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Total War: Pharaoh – How to become Pharaoh or Great King

Find out how you can climb to the top of the food chain
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In Total War: Pharaoh, the entire point of the game is basically spelled out in the title: You’ll likely want to become Pharaoh at some point to lead the realm of Egypt as its divine ruler. Of course, you may wish to go into another direction and instead take over the throne in Hattusa, crowning yourself Great King of the Hittites. Both routes are open to you in Total War: Pharaoh and they’re important milestones to reach when it comes to winning a campaign – climbing to the top of any of the two empires grants a large number of Victory Points and additional rewards.

How, though, does one become Pharaoh or Great King in Total War: Pharaoh?

Before answering that question for most characters, let’s get the exception to the rule out of the way: If you start the game as Suppiluliuma, then you’re going to be the Hittite Great King from the beginning. All other characters, though, must work their way up the ranks.

Ramesses III in Total War: Pharaoh.

Are you up to the task of becoming Pharaoh?

Total War: Pharaoh – Joining the struggle

If you’re not Suppiluliuma, then you’ll get to make an important choice about your campaign after a few turns: Will join the struggle for the crown in Egypt or among the Hittites? This is a binding choice for the rest of the campaign and decides which title you can earn and which Ancient Legacies will be accessible to you, so choose wisely.

To be eligible for becoming Pharaoh, you’ll need to join the Egyptian court. For that to happen, you need to occupy at least one settlement on Egyptian sacred land. Likewise for the Hittites. Don’t worry if you’re not starting out with sacred land of the empire you want to join in your possession – just don’t make the choice until you’re ready.

Just to emphasize: You don’t need to be an Egyptian character to become Pharaoh. As long as you have some piece of Egyptian sacred land, you can participate in the empire’s politics and claim the throne, even if you’re a Hittite or Canaanite. Same goes for the Great King’s throne.

Total War: Pharaoh – Earning Legitimacy

Now, you can’t just join an empire and then declare yourself its ruler. There is a certain protocol to be followed here – after all, we are talking about the pinnacle of civilization at the time here. To become Pharaoh or Great King, you must obtain Legitimacy. Egyptians and Hittites earn this in different ways, but in general you’ll want to best enemies in battle, erect impressive buildings, and scheme in court to obtain Legitimacy and take some away from your rivals.

Total War: Pharaoh screenshot of chariots crashing into infantry.

Look, it's not called Total Peace: Pharaoh. You'll have to crack some heads.

Total War: Pharaoh – Civil War

Once you’ve earned enough Legitimacy to get close to the current ruler’s value, you’ll officially become a pretender to the throne, enabling you to begin a Civil War or join an ongoing one as a candidate for the crown. This also unlocks unique equipment for your faction leader, such as various crowns and weapons that serve as symbols of power.

The duration of a Civil War is limited and whoever has most Legitimacy when it ends becomes the new ruler, even if they joined last-minute or weren’t a pretender when they originally started to participate in the conflict (to support an ally, for example).

Total War: Pharaoh screenshot of Tausret as Pharaoh.

As Pharaoh, you get access to new powers and some cool regalia.

Once you’re Pharaoh or Great King, you’ll gain access to a variety of Powers of the Crown and will be able to recruit the royal units of your realm, which are elite troop types. Of course, you’ll now have a target on your back: If any faction leader gains enough Legitimacy to become a pretender, they can begin a new Civil War and you’ll need to defend your throne against them, so you can’t just lay back after climbing to the top. 

Total War: Pharaoh court with Tausret as Pharaoh.

It's good to be the king.

Keep expanding your Legitimacy with the help of your new powers to keep would-be challengers at bay.

Check out our Total War: Pharaoh tips for beginners as well as our Total War: Pharaoh review for more from this game.