Shadows of Change: Introducing Yuan Bo


August 15 2023


Last week we took a closer look at the Changeling, our first Legendary Lord from our upcoming DLC Shadows of Change. Our attention now turns to the second – Yuan Bo, the Jade Dragon of Grand Cathay!

Shadows of Change arrives in Total War: WARHAMMER III alongside Update 4.0 on August 31st. Pre-orders, which can be placed here, are currently discounted by 10%!

And in case you missed it, all CA Account members were recently given access to short story ‘Master of the Meteor Wind’ written by Black Library’s own David Guymer, which focused on Yuan Bo. If you’ve not got a CA Account, you can grab one for free today and download a copy of the story for yourself!

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Yuan Bo, The Jade Dragon

Yuan Bo, the Jade Dragon rules over Central Cathay and leads the Court of Celestial Sorcerers. He is happy to be regarded as a mere bureaucrat, administrator and scribe, as this allows him the freedom to conduct his true spymaster duties in private.

As a potent spellcaster with the ability to transform into a dragon at will, Yuan Bo is a fierce combatant on and off the battlefield. Able to soar above enemy lines confronting airborne units, he then utilises a mix of spells from the Lore of Light, Yin, Yang and Heavens on the ground to turn the tide of battle.

Little wonder he’s often mistaken for the Emperor of Grand Cathay.


The courts act as per Yuan Bo’s whim.

Though never overtly cruel, Yuan Bo is a wrought-iron leader with the power to do as he pleases, and he can embrace that influence with the Matters of State faction mechanic. This global system allows him to enact a range of actions upon provinces, settlements, armies and characters to the benefit of Grand Cathay. He is aided by two key resources – Stone and Steel.

With Stone, Yuan Bo may grow and develop his empire through the construction of buildings, as well as removing treacherous diplomatic penalties, cracking down on corruption, and signing fiscal treaties. With Steel, Yuan Bo’s forces are empowered by conscripting reserves, turning garrisons into active armies, guaranteeing the success of a Hero action, or by taking control of a neutral or allied army, alongside many other perks.

Stone and Steel must remain in balance to ensure Yuan Bo’s strategies can be orchestrated efficiently, with some unique state actions locked behind the harmony of the two resources.


Yuan Bo’s Wu Xing Compass hosts eight directional states (four of which are unique to him) that he may engage with, each offering sizeable rewards and benefits.

Tasked with travelling to critical locations and constructing relays to empower the compass, Yuan Bo acquires a new directional state with every relay constructed. In doing so, he may choose to direct the winds of magic towards Ashshair, unlocking the ability to manipulate and harness the strength of any given province directly. Alternatively, he may direct the compass towards the Broken Lands, inspiring a fervour in the people of Cathay that helps forge an almighty alliance.


Two unique Guardian Lions will join Grand Cathay in Shadows of Change. Living statues formed from Jade or Jet, the Lions are enormous, pristine and magical entities that serve masterfully.

The Jade Lion is a magical conduit – a spellcaster capable of providing supporting sorcery across the battlefield. It is boosted by the Jade Conduit ability that grants an increase to their power recharge rate. Plus, with the Jade Dragon’s Breath – a unique, bound spin on a Cathayan classic – the Jade Lion coats the enemy in green flames, violently tipping the scales of harmony towards Yang.  

The Jet Lion, on the other hand, exists to balance its owner’s Yang with its own Yin. Rather than serving as a conduit to friendly magic, the Jet Lion is instead a blocker for the opposition’s spells. Using the Guardian Shield passive ability, the Jet Lion buffs the magic resistance of all surrounding allied units, while deflecting projectiles back towards those that dare cast them with the Bound Missile Mirror spell.


Grand Cathay commonly mount war drums above their city gates to be struck when troops are to be roused for battle. However, the time has come to take the music on tour with the Zhangu War Drums.

Roll the drums onto the battlefield atop a chariot and pound your troops to victory with its thunderous beat, strong support bonuses and harmony amplification. With the Disdain of the Dragon Emperor ability, the Drums grant a huge area of effect buff to allied units, rendering them immune to Psychology and increasing their melee power.

For those seeking an armour buff, the Bastion of the Great Cities ability does just that. Then, when it’s time to charge into battle, Fury of the Falling Blade grants +15% to Speed and Magical Attacks to all friendly units within earshot.


As Agents of the Moon Empress, the Onyx Crowman are elite spies for the Cathay realm. These vicious creatures with a humanoid winged appearance, sharp beaks and sharper claws soar above the battle, scoping potential victims. Be sure to keep an eye out for them…

Use these cost-effective scouts well in battle by taking advantage of their Eyes of the Empress passive, granting them a considerable buff to visibility and spotting range, allowing them to stalk their prey from a distance.


Only the most powerful beings rise to the rank of Celestial General. Each General is a skilled warrior, wielding weapons gifted from the armouries of Wei-jin. Leading from the front, strategy is not necessarily their forte – that’s left to the wizards and magistrates of Cathay.

With their active ability, Celestial Sweep, the General swings its mighty hammer in a wide arc, dealing extreme amounts of armour piercing damage. The passive ability Will of the Dragons increases Leadership, emboldening those who fight beside them, while unique active ability Lord of Grand Cathay increases the resolve and morale of nearby allies while buffing Melee Defence and Physical Resistance.

As a skilled warrior with sweeping melee attacks and Leadership support capabilities, the Celestial General is the ideal Lord to lead any battle.

Up Next

Keep your eyes to the skies for our upcoming Yuan Bo showcase that will detail what this grand spymaster of Cathay is truly capable of.

Beyond that, a cautious and ill-advised trip into the woods of Kislev to uncover the truth behind Mother Ostankya awaits. Fear this one, for those that stray into the shrubberies are seldom seen again.

Lastly, a full suite of Patch Notes are just around the corner when Update 4.0 and Shadows of Change arrives on August 31st.

See you on the battlefield!

— The Total War Team