REVIEW: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Lord of Skulls

REVIEW: Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Lord of Skulls

Khorne wants to come and play

Released: Steam, GOG
Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Genre: Strategy, 4X
Developer: Proxy Studios
Publisher: Slitherine Ltd.
Release date: 12 Jul, 2018

Originally part of the Deluxe Edition of Gladius, Lord of Skulls is by far the smallest of the DLCs that has been released for the game up until this point. It adds the fearsome Lord of Skulls as a neutral unit, and a small quest to go along with it.

Locking content behind deluxe editions is something that can be annoying, particularly if you don’t want anything else that’s part of it, so luckily Slitherine and Proxy studios released this as something you could also buy on its own. But is it worth the price?

The Orks enthusiastically throw themselves at the Lord of Skulls, hoping to bring down the biggest prey they could possibly find on Gladius

The Lord of Skulls is the single most powerful unit in the game, and that includes all the things that has come in later DLCs. It’s a massive beast that’s bristling with guns and the huge axe that it’s carrying is not for show either, it’s capable of ripping tanks apart with ease in close combat. When the Lord of Skulls shows up you’d better have your best units at the ready, or give it a wide berth.

The Lord of Skulls will show up after a while when playing, towards the mid to late game, as a neutral unit. At first you’ll get a quest that says that it will show up in a couple of turns, and then after that time has passed the quest will change to “kill the Lord of Skulls within 10 turns”. If you’re able to bring it down you’ll get a powerful buff on your units, and if it fails the Lord of Skulls will go away and return again a bit later. Where the Lord of Skulls shows up is determined randomly, though it can probably not show up right on top of your home base. But depending on where it shows up it might end up helping or hindering one player far more than the other. With only 10 turns to kill it you need to have an army nearby in order to have time to reach it, if you intend to kill it, and you might not even see where it pops up.

Sadly the quest description is always the same when facing the Lord of Skulls, unlike other quests which are themed towards their faction you’ll always get the same description, even if you play something like Tyranids, for whom the quest description really does not fit.

That totally feels in line with what a Tyranid quest should read like!

Closing Thoughts

When people complain about DLC that offers you very little for the money they think of DLCs like this one. The Lord of Skulls really is just a single big enemy that shows up in the late game, and that’s it. And worse yet, it’s more tedious than fun to actually fight it. If you got this DLC in the deluxe edition then it might be worth activating it every once in a while just for the heck of it, but personally I rarely play with the Lord of Skulls on. This is simply not a DLC worth paying for, even on a sale. The best thing I can really say about it is that at least the Lord of Skulls itself looks pretty cool, in that typical completely impractical 40k way.

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