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The Total War series of PC Strategy Video Games have been some of the best strategy games available for PC since their inception with Shogun Total War in 2000. Since that time there have been 11 in the series with 2 more in development. The “best” of these are often considered to be Total War: Rome 2 and the first Total War Warhammer. Total War Warhammer was released in May of 2016 and was one of two titles that brought me back into the world of PC gaming after several years plugging along on the periphery, the other title being Civilization 6. Those two titles being what brought me back to PC gaming should tell you a lot about what I prefer to play on the PC! I bought myself a high powered Acer gaming laptop and built myself a mid range tower PC for running my stream and Adobe products, and I was off to the races.
The Total War series is known for it’s amazing Real Time battles that are combined with the best of the Turn Based strategy games. A combination that was first pioneered, or truly successful, in the mid 90s title Lords of the Realm II. By combining the Micro strategy of individual real time battles, with the macro resource management and tech development of turn based strategy gaming these titles can give a more immersive, and more entertaining game. Total War Warhammer was an amazingly immersive experience, I only ever played the campaign, but the consistent updates with new factions meant that I never got bored with the title. Then Total War Warhammer 2 was released hot on the heels of the super successful Total War Warhammer and the addiction continued.
Released in September of 2017 Total War Warahmmer 2 featured a new, even more immersive if that’s possible, set of campaigns and world. With the inclusion of new races like the Skaven and High Elves the game took on an even more epic scope than the already epic original title. The great thing about the game is the developer has access to the entire range of the Games Workshop IP in terms of their now defunct Fantasy setting and range. With the table top game now a thing of the past, in it’s old form at least let’s not pretend Age of Sigmar is Fantasy 2.0, the developer The Creative Assembly has a lot to work with and probably more free range than developers given access to currently used GW IP like 40k or even Battlefleet Gothic. Thanks to Frontline Gaming I was given the early access key for the newest update to Total War Warhammer 2: the Rise of the Tomb Kings expansion and it is awesome.
The Tomb Kings are an army of the undead, mostly Skeletons, and are based off the Ancient Egyptian mythologies of the real world. Complete with Sphinx, that come alive and fight on the battle field, to legions of Skeletons armed with spears or the Khopesh on foot or mounted in Chariots. With the emphasis on Ancient Egyptian symbolism combined with the fantasy elements of hordes of undead skeletons the Tomb Kings are a spectacular faction to play if you’re a huge buff of ancient history like I am (if you like Ancient Egyptian History you can check out a podcast I did on the topic here). Their cities have temple complexes and Pyramids, and they begin the campaign in the deserts. As you play the game you unlock even more powerful units for them including Skeleton Giants and the iconic Sphinx which can absolutely wreck face during the real time battles. Your leader(s) gain access to some potent magical abilities that are both offensive and defensive in nature, either wreaking havoc on your enemies or boosting your own Skeleton based warriors offensive potential. One of the best units available to the Tomb Kings player, in my opinion, is the cheap and easily recruited Skeleton Archers. The legions of the dead don’t require money to recruit, unlike other factions and in battle they recoup from their damage and allow the summoning of powerful Ushabti.
A summary of Tomb Kings game play from the Wiki:
- Units: Tomb Kings focus on ranks of skeleton infantry and chariots, combined with powerful animated statues and constructs.
- Elite units: They also have Regiments of Renown and campaign-exclusive Legions of Legend.
- Realm of Souls: As Tomb Kings armies take damage in battle, a bar fills up mass-healing the army and allowing a Ushabti to be summoned.
- Day of Awakening: In campaign, Tomb Kings do not require money for unit recruitment or upkeep, instead having unit/army caps which are increased by buildings/technolgies.
- Canopic Jars: A unique resource used for research and by the Mortuary Cult.
- Mortuary Cult: A cult of priests who use resources to craft magical items and elite Legions of Legend.
- Nine Books of Nagash: In the Eye of the Vortex campaign, Tomb Kings don’t compete with rituals, but rather search for these books.
The Tomb Kings have some really powerful units, while they have access to less artillery and flying units than other faction the resiliency and massing of their basic units can make up for it in battle. Below is a run down from the Wiki of each unit available to them.
- Mounts: Skeletal Steed (Tomb Kings), Chariot of the Gods, Khemrian Warsphinx
- High Queen Khalida
- Mounts: Skeleton Chariot, Necroserpent
- Arkhan the Black
- Mounts: Skeletal Steed, Skeleton Chariot
- Grand Hierophant Khatep
- Mounts: Skeletal Steed, Skeleton Chariot, Casket of Souls
- Tomb Prince
- Mounts: Skeletal Steed, Skeleton Chariot
- Mounts: Skeleton Chariot
- Liche Priest
- Mounts: Skeletal Steed
- Skeleton Warriors (Tomb Kings)
- Skeleton Spearmen (Tomb Kings)
- Nehekhara Warriors
- Tomb Guard
- Tomb Guard (Halberds)
- Skeleton Archers
- Skeleton Horsemen
- Nehekhara Horsemen
- Skeleton Chariot
- Skeleton Horsemen Archers
- Skeleton Archer Chariot
Flying War Beasts
- Sepulchral Stalkers
Monstrous Missile Infantry
- Ushabti (Great Bows)
- Necropolis Knights
- Necropolis Knights (Halberds)
- Tomb Scorpion
- Khemrian Warsphinx
- Screaming Skull Catapult
- Casket of Souls
Of the Legendary Lords I find Setra the Imperishable to be the best to run. I think his magic is the most powerful and his ability to upgrade to a Khemrian Warsphinx Mount is also quite powerful. A viable Tomb Kings army should usually have a strong base of Skeleton Archers and Skeleton Spearmen with Skeleton Chariots and Khemnrian Warsphinx as fast attack on the flanks. The fact you can raise practically limitless numbers of Skeleton based infantry means you can easily field massive armies as the Tomb Kings. This is really fun to play and watch play out. The downside to this is found in the nature of the Tomb Kings Campaign itself.
The Tomb Kings campaign is centered around consolidating control over the regions that are home to the Tomb Kings and finding the relics necessary to complete the campaign. Unlike many of the other campaigns the Tomb Kings campaign is not really a campaign of conquest as a result you will find yourself fighting other Tomb Kings more often than not. This is where you run into the downside of massively “spamable” Skeleton units. Later into the Campaign the battles between you and the other Tomb Kings can turn into time consuming grinds as neither side runs away and both sides masses of Skeletons slug it out. Careful use of magic and shock units can help turn these battles in your favor but rarely will these battles be quick, and sometimes even lend themselves to being boring in the middle parts of the battle as you wait for your army to recharge magical abilities etc.
Overall the Tomb Kings are an immersive faction to play with a fun campaign. They consistently provide excellent visuals, epic story line, and captivating battles; especially if you really enjoy battles that require constant attention and are a true grind to fight through and win. For me the best part of playing as the Tomb Kings is the imagery and symbolism that is rooted in Ancient Egypt, I would play the faction for that alone!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!