Total War Warhammer/Tactics/Tomb Kings
This is the tactica for the Total War: Warhammer version of the Tomb Kings.
- 1 Why Play the Tomb Kings
- 2 Legendary Lords and Subfactions
- 3 Units
- 4 Multiplayer Strategies
- 5 Campaign strategies
Why Play the Tomb Kings
- Do you want to play an undead faction which is not totally villainous?
- You want to play an undead faction that is also blingy as fuck?
- Because you want to play not Egyptians and roll over everyone with chariots.
- Do you wish to be SERVED!?
- Constructs: The reason you play them in the first place. Tomb Kings have among some of the best monsters in the entire game. Not only do they all have incredible armour values, but you have a monster that can fill any role that you need it to. From infantry killing power to ranged damage to blob destroyers to monster slayers, you have a construct that can do anything you need your army to do.
- Ranged: You aren't the Vampire Coast, but you can dish out some good damage from ranged. Ushabti Great Bows shred anything they fire against and a Casket of Souls can destroy blobs on infantry that are giving you troubles.
- Undead: You get all the perks of being an undead faction. Your units are unbreakable, all cause at least fear, and many cause terror, and they are generally cheap, allowing you to swarm the field with spooky skeletons.
- Mobility: Chariots, light cav, and some quick monsters mean you can be an elusive and fast faction. Sure, you won't outpace the likes of the wood elves or beastmen but you can really run circles around many of your opponents. This means you are probably the best of the three undead factions at the kite game.
- Realm of Souls: Your main battle ability gives you healing as you take damage, allowing you to stay in the fight. It will also give you a free Ushabti summon to use when you fill the bar all the way, which you can use to swing any fight on the battlefield in your favor.
- Poor Infantry: You are not an infantry faction, and will probably lose in that department unless you are fighting the worst of the worst when it comes to foot troops. Even Tomb Guard, your "elites" lose to a lot of other mid-tier infantry, so expect your constructs to do the heavy lifting.
- Lack of Flying: All you got is Carrion and they're... Subpar. Don't expect to have control of the skies when bringing the boney boys.
- Subpar Healing: You got some options in the form of Lore of Nehekhara and The Realm of Souls, but it won't allow you to keep up with vampire healing. You have the hardest time bringing troops back out of all the undead factions so casualties actually mean something here.
- Fire: If your opponent has fire damage or the Lore of Fire, expect them to bring it. All your lords are weak to it and Lore of Fire is great at melting your infantry.
- DLC Faction: While the Tomb Kings, perhaps ironically, have held up rather well while former DLC factions (like the Beastmen and Chaos Warriors) have aged like milk in the sun, the Tomb Kings are still fully locked behind an extra paywall to play. It's hardly the worst thing to say about a faction, but players on a strict budget will really need to weigh their options before committing to the Tomb Kings.
Legendary Lords and Subfactions
- Settra the Imperishable (Khemri): The one true big bone pimp daddy is back to lead the Tomb Kings to glory once more. Settra has an excellent start location in the northern desert part of the Southlands with easy allies to your south and east with easy pickings from the Greenskins towards the northeast. You are all about growth and expanding Nehekhara as much as possible, curb-stomping any foolish Bretonnian or rival Tomb King that dares interrupt your conquest. Settra is among the easiest campaigns in the game due to his good growth and great public order bonuses, allowing you to keep expanding for longer.
- Settra on the battlefield is a supercharged Tomb King who can acquit himself well in battle but is more suited towards buffing your army or wrecking your opponent's face with his mounts. You may take him on the Khemrian Warsphinxes that all Tomb Kings can ride but for some he is better on his pimped-out ride the Chariot of the Gods instead, which is the perfect vehicle for keeping up with your strong and plentiful chariots. He can also buff Tomb Guard up to insane levels and can actually make them decent at fighting other elite infantry. Just don't expect him to solo Kholek Suneater on his own, he's not cut out for that here.
- High Queen Khalida (Court of Lybaras): The queen of Lybaras has risen to take her place on the Asp Throne but somehow ends up taking a road trip to the southern edge of Lustria. You're surrounded by Lizardmen in the beginning who will absolutely wreck your early skeletons with ease, so abusing Khalida's archer buffs is a must. Fighting through Lustria will be a slog due to unfavorable terrain for your preferred units but if you're diligent with your diplomacy you can get Teclis or maybe even the Skaven to ally with you. You have limited routes to expand but your archer game is godlike and with time, you'll be able to break out of the position.
- Khalida herself is billed as a duellist Lord but her animations and statline hinder her ability to perform that role. Instead, you should let her hang back with the archers and give them all poison to pincushion anything that gets close to death, and counter-charge anything that gets close to your homies. You can take her on a Necroserpent which will make her more mobile and let you keep up with her buffed Necropolis Knights (if you get that far).
- Grand Hierophant Khatep (Exiles of Nehek): Having taken his oath of exile a little too seriously, Khatep finds himself on the west coast of Naggarond in some desperate quest to glean forbidden knowledge from the Dark Elf locals. Khatep's faction is by far the most magic-intense and if his day job doesn't convince of that then the massive Hierotitan that he begins with should. You have good tolerances to the terrain there unlike the other Tomb Kings factions but you will have to rely on your magic more to overcome the horrible quality of your troops compared to the Dark Elves. You will most likely have a small realm until you can tech up to your elite units but luckily for you there might just be enough contenders for Malekith's attention to the east to let you grow properly.
- Khatep is one of the two caster lords the Tomb Kings have and like most caster lords he's squishy as fuck. Take him on a skeletal horse to improve his mobility but you may also elect to put him on a Casket of Souls, which curiously enough makes him the only artillery lord in the game. Due to the slow speed of the Tomb Kings forces, you should try to let the enemy come to you - that way you can fuck them up with your buffed casters better.
- Arkhan the Black (Followers of Nagash): The black sheep of the Tomb Kings, Arkhan the Black returns to Nehekhara to find his big daddy Nagash only to be slapped down by Settra by turn 50. His faction starts on the western coast of the Southlands surrounded by the Bretonnian crusade factions, Dwarfs in the mountains, and sneaky Skaven to the southeast. The upside of your faction is that you have additional limited access to the Vampire Counts roster to give you some proper fast troops like Dire Wolves and Hexwraiths. You also have diplomatic bonuses to other Vampire Counts factions in the game but that hardly matters when they're getting massacred by Settra before you can even get to them.
- Arkhan is the other caster lord of the Tomb Kings but unlike Khatep he can actually dish out a beating with his sword. He gets the Lore of Death from the start which will greatly aid your battles with the Bretonnians and later the Dwarfs. He also has access to his own unique Skeleton Chariot mount that ignores terrain. All these assets make Arkhan a versatile lord with no real downsides, but no real upsides either.
- Tomb King: The only generic Lord the Tomb Kings have, which sounds disappointing but is somewhat alleviated by the fact you can get unique custom vanilla Tomb Kings via your research tree. Nevertheless, the average Tomb King is a mediocre combat lord that exists to buff your up army and little else. However, once you unlock their Warsphinx mount they become true terrors on the battlefield, able to take out almost any infantry blob by the simple action of walking through them. Just don't let them die and you'll be fine.
- Tomb Prince: Your combat-oriented hero, and a solid one at that. Good close combat stats accompanied with the usual FUCK HEUG shield that all Tomb Kings warriors wield. Can be taken on a horse or a chariot - pick the chariot, it'll let you run roughshod over almost anything with little downside.
- Liche Priest: Your basic caster hero, and in the lens of how the Tomb Kings work, bloody important at every stage of the game. May be taken with the Lores of Light, Death, Nehekhara, and Shadow, the last of which is unlocked by acquiring the appropriate Book of Nagash. ALWAYS take them on a horse, helps with their mobility greatly. As for which Lore to take, if in doubt take Light, but tailor your choice depending on your potential adversary. Nehekhara Lore is exclusive to Tomb Kings and is very useful to them as a whole.
- Necrotect: Even if you only have a single Construct in your army, take this hero. No exceptions. Your Necrotects heal and buff them, which will be key to getting the most of your stony boys. May be taken on a chariot to help keep up with some of the faster constructs, and can have a merry time chewing up lightly-armored tarpits if necessary.
- Skeleton Warriors: Your basic infantry. Due to the mechanics of the Tomb Kings, all your units have no recruitment cost or upkeep but come with unit caps and slow acquisition to temper your growth. Not these guys. You can recruit an unlimited number of these guys from any settlement at any level. Does that make them good? Sure. Should you use these guys? Hell no. Instead, you should be using...
Small caveat: early on in the campaign Settra can get decent value from sword and board skellies when fighting other tomb kings or TiqTaq skinks, as the mosh pits are decided by morale victories more often than not.
- Skeleton Spearmen: These guys. The basic Tomb Kings infantry is there to hold the line for as long as possible and that added Melee Defense from being spears will keep these guys in the fight longer. An odd quirk is that due to their massive shields they have some of the best missile resistances in the game for their tier.
- King Nekhesh's Scorpion Legion (ROR): Despite only gaining Poison the Scorpion Legion are one of the more popular Tomb Kings RoRs due to their ability to sandbag big enemies extremely well while your monster snipers fire over their bony heads.
- Nehekhara Warriors: Your mid-tier infantry and the guys who are actually meant to be dealing damage. Unfortunately due to their lack of shields, they get shot up easily. Try to avoid using these guys if possible - if you can't, use them to counterattack anything that is pressuring your frontline.
- Usirian's Legion of the Netherworld (LoL): Fixes the low armor problem by giving them Ethereal, making them a fairly durable frontline and damage-dealing unit in the early campaign. Of course, that makes them super vulnerable against vortex spells, but Tomb Kings infantry will suffer all the same so there isn't much difference.
- Tomb Guard: Your real elite infantry, but they suffer from low armor values that greatly holds them back from being a true frontline. They can easily mulch mid-tier infantry from most factions but will fail hard against real elite infantry.
- The Khepra Guard (ROR): A mix between Nehekharan Warriors and Tomb Guard, creating a unit that's good on the offense as they are on the defense. They do lose out on shields so try to keep them away from missile fire.
- Tomb Guard (Halberds): Previous unit but arguably more useful and important. They have Armor-Piercing and Bonus vs. Large plus the characteristic tough melee defense the Tomb Kings infantry have. Again let down by low armor but can fuck up any monster or cavalry unit if given the chance.
- Skeleton Archers: Your only choice for foot archers and while they are subject to unit caps you'll get boatloads of these guys from merely having the basic barracks buildings constructed. Decent range but anaemic damage - no Armor-Piercing means they will have to rely on sheer weight of fire and caster buffs to kill anything.
- Blessed Legion of Phakth (ROR): Extra range and Armor-Sundering. They can often be the point men for the rest of your archers so that they can snipe key targets off the field in short order. Put Khalida near them for truly ridiculous levels of debuffing archer fire.
- Skeleton Horsemen: Fast, poor armor and easily spammable. Despite their availability, they're not all that useful aside from long flanking maneuvers to threaten enemy artillery.
- Skeleton Horsemen Archers: Actually useful mounted skirmishers that have exactly the same range as your foot archers but a much lower model count. A good pair of these can easily buy more time for your artillery and ranged units to shoot at the enemy.
- Nehekhara Horsemen: Your proper cavalry, but due to having swords excel more at diving into the rear of a unit and staying there to butcher the enemy than cycle-charging to victory. A niche unit that can potentially cause headaches for your opponents but their average defence can cause problems for you too.
- Storm Riders of Khsar (LoL): Like Tomb Guard on horses. Much stronger melee stats combined with the great speed that Tomb Kings light cavalry have.
- Necropolis Knights: Monstrous cavalry has never looked so beautiful. Armor-Piercing and Poison, count as constructs and have the high armor that comes with being constructs. The only downside is their relative slowness compared to other heavy cavalry counterparts.
- Venom Knights of Asaph (LoL): As if these serpentine juggernauts needed to be any stronger, this version of the Tomb Kings heavy cavalry punches harder to make your tomb-robbing enemies pay dearly.
- Necropolis Knights (Halberds): Heavy lancers in all but name, excel at deterring monsters and another cavalry from getting anywhere near. They do lose their shields so be aware of missiles.
- Skeleton Chariot: The signature unit of the Tomb Kings, and your stand-ins for shock cavalry. Despite their prominence to the Tomb Kings they are considerably fragile which makes cycle-charging extremely important for getting the most use out of them.
- Skeleton Archer Chariot: See the previous unit, except now with some light skirmishing ability. Keep in mind chariots have difficulty maneuvering around quickly so in some cases it may be better to get Skeleton Horse Archers for easier micro.
- Ushabti: Your basic constructs and your main assault troops. High armor, decent damage, once again keep those Necrotects nearby to keep them in tip-top shape. Retain their value well into the midgame and are fairly mobile.
- Ushabti (Great Bow): Ushabti with big fuckoff bows that act as the Tomb Kings' idea of self-propelled artillery. Very mobile, strong missile damage with low number of shots that excels at sniping cavalry at very long range and making mincemeat out of monsters. Can also fight decently in melee if required.
- Chosen of the Gods: (ROR) Before the Skaven beat them with their mortars of certain doom, the Tomb Kings had the best light artillery in the game in the form of these guys, whose attacks are transformed into AP cluster bombs that punch right through shields to eviscerate enemy infantry.
- Sepulchral Stalkers: Excellent monster-hunters with a short-range poison attack that can soften up monsters before they close in, not that they'll want to because the huge halberds these monsters carry will carve them up in short order. Fragile against regular infantry and missiles, so keep them hidden until you need them.
- Eyes of the Desert (ROR): Stalkers with stalk. Normally an opponent in multiplayer will see where a Stalker is and avoid them. Eyes of the Desert will stay hidden until it's too late, and will catch them off guard when they charge a seemingly-unprotected flank.
- Carrion: Your only source of flying and a crappy one at that. On some difficulty levels, they can even be driven off by artillery crews in melee, which says everything you need to know about Carrion.
- The Flock of Djaf: (LoL)
- Tomb Scorpion: This thing is one of the best units in the game and it's easy to see why. Obscene Armor, Vanguard Deployment, Armor-Piercing, Anti-Infantry, but most importantly it laughs at anti-monster tactics. Anti-Large infantry? It has unique and often-triggered burrowing animations that lets it avoid damage while still delivering the pain. Tarpits? Said burrowing animations make the monster come out in a different place from where it burrowed. Missile fire? With its Armor and Vanguard Deployment the enemy won't have time to damage it and might even fire right before it burrows. The only thing that can give it a hard time are other monsters.
- Khemrian Warsphinx: The Tomb Kings' resident danger kitty that strolls around the battlefield causing havoc wherever it goes. High mass and the usual bevy of anti-infantry AP damage lets the Warsphinx go wherever it damn well pleases. Tomb King lords can take them as mounts.
- Necrosphinx: THE monster-slaying monster in the game with a wide array of traits specifically designed to let the Necrosphinx mulch other large monsters with ease. Does have unusually low Leadership so put the general nearby to keep them in the fight.
- The Sphinx of Usekph (ROR): turn the monster killer into a greater monster killer. Higher stats with magic and Flameattacks to punish Regenerating monsters. On the same note not recommended against monsters with flame and magic resistance like the high elf Phenix.
- Hierotitan: An unusual large single construct that, despite being magnificent in almost every regard, is really only suited to a select number of army compositions. Gives a generous boost to Winds of Magic, in addition, its bound spells has FRICKIN EYE LASER BEAMS as a basic attack and is the perfect instrument for terrorizing any poor foot soldier that gets in its way. On the flipside is horribly slow and usually a priority artillery target for your enemy.
- Bone Giant: Your other heavy artillery piece that excels at noscoping monsters and cavalry from a terrific distance. Has problems with lateral tracking so may feel frustrating to use at times. Despite its large size does only decently at melee so try to protect from enemy melee as much as possible.
- Screaming Skull Catapult: Your main artillery piece and boy does it put in a lot of work for a simple
stoneskull thrower. Shots have a good splash radius and also cause leadership debuff on top of being magical. Can potentially send low leadership mobs routing after a couple of salvos.
- Casket of Souls: An even more brutal infantry-shredder for the Tomb Kings, with substantially higher missile damage and the ability to fire at any target it damn well pleases - literally. Buffs your Winds of Magic as well which is a nice bonus, and has unusually good armor that can let it tank some damage from a flanking unit if necessary.
The Tomb Kings bring a healthy amount of diverse strategies and army compositions to the table and are only held back by a few glaring weaknesses that, to be fair, also affect other undead factions. Your weakness to fire and other magic can hinder the cohesive frontlines you are wont to build; your snail's pace infantry means either getting shot up easily by enemy artillery or a very defensive playstyle with artillery of your own to hold your ground. Tomb Kings can mix and match many tools to get the job done but finding that sweet spot will be your greatest challenge.
A list of all the other factions in the game, alongside their various strengths, weaknesses, and best strategies you have to combat them.
- Empire - In many ways, you are similar to the Empire in strategy but while you can send massive constructs their way to massacre at will, they will host a plentiful number of AP missile infantry and artillery to get rid of them. Your cavalry comps are about equal but the Empire's is more flexible while you still have the sheer threat of a chariot flank charge on their infantry to royally mess up their day. You will have to be more aggressive than usual to ensure the Empire doesn't exploit their artillery advantage to the fullest - bring Tomb Scorpions to attack from unexpected angles and horse archers or chariots to mess with their threat assessment. Khemrian Warsphinxes (with proper micro) are fantastic for crushing the Halberdier line the Empire will most certainly throw at you and don't be afraid to employ your own excellent artillery options to either snipe out their artillery or soften up their infantry for maximum rape.
- Dwarves - Despite the wall of armor and artillery rape that daunts the lightly-armored skeletons of the Tomb Kings army, you have plentiful AP to deal with them. Your artillery is top-notch for dealing with Longbeard/Hammerer lines with their big splash radius projectiles while Tomb Scorpions again can quite easily deal with the lower model count regiments. Just be extremely careful of Giant Slayers and the Dwarfs' own AP artillery because they can be quite damaging against a construct-heavy comp. Don't ever bring Tomb Guard to this matchup, your infantry are mostly there to get killed so that your real heavy hitters like Necropolis Knights or Tomb Scorpions close in. Chariots will also have a hard time here with the general mass of Dwarf units making it hard to disengage after charges.
- Greenskins - In contrast to the dorfs the Greenskins are relatively light on armor which means your regular archers can actually make a dent in them. Tarpit heavily with basic Skeletons and counterattack with any manner of construct you see fit - regular Ushabti work magnificently against many Greenskin infantry and a single Khemrian Warsphinx can be a massive headache for your opponent since the Greenskins lack a viable Anti-Large option. A duo of Ushabti Greatbows with one being the RoR version with shrapnel shot arrows can be a gigantic threat here since the regular one will be able to make mincemeat of any monsters the Greenskins dare field and the RoR one can be reliably used to snipe out elite infantry, and both can also serve as regular Ushabti murder machines if needed.
- Vampire Counts - The Counts are renowned as a rush faction and you will have to weather the onslaught the best you can. Liche Priest with Banishment will be super useful here as well as your rapetastic artillery. For once your Nehekharan Warriors can reliably duel Grave Guard without fear of being shot up, but do be aware of the Winds of Death spam the enemy Vampire lord will likely throw at them. Sepulchral Stalkers (in particular the RoR version) can be amazing here with their ability to counter-charge any monster that gets close and reliably slaughter them.
- Bretonnia - Poor Bretonnia, having to fight a faction full of cheap AP anti-large undead blocks with monsters that will easily chew up their glorious knights. The Tomb Kings are positively terrifying in this matchup as you have plenty of tools to make those Bretonnian knights regret looting your tombs. The only real problems are their cheap flaming Longbowmen and hard-hitting Trebuchets, but even then it's not like they can threaten your constructs that badly. Your opponent may attempt to push home a charge on a weak flank or cycle-charge your infantry into oblivion - don't let them get away with it! Pin them down with Net of Amyntok or your Ushabti summon and punish them suitably.
- Beastmen -
- Warriors of Chaos -
- Norsca -
- Wood Elves -
- High Elves -
- Dark Elves -
- Lizardmen - Lizardmen have access to a fair few tools that can make combating them a bit of a challenging prospect, but you do have a few select units that can and will ruin their game-plan if positioned carefully. Skeleton Spear won't win any fights against the Saurus or even Skink front lines, but they'll hold the line until the bitter end. Considering all the Fear/Terror the bigger monsters toss around, their ability to tarpit things cannot be undersold. Whilst they do so, this is where your key players will come in; Ushabti Greatbows, Sepulchral Stalkers and Necrosphinx Colossi. Ushabti Greatbows are the ideal and go-to choice for your monster-hunting needs and will safely outrange a majority of anything the Lizardmen will typically have on tap to retaliate with and aren't totally helpless in a fist fight. If you're feeling like setting up a good ol' fashioned Monster-Mash, Necroshinx Colossi can generally wreck the bigger beasties in a straight duel, just ensure no (Ancient) Salamanders are getting free shots on it while it does so. Speaking of, Salamanders, Solar Engine Bastilodons and Fireleach Bolas Terradons will be some priority targets.
- Skaven -
- Tomb Kings -
- Vampire Coast -
- Always build a ressource building if you can: The Tomb Kings's Mortuary Cult means that you will need access to at least one of each ressources if you want to access the full range of things to create, parts of your victory condition requires you to craft things too. Which brings us to...
- Trade deals are your friends: Let's not mince words, your economy is shit, and while you don't pay upkeep or recruitment costs, your buildings are very expensives. You'll gain money raiding and fighting, but trade will also be an important part of your revenue stream. Also, it will give you access to ressources you may not produce at the moment (good luck making wine in the middle of the fucking desert).
- An army full of trash units is better than no army: You may have hit your best units' cap with your current armies, but that's no reason to not recruit another one as soon as possible and fill it full of skeletons spearmen/warriors, since you have no recruitment or upkeep costs whatsoever. Even if you don't need it for fights, you can always use it to raid, as bait for your other army in Ambush stance, to maintain public order, to drown the enemy in bodies, ...
- Slow and steady win the race : You won't expand quickly. Whether it's because you need to wait to recruit more units in global recruitment, or until the place you've conquered is properly built up before pushing forward, this is not a campaign where you will be taking a city every turn. Tomb Kings rebellions are nasty if you let your Public Order get too low, so you'll also have that to keep in mind before moving on to conquering your next city.
- Keep your starting construct: While everyone in the games start with a high-tier unit in their army, you can usually manage if you lose them. Not so much here, in line with the above points. Each Legendary Lord start with a construct in their army (Khatep with a Hierotitan, Arkhan with a Tomb Scorpion, Settra with a Khermrian Warsphinx, Khalida with Sepulchral Stalkers). You will not be able to replace them for a long time if you ever lose them, what's with Tomb Kings' incredibly low growth rate and money problems, and they are incredibly useful until you reach tier IV.
Specific campaigns advices
- The Sisters of Twilight are your best friends early on. Get a trade deal and non-agression pact with them. They'll help you in keeping Morathi and/or Malekith away from you for a bit, and be of great help when you want to take the fight to them.
- (Mortal Empires only:) The Sisters and Alith Anar may declare war on each other at some point, but they should leave you alone (and sign peace at some point). Between them, they'll keep Morathi busy long enough for you to focus on Malekith.
- (Mortal Empires:) Your very first turns should spent rushing south to grab the south settlment of your starting province, otherwise it'll be snatched by the Sisters and/or Alith Anar, leaving you with you one fewer town and no provincial order.
- (Vortex:) No Alith Anar to help you here, so you're gonna need to beat up Morathi yourself. You can rush toward Quintex immediately or complete your province then rush to her if you want, but you need to take her out fast.
- (Mortal Empires Only) Try your best to be friends with Kroq Gar. You do NOT want to be fighting Saurus spam early and he will secure your southern border for you so you can focus on Queek.
- See the above about taking it slow? With Arkhan you'll be even slower, because you combine the Tomb Kings' slow growth with the fact that everyone hates you.
- Get a Casket of Souls ASAP. It'll be useful against the Bretonnian chaff you'll face early game, and incredibly useful if/when the nearby Dwarfs declare war on you.
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