This is my perspective on how to squeeze the most out of your two headed chicken, both in the early and late game. To be honest, I found levelling a breeze because of getting the Slaanesh ancillary “Personal Sycophant” which triples XP gain so I was level 50 after the 2nd soul opening. Nevertheless, I’ve heard that some people are conflicted about the best way to cook their chicken, and me having enjoyed all the delicious cheese this chicken is stuffed with, set out to write a guide on about this Legendary Lord’s skill tree and how I would prioritize.
Level 7 – Gaze of Fate (3 uses, -40 MA single target hex, hard snare)
Level 7 – Invulnerable through Fate (10% missile resist)
Level 10 – Hidden in Time (2 uses, stalk and unspottable for a decently long time)
Level 11 – All the fragments (used to unlock new spells and spell passives)
Level 14 – Personal skill line
These cutoff points will form the basis of how I plan out the level of Kairos. TLDR: I’ll prioritize the missile resist and fragments. The personal line can be taken gradually, coordinated with access to heroes or Lords of Change to maximize its effectiveness. Gaze of Fate and Hidden in Time can be delayed, but you’d eventually want to take them. They aren’t unique to Kairos, Exalted Lords of Change have access to them as well, and I don’t feel Kairos synergizes the most with these two bound abilities so they can take a backseat. If I had to choose, take the Gaze of Fate. Hard snares are always good while the stalk only makes positioning and escape easier, but it doesn’t always help kill the enemy more efficiently.
Early levels 1-9
The blue line in WH2 used to be rushed for lightning strike, a strategically OP ability allowing you to deal with your enemies piecemeal. In WH3 they made it so you have to invest 3 skill points to get the same effect and frankly Kairos prefers if his enemies comes all at once so they can be nuked more efficiently. But there are many gems in his blue line, which come into play both early and late game.
We start with route marcher at level 2, for the (sadly nerfed) 5% campaign movement. It’s good don’t question it. The next 3 points go into the 9% discount for Changing of Ways. Early on you don’t really have the grims to support faster transfer settlements unless the missions you get grant a ton. Saving 9% grims early on will go a long way later. The last point you have here before lvl 7 should go into the cooldown reduction, settling you up for more transfer settlements and other actions in the mid to late game. It’s not crucial you spend in the blue line here, but I don’t think there are many other better choices at this point.
Level 7-9: you should pick up either missile resist or Gaze of Fate, but probably not both, you’d see why later. You can also tech into his magic first, maxing out Pink Fire, unlocking Treason of Tzeentch or the passive Fires of Change (+11% ward save when casting). Glean Magic (as of patch 1.02) is bugged and useless. I personally think that the missile resist comes first. Kairos is a big game chicken for Cathayan and Kislevite hunters, you’d want his barrier to be as effective as possible to block the shots you can’t dodge.
Fires of Change gives you that sweet ward save while you’re firing Blue or Pink fire (both relatively short ranged), so take that, and then upgrade pink fire (you’d want very efficient pink fires when you fight any of the demon realms. You can opt to take Treason of Tzeentch for terror bomb or nerfing the enemy’s melee attack, but i wouldnt prioritize it over better Pink fire.
There is an argument here to skip both the missile resist and Gaze of Fate so you can get the cooldown reduction skill at level 9. Its a trade off between survivability, CC or output, I leave to you.
Now you’re level 9, the perfect number to take an overall look at how you want to continue.
Mid level power spike 10-15
Ok many ways to go from here. TLDR, hoard your level 10 point, and put 2 points into Shyish at level 11 for optimum play. Read further for discussion.
First way you could continue down his magic line, picking up the parts you missed if you side tracked to get the missile resist or Gaze of Fate, to get the cooldown reduction when casting, allowing the unceasing spam of spells. It is quite nice to get the cooldown reduction before level 11, so when you unlock new fragments and new spells, they are instantly spammable. This is the most straightforward way, but perhaps not the most optimal at precisely level 11.
Second way, you hoard your skill point for level 10, leave it hanging, so at level 11 when fragments unlock, you can dump 2 points to start picking up passives (that don’t need you to equip the fragment) The tool tip on the fragment says “replace” but you still get 2 spells even if you don’t have access to the spells that are “replaced”. There are 3 fragments that give you a massive power spike if you put 2 points in them, rather than just 1 to gain a new spell. In the order of power, they are Shyish, Aqshy and Ghyran (Death, Fire and Life).
Shyish gives you functionally gives you unlimited magic (I’ll explain it later) but its enough to know this and see that this is the optimal path.
In the likely but distant future where unlimited winds gets nerfed, Aqshy gives the nice kindleflame passive without the need for a cultist to sync up casting, boosting your fire damage across the board by 20%.
Piercing Bolts of Burning is also a good spell, especially when you have hard CC like Gaze of Fate, it even does a number on single entity blobs which you might otherwise struggle with just Blue Fire.
Flaming Sword is more meh cos all your ranged units already deal fire and magic damage. The non AP damage boost might be something to think about against unarmored demons, but is otherwise not very outstanding.
Ghyran’s passive is a %heal on your whole army for every spell cast. Needless to say, this is very powerful. The spells unfortunately replace 2 decent spells from Kairos, but it works with our setup (we havent gotten Firestorm yet, but still gained 2 spells)AND with your early game army, keeping your single entities topped up and Shield of Thorns can help horrors defend themselves.
As you can see, these 3 fragments are what I consider core for Kairos, worth putting 6 points ASAP to unlock the passives and the spells give you variety and flexibility against enemies.
From level 10 to level 15 you slap them all down, you’ve just created a very early doomchicken, smoothing the way for invading the Chaos Realms for your first soul or Slaanesh’s bribes or just plain conquering. There is rarely an army you will meet that can contest an unlimited WoM Kairos at this level, even short of his maximum potential, with only 4-5 non optimal spells. There will be a later section discussing the rest of the spells, where we’ll see if there are any worth picking up at this early stage (because this entire guide is made with the intention of helping out early game struggles, late game you can spend your points pretty much however you want).
Third way is you ignore the magic and OP passives and aim for maxing his personal line (which are mostly defensive buffs). You hoard 5 points from 10-14. Once you hit level 14, you take “Oracle of Eternity” then everything except “The Oracle” because you can afford miscasts and you don’t need Kairos to be the one causing Winds to blow, and most importantly Bewitching potency at level 14. Aside from giving your army more barrier, it unlocks mastery of the elemental winds for attached heroes and Lords of Change, the T5 monster unit (LoCs).
Mastery of Elemental Winds adds +15% spell mastery, with a minimum of 2 units required for 30% and maxing out at +100% with 7 units, or 6 with Greater Arcane Conduit.
At this point in the campaign (level 14) you may not have unlocked LoCs or have enough extra heroes to max out. It’s more likely you can get the minimum +30% with a cultist and iridescent horror. On top of the spell boost to all your casters, for these 5 skill points you get the following:
- On Kairos you get the 44% ward save ability, -15% cost on Tzeentch spells, +10% physical resist and +60% barrier.
- For his army they get +20% max barrier, +25% barrier recharge speed, -25% barrier recharge delay
- and specifically Lords of Change get an additional 20% barrier.
I leave to you to compare, at level 15, the power of Kairos’ 3 fragments I will say it depends on your playstyle; if you want Kairos as a primarily Tzeentch caster, fighting with his army, or a selfish all rounded, all powerful caster capable of soloing entire nations.
Fourth option from level 9, is prioritizing your grand strategy over personal power. You work your way down the blue tree, putting 1 point in lightning strike and then “All Intents and Purposes”, which makes this changing of way FREE (well it costs 2 grims but surely you can afford that) You would have to rush it in your tech (see my other guide on Changing of Ways), but it is very helpful to foresee any attack coming from your usual suspects, because its only on a 4 turn cooldown (if you took the cooldown reduction as discussed above), allowing for 100% uptime on your main enemy. If you are going for early fast expansion, you could even take the cooldown reduction in place of the discount for the CoW, to know when and where enemies are coming from.
The rest of the blue tree here is helpful, but perhaps not a priority compared to Kairos’ magic. Kairos is the only lord with replen bonus (other than Belakor). If you find the lack of replen intolerable, put 3 points here. It’s the best you’re gonna get but I think there are better ways to manage and not really a priority until you’re getting harder to recruit units than horrors or flamers. You can get it later, you have 49 skill points it’ll come up eventually.
The upkeep reduction is great if you’re making a LoC doomstack, and early game Tzeentch eco can be a strugglefest, so sinking 4 more points for 17% reduction isn’t too bad, its just that those same 4 (6 if you’re counting the lightning strike one and 1 more to unlock the final 8%) can make a much bigger impact in your early campaign elsewhere and that 17% means much more with more expensive units (that Kairos technically doesn’t need, more on that later)
IF AND ONLY IF you are a roleplaying an actual cowardly chicken, playing with only 1 province and hiding in a capital struggling to remove your corruption traits, can you consider putting points into the grimoire skill. Make no mistake its a good source of grims in a maxed province like Imperial Road (getting extra 23 grims per turn early game is quite a thing) but surely your best lord has better things to do. It could be a good skill for your secondary lord thats always defending while Kairos is off deleting stacks all by himself.
I personally don’t like the +control for all provinces. Rebellions are a good source of income, experience, items and grimoires. You should be happy to farm them, though if you’re really struggling (likely expanding too fast while rifts are active across too many provinces), fiiinnee waste your skill points.
Tzeentch is one of the few factions that can get away with low ambush success. Unless you’re spamming pink or exalted pink horrors, Tzeentch armies tend to be quite underrated in autoresolve, which means you’re often getting pretty favorable matchups. You can often under equip your army with blue horror chaff and high efficient flamer and forsaken core. Your lords and heroes are destroyers of worlds, the AI just doesn’t know it.
Rounding up to level 20
You can mix and match the order to your heart’s content, it is your campaign after all, but I find planning out my points very helpful for the endgame. I generally like getting the unlimited WoM first, so thats 2 points, then switching over to the cooldown on spell casting, for another 2 points. By this time I usually want to get my reveal faction intent free, so thats another 2 points, at level 15. Then its personal tree, starting with Oracle of Eternity, then Thaumaturgic Rejuvenation first for my army, then Boons of Change for cheaper Tzeentch spells. I only take Wind Summoner and Bewitching Potency when I can recruit Lords of Change or fill out the 6 units needed to max spell power (7 if you don’t have Greater Arcane Conduit). Those 2 points go into Aqshy or Ghyran first usually. Alternatively, if I have an excess of grims or have some Changing of Ways that I want high uptime on, I’ll max out reducing the cooldown on CoWs. This skill is crucial for the late game, balanced only the by the fact that you don’t get that many grims early on.
So funnily enough, for the premier spellcaster of WH3, at level 20, I still haven’t touched the 2nd half of my spell tree, nor unlocked Greater Arcane Conduit. The other skills just give you more bang for your buck. Don’t get me wrong Infernal Gateway and Tzeentch’s Firestorm are AMAZING spells, but my other casters can use those spells for the rest of the game, why not play with the unique options Kairos can bring to the table first? It’s not like he, at this point, can cast them much better than others. Earthing and Magical Reserves are both trap skills, don’t take them with Kairos. As I said, you can afford the miscast because you have barrier, and you can manipulate Winds of Magic. Unless you are constantly teleporting, you don’t need it. And early game you should not use Teleport stance unless you’re desperate.
Greater Arcane Conduit is also just not that good at this stage, it isn’t worth the 5 points sunk down the line, even with 4 of them into good spells. 10% better spells is nice, but 17% discount on army upkeep or 9% on Changing of Ways makes a way larger impact in my opinion.
And you’re struggling with power regen….don’t lmao, take a (or 5) Iridescent horror and level him to 13. Take the locus that gives 160% regen per unit in an AoE and move him in a blob of whatever (furies can keep up with him on a disc, horrors can hide in the forest, other iridescent horrors work very well too (more on that later). Don’t proc all the locus at once if using more than 1, there’s apparently a cap of 2 reserves per second no matter how fast your regen. Anyway you can make up for GAC with just 3 exalted pink horrors.
Maximizing Kairos’ potential using his army
For the max hero approach, you focus on Kairos’ casting, putting 5 Irisdescent horrors on discs or chariots each with the locus of power regen. You take a cultist hiding in the forest on horse. Kairos kills everything with unlimited magic.
Actually any ability that actually works when increasing power reserves (chromatic tome, forbidden rod) combined with the locus can make your reserves go from 0 to 100, so this cheese is not limited to Kairos, he’s just the best at it, triggering it every time he casts a spell
This is no exaggeration, unlimited magic can actually kill everything given enough time and judicious management of barrier on just Kairos alone. But having heroes also allows you to equip all sorts of items, like Tormentor Sword or Khorne’s weapons, turning this army into some kind of D&D adventuring party, slaughtering their way through an unfeasible amount of enemies.
For the max lord of change approach, you take
- 1 Iridescent horror just for 1 locus because you still want lots of magic, just not as much
- 1 cultist for campaign movement range and summons (or if you enjoy Lore of Fire, but using him does put him at risk)
- As many Lords of Change as you want into the army.
The minimum you need to max Kairos’ spellpower (and that of everybody in the army) is…. 5 (4 with Greater Arcane Conduit).
Yep with 5 Lords of Change (and 2 heroes) you have already maximized Kairos’ spell casting potential. What you do get on top of that, is however many insanely tanky birds (remember all those barrier buffs from Kairos’ personal tree, with Lords of Change in particular enjoying 20% more) These infinite shields that if well managed, represent infinite health. It is not uncommon that even in the pits of combat, your Lords of Change are regenerating barrier, and healing with every spell Kairos casts, keeping their max barrier. Throw on a banner of flame and they enjoy a 20% damage boost whenever Kairos casts (with the Aqshy passive). All the while Kairos is just flying over head, throwing down nukes and AoE debuffs to the enemy, maybe even supporting with some kind of aura (red line or helm of discord aura).
Note they are still very big birds prone to getting shot. Its just that them flying and knocking things about in melee make a very good infantry grinder. They still suffer vs strong single entities that can outfight them, and high mass units that can pin them in. They are not invincible unless micro’ed and sometimes even then can be beaten down with enough single entities.
In theory, the hero stack is superior in battle. Uncatchable army, very fast WoM regen, low micro required (just Kairos dodging things and spamming magic). BUT campaign wise, there is an advantage to the LoC stack.
Tzeentch has more priorities than building 5 horror recruitment buildings in the early-mid game. You’d sooner get the Lord of Change building than 5 horror recruitment buildings, simply because you are prioritizing income, growth and walls over repeat horror recruitment buildings. Only when you have expanded to 4-5 provinces does getting extra hero slots become viable. And even then when you have reached that point, you may also need the heroes running about closing the damn rifts, rather than buffing up an already OP lord. So Lords of Change are the more convenient (if slightly more expensive) way to maximize Kairos’ spell power. In theory I guess, if you wanted this doomstack FAST, and are willing to pay for the opportunity costs of 5 T3 build slots, it is still a more powerful stack, but requires you to level those heroes, each of them 12 levels, all the while missing out on income or defensible settlements, and costing you upkeep.
Minimizing the cheese, a strategic choice
Secondly heroes and LoCs cost quite a bit (300-400 per before supply lines), and once again you could be spending that money elsewhere (another army to expand faster, deal with more threats etc etc) or using the heroes for rift duty.
And finally, the third advantage of presenting a “weaker” army, is that the AI becomes very fixated on wiping you out to the last feather, unaware that you turn each and every one of them to ashes without breaking a sweat. They will throw all sorts of half-formed armies, sally with a bad garrison or trickle in piecemeal, making it much easier if more tedious to break an entire faction across your knee.
The end of the struggle
Fill out the rest of the skill tree as you wish (avoid the redline until the last, almost everything has better value those boosts that aren’t any more effective in Kairos’ army than any other. Lords of Change experience gain is bugged so getting them to rank 7 is more of a theoretical exercise than actually practical. The ultimate redline aura Kairos can emit is mediocre (+8 MD, +8 leadership), not worth the 10 points to get there.
TLDR: don’t sleep on the blue line, balanced by OP Kairos giving your campaign an easy time.
Well that more or less wraps up the “guide” part of this, I’m just gonna add a section here on the alternative fragments and spell lores that are probably not optimal but seem fun and might interest people who want to play different.
Each fragment takes 1 skill point to unlock, and when equipped in Kairos’ arcane item slot, disables 2 spells, 1 from either Treason of Tzeentch or Glean Magic, and the other from either Tzeentch’s firestorm or Infernal Gateway. Right now Glean Magic is useless because power reserves don’t replenish, the recharge works but spending magic just to get it faster isn’t a good use of magic, so any fragment that switches out Glean rather than Treason has a small advantage.
Treason is a decent spell, especially with spell mastery (-32 leadership and -48 MA on enemies) is nothing to scoff at. Firestorm is a little random for my tastes but it deals good damage and last a long time. Given how erratically enemies move when its just Kairos flying overhead, the randomness is actually not a bad thing. Gateway is the opposite, a fixed vortex in which everyone dies. Most infantry can’t even walk out due to the knockover effect in the AoE. Cav will need you to hard snare them though.
With these 3 spells, assessing the fragments must account for the loss of either of these nukes and possibly a good debuff.
Putting 2 skill points into a fragment gives you -50% cooldown and -25% WoM cost on the new spells AND permanently unlocks the passive for Kairos when casting, regardless of him equipping that fragment or not. In the above section “Mid level power spike” , I’ve already listed the 3 best passives. For brevity, I’ll describe the other passives here, but I don’t really see any of the them being worth it. I’m undecided if any of the spells are made that much better by the cooldown and WoM discounts (remember that Kairos has a skill for 15% discount on Tzeentch spells on top of flat reductions when you put skill points into those spells), would love to hear people’s opinion on them.
- Ghur: equal to 2 arcane conduits
- Chamon: DPS buff for your melee units
- Azyr: Melee defence and speed debuff to enemy fliers
- Hysh: leadership and ITP are a waste of a skillpoint
- Ulgu: 10% speed for a short time isn’t worth much and if you’re being chased in the air Azyr’s -24% is better.
listed from left to right in order of the fragments on the menu
Ghur: You lose Glean and Gateway, so nuke wise you are left with the more random Firestorm.
A weird one. In exchange for one of your nukes, you get a solid AoE debuff (especially with spell mastery) and 2 summons of manticore. Manticores are cannon fodder and blob magnets, but you already have that in Kairos and the Lords of Change. I can’t think of a situation I’ll take this fragment ever. If it gave Flock of Doom or Pann’s Pelt I would take it in a heartbeat. Hard pass.
Shyish: You lose Treason and Firestorm, a double loss since you keep the useless Glean Magic.
Taken for the lore passive. Purple Sun is a viable substitute for Firestorm, especially if you rush this fragment (as suggested above) while you don’t even have Firestorm. Its like a Infernal Gateway that moves randomly. Bjuna is an inefficient use of WoM, but if you absolutely have to destroy a multi model unit of 25 or more, it does the job faster than blue fire spam. Take in the early game, late game has better choices to equip.
Aqshy: You lose Glean and Gateway, so keep Treason.
Another must have lore passive. Piercing Bolts of Burning are not as good at deleting infantry as Infernal Gateway because enemies actually dodge bombardments but not vortexes. Still you are Tzeentch and you have hard CC via Gaze of Fate or Tormentor Sword (can’t combo with Net below). As above, Flaming Sword is meh, nice buff but Kairos doesn’t make the best use of it and your cultists can get it anyway. Wouldn’t equip this fragment as soon as I have a cultist that can. Taken for the passive, possible a short window midgame to use.
Azyr: Lose Treason and Firestorm.
In this case, Curse of the Midnight Wind makes up for the loss of Treason, similarly debuffing attack, but also armor, which is great for your pink horrors. With spell mastery this debuff gets real nasty, being an AOE plague of rust. Comet of Cassandora is very hard to land without Tormentor Sword or Gaze of Fate, but oh baby when it does, BOOM. I think this is might be the late game Fragment to take. The lore passive is debatable, I mean some of the quest demon princes and Belakor fly and it helps duel them in the air, but otherwise are there that many enemies that can contest you in the air? I leave it up to you to decide if the 2nd skill point is worth it.
Ghyran: Lose Treason and Firestorm.
The third must-have passive. This fragment trades off debuff and nuke, for Regrowth and Shield of Thorns. Regrowth is amazing on any of your single entities, almost their whole heal cap when overcast and full vigor refresh. The other unit that can make full use of this lore is your Knights. They get entangled in a blob of fighting, you drop Shield of Thorns as an offensive spell while healing them. Is this efficient? Probably not but you can get good fun out of your enemies killing themselves on your invincible Chaos ponies.
Hysh: Lose Treason and Firestorm. In exchange you get Net of Amyntok and Birona’s Timewarp.
Timewarp makes your units get faster and killier, but honestly what army are you building with Kairos that needs more speed and MA? Doomknights? Spawn? Exalted Flamers? I guess it can help a Lord of Change stack alpha strike one flank before reinforcements show up.
Net of Amyntok however is a game changer. If you don’t have a Tormentor Sword, or even if you do but just need more time on it, 20 seconds (I haven’t tested if spell mastery doubles the duration) of hard snare that doesn’t put your characters in danger sounds like a match made in heaven for a ranged army. This makes a exalted pink horror army for Kairos viable, potentially contesting with his other doomstacks. The lore passive is completely useless, but I wonder if the cooldown and cost reduction is useful. You can get near 100% uptime on net with the cooldown reduction in the magic line (i havent tested it, but the numbers look close enough).
Chamon: Lose Glean and Gateway.
A fairly strong fragment. You keep Treason which can stack with Transmutation of Lead to reduce attack in an AOE by a grand total of 96 (I can’t think of when you’d ever need to, but you can).
Final Transmutation is a more than adequate replacement for Gateway and Firestorm can cover the loss of Gateway to a certain extent. Final Transmutation wrecks everything from single entities to cav to infantry, never mind at twice the power. And being at such a high cost (28) when overcast, I think the 2nd point is well worth putting into for the discount and taking to the final battle.
Ulgu: Lose Glean and Gateway.
Decent trade of spells, Infernal Gateway for Okkam’s, which is mediocre (50% melee damage single target or AoE) and Penumbral Pendulum, which is literally broken. At full power, I don’t think there’s a single infantry model that can take a pendulum coming into pixel contact with it. And you can bounce this wind spell off impassable terrain and walls.
- Total War WARHAMMER III: Changing of Ways Guide (Tzeentch Campaign)
- Total War WARHAMMER III: Khorne’s Guide
- Total War WARHAMMER III: Essentials for All Campaigns
- Total War WARHAMMER III: Kislev Guide