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Total War: Warhammer 3's Shadows of Change DLC brings three new playstyles

Forest hags, demon tricksters, jade lions

The Changeling, a cloaked terror from the Total War: Warhammer 3 Shadow of Change DLC
Image credit: Sega

Sega have formally unveiled the next steaming helping of Total Warhammer 3 DLC, Shadows of Change, which adds three Legendary Lords to this already-jam-packed strategy game: the Changeling for the demonic Tzeentch faction, Yuan Bo for Grand Cathay, and Mother Ostankya for Kislev, plus a brace of new campaign mechanics, units and battlefield abilities.

I've been going off Total War lately - I fired up a new Lizardman game last month, having developed a hankering for dinos after reviewing Exoprimal, and found myself lingering in disappointment on each faction's reliance on rock-paper-scissors unit relationships. There's only so many times you can do that dance of shieldwalls before it loses its charm. Still, it sounds like the new Tzeentch Lord might wash away my Total Warennui, in being one of those playstyles that is more about tricking and invading rivals than taking territory.

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Tzeentch is already your go-to chaos god for manipulating affairs at the campaign map level, but The Changeling takes that even further. He specialises in Minor and Grand Schemes, from building cults in enemy cities to duping characters into fighting each other, and even assuming the form of another Lord. The Changeling perceives the world as a series of Theatres. Perform enough schemes in a Theatre and you'll unlock the opportunity to perform a Grand Scheme, which triggers a mega setpiece battle with special rewards. The Changeling can also sneak cultists into a city under the guise of looting it, so as when visiting ruins with Skaven armies nearby, don't trust any settlements he mysteriously decides not to occupy.

The Changeling also gets some tasty battlefield units for those times when cloak-and-dagger shenanigans won't cut the mustard. The Blue Scribes are a pair of magic heroes who surf about on a sort of enchanted writing desk, the Tzaangors are hit-and-run former Beastmen who soak up power from spells cast in their vicinity, the Cockatrice is an overfed bird that spews poison and acid, and the Mutalith Vortex Beast is your classic Lovecraftian walking ball of tentacles.

The Blue Scribes, a new Chaos Demon hero for Total War: Warhammer 3
The Mutalith Vortex Beast, a giant demon tentacle monster from Total War: Warhammmer 3.
The Tzaangors, a mutant Beastman unit from Total War: Warhammer 3.
The Cockatrice, a huge avian monster from Total War: Warhammer 3.
The new Tzeentch units for Total War: Warhammer 3's Shadows of Change DLC. | Image credit: Sega

The new Grand Cathay Lord, Yuan Bo, is also something of an underhand operator, able to rush construction using his influence upon matters of state, sow diplomatic discord so as to move armies through enemy territory without penalty, and turn regional corruption to his advantage in unspecified ways. He also gets some brilliant munsters to play with in the field. The Jade Lion recharges your Winds of Magic reserves while pouncing on enemies. The Jet Lion interrupts enemy spellcasting, deflects missiles back-to-sender and enhances your own mages. And the Celestial General hits people with a ruddy big hammer. My favourite of the new Grand Cathay units, however, might be the Onyx Crowmen, simply for how skittery and unpleasant they look in the trailer.

Last but not least there's Mother Ostankya of Kislev, a nice old lady who's out to collect forbidden Hexes, and is not-so-secretly a terrible creature born of children's nightmares. She sounds like she'll have the more fun in the fray than on the world map, with such units as the chariot-riding Hag Witch, the bearskin-clad Akshina Rangers, the Elemental Incarnate of Beasts - a giant avatar of Nature or at least, the bits of Nature that have horns and glowing eyes - and the skull-faced Things in the Woods.

The DLC lands on August 31st as part of Total War: Warhammer 3's Update 4.0. There are at least two more paid expansions on the boil - Thrones Of Decay, out winter 2023, and an unnamed third expansion in spring 2024. It all sounds pretty terrific, but can it really trump the beardy firepower of this spring's Chaos Dwarves?

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