Total War: Warhammer II DLC has been keeping us going while we waited for the Warhammer 3 announcement. Now that it’s here. we can anticipate expansion support for the second game to come to an end. We know there’s definitely one more pack coming, but after that it’ll be all hands on deck for the threequel.
Warhammer 2 expansions involve a mix of big, encompassing add-ons and smaller ‘set-piece’ scenarios between two legendary lords. The early years saw other areas of the map fleshed out, such as the Rise of the Tomb Kings or the Vampire Coast, but in later years it was more about the smaller bits of content.
That still leaves a fair amount of DLC that needs evaluating, so we’ve put together this guide to help you decide which expansions are worth grabbing straight away, and which are worth skipping or at least waiting for a sale to drop. The closer the get to Warhammer 3’s release date though, the cheaper these add-ons will get, so patience is a virtue in this case.
Total War: Warhammer 2 DLC
Here is a list of all of the Total War: Warhammer II DLC released to date:
- Rise of the Tomb Kings
- The Queen and The Crone
- Curse of the Vampire Coast
- The Prophet and The Warlock
- The Shadow and the Blade
- The Hunter and The Beast
- The Warden and The Paunch
- The Twisted and The Twilight
Total War: WARHAMMER II – Rise of the Tomb Kings
Warhammer II’s first DLC is also its best, bringing the undead rulers or Nehekarah to virtual life for the first time in history. Rise of the Tomb Kings is a massive expansion, adding the Land of the Dead in all its sandy and pyramid-y glory and tasking players to find five of the Nine Books of Nagash to gain complete control over the eternal unlife of its rulers.
The story takes place in the same map as the base game’s Eye of the Vortex campaign, but the addition of the Tomb Kings as a playable faction upends every other mechanic Total War relies on. Units require no upkeep nor incur recruitment costs but have caps that require the construction of certain buildings, allowing these faux-Egyptians to raise an entire 20 stack army in a couple of turns. Due to being a bunch of reanimate obsessed skeletons, Tomb King units are also impervious to morale loss and never rout, but unlike Vampires and their thralled brethren, retain enough independence and self-will to not immediately crumble to dust if their leader dies.
Even better, the Tomb Kings have access to massive stone constructs that can wipe the floor with pretty much any flesh and blood monster in the Warhammer franchise, . Add to that four legendary lords, a unique Dynasty system to replace the research tree, and a RPG-like loot-crafting mechanic to equip your Lords, and Rise of the Tomb Kings proudly stands as not just the best DLC in the Total Warhammer franchise, but in Total War as a whole.
Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Queen and The Crone
The second DLC is less of an expansion, and more of a rounding up of things that *really* should have been there at launch. The Queen & The Crone adds new units, two factions, and a bunch of Regiments of Renown to the ranks of the High Elves and Dark Elves, finally adding the elite special units to one of the base game’s races.
The High Elves expand their roster with the addition of the Everqueen Allarielle of Avelorn, while the Dark Elves get the Hag Queen of Har Ganeth Crone Hellebron. Both Legendary Ladies are the heads of their respective factions, offering powerful bonuses based on their campaign performance. The Everqueen leaves lingering effects through every province she passes, buffing the region and bolstering public order while gaining strength when Ulthuan is free from enemy control, while the Hag Queen needs to constantly kill thousands of slaves in ritualistic sacrifices in order to keep her youthful appearance and maximum power.
Those changes offer a higher degree of investment in the campaign than usual and are complemented by the new units quite well. The Asur gain access to the Sisters of Avelorn — mixed ranged/melee fighters — and the Shadow Warriors — ranger-like scouts who shoot undetected and fire in any direction while running. The Druchii, on the other hand, can play with the Sisters of Slaughter — poisoned whip-wielding lady gladiators that cause fear — and the Doomfire Warlocks — spellcasting magical cavalry that deals both magical and poisonous damage in melee.
Those new units are more powerful than the base game’s standard ones — a gap that is only widened by the inclusion of the Regiments of Renown such as flaming lance Dragon Princes. The final additions are a High Elven Handmaiden Hero for Avelorn and a Supreme Sorceress army Lord for the Dark Elves, adding a bit more of asymmetry to what is overall a very balanced pack.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Yes, especially if you are sweaty elf main.
Total War: WARHAMMER II – Curse of the Vampire Coast
Arr, the high seas. Who doesn’t love pirate battles, where crew swing between decks with swashbuckling prowess and ships blow the crap out of each other with broadsides? Unfortunately for all of us, the pirate themed expansion to Warhammer II has no ship battles, so… arrr, who doesn’t love giant pirate armies fighting… on the land… like… regular… armies. Arrrr.
Curse of the Vampire Coast was one hell of a curveball, taking a very minor aspect of Warhammer lore and expanding it to mainstream status. It adds four new factions and their Legendary Lords to the game, from the crazed Luthor Harkon in Lustria to the mutant Aranessa Saltspite in Sartosa, and all of them are focused on living on the high seas with armies of undead people under their thumb.
The biggest differential for pirate factions is their possession of a legendary ship, the personal vessel of their legendary lord. The big boat serves as a mobile base, allowing players to upgrade buildings and churn out units anywhere, granting a degree of mobility matched only by horde armies. Unlike horde armies, however, the undead pirates can conquer settlements or install Pirate Coves that syphon the money of nearby cities without any of the admin work, making this one of the versatile playthrough options one can have.
The campaign also brings treasure maps for treasure, Infamy lists for stat bonuses, and cursed Pieces of Eight to unlock Regiments of Renown, keeping the pirate theme running strong. Similar to the Empire in Warhammer I, players can also appoint Lords to positions in the hierarchy that benefit both that army and the faction, though loyalty is an ever present concern if you want to keep the scallywag in office.
In battle, the focus is obviously on ranged units, with most of the roster possessing firearms of some kind. Zombie sailors and vampire pirates let out a wall of gunfire upon approaching enemies, while giant walking animated shipwrecks, mortars, and cannons let death fly from afar. Add to that a giant walking crab and a gigantic cannon bigger than a dragon, and the pirate faction is easily one of the most diverse and interesting ones in Warhammer II.
IS IT WORTH IT?
As novel as it is, this DLC can only be recommended if you like the idea of sailing undead vampires. The lack of ship battles or boarding doesn’t really capture the feel of being a pirate on the seas, and the DLC does end up playing as a normal Total War faction due to huge 20 stack armies fighting each other on land maps all the time. Read our Curse of the Vampire Coast review for more thoughts.
Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Prophet and The Warlock
We all love Skaven and Lizardmen, for different reasons. Not me, of course — I love to kill Skaven and ignore Lizardmen, but I’m a High Elf player. A lot of people do like them, however, and Creative Assembly finally found time to give those two factions their first cup of love cocoa since Warhammer II launched 2 years ago.
The Prophet & The Warlock is a Lord Pack, similar to The Queen & The Crone. It brings two new legendary lords — Lizardmen prophet Tehenhauin and Skaven warlock Ikit Claw — with their new respective factions, adding in new units and mechanics along the way.
The Lizardmen, as the religious, devoted, biological computers that they are, are all about order and orders, doing their best to fulfil a prophecy by following its tablets while preventing chaos in all its forms (but mainly Skaven) from taking a hold. Tehenhauin’s main end-goal is the completion of the Prophecy of Sotek, which will bring the serpent-god back.
Meanwhile, the Skaven are all about disorder and decay, spreading corruption left and right while killing and eating everything they can. Ikit Claw, being the greatest Warlock Engineer who ever lived — is a few steps ahead of his brethren on the “killing” part, able to field giant hamster balls of death called Doom-Flayers, fire warpstone nukes called Doomrockets, and level whole settlements via a huge spherical bomb called the Doomsphere (they’re clever, but they’re not very creative at naming).
Besides those unique features, you get the standard package of all Lord Packs — new units (such as the salamanders and red-crested skinks for Lizardmen and Ratling Gunners and snipers for the Skaven), as well as Regiment of Renown variations of most units in their respective rosters. The RoR tend to be pretty cool — from regenerating Doomwheels to unbreakable infantry, these can act as pillars if used correctly in any field battles they are employed.
IS IT WORTH IT?
If you ever wonder about playing as the Skaven, definitely. If you are a Lizardmen fan, you will want the new units. The one problem with this DLC is that most of the new features are faction-specific, so you won’t be able to play as Clan Pestilens on Mazdamundi and enjoy them. If you are cool with that go and get it
Total War: Warhammer II – The Hunter and The Beast
The Hunter and The Beast adds yet more Lizardmen to the fray, but also the Empire has finally made official landfall in Lustria via the Huntmarshal’s Expedition. The latter’s campaigns is definitely the more inventive of the two, and gives off a real ‘expeditionary’ vibe as you fight to secure your foothold in the area, while trying to keep the supplies from the homeland coming through.
The more you loot and pillage your surroundings though, the stronger the inevitable backlash will be – so you need to keep things in careful balance. Neither of the two new Lords follow the main Vortex campaign, instead their stories revolve around the fate of a handful of legendary Hunters that you must find (whichever faction you choose to play as). The free content drop that’s releasing with this pack give yet more love to the Empire within the Mortal Empires campaign as well, so overall it’s a good day to be imperialist Humans.
IS IT WORTH IT?
While the new Lizardmen Legendary Lord’s campaign isn’t quite as inventive as his human counter-part, the Empire’s campaign in the ‘New World’ is pretty creative and feels fresh.
Total War: Warhammer II – The Shadow and The Blade
After a nice series of DLC shoring up every single race in the base game, Creative Assembly decided to go full Dark Side with this Lord Pack. The Shadow & The Blade circles back to the Dark Elves and Skaven, giving the evil pointy-eared bastards and the scheming cruel ratmen a bit more love.
Featuring a Druchii Dreadlord possessed by a Chaos Daemon and the Council of Thirteen’s greatest assassin rat, this Lord Pack adds Malus Darkblade and Deathmaster Snikch to the pool of Legendary Lords. Both races pack one new normal Lord and Hero, in addition to three new units and their Regiment of Renown variations, for a total of 18 new unit options. Unlike previous DLC, these additions tend to be very broad in utility, ranging from sneaky front-line units to airburst mortar shells that cover the battlefield in poison.
More like this: Here are the best strategy games on PC.
The unique campaigns, however, is where this DLC shines. The Dark Elf Darkblade’s personal tale of internal strife comes out as a powerful possession mechanic that turns him into a nigh unstoppable presence in the battlefield, forcing the player to balance demonic possession and self-control to offset battle and campaign penalties and boons. Add to that a unique start that includes *both* the fortified province capital of Hag Graef and an expedition literally on the other side of the map, and you got the seeds of a very interesting playthrough.
Meanwhile, the Skaven tale is a bit more focused on the campaign side, as the Deathmaster is a powerful yet unimpressive presence in the battlefield. While he is capable of cutting an enemy’s armour in half with his attacks, Snikch’s penchant for sneaky-stuff is what makes him very clever-smart in the campaign-map, yes-yes. The Clan Eshin agent uses all his considerable skills to perform instant acts of subterfuge across the map with 100% chance of success, and those continuous assassinations, sabotages, and thefts raise Clan Eshin’s reputation among other Skaven and lead to the four Greater Clans to start offering you contracts. In a way, Deathmaster Snikch plays like a more archetypal Skaven than most other Skaven lords, and his focus on furry-ninja endeavours can make for a very cunning campaign experience.
IS IT WORTH IT?
As always, the worth is largely tied to your particular penchant for the spotlight races. However, I must add that even though I don’t like Skaven nor Druchii, I did enjoy the campaigns much more than expected. So it’s an easier ‘yes’ than other similar packs.
Total War: Warhammer II – The Warden and The Paunch
This Lords pack introduces a new faction each for both the High Elves and the Greenskins. Eltharion ‘The Warden’ is charged with guarding the East Coast of Ulthuan from the Greenskin hordes, especially one Grom ‘The Paunch’ who managed to accidentally sack the area once before. This new pack sets up a grudge-match for the ages, culminating in a climatic battle between the two.
Each faction comes with their own unique mechanics to fill out the lion’s share of the campaign, as well as a host of new units to play around with as well. These two new narrative driven campaign threads largely ignore the Vortex quest, as has been the trend recently.
Is it worth it?
If you enjoy playing as Greenskins or as the High Elves, there’s a bunch of excellent new content here for you. As always with DLC expansions like these, your mileage varies depending on where your interests lie.
The free update that accompanied this expansion gave some quality of life love to all Greenskin factions, which is something, but these two new factions are also designed to only really want to fight each other. They’re bespoke campaign mechanics don’t interact with the rest of the Vortex campaign, for example, and their integration into Mortal Empires is questionable.
TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II – THE Twisted and The Twilight
This pack includes another Skaven faction, and finally gives the Wood Elves some much needed DLC and brings them firmly into Total Warhammer 2. The Wood Elves themselves are lead by the Sisters of Twilight, who fight on behalf of Queen Ariel of Athel Loren (who is also in the game as a hero unit). Their special mechanics revolve around forging powerful weapons, and leaning into some major changes that have been included into the game for free.
Throt the Unclean is leading the new Skaven faction, Clan Moulder. His Vortex campaign (which also ignores the Vortex itself) is a bit more traditional, but he has some fun faction mechanics around collecting bespoke resources to create weird and wonderful abominations for his army. This DLC’s match-up isn’t as epic as in past packs, but there’s definitely some interesting stuff here.
Is it worth it?
Most of the changes given to the Wood Elf faction are actually free, so you don’t necessarily need to get this pack to take advantage of them. Their Vortex campaign is pretty fun, though, and really leans into the new way this faction plays out. Throt’s campaign is less imaginative, but his faction-specific mechanics are quite powerful.
This is not the best DLC ever released, however, so if you’re not particularly fussed about the Wood Elves or desire more Skaven, you can probably sit on this one for a while.
- 0 Comment
- March 4, 2021