Creative Assembly’s popular strategy game franchise, Total War, has added an exciting new installment, Total War Pharaoh. This latest game takes players back to ancient times, offering opportunities for conquest and diplomacy while introducing some unique challenges to keep things interesting.
Total War Pharaoh sees you take on the role of a historical leader in the Egyptian, Canaanite, and Hittite empires during the eve of the Bronze Age Collapse. Fight in three distinct geographic areas as you battle societal disarray, natural disasters, and foreign invaders across a sprawling map. Choose from the Egyptian Ramesses, Seti, Tausret, and Amenmesse; the Hittites Kurunta and Suppiluliuma; and Canaan’s Bay and Irsu to lead your faction in its quest for glory.
Choosing which faction to lead will influence the way you approach Total War Pharaoh, as well as the types of resources available to you at the start of your campaign.
Each of the eight faction leaders also comes with a distinct starting scenario that can alter the type of units you can access at the start of your campaign.
Whether you play as Ramesses, Seti, Amenmesse, or Tausret, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Egypt. Each faction has its own unique retinues, which should help determine your battle tactics. They field lightly armored units, relying on hit-and-run tactics and chariots to get the upper hand in battles. Here are all the Egyptian faction leaders in Total War Pharaoh:
Ramesses – The Paragon
Ramesses was the son of Pharaoh Merneptah and he believed that he was destined to become the next ruler of Egypt. He was a man who was always eager to prove himself and he was very passionate about waging wars to gain power. Ramesses was a fierce warrior who used his strength and force to conquer his enemies and secure his position as the leader of Egypt.
He puts a premium on building wonders and will become jealous if you complete any that he wants to build himself. He also concentrates on constructing a special building to worship a god named Ra. This helps reduce tiredness for all of his soldiers when they’re fighting in battles.
He has a well-rounded army, with access to the Reckless Advance Stance and Unique Buildings that increase Production and Happiness for provinces. His units include heavily armored infantry and chariots that are resistant to ranged attacks.
- Quick technological progress.
- Flexible and plentiful resources.
- Elite and adaptable unit roster.
- Strong medium infantry and archers.
- Charging war chariots.
- Losses are additionally damaging.
Seti II – The Brute
The direct successor of Pharaoh Merneptah, Seti’s impatience and ferocity make him unwilling to rely on diplomatic solutions to disagreements.
The husband of Tausret, who was a powerful queen in both Total War Pharaoh and real life, Seti II, interestingly, was quite different from his wife in many ways. He ruled for around six years after Merneptah passed away, and during this time, he had to face a lot of challenges to maintain his power. One of the biggest obstacles was a rival named Amenmesse, who tried to take over the throne, but Seti II managed to overcome these threats and stay in charge.
He starts in Sinai with a unit roster that revolves around strong, adaptable melee units and spear chariots. His unique buildings grant simple buffs and offer him two court actions per turn, but also reduce happiness, recruitment rank, and cost growth.
- Seeks to overwhelm opponents in battle.
- Quick and easy expansion.
- There is no interest in diplomacy (but a bonus to relations with Tausret).
- High numbers of cheaper, weaker units.
- Expendable units.
- Risks running low on units after losses.
Amenmesse – The Gilded
Amenmesse was a pharaoh who ruled over Egypt about ten years before Ramesses III. There are many things about him that scholars don’t agree on, such as whether he was related to his predecessor, Merneptah, or to Ramesses II. Some think he took power after Merneptah’s death instead of the rightful heir, Seti II. Others believe that he may have established himself as a ruler in competition with Seti II. Whatever the case, he only ruled for three years.
As the wealthiest of all the leaders, Amenmesse, Viceroy of Kush, leads the faction that favors wealth and court action. He is the best choice for those who like to play it safe and amass huge armies of elite archers.
However, his starting area is vulnerable to Libu invasions and rebellions, and his unique buildings reduce happiness in all settlements, so he will need to carefully manage happiness even more so than other leaders.
His unique buildings largely prioritize gold production, which you can use to improve your legitimacy to Egypt’s throne or trigger court actions. Amenmesse’s strongest units are the archers, whose strong defense can deter enemy charges.
- Access to vast wealth.
- Safe starting position.
- Susceptible to rebellions.
- Very strong archers.
- Units are expensive.
Tausret – The Strategist
Tausret was a woman who lived a long time ago and ruled over Egypt for about two years. She was married to Seti II, who was also a ruler of Egypt. Her father was a pharaoh named Merneptah, and she was probably the sister of another pharaoh named Amenmesse.
During her time as ruler, Egypt lost a lot of power in a place called Canaan. Setnakhte, who was the leader before Ramesses III, removed her from power and made her stepsons’ rules invalid.
Tausret is a shrewd political figure, willing to use force to reach her goals. She prioritizes planning and can make the most of a shaky economy. She also has strong ambush units and access to Vanguard Deployment, Stalk, and Sneak.
- Powerful economic and regional synergies.
- Early Nile access.
- Failures can quickly snowball.
- Best chariot faction.
- Strongest army composition with enough time
Continuing our exploration of Total War Pharaoh‘s playable factions, we’ve turned our attention to the Hittites. The new faction inhabits the lands of Hatti, which rival and occasionally threaten Egypt in the north and Syria in the south.
Unlike the Egyptians, the Hittites are not as focused on building cities and instead favor military units with heavy armor and spear-like attack styles. The unit roster is also a bit more limited in number than the Egyptians.
Kurunta – The Usurper
Kurunta was a ruler in the Hittite Empire who was good at using words to get his way. He had a powerful army with heavily armored spear chariots that were great at attacking head-on. However, his cities didn’t produce enough resources, and he wasn’t as good at fighting in direct battles as other Egyptian rulers.
In Total War Pharaoh, Kurunta is portrayed as a violent man who craves power and glory. However, we don’t know much about the real Kurunta except that he rebelled against Hattusa.
- Good at plots.
- Exploits weakness outside of battle.
- Struggles in direct engagements.
- Heavily armored troops, no ranged units.
Suppiluliuma – The Defender
Suppiluliuma is a powerful king of an ancient civilization called the Hittites. He has a strong army that specializes in heavy and medium armored units, including powerful chariots. Although his army may not be as good in ranged attacks and quick movements as other armies in Total War Pharaoh, they make up for it with their incredible strength and raw power.
Suppiluliuma is determined to save his kingdom from falling, and he isn’t afraid to use any tactics to secure victory, even if it means using deception and sabotage. He starts Total War Pharaoh as a Great King, which means he has access to the best Hittite units.
In addition, Suppiluliuma is known for his wise political decisions and is often well-advised. His unique structures help improve resource production, which is vital to maintaining a strong kingdom.
- Measured campaign pace.
- Frequent battles.
- Faces war on multiple fronts.
- Fragile economy.
- Lots of medium and heavy units.
- Powerful chariots.
- Strong defense, weak ranged options.
In the latest entry from Creative Assembly, we also get a glimpse into the tribes of Canaan and their leaders, Irsu and Bay. Even though they are not as popular as Egypt or the Hittites, the Canaanites are still a powerful force that should not be underestimated in Total War Pharaoh.
The Canaanites are a trading culture that excels in court politics and intrigue. They have the best unit cities and can achieve a powerful army composition with time. They do have a weak defense and are easily outmatched in battle, but they can compensate with cunning and court manipulation.
Irsu – The Ravager
Irsu is a very determined warrior who prefers to solve disagreements by fighting rather than talking. He commands a group of highly skilled soldiers who are good at adapting to different situations. His army consists of tough soldiers who fight on foot, skilled archers, and fast-moving chariots that can charge into battle. He has access to special powers that let him do two important things every turn. These powers help keep his soldiers happy and loyal and make it easier and cheaper to recruit new soldiers.
Irsu is very good at attacking and looting other places for treasure. He doesn’t care about owning land or buildings but enjoys taking things from other people. His army is made up of strong soldiers who wear heavy armor and are very difficult to beat. People are afraid of him because he is so determined and ruthless. However, his love for fighting might eventually lead to his downfall.
- Sacking and plundering.
- Vast profits from battle.
- Little land ownership.
- Resources dry up if he stops fighting.
- Tough and heavy units.
- Strong armor.
- Fast recruitment.
Bay – The Schemer
Bay, on the other hand, thrives not on the battlefield but in society’s shadows, using scheming and influence to gain allies. A master manipulator, Bay believes diplomacy and manipulation are the keys to power. He starts Total War Pharaoh with a high standing in the Egyptian courts, and his unique buildings bolster workforce growth, resource production, and influence gains with non-Egyptian factions.
- Master of intrigues and court politics.
- Strong diplomacy.
- Often outmatched in battle.
- Strong ambush units.
- Access to Vanguard Deployment, Stalk, and Sneak.
- Weak face-to-face units and chariots.
- Can take units from others.