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Total War Warhammer 3 Slaanesh faction guide: how to win with Slaanesh in campaign and on the battlefield

Push the limits of sensation with our Slaanesh guide

Looking for a Total War: Warhammer 3 Slaanesh guide? One of the four brand new chaos monogod factions in Total War: Warhammer III, Slaanesh is a micro-intensive faction with a low damage threshold that can nonetheless dish out tonnes of rapid hurt in the right hands. Read on to find out the nuances of each unit, hero, and spell, as well as a tactical overview of how the forces of Slaanesh compliment each other on the battlefield.


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Slaanesh roster guide

Chaos God of thirst, pleasure, and secret OnlyFans accounts, Slaanesh is the most mobile faction in the game. They lack serious anvils to compliment their destructive hammers, but with some careful micromanagement, they can quickly become an overwhelming force on the battlefield. A glass cannon is still, you know, a cannon. You can find out where Slaanesh ranks on our faction tier list. For now, Let’s break the roster down.

N’Kari

Slaanesh’s Legendary Lord choice, N’kari’s low armour may suggest that they avoid melee, until you take into account the number of debuffs this incredibly powerful character duelist and infantry mulcher has at their disposal. With melee defence, attack and leadership debuffs, a constant health drain on nearby units with low leadership, and regenerating health as long as they keep killing, N’kari is far more survivable than they first appear. Pick those engagements carefully, and save the active abilities for the tough fights against enemy lords, and N’Kari is a powerhouse. Like much of the Slaanesh roster, they also have the ‘Devastating Flanker’ passive, conferring double charge bonus when attacking from the flanks or rear.

Exalted Keeper of Secrets (Slaanesh/Shadows)

These are mini N’Kari’s, effectively, with access to either the lore of shadows, or the lore of Slaanesh, which we’ll cover in more detail below. Like all large single-entity monsters, they can be extremely vulnerable to sustained missile fire, but their speed and mass means pushing through a frontline to disrupt and eliminate ranged threats shouldn’t be an issue. Pop ‘Seductive Glory’ then ‘Ballet of Blows’ to force nearby units into melee, then grind them to paste.

An exalted Keeper of Secrets from Total War: Warhammer III.

Herald (Slaanesh/Shadows)

Slaanesh’s standard lord choice, able to cast spells from either the lore of Slaanesh or shadows, and with the option to mount on a steed or two chariots. Any of these mounts will increase speed and survivability, although they’ll make your Herald vulnerable to anti-large units, like spearmen. They have the ‘Locus of Grace’ active ability, conferring an AOE ward save and physical resistance buff to themselves and nearby allies, so consider pairing with other cav for a potent combo. At rank 15, you’ll be given the option to upgrade them to an Exalted Keeper of Secrets, at a cost of half their ranks. This is always worth doing, unless you’re using the Herald for a very specific purpose or army build.

Alluress (Slaanesh/Shadows)

Slaanesh’s Daemon hero choice is a slightly weaker version of the Herald, sans ‘Locus of Grace’, but with access to the same mounts and spells. They’re worth including to fill that Herald-shaped hole in your army if you evolved them into an Exalted Keeper of Secrets.

Cultist of Slaanesh

The Cultist is Slaanesh’s mortal hero choice, able to careen around the battlefield at breakneck speeds, summoning daemons behind your foes' backline. This is especially potent for Slaanesh due to their ‘Devastating Flanker’ passive.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh (Standard/Exalted)

Your standard Daemonic infantry choice for a Slaaneshi army, Daemonettes deal rapid army piercing damage, have the ‘Devastating Flanker’ trait, and move nearly as fast as some other army’s heavy cavalry. Their low armour means they’ll need support in a straight melee grind with other daemonic infantry, but bring two or three units in on an isolated target from different angles, and your prey will melt before the grind even gets going. Their Exalted variant has better stats all around, and causes extra damage to wavering or routing units with ‘Soulscent’. Again, making those flanks incredibly useful for the leadership penalties.

Marauders of Slaanesh (Standard/Spears/Hellscourges)

Your mortal meat shield frontline, and the only real anvil Slaanesh have access to, save Spawn. Much slower than the rest of your roster, so you’ll likely want to keep them advancing in ranks as the rest of your army gets into position and picks off isolated targets. The standard variant specialise against infantry, while the spears get bonuses against cavalry. Hellscourges, with their higher melee defence, are the best choice all round, since you ideally won’t be using Marauders to deal damage anyway.

Slaanesh Marauders from Total War: Warhammer III.

Seeker Chariots (Standard/Exalted)

Slaanesh’s basic chariot options are best kept moving through enemy infantry or archers to disrupt formations and maximise damage. Plus, they’re a touch squishy if they get pinned down. At the time of writing, there appears to be a bug affecting all Slaanesh chariots, where they’ll periodically do a fraction of the damage they’re supposed to in combat. You might have better luck minimising their presence in your army until this is fixed. The Exalted variants are more expensive and only have a single model, but better stats.

Hellflayers

Like the basic Seeker Chariots, the Hellflayers come in units of 4. This time, they have the ‘Soulscent’ passive ability, so they’re best held back until enemies start to waver.

Hellstriders (Standard/Hellscourges)

Your mounted cavalry option for Slaanesh. They’re exceptionally fast, with slightly higher armour than their Seeker counterparts, and the ‘Soul Hunter’ passive, granting them increased ward save, charge bonus, and leadership the more kills they make. They’re still squishy in combat, but can make for a late-fight anvil for your Seekers or chariots in a pinch. The Hellscourge variant has an extra ten melee defence.

Seekers/Heartseekers

Slaanesh’s Daemonic cavalry option, Seekers’ low armour but high armour piercing and poison damage makes them the epitome of this glass cannon army. Great at flanking, kiting, and isolating targets. Heartseekers are the same deal, but better at everything, with ‘Soulscent’ and increased armour, so you’ll want to swap them out as soon as you can.

Chaos Furies

Since the traditional use of Chaos Furies is to add some speedy harassment into rosters like Nurgle, they feel more redundant in Slaanesh’s army than many others. Still, as Slaanesh’s only flying unit, you might want to consider taking one or two to disrupt factions with well protected missiles, like Cathay or Kislev.

Spawn of Slaanesh

As one of the few genuinely tanky units in the Slaanesh roster, a few of these dotted about your frontline will work wonders. Unique to Slaanesh is their ‘Soporific Musk’ ability, lowering the melee stats of units engaged in combat with them.

Keeper of Secrets

Similar to their exalted counterpart, the Keeper of Secrets is a great anti-infantry or enemy character duelist, although equally vulnerable to sustained missile fire.

Fiends of Slaanesh from Total War: Warhammer III.

Fiends of Slaanesh

Fiends of Slaanesh are not only one of the most lavishly and strangely animated units in the game, they're also one of the best units on the roster, giving you plenty of excuses to bring a few along. Use them like the rest of Slaanesh’s cavalry, taking advantage of any flanking opportunities that present themselves, but don’t be too scared to leave them in sustained combat for a while, due to their semi-decent armour and melee defence.

Soul Grinder

At 75 speed, Soul Grinder’s are one of the slower units in the Slaanesh roster, despite not being slow by any means. Still, a comparatively huge 90 armour makes them great for pinning down swathes of enemy infantry while you set up flank charges with your cavalry and daemonettes.


Slaanesh magic spells list

Below, we’ll look at Slaanesh’s unique lore of magic, the Lore of Slaanesh.

Slaanesh Spells:

  • Lash of Slaanesh: A low damage, tear-shaped attack. Not especially effective as a damage dealer, but good for disrupting unit formations.
  • Acquiescence: A direct-damage debuff on melee defence and speed, this spell is very useful at lowering a unit’s momentum and defence before charging in on the flanks.
  • Hysterical Frenzy: A huge melee attack buff, with a nice armour piercing bonus to boot. Be wary that this will also cause ‘rampage’ on the targeted friendly, though, meaning you’ll be unable to control the unit for a short time, during which they’ll attack the closest enemy. Still, not an issue if you’re going to leave them in melee anyway
  • Pavane of Slaanesh: A direct damage spell, best used against enemy infantry with a high model count (25 or above). It does decent damage, and also causes ‘Frenzy’ on the targeted enemy. Useful for forcing specialised enemy units into melee engagements they have no place in, such as with your Keeper of Secrets.
  • Slicing Shards: A huge, extremely damaging AOE bombardment spell, able to melt clumps of enemy units in seconds. Try baiting a blob by Leeroying into ranks of infantry with a Keeper of Secrets or Soul Grinder, then use Slicing Shards to turn the tides of battle in seconds.
  • Phantasmagoria: A large AOE that renders any affected enemies immobile, with minus 16 leadership debuff, for either 11 seconds or 22 with an overcast. Great for lining up flanks, and extremely effective paired with abilities like N’Kari’s health drain on low leadership units.

Slaanesh battle tactics

We’ve looked at each unit in the Slaanesh roster, and the unique lore of magic at their disposal. So, how do you combine it all to make them a formidable force on the battlefield? Here are some general tips to get the most out of Slaanesh.

Kite, isolate, flank

The overwhelming speed of the majority of Slaanesh’s roster allows them to rapidly switch pressure from one side of the battlefield to another. The AI might be able to deal with a few relocations, but eventually, you’ll be able to goad your enemy into making a mistake. See a gap in a formation opening up a path to the missile units or artillery behind it? Pile in. Notice a straggler too far away from the rest of the formation for support to reach it in time? Hit and run. If you can pick apart a well-ordered force on the approach, you’ll have a lot more opportunities to use those juicy flanking bonuses in the later stages. Many of your spellcasters also have access to incredible speed, allowing you to weaken the enemy on the way in. This also applies to minor settlement battles, where you can bait the defenders into committing forces to one or two entry points, then rush around to take the undefended points.

A battle between Slaanesh and their foes from Total War: Warhammer III.

Cheat!

Khorne may be all about honour and martial prowess, but that doesn’t mean the forces of the Dark Prince need concern themselves with such boorish pursuits. Your first important decision to make as Slaanesh happens before the battle even begins, where you’ll have an opportunity to seduce one of the enemy units to your side for the entire battle. Feel free to suicide these willing simps straight into the opposing lines, preferably followed up with a tasty Slicing Shards to capitalise on that inevitable blob. Slaanesh’s other combat edge comes from their disciple armies, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. While some factions struggle with repositioning when getting reinforcements mid-battle, there’s nothing Slaanesh likes more than having a load of cavalry turn up on an already weakened enemy's flank.


Slaanesh campaign tactics

At the time of writing, Slaanesh’s single Legendary Lord is N’Kari, so all your Slaanesh campaigns will use the same mechanics. Here’s an overview of the ones you’ll want to focus on during your campaign.

Proliferate Cults

Perhaps more so than any other faction in Total War: Warhammer III, Slaanesh wins their victories on the campaign map first, the battlefield second. The secret sauce to all this is Slaaneshi cults. At the cost of Devotees - Slaanesh’s unique resource - you’ll be able to create cults in 3 random Human or Elven settlements, anywhere on the map. Once the cults are created, you’ll have a few options. Some grant a passive income of more devotees, and this is well worth doing to grow your cults exponentially. But the option you’ll want to focus on at least once in each general map area is the one that allows you to spawn a cultist hero, who can then go on to create another cult every ten turns. And so on.

So, you’ve got cults all over the map. Now what? The first advantage of those cultists is they’ll spread Slaanesh corruption wherever they go, causing attrition to your enemies and allowing you to summon in Disciple Armies. Secondly, they can give ‘gifts of Slaanesh’ to enemy characters, giving you a bonus to diplomatic relations with that faction, making it cheaper to seduce units, as well as inflicting debuffs against you in battle. With minor unplayable factions, this also gets you closer to forcing vassalage on them. But perhaps the most overpowered use for these cults is the ability to summon an army in a few turns. Altogether, this should make your job of conquering as Slaanesh much easier.

Slaanesh’s pleasurable acts tooltip from Total War: Warhammer III.

Pleasurable Acts

As a small tooltip on the province management panel, these are easy to miss at first, but can be very powerful. Effectively a secondary, more powerful commandment that doesn’t require you to own an entire province, Pleasurable Acts allow you to spend devotees on a variety of adjustments to growth, public order, and income.

Disciple Armies

While they can’t replenish and will take attrition after a few turns, Disciple armies cost no monetary upkeep, so are a cheap and effective way to turn a fight or siege in your favour. They cost 300 devotees to summon, 20 devotees a turn in upkeep, can only be summoned by an army with 10 or more units, and that army needs to be in a province with at least 25 Slaanesh corruption. None of this should be a problem if you’ve stayed on top of your cult game, however. Buff them with technologies, and you’ll soon find Slaanesh steamrolling large sections of the map.


That covers it for getting the most out of Slaanesh! The Seducers of Slaanesh are a complex and slightly demanding but extremely satisfying faction to master, and their unique diplomacy and speed allows campaign and battlefield control like no other faction. Looking for more tips? Check out our Total War: Warhammer 3 beginner’s guide to kickstart your campaign. Or, If you want to know more about the game, here’s our Total War: Warhammer 3 review.

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Nic Reuben

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