Grand Cathay is a new faction in Total War: Warhammer 3, but unlike most other factions, almost nothing is known about them. That is changing now.
One thing you have to give Creative Assembly: They know how to wrap bad news in cotton wool! Because after it was announced that Total War: Warhammer 3 will no longer be released in 2021, fans were still served a sweet piece of information.
Shortly after the postponement, the developers revealed one of the most mysterious races ever to appear in a Warhammer game: Grand Cathay. The faction, along with five others, is one of the playable nations that will be in Warhammer 3 from the start. Together with the fierce warriors of Kislev, they form the mortal bastion against the Chaos Gods, who each lead their own faction.
In addition to another particularly impressive trailer, even more details about this new faction have been revealed. What exactly awaits you with Cathay and why the faction is particularly extraordinary, we have summarised in this article.
Why Cathay is special
Cathay is not a faction like any other. Because while Kislev or the Chaos factions of course have a long history and appeared in tabletop or other games before Total War, Cathay is completely new. There were simply no army books or more in-depth information about this country in the east.
It was known to exist, but it had not been elaborated on until now. With Warhammer 3, Cathay is given a face for the first time. For this, the developers have once again worked together with Games Workshop and have completely redesigned the faction, including all characters, units, magic and history.
In addition, Cathay is the first Warhammer faction to deal with Far Eastern cultures, especially Chinese mythology.
What kind of people are they?
Although the Grand Imperial Empire of Cathay has played little role in the Warhammer world until now, it is neither small nor insignificant, nor is it new. Cathay is one of the oldest and largest civilisations in the world, but has changed little if at all over the centuries. Visually, Cathay is undoubtedly reminiscent of China, whether it is armour, clothes, weapons or the architecture of their cities made of jade.
Of course, Cathay is not a clumsy copy of China. The country has numerous magical influences that make it special. Particularly eye-catching here are the flying islands that hover above the cities and to which cable cars lead up. Airships equipped with balloons and sails also take off from here.
The Cathayans are a disciplined people who follow the plans of the Celestial Dragon Emperor. In doing so, they strive for a balance of will and willingness. The people are governed not only by the Dragon Emperor himself, but also by his children, who can shift between human and draconic form.
Miao Ying is the Storm Dragoness who rules over the North and commands the armies of the Great Bastion. Said bastion is the Warhammer version of the Great Wall of China; it defies chaos as well as nomadic raiders. Miao Ying is the star of the first trailer:
Miao Ying’s brother Zhao Ming is called the Iron Dragon and rules western Cathay, where the Sky Road is located. Here he defends the entrance to the realm and protects it from desert clans. Zhao Ming, however, is said to be slightly insane. Miao Ying and Zhao Ming will be two legendary commanders in Warhammer 3.
The actual rulers of the land, the Dragon Emperor and his wife, the Moon Empress, are considered to be almost god-like beings. As with the Chaos Gods, however, such beings would probably be out of their league as commanders. That’s why we embody their children in the game.
How does Cathay play?
Discipline, big bastions, a shielded country. It already sounds something – Cathay will be primarily a defensive faction. This is evident both on the campaign map and in the real-time battles. The protected country has to be defended against invaders from the west and the north. Especially the approaching chaos hordes threaten Cathay. In the trailer, the empire apparently takes on Tzeentch, the deceitful chaos god of witchcraft.
How the special game mechanics of Cathay on the campaign map will look in detail is not yet known. But a big focus is on financing the country’s war effort. And this will be done with the help of the Celestial Route – the only trade route between Cathay and the Old World. In particular, the defence of the Great Bastion becomes important in the campaign. Even special sieges are planned.
In the real-time battles, Cathay also relies on a strong defence and also relies on technological masterpieces to do so. With their cannons, crossbowmen and firearms, they have powerful long-range fighters at their disposal. The front line is made up mainly of spearmen and halberdiers. This makes them sturdy, but not exactly mobile. A bit like the dwarves from Warhammer 1.
And like the dwarves, the Empire tries to compensate for this disadvantage with flying units. Among them are flying ships and winged mounts. But unlike the dwarves, Cathay can also lead powerful wizards into the field. In addition, they have huge monsters like the Terracotta Guard and, of course, their dragons at their disposal. In addition to elites like the Jade Warriors, Guards of the Celestial Dragon and Jade Longma Riders, Cathay’s ranks also include hundreds of poorly trained but cheaply recruited humans.
A special feature of the Cathay army: Cathayans fight in perfect harmony. This means that the better units work together, the stronger they become. Close-range and long-range fighters therefore get buffs if they stand close to each other.
What do you think of the Grand Empire of Cathay? Could this unusual faction convince you or do you still have your eyes on Kislev or one of the Chaos Gods? Tell us what you think in the comments!