Quick guide to Throt the Unclean's campaign, primarily in the Vortex campaign however the advice regarding the Flesh Lab applies to Mortal Empires as well.
Guide to Skaven
Skaven can use food to increase the level of a settlement upon occupying or colonizing a settlement (not after).
- Level 1 = no food cost
- Level 2 = 20 food
- Level 3 = 40 food
- Level 4 = 80 food
- Level 5 = 120 food
Each army you recruit, and each settlement that you occupy, costs you 1 food (undercities DO NOT appear to cost food unless you build certain under-buildings in them). There is a bar in the top middle of your screen that will show you what your food capacity is, how much food you have, and what percentage of your food capacity you currently have in food. You can raise your food capacity, and your food percentage will adjust accordingly. If you have 800 food capacity and only 400 food, you are at 50%.
- Starving = 0-20% food capacity
- Shortage = 21-40%
- Normal = 41-60%
- Surplus = 61-80%
- Plentiful = 81-100%
Important Note: post-Twisted & Twilight update, you have the ability to abandon settlements you do not want, which is a huge quality of life improvement for the Skaven, because settlements cost you that 1 food, and if you do not build anything in them to offset that cost, owning settlements that you do not want after sacking them while you wait for the AI to capture them hurt you, but hopefully that will not be as much of an issue now.
Throt's unique campaign feature is his Flesh Laboratory, hereafter I'll just call it the Flesh Lab or the Lab.
With the Flesh Lab, you can upgrade your Infantry and Monsters (not Artillery or possibly Weapons Teams, I'll confirm once I've played more) with very useful "traits" such as increased physical resistance and Melee Attack & Defense and reduced upkeep, etc. You can also upgrade the Flesh Lab itself using food and money. The first 3 options in the Laboratory section of the Flesh Lab are repeatable choices that you can use every 10 turns, the rest are pay once to permanently upgrade.
As far as I have found so far, I believe that only the units in Throt's army can be augmented (since that is his obsession and whole schtick). So you need to plan around that if you want to get augmented units in your other armies, basically using Throt to get the units you want then transfer them to another lord.
Two key resources are Mutagens and Growth Juice.
You start with 100 Mutagens, which can be increased by upgrading the Laboratory, and you use the mutagens to augment your units. Once used, the way to get more Mutagens is with "Mutagen Buy-Back" by spending 5000 gold in the Laboratory section of the Flesh Lab, or when you "Claim Growth Vat Monsters" by clicking on the little icon at the end of the green bar at the top left of your screen while in the Flesh Lab (that same option is also at the top of your screen while on the campaign map for quicker access while playing).
You get a certain amount of Growth Juice every turn as an automatic baseline, and then more from winning battles, but also from reclaiming units with "instability" (but not simply augmented units). The more unstable a unit is, the more growth juice you get (50 per level of instability, 200 at tier 4 "Explosively Unstable"). Once you reach 500 Growth Juice, you have the option to "spend" the Growth Juice to get rewards:
- Wolf Rat Cluster - 500 Growth Juice + 100 Mutagens.
- Rat Ogre Cluster - 650 Growth Juice + 105 Mutagens.
- Brood Horror Cluster - 800 Growth Juice + 110 Mutagens.
- Mutant Rat Ogre Cluster - 900 Growth Juice + 115 Mutagens.
- Hellpit Abomination Cluster - 1000 Growth Juice + 120 Mutagens.
The "Cluster" troops will then become available like Regiments of Renown in their own recruitment pool, where they will be free and instant to recruit (in your own territory).
From the above info if is obvious that if your need is more Mutagens, then you want to spend the Growth Juice as soon as you reach 500.
But if you are at a point in your campaign where you have upgraded and unlocked everything you want to with mutagens so you aren't in desperate need for more, then you could wait until you reach 800, 900 or 1000 Growth Juice in order to get those sweet single unit monsters (more gameplay and research needed to see if spending 1000 Growth Juice gives better basic units than 800 or 500 does, such as Storm Vermin over Clan Rats for example).
You can have multiple mutations/augments on a unit, be aware though that adding more might lead to instabilities. This occurrence of instabilities is random.
When units gain instability, their unit card will have a red highlight. The most common instability reduces their casualty replenishment rate while making future augments more likely to cause further instabilities. On the flip side, future augments on an unstable unit are cheaper (12 instead of 25)
Note: Blue augments provide a buff as well as a penalty. These penalties are separate from actual instabilities.
- Green Augments - cost 25 mutagens, no penalties.
- Blue Augments - cost 25 mutagens, have penalties.
- Purple Augments - cost 50 mutagens, no penalties.
As I play more I'll specify which units you cannot upgrade exactly, but from other info I know that you cannot upgrade your artillery, and possibly your weapons teams. Basically, Throt's gameplay is get close and personal and using the Flesh Lab to buff his units so that is viable.
Note: You can shift+click or ctrl+click multiple units of the same type to apply the same augments to those units at the same time to save time.
Now let's jump into what choices you should make with the Flesh Lab.
Perfect Campaign Start
In Vortex campaign you start with a Brood Horror, in Mortal Empires you start with a Mutated Rat Ogre, both of these are single unit entities, both of these are important because these are the units you will put "Cellular Instability" on if you choose to go for this augment.
You start with the first 3 Green Augments unlocked for both Infantry and Monsters, HOWEVER, your starting unstable Wold Rats already have "Lobotomy" and "Razor Claw Grafts" from the Monsters tab equipped which in turn means you only have to apply "Warp Fuel Infusion" to them in order to unlock "Forced Aneuploidy" and "Deadly Momentum", AS OPPOSED to the Infantry tab where you would have to spend Mutagens to apply all 3 of the starting already unlocked infantry augments to a unit in order to unlock "Soldier Serum" and "Muscle Enlargement". This gives a headstart to your Monsters, which makes sense since Monsters are what Throt's starting trait buffs, but it is important to keep in mind when you are deciding your Flesh Lab strategy.
You need to make a choice upfront about whether you want to only unlock the Green augments that have no downsides or if you need to go for Blue or Purple augments that will require unlocking certain other Blue augments along the way. The reason this is important is because that Growth Vat Cluster units can come out already equipped with random augments (and the tech "Abnormal Growth Cultivation" in the Laboratory section adds +1 augment to Growth Vat Batches. The question is will it assign only augments that you have unlocked or will it assign a Blue or Purple augment even if you have not unlocked it yet. If the latter, then you might as well unlock every Augment, but if the former, then you may only want to unlock Green augments (and only the Green ones you really want to increase the chance you get want you really want for free via Growth Vat Batches or "Forced Aneuploidy").
Perfect Campaign Start
I will now describe to you the perfect Flesh Lab start (if you are going for "Cellular Instability") that I learned from the youtuber LegendofTotalWar's video linked above, which will hopefully jumpstart you into understanding the system immediately:
Save your game if not on Legendary. On your unstable Wolf Rats, add "Warp Fuel Infusion", then "Forced Aneuploidy" which should in turn unlock "Autotomy' and "Deadly Momentum" (since the other augments are already equipped on the wolf rats, it won't apply them again, so it has to unlock new ones). Next add to your unstable Wolf Rats "Advanced Neuropathy", "Synaptic Response Stimuli", "Weeping Bone Spines", and "Propane Perspiration". All this assumes you get lucky with RNG, because if your Wolf Rats reach "Explosive Instability" before "Cellular Instability" is available, you will have to reload the save and try again. If you get lucky and this works, quicksave your game if able. Now put "Cellular Instability" on your Brood Horror or Mutated Rat Ogre depending on which campaign you are playing, but the key is to place it on a strong single-unit entity. Hopefully your unit does not get any instability yet. If it does, you can reload the save if not playing Legendary and try again. If you are playing Legendary, 1 instability is fine and not worth starting all over again. Now Reclaim your Wolf Rats. Ideally your Wolf Rats will have reached "Explosive Instability" upon adding the final Blue augment before "Cellular Instability", because them you will get 200 Growth Juice upon Reclaiming them. If RNG only gave them level 3 instability, 150 Growth Juice is fine, it isn't worth restarting to try again. Save your game if able, now you have the perfect start to your campaign.
The reason "Cellular Instability" is awesome is because the Blue downside of -10% replenishment is insignificant on a single unit entity (which is what you want it on). This augment provides a button on the unit you can click to cause a very powerful explosion around the unit that devastates surrounding units (if your unit is surrounded by 4 units of infantry, the explosion could kill more than half the men in all 4 of those units). The explosion also damages your unit, which is why it is bad on a multi-unit like normal rat ogres or wolf rats, but it only causes slight damage to a single entity unit like a Brood Horror. Combine this potentially with "Lobotomy" on a lot of Brood Horrors/Mutated Rat Ogres/Hellpit Abominations, and you should be able to faceroll your keyboard to victory.
A Great non-Cellular Instability Strategy: Unlock "Warp Fuel Infusion and "Forced Aneuploidy" in your Monster tab (do this on your Brood Horror/Mutated Rat Ogre and not on the unstable Wolf Rats). Having done this, you should have all 3 starting Monster Augments on your single unit entity (hopefully no instability) and only those 3 and "Forced Aneuploidy" unlocked. You want to keep it this way, because your goal is to have "Lobotomy" and "Warp Fuel Infusion" on all your units so you can vanguard them right near the enemy, then run up and bomb the enemy to death with Warp Lightning Rod from "Lobotomy". So with this done and now going forward, you can apply "Forced Aneuploidy" to a unit, which means it will get 2 of the starting 3 augments, hopefully "Lobotomy" and "Warp Fuel Infusion" but no real sweat if they get "Razor Claw Grafts", just get the other necessary augment.
Vortex Start Guide
This is for the Vortex campaign start, watch LegendofTotalWar's video for the Mortal Empires starting moves.
After getting the perfect Flesh Lab start, put your Packmaster into your army and attack Ashrak, fight the battle manually, and run your Brood Horror into the Dark Elf infantry and blow them up while the rest of your forces hit the Dark Shard to keep them from shooting (they hurt), should be a stupid easy win. Sack Ashrak first, then occupy it at Level 2 to save 40 food to make Ghrond tier 3.
Build Ratling Warrens in Atorak, and a Rubbish Pit and Taskmaster's Platform in Ashrak, in order to unlock Ruthless and Devious Plans technology. Make sure you are research technology, make sure Throt has Route Marcher skill, recruit more Wolf Rats, and End Turn.
Turn 2: Attack the nearby army, fight the battle manually and win, then select the option to replenish casualties, you need to army in top shape to attack Ghrond. Now attack Ghrond and fight the battle manually. Rush the game with your forces, and then what I did was push on through to capture the flag to force the win.
Occupy Ghrond at Tier 3 settlement.
A good start for the rest of your campaign.
I purchased "Clone Warfare" in the Laboratory in the Flesh Lab, and I discovered on the next turn that it appears when giving some of my skavenslaves random augments, that it proceeded to unlock a number of Infantry augments. Good to know.