Total War: Warhammer III – Multiplayer Basic Guide

A helpful guide for those new to the multiplayer scene and need somewhere to start.

Guide to Multiplayer Basics

Building an Army

  • Learn how to read unit cards.
  • Always bring a caster (where possible) with 3 spells max.
  • Check what abilities/items your lord & heroes have and ask if you really need them. Every character having foe-seeker can add up to a hefty chunk of gold, but abilities with percentage buffs on a unit with with a high base stat (eg. Weapon Strength on Karl Franz) can increase their potential by a significant margin for relatively low cost.
  • Ask yourself what the enemy can bring and what you have to counter it. For example, if the enemy can bring heavy cavalry, what have you got that can kill them? If you know your opponent or have played them before, try to envision what style(s) they tend to play as this knowledge can narrow down the final form their army may take.
  • Always factor in the map. Some matchups may seem ideal for artillery or ranged units but if the map is full of trees and terrain features, that may not be the optimal choice.
  • You may not always have a single unit that can do a specific job, in that case look for synergies. The enemy can bring lots of heavy armour and you only have non AP units, but you can bring a mage with spells that debuff armour, making your non AP units much more effective.
  • Not all factions are created equal, some factions have an innate advantage over others e.g. Dwarves over Empire. You may lose decisively in a fight but fear not! It may be that you played as well as you could and still lost, that is life.
  • Think about how you are going to win. Do the other faction have low leadership? Then maybe you can win by routing them off by bringing units with fear/terror and leadership debuffs. However, no plan ever survives first contact with the enemy so be prepared to adapt. Also, if you see something you simply cannot kill fast and efficiently, it may be prudent to ignore it / run away from it until the end of the battle (eg. Gotrek) or until you clean up supporting units (eg. killing saurus to isolate big dinosaurs)..
  • Consider unit mass. It’s not on the unit card but it’s a vital part of TW. You might protect your skirmishers with spears, good! But a mammoth will steamroll through the spears and into your backline. Use your own high mass units or snares (net of amyntok, prey of amath raena etc.) to lock them down.
  • Single entity units (Carnosaurs, Shaggoths etc.) are very powerful. As a regular unit takes damage it loses models, which are models that now cannot fight. This does not happen for single entities and they will fight at full effectiveness per model til the end. This is why the healing of single entities is so strong.

On the Battlefield

  • Do not set your troops up in a straight line. Line spells/abilities (Wind of Death, Seafang etc.) are common and can ruin several units at once if they are in a line. Stagger them slightly to avoid this.
  • Don’t corner camp. It’s cheap and highly frowned upon and doesn’t result in a good game or you making any improvements.
  • In general, if you have or think you have the mobility advantage you can deploy more spread out and if you don’t have or don’t think you have the mobility advantage deploy closer together.
  • If you come up against a faction with heavy vanguard potential (eg. Wood Elves, Beastmen) do not vanguard units in isolation or more than ¼ distance into the neutral zone.
  • During deployment, hover over the balance of power bar at the top of the screen. This will tell you how many troops the opponent has brought and can help you identify what strategy they will use and where they will deploy.
  • Use your HUD (heads up display)! This includes the mini-map at the top right (you can often spot ambushes immediately) and the unit cards at the bottom of the screen (can identify idle units or ones that returned from routing during the heat of battle).
  • When the battle starts look at your enemy and try to roughly count up the cost of all their units. Does it add up to the max funds? If not they may have hidden units somewhere you need to look out for.
  • If you suspect there are hidden units then be sure to scout before engaging. Light cav or fast flying units are great for this. Look in forests or behind large hills to see what your enemy is hiding.
  • Take the initiative! If you have the ranged advantage you may want to sit back and shoot but you should always be proactive and trying to dictate the play.
  • Learn unit matchups & target priority. Shooting skeletons with handgunners is a waste of ammo, save them for the heavily armoured units. However, you should shoot at targets of opportunity if you can’t focus on your higher priority target (eg. shooting melee zombie deckhands with archers instead of moving closer to shoot their ranged back behind the front line).
  • Terrain is vital. Units charging downhill get a bonus, hills can block your missile units from firing, hide them from enemy view etc. Consider where you deploy your units and where they are going to engage the enemy.
  • Don’t sit still. You should be moving/attacking with your army. Units sitting still are funds not earning value.
  • Unless otherwise agreed, consider both players as “attackers”. Playing defensively does not mean playing passively. If you sit back and relax, the enemy can start making you responsive instead of dictating the pace of battle.
  • Draw-kiting (or cowardice) is very uncool. If you’re going to lose but for one unbreakable hidden unit just charge them in and take the loss, it’s not the end of the world. Losing is a huge part of winning, be a good sport and respect your opponent even if they don’t respect you. We are a tight-knit community and if you are not kind to others we will know about it.
  • Be aware of fatigue levels. A unit that is exhausted will perform very poorly compared to when fresh. It may even completely change the result of a fight that you might expect to win. This is why foe-seeker can be extremely important on lords like Karl Franz and also why Grail Knights/Guardians are so powerful.

Post Battle

  • Save replays & post battle screenshots to watch back and identify what you did well and what you could improve upon.
  • Talk to people about the battle, share replays and try to build up a collective knowledge. Some people have been playing for thousands of hours and may have encountered whatever problem you are facing.
  • Don’t take it too seriously. At the end of the day it’s just a game and we’re all here to have fun.

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