Total War: Warhammer – Chaos beginners guide


Possibly the most unique race so far available to play in Total War: Warhammer, Chaos have a very different play-style compared to the other factions and can be overwhelming the first time you try them. They can’t take any settlements, cannot trade and you can’t use two armies together (effectively, anyway). So here’s a quick beginners guide to help you understand just how Chaos work.

The Realm Gaming official Chaos guide

Chaos are essentially the Genghis Khan of Total War: Warhammer. Your objective is to raze, sack, pillage… generally cause death and destruction to anyone in your way. This horde-style gameplay is unique to Chaos and the only way to win is to use your momentum and keep pushing. Unlike other factions where you can sit back, gather your troops and replenish your numbers; you’re not afforded this luxury when you start a campaign as these hulking brutes!

Although Chaos pack some serious melee and other-worldly (literally) muscle, they suffer heavily from poor population growth which can seriously stall your progress and access to better units. The only advantage is your starting location. You’re as far north-east as you can effectively go so you’re free of too many early wars so all you need to do is focus on army-management and raiding as much as you can.

Some tips to helping your population problem:

  • Always upgrade your encampment whenever you can.
  • Upgrade your legendary lord. Higher levels allows you to replenish your units faster which allows you to keep raiding…
  • … and keep raiding you must! Constant raiding aids your population surplus. A strategy I use is to raid, sack and then raze the same settlement the turn after which then stops the resources getting to your enemies as well.
  • Upgrade the population skills in the Campaign Skill Tree. Depending on your encampment level you can have 3x the population growth.
  • Keep only one army until you can effectively afford several. Don’t rush for a second army… you’ll only make yourself more dependant on raiding and looting.

Building Strategy

Although you can’t control any settlements, there’s still plenty to build. Which is why you need to be careful what to build, especially at the start:

  • Encampments (have I mentioned those already?). Always upgrade your encampments.
  • Go for the blasphemous icon early, the Chaos Warriors are really very good early-game.
  • The ruinous alter – The Chosen and other warrior upgrades are too good to pass on. It becomes a lot easier to take on the opposition with the two buildings above.
  • Demonic Forge – For the Hellcannons. I haven’t actually got this far myself but from what I’ve read online the Hellcannons are awesome!
  • Pillar of Skulls – Something I HAVE achieved early game (30 turns!). The Pillar of Skulls provides an excellent set of armor for the early game.


Chaos don’t really get along with many other races. Dwarves and Empire simply won’t negotiate with Chaos at all and the Vampires are the only faction you can ally with at all. My recommendations are to ally with the other Chaos factions you encounter in the northern regions (otherwise you can literally be CHASED AROUND THE MAP by them like me on one of my first saves…).

There’s really not much else to say on diplomacy. Just make sure you ‘awaken’ the first settlement you see when you first start the game. They’re a very useful ally in your early – mid game skirmishes.


Chaos are a difficult faction compared to the others, but with patience and a few practice playthroughs, they can be both a fun and rewarding faction to play. If you want to play a Genghis / Attila type faction, this is perfect for you. Always on the move, always reaping destruction!

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