14 Sep 21

Watch Grand Cathay Come to Life in an Epic Collaboration for Total War: Warhammer III

TotalWar Feb4 Header22kvmsFar to the east, past the Dwarfen realms in the Worlds Edge Mountains and beyond even the Ogre Kingdoms, lies the mysterious Grand Cathay.

It’s the largest nation in the Warhammer world, first mentioned all the way back in the second edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but the armies of Grand Cathay have never appeared on stage before, as it were. 

Until now. They’re storming onto the battlefield as one of the six main factions in the upcoming Total War: Warhammer III. 

Storming, that is, in the most literal sense.

You probably have follow-up questions. 

Firstly, yes, that WAS an immortal dragon in human form and then in cool dragon form too. Meet Miao Ying, one of Cathay’s two playable legendary lords. 

Miao appears at the head of a Grand Cathayan host that’s been designed by the Warhammer Studio from the ground up in an unprecedented collaboration with long-term partners Creative Assembly – the studio behind Total War: Warhammer I and II. 

For all intents and purposes, Grand Cathay is a brand new faction, but it’s every bit as Warhammer as Emperor Karl Franz. 

The Storm Dragon Miao Ying is charged with defending the northern border from the relentless incursions of Chaos. She commands the armies of the Great Bastion – a towering magical wall constructed by her father, the Celestial Dragon Emperor, that stands as a powerful vanguard against the ever-present threats to Cathay.

If you think magical walls sound rad, perhaps you spotted that big chap with the glowing face and halberd? That’s a Terracotta Sentinel, a statue that can come to life to defend the city. You might also be able to make out an Alchemist and an Astromancer, Cathay’s two main magical sorts.

Cathay is a sprawling empire as diverse and eclectic as the Empire of the Old World, and amongst its ranks can be found infantry, cavalry, and war machines, as well as far stranger units. We’ll let the eagle-eyed among you try and work out what those other units might be…

…but now you come to mention it, those do look like Chaos Warriors riding Discs of Tzeentch, don’t they? We’d say more, but Chi’an Chi – as the Changer of Ways is known in Cathay – won’t let us.

With Grand Cathay looming in the Warhammer background for so long,* they’ve been a much-requested addition over the years. But beyond a few adventurous Ogres and the odd Hobgoblin Khan, we’ve never really seen much of the Cathayans.

When it came time to design them for the next instalment in the blockbuster Total War: Warhammer series, the Warhammer Studio team leapt at the chance to bring Cathay into the fold. Andy Hoare, the emperor of all things Old World, has more.

This iteration of Grand Cathay is a Warhammer Studio creation through and through. Everything from preliminary concept sketches and special character design to how the army performs on the battlefield was established by the same teams working on the wider Warhammer settings.

In fact, the Warhammer Studio went so far as to establish each and every unit for use on the tabletop, including stats and special abilities.** These numbers were then expertly translated and transposed by the technomancers at Creative Assembly, who deftly wove them into a rich campaign in this never-before-seen part of the Warhammer world.

Cathayan society follows the harmonious teachings of the Celestial Dragon Emperor and his equally powerful consort, the Moon Empress. They also happen to be two of the oldest beings still alive – predating even the arrival of the Old Ones.

They’re not gods, nor do they wish to be worshipped as such, but they are nevertheless so spectacularly powerful that they’re quite detached from the day-to-day running of their empire, which falls to their children to manage.

Children? That’s right, Miao Ying has siblings, including a certain Iron Dragon. We’ll be revealing more about the ruling Dragons next week, so keep an eye on Warhammer Community for all the details. In the meantime, you can find out more about Cathay with Creative Assembly’s FAQ.

Can’t wait to kick off a grand campaign in Grand Cathay? Total War: Warhammer III is coming out in early 2022 and is available for pre-order right now over on Steam and the Epic Games Store.

* Since 1984, fact fans.

** Eighth edition rules, we understand.