Skip to main content

Total War: Warhammer 3 – Shadows of Change units and more DLC hinted at by short story

Yuan Bo reveal came with a massive lore drop
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

It’s been revealed that Yuan Bo, the Jade Dragon, will be the Legendary Lord for Grand Cathay in Shadows of Change, the upcoming DLC for Total War: Warhammer 3. Creative Assembly didn’t just dump this piece of information all by itself, however. Working with author David Guymer, the studio released a short story titled Master of the Meteor Wind, which anyone with a Creative Assembly account can download for free.

This e-book not only introduces Yuan Bo to us, but brings us a whole bunch of lore information as well as hints at the content of Shadows of Change and even possible future DLC packs – a welcome drop for fans of the game and the setting. We’ve read through the short story with the goal of extracting as many hints as possible about what the future might hold for us. These are mere speculations based on the text, so take them all with a grain of salt.

There will be spoilers for the short story in this article, so please make sure you check out the e-book before you come back, in case you want to experience the story fresh.

Hints about Shadows of Change units

Yuan Bo has been officially confirmed as Cathay’s Legendary Lord for the upcoming DLC and while no such thing as an official confirmation exists for his Tzeentchian counterpart, the short story certainly indicates that none other than The Changeling will be the Legendary Lord leading the Daemons of Tzeentch in the DLC. That would fit with our own expectations. Of course, it would also be very fitting for this to be a skilled misdirection, tricking us into believing a certain thing, but let’s not overthink things.

In the story, The Changeling has infiltrated a Cathayan city by posing as Yuan Bo’s sibling Miao Ying, who is in charge of Northern Provinces. All the flair of the Tzeentchian creature’s trickery and tomfoolery is on display, perhaps giving us a taste of what we can expect from him in the game – we might actually get to copy other Legendary Lords to mess with their factions.

The idea of big Chaos cults having infiltrated the lands of the order factions features heavily in the story as well, so we might be in for campaign mechanics focusing on this or could get some cultist units for our armies.

Speaking of units: Master of the Meteor Wind mentioned a few Cathay units that could make an appearance in Shadows of Change. Most prominently featured were the Onyx Crowmen, a cadre of flying and stealthy elite spies and assassins that the Moon Empress uses as a secret police force to root out Chaos cults. Since Yuan Bo is on good terms with both of his parents, he has been entrusted with their support as well. The short story actually includes some art of them – they look like avian gargoyles with some human features thrown in for the creepiness factor.

Total War: Warhammer 3 Onxy Crowmen artwork.

The first official artwork of an Onyx Crowman. It almost looks like this specimen is scouting a Kislevite location.

Another explicit mention is made of the Zhangu War Drum, which calls the Cathayan army into battle in the e-book. This could be a new support unit that buffs allied formations around it.

Wu-Xing Monks are named in the story as well, though less in a military context. However, the thought of kung-fu monks that have been Warhammer-ized up to eleven is just too good to be completely ignored, so those are definitely a possibility as well.

Shadows of Change will likely fill out the roster of available generic lord and hero characters for Grand Cathay as well, for which the short story mentions several candidates: For melee heroes, which Cathay lacks at the moment, the Gate Warden or Celestial Dragon Guard Officer are good options. For possible lord types the e-book includes the Gate Master and the Shugengan Lord-General.

Hints about future DLC

Master of the Meteor Wind delivers a lot of world building, which might well set the stage for any future DLC additions.

Many fans wanted the mysterious Monkey King to be Cathay’s Legendary Lord in Shadows of Change, but he seems to be held in reserve for now. He certainly has not been forgotten, at least, as he got two explicit mentions in the short story. One says that the Monkey King is the only person alive who still finds news ways of mocking Yuan Bo and provoking him, the others states the Monkey King has been fighting with Li Dao, the Fire Dragon, over the Mountains of Heaven and the Southern Provinces of Grand Cathay since the dawn of time – this surely is a conflict we’ll explore at some point and may well open up the Immortal Empires map a bit.

Another potential area to be fleshed out down the line is the eastern coast of Cathay, which just like in Immortal Empires seems to be a hotspot for raiding and piracy by the Dark Elves – we know that Yin Yin, the Sea Dragon, has her domain over these lands. Miao Ying apparently has a disdain for this area, joking (in the form of The Changeling, so take it with a grain of salt) that it’s heavily infiltrated by Tzeentchian cults.

Both the Hung – a nomadic tribe of northmen living in the Chaos Wastes – and the Hobgoblin Khanate, with which they share the steppes to the north of the Great Bastion, are noted as threats, too. However, we know that there are no big plans for both of these factions in the foreseeable future thanks to a previous Q&A session with the developers, so any efforts in this direction are more likely to be measured in years than months.

Shadows of Change is set to be released this summer and will make an appearance at Gamescom 2023, so a launch date towards the end of August or beginning of September 2023 seems likely. You can learn more about the plans for Total War: Warhammer 3 in our recent interview with the developers.