Place your ear to the ground, my companion. Press your expectant face against the treacherous gravel of these hype-cursed lands and listen. Do you hear it? It’s unmistakable, isn’t it? It’s the sound of Creative Assembly compensating for their five-year-long mockery of jilted Chaos fans, and apologetically releasing some of the most comically overpowered armies into the Total War: Warhammer world, sure to leave it quaking beneath the cloven hooves, razor talons, squirming tentacles, and pestilent stumps.
As a wise dog once said as the world burned around him: this is fine. This inevitable power-hike won’t affect Total War: Warhammer 3 as a standalone title, as the human release factions will almost certainly receive the same treatment. Geographically positioned as the Empire of Man’s bulwark against the encroaching Chaos tides, Kislev are as hard as a tupperware container of frozen bastards, and twice as frozen. They ride bears. They drink with bears. Some of them, presumably, are bears. They are being specifically designed to batter chaos in all its myriad forms, and so it makes sense that they’re going to be peerless at it. Similarly, Cathay are being designed from the ground up to casually slap about Bloodthirsters, Ogres, and Chaos Dwarfs before retiring for a light lunch.
Eventually though, we’ll get to whatever the updated version of Mortal Empires is going to be called, a grand world-spanning campaign map. The community seemed to have settled on calling it ‘Immortal Empires’, but I prefer ‘Lizardman Pantry Extension’. Either way, it’ll be a joining of each of the trilogy’s campaign maps, resulting in the Warhammer fantasy world being there to conquer in its entirety. Realistically, what will actually happen is that Chaos will grind the entire world to paste, every game, without fail, until things get rebalanced.
Initially, this will be fun. The Skaven will finally know how it currently feels to play against the Skaven, and the Empire will get stomped on until Karl Franz summons the ejector counts right into the sea. Soon all will turn to despair and Chaos will crush the entirety of the planet.
Ranking the Chaos factions in Total War: Warhammer 3
The Chaos gods are fickle and warlike, bastard children of mankind’s dark desires and secret Onlyfans accounts. Only one can triumph in the end. So, based on their Warhammer 8th edition army books, general playstyles, and how Total War: Warhammer usually operates, here are my predictions for which Chaos faction will be the clear winner.
Khorne – God of bloodlust, war, rage, blood, honour in battle, and skulls
To the surprise of absolutely no-one who has ever looked at Helman Ghorst’s skill tree, the most common occurrence in the Warhammer world is horrific, engraged murder, and so the most powerful of the four Chaos gods is sure to be the Lord of Murder himself, Khorne.
Will this translate to being the most powerful faction in game, though? There are no prizes for guessing that Khorne will play as a melee-focused rush faction, and the only prize that Khorne gives out is an axe to the face. I’m wondering if this lack of flexibility – and Khorne’s famous hatred of magic – will end up hampering Khorne against the rosters of the other gods. The question is, what other tricks has a god who famously despises any sort of trickery whatsoever got up his sleevies, for his armies?
First off, it’s likely the entire Khornate roster will have the Frenzy special rule, which means attack and damage bonuses while their leadership remains above fifty percent. Khorne will likely be able to hang on to these bonuses longer than other factions, as well. They’ll also be speedy, with the initial charge hitting like a bag of hammers soaked in liquid hammers.
Offensive magic will be limited or nonexistent, but we’ll likely see a ton of magic resistance on Khornate units. While they won’t necessarily be tanky, the amount of bonuses they get for being in close combat could stack and add up to a real problem. Khorne’s weakness will likely end up the danger of being shredded by missile fire before reaching combat, but with hellhounds and chariots aplenty, they’ll have the options to shut down enemy skirmishers in brutal fashion.
Predicted strength ranking: 5 out of 5 Khorne Flakes.
Nurgle – God of decay, plague, despair, disease, entropy, death, and rebirth
Nurgle is a nice, portly old chap, with good tidings for all. Sort of like Santa, only with crumbs of rotting mince pie in his beard that infect anyone he gets too close to. Contagion. Rot. Weeping mothers. Weeping fathers. Weeping ulcers. Utter despair. But enough about 2020! It’s 2021 now, and we’re getting a new Total War: Warhammer game, so nothing bad will ever happen again.
Traditionally, Nurgle armies have a couple of things going for them; they’re proper tanky and also proper plaguey. On the tabletop, the mark of Nurgle acts as a fragrant bin on a hot summer’s day, summoning a cloud of flies that make Nurgle units hard to hit. They’ll be poison attacks, too. Like, loads of poison attacks.
Lest we forget the iconic Nurgling? It’s also likely that Total War: Warhammer 3 will let Nurgle players swarm their opponent with these tiny daemons, holding down tougher units while slower moving, more punishing units get into position. The lore of Nurgle spellbook also spawns Nurglings when enemy units are damaged, so a Vermintide or Menace Below-type chaff summon could well be on the cards.
Predicted strength ranking: 5 out of 5 cool, refreshing buckets of coronaviruses.
Slaanesh – God of excess, pleasure, pain, extremes, hedonism, and love
Slaanesh are effectively Hellraiser’s Cenobites, but more pink and with more tentacles. The god of excess and cruelty, Slaneesh feeds off the most heinous and outlandish extremities of sensation, whether pleasure or pain.
The Mark of Slaanesh bestows units with immunity to fear, terror and panic on the tabletop, which will likely translate to a mixture of unbreakable and immune to psychology units in game. Unbreakable can be stupidly powerful in the right hands, tying down enemy units for an age while damage dealers get into position, so this is already terrifying. We’ll also likely see some Frenzy causing attacks and spells – as a stand-in for the tabletop Random Movement rule – sewing havoc within the enemy ranks as they lose control of their units.
There’s also the ‘Allure of Slaanesh’, which occasionally causes enemy units to become so enraptured by a Slaneeshi unit’s twisted beauty that they quit fighting and start simping. This needn’t be too complicated, though, as some extra melee defence will do the job nicely.
If this fast moving, formation-disturbing faction wasn’t enough, all their daemons have armour-piercing, too. Sorry, Dawi.
Predicted strength ranking: 5 out of 5 opulent, bejewelled chalices of gamer girl bathwater.
Tzeentch – God of change, fate, ambition, planning and schemes
Tzeentch is often represented by big magic birds with big magic sticks. Known as The Changer of Ways, Tzeentch still can’t change being a big magical coward who sews uncertainty and conspiracy in the enemy ranks. Expect powerful wizards, wizards that make other wizards more powerful, and lots of blue fire. Sorry if I’m being a bit snappy here; a giant bird has no business casting magic in my opinion..
Predicted strength ranking: 5 out of 5 fire-breathing parrots.
So, after weighing up the relative strengths and weaknesses of each Chaos faction, what have we learned? Which of the four brothers that make up the Dark Pantheon will ultimately bring the mortal world to ruin? Which of these dark aspects of man’s folly will claim victory over the others?
Trick question, of course. It’s Skaven. The winner will always be Skaven. Yes-yes!