Welcome, to the first campaign gameplay from
Shadow and the Blade. Today we�re on-board with the Tyrant of
Hag Graef � the infamous Malus Darkblade. Malus has always relied, first and foremost,
on his own dark determination and limitless reservoir of hate.
It is a testament to Darkblade’s determination that he not only sought deeper, darker forms
of power but that he was able to survive the possession of the Drinker of Worlds – one
of the most powerful Daemons in the Warhammer universe. As such, when you are playing as
Malus, you are also playing as Tz�arkan, The Drinker of Worlds.
Malus and Tz�arkan are bound together as one. Every turn, Tzarkan�s possessive power
saps at Malus�s mind, manifesting itself in a powerful demonic form when too great.
Tz�arkan and his whispers of carnage and great reward can be thwarted by regularly
taking elixirs to cage his ever-advancing possession.
His affliction is both a terrible curse and an immeasurable source of power and mastering
these possession states is key to conquering Darkblade�s campaign.
In order to obtain the elixir�s recipe from Malekith, you�ll need to help him gain the
scrolls he needs to harness the power of the vortex for himself.
From time to time, the Tz�arkan wi`ll torment Malus with whispers encouraging murder, carnage
or war in exchange for powerful, unique rewards. Every twisted whisper Malus adheres to confers
him more demonic strength but also corrodes his mind, ceding more control to Tzarkan and
increasing his reliance on Malekith�s ever-more costly elixirs.
The possession bar shows how much influence Tz�arkan has over Malus. When the possession
bar is maxed out, Tz�arkan�s powers can be utilised by Malus at the expense of his
campaign capabilities. When the possession bar reads a negative value,
Malus gains increased campaign capabilities but will be less effective in battle.
I�m one turn from getting access to my Tzarkan form here, so I�m going to stall out if
I can. As soon as I�m done here, I�ll down a couple of elixirs and use the sizable
construction cost reduction to fast-track any rebuild.
If anyone gets any smart ideas, I can instantly call on Tzarkan�s demonic battle benefits,
but I can only do this once every 40 turns. Minimum possession also gives me access to
the Rite of the Warmaster, instantly drawing a full stack of Druchii aligned beasts to
fight for my cause. Malus clawed his way to the top, from a lowly
bastard son to the imperious ruler of the Mercantile Fortress-City of Hag Graef.
The duality of Malus is reflected in his start position options. Malus starts the game with
ownership of the mighty Hag Graef, as well as an expedition force led by Darkblade himself.
He may be far from home, but with a Black Ark as a mobile base of operations � he�s
well equipped to thrive. In the opening turns of the campaign you are
confronted with a dilemma to give up Hag Graef in exchange for a substantial war chest in
order to accelerate your voyage. This promotes more fertile conditions than
ever seen before in Total War for picking your own start position, especially when combined
with the Black Ark�s new-found ability to attack and reinforce port settlements.
Checking out Malus�s skill tree we can see tapping into his Eternal Hatred and stomping
Ulthuan is maybe the quickest way to earn Malekith�s favour.
Digging deeper we can see skills that strengthen both his pure form and others that bring a
whole new dimension to Tzarkan�s domination. Reaching level 15 allows access to Contempt
and Hatred, a considerable powerspike no matter what your playstyle.
Whether you take the cash or not, Malus� campaign is packed with possibilities. I�ve
opted for the frantic, dual start position style for this playthrough.
Fresh off my naval invasion of the Serpent�s Coast, I�ve found myself tangled in a complicated
engagement between Malekith and the Crone. By the way, don�t forget to make use of
campaign bookmarks to zoom to each location in seconds. That�s CTRL + F9-F12 to set
a bookmark and that F key again to fly to that spot.
Malekith is a vital ally in the Hag Graef start position and staying on his good side
is especially important when your resources are stretched across 2 fronts.
The unique Hag Greif mines are also a massive boon in this regard, their local upkeep reduction
assists you in fielding 2 armies early, but further expansion will require a more stable
economy. My Hag Graef efforts are led by my High Beastmaster,
a new anti-large lord type for the Druchii whose skill tree reflects their exceptional
aptitude when it comes to bending beasts to their will.
He�s very loyal at the moment but he might think twice if I spend too much time in the
company of the Drinker of Worlds� He�s joined by this Bloodwrack Medusa � she
has armour piercing laser eyes and a fantastic, high-mass charge to slither away from any
unfavourable engagements. Her horrifying visage causes both Fear and Terror to enemy units. With the Crone taken care of let�s fast
forward to turn 56, where we�ve finally hunted down the warpgate that we need to return
to the Chaos Wastes, where we can sate the thirst of the Warpsword of Khaine � another
of the legendary weapons associated with the bloody handed god.
It is there, in the lands where he first took up the Warpsword of Khaine, that its power
will finally be renewed. Darkblade was always arrogant and ambitious,
even by Druchii standards, but his curse has convinced him that no foe can best him.
Let�s see what happens when the Drinker of Worlds faces off against the Eater of Suns
� Kholek himself. Fortunately, I have some new tools at my disposal
to aid me. These Scourgerunner Chariots are the perfect
tool for cutting through heavily armoured beasts. The RoR variant, unlockable at level
20, even has poison attacks to help kite enemies into their inevitable death.
Malus himself is already pretty tanky with a large health pool in addition to armor – but
Tzarkan�s demonic influence provides him with an additional health bar, altered abilities
and a stat amp – with the caveat that after transforming, his HP is constantly ticking
down, providing an extra incentive to finish the fight with malicious haste.
Check out https://www.twitch.tv/totalwarofficial 3pm GMT, December 4th to see the conclusion
of this Let�s Play� Malus isn�t the only Legendary Lord coming
in Shadow and the Blade of course. There�s a brand new rat to play, and he has some devious
campaign mechanics with outrageously powerful