We have finally arrived at the last DLC for Total War Warhammer 2: will the last expansion live up to the rest of the game?
Type: Single-player, Multi-player
Developer: CREATIVE ASSEMBLY,
Release date: 14 July, 2021
While the demons are slowly coming at our gates in late 2021 with Total War: Warhammer 3, Creative Assembly released the last DLC for Total War: Warhammer 2. This lords pack marks the final step for this game’s journey (and what a journey it has been), introducing new lord and units for the races of lizardmen and beastmen, also introducing the latter in the Vortex campaign. Is this addition good enough for a proper closure of the incredible title that Total War: Warhammer 2 has been?
Horns and Fury
Let’s start with my favourite addition: the beastmen in the Vortex campaign, under the control of Taurox the Brass Bull. Taurox is, simply said, an absolute beast (emh, yes, that was meant as a joke). He is a melee expert that simply excels at everything: he has incredibly good damage (and armor-piercing one), good speed, plenty of hp and can basically charge the enemy general head-on, even if enemy units are in the way. The amount of damage that this lord can do is simply too high, resulting in an incredibly easy early game for its Vortex campaign, considering that he also gets very good starting units. The beastmen got the longer end of the stick in this lords pack, also thanks to the long-awaited race rework: the lords of the race now have the ability to raise herdstones in the settlements they destroy. These are special outposts that transform the adjacent lands into bloodgrounds: while fighting and razing settlements into these areas, beastmen gather Marks of Destruction, the resource needed for victory. These important changes finally made one of the most boring and weak races fun to play and, also thanks to the new unit additions, stronger. This new strength can also be noticed in the campaign, which is in my opinion too easy to play: the early game is a charm thanks to the very strong starting creatures, while into the late game Taurox becomes an absolute powerhouse capable of not only destroying entire units (he’s a melee expert), but also to duel with the strongest lords of rival factions (thanks to his incredible stats). You will probably reach a point where you’ll be auto resolving all but the toughest battles, because you can just steamroll through every opponent.
Besides Taurox itself, the DLC adds new heroes and units that I found to be incredibly useful to the beastmen roster: the new heroes are great additions both in the offensive and defensive sides of battles. Gorgons are incredible four-armed anti-large beasts, capable of health regeneration, that can start bringing down enemy creatures from the start of Taurox’ campaign, since you get one from the start. Jabberslythes, opposed to gorgons, are instead powerful anti-infantry monstruosities: even if they cannot fly (yes, they are like penguins), their poisonous vortex and size make them able to stomp through the strongest units. Again, great additions to the roster.
The Silence before the Ambush
As opposed to beastmen, the new lizardmen lord is instead very hard to play: his starting position is terrifying, as he literally starts (and plays for most of the campaign) encircled by enemies: Norscans to the north and east, Dark Elves to the south and west. Really not a great point to start, especially considering that you will get declared war on very easily even if you don’t provoke anyone. The region does not aid in your multiple-fronts war, since it is particularly income-poor and lizardmen are not the strongest race economically speaking. Speaking of the new additions to the roster instead, personally I never like ranged lords, thus I can’t really find myself at ease with Oxyotl: he’s not bad, but he seems very (too) little when compared to the devastating figure that is Taurox. Chameleon Skinks really shine under his command though, also thanks to special banners that Oxyotl can unlock and that give effects to the missiles fired by the assigned unit (magical, fire, poison damage or special effects).
Oxyotl’s campaign mechanics are instead really interesting, but now very cleverly implemented: you are a bulwark against dark forces and are assigned missions to fight enemy armies around the continent. This allows you to teleport your armies around the world to fight these armies and complete missions which, upon completion, will give you various buffs. Watch out though, as failing mission can empower the enemy armies or even start chaos revolts in your own territories. Everything seems fine but gets ultimately ruined by the start position of the faction: you are already defending against multiple enemies and, since you don’t have a great economy, you can only afford one army: you really don’t have the multiple turns required to send your soldiers around the world and complete the missions! And, when you do have the time, attacking the enemy army requires you to be at war with that faction, so here you go, even more enemies for you. Personally, I found the early game of this faction quite frustrating, with it only getting better after a slow and long expansion of the territory.
The lizardmen new units are… ok. The oracle hero has a nice selection of spells on the first tier, but none on the second one, which is weird. It is however nice to have spells from different lores. Chameleon Stalkers are a nice unit of shock infantry, but I didn’t find a really good use for them inside the lizardmen roster. The Coatl is a very powerful creature, capable of casting spells from skies and tear apart entire units of enemies, especially if they are stacked upon each other. The Feral Troglodon is a very effecting monster-deleter with his poisonous anti-large ranged attacks and speed. Overall, these are not bad additions for the lizardmen, but the campaign should be fixed.
In the end, The Silence and the Fury is a ok Lord Pack: the biggest change with this update is made by the free rework for the beastmen, which is not tied to the DLC itself. The new factions have nice ideas, but are either not very balanced (Taurox) or not well-thought (Oxyotl’s placement, given its mechanics). If you are buying this solely for the lizardmen, wait for a lower price, otherwise have fun steamrolling through everything (both in single and multiplayer) with the new beast-beastman!