Shadows of Change: Introducing The Changeling
Four new legends approach that will turn the world of Total War: WARHAMMER III on its head! With them comes new units, new campaign mechanics never seen before in Total War, plus much more that will be be revealed in the coming weeks.
Shadows of Change will arrive in Total War: WARHAMMER III as part of Update 4.0 on August 31st! You can pre-order Shadows of Change here and, for a limited time, enjoy 10% off the launch price!
Following the new content format we announced back in March, included in Shadows of Change are three Legendary Lords – The Changeling (Tzeentch), the Jade Dragon Yuan Bo (Grand Cathay) and Mother Ostankya (Kislev) – along with Legendary Hero The Blue Scribes (Tzeentch). We can’t wait for you to get your hands on them and put them to good use – and by good, we of course mean very naughty and bad.
Before we get going, take a moment to feast your eyes on the announcement trailer below:
As always, we keep a watchful eye over our official feedback channels to ensure WARHAMMER III is cruising along nicely, so please use the links below to make your voice heard.
Today, we’re kicking off our legendary love-letter bonanza by digging into Tzeentch’s latest conniving customer, The Changeling.
For those looking to throw the rulebook out the window, this trickster boasts a campaign unlike any other. We’ll be back with closer looks at Yuan Bo and Mother Ostankya very soon, but before we get stuck into our new Lords, let’s take a moment to introduce this drop’s Legendary Hero!
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Riding atop their Disc of Tzeentch, the Blue Scribes are a pair of powerful Blue Horrors, P’tarix and Xirat’p. They soar across the mortal and eternal realms, squabbling amongst themselves as they locate fragments of Tzeentch and bind them in parchment.
With a quill in each hand crafted from Tzeentch’s own feathers, P’tarix scrawls with abandon before passing it off to Xirat’p, who reads the words aloud to check their accuracy, unleashing devastating spells from the Lord of Change.
Often drawn into battle while searching for hotspots of powerful and destructive magic, the Blue Scribes face many dangers. When threatened, Xirat’p will read spells at random, trusting his true master to guide his hand toward the correct scroll for the occasion.
Though Tzeentch is never truly random, the results can be spectacular, unpredictable and bizarre.
As a wacky caster, this Legendary Hero grows in power as spells are cast around them thanks to their Spell Syphon passive. Meanwhile, their innate ability Scrolls of Sorcery grants a random spell selection at the start of battle. These are shuffled and randomised once again whenever a spell is cast. Chaos. Big, blue chaos.
The Changeling is the Changer of Ways’ latest Daemon of Tzeentch, and perhaps the most cunning. His true form is lost to time, with only Tzeentch recalling his real appearance. This nightmare’s commitment to meddling allows him to mirror other Legendary characters not just in appearance, but also in personality and mannerisms.
As a lover of conflict, confusion and discordance, the Changeling uses warfare as a distraction, for those consumed with violence are easily deceived. And when realisation finally dawns, it will almost certainly be too late.
Utilising spells from the Lore of Tzeentch, the Changeling claims the forms of those he defeats/forms an alliance with through the Formless Horror ability. He can then pick and choose from this collection over the course of a campaign, mimicking their stats, abilities, spells and appearance. With a passive ability, Cloaked and Cowled, the Changeling gains a defensive buff allowing him to Stalk his prey, remaining hidden while on the move, and gaining a boost to his Ward Save.
But that’s not all – with the active ability Deceiving Shadows, he can create illusions resembling his natural form that roam the battlefield, toying with your opponent’s grip on reality.
Trust no one!
The Changeling cares not for settlements of his own – indeed, he outright refuses to capture any. Instead, he infiltrates already established settlements and plants his cults deep within their city walls.
After besting a settlement in battle, the Changeling may choose to sack or raze what he has conquered, or instead sneak in his cults undetected. From the enemy’s perspective, he’s attacked, taken what he wanted and left as quickly as he appeared.
If only this were true.
Now ruling secretly from within, the Changeling may construct either parasitic or symbiotic buildings within a settlement for a variety of benefits, achieving a delicate balance for long-term gain, or indulging in short-term chaos.
Symbiotic buildings can increase the settlement’s main income, upping how much treasure can be siphoned from it and spread propaganda to improve diplomacy and turn factions against one another. Alternatively, Parasitic buildings are designed to cripple the host settlement, enabling the spread of corruption in an infiltrated region, opening rifts for Daemon armies to ravage the settlement, or plundering it from within without the need to siege the city walls.
It’s worth noting that a parasite is more easily discovered than a symbiote.
Ultimately, however, the Changeling loves chaos. When a faction has learned to trust him, he may opt to self-destruct his secret buildings and deploy his own armies, spawn rebels at the border or plunder the settlement without ruffling too many feathers.
Stealth is key, however, as making too much noise increases the risk of being discovered, and Karl Franz isn’t going to be happy when he learns that Altdorf has been used as a conduit for the Changer of Ways’ most perplexing prankster.
The Changeling perceives the world as a series of Theatres – battlegrounds of wits in which he can enact Schemes that sew discord, gain rewards, open rifts and continue onwards along the path to the Grand Scheme.
With enough Schemes enacted within a Theatre (perhaps by taking the form of Mannfred von Carstein and commanding his thralls to perform a ritual at Castle Drakenhof), a Grand Scheme becomes available. This triggers a mighty set piece battle that, when victorious, showers the Changeling with special rewards and campaign-changing consequences.
The Changeling’s scheming doesn’t just exist within the campaign layer, either. He can use the resources gathered from Schemes to assist in battle and throw off the opponent’s strategy with wildcard spells and abilities. Take down Orion’s forces as Orion himself while levelling the battlefield with Skaven Doom-Rockets for some unexpected destruction, or acquire Khorne’s Chainsword and use it against him!
The Changeling doesn’t simply play chess – he flips the board.
Drawn to magic just like the Blue Scribes before them, Tzaangors are unnatural Beastmen now serving the Lord of Change. Their animalistic savagery combines well with their keen and cruel intellect. With axes of bone, iron or crystal at their side, the Tzaangors are perfect fast flankers with a penance for a hit and run style of combat. Utilise their innate Vanguard Deployment to quickly get to the action, increase their weapon strength with Arcane Charge when in the vicinity of magic, and retreat into the woods to stalk the enemy before striking once more.
Though seldom found beyond its lair, the Cockatrice is an unsettling avian beast, tainted by the forces of Chaos. They are known to be hunted by Bretonnian knights – not because they fear their strength, but rather their intelligence.
Soaring through the sky as a monstrous offensive disabler, the Cockatrice can use its Petrifying Gaze to slow enemies, bringing their charge to a crawl, before dousing them with Acidic Vomit to apply heavy poison and striking with its mighty claws. How rude.
Mutalith Vortex Beast
The Vortex Beast is an abomination that should not exist. A terrifying fusion of monster and magic, this creature has been mutated beyond any justifiable reason by the forces of Chaos.
It is trailed by a raw ball of Chaos magic that is anchored to it, warping and twisting reality wherever it steps. Its flesh is stripped from its body, sucked into the vortex atop its back before being remoulded and fused back onto the creature. Which you imagine must really chafe?
The battlefield changes and mutates with every step this beast takes.
As a monster of raw magical destruction, the Vortex Beast uses its Aura of Mutation passive hex to deal direct damage over time to the area surrounding it. But that’s not all the vortex can do. With the Gift of Mutation, nearby friendly units gain increased offensive bonuses, and with the Tides of Transformation passive, the Vortex Beast can activate a Matter Explosion, a self-activated detonation that inflicts magical damage and severe knockback, with the survivors suffering from Disorientation.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the mighty and inscrutable Changeling in the upcoming Shadows of Change showcase, so keep an eye on the official Total War channel and our socials for further info.
We’ll be showcasing the other two Legendary Lords from Shadows of Change over the next couple of weeks and, as always, there will be a full suite of Patch Notes when Update 4.0 arrives on August 31st.
See you on the battlefield!
— The Total War Team