Total War: Warhammer III – Zhao Ming Guide (The Cheese Dragon)

Unleash the cheese dragon.

Guide to Zhao Ming The Cheese Dragon

All credit goes to Will!

Zhao Ming The Goat

Not sure whether this was intentional but a number of factors came together to make Zhao Ming the best lord of not only all 3 Warhammer games, but also Three Kingdoms, and Troy.

The most essential characteristic of a best lord is meat, obviously if you die you can’t win the fight, and therefore can’t be the best lord. Not only is Zhao Ming decently tanky at 9.7k health, 97 armor and 82 melee defense, he has some extra advantages other seemingly equal tanks don’t have:

  • Zhao Ming is small
    Being not a giant demon lord has huge advantages, being small means missiles targeting him have far less chance of hitting, in fact if you just keep walking in circles, almost no missile will hit you. This obviously also applies to friendly missiles, you can order archers to target enemies around Zhao Ming without any worry of friendly fire.
    This also has the additional advantage, that when a missile misses you, it can hit enemies beside you, causing friendly fire to your advantage.
  • Zhao Ming has melee attack moves that shift his position
    He has several melee moves like the flying backflip flame kick that rapidly moves his model, this will actual cause enemy missiles to miss, because in addition to him moving out of the way, any missile fired while he’s in his animation, will also miss since they will overshoot since his movement is only for like a second and not constant.
  • Zhao Ming has constant regeneration skill
  • Cathay has access to extremely tanky gear
  • There’s an easy to get potion of toughness, one time regeneration.
  • There’s also a weapon that grants constant regeneration.
  • There’s a banner that gives +20 armor you can get via caravan.

Kill Them Before They Kill You

While a maxed out Zhao Ming is virtually invulnerable to melee attacks, the game does have a regeneration limit, and just for sanity sake you might want to kill faster than basic attacks. Luckily, Zhao Ming has you covered:

  • Zhao Ming has one of the best melee attack move sets
    Zhao Ming has AOE attack moves that damage the front, sides and back. And he has sort of an ultimate move that causes a big explosion, damaging and pushing back everyone around him in a large radius.
  • Zhao Ming starts with Dragon’s Breath, a usable AOE damage spell
  • Not the best damage spell at lv.1, but just the fact that you have it by yourself makes Zhao Ming a neat self-contained pack of cheese, meaning you can fight battles by yourself, with no weak points for enemies to exploit.
  • This spell becomes quite good when fully upgraded, costing only 5 magic, you can cast it enough times to kill thousands of enemies.
  • The Cathay starts off with an Alchemist, who can cast Seering Doom

Which is one of the best starting damage abilities, unlike those weak debuffs and “direct damage” BS that don’t seem to do anything, this ability will do real damage, perfect for enemies surrounding Zhao Ming.

  • The Cathay has access to this one weird item
  • This item grants constant damage to all enemy units around Zhao Ming, which is obviously amazing for what we’re trying to do here. It averages out to 720 damage per minute, you can literally kill entire units just by standing beside them for 10 minutes without doing anything.
  • In addition, it also gives weakness to fire. Unfortunately Dragon’s breath while it looks like fire, I don’t think it does fire damage, but Zhao Ming does have access to fire damage spells, and fire damage weapons that synergize amazingly with this item.
  • The Cathay has rocket artillery

You have access to both ground based rocket artillery, and hot air balloon rocket artillery. They are definitely top picks for cheesing because of their insane damage output. The weakness of rocket artillery is supposed to be inaccuracy, but obviously we don’t care about that, since beside the enemies we’re trying to hit, will either be nothing, or even more enemies. The worst you can expect is a miss, but since every shot is basically as strong as a normal gun artillery piece, there’s no reason to care.


While there’s not much strategy to it, that’s the point isn’t it? There are some minor tips to keep in mind.

  • You don’t have to protect your archers if you don’t have archers

Another advantage is if you don’t have any other units, the AI won’t try to attack them, and they’ll only attack your lord, which is exactly what you want.

  • Arrows can’t shoot through walls but magic can

You can have Zhao Ming go in the city, and the alchemist stand just outside of the wall to cast Seering Doom.

Cheese Lords Compared

Miao Ying

The most obvious comparison, Miao Ying has access to all the same gear and units as Zhao Ming, why isn’t she the cheese dragon? Well she is close but lacking in a few departments.

  • No starting damage spell
    You start off needing cheese the most, more than any other time, and not having the full cheese arsenal at the start means you must bring your own damage dealers, which may be vulnerable to enemy attack, you don’t want those annoying cavalry charging your rocket artillery or your alchemist fleeing battle because she’s not as tanky as you are.
  • Zhao Ming’s faction effect gives +15 armor
    And armor is good, you want more armor.
  • Miao Ying has healing spells rather than constant regeneration
    You don’t want to waste magic on healing spells, because you need all of them to kill the enemy.


Probably the strongest 1v1 lord because of his very high base stats. But being able to 2 shot the enemy lord give you no advantage in terms of the battle.

Skarbrand’s large size makes him the ideal missile target, you cannot as a result, assault settlements by yourself because the towers will wear you down extremely fast.

Zhao Yun

Zhao Yun used to be able to kill a full army stack by himself, even better than Lv Bu because he has the highest dodge stat, when fully stacked he can have over 100% dodge but that was later nerfed.

Also sny general in TK suffers from the nerf that was implemented, making spear infantry have the ability to dismount your generals. Once you’re on your feet, you can no longer kill everyone by yourself.


  • Tyrion can damage enemies with Sunfang but you don’t get it from the start.
  • Tyrion has no healing abilities.
  • Tyrion’s basic attack does almost no damage to groups of enemies.


Teclis is a known combination of being both very tanky, and has access to powerful AOE spells. But his kit is just not as good as Zhao Ming’s.

His chain lightning for example, is extremely strong but it costs 15 magic, and it’s random so you can’t reliably kill what you need to kill. His damage spells also tend to have very large AOE which you cannot take full advantage of, and you just end up wasting magic attacking the ground.


Zhao Ming has one weakness, and that is to very strong low unit count melee units, either monstrous infantry or extremely strong lords like Skarbrand. This is mostly due to the AOE spells and attacks we’ve been talking about being ineffective against such units. Large units also tend to take up space for the smaller units, reducing your ability to attack them with AOE attacks.

Basically, Zhao Ming will be weak against Orcs, since they have lots of large size units.

On the other hand, Zhao Ming can easily take down multiple stacks of Skaven army by himself.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7697 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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