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All playable Total War: Warhammer 3 factions and races

Total War: Warhammer 3 is packed with factions, and now has backwards compatibility with factions from the first two games and their DLC.

Total War Warhammer 3 Races and Factions - screenshot of an Ogre Kingdoms firebreathing sorcerer fighting a Khorne champion, by Creative Assembly

There’s huge variety among the Total War: Warhammer 3 factions and races, with seven factions in the core game, one DLC faction already released and another DLC faction on the way. Thanks to an update in February 2023, if you own either of the previous Total War: Warhammer games or any of their DLC, the races from those products are available in the Immortal Empires game mode in Total War: Warhammer 3. That adds a further 15 races to an already bountiful roster.

That’s before you count some of the Legendary Lords who put a completely different spin on how their faction plays. It all adds up to make Total War: Warhammer III one of the very best Warhammer fantasy videogames, not to mention one of the best Total War games. The series is also the only way you can currently play a strategy game in the Old World setting, at least until Games Workshop relaunches the setting on the tabletop with the upcoming Warhammer: The Old World wargame.

Our guide explains the races available in the game and, in the case of the Immortal Empires mode, which Total War: Warhammer III DLC or older games you’ll need to buy to unlock the race.

Here are all the playable Total War: Warhammer III Races and Factions:

Grand Cathay

Grand Cathay has always been part of the Warhammer World, but Total War: Warhammer III was the first time Warhammer fans saw what the faction looked like, as it never received models for the tabletop game. Inspired by the myths and history of China, Cathay is made up predominately of humans, but its leaders are immortal dragons.

Cathay is the biggest and possibly most powerful empire in the Warhammer world, separated from the Old World by the World’s Edge Mountains and the Mountains of Mourne. You can send caravans along the Ivory World to the Old World, raising income but facing perils along the way.

The Cathay faction is defended from the Chaos Wastes to the north by the Great Bastion – like the Great Wall of China, but defending against something far more deadly than Mongul horse archers. You’ll need to invest in its defences to ward off invasion from the ruinous powers.

The principle of Harmony defines Cathay. Campaign actions push the Harmony meter towards Yin or Yang – you’ll be at your most powerful when it’s balanced in the middle. Cathayan units are either Yin or Yang aligned, and keeping opposite-aligned units close together will provide them both boosts.

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Frozen Kislev

Kislev is the northernmost nation in the Old World – at least, the northmost nation not fallen to Chaos. It’s inspired by Russia, with a massive fantasy twist. The tutorial campaign for Total War: Warhammer III follows a Kislevite prince’s expedition into the Chaos Wastes to free Ursun, Kislev’s bear god, who has been imprisoned by the dark powers, trapping the nation in perpetual winter.

Kislev is divided into two playable factions, the Great Orthodoxy church and the Ice Court of the frost queen. As well as fighting against Chaos, a Kislev campaign will be spent trying to win supporters against the rival Kislevite faction. The more support you gain, the easier it will be to confederate independent Kislevite factions – and you can be locked out of each tier of bonuses if you don’t get therebefore the opposing Kislevite faction.

Kislev has always borne the brunt of Chaos invasions – the city of Praag has a nasty history of being sacked – so taking the fight to the ruinous powers will earn you Devotion, a unique resource you can spend on rituals to the Kislevite dieties for nationwide bonuses, or to build your faction’s most powerful structures.

Kislevhas a thing about bears – the unit roster includes war bear riders, bear-drawn war sleds, and even a gargantuan Elemental Bear summoned from the ice and stone of the land.

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Daemons of Khorne

The Daemons of Khorne are manifestations of the blood-god. Its legions include red-armored warriors, red-skinned bloodletters, and a fair few slavering war beasts. Guess their color.

There are two playable Khorne factions in Total War Warhammer 3: Legion of the Gorequeen is led by Khalia the Bloody, who can fly and likes making frenzied vassals. Exiles of Khorne is led by Skarbrand the Exiled, whose armies heal in enemy territory.

Don’t play Daemons of Khorne if you like making friends or playing a defensive game, the Daemons of Khorne don’t play nice, not even with other Daemons. You need to be collecting skulls for the skull throne, and that means war!

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Daemons of Nurgle

The Daemons of Nurgle are emanations of pure decay. Their armies are full of slow, tanky, defensive daemonic units that inflict poison on enemies, and grind them down gradually in melee conflict. Their only ranged attacks come from missile cavalry: horsemen chucking axes or plague drones raining down pestilence from above.

In the campaign, Daemons of Nurgle has a unique playstyle, with buildings that go through a cyclical process of growth and decay. The two playable Daemons of Nurgle factions are The Fecundites, led by Festus The Leech-lord, which is all about plagues; and Poxmakers of Nurgle, led by Ku’gath Plaguefather, who loves Nurglings (who doesn’t?)

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Daemons of Slaanesh

The Daemons of Slaanesh are the scions of the prince of excess.

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Daemons of Tzeentch

The Daemons of Tzeentch are manifestations of the weaver of fate, lord of change, changer of the ways, tricksiest of the Chaos gods.

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Chaos Undivided

Sometimes, a truly powerful Daemon Prince is uplifted by Chaos Undivided, gaining the boons of all four Chaos gods.

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Ogre Kingdoms (DLC race)

The Ogre Kingdoms were added via DLC. They’re a race of monstrous, gluttons, driven to a ravenous frenzy by their endless appetites and the demands of their hungering god.

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Chaos Dwarfs (DLC race)

The Chaos Dwarfs have been revealed as the next DLC race. These cranky corrupted dwarfs rely on slave labour to operate their many factories and mines, which they use to churn out dreadful, often daemonically possessed war engines.

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Immortal Empires races

If you own either of the previous Total War: Warhammer games, or any of the DLC, you can unlock the associated races in the massive Immortal Empires campaign mode in Total War: Warhammer III. You can also buy DLC from any previous game to unlock the corresponding faction in Total War: Warhammer III.

Lots of these DLC add new Legendary Lords from specific factions. They’re playable, along with their armies, in Immortal Empires mode, even if you don’t own the base game or race DLC that comes with the rest of their faction.

Source Unlocks
Total War: Warhammer Orcs and Goblins
Bretonnia (in free DLC)
Norsca DLC Norsca
Realm of the Wood Elves DLC Wood Elves
The King and the Warlord DLC Dwarfs (one Legendary Lord)
Orcs and Goblins (one Legendary Lord)
The Grim and the Grave DLC Undead (one Legendary Lord)
Empire (one Legendary Lords)
Call of the Beastmen DLC Beastmen
Chaos Warriors DLC Chaos Warriors
Total War: Warhammer II Skaven
High Elves
Dark Elves
Dwarves (one Legendary Lord)
Bretonnia (one Legendary Lord)
The Silence and the Fury DLC Lizardmen (one Legendary Lord)
Beastmen (one Legendary Lord)
The Twisted and the Twilight DLC Skaven (one Legendary Lord)
Wood Elves (one Legendary Lord)
The Warden and the Paunch DLC High Elves (one Legendary Lord)
Orcs and Goblins (one Legendary Lord)
The Shadow and the Blade DLC Dark Elves (one Legendary Lord)
Skaven (one Legendary Lord)
The Hunter and the Beast DLC Empire (one Legendary Lord)
Lizardmen (one Legendary Lord)
The Prophet and the Warlock Skaven (one Legendary Lord)
Lizardmen (one Legendary Lord)
Curse of the Vampire Coast Vampire pirates
The Queen and the Crone High Elves (one Legendary Lord)
Dark Elves (one Legendary Lord)
Rise of the Tomb Kings

Tomb Kings