No stranger to Total War: Warhammer III, the Champions of Chaos DLC offered new challenges to add to our consideration of the overall game review. Our original expert review covers the base game extensively from core mechanics to every playable faction.
But the DLC takes it to a new level for lore heads by adding new faction lords: Valkia, Festus, Azazel, and Vilitch. Each one serves a ruinous God and fights to conquer fortresses until everyone else serves them, too. But is this DLC worth the commitment?
Let’s review what the DLC adds, the characters, and how it affects the gameplay experience.
Total War: Warhammer III background
Our full review goes very in-depth into the lore behind the game with the death of the bear god Ursun. The game retains the same playable factions with their various leaders including the original representatives of the four ruinous Gods:
- Kairos Fateweaver (Tzeentch)
- Skarbrand (Khorne)
- N’kari (Slaanesh)
- Ku’gath Plaguefeather (Nurgle)
The Champions of Chaos DLC merely adds more flavor to the base campaign and some new combat mechanics and skill tree options.
Champions of Chaos story:
Instead of following the plot of the campaign in the base game, the DLC switches things up. On the same map, it pits the four legendary lords in a conquest of the land of Zanbaijin as they harvest souls for their chosen God.
Finding the legendary city will prove their loyalty to make them the ultimate champion. Yeah, sure, okay — because the Ruinous Gods are known for honoring whatever promises they make to people.
Champions of Chaos unit additions of note
The DLC tosses many new units into the pot across all disciplines. While many share similar designs and stats, the versions for each faction maintain the traits and abilities of the God they serve. For instance, Khorne’s units will tend to have higher attack damage while Tzeentch’s version has a barrier.
The biggest differences surround the abilities and passives they’ll have. But in general, the chosen units added and their descriptions are as below:
Chaos Warshrine (different abilities and traits based on faction)
- a support monster that acts primarily as a vehicle and bullet sponge
- siege attacker
- can fear troops, encourage allies, and gain resistance as enemies die near it
- “Favour of the Ruinous Powers” adds +10 leadership to any unit in its proximity
Sibilant Slaughtercade (Slaanesh Regiment of Renown)
- features poison attacks, useful flanking bonuses, and high mobility
- “Soul hunters” provides damage buffs with kills
- anti-infantry unit with vanguard deployment
- armored and shielded
Bilious Thundergruff (Nurgle Regiment of Renown)
- chaos giant with poison attacks and terror
- features a unique gas-based ability that functions as a vortex spell. It damages nearby units while also reducing armor that jumps to a total of 5 units nearby
Knights of the Brazen Throne (Khorne Regiment of Renown)
- causes terror and fear
- anti-infantry unit with high armor and powerful charge
Severed Claw Aspiring Champions (Tzeentch Regiment of Renown)
- barriered, armor-piercing unit useful against large units
- only 16 in a unit
- feature melee attacks and magic attacks
- “Encourage” ability provides +8 leadership to nearby units
Chosen of Slaanesh
- armored and shielded sword infantry unit
- features Slaanesh buffs “Immunity to psychology”, 10% physical resistance, and “Strider”
- Hellscourge version adds more defense, charge defense, and charge reflection
Chosen of Nurgle
- armored and shield axe infantry with poison attacks and damage reduction
- tank version has higher health and melee defense with just 23 speed
- “Great Weapon” version wields a Great Axe, is armored, and armor-piercing
Chosen of Khorne
- armored and shielded axe infantry unit with frenzy
- includes fire damage but lacks armor-piercing
- high health for excellent front-line defense
- the dual weapon version is more focused on damage over the defense with a bonus against infantry
Chosen of Tzeentch
- armored, shielded, and barriered sword infantry unit with magic attacks
- “Halberd” version adds anti-large attacks along with a charge defense ability
Warhammer 3 Champions of Chaos Faction differences
Tzeentch & Vilitch the Curseling
Vilitch, a jealous twin turned worm-with-mouth grafted onto the now mindless body of his brother thanks to Tzeentch, has hybrid abilities. He can cast spells while also dishing out damage with melee attacks. He’s a bit of a warlock as he excels at fighting alongside units on the front line while also casting spells.
He leads the Puppets of Misrule and his abilities include:
- “Fires of Change” – includes all spells associated with Tzeentch
- “Paragon of Change” – this regenerates barriers on nearby friendly units
- “The Twisted Twin” – adjusts buff based on which twin is fighting. When playing as Vilitch, you get additional spell mastery. When playing as T, you get enhanced melee damage and defense. The effects increase the longer you are in a specific mode
- “Vessel of Chaos” – returns barrier points as you cast
- lacks armor-piercing attacks but allied forces receive Winds of Magic benefits
- has a barrier to enhancing toughness and facilitating infantry domination
- can convert some battle losses into Souls
- vassals receive barrier hit points
- capable of stealing +15% of other Lords’ experience
Slaanesh & Azazel, Prince of Damnation
This legendary lord thinks very highly of himself despite being a total glass cannon. With just five armor, his capable melee attacks and spellcasting require more finesse. But he can fly…
He leads the Ecstatic Legion and his abilities include:
- “Temptator” – reflects melee damage and boosts damage resistance
- “Demonblade” – boosts base weapon damage, but also lowers enemy morale and leadership buffs with the “Discouraged” trait
- “Lore of Slaanesh” – includes all spells associated with Slaanesh
- “Domineering Aura” – further demoralizes enemies by reducing melee attack and defense. Increases in intensity the longer there are troops being discouraged or afraid
- can cause both terror and fear in enemy troops
- the only demon among the legendary lords
- +80 diplomatic relations with Cathay, Empire, Bretonnia, and Kislev
- can seduce enemy units before battle
- vassals obtain “Immunity to Psychology”
Nurgle & Festus the Leechlord
Festus could best be described as a wizard when it comes to his combat stats. He isn’t the most robust chaos lord with low armor stats and spell-casting abilities. However, he does have enhanced melee damage, though, to get out of some sticky situations.
He leads the Fecundites and his abilities include:
- “Healing Elixirs” – heals Festus and any nearby units while active (constantly active when selected)
- “Harbinger of Pestilence” – damages enemies within close proximity continuously unless/until you switch back to Healing Elixirs
- “Pestilent Potions” – useful damage debuff against enemies that provides toughness to up to five friendly units up to 100 meters away
- can be played as a more support classes character with healing or as a damage booster to help troops take out enemies more quickly
- plague brewing abilities and +three turn plague duration with local armies
- vassals obtain poison attacks
Khorne & Valkia the Bloody
Think of Valkia as the ultimate barbarian. Her melee-based abilities pack a punch with solid stats all around. She’s best played as a frontline commander who occasionally dives into battle leveraging her invulnerability power.
She leads the Legion of the Gorequeen and her main abilities include:
- can use Bloodletting and Frenzy
- “Spear Slaupnir” – a wind spell useful against infantry
- “Demon Shield” – makes Valkia invulnerable for 13 seconds
- “Scarlet Armor” – reduces enemy armor along with their armor-piercing abilities
- “Gaze of Khorne” – bestows additional buffs to her including leadership aura, base damage, and armor-piercing abilities
- she can fly
- bonus damage versus large targets
- additional magical damage on her melee attacks
- receives +50% souls when sacrificing captives
- vassals also gain Frenzy
New mechanics in Champions of Chaos: gifts of chaos, warbands, & dark fortresses
Vassals & dark fortresses
Upon encountering villages or controlled outposts, you can defeat the reigning powers and establish a Dark Fortress region. This grants whatever Norscan faction you overtook as a permanent vassal acting in your stead. As long as you maintain dominion over their lands, they will follow you.
This, naturally, puts importance on establishing more fortresses and taking over regions. You also need to build structures, but this can be automated if you want it to be.
Warband upgrades & skill trees
As a Champion of Chaos, players will be able to recruit forces upon capture instantly. They can be from nearby provinces or rewarded to them from Chaos Gifts. That means that Marauders can receive the mark of Chaos and ascend to Chaos Knights if desired. You can also dedicate them to a specific God.
Each champion also features customizable skill trees as pictured above.
As you grow your power and sacrifice souls to your Ruinous God, you’ll receive gifts of chaos. These boons require Souls in exchange but can offer great power and benefits. Gain souls by winning battles and you can even obtain demonic reinforcements.
Verdict: Chaos makes everything better
Die-hard fans of the Warhammer series will love the additional lore the Champions of Chaos DLC provides. Newbies might also appreciate the truncated campaign and useful tutorial tips. Checking out Total War Warhammer’s beginner tips might help, too.
More casual players may not get as much out of the additional Ruinous God champions. However, it’s just $15.99 USD full price, so it’s not too much of an investment if you just want to check it out.
- Makes the game even more accessible for new players
- Excellent for fans of Warhammer lore and the various legendary lords
- New campaign may run faster than the Ursun-focused campaign in the base game
- Playable in the Immortal Empires campaign
- Cluttered UI suffers from the same issues as the base game
- Cost may turn some less-hardcore players away from the DLC
- Players focused on expansion may struggle with DLC gameplay that’s more centered around fortress captures
- Some of the “new” units appear more like reskinned versions of units in the base game – test
Developer: Creative Assembly
Game Modes: Single-player & multiplayer
Game Engine: Warscape Engine