Total War: Warhammer's Amber Wizard hero

Pretty much every conversation about Total War: Warhammer these days is centered around the upcoming Call of the Beastmen DLC and how it appears to be overpriced, but its well worth mentioning that there is also a substantial free update coming this week.

The creatively named Update 2 is set to arrive this Thursday with four new maps to wage war on, two new heroes, an entirely new magic school "Lore of Beasts" reserved solely for the Beastmen and the Empire, as well as a couple of other little features and balance changes. If you're looking for detailed information I would suggest you head to the official wiki, but for now here's an overview of what to expect:

Stir River is the first of these new maps and it features a fast-moving river coursing throughout its entirety, and with very few fordable crossings its going to mostly be a battle about positioning and clever use of aerial units. Grimminhagen on the other hand is a classic land and ambush battle with its defining feature being a massive canyon going through the middle. Fall of Man, despite its ominous name, is a fairly standard mountainous map with plenty of dense forests to hide attackers and enough cower to keep the defenders safe and secure, at least until they get flanked. The final map is Kelp & Koldust which features two small cliff formations in the middle, and since everything else is open ground its going to be a race to see which side can set up defensive positions the fastest.

As for the new heroes, the Empire is getting the Amber Wizard and his mastery over the Lore of Beasts. Riding on top of a distinctly non-amber colored Gryphon, the Amber Wizard is capable of summoning monstrous beasts to simply crush the enemy, or specialize in more devious tricks such as summoning flocks of birds in order to reduce the accuracy of enemy missile units. The second hero is much more interesting, however, as its Sarthorael the Everwatcher, Lord of Change and a Greater Daemon of Tzeentch. In order to even play him you will need to complete a special achievement in the Grand Campaign, but once you do, you'll be able to wreak havoc in both singleplayer and multiplayer.

Lore of Beasts, which includes Amber Magic, Totemcalling and Shapeshifting, mostly focuses on augmenting your warriors with new abilities on the battlefield or summoning huge beasts to rain down death upon the enemy. The mightiest of these summons is the Manticore, a flying monstrosity with sharp claws and a tail filled with poison, perfect for dealing with wast amounts of poorly armored targets. Spearmen on the other hand are going to present it with a great deal of trouble should it ever land among them, but at least you don't have to pay for its upkeep!

Total War: Warhammer's Manticore

Pincer wings!

Naturally, the Beastmen will also be making their way to the Grand Campaign whether you've bought the DLC or not. If you're interested in their campaign mechanics and how you can deal with them before they become a massive problem, Creative Assembly recently released a video showcasing just that, so check it out.

While the multiplayer features haven't all been detailed just yet, Creative Assembly did reveal that the new update will allow players to customize their Lords and Heroes, as well as their armies. The idea is to increase the amount of variety in multiplayer by bringing in more expensive units, items only gained through quest rewards, as well as a couple of other features from the campaign. I'm not much of a Total War multiplayer guy, so I don't know how impactful these changes will truly be, but more variety is certainly a good thing.

Total War: Warhammer's Call of the Beastmen DLC and free Update 2 will be arriving this Thursday, July 28th.

Total War: Warhammer's Fall of Man map

The upcoming Fall of Man map