Three Kingdoms: Basic Army Builds Guide to Get Started

DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING TOTAL WAR: THREE KINGDOMS ARMY BUILDS ARE NOT “OFFICIAL” IN ANY WAY. THEY ARE THE RESULT OF MANY CAMPAIGNS AND EXTENSIVE USE ON VARIOUS DIFFICULTIES OF THE GAME (AS WELL AS MULTIPLAYER) AND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED STARTING POINTS FOR DEVELOPING ONE’S OWN PLAY STYLE.

Total War: Three Kingdoms has a wealth of different army compositions available to players. This guide highlights four basic builds, the reasoning behind them, and why they are good starting points to your own, unique play style.

All-Rounder

Officers:

  1. Commander/Vanguard
  2. Strategist
  3. Sentinel/Champion

Composition:

  1. Anti-missile cavalry x3; Shock cavalry x3
  2. Missile infantry x3 (x4); Trebuchets x3 (x2)
  3. Sword (Axe)/Glaive infantry x6

Reasoning:

This “all-rounder” build functions best at range and is meant to force the enemy into pressing the attack, even if the force using this composition is the offending army. The trebuchets whittle down foes as their army approaches and can devastate the enemy’s numbers before engaging in melee combat.

In Total War Three Kingdoms, the strategist in charge of the trebuchet retinue has unlocked the Fire Shot ability, the impact on enemy morale is a great boon.

The rest of the build is rather straightforward. Anti-missile cavalry deals with enemy missile troops and shock cavalry can either assist with taking out ranged troops or flank infantry when melee combat has ensued.

Cavalry in Three Kingdoms is a versatile asset. In addition, sword, axe, or glaive infantry keeps the enemy’s frontline occupied while one’s cavalry and missile units deal the bulk of one’s damage.

Keep in mind that shock cavalry is also competent at dealing with enemy cavalry and can be used in lieu of spear infantry (this is also true of one’s glaive infantry in Three Kingdoms, which can stand up to both melee troops and cavalry).

NOTE: CHOOSING BETWEEN INFANTRY WITH A HIGHER MISSILE DEFENSE VS. A HIGHER MELEE DEFENSE IS A LARGELY NEGLIGIBLE DECISION. TREBUCHETS AND ANTI-MISSILE CAVALRY ARE THE KEY TO DEFEATING ENEMY ARCHERS WITH THIS BUILD.

Charger

Officers:

  1. Sentinel
  2. Strategist
  3. Champion

Composition:

  1. Sword/Axe Infantry x6
  2. Missile Infantry x6 (x4); Trebuchets x0 (x2)
  3. Glaive Infantry x6/Spear Infantry x6 (Only use spears when glaive infantry is unavailable)

Reasoning:

While this Three Kingdoms build lacks cavalry, it makes up for it in another way: through the use of glaive infantry to counter enemy shock and anti-missile cavalry. This is a heavy melee build that relies on numbers to flank enemy formations and hurt morale.

Glaives can hold the frontline and protect missile units while sword/axe infantry maneuvers around the enemy.

If the opposing Three Kingdoms army is heavy on cavalry, swap out a couple glaive units in the frontline and put them on the flanks for protection. When one’s army nears the enemy, the six missile units can whittle down enemy numbers to cover melee units’ charge.

If desired, two missile units can be replaced with trebuchets to force the enemy to approach and decrease their numbers before engaging in melee.

NOTE: THIS IS A SOMEWHAT RISKY BUILD, ESPECIALLY IN THREE KINGDOMS, AS THE LACK OF CAVALRY MAKES IT DIFFICULT TO OUTMANEUVER THE ENEMY OR CHASE DOWN PESKY MISSILE UNITS. TREBUCHETS CAN ASSIT WITH DEFEATING ENEMY ARCHERS BEFORE THEY ARE IN RANGE.

Shocker

Officers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. Commander
  3. Vanguard/Commander

Composition:

  1. Shock cavalry x6
  2. Anti-missile cavalry x6
  3. Anti-missile cavalry x3; Shock cavalry x3

Reasoning:

This is a reinforcement build. An army built like this exists solely to accompany another army, such as the aforementioned “Charger” build, onto the battlefield and cross the distance to the skirmish swiftly in order to act as a flanker and missile troop reaper.

This edition of Total War is ripe with tactical opportunities, and there’s nothing wrong with spending some income on a second army whose sole purpose is to engage in guerrilla tactics.

An army of all cavalry can also contend with enemy artillery (trebuchets) in order to minimize their damage output.

NOTE: ALL CAVALRY CAN BE DECIMATED BY ARMIES WITH LOTS OF SPEAR OR GLAIVE UNITS. THIS BUILD IS MOST EFFECTIVE WHEN REINFORCING ANOTHER ARMY AND SHOULD ALMOST NEVER BE THE FORCE THAT BEGINS A BATTLE.

Pincer

Officers:

  1. Sentinel
  2. Vanguard/Commander
  3. Champion

Composition:

  1. Sword (Axe) infantry x6
  2. Shock cavalry x3; Anti-missile cavalry x3
  3. Glaive infantry x6

Reasoning:

As this build has no ranged capabilities, it requires a lot of micromanagement to use effectively. Thus, this is one instance where the sentinel’s retinue may benefit from being composed of melee infantry with high missile defense while one’s cavalry deals with the enemy’s archers and artillery.

 The bread and butter of this build in Three Kingdoms is to split the enemy’s army in half, forcing it to defend itself on two sides. Glaive infantry can either form the frontline or fend off enemy cavalry while the sword/axe infantry either flanks the enemy or charges head-on.

Cavalry units, after dealing with the enemy’s ranged troops, are then free to hit the enemy from the rear or assist glaive infantry with dealing with cavalry (or both—anti-missile cavalry can also be used to hit sword/axe infantry from the rear).

NOTE: WITHOUT RANGED TROOPS, USING FORESTS IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT TO VICTORY, PARTICULARLY ON HIGHER DIFFICULTIES OR IN MULTIPLAYER CAMPAIGNS. THIS BUILD IS ALL ABOUT AMBUSHING AND FLANKING!

Conclusion

Thank you for reading this far. We hope that you have learned more than a few things and use this army builds guide as a point of reference and as a tool to further develop your strategic skills.

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