Video Game / Total War: Warhammer II

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/warhammer_ii_cover_trope.png
"Defend your world. Destroy theirs."

"Millennia ago a great vortex was forged to protect the world from a terrible threat, now that vortex falters and all stands on the brink of ruin! From all sides powerful forces gather to harass its energy for their own purposes. The noble High Elves, proud defenders of Ulthaun! From the jungles of Lustira, come the cold blooded Lizardmen! The Skaven stir in vast subterranean lairs! And the sadistic Dark Elf hordes spew forth from Naggoroth! The race is on, and the fate of the world will lay in the hands of the victor!"
The Advisor, Enter the Vortex Trailer

Total War: Warhammer II is the sequel to Total War: Warhammer and the second game in the planned trilogy. The game was announced on March 31 2017, confirmed for release later that year with the introduction of the Dark Elves, High Elves, Lizardmen and Skaven. It is to take place in the New World, Ulthuan and the Southlands, and will focus one the Vortex in Ulthuan, a maelstrom of arcane energies created by High Elf mages to drain excess magic and Chaos influence from the material world, and the playable races' struggle to control both it and the Ley Line network in Lustria. Players who own both games will have the option of playing them separately or as a single combined campaign map.

Millennia ago, besieged by a Chaos invasion, a conclave of High Elf mages forged a vast, arcane vortex. Its purpose was to draw the Winds of Magic from the world as a sinkhole drains an ocean, and blast the Daemonic hordes back to the Realm of Chaos. Now the Great Vortex falters, and the world again stands at the brink of ruin.

Powerful forces move to heal the maelstrom and avert catastrophe. Yet others seek to harness its terrible energies for their own bitter purpose. The race is on, and the very fate of the world will lie in the hands of the victor.

Prince Tyrion, Defender of Ulthuan, guides the High Elves in their desperate efforts to stabilise the vortex as it roils above their home continent.

Atop his palanquin-throne, the Slann Mage-Priest Mazdamundi directs his Lizardmen war-hosts as they surge northward from Lustria. He, too, is intent on preventing cataclysm, though the methods of The Old Ones must prevail.

The Witch King Malekith and his sadistic Dark Elf hordes spew forth from Naggaroth and their labyrinthine Black Arks. He tastes great weakness in the vortex and great opportunity in its demise.

Meanwhile in The Under-Empire that spans across the world, The Skaven have sent forth Queek Headtaker for a diabolical quest to gather warpstone, all in an attempt to gain control of the vortex in the name of The Horned Rat and the Council of Thirteen.

Four races, four outcomes, a single goal: control of the Great Vortex, for good or ill.

Many tropes that apply here also apply to Warhammer, and vice versa.

The game was released on PC on September 28 2017, and is the tenth title in the Total War series.


Total War: Warhammer II contains examples of the following:

    open/close all folders 

     A-D 
  • Absolute Xenophobe: There are several traits that confer the character hating an entire species (such as "Hates Greenskins", for example), that usually give army wide bonuses in combat against them. An Inversion is also in the game, (like "Likes Greenskins", for example), which instead gives negative traits when fighting the faction.
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • The Skaven fully embrace this trope, utilizing a wide variety of different projectiles, including but not limited too condensed warp lightning, and poisonous gas grenades
    • Besides their poisonous darts, the Lizardmen fire beams of solar energy, from stone cannons atop dinosaurs!
  • A Commander Is You: As in the first game, the factions are far different from each other, compared to most strategy games, both on the campaign map, and the battlefield.
    • High Elves: An Elitist/Generalist/Espionage faction. High Elf units are all at least reasonably well armored, well-trained, quick on their feet, and they have a variety of units to provide hard-counters, plus they gain buffs to damage when nearer their maximum hitpoints. But they are expensive and their numbers generally small, so they make up for this by using their Intrigue system to help secure alliances for themselves and divide their enemies against each other.
    • Dark Elves:An Elitist/Generalist/Brute faction. Like their counterparts they have a versatile roster of high quality troops, though their soldiers, especially the high tier ones, tend to be less numerous than average. However, unlike the High Elves, they emphasize sheer force and aggression over espionage and defense. In addition their "Murderous Prowess" mechanic gives them a significant boost to their combat abilities once a certain number of units have been slain, encouraging offense over defense. Their campaign mechanics also encourage aggressive strategies, with the slavery system and numerous boosts to raiding and sacking allowing them to enhance their economy through sacking and raiding.
    • Skaven: A Spammer/Technical faction. Probably the most prominent example of a Spammer in the franchise, the Skaven have the largest unit sizes in the game, and their tactics encourage sending waves of Slaves and Clanrats to bog down and distract the enemy, while using much more powerful elite infantry, monsters and war-machines to deal serious damage. They even have an in-battle mechanic that let's them periodically spawn entirely new units of clanrats, who can be placed literally anywhere in the battle map.
    • The Lizardmen: A Brute/Guerrilla faction. Lizardmen have a wide array of very heavy hitters, including their supremely powerful Saruas Warriors (who are often described as being high tier infantry with the cost of mid tier infantry), lumbering Kroxigors, and vicious primal dinosaurs, which will rip through any army that can't match it's strength. Alongside this, they have very powerful skirmishers in the form of their many Skink Cohorts, including the powerful Chameleon Skinks, and Terradon Riders, which are excellent at harassment. Add these two aspects alongside their powerful support magic, you have a truly formidable force.
  • Adaptational Expansion: Like the first game, there's been some alterations to existing factions to make them more fun and competitive,
    • The Lizardmen sport a few new units that don't appear in the tabletop. The player can create units of feral dinosaurs as standalone units instead of mounts, as CA thought not having any dinosaur-based units in the early game wouldn't be fun for the player. There is also now a Bastiladon that can have a magical crystal strapped to its back that will heal and buff units.
    • The Skaven meanwhile gain several variants of slingers which weren't present in the tabletop game.
    • The Dark Elf roster remains mostly unchanged, though they do gain a new cavalry variant in the form of the Cold One Dread Knights and have been given black dragons as a standalone unit rather than just a mount choice.
    • The High Elves too are mostly unaltered, though they, like the Dark Elves, have gained dragons as standalone units and have received a new archer and new chariot unit not present on the tabletop.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While the Lizardmen have always had an undertone of genocidal tendencies, in the tabletop they usually restricted their massacres for the many Always Chaotic Evil races of the setting. The Vortex epilogue makes it very clear, yes they intend to slaughter everyone in a giant purge of both the New World, and the Old War, now that they have the power of the Vortex behind them. Furthermore, the game plays up their bestial traits far more, appearing more savage, and monstrous then they did in the original game.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The High Elves suffered a huge amount of this, having gone from a top tier faction in the tabletop, to the laughing stock of Creative Assembly, consistently being slaughtered in trailers (including their own), almost all of their units nerfed, and generally being a whole less competent then how they were in the original setting. That being said...they we're previously a massive Game-Breaker, and ridiculously overpowered, to the point that many fans of the various other factions consider this an improvement!
  • Alliance Meter: A fairly standard one for the genre, unchanged from the first game, though several new types of AI personalities have been added.
  • All There in the Manual: Further backstory and flavor text on units, buildings and technology in the campaign are in the Warhammer Encyclopedia, which can be accessed only while playing the game online. More details on the various original characters featured in the Vortex campaign can be found on Creative Assembly's website, which houses several short stories that take place before the events of the game.
  • All or Nothing: Getting caught on a special map (Like a Beastpath) will automatically purge the entire stack (even if a large amount of soldiers survived the initial battle) if the player or AI loses the battle. (Explained In-Universe as the surviving soldiers dying from being lost to the extreme wilderness)
  • Alternate Universe: Like the first game, however, since 2 has a fairly large, and unique storyline, it's far more detailed about its disconnection to the main Warhammer universe. As an example, it's quite possible, in one ending, for the Great Horned Rat to be summoned into the physical world, to wreak all kinds of havoc.
  • Already Done for You: A common recurrence, as the game is quite random when it comes to AI expansion. Don't expect your rivals across the sea to be still alive after a hundred or so turns. This is especially true in the Mortal Empires campaign, which has rather horrible auto-resolve rolls for the Greenskins, and Skaven, who get dominated and snuffed out early on
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The forces of the Skaven and the Dark Elves will always be composed of monsters, without a single redeeming quality about them. Their races "virtues" are all considered vices by practically any moral person. Being captured alive by either of them is considered by worse to be A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • The Ageless: Heroes and Lords do not age, and as such, can't die from old age or sickness. This is especially true for some of the Legendary Lords, whom are ancient. Lord Mazamundi for example is tens of thousands of years old.
  • And I Must Scream: The Warhammer universe is not a pleasant place to live in...
    • Caledor and the Archmages who helped create the Great Vortex are eternally bound to it, in a state between life and death, forever chanting spells in order to stabilize the Vortex or else doom not only Ulthuan (the Vortex itself is what keeps Ulthuan from being consumed by the ocean) but the world. In the High Elf campaign it's possible to relieve him and his cohort of mages of their pain every ritual, and finally free them from their eternal suffering at the end.
    • Getting captured by Dark Elves entails this. The kindest fate you can suffer under them is being sacrificed to Khaine. In their settlements, you can stumble on corpse fields which are composed of slaughtered slaves, who have a look of perpetual agony.
    • The Skaven, if you're lucky, will quickly devour you (and if you're extra lucky cut your throat before hand), if not, then they'll spend weeks subjecting you to horrible experiments, the end result being fused together with some other unlucky sods in a flesh golem, still alive...
  • Annoying Arrows: Fully Averted, most of the time. Gunpowder is not present among the playable races, so arrows alongside crossbow bolts dominate ranged fights, with High Elven Archers commanding frightening accuracy and range, and Dark Elf Crossbowmen being able to match them with the sheer volume of fire their repeater crossbows are able to unleash. Lizardmen use blowdarts, and javelins the latter which do the least amount of projectile damage, but to make up for it are poisonous. Unless their armor piercing, however, arrows won't do well against heavily armored foes.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Plenty of quality of life improvements have been added to the game.
    • The UI has gotten a large facelift, and is much more pleasing to look at.
    • Quest Battle teleportation is now defined by distance. Meaning you pay less gold the closer you are to the location of the quest.
    • The game lets you cycle through actions you haven't completed yet (Such as not moving a hero, or having unspent skill points. You can even choose what things you want the game to notify you about, and what you don't)
    • You can choose the speed of enemy movements on their turns on the campaign map.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: The Shield of Civilization trait returns on the Mortal Empires map, which now applies to all High Elves and Lizardmen factions.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Unchanged from the first game. A single army can consist of twenty units per stack, further increased to forty if you engage the enemy with a reinforcing force. Also summoned units cannot be spawned if there's twenty, or forty units on the field.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged like the first game, the higher the armor rating, the more physical damage the unit can shrug off. Some of Lizardmen monsters, like the Ankylosaurus-esque Bastiladon, function as living tanks, and because of their thick armored plating, simply shrug off volley after volley of arrow fire due to their insanely high armor values.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Skaven controlled by the AI have a nasty tendency of using Menace Below nowhere near the enemy troops during battles.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • The Skaven Scribe Reacts trailer is chock full of it, with the titular Scribe referencing the jokes about how Creative Assembly's rendition of Teclis looks a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch, the Skink that protruded its head at the camera at 1:59 became memetically popular, and ending it with the phrase "Skaven confirmed!" was essentially acknowledging the most common reaction to the end of the trailer.
    • The faction leader of Tiranoc in the "Mortal Empires" campaign is named Surthara Bel-Kec, a reference to the Norscan leader Surtha Ek from the first game. Tiranoc, in the lore, is famous for its chariots and Surtha Ek became a Memetic Badass on the game's forum and subreddit over his tendency to create mass chariot armies in the first game.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Monsters return from the first game, such as the foul Hydra, rot spewing Black Dragon, and purely nightmarish Hellpitt Abomination. Behaving exactly like they did previously, monsters can distrupt large infantry formations just be moving over them, and rip apart lines single handed, though they always carry the risk of being whittled down by enemy fire.
  • Amazon Brigade: Witch Elves are all-female units of fanatical Dark Elf warrior-cultists, who try to honor Khaine, by spilling the blood of everything they come across.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: As with the last game, Lords are elite warriors who can take on entire regiments on their own. Put enough skill points into their individual combat skills, and their battlefield prowess becomes ridiculously high-powered.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: As with the first game, there are a couple of units that serve this role:
    • Skink Cohorts with javelins. While it is true that they are rather fast and have an incredibly strong ranged attack for their cost, the problem is that their ammo is very limited and their range is short, making them near useless once they run out of javelins to toss.
  • The Berserker: Total War Warhammer II introduces a new mechanic called "frenzy", which essentially causes certain units to lose control and attack the enemy closest to them without regards to their own safety! The Lizardmen are the primary holders of this mechanic. As a plus side, units under this effect will rarely route, and fight to the death. There even exists a spell that allows you to give this debuff to enemy units. Quite a few Game 1 units we're given this effect with the Mortal Empires patch, such as Feral Manticores, and Squig Herds.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Dark Elves and Skaven take center stage as the primary antagonistic forces this time round. Towards the end of the campaign it is revealed that the Skaven are ultimately the primary cause of the conlfict, engineering the sighting of the false twin-tailed comet to provoke the other three races into dumping magical power into the Great Vortex, destabilizing it and permitting them the chance to summon the Great Horned Rat to the material realm.
    • And of course, Archaon and the Warriors of Chaos return as the Big Bad for Mortal Empires, now with even more map to devastate!
  • Bling of War: The High Elves, Dark Elves and Lizardmen all sport some very ornate armour amongst their ranks. The Skaven are the only ones who don't really indulge in this.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Lizardmen care only for protecting their sacred sites and advancing the mysterious plans of the Old Ones, and will show no mercy to anyone who infringes on either of those things. Anything not mentioned in the Great Plan is to treated, at best, extreme caution, at worst, all out extermination. Notably, the Lizardmen are competing with the High Elves for control of the Vortex... even though both sides essentially have the same end-goal.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Fully Averted, unlike the previous game; all ranged units now have reload animations, though units who lacked reloading animations in the first game still lack them in Mortal Empires.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • High Elf armies bread and butter units are the Lothern Seaguard. On paper, decidedly less impressive than the badass Swordmasters of Hoeth, or White Lions of Chrace, but what they lack in cool factor, they make up in sheer practicality, being highly skilled archers, that are also excellent in melee, and can counter the traditional archer-killer, cavalry, because they wield anti-large spears. With Seaguard, one can make a two rank deep line of archer/spearmen hybrids, that can strategically switch roles when needed. These factors, alongside their surprisingly cheap price, means you'll be fielding alot of them.
    • When it comes to Lizardmen, Saruas Warriors will always be the go to unit, being a borderline Game-Breaker. Available very earlier on, Saraus will wreck any other armies equivalent unit, and beyond, being cable of trading with other armies elites. They also posses the enrage mechanic, which causes them to become unbreakable, and the price of not being able to control them. Whilst Temple Guard may look cooler, Saruas remain competent, and highly useful throughout the entire game.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass:
    • The Lizardmen Temple Guard are the strongest, and most disciplined Saurus Warriors in any temple city,. They're hundreds, if not thousands, of years old warriors who have stood guard against foes since time immemorial. The Slaan mage priests they "guard" can rip open tectonic plates, and immolate entire armies by themselves. Downplayed, since whilst the Slann are immensely powerful they spend a lot of their time asleep, rendering them extremely vulnerable, and in need constant supervision. As well as being almost physically defenseless in the off chance an enemy actually got into melee range of one.
    • The White Lions of Chrace are one of the most elite units in the entire High Elf military, being High Elf Woodsmen clad in heavy armor wielding heavy battle axes and act primarily as the Phoneix King's personal cohort of bodyguards. It is slightly subverted in their case though, as while many Phoenix Kings have been great warriors, many have been essentially non action guys as well; including the current incumbent, Finubar the Seafarer.
    • The Black Guard of Naggarond are Malekith's personal guard and the most elite warriors in the Dark Elf army. Each one is trained from the time they're old enough to hold a weapon and indoctrinated to be fanatically loyal to the Witch King. Malekith of course is one of the last people in need of protection.
  • Breath Weapon: Dragons now have the ability to use breath attacks, and the dragons from the first game have been updated to use similar abilities.
  • Call-Forward: Interacting with a Skaven faction led by a grey seer will occasionally result in a reference to The End Times: Vermintide, despite Warhammer II being nominally set before the End Times and the attack on Uberseiknote :
    Grey Seer: "Can't stop Vermintide - Saltzpyre and fire-witch will fail just like you-you!"
  • The Cameo:
    • Caledor the Dragontamer appears briefly in the cinematic trailer, when Teclis witnesses a vision of the Great Vortex's creation.
    • Count Noctilus of Dreadfleet is once again featured in a random event, where one of your naval-bound armies stumbles upon his legendary treasure trove while exploring an island.
  • Chronic Back Stabbing Disorder: The Skaven and Dark Elves both suffer from this trope. Fittingly, their generals all have a loyalty meter, giving them the potential to rebel against the player.
  • Continuity Nod/In-Joke: In-universe, the human Empire doesn't acknowledge the Skaven as real and forcefully clamps down on any rumors about their existence. As such, during the run-up to the game's release Creative Assembly kept a tongue-in-cheek silence about the Skaven for as long as possible, claiming jokingly that the rat in their trailers was just a rat and had no relation to the as-yet unreleased fourth faction.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A large part of the game's appeal. This is a game in which dragons body-slam T-rexes.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: The Council of Thirteen's overall plan is, characteristically, both cunningly brilliant and also totally bananas: put a rocket disguised as the Twin-tailed Comet into orbit to fool the other races into empowering/destabilizing the Vortex (the one thing keeping the world from being overrun by literal demons), and then pilfer the power generated by their rituals to physically summon the Great Horned Rat onto the mortal plane. No one else suspects a thing til near the end (even the other Skaven) because the plan is just that insane.
  • Critical Existence Failure: After a faction is destroyed, or confederated with, all of their heroes just spontaneously die.
  • Crosshair Aware: Powerful spells like Black Ark Bombardments show a indicator of where they're going to hit to the opposing player, giving them an opportunity to avoid the devastating results of being caught. As such its wise to lay done a spell on a unit that's been fully dedicated to the fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Very possible for a skilled player. If one lays a one sided beat down upon their foe, they're usually rewarded with a "Decisive" or "Heroic" victory.
  • Cut Scene: The game has much more cutscenes then the first, all done in stylized art, which includes faction intros, ritual cutscenes, and an ending cutscene after the climatic final battle. There's also the gorgeous intro cinematic, which was made with CGI.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark Elves dress in black, purple and red, and regularly indulge in piracy, slavery, Cold-Blooded Torture and casual sadism.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Lizardmen were given a very large overhaul when it comes to their models, making them appear far more dangerous, and monstrous. In the tabletop, the Lizardmen were somewhat infamous in the community for their...goofy models (which we're noted to be of very low quality). As a result many units were given an extensive redesign, playing up their bestial saurian aesthetic.
  • Dark Fantasy: Just like the first game.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The combination of heavy armor and insanely huge health pools on enemy lords often requires one to go to absurd lengths in order to kill them. Killing them sometimes requires you to spend several minutes hacking away at them with your entire army after theirs has routed. This is also the case for many of the Lizardmen's monsters, who have thick, armored plating, which gives them the durability of tanks.
  • Decapitated Army: If an armies Lord is killed, all units, bar a few special ones, loose an increasing amount of morale, until they eventually route. Noticeably, High Elves get a debuff as they loose leadership which further decreases their leadership and stats, furthering the process along.
  • Death from Above: In addition to artillery, there are plenty of flying units, a trend started by the first game. Some, like Lizardmen Terradon Riders, primarily attack from range by dropping rocks or flinging javelins from atop their mounts. However, most are melee units, albeit ones that can initiate a charge against practically anything on the battlefield, usually with a large charge bonus as they swoop down to rake and crush anything they land on! Beware though, once a flying unit is committed to such a melee battle it remains grounded until it can clear enough space around it to get a running start back in the air. That means that an opposing force can throw infantry at it to keep it surrounded and grounded long enough to do some serious damage to it.
  • Demonic Invaders: The Warriors of Chaos also fulfill this role, like the first game, though the main reason why the factions are so desperate to control the Vortex is the fear of the real Demonic Invaders, the Daemons of Chaos returning to destroy the world.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Although tampering with the Vortex is shown to be a bad idea in any regards, the Skaven really didn't think on how well summoning their god (when their culture is based around backstabbing, worthlessness of individual life, and personal ambition) would work out; as the ending implies, the Great Horned Rat spends just as much time slaughtering the Skaven themselves as he does their enemies. That said, the Skaven hate everyone, including themselves...
  • Dirty Coward: Nearly all Skaven units have pathetic morale, and will usually be the first ones to run away when things begin to go sour. It's probably more accurate to call the entire Skaven race, a group of dirty cowards.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At the climax of the Skaven campaign the scribe turns on Vulscreek for attempting to sacrifice his clan to the Horned Rat, ripping his throat out... and completing the ritual himself.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect: The game encourages steady expansion, but it also rewards caution; spread too fast and too soon, and you won't have much time to prepare for the insane doomstacks that attack you for starting rituals.

     E-I 
  • Easy Logistics: A little bit better then the first game, but still rather simplistic compared to other Grand Strategy titles. Food has been regulated to Skaven only, General loyalty has returned, but only for Dark Elves and Skaven and the Imperium rating only exists as an invisible resource that defines how big the negative diplomacy rating you get with other factions. Taxes have been significantly simplified as well. All you really have to manage is your income, public order, and corruption.
  • Earned Stripes: Units will earn experience as the gain kills in battles, which is shown by a symbol on their unit card, showing their level of veterancy , which in turn increases their stats.
  • Easing into the Adventure: Each faction starts beside a weak faction, such as Skeggi, whom they're at war with; giving the player an easy chance to expand early on and build up a powerbase.
  • Easy Communication: Just like in the other Total War titles, units can be ordered by a single click, no matter how far apart they are from their commander. Especially egregious is the fact Officers in units no longer exist.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • If a faction overtakes all the others, and completes the final ritual, a final, desperate quest battle is given to the player which involves giving the player a final chance to avoid losing the entire campaign. Everyone left will reinforce you, culminating in the losing factions teaming up to stop the winning one from gaining the power of the vortex. This includes Arch Enemies like Tyrion and Malekith working together.
    • The Shield of Civilization returns in Mortal Empires.
  • Enemy Chatter: Zooming into units reveals a staggering amount of context sensitive chatter from your, and the enemies soldiers, discussing the foe their facing, the dialogue in question being unique depending on which army you're facing, such as the High Elves making fun of the Dark Elves.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: The bullets from every black powder small arm in the game leave a visible white streak in their wake allowing you to see them all the way to their target. Arrows also seem to leave highly visible while lines behind them as well.
  • Elite Army: While its possible to field entire armies of elite units (if you have alot of money), the High Elves units as a whole are cut above their equivalents, at the price of a universally highish upkeep for their units. They also have access to alot more elite options then other races.
  • Elite Mook: Every faction has a handful of highly expensive, yet powerful units, that are a cut above the rest in their faction.
    • The Lizardmen have the Temple Guard, which is composed of the oldest, most massive Saurus Warriors who wield halberds onehanded alongside shields (the only unit of its kind), who wear heavy stone armor, and serve directly underneath the Slann, being fanatically loyal to them. Because of their immense discipline, they also never get enranged. Besides the Temple Guard, nearly every unit in the Lizardmen faction has a variety of Elite Mooks through the Blessed Spawnings, rare and extra powerful versions of the normal units with better stats and abilities.
    • The Skaven, have the Stormvermin, who are picked from birth should they possess black fur, and are given better provisions, better war-gear and extensive training. As such they are larger, healthier, stronger and all around deadlier than the average skaven. While a Skaven Clanrat would run at the first sign of danger, Stormvermin hold the line, and fight with both ferocity and cunning. They come in Halberds (which are excellent anti-large, and armor piercing units) and sword and board variants (which are good frontliners). It should be noted, Stormvermin downplay this trope much more then other elites, as whilst their head over shoulders above the other Skaven as soldiers, they're subpar compared to other elites (with the added bonus of them being a good deal cheaper.)
    • The High Elves have the Phoenix Guard, an order of holy warriors who guard the Shrine of Asuryan. Each of Phoenix Guard is blesed by Asuryan, has been granted knowledge of their own death, and has taken a vow of silence in order to preserve the secret knowledge found within the shrine. The result is completely silent and almost entirely fearless breed of warrior. Needless to say, their unrelenting, emotionless and borderline robotic nature in battle is seriously unnerving to any who face them. Combine this with their martial prowess and master crafted war-gear and you have one of the finest defensive infantry units in the world. In addition the Asur also field the aptly named Swordmasters of Hoeth, who are said to wield their great-swords with such grace that they carry parry a projectile out of mid air. Their main duties in High Elven society are serving as guardians of the White Tower of Hoeth, and as a sort of secret police force; charged with rooting dissident elements such as cultists and Druchii spies.
    • The Dark Elves have the Black Guard of Naggarond, the personal guard of the Witch-King himself. While the Black Guard don't have the benefit of a god's blessing like their Asur counterparts, they make up for this through being subjected to some of the most brutal training in the Warhammer world. Each potential recruit is taken from their family at birth and thrown into an exceptionally hellish training program from the moment they're old enough to hold a weapon, and indoctrinated to be fanatically loyal to their king. Competition between the trainees is fierce, and often fatal; many don't survive to become full Guardsmen. Each of the Black Guard is expected to give two hundred years of service to Malekith, after which they are guaranteed a privileged position in Naggarond's court. Most don't live to see this reward however. Alongside the Black Guard are the Executioners of Har Ganeth, holy warriors of Khaine who guard his temples. Each one is a cold and brutal killing machine who trains ceaselessly to kill their enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible; ideally with a single strike.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Dark Elf cities bristle with these.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Dark Elves and Skaven are at odds with each other just as much as the "good" factions.
  • Final Battle: Completing the last ritual leads to an attack on the Vortex itself, with the player versus all the other factions rushing to stop them from conquering the Vortex. Noticeably, the player is given the full control of the Vortex, granting two extremely powerful abilities. The player is on the interrupting side should a rival faction complete their ritual first.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Skaven's Screaming Bell, a war machine that helps them to cast their spells. They plan to build a much bigger one to stick inside the Vortex and summon the Great Horned Rat.
  • Frontline General: As with all Total War games, the player is encouraged to keep their Generals (Lords) close to the front lines since doing so gives a buff to nearby troops. Their impressive HP and fighting prowess also means having them take personally part in the fighting is a good idea.
  • Good Versus Good: Well for a given value of "good" anyway. The High Elves and Lizardmen both have more of less the same goal - to restore the vortex and protect the world - but will inevitably come into conflict anyway due to differing views on how to accomplish this. By the end of the Vortex campaign, however this is subverted. As arrogant as they are, it's clear the High Elves are trying to control the Vortex for the right reasons, including protecting the younger races. On the other hand, The Lizardmen want to use it's power to purge and kill everything not in the Great Plan, casting them as a darker shade of grey.
  • The Ghost: As with the first game, numerous characters not (yet) featured in game are mentioned. Some mentions may count as Foreshadowing.
    • Finubar the Seafarer, the actual king of the High Elves, is only ever mentioned. Considering Finubar is a politician instead of a warrior and was never actually playable on the tabletop, this is understandable. His counterpart, the Everqueen Alarielle, also never makes a direct appearance, though unlike Finubar, she was playable on the tabletop and, unusually for an Everqueen, has been known to lead armies to war.
    • Hellebron, the Blood Queen of Har Ganeth and leader of the Cult of Khaine, receives numerous mentions throughout the Dark Elf campaign.
    • In the epilogue of the Lizardmen campaign the infamous N'kari, mightiest of Slaanesh's greater daemons, is referenced.
  • Grim Up North: The Dark Elf realm of Naggaroth, located in the north of the New World, just south of the chaos wastes. It is a desolate, freezing land ringed by black mountains and teeming with vicious monsters. To say nothing of the Dark Elves themselves. Also counts as an example of Mordor.
  • Hero Unit: Legendary Lords, Lords and Heroes return in the same arrangement as in the previous game.
    • Lizardmen
      • Lord Mazdamundi (Legendary Lord)
      • Kroq-Gar (Legendary Lord)
      • Slann Mage-priest (Lord)
      • Saurus Oldblood (Lord)
      • Saurus Scar-Veteran (Hero)
      • Skink Chief (Hero)
      • Skink Priest (Hero)
    • High Elves
      • Tyrion (Legendary Lord)
      • Teclis (Legendary Lord)
      • Prince (Lord)
      • Princess (Lord)
      • Loremaster of Hoeth (Hero)
      • Mage (Hero)
      • Noble (Hero)
    • Dark Elves
      • Malekith (Legendary Lord)
      • Morathi (Legendary Lord)
      • Male Dreadlord (Lord)
      • Female Dreadlord (Lord)
      • Khainite Assassin (Hero)
      • Death Hag (Hero)
      • Sorceress (Hero)
    • Skaven
      • Queek Headtaker (Legendary Lord)
      • Lord Skrolk (Legendary Lord)
      • Grey Seer (Lord)
      • Warlord (Lord)
      • Assassin (Hero)
      • Warlock Engineer (Hero)
      • Plague Priest (Hero)
  • Hungry Jungle: The jungles of Lustria, and the Southlands, cover vast swathes of land, including most of few remaining Lizardmen temple-cities. Almost everything that lives in them are very, very bad to regular people. Living inside are primeval horrors of the time before the Old Ones came to the planet, including savage Tyrannosaurus-esque Dinosaurs that can tear out the throats of dragons, swarms of smaller, yet no less dangerous reptiles that will tear apart humans in mere seconds, and more ancient, sinister monsters that lurk in the swamps. Expeditions into Lustria by mortal powers, usually have extreme mortality rates.
  • Implausible Deniability: When asked about the inclusion of a plague-ridden rat with glowing red eyes at the end of the reveal trailer, the developers answer can be summed up as following: "The rat? It's just a normal rat with nothing weird going on about it at all. It totally has nothing to do with the Ska- I mean the fourth race we have yet to reveal." This is also represented in-game with a "Skaven Denialist" trait. Non-Skaven characters can pick it up for managing a region with high Skaven corruption. It gives a Public Order boost, but also a -16 Leadership penalty if they ever have to confront an actual Skaven army.

     J-P 
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • High Magic, available only to the High Elves and Lizardmen in multiplayer. The lore can heal, buff, has a decent magic missile, two AoE spells (one for flying units and one for ground-based ones) and a direct damage spell for lord and mage hunting. It can't compete with the Lore of Life for healing, the Lore of Heavens or Light or Beasts for buffs and debuffs, Dark Magic or Fire for damage or Death for direct damage, but a wizard with High Magic can do all of the above (if not as well as a more specialized one).
    • The High Elves themselves are this, having an option for everything, alongside a large selection of elites.
  • Lady of War: The High Elves are one of the few races in Warhammer to feature female Generals with their Elven Princesses (who are just as chivalrous and gallant as their male counterparts). They also have several types of female spell casters as hero units.
  • Large Ham: Just like the previous games, most characters really express themselves during diplomacy screen.
    Slaan Mage-Priest: Approach my glorious bulk warmblood!
  • Leave No Survivors: Like in the first game, any battle will often have the victor take prisoner those survivors of the defeated force who could not manage to flee, and it's possible to massacre them. Every faction has unique options when it comes to dealing with prisoners, such as the Dark Elves and Lizardmen sacrificing their victims for bonus experience, or the High Elves forcing their prisoners do hard labor for a bonus to replenishment.
  • Lizard Folk: The Lizardmen, who are a Mayincatec civilization created by the setting's Precursors at the dawn of history. They're also divided into several different types of lizard folk as part of a Fantastic Caste System.
  • Mayincatec: The Lizardmen have this aesthetic, and even inhabit a continent of the Warhammer world geographically analogous to South America.
  • Mle Trois: Free-For-All mode will be making a return to the series since Medieval Total War II. Up to four players can battle each other.
  • Mythology Gag: The description of the "Brave" trait characters can get is "Insane courage! Clearly I rolled a double-one..."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Several:
    • Malekith the Witch King. Even without the Witch King bit his name means "friend of evil".
    • Queek Headtaker. He takes heads... Queekly.
  • Private Military Contractors: Dogs of War finally appear in some capacity, after being absent in the first game. Mostly as Rogue Armies (Such as Mengil's Manflayers, a famous Dark Elf Dog of War crossbow regiment) but the "Intervention Armies" are also described as "mercenaries".
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with city names, of all things. All Elves revere Vaul the Maker, though they disagree on pretty much everything else about their religion, and in something of a Running Gag all of them create temple/industrial cities called Vaul's Anvil in his honor. Thus the Dark Elves and High Elves each have a city with that name in their territory. In Mortal Empires there is a third Vaul's Anvil in Athel Loren under the control of Wood Elves.
  • Our Elves Are Better: Game two introduces the remaining elven factions of the Warhammer world, the haughty but noble High Elves and the bloothirsty, sadistic Dark Elves.
  • Our Mages Are Different: The Winds of Magic return, with the addition of some new lores.
    • High or True Magic, called Qhaysh in the elven language, consists of using all winds together instead of attuning to just one. It is extremely difficult to use, and is flat-out impossible for most races, such as humans, to use without instantly being overwhelmed by Chaos or burning out their own souls. As such, it can only be mastered by beings innately tied to magic such as the Elves and Lizardmen.
    • The Dark Elves meanwhile utilize Dhar, the lore of dark magic, which essentially serves as the Evil Counterpart to Qhaysh. Like high magic dark magic too involves harnessing the winds of magic in their entirety, but unlike its lighter brother Dhar involves forcing the winds into an unstable and chaotic form, sacrificing control and harmony for raw, destructive power.
  • Plot Armor: Legendary Lords (and the leaders of minor factions) can only be killed when their entire faction is wiped out. Otherwise "killing" them results in them becoming wounded and sitting out several turns while they recover. In this game, it's also possible to purchase a skill that gives regular lords this "immortality".

     Q-Z 
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Dark Elves, and Skaven especially love this, being heavily reliant on raiding, and pillaging for their economy. Dark Elves need to gather slaves from looted towns to stimulate their coffers, whilst the Skaven need to gather food to feed their armies, lest they take attrition. Even the non-evil factions, can engage this, with the option to sack and loot cities for additional income.
  • Rat Men: The Skaven, a race of malevolent humanoid rodents who infest the subterranean regions of the Warhammer world,and are constantly at war with the Dwarfs, and the Night Goblins.
  • Rain of Arrows: A common result of facing the High Elves, who have very powerful archers.
  • The Reveal: Once again there's a plot twist in the late game. The twin-tailed comet is fake, and it's actually a Skaven rocket intended to make the other races freak out and pump more magic into the Vortex, destabilizing it while allowing the Skaven to gather the ritual energy in order to bring the Great Horned Rat into the world.
    • Another occurs late in the Dark Elf campaign. It turns out that the assassin who had been aiding Felicion with the ritual the whole game was actually Shadowblade, the greatest of all Khainite Assassins, and who it turns out is actually the brother of the sorceress. Felicion plans to use his blood to complete the final ritual, but Shadowblade has other plans...
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • The current Phoneix King of the High Elves is Finubar the Seafarer, an ardent believer in the cooperation between the various Forces of Order, both militarily and with trade; he lacks almost all of the arrogance that has plagued the High Elf race for so long, and treats the other races with surprising respect. As he is an excellent administrator and diplomat, yet poor at military matters, he's more then glad to defer such things to Tyrion, and always accepts advice from Techlis.
    • Lord Mazdamundi, despite being highly xenophobic when it comes to the younger races, is also very competent, wise, and heeds the warnings of the Skink priest at the start of the campaign, immediately mobilizing all of his armies to the cause of stabilizing the Vortex.
  • Red Baron: A few of the Legendary Lords go by intimidating titles, like The Last Defender (Kroq-Gar), or The Witchking (Malekith).
  • Rousing Speech: The climatic (and much lauded) Quest Battle speeches return from the first game, and are just as hamtastic as before!
  • Savage South: The southern continent of Lustria, covered almost entirely by dense primordial jungle and inhabited by Lizardmen, dinosaurs and countless other hazards. Then of course there are the aptly named Southlands, which feature similar dangers, alongside scorching deserts and dangerous waterways.
  • Sea Monster: Several appear as campaign events (and in treasure hunts) you can also occasionally see one jumping out of the water on the campaign map!
  • Secondary Fire: A handful of artillery pieces, like the Reaper Bolt Thrower, can switch to different modes of fire, that give anti-infantry, and anti-large bonuses, respectably.
  • Scenery Porn: The New World looks every bit as stunning as the Old World, if not more so, thanks to the beautiful lighting, and much improved scenery.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Siege Engines: Somewhat less then the first game, with it being less focused on artillery, but there's still every factions standard siege equipment (Siege Towers and Battering Rams) alongside the Bolt Throwers (which come in two firing modes) available to both the High Elves and the Dark Elves, the twisted engines of destruction available to the Skaven, and the sun powered, dinosaur mounted crystal batteries that the Lizardmen use.
  • Summon Magic: Some Lores of Magic can summon units, but unlike the first game, there also exists the new race abilities, which mainly focus on summoning units on the battlefield to support the main army.
  • Squishy Wizard: Wizards as a whole are very vulnerable to damage, but there does exist a handful of exceptions, such as the Loremasters of Hoeth, Master Swordsman who are equally as deadly with the blade, as they are with magic.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: The basic concept, Ranged beats Infantry -> Infantry beats Cavalry -> Cavalry beats Ranged, is still present but the fantasy nature of the setting has added several more concepts to the equation.
  • Take Over the World: The regional occupation system has been scrapped entirely, and now's it's possible for a faction to take over the entire map. Although, the game pushes this trope to Awesome, yet Impractical, as the game levies rather harsh penalties against your faction for settling in climates that aren't suited for your race.
  • To Win Without Fighting: The confederation option gives you the ability to annex factions of the same race without fighting them. In order to confederate, you'll need a very high diplomatic rating with the faction, and probably need to be significantly larger and more powerful than them as well. There are also downsides to doing this. Confederating with a faction will give you a significant public order and diplomacy penalty that will last several turns. Also, since the AI is terrible at managing provinces, the ones you take over may actually be a temporary drain on your economy, as you might have to scrap several buildings and then fill the slots up from scratch.
  • Tech Tree: Each faction has access to a technology tree, but as a twist, everything faction unlocks its technology in different ways, though unlike the first game, the tree's themselves have been massively expanded.
  • The Siege: Or Storming the Castle, depending on which faction's fighting which. An enduring element of the series that reoccurs here as well. However, in this iteration only provincial capitals can be besieged; the smaller settlements in the province around them not having the fortifications that would make a siege necessary. If an attacking army is willing to spend enough time besieging a provincial capital, they can starve their opponents out, but even if they would rather storm the place spending a few turns besieging can grant them the benefit of being able to build some siege equipment, like battering rams and siege towers, which will help them get past the static elements that favor the defenders. Unlike the previous game, town battles return in a limited form. (You can now see the settlement fully behind your army, but can't interact with it unfortunately
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The announcement trailer somewhat spoils the existence of the Skaven, which we're a closely guarded "secret" for months in the lead up to the games release.
  • A Taste of Power: Like the first game, you're given a small number of upper tier units as soon as you start the game. Like before, you won't be able to recruit them for a good amount of time, so it's best to use them sparingly.
  • That's No Moon!: The Skaven successfully pull this off in a fantasy setting; the twin tailed comet which has galvanized all the other races into war is actually a steampunk Skaven spacecraft built for just that purpose.
  • Underground Level: The game features battlefields in the vast tunnels of the fallen Dwarfen Underway (which only Dwarf, Skaven, and Greenskin armies can regularly access) and when Dwarf Karaks, alongside Skaven ruins, are besieged.
  • The Usual Adversaries: Anytime any faction begins one of the Vortex-influencing rituals, its magical protection will slip, allowing a brief surge of the energies of Chaos leaking into the world. This will cause armies of Chaos Warriors to spontaneously rise up and march toward whomever is channeling toward the Vortex, drawn as they are to the magical power. Alongside the Chaos warbands, stacks belonging to a mysterious Skaven clan (Refereed to as the "Unknown Skaven Clan"), will begin to drop in mass. Anyone seeking to control the Vortex will need to prepare to defend against them, a feat which is complicated by the potential intervention of their rival factions during this time.
  • Units Not to Scale:
    • This is played straight on the campaign map, army leaders will appear larger than cities!
    • Averted, mostly on the battlefield, as units will be on scale with each other, and buildings. Though general units, will always be slightly larger than their men. While it makes sense for the Lizarmen, its pretty jarring seeing Queek being almost as tall as a high elf.
  • Vestigial Empire:
    • The High Elven Empire, which once stretched from Ulthuan all the way to present-day Bretonnia, and had dozens of large colonies scattered all over the known world, is a mere shadow of its former self, having been ripped apart by various wars, the High Elves own pride, and plotting from the Dark Elves and incursions from the many hostile races of the Warhammer universe. Of course, Teclis and Tyrion are trying to change that. And if they get control of the Vortex, they succeed.
    • The Lizadmen Empire once spanned all of Lustria, and composed hundreds of different Temple Cities. After being devastated by the first Chaos incursion, much of what was left of the continent spanning Empire eventually fell into ruin, as the Slann fell into deep sleeps from which many never awakened from. Now only a handful Temple-Cities still stand, and the rest are vine covered ruins waiting to be reclaimed.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: A new system added to Total War Warhammer 2. If you best a Legendary Lord in combat, the winning lord will gain a trait that reflects some of the losers powers. For example:
    • Defeating Karl Franz will make humans fear your lord's army in combat.
    • Defeating Isabella Von Carstein will grant your lord regeneration.
    • Besting Manfred Von Carstein will make your lord's army take less attrition in vampire corruption.
    • Defeating Morathi will grant your lord a higher winds of magic reserve.
    • Defeating Azagh The Slaughterer grants your lord 30% magic resistance.
    • Besting Helman Ghorst grants your lord's army poison attacks.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Continuing a trend from Total War games from at least as far back as Rome: Total War, the best place you can be when two armies are attacking you is between them. In normal military tactics this would be a disaster, but here it means you can simply deploy your entire force within inches of where the enemy reinforcements are coming in and hit them before they have time to form up, causing a very easy rout. This gives the main army a large leadership penalty and makes it even easier to rout them when they finally reach you.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Played straight with the Dark Elves and the Skaven, who need violence to stimulate their economies, and in the case of the Skaven, gather more food supplies. Raiding is just too vital to these factions to play truly diplomatically. Firmly averted with the other factions, though difficult, as one can confederate to get all the settlements needed for their victory condition, and then use their allies to beat back the Chaos Invasion in Mortal Empires. It becomes more complicated in the Vortex campaign though, as one needs to gather ritual resources.
  • Walking Wasteland: Skaven controlled cities are derelict ruins filled with green mist, and blighted land. Many of their battle maps take place is mist shrouded lands covered in crumbling ruins. Dark Elves held lands, on the hand, are dark, snowy plains filled with dead trees, and the occasional volcano, with nothing but the aurora borealis to light the way.
  • Warrior Prince: High Elf lords are referred to as princes or princesses, the former being focused on melee combat, the later, archery.
  • War Is Hell: This is Warhammer we're talking about, though like it's source material, crosses over with War Is Glorious
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Despite the fact the subfactions of the various races should be united in trying to capture the vortex, there's just as much infighting as the previous games. Especially for the Skaven. Storywise, Tyrion hates how, despite having the backing of both the Everqueen, and the Phoenix King, the other High Elf Princes refuse to heed him, and fall underneath one banner. Which results in him forcing them, with diplomacy, or by physical violence.
  • We Have Reserves: A legit, if taxing, method of winning battles is just to drown out the opposing force in waves of cheap infantry. This is the intended place style of the Skaven, as they can field massed hordes of Skaven Slaves, and Clan Rats to overwhelm the enemy, summon even more units of cheap infantry with the many summon options, both on the battlefield and the campaign.
  • World of Ham: Considering this is the result of the hammiest of Tabletop Wargames and the hammiest of PC Grand Strategy franchises joining forces, it should come as no surprise that this game lives and breathes Ham.
  • Won the War, Lost the Peace: After capturing a city, the local population is almost always displeased with the development, and hefty public order bonuses are levied against the player for a handful of turns (which is dependent, in terms how big the penalty is, on the method you used to capture the city. Occupying and Looting will make them despise you.) like all previous Total War games, but in this one, especially it makes even more sense since the occupiers are usually members of a completely different species, leading to revolts and uprisings galore. The second game's climate system adds more to this, some areas are just not worth holding, because they don't match your species habitat.
  • You Call That a Wound?: Like in the first game, Legendary Lords cannot be permanently killed unless you destroy their faction. However in the sequel, regular Lords can now become unkillable, by unlocking the "Immortality" skill, which has the effect of them only being able to be put in a wounded state.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Teclis, Mazdamundi, and Morathi are considered some of the most powerful spellcasters in the entire world, and yet they start out with all but one of their spells locked, with the rest needing an investment of skillpoints to obtain.
  • Your Size May Vary: The scale of the maps of the Vortex Campaign and the Mortal Empires differ somewhat with that of the original map from the lore. Ulthuan is a pretty notable example. In the Vortex Campaign, it's much larger than it really is while also being much closer to Norsca and the Southlands. In the Mortal Empires Campaign, Ulthuan is instead positioned between Bretonnia and Estalia, and the Southlands are a bit further away. Ulthuan is also only slightly smaller than what is depicted in canon.
  • Zerg Rush: The Skaven's hat. Their armies are made of huge numbers of disposable (seriously, they have a quality called "Meat Shield" and are Expendable to boot) Skavenslaves and Clanrats, which are designed to either overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers or hold them in place until the more dangerous Skaven units (Doomwheels, Rat Ogres, Hell Pit Abominations, Plague Monks, Stormvermin) can get around them and lay on the hurt. Universally, Skaven units have higher model counts then the other factions equivalent unit.
    • Unlike in the first game, the "expendable" rule has been rewritten so that units around an expendable unit will not lose leadership as they get slaughtered, encouraging this trope further.

"War is upon us. It is unending."

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/TotalWarWarhammerII