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"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 Ulthuan! From the jungles of Lustria, come the cold blooded Lizardmen! The Skaven stir in vast subterranean lairs! And the sadistic Dark Elf hordes spew forth from Naggaroth! The race is on, and the fate of the world will lay in the hands of the victor!"
The Advisor, Enter the Vortex Trailer
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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, as well as individual DLC packs, will have the option of playing them separately or as a single combined campaign map, the massive Mortal Empires campaign.

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.

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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.

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In the vast sandy expanses of Nehekhara, the Tomb Kings awaken once more from their deep slumber, rising from dry crypts with Settra The Imperishable in the lead to secure their dominance once and for all by going on a quest to find the missing books of Nagash The Undying.

Across the misty seas and the salty ports of Eastern Lustria, The Undead Pirates of The Vampire Coast have had enough of simple plunder and pillaging of the ships and boats sailing the oceans, leading Arch Grand Commodore Luthor Harkon to search for more than mere treasure... for the Star-Metal Harpoon lies in the deeps, a weapon powerful enough to bring the greatest Merwyrm of them all to heel!

Six races, six outcomes, a single goal: control of the magics of the world, for good or ill.

The core gameplay remains relatively unchanged from the first game (functioning more like a massive Expansion Pack then a true sequel), but it contains several new features besides additional races, such as Rites; powerful spells unique to each faction, activatable on the campaign map that provide a myriad of special boons both for the campaign and the battlefield, story focused campaigns for each race centered on the vortex, several new battlefield types, and a host of other changes that improve on the game that came before it.

The second of the trilogy is set in the New World and focuses on the factions of the setting warring against each other for control over the Vortex, as well as to further their own various goals. Playable Factions include the High Elves, the Dark Elves, the Lizardmen, and the Skaven. Two paid expansions added the Tomb Kings and the Vampire Coast to the setting, while other expansions and free add-ons have re-introduced special subfactions of the Empire of Man, the Kingdom of Bretonnia, the Greenskins, the Wood Elves, the Beastmen, and the Dwarfs to the setting.

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

A sequel titled Total War: Warhammer III is set to be released in 2021, which features the Daemons of Chaos (split into Khorne, Nurgle, Tzeentch, and Slaanesh), the Tzardom of Kislev, and the Empire of Grand Cathay.


Total War: Warhammer II contains examples of the following:

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  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • The Skaven fully embrace this trope, utilizing a wide variety of different projectiles, including but not limited to condensed warp lightning and poison gas grenades.
    • Besides their poisonous darts, the Lizardmen fire beams of solar energy, from stone cannons atop dinosaurs!
    • The Tomb Kings top them all, however, as they use their Skull Catapults to throw blazing skeleton heads of energy, as well as agonized souls!
  • 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.
  • Action Girl: Many. High Elves field gallant Princesses, Archmages and Mages, as well as an entire faction led by Everqueen Alarielle with an aid of her Handmaidens. Dark Elves field a lot of badass ladies as well, from Female Dreadlords, Supreme Sorceresses, Sorceresses and Death Hags to faction leaders Morathi, First of the Hag Queens, and Crone Hellebron, High Priestess of Khaine. The Tomb Kings faction in Lustria is led by the badass, yet level-headed, High Queen Khalida. The other undead faction, Vampire Coast, features Female Vampire Fleet Admirals, who are proficient in dark magics, as well as faction leaders Aranessa Saltspire, a very much alive pirate lady from the island of Sartosa, and Cylostra Direfin, a ghost of a Bretonnian opera singer who is also unique for being the first character in the series wholly invented for the game.
  • 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 on 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. They also field an even more powerful version of their grenadiers, the "Death Globe Bombardiers", who are chemical weapons experts.
    • The Dark Elf roster remains mostly unchanged, though they did 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.
    • The Tomb Kings are the most altered faction so far. Creative Assembly created two homebrew units: the Nehekhara Warriors (Skilled soldiers dual-wielding two Khopeshes that serve as aggressive medium infantry), and the Nehekhara Horsemen (Riders who are more well-armored than the fragile Skeleton Horsemen) who fulfill the role of medium-tier infantry and cavalry, respectively. The monstrous Hierotitan and the Legendary Lord Grand Hierophant Khatep, had rules but never had models, which Creative Assembly fixed (the former's design is even based off the popular Maker Studios conversion).
    • The Vampire Coast faction in its entirety. Similar to Norsca, it is a background faction that has been turned into its own full-fledged faction. It derives the bulk of its roster from a White Dwarf custom army list. It also features the Mournguls and Necrofex Colossi from the Monstrous Arcanum supplement from Forgeworld, as well as Count Noctilus and Aranessa Saltspite from Dreadfleet as Legendary Lords. There is even an original Legendary Lord called Cylostra Direfin to round out the roster.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Settra is still the arrogant, and ruthless Lord of the Tomb Kings we all know and love, but he's noticeably a bit more benevolent, examples include him sparing Khatep, who despite being exiled, arrives on time to assist his liege lord against the minions of Nagash, who did so in canon, and was executed for it.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Rodrik L'Anguille's story of being stranded on Lustria, which took place several centuries before Karl Franz's coronation, has been changed so that he arrived only a few months before the Huntsmarshal's expedition. As it turns out, his father, Duke Tudual, is also alive, as well as Rodrik's younger brother, whom his father wants as his successor. The story doesn't elaborate if Tudual has been made Duke of L'Anguille in the Total War games or if Taubert de L'Anguille, who's the duke of L'Anguille during Franz's reign in the source material, is the current duke.
  • 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 World, 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: Not everything translates well from tabletop...
    • The White Lions were downgraded from Elites to mid-tier infantry, a far cry from how they played in the original game. Creative Assembly, at least, justified this by stating they believed the Swordmasters and White Lions would play the exact same role (elite damage-dealing infantry), so downgrading the White Lions would make a new niche for the unit...which had questionable results. The High Elves as a whole got hit by this in the marketing, becoming the punching bag of the trailers.
    • The Slaan Magepriests are severely less powerful then how they were in both the fluff and the wargame, although this also can be attributed to the fact the series put less emphasis on magic than the original game.
      • The same can be said about Teclis.
    • The Temple Guards, while still powerful and possessing a nifty anti-large bonus, no longer outclass other factions' elite-tier infantry. This was partly done to shift the focus of Lizardmen gameplay from the heavy Saurus infantry that dominate their early game into dinosaurs and magic in the late game.
    • The Dark Riders were pretty much the best light cavalry of the tabletop game and one of the best Core units in general. Here they are a mediocre low-level unit. The melee variant in particular considered almost useless.
  • 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 factions (with the average High and Dark elf being able to live for a millennia) Legendary Lords, who are ancient. Lord Mazdamundi for example is tens of thousands of years old.
  • 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). Losing a battle in March stance, after retreating once already, or while garrissoning a settlement similarly destroys the entire army.
  • 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.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Zig-zagged. While the AI always knows what is going on and where all the factions are at all times, it will change its decision-making based on what the player can see. This can also be exploited to some degree, as while certain AI factions will bee-line to settle ruins (even if that faction has never seen that area) they will ignore Skaven settlements despite those also showing up as ruins, so if the player sees a ruin that stays ruined for more than five turns or is being ignored by nearby armies it's likely a Skaven settlement.
  • Alliance Meter: A fairly standard one for the genre, unchanged from the first game, though several new types of AI personalities have been added.
  • 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 still be 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, mainly by the Dwarfs. After a patch, this was reversed with the Dwarfs barely able to hold on by a thread whilst the Greenskins dominate the badlands.
  • 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. Also, unlike the first game, numerous aspects of lore introduced by the End Times are mentioned, implying that it's considered Broad Strokes canon.
  • 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 to be A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • 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. The Queen and the Crone DLC gave the High Elves the Sisters of Avelorn, a unit of all-female archers with magic longbows that fire arrows of magical energy. Wood Elf Bladesingers, added in the Twisted and the Twilight, zig-zag this as while they can be both male and female in the lore they're represented entirely by females ingame.
  • 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...
    • Most Tomb Kings regard their condition as this, as despite having functional immorality, they can't enjoy the simple pleasures of life anymore.
  • Animate Dead: The Tomb Kings raise armies by resurrecting fallen legions of skeletons, though only on the Campaign Map, as unlike the Vampire Counts from the first game, they have no ability to summon skeleton warriors on the battlefield. The Vampire Coast, as expected, can do this too. Clan Moulder even gets in on the act, with one of their top-tier infantry mutations being able to bring dead Skaven back to life.
  • Annoying Arrows: Brutally averted outside of the Mortal Empires mode. Gunpowder is not present among the playable races in the vortex campaign, so arrows alongside crossbow bolts dominate ranged fights.
    • High Elven Archers possess frightening accuracy and range, enough to make their Asrai cousins wary.
    • Dark Elf Dark Shards use repeater crossbows that have unimpressive range but allow them to put out a tremendous amount of armor-piercing damage even in the early game.
    • The Tomb King can field Ushabti with Great Bows which are Monstrous Archers about ten feet tall with enormous bows that have better range and damage than anything else in the game. The missiles are so heavy that they go right through shields the same as artillery. Their Regiment of Renown version, the Chosen of the Gods, fires arrows that explode into shrapnel arrows; it also has the "Shieldbreaker" trait, meaning that said shrapnel arrows will actually lower the shield value of any unit they hit.
  • Another Side, Another Story: The Hunter and The Beast has its Vortex campaign work like this when playing as Nakai. While in normal campaigns, Markus Wulfhart has just arrived in Lustria and only occupies part of the Scorpion Coast whereas Nakai's campaign has the Huntsmarshal's Expedition already occupying a number of settlements all across Lustria.
  • Anti-Cavalry: As is the norm for a Total War game most units equipped with spears, halberds, and pikes will be fairly efficient at killing mounted units, though to shake things up any unit with the "Anti-Large" trait will do well against cavalry as well as monsters. Units that brace will also be able to withstand frontal cavalry charges much better. However, Monstrous Cavalry, such as the Tomb King Necropolis Knights, will be significantly harder to take down even by dedicated anti-large units.
  • 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 parapets on enemy settlement walls are no longer invulnerable and can be knocked down by artillery fire, letting archers follow up and clear the walls more effectively. This only applies to the newer factions, however.
  • Anti-Infantry: Similar to the above, any unit with the trait "Anti-Infantry", will do rather well against infantry units. Monstrous Infantry, and giants, especially, will almost certainly be very good at killing foot soldiers, and other infantry units.
  • 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. The forces of Order are always willing to unite against Chaos!
  • 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.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Most attacks do some form of split between Armor Piercing damage and non-AP damage. The defender gets to roll their Armor value against the attacker's damage, and AP damage gets to skip this step. Most attacks do some AP damage, and some units, like great-weapon infantry or firearm users, get to ignore armor with most of their damage.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Sword of Khaine (otherwise known as the Widowmaker and the Slayer of Gods), doubling as an Evil Weapon. The cursed blade was wielded by the Ax-Crazy Elven God of War Khaine, which he used to fell immeasurably amounts of people . To drive back the first incursion of Chaos, the first Elven king, Anerion, picked up the sword, which granted him power unimaginable...at the cost of turning him into an Ax-Crazy beserker. The May Patch added this in as an in-game mechanic, as it lets Dark Elf, Wood Elf or High Elf players construct the Shrine of Khaine. After which, if ones very desperate (or incredibly stupid), gives the player an option to have one of their generals draw the infamous blade from the shrine, turning them into unimaginably powerful One-Man Army...at the cost of turning them insane, with truly horrible effects mounting on the campaign map the longer the wielder holds the weapon.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The Campaign and Battle AI is generally considered a good improvement over the first game.
    • One particular trick the AI will do is exploit alliances, and they're so good at it that most veteran players will avoid alliances of any kind like the plague. Friendly AI will try to negotiate a military alliance with the player before declaring war on someone they couldn't handle alone, relying on the player to basically win it for them. Hostile AI are even trickier; they won't always declare war on their intended target, but will sometimes declare war on a defensive ally of their intended target. If their real target joins in, great, they got what they wanted. If not, their real target just took a huge diplomatic and reliability penalty and the attacker can now take on the weaker faction without interference from the stronger one.
    • If a player chases an enemy army around long enough near an allied AI's territory without fighting them (because they keep retreating or running around on forced march, for example) the allied AI will eventually send out a small force to attack the offender and pull the player's army in as reinforcements, forcing the enemy into a battle they clearly don't want.
    • Periodically the Skaven will do player-worthy tricks with Menace Below, such as using a Menace Below unit as fodder for a devastating Warp Bomb or placing them in front of your ranged units so they open fire into the backs of your own front line.
    • The AI will tend to leave defensive armies in March stance when they're in a settlement. Why? Doing this removes the chance of gaining a negative trait (Procrastinator, from spending too much time in a settlement with high Public Order) and instead gains a positive one (Taskmaster, from leaving your army in March stance).
    • Two characters cannot occupy the same space, which occasionally allows Heroes to block an enemy hero's or army's passage or landing by standing in just the right spot. Expect the AI to do this a lot, forcing the player to take lengthy side routes to get around the one hero blocking a narrow pass, river ford, or beach.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Despite being considered an improvement, the AI still has its faults.
    • Skaven controlled by the AI have a nasty tendency of using Menace Below nowhere near the enemy troops during battles.
    • AI-controlled Skaven have also occasionally lost battles overwhelmingly in their favor due to extremely poor application of their Warp Bombs, which sacrifice a unit to deal incredible amounts of damage to everything nearby - such as multiple other Skaven units.
    • The siege AI is notoriously bad on defense, giving players a huge advantage when attacking a walled settlement. The reasons for this are multiple. One, the AI will almost never sally forth, meaning they will stand on the walls or in the city and take ranged fire until the player's forces run out of ammunition. Two, the AI's towers will always shoot at the nearest target, meaning a player can park a missile-resistant Lord or Hero in front of one while they knock it down with siege weapons, taking negligible damage. Three, the AI is very slow to abandon the walls, often letting a savvy player break up the AI's force into smaller, easier-to-kill groups. Combine all this and many armies can be easier to fight when they're behind walls than when they're in the field.
    • The battle AI has a very specific problem with it that can make killing Lords and Heroes very difficult. When chasing a Lord or Hero with faster and larger units like cavalry, it's possible for one of those units to get stuck directly behind the Lord or Hero but instead of attacking it keeps trying to move forward. This effectively pushes the enemy Lord or Hero safely off the map using the faster unit's speed.
    • The Spiteful A.I. tendency to focus on the player can result in a faction committing suicide as it may choose to send its armies across the ocean/continent to attack the player, only for their immediate neighbor to take all their now-undefended territory before they get back.
    • Ranged units that get in melee are extremely difficult to get out of melee no matter how many orders you give them. Because units prioritize staying cohesive over everything other than routing, if only a few members of the unit are stuck in melee they're all considered to be in melee and will not use their ranged attacks, instead turning around and charging back in, getting more of them stuck and making it even harder to get them to break off.
    • AI Skaven armies tend to recruit large numbers of Warp-Grinders, extremely specialized wall-breaching troops, and then use them as front-line infantry, where their weak stats, low health, and small model count cause them to fare exactly as badly as you'd expect. While their abilities would make them at least mildly threatening, the AI never seems to use them.
  • 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. Pushing it further, Surthara has a custom AI personality that leads her to recruit lots of chariots as well, and if confederated has both a trait unique to her and a selectable skill that give her large bonuses to chariot use.
    • One of the random names the Vampire Coast name generator could produce is the unintentionally hilarious Dick Half-Mast. Creative Assembly acknowledged this by making Dick Half-Mast the name of a Vampire Coast lord Imrik fights in one of his quest battles.
    • The overview for the units introduced in The Silence and the Fury described the Jabberslythe as "worth as much as a Charlemagne", referencing an infamous statement regarding its omission in the earlier Call of the Beastmen DLC for the first game as due it being "as costly as all the artwork that went into [the Age of Charlemagne DLC for Total War: Attila]."
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: As the warscape engine allows thousands of corpses to persist on the battlefield, it's entirely possible to see your Lord standing on a bloodsoaked body-littered battlefield by the end of the fight.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Monsters return from the first game, with new candidates such as the foul Hydra, rot-spewing Black Dragon, Panther-like Warsphinx, and the purely nightmarish Hellpit Abomination. Behaving exactly like they did previously, monsters can disrupt large infantry formations just be moving over them and rip apart lines single-handedly, though they always carry the risk of being whittled down by enemy fire.
  • 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 Khepra Guard, a Regiment of Renown for the Tomb Kings who dual-wield swords. While it is true that they deal quite a lot of damage and are more durable than Nehekharan warriors, they do not have any shields, which is a great part as to what makes the Tomb Guards so durable during long fights, making them very vulnerable compared to many other late-game units available for the Tomb Kings.
    • White Lions. What's cooler than a regiment of heavily armored Lumberjacks wearing lion cloaks, armed with battle axes? Except they aren't nearly as durable as they appear because they lack shields, occupy an awkward position between regulars and elites, are the same role as Swordmasters yet worse at everything, and aren't effective for their cost. Still awesome looking.
    • Putting Tyrion on his unique Elven Steed. Whilst it's heavily armored and very fast, it downgrades his dueling abilities (and Tyrion unmounted is the duelist lord of the game), and makes him an even bigger target to archers and other ranged attacks.
    • The Dread Saurians are the strongest and biggest unit in the game, being able to take on any other monster and Legendary Lord presented before them. However, in PVP, where funds are limited, they will take up a very good chunk of your gold and they can be easily countered with enough cheaper ranged units or artillery due to how massive they are.
    • Tyrion's Bloodline of Aenarion tree turns him into one of the most destructive melee forces on the planet but it causes factionwide harm to Public Order, even more harm to Public Order in the province he's in, and locks him out of the Defender of Ulthuan tree, which contains some of the best empire-wide bonuses in the entire game. Sadly for any High Elf player not playing Lothern, the AI absolutely loves taking Bloodline of Aenarion and he'll often have it by the time you're able to confederate him, removing the main reason you probably wanted to confederate him in the first place.
    • The Sword of Khaine. Taking it turns any one army into an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction, but causes mounting factionwide penalties that can become insurmountable the longer they go on. While it does make one army basically unbeatable, that army can't be everywhere at once and the rebellions caused by the huge factionwide Public Order penalty will demand more armies that you'll have a harder time paying for with the increased upkeep for all units. Averted in the case of horde factions who don't care about public order, but they have to loot it from an elven faction first making it very hard to get.
    • The Gunnery Mob with Handcannons. What's cooler than zombie pirates with rifles? Zombie pirates with shotguns! Sadly, even though these shotguns do in fact deal more damage than the rifles, they also have a far shorter range, meaning they will be far too close to danger once the enemy is in their sights. At most, they will be able to fire off one or two salvos before being forced into melee and they truly have next to no way of defending themselves then. It's simply just better to have them with rifles due to the far better range provided.
    • Chariots. While spectacular to see on the charge and undeniably effective at their jobs they require a lot of attention to use well, attention that the player can't pay to the rest of their army. They are often considered the most micromanagement-heavy unit in the game and are notoriously easy to lose without constant supervision, so a player has to either ignore the non-chariot part of their army and hope they survive or give the army or chariots to a co-op partner in order to use them to their full effectiveness. They're also expensive to recruit and often have high upkeep as well.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Dark Elves or Skaven being victorious in the single player Vortex campaign spells absolute disaster for the rest of the Warhammer world. If the Skaven win, the Horned Rat himself is brought into the world, eager to consume mortal souls by the millions. If the Dark Elves win, Malekith will absorb the incredible power of the Vortex and make himself a god of the Druchii, and go on to subjugate the entire world with his power. Given the sheer sadistic cruelty of the Dark Elves, a few years under their rule might see the other races begging for the End Times.
  • Badass Army: Hell yes.
    • The High Elves are well equipped and even their levied citizen-soldiers are very well trained. To reflect their intense discipline and mutual support in formation, High Elf units get a damage bonus when their hit point totals are closer to their maximum. Every single High Elf is a decent fighter by necessity and the specialist warriors they field are some of the bravest and most skilled around. They even field powerful Dragons as allies to further enhance the strength of the High Elven Empire.
    • The Druchii are no less skilled in battle than their High Elven foes, and they combine this prowess with a Blood Lust to rival that of the Greenskins and Norscans, being a highly militarised society similar to ancient Sparta. They are the opposite of the High Elves, and get stronger the longer in combat. Attached to their army, they make use of corrupted creatures to increase their armies killing ability.
    • Despite their cowardice, The Skaven get by with single minded zeal to overwhelm the enemy until they lay broken before the Children of the Horned Rat. They make use of their extremely advanced technology when sheer numbers aren't enough, and can deploy Weapon Teams that fire green, warp-lightning that turn anything they touch to ash, or unleash monstrous abominations created with science to wreck enemy formations.
    • Despite having lost most of their temple cities over the long years, the Lizardmen warmachine is still truly a sight to behold. The Saurus are literally bred to be warriors, and it shows: the entire race of them are badass soldiers that can fight off any who oppose the Great Plan. Saurus Warriors are in fact so strong they can trade blows with enemy elites with little effort and exterminate any of the other factions' infantry. They are supported by small, but loyal and nimble, Skink Cohorts who make great use of throwing weapons, and monstrous, primeval beasts that can rip apart lines of warriors.
  • Badass Baritone:
    • Tyrion talks with an authoritarian air and even sterner voice. For a High Elf, at any rate, meaning he's more of a tenor.
    • Mazdamundi's voice is so low, it might as well be an actual toad croaking.
    • Malekith. Good lord Malekith. Doubling as Evil Sounds Deep, nobody in the series speaks with a more menacing, yet utterly badass, voice.
    • Kroq-Gar, while not as thunderously deep compared to Mazdamundi's croaks, still speaks with a throaty, growling voice that perfectly conveys the ancient killing machine he was born to be.
  • Badass Beard: Many of the Tomb Kings sport highly impressive Egyptian styled ones. What they lack in size compared to the Dwarf's, they surely make up for it in style.
  • Badass Boast: "We do not serve, WE RULE!"
  • Beast of Battle: Monsters are used in warfare extensively, and each faction usually has at least one.
    • When the High Elves go to war, they do so alongside Phoenixes, Giant eagles and powerful Dragons, whom they compel to fight in their hosts.
    • The Lizardmen pad their armies with various primeval lizards, most based on Dinosaurs, like the Trex-esque Carnosaurs, Triceratops-esque Stegadons, armored Bastiladons(which can be fitted with a variety of magical artefacts), raptor-esque Cold Ones, Salamanders and Razordons, and the flying Terradons and Ripperdactyls. The most terrifying of these would have to be the Dread Saurian. They usually are used as mounts, or as feral, independent warbeasts.
    • The Dark Elves use corrupted creatures, cruelly trained by their beast masters, like their terrifying Cold Ones, monstrous Hydras and Kharibdyss, and mighty Black Dragons.
    • The Skaven field horrible, twisted abominations that have been strewn together through a mixture of science and magic, and turned into living weapons, like the Rat Ogres, and the Hell Pit Abomination. The Twisted and the Twilight adds even more monsters from the pits of Clan Moulder, such as Brood Horrors and Mutant Rat Ogres.
    • The Tomb Kings monsters are primarily their constructs, but they utilize Undead Vultures as a flying force.
    • The Vampire Coast makes use of a wide range of nautical monstrosities, most notably the Prometheans. They also have access to more traditional vampiric monsters with a piratical flair, including Scurvy Dogs, Mournguls, Deck Droppers (Fell Bats that carry Zombie Pirates in their claws) and the Death Shriek Terrorgheist.
  • The Beastmaster - The Dark Elves have access to literal Beastmasters as Lord options. This is also the gist of Clan Moulder, given their penchant for creating and mutating horrible beasts of war.
  • Behemoth Battle - Some of the aforementioned monsters have special animations if they are fighting each other, and all this while surounded by insane amounts (as for video games) of regular soldiers who can be trampled just accidentaly when one monster throws another somewhere.
  • The Berserker: Total War Warhammer II introduces a new mechanic called "Rampage", 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 were 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 conflict, 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, Lizardmen and Tomb Kings all sport some very ornate armour among their ranks. The Skaven are the only ones who don't really indulge in this.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The "Blood for the Blood God" DLC turns this practically Up to 11. Previously bloodless battlefields become filled with torn up corpses, gallons and gallons of blood, and ripped up limbs. It also adds a dismemberment system to the game, and makes the monster kill moves a thousand times more disgusting.
  • 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.
  • Bodyguarding a Badass:
    • The Lizardmen Temple Guard are the strongest and most disciplined Saurus Warriors in any temple city. They're warriors who are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old 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 on 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 two-handed battle axes and acting 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.
  • Boring Yet Practical:
    • High Elf armies' bread and butter units are the Lothern Sea Guard. 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 for in sheer practicality, being highly-skilled archers that are also excellent in melee, and can counter traditionally archer-killing cavalry because they wield anti-large spears. With Sea Guard, 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 a lot of them.
    • High Elf Spearmen. Good discipline, mixed with good staying power alongside their powerful Martial Prowess bonus, make for a sturdy unit that will be the core of your army if you need proper staying power. In the same vein, Dark Elf Dreadspears and Dreadswords also count.
    • For their Dark Elf counterparts, Darkshards with shields can deliver a devastating punch with their crossbows while possessing enough armor to withstand return fire, can have their range improved with research, and because their bolts are armor-piercing they only become more useful as a campaign progresses. For all that, they're relatively cheap and quickly available. They can perform a crucial role in a Dark Elf army at any stage of the game.
    • Skaven Slaves. Just like Zombies, there's nothing better for soaking up fire and charge damage, but they won't be winning any battles soon. With how cheap, numerous, and expendable they are they make a great tarpit for enemies to get stuck in while your weapons teams rip them apart, and because they're just skaven slaves nobody cares how many of them die.
    • When it comes to Lizardmen, Saurus Warriors will always be the go-to unit, being a borderline Game-Breaker. Available very earlier on, Saurus will wreck any other faction's equivalent unit, and beyond, being capable of trading blows with other armies' elites. They also posses the Enrage mechanic, which causes them to become Unbreakable at the price of the player not being able to control them. Whilst Temple Guard may look cooler, Saurus remain competent and highly useful throughout the entire game.
    • Zombie Pirate Gunnery Mobs with Handguns are a staple of Vampire Coast armies. They're not that strong for gunpowder units, and an individual zombie couldn't hit the fattest part of an obese Slann at fifty paces, but you get a lot of them per unit and all that gunfire is armor-piercing. Groups of them are a serious threat to anything in the game without a lot of shielding or missile resistance.
    • In general, all lower-tier units will have roles to play throughout the entire campaign.
  • 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.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Dark Elf Shades are armed with crossbows and swords, and their high proficiency with both make them some of the most versatile and effective units in the game. Dwarf Quarrellers also fill this roll well, armed with crossbows as well as either 2-handed axes or a one-handed ax and shield combo. The Ax and shield option gives them a huge advantage in shootouts with enemy ranged units, while great weapons make them effective against armored enemies in melee combat.
  • 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.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: A very effective tactic in the mid game is to offer large sums of gold to factions of the same race, to get them to confederate with you. Which means you can quickly knock off many locations on your victory conditions. It's easy, and expansion without conquest. It's far easier to do, if you already maintain good relations with them, and as plus you automatically gain control over all their armies and lords. This becomes practically necessity in the Vortex campaign, as you need to expand as fast as possible to maintain steam in the race for the Vortex.
  • 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.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Cylostra Direfin is the second original Legendary Lord added to the trilogy after Sarthorael the Everwatcher in the first game; Sarthorael is playable in custom battle.
    • The High Elf Princess, Red Crested Skink Chief, Warlock Master, Huntsman General and Ancient Kroxigor are original Lord choices by CA. Though both the Princess and Huntsman General can be seen as Decomposite Characters, with the former merely being a Distaff Counterpart to the Prince and the latter being a differently equipped version of the Empire General.
  • Casting Gag: This is not the first time Iwan Rheon has played a sadistic torturer of men and animals alike.
  • Chokepoint Geography: As in the original game the campaign map is full of choke points caused by rivers and mountains which affect how defensible certain settlements are. The ability of the Skaven to avoid these ensures that they are a plague that is difficult to defend against and hard to catch.
    • A new addition is Chokepoint Maps for battles which have an obstruction, usually a gorge, that blocks the middle of the map except in a one or two places. Unfortunately Artificial Stupidity means that the AI is not so great at fighting on these maps.
  • 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.
  • 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 lets them periodically spawn entirely new units of clanrats, which can be placed literally anywhere on the battle map.
      • The Clan Skryre subfaction arguably qualifies as a Game-Breaker faction in the campaign. Their collection of weapon teams completely outmatch anything their neighbors can throw at them, and they receive reduced upkeeps for them to boot. With the economy up and running from the easy headstart, Skryre players can then build multiple armies comprised of multiple weapon teams protected by a solid frontline of Stormvermins. Such a combination is pretty much unbeatable by most A.I-controlled armies. Since the A.I is programmed to charge when they are being attacked by something out of range, which the Skavens have plenty of, it's laughably easy to lure the entire enemy army into your ranged firing field. If the Skaven army isn't strong enough for you, their ability to spawn Clanrats everywhere gives them an easy counter to enemy ranged and artillery units. If even that's not enough, Skavens also have access to literal nukes that can obliterate several units with a well-placed shot. Fortunately, an A.I-controlled Skyre faction don't know how to make use of these cheesy tactics, so they are still manageable by human players.
    • The Lizardmen: A Brute/Guerrilla faction. Lizardmen have a wide array of very heavy hitters, including their supremely powerful Saurus 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 their 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, and you have a truly formidable force.
    • The Tomb Kings: A Spammer/Technical/Gimmick faction. The Tomb Kings are one of the most powerful defensive factions in the game, alongside the Dwarves. They have access to hordes and hordes of hardy, if offensively weak, skeleton infantry which can hold enemies in place for long periods of time, whilst their more powerful and fast units, such as horsemen and their various constructs, move in for the kill. They make heavy use of their lores to further support their skeletons and make them last longer (whose sustainability is enhanced even further with their battlefield mechanic: Realm of Souls). Unlike the Vampire Counts, they do have archers and powerful artillery, which let them turtle even more. Tomb Kings also notably have no upkeep on any of their armies, only being allowed to field a limited amount of most units until you construct buildings or research technology to allow them to field more. This makes Tomb Kings armies almost completely expendable as they can simply raise it back up for free a few turns later, making Tomb Kings threat being directly proportional to how much territory they have.
    • The Vampire Coast: A Spammer/Ranger faction. The Vampire Coast are very reliant on being able to quickly summon hordes of cheap infantry and a few monsters to support their waves upon waves of cost-efficient and plentiful gunners on the field with most of their melee units being mainly used in order to keep their the foe bogged down and open for bullets and cannonballs. They may not be as accurate as Dwarfs, Humans and Elves, but they make up for this weakness by drowning their foes in a far bigger hail of projectiles than anyone else can muster.
    • The Rogue Armies are non-playable Gimmick factions that are totally focused on one particular tactic or theme. For instance: only cavalry, only units that fit a pirate theme, only monsters, hilariously impractical amounts of artillery, and so on.
  • Competitive Balance: A notable case that makes the game mechanics rather difficult to discuss since the campaign and the versus mode use the same factions and units but are balanced completely differently. This can result in units or tactics that are a Game-Breaker in one being nearly useless in the other due to number tweaks or rules variations. The fans of the game know this though, and arguments between campaign players and versus players are fairly rare.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In a game this complex, it's inevitable.
    • When it comes to casting magic in battle the AI has an uncanny ability to dodge and avoid offensive spells. Moving the target unit out of harms way the instant a spell is cast. Its own spells meanwhile always strike with impossible accuracy to devastating affect. The same problem exists for artillery; when a players artillery fires on the enemy, they have a very annoying ability to reform, and skirt away from most of the splash damage. Thankfully, both these AI quirks have been fixed... somewhat. They still do both of these things during siege battles.
    • A lot of the adversity of from the Very Hard and Legendary battle difficulties lie in how AI units will secretly get free bonuses to their charge, reload speed, and melee attack, defence and damage (also leadership, but this is not a secret and clearly indicated from mousing over enemy units' leadership bar's breakdown). Being bonuses that are in many ways beyond even a maximum-rank lord who's invested as many skill points as they can into improving their army (after all, there's not many ways to improve ranged infantry units' melee-relevant stats), this tends to lead to most factions' players heavily relying on ranged units and artillery whenever possible to damage and break the enemy so as to avoid tangling with disproportionately-powerful enemy melee units anymore than the player has to.
    • After the Empire overhaul, Reikland and The Golden Order can no longer confederate Marienburg, but they forgot to remove the AI's ability to do this. Similarly, AI-controlled Reikland and Golden Order can still make alliances with minor Empire factions as normal, something the player can't do.
    • The AI reads your inputs on the battle map. This is most visible with archers - if you charge their archers they will turn and run, but if you ever stop targeting that specific unit, even if it's just to attack the one next to it, the unit not being attacked will stop running and shoot at you until you're just about on top of them. The player doesn't have access to information regarding which unit is being targeted the same way the AI does, and the player's version of Skirmish Mode is much less useful than the AI's moves.
    • Units will try their hardest to remain cohesive, focusing on a single enemy unit, maintaining their ranks as best they can, and moving as one. The AI sometimes gets to ignore this; in tight formations like gun lines it's not unusual for a single enemy cavalry or chariot unit to split itself among 3-4 of the player's units keeping them all simultaneously stuck in melee. The player's own units never do this. Rarer, routing enemy units will sometimes split up and try to flee to opposite edges of the map, making chasing them down to finish them off nearly impossible.
    • To avoid the pitfall of enemy armies suffering so much damage from attrition that fighting them becomes always trivial (and because enemy armies are extremely bad at fighting attrition in general), AI gets massive reduction to the damage they take from attrition (from a 33% reduction on Easy, to a 80% one on Legendary). It has the flipside of making attrition (and, by extension, Chaos and Vampire corruption) almost useless for the player.
    • The AI will beeline for settlements with weak garrisons even if they've never seen that region before, but the player needs to get somewhat close to a settlement to see what its garrison is.
    • AI Legendary Lords get their unique equipment immediately, for free, the instant the mission to acquire them would normally unlock, foregoing the battle players have to fight. This can make certain Legendary Lords utterly obnoxious due to having powerful items normally gated behind difficult battles.
    • AI-controlled Bretonnian factions ignore the Peasant Economy. It's not unusual for them to field hundreds of peasant units, including armies of nothing but peasant bowmen, despite the fact this should cripple their income. They also automatically fulfill their troths and vows based on their level.
  • 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.
  • Cosmetic Award: After all the effort the player goes through to win the Vortex Campaign such as taking Ritual Resource Sites, Enacting the Rituals, and having to fight off hostile neighbors and interventionists when the rituals are underway and when victory is imminent from having directly tapped into the vortex itself from completing all the rituals, it's only natural for them to expect getting some powerful and permanent factionwide bonuses in the postgame after winning the final battle. Sadly, the only reward in this case is having unlocked all of the cinematic cutsecenes for the selected race as taking control of the Vortex confers no benefits whatsoever to the victor. This was fixed in a later patch.
  • 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. It seems wasteful to be denied getting control of them but it address the potential problems of going beyond your hero capacity limit and getting heroes who wasted their skill points on poor selections.
  • 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" victory. Laying down one of these despite being outmatched nets you the rare and coveted "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.
  • 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.
  • Dark Fantasy: Just like the first game, though Creative Assembly made its color power palette so bright it resembles High Fantasy in art direction more.
  • 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 were noted to be of very low quality). As a result many units were given an extensive redesign, playing up their bestial saurian aesthetic.
  • Deal with the Devil
    • Morathi's faction, The Cult of Pleasure, spreads Chaos Corruption in every province that they control. While this helps to discourage enemy attempts at invading and annexing your territories, anyone who is not okay with chaos is now going to hate you even more for it.
    • There are some unique Landmarks that are very valuable as they provide significant bonuses for the local region and to your faction. The catch is that these buildings will also spread corruption at a high rate.
    • The Sword of Khaine is an insanely powerful weapon that, given to the right lord, will turn them into a one-man army that can butcher entire hordes single-handedly. The catch is that everyone in the world, including your own settlements, will gradually turn against you.
  • 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.
  • Decapitated Army: If an armies Lord is killed, all units, bar a few special ones, lose an increasing amount of morale, until they eventually route. Noticeably, High Elves get a debuff as they lose numbers and their leaders which further decreases their leadership and stats, furthering the process along.
  • 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.
  • Dem Bones: Tomb King units have this general aesthetic, but unlike the Vampire Count ones, who have a gothic look, the Tomb Kings are Egyptian skeletons.
  • 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...
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Chameleon Skinks may lack the raw killing power of other missile infantry, like Death Globe Bombardiers or Darkshards, and they can barely hurt armoured enemies on their own. However, they fire poisoned blowpipe darts that give their targets significant debuffs, allowing other Lizardmen units to take them down quickly and efficiently. On top of that, they are quick on the move, camouflaged when out of combat, difficult to target with missile weapons and able to hold their own in a melee against lower-tier infantry, making them an excellent support unit and a nightmare for the enemy to take down, bordering on Demonic Spiders.
    • The Bloated Corpses of The Vampire Coast, the first suicide bomber of the series. While it is true that they are cheap and can be taken down very easily by getting them stuck on a single unit, casting a spell on them or firing less than volley of projectiles at them, it doesn't remove the fact that they can singlehandedly wipe out even the toughest of Elite Mook squads if allowed to get in close enough for the detonation.
    • Lord Kroak. Due to the fact that he is such a big target and not too durable against sustained fire, it can be difficult to keep him alive against skilled players. However, if one can manage to bunch up enough enemies, then he can blast apart several squads at once with a single Deliverance of Itza.
    • Before the Greenskin update added Imrik and the Knights of Caledor, Nagarythe was the hardest of the High Elf factions to get started with due to their terrible starting position. They're surrounded by aggressive, expansionist enemies, one of whom spreads huge amounts of Chaos corruption, and they start in a tax-poor region, which is a problem because High Elf units are expensive. They also consider Ulthuan's climate 'Unpleasant' which means they don't get as much of an economic boost from confederating other High Elf factions. Survive their rough early start and get the economy stable, however, and you get to combine the High Elves' extremely powerful unit roster with the Underway movement mechanic and the chance to ambush on attack normally reserved for Skaven and Beastmen, creating armies that can ambush and kill almost everything and run away from almost everything else.
    • The Skaven. As a faction they have more unique mechanics than any other, having to keep track of Loyalty and Food while managing both regular settlements (which they can settle at any level they choose if they have the Food for it) and Undercities, and many of their factions (Skryre, Eshin, Moulder) have additional mechanics on top of that. They also have a rather difficult-to-master unit roster, using tons of expendable chaff backed by powerful specialists and unit summoners to summon even more chaff. Get on top of everything, though, and you can easily see why people accuse them of being a Creator's Pet as they are one of the most powerful, versatile, and effective races in the game.
  • 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.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Casket of Souls in a Tomb Kings campaign. Effectively the only requirement is having 5,000 gold to spend (which can easily be accumulated by the start-of-campaign warmup missions), and you can give any army an endgame artillery piece that acts as a huge force multiplier and will devastate early enemies.note 
  • 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.
    • If you're in the lead in the Vortex Campaign, you can find yourself being attacked by at least seven or more interventionist doomstacks when you begin a ritual. But if you're falling behind, like say that you're in third place and completed the third ritual, the game will give you a break by spawning far fewer doomstacks (probably around three of them) when you begin a ritual.
  • 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 by sacrificing the Grey Seer Clan instead.
  • Downloadable Content: As expected from a Total War title.
    • For FLC: Mortal Empires, The Laboratory, Tretch Craventail, Steps of Isha, Alith Anar, Lokhir Fellheart, Tiktaq'to, Gor-Rok and Gotrek and Felix, Repanse de Lyonesse, Imrik.
    • For DLC: Blood for the Blood God 2.0, Rise of the Tomb Kings, The Queen and the Crone, Curse of The Vampire Coast, The Prophet and the Warlock, The Hunter and the Beast, The Shadow and the Blade, The Warden and the Paunch, The Twisted and the Twilight, The Silence and the Fury.
  • Dummied Out: An odd case for the Lizardmen who have two units that were previewed but still do not exist in the actual game: Temple Guards with Maces (appeared in the Prophet and the Warlock trailer) and Temple Guard Horned One Riders (in a gaming magazine preview).

     E-I 
  • 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 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, Skaven and Vampire Coast, 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.
  • 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.
    • The Shield of Civilization returns in Mortal Empires.
  • 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. There's also the illustrious "Regiments of Renown". Beefed-up variants of existing units with unique appearances (including weapons, armor, and colors), stats, and special abilities, you can only recruit one of every type, and the Lord who does needs to be a certain level. Recruiting them is also done in a special menu, on the fly, making them sort of an equivalent of the mercenary feature found in previous Total War games.
    • 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. They have singlehandedly hold off enemy charges, and slaughter monsters like nobodies business. 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 special abilities, which you can only access through special missions.
    • 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.) With the 'Shadow and Blade' come the Eshin Triads, elite assassins who provide a more stealthy elite option.
    • 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.
    • The Tomb Kings have not only the Tomb Guard, mummified elite soldiers clad in golden and bejeweled armor and weapons who to this day still keep all the skill and discipline that they had in life, but they also have upgraded versions of most other units called Legions of Legends, which are basically an even stronger version of Regiments of Renown (which the Tomb Kings have as well) that can only be used in the campaigns, much like The Blessed Spawnings of The Lizardmen.
    • The Vampire Coast has the Depth Guard, fully armored vampires bearing either dual boarding axes or halberds. They come in smaller groups than most elite units (their unit count is roughly around the same as the Aspiring Champions of the Warriors of Chaos) but make up for it by having not only incredible damage, but also "The Hunger", a trait that allows them to rapidly regenerate health as long as they are in combat.
  • Embedded Precursor: The Mortal Empires campaign includes all the content from the first game for the relevant factions, including chapter objectives and quest battles. Effectively allowing you to play those campaigns again on an expanded map with new features.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Event Flag: A prominent one in the vortex campaign: Every time you start a ritual you summon several armies of chaos warriors, Norscans, and even Skaven who immediately set out to ruin the ritual and your day. Justified as manipulating much raw magic attracts the legions like moths to a flame.
  • 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 leave highly visible white lines behind them as well.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The Lizardmen in a nutshell.
  • Evil Genius: Clan Skryre, represented by their unique Forbidden Workshop mechanic that allows them to upgrade their specialty units (Doomwheels, Doom Flayers, and Weapon Teams), unlock exclusive Regiments of Renown, and stockpile Warpstorm Doomrockets.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Dark Elf cities bristle with these.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Dark Elves and Skaven are at odds with each other just as much as the "good" factions.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Clan Skryre has access to the Warpstorm Doomrocket, which is a one-use army ability that can devastate the battlefield, and the Doomsphere, an immensely powerful warpstone bomb that can destroy any settlement it is constructed below.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Fitting, as it is a Total War game.
    • The High Elves are a mix of Ancient Athens, as well as bits of the British Empire mashed together.
    • The Dark Elves are loosely based on Ancient Sparta (which contrasts very well to the High Elves Athens), with tinges of the Barbary Coast.
    • The Lizardmen are obviously inspired by the Aztecs and the Mayans, with obsidian tipped war clubs, and Human Sacrifice aplenty.
    • The Skaven are Those Wacky Nazis, but rats, and the technological level of the German Empire around World War I.
    • The Tomb Kings are very Ancient Egyptian, styled after the famous New Kingdom era to be more specific.
    • The Vampire Coast are clearly inspired by the Buccaneers and Privateers that plagued the Caribbean in the seventeenth century, but vampires and zombies!
  • Feathered Serpent: The Lizardment have access to Coatls as their highest-tier flying units.
  • 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.
    • As for The Tomb Kings, they instead have a massive battle over control for The Black Pyramid of Nagash.
    • The Vampire Coast, having other goals in mind, instead have to battle Lokhir Fellheart under the seas for control over the Star-Metal Harpoon that will bring mastery over Amanar.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: The Skaven 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.
  • From Bad to Worse: Skarsnik, Queek Headtaker, and Belegar Ironhammer are all in a three-way race to capture Karak Eight Peaks, since all of them need it to enable their faction to be fully effective. It's possible in Mortal Empires for Black Crag to confederate the Crooked Moon Mutinous Gits, who start out in control of Karak Eight Peaks. If they do, now those three competitors have to go to war with a major faction at a large disadvantage to get the city they need.
  • 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, unless they're a caster lord anyway...
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: For all their bickering and grudges, Dwarfs are all loyal to the High King and are all members of the Karaz Ankor. Additionally, if two Dwarf holds ever did go to war, the way they handle grudges ensures that such a war would never end until both holds are totally wiped out. As such, barring unusual situations with defensive alliances (usually involving the Border Princes) Dwarf factions will never declare war on each other.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Various inter-race factions will declare war on one another if given the opportunity, even in races where this is more a rarity than anything such as the Lizardmen or High Elves (who only fight other High Elves in Tyrion's Sunfang quest as the result of falsehoods told by a cabal of jealous princes). Inviting other factions to join wars against you if they hate you enough can result in things like High Elves cooperating with the Dark Elves, who are normally their archenemy. Most infamously, the Dwarfs and Skaven will very often be extremely close allies, because they both are at war with the Greenskins.
    • A relatively minor and cosmetic one for Hellebron - a major aspect of her lore is that after each Death Night she emerges from the ritualistic blood baths rejuvenated to her youth. Despite the Death Night being her core Campaign Map mechanic and the flavor text for the buffs it confers suggesting otherwise, Hellebron's model will always retain the appearance of her old crone form regardless of how many Death Nights the player initiates.
    • Even if you complete the quest chain to restore Luthor Harkon's mind, his dialogue and animations remain the same as before, meaning he will still talk and act in a crazed fashion.
    • Factions will like you if you attack their enemies. Factions that like you can offer and will accept treaties. While factions that naturally dislike each other have an Aversion stat, this is usually not very large and can usually be easily overwhelmed if you're in a prolonged war with their enemy or if you're performing a ton of hero actions against that enemy. This can lead to weird situations where archenemies (Greenskins and Dwarfs, High Elves and Dark Elves, Norsca and the Empire, Skaven and anybody) can become close allies.
  • 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. Alarielle was eventually made fully playable as DLC
    • Hellebron, the Blood Queen of Har Ganeth and leader of the Cult of Khaine, receives numerous mentions throughout the Dark Elf campaign. And she eventually became a Legendary Lord in her own right.
    • In the epilogue of the Lizardmen campaign the infamous N'kari, mightiest of Slaanesh's greater daemons, is referenced.
    • 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. With the Vampire Coast expansion, he finally became playable.
    • Nagash, even before the Tomb King expansion the pyramid of Nagash was on the map. Naturally playing as the Tomb Kings drops a lot more references to the Great Necromancer.
  • Ghost Pirate: The Vampire Coast, though the majority of their units are corporeal undead (zombies) with only a few ghosts in the form of Syreens and Mournguls. Played completely straight with Cylostra Direfin, who is called the Siren of the Storms and can summon ethereal Bretonnian Knights.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Vampire Coast's Prometheans, monstrous crabs come in two variants: the blue Rotting Prometheans that bear zombies on their backs and the massive red Rotting Leviathans that bear shipwrecks as makeshift howdahs. The former act as monstrous cavalry, while the latter are the size of Arachnarok Spiders. Aranessa Saltspite and Cylostra Direfin can take the former and latter as mounts respectively.
  • Good vs. 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.
  • 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)
      • Tehenauin (Legendary Lord)
      • Tiktaq'to (Legendary Lord)
      • Nakai the Wanderer (Legendary Lord)
      • Gor-Rok (Legendary Lord)
      • Oxyotl (Legendary Lord)
      • Lord Kroak (Legendary Hero)
      • Slann Mage-priest (Lord)
      • Saurus Oldblood (Lord)
      • Red-crested Skink Chief (Lord)
      • Kroxigor Ancient (Lord)
      • Saurus Scar-Veteran (Hero)
      • Skink Chief (Hero)
      • Skink Priest (Hero)
      • Skink Oracle (Hero)
    • High Elves
      • Tyrion (Legendary Lord)
      • Teclis (Legendary Lord)
      • Alarielle (Legendary Lord)
      • Alith Anar (Legendary Lord)
      • Eltharion the Grim (Legendary Lord)
      • Imrik (Legendary Lord)
      • Prince (Lord)
      • Princess (Lord)
      • Archmage (Lord)
      • Loremaster of Hoeth (Hero)
      • Mage (Hero)
      • Noble (Hero)
      • Handmaiden (Hero)
      • Hand of the Shadow Crown (Hero)note 
    • Dark Elves
      • Malekith (Legendary Lord)
      • Morathi (Legendary Lord)
      • Crone Hellebron (Legendary Lord)
      • Lokhir Fellheart (Legendary Lord)
      • Malus Darkblade (Legendary Lord)
      • Rakarth (Legendary Lord)
      • Male Dreadlord (Lord)
      • Female Dreadlord (Lord)
      • Supreme Sorceress (Lord)
      • High Beastmaster (Lord)
      • Khainite Assassin (Hero)
      • Death Hag (Hero)
      • Sorceress (Hero)
      • Master (Hero)
    • Skaven
      • Queek Headtaker (Legendary Lord)
      • Lord Skrolk (Legendary Lord)
      • Ikit Claw (Legendary Lord)
      • Tretch Craventail (Legendary Lord)
      • Deathmaster Sniktch (Legendary Lord)
      • Throt the Unclean (Legendary Lord)
      • Ghoritch (Legendary Hero)
      • Grey Seer (Lord)
      • Warlord (Lord)
      • Warlock Master (Lord)
      • Master Assassin (Lord)
      • Assassin (Hero)
      • Warlock Engineer (Hero)
      • Plague Priest (Hero)
      • Eshin Sorceror (Hero)
      • Packmaster (Hero)
      • Chieftain (Hero)
    • Tomb Kings
      • Settra the Imperishable (Legendary Lord)
      • High Queen Khalida (Legendary Lord)
      • Grand Hierophant Khatep (Legendary Lord)
      • Arkhan the Black (Legendary Lord)
      • Tomb King (Lord)
      • Tomb Prince (Hero)
      • Liche Priest (Hero)
      • Necrotect (Hero)
    • Vampire Coast
      • Luthor Harkon (Legendary Lord)
      • Count Noctilus (Legendary Lord)
      • Aranessa Saltspite (Legendary Lord)
      • Cylostra Direfin (Legendary Lord)
      • Male Vampire Fleet Admiral(Lord)
      • Female Vampire Fleet Admiral (Lord)
      • Vampire Fleet Captain (Hero)
      • Gunnery Wight (Hero)
      • Mourngul Haunter (Hero)
      • Damned Paladin (Hero)note 
  • Human Sacrifice: The unique mechanic of the Cult of Sotek. Tehenauin believes that with enough sacrifices, Sotek will return. On the campaign, his faction will have a series of unique missions that unlock new forms of sacrifice. As Tehenauin and his followers win battles against non-Lizardmen armies, they can choose to mark their captives as Sacrificial Offerings. Completing the highest level of sacrifice allows Tehenauin to evoke Sotek himself on the battlefield.
  • 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.
    • However, after fighting said Skaven army, they instantly lose the trait. It is hard to deny the scurrying horde when directly confronted with it.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: Two "furry" factions so to speak, are featured.
    • The Skaven, anthropomorphic rats who live underground, constantly squabble, are disease-ridden, and don't attack anything bigger than them without having a 10-1 numerical advantage. They also reproduce like crazy and the albinos or big ones get special treatment. One of their war-machines is a giant exercise wheel with guns.
    • The Lizardmen are aloof, stubborn and set in their ways, though not strictly speaking Abhorrent.
  • Irony: Bretonnia is the only major player to really dip into foreign campaigning, having four factions that start in foreign territory to most other factions' one. You'd expect them to be amazing at campaigning, but they're actually well-known from the first game for having the worst campaign skills, having almost no options for casualty replenishment or upkeep reduction.

     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. You need powerful cavalry? Dragon Princes. Offensively powerful infantry? Swordmasters. Defensively strong infantry? There's not much better then Phoenix Guard. Archers? Seaguard. Monsters? Dragons. High Elven units also tend to get more versatile rather than more specialized as they increase in tier and they have the most hybrid units of any faction, letting the same unit fill multiple roles. The High Elves can counter anyone, with their only main weaknesses being how expensive it is to field an army and how slow they are to recruit them.
  • Kaiju: The Dread Saurian, a monstrous dinosaurian reptile that is described as the largest unit in any Total War game to date.
  • Knightly Lance: The primary weapon of High Elf Knights, though the Dark Elves wield some, which is more of a Black Knight version of this trope. The Damned Bretonnian Knights available to Cylostra Direfin also fit this trope.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: As in previous Total War games, factions who are about to lose, or know they will an lose upcoming fight will offer a ceasefire, usually with the added bonus of gold or some other incentive. Players can accept or turn them down, and the latter is usually the better option, as keeping on the offensive will eventually remove a threat from the race for the Vortex or the world of Mortal Empires. Unfortunately, players can't really pull this since computer factions will never accept a ceasefire from you if you're in a weaker position than them, because they hate you and want you dead.
  • 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, with Archmages and Mages being lord and hero choices respectively. Dark Elves, fittingly, also feature several female Generals and heroes, from melee fighters such as Female Dreadlords and Death Hags to magic casters such as Supreme Sorceresses and Sorceresses. There are also entire subfactions of these races being led by lady leaders, with High Elven Everqueen Alarielle and Dark Elven Hag Queen Morathi and Crone Hellebrone all being playable. Armies of Vampire Coast feature Female Vampire Fleet Admirals as well as faction leaders Aranessa Saltspite and ghostly Cylostra Direfin. Finally, one of the Tomb Kings factions is led by High Queen Khalida, known for her level-headedness and combat prowess.
  • Large and in Charge: The Lords and Heroes are somewhat larger than the normal units, who usually only reach to their chests, making them look like mini giants in comparison. This was done for gameplay reasons, to allow players to be able to pick their general easily from a crowd. Some mods resize the Lords and Heroes to a more believable level.
  • Large Ham: Just like the previous games, most characters really express themselves during diplomacy screen.
    Slann 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Most monster units are surprisingly fast for their size, and can clear the distance between them and the enemy line almost as fast as cavalry. It goes without question that they can tear apart normal soldiers like nobodies business. Special mention goes to Kroqgar mounted on Grymloq, who is one of the most powerful and vicious lords in melee combat, and lighting fast as afforded by such a dangerous predator.
    • Heavy cavalry, is both very fast and devastating on the charge, especially the High Elf Dragon Princes, which combine tankiness, speed, and pure pain.
  • 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.
  • Lonely at the Top: After winning the Vortex Campaign, your faction gets a plethora of powerful factionwide bonuses but also a growing diplomatic pentalty that will eventually cause everyone, including factions of your own race to turn against you. While this allows you to continue the postgame with the goal of conquering the entire world, this makes absolutely no sense when playing as the High Elves and Lizardmen as it would go completely against the lore.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields provide a hefty bonus against missiles when facing oncoming fire. It's usually a wise idea to take shielded unit variants over their unshielded counterparts.
  • Magikarp Power: High Elf Archmage lords start off slow, fragile, and unable to contribute anything to a fight compared to Princes or Princesses. As they gain levels they get progressively more dangerous, however, and at the highest levels are perfectly capable of becoming dragon-riding tanks that can annihilate multiple units of elite troops by themselves without breaking a sweat before diving into melee and killing even more enemies. A low-level Archmage is one of the weakest Lord options in the game, but a high-level one is one of the strongest, especially if they're from a strong school of magic like Fire, Light, or Heavens or if they also have the Incendiary trait.
  • The Magnificent: Many of the game's legendary lords have epithets describing their past heroic deeds. Taken literally by Sigvald the Magnificent, and to absurd lengths by Settra's list of titles: the Imperishable, the King of Kings, High King of Nehekhara, Lord of the Earth, Monarch of the Sky, Ruler of the Four Horizons, Mighty Lion of the Infinite Desert, Great Hawk of the Heavens, Majestic Emperor of the Shifting Sands, and Eternal Sovereign of Khemri's Legions (and that isn't even the full list of Settra's titles).
  • Massive Race Selection: Mortal Empires and Custom Battles have fifteen races available (Empire of Man, Dwarfs, Vampire Counts, Greenskins, Bretonnia, Warriors of Chaos, Beastmen, Wood Elves, Norsca, High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, Skaven, Tomb Kings and Vampire Coast) each with at least two subfactions, some of which play radically differently from the main faction. While all the races are featured in some capacity in the Vortex Campaign, only those introduced in the second game are playable in it (which still means six different options to pick from), with the exception of Markus Wulfhart's Empire faction, Repanse de Lyonesse's Bretonnian faction, Grom the Paunch's Greenskin faction, the Sisters of Twilight's Wood Elf faction, Taurox's Beastmen faction, and Thorek Ironbrow's Dwarf faction.
  • Master of All: Just like in the first game, some factions have units that are effective at everything and have no real weaknesses to exploit.
    • The Vampire Coast Necrofex Colossus. Not only one of the faction's most durable units but also one of its hardest-hitting, being a walking artillery piece that is no slouch in melee either. It's also one of the quicker units in the generally-slow Vampire Coast roster. At half health it even spawns a unit of Deckhands to tie up and annoy whatever is dealing damage to it so it can escape. Its only drawback is the three-turn recruitment time, which can be reduced to two with a technology and further down to one by playing as the Dreadfleet.
    • The Lizardmen Stegadon, for much the same reasons as the Necrofex Colossus. It's a dinosaur with a ballista mounted on it, functioning both as a big stompy monster and the primary Lizardmen artillery unit. While it doesn't spawn its own distraction when its health starts dropping it makes up for this by being easier to recruit, as it's a Tier 4 unit rather than a Tier 5 one.
    • High Elf Sisters of Avelorn are powerful long-reaching archers who inflict magical flaming armor-piercing damage, making them effective against almost everything at range. With the right technologies and leadership traits they're also one of the best melee units in the High Elf roster, often able to stand up to mid-tier infantry and cavalry all on their own. While they're not as 'perfect' as the other two units, since they can't break walls and towers, can't trade well against enemy artillery, and are vulnerable to Lords and Heroes with very high magic resistance, they make up for it by being frighteningly cheap (for a high-tier High Elf unit) and easy to recruit in droves.
  • Mayincatec: The Lizardmen have this aesthetic, and even inhabit a continent of the Warhammer world geographically analogous to South America.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • Free-For-All mode makes a return to the series for the first time since Medieval II: Total War. Up to four players can battle each other.
    • In Mortal Empires, the three-way struggle between Belegar Ironhammer, Skarsnik and Queek Headtaker is fully realised; all three have the major objective of taking over Karak Eight Peaks, each with a unique building chain they can construct there.
  • Mundane Utility: Forts and Gates don't have any income or public order to worry about, which makes them great sanatariums for insane Lords and Heroes, who cause large public order penalties, to recover in. Skaven that take control of a Fort or Gate also gain a region they can raid indefinitely for food without any drawbacks, while Greenskins gain a spot they can park in Raidin' Camp stance to build up without any of the problems that would normally cause.
  • The Musketeer: In Mortal Empires, Imperial Free Company units are armed with swords and pistols. Dwarf Thunderers also fall into this category. They are quite proficient with both long guns and axes, while their heavy armor and shields give them the ability to defeat almost any enemy ranged unit in an open shootout.
    • Averted with actual musket-wielding Imperial Handgunners, whose powerful volleys are counterbalanced by very poor melee stats and armor.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The AI gets to ignore the Reliability system in diplomacy. While factions may be tagged Reliable or Unreliable this doesn't really influence what they do in any meaningful way and they will freely betray treaties or backstab allies without repercussions, especially if the player is somehow involved. While this can get very frustrating for a diplomacy-minded player it also prevents any individual campaign from getting stale for long.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • 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.
    • Arkhan the Black. A lot less intimidating when you figure out he got this name due to his poor dental hygiene turning his teeth black when he was still alive.
  • Nerf: Most items from the first game have been tweaked to be less useful or powerful than they were. Either by tweaking their effect themselves (the Trickerster's Other Bag now only makes nearby enemies more vulnerable to magic damage rather than to all type of damage), or by giving them a limited number of use per batte (The Red Ruby Ring of Ruin, which gave its wielder the ability to launch a fireball every 45 seconds for the entirety of the battle, now allows its owner to fire only four fireballs per fight).
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Lizardmen Kroxigors, which are bipedal crocodile men the size of Ogres. Nakai the Wanderer from The Hunter and the Beast is the most notable example.
  • Ninja: Clan Eshin, who are Ninja Ratmen. In the lore, they actually were taught by actual Ninjas, from the mysterious island nation of Nippon. To reflect this, their high tier units throw shurikens and some of their heroes use actual Japanese names.
  • Nintendo Hard: Even on "Normal" difficulty, you can find yourself falling dangerously behind on ritual resource gathering AND securing the required casting sites for specific rituals.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: The lore points towards the Lizardmen or High Elves as the overall victor of the Vortex Campaign. Otherwise the events of Warhammer III are prevented if the Dark Elves or Skaven were victorious instead.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: For armies, Casualty Replenishment Rate. The higher this is the quicker your units recover their losses and damage from combat, attrition, and enemy activity, and the more you can keep those armies moving and fighting for you instead of sitting around costing you money either in upkeep as they replenish or recruitment from merging and recruiting new units. It also means you can be significantly less careful in battle as long as you make sure to not lose any units completely. While recovery normally caps at 50% per turn, having it over 50% means you can maintain maximum recovery rates even when suffering penalties so it's not pointless to keep raising it.
    • While not quite a stat the algorithm used by the autoresolve defines the entire campaign. Because the autoresolve is how all AI factions resolve battles with each other, small changes and tweaks to the way it determines unit values can lead to sweeping changes across the entire campaign map. Factions that are disadvantaged by the autoresolve will get wiped out early or struggle to get anywhere while factions that are favored in its algorithm will quickly dominate large chunks of the map.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with city names, of all things. In Mortal Empires the High Elves, Dark Elves, and Wood Elves all control settlements named Vaul's Anvil (after one of the only gods they all venerate). The High Elf location is built into a mountain said to be Vaul's original forge, the Dark Elf city contains an artifact said to be Vaul's actual anvil, and the Wood Elf location is ruled by Daith who is said to be Vaul's incarnate in the mortal world.
    • Also averted by the random name generator, especially for factions whose Lords and Heroes typically use a single name only; it's quite possible, even likely, that you'll see two Lords or Heroes with the same name. Doubly so for the High Elves and Dark Elves since their name lists have quite a few names in common with each other.
    • Also averted for the four Vampire Coast Legendary Admirals and two Greenskin Legendary Lords in multiplayer. Because they're unlocked through racial research rather than starting on the map, if both players are playing as that race they can both recruit them at the same time. This can lead to situations like two Trusty Montfords reinforcing each other or Raknik Spiderclaw attacking Raknik Spiderclaw.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Both Elven factions field dragons of varying form, and are easily among the most powerful units in the game.
    • For their own, the High Elves can field three kinds (technically all the same kind just at different stages in life). They dwell primarily in the Dragon's Spine in the Kingdom of Caledor, and the majority of them are in a state of deep hibernation, and can only be roused with great effort. In ascending order of strength, they are the red and hot-tempered Sun Dragons, the yellow and experienced Moon Dragons, and the blue and ancient Star Dragons; all are capable of breathing fire in some form or fashion. They can be independent units or ridden by Elven Princes and Princesses, with Imrik having his own unique dragon mount, Miniathnir. Imrik also has access to unique Dragon Taming quests where he can recruit powerful named dragons after defeating them in battle.
    • The Dark Elves field twisted Black Dragons, which are hatched from eggs stolen from Ulthuan. While not as monstrous or vile as Chaos or Undead Dragons, they are still as cruel and malicious as their masters. Instead of breathing fire, they breath a corrosive poison. They are used as mounts by Dreadlords, and Malekith, Lokhir, and Rakarth have their own personal dragons (Seraphon, Maelstrom, and Bracchus respectively).
  • Our Elves Are Different: 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.
    • The Tomb Kings have their exclusive Lore of Nehekhara, which, unlike the above two, utilizes both the power of dark and light aspects of Nehekharan religion utilizing both brighter protective and darker offensive spells from their gods. The Tomb Kings heavily rely on it to support their undead armies, which fall really fast against an determined offensive.
    • As one would expect for a race so foul, Skaven magic, is divided into two different lores, the Lore of Ruin and the Lore of Plague, and they are as malevolent as the ratmen themselves. Few of their spells do anything but curse the enemy or blow themselves to smithereens. And to further emphasize their refusal to get themselves in any fair fight, Clan Eshin provides skavendom with the Lore of Stealth, a form of Ninja magic that is less about causing major damage like the other two skaven lores, but more based around debuffing the enemy and getting them softened up for sneaky troops to finish the job.
    • The Vampire Coast has access to the Lore of the Deep, a brand new lore that did not exist in the original tabletop game in any form. Being a cross between Necromancy and Murder Water, this school of magic is all about using the deepest horrors of the sea along with ghost and zombies to flush away the enemy through cold waters or undead might.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier : The Vampire Coast has Animated Hulks, zombified ogres that have parts of sea creatures sewn into their corpses. They mark the first appearance of Ogres in the trilogy. The updates that came with The Silence and the Fury introduced Ogre mercenaries. Both of these appearances serve as Early-bird cameos for the Ogres in the third game.
  • Overratedand Underleveled: Zig-zagged with Legendary Lords. As expected, they all start at level one at the campaign despite the lore stating they have been alive and killing for a thousand year or more. However, they have abilities unique to themselves, and once they have a few levels and legendary items under their belt both playable and enemy Legendary Lords can live up to their hype... with the exception of Legendary Lords brought in by confederation, who may be underdeveloped, have poorly-placed skills or both. Notable in this game as there are far more characters that are Older Than They Look, some to Time Abyss levels.
    • The AI-controlled Warriors of Chaos in the Mortal Empires campaign. On paper they are a late-game crisis faction who spill out from the north and tear through the Old World, requiring the player to put together the strongest armies they can muster in order to stop them. In execution, due to the games new mechanics regarding confederations, their status as a horde faction (meaning they can't replace any armies they lose), and the fact that they declare war on almost every faction in the game, it's far from uncommon for them to fail to make it past the northern borders before they get ganged up on by other AI factions and wiped out. Ironically this was the exact same issue that befell ''Storm of Chaos'', the campaign which this is based upon.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Giant Eagles of the High Elves are rarely used once they get the Phoenixes, who in turn are rarely used once they get their dragons.
  • Pirate Girl: In the Vampire Coast figures, the important thing is being a treacherous undead abomination capable of holding together an army of zombie pirates through force of will and dark magic, and gender is pretty irrelevant to that. The vampire fleet admirals can be male or female, though the female ones have a more classic pirate look (wielding a cutlass and pistol, while male ones have a halberd), and the vampire captains are all female. One of their factions is also led by Aranessa Saltspite, a living woman with two peglegs who was an infamous pirate even before she started employing vampires to bolster her forces.
  • 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 (and even the lower-ranking heroes) this "immortality".
  • Power Up Let Down: The majority of horse mount upgrades decrease a character's combat ability in exchange for the speed and charge bonuses they grant, coming with Leadership, Melee Attack, or Melee Defense penalties (and sometimes all of them). They also make the character sitting on them a much easier target for massed ranged fire, which is already the fastest and most effective way to kill them, and Anti-Large weapons, a staple of most late-game armies. This relegates them to only being used for spellcasters who don't want to be in combat. Chariot mounts have it worse due to having all the same problems, only moreso.
  • 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". Proper mercenaries were added later on, initially with Gotrek and Felix in The Hunter and the Beast (temporarily recruitable by the Empire, Dwarfs, and Bretonnia) followed by the Ogre mercenaries in the The Silence and the Fury (who can be recruited by any faction via an event).
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted when it comes to the High Elf and Dark Elf Lord. High Elf Male Lords excel in melee combat, whilst Female Lords are excellent archers. Reversed when it comes to the Dark Elves, whose Male Lords are a hybrid melee-ranged unit, whereas the Females fight Sword and Board, inverting the classic Guys Smash, Girls Shoot

     Q-Z 
  • Rain of Arrows: A common result of facing the High Elves, who have very powerful archers.
  • Random Number God: There are two types of weather in the campaign: Magic and Oceanic. Both are subject to change with every turn. And there's also the matter of the Loyalty mechanic for factions that have it.
    • If the Winds of Magic are calm, wizards lose a lot of their potential value whereas Tempestuous conditions will offer them a more generous reserve of magic to cast spells with.
    • Ocean regions that are calm and clear may be traversed safely. On the other hand, violent storms will inflict attrition damage.
    • When recruiting a new Lord as Dark Elves, Skaven or Vampire Coast, a numeric range on the top right corner of a Lord's recruitment button shows how much Loyalty they'll initially start with upon being recruited. With some really bad luck, you could end up getting the minimum value and thus already be in danger of having them rebel against you.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The Dark Elves, and the 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 non-evil factions can engage in this, having 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.
  • 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 in military matters, he's more than glad to defer such things to Tyrion, and always accepts advice from Teclis.
    • 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: Its Warhammer so intimidating titles are all over the place for legendary lords. Only a few are known as much by their title as by their name. (Kroq-Gar) The Last Defender, (Malekith) The Witch-King, (Gor-Rok) The Great White Lizard
  • Religion Is Magic: Very typical for the setting, but the Rites of each race are usually focused on their respective pantheons. For example; the Rite of Vaul for the High Elves has you invoking the power of the Elven God of Blacksmithing, which grants you a powerful artifact to be used by a Lord and a special ability that lets you tear down the walls of enemy fortresses in sieges.
  • Resourceful Rodent: The Skaven are an incredibly intelligent species of rats that can build advanced technology and are the masters of stealth.
  • 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...
  • 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 (inhabited by legions of Undead Horrors that will kill you if you take just a single coin from their tombs) 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, a Black Leviathan.
    • The Dark Elf Kharybdis, which is a monster unit, is pretty much a hydra with the head of mutated lampreys instead of snakes that lives in the deepest and coldest seas of Naggaroth, having to be summoned through bloody rituals. And that's not even getting to the part where one has to violently tame one into a somewhat stable state of submission. In game, it works as a poisonous anti-large monster that is meant to kill other beasts, but it does a pretty good job with butchering and frightening most infantry as well.
    • The Curse of the Vampire Cost expansion features these heavily, albeit reanimated sea monsters, including a colossus monstrous Promethean crab. An absolutely giant Merwyrm, a primeval horror from the elder days, features as the Expansion's Big Bad, and it's up to the Vampire Coast to hunt it down!
  • 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.
  • The Scrounger: Dwarf Master Engineers have a skill called "Requisition" that significantly increases the ammunition carried by ranged and artillery units.
  • 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, respectively.
  • Sequence Breaking: Possible in minor ways in the Mortal Empires campaign if you dally in story quests or expand in unexpected directions, both of which are much more possible in Mortal Empires than in the first game. Because of the much more free-form nature of the campaign it's possible for quests to stop making sense, such as having to fight a story battle against a faction you already destroyed or having to deal with problems in 'uncontrolled', 'contested', or 'enemy' territories that you've controlled for a long time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Dark Elves trailer has Malekith trapping a few high elves in a street just as they are about to escape, and slowly walking towards them while killing any attempting to strike him. Due to their similarities (though whether it's intentional or not is another matter), this could be a shout-out to Darth Vader and the iconic airlock scene from Rogue One.
    • A possible one is the trait a lord gets from defeating Queek Headtaker, which sounds pretty close to the "rat-flail" in the VG Cats Skittles comic strip.
    • The Flavor Text for the "Authoritarian" lord trait is "I Am The Law!"
    • Similarly the Flavor Text for the "Wasteful" trait is : "Yes, we will hit our own troops, but we'll hit theirs as well. We have reserves. Attack!"
    • The flavor text for the High Elven "Militia Camp" military recruitment chain building? "Let's get down to business and defeat these scum!"
    • The flavour text for the winery expert follower: "I want the finest wines available to the Asur, I want them here and I want them now!"
    • One of the randomly generated names for female Dark Elf Lords and Heroes is "Eville-Lyn".
    • One of the Skaven lines paraphrases the theme song of The Wombles.
      Underground, overground, Skaven are we.
    • One of Malekith's lines is simply "I hate snow".
    • A random event that you can get as the Tomb Kings involves a Liche Priest betraying his king and going rogue. The event is titled Judas Priest.
    • When Tyrion's army sets sail, he may sometimes say, "Sailing for adventure!"
    • In the proud Total War tradition of ABBA shout-outs, one of the influence-granting events in the High Elf campaign is titled "You Can Dance" and involves Alarielle going on a dance with Finubar. A literal "Dancing Queen", if you will.
    • One of Cylostra Direfin's lines is "Mirror, Mirror..."
    • The Adviser will implore a Skaven player to form trade pacts so that you might profit from others before "...your sudden but inevitable betrayal."
    • Clan Fester was added as an NPC faction in the Doomsayers update. Also, conducting diplomacy with hostile Skaven as the Empire may have them mention Saltzpyre and a flame-witch.
      • The Empire Undivided update added The Red Moon Inn as a landmark building in the Ubersreik region, which gives you a garrison of five heroes, specifically a Thane, an Empire Captain, a Waystalker, a Witch Hunter and a Bright Wizard.
    • Several of the more recent Lord Pack trailers have begun to tack on movie references.
      • The Prophet and the Warlock trailer's opening scene is taken almost verbatim from Predator.
      • The Hunter and the Beast trailer's opening scene is a reference to the T-Rex chase scene from the original Jurassic Park.
      • The Warden and the Paunch trailer draws heavy inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road in the shots showing Grom’s Waaagh, while the opening segment with Eltharion trying to interrogate a laughing goblin references The Dark Knight.
      • This has actually been a thing as far back as The Queen and the Crone where Alarielle paraphrases Galadriel's monologue that opens The Lord of the Rings.
    • One of the spells given to Skaven is Cracks Call.
    • Probably unintentional, but one of the random names for a male Vampire Coast lord is Charlie Brown.
    • A possible last name for Empire characters is McHammer.
    • Chapter 1 of Grom the Paunch's campaign is titled "Food Glorious Food".
    • If the mouse cursor hovers over attack options on the pre-battle menu when playing as Noctilus, he will sometimes say, "Wipe them out, all of them!"
    • Yvresse starts out with a unique Loremaster of Hoeth named Cavill who has the White Wolf trait, a nod to one of the game's most famous fans.
    • Three similar unique heroes were added with The Silence and the Fury:
      • Sylvania now starts with unique Wight King hero named Kevin von Lloydstein named after deceased CA member Kevin Lloyd with unique trait Memoriam Mortus.
      • Karaz-a-Karak have a unique Master Engeneer Tom Phillipson named after (thankfully still alive) development team member Tom Phillips. He starts with a double-barrel artifact and unique skill Engineer's cipher.
      • Lastly, Oxyotl starts with the named Skink Oracle hero Orcale of the Sacred Plaque with unique skill Loremaster and named troglodon mount C'hloe. It is a shout-out to a long-time CA partner Loremaster of Sotek (Warhammer streamer and author of Warhammer lore videos), who is a big Lizardmen fan. The mount was named after his family dog.
    • Capturing Pigbarter as an Empire faction will give you a unique follower named Sir Man Delour, a nod to YouTube game reviewer Mandalore Gaming.
    • And neutral Norskan pirate band the player often encounters around Estalia is led by the captain Mad Mulletson. Mad Mullet is one of player names used by Turin, the biggest Warhammer Total War multiplayer streamer.
    • And Rakarth's Thousand Maws faction starts with a Beast sorceress named Boudicca as a reference to the fact that he begins the campaign on the Warhammer equivalent of Britain. Too bad she cannot get a chariot.
    • Destroying Louen's faction as a Bretonnia one gives you the Kingslayer trait, whose description references "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails or Johnny Cash.
    • One of the Grey Seer models was basically meant to be Tim the Enchanter (but of course, as a Skaven).
    • Just like in the previous game with Throgg, the resident Villainous Glutton, Grom, says on the diplomacy screen, "Get in me belly!"
    • The Flavor Text for one of Ariel's skills, "Terrible & Beautiful", reads, "All shall love me, and despair."
    • Alith Anar's unique "Sworn to Vengeance" skill basically has Bryan Mills' Badass Boast promise written on it, but with "I" replaced with "he".
    • The Silence and the Fury adds an Regiment of Renown Feral Carnosaur called "Geltblom's Terror."
  • The Siege: Or Storming the Castle, depending on which faction's fighting which. An enduring element of the series that re-occurs here as well. However, in this iteration only provincial capitals can be besieged; the smaller settlements in the province around them don't 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 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 unfortunately can't interact with it)
    • Building a defensive structure of the highest level will give fortifications even to small towns. This becomes almost mandatory on higher difficulties, as the AI tends to besiege these walls for a turn or two, giving the player more time to react with his main army. The exception to this are the settlements in the chaos wastes, which will only allow the player to build small garrisoned outposts without walls.
  • Siege Engines: Somewhat less than the first game, with it being less focused on artillery, but there's still every faction's 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.
  • Spiteful A.I.:
    • When performing a Vortex Ritual, players must guard specific cities from the forces of Chaos, which spawn armies to attack those cities...only for the armies to automatically spawn in areas away from your armies and in the weakest parts of your civilization, where they will raze as much as they can while ignoring their objective.
    • The AI exhibits an 'anti-player bias' that isn't quite Gang Up on the Human, but comes close at times. Given a choice between a player target and a non-player target of equal strength the AI will almost always choose to attack the player. Additionally, AI factions are prone to declaring war on players that are geographically nowhere near them and will sometimes move full armies across entire continents, often through the lands of other enemies, to sack and raze lightly-defended player settlements even if their own settlements are under attack by their neighbors. This bias gets stronger as the campaign difficulty increases.
    • Particular mention goes to the tendency for a faction that is nowhere nearby to declare war on you, then come out of nowhere with a full army and raze one of your settlements just as a third faction you're friendly with is passing by. The third faction will almost inevitably colonize the ruins before you even get a turn to do anything about it, forcing you to either deal with a broken province or declare war on them too.
    • Nowhere is it more evident than with trade deals. You might offer a faction a trade deal that would bring both you and them hundreds of gold per turn, mutually benefitting each other, but unless they like you to begin with (and they need to like you, not just to tolerate you) they will stubbornly refuse to trade with you. Despite being spiteful and illogical, this isn't exactly unrealistic to anyone who works in politics.
  • Squishy Wizard: Wizards as a whole are very vulnerable to damage, but there do exist a handful of exceptions, such as the Loremasters of Hoeth, master swordsmen who are as equally deadly with a blade as they are with magic.
  • Stance System: Armies can adopt stances on the world map to perform a number of actions both on and off the battlefield. What really makes this interesting is that no two races have the same set of stances and some sub-factions even have unique stances. For example; the High Elves cannot raid (except for the Nagarythe sub-faction) while the Vampire counts cannot encamp, but both of them can channel. Meanwhile both the Greenskins and Norsca have merged their raiding and encamp stances whilst the Beastmen have done the same with their ambush and encamp stances. Outside of the default stance there are:
    • Forced March grants an extra 25% movement on the Campaign map at the cost of increased vulnerability to attrition severe stamina penalties in battle. Armies in this stance can not initiate battles and are highly likely to be ambushed and completely destroyed if attacked.
    • Ambush conceals but immobilizes the army on the world map and gives it a chance to launch an ambush battle against the first enemy army to move into it's zone of control. The odds of this happening are largely determined by the terrain and the skills of the particular Lords leading both the ambushing army and the defending army.
    • Raiding generates income and damages public order and diplomatic relations in exchange for some movement range and stamina penalties. Also protects from attrition.
    • Encampment also protects from attrition and allows replenishment and access to the global recruitment pool at the cost of not being able to move.
    • Underway and the several variations thereof allow an army to move instantly for a fixed distance over any intervening terrain and attrition. This comes at risk of being intercepted by nearby armies and pulled into a battle that is guarantied to destroy the loser.
    • Stalk was first practiced by the Beastmen before being picked up by the Skaven and the Nagarythe High Elves. It's a variation on the standard stance that allows an army to launch an ambush when attacking.
    • Channeling reduces movement slightly but increases the magical reserves of armies operating in the local region. This also allows Undead armies to replenish.
    • Astromancy Unique to the Lizardmen, this trades some movement range for a massive increase in sight range and ambush chance.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Certain factions tend to declare war against enemies that are much, much stronger than them and get themselves effortlessly stomped out. The Wood Elven factions in Mortal Empires, especially those in Athel Loren itself, are the most noteworthy example since they nearly always declare war on Couronne and Reikland, but it's also common for any one-region faction with half an army of low-level units to decide to declare war on the player, especially if their attention (and army) is somewhere else or they can drag a powerful ally in on their side. Smaller military allies of the player also tend to declare war on much stronger enemies, then expect the player to fight for them.
  • Summon Magic: Some Lores of Magic can summon units, but unlike in the first game new race abilities are present, which mainly focus on summoning units onto the battlefield to support the main army.
  • 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 elements to the equation.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: The Twisted & The Twilight introduces a new mechanic called "abandoning settlements" which is potentially helpful for a variety of reasons. Uninhabitable climates, imminent dangers of being attacked and captured, untenability due to lack of defenses and provincial instability and being too deep in hostile territory just to name a few.
  • 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. However, this trope is pushed 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.
  • A Taste of Power: Like the first game, you're given a small number of upper tier units as soon as you start. Like before, you won't be able to recruit them for a good amount of time, so it's best to use them sparingly.
  • Tech Tree: Each faction has access to a technology tree, but in a twist, every faction unlocks its technology in different ways. The trees themselves have also been massively expanded.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: exaggerated to a country-wide level In the vortex campaign, starting a ritual summons entire armies of chaos marauders and warriors to ruin your day!
  • 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, and you might have to scrap several buildings and then fill the slots up from scratch.
    • However, Bretonnia from Mortal Empires is an exception to this. They actually get a significant public order bonus following a confederation, and no diplomatic penalty. To balance this out, they need to do research for a subfaction before they can confederate with them, for a total of six factions, separated into two paths of three (you can only choose between two factions at a time), and you can't skip any of them even if a subfaction has been wiped out. Researching all of them takes about 36 turns, which takes time away from researching the decrees that give bonuses to fighting various enemies or economic bonuses. On the flipside, each technology gives you some additional chivalry, and a massive diplomatic bonus with the subfaction it targets, pretty much guaranteeing they will agree to confederate, and researching all the subfaction confederation techs gives you access to three technologies that give massive diplomatic bonuses with other factions (one for the Empire and the Dwarfs, one for the High Elves and Lizardmen, and the last for all the Knights Errant minor factions). Because of this, it's a lot more efficient for Bretonnia to confederate than to try and conquer their subfactions, as it gives them bonuses and allows them to focus their armies on fighting actual enemies. Like the two different Vampire Count subfactions in Bretonnia. Or the Norscans that raid them. Or the inevitable Beastman horde.
  • 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.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The announcement trailer somewhat spoils the existence of the Skaven, which were a closely guarded "secret" for months in the lead up to the games release.
    • It also spoiled, in supremely clever fashion, the true nature of the Twin-Tailed Comet that kicks off the Race for the Vortex with the ending Astronomical Zoom out into space. For a moment, we get the same exhilarating view of the world and the twin moons as the Skaven pilot of the "comet".
  • Undead Knight : Cylostra Direfin can summon spectral Bretonnian knights (either Knights Errant, Knights of the Realm, or Questing Knights). And, of course, there's the various vampiric and undead knights that belong to the Vampire Counts in Mortal Empires (some of which appear in the Vortex campaign as part of the Scourge of Aquitaine rogue army, implied to hail from the fallen Bretonnian province of Mousillon due to the presence of normal Bretonnian knights in the army).
  • 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.
  • 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. However, General units will always be slightly larger than their men. While it makes sense for the Lizarmen, it can be pretty jarring to see Queek Headtaker be almost as tall as a high elf.
  • Unstoppable Rage: About half of lizardmen roster and some units from other factions have this as negative trait. If they lose a lot of health when there is an enemy unit they can reach, their morale becomes unbreakable, but they uncontrollably chase the closest enemy unit. Cavalry like squigs and cold ones suffer most from it because they are designed for Hit&Run tactics. Dark Elf witches can give this status effect to anyone they attack.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Beside introducing some lore development for a character, completing the Quest Battles will unlock special items that will then be equipped to the character when you start a new campaign, giving them a considerable advantage at the very beginning.
  • 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 to leak into the world. This will cause armies of Chaos Warriors to spontaneously rise up and march toward whoever is channeling toward the Vortex, drawn as they are to the magical power. Alongside the Chaos warbands, stacks belonging to a mysterious Skaven clan (Referred to as the "Unknown Skaven Clan"), will begin to drop en masse. 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.
  • 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:
    • Reikshammer (Karl Franz) grants the lord Fear when fighting humans.
    • Metalstorm (Balthasar Gelt) grants the lord's army a bonus to armor.
    • Grimsbane (Volkmar the Grim) grants the lord's army a bonus to melee attack and melee defense.
    • Hunted Down (Markus Wulfhart) gives missile resistance and a bonus to missile damage for the entire army.
    • Grudgekiller (Thorgrim Grudgebearer) grants the lord a reduction in construction costs wherever they are. It also gives global buff to research rate.
    • Beardhammer (Grombrindal The White Dwarf) grants the lord Fear when fighting Dwarfs.
    • Slayer King Slayer (Ungrim Ironfist) grants the lord a bonus in melee attack, magic resistance and missile resistance.
    • Kinghammer (Belegar Ironhammer) grants the lord increased leadership and melee attack during subterranean battles.
    • Old Grumpslayer (Thorek Ironbrow) grants the Lord's army an increase to magic item drops chance, reduces enemies' Winds of Magic's starting amount and a slight bonus to armour-piercing melee damage for the whole army.
    • Kingslayer (Louen Leoncoeur) grants the lord a charge bonus and a recruitment reduction cost in cavalry units.
      • Should Louen fall to another Bretonnian lord, then that lord will instead gain the negative trait "Traitor". While this trait does increase the weapon strength of all units in that lord's army, it also increases their upkeep. More severely, it provides a -50 reduction in Chivalry, which makes progressing through a Bretonnian campaign much harder.
      • Taken further should a Bretonnian completely wipe out Louen's current faction, resulting in you getting the "Kingslayer" trait. It may give you a hefty melee attack bonus and increase the chance of enemy heroes being wounded when they try to work against you, but it also gives you a permanent Leadership penalty on your leadership aura and a hefty -100 Chivalry reduction.
    • Hammer and Anvil (Alberic de Bordeleaux) grants the lord +15 melee attack when at sea.
    • Witchfinder (The Fay Enchantress) grants the lord's army increased replenishment.
    • End of an Errant (Repanse de Lyonesse) grants a smal growth boost to the local province, a small bonus to research rate, as well as doubled experience gain for the entire army when fighting Bretonnians.
    • Moonslayer (Mannfred Von Carstein) makes the lord's army take less attrition in vampire corruption.
    • Ghorst or Ghost (Helman Ghorst) grants the lord's army poison attacks.
    • Liche Killer (Heinrich Kemmler) grants the lord's army increased magic resistance.
    • Undeath Descendant (Vlad Von Carstein) allows the lord to recover much more quickly when wounded.
    • Cruelty Unrestrained (Isabella Von Carstein) grants the lord regeneration.
    • One Down, X to Go (Luthor Harkon) grants the lord increased magic resistance and additional leadership when fighting at sea.
    • Dreadfleet Drowned (Count Noctilus) grants the lord's army additional leadership both when fighting against the Vampire Coast and at sea.
    • Consigned to the Drink (Aranessa Saltspite) grants the lord additional income from sacking settlements as well as regeneration when fighting at sea.
    • Siren Extinguished (Cylostra Direfin) grants the lord's army additional winds of magic while deducting from the enemy army's winds of magic at the start of battles as well as a slight miscast chance reducion.
    • Immortal Unbeloved (Malekith) grants the lord Frenzy and extra income from raiding.
    • Hagbutcher (Morathi) grants the lord resistance to assassinations and decreases the cost of hero actions.
    • The Day After (Crone Hellebron) grants the lord a substantial buff to armor piercing damage, and a lesser buff to melee attack.
    • Black Heart Down (Lokhir Fellheart) grants the lord's army immunity to storm and reef attrition.
    • Beastmaster of None (Rakarth) grants the Lord a bonus vs Large, as well as reduction to enemy monsters' leadership in the region.
    • Malus in Underworld (Malus darkblade) grants increased melee armour-piercing damage
    • Spawnkiller (Lord Mazdamundi) grants the lord an increase in leadership aura size.
    • Saurussmiter (Kroq-Gar) grants the lord improved melee attack and a bonus to public order in the local province.
    • Prophet of Doom (Tehenhauin) grants the lord's army more captives after battle along with extra untainted.
    • Out of the Skies (Tiktaq'to) increase campaign movement range as well as campaign line of sight.
    • Wanderer No More (Nakai) increase melee defense as well as bonus vs large.
    • Movable Mountain (Gor-Rok) grants increased leadership to the entire army as well as the attribute Expert Charge Defense to the Lord.
    • One That Hunts the Unseen (Oxyotl) grants the Lord Vanguard deployment.
    • Ulthuan Undefended (Tyrion) grants the lord a higher melee attack and increased rank for unit recruits.
    • Ruin Unrestrained (Teclis) grants the lord a higher winds of magic reserve.
    • Neverqueen (Alarielle The Everqueen) grants your lord's army public order, winds of magic reserve and growth bonuses.
    • Shadow's Fall (Alith Anar) grants your lord cheaper hero actions and higher success for hero actions.
    • Dragonslayer (Imrik) grants your lord Anti-Large and fire resistance.
    • Mistpiercer (Eltharion) grants missile resistance as well as Charge defense vs large
    • Hidestriker (Grimgor Ironhide) grants the lord extra armor-piercing damage.
    • Greenskinner (Azhag The Slaughterer) grants the lord 30% magic resistance.
    • Sneakysmiter (Skarsnik) grants the lord both increased ambush success and defense chance.
    • Great Green Skinner (Wurrzag Da Great Green Prophet) grants the lord physical resistance.
    • Weightwatcher (Grom the Paunch) give increased relation with high elves as well as Terror against Greenskins
    • Verminflail (Queek Headtaker) grants the lord bonus damage versus infantry.
    • Plaguelast (Lord Skrolk) grants the lord's army immunity against swamp attrition and makes the army lower enemy public order.
    • Craven by Name (Tretch Craventail) grants the lord extra speed and leadership for its army during subterranean intercept battles.
    • A 'Fitting' End? (Ikit Claw) gives increased Winds of Magic reserve as well as an increase to research rate.
    • Deathmaster by Nature (Deathmaster Snikch) increase the odds of hero action succeeding as well as giving the Lord "Stalk".
    • Deep Cleaning (Throt the Unclean) give a 10% increase to the Lord's health.
    • Settra the Perishable (Settra the Imperishable) grants the lord an increased charge bonus and causes a drop in public order when travelling in enemy territory.
      • As an Easter Egg, if Settra defeats Surtha Ek, he will get "Surtha Wrecked", granting his army a drastic +10 capacity for Skeleton Chariots. And in return, if Surtha Ek defeats Settra, he will get a different buff called "True Chariot Master", which effectively doubles the damage output of chariots in his army by granting them +100% weapon strength.
    • Khalida the Never Living (High Queen Khalida) gives a bonus to diplomatic relations with Vampires and increased experience for ranged units.
    • Not So Great Hierophant (Grand Hierophant Khatep) grants the lord increased magic reserves and makes the lord's army immune to deserts and sandstorms.
    • Arkhan the Blackened (Arkhan The Black) grants the lord increased weapon damage when fighting Vampires. It also gives improved diplomatic relations with Tomb Kings.
    • Wildhunter (Orion) grants the lord increased leadership and melee attack in forest battles.
    • Tree Surgeon (Durthu) grants the lord fire damage when fighting Wood Elves (included for completeness, Durthu has not flame powers, he's a treeman).
    • Destroyer of Dryads (Drycha) grants immunity to Awakened Forest attrition and a malus to local enemy public order.
    • Twilight Extinguished (Sisters of Twilight) grants increased casualty replenishment to the whole army and, if your Lord has a ranged attack, increased missile strength.
    • Beastscourge (Khazrak the One-eye) grants the Lord an increase in ambush success chance as well as increased odds to intercept armies moving through the beastpaths, Underway or Worldroots.
    • Crowreaver (Malagor the Dark-Omen) grants the lord improved leadership and melee attack when fighting Beastmen.
    • Skullslasher (Morghur the Shadowgave) grants the lord missile resistance.
    • Brass Bull, Glass Jaw (Taurox the Brass Bull) grants the Lord an increase to charge bonus and armour-piercing damage
    • Doomslayer (Archaon the Everchosen) grants the lord Immunity to Psychology.
    • Stormblight (Kholek Suneater) grants the lord a bonus against large entities.
    • Pride Assassin (Prince Sigvald the Magnificent) grants the lord a higher chance of stealing items after winning and a bonus to income in the local province.
    • Blood Feuder (Wulfrik the Wanderer) grants extra charge bonus.
    • Trollhunter (Throgg) will get your lord bonus damage versus large units as well as extra weapon damage.
  • Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia: Played for contrast between the Dark Elves, who live in a Grim Up North of frozen tundra and jagged mountains, and the High Elves who live in Uthuan, which has it's own Arcadian climate type, "Magical Island".
  • 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.
    • Many veterans agree that the best way to beat the Vortex Campaign is to completely ignore the Vortex Missions. This gives you more time to play proactively, building armies, expanding your empire, and gathering needed resources, rather than playing reactively by responding to other factions messing with the Vortex or fighting Chaos invasions. A more proactive player can build and expand much quicker than they otherwise would and they will swiftly reach a point where they can just run over all of the other factions with impunity and do every Vortex mission in rapid sequence for an easy win.
    • The Broken Axe campaign on Mortal Empires does a lot to nudge the player into sailing to Ulthuan as quickly as possible, with the biggest one being that they start surrounded by Unpleasant climate. While not universally agreed on, many players consider it a mistake to do that since the time you spend moving your early-game army across the ocean will be time the High Elves spend recruiting more units. It also gives Bretonnia more time to build up, and a late-game Bretonnian army is much more dangerous to Greenskins than a late-game High Elf army due to the Greenskins' lack of anti-large. It's much safer to take Bretonnia first, despite the climate, and hold off the High Elves until other fights start breaking out on Ulthuan.
    • If you want to build up diplomatic standing with a faction by attacking its enemies, don't - Attacking a faction's enemy is one of the least efficient ways to gain diplomatic relations. Killing their armies and capturing their settlements are only worth small one-time diplomatic gains. Instead, don't declare war on the enemy at all, just go into their territory and raid them. This gives you twice the bonus because you get one for raiding them and one for trespassing on their land (you can only trespass on a faction you're not at war with) and you will get an increase to that bonus every turn you stay there multiplied by the number of raiding armies you have. If you're much stronger than the faction you're raiding they will almost never declare war on you, so you can do this forever. This can very quickly build up enormous amounts of diplomatic goodwill with anyone who hates or is at war with the person you're raiding as long as they don't capture the territories you're occupying. You can also perform hero actions against them, again without going to war, to add a third diplomatic boost. And if you still land in a war with them (because you got invited into it, because they got sick of your raiding or something else), don't destroy them. The diplomacy boni you get from performing hostile actions against a faction that your allies dislike will disappear the moment you destroy it (because the hated faction doesn't exist anymore).
  • 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.
    • Special mention goes to the recently added city of Skavenblight in Mortal Empires, the racial capital of the foul rodent species. Located near Tilea, the area where it's located is a large, blight filled wasteland of pure foulness.
  • War Is Hell: This is Warhammer we're talking about, though like it's source material, crosses over with War Is Glorious. The average High Elf soldier, whom is a conscripted levy, is expected to fight all sorts of horrors, and will likely end up being devoured by one of them.
  • Warrior Prince: High Elf lords are referred to as princes or princesses, the former being focused on melee combat, the later, archery.
  • 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.
    • Ostensibly, the High Elves and the Lizardmen are trying to accomplish the same thing - fortify the Vortex and keep out Chaos. Practically speaking, both factions are so far up their own asses that they view anyone messing with the Vortex besides them as a direct affront to their efforts and will become increasinly hostile towards one another as the campaign goes on due this perpetual misunderstanding (and also their efforts' leaders' pigheaded attitudes).
  • 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. And since Skavenslaves are considered so expendable that they don't damage non-slave morale when they die, so they can be used to bog down better infantry for warpfire throwers or death globes.
    • Zig-zagged by the Tomb Kings. The number of units they can field at any given time is limited by their research and infrastructure, which at first seems to be a quantitative handicap. However, their powerful resurrection magic allows them to raise and deploy all their units completely free of charge, which renders all casualties almost strategically meaningless, as they can always raise a brand-new army in a few turns. Not only that, but their battlefield magic actually grows stronger as they lose more troops, meaning that they can give powerful boosts to their elite troops and monsters by throwing huge numbers of expendable Skeleton Warriors into the meat grinder.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 put the hurt on. Universally, Skaven units have higher model counts than 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."

 
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Malekith the Witch-King

Malekith, the Witch-King of Naggaroth demonstrates his prowess by brutally slaughtering a group of High Elves in a reminiscent stance to the airlock fight in Rogue One.

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