Total War: Warhammer 3 Thrones of Decay Review – More Pain, More Gain

Total War: Warhammer III Thrones of Decay Review

You know why you’re here. You didn’t just stumble upon this review, because the second DLC for the third game in a franchise isn’t going to appeal to just anyone. I’m guessing you’re into both Warhammer and the Total War games. You might have a shelf full of miniatures ready to go at a moment’s notice, and maybe a tabletop ready and waiting. You’d never in a million years confuse a Skaven with a Nurgle. What you want to know is, what’s in the new Warhammer 3: Thrones of Decay DLC? I’ll tell you.

History Lesson

But first, there might be a reader who isn’t a Warhammer fan, so let’s explain. You’ve certainly heard of Warhammer and/or Warhammer 40k. If not, you can hand in your nerd card on your way out. Warhammer is dark fantasy, Warhammer 40K is sci-fi. Both began life on the tabletop before making the inevitable leap to video games. Games Workshop isn’t always discriminating when it comes to licensing. As a result, there are dozens of Warhammer and 40K video games, in just about every genre, and they vary dramatically in quality.

Almost as well known as Warhammer, Creative Assembly’s Total War series of strategy and tactical games began in 2000 with games devoted to ancient Japan, medieval battles, and soon after, Rome. Total War games consistently have a vast, turn-based campaign played on an overworld map and tactical, real-time battles featuring hundreds of units. In 2016, the first Total War: Warhammer appeared, followed by sequels in 2017 and 2022. The two franchises fit together perfectly. The three games in the Total War: Warhammer series are not just brilliant representations of the Warhammer world and its factions, they’re all incredibly deep and fun. With each new game, all of the units from the old game stay in rotation. This means there’s a staggering amount of content.

The Hero’s Journey

This brings us to Thrones of Decay, the 6th DLC for Total War: Warhammer III. It follows two paid DLCs from 2023, Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs and Shadows of Change. While Thrones of Decay is a paid expansion, Creative Assembly also releases a vast amount of free content with each DLC. In addition to the usual updates and bug fixes, the new free stuff includes several heroes: Epidemius, Nurgle’s Tallyman, and The Gold Wizard.

At the heart of Thrones of Decay are three legendary Lords. Elspeth VonDraken, Magisterix of the Amethyst College and Arch-Wizard of the Lore of Death. Also known as the Dark Lady of Nuln, she is a potent Lore of Death spellcaster with a hefty scythe to boot.  Elspeth’s abilities grant her a healthy mix of melee prowess, subversion, and magic. She can ride a warhorse into battle and she has the ability to reverse the sands of time.

The Dwarf faction gains a new hero in Malakai Makaisson. A tragically disgraced Dwarf Engineer, he serves the Dwarfs as a ranged support Lord, tossing explosives toward the enemy with the Cinderblast Cluster Bomb, and blasting them to bits with his gun.

Finally, there’s my favorite, Tamurkhan the Maggot Lord. Tamurkhan is a powerful Chaos Lord and Champion of Nurgle. He functions as a tank, with the combined durability of an Ogre infested with a corpse maggot of Nurgle. He charges into battle astride Toad Dragon, Bubebolos.

Deep Gets Deeper

All of the new Lords come with new battle abilities and nearly a dozen related new units. Perhaps most importantly, each new hero brings new mechanics to the main campaign. They can also be played in skirmishes, of course, either against AI or other human players.

With 24 different factions and armies to choose from, Total War: Warhammer III is a very faithful, detailed recreation of the tabletop game. It breathes life into the iconic miniatures with excellent animations, brutal audio environments, and brilliant spell and battle effects. One of the things that I — and millions of fans — love about Warhammer is the grand operatic fantasy of the lore. Everything is heroically and emotionally oversized. In the game, music plays a significant role. It continues to be a highlight of the series.

Creative Assembly continues to support the base game with quality free and paid content. If you’re a fan of Total War: Warhammer III, Thrones of Decay is a no-brainer purchase. Like previous DLCs, it gives players a trio of new Lords to learn, a large number of new units to play with, and another reason to sink hours and hours into the game.

***PC code provided by the publisher for review***

The Good

  • Fun new Lords and units
  • Adds more content to a great game
  • Fantastic animations and audio

The Bad

  • Very specific content