Shadows of Change: Introducing Mother Ostankya


August 22 2023

Salutations, friends!

Having already delved into The Changeling of Tzeentch and Yuan Bo of Grand Cathay, the time has come to cap off our preview of upcoming DLC Shadows of Change by meeting its third Legendary Lord – Kislev’s own Bogeyman, Mother Ostankya!

Shadows of Change arrives in Total War: WARHAMMER III alongside Update 4.0 on August 31st. There’s currently 10% off the pre-order price through this link.

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Mother Ostankya

The tales of monsters and entities lurking in the dark are particularly horrifying in the WARHAMMER world because, more often than not, they are true! The Kislevite children are haunted with storied whispers of Mother Ostankya, a tale used to frighten them into obedience with a single, chilling phrase.

“Mother Ostankya will punish you.” Blimey.

As the guardian of Kislev, Mother Ostankya draws her power from the woodlands, fens and oblasts, holding those who stray into her lands terminally accountable. When war comes to her door, she follows the armies of Kislev into battle, utilising her magic to support and protect Kislev’s soldiers while punishing those who dare oppose them.

As a melee-capable artillery chariot, Mother Ostankya is one with her sled-mounted cauldron. She’s able to launch ranged spirits from her mount to keep her foes at bay or engage in melee combat, wherein her cauldron sprouts vicious spider legs and rips through adversaries.

With a mastery of magic, Mother Ostankya buffs and debuffs those around her with a barrage of blessings and curses. The Crown of Claws wards off missile attacks, while the Spirit Bear active ability fires an ethereal bear projectile that deals big damage and sends enemies flying.

Finally, the Gulyás ability creates a mushroom cloud of blessings for her allies, showering them in healing spores, replenishing their health, fatigue and morale.


To purge the world of corruption, Mother Ostankya and her Hags must first cast five forbidden Hexes, with each requiring the consumption of Spirit Essence. This new resource can be obtained by, among other things, ridding regions of corruption, safeguarding and holding locations with magic forests and winning battles.

Each Hex has its own set of benefits for Mother Ostankya’s empire, letting her teleport armies between magical forests, cleanse corruption from a region, or bewitch enemy settlements.

Obtained by prevailing in battle, each Hex must first be cast separately. Once all have been cast, however, they can combine to unleash a final Hex so horrifying that it can cripple an entire race in a single blow.


Deep within the forests, far from the sight of others, Mother Ostankya conjures up blessings and curses. Both forms of incantations are crafted by collecting trinkets found throughout the world to then combine in the Witch’s Hut. Depending on the items at her disposal, multiple blessings or curses can be conjured at once for use when the time is right.

Blessings grant positive benefits that gift new abilities to units prior to battle. Curses, however, seek only to impair the enemy, and can be unleashed upon the opposing characters and units on the battlefield. Both types of Incantations can be assigned in the pre-battle screen.


Mother Ostankya is not the only witch arriving in Kislev.

The Hag Witches, a new Hero with three different variants in the lores of Death, Shadows and Beasts, serves as a wizard caster in the same vein as her Legendary overseer – although she also comes with her own tricks.

With the Koldunja Spirit active ability, the Lore of Beasts Hag Witch can summon an ethereal Things in the Woods to conduct its bidding – more on those below!

The Lore of Shadows Hag Witch has access to Vorozheja Foresight, a single target curse that reduces a hostile’s armour and missile resistance, leaving them ripe for the picking.

Plus, with the Znarkharja’s Ward active ability, the Lore of Death Hag Witch can bless her allies with a buff to Ward Saves.


With a name like Akshina Ambushers, it’s no surprise that these agents of loyalty have an affinity for woodland. Often responsible for unexplained deaths across the lands, the Akshina Ambushers haunt their foes with murderous intent, hiding out of sight in wait for any messengers or travellers that happen to pass. They are also handy on the battlefield, however.

As ranged damage dealers with the Stalk and Vanguard attributes, these stealthy killers can swiftly pass through forests, surprising enemies with volleys of high damage, armour-piercing arrows. Plus, they maintain a high degree of accuracy at even the longest of ranges, making them the perfect snipers.


Summoned through savage rituals, the Incarnate Elemental of Beasts is legendary in the most literal sense – a Faceless Hunter to some, and the Horned Man to others. This half-human hybrid embodies the merciless hunger of the wild, having been driven to cruelty from countless infusions from the spirits of predators.

This unbreakable single unit boasts a unique, bound variant of a known Kislevite ability. With the Incarnate Flock of Doom, the Beast passively emits a damaging AoE that follows the creature wherever it goes. Coupled with its high damage output and speed, this beast is an infantry destroying machine.


The origins of the Things in the Woods are unknown, but one truth is very clear: the forces of Chaos tainted this creature, twisting it into a terrifying amalgamation of bone and muscle, and set it loose upon the enemies of Kislev.

With the might of an infantry-melting powerhouse, the Things in the Woods devours frontlines whole if left unchecked, ripping mere mortals in two with their jagged teeth and claws. It does, however, have a clear weakness, succumbing quickly to threats from arrows and gunfire. The Things in the Woods cannot remain out in the open for long…

Up Next

And that’s a wrap on our introductions to the three Legendary Lords arriving in Shadows of Change!

But don’t stray too far from home just yet – our full Mother Ostankya showcase will be arriving shortly. And before you know it, you will be able to protect the lands of Kislev, spread mischief in the name of Tzeentch, or empower the compass as Grand Cathay yourself when Shadows of Change arrives alongside Update 4.0 on August 31st.

We’ll actually be back ever so slightly before that – the Update 4.0 Patch Notes will be with you on August 30th.

Until then!

— The Total War Team