Who is Miao Ying, the Storm Dragon?


Total War
September 23 2021

Grand Cathay is coming to Total War: WARHAMMER III, and with it comes the mighty Dragons, rulers of the Empire and powerful, shapeshifting warriors. As new additions to Warhammer, we get the particular joy of introducing you to them for the first time. To help with that, I’ve enlisted Andy Hall, our Lead Writer for Warhammer projects and overall fanatic of everything Warhammer. He helped at every stage to implement Grand Cathay into Total War: WARHAMMER III.

TW.com: Thanks for joining us, Andy. Since we haven’t spoken about Grand Cathay before, can you give us a short intro on who they are, what’s special about them, and the work you did to bring them to life?

Andy Hall: When talking with my ex-colleagues at Games Workshop we wanted Cathay to feel that it was just as rich and iterated upon as any Warhammer race, even if the players hadn’t been able to see this until now. The goal was to make them feel like a fully-fledged, 8th Edition race right out the gate, with their own roster, quirks, and spectacle.

The team at GW tapped into the design ethos of Warhammer Fantasy battle, which has been to take archetypes – both historical and mythic – then twist and push them to extremes. This has given us a deep roster to play with, with plenty of potential areas for expansion…

But, from a purely player perspective, whether it’s in Total War or on the table-top, I think the real innovation is the Dragons – that they can transform into both draconic and human aspects and each form gives players myriad tactical options in battle. That is exciting.  

On to Miao Ying, the Storm Dragon – who is she?

She is the eldest daughter of the Celestial Dragon Emperor and holds many titles: Master of the Storm Winds, Castellan of the Great Bastion, Ruler of the Northern Provinces, Matriarch of Nan-Gau. She is as powerful as those honours suggest, and everything you expect and more from a Warhammer Legendary Lord. As cool a tactician and powerful a magic-user as any High Elf, but able to go toe-to-toe with a Greater Daemon in dragon form.

But what I find really engaging – and she is my favourite legendary lord, by the way – is her personality.

What makes her character so compelling?

As a writer, you look for ways to connect and emphasize with your characters. It’s not always easy to do when they’re Warhammer villains such as Settra or Archaon but even then, we must understand their drives. Powerful, aloof, celestial dragon beings could also easily fall into the same category. But the familial angle gives us a way in – she is the eldest daughter trying to prove her worth to her father against jealous siblings. That’s a very human scenario and one we can leverage and understand, especially for me as a father with a very determined older daughter!

One of the titles you gave above stands out – Matriarch of Nan-Gau. Can you elaborate?

Yes, she rules the City of Smoke, although the Lords of Nan-Gau are perhaps not as deferent to a Dragon as the ruling classes in other cities. This is because the city is home to countless forges and workshops that furnish the armies of the empire with weapons and provide countless war machines for the defence of the Great Bastion. So, the Lords are powerful, granted more independence than most and have occasionally even dared to challenge the Storm Dragon. Although she has swiftly reminded them of their true station!

How does she compare to her brother – in arms and blood – Zhao Ming, our other legendary lord?

Her vaulted position as the Commander of the Great Bastion, means she is – perhaps correctly – perceived as the favourite by the other Dragons. The Storm Dragon doesn’t help matters by lording her position over her siblings. When they meet, she often stands apart. Zhao Ming, her younger brother, is a far more gregarious character and gets especially offended by Ying’s aloofness.  

Thanks, Andy.

That’s Miao Ying, the Storm Dragon. Next week we’ll also introduce you to her brother Zhao Ming, the Iron Dragon to give you a thorough overview of who’s available to align with in the Eastern Empire.