Total War: Warhammer 3 has arrived, bringing an epic conclusion to the three-game collaboration between Creative Assembly and Games Workshop. The final title in the trilogy takes the story beyond the borders of the Chaos Realms and introduces eight brand-new races for players to lead. While none of these factions in Total War: Warhammer 3 are significantly worse than the others, there are a few that stand at the top of the pile.
Each faction has its own unique mechanics both on the battlefield and the turn-based campaign map, as well as its own roster of units. Because this list is based on the overall strength of the faction in the Realms of Chaos campaign, it will take all these aspects into consideration.
Updated September 7, 2022 by John Higgs: The arrival of the Immortal Empires update and Champions of Chaos DLC has changed the face of Total War: Warhammer 3 forever. The four new Warriors of Chaos Legendary Lords come with a rework of their original Total War: Warhammer faction, with a slew of new mechanics making them one of the most fun and powerful factions to play in both campaigns. Although this Total War: Warhammer 3 tier list remains focused on the original Realms of Chaos campaign, its power rankings can also be applied to the new, world-spanning Immortal Empires.
The Exiles Of Khorne
The Exiles of Khorne take the prize as the strongest faction in Total War: Warhammer 3. Despite their lack of ranged and magical options, the armies of Khorne sweep the field with their devastating melee abilities. Exalted Bloodletters are the strongest infantry in the game, and can take on any challenge when supported by powerful large units like Skullcrushers, Soulgrinders, and Minotaurs of Khorne.
In addition, Skarbrand’s faction is just as devastating on the campaign map, with the snowballing Skulls and Blood Host mechanics, they can quickly gain enough momentum to be unstoppable. The Exiles of Khorne will make many enemies, but more battles only make the servants of the Blood God stronger.
The Ecstatic Legion
Azazel’s Ecstatic Legion offers a unique and powerful hybrid roster, combining the heavily-armored infantry and monsters of the Warriors of Chaos with the swift glass-cannon daemons of Slaanesh. This fusion of unbreakable anvil and devastating hammer makes Azazel one of the strongest Champions of Chaos in battle, with none of the deficiencies of N’Kari’s pure-daemon faction.
As a bonus, Azazel is just as powerful on the campaign map. Using Heroes to grant Gifts of Slaanesh to distant Lords can allow Azazel to seduce and vassalize factions that would normally oppose him, turning their strength on their friends instead. These abilities secure his position in the upper echelon of the Total War: Warhammer 3 tier list.
The Puppets Of Misrule
Vilitch the Curseling is the Tzeentch-dedicated Champion of Chaos and adds the Architect of Fate’s mastery of magic and trickery to the already formidable Warriors of Chaos roster. One of the biggest weaknesses of the original Warriors of Chaos is their lack of ranged units, and that lack is completely solved through Vilitch’s access to Tzeentchian daemons.
On the campaign map, Vilitch has access to a slightly altered version of Kairos Fateweaver’s Changing of the Ways mechanic. This allows him to spend Souls to gain advantages in intelligence and positioning, as well as cause havoc among his enemies, allowing him to compete for the title of Total War: Warhammer 3‘s best faction.
The Oracles Of Tzeentch
Though lacking the devastating melee power of the Exiles of Khorne, the armies of Kairos Fateweaver make up for the loss with some of the best ranged and magical units in the game. A Tzeentchian army is all about blending spells and ranged firepower with hit-and-run tactics, relying on the faction’s recharging magical barriers to keep their squishy frontline units alive.
The faction is also one of the most fun to play on the campaign map, with the Changing of the Ways mechanic allowing for unprecedented levels of puppet-mastery and manipulation. After collecting sufficient Grimoires, a player can perform feats of magic ranging from simple teleportation to instantly switching the ownership of a settlement.
As the closest human nation to the Chaos Wastes without a Great Bastion to protect them, Kislev has one of the toughest starting positions in the game. Fortunately, they’re also one of the strongest factions, with their incredibly versatile roster able to rise to any challenge. Almost all of Kislev’s infantry are capable in both ranged and melee combat, and well-supported by the faction’s array of powerful shock cavalry.
On the campaign map, Kislev can find unity through the Motherland mechanic, allowing them to guarantee the confederation of their other Legendary Lord. In addition, the Motherland mechanics also allows players to trigger a range of long-lasting buffs, including a magical storm that will cause attrition to all enemies in Kislev’s lands.
The Legion Of The Gorequeen
Valkia the Bloody is the Dread Consort of Khorne and adds a splash of the Blood God’s daemons to the Warriors of Chaos roster. Although there is more overlap between mortal and daemon than in Azazel’s or Vilitch’s faction, Valkia will still do extremely well in battle with the combination of frenzied Chaos Warriors and brutal Bloodletters.
On the campaign map, Valkia gets access to the Bloodletting mechanic, granting her armies greater bonuses for winning multiple battles in short periods. This, combined with a recharge to Movement Speed after winning a battle, will allow Valkia to keep up the momentum and quickly spread across the map.
The Chinese-inspired nation of Grand Cathay has one of the most secure starting positions in the game, provided they can maintain the Great Bastion on their northern border. Cathay finds Harmony between melee and ranged units in battle, offering both solid frontline options like the Celestial Dragon Guard and devastating artillery with Fire Rain Rockets and Sky Junks.
Grand Cathay’s campaign mechanics, however, are a little less interesting and impactful than their rivals, relegating them to the B-tier in our Total War: Warhammer 3 tier list. Players must attempt to establish Harmony across their empire by having an equal number of Yin or Yang-aligned Lords, Heroes, technologies, and buildings. Although this system can provide powerful rewards, maintaining Harmony is often too fiddly to be worth it.
The Seekers Of Slaanesh
N’Kari’s faction of hedonists are strong in the open field but suffer when it comes to settlement battles. The Seekers of Slaanesh are a glass cannon faction that relies on swift flanking units and powerful debuffs, with their cavalry and chariots capable of incredible amounts of damage when attacking an enemy from behind. In the narrow streets and choke points of settlements, it can be hard to put these skills to good effect.
On the campaign map, their core ability to vassalize other races can be extremely useful but is much more complicated to achieve than the same mechanic in Azazel’s faction. While the Ecstatic Legion have greatly-boosted Gifts of Slaanesh to quickly seduce their enemies, the Seekers of Slaanesh must split their attention between Gifts and Cults, which are much harder and more costly to establish.
Festus the Leechlord doubles down on the toughness of the regular Warriors of Chaos roster, boosting Melee Defense with Marks of Nurgle and introducing tanky Plaguebearers and Great Unclean Ones. The Chosen and Knights of the Warriors of Chaos help to give Festus’ army a little more bite, allowing them to out-damage fellow Nurgle follower Ku’gath Plaguefather.
On the campaign map, Festus inherits Ku’Gath’s Plague Cauldron mechanics but runs into a similar difficulty in using them effectively. Many of the debuffs for settlements and enemy armies that come with Nurgle’s plagues aren’t very impactful when applied to NPC factions, who rarely struggle with Control or Replenishment rates.
The Legion Of Chaos
The Legion of Chaos is a tricky faction to place in a Total War: Warhammer 3 tier list, mostly due to their huge amount of customization options. Unfortunately, the Daemon Prince just isn’t as powerful as the other Legendary Lords, no matter which way players choose to build him.
On the campaign map, the Legion also has the fewest mechanics to play with, with only watered-down versions of those offered by the other Chaos Gods. This leads to a faction that feels like a true jack-of-all-trades, but master of none.
The Ogre Kingdoms
The Ogre Kingdoms are one of the most interesting factions in Total War: Warhammer 3, and have several unique mechanics. On the battlefield the Ogres rely on their devastating charge, using their massive weight to smash through even the toughest of enemy formations, particularly when mounted on Crushers or a Stonehorn. Unfortunately, common Ogre units like Bulls are badly underestimated in the game’s auto-resolve mechanics, leading to unnecessary battles and expensive unit losses.
On the campaign map, they’re a hybrid of horde and settled factions, with their Camps allowing them to set up bases of operation within enemy territory. These Camps are essential to the Ogre Kingdom’s economy in both Food and Gold but can be extremely vulnerable if left poorly defended.
The Poxmakers Of Nurgle
Although no faction in our Total War: Warhammer 3 tier list is unplayably bad, the Poxmakers of Nurgle are the weakest of the bunch. While their high defenses do allow them to withstand long engagements, Nurgle’s armies are too slow to get into combat and can easily be picked apart by flanking attacks, spells, and ranged firepower.
On the campaign side, their mechanics are interesting enough, allowing players to spread custom plagues and cults, but these effects aren’t sufficient to compensate for the faction’s weaknesses in battle. Just like Festus’ Plague Cauldron, Ku’gath will find that many of the debuffs he can inflict have little effect on an NPC faction’s strength or economy.
Total War: Warhammer 3 is out now for PC.