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Tomb Kings: Battle Tactics

The legions of the dead are vast, but they are also frail, Skeleton Warriors and spearmen are best suited to holding back the mortals, not cutting them down, so don’t rely on them to do any heavy lifting.

The legions of the dead are vast, but they are also frail, Skeleton Warriors and spearmen are best suited to holding back the mortals, not cutting them down, so don’t rely on them to do any heavy lifting. Death will never be wasted, when a warrior falls, their soul will be passed into the Realm of Souls, where it will benefit and heal those still fighting, and ultimately summoning ferocious Ushabti to the field of battle, an elite monstrous infantry.

Tomb Kings have a wide range of large units, putting these units against their specialist area will benefit you greatly in battle, putting one of these units in the wrong place could lose you the battle, knowing which units to sacrifice and which to protect will serve you very well.

Your army is split in to two halves, constructs and undead, be careful, certain spells and abilities are tied to one of these types. You can ascertain the unit type by looking for the ‘Constuct’ or ‘Undead’ ability on the unit card

In battle keep your eye on the Real of Souls bar at the top of the screen, as you take losses it’ll trigger increasingly powerful map-wide healing effects. Once the third stage of the Realm of Souls is reached, it will unlock an army ability which summons a unit of powerful Ushabti

It’s important to consider careful when and where to summon your Ushabti, it may well be worth waiting to summon them on a weak flank, or on top of an unguarded unit of archers further back.

‘The Restless Dead’ - The Lore of Nehekhara’s passive ability - triggers map-wide healing/resurrection whilst spells are being cast, when used in conjunction with the Realm of Souls it can result in substantial amounts of healing.

With such magical prowess it may be worth investing in both the Hierotitan and the Casket of Souls, both are powerful units in their own right, but also come with abilities which increase your Winds of Magic pool and regeneration.

Skeleton Warriors/Spearmen are free and have a substantial missile block chance, use them to not only feed the Realm of Souls but also to soak up missile fire that would otherwise target your precious elite units

The infantry of the Tomb Kings are comparatively less armoured than other factions, use them to shield your armoured constructs from the enemies armour piercing attacks

The Tomb Scorpion’s charge attack is able to burrow under smaller units, use this to charge missile units behind the melee infantry

The chariots of the Tomb Kings come in much larger unit sizes than that of other races, use their weight and numbers to punch through infantry – avoiding braced spear infantry of course!

Khatep is the Lore of Nehekhara’s most powerful caster, but combining him with a Lore of Light Liche Priest will allow you to pin the enemies, ripe for Khatep’s two potential vortexes

Alone, a unit of Skeleton Archers isn’t much of a threat, but when combined with High Queen Khalida’s buff and the debuffs of the ‘Chosen of the Gods’ and the ‘Blessed Legion of Phakth’ regiments of renown they can do real damage to even armoured & shielded units

Tomb King infantry are often outclassed in a straight fight, but when they fight near their Tomb King they will fight all the harder due to the passive ‘My Will be Done’ ability

Always remember to keep your Necrotect hero nearby your ‘Construct’ units, this will increase their combat stats and give you the ability to heal them.

Similar to the Vampire Counts, losing your lord can be devastating, to help avoid this try keeping a Tomb Prince near your lord who will reduce incoming physical damage with his Guardian ability

Settra’s Chariot of the Gods is the most powerful chariot available, but, like all chariots risks becoming trapped in dense formations of infantry. To prevent this, remember that the ‘Wrath of Ptra’ ability is able to blast a path through infantry

When reduced to half health Tomb King Lords and Heroes have access to a variety of powerful ‘curses’, meaning that even a wounded Tomb King character is dangerous.

Consider what the opponent is likely to field, if you’re expecting infantry bring a Warsphinx, if you’re expecting other monsters or cavalry bring the Necrosphinx

Sepulchral Stalkers are a formidable defensive unit, with charge defence vs large and a disruptive short ranged missile attack they’re well able to fend off any cavalry charge

Though large, both the Tomb Scorpion and Sepulchral Stalkers are able to tunnel in to a vanguard position before the battle begins, deploying them ahead will allow them to support one another against the majority of threats they’ll face


Tomb Kings: Legendary Lords

Learn about the four Legendary Lords at your disposal when playing as the Tomb Kings.

Settra the Imperishable is the greatest of all of the Tomb Kings. In life, Settra saw the rise to greatness of Nehekhara, and has been awoken to find it all in ruins. His goal is to restore his great empire. Settra is the easiest King to start off with, with strong faction effects for growth and public order. He also starts with Tomb Guards equipped with halberds and a Khemrian Warsphinx.

Grand Hierophant Khatep was once the religious head of the mortuary cult. Khatep refused death but time has taken its toll on him, after being banished by Settra, Khatep would only be able to return when the mortuary cult could fulfil their promise to restore the golden age of the Nehekhara. Khatep is one of the hardest Kings to start off with, being banished far from the rest of the Tomb Kings and surrounded by enemies, support is hard to come by. Khatep starts with a Hierotitan and Carrions, with much stronger enemies nearby. The Exiles can live comfortably within the mountains, while also gaining canopic jars each turn without the need for character traits, they also have diplomatic issues with the Dark Elves that are their neighbors, but they can be rounded up with the movement bonus in all armies.

High Queen Khalida, was once a much loved and respected queen, struck down in her prime. Khalida has risen again to protect her home lands against the corruption of the vampires. Poison is one of Khalidas key weapons, as it courses through her. Khalida starts with a unit of Sepulchral Stalkers and Necropilis Knights. Khalida is joined by her famed archer legions with their bonus 20% ammunition throughout all of her armies. Khalida was greatly respected throughout all of the Nehekhara and as such she gains +20 to all diplomatic relations with all Tomb Kings.

Arkhan the Black was once a lieutenant of Nagash, greatly aiding the great necromancer in his rise to power. Arkhan is one of the hardest characters to play as he starts with an under developed settlement and strong enemies (Dwarfs) all around. Arkhan adopts vampiric units to his roster, enabling him to recruit some of the foulest beasts to his armies. He also has strong ties to the Vampire Counts with a +20 to diplomacy with them, and a -50 to all Tomb Kings. Arkhan also has a +10 magical reserve for all of his armies. Vampiric corruption does not affect the public order of his settlements and he starts with units of Crypt Ghouls and a Tomb Scorpion.


Tomb Kings: Campaign Tactics

The Tomb kings have risen, and are set to restore the ancient Kingdom of Nehekhara which has been decaying for centuries, carved up by foreign invaders, and now plunged into war once again as each Tomb King to fight for dominance.

The Tomb kings have risen, and are set to restore the ancient Kingdom of Nehekhara which has been decaying for centuries, carved up by foreign invaders, and now plunged into war once again as each Tomb King to fight for dominance.

Books of Nagash
The books of Nagash are powerful tomes containing the secret spells of Nagash, the first necromancer. They’ve become scattered throughout the world, and are sought by the Tomb Kings to claim control of the Black Pyramid of Nagash, part of the victory conditions in the Eye of the Vortex campaign.

The books are in the possession of other factions, some held within settlements and some held by Rogue Armies. All of them must be defeated or conquered to take possession of the book.

TIP: Rogue Armies carrying the Books of Nagash wont declare war on you. Make use of this time to watch where they patrol and bolster up your forces, as they’ll likely prove a tough fight with experience troops in their ranks.

In either campaign (Eye of the Vortex or Mortal Empires) 8 of the 9 books can be collected, with one being already held by Arkhan the Black which cant be taken from him. Each book offers a different bonus when they’re collected, from increasing unit capacity, to bonuses to trade and income. Take the time at the start of each campaign to see where the books are and what each book offers, as the effects they carry are randomized at the start of each campaign and each Tomb Kings Legendary Lord will have books in different parts of the world to collect.

Day of Awakening
Tomb Kings have a unique recruitment process, raising legions of the dead takes a lot of power, but it is free. There are restrictions to the amount of higher level units that you can recruit. To begin Tomb kings can recruit two limitless units, Skeleton warriors, and spearmen.

To recruit higher level unit’s and increase the capacity, you’ll need to construct specific buildings to unlock the unit and grant you an initial capacity. The more of these buildings you have the larger your capacity will become.

Now if you should lose a settlement containing these buildings, your capacity for that unit will be reduced. Your armies will be unaffected, but you may find that you have now exceeded the current units capacity.

TIP: You may find it more advantageous to disband wounded units without much experience and recruit a fresh unit of the same type within a couple of turns, rather than waiting for the wounded unit to replenish itself which can often take much longer.


Tomb Kings have a limitation with the number of armies that they can field at one time, and must awaken more Tomb Kings to command further armies. To do this they will spend time looking into their past, to discover long lost dynasties, their army traditions, and former Kings.

Having discovered one of the six major Nehekharan dynasties, you will be awarded with a new army slot, standard Tomb King Lords can be recruited straight away like any other faction, but a more powerful Lord, of the dynasty you have just researched can be recruited instead, by researching the top slot of that dynasty. Make use of the Canopic Jars you have been earning in the campaign to unlock this more powerful commander for your new army.

Take note though that once a Dynasty has been researched, the time is will take to research your next Dynasty will be greatly increased. The time spent on researching these dynasties can be improved by capturing additional settlements, with major settlements providing larger research boosts, over minor settlements.

TIP: Try capturing iconic Warhammer capital settlements (Khemri, Atldorf, Lothern, etc..) to gain much larger research boosts when playing as Tomb Kings.

Additionally, further benefits can be had within the Dynasties panel from unlocking Tomb Heralds which improve the quality of units within your Lords army, announcing both military and civic decrees to enhance your kingdoms infrastructure and Heroes which can be unlock and the capacity of them you can field via Gold or Canopic Jars.

Mortuary Cult and Canopic Jars
Throughout the campaign you will gather canopic jars from winning battles, taking settlements and engaging with dilemmas. These can then be used, along with tradable items, and gold, within the Mortuary Cult to craft magical items, that can be equipped to your Lords and Heroes.

TIP: Trade Resources can be secured either through military conquest in capturing a region and constructing a trade resource building within it or by the agreement of a trade agreement with a faction which already has access to the trade resource.

They can also be used to awaken Legions of Legend, elite units with specialist abilities and attributes to bolster your ranks and strengthen your armies, or to craft a new Dynasty, allowing you to field an additional army within the campaign.

TIP: To find a trade resource location quickly, left-click on the trade resource icon from the crafting recipe to have the game show you the closest location of that trade resource to your factions capital.

The tomb kings also come with their own rites to help them along the way, which provide a wide variety of benefits, using these at the right time can make a huge difference down the line, giving you bonuses to create stronger armies from the start, help with colonizing ruins, summon sandstorms to cause attrition to invading armies, and spur growth within your regions.

TIP: Try using the Great Incantation of Ptra on ruins of a major settlement if one is available, it will produce a far greater return on your investment for performing this Rite.

The Tomb Kings economy can certainly play out quite differently to other races, with only basic infrastructure buildings on offer to aid growth and your treasury.

TIP: Make use of the cheap income buildings throughout your regions to provide a constant cash injection however small it may seem to start with.

More enticing military buildings can be used to bolster forces in the early game, but it can quickly stifle growth and development, thus preventing you from getting to the later, and far stronger, units in the roster.

TIP: If you’re after the higher tier units then focus on depth rather than breadth with your faction capital. It can be tempting to upgrade your minor settlements main building, but keep the growth back in reserve to quickly get your capital to level 5 and have the option of constructing the buildings that go with it.

Victory Conditions
For victory in the Eye of the Vortex campaign you’ll need to secure 5 of books of Nagash, gain ownership of the Black Pyramid and win the campaigns epic final or meet the domination victory conditions, which focus you on destroying a number of the main factions in this campaign.

Victory in the Mortal Empires campaign is somewhat different with the focus being much more on securing your local lands and then expanding out into the world to conquer your biggest rivals. The Books of Nagash still feature here in this campaign, but are not a part of your victory requirements.


ROME II – Empire Divided: How to Play Non-Roman Factions (1/2)

Learn how to play the non-Roman factions in the Empire Divided DLC for Total War: ROME II.

Learn how to play the non-Roman factions in the Empire Divided DLC for Total War: ROME II with this handy guide.

The Germanic Kingdoms, consisting of the Saxoni, the Gothi and the Marcomanni, all receive the "Terrors of the Night" trait, allowing them to initiate battles at night; along with the "Looters and Raiders" trait, giving them an additional 150% income from raiding and sacking.

The Eastern Empires are  comprised of the Sassanids and Armenia, who both benefit from the "Centralised Authority" trait which provides a -5 to banditry in all provinces and the "Silk Road" trait which gives a 20% buff to all commerce buildings in all regions.

Only containing one faction, the Alani, are the Nomadic Tribes. They posses the "Nomadic Archers" trait which grants them 25% more ammunition for all units and the "Warlike People" trait, giving them +3 army recruitment slots in their home province.

Lastly, the Britannic Celts are comprised of the Caledoni, posses the "Heroic Culture" and "Sacred Springs" traits, granting them a 20% charge bonus for all units and +6 sanitation to all provinces respectively.

Each of these factions also posses their own unique traits, such as the Saxoni who benefit from the "Voyagers" trait giving them an additional 20% movement range for any fleets they own.


Dark Elves: Battle Tactics

Learn how to use the Dark Elves in battle to crush your enemies and unlock your chilling murderous prowess

When preparing for battle, have a look over the building browser in your settlements to view what units you have unlocked for recruitment. Make sure the Conscription Halls are built in one of your controlled settlements to give you access to some cheap, low-tier infantry units. When you have a level 2 settlement and some money in the treasury, try building the Plateau of Dark Steeds or Den of Outlaws to unlock access to cavalry early on in the game, useful for flanking and giving you an edge in battle.

If you have control of a Black Ark, always attempt to battle within its bombardment range, shown by a dashed circle on the campaign map; this will give you access to the bombardment army ability in battle: a considerable advantage over your foe.

The Druchii are an extremely aggressive race, which comes strongly into play during battle. They have a lot of amrour piecring units: useful for taking down heavily-armoured enemies. At the top of your screen you will see the Murderous Prowess bar which tracks deaths on the battlefield – on either side – with a significant buff that kicks in when the bar is full. You will want to fill this bar as quickly as possible, so kill as much as you can, as fast as you can.

When setting up for battle in the early game, place a line of infantry at the front, such as Bleakswords and Dreadspears as they are the cheaper options open to the Dark Elves at the beginning of the campaign. To the sides, place some cavalry such as Dark Riders to protect from flanking, but also to chase down any routing enemy units to rack up vital kills for triggering Murderous Prowess as soon as possible.

When the battle begins, send your units in as fast as possible to hit that vital kill count as soon as you can, but watch out if the enemy hangs back! If you have any artillery such as Reaper Bolt Throwers, use these to spray ammunition into the enemy to soften their ranks if they are not engaging.

When the Murderous Prowess bar is full, the ability will trigger automatically giving your forces a buff to their leadership, melee attack, charge bonus, armour-piercing missile damage and a big boost to their vigor. They will glow purple for 90 seconds – be sure to engage in as many attacks as you can in this time, as you will be much more powerful than your opponent!


High Elves: Battle Tactics

Learn how to control your Asur forces and crush any enemy under the force of their martial strength.

In the setup of the battle, try to anchor your flank to an obstacle, such as a river, so you only have to focus on the other side of your army. If possible, try to place your units on the high ground, as archers shooting from a higher elevation have better accuracy and further range. Units fighting downhill have the advantage too, as it is harder for the enemy to attack uphill.

The best practice when setting up your army as a High Elf is to place rows of armoured spearmen in the frontline, which protected skilled archers and powerful mages further back from the enemy. This allows the archers and mages to damage enemy units from a long range, while the spearmen protect them from cavalry charges and hold a strong defensive barrier against attack. It’s also recommended to have some cavalry behind the front line just in case any enemy units do manage to break through, or attempt to flank you from the side.

It’s best to place your slowest troops at the front of your army and the fastest at the back, allowing them to come into the fight at speed when needed. Remember to keep units in reserve, usually your best, so they can swoop in when the enemy is weakened. No use wasting their health on the low-tier frontline of an enemy!


Dark Elves: Campaign Tactics

Millennia have passed since the Dark Elves, or Druchii In the Elven tongue, violently split from the High Elves. Banished from Ulthuan, the spiteful and wicked Dark Elves plot the demise of their former brethren from Naggaroth, their home continent.

Millennia have passed since the Dark Elves, or Druchii In the Elven tongue, violently split from the High Elves. Banished from Ulthuan, the spiteful and wicked Dark Elves plot the demise of their former brethren from Naggaroth, their home continent. They have been ruled throughout their long history by Malekith, the Witch King.

Diplomacy doesn’t come naturally to Dark Elves: they are a cruel people devoted to the pursuit of bloody warfare and conquest is much more instinctive to them. This comes into play during the Eye of the Vortex campaign – to win, the Dark Elves must either complete all the rituals and win the Final Battle, or destroy their rival factions and maintain control of 50 provinces.  If you wish to go for the domination victory when playing as Dark Elves, be prepared to steamroll through the other factions as diplomacy isn’t necessarily the best option.

You have the choice to play as either the vengeful Malekith or his exiled mother Morathi, in the North or South of Naggaroth respectively. Malekith is a mighty leader with great loyalty from his subservient lords, as long as they stay loyal, of course. Moving over to Morathi in the South, when playing as the Cult of Pleasure be aware that her forces spread Chaos Corruption, but also gain a bonus to loyalty and hero actions performed by her agents are cheaper.

The Dark Elves are most at home to the North of the Campaign Map and can settle here without worry, but watch out for the desert lands to the East. These harsh sands are uninhabitable to the Druchii, causing significant debuffs to any who may settle there. When expanding your territory, focus on these Northern green areas first to make sure your faction is strong enough to handle the disadvantages.

To perform rituals as a Dark Elf, you must first collect enough Scrolls of Hekarti, shown at the top of the campaign screen. For an early-game boost, try gaining control of Ghrond, as this is a vital ritual location and unlocks the ability to construct a temple of Hekarti within its walls.  Make sure you have amassed a sizeable force before attacking though, as they will not be defeated gently.

When capturing a settlement such as Ghrond, you may notice that looting, occupying and sacking will reward you with slaves, these are a resource used by the Dark Elves to boost the tax income of a province, and can also be used in exchange for rites, which we will touch on in just a moment. Slaves can also be gained from victory in battle and raiding – those unfortunate enough to survive a defeat by the Druchii will be worked to death in one of the many mines of Naggaroth. For a quick boost to slave numbers, consider sacking an enemy settlement and taking the inhabitants for work!

To see information about your current slaves, press the slaves button on the bottom right of the campaign interface; this will open up the slaves panel. Here you can see a list of your provinces and the number of slaves in each, as well as their decline per turn. On the right, you can see the effect the slaves are having in each province, including their income and the influence they cause to your public order. The higher the number of slaves in a province, the more detrimental they will be to your public order. If you have a province with a high number of slaves and a low public order, you have the option to halt any additional slaves from entering the province, so any further captured slaves will be shared about your other provinces instead. Also, if a province doesn’t have many slaves at all, consider requesting additional slaves so in future, the provinces become more balanced in number. Remember that the number of slaves in a province will naturally decline over time, as they die from being overworked.

As mentioned earlier, slaves can be used in exchange for powerful rites: when you have amassed 1000 slaves and built 2 Slave Penn buildings, you will have access to the Sacrifice to Mathlann rite, which unlocks the recruitment of a Black Ark. These are great, floating city-ships that can reinforce armies, build new units and even bombard enemy forces during battle. Dark Elves do not have access to global recruitment, so Black Arks form a vital part of any invasion.

Once available, recruit the Black Ark to your faction by clicking on its recruitment button on the province overview panel when a controlled port is selected. From here you can recruit new units to its force and access its building browser. Build up your Ark and armies, sail on over to Ulthuan and claim the High Elf Isle back for its rightful owners!

Technology for the Dark Elves works in tiered upgrades. If your faction is struggling for funds, try researching the “Battle as Business” technology as this will give you a boost of income for both raiding and post-battle loot. For increasing growth in your provinces, research “Founded on Tyranny” as this will give you a plus 10 boost in all of your provinces! When you have more coin in your treasury, then you can move onto Upgrade 1 and above for access to even more powerful technology.

Dark Elf Lords have varying devotion to the leader of their faction, known as loyalty. You can check how loyal a Lord is on their character info panel on the bottom left – this is shown in a measure of 0-10 – 10 being the most loyal and 0 the least. If a Lord reaches 0 loyalty, they will rebel and take their army to form a new faction. Keep an eye on the loyalty of your Lords and if it drops too low, be sure to appease them by recruiting more units to their army, or by gifting them items.


Skaven: Campaign Tactics

The verminous Skaven are a race of malevolent and self-serving ratmen. From deep under the ground, they fight tooth and claw against the other races, and eachother.

The verminous Skaven are a race of malevolent and self-serving ratmen. From deep under the earth, they fight tooth and claw against the other races – and each other – to further their personal standing within the Skaven hierarchy and to serve their diabolical god, the Horned Rat. In-game, the Skaven are a high-risk, high-reward faction who approach the campaign with their own unique strategies and a distinctive battle-style, consisting of a mix of expendable swarms of infantry and highly-skilled elite units such as the Warp Lightning Cannons and the much coveted Doomwheel.

The Eye of the Vortex campaign provides two routes to victory as the Skaven: either complete all 5 of the rituals and win the final battle, or destroy the factions displayed here and maintain control of 50 provinces. Due to the Skaven desire to remain hidden, it’s highly unlikely for a Skaven faction to forge diplomatic relations with non-Skaven. However, territorial expansion doesn’t necessarily suit the Skaven either: it’s best to create a spread-out empire that becomes almost impossible to eradicate. Skaven have the power to create new cities right under their enemies’ noses and can inhabit almost anywhere on the map, excluding Ulthuan. The snowy peaks to the North also pose moderate debuffs to settling there, but not as seriously as the home isle of the Elves, so try to avoid settling in this area unless you are confident your faction can handle the disadvantages.

Warpstone is the vital component to the Skaven rituals, collect this to fill the ritual bar and conduct rituals faster than your enemies to win the campaign.

Around the map you may notice settlements with odd glowing Warpstone icons next to their names: these are vital locations for rituals. When playing as Queek Headtaker, he begins his campaign nearby the Caverns of Sotek; occupying this settlement will grant you the option to build a Warpstone deposit, a mining facility that generates 10 Warpstone per turn. This is a quick, useful way of boosting your ritual currency income, allowing you to conduct rituals faster.

Settlements of the Skaven are not ordinarily visible to other races, instead appearing as uninhabited ruins: this is known as the Underworld. The other races will not discover the Skaven threat hidden below a settlement until they attempt to colonise or hunt for treasure there, but keep in mind that heroes can perform a scouting action on ruins to see if they truly are abandoned. Skaven factions can see the settlements of other Skaven factions without having to scout them, so only the Skaven know the true extent of their empire at any given time.

In the early campaign when playing as Skaven, raiding and war are a good source of income. Unlike other factions, the Skaven do not rely on buildings to generate money from cities: all Skaven buildings produce gold to some extent. When colonising a new settlement in an enemy province, try spending some of your food resources to raise the starting level of the settlement, allowing you quick access to more advanced buildings. Then, you can recruit elite units in a matter of turns, allowing you to easily plough through the rest of the province in a short space of time: a true Skaven uprising.

Skaven also have access to some powerful rites: in exchange for gold, these provide powerful buffs to your armies or faction, such as summoning a powerful DOOOOM! Engineer at your capital, which is a cheap, early-game option at the price of 800 gold. This Hero can cause a catastrophic earthquake in a foreign settlement, making it ripe for the taking.

Food is a necessity to Skaven factions; they rely on the availability of a stockpile, providing bonuses when food is plentiful and penalties when scarce. Hover your cursor over the food bar on the top of the UI to see your current level of food and the buffs/debuffs applied when the amount increases or depletes. Each Skaven army consumes an amount of food per turn, so make sure your food reserves can handle an additional army when raising one! The amount devoured per army can be seen on their overview panel.

Settlements with the pastures resource are extremely useful to the Skaven, as they provide the option to construct buildings that provide food per turn. When playing as Lord Skrolk, he starts next to Subatuun in the Lost Valley – try to capture this as soon as possible and construct the Putrid Rice Bog, which provides 2 food per turn. Food can also be gained from battles and sacking settlements.

Skaven gradually spread corruption as they settle, as they naturally befoul anywhere they linger. This results in settled provinces to become less hospitable over time, even for Skaven. If the corruption level becomes too high, a province may revolt, causing a Skaven uprising army to spawn. Be sure to deal with them swiftly before they become too powerful! They may just provide a useful amount of food, too...
However it’s not all bad news: a high level of Skaven corruption in a province will grant you additional uses of the Menace Below in any battles fought there, an army ability we will touch on later.

The Skaven tech-tree is a rat’s nest of short branching pathways; you’ll start with a choice between boosts to your Skavenslaves and Clanrats, your heroes and stealth units or your economy: but these initial choices don’t prevent you from branching into other areas later. The option to start researching will unlock when a specific building has been constructed in one of your settlements. If you are trying to expand rapidly, try researching “Harsh Production Quotas” which will provide you with a +10 boost to growth.

Back on the campaign map, Skaven armies have access to a unique stance known as Stalking, used to hunt and surprise their enemies. While in the stalking stance, Skaven armies have a chance to ambush their enemies when attacking normally, taking them by surprise and gaining a great positional advantage. Use this stance whenever you want to attack an enemy and attempt to ambush them, even when they are aware of your presence!

Each Skaven Lord has a measure of willingness to follow the leader of their faction, known as Loyalty. This can be seen on the character info panel on the bottom left by a measure of 0-10 – 10 being the most loyal and 0 the least. If a Lord’s loyalty drops to 0, they will rebel, taking their army with them to form a new faction. Keep an eye on the loyalty of your Lords and if it drops too low, be sure to appease them by recruiting more units to their army, or by gifting them items.


Lizardmen: Battle Tactics

Learn to use the powerful and adaptive Lizardmen in battle.

The various breeds of Saurus – from Warriors through to Temple Guard – are formidable frontline fighters that match most foes to the death (even if they do go feral along the way). The best practice is to place them at the front of your army, forming a formidable defensive line of protection. Saurus also have Predatory Senses, allowing them to sense when hidden prey are close by; particularly useful when fighting against Skaven.

To the sides, try placing some Cold One riders in preparation to flank any enemy that might be giving your slower frontline trouble. Flying Terradon Riders also make great flankers, and their powerful rock-dropping can devastate massed enemy infantry.

Skink Skirmishers and Chameleon Skinks both have vanguard deployment: if you have some Chameleon Skinks in your army, try deploying them closer to where the enemy will advance. They have access to the Stalk ability which allows them to move concealed in any terrain, are resistant to ranged fire, and have a poison attack that weakens enemy speed and damage – the perfect way to soften a foe before your forces meet.

The smaller units in the Lizardmen roster, as well as the giant ones, have the advantage in shallow water as it doesn’t bog them down. Where the enemy will be hindered by the mud, Skinks can happily rush through, giving them a large advantage in melee. If there are no hills around, try to position your troops by any shallow water you can see, giving them an extra line of defence against the enemy.

The Lizardmen Legendary Lords have high leadership over their troops, making units less likely to rout. However, even the most loyal of Lizardmen may be overcome by their Primal Instincts, causing them to rampage when their hit points drop to lower than 50% of their base. This explosive fury is best understood as routing in reverse: you will lose control of the rampaging unit, but instead of fleeing it will pile into the nearest enemy and keep fighting until it falls or rallies. While losing control of a unit in the middle of a fierce melee may not alter the outcome of a battle, you’ll need to be careful to manage your approach to battle to ensure that rampage doesn’t kick in before the right positioning can be achieved.

Lastly, given the slow speed of many Saurus units and Lizardmen monsters, the forces of Lustria need to find inventive ways to get around enemy lines and disrupt ranged units. At your command, Lizardmen armies have the ability to summon a unit of vicious Feral Cold Ones to run amok amongst an unexpecting enemy. The perfect time to use this is right a your warriors are moving into missile range: as their archers nock their first arrows, give them a much more immediate problem to deal with.


Lizardmen: Campaign Tactics

Hailing from deep within the jungles of Lustria, the cold-blooded Lizardmen are the most ancient race of all. They are comprised of multiple species – the agile Skinks, the monstrous Kroxigor, the warlike Saurus and the completive Slann.

Hailing from deep within the jungles of Lustria, the cold-blooded Lizardmen are the most ancient race of all. They are comprised of multiple species – the agile Skinks, the monstrous Kroxigor, the warlike Saurus and the completive Slann, who lead the Lizardmen with their matchless wisdom and command over the Winds of Magic.

In the Eye of the Vortex campaign, there are 2 ways to obtain victory: either complete all the rituals and win the final battle, or destroy your rival factions and maintain control of 50 provinces. However, when playing as Lizardmen, it is not necessarily desirable to expand beyond the borders of Lustria: the Lizardmen are most at home in the jungle climbs of their homeland and will not thrive in the snowy North, for example. The climate here is uninhabitable – although you may control these settlements if you choose, there will be significant debuffs in settling here. The Lizardmen Legendary Lords should also take an interest in each other’s starting positions as both contain lizardmen ruins.

The Lizardmen have access to a ritual currency known as Ancient Plaques, these are to spend on rituals which are used to influence the Great Vortex. All around the campaign map, you may notice some settlements have strange, glowing Ancient Plaques by their names: these are vital locations for rituals. Try seizing control of one of these settlements and looking through the building browser, you may find a unique building train that would most certainly boost your production of Plaques…

When playing as Lord Mazdamundi, he starts very close to a mysterious, ruined settlement called the Mirror Pool of Tepok, perhaps this could be of great use to you. Tread carefully though, as some ruins may be more than what they seem… Make sure you have built up your army sufficiently before exploring this seemingly abandoned place.

Kroq-Gar begins on the other side of the map altogether, but also very close to a vital ritual location. This one seems a little less mysterious, and perhaps a little easier to seize.

Lizardmen also have access to powerful rites: in exchange for money, these provide various buffs to your armies – perhaps the most powerful being the ability to summon a ferocious army of Feral Carnosaur, Stegadon and Basildon units at your capital, as well as unlock the ability to summon “Feral Cold Ones” during battle. These benefits come at great expense however, so focus on building up your treasury so you can use this formidable army ability in combat as early as possible.

Settlements of the Lizardmen are linked by a network of power known as the Geomantic Web, an unseen matrix of energy which crosses the entire world. By increasing the power of the Geomantic Web in a province, a Lizardmen faction can increase the potency of any commandments issued there. The Web’s links can be viewed by holding down the spacebar.

As soon as the Geomantic Web has been restored and your empire is generating the resources and ritual currency needed, focus instead on defence: secure Lustria against invaders and work on completing the rituals that will allow you to trigger the final battle for the Vortex.

Lizardmen technology is cheap and flexible relative to other factions, so you’re not committed to following a single, defined path.  If you are having troubles with your treasury, the Tablet of Crafts is a great place to start as it leads onto a boost to industry income, and then to a big reduction in building costs.

The spawning pools of the Lizardmen will occasionally bring forth an especially gifted set of warriors; a special mission will be issued to you when a blessed spawning event occurs. Once this mission is completed, the blessed units can be recruited immediately by clicking on the Blessed Spawnings button on the Province Overview panel. This will recruit your army with warriors of unusual potency.

Armies of the Lizardmen have access to a unique stance on the campaign map called “Astromancy”. This increases the army’s vision and defence, and allows for vanguard deployment of certain units in battle. Adopt this stance if you are attacking with Saurus Warriors or Spears with shields in your current army, as they will be able to deploy outside of the deployment zone!

To unlock the ability to recruit shielded Saurus Warriors or Spears, first you must construct the Sacred Spawning Caverns in a settlement: a level 2 upgrade of the Underground Lagoon. When a Lizardmen settlement is upgraded to level 3, you have the options to build a Terradon Hatchery or some Cold One Caves – these allow you to recruit flying Terradons and Cold One riders respectively. These are great early-game cavalry: useful for flanking and taking out enemy artillery.


Battle: Siege Battles

In this video we will learn how to attack and defend settlements on the campaign map and how to enact those siege battles on the battle map.

In this video we will learn how to attack and defend settlements on the campaign map and how to enact those siege battles on the battle map.

An army may lay siege to an enemy settlement over many turns, surrounding it in attempt to starve out the besieged defenders. Those inside must either sally forth, or seek outside help to avoid starvation or defeat.

To lay siege a settlement, simply attack with a selected army by right-clicking on it: this will bring up the Siege panel. The skull and cross bones emblem will show you how many turns until the settlement’s garrison’s supplies run out and they start to starve, and the hourglass icon shows how many turns remain until they surrender. Press the crossed swords button at the bottom to surround the settlement and begin the siege.

Some settlements are fortified, such as province capitals, and siege weapons are usually needed by the attacker to reduce any fortifications. These can be constructed on the siege panel, and are represented by the two building icons under 'available siege equipment'.

There's the battering ram, used for breaking down gates, and the siege tower which will protect any units attempting to climb an enemy wall. A siege equipment’s cost is displayed underneath, and costs labour force to build. Some pieces of equipment will take multiple turns to build due to the amount of labour force you can exert each turn. The total amount of labour force is governed by the size of your army. Click on a siege equipment icon to add it to the construction queue: this will show you how many turns remain until each piece is built. When you are happy with your construction queue, click the Continue Siege button on the bottom to return to the campaign map. Artillery and monsters can also be used to attack fortifications, such as the stegadon, which has the Siege Attacker ability shown on their unit info panel.

During battle, the defender may station units on the walls to defend them, and direct the fire of their wall towers against the enemy. To fire a controlled tower, left-click on the icon above the tower, and right-click on the desired enemy target. To climb the walls and face the enemy as the attacker, selected infantry can be instructed to scale the fortifications either unprotected and much slower with ladders, or with a siege tower defending them from attack if you have constructed any.

Siege weapons are manned by infantry or missile units, who are then able to push them towards the enemy walls; instruct them to attack a section of fortification by right-clicking. A selected infantry or missile unit can be ordered to pick up siege equipment by right-clicking on it, or drop it by clicking on the Drop Siege Equipment button at the bottom of the UI.

Watch out, defenders may target siege weapons with missiles to attempt to destroy them before they reach the walls!

The goal of the attacking army in a siege battle is to kill all the defenders or force them to retreat, or capture the control point located in the centre of the fortress by placing units in the square box around the point itself. The attacking forces will need to hold this point for a specific amount of time, conquering the fortress.

There are also control points located on top of the gates, if there are no defending units nearby and you have placed attacking units on top of these points, the gates will be captured. This will allow easy access for your attacking troops to enter the fortifications.


Battle: Deployment and Battle Terrain

In this video we'll learn about the best ways to set up your armies for battle and how the terrain can affect their performance in combat.

In this video we'll learn about the best ways to set up your armies for battle and how the terrain can affect their performance in combat.

Under the Lord, armies are subdivided into units. Orders in battle are issued to units, not individual troops. Select multiple units by left-clicking and dragging a box around them - this allows you to re-position them or command multiple orders at once.

The first step of a battle is deployment: you must position your units within the designated deployment zone, shown in game as a yellow, glowing border. The enemy's is shown in red. When the deployment phase is finished, the battle will begin. Survey the terrain around before deploying your units to use it to your advantage, such as hills, as units with the high ground possess a significant advantage when fighting on sloped terrain.

If there are hills or areas of high elevation, the best practice is to position your missile units on top: this will give them a height advantage which increases their range and allows them to shoot over your melee units, preventing them from being obstructed. Watch out for obstacles! If your missile or artillery units are obstructed by an obstacle, they won’t be able to shoot at the enemy. Try to avoid these areas and keep your units as far from them as possible.

Units moving through shallow water receive a serious penalty to their movement speed, as well as their overall effectiveness in combat – imagine how hard it would be to brandish a sword while wading through a swamp. This doesn’t apply to giants of course, as they can simply stomp their way through. In the same vein, you can use these areas for a significant advantage: order your melee units next to the water with your missile units behind. They will be able to shoot at the slower-moving enemy whilst your melee units pick the stragglers off.

Hills, mountains, rivers and forests can be used to conceal troops from an enemy as an army must have line-of-sight of an opposing unit to see it. However, most units can hide in forests, even within line-of-slight, as long as they are not moving quickly.  Forests are perfect for preparing ambushes on the enemy and long strips of trees can even be used to flank the unsuspecting foe.

The best practice for an army set up is to place your missile and artillery units towards the back and your infantry at the front, allowing them to protect the units behind. If you have any mounted units, place them near the sides of your formation to allow them easy access onto the battlefield when the fighting begins: they can be used to flank the enemy and attack them in the side or rear. Units receive a significant debuff when flanked, so try to flank the enemy wherever possible! Each infantry unit should cover the flank of the next to both protect and form an impenetrable line of defence.

Some units with the vanguard ability can deploy outside of the deployment zone, try hiding these in forests or behind obstacles in order to conceal them from the enemy. This is useful for ambushing foes when they least expect it and to disguise the true strength of your army.


Campaign: Rituals

This video will introduce the central mechanic of the Eye of the Vortex campaign for Total War: WARHAMMER II - Rituals.

This video will introduce the central mechanic of the Eye of the Vortex campaign for Total War: WARHAMMER II - Rituals.

Rituals are how factions can influence the Great Vortex within the Eye of the Vortex campaign. To begin a ritual, a faction must first accumulate sufficient ritual currency, represented by the icon next to the Rituals Bar at the top of the campaign UI.

To initiate a ritual, click on the corresponding button on the Rituals Bar: once begun, a ritual takes several turns to complete. They are conducted at several ritual sites across the campaign map, the locations of which are indicated on the Rituals Bar while casting. While a ritual is underway, energy is channeled from these sites to the Great Vortex and the forces of Chaos will seep into the world, potentially attacking the ritual sites.

Rival powers can attempt to interrupt the ritual by attacking the ritual sites, and may hire intervention armies to support their assault. To call an intervention force during an enemy’s ritual attempt, click the interventions button to the right of the Rituals Bar. These armies cost money to hire and the more money spent, the greater the military power of the army that appears.

A ritual can be successfully interrupted by capturing one of the ritual sites. Failed rituals may be attempted again after a short time.


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