Total War Warhammer 3 – The Environmental Activist Faction

Trees give us oxygen. They eat carbon dioxide. They look really pretty. And they are essential for making so many, many things… And now, a band of hippie Wood Elves has decided that trees need to be preserved at all cost. Yes, Total War: Warhammer comes with it’s own band of environmental activist, but who come with a twist. Because yes, they do want to save the forests, but no they do not care about the cost of doing so. If they have to raze a sprawling city of thousands, killing all in their wake and stealing what gold they find to do so then they will.

Wood Elves are a rather unique faction in that they can only get tier 5 settlements from within the various magical forests sprinkled throughout the world, of which there are ten. Occupying anything other than them gives you lowly outposts with only two building slots, which are good for nothing except sitting in to replenish units for a while and maybe for the sake of having a ports if you’re in a costal region. But, 90% of the time you’re going to instead by razing settlements for fat stacks.

Why? Because settlements surrounding the forest cause damage to the local environment. But if you ally with the owner of those settlements or, better yet, destroy those places, your forests will begin to heal. When fully healed you can perform a ritual to restore the forest to its former glory, but must first defend against incursions of hostile armies of the Brazilian government, who seek nothing else but the deforestation of your various Amazon utopias. Completing a ritual awards you with amber, a rare resource that can be spent on absolutely insane upgrades for your faction like the ability to reduce recruitment time for the strongest units you can field, and further reducing the upkeep of all armies garrisoned within a forest.

And this is the way of the Wood Elf. Hide in a forest and be isolationist because being garrisoned is the only way you’re going to make fat stacks in the early game. But once you’ve got a strong enough army capable of getting anywhere from 50,000-80,000 gold per settlement razed, you become so rich that it’s really inconsequential how many armies you start to field and where you station them. Still don’t get it? Well imagine this: You’re treasury is at a constant deficit, but every turn you make such an exponential amount of money from destroying cities that it is not of any consequence at all. You’ll never run out of money because you’ll never run out of enemies.

In fact, I have accidentally saved the world a number of times since fighting the end times often coincides with healing my forests and earning money to do so. So, by just razing a few enemy settlements around my forests is often enough time to give the forces of order a chance to rally their good armies and push back against the forces of chaos. Hurray for my happenstance.

The Wood Elves have four Legendary Lords you can play as to experience being the richest person in the world with one of the worst economic set of upgrades in the game:

1. Orion: This guy is king of the Wood Elves. He is super quick and is just as good as sniping enemy lords with a bow as he is at kicking the hell out of them in melee. He gives a lot of buffs to cavalry units and focuses on mobility. Wood Elf cavalry hits hard but is pretty flimsy itself too, which Orion is able to offset more than the other Legendary Lords of his faction. He also receives extra buffs when Ariel (more on her later) is in his army, and gets Wild Hunt events where his armies become free, providing the perfect window of opportunity for him to walk out of his forests and destroy anything not wooden.

2. Sisters of Twilight: Riding atop of an eagle, and later a dragon, these girls are essentially flying, highly mobile artillery. They rain fire from above in ways a lot of other factions can only dream of. Fittingly, they buff a host of other flying units too, which is a shame since I’m not too fond of the Wood Elf flyers except for the forest dragon. Offsetting this is their insanely powerful ability to forge items for battle, which buff their combat stats to such ludicrous degrees that it becomes comical how utterly long it will take for other Lords to catch up with your power scaling.

3. Drycha: Drycha is tree. A small tree, albeit a tee. And she hates elves. Thus she only gets access to trees. Yes, she has an army of trees, unique benevolent trees, and can recruit wildlife like bears and wolves to supplement her army. She is a powerful lord with access to a variety of good spells, but without the aid of the wood elf units (which make up the best archers in the whole game) she can feel a bit lacking.

4. Durthu: My personal favourite Wood Elf Lord, Durthu is also a tree. A really big tree. Like, a massive tree! He is tanky as hell, stomps on people and likes using magic to summon flocks of crows to torment enemies around him. Fittingly, he buffs tree units too! If you get Durthu rolling with a line on near unkillable tree men and tree kin, the enemy will be unable to harass your archers which will carry most battles on their backs.

Not a lord, but also of note is the Legendary Hero Ariel! Ariel is the Avatar of a God who can be utilised by any Wood Elf faction after you complete your first healing ritual in a magical forest. And damn, is she good. Good enough to get 300-400 kills on a single spell cast if you’re using her abilities right! You can’t go wrong with her really, but having her in an army with Orion makes the most sense since she provides even more benefit if she is coupled up with him.

And that my friend is the Wood Elf faction. Often less about Elves, and more about angry, vengeful trees taking revenge on local cities, they are a blast to play and a good change of pace from the typical ‘just paint the map your colour’ these games can descend into. And also, it’s a good way to understand what it must have felt like to have been an Ent marching on Isengard in The Two Towers.

2 thoughts on “Total War Warhammer 3 – The Environmental Activist Faction

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    1. Yeah it is. Like Conflux in HoMM3 is an add on that comes with Armageddon’s Blade. All I know from Warhammer is from this game series – I have loved the Total War games since I was but a wee lad and this game sort of got me into Warhammer fantasy.


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