The Tomb Kings have a difficult start and severe limitations on the number of armies, heroes and top-tier units they can have. I created this guide to help you develop your gameplan before you even start your campaign so that you make as few mistakes as possible to hopefully have a smooth cruise to victory.
Guide to Tomb Kings
Canopic Jars & Other Essentials
You need Canopic Jars! Hereafter I will just call them Jars. Here is why you need Jars:
In the Mortuary Cult, "A New Dynasty" gives you +1 to the number of armies you can field (Army Capacity). Awakening this new army costs 10,000 gold and 800 Jars. This cost doubles each time you awaken a new Dynasty, so 20,000 and 1600 Jars for the second awakening of a new dynasty, 30k + 2400 for the third, 40k + 3200 for the fourth, etc.
In Dynasties, each unique Dynasty King (1st-6th) costs 200 Jars. 6 of the researchable heroes cost 100 Jars each. Each of the seven Heralds costs 150 Jars.
1200 + 600 + 1050 = 2850 Jars to obtain everything that requires Jars in Dynasties.
By the end of my Settra campaign, I had Awakened 4 dynasties and obtained everything requiring Jars in Dynasties, in addition to obtaining other things from the Mortuary Cult.
4 new Dynasties + all Jar tech research in Dynasties = 6050 Jars.
Key Point - Unlocking a "Wisdom of # Dynasty" in Dynasties gives +1 Army Capacity but reduces your research rate by 30%, and it solely takes turn time depending on your research rate. After research the "Wisdom", THEN you can obtain that dynasty's unique Tomb King for 1 turn to research and 200 Jars. However, if you do not feel you need that unique Tomb King or you are prioritizing research time and Jars elsewhere, the unique Tomb Kings are totally optional. Your regular Tomb King recruitable from the Lord Pool are Immortal and can have decent traits and will get the job done.
How To Obtain Canopic Jars
Important tip: Once you reach the point where you can instantly recruit Tomb Kings at Level 5, you can recruit a Tomb King at Level 5 and you put 1 skill point in Route Marcher and 3 points in Canopic Jar Hoarder, then use "Replace" to recruit another available Tomb King at Level 5 and do the same thing, then once you've recruited the last available fresh Tomb King from your Lord Pool, disband him. Repeat this process the next turn. Do this scores of times and you have a huge boost to your canopic jar generation every single turn.
You want every Lord and Hero to MAX Canopic Jar Hoarder for +3 Jars per turn.
Grand Temple of Djaf gives +10 Jars per turn.
Pyramids gives +2 Jars per turn.
Royal Burial Chambers give +1 Jars per turn.
Occupying or Razing a settlement gives +30 Jars (until you sacked the settlement first and then occupy it which will give no jars unless you wait a turn to then occupy the settlement).
The middle post-battle option gives +30 Jars. There are times where you may need the money from the 1st option or the Replenishment from the 3rd option, but you want to use the +30 Jars post-battle option as often as you can, especially if you defeat a small army that will not provide much gold or replenishment.
Usirian & Attend Me! skills stack in a province (they aren't Lord-specific), so 4 lords with both these skills add up to +12 recruitment slots in a province on top of whatever the province + research provide.
Liche Priests and Royal Burial Chambers give +1 Lord Rank factionwide each, Black Pyramid of Nagash has a building that gives +3 Lord and +3 Hero factionwide, and the rite Incantation of Tahoth gives +3 Lord Rank for 5 turns.
"The Restless Dead" in the Lore of Nehekhara is reportedly a very weak heal, therefore not worth recruiting Liche Priests with that lore or putting any points into that lore on Settra.
- Reddit user KamachoThunderbus made a good post about how mediocre the Lore of Nehekhara.
Counterpoint to the above - "The boon of the resurrection skill (the final skill of the red line) that undead get isn't about the in-combat effect, it can be used to ridiculous efficacy if you cluster your units after the enemy has routed and just spam heal them. TK should essentially end every fight with 0 losses." So if you have multipel Lore of Nehekhara Liche Priests in an army and just spam spells at the end of the battle once the enemy routs, it may be worthwhile but this will require testing to see how effective it is, but I can already argue that it is sub-optimal to use multiple Liche Priests in an army for this purpose when you could bring Death Lore Liche Priests to nuke enemies behind walls in sieges or enemies crunched up against your infantry in field battles.
Settra & Tomb Princes are Anti-Large on Foot or Steeds, but become Anti-Infantry if put on Chariots or Khemrian Warsphinx. I thought steed mounts were trash, however, they don't reduce certain stats like other mounts, they give a huge speed buff to otherwise very slow lords and steeds prevent knockdown, at the cost of making Settra and Tomb Princes vulnerable to anti-large.
Regular Tomb Kings are NOT anti-large, so their best mount is the Khemrian Warsphinx.
Every Tomb King you recruit should prioritize the Blue Line first to get Route Marcher, max Canopic Jar Hoarder, 1 point in Soul Reaper (later possibly max this), Attend Me!, Lightning Strike, All is Mine!, and Renowned & Feared.
Tomb Kings are already really strong combatants, and the Yellow Combat Line just makes them ridiculous and if you are not sure what units you want to buff, the Yellow Line makes for an easy choice to create a wrecking ball.
Red Line has some excellent skills however. Sun-Scorched Bones buffs all your basic infantry so it is good all the way through the campaign (unlike the red lines for other factions where you have to decide whether you want to buff early or late game units). Master Charioteer is excellent on Settra and Alkhazzar since they buff chariots. Revered Stonemasonry is essential on Lahmizzash or another lord dedicated to leading Ushabti. More on this later.
Recruit Rank 9 Units
Attend Me! and Renowned & Feared skills in the Blue Line give +1 unit rank each, so +2 here.
"Wise" trait gives +1 unit rank (in addition to 2 jars per turn). Liche Priests can get the Wise trait.
Liche Priests have "Incantation of Preservation" which gives +2 unit rank (and +1 Lord Rank factionwide!).
So you can either have 3 Wise Liche Priests in an army,
2 Wise Liche Priests, Blue Line to Renowned & Feared Lord, and have the commandment that gives +1 recruit rank in province active.
Boom, Rank 9 of whatever unit you are recruiting.