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The Dark Elves are a race introduced in Total War: Warhammer II. They have six playable factions, each led by a different Legendary Lord.

The Dark Elves are a sadistic, cruel race who dwell in the cold, bleak land of Naggaroth after long ago being exiled from Ulthuan. The Dark Elf military consists of small numbers of highly-disciplined elite troops which march to war alongside hydras and other beasts. The Dark Elves sail the seas in huge Black Arks, taking slaves to boost their economy, or to sacrifice to their bloodthirsty gods.

How they play[]

A summary of Dark Elves gameplay:

  • Units: The Dark Elves unit roster is fairly well-rounded, with a focus on elite infantry and cavalry, backed up by hydras and spellcasters.
  • Murderous Prowess: In battle, Dark Elf armies gain extra bonuses after inflicting a certain amount of damage.
  • Slaves: In campaign, Dark Elves gather the slaves resource, which boosts the economy at the expense of public order.
  • Black Arks: These are powerful naval units, similar to floating fortresses, which can be used to recruit armies at sea.
  • Rites: Dark Elves have access to various rites which grant bonuses in campaign when slaves are sacrificed.
  • Names of Power: Dark Elf lords can acquire different Names of Power which have varying effects.
  • Loyalty: Dark Elf lords have a loyalty stat, which can cause them to rebel, taking their army with them. High Loyalty lords can offer items.
  • Sword of Khaine: Dark Elf factions, as with other Elf factions, can draw the Sword of Khaine.


If they shall not bow to me, the rightful ruler of Ulthuan, then I shall see each tower crumble and every soul scourged in pain until they beg for my rule.

Long ago, the near-immortal Elves were a single race. Then came a great divide: The Daemons came and Aenarion strode forth to vanquish them. At first a mighty hero… then he drew the Sword of Khaine and doomed his line. Avarice, jealousy and malevolence boiled over and forever tore apart elven civilisation. Though the Daemons were banished and the Great Vortex created, in victory came the Elves’ ultimate defeat.

Morathi directs Dark Elf forces

A schism was rent between those who had been most loyal to Aenarion’s line, and the rest of Ulthuan. Soon Elf fought Elf and the Dark Elves, called the Druchii, were forged in war, blood and murder. This was the Sundering: a brutal civil war that nearly destroyed Ulthuan, sinking parts of the island and leaving others as wasteland.

Eventually the Dark Elves were defeated and cast out, fleeing west and establishing a new kingdom in the cold land of Naggaroth across the sea. This harsh land, as well as attacks from Beastmen and Chaos, has forged the Druchii into an a merciless and brutal race. From their dark cities, they range across the seas, taking slaves for their industry and bloody sacrifices. They will not rest until they have reconquered Ulthuan and every one of their hated kin is dead or in chains.


Dark Elves are a normal, non-horde race who occupy settlements and control provinces.

Playable factions[]

In campaign there are six playable Dark Elf factions, each with its own starting position, and led by separate Legendary Lords. See individual pages for faction-specific info and strategies:


  • Felicion Heartkeeper: Primary quest giver for all Dark Elf factions, and takes part in all of the cutscenes for the Eye of the Vortex campaign.
  • Shadowblade: Brother of Felicion, he appears alongside her in many of the cutscenes for the Eye of the Vortex campaign.

Shadowblade is a prominent character from the tabletop version of Warhammer. He is a master assassin that works for Crone Hellebron, and has appeared in every Dark Elf army book. Felicion, however, never appeared before Total War: Warhammer II.

Minor factions[]

The following minor Dark Elves factions are found in campaign mode. All the Total War: Warhammer II minor factions are found in the Eye of The Vortex campaign, but not all of them are present in the Mortal Empires one:

Total War: Warhammer II

Factions exclusive to The Eye of the Vortex campaign:

Factions present in the Mortal Empires campaign:

When loyalty reaches zero for a Dark Elves army, the army defects and creates a new faction:

In Battle[]

A Dark Elves crest.

Unit Roster[]

Main article: Dark Elves unit roster

The Dark Elves have a unit roster which is decently varied. They have infantry, cavalry, strong missile troops and artillery. A few monsters and flying units are also available. Dark Elf troops have fairly good leadership and speed, and tend to be expensive, as they rely on quality over quantity.

Lastly, Dark Elves factions also have access to Black Arks (see below).

Murderous Prowess[]

Main article: Murderous Prowess

Bullet def murderous prowess.png Murderous Prowess is once-per-battle ability that many Dark Elves units have, giving them significant bonuses after a certain amount of causalities for the player's army and enemy have been reached, while some units have Murderous Mastery, a more powerful and longer-lasting version. Murderous Prowess progress can be tracked during battle by a meter beside the balance of power on the UI. Once the kill threshold is reached, Murderous Prowess and Murderous Mastery are immediately activated for all Dark Elf units that have them. Make sure that more of your enemies' casualties have fueled Murderous Prowess rather than your own units or else your army might not last long enough to take advantage of it. Having units idle during this period can waste the benefits Murderous Prowess provides. Keeping track of the meter's progress can allow a player to set up favorable engagements beforehand and maximize the benefits each unit receives. Conversely, when opposing the Dark Elves, disengaging or activating your own buffs as Murderous Prowess activates can mitigate some of the damage your own army takes.


Dark Elves have access to five lores of magic:

Like the High Elves, Dark Elf spellcasters have access to an improved version of Arcane Conduit.

In the Campaign[]

Chaos Invasion[]

Dark Elves factions do not gain the shield of civilization trait during a Chaos Invasion.

Vortex Rituals[]

In the Eye of the Vortex campaign, Dark Elves compete to control the Great Vortex by using Rituals.


Main article: Slaves

Bullet def slaves.png Slaves are a unique resource for the Dark Elves in campaign that they must manage, alongside money. Slaves are captured after a victorious battle, and transferred to owned provinces. More slaves in a province provides bonuses to money income while lowering public order. Slaves can be managed from the Slaves Menu, access via a button in the lower right while viewing the campaign map. Slaves can also be sacrificed in rites (see below).

Black Arks[]

Main article: Black Ark

Bullet def black arks.png Black Arks are unique naval units for the Dark Elves which enable mobile unit recruitment at sea and provide army abilities to nearby armies in battle. They act a little like a mobile settlement, and are recruited via the Sacrifice to Mathlann, except for the Blessed Dread who's Black Ark capacity increases with the number of occupied Major Ports.

Names of Power[]

Names of Power are titles that Dark Elven lords and the Master hero can acquire, which give those units various bonuses.


Icon loyalty.pngLoyalty affects whether Dark Elves lords are likely to rebel against you in campaign mode. Many things can affect loyalty, causing it to rise or fall. This mechanic is shared with the Skaven.


Main article: Dark Elves rites

Dark Elves have access to 4 rites, which provide various bonuses at the cost of sacrificing slaves. The Sacrifice to Mathlann rite allows the player to recruit a Black Ark.

Chaos Corruption[]

Icon corruption chs.pngChaos Corruption is spread by Morathi and her Cult of Pleasure faction in the campaign. If a player is using another Dark Elves faction and confederates with Morathi then she will stop spreading corruption.


Main article: Dark Elves buildings


Main article: Dark Elves tech tree



Dark Elves have access to the following stances:

Post-battle options[]

The post-battle options for Dark Elves are as follows:

  • Ransom captives
  • Murder captives
  • Enslave (provides extra slaves depending on the amount of captives)

Settlement options[]

Settlement options for Dark Elves factions are as follows:

  • Ruins: Treasure hunt / Colonize
  • Captured Settlement: Occupy / Loot and occupy / Sack / Raze


See the article on commandments for a list of Dark Elves commandments.

Climate preferences[]

Climate preferences for Dark Elves factions:

  • Habitable: Frozen, Chaotic Wasteland, Island
  • Unpleasant: Temperate, Savanna, Mountain, Jungle
  • Uninhabitable: Wasteland, Ocean, Magical Forest, Desert


See Dark Elves events.


See Dark Elves names.



How to win as Dark Elves in Eye of the Vortex[]

Dark Elves Campaign Guide[]

Dark Elves Multiplayer Guide[]

Naggarond.png Dark Elves units