Control, predict, and manipulate with Tzeentch on the campaign map
Welcome back to the campaign mechanics roundups for factions in Total War: WARHAMMER III – we saw you coming. Tzeentch is the god of change, manipulation, and magic, the Great Conspirator, and the Changer of Ways. His intricate plans and endless schemes double back upon one another in a web of lies, half-truths, promises, and betrayal that would make any mortal’s head spin. Kairos Fateweaver, legendarily powerful Lord of Change and spellcaster supreme, leads the Oracles of Tzeentch in an invasion of Cathay – and the rest of the world to follow shortly.
Today is the first time we’re showing off what the monogod factions can get up to on the campaign map. That means showing the attributes they share alongside the ones that make them completely different and so continuously at odds with one another. The Great Game is constantly played, and who is in the ascendant can have a significant effect on their armies and factions.
While Tzeentch (and our other Chaos factions) feature only one Legendary Lord to begin with, the mechanics outlined below are defined as those specific to the god, rather than Kairos – we’ll detail him at a later date. Future DLC and FLC that aligns itself to Tzeentch will use some or all these mechanics as well as that Legendary Lord’s specifics. We plan to support Total War: WARHAMMER III for a long, long time. Onwards!
As a god of knowledge, Tzeentch desires it above all else. Grimoires represent forbidden texts, hidden spellbooks, ancient lore, unknown histories, and everything else that is floating around the Warhammer world that is not commonly known. It is favour with Tzeentch and can be used to ensure success.
Grimoires are collected and generated by any number of actions – battles, buildings, sacking settlements, dilemmas, and more. By themselves they do very little, but you have an endless number of ways to spend them and keeping a steady supply will make you a master of the world, even without your armies.
Changing of the Ways
The primary spend for Grimoires is in the Changing of the Ways. This is a series of actions unique to Tzeentchian factions that allow you to change or observe things on the campaign map with merely a wave of the wrist (causing a mouse click, usually). Each has a reasonable cooldown and costs a chunk of Grimoires, scaling with the severity and effectiveness of the action. Beyond the first, each also requires a technology to unlock, some of which may be buried fairly deep in the tree. Here’s a rundown of what’s possible:
- Transfer Settlement
- Transfer control and ownership of one settlement to a new faction. This can be your faction or another.
- Open Gates
- Open the gates of a major settlement with walls, for any battles in that settlement in the next few turns.
- Force Rebellion
- Causes a rebellion in a region, spawning an army for the owner to contend with.
- Track Army
- You are given the line of sight of a target army.
- Reveal Faction Intentions
- Shows the plans of all armies a target faction controls.
- Reveal Shroud
- Gives complete vision of a target faction’s territory.
- Halt Faction
- All characters – so armies and heroes – have their movement halted and disabledfor the faction’s following turn.
- Give War Co-ordination Target
- Gives a faction a war co-ordination target even if they are not your ally.
- Break Alliance
- Break the military or defensive alliance between two factions.
- Force War
- Force a war between two factions.
As you can imagine, this can get hectic, manipulative, and downright scummy depending on your desires and plans. While it’s unlikely you will be able to get all your goals completed without ever annihilating an enemy army yourself, it gives several fascinating possibilities in the mid to late game. Even early, transferring settlements between factions you’re not interested in warring with to ones you’re about to conquer can be very powerful.
Winds of Magic Manipulation
Another ability unique to Tzeentch is his specific control of the winds of magic. Indeed, so tied are his machinations to them that many buildings have unique effects when the winds of magic are particularly strong, increasing their capabilities. To this end, Tzeentch can reduce the winds of magic in one province where he has a settlement to increase it in another, at will.
As well as providing the aforementioned buffs to his buildings, this allows for armies with multiple spellcasters – that’s going to be quite a lot of your Tzeentch armies, believe it or not – to benefit heavily in terms of the power reserves available to them. It’s also worth noting that there have been some large changes made to the nature of the Winds of Magic and power reserves in battle, which we will detail soon. The upshot is that this ability should never be discounted to ensure victory.
Corruption, Unholy Manifestations & The Great Game
The Great Game never ceases between the Chaos Gods. It represents their endless attempts to one-up each other, the endless infighting of Chaos that ensures that even should they dominate the world, it is unlikely to ever know peace. Even the Gods that can stand each other rarely see eye-to-eye and alliances are rarer than a surprised Lord of Change.
Thus, it is represented in WARHAMMER III as which god is in the ascendant, powering up all their factions on the map. This is in the form of improvements to Unholy Manifestations – four free abilities available to every daemon faction, which are unlocked as that faction’s corruption spreads through the world. Yes, corruption is now split between general Chaos corruption and four types, one for each God. We’ll detail this system at another time, but what you need to know right now is that Unholy Manifestations unlock as more corruption for your god is spread across the land.
The upgraded versions have heavier effects – generating more of a resource or dealing more damage to an army, for example. Here’s the Unholy Manifestations for Tzeentch:
- Scriveners of Insanity
- Unlocked from the start.
- Allows a friendly army to generate a big batch of grimoires over the course of several turns. The army cannot move during this time, and must be in enemy territory.
- Mutagenic Energies
- Requires 1500 global Tzeentch corruption.
- Causes a target army to suffer attrition for a turn, regardless of situation or immunities.
- Magic Flare
- Requires 3000 global Tzeentch corruption.
- Increases the Range and Barrier hit points of all units in an army. Barrier is a special shield all Tzeentch units have – we’ll detail this further in the upcoming roster reveal.
- Night of Madness
- Requires 6000 global Tzeentch corruption.
- Target friendly army generates Tzeentch corruption and control (renamed from public order) loss in a province, as well as increasing the army’s Winds of Magic power reserve. It cannot move during these turns.
Of course, as corruption spreads, it has more impact than that…
As well as the passive effects of high corruption, which are unique to each god and will be detailed down the line, Cults can form once a god is particularly dominant in a region. This cult becomes a foreign building slot, owned by you, that can construct unique buildings based on your dedicated god. Tzeentch’s options are:
- Generates grimoires per turn.
- Generates more grimoires per turn but requires high winds of magic level.
- Generates a decent amount of income but also requires high winds of magic level.
- Destroys the cult but increases winds of magic here and in all adjacent to Tempestuous.
You probably don’t require the entire knowledge base of Tzeentch to understand the strategy here, but naturally it all depends on where your cults develop and what you’re in need of. Generating huge amounts of grimoires can be far more valuable than income, after all, particularly in the late game.
Unique to Tzeentch and unlocked through the tech tree, his armies can go into the Teleport stance. This costs Winds of Magic reserve power to adopt but is exceptionally powerful. Not only does it allow crossing of impassable terrain – say, mountain ranges, rivers, patrolled areas – but instantly triggers an ambush battle should you target an enemy army.
It’s a one-shot move, so you must re-adopt the stance if you wish to go again on the next turn but getting to ambush armies as you like can really swing a war your way. This level of power is why it is locked in the later game for Tzeentch, requiring various techs to unlock. Speaking of which…
Tzeentch’s tech tree is a bit more of a tech web, spreading out from a center point like the spider’s home. Nothing the Changer of Ways does is ever simple or straightforward. Each ‘area’ of the tree is unlocked by one of the central techs, and then has a couple of looping paths through it leading to a final tech. This means you’re rarely going to take the exact same path through the tree on two playthroughs unless you have an exact composition and plan in mind. It’s also worthy of study to find which pre-requisites might point you in specific directions.
It’s also worth noting that, along with the unique Changer of Ways techs you might unlock, there are several other areas that are uncommon or unique choices. Various techs will give spells to all your Lords of Change, letting you field an entire army of powerful, monstrous spellcasters even without filling your hero slots, and them becoming more powerful over the course of the game.
Finally, with knowledge so key to Tzeentch, he has an endless number of ways to increase research rate – including commandments, buildings, and more regular things like hero actions. With a dedicated plan you will blitz through the tech tree and be fielding cheap, effective, and devastating armies earlier than your opponents.
Just as planned…
That’s all for Tzeentch, though naturally much of his gameplay revolves around the new Magic systems, lores, and corruption changes. We’ll get into the former two within the coming weeks, and the latter at a more… appropriate time to corrupt the lands. See you soon!