With the official reveal of Total War: Warhammer 2 out in the open and its awesome announcement trailer going live just a few days ago, it appears we’re in for a whole new theater of Warhammer war. In that reveal trailer, we’re treated to a ton of valuable information, so let’s unpack it and go through what’s confirmed, what suggested, a few theories, secrets, and everything else you might have missed.
Though the Total War: Warhammer 2 reveal left us with a vague 2017 release window, we know it’s going to be loaded with new locations, four new playable races, and a huge new story campaign for each faction surrounding the Great Vortex, but I’ll come back to that in a bit. For now let’s start with the very first shot of the trailer in which we see a lush jungle landscape with a pyramid in the background. These humid jungles are the continent of Lustria, part of the western continents that make up the New World.
If you’re not familiar with the Warhammer fantasy world, the New World is a collection of continents on the western edge of the map, across the sea from the Old World. Lustria is the southern continent home of the Lizardmen, Naggaroth is the land of the Dark Elves to the north of it. And the circular island continent off the east coast of Naggaroth is the homeland of the High Elves, called Ulthuan [Uwl-tha-wan]. Warhammer 2 will be set in all of these locations, as well as another tropical continent east of Lustria, called the Southlands.
The Warhammer Fantasy World Map
But those who own both Total War: Warhammer 1 and Total War: Warhammer 2, will get access to a combined campaign map covering the geographic areas of the first and second games. In addition, any playable races that are owned (both standard and DLC) will be usable in this combined campaign map once it’s released after the launch of Warhammer 2, so you’ll be able to incorporate Old World again.
Now that our geography lesson is done, at the 19-second mark we dive through the thick canopy where we see the first of the new races in Total War: Warhammer 2, moving quietly (and super seriously) through the jungle, the Dark Elves. These basic infantry and ranged units can be distinguished by their dark purple garments, and though it’s hard to make out, the unique crest that can be seen on one of their shields. We also get a better look at their ornate armor and dual-shot crossbows in the very next shot.
At the 25 second mark we get our first glimpse of Witch Elves, the savage units of the Dark Elves that whip themselves into a frenzy with blood-and-poison cocktails. Here we get a much better view. Given their sneaky introduction and twin daggers, it’s fair to say they’ll probably fill the fragile, high damage unit perfect for flanking.
Immediately afterward we switch perspectives to the next confirmed race faction, the High Elves, marching in the opposite direction. This one’s more obvious thanks to the big, emblazoned crests on each spearman’s shield, and their bright blue color accent. And as is fitting for a highly magical faction like the High Elves, this expedition is led by an Archmage, but we’ll come back to him in a minute.
Jumping ahead in the trailer we finally meet the natives of Lustria, the third playable race in Warhammer 2, the Lizardmen. Here we see the two main subspecies of the Lizardmen, the Skinks which are smaller and serve as being basic infantry. In the lore they’re engineers, workers, and some of them also fulfil priestly duties. Given their diversity in the lore, there’s a lot of roles we could see them fulfill when it comes to unit types., but based on these implements they look like they at least be a low cost melee unit option.
Right behind them are the muscle. The larger, brawnier sub-species of Lizardmen, called the Saurus. Here we see them with at least two different weapons types: the one-handed clubs and shield, so we can probably expect an armored infantry unit type, as well as the two handed clubs and axes to fulfill more a shocktrooper unit. But not seen here are the terrifying armored temple guards, so expect a lot of melee unit types.
Finally we pan up to get a look at the supreme leader class of the Lizardmen, the Slann. They’re a dying race, and despite looking like fat frogs, they’re ancient, incredibly powerful magic users that were the first race created by the godlike Old Ones. This particular Slann is probably Lord Mazdamundi, who’s the ruling Slann of the temple city of Hexoatl [Hex-Oatl] at the northern end of Lustria. In-game it’s safe to assume he’ll be one of the Lizardmen’s two Legendary Lords and bring some crazy magical destructiveness to the battlefield.
And speaking of Legendary Lords… at the :42 second mark in the trailer we see the Legendary Lord and King of the Dark Elves – Malekith, the Witch King. He’s an incredibly powerful magic user and warrior, and wields his sword Destroyer that, according to Warhammer lore, can unmake enchantments and sap knowledge. With that in mind it’s possible we could Malekith function as a kind of anti-caster hero, both dispelling buffs and draining power from enemy magic users.
Malekith the Witch King, the leader of the Dark Elves faction.
Lastly we get back to that High Elf Archmage who, on closer inspection, is probably Teclis, the Loremaster of Hoeth, and likely the magic-based Legendary Lord of the High Elves faction. Based on the look of his Moon Staff, his War Crown, and this scroll that’s probably the Scroll of Hoeth, his appearance fits the lore for the character. Teclis is one of the greatest magic users in the current Warhammer lore, and has a twin brother Tyrion, who’s the greatest High Elven warrior alive, so it would make sense to position these two as the Legendary Lords of the faction.
Moving forward we see Teclis approach some kind of overgrown stone power source. This one’s a bit of a mystery – it could be a magical Waystone, or it could be one of the power points in the magical network called the geomantic web. According to Warhammer fantasy lore, the web was created by the Slann, making it a possibility given the Lustrian setting and based on the tribal stonework designs you can see here and here.
As he activates the stone, we see Teclis have a vision – which gives us our first glimpse into the storyline of Total War: Warhammer 2. What he’s seeing here is a window into the past – High Elven mages gathered around their leader, Caledor Dragontamer, channel their massive power to create the Great Vortex. The Great Vortex is incredibly important in the Warhammer lore, and was created as a last ditch effort to stave off destruction from the encroaching forces of chaos. It’s basically a cosmic exhaust port for the chaos energies that spill over into the world.
We see that isn’t just any Carnosaur, it’s ridden by a Saurus. Taking a closer look – the totem on the saddle, the spear he’s holding, and the ornate jewelry on both the rider and the mount indicate this is the Legendary Kroq-Gar and his Carnosaur mount Grymloq. Kroq-Gar is an ancient warrior, and the current leader of the Saurus armies, who wield a godly spear that is said to curse anyone it touches with visions of their doom. He’ll will likely serve as the other Legendary Lord of the Lizardmen faction, and given the lore, could potentially sap the morale of enemy units.
Jumping ahead we see the faction leaders send their armies toward eachother, before we freeze here to get a look at one of the flying units of High Elves faction, the Great Eagle riders, descending over their ground units.
And a few seconds later, we see blueish, winged units coming from the right side of the shot. Now the faction on the right appears to be the Lizardmen given the unit size and color of the ground units, which likely mean the blueish flying units are Terradon Riders, the air harass unit of the Lizardmem, or potentially the Lizardmen’s nastier air cavalry, the Ripperdactyl Riders.
Finally there’s a teaser at the very end of the trailer of what appears to be Creative Assembly confirming the Skaven race. If you’re not familiar, The Skaven are a horde of diseased, plague-ridden ratfolk that span a vast underground empire and swarm their opponents with the crushing weight of their numbers and dark warpstone magic. Given the boils on our rat here and here, its ominous glowing red eyes, and the fact it’s crawling over what looks like the same artifact Teclis was activating, it’s safe to assume the Skaven are going to be the fourth faction.
I anticipate we’ll see them behave along the same lines of the Dwarves in Total War: Warhammer 1, being able to move underground and ambush opponents, but we’ll have to wait for more information to know for sure.
I’m obviously pumped for this sequel, but how do you feel? Do the new factions and locations interest you? Let us know in the comments below, and for more on Total War: Warhammer 2 as it comes, keep it right here on IGN.
Brandin Tyrrel is an Editor at IGN and ready to take over the world with dinosaur-riding lizard people. You can follow him on Twitter at @BrandinTyrrel.