Total War

TWW2 DLC Speculation – The Master and The Immortal

TLDR: What do you all think about a Dark Elves vs Vampire Counts DLC?

Why wouldn't the next pack be Beastmen versus anyone but Dark Elves?

While I think most of us can agree the Beastmen deserve a lord pack the most, I think the available evidence points to a Dark Elf vs Vampire Count DLC Pack. In the last two updates the Marshes of Madness and the Silver Pinnacle were both added to the Mortal Empire map. Both locations are legendary strongholds of the vampires. The marshes were the stronghold of the Strigoi and the Silver Pinnacle is Neferatta's (the head of the Lahmian vampire bloodline) base of operations after leaving Lahmia. Often new regions are added before a new DLC. Albion was added before Nakai started there, Laurelorn Forest was added before the Wood Elf rework, and Sartosa was added before the Vampire Coast. Additionally, Dark Elves are the last base game 2 faction without six lords, and CA said they intended to continue with cross game lord packs rather than a pack of only TWW1 races. Therefore, I think the next pack is likely to be Rakarth the Beastlord vs Zacharius the Everliving.

Why Zacharius the Everliving?

There are 6 (to my knowledge) characters with rules and items from the Vampire Counts army books (editions 5-8) in table top. They are as follows: Neferata, Konrad Von Carstein, Dieter Helsnicht, Zacharius the Everliving, Walach, and Melkhior/W'soran (W'soran may or may not have possessed Melkhior on his death). I'm confident Neferata will eventually start in the Silver Pinnacle in place of the Lahmian Sisterhood, but her lore is generally centered around her conflicts with Khalida and over the actually settlement of Lahmia. Due to these reasons, she would make good FLC not DLC matching up against a Dark Elf. Konrad is another Von Carstein and we already have 3. Dieter Helsnicht is another necromancer and we already have 2 of those. Walach is a blood dragon, but the Red Duke is already in the game so if they were going to do a Blood Knight why not just make him playable as FLC. That leaves the two Necrarch lords. Zacharius usurped Melkhior/W'soran and has a connection to dragons from his lore which I think pairs better against the Dark Elves who need the magma dragon to make a pack and with the Incarnate Elemental of Death (shaped like a dragon) which I think the Vampire Counts need to have enough units for a pack without going into Morghasts from the End Times and Nagash's resurrection.

Why Rakarth the Beastmaster?

The only units left to give the Dark Elves really are beasts and maybe a handful of stretch infantry picks. Therefore, a legendary black guard, executioner, or assassin don't make much sense for a campaign pack.

Why would these two possibly be matched up against each other?

Zacharius the Everliving, the greatest living Necrarch Vampire, has heard tales of a great and powerful beast stirring on the far side of the world. Hagdar, the infamous Magma Dragon, has awoken. Having cured his vampiric hunger by draining his now necrotic black dragon, what powers could he attain if he were to drain a far mightier creature such as Hagdar? He will have to race to claim his prize though because Rakarth the Beastlord of Clar Karond has heard the same whispers of a mighty beast that some have taunted might even be beyond his control. Rakarth intends to silence those foolish critics and add the beast to the stables of Clar Karond permanently.

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What would the factions actually play like?

The Masters of Clar Karond – Rakarth's faction would focus on buffing large dark elf beasts and recruiting High Beastmasters as lords. For a mechanic, they should have an amalgamation of the Norsca monster hunts and Ikit's workshop. Clar Karond should seek out great beasts or herds and fight battles to capture them. Afterwards, they place them in a breeding program to develop new special regiments with unique attributes or abilities.

The Necrarch Bortherhood – Necrarch's are extremely powerful vampires when it comes to magic and are often gifted scholars. Their mechanics should focus around improving research rate, increases their winds of magic, and conjuring magic focused armies of Incarnate Elementals of Death and various ethereal creatures. They should have a mechanic around raiding the great places of knowledge around the world (Altdorf's libraries, Drakenhof's tomes, etc.) to develop their personal library of magic. As this library develops they would gain access to new magics bound to their lords, new spells to conceal their lairs, or new spells to bind other factions to their will.

Where would they start?

The Masters of Clar Karond – In Mortal Empires, they would have a dual start between Clar Karond and the northern most settlement of the Dark Lands. This would be because in Vortex Hagdar would start in Naggaroth (one of the two places Magma Dragons are found), but in Mortal Empires he could start in the Dark Lands (where he is actually from) and Rakarth would need to be near him to hunt him down. In Vortex, Rakarth would start at his faction capitol of Clar Karond and Hagdar would start somewhere on the continent.

The Necrarch Brotherhood – In Vortex, they would start in Nagarrond, so Zacharius could hunt down Hagdar on the continent. In Mortal Empires, they would start in the Marshes of Madness.

What would these Dark Elf units bring to the table?

Legendary Lord – Rakarth the Beastlord – Rakarth's lore speaks of him as a Dark Elf with a talent for cruelty that can break a beast with just his icy cold stare. Rakarth is an armored High Beastmaster who carries the Whip of Domination which would discourage on contact. Rakarth had one special rule that let him take command of any enemy monster he was fighting if he won a round of combat. In TWW2, this could allow him to temporarily take control of an enemy monster, provided it doesn't have a rider, if he starts winning decisively against it. Rakarth rode a black dragon in the table top, but Malekith and Lokhir already have that capability. Rakarth should ride a magma dragon into battle to differentiate him and to better illustrate his superior beast taming skills.

Lord – Black Ark Fleetmaster – The current Dreadlord posing as a Fleetmaster on all of our Black Arks should come to an end with a new unique model that is sufficiently pirate-like. This unit should be similar to a Witch Hunter or Khainite Assassin with a strong missile and melee attack.

Unit 1 – The Iceblades – These are special regiments of Bleakswords from Ghrond that have been poisoned and bewitched by the sorceresses to obey their commands alone without question. They are all in a trance similar to Drycha's glamoured elves. I would envision these as an upgrade to Bleakswords that gain unbreakable and have slightly improved stats. They'd fill a similar role to Silverin Guard in the High Elf roster but with a more offensive stat line to reflect the aggression of the Dark Elves.

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Unit 2/3 – The Spellthirster and Royal Hydra – These would effectively be two reskins of the Hydra (similar to how we got the Stone and River Trolls) that would bring a few unique tools to the table. The Spellthirster was a creation by Rakarth and Morathi that was intended to be far more magic resistant than a normal Hydra at the cost of some of its physical prowess. The Spellthirster should provide a serious magical resistance in an AoE (enough to maybe prevent your elite infantry from dying to a single spell) and have worse stats than a Hydra and no breath attack. The Royal Hydras were Hydras mutated by Malekith in a ritual where he infused their former beastmasters with magic in a deceitful feast and then had the Hydras consume their former masters. This caused the Hydras to grow bony potrusions and to develop acidic breath and blood. The Royal Hydra should be a Hydra with a noxious breath attack instead of a fiery breath attack, more armor, less leadership do to this traumatizing transformation, and its should cause minor damage to enemies in melee with it due to its acidic blood spilling onto them.

Unit 4 – Magma Dragon – Magma Dragons are native to Naggaroth and the Dark Lands and are more fiery and muscular than other dragons. They are flying, terror causing, fire resistant, fire breathing, regenerating, scaly skinned, armor piercing, armored, monsters that could even cast fire spells on occasion. In game, I think they would only be able to give the casting ability and the regeneration to either Hagdar or other special units bred by Clar Karond. However, a flying, terror causing, fire resistant, scaly skinned, armor piercing, armored, monster with the best fire breath attack in the game would be a useable unit distinct from the black dragon.

What would these Vampire Count units bring to the table?

Legendary Lord – Zacharius the Everliving – Zacharius was the former pupil of Melkhior (or was he really W'soran?) who finally was tossed out of his master's study and pursued by his dark minions for trying to read his Book of Nagash. Zacharius rested for a decade after this lethal pursuit and awoke to find a black dragon had nested next to him. Zacharius drank the dragon dry and then raised it as his steed. The blood of a black dragon cured his hunger for blood and gave him the physical and magical prowess to finally best his master and destroy his hidden fortress. Zacharius is a powerful melee combatant and caster. He would have the abilities of the other Necrarchs in game currently and he would have a bound cast of spirit leech and a ward save but no hunger since he cured his need to feed.

Lord – Necrarch Vampire – We already have Necrarch Vampires in game who have some fun abilities, but their model is just terrible. They are the only bloodline lord that has little resemblance to their in game artwork or the artwork from the lore. They need a facelift pronto.

Unit 1 – Spirit Host – In the tabletop these were a swarm of ghosts. Here, I think they could be turned into an alternative to zombies that come with ethereal and magic attacks. In certain matchups this could be an interesting option to have that could potentially soak up more damage or deal more damage than zombies. These should also come with a slight rework to ethereal in sieges which would allow all ghosts to pass through your siege walls and gates. This would add a little more flavor to sieges and make these units better early on.

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Unit 2 – Coven Thrones – This was only a mount option in tabletop for vampires, but this could be turned into a unit as well. It would be similar looking to a mortis engine but with a cauldron of blood and some seductive vampires riding it instead of a cackling necromancer. The Coven Throne would be an armored magical chariot that provided, terror, an aura that reduces weapon strength or melee stats to represent the enthrallment of enemies near it and the vampires aboard, and rampage for enemies with leadership less than the coven throne to represent them going mad and losing the battle of wills with the vampires enthralling them. In table top, that last part was closer to direct damage than rampage, but the mortis engine really has that covered already.

Unit 3 – Incarnate Elemental of Death – This is the winds of Shyish given form. A master of the lore of death, knowing the proper rituals, can summon a physical manifestation of the lore that is always represented as two dragon heads connected by a serpent's body. Vampires are often excellent casters of the lore of death and Zacharius has a special connection to dragons, so this unit would fit well in his roster. This would be best represented as a terror causing monster with a physical resistance, immunity to the lore of death, strider, and the hunger (on tabletop this was just on killing another enemy monster but this seems like a simpler implementation). Also, it would have an ability that let it lose a large chunk of its own health in exchange for a large explosion. However, since the creation can always get its health back and can't break this might be a worthwhile gambit.


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