortex. Other than the first shard gifted by Isha from the first ritual, the rest of the four shards were found in many inconvenient places like under the sea (found with the help of Finubar's moses ability), in a cavern guarded by a wyrm (found from Bel-Korhadris scroll), inside Bel Shanaar's lost vessel and finally, on the hilt of the widowmaker (god knows what the shard is doing at that place even though the sword hasn't been touched or eons since Aenarion's absence). After winning the vortex war, Talarian has the honor to wear the frigging crown (every high elves loremaster's wet dream) and become one with the vortex (translation: Talarian went inside the vortex with the crown's power and became the newest member of Caledor's vortex maintenance squad). Oh and he seems to love Galifreius as he was shown mourning for her death by the hands of the horned rat.
The QT elf waifu material and the high elf counterpart to Felicion. A squire of Tyrion, she is tasked to guard Talarian on his quest to recover the crystal crown. SPOILER: she died in the fifth ritual. The Horned Rat sent a swarm of rats to bite her to pieces for the lulz, but despite this seemed remarkably intact at the time of her death. But THEN, in the epilogue, it is revealed that she was actually a dark elf serving Morathi, who murdered the real Galifreius in route to meeting Talarian and took her place. As you might expect, Tyrion was somewhat displeased by this. She also seems extremely similar to the canon character Eldyra of Tiranoc.
- Priest Nerutep
A Liche Priest with only one glowing eye in his skull, who was tasked by Settra himself to find five of the Books of Nagash. In Settra's epilogue, it's revealed that he was none other than King Thutep, Nagash's brother whom he 'killed' and succeeded as the new king. Now Thutep is in control of the Black Pyramid and flipped his brother a boney middle finger, in spirit at least (then again, considering Nagash's state that is probably literal in a way as well). Whether he managed to dig himself out or was rescued out of the pyramid he was buried in is unclear ( The Time of Legend series mentioned Ushoran hired a thief to dug out Thutep's remain and only the skull was bought back), nonetheless the fact that CA did this is awesomely loreful. However, a few plot holes need to be addressed, such as Thutep being a magic caster since he was a king and was killed by Nagash through burial in his father's pyramid before he had a chance to learn magic. Another thing to be considered is in Arkhan's epilogue, where the lich king tried to invoke his master's spirit, but invoke N'kari, a greater daemon of Slaanesh's voice instead. Meaning Thutep's magic ability and his reawakening might be some kind of chaos trickery, further aided by the like of a greater demon N'kari. However, any further analysis or answer will have to wait for future expansion. Or it could just be the case of an alternate universe since we all knew how this shit was supposed to end.
- Cylostra Direfin
An original Legendary Lord created by CA for the Vampire Coast DLC. She was once an opera singer from Bretonnia (and they said Bretonnia is all about peasants and knights, ha!). She went on a voyage to sing for the Phoenix King (not sure if she was invited or doing so on her own will since Elves are smug bastards - it's in the name, High Elves). When halfway through the voyage a storm caught the ship. The captain said to wait it out, Cylostra literally grabbed him by the throat, threw him overboard and took control of the vessel for she wouldn't be denied the chance to sing for the Phoenix King. Surprise, surprise, the ship sank and she came back as a ghost/sea-witch/necromancer/Ursula that now blames Ulthuan for her death (so much she wants to sink it and then sing for the Phoenix King). How? Simple: By being a pirate.
- As it turns out, her comeback is probably the result of a deal with the aquatic god of storms Stormfels. This was shown in a short story revolving around her.
A talking monkey who advises the Legendary Lords of the Vampire Coast. Trust me, I wish I came up with this. Whether or not he's a literal talking monkey or a figment of their imagination (Luthor's insanity would explain it, but the other three are pretty sane so.....) Has yet to be seen, but either way this is hilarious. We don't know much about him, he could be a Bloodthirster in disguise for all we know, but more about him might be revealed later.
- Captain Jacob Wulfhart
Another original character that, like Felicion, is linked to one in the tabletop's canon. Brother of Marcus Wulfhart (yes, the friggin Huntsmarshal of The Empire) who created an awesome magical map the player uses when playing as The Vampire Coast, and who was the captain of the ship The Vengeance. At first glance it looks like a normal map, but after saying the magical words, it quickly reveals much more details and notes from eye witnesses, rumors and other clues to Amanar. The captain looked for the Merwyrm to slay it, yet perished in the attempt - only one of his crew survived the experience along with the map. It is also from his ship that you salvage the Star Metal Harpoon you need to re-imbue with the verses of the magical shanty with which to slay Amanar.
- Alastar, The White Lion Prince
Not to be confused with Korhil, a canonical white lion honor guard. A unique High Elves lord that seems to pop out of nowhere. Alastar is the only White Lion Prince in the game with his own model and a unique item even. As it turns out, he was added as a part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation involving a Warhammer fan, named Alastair. As expected from a White Lion, he does armor-piercing damage and can only take the Chrace skill in the special High Elves skill tree and can unlock skills such as the Killing Blow ability (not to mention having boons and price cuts to White Lions, allowing the player to have him lead early in the game a whole army of them dirt cheap). As for the real Alastair, real life was less grimdark and he made it.
- The Skaven IN SPESSSSS
The brave little rat shit that piloted the fake twin tail comet, weakened the vortex and stirred every faction into action. Has been screaming ever since the rocket launched and never stopped. He died doing what he loved when the spaceship crash-landed after it ran out of fuel. Might probably have survived if the place he landed in wasn't such a freezing mountain side. Truly he was a rocket rat on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. The true winner of the vortex race just because he is the first (non-canon) creature in space before the Lizardmen did it out of desperation.
- Berry Drury
A Halfling who serves as Wulfhart's adviser during the Eye of the Vortex Wulfhart campaign. To be honest, that's all there is to say about this guy. The fact that halflings do evidently exist in Total War Warhammer can lead to potential halfing units being available down the road, but only time will tell.
- Slavin Kurnz the Betrayer
Boyar from Kislev's trailer who was assigned by Tzarina Katarin herself to rule over Fort Dervingard, Kislev's northernmost stronghold. Angry at his thankless and incredibly hard task not being recognised by the Ice Court, he eventually snapped and turned to Khorne, before being defeated and (most likely) killed by Prince Yuri Barkov in the prologue campaign of TWW3. And yes, he is an another Warhammer reference to Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now.
- Kevon Lloydstein
A starting hero, a Wight King, for the Vampire Counts (Sylvania faction). A memorial to a staff member of CA that had passed away name Kevin Lloyd. He started with his own unique trait so that immediately give him some advantage. Thank you, Kevin.
The gameplay at its core is that of a traditional Total War game. You select a faction to play as in the world of Warhammer fantasy, led by a Legendary Lord - a character of importance in the universe. You build buildings, develop towns and cities and muster your armies on the campaign map. The main draw of the game is smashing those aforementioned armies against each other in big battles. The battles are real time and require enough tactical finesse that you can pull off some pretty complex maneuvering if you want to. However, due to the nature of the setting, CA changed several aspects of the game to give off a more fantastical vibe that is similar to Fantasy 4X games like Age of Wonders or Heroes of Might and Magic. In short - the focus during the launch of Total War Warhammer was more on the battles themselves than the campaign map aspects. As the game's scope has expanded via DLC and free content, there has been more focus put in on more interactive campaign elements.
Unlike the previous Total War games, generic lord characters and legendary lords in this game play a huge role. Lords (the leaders of your armies) are tough single models that might hit a bunch of models at once with a shock wave reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors. Lords, Legendary Lords, and heroes receive items and followers after battles or by completing quests, and they are able to equip them for various bonuses. The items themselves are often lifted directly from the tabletop game or the WHFB setting itself. Legendary lords are able to equip their own unique legendary items after they have reached a certain level and completed its required quest. Quests are small narrative driven events that Legendary Lords can complete to gain their trademark items that are part of their narrative arc. Lords also rank up by fighting and are able to spend skill points to either boost their stats, give benefits to their attached army (denoted by the color red) or campaign boost (increased campaign movement range, faster travel or improvement of public order when garrisoned). Note that some lords (like Balthasar) don't have stat boosts and instead rely on magic.
Speaking of heroes, they are like campaign agents from the previous total war. Unlike before, you can actually bring them to battle if you put them in your army. Heroes are, like generals, able to rank up and improve their stats and abilities. Depending on the type of hero they can perform several different actions on the campaign map (damage walls, attack unit, assassinate). Fun Fact: you can actually fill your entire army with heroes and watch them wreak havoc, demolishing entire units in seconds. Better yet, use any Lizardmen lord with 19 heroes with the "Pompous" trait (reduce enemy leadership aka "willingness to fight" by 4) and watch the enemy army flee in terror once the battle starts.
Lords and Heroes are generally one of three types. The first type are the magic-using heroes and lords. Typically, they have low melee attack, defense and damage and have no way to buff these attributes. Heroes like wizards and Lords/Legendary Lords (such as the Fay Enchantress, Balthasar Gelt or the Necromancer Lords) are of this type. Instead of being paragons of front line combat, they excel at casting magic. Their combat skill tree is focused on unlocking more spells and reducing the chance of miscasts.
The second type are the combat heroes and Lords. They generally have higher combat stats and can take out even the most elite units of opposing armies from the start. They, however, cannot cast magic and are generally focused on front line combat. Their combat skill tree is focused on making them better fighters on the battlefield. Heroes like captains, Legendary lords like Karl Franz, Tyrion and regular Lords like the Empire General, Bretonnian Lords and Elven Princes are of this type.
The third are the hybrid lords and heroes. They can either be powerful spellcasters or beasts at melee combat on par with combat lords, but a choice has to be made for focusing on their upgrade path. Heroes like the Loremasters, Vampires, and Legendary Lords such as Morathi, Malekith, Mannfred, and Vlad at all are these kinds of characters.
These are the first Total War games to have implemented magic. Being Warhammer and all, magic comes from the winds of magic that blow from the northern chaos wastes. Specific heroes and lords can cast magic based on what lores they possess and which spells they learned by leveling up. Magic for casting is limited by the magic gauge (which is determined at the beginning of the battle) and magic reserves (determined by currents of winds of magic in the province the battle is taking place in). However, you can increase your magic gauge at the beginning of the battle by praying to Ranald, the human god of luck, although sometimes he aids you by replenishing your magic gauge or fucks you over by depleting it. Ironically, all races (except the dwarfs, of course) get the option to pray to Ranald despite having different beliefs and gods. Tzeentch would likely be really pissed if he found out that one of his sorcerers was praying to another god for magic instead of him. On the other hand, one may assume that the entire 'pray to Ranald' thing is an appeal to a literal RNG god, and is just a fun and fluffy way of rolling the dice.
The campaign gameplay is rather different in Total Warhammer 2 compared to the original. Central to the story in the game is the magical vortex at the center of Ulthuan that sucks out magic out the world and keeps the world from being overrun by Chaos. There seems to be some sort of disturbance in the Vortex causing different factions to scramble and try to either preserve or subvert the vortex to further their own goals. The objective is to complete a large series of rituals that will save/doom the world and win you the game. The AI is quite capable of following these goals and CA has reportedly stated that you can lose the campaign if you tarry too long. Of course in practice it is nearly impossible to actually lose the campaign. When an opposing faction actually completes it's ritual, you get a quest battle where you and every other major faction stops the faction that completed the ritual.
Doing the rituals requires certain settlements and currencies that you acquire through quests, missions and capturing certain settlements. As you progress throughout the ritual for your faction, the other races will start to hate you even more. As a result the gameplay is more focused and quicker paced, with players being encouraged to form small defensible holdings with which to win the race to the vortex instead of the slow meandering crawl that defines a regular total war game.
The Mortal Empire campaign is the combined campaign for the first and second game. The map includes the entirety of the Old World and most of the New World with the southernmost edges of the maps left out. The map is massive, and, along with the more regular style of Total War gameplay, you can expect to spend a lot more time conquering. It is available to players who have purchased both Total Warhammer 1 and Total Warhammer 2. Featuring a gigantic map of the overworld, the campaign is a similar sandbox experience to the campaign in the first world. Factions on the side of Order are supposed to defeat Chaos and control major parts of their core territory to win a victory. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, from a nice and friendly alliance between all the good guy factions, or by holding the territories through force. Either way, the campaign takes a long amount of time due to complete.
Lastly, the design of the campaign map itself is a bit more "up in the air." Because the game takes place in the world of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the terrain itself is more fantastical than previous Total War games, as befitting a fantasy game. From the steaming, dinosaur-infested jungles of Lustria, to the arctic wastelands of Naggaroth and Norsca, the world presented in Warhammer has a wide variety of lands and climates, more than any previous Total War games. More fantastical elements also exist, such as the mysterious and dangerous forest of Athel Loren, the horrors of the Chaos Wastes, the decaying, yet resplendent civilizations of the High Elves and Dwarfs.
Although the battle maps explore varieties of terrain configuration and there are siege maps, the game is still made for large and open terrain in mind, so if you want to witness/control a Skaven invasion of a bustling Empire city or experience something akin to LOTR's Helm's Deep, you won't find it in Total Warhammer 1/2.
Unlike in previous Total War titles where there were a great number of factions, in Total Warhammer there are instead a small group of playable "races" consisting of different factions. What it lacks in sheer quantity is made up for in quality, with an emphasis on making each race have rosters unique to them, and having distinct campaign and battle mechanics. As time went on these differences became much more pronounced, and numerous sub-factions were introduced. For example, in vanilla Warhammer 1 there is only the "Empire" race to represent the humans in the Empire. But in Warhammer 2 the Skaven are instead represented by "Clan Mors" and "Clan Pestilens" instead of just "Skaven." An update in Warhammer 2 Mortal Empires did bring the old races up to the second game's standards at least ("Empire" was renamed to Reikland, Dwarfs to Karaz-a-Karak, etc).
Also being added to the second game is a climate and habitation system. CA considered the regional occupation in Total Warhammer 1 to be a little too rigid and has introduced a more lax approach to new settlements. These will be ported over to the Mortal Empires campaign as well thus bringing peace to map painters everywhere. There are 11 different biomes in the game. They are: Chaotic Wasteland: Norsca and beyond. Desert: Araby and the lands of the dead. Frozen: Half of Naggaroth Jungle: Lustria and parts of the Southlands Magical Forest: in the Southlands. Mountains: The spine of Sotek and Southland's segment of the World's Edge mountains. Ocean: The Galleon's Graveyard Savannah: Middle Southlands Temperate: Regular settlements Temperate Island: Ulthuan Wasteland: Parts of Naggaroth
Each race has 3 tiers of suitability that is provided by the biome.
- Suitable: Ideal climate/biome to settle in.
- Unpleasant: Buildings are more expensive, take longer to build and return less money.
- Uninhabitable: Probably not worthwhile for economic reasons (unless it has a trade resource), but you can still hold it for strategic reasons such as keeping other factions from claiming it. Unit replenishment and build times are increased severely and there is a high public order penalty for holding it, requiring an army to serve as a long-term peacekeeping force lest it goes into rebellion.
The terrain is also radically different from the old world, consisting of pristine beaches, steaming jungles and blistering deserts. Included of course is the magical eternal land of Ulthuan and the bitter and icy moors of Naggaroth.
One thing that divided the player base during the first game was the limited regional occupation. Unlike previous Total War games you cannot conquer the entire map, in Total War: Warhammer the Dwarfs and Orcs can only conquer the Badlands and mountain regions, likewise the Human factions and Vampire Counts can conquer anywhere except the Badlands, Norsca, Athel Loren and mountain Regions Chaos and Beastmen can't conquer anything. They are "Horde" factions which means they can't take over any regions just raze them and set up camps in the ashes. The only faction that can conquer everything is the Wood Elves. This has caused people following the game to argue over whether regional occupation is lore accurate or not. Due to this controversy, CA sidestepped the issue by making sure there was a mod to allow conquest of all sites on launch day. With the coming of the second game, this system is changing. Factions in the second game (and all in the combined mega-campaign) will be able to conquer anywhere, but settlements outside of "preferred areas" will be far more limited in what they can do.
Other generally-agreed-upon issues in the otherwise most-popular entry of the Total War series are sieges, which use a very limited amount of maps that are going to be very cramped with one full army attacking a fortified town, let alone more, will get dull fast, and feature pretty-nutso defensive towers of a limited fire-arc but insane range - seriously the maximum is like as far as the outside of the map and can hit artillery - and firepower that's going to guarantee at least some units will get totally fucked up before you can land on the walls to neutralize them unless you've got siege towers for every unit; and the pretty-randomized trait-gaining system which can lead to baffling canon defilement like Volkar the Grim realizing he likes Chaos after slaughtering a bunch of them or Grimgor wanting to be a farmer (though that one's at least funny). Thankfully, CA made the trait system far more transparent in the second game. While you can still have Volkmar the Grim go mad after seeing the power of Chaos, it only takes place if he spends a massive amount of time in regions with chaos corruption.
The Lores of Magic
For those who are familiar with the table top version, magic is divided into several different lores of magic each containing several spells in the forms of magic missiles, hexes, augments, direct damage spells, summons, magical vortexes, and breath/wind spells. They can be overcast to increase their effectiveness, but suffer 50% miscast chance that might damage your caster. Still, there are items and abilities that can negate the miscast effects.
Some Augments affect any units that come within the casting zone and some apply to only a single unit. Hexes work similarly.
Summons are a specialty belonging to all vampire lords due to the Lore of Vampires they use. The lore has a magic ability called the "Raise Dead" with which a vampire lord can summon a unit of zombies (or skeleton warriors) at will. Strigoi Ghoul kings have a version that can summon crypt ghouls and is able to summon a crypt horror when overcast. Helman Ghorst can summon grave guard but is able to summon a wight king when overcasting. Yeah you heard that right, Helman can summon A FRIGGING HERO UNIT, that's a little bit op for a character barely mentioned in the lore. Interestingly, one of the spells in the Lore of Beasts, Transformation of Kadon, is in this game: a summon spell that can summon a manticore, contradicting the tabletop version that turns your caster into a monster. With the Skaven's release, Plague priest's Lore of Pestilence as well as the grey seer's "Dreaded Thirteen spell" can summon units like Сlan Rats, Plague Monks or Stormvermin on the battlefield.
Direct damage spells are like a middle finger to heroes and elite units alike. They deal a lot of damage to a unit while being unable to miss. For instance, Spirit leech from the Lore of Death is good for targeting single model units like heroes while Fate of Bjuna is good against a unit with many models. They can also have an area of effect. In the Lore of Metal, Final Transmutation is a direct damage spell that damages anything within its zone. Ironically, it does not transform models into gold nor does it get instant kills like the tabletop version.
Magic Missiles are magical projectiles. They don't hit automatically like the tabletop version since this is a total war game, and Total War games have terrain that can block your projectiles which can be annoyingly frustrating to aim, only for the spell to not hit anything and waste your magic wind. It is still a viable spell against large, towered tall enemies and giants. Fireball from the Lore of Fire is a recommended fire based magic projectile spell against those tree fucker hippie elves, especially the tower tall Treemen and Durthu the tree daddy.
Magical Vortexes are just slow moving danger zones that hurt foes and friends alike. Might be useful when many units are bunched up together, otherwise their random movement tends to send the vortex away from the battle. Some spells like The Purple Sun of Xereus from the Lore of Death can suck up units and toss them around the battlefield, disrupting their unit formation, which can be useful preventing missile units from shooting your army. The Lore of Shadow's Pit of Shades is an exception being a stationary vortex. As of the second game, vortex's have been given a massive buff and now are truly the destructive force they once were on the tabletop.
Breath and Wind Spells are rather similar in that they are spells that cause damage in a specified direction, (think a vortex, only aimed). The former have limited range and aren't very effective against armored targets, but their quick casting speed and cheap cost means they can be used more commonly in multiplayer. The latter are much more destructive, but a prolonged "winded-up" time means they can be dodged with greater ease (which is all the more painful with their typically high cost). These tend to be among the best campaign spells since the AI can be more easily tricked into the perfect position for maximum destructive effect.
Oh and lore attributes act like a passive buff for the caster or the army it is assigned. Attributes like Metalshifting from the Lore of Metal passively gives everyone some nice armor piercing damage. Some give debuff or buff whenever magic is cast.
- Always have lords get that sweet campaign movement range upgrade as soon as possible to travel on the map easily and not waste time.
- Have a battle mage or other similar unit deploy in your province to reduce construction cost. Remember to get the income-increase-in-the-province upgrade as soon as ranking up to get those sweet money.
- Let heroes with assassination ability, rank up their assassination skill and kill other annoying enemy heroes on the map. This is especially important for the Vampire Counts since assassinations (or just wounding) is the easiest and most farmable method for gaining Blood Kisses, which can be used to unlock the Bloodlines and their benefits.
- Always build garrisons in your settlements on higher difficulties so that randomly spawning shitheads like Beastmen or Orcs won`t sack or raze your city.
- Never build garrisons instead of economy buildings or you'll have no money.
- Trade whenever possible. The Empire should trade with all kinds of dwarf factions early on as well as Bretonnia, the same goes for Dwarf.
- Try to have groups of two full stacks whenever possible, single stacks get easily overwhelmed due to force marched reinforcements.
- You see that skill called Lightning Strike in the blue branch of the lord skill tree? Go for it. It's basically mandatory to deal with the end game doomstacks in either the mortal empires or vortex campaigns.
- When playing horde faction like Chaos and Beastmen, get the growth upgrade for your lord to speed up horde growth.
- Mounts cost Upkeep. Remove them temporarily via the equipment screen to save money if unlikely to engage the enemy anytime soon. Keep in mind, switching on and off your mounts does require a turn to take effect, so make sure such lords/heroes are at least one turn away from enemy armies if they need to hop back up on their horse/carnosaur/dragon.
- You can switch Generals on the field using the button on the bottom right of the equipment screen. This can be used to not pay upkeep for Legendary Lords in times of peace or essentially teleport a Lord across the map from one army into another.
- Two Asrai technologies and the six General ranks require a special building each to unlock. Once a councilor is appointed or the technology is researched, the buildings can be safely removed to make space for other structures.
- When playing Skaven, one should know that maintaining armies and settlements cost food. Food is a scarce resource for they can only be found in province commandment and special building chains (in a settlement that has the "pasture" resource). Destroy enemies and razing settlements after battle can earn you a lot of gold AND food so always keep on the aggressive stance.
- ALWAYS RAID. If your are at war with an enemy, then always raid their provinces. You get three things from this. Money, increased experience for lords, as well as your enemy having to face an uprising due to your raids increasing unrest after it reaches -100.
- Alternative to the above, but not recommended unless your lords are really underpowered: Raid your own provinces in order to raise their levels from raiding itself as well as from defeating rebel armies. This is not recommended because it will hurt your economy; do so only when you have amassed enough power to allow for such excess.
- You can farm enemies if you minimize potential setbacks by ensuring your attention is not being taken away from the homefront and you can quickly deal with them if you need to get all hands on deck elsewhere.
- Raid on the way to an enemy settlement through the region, attack and sack it, keep raiding, and sack again once enough time goes by to get decent loot sacking it again. This all counts as hostile actions, allowing you to farm good will from their enemies (such as kicking Mannfred in the balls enough as Vlad and Isabella to trade with Dwarfs and the Empire).
- Just because you can eliminate a faction does not mean you should. Dwarfs in particular, once you can get a non-aggression agreement with one of them the rest will warm up to you, almost regardless of faction. But befriending Dwarfs means never betraying anyone; it's better to ignore diplomacy entirely than break a treaty when your goals include Dwarfs.
- Rebellions are not always bad. You can farm them for Traits, experience, developing a WAAAGH, or most importantly of all for more Slaves as Dark Elves.
- Tomb Kings build economy VERY SLOW, with poor access to financial buildings. Upgrading cities, and gaining access to trade goods is the bulk of their gold economy, so uniting Nehekhara and protecting it is important. You can move north to access further goods and trade with Dwarfs, but it married you to waging war on greenskins instead of Nagash’s books. Since nothing costs gold, you can doomstack as much as you’re able.
- You can repeatedly sack the same settlement to gain XP for your lords and heroes. After the first time, the garrison won't have had enough time to reform so they can be easily defeated next turn. This tactic is necessary early in a Legendary difficulty playthrough.
- Hammer and Anvil - Have your foot soldiers holding the enemy unit in place then have your cavalry charge-fuck them in the back. Guarantee morale break. Many units are designated cannon fodder, and not just Goblins; each army has a unit that is either durable, cheap, or both to serve as an anvil.
- Flying units do not move any faster if ordered to run with a double click, but will still become tired at the same rate. Instead of faster speed the double click forces them to ignore any fire they are taking and not become Staggered. Unless your flyers are taking fire, keep them moving with regular clicks.
- Artillery fires faster if you assume direct control. Practice your aim in single player matches and plan your strategy without needing manual control for a while to supercharge your heavy dakka firing speed. Beyond that the player can aim and hit outside the natural range of an artillery piece, so accurate players can hit almost anything on the map.
- Holding alt and issuing a move order will prevent breaking formation.
- Cycle charging your Cavalry for optimal damage. Shock Cavalry in particular are good for this, send them in for a charge and pull them out to repeat the process. Using the "J key is a lot faster than right clicking them out. Though it is worth pointing out that this is unwise to do with multiple units selected, due to the wonky pathfinding of the units; best to use it when managing one unit.
- Some factions are also capable of using a certain tactic from the tabletop.
- Some factions have units that are designed to be used as expendable cannon fodder like the skeleton warriors of the tomb kings or Skaven's slave rat. They are often cheap in both multiplayer and campaign so feel free to make themselves useful by giving them the guardsman's life (aka tanking a Cavalry charge, tanking an infantry charge, being a tarpit that traps enemies precious elite unit).
- Fighting a Siege Assault manually can be a breeze if you have Wizards: The AI defender is dumb enough to clump their units together, making for some good target practice for a well-placed area-of-effect spell like Flock of Doom.
- You can manually target turrets and walls with artillery in Siege Battles. Group your army in a corner, then place a lord or hero on foot in front of the army. The turrets are incredibly inaccurate at hitting small single unit entities. Have your artillery destroy the enemy defenses, then mop up however you wish.
If you want a more in depth look into general battle tactics, look Here
Total War: WARHAMMER 1
- Nine playable factions, one of them day-one DLC, and eight sub-factions. Each faction has unique gameplay mechanics and goals to fulfill on the campaign map.
The good ol' Empire: the pike, shot, and griffins faction we all know and love, the faction that works most like the old factions of other Total War games, being puny 'umies an' all. Led by Karl Franz as the faction leader, with Balthasar Gelt, and Volkmar the Grim as additional playable legendary Lords. Markus Wulfhart was added in TWW2 "Hunter and the Beast" DLC, making the Empire the first faction to gain a lord and new units in another game of the series they were introduced in.
is about as vanilla as you can get, with their only unique mechanic being their ability to appoint lords to offices (which isn't even unique anymore since the Wood Elves have something similar, and arguably does it better). Other than that, the Empire tech tree is locked behind buildings, with military and military support buildings like barracks, stables and blacksmiths unlocking technologies as well as the ability to recruit more powerful units. It - like the rest of the campaign is fairly lackluster, and some of the arguably better research abilities come in far too late to be useful has received a sizeable rework that's changed how their campaign works significantly (if you play them in Mortal Empires; game 1 still has the old system): the old office system has been replaced by a new Elector Count system, which allows you to appoint your generals as the elector count of a province for several bonuses, the province's Runefang, and a unique elector count unit (that range from mortars that don't damage your own troops to unbreakable greatswords to the knights of morr). Likewise, there is a new fealty mechanic that allows you to automatically confederate with another province when high enough (or result in their secession if their fealty is too low), with ways to raise it ranging from simply building up good relations with them to sending reinforcements for mini-battles against skaven, beastmen, and orc aggressors. This is kept in check by your faction's imperial authority, which increases via spending prestige (a new resource similar to the High-elves influence) during political events or reinstating elector counts and is lost when confederating, letting fellow elector counts get defeated, or declaring war on other empire factions (so you can't go bash everyone's heads in unless you want to take some huge penalties and eventually end up in a civil war vs every other elector count). As before though, the main focus of an Empire campaign is still to get all of the fragmented provinces under one banner, be it through alliances, confederation, or conquest, the new mechanics adding further depth to these play-styles (though it can lead to some interesting moments such as the Empire seceding from the Empire). While it lacks the diverse flavor of later races, the Empire campaign is arguably best for the traditional Total War "sandbox" sort of experience. While you are encouraged to ally with the Dwarfs or Bretonnia, it is really up to you how you want your campaign to go. Later in game one's life cycle the Empire got a few additional touches, in the form of new skill trees for Karl Franz and Gelt, along with additional army bonuses. All in all, it's a good introductory campaign to get used to the basics of the game or for "Fun" gameplay.
It is also worth noting that as more content was added to the game, most notably with the Beastmen DLC, the Empire AI became noticeably liable to get fucking punked early on in campaigns. Players will probably notice this difference even while playing as them with Orc or Beastmen hordes coming by soon after securing Altdorf (or even during) to fuck with their shit. The Foundation Update tried to amend this by giving the AI controlled Empire a full province from the get go. Which means it can actually survive for a while without getting absolutely stomped by all the enemies that knock on its door at the beginning.
In battle, the Empire is a little weaker than most armies off the bat, just like in the tabletop, but has access to a lot of different shit to compensate and their soldiers aren't exactly expensive. Artillery is still powerful, as are wizards, and there's elite stuff like the Luminark of Hysh and the Demigryph Knights to tear up the really big stuff the enemy can throw at you. Much like everything else about the Empire in this game, it's rather straightforward but effective nonetheless.
If you happen to beat the Beastmen mini-campaign, then you gain access to a playable Boris Todbringer in multiplayer, and in campaign should you confederate Middenland.
As of the Beast and the Hunter DLC for TTW2, they now get forts. Helmgart is an example of this change, and in its place comes Ubersreik (which can have a unique building, the Red Moon Inn that can be built there). Furthermore, Gelt now leads his own faction called the Golden Order based in Solland, giving the Empire much more starting position variation than before.
Their base game Legendary Lords are Karl Franz and Balthasar Gelt. Later joined by Volkmar the Grim (Grim & the Grave DLC) and Markus Wulfheart (Hunter & the Beast DLC).
- Emperor Karl Franz leads the primary Empire subfaction of Reikland, starting in good old Altdorf. Big dick Franz' faction effect gives an upkeep reduction to Reiksguard and Greatswords, a bonus to relations with other Empire factions, a boost to Lord recruit ranks, and a bonus to campaign movement range for all characters. His sole Lord effect is a bonus to leadership to all units in his army. It's a surprisingly slow start, since after you beat up the secessionists you will spend much of your time reunifying The Empire through confederation. In the meantime you can take back Marienburg, invade the Vampire Counts or just fuck with the Bretonnians or Dwarfs if you want to give the lore a middle finger. With his magic items giving him more AP, Bonus vs Large, and giving him more attack and leadership, his main job in battle is to beat the shit out of whatever you point him at! He shines in the late game where his buffs to elite empire troops allows him to rofl stomp all of Chaos. Slow start, but well worth the wait. Quest Items include Ghal Maraz, the The Silver Seal, and The Drakwald Runefang Beast Slayer. He also rides his trusty Griffon Deathclaw as his unique mount.
- Balthasar Gelt leads the subfaction The Golden Order after the Empire Undivided update, starting in the once ruined province of Solland. Unique faction effects include a whopping +10 boost to armor for all units, a boost to hero capacity and a reduction to upkeep for Battle Wizards. Lord effect wise he has a 20% reduction to Lore of Metal Spell costs, grants a boost to missle damage to all artillery units in his army, and boost hero recruit rank for Battle Wizards. All these bonuses means he has a much easier start than Franz, since his bonus to armor, cheap spells and starting mortars can carry you through a lot of early game fights. Gelt also has natural terrain in the mountains, making it easier to fuck with the Dwarfs and get grudgins under your belt. He is the primary spell caster of The Empire, and their only access to the Lore of Metal so far. Along with his new start in Solland, he has access to the Solland Runefang Grudgesettler, and owns a Fort right off the bat. His Quest Items include the Cloak of Molten Metal, Amulet of Sea Gold, and the Staff of Volans. He also has access to a unique Pegasus named Quicksilver.
- Volkmar the Grim is chilling alongside Franz in Reikland if you bought The Grim and the Grave, while Immortal Empires lets him assume proper leadership over the Cult of Sigmar. His unique faction effects include an increased Magic item drop chance, a boost to recruit rank for Warrior Priests, and lastly bonus weapon strength and upkeep reduction to Flagellants. Lord effect wise he gets a big boost to casualty replenishment rate, melee defense, and physical resistance to all Flagellants in his army. Since the lords in G&G didn't get unique start positions, they play very similarly to the main leaders of said faction campaign wise. In this case, you play Volkmar more or less like you play Karl, only you use the lulzy unbreakable Flagellants as your main line infantry early on instead of Swordsmen. CA fortunately saw how this could be boring and gave future DLC lords unique start areas, though Volkmar and his buddy Ghorst sadly have a harder time standing out compared to their big bosses. In battle he's primarily a support lord who buffs up the front line troops while still doing decent damage, with his regen and being able to become unbreakable making him damn hard to get rid of. His Quest items include the Jade Griffon and the Staff of Command. He also has access to the War Altar of Sigmar as a unique mount, making him unbreakable on his popemobile.
- In the hot jungles of Lustria is Markus Wulfhart and his Huntsmarshal's Expedition in his home base of the occupied Temple of Tenclan. Evidently Franz told him to take a break from slaughtering Beastmen and other horrid creatures in The Drakwald to slaughter Lizardmen and other horrible creatures in Lustria to help Imperial colonists. His unique faction mechanic is The Emperor's Mandate, instead of unlocking units normally you get reinforcements from back home the more you advance the Emperor's cause in Lustria. The more you pillage the land in the Empire's name, the better quality units are sent your way. He also gets a recruit rank buff to Huntsman Generals in his faction. Lord effect wise he has a bonus to his army's ambush defence chance, an increase to his own chance at ambushing, and a hefty upkeep reduction for Archers and Huntsmen in his army. Lastly he gets a malus to diplomatic relations with all Lizardmen. In your adventure to bring civilization to these Jungle filled lands and totally not plunder them for all their worth, you will focus on ranged combat and skirmishing, as his buffs to the half upkeep Archers and Huntsmen makes them better at killing things than Handgunners! His natural snare ability, long ranges focused shot and ADDITIONAL long ranged anti large focus shot after getting his quest item means large units won't be on the field for long. Campaign wise, you are locked out of most of the higher tier Empire troops early on, instead needing to rely on The Emperor's Mandate to get good stuff early on. If you make the homeland happy they will give you a selection of new, higher tier units to recruit to help you out, meaning you actually get the good, elite stuff faster than most other Empire factions. You also get access to unique heroes who totally aren't the Vermintide gang. The thing is though, YOU FUCKING NEED IT, as you are in the Royal Rumble that is Lustria and everything there that isn't Teclis wants to kill you and turn your face into underwear! The Hostility bar also makes it so the Lizardmen send armies to sodomize your hopes of expansion if you fill it too high. This is one of the most difficult, but at the same time most fun campaigns, and really gives you a good challenge. His sole unique Quest item is the Amber Bow.
Angry stunties out to right every wrong in their Tab of Fuck-ups with copious amounts of axes, artillery, and not to forget, beards. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if you're a Slayer), the Book of Grudges remains full. All the beards. After decades of hiding and defending their borders, the High King has decided to go and gain the additional title of Bitchslapper and get the Greenskins the hell out of their Karaks. Dwarfs do not conquer in the same way most other factions do and don't want cities or plunder in general; rather, they're going for underground holds and other Dwarfen areas of the game (unless you're playing Mortal Empires, where they just prefer to have mountainous regions). They are also very good at using the Underway, naturally, and are one of three factions, the other being the Greenskins and Skaven that can use it.
The Dwarf unique gimmick in the campaign is the Book of Grudges. Every time something 'bad' happens (losing a city, getting raided, assassination attempts on your characters...) you get a new grudge in the book. Unlike most missions, which have time limits, Grudges just sit around waiting for you to do them. Avenge a grudge and you get a bonus; however, have too many unfulfilled grudges and the Longbeards will start grumbling, dropping your morale and diplomatic relations with other Dwarf factions like a rock. From turn one with no grudges you have very good relations with the other dwarf kingdoms (with a few exceptions) meaning you can more easily confederate with them; giving an edge over other races in terms of consolidating your political power. On the other hand, if the grudges stack up you can easily lose that advantage. It's a system that seems to favor winners - ending grudges gives gold to keep new ones from happening and to further avenge old ones, but let them accumulate and it will become harder and harder to remove them. By dint of game induced randomness, some can be utterly crippling to your long term success, like forcing you to do things you really don't want to do and then creating chain reactions of negative results that then create more grudges - like acting against a human faction and then having the rest of them dogpile on you as a result or, most enjoyably, having to conquer undead lands when only Mousillon is available and between a fuckton of enemies. Whilst comparatively rare, some grudges can happen for purely narrative reasons, like having to attack an Empire faction who technically did nothing to you in game but who narratively underpaid some contractors by a single coin. Naturally their whole faction must die. Fun times.
After the Tomb Kings released and had their Mortuary Cult crafting mechanic showed off, everyone scratched their head and went "wouldn't that mechanic make more sense for the Dwarfs?" Evidently CA agreed, and alongside the Queen & the Crone DLC they added the Dwarf Forge to all Dwarf factions. Giving them a unique currency called Oathgold that lets them craft a variety of items, as well as letting you recycle any items you have to gain more Oathgold.
The Dwarf "tech tree" unsurprisingly has a lot more to do with their society and its slow pace of accepting change in everything. There are a huge amount of unlockable techs, and they ALL revolve around making tiny decisions from the top down instead of any meaningful technological breakthrough. Your Dwarfs already know how to do mass production and use advanced mining drills. They just don't want to use them because the old ways are the best and you have to spend turns to convince them to actually use the better technology that they have kept gathering dust.
In terms of the actual battlefield, Dwarfs are the slowest faction in the game with literally no Cavalry and the only fast thing being the Gyrocopters (and Slayers if you count them) which are high up the tech tree, but they are also by far the best at turtling and defending. Even ranged units can pack a wallop in close combat, and all units are armored to the tip of their beards; sometimes literally (taken especially with the Irondrakes and their BEARD ARMOUR). This, combined with an almost insane amounts of dangerous ranged weapons to compensate for not being able to run people down such as the organ gun, cannon, the Quarrelers and fukken' flamethrowers means that you don't want to take on Dwarfs head on if you can help it... unless you have artillery superiority (Read: unless you're the Empire. Then again, if you're the Empire and dont have dwarfs as allies, then you're kinda retarded).
See, artillery fucks Dwarfs up like nothing else because it bypasses Armor, shields, and Melee Defense, their primary methods of holding a battle line, and since they’re slow as hell a Dwarf army has to rely on either Gyrocopters or their own artillery to deal with enemy fire support. Doomdivers, Plagueclaw Catapults, Steam Tanks... all of them make Dwarfs shit their chainmail boxers, because they can’t do shit about it except outshooting them, seizing air superiority, or just gritting their teeth and powering through.
- Thorgrim Grudgebearer sits on his throne as he leads the main subfaction Karaz-a-Karak and aims to right the wrongs in the book of grudges. His unique faction mechanics include a boost to diplomatic relations with other Dwarfs, a reduction for military recruitment buildings, upkeep reductions for Longbeards and Hammerers, and bonuses to recruit rank for the latter. His Lord Effects include a big boost to his Leadership aura size, and a bonus to his leadership aura effect. What was at first thought to be one of the easiest campaigns, it actually got a bit harder due to increased threats to the south in Mortal Empires and reforms to the campaign itself. You do start out filthy fucking rich, so it's still hardly the hardest campaign in the world. In turns of battle, Thorgrim is the closest thing to a mage the dwarfs have, focusing on buffing support and debuff runes to keep his army trucking. He's also the only one with a mount, though unlike most mounts it actually makes him SLOWER than dwarf foot lords, a race already not known for his speed. Needless to say the man is a pulsing bulls eye to any ranged army with a brain, so make sure to protect him and he'll work his wonders. He has a whopping four Quest items including The Axe of Grimnir, The Armour of Skaldour, The Dragon Crown of Karaz, and lastly The Great Book of Grudges.
- Further north is Ungrim Ironfist leading his slayers in Karak Kadrin. His faction effects include a massive reduction in construction cost for Slayer buildings, reduction in recruit cost for Slayer units, and a bonus to speed for all infantry units. His Lord effects include a boost to casualty replenishment rate, upkeep reduction, and an increase to melee attack for all Slayer units in his army. As you'd expect from the Slayer king, his playstyle focuses entirely around Slayers, giving discounts and buffs that turn them into your go to in most army compositions. Karak Kadrin also starts with a unique building that lets you recruit them far earlier than most factions. This means you are a nightmare for factions that rely on large units, though you had best watch out for ranged focus races like elves. His preference for colder climates encourages you to expand northward, bringing you into contact to the Vampires, Skaven, Empire and Norscans you may not normally run into in a normal Dwarf campaign. In battle Ungrim acts as your monster slayer and DPS machine who can kill more or less any large creature you run into. Being unbreakable also means he'll never run away and will fight to the end. That being said, he's still slow as balls (like all dwarf lords) and can easily be out maneuvered by anyone paying attention. His Quest items include The Slayer Crown, the Dragon Cloak of Fyrskar, and the Axe of Dargo.
- Grombrindal - The White Dwarf is rooming with Thorgrim in Karaz-a-Karak if you download his FLC, while The Ancestral Throng is mustered in the third game. His faction effects include a bonus to Underway evasion chance for all characters, increase to weapon strength when fighting against Elves for all armies, and he has the unique Ancestor God dilemma. Which lets him choose bonuses from the different Ancestor Gods from time to time. These include fucking over enemy mages, cost decreases and research buffs, turning Grombrindal into a one man killing machine or just buffing your army in general. His lord effects include a boost to reinforcement range for his army, as well as an increase to leadership for all units in his army. This makes his campaign a bit easier than Thorgrim as you usually have some kind of buff active. In battle Gromby is a generalist fighter who has more versatility than Ungrim but isn't as good at killing big monsters. His smoke bomb also makes him better at locking down pesky cav and chariots. His quest items include the Armour of Glimril Scales, the Rune Axe of Grombrindal, the Cloak of Valaya, and the Rune Helm of Zhufbar.
- Belegar Ironhammer leads the subfaction Clan Angrund, starting in the Vaults over boarding Tilea and close to Welf country. His unique faction includes a leadership bonus when sieging a settlement, and starts with four ethereal Ancestor heroes. Lord effect wise he has the Siege Attacker attribute, vanguard deploys all armies faction wide during Underway Battles, and he gets a bonus to leadership for all units in his army when fighting Greenskins and Skaven. This faction plays quite a bit differently from the vanilla Dwarf campaign though it shares the same core mechanics. The goal of the campaign is to reach and gain control of Karak Eight Peaks, which is also being sought after by the Crooked Moon faction led by Skarsnik, and Clan Mors led by Queek Headtaker (if you're playing Mortal Empires). Until you obtain the Eight Peaks you suffer from a pretty massive upkeep penalty. Other than that the main campaign differences from regular stunties is that you start with some spooky hero units (two Thanes, a Runesmith and a Engineer who all have the Ethereal Trait that make all weapons but Magical ones do jack to them), and a slightly altered tech tree that lets you get rangers faster. Due to the aforementioned upkeep burdens, this campaign is notably more challenging than your standard Dwarf campaign (yet at the same time the satisfaction is great when you do regain Eight Peaks). In battle Belegar is a tank who can survive anything the enemy can throw at him, but doesn't offer much outside of that. His quest items include the Shield of Defiance and the Hammer of Angrund.
- Thorek Ironbrow is a Legendary Lord added for free to the second game as part of its last DLC. He leads the subfaction Ironbrown's Expedition starting in the Spine of Sotek in Lustria on the Vortex Campaign and Karak Zorn in MMortal Empire. His unique faction gives a bonus to Oathgold produced as well as a reduction to the amount required to forge Runes, habitability in Jungle climate, and increased ranks for Runesmiths heroes. It also comes with a unique set of artifacts to craft, each of them giving powerful campaign-wide boni. As Thorek himself, he's basically a souped-up version of a Runelord, but also gives a slight increase in armour and armour-piercing damage to his entire army, plus a reduction in reload time for Bolt Throwers, Grudge Trowers and Quarellers.
Oh, what kind of game would we have if we didn't have Orcs and Goblins? A real boring one, that's what. There are five playable factions as of the latest patch in the second game, with five Legendary Lords between them. The resident barbaric faction of the Old World (and parts of the new one), the Green Tide are most concerned with two things: a) Fighting and b) WINNING! But you probably already knew that.
In the first game, the Greenskins' signature mechanic was "Fightiness." If an army isn't raiding or fighting, its Fightiness falls until the boyz start fighting each other, causing attrition. Keep your Fightiness high and your army big, and the sheer mass of fighting will attract a WAAAGH!!!, a free army that you indirectly control until it's either wiped out or the army that attracted it loses Fightiness. The Total Waaagh! update in the second game changed this. Instead, Greenskins have two unique mechanics: Reputation and Scrap. Reputation is earned by fighting tough battles and either winning or losing valiantly. It makes organising and maintaining armies easier and allows for an event known as Call to Waaagh!, where you direct your forces against an enemy faction and raze or occupy their capital for loot and special rewards. Scrap is earned from battles, raiding and so forth, and is used to research certain things in the new tech tree and upgrade units in certain specific ways.
In general, Greenskins are a varied horde army who likes themselves a bit of a scrap, as you'd expect. A Greenskin army is generally more mobile than most armies, but are also more vulnerable to ranged damage and artillery. Goblins are way cheaper to get into an army than Orcs, but they're generally pretty weak unless helped. Greenskins also have way more monsters than most other races - Squigs for infantry shredding, Trolls for armour-crunching and flanking, Giants for chaff crunching and Arachnarok Spiders for monster duels, plus Wyverns for lucky Warbosses. The Total Waaagh! patch gave them an army-wide ability to declare a Waaagh!, granting major buffs for a short time to every unit in the army; its meter is charged up by units fighting in melee.
- Grimgor Ironhide leads the main Greenskin faction, called Grimgor's 'Ardboyz. He's based out of the settlement of Black Crag, which he took off the hands of its owner in the main universe (Gorfang Rotgut) because Gorfang decided that slagging off the most violent, hate-filled Orc in the Old World was somehow a good idea and Grimgor decided to correct him. His faction effects include a bonus to campaign movement range for all characters, and a reduction to upkeep for all Black Orcs and Big 'Uns units. Lord effect wise he buffs Black Orc leadership and armour in his army, and gets bonus post-battle loot income. Grimgor himself is a close-combat beatstick who can dish out a lot of hurt in short order, and his personal skill tree allows him to cause Terror and get Frenzy, and even boost the anti-Large damage bonus of Big 'Uns and Black Orcs in his army. Needless to say he tears through armoured units like tin cans as well. Unfortunately, he has no mount, and in this game that can make a huge difference. Grimgor also got a serious rework in the second game with the Warden & the Paunch update. Now Grimgor is Murder. Grimgor has been reworked from a beat-stick into a dueling lord capable of taking on almost anyone and everyone in single combat and winning due to his new abilities. With his version of the Waaaagh! in battle essentially doubling the effect you would get from a regular one. With a chance to get Black Orcs as units in your Waaagh! armies. Last but not least his Da Immortulz banner got a big rework, functioning much like the Cohort of Sotek RoR for Lizardmen. Meaning that they won't lose models as long as they are above 50% leadership; finally living up to the name. His Quest items include Gitsnik and the Blood-Forged Armour.
- Azhag the Slaughterer is the other Legendary Lord who was available at launch and as of the Warden & the Paunch Lord pack he now leads the Bonerattlaz faction. Azhag was in a weird place in Warhammer I, being more expensive than a vanilla warboss but not as killy, and his starting buffs - boosts to Research rates and Diplomacy with Undead factions - hampered by the fact that a) Greenskins need Tier III/IV building to do Research and b) you are far away from your prospective allies in both the north and the south of the map, who can't do much to help you in the initial battles. But with the Greenskins rework in Game II, he has never been better. Being given his own subfaction up in the Red Eye Mountains. Meaning his faction bonuses towards Vampire Counts diplomacy actually have some use now that he is relatively nearby Sylvania, and his research boost is useful now that the Greenskins research isn't arbitrarily locked off by buildings. His skill tree was reworked so that he can use the first few spells in the Lore of Death prior to doing the Crown of Sorcery Quest line, unlike prior where he required the item to use any spells whatsoever. And he can even use the Wind of Death as a bound ability. His unique Waaagh! in battle gives his troops Fear and Terror, his unique scrap upgrade boosts armor-piercing damage, and lastly he has a chance to get Feral Wyverns to join his Waaagh! campaign armies. His Quest Items include the Crown of Sorcery, Azhag's 'Ard Armour, and Slagga's Slashas. He also has a unique Wyvern mount named Skullmuncha.
- Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks is the third Greenskin Legendary Lord leading the Crooked Moon subfaction. He starts in a Dwarfen Hold near Karak Norn, having gone Squig hunting for a while only to have an Orc Warboss called Morglum Backstabba (cute, CA) take control of Karak Eight Peaks while he was out, with what was once the Crooked Moon now being Crooked Moon Mutinous Gits. He needs to fight his way back there and reclaim his throne, while fending off Belegar and the various other have-a-go heroes amongst the Empire and Dwarf subfactions. Until he does, he suffers a -2 to Public Order in all provinces and can't recruit basic Orc infantry or cavalry units. (An interesting loophole is that this doesn't apply to Savage Orc units, which have their own building chain in the tech tree.) To compensate, Skarsnik and other Night Goblin Warbosses can give all units in their army Poison Attacks (really) and he receives a 40% reduction to recruitment cost and upkeep for all Goblin units. Plus heroes have a 50% discount on hero actions and receive twice as much experience for it, letting him spam hero actions and rig every fight in his favour much more than other Greenskin leaders. Skarsnik himself is also a competent combatant with an anti large focus. And was given an interesting ability added in the second game that lets him make himself and units within a certain radius around him invisible to the enemy for a time (yes, including Giants and Arachnaroks). Who says Vlad has the monopoly on Creed-esque shenanigans? On top of that the Total Waaagh! update gave him two new abilities, Spite of da Bad Moon (which give allies around him anti-large, and boost to AP and base weapon damage, and Fermented Fungi that lowers enemy melee defense and causes them to rampage if they are at low health. His unique Waaagh! increases general damage along with a focus on AP missile damage, and gives the army immune to psychology during its duration. His Waaagh! army has an increased likelihood of containing Doom Diver Catapults. His sole Quest Item is Skarsnik's Prodder.
- Wurrzag da Great Green Prophet is the FLC Legendary Lord added in the same patch as Skarsnik. He leads the Bloody Handz tribe of Savage Orcs, who are based out of the Western Badlands across from Grimgor in the east. He showed up after Grimgor beat up and kicked out Rotgut to declare him favoured by Gork and Mork, but while Grimgor enjoyed Wurrzag's ringing endorsement, he found the shaman's wacky antics annoying so he sent him off to help out the Bloody Handz. His faction effects decrease Enemy Hero action success chance, and gives a bonus to Savage Orc units factionwise. Lord effect wise Wurrzag gives a hefty physical resistance to all Savage Orc units in his army, as well as a 50% reduction in their recruitment cost and upkeep. Wurrzag is a caster lord, and as such isn't made for direct combat much even if you mount him on his Warboar Spleenrippa, but compensates for it as an excellent supporter and caster. The Lore of da Big Waaagh! is a subtly excellent lore, with powerful buffs and a potent AoE that hide amongst three other underwhelming spells but should never be overlooked. His Wurrzag's Revenge ability is in the game as well, giving enemy Wizards a +50% chance of a miscast, and his Effigy of Da Git! ability can pin a unit down, making them highly vulnerable to charges and counter-charges. With the Total Waaagh! update, he also got an to his unique skill line. Having the expected boost to Savage Orc combat stats, and his ability to give all units in his army magical attacks. But on top of that he also removes all magic resistance from local enemy armies, gives physical resistance to all the big beasties in the Greenskin roster, and can spam Foot of Gork like there's no tomorrow with his "Titantic Beat!" skill. His unique Waaagh! gives the usual stat buffs, but also gives some physical resistance and immune to psych. His Quest Items include the Baleful Mask, Squiggly Beast, and the Bonewood Staff. He also has a unique Warboar mount named Spleenrippa.
- Grom the Paunch is the fifth Greenskin Legendary Lord leading the Broken Axe subfaction, starting in Karrak Orrud in Vortex, and Massif Orcal in Mortal Empires. He is Da big boss of the Greenskins in the Vortex Campaign and intends to finish what he started in Ulthuan by first burning Tor Yvresse to the ground and kill Eltharion the Grim for mucking up da WAAAGH TO END ALL WAAAGHS!!!!! His faction effects are a global recruit time reduction for Goblin units and a -80 diplomatic malus with High Elf factions. His Lord effects include a boost to leadership when fighting against Elves, physical resistance for Goblin units in his armies, and a hefty decrease in upkeep for Chariot and Pump Wagon units in his army. His special mechanic for the campaign is "Grom's Cauldron" which lets him cook various foods for his army and himself to buff up and continue his massive invasion on Da Pointy-eared gits dat need krumpin'. Grom. Never. Walks. He rides his chariot made from the roof of Middenheim's Church of Ulric and is constantly bothered by the head of the mad Shaman Blacktooth, who was reduced to an annoying head after it was cut off by the Grim. Did I mention he gets BIG ORKY ST- NO MATTA DA STUFF USED FOR DA PROCESS, DA FING HAZ GOT TO LOOK LIKE GORK/MORK. It AIN'T ORKY OTHERWISE. His unique Waaagh! heals his troops and gives immune to psych on top of the usual melee stat bonuses. During his campaign Waaagh! armies have a higher chance of getting Pump Wagon units. Quest Items include the Axe of Grom and the Lucky Banner, while he can also get Blacktoof's Head as a talisman through a quest.
Their Army Roster can be found [here]
While in terms of number of factions they are outnumbered, four compared to the 12 Empire factions (plus the Empire clones), the counts are surely not a force to be trifled with. Led by Mannfred von Carstein as the faction leader with Heinrich Kemmler (
seemingly without Krell who can now summon Krell) and Helman Ghorst as additional Legendary Lords. With the Old World Edition update, Vlad von Carstein and his wife Isabella von Carstein now lead their own sub-faction instead of putting up with Manny's bullcrap. Unlike the Dwarfs and Greenskins who will be fighting up in the mountains for control over the Dwarf Holds, the Counts can control and manage human settlements driving them into conflict with the other human factions, when the vampires take an area they won't just loot it, they are there to stay.
Their main unique mechanic on the campaign as of Warhammer II is the Vampire Bloodlines. Using their unique Blood Kiss currency (gained by killing faction leaders, or assassinating characters), you can recruit Lords from the five Vampire Bloodlines. Lahmian, Von Carstein, Blood Dragon, Necrarch, or Strigoi. These generic bloodline lords put some Legendary Lords to shame, with some pretty powerful skills in both campaign and battle. Investing enough Blood Kisses in specific Bloodlines grants you a swath of bonuses. From high research rate from Necrachs, hefty Calv bonuses from the Blood Dragons, to being able to recruit Sylvanian Crossbowmen from the Von Carsteins. Their other campaign ability is Raise Dead, with it you can immediately recruit units if you have sufficient money and space in your army for it. There will always be low level undead around on the map, but if there has been a big battle, and you have already unlocked them, you can raise high level undead units. They also have Vampiric Corruption, which is a statistic that a province akin to religion you find in older Total War games. Vampire armies traveling though untainted terrain suffer attrition, while enemy armies in corrupted turf also suffer attrition. It can spread and cause undead rebellions in nearby settlements so it's best you use corruption and make those Witch Hunters earn their pay even in places where you're not going to immediately invade. In occupied settlements you'll face Public Order problems if you don't get it high enough. Vampires spread corruption with heroes and some buildings in settlements.
On the battlefield the Vampire Counts are arguably the most unique of the launch game I races. Unlike the other factions the Vampire Counts have no ranged units, but make it up by having tough infantry, immunity to panic and very good flying units. As well as a good amount of monstrous units that usually have fear or terror effects to quickly break the enemy's morale. Fittingly they also have a decent amount of options to summon additional units to the field, along with a lot of regeneration potential from their support units. However, their major weakness is that the entire army will crumble away should your Lord get taken out. So while they can certainly hold their own in combat, it is best not to be reckless with them. Additionally, beating the wood elf mini-campaign nets you the Red
Duck Duke for multiplayer or if you somehow manage to confederate with Mousillon in the campaign.
Their Army Roster can be found [here].
Their base game legendary lords are Mannfred von Carstein and Heinrich Kemmler. Later joined by Helman Ghorst (Grim & the Grave DLC), Vlad von Carstein (FLC), and Isabella von Carstein (FLC).
- Mannfred von Carstein leads the main Vampire Counts faction, called Sylvania, or the Drakenhof Conclave in Immortal Empires, starting in Castle Drakenhof. It's a pretty good start overall, having access to a goldmine right off the bat, the Von Carstein's acting as a decent meat shield against Dwarfen and Empire aggression, and picking apart Tempelhof is an easy affair with some Raise Dead abuse. Mannfred himself is pretty damn powerful, being the only character with two full Lores of Magic at this disposal (Lore of Vampires and Lore of Death), and his items give him an absurd pool and recharge rate of Winds of Magic. Meaning he will be spamming his spells pretty much all battle long. CA even gave him a Zombie Dragon, a mount option he didn't have on Tabletop. Presumably more because they didn't add Abyssal Terrors as a mount, rather than actually fitting Mannfred to ride a Zombie Dragon though. His Quest Items include the Sword of Unholy Power and the Armour of Templehof.
- Heinrich Kemmler as of the Aye Aye! Patch now leads his own subfaction called The Barrow Legion situated in Blackstone Post; which has the honor of housing Castle Drachenfels as a unique landmark. His faction effects include a bonus in diplomatic relations with Chaos races and a 50% reduction to Necromancer Heroes. Lore effect wise all units in Kemmler's army are immune to attrition from being in territories with low Vampire corruption, has a boost to Necromancer recruit rank, and has access to Krell as a summonable hero. Kemmler was once a joke of an LL when Warhammer I first came out, but no longer. The OG Special Character is now quite a force to be reckoned with. With a number of skills in his tree to boost his casting potential, and his unique skill line is dedicated to buffing Krell. His Quest Items include the Chaos Tomb Blade, the Cloak of Mists & Shadows, and the Skull Staff. He also has access to a Barded Nightmare as a mount.
- Helman Ghorst hangs out with Mannfred in the main Vampire Counts faction, breaking away in the third game to steer the Caravan of Blue Roses. His faction effects include a boost Corpse Cart charge bonus and recruit rank, increased casualty replenishment rate, and an increase in research rate. Lord effect wise all units in his army receive a watered down version of poison. Oddly enough he actually does have a dedicated skill line, that focuses on buffing his own stats, and later boosts his ability to cast Vanhel's Danse Macabre by a substantial amount. Has access to a unique variation of Raise Dead called "Awaken from the Grave" that summons Grave Guard, and will instead summon a Wight King when overcasted. His sole Quest Item is the Liber Noctus. He also has access to a unique Corpse Cart mount called The Brothers Ghorst Corpse Cart.
- Vlad von Carstein leads the creatively named subfaction called Von Carstein, now properly called Sylvania, starting next door to Mannfred in Schwarzhafen. His faction effects include a boost to campaign movement range for all characters, access to a unique building in Castle Drakenhof, and starts with 1 Blood Kiss right off the bat. His lord effects gives vanguard deployment to all units in his army, and he gets a boost to melee attack and defense when fighting alongside Isabella. While he does not have a dedicated unique skill line like other LLs, he has a few notable unique skills. With Coven of Undeath boosting experience gained per turn for units factionwide. Vlad's main niche is to be that one LL that just never dies. Being one of the tankiest characters in the game to this day through his items, and his natural regeneration skills. His Quest Items include his sword Blood Drinker, and The Carstein Ring.
- Isabella von Carstein hangs out with her sugar Vladdy in the same subfaction of Von Carstein/Sylvania. Her faction effects include a bonus to Vampire Hero capacity, a boost to their weapon strength, access to a unique building in Castle Drakenhof, and she starts with 1 Blood Kiss straight away. While Lord effect wise she has increased melee attack and melee defense for embedded Vampire heroes, and gets a stat boost when reinforced by Vlad. Much like her husband, she doesn't have a dedicated unique skill line, but does have a few nifty skills. With each one boosting leadership and melee attack for the various beasties in the Vampire Count roster. Her sole Quest Item is the Blood Chalice of Bathori. She also has access to a Barded Nightmare and a Hellsteed as mounts.
One of the defining aspects of Warhammer, the Warriors of Chaos had to be in a Total War game, and they do not disappoint (much...). In a lot of ways, Chaos is similar to the Vampires; their only ranged units are missile cavalry and artillery, and they are not even particularly good missile cav. The Warriors of Chaos are all about heavy infantry backed up with the occasional slavering monsters like Chaos Trolls, Dragon Ogres, and Chaos Spawn.
The Warriors of Chaos are a lot more complex then the other factions. For one, like the Vampire Counts, they have a corruption mechanic they can infect provinces with using their heroes. But rather than make the ground safe for their troops to travel through, it inspires Chaos uprisings and rebellions. Secondly, they don't occupy cities but instead each army has self contained buildings, even when taking a fellow Norsemen tribe you can only sack it (for gold), raze (for pop growth to get buildings), or awaken it (more on that later). This means that when a Chaos army stops moving it can get units back even in foreign ground, because in a sense all ground is foreign to it. Due to this if an army is wiped out a lot more is lost. They also have weak economic buildings; your main source of cash will be sacking the shit out of people. Do note that nothing stops you from sacking a place, then razing it for money and pop growth. Thirdly, they can awaken Norse tribes making them your vassals and giving you increased unit replenishment in their territory. Fourthly, if multiple Chaos stacks are next to one another on the campaign map the Norscan units within will suffer attrition; making combined attacks against large cities a bit dicey if planned poorly. Finally: even if you are not playing with the DLC to make them playable they will come from the north as a boss faction you have to deal with at some point no matter who you are, even if you are the Everchosen himself. In that case, they'll also have an extra legendary lord: the Everwatcher. Their available legendary lords are Archaon, Sigvald the Magnificent, and Kholek Suneater.
Of course that was the sticking point at Chaos' release, that to play as them you had to pre-order the game, or else buy a piece of DLC for what is seen as a "core" faction. The reveal that Chaos was going to be DLC opened a can of rage massive enough to mildly impress an Angry Marine. A blog post made by the chief producer argues that chaos had to be DLC or not be in the game at all, which if you think about the number of unique animation rigs between the factions it's not like you need to animate one spearman and then can dress him up in 50 different cultures, may be true but it is still a bitter pill for us fans. Fortunately, CA finally seemed to have noticed the horde of raging neckbeards banging on their door and decided to tone down the money grubbing asshole levels a notch; the Chaos Warriors DLC was made available for free if you purchased within the first week of the game's launch; so you had the option to wait a few days and see how many people lose their shit over the game for better or worse before blowing $60 on it. http://store.steampowered.com/app/404010/ - Their steam page which tries to sell them and has their army roster. While the faction could appear as a non-playable faction for some bizarre ass reason CA made some units exclusive to the DLC including Sigvald, the Dragon Ogres (including shaggoths and Kholek), armored variations of Chaos Trolls, Chaos Sorcerer Lords, Manticores, Chaos Dragons, Forsaken, and Gorebeast chariots. Likely because otherwise people would just use a mod to unlock the faction without paying.
They later got a pretty welcome boost with three new free units released at the same time as the King and the Warlord. Feral Manticores may not be able to really stack up to Vargheists and Pegasus Knights in terms of controlling the skies, but they can give the Chaos Warriors a lot of needed flexibility. Aspiring Champions are pretty thoroughly badass and can both bolster your cheaper units' shitty morale and carve up enemy trash units like butter while being pretty cheap themselves (just don't get them into fights with units that have AP damage), and Marauder Horsemasters aren't exactly what the Chaos Warriors needed more of but they're decently cheap and flexible cavalry who can both harass the enemy at range as well as deal some decently harsh pummeling in melee. Furthermore, Sarthorael was made available to play for anyone who beat the campaign with the release of the Call of the Beastmen, and while the Lore of Metal isn't exactly the best lore in the game, he is a pretty hefty beat-stick lord.
Thankfully, the addition of Norsca also gave the Warriors of Chaos some very much needed quality of life improvements. Some very nice Regiments of Renown (including Sigvald's
groupies Mirror Guard), a boost to unit replenishment attached to their core technologies, Marauder units were given a notable buff, your armies no longer murder each other for being too close if they don't contain any Marauders (and lets be honest, they wont by the time it becomes a problem), and perhaps most notably, the Norscan tribes you awaken are automatically vassals. This means that infighting will be much less common and you no longer have to send an army north to smack them back into line.
- Archaon the Everchosen is the primary Legendary Lord for the Warhost of the Apocalypse. His faction effects include a boost to leadership for Chaos Warriors, as well as decreasing their recruitment cost; he also has a diplomatic malus of 30 with all other factions. Lord effect wise he gives a ward save to all units in his army, and gets a boost to income from razing settlements. His unique skill line focuses on funding the various flavors of Chaos Warriors, and finishes off with boosting his own stats. He is a hybrid lord with a focus on his melee prowess, but does have the ability to use the Lore of Fire (though has no access to Arcane Conduit for some reason). His Quest Items include The Slayer of Kings, The Armour of Morkar, The Eye of Sheerian, and The Crown of Domination. He also has access to a unique mount named Dorghar (who looks like a pony when Archaon rides him).
- Kholek Suneater was once in the same Warriors of Chaos boat as Archaon, but now leads the Heralds of the Tempest. His faction effects give a bonus to spreading Chaos Corruption to all characters, a reduction in ambush defence chance, and a heft 60% reduction in recruitment cost for Dragon Ogre units. Lord effect wise he gets a decrease in Dragon Ogre unit upkeep, and increases the melee attack for Dragon Ogre Shaggoths. His unit stat line focuses on buffing his own combat abilities (topping off with giving him Frenzy) and buffing up Dragon Ogre units. He also has access to a unique ability called Lord of the Storm that drops some lightning bolts on some poor ants by him. His sole Quest Item is Starcrusher.
- Prince Sigvald the Magnificent was also crashing in with Archaon's lot, now striding at the head of The Decadent Host in Immortal Empires. His faction effects include a boost to diplomatic relations with Norscan factions, a boost to leadership when fighting Men, and increases the armour of Lords and embedded Heroes. Lord effect wise he boosts Marauder recruit rank, boosts horde growth for his army, and reduces the upkeep for all Marauder units in his army. His unique skill tree line has the unusual "honor" of starting with a skill that increases Lord upkeep, and the bonus making up for that is a small increase in leadership. Other than that he gets some nifty buffs with the ability to gain Terror, but nothing too special. Role wise he is meant to be the dedicated duelist character, but can struggle with it due to his relatively low armour-piercing damage. His Quest Items include Sliverslash, and the Auric Armour.
They were confirmed to be released as free-LC on the 28th February. Their Legendary Lords, and a Lady, were confirmed to be King Louen Leoncoeur (as expected), the Fay Enchantress, and... Duke Alberic of... Bordeleaux... oh god, it's Helman Ghorst all over again. *Ahem*. Some speculated that Alberic was chosen because he would give CA a chance to be creative with their character since he had just about two paragraphs of lore; this was evidently not the case and they somehow couldn't even make him accurate to said two paragraphs. The Mortal Empire update provided Alberic with a much better layer of uniqueness (getting a model update, new weapon, new mount, and new gameplay niche) and characterization.
At launch, they were only playable (with a limited roster) in custom battles (be it single or multiplayer), though they fairly quickly got a stop gap mod to let them be played till the FLC came out. They seem, like their tabletop counterparts, to focus heavily on cavalry, having at least one unit of each variety of cavalry, including flying cavalry. However, as people who played Warhammer know, the race was poorly supported with a pretty limited roster, made worse by a decent number being left out at launch. So to make them competitive at the time, CA gave them ridiculously cost-effective infantry and archers. As in, Bretonnian Men-at-Arms are better warriors than Empire State Troops. This led to the Bretonnian netlists containing little to no cavalry, and instead being peasant hordes and flying rape squads. Disappointingly, Grail Knights were *substantially* inferior to the hilariously OP Demigryph Knights (especially with Halberds) who are, to add insult to injury, a fair bit cheaper and get crushed by Blood Knights. Ironically, with the release of Wood Elves, the peasant bowmen were able to 1v1 the Wood Elves' Glade Guards and win. This was hilarious and skub worthy at the same time, but seeing that CA had to buff Bretonnia due to their lack of units, it was somewhat understandable, not to mention many players forget that the Wood Elves are one of the harder armies to play, and their archers are not trading-blow style like the Dwarf's or the Empire's ranged units.
With Bretonnia finally becoming a proper faction, all of this was changed. Men-at-arms have been nerfed back down to peasant levels (so you'll probably need a Grail Reliquae if you want to depend on men-at-arms at all later in the campaign). Instead, Bretonnia has gotten all three of the units they were previously missing, plus entirely new units they never had in tabletop, such as hippogryph knights, foot squires and trebuchets loaded with holy water. Their existing roster also got several buffs - all Bretonnian knights can now adopt a lance formation, and Grail Knights specifically are now protected by the Lady's blessing and never tire in battle. Which hilariously makes them more tireless than the undead. Furthermore, Grail Knights can now take on Demigryph Knights or Blood Knights and win. Unfortunately, because peasants are garbage tier in battle next to mid to high tier Wood Elves, this tends to result in said elves tearing Bretonnia a new hole. Especially if you've sent your lords questing far and wide to get those sweet vows.
They have two and a half campaign mechanics. The first one is Chivalry, a meter which measures how great of a knight you are. Winning great victories and protecting your allies increases Chivalry, while raiding and backstabbing lowers it. With higher levels of Chivalry, you get better relations with other factions, better public order, more experienced knight recruits, and the ability to temporarily call upon the Green Knight as a Legendary Hero. The Bretonnian endgame goal is to reach the highest level of Chivalry, then go off on a crusade to completely fuck over either Chaos in the Chaos Wastes or the Greenskins in the Badlands. The second mechanic is the peasant economy. If you have too many units of peasants in your army and not, you know, farming, you suffer economic problems with your farming economic buildings, making them perform worse compared to the industrial buildings which aren't affected by insufficient peasants. With the trade off being that they don't give quite as much money... So if you want to drown your enemy in filthy peasants, switch to an industrial income source. Lastly your "half" a mechanic is that rather then public order you have 'control'. It's basically the same as other factions' public order except, due to the fact your average Bretonnian peasant is more loyal to his lord than your average North Korean, rather then facing rebellions of your own factions you have incursions of Orcs and other bad guys.
They also have the unique capacity to have a chance to remove negative traits from characters garrisoned in a town with a religious building, because no one likes it when they suddenly find Leoncoeur likes Chaos.
Their base Legendary Lords are Louen Leoncoeur, The Fay Enchantress, and Alberic de Bordeleaux. Later joined by Repanse de Lyonesse (FLC).
- Louen Leoncoeur leads the main Bretonnian faction named Couronne and starts in that territory in Mortal Empires. His faction effects include a boost to campaign movement range for all characters, and boost to leadership aura for Lords factionwide when attacking. Lord effect wise Louen starts with all Knightly Vows unlocked, and has increased melee attack and leadership when fighting against Undead, Greenskins, and all Chaos factions. Lastly he starts with the passive ability "The Blessing of the Lady. His unique skill line has a focus on boosting the campaign side of things, reducing upkeep on Knights of the Realm, and his other unique skills give him regeneration and the passive "Beloved Son of Bretonnia." Which gives a massive boost in stats and immune to psych to all units map wide when his hit points are below 50%. Role wise Louen is the melee monster of the Bretonnian LLs, and there are not many units or characters in the game that can give him trouble once fully kitted out. His Quest Items include the Armour of Brilliance and the Sword of Couronne. He also has access to a unique Hippogryph mount named Beaquis.
- Alberic de Bordeleaux leads the subfaction named Bordeleaux and starts in that territory in the first game and in the second's Mortal Empires. His faction is named Bordeleaux Errant and starts in a Bretonnian Lustrian colony in the third games Immortal Empires. His faction effects include a boost to trade income, an increase in recruit rank for Bretonnian Knight units, as well as a recruitment duration decrease for those same units (the third game adds melee defense to all his units). Lord effect wise Alberic starts with the Knight's Vow unlocked, a boost of Chivalry per turn, and grants additional melee defence of all Knights of the Realm units in his army. His unique skill line focuses largely on the administrative side of things, but he does also get a hefty physical resistance and leadership boost to his army as well. Role rise Alberic used to be in a very odd spot in Warhammer I. Being a naval combat focused lore in a game that had only auto-resolve water battles at that time; and his main use was to sit in Marienburg to milk money. With the Bretonnia rework in game II Alberic has come a long way from his time as “le Generic" and has his own niche as an LL. Now actually having his trident modeled rather than a sword, with a focus on anti-large to the point where he can actually give units around him that bonus. His Quest Items include the Trident of Manann and the Braid of Bordeleaux. He also has access to a unique Hippogryph named Tempete.
- The Fay Enchantress leads the subfaction named Carcassonne and starts in that territory in Mortal Empires. Her faction effects include a boost to casualty replenishment rate, and an increase to the number of peasant units available to the faction. Lord effect wise she has an upkeep reduction for Grail Guardian units, has the passive ability "The Blessing of the Lady" and starts with Fear right off the bat. Her unique skill line buffs up Grail Knights and Grail Guardians, has some reductions in cost and time for constructing worship buildings, and boosting casting capabilities for characters. Role wise Morgiana is the primary Caster of the roster, but she can actually do some good work in the middle of combat too. With his ability to cause fear, and having an aura not unlike that of a Mortis Engine with her Mist of the Lady passive. With the lore of life in hand, she makes for a fantastic support character that can be a menace on the battlefield. Her Quest Items include Morgiana's Mirror, and the Chalice of Potions. She also has access to a unique Unicorn Mount named Silvaron.
- Repanse de Lyonesse leads the subfaction named Chevaliers de Lyonesse. She starts in Araby, fighting the Tomb Kings. Her entire faction is geared toward fighting Undead in general. Her faction effects include a boost to control in all provinces, a decrease in hero upkeep, melee defence boost for Questing Knights, and hefty diplomatic malus with all undead factions. Lord effect wise she starts with the Questing Vow unlocked, gives leadership and physical resistance to all peasant units, and starts with a unique ability "Halo of Maidenly Wrath." Her skills leans more toward buffing your infantry units, having almost no buff to cavalry. Her campaign consists of purging Araby in the name of the Lady, before getting enough Chivalry to go on a Errantry War to purge the Tomb Kings or the Vampire Coast for good. Also accompanied by her bodyguard/companion Henri le Massif (seriously, this boy's so big he counts as a large unit while on foot), a Legendary Hero, who will absolutely wreck anyone's shit and can ride a griffon in battle. Her sole Quest Item is the Sword of Lyonesse. She also has access to a unique warhorse named Suleman.
The first post-release DLC faction, with the release date of 28th of July. The chaos furries are, like Archaon's spiky boys, a horde faction. Unlike the Warriors of Chaos, however, Beastmen have a passive ability called Resilience, which prevents attrition from having too many hordes together. Another mechanic borrowed from their furless friends is Chaos corruption, that will cause no end of trouble for whomever's land you sack. Beastmen armies also have a meter that is identical to the Greenskin's fightiness one, called Bestial Rage, rather than spawn an allied army as it used to do, once filled it will now increase your growth as well as give you some charge bonus buff to your army.
One of their truly unique features is their modified stances, first being the ambush stance, that allows them full movement and still lets them ambush (but now on the move). Their hidden encampment stance conceals the army much like ambush, but instead of surprise attacks you can build and recruit in relative safety instead. Beast-paths stance allows them to ignore impassable terrain much like the underway, but battles take place in a different (very foresty and narrow) kind of map. Of course, they can also raid like everyone else.
Their post-battle options are also geared for their horde gameplay: Raze and Loot will get you income and destroy the settlement, while Raze and Defile will still raze it but erect a "blasphemous monument" there instead of gaining loot; this monument will not only constantly generate large quantities of corruption, but also give you a population boost. Beastmen players will also get a periodic Chaos Moon event where you can pay specific prices for specific bonuses.
Their start location is actually different based on which lord is picked, which while standard now was unique at the time of their release. The Legendary Lord options are Khazrak the One Eye, starting in Tobaro (in Estalia), Malagor the Dark Omen, starting in the Marshes of Madness (in the Badlands), and Morghur the Shadowgave, starting in Nordland. The new DLC adds Taurox who will start in Naggaroth near Clarond Kar in Naggaroth. Beastmen also have access to their own lore of magic, the Lore of the Wild, and ‹s›two‹/s› three (with the silence and the fury DLC) types of heroes: the Gorebull (that can send Trolls flying when charged or knocking down Vargulfs) and the Bray-Shaman who can use the lore of the wild, lore of death, and the free-LC-added lore of beasts as well as the Wargor a melee hero that can also work as a support character. Not only that, but most of their units are fast and get vanguard deployment, allowing for some powerful misdirection. Morghur and harpies were added for free when the Wood Elves were released.
CA has confirmed they will appear in the campaign regardless of your ownership of them (which is now standard for all DLC for these games), which is awesome. Amusingly, this had a rather dire effect on the AI Human kingdoms if you aren't actively pruning brayherds as they pop up. The early armies of the Empire and Bretonnia did not do well against them and frequently by turn 50, much of the human lands are corrupted, ruin littered wastes, long before the actual Chaos Warriors even show up! Sadly, this eventually went in the opposite direction as the sequel was released and factions received a variety of reworks and new lords -‹s›now it's basically a meme (and one YouTube memer's running joke) that pretty much every Beastmen faction is going to be destroyed in a few turns after appearing (or even the same turn) due to poor campaign factors (bad early-game units, low replenishment, growth and income, still having the mostly-useless Brayherd faction mechanic that the Greenskins understandably got reworked out of). NOT ANYMORE! With the new rework the Beastmen have become one of the strongest horde factions in the game if not the strongest. While AI Beastmen will still not survive long in campaign, player led Beastmen are a force to be reckoned with
http://store.steampowered.com/app/404012/ - the Steam page with their roster
Their base Legendary Lords are Khazrak the One Eye, and Malagor the Dark Omen. Later joined by Morghur the Shadowgave (FLC), and Taurox in game 2 (DLC).
- Khazrak The One-Eye is the primary Beastmen Legendary Lord leading the Warherd of the One-Eye, and starts in Estalia. His faction effects include a bonus to leadership when fighting against Men, increase in raiding income, and a boost to Bestigor charge bonus. His Lord effects are a decrease in Bestigor upkeep, recruitment cost, and their recruitment duration. While also increasing their recruit rank. Role wise Khazrak is supposed to be the main melee combatant in the Beastmen roster, but there isn't really much special about him. Being basically a slightly buffed up Beastlord, with some poison attacks when he gets his unique weapon. Unfortunately does not have his own dedicated skill line at the moment, so there isn't much to differentiate him sadly. His Quest Items include his whip Scourge and The Dark Mail. He also has access to a Razorgor Chariot as a mount.
- Malagor the Dark Omen is the second LL chilling out with Khazrak in the Beastmen faction (in the first game, in the second one he was given his own faction, Harbinger of Disaster) and starts over in the Southern Badlands. His faction effects include a boost in campaign movement range factionwide, increase in Bray-Shaman Hero capacity, a boost to horde growth in all armies, and has a bonus to diplomatic relations with all Beastmen warherds. Lord effect wise he debuffs enemy leadership and casualty replenishment for local enemy armies, and increases the hero recruit rank for Bray-Shamans. Role wise he is the dedicated caster LL in the Beastmen roster, utilizing a mix of various Lores (Beasts, Wild and Shadows), with his personal skill line added to the second game greatly boosting his magical capabilities. His sole Quest Item is the Icons of Vilification.
- Morghur the Shadowgave brings forth his mutating masses in the Warherd of the Shadowgave as the third Beastmen LL option, starting in Nordland. His faction effects include a boost to Chaos corruption spread for all characters, an increase in Minotaur upkeep, whilst having a decrease in Chaos Spawn upkeep. Lord effect wise Morghur causes additional casualties suffered from Chaos attrition to local armies, gives missile resistance and melee defence to all Chaos Spawn in his army, and Morghur will only be wounded for 1 turn if killed in battle. Oddly enough Morghur is still in the main Beastmen faction despite having his own Warherd in both the Wood Elves mini-campaign, and the custom battle screen. And his starting position seems like it should be swapped with Khazrak's, considering they are closer to their respective archenemies that way. Putting aside those oddities, Morghur is a pretty fantastic LL option for the Beasties. Unfortunately lacks a dedicated unique skill line that has become standard for Warhammer II LLs, but he does have a few notable unique skills. Notably he is clearly geared to buffing those that That-Which-Must-Never-Be-Named in his armies, and fulfils the role of being that guy who just refuses to die. His sole Quest Item is the Stave of Ruinous corruption. Which gives him the hilarious ability to turn low health units into Chaos Spaw- BY SIGMOGLARBABLAHBALHABHHBLBL...
- Taurox The Brass Bull arrives with a much needed DLC and update for the Beastmen, leading the Slaughterhorn Tribe. His campaign isn't known yet, but we do know that as he fights and wins he gains the ability to replenish action points in order to keep him fighting and moving. He seems to get buffs from the Chaos Gods as he wins, though what the buffs are aren't specified yet. He searches for The Heart of Darkness to beat the crap out of Oxyotl, close the weak point on his neck and allow Chaos to sweep the world.
The second post-release race with the release date of the 8th of December of 2016. It seems CA has taken to heart the popularity of Clan Angrund, Crooked Moon, and Bloody Handz, because the DLC will come with a sub-faction of its own. Wood elves play very differently from all the other armies. First, they are incredibly fragile, relying on massive micro to survive. Second, they can conquer any settlement type be it Dwarf, Human, or Norscan, makes sense since Oak of Ages once had its root sprawled across the entire world, even Norsca; it was only the coming of chaos that destroyed all its works. The catch is that all settlements outside Athel Loren are stuck being mere outposts where only the most basic structures may be built. The settlements in Athel Loren proper, meanwhile, have a whopping 10 (ten) building slots.
But where they truly become unique is their win condition: they need to upgrade the unique Oak of Ages to level 5. But there are a few problems. First, to do so you need amber, a secondary resource only used by the hippies. Amber is only found outside Athel Loren, and is also used for technology and high-tier units. Second, when you do grow up your pretty tree as far as it goes, you'll have to fend off stacks of Beastmen and Warriors of Chaos as they attempt to dogpile you.
Their two lords are Orion and Durthu. Durthu actually leads a subfaction focusing on tree spirits in the opposite end of Athel Loren from Orion (who focuses on elf units). They got two generic lords (Glade Lord and Treeman Ancient), and three heroes (Spellsinger, Branchwraith, Waystalker). Finally, they have motherfucking forest dragons.
All these advantages though? They need it. They are currently one of the hardest factions to play, if not the hardest, and Dwarfen Irondrakes in particular will have a field day against their highly-flammable Forest Spirit units.
Perhaps the biggest reason why people struggle with the Asrai is their relatively micro heavy playstyle. Wood Elves are definitely not a standing army during the early game and don't function as a fully functional traditional total war army ever. Wood Elves lack a cheap and high model front line unit. Eternal guardians, the absolute minimum level unit you can recruit, will shit on any other faction's first unit in a 1v1. They are also extremely expensive to recruit and maintain. This is a major theme for Wood Elves. Take their base archer unit - Glade Guard- for instance. On paper they should absolutely defeat a Bretonnian or a Beastman archer unit. They certainly cost that much. In a straight up battle they will probably lose. This is because the Beastmen and Bretonnians can generally match them straight up in a fight due to having larger unit sizes and consequently more dakka. They are bringing more arrows while costing less. What the wood elves have over all other factions is raw speed. A wood elf army can outrange and out skirmish the enemy. While playing as wood elves, You have to think outside the box, breaking up formations, making sure that your archers keep firing no matter what happens, and keeping enemies away from your squishy missile troops. Oh, and fight in the DAMN TREES. Seriously, Wood elves gain hefty combat bonuses in forests for prolonged combat. If you are playing as the Wood Elves by using conventional military tactics you are fucking up. Another mistake that people commonly make while playing as the Wood Elves is thinking that their infantry is supposed to fight in the front line. This is a mistaken idea that only leads to loss of Asrai life and makes baby Orion sad. Eternal Guards are a damn good unit that can go toe to toe with higher tier infantry of other factions. They are also too expensive to keep as frontline infantry.They are support units that keep your flanks clear of cavalry and support your front line with anti-large damage; ideally they should be supporting Treekin. Treekin are the front line tanks of the Wood elves in battle. Whereas Trolls - their closest counterpart in the game - have low morale and regeneration, Treekin are walking trees that have a 20% resistance to physical damage along with a fuckton of health and small models. This means that you need to support them with magic, ideally healing them with the Lore of Life. You can't expect them to win a straight up fight against large numbers on their own. Your starting legendary lords (especially Durthu, who can easily solo a Beastman army due to his innate fear traits) can soak up a lot of damage as long as they are well supported. Finally, a word on the Wardancers. They are basically Howling Banshees. Fragile and absolutely murderous in close range combat. Asrai Wardancers armed with spears can easily combat high level cavalry like blood knights due to their anti-large bonus while regular Wardancers do the same to infantry. They aren't frontline infantry and using them as such is a waste. Eternal Guard units have much higher mass and can generally hold their own pretty well. Wood elves also have a lot of access to magic damage, which bypasses physical resistance, making them very effective against heroes and lords.
One thing that players have noticed on release in the campaign was that AI-controlled wood elves were notoriously bipolar and would sometimes even ally with Chaos while laying waste to huge swathes of the map. However, an update that came with Bretonnia made them lore-tasticaly isolationist with short bursts of aggressive expansion.
http://store.steampowered.com/app/534331/ - the steam page with their roster
Their base Legendary Lords are Orion and Durthu.
- Orion leads the main Wood Elves faction named Talsyn starting in King's Glade in Mortal Empires. His faction effects reduce upkeep for all cavalry units, gives leadership during forest battles, and unlocks the Wild Hunt campaign event. Lord effect wise he buffs the charge bonus and weapon strength of Wild Riders in his army. He specializes in the "Elf" aspect of his faction, to the degree that while many standard infantry options are available to him at no extra fee, higher tier Tree Kin and Tree Men cost amber as an additional upkeep. Role Wise Orion is a hybrid melee and ranged option, with his melee stats nothing to scoff at while he launches his spear off like a bolt thrower. While he lacks a truly unique skill-line he does have the capability to massively boost his armies ranged and melee capabilities. He also has a reskinned Lore of Metal spell in the form of his Hounds of Orion ability. His Quest Items include the Horn of the Wild Hunt, Cloak of Isha, and the Spear of Kurnous.
- Durthu leads the subfaction named Argwylon starting in the Waterfall Palace in Mortal Empires. His faction effects include a reduction in Branchwraith recruitment cost, and a boost to melee attack during forest battle. Lord effects reduce upkeep for all forest spirit units in his army, boosting their charge bonus, and all units in Durthu's army are immune to ALL forms of attrition. As can be expected, Durthu's faction focuses on the Wood of the Wood Elves, allowing him to recruit Tree Kin/Men normally, but recruiting higher tier elven units such as Wardancers requires amber as an extra upkeep cost. Role wise Durthu is basically a world beater, he is a hybrid lord that has fantastic melee capabilities while also having access to the Lore of Beasts. Being one of the few monster Legendary Lords in the game, few can really compete with him in a straight-up fight. He also has access to a unique magic missile called "Lamentations of Despair." His sole Quest item is the Sword of Daith.
- The Sisters of Twilight lead the Heralds of Ariel subfaction, starting in the Witchwoods in both Vortex and the Mortal Empires campaigns. The twins are doing their part to fix the forests, this time taking the fight to Naggaroth. They focus mainly on the flying units, giving upkeep reductions and combat bonuses to flying units including Eagles and Dragons. All Hawk Riders also get the Volley of Kurnous ability, sending multiple AP missiles of doom at their target. Uniquely, they have all of their magic equipment given to them at the start, and their quest battle revolves around freeing their dragon Ceithin-Har from the clutches of evil. All in all these gals let you be the US Air Force and Viet Cong at the same time, letting you reign death upon your foes from the sky. Oh yeah, they also have this Forge of Daith thing where their uncle/sugar daddy gives them a bunch of magic items at the start and you can upgrade them through dilemmas. Yeah, not the most exciting DLC mechanic but hey, at least it doesn't force you to pick between two horrible options as you play, replaces a ton of race mechanics with broken ones, or just ultimately makes the game unfun in general.
- Drycha leads the Wargrove of Woe subfaction starting in the Gryphon Woods in Mortal Empires. Her big draw is that instead of getting Ariel as a Legendary Hero, she will get Coeddil. Meaning you can take the REAL tree Hitler and kick those pointy eared assholes out of your forest. She can only recruit some of the weaker elven units, with the explanation being that they have been put under a magical glamour that clouds their minds and makes them believe they are serving Ariel. The glamour reduces their melee defense and ranged attack speed, but gives them a boost to leadership and the Expendable rule, since no one else in Drycha's army really cares if they die. To make up for having a more restricted roster than the rest of the Wood Elf factions she also gets some unique units in the form of Malevolent forest spirits (functionally normal forest spirits but purple and with Frenzy) and animals to take into battle, including feral manticores.
A third post-release faction for the first game as a pre-order bonus for the second. Norsca is composed of two playable factions: the World Walkers under Wulfrik the Wanderer, and the Throgg-led Wintertooth tribe. Wulfrik is, understandably, focused on dueling enemy lords and heroes, while Throgg is better suited to breaking enemy lines. They only have one generic lord, the Marauder Chieftain, but they make it up by allowing you to specialize each lord into skill trees themed after the Gods of Chaos.
They also get three heroes to take into battle or to harass armies on the campaign map: the Skin Wolf Werekin, the Shaman Sorcerer (who can use the Lores of Death, Metal or Fire) and the Fimir Balefiend (who can use the Lores of Shadows and Fire). The Werekin is your regular combat hero much like a Gorebull or Wight King, and while the Shaman is the usual squishy wizard, the Balefiend is anything but. Instead, the Fimir hero can easily wade right into the thick of the fighting thanks to their resilience, magical attacks and sunder armour ability.
Their roster is composed almost exclusively of light infantry/cavalry and monsters, though Marauder Champions are certainly some of the better high-tier heavy infantry in the game; being able to mulch Black Orcs and trade well against even Chosen. Certainly the Berserkers make up for their squishiness with sheer damage output. Most of their units are anti-large and the humans often have a rage mechanic that gives them bonuses the longer they are engaged in fighting. Meanwhile, war beasts and some monsters have Frostbite, which slows down enemy units they engage with.
In the campaign, you will have to raid and sack the soft lands of the south, dedicating the victories to one of the four Dark Gods: the Hound, the Crow, the Serpent or the Eagle. Get enough favour with one of them, and you'll become their champion, and have to fend off attacks by champions of the other three (in other words, Norscans get God-specific Chaos Lords while the Warriors of Chaos don't). Alternatively, the Norscans can also establish outposts in any coastal province as well as certain capitals like Altdorf and Drakenhof. In Norsca itself, you'll be able to confederate easily by defeating enemy faction leaders in battle. Finally, hunting monsters will take a big part in the campaign, giving you items and units as rewards. Not to mention Surtha Ek getting a chariot of his own...
- Wulfrik the Wanderer leads the primary Norsca faction called World Walkers starting in Icedrake Fjord. His faction effects include a boost to melee attack for all Mammoth units, and a reduction in upkeep for Marauder units. Lord effect wise, he starts with Siege Attacker, has a large reinforcement range, and his entire army causes fear. Role wise Wulfrik is a master duelist as expected, with his unique skill Hunter of Champions reducing the speed and defences of an enemy character to better murderize. He also has access to a unique wind spell Seafang, which summons his teleporting longship outta nowhere to plow through a sorry bunch of weak southerners. Much like the other DLC game I lords he lacks a dedicated unique skill line unfortunately. His sole Quest Item is the Sword of Torvald. And he can also be mounted on a War Mammoth, something he didn't have access to on the tabletop.
- Throgg leads the subfaction of Wintertooth, starting in the Winter Pyre. His faction effects include a boost to physical resistance for all Troll units, as well as a reduction in upkeep for those units. His lord effects have him starting with siege attacker, a boost to local public order and chaos corruption, and all units in his army are immune to all attrition. Role wise Throgg is a monstrous lord that will beat the face in guys he faces, interestingly being given a slight anti-large bonus to differentiate him from Wulfrik's anti-infantry focus. Much like Wulfrik he lacks a dedicated unique skill line, but he does have a few skills dedicated to buffing the stats of the various monsters in the Norsca roster. Has a unique magic missile called Copious Vomit, that does a fair amount of damage to whatever it hits. His sole Quest Item is The Wintertooth Crown.
Total War: WARHAMMER 2
- Six factions (two of which are DLC ones), each divided into a multitude of sub-factions (including free DLC ones)
With a balanced roster, a host of magical options and motherfucking dragons, the High Elves are an easy faction to use and understand and are capable of using almost every tactic from stonewalls to hit and run vanguards, but are ultimately the shootiest of all factions with all higher tier units having powerful ranged attacks. Their main distinction is that setting up trade agreements also provides them with a network of spies in the lands of their trading partners. High elves have a special resource called Influence which they earn through periodical events that pop up (along with faction debuffs or buffs, Influence isn't free). They can use Influence to improve or ruin the relationships between two factions regardless of their diplomatic standing with each other. Turn allies against each other through spending Influence points, or make new friends and new alliances. The sky (and your influence points) is the limit as far as your options go. It's also worth noting that Influence is extremely important as most Lords you can get without Influence are kinda garbage, and getting decent ones requires you to spend Influence to coax them from summer palaces to fight in your armies.
In battle, High elves have the Martial Prowess ability: It represents their training and expertise in close combat when fighting with their comrades; since elves are naturally long-lived, they tend to have more experience in fighting in a coordinated manner when compared to other factions in the game. This means that as long as their total HP is over 50% they perform better in melee. However, their melee is lackluster compared to the Dark elves and ideally you should be winning the skirmish phase as soon as you can to whittle down more dangerous dark elf units like the Black Guard of Naggarond and Witch elves so that you can administer the coup-de-grace when your lines finally collide, or simply riddle them so full of arrows that when they do hit your lines half of them are already dead. On the campaign, the Crafted items are head and shoulders above items that you can get from random drops. Able to support you on the battlefield and the campaign, these items are well worth the money you spend on acquiring them.
The one absolute benefit the High elves have over other factions is that their units -especially their cavalry- are more responsive. Lizardmen suffer from their units going berserk, and so do the Dark elf cavalry, while the bulk of Skaven armies are more eager to rout off the battlefield than they are to fight. High elves, in contrast, have typical total war unit responsiveness across their roster with units generally rallying and returning to the fight. While this is a glass-half-full analysis of their units it also means that you have control over when you want to engage the enemy. It becomes useful in the longer drawn out fights where you want to keep your army together and able to present a united front against the enemy. While players might prefer the more powerful buff that the Dark elves have to their murderous prowess, the high elf army is capable of holding their own with the help of magic and superior missile fire.
Their base game Legendary Lords are predictably Tyrion and Teclis. Later joined by Alarielle (Queen & the Crone DLC), the grim Alith Anar (FLC), the even grimmer Eltharion (Warden & the Paunch DLC), and the Prince of Dragons Imrik (FLC)
- Tyrion leads the primary subfaction of Eataine starting in the city of Lothern in Ulthuan for both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns. The unique faction effects are a bonus to relations with other High Elves, reduction in recruit time for infantry and cavalry units, and (interestingly) a reduction in construction time for the Shrine of Khaine. His Lord effects are a 50% upkeep reduction for Spearmen, Silver Guard, Archers, Rangers and Silver Helms in his army, along with a bonus to recruit rank for Lothern Sea Guard. Designed as the primary melee fighter of the race and specializing in dueling. Considered to be the vanilla experience suitable for the High Elves and Warhammer II in general, therefore his campaign is the most straightforward. With the main gimmick being Tyrion's unique skill tree options having a mutually exclusive choice between huge campaign boosts or in-battle boosts capable of making him solo armies. Quest items include the Dragon Armour of Aenarion, Sunfang, and the Heart of Avelorn. Also has access to a unique mount Malhandir.
- Teclis leads the Order of Loremasters faction starting in the Great Turtle Isle in the south of Lustria in the Vortex campaign, while he switches over to the Star Tower in Mortal Empires. The unique faction effects are a bonus to relations with Order factions, cheaper mage buildings, Swordmasters of Hoeth and Phoenixes and a bonus to recruit rank for spellcasters. His Lord effects are a bonus 30 to his Winds of Magic power reserve, and starting with the spell "Fireball" as a bound ability (which can be upgraded Fiery Convocation through his skill tree). Designed as the primary spellcaster of the race, with a selection of spells from the Lore of Beasts, Fire, Heavens, Life, and Light. Teclis' campaign isn't much different from a Tyrion based on mechanics alone, however his is far more difficult due to his start position; with a good deal of potentially hostile factions led by Legendary Lords in his vicinity in both campaign modes. Quest items include the War Crown of Saphery, the Sword of Teclis, the Scroll of Hoeth, and the Moon Staff of Lileath. As of the Total Waaagh! update he now has access to an Arcane Phoenix as a mount option.
- Alarielle leads the faction of Avelorn starting in the Gaen Vale in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns. The unique faction effects are a bonus to Hero capacity for Handmaidens, and a reduction of cost for her unique rite. Her Lord effect is a bonus to missile damage for Sisters of Avelorn and Handmaidens. In addition to these she boasts a number of unique mechanics that differentiates her from the vanilla Lord choices. The first being the "Defender of Ulthuan" mechanic, which gives bonuses or penalties depending on how much of Ulthuan is owned by High Elf factions; with the penalties being especially harsh if another race takes hold of the inner sphere of Ulthuan. In addition to this she leaves lingering bonuses to any province she recently visited, and her in-battle performance changes depending on how much Chaos Corruption is present in the world. Not only that, but Alarielle has the pleasure of being the second hybrid faction in the game following Arkhan the Black's precedent. Having access to some forest spirit units from the Wood Elves' roster via a unique recruit chain in her faction capital. Alongside this she also has access to the Invocation of Isha rite (replacing the Invocation of Hoeth), early access to the Handmaiden building, and a unique campaign stance. Another spellcaster, though she can hold up better in a fight than Teclis can, with more of a support focus with access to a mixed lore from High, Life, and Light magic. Her sole quest item is the Star of Avelorn, while she starts with her Stave of Avelorn already equipped; she can also gain access to the Shieldstone of Isha through a hidden Quest (though it is not really hidden since you gain the item even if another faction completes the mission's goal before you).
- Alith Anar leads the faction of Nagarythe, though oddly enough not actually starting in that region, instead starting in the Black Creek Spire in Naggaroth. The unique faction effects are reduction in global recruitment time for all units, and a bonus to campaign movement range for all armies. His unique Lord effects are a reduction in Shadow-walker upkeep, and a bonus to ambush success chance; whilst he also has a unique (and potentially hilarious) bound ability called "Mislead" which creates a clone of himself while making the original hidden. Much like Alarielle, he also comes with a good amount of new mechanics to differentiate himself from the other shiny elves. His main unique mechanic is "Marked for Death", where it assigns a hit list of characters from various factions which gives you a host of rewards should you take them out of the picture. Not only that, but he has the privilege of being the first Lord to have a unique unit exclusive to his faction, those being the Shadow-Walkers. Alongside these he also has mutually exclusive skill tree options ala Tyrion, a unique campaign stance (default ambush attack stance Beastmen and Skaven style), "Shadow Paths" (the usual underway style stuff), a unique building that boosts ambush chances and decreases enemy movement in your provinces, and his faction has Wasteland as a suitable climate. Last but not least he has the unique rite Invocation of Morai-Heg which gives him a unique hero character the "Hand of the Shadow Crown" which boasts a 100% chance for assassination. His sole quest item is for The Moonbow, but he starts with his Stone of Midnight already equipped, and (supposedly) can gain the Shadow Crown through a hidden quest. His role is rather unique in that he is the first truly ranged Lord in the trilogy, though he can do decently in melee too. Having a rather absurd amount of range, able to fire whilst moving, and having extremely high armour piercing missile damage, and can vanguard deploy to boot.
- Eltharion the Grim leads the faction of Yvresse, a subfaction of High-elves dedicated to protecting Ulthuan from anything Greenskin. As such, Yvresse enjoys a permanent -80 relation penalty with all Greenskin factions. The other main selling points for the new elven faction are the Mists of Yvresse, a defensive shroud that covers Yvresse and their allies and the Dungeon of Athel Tamarha, a unique mechanic that allows Eltharion to permanently capture and imprison other legendary lords. These mechanics tie in to a group of powerful unique units called Mistwalkers that gain bonuses from both. Eltharion himself is immune to Wasteland Attrition and causes fear to Greenskin units, letting him push deep into Ork territory hard and fast. Minor stat bonuses are also granted to his spear and ranger infantry. He also has a unique ability called the "Mistwalker's Barrage" which fires off magical barrage from the sky around him every 30 seconds. His Quest Items include the Talisman of Hoeth, and the Fangsword. He also has access to a unique Gryphon mount named Stormwing.
- Prince Imrik leads the Knights of Caeldor subfaction on his quest to catch 'em all. As can be expected from his title alone, the Lord of Dragons confers major bonuses for the various Dragons available to the High Elves and is able to embark on a side quest to find and tame campaign unique Dragons for his use in battle. To help with this, Imrik's entire army enjoys increased flame resistance to better tank these fire-breathing beasties. His sole Quest item is the Armour of Caledor, but he also starts with The Star Lance right off the bat. He has two unique mounts, his Elven Steed Mautererius, and his Star Dragon Minaithnir.
The High Elves can cast the following Rites during their campaign
- Invocation of Vaul: Reduces recruitment cost, increases armour, and gives 2 chevrons for newly recruited Swordmasters, Phoenix Guards, White Lions and Dragon Princes of Caledor. Also grants a magical wall breaker ability called Vaul's Hammer during siege battles for all forces. requires 3 unlocked technologies
- Invocation of Asuryan: Grants 2 influence per turn, reduces building costs by 15% and increases Public Order by 4 requires level 5 on Faction Leader
- Invocation of Hoeth: 200 XP per turn for mages and loremasters of Hoeth. 30 additional mana reserves for all forces, 40% success chance for mage heroes and loremasters and 50% XP increase for mages. requires Archive building
- Invocation of Isha: Immunity to attrition factionwide. 8% increased army replenishment rate and +10 to Anti Corruption in all regions. requires 3 settlements to be owned
- Invocation of Lileath: Exclusive to Avelorn. Increases by 3 levels the recruitment of Sisters of Avelorn, gives 2 levels to all recruitable Handmaidens, +20 armor to Dryads and a 75% cost decrease to all Handmaiden actions.
- Invocation of Morai-Heg: Exclusive to Nagarythe. Spawns the Hand of The Shadow Crown. A unique agent that has ALWAYS a 100% assassination chance.
- Invocation of Ladrielle: Exclusive to Eltharion, replacing the Invocation of Isha. A simple rite that empowers the Mists of Yvresse effects.
- Greater Invocation of Vaul: Exclusive to Imrik. Grants the entire faction Flaming Attacks and enables Dragon units to utilize their breath attacks more often.
- Invocation of Eldrazor: Exclusive to Imrik. Gives all his units bonus XP, but incurs a diplomatic malus with other elven factions.
Their roster can be found here
Like their High Elf adversaries the Dark Elves field a versatile and well rounded roster of troops. The key difference between them and their foes is that the Druchii focus on offense over defence like the Asur do. As such they are generally less resilient on the whole than the High Elves, with some units like the Witch Elves falling squarely under the definition of glass cannon. However this is balanced out by a number of heavily armoured or otherwise resilient units such as the Corsairs, Black guard, War Hydras, and Cold One Dread Knights, who are described by CA as being dinosaur riding cataphracts. They can also field Black Dragons, both as a mount option and a standalone unit. In addition the Dark Elves have a battlefield mechanic which gives them an army wide offensive buff once a certain number of units (from either army on the field) have been killed. Their campaign objectives revolve around Malekith seeking to absorb the energy of the vortex and use it to finally conquer hated Ulthuan. Their campaign also features a twist near the end, involving the surprise appearance of a tabletop character.
In battle the Dark Elves favour, as stated above, offensive strategies and benefit from closing the distance with the enemy early, especially against factions with a heavy focus on ranged firepower. Dark Elf ranged units, from the humble Darkshards up to the Shades, have a lower than average range, so expect to be out ranged by many other factions. However, for what they lack in range they make up for in damage, not to mention the sheer volume of fire they can output. In fact, thanks to all Dark Elf ranged units doing armour piercing damage, even the basic Darkshard unit can be relied upon to make heavy infantry cry salty tears. As for infantry the basic Dreadspear and Bleaksword units are nothing special, but they do their job well enough. A step higher are the corsairs, who are reasonably tough, reliable and cost effective in multiplayer.
In terms of campaign mechanics they possess a slavery system, allowing them to take slaves in battle and from enemy settlements. These slaves can subsequently be sent back to their own settlements and used to bolster their economy, or as fuel for their various rites. Managing slaves is something of a balancing act however, as having too many can cause public order problems and potentially lead to rebellions. Another Mechanic is the ability to recruit black arks, giant floating fortresses which essentially function as mobile settlements, allowing recruitment of new troops on the move. The black arks can also support nearby armies with a variety of in-battle bombardment abilities. Lastly Dark Elf lords can be given "names of power" as they level up; these are essentially titles which grant various bonuses depending on the one chosen. For example one might grant bonuses in battle another to management on the campaign map.
Their base game legendary lords (predictably) are Malekith and Morathi. Later joined by Crone Hellebron (Queen & the Crone DLC), Lokhir Fellheart (FLC), Malus Darkblade (Shadow & the Blade DLC) and Rakarth (FLC)
- Malekith leads the primary subfaction Naggarond starting in the province of, you guessed it, Naggarond in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns. The unique faction effects are a bonus to loyalty for newly recruited Lords, relations bonus with the Cult of Pleasure, Malekith sharing a percentage of the XP he gains to other Lords, and an increased chance of loyalty loss when they are a higher rank than Malekith. His sole Lord effect is an upkeep reduction for Black Guard, Dreadspears, Bleakswords, and Darkshards in his army. Much like Tyrion's example he has a mutually exclusive skill tree line, but other than that he is meant to be the vanilla Dark Elf experience. His quest items include Destroyer, the Supreme Spellshield, and the Circlet of Iron; while he can also gain the Armour of Midnight from a hidden quest. Also has access to his unique mount Seraphon. Designed to be a hybrid Lord, who can more than hold his own in melee combat while also being a great spellcaster of the Lore of Dark magic too.
- Morathi leads the Cult of Pleasure faction starting in the Ancient City of Quintex in both Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns; and differs a decent amount from her eternal emo phase of a son. Her faction effects are a boost to diplomatic relations with other Dark Elves, a reduction in relations with the Exiles of Nehek subfaction, a reduction in hero action cost, construction cost for Sorcery buildings, a huge reduction in upkeep for heroes, and finally (being the closet Chaos worshiper that she is) all characters in Morathi's faction spreads Chaos corruption. Her sole Lord effect is a chance to boost loyalty to Lords in the same local region as her. Her sole quest item is Heartrender & the Darksword, while she can also gain the Wand of Kharaidon from a hidden quest. Her role is mainly being the (very squishy) spellcaster for the race, using a mix of Dark, Death, and Shadow Magic. But she also has the role of being the only Dark Elf lord capable of anti-large damage, and she has a passive debuff hex around her that gives her some more sturdiness. Oddly enough despite being the first Sorceress she didn't gain access to Arnizipal's Black Horror when it was added alongside the Queen & the Crone DLC.
- Crone Hellebron leads the subfaction of Har Ganeth starting in the city of executioners itself in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns. The faction effects are an increase to hero capacity for Death Hags, and a boost to casualties captured post-battle. Her sole Lord effect is an upkeep reduction for Witch Elves, Sisters of Slaughter, and Har Ganeth Executioners. Much like her rival Alarielle, the Crone comes with a decent amount of unique mechanics that make her stand apart from the literal edge lord and his mother. First off is the Death Night mechanic, where every now and then you have to sacrifice a bunch of slaves to keep Hellebron all young and happy. Doing so gives a number of boosts to public order and Hellebron's in-battle stats, while also spawning an AI army of (unbreakable!) Dark Elves which will head over to give Ulthuan a rough time. If you do not commence a Death Night often enough, then Hellebron becomes more withered (sadly with no visual representation), and suffers from decreased combat stats and public order maluses. Capturing Allarielle and Morathi's capitals will raise the floor on this, lessening the negative effects should you go awhile without a Death Night. Alongside this she has access to the unique rite "Sacrifice to Drakira" (replacing "Sacrifice to Hekarti"), and she also has the unique bound ability "Gaze of Khaine" which causes units within her vicinity to rampage. Her sole quest item is the Deathsword & the Cursed Blade, but she can also gain the Amulet of Dark Fire from a hidden quest. Her role is to be an infantry blender, albeit one that can be damaged easily if you're not careful, with the potential of simply deleting units once she gets her unique weapon.
- Lokhir Fellheart leads The Blessed Dressed starting in the province of Chupayotl in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaign. The faction effects are a boost to income from Slave Pens and Slave Markets, and having Savannah and Jungle as suitable climates. His sole Lord effect is an upkeep reduction for all Black Ark Corsair units in his army. Alongside this his faction does not need a rite to recruit Black Arks, instead you gain more by capturing major ports on the map, and he starts with one (with a giant version of his squid helm hanging off of it) right off the bat. Alongside this they have access to the unique rite "Sacrifice to Aneth Raema" replacing "Sacrifice to Mathlann", which is funny for a Lord that constantly talks about making sacrifices to Mathlann. His sole quest item is the Helm of the Kraken, but he can gain his Red Blades from a hidden quest. He also has a unique mount Maelstrom, which he didn't have as an option on TT. His role is to be a duelist character and to never die. Seriously, Lokhir is neck to neck with Vlad in terms of being the tankiest character in the series so far. With his Helm of the Kraken giving him regen and melee defense boosts, and his bound ability "Dreaded Duelist" giving a crazy buff to his offensive and defensive stats which can be used every minute. Not only that but he has a passive leadership debuff, which is on top of the terror he gets from his helm. Due to this he is almost universally considered one of the only Lords you're better off using on foot, since his mount just makes him a bigger target. The Krakenlord can kill almost any other Legendary Lord in the game in a one on one duel, with the exception of the likes of Kholek and Durthu. As of the addition of Rakrth, he has gained a new quest to race the Beastmaster to 2500 slaves to confederate his home of Karond Kar.
- Malus Darkblade leads Hag Graef and controls it at the start of his campaign in both Vortex and Mortal Empires campaign, with his old "friend" Tz’arkan coming along for fun and games. But there is a bit of a twist in that he does not physically start there. Instead he is out on expedition with a Black Arc at the Tower of the Sun in the Vortex Campaign. In Mortal Empires he is instead having a bit of a road trip down in the Dragon Isles. At the beginning of his campaign you are given a dilemma, choosing between keeping Hag Graef under your control, or coughing it up for a hefty amount of gold. Making a nice balance between giving him his lore accurate territory, while also giving Dark Elves somewhere to start that isn't Naggorth. While Malus himself isn't involved with the fight for the Vortex, getting enough scrolls will lead to Malekith giving you the formula for the elixir to keep Tz'arkan down, letting you take them for free instead of having to pay money. For Lord effects he gets the expected buffs for Cold One units, granting recruitment and upkeep reductions to Cold One units in his army. As for faction effects he has Tz’arkan’s Whispers, which is a new type of mission where you play errand boy for the Daemon and are rewarded with various items and followers for the effort. He also starts off with a military alliance with metal daddy Malekith right off the bat, and a pretty good boost in income from iron minds, gold mines, and marble quarries in all regions. In addition to this Malus gets not one, but two unique new Rites, "Gift to the Witch King" and "Rite of the Warmaster", doing away with the whole "Sacrifice to X Cytharai God." The former gives a hero of your choice with a rank dependent on how many regions you own, while the latter gives you an army filled with the various Dark Elf beasties (basically a D-Elf flavored Rite of Primeval Glory). In battle he has the ability to transform, letting Tz’arkan possess him to completely change his statline and make him a literal monster in combat. But this comes at the price of the other edgy Elves on the map distrusting you the more you give into the Daemon. His sole quest item is the Warpsword of Khaine, which grants him regeneration while he's in combat, and he has his trusty raptor Spite as his unique and only mount.
- Rakarth leads The Thousand Maws, a suitably edgy name that puts Naggaroth's best pet owner in Albion in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires. He of course has the expected upkeep reduction for all of the bad beasties in the Dark Elf roster but can also recruit some unique ones of his own. His Monster Pens will allow him to have a special recruitment tab to instantly recruit certain kinds of monsters based on the enemy that he is fighting, from Mammoths to Carnosaurs and several other smaller killing machines. You also get special missions to attack certain places for specific monsters, such as raiding the zoo in Altdorf. His unique rite, the Convocation of Hunters, also lets you send out Beastmasters for the chance of gaining monsters depending on where you send them off to. If it wasn't obvious, Rakarth is designed to allow you to grab a ton of big scary monsters and drown your enemies in them. Similar to Imrik he also has a mechanic to confederate his home base of Karond Kar once you have enough slaves. Unlike Imrik, you have to worry about Lokhir Fellheart trying to beat you to it, so make sure you get there before Squidward has a chance to steal it from you.
Their rites are as follows, and, as stated above, require slaves to activate instead of gold like the other races.
- Sacrifice to Atharti: On turn start, Lords have a chance to gain loyalty. Public order increases by 8 in all provinces. Costs 100 slaves, and requires you to issue the Demand Highborn Hostages" commandment over a province.
- Sacrifice to Hekarti: Experience gain +50% and experience per turn +200 for Sorceresses. Winds of Magic Power reserve +30 for all forces. Hero action success chance +40% for Sorceresses. Costs 250 slaves, and requires you to perform an action with a Sorceress.
- Sacrifice to Khaine: Post battle capture rate +25%. Casualty replenishment +20%. Income from slaves +15%, and slave decline rate +50%. Income from post-battle loot +50%. Gives an army ability called "Dark Conduit" to all forces. Costs 375 slaves, and requires you to enslave captives after a battle 3 times.
- Sacrifice to Mathlann: Makes a Black Ark available for recruitment at any port settlement. Costs 500 slaves, and requires a Slave Pen to be constructed.
- Sacrifice to Drakira: Exclusive Rite to Har Ganeth, boosts rank bonuses for Witch Elves and Death Hags, while giving bonuses for fighting H-Elves, and giving a diplomatic malus with them.
- Sacrifice to Anath Raema: Exclusive Rite to The Blessed Dread, gives Black Ark Corsairs Fear and Stalk traits, while also giving them bonus AP missile damage. Also gives the Kharybdiss some bonus armor.
- Gift to the Witch King: Hag Graef exclusive rite. Summons a hero of the players' choice next to their faction leader, with the hero's rank determined by how many regions the player owns.
- Rite of the Warmaster: Hag Graef exclusive rite. Summons an army of Hydras, Black Dragons, Cold One Knights, Medusa, Kharybdiss, Manticores, and Scourgerunner Chariots at the faction capital.
Counting on the various types of dinosaurs, dinosaur-men, and dinosaur-men riding dinosaurs, the Lizardmen are the masters of Lustria and seek to complete the Great Plan of the Old Ones. Lizardmen used to have powerful, majestic cities that were leagues ahead of any other, so unlocking the full potential of the Lizardmen takes time and money; far more than the others. A prime example of this is the Geomantic Web: every capital in the game has Ley Lines only Lizardmen can see. These Ley Lines form a magical web that the Lizardmen can exploit to gain massive buffs to their capitals and troops, but require a LOT of investment and special building chains to make work. It's also worth noting that cities also use the ones next to them to determine their magical power, meaning that to make that Ley Line on your border into a lvl 5 like the ones deeper inside you will have to take enemy cities next door so you can improve them yourself. This encourages constant warfare and the natural debuff Lizardmen have in diplomacy means that war is easier than peace. They can also create "blessed" units, which are recolored and beefed up Lizardmen units that come from sacred spawning pools you can build in your cities, similar to regiments of renown. Their last unique campaign mechanic is the ability to search for the venerable Lord Kroak, a Legendary Hero that can be gained from following a unique questline.
In battle a lot of their units have the potential to go into a rampage, making them ignore orders and just attack whatever unit is closest to them. To combat this, characters have access to the Cold Blooded ability which lets them stop a unit from rampaging. While units with the Primal Instincts trait will only rampage when they are below a certain health threshold. Lizardmen in-battle have little skill at ranged and vanguard with few units well suited to it, but nearly all late game units are big, beefy bastards with massive health, armor, and melee damage. Conversely what ranged units they do have are Skinks with Blowpipes and Javelins, and unfortunately their natural speed, vanguard abilities, and sheer Skinky awesomeness doesn't make up for short range and low ammunition. Though this is slightly alleviated by the addition of Salamanders and the Ancient Salamander in their Lord Pack, which added some much needed ranged firepower to their toolkit. Lizardmen are a Brute army that hits like a truck with no subtlety involved, but that giant T-rex and sledgehammer wielding Crocodile-Men (they literally do Death Rolls as an animated kill) are so awesome you probably won't care.
Interestingly, recruiting a slann mage priest is surprisingly ornate as befits the fluff of the lizardmen. You can't recruit Mage priests like regular lords, but need to build a Star Chamber, and then enable the option to recruit a slann mage priest via a rite. These rites are periodical, just like the rites for all other races, meaning that you have to choose between selecting a frog magician and other major effects on the campaign map.
Their base game Legendary Lords are Lord Mazdamundi and Kroq-Gar. Later joined by Tehenhauin (The Prophet & the Warlock DLC), Tiktaq'to (FLC), Nakai the Wanderer (The Hunter & The Beast DLC), and Gor-Rok (FLC).
- Lord Mazdamundi leads Hexoatl as the primary subfaction starting in, you guessed it, Hexoatl in the Vortex Campaign, and maintaining that position in Mortal Empires. The faction mechanics are a cost reduction to Star Chamber construction, a cost reduction for activating Rites, and an increased Mage-Priest capacity. Obviously to encourage players to take a more spell-caster oriented thematic playstyle. They also have a diplomatic malus with most factions, to showcase the somewhat genocidal habits Mazdamundi has. Lord effect wise he has a hefty upkeep reduction for Temple Guard units in his army. His quest items include the Sunburst Standard of Heoxatl and the Cobra Mace of Mazdamundi, and can gain a unique Stegadon mount when properly leveled. The primary Caster Lord for the Lizardmen, Mazdamundi comes with his own mixed lore of magic, a unique Wind Spell called "Ruination of Cities, and can become quite a powerhouse once on top of his trusty (totally not a Dinobot) mount Slaaq.
- Kroq-Gar leads the Last Defenders as a subfaction, starting in the Temple of Skulls in the Vortex Campaign, as well as in Mortal Empires. The sole faction mechanic is a faction wide upkeep reduction. While Lord effects include a significant upkeep reduction for Saurus and Cold One units, Leadership and Armour bonuses for several monstrous units, and an increase to ambush chance for Kroq-Gar's army. His quest items include the Revered Spear of Tlanxla and the Hand of the Gods, while he can also mount on his unique Carnosaur Grymloq (also totally not a Dinobot). The main melee guy for the Lizardmen, Kroq-Gar is a powerhouse that rivals Kholek when he is on his pal Grymloq. Boasting impressive combat states, and his Hand of the Gods item gives him a unique magic missile that can dish out a ton of hurt when it connects. As he levels his yellow tree in campaign, he also gains access to the unique Swiftness of Itzl skill which ironically functions similarly to Verminous Valour, releasing a quick burst of AOE damage that pushes away foes and lets him make a hasty escape.
- Tehenhauin leads the Cult of Sotek as a subfaction, starting in Kaiax in the Vortex Campaign, and Xlanhuapec in Mortal Empires. The main faction mechanics is the unique Sacrifice campaign mechanic (capturing sacrifices after a battle and exchanging them for RoRs, and other bonuses), a significant decrease to the Rite of Sotek, and a +200% bonus to upkeep cost on Saurus units until you complete the first state of the Prophecy of Sotek. Lord effect wise he gives a physical resistance to all Skink units in his army, leadership bonuses to all his units when fighting against Skaven, and gives a bonus to untainted in a local province. The main unique campaign mechanics is the aforementioned PRophecy of Sotek, fulfilling several objectives in order to summon the Serpent God to the mortal plane once more. The second of which starts something called the Skaven War, which makes all Lizardmen factions go to war with all Skaven factions on the map, with diplomacy locked out. He starts with the Blade of the Serpent's Tongue as his unique weapon, and his quest item is the Plaque of Sotek. He can later be mounted on an Ancient Stegadon with an Engine of the Gods, though it is sadly not named after a Dinobot like the rest of the Lizardmen LLs. He is a hybrid Lord able to case the Lore of Beasts and can put up a pretty decent fight when he has to. Has a unique skill tree line campaign wise that offers a mutually exclusive choice of buffing the shit out of his Skink focused army, or boosting the Empire management element with upkeep reductions and the like.
- Tiktaq'to leads Tlaqua as a subfaction, starting in Tlaqua in the Vortex Campaign and in Mortal Empires. He brings a host of faction effects, with the main one being that his Skink Heroes all start with a Terradon mount right off the bat, an increase to campaign line of sight for all characters, Terradon riders gain an additional set of rocks that they can drop on enemy units, and finally he has the unique (and arguably broken) Rite of Tzunki. Lord effect wise he has an upkeep reduction for Terradon Riders and Ripperdactyls, and gives a melee attack bonus to his army when fighting in foreign territory. He starts with the Blade of the Skies as his unique weapon, and his quest item is his Mask of Heavens. The Master of the Skies was somewhat of an odd choice to include at the time, but fulfills a decent niche in the Lizardmen Lord lineup. He starts off mounted on his unique Terradon Zwup (completing the OG Lizardmen Dinobot mount trio) being the first flyer focused Lord in the trilogy so far. With his unique skill tree providing many buffs for various aerial units, and boosting the power of his unique Drop Sphere of Tepok ability.
- Nakai the Wanderer leads the Spirit of the Jungle subfaction of Lizardmen, which is the first (and likely only) Lizardmen Horde faction. Unlike other Horde factions, Nakai does retain territory conquered through a vassal subfaction of Lizardmen called the Defenders of the Great Plan. Territory given to this vassal allows Nakai to dedicate a temple to different Old Ones, which in turn unlocks new benefits to Nakai. Unfortunately, Nakai has no direct control over how the Defenders of the Great Plan build these cities or how the AI controlling them actually defends itself from attackers. This can lead to some very frustrating times where Nakai will struggle to maintain income compared to other Lizardmen lords or will have to constantly double back to protect poorly protected cities. Only Nakai's personal army can unlock new units for recruitment; all other lords must rely entirely on Nakai's horde teching up in order to recruit new units for their own armies. Nakai himself is a hell of a beatstick; He inflicts speed, vigour and leadership debuffs on enemies in range of him, passively grants perfect vigour to allied units nearby, and can buff himself and nearby allies with Primal Roar to increase their punchiness at the cost of making them Rampage.
- Gor-Rok the Great White Lizard is the FLC Lord of the Itza subfaction. As a Lord, Gor-Rok is built like a truck; regeneration and defensive bonuses allow him to stick into combat until the bitter end where other leaders (even characters like Kroq-Gar) might break and run. This is somewhat mitigated by Gor-Rok's slow movement speed and his lack of any mount options, which significantly limits his offensive capabilities compared to other legendary lizard lords. As for what he brings the faction of Itza, a flat 20% upkeep reduction in Saurus units lets you really splurge on them compared to your other factions (even Kroq-Gar's, since his cost reductions are limited to his army). The main selling point, however, is Lord Kroak. He just starts the game with him unlocked and in his army, Deliverance of Itza and all. This alone makes Gor-Rok's campaign the easiest in the eyes of experienced players, despite having a start in the toughest continent, Lord Kroak destroys all. The other minor bonuses his army provides are small defensive buffs while inside your/friendly territory or while defending during a siege.
- Oxyotl, "He who hunts unseen", finalizes the Lizardmen Legendary Lord roster.Leads the Ghosts of Pahaux as a subfaction. Oxyotl starts his Mortal Empires campaigns in the far, frozen northern province of Deadwood in the aptly named Frozen City. His faction has universal habitability (considering where Oxyotl's former stomping grounds were, I'm sure anywhere in the material realm is a pleasant retreat), allowing him to set up shop wherever you send him. And oh, what places you'll send him; his primary faction mechanic involves teleporting himself and his banner army across the world to take down key targets that threaten the Great Plan. Killing certain lords, razing or capturing certain cities, each task Oxyotl completes rewards him with gems to build secret sanctums (functionally akin to Skaven undercities), Blessed Spawnings and temporary performance buffs for the army. Failure to do so within the time limit results in some rather punishing demerits, ranging from permanent buffs for the enemy army you were supposed to kill to actually causing the Chaos Invasion to happen sooner. Because Oxyotl himself is constantly warping all over the map, players will typically need to rely on generic lords to defend/expand the homelands. In a pinch, Oxyotl can always teleport his army back to his capital city and up to one Silent Sanctum of the player's choice
Their rites include
- Rite of Awakening: Summon a slann mage priest requires Star Chamber. Upon completion, the rite allows the player to choose between a Light, Life, High, or Fire slann mage-priest of either the Second, Third or Fourth generation (with earlier generations having much better Winds of Magic reserve bonuses compared to the later gens).
- Rite of Ferocity: Units gain XP per turn passively and can be recruited with two levels of veterancy. Gain more loot after the battle. Costs 1400 gold.
- Rite of Sotek: Enables attrition for enemies in your territory. 50% extra chance to succeed in ambush. Costs 2100 gold requires an ambush battle where you win (either as the ambusher or the ambushed).
- Rite of Primeval Glory: An army of feral Carnosaurs, Stegodons and Bastiladons appears at your capital led by a random lord. All armies gain the "feral cold ones ability. costs 8400 gold.
- Rite of Tzunki: Unique to Tlaqua and it's leader Tiktaq'to, as well as probably a nominee for most broken rite. When used, it completely resets the campaign movement for every banner army under the player's control, doubling (or effectively tripling) the distance their armies can travel in a single turn. A clutch use of this power can let Tiktaq'to and all other lords chase down multiple armies or assault multiple settlements in a single turn, though the cost and cooldown do prevent the rite from being spammed to hell and back. One additional caveat that must be considered is that any armies that were in the "March" stance when this Rite is used will be locked in the march stance for the remainder of the turn. While this lets your marching armies cover frankly obscene distances, it does completely shut down their offensive options for the turn, so caution should be considered before using the rite.
- Rite of Allegiance: Exclusive to Spirit of the Jungle. Grants a bonus to your armies' replenishment rates, buffs the Defenders of the Great Plan's income, and spawns them an unbreakable army to defend their lands.
- Rite of Rebirth: Exclusive to Spirit of the Jungle. Buffs the growth rate of Hordes while reducing unit recruitment and upkeep costs in addition to construction cost reduction for his personal horde.
- Rite of Mastery: Exclusive to Spirit of the Jungle. This one's all about the Kroxigors, with an increased recruitment rank and buffs to Weapon Strength and Armor for anything Kroxigor related.
- Rite of Resilience: Exclusive to Itza. Buffs your Saurus unit's defensive stats and grants them Unbreakable, letting you turn the entirety of your army into a brick wall intent on clubbing anything in front of it to death.
Officially confirmed on the 16th of August, the Skaven and most of their monsters and machines are the fourth race for the game, and the 13th race revealed. As if anyone didn't know. They are led by Queek Headtaker for the main faction (Clan Mors) and the subfactions being led by Lord Skrolk (Clan Pestilens), Ikit Claw (Clan Skyre), Tretch Craventail (Clan Rictus), and Deathmaster Snikch(Clan Eshin). DOOMWHEELS and hell pit abominations are confirmed. As for their mechanics, skaven cities are actually hidden, looking like ordinary ruins to some effect although attentive players will notice massive Skaven corruption around those ruins; a surefire indicator of a strong Skaven presence. Beyond that, Skaven also have unique mechanics in the Food mechanic. Skaven are hungry vermin after all, and massive Skaven populations need Food to survive. Unlike other factions that can sustain themselves Skaven aren't really farmers as such and so food shortages are a constant concern. Some advanced Skaven buildings create some food and exploiting natural food sources such as rich pastures and farmlands generate large amounts of food, but ultimately the best source of meat is the enemy; start raiding or simply eat the enemy dead, whichever works best. The more Food in your stores the better, but you can also spend Food to build more powerful settlements and increase the amount of Clan Rat reinforcements you can call per battle.
Skaven also have to deal with Skaven corruption. Skaven Corruption (AKA Rat Rot) is an indicator of how many Skaven are in the area, and can be increased (or decreased) by certain buildings: a Breeding Pit for example increases Rat Rot as more and more Skaven are born while an industry building such as a Gold Mine lowers it as Skaven die in horrible conditions. The higher the Rat Rot the more disorder the local province suffers because of an unruly population, but the higher the Rat Rot the stronger the army buffs (such as more Clan Rat reinforcements in battle) so you need to find a sweet spot that works best for you. Not to mention that high Rat Rot means lots of Skaven (duh) which shows the AI exactly where your under-empire is. Skaven also have to deal with Loyalty like the Dark Elves, and keeping Lords happy is surprisingly easy to do. Give them massive armies, give them shinies, and keep winning battles and you'll be fine. Interestingly however, is that each faction works better with certain types of Lord. For example: Queek hates Grey Seers while loving Warlords and recruiting Seers to lead your army isn't wise as his buffs mean that Warlords gain stronger Loyalty while Seers get lower Loyalty, making Warlords the go to for that faction. They also have access to a movement stance that lets them ambush when attacking, and the "Menace Below" ability lets you summon Clan Rats anywhere on the field, with amount of usage dependent on how much food you're willing to give up for it and the level of Skaven corruption in the area. The "Under-Empire" mechanic added at the same time as the Prophet and the Warlock has further differentiated the Skaven campaign by letting them build in other faction's cities ala the Vampire Coast. The difference being that you can build them anywhere, not just in ports, and have a wider range of options. Some let you mooch off their income, gain more food (Praise the Horned Rat!), or even build up a force to take over the city.
As can be expected, battle wise the Skaven's main strategy in combat is to overwhelm their enemy with cheap disposable rat fodder, while using their elite monsters and warmachines to do the real work while the enemy is busy with the slaves. Having some of the best artillery options in the game, and powerful, albeit fragile at times, monsters. The low leadership of the Skaven in general is a problem, but on the flip side they recover it much quicker than other races to compensate for how fast they break. Leading to a feeling of constantly getting swarmed with waves of them as they break only to return moments later. The Lord Pack's addition of the Clan Skryre units only bolstering their options, with additions like the Warplock Jezzails and Ratling Gunners adding much needed long range units to their arsenal, and the Doomflayer adding a (relatively) low tier armor piercing option great for dealing with those pesky Dwarf-things.
Their base game Legendary Lords are Queek Headtaker and Lord Skrolk. Later joined by Tretch Craventail (FLC), Ikit Claw (Prophet & the Warlock DLC), and Deathmaster Snikch (Shadow & the Blade DLC).
- Queek Headtaker leads Clan Mors as the primary subfaction starting in Yuatek in the Vortex Campaign, but switches it up by starting in Karag Orrud in Mortal Empires. His unique faction effects are a decrease in loyalty to Grey Seer recruits, and Queek steals a percentage of the XP gained by other Lords in his faction. His Lord effects buff his armies when fighting against Dwarfs or Greenskins, increased number of uses for the "Menace Below" and a significant upkeep reduction to Stormvermin and Clanrats. With the addition of the "Under-Empire" mechanic he also starts with an Undercity beneath Karak Eight Peaks. His quest items include the Warpshard Armour and his trusty war pick Dwarf Gouger. Queek is in an odd position of being designed to be both the vanilla Skaven experience in the Vortex Campaign while also being a participant in the race to the Eight Peaks in Mortal Empires. Complete with a unique building chain once he gets there. So campaign wise his start can actually be a bit of an uphill battle. With the addition of the Under-Empire mechanic, he also has the benefit of starting with an undercity below Karak Eight Peaks right from the get-go in Mortal Empires; which makes it a bit easier to take over the place if you set it up right. Battle role wise Queek is the quintessential duelist Lord, with his weapons and abilities catered to his role of demolishing single entity characters. He's pretty sturdy, and can do pretty decently in a crowd of troops unlike assassins, but he has Verminous Valor as assurance should you find him surrounded.
- Lord Skrolk leads Clan Pestilens as a subfaction, starting in Oyxl in both Vortex and Mortal Empires doing his best to spread, well, pestilence through the lands. The unique faction effects consist of construction cost reductions for Clan Pestilens related buildings, and a significant cost reduction for the "Pestilent Scheme" Rite. His sole Lord effect is a significant reduction in upkeep for all Plague Pestilens associated units. His quest items include the Rod of Corruption and The Liber Bubonicus. Role wise Skrolk is technically a hybrid Lord, being able to hold his own in melee decently enough. However he leans heavily into the spellcasting side of things, with his unique ability from the Liber Bubonicus being of particular note. Being able to devastate a single entity target with its damage nuke. Campaign wise he is pretty consistent with the goal of spreading ruin to Lusria, but it can be a pretty rough time due to the sheer number of other factions involved in that party. Allying with the resident edge lords and stocking up on Plagueclaw catapaults is highly recommended to survive the subsequent murder orgies. There wasn't a lot of incentive to actually go crazy with the spreading disease, but that has changed as of the Potion of Speed update. Such incentives include economic bonuses to settlements you control suffering plague and combat bonuses to your plagued armies. Clan Pestilens also has an increased capacity to spread plagues (including a sub-faction unique under city building, shorter cool down time for Rite of Pestilence, and their plague is more contagious).
- Tretch Craventail is not last but is certainly the least of the Skaven Lord choices, leading Clan Rictus as a subfaction far from home in the Clawed Coast province in both Vortex and Mortal Empires, being unique as the only Skaven faction present and willing to live in Nagarythe. His main unique faction effect is a public order bonus whenever a diplomatic treaty is broken, though he also buffs Stormvermin by granting them a +3 boost to recruitment rank and an Encourage aura similar to Dwarfen Longbeards. His Lord effects consist of attack bonuses during ambushes, and after retreating when attacked, as well as the classic vanguard employment for his whole army. His sole quest item is The Lucky Skull Helm. Role wise Tretch is meant to be good at survivability and that's about it. He technically also fulfills the anti-large role among the Skaven Lords, but he isn't anything special in that department. But to make up for those lows, he has the hilarious ability "Stay Here, I'll Get Help!", which makes him invisible as he runs away while giving those he leaves behind a small buff. Overall, Tretch provides the most down to earth Skaven experience compared to his infamous contemporaries. You're encouraged to play the rattiest rat that ever ratted, as being surrounded by factions that generally can tolerate the Skaven allows him to try and use allies as meatshields until they're no longer useful and betraying them when they're at their most vulnerable.
- Ikit Claw leads Clan Skryre as a subfaction, starting in the Star Tower in Vortex and in Skavenblight in Mortal Empires. The unique faction effects consist of a boosted research rate, increase in loyalty for new recruits, construction cost reduction for Engineering buildings, and exclusive access to the "Forbidden Workshop" mechanic. His Lord effects include starting with a Warpstorm Doomrocket, a significant upkeep reduction to Weapons Team units, as well as increased recruit ranks for them. His unique quest item is his halberd Storm Daemon, and he starts with his unique armour the Iron Frame. He can also be mounted on either a Doomflayer or Doomwheel, neither of which were options for him on the TT. Campaign wise he is undoubtedly the strongest among the Skaven, if not in the entire game up to this point. With the Forbidden Workshop giving insane amounts of both to Clan Skryre units (most of which were already powerful at a base level), and the ability to use nukes in battle and on the campaign map. With the ability to build Doomrockets to wipe out units on the battlefield, and the exclusive ability to make Doomspheres in under-cities to blow up the cities above ground. As for Ikit himself, he is pretty much good at everything. Seriously, he is tough to kill due to his armor, can dish out good anti-large armor piercing flaming and magic damage in combat, and has a flamethrower as a ranged weapon to boot. Which can be upgraded to add anti-large bonuses on top of its already significant damage. He also has access to the Brass Orb vortex spell ability from the get go, and can gain a strong magile missile ability from his halberd. To top it all off he is also a spellcaster, and a disgusting one at that due to the sheer amount of Warp Lightning spam he can rain down upon his foes. Also CA gave him a jetpack, with a ton of unique combat animations to go along with it. Which conveniently also contributes to making him harder to kill. And if all of that wasn't enough, you can put him on a DOOMWHEEL, so have fun with that.
- Deathmaster Snikch leads Clan Eshin as a subfaction, starting in El-Kalabad in the Vortex and in Flayed Rock in Mortal Empires. Their unique faction mechanic is Shadowy Dealings which gives a variety of agent actions that can be done by Eshin characters in exchange for food or schemes; but some make them unavailable for some time afterwards. You can get more schemes by doing the Nightlord's Say-So missions, but those are obtained by Snikch's level and take him out of commision each time they are done. But they are well worth it since the end game schemes are hilarious, letting you take over other Skaven armies, destroying entire armies at sea, destroying everything but the main building in a settlement, and even completely wiping out an entire faction and replacing them with rebels. Clan Eshin also has Great Clan Contracts as a mechanic, letting them accept missions from the other clans in exchange for food, money, and increased reputation with those clans. Looking like a pretty good representation of Clan Eshins for hire nature in Skaven society. This also grants them bonuses and cost reductions for the respective units of the Great Clan you do missions for. This mechanic will help greatly to alleviate Eshin's other faction effect, a hefty 200% increase in recruitment cost for non-Eshin units. And to top it all off, no Eshin Lords will defect from low loyalty and all Night Runners and Gutter Runners AP warp infused projectiles. Lord effect wise he has an increase to ambush success chance, increased melee attack for embedded heroes in his army, and concealment bombs. In battle he is pretty much what you'd expect, a close combat monster who excels at slaughtering enemy characters. He has the usual Eshin physical resistance (though lacking in the missile resistance department), vanguard deployment, stalk, Weeping Blades for that whopping 50% armor reduction on contact, and he also has an interesting trait where his damage increases the lower a target's HP is. In terms of unique items he has his Cloak of Shadows that debuffs the melee defense and leadership of units around him. As well as the Whirl of Weeping Blades which grant him a unique ability which roots him to the spot and makes an AoE vortex around him that dishes out a pretty good amount of damage. And going with the recent trend of giving every character and their mothers a slow/net ability, he also has the Deathmaster's Sigil which stops a character in place for a somewhat measly seven seconds. Which is usually more than enough time for Snikch to finish the job provided he is close enough. Following the animation creep since Prophet & the Warlock, Snikch unexpectedly has a unique set of combat animations (surprising since everyone was expecting them to just reuse the Deathrunner animations), where he goes full-on Naruto on everyone. Teleporting around to slash through groups of infantry, which (much like Ikit) actually makes him somewhat difficult to hit or pin down.
- Throt the Unclean leads Clan Moulder as a subfaction, starting in Atorak in Vortex and in Hell Pit in Mortal Empires. His unique mechanics are Growth Juice, which he gains overtime as well as from killing, allowing him to recruit a ton of beasties for no cost outside upkeep. His second, more unique mechanic is his Flesh Laboratory, allowing you to upgrade individual Monster and Infantry units with various mutations at the risk of them becoming unstable. Go wild and give those Rat Ogres invisibility! Give a Brood Horror to randomly shoot lightning! Make that Hellpit Abomination a vampire! What could go wrong? His unique items are Creature-Killer, which gives everyone around him Anti-large and Immune to Psychology, and the Whip of Domination, which gives a big leadership buff to basically every Skaven monster in the game. He has regeneration, armor piercing and Anti-large, making him perfect for taking down your opponents big monsters, while he also buffs your own monsters to ensure they run rampant all over your opponent.
Their rites include
- The Dominating Scheme: Increases food generated, growth, and public order in all provinces. As well as decreasing recruitment costs. Costs 3000 gold, and requires you to issue the Expansionist planning commandment in a province.
- The Pestilent Scheme: Recruits a unique Plague Priest hero called a Pestilent Scheme Priest, that will spread a plague in an enemy settlement at the cost of its own life. Costs 1000 gold, and requires you to build a Pestilent Nave building.
- The Thirteenth Scheme: Boosts diplomatic relations with Skaven by 13, provides a chance of loyalty increase each turn, reduces enemy hero success chance, increases your own hero success chance, and gives the army ability Clanstone (with varying effects depending on the faction) to all forces. Costs 1313 gold, and requires your faction leader to be rank 7..
- The Scheme of DOOOOM!: Recruits a unique Warlock Engineer hero called a DOOOOM! Engineer, that will destroy an enemy settlement's walls or create an Undercity (with a special building to boot!) at the cost of its own life. Costs 800 gold, and requires you to research 3 technologies.
- The Revitalising Scheme: Exclusive to Clan Eshin. Restores all units in all armies to full health, and brings any wounded or recovering characters back into action. Costs 2500 gold, lasts only one turn, and requires you to research five technologies.
- The Sudden Kill Scheme: Exclusive to Clan Eshin. Boosts missile damage for Night Runners and Gutter Runners, boosts speed, gives stalk, and snipe to all units in every army. Costs 1000 gold, lasts only one turn, and requires you to win 3 battles.
Officially announced on the 19th of December, everyone's favorite skellies are finally coming to the Total War series. Led by Settra the Imperishable as their faction leader, the Tomb Kings do not give a shit about the petty concerns over the Vortex like the other races. Instead their objectives are based around finding the Nine Books of Nagash, and crushing any fool idiotic enough to wander into their lovely desert. Initially, the only missing units were the tomb swarms (added instead as a spell activated by the Great Incantation of Geheb rite, see below), the Necrolith Colossus (the bow variation was later added as FLC as the Bone Giant), Heralds (added in a roundabout way as auxiliaries), and the High Liche Priest. The fact that we have a fucking laser eye shooting Hierotitan (which Gameworkshop never made a proper model for) made up for that.
Following the relatively recent trend of further diversifying the ways race play, Tomb Kings take things up a notch by making their units free of both cost and upkeep. Instead they are given restrictions in terms of how many of each unit they are allowed to field. These limits can be increased by their research in Dynasties, or through the Mortuary Cult. Speaking of the Mortuary Cult, this has been implemented as an RPG-esque crafting system, using trade resources and a unique resource called Canopic Jars allowing you to make various items as well as make the "Legions of Legend." Surprisingly the Legions of Legend aren't just an arbitrarily renamed Regiments of Renown, but more akin to the Blessed Spawnings the Lizardmen have, or the units Norsca gets through hunts. It has also been confirmed that the Tomb Kings will be getting their Regiments of Renown at launch, instead of waiting for it for Tzeentch knows how long like the DLC factions in Warhammer I did. In addition, their army roster gets an expansion. On tabletop, our mummies had extremes when it came to the army roster. Their units were either weak or really powerful, but this changed when CA filled up the gaps by giving the Tomb Kings the Bretonnian treatment and added new units (the dual-Khopesh wielding Nehekhara Warriors that are an aggressive medium type infantry, and the Nehekhara Horsemen which are Skeleton Horsemen with armor and better defense).
On the battlefield their mechanic is the Realm of Souls. It works similarly to the Dark Elves Murderous Prowess, with a bar that is filled as more Tomb Kings die during a battle. However, it works somewhat differently in that there are three stages, when each stage is reached increasingly powerful waves of healing and resurrection are activated. Once the final stage is reached you gain access to a Menace From Below like ability that summons Ushabti wherever you want on the map.
Their Legendary Lords are Settra the Imperishable, High Queen Khalida, Grand Hierophant Khatep, and Arkhan the Black.
- Settra the Imperishable leads Khemri as the primary subfaction starting in the titular city in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. The unique factions include buffs to public order and growth, as well as a reduction in building construction time. His Lord effects double his leadership aura size, and buffs the casualty replenishment of Tomb Guard and Chariots. His quest items include the Blessed Blade of Ptra and the Crown of Nehekhara. He can be mounted on the standard skeletal steeds or chariots, but in addition to those CA has also given him access to the Khemrian Warsphinx as a mount. And of course he wouldn't be the King of Kings without his unique Chariot of the Gods, which makes him the one of the most lethal chariot Lords in the game. So campaign wise his start can actually be a bit of an uphill battle. Role wise he fulfills both the uncommon anti-large hybrid role. With him being a strong melee combatant that can take on large entities (albeit somewhat fragile when not mounted), while being a passable caster (in contrast to his paltry magic skills on TT). His increased Leadership aura along with his unique version of My Will Be Done, means that his army is more study in the leadership department and will take quite a beating before crumbling.
- High Queen Khalida leads the Court of Lybaras subfaction, hanging out in the Copper Desert in Vortex while moving over to her home turf of Lybaras in Mortal Empires. The unique faction effects include a bonus to diplomatic relations with other Tomb Kings, and an increase in ammunition for all armies. Her Lord effect is to give poison attacks to her army, and she takes substantially less damage from attrition. Her sole Quest Item is The Venom Staff, and she has access to a Necroserpent as her unique mount. Role wise she is meant to be the Tomb Kings' assassin character, but that is a bit... questionable. If you put her in a duel with any other Lord she will likely not have a good time. She is fragile like she is supposed to be, but her role as a glass cannon doesn't work out because her combat animations make the "cannon" part basically non-existent. Her style of attack animations and the fact that her animation skeleton is the same as a Dark Elf Sorceress has led some modders to speculate the person who animated her thought she was supposed to be a caster. Thus in reality she mostly just works out as a support Lord that buffs up the ranged units in the Tomb Kings roster, though mounting her on her Necroserpent does alleviate some of her combat issues.
- Grand Hierophant Khatep leads the Exiles of Nehek subfaction, making him home in Naggaroth of all places in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. Though this makes sense when you consider how Nagash created his Necromancy after tearing out the secrets of Dark Magic out of a Dark Elf. So touring there is probably a big step in his goal of getting back in Settra's good graces. The unique faction effects include a bonus to Canopic Jars generated per turn, increases in campaign movement range, casualty replenishment for all armies, and a diplomatic malus with Dark Elves. His Lord effects are an increase in capacity for Liche Priests, as well as a bonus to their recruit ranks. His sole Quest Item is for The Liche Staff. In terms of mounts he has the expected skeletal steed and chariots at his disposal. However CA, being the madmen that they are, decided that wasn't enough for the old exile. So in addition to those two they also gave Khatep access to a Casket of Souls as his unique mount option. That's right, dear old Khatep has the honor of being the first Legendary Lord that doubles as heavy artillery. So role wise he is the Tomb King's dedicated Caster Lord, with the Lore of Nehekhara as his forte. But he has a surprising amount of damage potential due to the amount of Sandstorms he can spam out as a bound ability, combined with the magical artillery rounds he can dish out when on his Casket of Souls.
- Arkhan the Black leads the Followers of Nagash subfaction, oddly starting in the lands of Araby in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. Rather than his actual home in the Black Tower of Arkhan, though this could be because CA didn't want him to start to close to Settra. The unique faction effects include a malus to faction relations with Tomb Kings, a bonus to Vampire Count factions, and an immunity to Vampire corruption. His Lord effects include a bonus to the stats of heroes embedded in his army, and a boost to starting Winds of Magic. In addition to this Arkhan the Black has the honor of leading the first hybrid faction in the trilogy, having access to a select few units from the Vampire Counts' roster in addition to his Tomb King units. His Quest Items include The Tomb Blade of Arkhan and the Staff of Nagash. The former of which was hit hard with the nerf hammer, originally healing units around him like it did on TT, but was changed to just summon a unit of Skeletons after MP players kept using it to make Death Stars. Mount wise he has the usual Skeletal Steed and Chariot, however his chariot is unique in that it is visually a spooky floating chariot Mortis Engine style. So that's cool. Role wise he is a bit of a hybrid but leaning more towards the caster side of it. Can do decently in melee combat, but his real value is the utility he has with the Lore of Death. He also has a unique skill called Necrostrike rather than the desert/tomb strike that other Tomb Kings lords have. Over-all a great Lord choice with arguably the most unique playstyle out of the Tomb Kings.
Their rites include
- Great Incantation of Ptra: Summons a unique hero that lets you colonize ruins at city level 3.
- Great Incantation of Khsar: Causes attrition to enemies in your territory, boosts your ambush chances, and makes your army hidden and gives units stalk in battle.
- Great Incantation of Geheb: Increases city growth, reduces construction time, and gives you a vortex spell called Tombswarm as an army ability.
- Great Incantation of Tahoth: Adds the Casket of Souls to your army recruitment, and gives rank bonuses to recruits as well as increasing overall recruitment capacity.
Their trailer can be found here
Do you love Pirates of the Caribbean? Are you even vaguely fond of pirate fantasy? Then take a look at this fucking trailer. Confirmed on the Fourth of October as their own faction to the surprise of almost everyone. What was once a pipe dream of a faction that only existed in the lore and an old White Dwarf army roster, has become a reality in Total War.
The Vampire Coast army searches far and wide in the Warhammer canon for some truly obscure undead monstrosities to add to the roster of the sea shanty singing rotting legions of the undead, including the Necrofex Colossus (a bipedal ghost ship automaton) and the Mourngul. It also brings giant enemy crabs to the table as well as Zombie Paratroopers carried by giant bats and the single biggest cannon in the game, the almighty Queen Bess. They also have some CA original units like the Gunnery Wright Hero that can restore ammunition for your units, and the Depth Guard who are vampire elite infantry. Much like the Tomb Kings, the Coast aren't interested in the Vortex but in a magical Star Metal Harpoon so that they can slay Amanar, the guardian Merywyrm of Lothern, so they can bring it back with Necromancy and control the oceans. You have to pull a Sid Meir's Pirates! and focus on defeating various pirate lords to take their verses of a shanty that will allow the pirates to imbue the harpoon to slay Amanar in order to raise it and take control of the seas.
In the campaign they play as a unique hybrid between regular factions and hordes. With their Legendary Lords having their ships as mobile settlements, while the generic lords (with exception to some unique Lords you can gain from the skill tree) play more like your typical Total War armies. They have a unique currency called Infamy, that is gained from acts you'd expect from morally questionable pirates. Which can be spent on research and is used to rise up the ranks of the Infamy board for their campaign goal. They also introduced the concept of Vampire Coves, which let you build a hidden base in settlements with ports. Letting you leach income, increase corruption, or other effects with the other faction unable to get rid of them unless the settlement is razed. They also have a unique treasure map mechanic (rewards given if you can figure out a riddle and dig in the right place). As well as the Pieces of Eight mechanic, which has you hunting certain armies to gain access to their Regiments of Renown. They also have reskins of the Office and Loyalty mechanics you can find in other Races.
Their unique combat mechanic is called More Powder! Which grants bonuses to your units ranged damage the higher the quantity of ammunition they have. Alongside this mechanic they also brought with them the original Lore of the Deeps, which focuses a lot on slowing the enemy so that your ranged units can blast them apart.
- Luthor Harkon fittingly leads The Awakened (originally called The Vampire Coast prior to the Potion of Speed patch) as the primary subfaction starting in the Awakening in both the Vortex and Mortal Empires campaigns. The faction's effects are a bonus in leadership when fighting Lizardmen, as well as a diplomatic malus with Lizardmen factions. His Lord effects are a buff to magical resistance for his army, and an increase in Vampire Corruption in the local province. In addition to this he has a unique mechanic where his fractured mind causes different personalities to take charge. With it helping or hindering his effectiveness in battle until you find the Lizardmen trinkets he needs to fix it in his campaign. His sole quest item is Slann Gold, and his mount is a Deathshriek Terrorgeist. Role wise he is a hybrid Lord, being great in melee due to being a Blood Dragon vampire, and his hand-cannon makes him fearsome at range. Especially when given his explosive rounds, and on top of his Terrorgheist. He is unique among vampires because of his lack of spellcasting ability, making up for it with a hefty amount of magic resistance. But in campaign he can gain access to the Lore of the Deeps if you resolve his fractured mind storyline.
- Count Noctilus leads the Dreadfleet subfaction that starts in the Galleons' Graveyard in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. The faction effects are a reduction in Necrofex Collosus recruitment time, and a bonus to Pirate Crew recruitment rank. In addition to this he also has a unique war-declaration mission, which gives a variety of bonuses should you declare war on a specific faction. His Lord effects are a reduction to Necrofex Collosus and a bonus to weapon strength for large units in his army. His sole quest item is Captain Roth's Moondial. He also has access to a Necrofex Collosus as a mount choice exclusive to him. Role wise he is a hybrid lord, with more emphasis on tankiness than dealing damage, and bringing a good amount of utility with his mixed lore of Vampires and Shadows. Putting him on his Necrofex Mount further broadens his battlefield role, basically making him a mobile artillery platform at the expense of becoming a larger target.
- Aranesssa Saltspite leads the Pirates of Sartosa subfaction that starts in the titular pirate city in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. The faction effects are a bonus to raiding/sacking income, an increase to finding treasure maps, and a hefty diplomatic malus with Norscan factions. She also has the honor of having a mixed roster Arkhan/Allarielle style, with her hosting two variations of non-undead Sartosan units. Her Lord effects are a bonus to her Leadership aura effect, and a boost to weapon strength and attack to the aforementioned Sartosan units in her army. Her sole quest item is for her weapon Kraken's Bane. Mount wise she has access to a Rotting Promethean. Her role is to be a somewhat flexible combat lord. Dealing out anti-large damage, and being surprisingly sturdy due to her high melee defense. She can also work well as a character killer provided they are on a mount, with her on-foot animations giving her a big edge.
- Cylostra Direfin leads The Drowned subfaction that starts in the Grey Peaks in both Vortex and Mortal Empires. The faction effects are a boost to loyalty for newly recruited lords, a reduction in Syreen and Mourngul upkeep, as well as a decrease in recruitment cost for them. In terms of Lord effects she gives her entire army magical attacks and gives them a small amount of physical resistance. In the campaign she also starts with a Damned Paladin hero to accompany her. Her sole quest item is the The Bordeleaux Flabellum. Mount wise she has access to a Rotting Leviathan as an option exclusive to her. Role wise she is the Vampire Coast's dedicated caster character, but she brings an interesting twist with her being the first ethereal legendary lord in the trilogy. Making her quite sturdy for a caster character when dealing with physical attacks, though she will melt like butter when hit with anything magical. But this issue can be solved by sticking her on her giant crab, which will take away the magic weakness for the most part, and making her one of the most tanky units on the field. She is also quite good at spamming summons given the Lore of the Deeps and her unique bound ability to summon Damned Bretonnian Knight units.
Total War: WARHAMMER 3
- Unlike the other games in the series, Total War Warhammer III launched with seven playable factions rather than the usual four, along with one DLC race for Preorder.
Originally a palette swap of the Empire in the first and second games, Kislev has been chosen to receive a major overhaul with their own Legendary Lords, a new army list with unique characters and their own faction mechanics. They have received a major presence in the marketing of the game, indicating that CA is really trying to sell people on their badass credentials.
The game's army list is being developed in conjunction with Games Workshop, tying into the Warhammer: The Old World. The new units include awesome additions such as the Ice Guard of Kislev, much ballyhooed War Bear Riders and the Little Grom, aka a War Wagon Mortar version if it was a sled pulled by bears. All of this is just delightful.
- Tzarina Katarin Bokha leads the primary subfaction of the Tzardom known as the Ice Court. As the most powerful ice witch in generations, she has a complete mastery of the Lore of Ice. This allows her spell casting to be cheaper, faster, and more powerful. She can be mounted on either a war horse, or even a war bear. When not mounted, she also floats off of the ground, which is something that canon wise also happens with Prince Sigvald the Magnificent, but doesn't. The Ice Court has more control over their settlements, and reduced training times for mage lords. Frost maidens have an increased recruitment rank and give Devotion for every successful hero action. Katarin herself reduces corruption significantly, has halved upkeep for Ice Guard, and a halved miscast base chance.
- Supreme Patriarch Kostaltyn leads the Great Orthodoxy of the Cult of Ursun. A firebrand preacher, he considers the ice witches and especially the Tzarina as nothing more than heretics that usurped power through their machinations. He's also very obviously a fantasy counterpart of Grigori Rasputin, the Mad Monk. His special abilities include Ursun's Ward, which grants him a regeneration and stats boost when heavily injured. He can be mounted on either a war horse or a war bear.
- Tzar Boris Ursus leads the Ursun Revivalists. Unlocked after holding three major cities of Kislev as Katarin and fighting a quest battle, his receives bonus recruit rank for War Bear riders, and construction bonuses for garrisons and religious buildings. Boris himself gives his army a leadership and melee attack bonus against the Warriors and Daemons of Chaos and their Norscan allies, and halved upkeep for War Bear Riders.
Khorne's roster is more similar to Age of Sigmar than the classic tabletop, having a mixture of mortal followers with demons. Granted, the mortal half of the roster is currently a bit underdeveloped, with only Chaos Warriors, a single hero unit, minotaurs, chariots and Skullcrushers used to represent the non daemonic part of Khorne's legion. This is balanced out by the fact that aside from Daemon Princes every Daemonic Khorne unit is in the game.
- Skarbrand leads the armies of the Exiles of Khorne. Always seeking ways to regain the favor of Khorne after he attempted to usurp him (just as Tzeentch planned), he is quite literally a pile of rage that rages on about his rage. His rage is so prevalent, that anyone who is even near him will also be enraged, compelled to fight even under suicidal odds. He is also immune to psychological attacks, and will not falter in his bloodlust to kill until it is done. Skarbrand’s faction can replenish in foreign territory and earns movement after razing a settlement, but is of course on bad terms with other Khornate factions. Skarbrand’s army earns extra movement after winning a battle and has a reduced recruitment cost when in ruins or enemy territory.
Tzeentch's roster is focused on hit and run using devastating firepower and cycle charging. Tzeentchian factions have numerous ways to influence the winds of magic on the campaign map, making sure that his armies are always fully buffed and never going to run out of magic soon. They can use schemes to steal an enemy settlement without having to fight it, gain complete vision over a faction's territory, and even force rival factions to break alliances and go to war against each other whether they want to or not. Tzeentch's units all have a barrier that absorbs damage and recharges out of combat.
- Kairos Fateweaver leads the armies of the Oracles of Tzeentch. His faction is all about screaming Just As Planned, with bonuses to helping reinforce allied armies and debuffing reinforcing enemy armies. Karios himself has access to more lores of magic and has increased ambush defence chance and defence against enemy hero actions.
Nurgle is all about outlasting his opponents whilst crippling them with debilitating debuffs through spells and unit traits. The roster is very durable, but at the same time is very slow and is vulnerable to kiting if you don’t bring furies or a soul grinder to tie up/phlegm on units. As to be expected Nurgle can spread plagues to settlements, and customize them for a variety of benefits to you, ailments to very lucky receivers, or both at once. Nurgle functions very differently on the campaign besides plagues. Nurgle’s buildings cycle between growth and decay where the initial stage is built and then grow over time, before reverting to their first form; each stage grants different benefits. Nurglite units are added to a recruitment pool by these cyclical buildings and can be recruited instantly like RoR, but they start out weak and must replenish to full force over a couple of turns.
- Ku'Gath Plaguefather is Nurgle's playable lord and leads the Poxbringers of Nurgle. Ku’gath’s faction sees extra growth, and a reduced recruitment cost and boosted initial recruitment health for Nurglings. Ku’gath himself has a halved infection cost, spreads more corruption, and has an increased chance of spreading plagues.
Slaanesh specializes in speediness and stampeding into opponents with a sky-high charge bonus, and the AP to stab into any soundly shielded soldiers. Not only do your cavalry and chariots have this, but your infantry share this as well, and every unit has the terrifying trait where their charge bonus is doubled when flanking enemy units. You’ll have to rely on this though because Slaanesh’s sensualists are fragile (due to that whole freaky fetish thing), and funnily enough won’t last in prolonged engagement without breaks. Slaanesh’s roster is entirely lacking in ranged units, however, even Khorne has ranged options. On the campaign Slaanesh is the only daemonic race that has diplomatic options with non-daemons, as his/her/their factions can influence and even forcibly vassalize mortal factions to the point that they can revive minor factions specifically to act as vassals. This vassalization mechanic, along with improvements to how allies function both in the campaign and in battles, are intended to patch the staying power shaped hole in Slaanesh's roster. Seduce mortals, force mortals to tarpit your opponents, then buttfuck your opponents with your daemons and win. And then buttfuck your mortals.
- N'Kari is Slaanesh’s legendary lord and leads the Seducers of Slaanesh. N’Kari’s faction has a +20 diplomatic bonus with every faction and increased tribute from vassals. N’kari himself earns extra experience for every new enemy faction fought in battle. He also has a reduced cost to seduce units and reduces the leadership of local enemy armies.
All of this information is just from the Total War website's article introducing Cathay, so more specific information will need to be added later.
They are a defensively focused army, with ranged and melee units receiving buffs when in close proximity with each other and relying on the Great Bastion to keep Chaos off their doorstep. The Bastion itself provides powerful bonuses if maintained and enhanced, but if its gates collapse their territory will fall with it. Their frontline is mostly cheap but plentiful infantry that protects the ranged forces that deal most of the damage, and they have some powerful artillery and war machines to back it all up. Additionally, each unit is associated with either Yin or Yang, with units of opposite affinities being enhanced by staying near each other. So basically, imagine playing Dwarfs, but with a focus on synergy, magic, and motherfucking Dragons.
Defying many expectations, the Dragon Emperor is not actually a Legendary Lord, as he and his wife spend all their time in the Celestial City above Wei-Jin and the devs have stated that both would be too powerful to actually be playable. Instead you play as one of their kids.
- Miao Ying the Storm Dragon is the leader of the Northern Provinces and daughter of the Dragon Emperor and the Moon Empress, and is featured in the trailer for Grand Cathay. Miao Ying is quite cold and aloof, a trait that irks her siblings to no end. She gives buffs to her missile units, including more ammo and upkeep reductions, along with a buff to Anti Corruption and a leadership buff when fighinng Daemons of Chaos.
- Zhao Ming the Iron Dragon is the leader of the Western Provinces and son of the Dragon Emperor and the Moon Empress. Zhao is a skilled alchemist and likes to integrate it into his forces. The millennia stationed close to the Great Maw have made him "eccentric" compared to his other siblings. This label of eccentricity could also just be due to him actually enjoying hanging out with his mortal subjects. Of course making a treaty with Greasus Goldtooth does seem to indicate something may be a little off-kilter upstairs. His factionwide mechanics include giving every unit in his armies more armor, increased money from caravans, increase in rank for alchemists and upkeep reduction for Ogre Mercenary units. Zhao himself gains a 25% upkeep reduction on all melee units, 100% chance to steal magic items, and +3 alignment to Yang.
Ogres ARE a monster faction, and we mean it. Only two units from the overall army are normal-sized (Gnoblar ones, obviously), others are massive in one way or another. You can be deceived by this, think that Ogres may be slow and melee-based, but that's not quite true either. Ranged units are present, and for their size Ogres are relatively quick. They have a tough relationship with armour, however - no protection for themselves (which makes units a good target), but they are great at piercing it anyway. Downs, other than poor defense, consist of lack of mount, air power and staying power. Overall, a pretty good army with one playstyle - charge, fight, eat.
- Greasus Goldtooth leads the Goldtooth Tribe in the Mountains of Mourn. Greasus’ faction has a +20 diplomatic bonus when dealing with other Ogres, and increased trade and unit mass. Greasus’ army has increased income for raiding, sacking, and looting, and halved upkeep for Ironguts.
- Skrag the Slaughterer leads the Disciples of The Maw in the Grey Mountains. Skrag’s disciples have an increased movement range, and an increased capacity and recruit rank for Butchers. Skrag himself has increased replenishment and halved upkeep for Gorgers.
An unexpected faction for sure, Daemons of Chaos brings the flexibility of having a combined roster from all the daemonic hordes, but must unlock more powerful daemons through a tech tree involving daemonic gifts body parts gifted to your Daemon Prince legendary lord. The Lord in question is the most OC-do-not-steal friendly in all three games, identified only as an Ungol Prince before being corrupted by the Ruinous Powers and ascending to Daemonhood. In his campaign, he teams up with the Advisor to steal the power of Ursun from Be'lakor. Everything after that, from his name to his allegiance, is up to you. Naturally, different allegiances open up different tactics and you can mix and match as you see fit.
- God-Slayer (
insert your own specific Daemonic name hereDaniel) leads the Legions of Chaos subfaction in Norsca. As it's based around Daniel the Daemon Prince, the only unique mechanics the Legion received are daemonic gifts. In addition, every time your lords inflict damage in battle there's a small chance you get an army-wide buff for a few turns.
Before actually getting into the DLC for this series, it is important to figure out exactly what can actually be added into the games at this point. Initially CA made it clear that their priority was to adapt the main 8th edition races first and foremost, and that they would be sticking as close to the tabletop as they could; so things like a fleshed out Kislev seemed to be a pipe-dream. Russian leak of future plans indicated that in addition to these Chaos Dwarfs were the only faction not part of the 8th edition that would be added in. However, as time went on there were additions to the game that somewhat stretched that. At first it was small variations, where a unit was changed a bit to fill up a hole in the roster. But then DLC started cropping up that included entirely new units, such as the free additions to the Chaos Warriors roster or Bretonnian units that barely got a passing mention in older lore.
But as of Total War: Warhammer II Creative Assembly has made it explicitly clear that GW has been so pleased with the success of the game, that CA now has permission to include new units or even work on races that never had an army book. For a start Norsca became a full-fledged faction independent of Chaos Warriors with new game mechanics that are not fully reflected in the lore, and even new units that never existed before (like Frost Wyrms, which are Chaos Dragons, but with ice magic). A look at the second game's campaign map reveals the Wood Elf settlement of Oreon's Camp, occupied by the Wood Elf faction Bowmen of Oreon, in the middle of the Southlands which is referencing a 2nd edition Regiment of Renown composed of wood elf archers taking down a giant in one volley. Old lore referencing is strong with this one!
Taking into account that the first game is filled with nine races (though Norsca got introduced with the second game), and that the only confirmed race to still appear are the Chaos Dwarfs, there is a lot of free space for nations that exist in the lore but never got army books. Considering how hard CA and Sega want to sell DLC (not to mention all the people willing to buy them at such a damn high price), with the first game having seven pieces of additional content, the added content for second, planned content for third, and the precedents of first Norsca and now the Vampire Coast and Cathay who were even less fleshed out then Norsca ever was, it seemed like anything, from the Amazons to Araby, is on the table when it comes to future factions, installments and of course DLC.
With the announcement of The Old World, in addition to the fact that 3's announcement will have Kislev and Cathay as main factions, CA and GW have straight up said that they have worked together to implement both factions in a way that is true to how they will appear in tabletop. To the point that devs at CA were provided with mock ups of Army Books for a hypothetical 8th edition version of Cathay and Kislev full of new rules and lore for them! With Chaos Dwarfs, Ind and Kuresh all but confirmed it (I mean, c'mon. Having the lands of Kuresh and Ind present yet so conspicuously inaccessible leaves little room for doubt), one has to wonder what may be in store for future faction DLCs.
First game DLC
A list of planned free downloadable content was shown soon after Warhammer I's launch, including some more minor things, but also confirming new legendary lords, a new faction, and some lores of magic. This list steadily got larger as more content was released in the game's lifespan.
- Blood Knights
Released alongside the *Blood for the Blood God* DLC, adding the Blood Knights as an elite shock cavalry unit for the Vampire Counts.
- Amber Wizards
Released alongside the *Call of the Beastmen* Campaign Pack, adding the Amber Wizard as a hero unit for the Empire, giving them access to the Lore of Beasts.
- Vlad von Carstein
Released alongside the *Grim & the Grave* Lord Pack was none other than Vlad von Carstein himself as a Legendary Lord for the Vampire Counts. With his main gimmick being that grants vanguard deployment to all units in his army. You read that right he gives vanguard deployment to all units in his army. This pretty much negates the horrible speed of zombies or the fact that you have no ranged units because you can just start the battle a few steps away from the enemy. Or more likely, he will use his skill as an UNPARALLELED PRACTITIONER and leave you wondering how those Varghulfs got there, the Vampire ruling that army must be some kind of UNPARALLELED PRACTIC-VLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD!. He initially started off as a Legendary Lord Choice for the Vampire Counts but was given his own subfaction "The Von Carsteins" when Isabella was added.
- Wurrzag, the Great Green Prophet
Released along the *King & the Warlord* Lord Pack was Wurzzag, the Great Green Prophet as a Legendary Lord for the Greenskins. He starts in his own subfaction, The Bloody Handz, over by Ekrund and focuses on Savage Orcs. Though able to use the Lore of da Big Waaagh!, his main draw is screwing with enemy wizards and the abilities granted by his items. He can unlock his trusty boar Spleenrippa and buffs savage orcs in his army with charge bonus and physical resistance, including giving them all magic attacks (cue banshees and wraiths weeping). As if that wasn't enough, savage orcs also get major reduction to upkeep. Oh, and he can basically use Net of Amyntok with his Effagee of da Git. Get ready to WAAAGH! ya gits.
Three Warriors of Chaos units were also thrown in as a bonus: those being Feral Manticores, Marauder Horsemasters, and Aspiring Champions.
- Grombrindal, the White Dwarf
Holding the honor of first promotional FLC content was Grombrindal, the White Dwarf as a Legendary Lord for the Dwarfs. Though available early to those who buy November 2016's White Dwarf magazine, he was later released for everyone on January 19th of 2017. Sporting four items, he can take on the benefits of one of the three Ancestor deities. To represent his elusiveness and the fact that he shows up from nowhere, he is harder to intercept in the underway and can reinforce allies from farther away. That's not the best thing about him though; all his pre-battle speeches are just him throwing shade and talking smack at the enemy in various creative manners. Also, he looks really pissed off.
- Grey Wizards
Released alongside the *Realm of the Wood Elves* Campaign Pack was The Grey Wizard as a hero unit for the Empire. Granting them access to the Lore of Shadows, with the main attraction here being Pit of Shades which had the honor of being the first stationary vortex (I.E. Being the only vortex worth using at the time, since it would do reliable damage).
- Jade Wizards
Also released alongside the *Realm of the Wood Elves* Campaign Pack was The Jade Wizard as a hero unit for the Empire. Granting them access to the Lore of Life and finally giving them some damn healing.
- Morghur the Shadowgave
The last bit of FLC added alongside the *Realm of the Wood Elves* Campaign Pack was Morghur the Shadowgave as a legendary lord for the Beastmen. He starts in Nordland, with his main gimmicks being his absurd survivability and his unique ability to summon up to four units of That Which Shan't Be Named per battle. Finally, Beastmen players got some air presence with a new unit: harpies.
At the very end of 2017's February, Bretonnia was finally added to the game as a playable full faction. Boasting three subfactions, a more fleshed out roster (with a few CA original units such as squires), and some of the best cavalry in the game. With King Louen Leoncoeur leading the main faction "Bretonnia, Morgiana, the Fay Enchantress leading "Carcassonne", and Alberic de Bordeleaux (a literally who from an old RPG book) leading Bordeleaux. Along with The Green Knight as a sort of Legendary Hero you can gain through their unique campaign mechanic.
- Isabella von Carstein
Thanks to Total War winning (for the first time) Sega's Make War Not Love event, players got Isabella von Carstein free as a legendary lord for a new Vampire Counts faction called simply Von Carstein (led by Vlad and based at Schwartzhaften). She focuses on buffing vampire heroes, flying units, and the varghulf, and gets a huge buff if reinforcing or being reinforced by her husbando. She arrived together with the Old World Edition (just a fancy name for a physical addition with DLC pack with it) of the game as well.
An accidental leak confirmed the Old Friend to be none other than the long-lost, now found, Krell. Kemmler finally got his BFF back. Where is Krell?! Here is Krell!. Released on the 20th of July, Krell is (technically) a Legendary Hero summonable by Kemmler, with a unique skill tree (that was later changed to have all the skills unlocked at the start since having Krell distintigrate was lame as fuck).
- 30th Anniversary DLC
The 30th Anniversary DLC added Regiments of Renown to the DLC factions (which we knew was coming from the Norsca stream leaking their existence for Norsca and the Beastmen) in celebration of CA's 30th birthday on August 10th. While there is only a handful split between the five factions, there are some notable additions, in particular the addition of Sigvald's Mirror Guard and Archaon's Swords of Chaos. Which brings back bodyguards in a somewhat roundabout manner by giving them a skill that buffs defense when in their proximity. Surprisingly fucking Wyrdspawn got an appearance aka those chaos spawn variants known only from Warhammer: Mark of Chaos- Ohdamnitallgiruhfsbnfofnofgvn!
As my predecessor was trying to say, also released with Norsca is the Foundation Update that gives all original Legendary Lords (including the three Warriors of Chaos ones) new skill trees, starting bonuses and other buffs to make them desirable again. As an example, Karl Franz will eventually cause all recruited Lords to start with additional levels, while Sigvald will get so fabulous he causes terror. The Warriors of Chaos campaign was also changed: First and foremost, only marauder units receive attrition from being near other Chaos hordes; second, while encamped, unit upkeep will lower and their replenishment will increase; Third, awakening a norse tribe now causes them to become a vassal instead of an ally; Fourth and finally, instead of choosing between looting and razing, you choose between gaining growth and replenishment or money (both options cause the settlement to be razed). The Empire, meanwhile, will start with full control of Reikland when controlled by the AI.
Total War: Warhammer I's paid DLC lineup was interesting due to the fact that the player base already knew all the content being released for it relatively early on. Due to a datamined content schedule which CA mostly stuck with outside of some switching around of the order for the later packs. Regardless the paid DLC for TWWI was mostly an open book for the most part, until the release of Norsca which brought about a new precedent for the series that hadn't been treaded on with any packs prior. A list of planned free downloadable content was shown soon after Warhammer I's launch, including some more minor things, but also confirming new legendary lords, a new faction, and some lores of magic. This list steadily got larger as more content was released in the game's lifespan.
- Warriors of Chaos
To the rather justified outrage of the fanbase, the very first piece of paid content was released together with the game as a sort of pre-order/early adopter bonus. This day-1 DLC was the Warriors of Chaos Race Pack, making Archaon and his BFFs Kholek and Sigvald playable as a horde faction. Much rage was had, and it is probable that the only reason people weren't more irate was because the game itself is really good. But the initial reception was still so bad, that CA/SEGA felt the need to change it from a pre-order DLC to being an "early adopter" bonus. In other words, instead of getting it only by purchasing the game before it was released (I.E buying it before anyone knew it was any good like a sucker), you would get it for free if you bought it within a week of purchase. Quite notable in that CA has taken this approach with all of their pre-purchase bonus since then.
- Blood for the Blood God
The first post-release Paid DLC released in early July - the Blood for the Blood God DLC added various blood and gore effects to the game. The last time we were expected fork over cash for something this petty, it was for horse armor, and $3 for what is in literally any other game a simple on/off switch in the options menu has been a little... divisive. But considering the fact that blood and gore DLC for Total War games has been a thing before in the name of ESRB ratings, there really isn't much surprise we have to fork over money here to please Khorne. At the very least it does add in some new unique kill animations for a few units, which shows some effort was put into it. $3 bucks for a cosmetic option menu checkmark worth of effort? Up to you to decide.
- Call of the Beastmen
The first major piece of DLC for Total Warhammer was the Call of the Beastmen Campaign Pack. Which lets you play as the Beastmen as a new playable Race focusing on Horde gameplay, with the main Lords being Khazrak One-Eye and Malagor the Dark Omen. It also included a mini-campaign called An Eye For An Eye, with the map a rectangle stretching from the Marienburg in the west to Hochland in the east, and from Middenheim in the north to Carroburg in the south. Khazrak, controlled by the player, must defeat Boris Todbringer. The pack had taken a lot of criticism from fans due to its price (who ignore that it takes a lot more time and money to create and balance an entirely new faction and models from scratch rather than just reskin an existing one like in previous Total War games, or that royalties exist for licensed shit), with the game's page on Steam getting bombed with negative reviews. Despite that, CA still considered it to be a "best-seller" at the time that surpassed expectations. While the Beastmen were praised for their actual in-battle gameplay (with Minotaur's being the standout for most players), the lack of the more unique monstrous units from their Army Roster, and the frankly cut and paste campaign mechanics (Brayherds were basically WAAAGHs for example) made them a prime example of the lack of creativity CA had at that time. Though you can see them somewhat experimenting more with mechanics like the Dark Moon and seeing them play around with differing Start Positions.
- The Grim & the Grave
Leaked on the greek Total War page on Facebook as is tradition, was The Grim and the Grave Lord Pack. Which added two Legendary Lords, Volkmar the Grim and Helman Ghorst for the Empire and Vampire Counts respectively; the latter being added because CA wanted to theme it around the Sigmar's Blood Campaign from 8th edition. Volkmar gave bonuses to the DLC units associated with him that were added in the pack, those being flagellants and Warrior Priests. Ghorst's main gimmick was to give his entire army poison attacks (albeit a somewhat nerfed version of the normal poison debuff). And like Volkmar, he buffed the associated units that were added alongside him in the pack, those being Mortis Engines and Corpse Carts. Unit wise two generic lord choices were added, one for each side: the Arch-Lector and the Strigoi Ghoul King. OFlagellants, Free Company militia, and the Knights of the Blazing Sun were added to the Empire roster. While the Vampire Counts received the Corpse Cart (and all its variations) and the Mortis Engine. Also included in the pack are 18 "regiments of renown" (not to be confused with the mercenary units known under the same label), who are mostly reskinned units with better/different stats and some extra abilities to spice things up; the main thing about them is that the RoR system will be available for modders to play around in.
- The King & the Warlord
The second DLC that has the honor of releasing with no leak (the first was the Blood Pack), was the The King and the Warlord. Following the model of the previous Lord Pack, it added two new thematically opposed LLs and new units to go with them. This time it's between Belegar Ironhammer, True King of The Eight Peaks, and Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks. One very notable thing about this DLC is that both Legendary Lords do not start in Karaz-a-Karak or Black Crag; introducing the subfaction model that would be followed for the rest of the series. Belegar starts in Karak Izor, over in the Border Princes, and starts with four heroes at his disposal, and all of them ethereal to boot (being the vengeful spirits of his ancestors). These heroes are two Thanes, a Master Engineer, and a Runesmith. Belegar can also get one of the new units, the Dwarf Rangers, earlier than most, and has siege attacker with all the goodness that entails. However, until he manages to conquer Karak Eight Peaks, he is saddled with increased upkeep for all his units. Meanwhile, Skarsnik does not start in the Eight Peaks either, surprisingly enough. Rather, he is way over at the Grey Mountains, in Karak Azgaraz, doing some leisurely squig hunting when his boyz at the Peaks decide to rebel. He is always accompanied by his pet, Gobbla (and not as a mount), which makes him the first Lord with two models. His unique skills buff all goblin units, reduce their upkeep, and decrease hero action costs while increasing xp gain, and you are going to need that... since you can only recruit goblins until you recapture the Peaks. The two generic lords for each side are the dwarfen Rune Lord, that can ride on an Anvil of Doom while buffing all around, and the Night Goblin Warboss, who can also buff their grobi scum and even give his entire army poison attacks, and if that wasn't enough they get to ride a great cave squig. The new goblin units are the Squig Herd, Night Goblin Squig Hoppers and Nasty Skulkers, while dwarf units are Rangers (and a variant with great weapons), Bugman's Rangers and the Bolt Thrower. Showing even more detail than the Grim and the Grave, Karak Eight Peaks also has a unique building chain that can only be used by Belegar and Skarsnik, giving some pretty great effects. Each race also has two new techs, with one of the dwarfen ones referencing some clearly mythical rat-men. And, of course, there are Regiments of Renown, 22 this time. 10 for dorfs, 12 for gobbos. Notable ones are a grudge thrower that fires live goblins and fanatics whose chains end in unlucky stunties instead and can be aimed.
- Realm of the Wood Elves
The second Campaign Pack to be added to the game, adding the Wood Elves as a playable Race, with two subfactions following the trend of the K&W. Featuring Orion leading the Wood Elves faction and Durthu leading Argwylon, and a mostly complete army roster aside from some missing Hero choices. Much like the Beastmen did prior, this DLC included a mini-campaign called Seasons of Revelation, that pitted them both against Morghur. The utterly brutal mini campaign involves building up the oak of ages as Morghur's warherds (that often have half their slots filled with Spawn) keep pouring in non-stop while your elf and human neighbours prove themselves utter dicks. The grand campaign will see them build up their magical tree while touring the world to mug people for their amber.
Released in early August, the Norsca Race Pack was the final paid DLC released for the first game. Given out for free as an early adopter bonus for people who pre-ordered Warhammer II or bought it within the first week, along with an option to purchase it separately on its own. Their legendary lords are Wulfrik the Wanderer and Throgg the Troll King. With their campaign largely based around raiding the world and killing monsters. Whenever you kill a monster you either get to claim a trophy from it or actually subjugate the monster and get it as a unit! Razing settlements lets you dedicate the act to one of the four gods of Chaos. When you gain enough favour with one of the Four, you'll then get the actual win conditions for the campaign, which will involve fighting off champions from the other three gods. Being the first DLC to flesh out a "minor" Warhammer race than one playable in the 8th edition, it set a precedent for all the fanboys who hoped to see their pet obscure faction make it into the game. Notably borrowing heavily from Forgeworld's Monstrous Arcanum supplement to add beasties like Skin Wolves and Fimir into the game, to flesh out their roster.
Second game DLC
- Mortal Empires
The first piece of free content post-release will be a long-awaited combined map, called the Mortal Empires Campaign. Released a few weeks after launch due to the technical issues involved, Mortal Empires is smashing the Warhammer I and Warhammer II maps together with pure conquest as the objective (so no Vortex campaign race). Other than just combining the two games' maps, it also adds rogue armies, ranged breath attacks for dragons, treasure hunts, the UI improvements, climate mechanics (replacing regional occupation) and 10/8 slot cities to the Warhammer I parts. Also, it has been confirmed that at least some Legendary Lords from Warhammer I will be changing positions in the Mortal Empires campaign. Norsca wasn't immediately present on release due to technical issues and was added in later.
- The Laboratory
Yup, CA has finally snapped, as shown in their second FLC, The Laboratory. The madmen producing this game have decided to add in a new game mode where you can play custom battles and adjust... well literally everything. Do you want to play as the Skaven and have units with 900 MODELS EACH?!?! This will let you do that! Want to increase the size of your monsters and create a dinosaur army with Carnosaurs so big it'll make the Indominus Rex look like a legless puppy? This will let you do that! Want a 40 unit army of just oversized DOOMWHEELS!? THIS GAME MODE WILL GIVE YOU ALL OF THE DOOMWHEELS!! This was clearly just meant for fun and to screw around in, but be warned, as all but the best PCs out there will most likely be crying in agony while playing this, though some optimization has been done by CA..
- Tretch Craventail
Released with the Tomb Kings is Tretch Craventail leading Clan Rictus, with his main differentiating traits being his ability to gain +4 global public order whenever he breaks a diplomatic treaty and... Vanguard Deployment for his entire army. Yeah, you thought Vlad Von Carstein was bad? Wait until you face Tretch who vanguard deployments a DOOMWHEEL or a Hell Pit Abomination behind your backline. A supposed leak that predicted Tretch also claimed that Shadow Warriors would be released together with Tretch but this has been proven false and were later released in the Queen and the Crone DLC.
- Steps of Isha
The next addition being Multiplayer Maps, Steps of Isha, for the Make Love Not War event instead of the initial listing of another Legendary Lord. This is a bit odd because the first game also added a bunch of multiplayer maps with each content drop, so it didn't really seem like a big enough deal to fill up a slot on the FLC chart.
- Alith Anar
Coming with both Norsca and the Queen and the Crone DLC is everyone's favorite Elven Terrorists, Alith Anar as a High Elf LL, and the Shadow Walkers, a powerful skirmishing unit. Ironically, Shadow Warriors themselves are DLC content, but the fact he comes with his own elite Shadow Walker variants softens the blow considerably. He leads the faction of Nagarythe (with a starting position in Naggarond, Alith having taking the fight to the Dark Elves), which has several unique mechanics, such as all of his armies being to ambush in their default army stance, the ability to access the "Shadow Realm"; which lets them bypass terrain and remain hidden, and having a special hero, The Hand of the Shadow Crown which is an assassin who has a 100 percent chance to kill any Lord of Hero they're sent against.
- Resurgent Update
A massive Mortal Empires patch called the Resurgent Update including Norsca (fully restored and integrated into Game II along with new monster hunts, as long as you own the DLC), 30th Anniversary RoR, many new landmark buildings, battle maps for the New and Old World, the Dawi getting a new crafting mechanic akin to the Mortuary Cult, Giant Slayers as a unit, and Ungrim moving back to his Slayer Hold at Karak Kadrin with his own subfaction. Also, the Sword of Khaine will now become a campaign mechanic and an obtainable item that will give massive stat boost (450 armour piercing damage is just the tip of the iceberg, and at it's lowest power level) and an insane Vortex that rips apart even the most heavily armoured units and causes the rest to go insane at the cost of your own people hating you (looking at you Tyrion). One thing of note, while any faction can use the Sword, only one of the elven factions can draw it, meaning a non-elf faction needs to defeat the wielder in order to get it. This means that the Wood Elves can draw the sword, so we might need to suck Durthu's tree dick for mercy. Sartosa has also been confirmed to be added as a settlement in Mortal Empires, adding hopes to a possible Dogs of War DLC. Furthermore, the Tomb Kings now get their (almost) full roster with the addition of the Bone Giant/Necrolith Colossus (which uses a gigantic bow), a secret which was kept hidden before it was, yet again, leaked.
- Lokhir Fellheart.
The IMDB leak was wrong, it's actually Lokhir Fellheart. Everyone's favorite Squid-Helmet wearing Dark Elf will be leading The Blessed Dread faction in Lustria, in the city of Chupayotl, making him the first Dark Elf to not start in Naggaroth (THANK CHRIST!) Honestly we should have seen him coming considering A. the DLC is pirate themed and B. They just did a rework of Black Arks. As expected, he has cost reduction for Black Ark Corsairs and unlike the other 3 lords doesn't need to use a rite to recruit Black Arks. Instead, he can recruit one from any major port city. To replace that rite, he gained the Sacrifice to Anath Raema, which gives Corsairs Fear, Stalk and AP missiles along with more armor to the Kharibdys, which we're sure will help the Corsair plunder some more booty, if you know what I mean. Lokhir additionally gains something he didn't have at the tabletop. CA gave him a mount, a unique Black Dragon named Maelstrom (though honestly it is skub in this regard).
- Aye-Aye! Patch
The next major patch coming in is the Aye-Aye! Patch. (Get it? The DLC is pirate themed?) Not much is known yet, aside from the Vampire Counts getting a rework. They now have access to the Bloodlines, which allows them to pay a special currency called "Blood Kisses" to recruit one very powerful lord based off one of the five Vampire Bloodlines. Also Kemmler has had enough of Mannfred's shit and moved out to start his own faction with blackjack and hookers in Blackstone Post in the Grey Mountains, where he'll kick the shit out of some Bretonnians. Also someone finally taught him how to ride a horse. Boris Todbringer on the other hand got some much needed love as he, apart of getting the Middenheim Runefang back, can now choose to ride a Pegasus or a Griffin. Auto-resolved naval battles are removed, and instead will take place as a land battle on a small island between the two forces. In addition to that, pirates now roam the seas of the Warhammer World, with the Vampire Coast factions actually competing with them for prestige in the pirate notoriety mechanic, while the pirates (both minor and major faction) just make life difficult for all the other factions. Pirate Flagships are mobile sea-based capitals. More is to come, including balance changes for all Legendary Lords.
- Festag Update
Released during the holidays after the Vampire Coast DLC, Festag Update came with a series of balance changes and bug fixes. A lot of the Vampire Coast's roster got nerfed to adjust to their prices, while lots of units and abilities from other factions went through balance changes. For example Pegasus Knights got 300 extra mass, helping them to get stuck into infantry less often, while Thanes got the Rune of Slowness in multiplayer, finally giving you a reason to bring them to the battlefield. The Skaven, whom CA is probably waiting to update until their lord pack arrives, only got a hilarious +1 attack to their Plague Monk Censer Bearers. Among the bug fixes the Red Duke no longer T-Poses on the campaign map and destroying pirate coves no longer crashes your game, along with many other common complaints. The skill trees for many game 1 races got updated to compete with game 2, with a lot of abilities and mounts needing less skill points to obtain. Inviting other players into Spectator More was also made much easier, for you streamers out there.
- Doomsayers Update
With The Prophet and the Warlock DLC, we are getting a bunch of free stuff in the Doomsayers Update. It's Bretonnia's turn to get their update. Apart from general updates and fixes, they'll be getting a new and improved vow system. Instead of just being skills, taking a vow requires the player to go on quests to reflect the quests Bretonnian knights go on while looking for the Lady's favor. (Plus Alberic actually got a trident! Just two years after modders gave him one!) This understandably pissed off A LOT of Empire and Greenskin fans, considering those two have way more problems with their campaign than the Frenchies but in a way it kinda makes sense. Most of Bretonnia's problems are comparably easy to fix, mainly needing adjustments to their confederation and Green Knight mechanic, whereas the Empire and Orcs would need whole new mechanics and re hauls that would be way more expensive. While those two certainly need it more, it makes sense for CA to deal with the cheaper and easier to fix problems first before tackling the big boys.
Meanwhile Tiktaq'to will be the Lizardmen FLC lord we get with the DLC, a pure flying lord who starts mounted on a terradon. He provides buffs to all Lizard flying units and has a special ability to make Gor-Rok and Nakai fans cry. He leads the Tlaqua faction down in the Southlands, and has access to his own unique rite that looks to be hilariously broken, as upon use it resets the campaign movement points for all your armies and heroes. Also, Lord Kroak will be added as a Legendary Hero to all Lizardmen factions after completing a quest to wake him up. Probably the most exciting change is that CA is reducing the amount of buffs and cheats they give the AI and instead making it more capable in the campaign map, so it will construct settlements more intelligently.
- Amethyst Update
The Empire will be getting another buff in the Amethyst Update. Unleashing the Lore of Death these “‘Amethyst Wizards’” will make an excellent addition to the Empire’s over bloated list of heroes. All that is left is Balthasar Gelt’s Gold boys and the rainbow Winds of Magic will be complete.
- Empire Undivided Update
It's a good day for the Empire, as they will get their update along with The Hunter and The Beast. Gelt has moved to the new Empire province of Solland, where he will lead The Golden Order against his not shiny enemies. A new fort settlement has also been added in The Empie's mountain settlements, functioning like the High Elve's High Gates. Most importantly, the Office system has been replaced with The Elector Count system, allowing you to confederate without going to war. New resources like prestige and fealty will be given out via Electoral Machinations and dilemmas which allows you to control the other empire territories. New units, items and lords will be given out when commanding certain cities, flushing The Empires unit roster by a lot. Also, whenever you use this feature, Karl Franz yells "SUMMON THE ELECTOR COUNTS." Well memed, CA, well memed.
The Lizardmen get another Legendary Lord in the form of Gor-Rok the Great White Lizard, who will be starting in Itza. This puts the lizards up to 6 Lords, beating out even CA's favourite faction aka the Vampire Counts. As expected of the Rock of Itza, he is absurdly tough, as well as surprisingly good at dueling. With many hailing him as the standard for Foot Lords to come. He also starts off with Lord Kroak in his campaign, since starting in Itza wasn't enough of a bonus. He is also unique among FLC Lords in that he actually has a unique animation set, instead of just reusing the Saurus Oldblood set like everyone expected him to. Setting a good precedent for future FLC lords to come.
- Gotrek & Felix
The Old Friends have been announced to be none other than Gotrek & Felix! The iconic duo came out in October 2019, though subscribers to the White Dwarf magazine were able to get a code to download them a month early. The pair serve as a mercenary army for The Empire, Dwarfs and Bretonnia to recruit, with Gotrek serving as lord and Felix as a hero. You can give them troops and send them across the old world to fight your battles until about 20 turns later when Gotrek gets sick of not dying and takes Felix somewhere else. They increase in power on their own in the meantime, though also gain new enemies that may start to hate you if you recruit them. Also Gotrek is voiced by BRIAN MOTHERFUCKING BLESSED, so you know it will be a grand old time.
- Repanse de Lyonesse
Neither the Edge Elves nor the Stinky Rats will be getting a FLC this patch, for that honor will go to Bretonnia's Repanse de Lyonesse AKA totally not Jeanne d'Arc. We knew jack shit about her other than she was playable in both the Vortex and ME, and that she comes accompanied by Henri le Massif as a Legendary Hero; she has her own side story, helping unite Bretonnia in the Southlands.
- The Potion of Speed Update
New patch that focuses primarily on QoL changes and giving updates to factions and mechanics that needed them. The big takeaway here is a massive increase in turn speed, with end turn times now moving up to 60% faster, making those grueling grinds of ending turns on Mortal Empires much more manageable. Several main factions for game 1 races got renamed to fit the current naming conventions better, Gotrek and Felix for a rework along with Black Arks and Clan Pestilens got an update to put them more in line with the other great clans.
- The King's Shilling Patch
Basically a patch meant to fix a lot of the bugs and issues that came up after The Shadow and The Blade. The most important being fixes to the bug where stat changes caused by abilities would be included in the calculations when a unit gets experience in a battle. If your start dragon was hit by a stat nerf using an ability, then got a chevron, it's stats would return to normal and then go up when the ability wore off. Needless to say this caused much rage in multiplayer. The Vampire Coast relearned how to raise dead at sea, and a bug that made it so The Lizardmen, Vampire Counts and Vampire Coast ai would only ever have one army on the map at a time was fixed. They also made readjustments to Malus's sanity mechanic to make his campaign less shitty. There are still issues like The Ordertide, but that likely won't get fixed til the next DLC patch.
The Dragonlord is coming!!! He brings plenty of dragons, Elves who like dragons, and he's in game 2 and HE'S ACTUALLY NOT IN LUSTRIA BOWL THANK ISHA!!!!!!
- Black Orc Big Boss
Released as a tie-in to Skulls for the Skull Throne IV, the Greenskins finally receive a hero that won't drop dead after being slapped by a wet noodle. The Black Orc Big Boss fills a nice hole in the hero roster, and brings with him an ability to give immunity to psychology to the boys around him. Has a sweet model (that is surprisingly not just a reskin of the existing Black Orc one), but at first didn't have many voicelines, most likely due to the whole Covid situation, though thankfully they added them later. He's even better on campaign, gaining the ability to use the "Smash ‘em Faster!" ability, a skill that increases the range and effect of his Encourage aura and a unique skill tree that lets him boost Orc units' replenishment and either reduce vigour loss for Orc units, charge frontlines with ease with Furious Charge or buff his campaign skills. Finally, it's nice to have a hero added that isn't a bloody Battle Mage for the Empire for once.
Though full details have yet to be released on this genocidal tree-Hitler, Drycha has been confirmed to be the FLC legendary lord slated to release alongside The Twisted & The Twilight DLC. For now, she is strictly locked to the Mortal Empires campaign.
You could argue this isn't really FLC since you need The Realm of the Wood Elves to get her, but still nice for people who bought everything for the game so far. She's the same type of FLC Lord as Morghur was in game one, being FLC obtained by owning the Realm of the Wood Elves Campaign Pack, so it isn't anything new.
- Glade Captain
The Total War Access FLC for the Twisted and the Twilight is the Wood Elf Glade Captain. Hybrid Hero unit with melee and ranged attacks with a heavier emphasis on the former. Has some nifty abilities like giving melee defense around her with her Dance of Loec ability. And can ride on a Great Stag mount as a cherry on top.
- Skaven Chieftain
FLC Hero accompanying the Twisted and the Twilight DLC. Adding the Chieftain into the Skaven roster, finally completing their hero selection from 8th edition. He's your typical sturdy (for a Skaven) melee hero, with a unique twist on the Guardian mechanic. Instead of always giving a physical resist to characters nearby, he grants it conditionally when he above 50% health. But once he gets below 50% his physical resistance buff stops working on others, and changes to work on himself. More importantly, if the lord is killed he'll take control of the army, giving everyone a Leadership boost to make up for the loss of the lord. On top of that he also gets access to a Bonebreaker mount, something he didn't have on TT.
- Beastlord Rakarth
A new FLC Legendary Lords for the Dark Elves VIA Total War Access. Rakarth will introduce a beast flavoured campaign to the Dark Elves and round up all game 2 factions to 6 lords. Evidently we needed 3 Dark Elves in silly helmets who ride dragons. He's also voiced by Iwan Rheon, who just can't seem to get away from voicing psychopaths.
- Thorek Ironbrow
The other new FLC lord after Rakarth and which is not, like in case of Drycha, a rumored Beastman FLC lord. Thorek Ironbrow comes in with a further rework to the Dwarfs along with unique mechanics and a campaign that focuses on collecting lost artifacts along with reforging them back into functionality (among which a runic collar that allows him to recruit a Yolked Carnosaur and one allowing him to recruit a unique Ghost Hero). There was some division over him. Some are pleased with him and the rework as it is, but some thought he would be part of a DLC with runic units. Either way he allows Dwarfs to go and play in both Mortal Empires and the Eye of The Vortex campaigns leading his own faction called Thorek's Expedition. In the former he starts in Karak Zorn close to Queek, while in the Vortex Campaign he starts in the Spine of Sotek as another contender to the Lustria-Bowl.
- Great Bray Shaman
Surprise, The Silence and the Fury got a double-dose of FLC! The Great Bray Shaman is a generic caster lord for the Beastmen, giving them some very needed lord variety.
- Ogre Mercenaries
Ogres, my lordThe final FLC for Warhammer II adds the ability for Ogre Camps to spawn anywhere there's lots of raiding or big battles going on. Interacting with an Ogre Camp lets you hire on a few units of the big fellas to round out your armies. Ogres'll work for anybody as long as the pay is good, and they come in basic, Maneater, and Mournfang Cavalry variants depending on what flavor of stompy you need.
- Blood for the Blood God II
The first paid DLC is the much anticipated yet equally reviled Blood and Gore DLC, releasing at the same time as the Mortal Empires FLC. Adding in the much-needed blood and gore effects that really should be in the game to begin with, but isn't because of rating issues apparently.
Thanks Australia. (Australia got their ratings issues sorted in 2013, and even if that hadn't been the case; the Australian Ratings Board had no issue with Shogun 2's blood DLC. The ratings thing is so that the game is given a lower rating, making it marketable to a wider audience - ie; everyone too young for the blood DLC's content rating in their respective countries.) Bit of an odd one since while this is paid DLC, you get it for free if you bought the "Blood for the Blood God" pack for the first game - CA said back when the version for the first game came out that buying the "Blood for the Blood God" DLC for any game in the Total War Warhammer trilogy would apply it across all the game in the trilogy (so buy it once and you get Khorne's blessing for all three games). Regrettably though it comes with a host of bad-optimisation issues and no options beyond turning it off/on. So either you have to play a warhammer game with no blood; or you have to pay a 15FPS premium to have Tarantino level blood effects.
- Rise of the Tomb Kings
The second paid DLC is the Rise of the Tomb Kings campaign pack. Featuring, as everyone and their mummy already knew by now, the Tomb Kings race as the newest addition to the game. Unlike previous campaign packs like the Beastmen and Wood Elves, this one lacks a mini-campaign, instead containing an additional two legendary lords making the total 4. This was because CA finally figured out nobody gave a shit about the mini-campaigns, and just gave us what we wanted, which is more named dicks to play around with in different start positions. Included Legendary Lords are Settra the Imperishable, High Queen Khalida, Grand Hierophant Khatep, and Arkhan the Black. Surprisingly also features the Hierotitan which never got an official model from GW, what CA cooked up though is gorgeous and HOLY SHIT LASER EYES. In terms of roster the Tomb Kings are by far the most complete yet,
with the only unit actually missing being the Necrolith Colossus (most likely because the Hierotitan and Ushabti share roles with it) scratch this, the Necrolith was confirmed to be coming free with the Resurgent Update, making the Tomb Kings fully complete! While not added as actual units, the Tomb Swarm have been implemented as an army ability, while the Tomb Heralds have been added in as unique followers you gain through the Dynasty research tree. It should be noted this expansion has been considered the high point of the trilogy so far, with the Kangz being extremely well-received, though it's had a negative side effect, with everything after being compared to its high standard. With not everything meeting that bar for some people.
- The Queen & The Crone
The third paid DLC, and the first Lord Pack DLC for Warhamer II is The Queen and The Crone DLC. This DLC contains new units, Legendary Lords and start positions for the High Elves and Dark Elves. Alarielle the Everqueen, who will be starting in Averlorn and Crone Hellebron, the Dark Elves' cranky grandma who will start in Har Ganeth. These ladies have their own abilities in the campaign, such as Alarielle being able to recruit Wood Elf tree spirits and Hellebron getting access to the Death Night. This also includes new units such as the Sisters of Averlorn, Shadow Warriors, and the Handmaiden as a hero option for the H-Elves. While the Dark Elves get Doomfire Warlocks, Sisters of Slaughter, and the Supreme Sorceress as a Lord choice. Along with the usual host of Regiments of Renown for both factions.. The Kharibdys was also added post launch as a "Monsterous secret" for the Druchii, that is pretty much a non-regenerating Hydra more geared for Anti-large.
- Curse of the Vampire Coast
The fourth DLC is the Curse of the Vampire Coast campaign pack which brings the Vampire Pirates to life as one of the single most imaginative factions yet given to us by Creative Assembly. With some absolutely gorgeous renditions of obscure lore/forgeworld monsters like Necrofex Colossi and Mournguls. As well as some really snazzy takes on the idea of Zombies, Ghosts, and Skeletons with guns and cannons. Much like the Tomb Kings, it forsakes having a mini-campaign, and instead comes with four Legendary Lords and a larger roster instead. Those four Legendary Lords being Luthor Harkon himself, Count Nocilus from Dreadfleet, Aranessa Saltspite (also from Dreadfleet, though not undead oddly enough), and an original character named Cylostra Direfin. An ethereal Bretonnian Songstress revived by Stormfels, and having the honor of being one of the first vampirates. They also have their own campaign separate from the Vortex, gaining infamy to power up a starmetal harpoon in order to kill the Great Merwyrm Amanar to revive as your personal undead pet. Alongside this the Vampire Coast uniquely functions as a hybrid race, sharing mechanics between your usual Total War fare, and Horde factions with the LLs having unique ships that work as mobile settlements. Overall a really interesting and pretty well-fleshed out Race, and shows that Creative Assembly has a lot more to work with than just the initial idea of Warhammer's 8th Edition.
- The Prophet & The Warlock
After a YEAR AND A FUCKING HALF the Lizardmen finally get new toys to play with in The Prophet & The Warlock. This DLC allows you to play as Tehenhauin who leads the Cult of Sotek and Ikit Claw of Clan Skryre. The Lizards finally get a whole host of new units, including Red Crested Skinks, Ripperdactlys, Salamanders, Ark of Soteks, Engine of the Gods, Ancient Salamanders as units. With them also getting a Red Crested Skink Chief as a Lord Choice. While the Rats at last have Ratlings Gun, Jezzails, and Doom Flayers for new units. While somewhat unexpectedly getting the Warlock Master as a Lord choice. Both factions will be getting a rework to their campaign mechanics as well. Skaven will be able to build under-cities similar to pirate coves which fulfills a similar purpose of allowing you to "expand" and collect resources without taking territory you need to protect. On top of that, Ikit can use the undercities to build a goddamn nuke underground and blow up an entire city! Tehenhauin is mainly focused on gathering sacrificial offerings for Sotek in the form of captured foes, which he can use to get buffs as well as summoning Sotek's avatar on the field of battle in the final tier. Teeny is also getting access to the Prophecy of Sotek, which consists of three stages that you can advance the more sacrifices you make. The first level gets rid of the penalties to upkeep Tehenhauin has for Saurus and Slaan units while level two allows you to call for genocide againt the Skaven race, making it so ALL Lizardmen factions go full Hitler/Goblin Slayer and automatically declare war on every filthy Skaven faction they encounter. This also gives them diplomatic bonuses with each other to ensure they work together in their shared goal of purging the lesser races and disabling diplomacy with Skaven so neither side can sue for peace (also, Skaven aren't getting any diplo bonus with each other, so knowing them they will be at each other's throats until they are filling a Carnosaur's). This hilariously ridiculous jihad/race war mechanics will basically ensure one of the two races is wiped out from the face of the New World. Ikit on the other hand gets access to his Workshop, which lets him buff Clan Skryre Weapon Teams, and other units to pretty absurd levels; along with letting him construct Doomrockets to use on the battlefield to nuke his enemies in a more personal manner. Both factions will also get their regiments of renown.
- The Hunter & The Beast
To the delight of many Empire fans, this lord pack is a cross game Empire vs. Lizardmen pack titled The Hunter and The Beast, featuring Markus Wulfhart and Nakai the Wanderer. With new units, subfactions and gimmicks for both races, there's a lot to unpack. Both factions are playable in Eye of the Vortex, but neither have anything to do with the Vortex campaign; a first for a Lord pack thus far. Wulfhart was tasked with taking his hunters and to go out to conquer Lustria Hernan Cortes style for Karl Franz. Unlike Cortes, though, he has to deal with angry Lizard people and hungry dinosaurs. To help him out, he brought along his anti large Hunters and mobile War Wagons to kick some Dino ass. Being so far away from his home territory, he is forced to only rely on basic empire troops at the beginning, and more elite choices can only be taken after filling the Emperor's Mandate. From winning victories and taking territories you gain more influence and thus can build better buildings and gifts of better troops from the mainland. Sadly he also has to worry about a Hostility bar that pisses off the Lizardmen the more he takes over, though does have the benefit of more frequent supply drops the more he takes over. Nakai, on the other hand, leads a Kroxigor themed horde faction that can't settle territories traditionally. Instead he gives all his territory to his vassal. Also, only his horde can unlock units for recruitment and all the others have to use the global recruitment pool. The other hordes focus on their own building trees along with reducing the global recruitment price and turn time. This solves two major problems with horde factions, one being other factions resettling as soon as you burn the cities down and the repetitiveness of building new hordes. Now you only need one horde to focus on military matters as the rest can do other things. As Nakai retakes temple cities, he gets powerful buffs depending on which old one he dedicates his new city to, in an attempt to liberate Lustria from invaders. Both factions are also searching for famous hunters across the continent, Wulfhart to assist in his conquest, and Nakai to beat the shit out of and/or feed to his FUCKING DREAD SAURIANS!!!!!!!!! The fact that cross game lord packs are a thing now is a BLESSING to game 1 races who desperately need updates and new units, and gives hope to future rivalries such as
High Elves vs. Greenskins see below and Dwarfs vs Skaven.
- The Shadow & The Blade
Following in the trend of giving game II races their second serving of Lord Packs The Shadow & the Blade features the Druchii and the Rat bois; with Malus Darkblade and Deathmaster Snikch being the headliners. The story is that Malus is aligning himself with Malekith in exchange for his supply of the elixir that lets him suppress the influence of Tz'arkan the Drinker of Worlds, the Slaaneshi Daemon that possesses him. While Snikch has been sent by his boss to track down Tz'arkan and discover his power. For the first time ever for a Lord pack, it adds both a generic Lord and Hero to both sides of the roster, with the High Beastmaster and Master joining the Dark Elves, while the Master Assassin and Eshin Sorcerer have been added to the rats. Unit wise the Scourge Runner Chariot, Bloodwrack Medusa, and the Bloodwrack Shrine have been predictably added for the Delves. Whilst the Skaven side pulls from Storm of Chaos and the remaining Skryre units, adding the Eshin Triad, Poison Wind Mortars, and Warp Grinders of all things. Just like The Hunter and The Beast, neither of these two are involved with the race for the Vortex, but Malus still wants to get scrolls because it will eventually lead to getting elixirs for free.
- The Warden & The Paunch
Let's be real, as soon as cross game Lord Packs were confirmed to be a thing, we KNEW this one was coming! Eltharion The Grim and Grom the Paunch are fighting over Tor Yvresse as your new legendary lords! As is the trend with recent lord packs, these two are not fighting over the Vortex, but instead focusing on their rivalry. Eltharion is desperately looking for Grom, and with his ability to capture and interrogate enemy lords, spread the mists of Yvresse and his quest to rebuild Athel Tamahra, he will get his vengeance on the thicc boi. Meanwhile Grom is having his bois cook him some fresh meals as Blacktoof's decapitated head (yes, really) guides him to beat the crap out of Eltharion. The High Elves and the Greenskins are getting their armies filled, with the pointy ears getting Archmages, Rangers, Silverin Guards, War Lions, War Lion Chariots and the Arcane Phoenix, Where as the greenies are getting the Snotling Pump Wagon (in three flavors), Two new trolls including a troll hero and the Rogue Idol of Gork and Mork! The fandom still hasn't fully forgiven CA for not naming the DLC "The Grim & The Grom".
- The Twisted & The Twilight
The forest is speaking Elf-Thing, as the Wood Elves and Skaven are throwing hands in this Lord Pack. The Sisters of Twilight and Throt the Unclean wage war to decide the fate of Ariel. The Sisters have been sent to Naggarond to heal a rift caused by the unstable vortex, and Throt uses this time to try and eat Ariel (back off pal, that's Orion's job) in an attempt to finally satisfy his hunger. This pack introduces two legendary heroes in the form of Ariel and Ghoritch, giving us a cool chance for more named characters, as well as new units for both sides. Wood Elves will get the Spellweaver lord, Great Stag Knights, Bladesingers and Zoats to add to their forces. Meanwhile Clan Moulder will get Packmaster heroes, Wolf Rats, Mutated Rat Ogres and Brood Horrors to add more of a monster mash. This makes the Wood Elves the first DLC race to get more DLC content, giving hope to Beastmen, Warriors of Chaos and other DLC races for more content in the future.
- The Silence & The Fury
The Furries and the Scalies wage war as Beastmen finally get some much, MUCH deserved loving. Beastmen and Lizardmen face off in Naggaroth as Taurox rampages across Lizard-land to find a site called "The Heart of Darkness" and perform a ritual to close the vulnerable wound on his neck and unleash Chaos upon the world. Oxyotl hunts him down in order to get him to stop burning down the god damn temple cities and hopefully prevent another Lizardmen city from getting sucked into the warp like his was. The new unit selections are modest, but quite potent: Beastmen finally get the Ghorgon to contest rival monsters in battle alongside the Jabberslythe, Tuskgor Chariot, Wargor Heroes and Doombull Lords. Lizardmen manage to fully complete their entire roster, gaining Troglodons (both Feral and as a mount to) Skink Oracle heroes, Chameleon Stalkers and Coatls as the cherry on top. Though not necessarily tied directly to the DLC itself, the Beastmen as a faction received a much needed campaign overhaul.
Third game DLC
- Old World Update
The first round of free DLC pretty much sees the new stuff from Champions of Chaos trickle down to the Warriors of Chaos, including the new fortresses and diplomacy options. That said, some of the other armies gain their own perks, like Dark Elf slave compacts and some revisions to Mannfred's Necromancy perks in his pursuit of Nagash's books.
- Immortal Empires
- Champions of Chaos
The first paid DLC is a massive expansion to the forces of chaos as it introduces four Legendary Lords and several regular units to the fold, including Azazel, Festus the Leechlord, Vilitch the Curseling and Valkia the Bloody. Also included is the Champions of Chaos campaign narrative, in which the forces of Chaos must clash and sacrifice each other in order to reach the forgotten city of Zanbajin
- Blood for the Blood God III
The second paid DLC. If you bought it before for either game 1 or 2 you don't need to buy it again. There are now two sliders in the option menu where you can adjust how heavy the effects are. Better have them at maximum while playing as Skarbrand or Valkia...
Future Content Confirmations
A list of confirmed news/things CA are looking at include:
- The are currently working on something called Mirror of Madness. Judging by the trailer it might be the WH3 Laboratory equivalent.
- One of the loading screen quotes gave us some not so subtle hints over a bunch of short, hairy slavers coming in the near future. As such, expect Chaos Dwarfs to be one of the first, if not the first major piece of paid DLC for the game.
- Everyone's Favorite Rat Failure will be coming in game 3, if at all. Makes sense given that game 3 is Chaos/Daemon related and Thanquol is associated with what are essentially Greater Daemons of the horned rat.
- They are still going to be looking into faction updates in game 3.
- Our boy TODDY!!!! will have his day in the sun. Given that Middenheim is on the Game 3 map it gives off a good idea that he will appear as DLC at some point. In hindsight it's hilarious we got playable CATHAY before we got playable Boris Todbringer.
- Bretonnia will likely not be getting a Lord Pack in the future, meaning at best they will get more free legendary lords.
- They said Mousillon may be a fun idea for a campaign, which is a mix of Bretonnia and Vampire Count units. Additionally, after the release of the third game a faction intro video (which pops up when select Legendary Lord) of The Red Duke was leaked, further implying that he's going to appear one day.
- The reason Katarina uses a Bear mount instead of her sled is due to issues with working from home, so blame Nurgle. It’s been stated she may get her sled in the future.
- As Ind, Khuresh, and even the southern Chaos Wastes are featured on the Immortal Empires map and are currently empty, it is possible they may receive content. Don't be too hyped though - recently Andy Hall said that Cathay was an exception and other Eastern realms won't be playable, but there are four things about that: 1) CA loooooves their Racepacks and there is exactly one and half faction left to sell: Chaos Dwarves, plus Dogs of War which are a very controversial DLC idea already 2) CA will never reveal future DLC until the trailer drops to not kill the hype 3) CA's roadmap may change in a far future (just like how there were no intentions to make Cathay during TWW1 lifespan) and 4) modders are not gonna be stopped by that.
- Hall also alluded to some future possible main faction DLCs and/or FLCs when interviewed - specifically Mother Ostankya (an obvious Baba Yaga expy), who is mentioned several times in questions concerning Hag Witches and The Monkey King, whom he debunked a theory about, saying that the claim he is a Beastman is Tzeenchian propaganda.
- In game three, the Goblin Big Bosses got a new Wolf Chariot mount that is, for now, only available in custom battles, implying the possibility of a new Greenskin DLC/FLC featuring one of the goblin wolf lords - ie, Gitilla da Hunter or Hobgobbla Khan.
- Regiments of Renown are becoming their own FLC now, as Regiment of Renown packs will include some RoRs for every faction. Three already came out.
- Richard Aldridge said that the focus of the dev-team is bringing all WHFB 8th Edition factions (with some exceptions like Kislev and Chaos Dwarfs) fully into the game, and there are no plans as of now for Ind/Khuresh/Nippon Race Packs.
- They evidently have someone special planned for the 100th legendary lord. Wild speculation: with immortal Empires have a function to trigger different 'end game' event's like a mass skaven attack, mass ork attack or a mass undead attack that name drops a certain skeli-pope: Nagash certainly be "someone special". But Thanquol is such a fan favorite he may also be a contender.
- The Immortal Empires update including updates to Norsca has been clarified as not being "The Norsca Rework", implying such a rework is coming.
- No more new content for 2022. Next major patch is scheduled for Q1 2023 and next DLC for Q2 2023, so I hope you're very satisfied with the state of the game, have some good mods or have something else to play in the meantime. Fingers crossed this means more content quantity or quality in the next DLC.
- Jason Anthony, the voice actor for Teclis, evidently voiced Prince Aravael in Warhammer 3. Aravael was the son of Phoenix King Morvael who lost the Amulet of Sunfire after his ship sank in a storm. Some take this as a hint for a possible future DLC, possibly featuring the High Elves and Sealord Aislinn to get the amulet back.
Due to the large amounts of mods that the games have, they have their own page now.
Unknown to many, Creative Assembly actually managed to publish books under the Total War: Warhammer title (Presumably to get more books out set in the classic warhammer fantasy setting since Games Workshop will most likely discontinue the fantasy series in favor of more Age Of Sigmar Books).
The Emperor's Armies
- A bunch of rereleased BL books that have to do with the empire and Ludwig Schwartzhelm saving Averland from political chaos while sinister forces try to claim the breadbasket of the empire for their own benefit.
Prince of Altdorf
- An completely original novella written to tie in with the release of the Old World Edition that's become pretty damn hard to find after release (scratch that. CA re-released it for free in Total War Access as part of their Empire Update.). The story details Karl Franz's election as emperor and is also notable for ending with a cameo by a certain High Elven loremaster....
Lord Of Chaos
- This book tells the story of how Archaon is created and how he and his bros go around collecting Chaos treasures and bringing death and destruction to the world. It's a collected version of the Archaon novels released for the Dark Gods Edition of the game.
CA has also written several short stories on their website which introduce their original characters to the setting. Well written and short they are mostly prequels to the vortex campaign of Total War Warhammer 2. They were written by Black Library writer Andy Hall and CA writer Chris Gambold. You can also find them in Total War Access.
The Peasant Knight
- This one tells the story of Sir Geg of Wainfleet, a farmer’s son and one of the few Bretonnian peasants to be deemed worthy of knighthood, and the only one to ever drink from the Lady’s Grail to become a Grail Knight. It's a little too uplifting for Bretonnia and Geg never appears in the game itself, but it's a solid self-contained story.
The Nocturne for Mousillon
- A companion story to the Peasant Knight, it recaps the stories of various Dukes of Mousillon and how the land transformed from one of the best dukedoms of Bretonnia to the cursed land we all know and stay the hell away from. It's told in the form of a Tilean bard warning listeners about going to Mousillon in search of adventure but at the end he mentions that a Vampire Lord has taken the damned castle and tempts his patrons to go, making you wish they finally got around to making the Red Duke a playable Legendary Lord...
The Forked Tongue
- A (relatively) independent-thinking Skink Priest Yukannadoozat (get it?) gets tired of waiting for the Slaan of his city to wake up his fat-ass and decides to investigate what is disturbing the Vortex by himself with his trusty Kroxigor companion Tar-Grax. He eventually takes his findings to Mazdamundi-senpai.
All Tunnels Lead to Skavenblight
- The Skaven slave-scribe Sneek Scratchett of Clan Skurvy, seeing a solution to step-up his station (heh) helps Grey Seer Vulscreech resolve a dispute between the Skurvy Warlord and the Council of Thirteen. Includes a reference to everyone's favorite Grey Seer Thanquol, who is pulling the strings of Clan Skurvy and has a rivalry with Vulscreech, fueling hopes he eventually gets the LL treatment.
The Mage and the Sorceress
- Loremaster of Hoeth Talarin tries to convince Teclis to come back to Ulthuan at the behest of his brother, who wants him by his side in the coming war for the Vortex. Meanwhile, Dark Elf sorceress Felicion Heartkeeper tries to assassinate Morathi, the Mother of the Druchii herself. Yes, this goes as well as you guessed. Morathi also implies that while the rest of the Cult of Pleasure worships the Elven Goddess of Pleasure Atharti, she worships no other than Slaanesh itself, bringing back an important part of the character retconned away in later editions. This is reflected in-game by Morathi's faction spreading Chaos Corruption and having better diplomacy with Chaos factions. Also, has a scene were Morathi starts making out with a captured Felecion and implies she plans to turn her into her sex slave...yeah...
The Epic Saga of Wulfrik the Sarl
- Unlike the other stories this one is about an established character, recapping Wulfrik's triumph against the Chaos-Lord King Torgald before he even got his power-up from a regular demon-worshipping viking to an immortal demon-worshipping viking, with the framing device of a translated Norscan saga.
The Siren of the Storm
- Written solely by Andy Hall and released on Total War.com, this story is about CA-created Legendary Lord Cylostra Direfin and her emotional journey from the fat, wet corpse of an opera singer into a magical ghost-pirate, involving a pact with a certain god of the sea.
Son of Kislev
- A short story prologue to game 3’s “The Lost God” prologue campaign written by Andy Hall and released on Total War Access. Son of Kislev introduces Ungol Prince Yuri Barkov, the protagonist of said campaign and Katarin’s former lover before she took the throne. The story explains Kislev’s current status quo/modern lore, with the conflict between the Ice Court and Kolstatlyn’s supporters heating up leading to the latter to leave/be exiled from Kislev City. Katarin commands Yuri to head to Kislev’s northernmost outpost find Ursun and resolve the crisis assailing their realm. Unfortunately, the two lovers would never see each other again.
Like every other Warhammer video game (or video game in general), very popular memes were spawned from it. See the official meme thread on the Total War forums here.
Memes originating from it include,
- VLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! - The long awaited Fantasy equivalent of CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!!. Vlad von Carstein had gained the ability to allow vanguard development (aka:putting a unit wherever you want on the map except for the enemy's deployment zone, right outside of it is just fine though) for his whole army, closing in the gap between the enemy and his own army. Considering Vampire Counts have no ranged units in the game, this can be hilariously overpowered. Tretch has since joined in on the action.
Arkhan now regrets that he didn't call Vlad for a party during the Bretonnia Civil War.
- Alejandro, El Enano Blanco - Apparently if you use 'Cataph's Southern Realms' mod, the name of Grombrindal would be changed to Alejandro. Suffice to say, this created a good amount of lol and wat along with a small amount of Skub and turned him into the first Mexican dwarf. Unfortunately, the mod creator fixed this issue, but the memory of Alejandro will live on! Viva! Much later, when Bretonnia was released, the mod caused the Fay Enchantress to be renamed to... Morales.
The Spiritual Liege of Estalia.
- "This is going in the book" - A phrase that refers to the Book of Grudges of the Dwarfs, also known as the Dammaz Kron, which was a meme in itself already, (so double memes I guess). With the integration of a wider audience and the constant reference to it in the Dwarf campaign, this phrase had become another way of saying 'fuck you' in a humorous way.
- "Summon the Elector Counts!" (Also known to Anti-Empire factions as "Summon the Elector Cunts") - Karl Franz's dialogue in general is delightfully hammy and has made him a source of more memes than any Imperial since Indrick Boreale. "This action does not have my consent!" is also popular for when something grudge-inducing happens.
- Karl Franz in General: Due to being the most frequently chosen legendary lord in the standard campaign Karl Franz' voice lines have basically become burnt into the brains of the fandom. More or less every single phrase out of Franz's mouth, every single face he makes, and every single pose he takes has become a meme of some degree of popularity. Not since soulstorm has a Warhammer related video game had so many memes and jokes attached to a single character; but while the jokes concerning Indrick Boreale and Fieravious Carron were very much made to mock them for sounding like idiots (and in Carron's case, not just that but also being the worst Khornate of all time and a hilariously whiny baby when losing); the memes and jokes about Karl Franz are all quite affectionate, at worst making a few gay jokes due to how lines like "I must see to my men" can be taken out of context but otherwise portraying him as a scenery chewing badass.
- Surtha Ek, the Everchariot - The leader of the Varg Tribe. Thanks to AI quirks, he invariably fills his army with increasing numbers of chariots to the point that it's entirely possible for him to decide to attack a fortified Dwarf city with an army entirely made of chariots that can do nothing but ride back and forth until they're full of enough lead to give up and die, then try again later after giving up and leaving to get more chariots. While Archaon waits until your campaign is already half over before he starts his rampage, Surtha Ek gets shit done, ravaging Kislev and the northern coast of the Empire with a seemingly endless supply of cavalry archers and chariots for most of the game and may eventually work his way southwards into Orc and Dwarf territory. Many players have cursed the name "Surtha Ek". Famous quotes shared with his Skaeling bro include: "CEASE!" and "THAT WOULD INCUR MY WRATH" "BEYOND YOUR COMPREHENSION!". Possibly one of the many chaos lords that succeeded in becoming a daemon prince after the end time (or gets his shit handed by Archaon during the unification). As of the Norsca DLC, he'll start with a chariot mount. Sadly, with the Norsca update, Surtha Ek received new voice lines, which while good, lack the absolute HAM of the stock Chaos lord lines.
- As of the Mortal Empires campaign, Surtha Ek has gotten himself a Girlfriend: The High Elf Princess that acts as the Faction Leader for Tyranoc had been renamed into "Surthara Bel-Kec" and Tiranoc in Warhammer Lore is well known for it's charioteers, though Surthara doesn't have a chariot as mount option (yet). Although she does always get a trait that buffs chariots in her army (though she can also get a secondary trait that negates those buffs, stupidly enough)
- Now with the release of the Tomb Kings, Surtha won't ever be hanging his head up tight as the Tomb Kings get NINE chariots in a unit. That's like 3 TIMES the chariots other factions can have. It won't be long to see Settra riding his chariots with his other massive, yet superior chariot armies in Norsca, forever taunting Surtha Ek's inferiority. And should Settra defeat the Everchariot, he gets the special "Surtha Wrecked" trait, further buffing his chariot spam. "ARE YOU A GOD?!" Yes, Surtha, he is.
- However, If Surtha wins, he gets the “Settra the Perishable trait... but also... something much darker. +100% damage... to ALL CHARIOTS. If Surtha wins against Settra somehow, the entirety of the Northern Old world is pretty much forfeit.
- Now with the release of the Tomb Kings, Surtha won't ever be hanging his head up tight as the Tomb Kings get NINE chariots in a unit. That's like 3 TIMES the chariots other factions can have. It won't be long to see Settra riding his chariots with his other massive, yet superior chariot armies in Norsca, forever taunting Surtha Ek's inferiority. And should Settra defeat the Everchariot, he gets the special "Surtha Wrecked" trait, further buffing his chariot spam. "ARE YOU A GOD?!" Yes, Surtha, he is.
- As of the Mortal Empires campaign, Surtha Ek has gotten himself a Girlfriend: The High Elf Princess that acts as the Faction Leader for Tyranoc had been renamed into "Surthara Bel-Kec" and Tiranoc in Warhammer Lore is well known for it's charioteers, though Surthara doesn't have a chariot as mount option (yet). Although she does always get a trait that buffs chariots in her army (though she can also get a secondary trait that negates those buffs, stupidly enough)
- Felman Ingersson - The leader of the Skaeling Tribe. Like his Varg brother, he raids the Empire's shit. Unlike him however, he operates in the lower southern part like Nordland, Middenland and the Marienburg. Like Surtha, Skaeling also gets shit done with his own chariots, marauder horsemen spam, forcing empire players to buy halberdier and missile units like archer and handgunner. This may actually be a good thing since it'll weaken both Middenland and Nordland enough that they would want to confederate you (Therefore unlocking Boris Todbringer), for the Empire's northern brother are a bunch of Ulric worshiping, Empire hating dicks that gives you a -20 diplomatic relations whenever that felt like it. Sometimes they came to Marienburg for those delicious mermaid booties. Since most Empire player rely on Marienburg's port as an early game goldmine, they may sometimes find themselves getting doubled by 2 or 3 armies of Skaeling doom stack. Famous quotes shared with his Varg bro include: "CEASE!" and "THAT WOULD INCUR MY WRATH". Possibly one of the many chaos lords that succeeded in becoming a daemon prince after the end time (or gets his shit handed by Archaon during the unification). Sadly, with the Norsca update, Felmar Ingersson received new voice lines, which while good, lack the absolute HAM of the stock Chaos lord lines.
- As of the current state of the 2nd games with the Norsca presence on the map of mortal empire, the Skaeling Tribe has been moved to the Albion region with Wulfrik the Wanderer taking up the spotlight for raiding southern Empire and he will do it as soon as possible in the early game, even raiding Louen Leoncoeur for fun. If Wufrik survives to the late game, he will either spam Norscan Champion or Mammoth at the unfortunate Empire player/AI, so expect port settlement razed near the Nosca sea region.
- Speaking of the Skaeling Tribe at the Albion region they can now have some stable income for there are 3 settlements in the region, but they'll have to deal with Nakai the Wanderer......which isn't a threat to them, ironically since AI horde faction get themselves killed very fast early game and Nakai don't respawn like the Beastmen does. But if Nakai is played by an experienced player, he will no doubt use the Skaelings as dish towel and then proceed to conquer the entirety of Norsca thanks to Nakai's vassel faction that has no need for region suitability.
- Skaeling also appear on the top right Albion region of the vortex campaign. At least they get to have some juicy elf slaughtering and raiding actions, or the complete opposite that is facing the wrath of Tyrion or Malekith.
- Speaking of the Skaeling Tribe at the Albion region they can now have some stable income for there are 3 settlements in the region, but they'll have to deal with Nakai the Wanderer......which isn't a threat to them, ironically since AI horde faction get themselves killed very fast early game and Nakai don't respawn like the Beastmen does. But if Nakai is played by an experienced player, he will no doubt use the Skaelings as dish towel and then proceed to conquer the entirety of Norsca thanks to Nakai's vassel faction that has no need for region suitability.
- As of the current state of the 2nd games with the Norsca presence on the map of mortal empire, the Skaeling Tribe has been moved to the Albion region with Wulfrik the Wanderer taking up the spotlight for raiding southern Empire and he will do it as soon as possible in the early game, even raiding Louen Leoncoeur for fun. If Wufrik survives to the late game, he will either spam Norscan Champion or Mammoth at the unfortunate Empire player/AI, so expect port settlement razed near the Nosca sea region.
- Franzer Division - In the lore of Warhammer Fantasy, Leonardo of Miragliano only managed to produce twelve Steam Tanks in his lifetime, and only eight remained in operational service by the time Karl Franz became Elector Count. No such limits exist in the campaign, making it entirely possible (funds permitting) to have a army composed of a General and 19 Steam Tanks, followed by another such army for 38 Steam Tanks performing a blitzkrieg across the Old World. Panzer+Franz=Franzer, hence the meme.
- Empire Space Marine - When it comes to auto resolve in every total war game, the winning meter bar can sometimes be hilariously broken. In this game, you can win almost every auto resolve in Empire Campaign by fully stacking your general with units of Free Company Militia. FCM is, you know, the weak and inexperienced man and woman, sell-swords mercenaries who can barely fight? yet hilariously, they won in every auto resolve against any units. A Greenskin army with an Arachnarok in it? dead. Any chaos armies? dead. Surtha Ek and his bullshit chariots spam? dead. And since FCM often fight with a sword in one hand, a gun in other, it is very similar to how space marine wield their weapon, hence how FCM can be known as Sigmar's invincible warriors, for they shall know no fear.
- Kislev. - For a long time the faction of Kislev literally did not have any other voice lines to say in response to being selected for, or doing diplomatic actions with them, aside from a (naturally, heavily-accented) statement of "Kislev.". So of course, people are liable to just post that at the mere mention of Kislev. Eventually CA gave them unique voice lines when performing diplomacy but not when selected on the diplomacy screen to keep the meme. Now that Kislev has all but been confirmed for game 3, it's really started to kick up on the subreddit. Even CA has played into it, as the first thing said in the trailer showcasing Kislev is literally just "Kislev."
- Doomstack - Playing with the "Doom" splattered all over Warhammer settings, these notorious near-uniform armies of the same type were infamous for making it easier for the player to steamroll enemy armies. Okoii has many examples of rather amusing doomstacks, some of which were otherwise-weaker units strengthened by buffs, skills, and bonuses into a nightmare.
- One example of a doomstack is an army of Sisters of Avelorn.
- Tree Hitler - Nickname given to Durthu, because on top of spectacularly pissed off and hateful diplomacy dialogue, Durthu would not only militarize and become powerful quickly, he had a tendency to invade Not-France typically wiping them and the Empire out fairly quickly, before setting sights on the Dwarfs and proceeding to attack the rest of the non-evil Old World. Instead of being an isolationist tree, Durthu became an aggressive dictator, destroying half of the Old World before the Warriors of Chaos even showed up, which made them seem like the paltry relief force to the tree devastation, but instead of fighting each other, they would often form a non-aggression pact and even ally with each other due to the diplomacy bonuses this genocide provides. (Warriors of Chaos start at war with almost everyone) It is perhaps accurate to lore, as Durthu is one of the last ancient Treemen, hates anything not from Athel Loren and is tormented by forest spirits reminding him that he has failed to protect the forest and his friends from the outside world.
- Mel Gibson - Aka Orion. As you can see on his poster in the wood elves section, his face is totally-not modeled after Mel Gibson.
- Smile / Say Cheese! - Due to the
radiant and inspiring grin ARROGANT MAN THING SMIRK-SNEERsmile on Karl Franz in the TWW1 cinematic for the Empire, photoshoping/using transparencies/"deepfaking"/face warping all characters to have smiles like his has become popular.
- Where is Krell? another "Finding Nemo" related meme. It originates from one of the Legendary Lords, Heinrich Kemmler, who in the lore travels with Krell, a former chaos champion turned into a Wight King. In the game Krell was initially absent, so Kemmler would occasionally shout "Where is Krell?" Thankfully CA patched him in later.
- Dawi from another Hold - A common diplomatic prompt that friendly dwarf factions use with one another, delivered in the typical amount of ham you would expect from a Warhammer game. Because of the easy quotable nature of this line, it has become a meme unto itself. Typically a poster posts something vaguely dwarf-like image with the quote, and then other anons respond with the rest of the line, namely - "Tis a great day." Due to the relatively static nature of dwarfs across different fantasy settings and the hammy response that dwarfs use regardless of setting this meme feels appropriate, if you post a dawi from warhammer, a Dawi zharr, or even a viking or any vaguely bearded and armoured shape.
- Archaon, The Neverchosen - Archaon, the chosen of the 4 Chaos Gods. The unifier of the northern Chaos warbands. The one who was tasked to destroy the Warhammer world, and eventually succeeded. Surely this man must be one of the most powerful lords in the entire game! Well... not originally. The term originates from a youtube video, which based on some truth. In terms of multiplayer he used to really suck ass. He had decent stats, but was WAY too expensive for what he brought to the table. This has unfortunately lead to poor Archaon to receive the name "The Neverchosen" in the multiplayer scene. It especially sucks for the poor Neverchosen since all the other Chaos Legendary lords were so much better picks. He did eventually get a huge price cut and large buffs, so now you'll see him relatively often in competitive tournaments (though Kholek and Sarthoreal are still considered better picks), but the reputation seems to have stuck regardless. With TWW3 revealing its customisable Daemon Prince LL this meme became even more relevant, as pretty much almost everyone now thinks that God-Slayer is far more interesting than Archaon, pretty much downplaying poor guy to a level of Failbaddon.
- Will someone please help the Beastmen!?- The Beastmen campaign has been... subpar for arguably longer than every other race in the game other than Warriors of Chaos. While most game 1 factions were decent before game 2 and simply suffered from power creep before their updates, Beastmen have almost always been crap on the campaign map. From copy-pasted and heavily dated mechanics, to a slew of iconic units that are missing, they're just a mess to play right now. Their unfortunate situation has led to plentiful memes including shitposts on reddit, a running series of Skarsnik laughing at Khazrak and... Whatever the fuck this is. With The Silence and The Fury, Beastmen will be getting many of their missing units and a revamp, meaning hopefully they won't be the laughing stock of the game anymore.
- Helman Ghorst- The very definition of "so bad it's good". An unknown character with only scraps of lore, Ghorst was nonetheless picked as the first DLC Legendary Lord for the Vampire Counts, stepping over a whole host of massively popular Vampire characters like the Bloodline Progenitors (Neferata, Aborash...) or Konrad von Carstein. That of course pissed off a lot of fans, but it was only the beginning. Because Ghorst not only had absolutely dogshite charisma, but he also was one of the worst characters in the game, and remained terrible for a long time (though to be fair, the faction/army bonuses he gave were pretty great). Having literally nothing going for him, neither crunch nor fluff, paradoxically turned him into an endearing meme, with people cheering whenever they saw hagard Ghorst waddling on his Corpse Cart trying to pick fights he was sure to lose. Even though he has become a pretty decent character over the years (being a good option in some matchups as a cheap Mortis Engine), he remains popular as an ironic icon of the community.
- The Ordertide- You know how in Warhammer Lore most of the order factions are forced to constantly fight on the defensive? Forced to eternally defend themselves against the forces of Chaos and Destruction, barely able to keep their civilization kicking? Yeah, that wasn't the case in this game up until the Warden and the Paunch came out. Due to the fact that they confederate very easily, generally have very little serious opposition in their home territories, and are natural allies to most other good guys factions, you tended to get alliance blobs across the map that dominated the world by the time Chaos actually shows up. This REALLY sucks if you enjoy playing the bad guy factions, because eventually you will reach the point where once you declare war on one faction, you're fighting all of them as they send never ending stacks at you. CA acknowledged this problem for the Warden and the Paunch and effectively countered it by buffing the everloving shit out of orcs, who will now mercilessly pound both the Dwarfs and the Empire into the dirt basically every single game. This is also not helped by the release of the Twisted and the Twilight, introducing two more factions that tend to align against order and a single faction which will smack in the middle of all the Dark Elves in the world.
- THERE ARE NO SKAVEN - True to the long-running joke both within the community and the trend in the setting, CA pretended that Skaven don't exist by being mum about the obvious Skaven inclusion in TWW2 despite the rat teaser, and interviews in particular became strange when the topic came up.
- Benedict Cumberbatch - Yet again, after Teclis was revealed in the first trailer for 2, everyone agree he looked exactly like an aforementioned actor. CA even put this meme in the "Skaven Scribe Reacts" trailer, the Titular Skaven Scribe muttering about “Benedict Cumberelf” when Teclis is on screen.
- Malekith's severe hatred of snow - Malekith, the first available dark elves legendary lord will frequently comment on how much he hates snow whenever he is in a snow biome. The main problem with this, is Malekith starts in Naggaroth. With most of Naggaroth being a snow ridden hellscape, this results in most of your campaign as Naggarond listening to Malekith go on endlessly about how much he hates snow.
- This became so popular several characters comment on this in TWW3. Herald's of Tzeench will comment he hears that Malekith hates snow. N'kari will bring up Malekith's hatred of snow. Be'lakor will comment that he hates snow too.
- Hate for the High Elves knows no bounds! - The High Elves were the second race to be introduced in the sequel, and yet they still haven't gotten a faction trailer despite the game being a day away from release. Even sadder, The Enter the Vortex promo video tries to show off the "Proud High Elves" by showing them getting their shiny asses kicked by Malekith. Like, seriously, even the Empire didn't have it this bad in the first game. This has led to the assumption that CA's marketing team is made up of Dark Elves (or probably played in 8th edition against them. Seriously, one game was usually enough to hate the buggers for the rest of your life). The amount of trauma the poor Asur takes is so great, that we wouldn't be surprised if the High Elf reveal trailer was just ten minutes of Tyrion getting paddled on the ass by a goblin. And with the release of the High Elves trailer, it is.... three minutes of showcasing the other races, High Elves getting killed, and Tyrion and Teclis arguing. Throw us a bone here, guys, seriously.
- This led to the combined-map (titled Mortal Empires) patch notes including a joke note that they've think fixed the cinematic team's obsession with High Elves getting killed, but it'll require further testing...then they released a trailer for 2's blood DLC which involved both High Elves and Dark Elves murderlating each other. For a change, the High Elves actually give as good as they get.
- Minor associated memes: since one of the most vocal threads on the Total War: Warhammer Forum had been named "High Elves - Where's the Love?", community members from time to time asked for a "Mortal Empires - Where's the Love" Thread (which by now had been created, due to the seeming lack of love the Old World received from CA in comparison to the New World. An even further subdivision is "Empire - Where's the love", which appears from time to time, since the Empire is the most uninspired race of TW WH I, partly explained because it's meant to be the standard faction, with barely anything unique compared to other races. Even the Empires "Unique" offices are shared with the Wood Elves that have them in a more interesting way. Karl Franz, the "Greatest Statesman of the Old World" is not having any bonuses to diplomacy and the Empire also is still lacking a playable sub-faction, which led to some people (and according to some snippets in CAs streams also CA) to think about moving Volkmar and Gelt to leading their own factions.
- Not So Sneaky Skaven - The Skaven have a stealth mechanic on the campaign map, where all of their cities appear as ruins to everyone other than other Skaven factions. This was meant to make the Skaven feel like more of a hidden threat, plotting in the underground behind the backs of the other factions. While this was a good idea on paper, there are a number of different reasons why the little rat bastards are very easy to find:
- First of all, if you find a bunch of random ruins connected to each other, and if you could swear that a few turns ago those ruins were inhabited by angry lizard people or emo pointy eared BDSM fetishists, odds are they are now occupied by Skaven.
- All Skaven armies produce Skaven corruption, so if you come across a ruin in a province with high skaven corruption, bring some rat poison.
- While the Skaven cities are invisible to you, they clearly aren't invisible to the AI, as they always seem to march up and siege Skaven cities with giant fuck off armies, (Which we're sure frustrates the hell out of people who play Skaven.)
- The ritual's magic energy still comes out of the cities even though they're supposed to be hidden. (To be fair in this case, Skaven magic isn't known for its subtlety)
- As of game 3 Skaven ruins now have warpstone effects, making it more obvious that the city has an infestation.
- On another note, one of the most important attributes of the Skaven is that they're supposed to be experts at ambushes which is the reason why they have Stalk as the normal army stance. Meta gameplay experiments have revealed that they lose at ambushing to a few other factions including the Lizardmen. (Apparently because a big blue Lizardman with a giant red T-rex is harder to see than a giant rat who has spent his whole life living underground and learning how to move very carefully without being seen)
- Where is Boris?/Finding Boris - To make a really, really long story short. After CA released the Video "What is Mortal Empires"(), Boris Todbringer had been seen between 0:17 and 0:24 while the narrator talked about the number of playable Legendary Lords in the Mortal Empires campaign. Due to his status as "Semi-Legendary Lord" he had often been rumored to be a DLC/FLC character with a playable Middenheim Subfaction. His appearance in this video immediately sparked talks about him possibly becoming playable with the long-awaited Empire Subfaction. After Whelan of CA had confirmed, that he was only in the video because he was usable in Custom and Multiplayer battles, users started to create pictures with the likes of "Where is Boris Todbringer?" . These pictures came with lines like "Where is Boris?" or "Finding Boris" as references to "Where's Waldo" and "Finding Nemo". 
- Khemri TV - A Photoshop of tomb kings like Settra reenact the similar but cynical lines from the meme-worthy station MEMRI TV, that publishes and distributes free English language translations of Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Pashto, and Turkish media reports. MEMRI TV was found to be funny by people on the internet due its violent behavior coming from its host as a result of said creative translations and was made a meme. One of the Photoshops has Settra says Araby can go to hell and Khalida says Lesbianism isn't so bad when compared to Vampirism. Speculated in-universe to be a Skaven disinfo campaign, considering the vast deposits of warpstone still existing throughout Khemri. Now in video form.
/u/ would agree with that
- turin - A YouTuber who broadcast Total War: WARHAMMER multiplayer battles as well as his own multiplayer battle. He is known for making hilarious Photoshop of in-game characters on other picture backgrounds and used it as his video's thumbnail. Other than that, he is a pretty good player himself.
- Ghorgon and Jabberslythe - When the Beastmen roster was leaked, many people were upset that these two iconic monsters from the list weren't included. The reason CA gave was due to pricing. See, Warhammer 1 wasn't expected to succeed nearly as well as it did, so the first few DLC were subject to the developer's low expectations and were given smaller budgets. CA claimed making the models for the Jabberslythe units would be as expensive as the entirety of the art budget of Age of Charlemagne DLC for Atilla. The nerds did what they do best, and tried to meme CA into adding them into the game. The memes have only intensified after the Bone Giant was added to the Tomb Kings DLC and the Kharibdyss to the Queen and the Crone, showing that CA has no problem adding more content to DLC after they launch. Many hope that the Beastmen players
(all five of them)STOMP! FAHK U BORIS!! will get their shiny new monsters, and an upcoming Wood Elf DLC adding DLC content for DLC factions, that day may be upon us. As of The Silence and The Fury, the Beastmen did in fact get both the Ghorgon and the Jabberslythe added as playable units.
- Vampire Coast - Producing quite a few memes when it first was announced, which is predictable given its pirates. Many of them began as attempts from /v/ to troll /tg/, which failed spectacularly due to the excitement for the expansion and general silly nature of it all anyway being hard to actually get angry at. Most revolved around pirate jokes, pretending that Vangeist wasn't being added and being enraged about that, labeling the addition of Cylostra as SJW, general cracks at Saltspite's masculine appearance as well as false outrage that she isn't sexy, mispronunciation of Vangeist's name as everything from Vargheist to Vasectomy, references to the Giant Enemy Crab meme, and discussion of pirate shanties. How the Necrofex Colossus reloads was initially a meme, until CA answered it in a video focusing on the model where it shows that it loads itself with its other arm and must have some kind of magic to fire (Harkon is known to utilize parts from Salamanders) given it also doubles as a flamethrower.
- Pirate Captains of Slaanesh - Vampire Coast Lords and Heroes have many different names that often end up making hilarious innuendos that probably makes Slaanesh proud. N'Kari might be trying to influence Luthor's crew before coming in game 3. These include, but are not limited to:
- Dick Half Mast
- Catherine Booty Catcher
- Maggie Hornigold
- Dick the Slimey
- Tiny Tim Booty Catcher
- Vinny Cocklyn
- Jimbo Nutt
- FUCKING TODDY! - A meme depicting Boris Toddbringer, Elector Count of Middenland, as a crazy, bombastic warrior that constantly shout, swear, and above all, is completely obsessed with Khazrak One-Eyed. It was born during the Yogscast Jingle Jam 2018, while the crew was playing a modded Old World campaign as Middenland, when a fully armored and eyepatched Tom bursted into the recording room asking if anyone had seen Khazrak One-Eyed and calling himself "Toddy", keeping his persona all the way through. The meme took the Yogscast subreddit by storm, and quickly made its way to the Total War community. Like Big Daddy Franz himself, Toddy has a few extremely hammy catchphrases, always written in all caps. Those include "HAPPY FESTAG!" (
the Empire's equivalent for ChristmasIt's actually not, it's just their word for Holiday), "HE TOOK MY FUCKING EYE!" and "CARDIO BEATS CHAOS!". The meme's popularity prompted renewed calls to make Middenland playable in Mortal Empires. Recently, it was referenced by CA themselves in patch notes, describing how “TODDY ON /!$%!£@ FOOT” got a points reduction, and CA sponsored a humorous video of Toddy telling talltrue tales of him hunting for Khazrak while also happening upon a bunch of monsters (three of which are in The Silence & The Fury DLC of course, that's part of why they'd sponsor it).
- Lizard Hitler - Tehenhauin quickly earned this nickname for himself, due to his burning hatred of the Skaven and his ultimate goal to completely exterminate them all. The cherry on top is that the game actually gives him the ability to trigger a full blown global race war between the Lizardmen and the Skaven, which will more often than not end up with a lot of dead rats.
- Vashnaar, The Campaign Ender - Out of all the rogue armies to be added to the game after the release of Warhammer II, none has caused as much rage in the fanbase as Vashnaar's conquest. Based off of a minor Chaos aligned Dark Elf character from the lore, Vashnaar leads an army of high tier Dark Elf and Chaos forces (The two best heavy infantry factions in the game, as well not to mention that unlike Warriors of Chaos, Vashnaar can support his Chaos Warriors with Dark Elf ranged units and monsters) to sodomize the player's hopes and dreams. If this guy spawns close to your territory in the early game your campaign is pretty much already over as you likely have nothing to fight his army and his city garrisons are also stupidly broken. He gained Surtha Ek levels of infamy in the community, though while most people see the Everchariot as a funny meme, most people legitimately hate Vashnaar for how powerful his army is and how he can end your campaign if he spawns too close to you too early.
- Nerf Spider Riders/Elven Supremacist/Hellcannons On Wheels/Lotus Moon Hates Him. - A minor group of related memes from the "competitive" multiplayer scene. Multiplayer balance for Warhammer I & II has generally been an afterthought but the few who play it competitively are known for screeching about things and demanding changes that barely make sense from a competitive standpoint (ie nerfing anything that counters micro-intensive elf-skirmisher+skirmisher cavalry builds, but nothing about making more static factions better). After Forest Goblin spider-riders were microed effectively to blunt several Wild Rider charges during a particular tournament battle on stream in July 2019, a CA balance forum thread appeared about nerfing the rarely used unit for being broken and making Greenskins OP (The greenskin player lost the actual battle). A lot of these connect in some way to the prominent "serious" player Lotus Moon; his infamous ranting on the CA's balance forum seems disproportionately influential on recent balance changes which favour micro-intensive skirmisher armies. Fans of the multiplayer scene like to guess what under-used, average-to-subpar unit will upset Lotus Moon next, earning nerfs that affect both campaign and online modes.
- Overcrowded Lustrian Rumble – When CA released the second game, Lustria was mostly filled with minor factions: the only major factions were Skrolk in the lower part, Teclis in the back corner, and Mazdamundi all the way up in Warhammer Mexico. However, with each new expansion more major factions were placed in Lustria to join the fun: Early on, Khalida was given the desert area of Lustria, Luthor moved into the Awakening, and Lokhir took over the coast. Things started to get ridiculous when Ikit Claw and Tehenhauin were also shoved into the now crowded Lustria, leading to the continent turning into a pit-fight with most playthroughs. Teclis’ campaign suffered the most from this, with their only allies, the Fortress of the Dawn faction, getting roflstomped by Lokir or Skrolk early on, leaving them completely isolated and surrounded by enemies.
The final nail in the coffin was the Hunter and the Beast, with Wulfhart, Nakai, and Gor-Rok showing up to party, ensuring that Lustria turns into an orgy of factions trying to screw each other (with Teclis most often being sodomized the worst of them all).Scratch that, with the incoming DLC "The Silence and the Fury" Thorek has been added into Lustria in the vortex map, meaning now we have Dwarfs to deal with. It seems CA couldn't think of a more fitting way to close TW2 than to make Lustria an even bigger clusterfuck.
- Crack Pairings (AKA Lore Unfriendly Alliances)- Because an alliance between Dwarfs and Vampires makes as much sense as an alliance between Dwarfs and Skaven... or even Lizardmen and Skaven. In short groups that are supposed to hate each other (say Skaven and Dwarfs) have a -40 or so penalty to relationships, which can be outweighed by positives if you go to war with Grimgor, Wurzag, some Beastmen herds, the dickhead rogue armies that pop up and Chaos Warriors while you've not done anything to Thorgrim because he's pushing north and you don't have a border.
- INSOLENCE (AKA Do you know who I am?)- When you play as a character who, lorewise, is the de jure universal representative of their faction and you get rudely addressed by a subordinate faction that apparently doesn't recognize you. (Examples: Karl Franz and Alarielle)
OUCH. Looks like Teclis isn't going to forget or forgive that argument from earlier before.
- Where's Thanquol!?- The debut of Gotrek and Felix as Legendary Heroes has inevitably spurred a torrent of pictures and questions constantly asking CA about when the most incompetent, Skaven-y, and popular of the Grey Seers is going to have his time in the game. Unfortunately, CA had (subtly and without a word) communicated the fact that there was absolutely no plan to include Thanquol in Warhammer 2. So disappointed fans can only hope that Thanquol will get to play a major role in Warhammer 3.
- Welcome to Estalia, Gentlemen- Based of Gelt's speech during the Estalia battle for his quest for the Amulet of Sea Gold. The speech basically signifies that Gelt is sacrificing imperial lives against an undead army just to secure an item to help with his research, and he's barely hiding it. Due to the hamminess and delivery of the speech, it makes it sound like some kind of speech given to troops before being dropped in the middle of Vietnam, and you can bet your ass the community has made the connection.
- The Memelords- In multiplayer, some Legendary Lords are so hilariously awful that they gained memetic status within the community. Picking them might make you lose the game, but it'll certainly win the heart of the people! The current Memelords are: Tretch Craventail, widely considered to be the worst Legendary Lord in the game (so bad that he has an item that will give him bonuses if he's currently losing the fight); Nakai the Wanderer and Tiktaq'to, both inferior to their generic lord counterparts. Honorary mention: Helman Ghorst, who used to be the greatest of all Memelords, and still retains some of that reputation, despite becoming quite valuable in some matchups as a dirt cheap Mortis Engine. Grimgor also used to hold this honor but ever since the Greenskin rework and his buffs he went from "King of all Memes" to "Usable but supbar". Malus also used to be one of these since before once to turned into Tz'arkan in game 2 it was an inevitable bleed out, but in Game 3 his self heal now out paces his health drain so he can actually kick ass in Daemon form now.
- Take On/Abduct Captives- After winning a battle, the High Elves and Wood Elves have the option to replenish their armies by "pressing the prisoners-of-war into service". A popular misinterpretation of this fact is that they're making Non-Elf prisoners fight for them which really sounds like something they would never be dumb enough to consider doing. And doubly so in the case of the isolationist Asrai. What's likely happening is they're using POWs as slaves for carrying supplies and handling more menial tasks so more Elves can be freed up to fight in the battles, but the other idea is a lot funnier.
- He Flies Now - Much like J.J. Abrams forgot that jetpacks have always been a thing in Star Wars, Malagor forgot that he could fly and has had to imitate the peacock since the introduction of the Beastmen. Fortunately, the Beastmen Rework has enabled him to remember this skill and now the Crowfather glides far above his minions.
- Ko-Ko-Kostaltyn: Pretty much as soon as this man was revealed people immediately noticed a resemblance to a certain Russian mystic (AKA Russia's Greatest Love Machine). Needless to say, the memes came flooding in comparing the new Kislev character to his real life counterpart. Similar to Cylostra many people were upset that CA put an OC into the game, especially since to many he took Tzar Boris's spot as on of the 2 starting Kislev lords... until it was revealed that Boris was in the game anyway, that is. That said, his resemblance to Rasputin did warm him up to many others, if nothing else than for the meme potential.
- Three Kingdoms of Cathay: Another big Total War project running in parallel is Total War: Three Kingdoms, set at the fall of Han Dynasty China. Since Cathay is now a thing, cross contamination was inevitable.
- This meme's name also has another meaning, considering that Cathay has been split between the quarrels between Miao Ying, Zhao Ming, and their siblings.
- Sun Tzu said that!: With the release of the Cathay trailer, a ton of jokes have been made referencing the famous Chinese general and the units in game with a quote from a Team Fortress 2 trailer. Quotes include "If your cannon can't kill the giant bird Daemon, make it bigger" ""If you want to fire a cannon in the air, tie it on a balloon" and "When the cannon is not killing the sky demon, send in the Dragon Waifu." Generally just making fun of the wackiness of Cathay (though to be honest, it would be more surprising if Cathay DIDN'T have their version of Sun Tzu.)
- Imrik's waifu/Imrik the simp/Imrik is a scalie: With the Cathay trailer revealing Miao Ying, a badass dragon lady who can shapeshift into a beautiful human form, people noticed that Imrik, as a fan of dragons, would probably want to "ride" her. Cue jokes about his Mortal Empires start position being as close as possible to Cathay in-game, him pinning after her, etc. The presence of dragon-blooded human lords in Cathay do hint that Imrik may have a chance in theory, but sadly for our prince Cathayans Dragons find the very idea of a dragon being used as a mount absolutely revolting and think their "Western" cousins are debasing themselves for allowing the High Elves to ride them. So they probably don't like High Elves much. Better luck next time, Imrik!
- Cold and aloof: Yet ANOTHER Miao Ying meme. These words are used every time in descriptions of the Storm Dragon, to the point of them becoming her unofficial title.
- CARAVAN: Thanks to the Cathay caravans traveling through Greasus's turf, many ogre mains have decided that the best thing to do to get Meat quickly is to ambush said caravans. It also seems to be an 90% chance that your caravan (while playing as Cathay) will be attacked just by ogres.
update: sense immortal empires came out, attacking Cathay caravans become an all-faction thing, sense attacking one can get you up to 10k TO 100K gold!!!, the dragon siblings can be full of piss and vinegar all they want, they aint leaving cathays walls anytime soon.
- #JusticeForTzeentch: The release of the Cathay Trailer got the hype for game 3 into a massive overdrive as a new race would be introduce to the Warhammer world. Sadly, that hype was almost immediately driven off a cliff when screenshots revealed Chosen of Tzeentch, which as it turns out are just blue versions of the Chosen models we have had since day one. No, we don't know if this is a placeholder or not, but even if it is it severely pissed off EVERYONE who expected actual uniqueness in the Monogod factions. I mean, you already made unique warrior models for Khorne, so why did you take the lazy way out for Tzeentch? The community had banded together with a collection of complaints, memes, and arguing in the hopes that this will get changed. As it turns out, those Chosen units aren't even in the game anyway, they're just dismounted knights used for marketing. Fortunately they got remodeled when Immortal Empires came out and they look fucking SEXY now.
- OGRES, MY LORD! - The annoying reminder by The Advisor whenever an Ogre camp shows up to pick up some Ogre Mercenaries. Depicted once again by Tarriff, to the annoyance of Greasus himself.
- Build-A-Daemon Workshop/My Pretty Little Daemon Princess/Daemon Prince Daniel: once the God-Slayer was revealed, a giant flow of memes immediately followed. Firstly, the ability to customize this Daemon Prince resulted in an expected comparisons with similarly customizable toys. Secondly, after CA showed him being named Daniel in their demonstration, this humorous and unassuming name became his official nickname. CA has even embraced it, referring to him as Daniel in the Immortal Empires map reveal. At this point, Daniel may as well be his canon name.
- The Southlands Thunderdome: As soon as the new starting positions in Immortal Empires began to be revealed, it quickly became apparent that the now complete Southlands were going to be a giant slugfest, with tons of different factions vying for supremacy, making the newly baptized "Thunderdome" the successor of the Lustriabowl in Game 2. Oh, and if you thought this meant Teclis was finally safe, nope! CA decided to move him down there. Poor guy can't catch a break can he? Maybe he wants to be flanked from all sides like in Lustria?
An image from the Total War artbook, which appears to be something that could be the cover of the game as it matches The Empire closely. Also due to gryphons not existing in prior Total War games.