shroudofsorrow

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My Fan-Cast for a Warhammer Fantasy Project

Fan-casts are nothing new, but I've yet to see any for Warhammer Fantasy. I welcome any feedback my fellow WHF fans on this site can provide!

  • Emperor Karl Franz: Henry Cavill
  • Archaon the Everchosen: Karl Urban
  • Be’lakor: Voice of Richard Armitage (reprising his role from Total War: Warhammer III)
  • Grombrindal: John Rys-Davies (reprising his role from the Total War: Warhammer games)
  • Malekith: Talented unknown
  • Teclis: Zachary Quinto
  • Tyrion: Talented unknown
  • Prince Imrik: Chris Evans
  • Eltharion the Grim: Christian Bale (duh)
  • Alarielle: Jennifer Holland
  • Morathi: Lena Heady
  • Ariel: Eva Greene
  • The Sisters of Twilight (Naestra and Arahan): Rachel Zegler or Talented unknown
  • Ku’gath Plaguefather: Voice of Peter Dinklage or Benedict Cumberbatch
  • N’kari: Voice of David Tennant
  • Kairos Fateweaver: Voice of Mark Hamill
  • Skarbrand: Voice of Dave Bautista
  • Valkia the Bloody: Karen Gillan
  • Sigvald the Magnificent: Tom Hiddleston
  • Throgg: Voice of Chris Hemsworth
  • Malus Darkblade: Adam Driver
  • Felix Jaeger: Talented unknown
  • Gotrek Gurnisson: Rory McCann
  • Vlad von Carstein: Liam Neeson
  • Isabella von Carstein: Charlize Theron
  • Mannfred von Carstein: ?
  • Thanquol: Voice of Tim Curry
  • Queek Headtaker: Voice of Bradley Cooper
  • The Adviser: Charles Dance
9 Comments

Ranking Warhammer's Magic Users-Updated List

Current draft of my ranking of WHF's magic-users. As before, I welcome insight and feedback.

The Top 10

1. LORD KROAK (Lizardmen)

2. LORD MAZDAMUNDI (Lizardmen)

Other eight:

  • Alarielle the Radiant when not jobbing (High Elves)
  • Caledor Dragontamer (High Elves)
  • Gregor Martak when amped by Teclis (Empire of Man)
  • Kairos Fateweaver (Tzeentch)
  • Lord Adohi-Tehga (Lizardmen)
  • Lord Huinitenuchli (Lizardmen)
  • Nagash the Undying (Independent)
  • Teclis (High Elves)

11-25

  • Ariel (Wood Elves)
  • Be'lakor the First-Damned (Chaos Undivided)
  • Constant Drachenfels (Vampire Counts)
  • Egrimm van Horstmann (Tzeentch)
  • Galrauch (Tzeentch)
  • Khatep (Tomb Kings)
  • Lord Tenuchli (Lizardmen)
  • Malekith the Witch-King (Dark Elves)
  • Maximillian "Max" Schreiber (Empire of Man)
  • Morathi (Dark Elves)
  • Morgiana le Fay Enchantress (Bretonnia)
  • Nagash during his war with Sigmar (Independent)
  • Tetto'eko (Lizardmen)
  • The Changeling (Tzeentch)
  • The Dread King (Vampire Counts)

26-50

  • Adanhu (Wood Elves)
  • Arkhan the Black (Tomb Kings)
  • Belannaer the Wise (High Elves)
  • Coeddil (Indeoendent)
  • Drycha the Briarmaven of Woe (Independent)
  • Durthu (Wood Elves)
  • Elontir (High Elves)
  • Heinrech Kemmler (Vampire Counts)
  • Helspeth Bale (Tzeentch)
  • Human Nagash (Independent)
  • Karitamen (Tomb Kings)
  • Kritislik (Skaven)
  • Lord Skrolk (Skaven)
  • Mannfred von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Melkhior the Ancient (Vampire Counts)
  • Nebmakhet (Tomb Kings)
  • Skreech Verminking (Skaven)
  • Thanquol when not jobbing (Skaven)
  • The Hand of Nagash (Vampire Counts)
  • Thorek Ironbrow with his anvil (Dwarfs)
  • Tzarina Katarin Bokha the Ice Queen (Kislev)
  • Vermalanx the Corrupt (Skaven)
  • Volans (Empire of Man)
  • W'Soran the Wicked (Vampire Counts)
  • Zacharias the Everliving (Vampire Counts)

51-75

  • Anara of Garamont (Bretonnia)
  • Astragoth Ironhand (Chaos Dwarfs)
  • Aurelion (High Elves)
  • Azhag the Slaughterer (Greenskins)
  • Balthasar Gelt (Empire of Man)
  • Bloab Rotspawned, Lord of the Daemonflies (Nurgle)
  • Christoph Engel (Empire of Man)
  • Dieter Helsnicht, Doom Lord of the Undead (Vampire Counts)
  • Drazhoath the Ashen (Chaos Dwarfs)
  • Elspeth von Draken (Empire of Man)
  • Finreir (High Elves)
  • Frederick van Hal (Empire of Man)
  • Ikit Claw (Skaven)
  • Khenteka (Tomb Kings)
  • Malagor the Dark Omen (Beastmen)
  • N'Kari the Arch-Tempeter (Slaanesh)
  • Neferata (Vampire Counts)
  • Savan of Tiranoc (High Elves)
  • Tchar'zanek (Tzeentch)
  • Thanquol when jobbing (Skaven)
  • Thyrus Gormann (Empire of Man)
  • Verspasian Kant (Empire of Man)
  • Vilitch the Curseling (Tzeentch)
  • Vlad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Wurrzag da Great Green Prophet (Greenskins)

76-100

  • Anarelle (High Elves)
  • Burblespue Halescourge (Nurgle)
  • Eleanor de Quenelles (Bretonnia)
  • Festus the Leechlord (Nurgle)
  • Gregor Martak (Empire of Man)
  • Hapusneb, Master of the Swarm (Tomb Kings)
  • Isabella von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Lady Iselda of Acquitaine (Bretonnia)
  • Lilaeth (Dark Elves)
  • Lord Blistrox (Skaven)
  • Lord Grilok (Skaven)
  • Lord Gritch (Skaven)
  • Loremaster Shrinastor (High Elves)
  • Melekh the Changer (Tzeentch)
  • Molokh Slugtongue (Beastmen)
  • Moonclaw (Beastmen)
  • Nebamun (Tomb Kings)
  • Princess Adranna (High Elves)
  • Rasknitt (Skaven)
  • Sienna Fuegonasus (Empire of Man)
  • Sister of Thorn Keriilian (Wood Elves)
  • Skittar (Skaven)
  • The Harbinger (Beastmen)
  • The Three Sisters of Ancelioux (Bretonnia)
  • The White Ladies (Vampire Counts)

Too Undefined / Vague / Inconsistent to rank:

  • Aekold Helbrass (Tzeentch)-Only really tested against specific foes. Otherwise featless.
  • Amonkhaf (Tomb Kings)
  • Anethra Helbane (Dark Elves)
  • Astarielle (High Elves)
  • Brak Batwing (Greenskins)
  • Elynesse of Charnorte (Bretonnia)
  • Grabnatz Sourbelly (Greenskins)
  • Kerrinath (High Elves turned Dark Elves)
  • Naieth the Prophetess (Wood Elves)-Her whole shtick is prophecy/foresight. Doesn't use her magic for combat.
  • Nicolete of Oisement (Bretonnia turned Vampire Counts)
  • Tchzen of the Silver Claw (Tzeentch)
  • The Blue Scribes (Tzeentch)-They pick spells totally at random. If they didn't do this, they would be Top 25.
  • Yrtle (High Elves)-We know he's held in high esteem and that he died fighting Chaos, but not enough context for his death or concrete feats.
24 Comments

Ranking Warhammer Fantasy's Warriors, Updated List

This is the latest version of my Warhammer Fantasy Warriors tiering. As before, I welcome feedback, and each section is sorted alphabetically.

Top 10

  • Abhorash (Vampire Counts)
  • Aenarion the Defender (High Elves)
  • Archaon the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Gotrek Gurnisson (Dwarfs / Dogs of War)
  • Grombrindal the White Dwarf (Dwarfs)
  • Ka'Bandha (Khorne)
  • Sigmar Heldenhammer (Empire of Man)
  • The Green Knight (Bretonnia)
  • Tyrion with Widowmaker (High Elves)
  • Wind of Beasts Grimgor Ironhide (Greenskins)

11-25 (rounding out the Top 25)

  • Alcadizzar the Conqueror (Tomb Kings)
  • Arbaal the Undefeated (Khorne)
  • Be'lakor the First-Damned (Chaos Undivided)
  • Caledor the Conqueror (High Elves)
  • Dechala the Denied One (Slaanesh)
  • Greasus Goldtooth (Ogre Kingdoms)
  • Grimgor Ironhide (Greenskins)
  • Kholek Suneater (Chaos Undivided)
  • Kroq-Gar (Lizardmen)
  • Malekith the Witch-King (Dark Elves)
  • Malus Darkblade when amped and armed with Warpsword (Dark Elves)
  • Settra the Imperishable (Tomb Kings)
  • Skarbrand the Exiled One (Khorne)
  • Tyrion with Sunfang (High Elves)
  • Ungrim Ironfist the Slayer King (Dwarfs)

26-50

  • Asavar Kul the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Belegar Ironhammer (Dwarfs)
  • Calard of Garamont (Bretonnia)
  • Caledor II (High Elves)
  • Chakax the Eternal Warden (Lizardmen)
  • End Times Nagash (Independent)
  • Gor-Rok the Great White Lizard (Lizardmen)
  • Gotrek Starbreaker (Dwarfs)
  • King Louen Leoncoeur (Bretonnia)
  • King Thorgrim Grudgebearer (Dwarfs)
  • Mallobaude the Black Knight (Vampire Counts)
  • Malus Darkblade (Dark Elves)
  • Mortal Sigmar (Independent)
  • Mortkin (Chaos Undivided)
  • Nagash the Undying (Independent)
  • Nakai the Wanderer (Lizardmen)
  • N'kari the Arch-Tempter (Slaanesh)
  • Pre-Green Knight Gilles le Breton (Bretonnia)
  • Queek Headtaker (Skaven)
  • Sigvald the Magnificent (Slaanesh)
  • Skreech Verminking (Skaven)
  • Valkia the Bloody (Khorne)
  • Valten (Empire of Man)
  • Vardek Crom the Conqueror (Chaos Undivided)
  • Vlad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)

51-75

  • Abrax the Bloody (Khorne)
  • Bragg the Gutsman (Ogre Kingdoms)
  • Deathmaster Snikch (Skaven)
  • Egil Styrbjorn (Khorne)
  • Eltharion the Grim (High Elves)
  • Emperor Magnus the Pious (Empire of Man)
  • Gorbad Ironclaw (Greenskins)
  • Harald Hammerstorm (Chaos Undivided)
  • Imladrik (High Elves)
  • Josef Bugman on Triple X (Dwarfs)
  • Khalida Neferher (Tomb Kings)
  • Khorax (Khorne)
  • Krell (Khorne turned Vampire Counts)
  • Lurklox (Skaven)
  • Luthor Harkon (Vampire Coast)
  • Merovech (Vampire Counts)
  • Morgrim "Elfdoom" Elgidum (Dwarfs)
  • Morkar the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Pre-Sundering Malekith (High Elves)
  • Reolus of Quenelles (Bretonnia)
  • Tancred (Bretonnia)
  • Taurox the Brass Bull (Beastmen)
  • U'Zhul the Skulltaker (Khorne)
  • Walach Harkon (Vampire Counts turned Khorne)
  • Zhatan the Black (Chaos Dwarfs)

76-100

  • Araloth (Wood Elves)
  • Bertelis of Garamont (Bretonnia turned Vampire Counts)
  • Crone Hellebron (Dark Elves)
  • Engra Deathsword (Chaos Undivided)
  • Felix Jaeger (Empire of Man / Dogs of War)
  • Golgfag Maneater (Ogre Kingdoms)
  • Gorfang Rotgut (Greenskins)
  • Josef Bugman NOT on Triple X (Dwarfs)
  • Karavox (Khorne)
  • King Louis the Righteous (Bretonnia)
  • Konrad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Kurt Helborg (Empire of Man)
  • Ludwig Schwarzhelm (Empire of Man)
  • Luthor Huss (Empire of Man)
  • Mannfred von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Morglum Necksnapper (Greenskins)
  • Orion (Wood Elves)
  • Ska Bloodtail (Skaven)
  • Tethlis the Slayer (High Elves)
  • The Red Duke (Vampire Counts)
  • Tullaris Dreadbringer, the Chosen of Khaine (Dark Elves)
  • Uirika Magdova Straghov (Kislev turned Vampire Counts)
  • Urian Poisonblade (Dark Elves)
  • Valnir the Reaper (Nurgle)
  • Wulfrik the Wanderer (Norsca)

Honorable Mentions: 50 Warriors who are just shy of the Top 100

  • Aislinn (High Elves)
  • Amanhotep the Intolerant (Tomb Kings)
  • Anaran (High Elves)
  • Anark von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Anthelme of Austray (Bretonnia)
  • Badruk Headsplitta (Greenskins)
  • Beorg Bearstruck (Chaos Undivided)
  • Bodvarr Ribspreader (Nurgle)
  • Borgio the Besieger (Dogs of War)
  • Captain Korhil Lionmane (High Elves)
  • Duke Armand d'Aquitaine (Bretonnia)
  • Emperor Karl Franz (Empire of Man)
  • Emperor Mandred von Zelt the Skavenslayer (Empire of Man)
  • Festak Krann (Nurgle)
  • Garagrim Ironfist (Dwarfs)
  • Ghark Ironskin (Ogre Kingdoms)
  • Gilead Lothain (High Elves)
  • Gorthor the Cruel (Beastmen)
  • Gutrot Spume (Nurgle)
  • Henri le Massif (Bretonnia)
  • Jerrod of Asareux, Last Duke of Quenelles (Bretonnia)
  • Karitamen (Tomb Kings)
  • Korhien Ironglaive (High Elves)
  • Kouran Darkhand (Dark Elves)
  • Kurgan Ironbeard (Dwarfs)
  • Leofric Carrard (Bretonnia)
  • Lokhir Fellheart the Kraken Lord (Dark Elves)
  • Lord Marcus of Bordeleaux (Bretonnia)
  • Lotl-Botl (Lizardmen)
  • Markus de Mandelot (Bretonnia)
  • Morbidex Twiceborn (Nurgle)
  • Mundvard the Cruel (Vampire Counts)
  • Nekaph (Tomb Kings)
  • Prince Althran Stormrider (High Elves)
  • Prince Yrellian, Admiral of the White Host (High Elves)
  • Putrefex Blistertongue (Nurgle)
  • Repanse de Lyonesse (Bretonnia)
  • Shadowblade (Dark Elves)
  • Sir Amalric of Gaudaron, Bane of the Undead (Bretonnia)
  • Sir Rodrik L'Anguille (Bretonnia)
  • Skarrik Spinemangler (Skaven)
  • Skrag the Slaughterer (Ogre Kingdoms)
  • Snorri Nosebiter (Dwarfs)
  • The Hermit Knight (Bretonnia)
  • Theodoric of Brionne (Bretonnia)
  • Throgg (Norsca)
  • Throt the Unclean (Skaven)
  • Vilitch the Curseling (Tzeentch)
  • Volkmar the Grim (Empire of Man)
  • Wolfram Hertwig (Empire of Man)
40 Comments

Ranking Warhammer's Magic Users-Determining Phase

Another attempt to tier as many WHF characters as possible, this time with a focus on the magic-users. Once again, (respectful) feedback welcome.

Top 5

  • Caledor Dragontamer (High Elves)
  • Lord Kroak (Lizardmen)
  • Lord Mazdamundi (Lizardmen)
  • Nagash the Undying (Unaligned)
  • Teclis (High Elves)

6-10

  • Alarielle the Radiant (High Elves)
  • Be'lakor the First-Damned (Chaos Undivided)
  • Galrauch (Chaos Undivided)
  • Gregor Martak amped by Teclis during End Times (Empire of Man)
  • Kairos Fateweaver (Tzeentch)

11-25:

  • Ariel (Wood Elves)
  • Arkhan the Black (Tomb Kings)
  • Belannaer the Wise (High Elves)
  • Egrimm van Horstmann (Tzeentch)
  • Lord Adohi-Tehga (Lizardmen)
  • Lord Huinitenuchli (Lizardmen)
  • Lord Tenuchli (Lizardmen)
  • Malekith the Witch-King (Dark Elves)
  • Morathi (Dark Elves)
  • Nagash c. War with Sigmar (Unaligned)
  • The Blue Scribes (Tzeentch)
  • The Changeling (Tzeentch)
  • Tzarina Katarin Bokha the Ice Queen (Kislev)
  • Vermalanx the Corrupt (Skaven)
  • Zacharias the Everliving (Vampire Counts)

26-50

  • Aekold Helbrass (Tzeentch)
  • Anethra Helbane (Dark Elves)
  • Astarielle (High Elves)
  • Balthasar Gelt (Empire of Man)
  • Constant Drachenfels (Vampire Counts)
  • Elspeth von Draken (Empire of Man)
  • Frederick van Hal (Empire of Man)
  • Heinrich Kemmler (Vampire Counts)
  • Human Nagash (Unaligned)
  • Karitamen (Tomb Kings)
  • Khatep (Tomb Kings)
  • Khenteka (Tomb Kings)
  • Lilaeth (Dark Elves)
  • Lord Skrolk (Skaven)
  • Malagor the Dark Omen (Beastmen)
  • Mannfred von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Melkhior the Ancient (Vampire Counts)
  • Naieth the Prophetess (Wood Elves)
  • Tetto'eko (Lizardmen)
  • Thanquol when not jobbing (Skaven)
  • The Fay Enchantress, Current/Most Recent (Bretonnia)
  • Vilitch the Curseling (Tzeentch)
  • Vlad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • W'Soran the Wicked (Vampire Counts)
  • Wurrzag da Great Green Prophet (Greenskins)

51-75

  • Anara of Garamont (Bretonnia)
  • Astragoth Ironhand (Chaos Dwarfs)
  • Aurelion (High Elves)
  • Azhag the Slaughterer (Greenskins)
  • Bloab Rotspawned, Lord of the Daemonflies (Nurgle)
  • Dieter Helsnicht, Doom Lord of the Undead (Vampire Counts)
  • Eleanor de Quenelles (Bretonnia)
  • Festus the Leechlord (Nurgle)
  • Gregor Martak (Empire of Man)
  • Hapusneb, Master of the Swarm (Tomb Kings)
  • Ikit Claw (Skaven)
  • Isabella von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Loremaster Shrinastor, Hierophant of the Golden Way (High Elves)
  • Melekh the Changer (Tzeentch)
  • Molokh Slugtongue (Beastmen)
  • Moonclaw (Beastmen)
  • Nebamun (Tomb Kings)
  • Nicolete of Oisement (Vampire Counts)
  • Princess Adranna (High Elves)
  • Savan of Tiranoc (High Elves)
  • Tchar'zanek (Tzeentch)
  • The Harbinger (Beastmen)
  • The Three Sisters of Ancelioux (Bretonnia)
  • The White Ladies (Vampire Counts)
  • Varesh Warptongue (Tzeentch)

76-85

  • Anarelle (High Elves)
  • Lady Iselda of Acquitaine (Bretonnia)
  • Lord Blistrox (Skaven)
  • Lord Grilok (Skaven)
  • Lord Gritch (Skaven)
  • Rasknitt (Skaven)
  • Sienna Feugonasus (Empire of Man)
  • Sister of Thorn Kerillian (Wood Elves)
  • Skittar (Skaven)
  • Warlord Skarsnik (Greenskins)

@cheth, @mordhauextreme1, @cergic, @six-deuce

24 Comments

Ranking Warhammer Fantasy's Warriors-Determining Phase

This is my attempt to determine a ranking of Warhammer Fantasy's finest warriors, ideally getting to a Top 100 or so. By "warrior" in this case, I refer to characters that fight chiefly with melee weapons, though I will also include characters like Malekith who are adept with both magic and melee weapons. Generics will not be included, as this is named characters only. I will be excluding ranged fighters like Markus Wulfhart in addition to magical powerhouses like Kroak. Those will be separate rankings :)

I will also be taking into account the warrior's overall formidableness. I am not as of now making an attempt to distinguish between strength and skill. Just whatever warriors would come out on top in a mass free-for-all, or else who would kill the same character or characters the quickest.

As my knowledge of WHF is actually not as dense as I'd like, I expect to make mistakes and errors, but that is the purpose of this first blog; figuring out just who goes where. Needless to say, feedback is appreciated.

Top 25:

  • Abhorash (Vampire Counts)
  • Aenarion the Defender (High Elves)
  • Arbaal the Undefeated (Khorne)
  • Archaon the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Asavar Kul the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Be'lakor the First-Damned (Chaos Undivided)
  • Caledor the Conqueror (High Elves)
  • Dechala the Denied One (Slaanesh)
  • Gor-Rok the Great White Lizard (Lizardmen)
  • Gotrek Gurnisson with one or both Axes of Grimnir (Dwarfs)
  • Green Knight / Giles (Bretonnia)
  • Grimgor Ironhide (Greenskins)
  • Grombrindal the White Dwarf (Dwarfs)
  • Ka'Bandha (Khorne)
  • King Louen Leoncoeur (Bretonnia)
  • Kroq-Gar (Lizardmen)
  • Malekith the Witch-King (Dark Elves)
  • Mallobaude the Black Knight (Vampire Counts)
  • Malus Darkblade when amped by Tzarkan and possessing Warpsword (Dark Elves)
  • Nagash the Undying (Unaligned)
  • Sigmar (Empire of Man)
  • Skarbrand the Exiled One (Khorne)
  • Tyrion with Widowmaker (High Elves)
  • Ungrim Ironfist (Dwarfs)
  • Vardek Crom (Chaos Undivided)

Second tier 25, in no particular order (26-50)

  • Belegar Ironhammer (Dwarfs)
  • Bragg the Gutsman (Ogres)
  • Calard of Garamont (Bretonnia)
  • Caledor II (High Elves)
  • Chakax the Eternal Warden (Lizardmen)
  • Deathmaster Snikch (Skaven)
  • Gotrek Starbreaker (Dwarfs)
  • Kholek Sun-Eater (Chaos Undivided)
  • Krell (Khorne, later Vampire Counts)
  • Magnus the Pious (Empire of Man)
  • Malus Darkblade (Dark Elves)
  • Merovech (Vampire Counts)
  • Morkar the Everchosen (Chaos Undivided)
  • Mortal Sigmar (Empire of Man)
  • N'kari (Slaanesh)
  • Nakai the Wanderer (Lizardmen)
  • Queek Headtaker (Skaven)
  • Settra the Imperishable (Tomb Kings)
  • Sigvald the Magnificent (Slaanesh)
  • Skreech Verminking (Skaven)
  • Tancred (Bretonnia)
  • Tyrion with Sunfang (High Elves)
  • Valkia the Bloody (Khorne)
  • Valten (Empire of Man)
  • Walach Harkon (Vampire Counts)

Third tier 25, in no particular order (51-75)

  • Abrax the Bloody (Khorne)
  • Alberic de Bordeleaux (Bretonnia)
  • Egil Styrbjorn (Khorne)
  • Eltharion the Grim (High Elves)
  • Engra Deathsword (Chaos Undivided)
  • Golfag Man-Eater (Ogres)
  • Greasus Goldtooth (Ogres)
  • Harald Hammerstorm (Khorne)
  • Imladrik (High Elves)
  • Konrad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Kurt Helborg (Empire of Man)
  • Luthor Harkon (Vampire Coast)
  • Luthor Huss (Empire of Man)
  • Morgrim Baugrim (Elfdoom) (Dwarfs)
  • Orion (Wood Elves)
  • Pre-Green Knight Giles (Bretonnia)
  • Pre-Sundering Malekith (High Elves)
  • Reolus of Quenelles (Bretonnia)
  • Repanse de Lyonesse (Bretonnia)
  • Taurox the Brass Bull (Beastmen)
  • Throgg (Norsca)
  • Valnir the Reaper (Nurgle)
  • Vlad von Carstein (Vampire Counts)
  • Wulfrik the Wanderer (Norsca)
  • Zhatan the Black (Chaos Dwarfs)

Fourth tier 25, (76-100), In-Progress

  • Araloth (Wood Elves)
  • Azhag the Slaughterer (Greenskins)
  • Bertelis (Bretonnia, later Vampire Counts)
  • Boris Todbringer (Empire of Man)
  • Drazhoath the Ashen Lord (Chaos Dwarfs)
  • Emperor Karl Franz (Empire of Man)
  • Felix Jaeger (Dogs of War)
  • Ghark Ironskin (Ogres)
  • Ghorros Warhoof (Beastmen)
  • Gorbad Ironclaw (Greenskins)
  • Gorthor the Cruel (Beastmen)
  • Grokka Goreaxe (Greenskins)
  • Grom the Paunch (Greenskins)
  • Gutrot Spume (Nurgle)
  • Josef Bugman (Dwarfs)
  • Khazrak One-Eye (Beastmen)
  • Kurgan Ironbeard (Dwarfs)
  • Lokhir Fellheart the Kraken Lord (Dark Elves)
  • Lorenzo Lupo (Dogs of War)
  • Ludwig Schwarzhelm (Empire of Man)
  • Mundvard the Lord of Shadows (Vampire Counts)
  • Rakarth the Beast-Lord (Dark Elves)
  • Tamurkhan possessing Karaka Breakmountain (Nurgle)
  • Tamurkhan possessing Sargath (Nurgle)
  • Tehenhauin (Lizardmen)

To repeat: the tiers are in alphabetical order. So please don't eviscerate me because Grimgor isn't one of the first names you see. I grouped them by tiers and went from there.

For those interested:

@six-deuce

@mordhauextreme1

@cergic

@noah_ouellette

30 Comments

IGN was wrong; a critique of their KotoR II: TSL opinion piece

OK, so a part of me isn't sure I should even do this at all. I don't usually make a point of responding to in detail (if at all), most things I find on the internet, for which I am likely better off. But this particular opinion piece by IGN on Knights of the Old Republic II:

https://www.ign.com/articles/2018/05/14/why-knights-of-the-old-republic-2-tells-my-favourite-star-wars-story

...stood out to me. And unfortunately, it did so largely because it really annoyed me with what was, as far as I'm concerned, a very dubious interpretation of numerous elements of the game, plus a few obnoxious shots at Darth Vader/Anakin and Darth Tyranus/Dooku thrown in for good measure. Now, KotoR II is a great SW game, and it does have a good story. But I think that this piece likes and praises said story for, essentially, all the wrong reasons. It makes several claims about the game, and Star Wars lore as a whole, that are unfair and misleading at best, and completely wrong at worst. And so in the name of trying to push back against that, I decided to offer up a rebuttal. That in mind, I will not be responding to everything, as there are some parts that I either agree with or are things that really don't warrant or necessitate a response for whatever reason. Instead, I'm going to be honing in on how the writer really misses the mark when it comes to analyzing the characters in the game (and Star Wars in general), and also in how he attributes a moral grayness to the game that, honestly, really isn't as present as he and so many other fans of this game believe.

So first off, let's start with talking about the characters, and in how his assessment of them is, for such a professed fan of the game, wildly incorrect:

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This is the title of one of the main chunks of the article, and it's something the author cites as a reason for his loving it. He begins by bringing up the Jedi Exile, giving an interpretation that is, frankly, kind of an oversimplification:

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OK, this, to me at least, is a contradiction; there is nothing "gray" about being a war criminal. War criminals are people we generally look at unfavorably, and for good reason. So if the character is a "war criminal", how is that "gray" and not just straight up evil? And not only that, but this assessment is a little misleading, making it seem like the Exile did what she did out of sheer callousness or malice. It completely skips over the very important fact that it was done as a desperate act to end a war that had already killed a large number of people throughout the Galaxy, and involved an enemy with a fanatical aversion to surrender who had made it clear at that point that they would not stop until they had been utterly defeated. Now, was the Exile's activation of the Mass Shadow Generator a very violent and destructive decision? Yes, and it did kill many on both sides, as the article says. But acting as though this was the act of a heartless war criminal, is kind of disingenuous. It completely ignores the fact that that Exile had a very sympathetic motive for doing it, and that it was not a cut-and-dry war crime so much as an extreme, desperate decision in the middle of a devastating battle designed to end a war, and in so doing save the Republic. Considering how much the article sympathizes with the villain Kreia (more on that later), I find it rather disappointing that the article refuses to extend the same sympathy and understanding to the Exile, even though her motives were no less sympathetic than Kreia's.

Besides that, if the Exile were actually nothing more than a simple war criminal as this description suggests, then that would be less morally gray then what she actually was; a woman whose good intentions and desperation led her to do something terrible for what she honestly believed at the time was the greater good.

So this is an example of something that is misleading. But it's the next part that goes beyond being merely misleading into straight up unfair and disingenuous interpretation:

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Alright, I'm going to be honest, this was one of two parts in the article that really annoyed me. While it's assessment of Hanharr, HK, GO-TO, Atton, and Canderous is pretty correct, the underlined parts are (again), wrong. It disregards a massive amount of context and additional facts, and in so doing really fails to give many of the characters the credit they deserve.

First off, yes, Bao-Dur designed the Mass Shadow Generator, but to simply say that and nothing more completely overlooks the fact that he not only feels incredibly guilty about doing it, but since that time has been doing everything he can to make up for it. This includes aiding in the Restoration Efforts of Telos, an action that I would hardly constitute as "gray" and would very much consider altruistic despite the article considering only Mical and T3-M4 to be so. Added to that, he is, to be frank, just as much of a Pro-Republic, Anti-Mandalorian boy scout as Carth from the first game; he consistently approves of Light Side decisions (even showing mercy to the helpless Mandalorian Kumus), consistently disapproves of Dark Side decisions, and again, is completely Pro-Republic and committed to helping restore Telos to it's former glory. To classify all of that as "not truly altruistic" seems, to me at least, kind of ridiculous. Simply put, I don't consider Bao-Dur to be "gray", and certainly not any moreso than Mical or T3-M4.

The article's assessment of Visas, Brianna, and Mira is similarly misleading and disregarding important bits of context; for Mira, being a Mandalorian does not automatically make you bad or even gray, and honestly, there isn't much to indicate that Mira has ever embraced the Mandalorian way despite being briefly accepted by them as one of them. In fact, (and the article utterly fails to mention this), Mira has a strong aversion to killing people. She is quite possibly one of the very few non-Jedi Star Wars heroes who rigidly tries to avoid killing before joining the Exile, and expresses unhappiness over how much more killing she's done since joining the Exile. She has even repeatedly refused to kill Hanharr despite both everything he's done, and his constantly trying to kill her, which to me feels more like a Superhero and their arch-enemy then a character whose in "shades of gray". And like Bao-Dur, she also consistently approves of Light Side decisions and dislikes Dark Side ones. To simply say "she's a Mandalorian bounty hunter" and leave it at that overlooks all of this. Mira is not Boba Fett or Jango Fett; she's a woman who was enslaved by the Mandalorians, only briefly accepted by them as one of their own, and ultimately is a woman who, in many ways, goes in the completely opposite direction of a Mandalorian as a woman with a strong aversion to killing. Again, I don't see how this could be construed as "gray" or "not truly altruistic".

Likewise, merely calling Visas Marr the "Sith Apprentice of Darth Nihilus" and nothing more also disregards context. Visas is really more Nihilus' slave then genuine apprentice, being forced to serve him against her will and suffering regular abuse from him. Upon being defeated by the Exile she joins them immediately so as to escape from her enslavement, and does not exhibit the kind of cruelty, sadism, or power and bloodlust of a Sith Apprentice, unless being influenced by a Dark Side player character. But for the most part, Visas is incredibly mellow, shy, and un-confrontational. Simply put, this is not Darth Maul or Darth Vader we're talking about. One could still call her gray maybe, but not because she's a bad person or regularly does bad. Rather, Visas is "gray" because she lacks a strong moral identity in either direction, only getting one by spending prolonged time with the Jedi Exile. This is reflected when she revisits her old room on The Ravager near the end of the game and either embraces the Dark Side for real, or rejects it and embraces the Light Side. But prior to this, Visas was just going whichever way the wind blew, especially when it led her away from her abusive master who she really had no genuine loyalty to. This is clearly not the same thing as what the article insinuates by simply mentioning that she's a Sith Apprentice and nothing more, as if to suggest she's gray because she's a violent, unstable, psycho anti-hero. This is not the case.

And finally, there's Brianna, and once again, the overly simplistic assessment of her in the article completely disregards context:

1) Brianna's belief that violence and combat are a way of expressing one's self is not without limits; Brianna believes in fair and honorable combat, and abhors gratuitous cruelty or slaughter of the defenseless. For instance, if the player does things like kill the aforementioned Kumus or side with Azkul and his mercenaries in front of her, she expresses shock, horror, and disgust, and rightly so. Conversely, if you spare Kumus, she is impressed that you would show mercy to a member of your war-time enemies. She also praises you for, among other things, giving a Starport visa to a widow and her children on Onderon so they can get off the planet. So believe in violence and combat as a form of expression she may, but she's not a bloodthirsty psychopath in "shades of gray".

2) Continuing from the above, like Bao-Dur and Mira, Brianna consistently approves of Light Side decisions, and disapproves of Dark Side decisions. In fact, Brianna makes a point of lecturing you regularly if you behave in any way that is not 100%, perfect model Jedi as Brianna understands it. In essence, exactly what Bastila Shan did to the player in the first game. Now, this can be annoying, but it's not really the same as being "gray", and it's certainly not some kind of violence-loving psychopath who only values combat and nothing else.

So to summarize, this part of the article was almost completely wrong. Bao-Dur, Mira, and especially Brianna, are not "morally gray" or in "shades of gray", they're among the more solidly good/noble/Light Side characters in the game, and this is further reflected by how when they first join the party, their alignment screens have them all on or inching towards, the Light Side. They are no less altruistic, benevolent, or Pro-Republic/Jedi then Mical and T3-M4 are, so citing the latter two as the "only truly altruistic" party members is ridiculous.

Again, how a man who professes to love KotoR II's story so much could so utterly misrepresent so many of it's characters (in an unflattering way no less), is kind of hard to fathom, and yet here we are. But then, this is what I meant when I said that the article praises the game for the wrong reasons, claiming that the entire cast is in shades of gray when, in reality, they mostly aren't. After all, I could argue that Hanharr, HK-47, and GO-TO aren't actually gray; they're solidly bad. I would say that the only truly gray members of your party are Kreia, Atton, Mandalore, and Visas, and that last one is not for the reason the article says. So in fact, the party is not all in shades of gray; some are altruistic, noble, and Light Side-aligned, others are the opposite, and some are in the middle.

So, now that I'm almost 2,000 words into this, I figure it's time to actually address my problems with how the article praises the story. Like many who have praised KotoR II's story, the author is attracted to the apparent moral grayness of the tale relative to most other Star Wars materials. Except...well, that supposed "grayness" isn't as present as one might think.

To be honest, I might just tell you all to read this:

https://www.reddit.com/r/kotor/comments/9a48qw/kotor_ii_is_not_about_moral_ambiguity/

...and be done with it, as that piece rebuffs the idea that KotoR II is supposed to be about moral ambiguity much better than I could ever hope to pull off. But all the same, I'll attempt to do a bit of it myself. I apologize in advance if it sounds like I'm merely echoing what that above piece says, but it really is right about a lot of things regarding KotoR II (much more so than the IGN article is).

To start, let's look at how the author highlights Nar Shadda as an example of the game's "hopelessness" or "grayness":

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There are two major problems with this. The first, is in how it doesn't acknowledge that, on the same planet, you also get the chance to convince a criminal who kidnapped a child to let her go...or sell her into slavery. Now, how anyone could try and paint this is a gray choice or a "lose-lose situation" is beyond me. In my experience, people always point to the above example in the text of a man who asks for money as "proof" that Kreia is right or that the game is depressingly gray, but this is cherrypicking; it completely ignores how, on the same planet, you are presented with an extremely black and white moral choice; save an innocent child, or sell her into slavery. How anyone could paint that as gray (and the game doesn't try to I might add), is beyond me. Yes, life as a poor refugee on Nar Shadda sucks, but as anyone who has studied American slavery alone will tell you, being a slave sucks much, much more than being poor. Granted, slavery on Nal Hutta isn't exactly the same, but I'd imagine it's still a miserable existence.

Likewise, the game consistently presents binary choices over and over that reward either Light Side or Dark Side points. So the claim that the game is "gray", or that it's "lose lose situations" is silly; there are only two ways to deal with the situations on Peragus, Telos, Dantooine, and Onderon. And to highlight just the Dantooine example, I am hard-pressed to see what is "gray" about helping an obviously evil and sadistic mercenary and ex-Sith Trooper massacre the defenseless inhabitants of Khoonda who are also Republic-aligned. If you abet this, you get Dark Side points, and rightly so. Especially when (again), the game doesn't even pretend that it's gray; your only voiced motives for helping Azkul are 1) Greed, 2) A desire to kill a Jedi Master, and 3) Just because you felt like it. None of those are remotely sympathetic reasons for helping Azkul, and appropriately, the game doesn't even pretend that they are. Some of your so-called "shades of gray" and "not truly altruistic" party members will rightly admonish you for siding with Azkul against innocent people.

Then there's the Jedi Masters. What motive does the Dark Exile have for killing them beyond a petty desire for revenge and power-lust, and to gratify their utter selfishness? Near as I can tell, none. So once again, this is not a gray decision, and indeed the game doesn't even pretend that it is. You get DS points for every Jedi Master you murder, after all. Plus extra points for going out of your way to sadistically taunt Master Vrook before killing him. Where is the grayness here?

Ultimately, the morality in KotoR II is little different from the morality in KotoR I, or for that matter in the rest of the franchise. As with the rest of the lore, Light Side choices may have lots of short term struggling and difficulty, but eventual long-term benefits for the greatest number of people, while Dark Side choices lead to instant gratification and short-term gains for the individual, but devastating consequences for the masses both immediately and in the long term. KotoR II does not subvert this, much as Kreia (and her fanboys), do their damndest to convince you that it does.

But there is another way in which the above piece of text doesn't think things through, and that is something that the Reddit article I provided a link for also notes: that Kreia is always, always, always the one who colors things with a gray paint brush. She is always the one who questions your motives behind your actions and tries to frame things as a hopeless, lose-lose scenario. She approves of more carefully planned actions and greater shrewdness, but cares not for the morality of the acts; only the planning, thought, and motives. Kreia exists to challenge the player's motives but this doesn't actually mean that the conflicts you're presented with are all that gray. Again, I don't think too many people would argue with a straight face that there is any reason to do things like sell children into slavery or help mercenaries slaughter innocents beyond selfish greed or petty sadism. Whereas there is a very compelling reason to fight against such behavior, and that is to promote and safeguard life and liberty (which, incidentally, is what the Jedi have always been sworn to do).

Now, to go back to the beggar example, Kreia attempts to make you doubt every move you make, but again, this is her function. She exists to provide that challenge to keep one on one's toes, but that doesn't make her nihilistic perspective correct. Again, the game rewards you if you stay true to your decisions, and it's clear that the purpose of the game, is not to promote "grayness" or an arbitrary middle, but to encourage you to make choices and not flounder in the middle. But it also urges you to make them for the right reasons. So, for example, the Exile is encouraged to do the right thing not because the Jedi way or Jedi dogma tells her it's right, but because she recognizes on her own that it's right and wants to do what is right. This is the true meaning of KotoR II. And to prove it, I would point out that there is no true way to be wholly gray or "neutral" in the game beyond jumping wildly and erratically between Light Side and Dark Side decisions, or closing off important sections of the game. Now, you can be a mostly evil character who sometimes shows compassion, or a mostly good character who sometimes does the wrong thing, but the game doesn't actually reward you for this, and in any event, you're still aligned with the Dark Side or the Light Side. Maybe not 100%, but still ultimately one or the other. The game will judge you for your moral choices, and this is because the boundaries of morality (which in the game and greater SW lore is represented by the Force), need to be there in order for life and society to function, and that is more important than the freedom of having your actions judged, which is the carrot Kreia dangles in front of your nose.

And of course, that brings me nicely to the next point, which is addressing the article's obsession with, and absolute worship, of Kreia. Or didn't you hear?:

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Now, that sort of thing is mostly a matter of personal taste, but one thing I think I do want to address and push back against, is how the article not only likes Kreia, but really seems to take her side:

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OK, first off, Midi-Chlorians are not a "view of the Force", because they're not actually the Force:

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/silver2467/blog/force-misconceptions-midi-chlorians/120267/

That annoying misconception out of the way, this here is yet another example of liking the game for the wrong reasons. Because despite what the article insists, Kreia is not actually right. Her whole perspective is based on something factually not true, that the Force is a fully sapient deity, and a malevolent one at that. For a counter-argument (one that, unlike the IGN article, relies on cited sources and objective evidence), I direct you to something from our own community:

https://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/silver2467/blog/force-misconceptions-deification-of-the-force/118096/#comments-block-1734859

Besides that, there is also something else to consider; the Exile herself. The Exile is the only person who has achieved what Kreia desires to bring to the entire Galaxy...and it was horrible for her. It is made very clear that the Exile found life totally cut off from the Force agonizing, depressing, empty, and unendurable. So, if Kreia had her way, everyone who survived the death of the Force would likely end up like the Exile. Added to that, is two other things that really make her point of view questionable:

1) The Galaxy has, in no way, benefitted from the loss of the Jedi. Not even a little bit. That the player gets Light Side points by, essentially, stepping into the role of a Jedi and doing as the Jedi have always done, should pretty definitively prove this all on it's own. Well, without the Force, there would be no Jedi, and thus no order of relentlessly altruistic mystic warriors to protect people, which leads nicely to point number 2...

2) ...that the game also shows a massive number of characters who haven't a jot of Force power in them, yet still manage to be horrible to everyone around them. Azkul and his mercenaries, the Exchange, Czerka Corporation, the HK-50 Assassin droids, the myriad criminals, thugs, and psychopaths you run into, etc. None of them need any Force power whatever to treat their fellows horribly. In fact, most of the places you go to in the Galaxy are not teeming with Dark Siders. Telos, Nar Shadda, Dantooine, and Onderon prior to the big war are, in essence, almost examples of what Kreia wants; worlds without people who can harness the Force or use it. And yet, have any of these places benefitted? Are any of these worlds truly better off for not having protection from the Jedi? It doesn't seem like it, and again, when you behave in the role of a traditional Jedi, people tend to be very grateful, and you accordingly get Light Side points. None of these worlds need the heartlessness of the Sith to be miserable, but it does really seem that they could all stand to have the Jedi around to save them.

So between it all, however sympathetic Kreia's perspective might be (and it is, given everything she's been through), it is not in the end a right one, and at this point it frankly annoys me to see people treat it like it's correct without actually taking the time to consider it. That Kreia was badly burned by both the Jedi and the Sith makes her cynicism understandable, but that by itself doesn't justify her. Not only is her interpretation of the Force factually wrong (no matter how much the IGN article enjoys said interpretation), but even if one agrees or sympathizes with Kreia's hatred of the Force, it's clear that life can't exist in any state worth admiring without it. The Exile is proof of that (as are the Yuuzhan Vong, characters who exist outside of the Force and are, at least initially, incredibly destructive, genocidal, religious fanatic monsters. Not exactly a ringing endorsement for getting rid of the Force).

One last thing I think I'd like to address also, is how the article, to be frank, goes out of it's way to compare other Star Wars villains unfavorably to Kreia. Now, what do characters like Count Dooku or Anakin have to do with KotoR II? Well, frankly nothing, but since the article decided to needlessly throw stones at great villains, I thought it only right to rebuff that:

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Let's start with that last one. Now, admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of Snoke, but calling him "largely pointless" is, to me at least, not really fair; Snoke isn't a very interesting character, but he does serve a valid role in the story, being the person who corrupted Ben Solo and set him on the path to becoming Kylo Ren, as well as manipulating his interactions with Rey throughout Episode VIII, which culminates in Kylo turning on him and in so doing furthering his own character arc. Moreover, as the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke directs them in their actions. So in other words, pretty much all of the main villains in the Sequel Trilogy trace back to Snoke. Literally the entire conflict in those movies would not exist if not for Snoke's actions. Now, one could accuse him of being more plot device than character, and that wouldn't be an invalid perspective. But to say that he's "largely pointless" disregards his legitimate importance to the narrative. I'm not saying Snoke is a very interesting character, or better than Kreia (he isn't), but I wouldn't use the word "pointless" to describe him. That descriptor better fits Captain Phasma, and even she has a somewhat legitimate role in the story, if only because of her connection to Finn.

As for Dooku and Anakin, this is the other part that really annoyed me. I don't think those criticisms in the above text are fair to the characters, and I especially dislike how it gives a much easier pass to Kylo Ren.

First off, Count Dooku's fall to the Dark Side was not born out of simple power-lust. As detailed at length in among other sources the Revenge of the Sith novelization and "The Conversion of Darth Tyranus" from Jedi Vs. Sith: The Essential Chronology of the Force, Dooku left the Jedi Order behind because, like Kreia, he had become disillusioned, albeit for different reasons. Where Kreia felt betrayed and scapegoated by the Jedi, Dooku had come to believe that the Jedi Order had become nothing more than servants to a corrupt, incompetent, and decadent Republic, and that the Sith were the better alternative. Dooku genuinely believed that the Sith under Palpatine and himself could bring a better, more genuine order and peace to the Galaxy that would be superior to the Republic. And by the way, before people inevitably play the "that's not the movies!" card, even the movie alludes to this somewhat:

Now, much of what Dooku says to Obi-Wan in that scene is intended to deceive him (and the audience), but his disdain for the Republic's corruption is genuine. So to portray Count Dooku as someone motivated only by simple power-lust and nothing more is yet another disingenuous argument by the article that disregards evidence.

In any event, going even a little bit easier on Kylo Ren, or acting as though he has more nuance to him is...well, wrong. Kylo Ren has never on any occasion to my knowledge exhibited the good intentions that Dooku had of improving the Galaxy by replacing an inefficient democracy with a competent empire. As shown by among other things his massacre of the Jakku villagers for no reason other than to be cruel, his childish temper tantrums throughout TFA, and his seeking to rule over the First Order for no real reason beyond thinking he deserves to, there's a pettiness to Kylo Ren that the article accuses Count Dooku of. Likewise, to describe Anakin as "naive, dim-witted, and easily manipulated" doesn't acknowledge that the man who manipulated him spent 13 years working on him. By the time Anakin was hanging on Palpatine's every word, they had known each-other for over ten years and Palpatine had long ingratiated himself to Anakin as a father figure. There's also the fact that, at the time, he was desperate to keep his pregnant wife from dying after having already lost his beloved mother, and this is reflected in how when he submits to Palpatine, he's outright begging for his help.

Compare that to how Ben was being corrupted by Snoke by the time he turned on Luke; there is no evidence that Snoke had ever ingratiated himself in Ben's life to the degree that Palpatine had with Anakin. So the fact that Ben trusted a complete stranger more than his own parents and uncle makes him, and there's no real nice way to put this, a terrible judge of character. And yet it is Kylo Ren that the article goes easier on than Anakin and Dooku, both of whom it dismisses rather derisively.

Now look, I hate Hayden Christiansen's terrible acting as much as the next guy, but still, acting as though trusting a stranger more than your parents and uncle, is less dubious then listening to a man who spent over a decade winning your trust, is just silly. Again, there's a pettiness to Kylo Ren that the article accuses both Anakin and Dooku of. Now to be fair, much of Dooku's nuance isn't in the movies, and again, Hayden Christiansen's acting is terrible. But even so, citing Kylo Ren as a more thoughtful and sympathetic villain? Yeah, sorry, I don't buy it. Again, trusting a complete stranger over your own uncle and parents, is not more sympathetic or any less dubious then reluctantly making a devil's pact to save the woman you love with a man who spent 13 years getting your trust. If the latter makes one "naive, dim-witted, and easily manipulated", then why is the former any better? I'd be curious to see what a "difficult to manipulate but can still be tricked" character would look like in the author's mind. We all knew that Anakin would be manipulated by Palpatine into becoming evil, so with that in mind, what would the author have preferred? The acting may have been terrible for that character, but his reason for becoming evil, is really not any worse than Kylo Ren going evil out of a mix of a misunderstanding and trusting the wrong person, or even honestly Kreia's cynicism born out of bad experiences. Kreia's story is a sad one, but no less than Anakin's.

So ultimately, when it's not needlessly taking shots at the movies or Star Wars lore in general, the article can basically be summed up as liking KotoR II primarily because of a perceived grayness, moral ambiguity, and lack of genuine goodness in the characters, the settings, the choices, and the story itself. But as I think I have now shown at length, that really isn't the case; the cast is not universally or overwhelmingly gray or morally bankrupt, the morality choices are still binary and largely black and white, the Galaxy is one that clearly needs the Jedi in direct defiance of Kreia's cynical appraisal of them and the Force at large, and yes, Kreia is actually wrong. Now, none of this means that one shouldn't love KotoR II's story; it has excellent writing, dialogue, character work, and gets some things right that even the first game didn't (mostly in regards to its villains). But its one thing to love a good video game, its another to love it for the wrong reasons. IGN's article, at least in my opinion, does the latter.

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What I want out of Marvel's "What If...?" Cartoon (and what I don't want)

OK, so now that I know that Marvel is doing a What If...? series, I figured I should take the time to say what I would like to see versus what I would not like to see. I should first note that I love What If...? to death and regard it as one of my all-time favorite Marvel comics ever. Yes, there have been many, many, many, MANY terrible What If...? tales over the years, but there have also been many excellent ones, and in any case I can scarcely think of any other comic series besides Exiles that has done more for the Marvel Multiverse than What If...?

With that in mind, what would I, the lifelong What If...? fan, looking for in an animated TV version? What do I NOT want to see? Well, I think in both cases, we can (and should), consult the comic series for ideas, as I think that gives a nice blueprint of both what to do and what to avoid.

Good Idea: Uatu the Watcher

This is a no-brainer. Uatu the Watcher is the main character of What If...?, and while many What If...? tales were able to work without him, I still feel like he is such a pivotal and important character to the series and to the concept, that trying to do a What If...? TV series without him would just not work as well. And, we know that the Watchers exist in the MCU per GotG Vol. 2, and that Disney has bought out Fox (and with it the rights to all FF characters). So there is absolutely no reason to not include Uatu the Watcher. Now, could they do some episodes without his involvement? Certainly. Just as some great What If...? issues did not involve him. But having said that, I do think that the majority of episodes at least, would be much better off featuring him. And it doesn't need to be substantially; just serve as each episode's introduction and ending, as he does in the comics. He doesn't need to hold the audience's hand and explain everything (that wouldn't work), but if he introduces each episode and explains the moment where events are diverging, that can work.

Bad Idea: An excess of depressing, "everybody dies" stories

If What If...? (especially What If...? from about 2006-now), has a major, recurring sin, it's this. While many modern What If...? tales are great (What If Peter Parker became the Punisher, What If? Annihilation Wave, What If Daredevil died saving Elektra?, What If Thor was raised by Frost Giants?, etc.), many other What If...? tales are just lazy, overly depressing, "everybody gets killed horribly because the heroes lost when they weren't meant to" tales. While I do not want the series to condescend to the audience or be the overly-censored affairs many Marvel cartoons are (more on that later), I do not think the show should always go for the most depressing, soul grinding endings or plots possible. I mean, who really wants to see Chris Evan's Captain America or RDJ's Iron Man die horrible, awful deaths over and over?

On second thought, maybe I shouldn't ask that...

Good Idea: Versatility

One of the great things about What If...? is how it had such a robust variety of tales. You never knew what you were going to get in a given story; one issue could have Daredevil going mad after killing Kingpin, while another could be the X-Men duking it out in Asgard, while yet a third story could be someone other than Bruce Banner becoming the Hulk. There's no shortage of possibilities, and at this point the MCU (which the alternate realities in the What If...? cartoon will be divergents of), has no shortage of movies and TV to pull from for ideas. They need not all diverge from just the Avengers movies, for example. Obviously those films offer plenty of ideas for divergent tales, but that shouldn't be the only thing the writers draw from.

Bad Idea: Censorship / Condescension

If What If...?'s cardinal sin is often being too damn depressing for it's own good, the cardinal sin of most Marvel cartoons is that, frankly, they're toothless. Whether it's the painful censorship of the 90s cartoons or the juvenile schlock of Avengers Assemble, Ultimate Spider-Man, and the other cartoons from that universe, a lot of Marvel shows neither take themselves seriously enough nor have the level of intelligence, craftsmanship, and frankly, darkness of a lot of DC's efforts (especially the DCAU). Now again, it doesn't ALWAYS have to be dark (and it shouldn't be), but if the series is written like the god-awful Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, Agents of SMASH, and Guardians of the Galaxy cartoons, or even the current Spider-Man and Kamala Khan cartoons, I'll be...disappointed, to put it mildly. What If...? doesn't always have to be ultra dark (and in fact is often bad when it is), but this just means there needs to be a balance between excessive grimness and Game of Thrones-esque character slaughter, and the condescending, juvenile, censored bilge of so many previous Marvel cartoons.

Good Idea: Respect some fan ideas

Now I do not mean by this that the writers should make the cartoon into a pandering machine. But having said that, many fans of the MCU have conceived of "What If?" tales already, such as What If Cap and Peggy had stayed together?, What If "x" character died, etc. And I think that looking at what those stories, and seeing what "What If...?" scenarios the fandom seems most attracted to, could really benefit the show. Again, I don't mean to suggest that the cartoon should just do nothing but mindless pandering, but I also don't think it would necessarily be a bad idea to look at the What If...? tales the fans have already come up with, and take advantage.

I know I for one would want to see a "What If Captain America hadn't vanished in WWII?" story. ;)

Bad Idea: Giving characters roles that make no sense for them

OK, so here's the thing about this one; while stories like Rick Jones becoming Hulk, Flash Thompson becoming Spider-Man (one they've done three separate times now), and even Professor X becoming Juggernaut and Punisher becoming Venom, are fun tales that also make logical sense given that the characters are related to the mainstream bearer of the alias in the primary universe. They're the sort of stories that What If...? is meant for. But conversely, things like Logan becoming Wendigo (which, I kid you not, happened in one What If...? story), or something equally nonsensical like Stephen Strange becoming Falcon or Matt Murdock becoming Star-Lord, just doesn't work. While I do find "alias switching" stories to be fun and am admittedly a sucker for them, they don't always work. They have to make some degree of sense. Matt Murdock becoming Star-Lord or, for yet another hypothetical, Nick Fury becoming the Hulk, simply doesn't work.

While this list of suggestions is by no means exhaustive, I do think it's a good start as far as giving some valid ideas of what the upcoming What If...? series should strive for, and what it should avoid like the plague. Now, given that Marvel's track record with cartoons has, with only a handful of exceptions, ranged from overly-censored and mega-corny shlock to juvenile and hyper-caffeinated shlock, I have reason to be skeptical that this new show will succeed. But at the same time, I really do believe that with this What If...? series, Marvel has something potentially very special on it's hands, and I think they should take full advantage. People love the MCU, and I think showing the ways in which the movies and shows we've (mostly) loved could have gone differently would make for a very excellent addition indeed.

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Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Movie Review (SPOILER WARNING!!!)

So, after waiting what felt like an ungodly length of time, I finally got to see the animated Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, and I thought it only right and proper to do a review for it, especially since there don't seem to be that many reviews for it as of now. So without further ado, here it is.

And, it goes without saying, that as much as I try to avoid it in this review, there are some SPOILERS. You have been warned.

First thing's first, it needs to be understood that this movie is really more inspired by the graphic novel of the same name rather than a direct adaptation. The only things the movie has in common with the comic are the Batman costume, the setting, the premise of Jack the Ripper Vs. Batman, and Bruce Wayne being framed and jailed for the Ripper murders. That's it. Everything else is completely different (right down to who Jack the Ripper actually is). But you know what? That's okay. Because I loved it anyway.

First off, one thing the animated film has over the comic is that it feels more like a "full" adaptation of Batman's world in 1889. In the original story, only a handful of characters besides Batman made it over into the comic. Here, numerous characters make the transfer. Albeit, some of them are little more than glorified cameos (such as Cyrus Gold), but their presence is still appreciated, because (again), it feels like more of a true adaptation of Batman's world, not limiting itself to just Bats, Alfred, and Gordon. Selina Kyle in particular is a standout, capturing almost everything I love about the character at her best even with this being a non-costumed version (though she's still quite the classy dresser). Her concern for the prostitutes and other voiceless people of Gotham City feels like it's taken straight out of the Ed Brubaker Catwoman series, and that's definitely a good thing.

Also, she sings!

The art style in the movie bears pretty much no resemblance to Mignola's distinct panels, but that honestly doesn't bother me, because the film looks great and the animation is smooth and pleasing, and overall as well done as we expect things from Bruce Timm and co. to be. The fight scenes in particular are all top notch, being appropriately grisly and brutal and beautifully choreographed. I especially love the greater emphasis on boxing type punches, which is appropriate for the time period and setting.

Voice acting is mostly good. Bruce Greenwood gives arguably his best vocal performance as Batman yet (though I still consider Under the Red Hood to be the best Batman thing he was in overall). He's got the right level of seriousness and menace as Batman, but as Bruce Wayne shows the appropriate level of charm, which really shines through in his interactions with Selina Kyle (voiced to perfection here by Jennifer Carpenter). Alfred's VA proves the latest in a long line of great deadpan British performances, and everyone else is perfectly fine, save that Grey DeLisle as young Jason Todd simply doesn't work because the voice is obviously female, lacking the "deceptive" quality of say, Bart Simpson and Timmy Turner (both of whom were voiced by women but still convincingly sound like young boys, Jason in this film does not).

So in action, voice acting, animation, and just plain having fun with translating all the major Batman characters save Joker, Penguin, and Riddler into a Victorian setting, the movie scores high marks. To be honest, I think that much of what worked about another great DC Animated Original Movie, Justice League: Gods and Monsters, works here. Like in that film, the dark tone, evident fun the writers have with playing around and showing how all the characters are now different in their own ways, and the reveal of who the villain is that in both worked as a legitimate surprise, work in BGbG's favor. Jack the Ripper's identity is one that I definitely did not see coming. From all the evidence I had picked up on, it seemed almost certain that Harvey Dent was the killer. Indeed, towards the climax of the film, as Harvey shows himself to be a duplicitous, misogynistic hypocrite, it seems like the writers are not only showing their hand, but shoving it in your face. And then the reveal comes of who the killer really is, and it turns out the writers had me completely fooled (and likely others too).

If I have any one complaint about the film (aside from a plot-hole late in the story where Bruce escapes prison by disguising himself as a policeman when his face should still be recognizable), it's that it's ending is much too abrupt. I mean seriously, it ends without any confirmation that the framed Bruce Wayne will be exonerated, no follow-up to the fiery death of Jack the Ripper and destruction of the World's Fair along with him, nothing. To me, that's kind of lame, and feels like a real cop-out. But, that one admitted flaw can't keep this film down entirely. Now to re-iterate, this film is almost entirely different from the graphic novel it shares a name and basic premise with. So, if you are hoping for a faithful adaptation, look elsewhere. But if you're willing to enjoy a very good animated Batman film on it's own merits, then I definitely recommend this one. It's not The Lego Batman Movie, Under the Red Hood, or Mask of the Phantasm, but to be honest, I'd say it's the next one down as far as how I'd rank my animated Batman films.

Grade: A-

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Top 5 Villains I want to see in Batman: The Telltale Series

So, Season 2 of Batman: The Telltale Series has been announced, and even better, it's coming sooner than I had thought it would! Now, I am an unapologetic fan of the first season. I actually think it's right up there with the Arkhamverse and Nolanverse as one of the best non-comic Batman depictions ever. That in mind, what villains would I most want to see show up, either in Season 2 or in any possible subsequent seasons? Well, here are my choices. Please note that these choices were made through a combination of who I'd really want to see, and also who I think has a legitimately good chance of appearing (as opposed to say, Deathstroke, who I regard as being unlikely to appear):

Number 5: Mr. Freeze

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One of the many things that Telltale's take on Batman's world did right was in giving us tragic villains; not only was Two-Face the same tragic villain he usually is, but Penguin and Lady Arkham are also not without their own tragic backstories that make their descents into evil more understandable. Well, few Batman villains are as tragic as Mr. Freeze, so he'd be a natural fit for a Batman setting that seems to favor sympathetic and nuanced villains. Not only that, but his ice-gun and his power-set could lead to some cool quick-time events. And given all of the hyper-advanced tech in Season 1, it doesn't strike me as unbelievable to think that they could do Mr. Freeze's cryogenic weaponry easily enough. The trick would be to keep his tragic nature intact without necessarily just rehashing his DCAU origin again without any big differences (remember that though his origins are similar to his comic counterpart's, Telltale Two-Face still had a few things about him unique to that version). Arkham Origin's DLC gave Freeze an origin near-identical to the DCAU and comic versions, but there were still a few subtle differences to make it stand out. Hopefully, if Telltale does Mr. Freeze they can follow that example and do a Freeze who is on the whole the same tragic villain he always is, but with just enough that's different to make him stand out.

Number 4: Deadshot

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While they could easily bring Deadshot in in his usual "someone's paying me to kill you/someone important" capacity, I feel like Telltale has an opportunity to do more with Deadshot; as much as I've enjoyed the majority of his cartoon and video game depictions (the DCAU and Arkhamverse versions especially), the character actually has a very tragic backstory in the comics that to my knowledge no adaptation has ever really touched on (not even other sympathetic portrayals of the character such as the Arkhamverse, Arrowverse, and DCEU versions). It would be nice to see a version of Deadshot that makes reference to how the accidental death of his brother and his abusive upbringing both drove him to the life of a nihilistic assassin. Telltale made Penguin into much more of a tragic villain then he usually is, and they did right by the tragedy of Two-Face. If anyone can do an adaptation of Deadshot that doesn't forget the tragedy of this hitman, I think it's Telltale.

And yes, I'd love to see some quick-time events featuring Batman dodging Deadshot's gunfire before getting in close for some gun-fu/martial arts combat.

Number 3: Bane

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No surprises here. As one of Batman's most popular and challenging enemies, Bane is a natural choice for a villain in pretty much any Batman work, and I'd love to see Telltale try their hand. Once again, Bane already being a tragic villain would play to the Telltale Series' clear preference for sympathetic supervillains, and given that they did a beautiful job choreographing the fights between Batman and Lady Arkham, I'd really love to see them give us a similar visual display in a brutal Batman Vs. Bane throw down.

And yes, I wouldn't mind seeing Telltale do a loose adaptation of the Batman: Knightfall story either, where the player maybe has the opportunity to avoid the infamous back-breaking moment if they play their cards right.

Number 2: Scarecrow

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For all this talk of action and quick-time events, Telltale games are usually much more story and choice-driven than being obsessed with action and set-pieces. So a more cerebral foe that challenges Batman's mind rather than his muscle might be a better choice, or at least as good of one. Well, as we saw in Arkham Asylum in 2009, video games have a lot of potential to go off-kilter with Scarecrow and use his Fear Gas for some truly nightmare-inducing sequences. I'd love to see Telltale try that, and see how they can both evoke those scenes from the 2009 classic, but also do them differently. Now, because the Arkham games did Scarecrow so well, it would be a task to make their version measure up, but I feel like Telltale is up to the challenge. And really, Scarecrow is one of my all-time favorite Batman villains, so I'd love to see him get his due.

Number 1: The Court of Owls

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One of the things about Batman: The Telltale Series' story is that it gave us a sort of "Gotham Conspiracy"; the idea that the Waynes were in fact corrupt, and that Lady Arkham is the legacy of the wronged Arkham family and is out for blood regarding the sins of the past perpetrated by the Waynes, the Mayor, and Falcone. The thing is, the Court of Owls are the ultimate Gotham conspiracy, and so a perfect fit for a series that has already shown they can do well with that kind of story. And really, Thomas Wayne, Hill, and Falcone as their own little trio running Gotham City as their own private kingdom has shades of the Court of Owls and what they've always done in the comics, so it wouldn't be too hard to suggest that those three were themselves part of an even bigger conspiracy.

The Court of Owls would be perfect as arc villains; they've got the resources, they've got the secrecy, they've got the Talons for quick-time fight events, they've got everything the writers would need to have compelling villains for a whole season of Batman: The Telltale Series. And besides that, given that so far the only adaptations of the Court have been their sub-par depictions in both Gotham and Batman Vs. Robin, they could really do to have a non-comic version that does them right. And if anyone can do it, I think it's Telltale Games.

And those are my choices. I hope you agree with them and my given reasons for them.

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Injustice 2 DLC Predictions-Who are the Nine? (UPDATED)

May 11th UPDATE:

Just five more days until Injustice 2 (finally) arrives. By this time the entire base roster for Injustice 2 has been confirmed, plus the first three DLC characters. In what should be a surprise to no one, Red Hood, Starfire, and Sub-Zero were indeed confirmed, and more recently, Jay Garrick, Vixen, and Grid were confirmed as Premiere Skins alongside Mr. Freeze, Reverse Flash, John Stewart, and Power Girl. There are six more DLC characters who have yet to be announced. Now, of those six, two of the silhouettes seem very blatantly Raiden and Black Manta. It seems doubtful to me that these silhouettes are mere trolling (unlike the dummy silhouettes in early looks at Injustice 2's character select roster). No, I think it more likely that these silhouettes are just a bit more credible. That in mind, who could the remaining four possibly be? These are my guesses:

Ambiguous Silhouette 1: Beast Boy

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This silhouette is of a smaller individual. Nothing in the silhouette suggests a female or someone with a cape. Of all the potential "small" male characters they could have gone with, Beast Boy seems the most probable to me. A lot of other people have guessed it may be him, and for good reason. He's also just a good character, and his power-set would make for a very unique (and fun) gameplay experience. It may not be him, but I still feel like this is a respectable prediction.

Ambiguous Silhouette 2: Wildcat or an MK Ninja

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Though the silhouette doesn't have too many distinct details, it's top does seem a little bit like Wildcat's weird-looking mask, and he's also got about the right build too. But there is another possibility: a second MK Ninja. I mean, MKX had four guest characters, so the notion that Injustice 2 could have more than one or two does not strike me as outrageous. And consider, that the silhouette's shape looks a bit like Injustice 2 Sub-Zero, particularly the head, which looks vaguely like a hood of some sort. While Scorpion being a guest fighter for two DC games in a row seems unlikely, there are many other MK Ninjas besides those two. Either Ermac or Reptile could easily end up coming in as a third MK guest fighter after Sub-Zero and Raiden. Personally, my money's on Reptile.

Ambiguous Silhouette 3: Spawn, Azrael, or Lex Luthor

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This silhouette is clearly big and bulky, which could indicate Lex in his Warsuit (and as already noted, I'd be very disappointed if Luthor got cheated out of Injustice 2 and it's gear system). But, many people are speculating Azrael on the account of the head shape, which seems to suggest a hood, and the large gauntlets that could be as much Azrael's as Luthor's. But, there is a third possibility: Spawn. NRS got temporary rights to Spawn (as I've now stressed repeatedly), he's dominated polls along with Sub-Zero, and he is often depicted as fairly buff and with a cape, and all of that could conceivably fit the silhouette. Even the fact that it seems to be someone with a hood doesn't preclude Spawn; it could just indicate a redesign where Spawn's cape now has a hood instead of a high collar. But most likely, it's one of the three. I'd be pretty surprised if it was none of them (and disappointed, frankly).

Ambiguous Silhouette 4: Lady Shiva, Kitana, or Star Sapphire

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I'm not gonna lie; this last one is more wishful thinking than anything else. No, I think either Shiva or Kitana seems the most likely, mainly on the account of how the female silhouette seems to have a sash of some kind, which I don't associate with Star Sapphire, but more "ninja"/martial artist characters in the vein of Shiva and Kitana. In some ways the latter is more likely to me, since Injustice 2 already has a lot of Batman characters, plus a female martial artist in Black Canary. Kitana was in the MK Guest Character poll, so perhaps that ensured that she, like Sub-Zero and Raiden will be in the game. Personally, I wouldn't mind that at all (she is my favorite MK female, plus my main in MKX), so it's not the worst thing.

But honestly, I can't think of any other female character it could be; Doctor Light seems unlikely on the account of lacking either trademark cape or crest, Star-Girl wouldn't fit because of her lacking the star-rod plus her seeming to be more "adult" than Star-Girl is usually depicted as being, and Raven and Zatanna also don't seem likely owing to (respectively), the lack of the hooded cape, and the lack of the top hat (and again, that sash). So, just by process of elimination, I sort of figure that this "sash woman" is probably a female martial artist, and of the ones springing to mind that aren't a Batman Family member, Shiva and Kitana are the only ones I can think of.

Those are my predictions anyway. Tell me what you think (respectfully), in the comments below.

Original Blog Post:

So, at this point, the base roster for Injustice 2 has been laid bare before our feet. Only one character in the 28-person base roster remains to be announced, and I am 90% sure it's going to be Joker (10% sure it might be Red Hood). We know that there will be nine DLC characters for those who get the Ultimate Edition (as I have). But who could these characters be? This is my attempt to guess.

DLC Character 1: Red Hood

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Obviously. This guy has been heavily requested ever since IGAU. Lot of people wanted him in IGAU, he was heavily desired as DLC for that game, and polls Ed Boon and the rest of NRS have conducted basically confirm that he remains highly requested. I just can't imagine NRS ignoring all of that and just not doing him. Albeit, it would be hard to make his moveset feel distinct from Deadshot, but there is always the possibility of making Red Hood a "premiere skin" for Deadshot. But whether as a Premiere Skin or his own character, Red Hood's gotta happen. NRS has to be aware by now just how much the fans want him. And, NRS is generally pretty good about giving fans what they want, so...

DLC Character 2: Starfire

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She won a poll Ed Boon held asking people which of the DC characters in the poll people most wanted in the game. Just from that, it seems likely to me that she will become DLC, either soon or later. Her powerset of flight, superhuman physicality, and starbolts also make her a good fit for a fighting game, so in all, I think this one's a safe bet. Much like with Red Hood, I would be really shocked (and disappointed), if NRS ignored the feedback they were getting.

DLC Character 3: Vixen

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Let's see...somewhat lesser known DC hero, which Injustice 2 is fond of? Check. Cool and unique powers that would translate to a cool and unique moveset in-game? Check. Increased popularity courtesy of the CW? Check. I don't think Vixen's as likely as Red Hood and Starfire, but I do still think that she's got a chance at least. And really, I'd love to see her.

DLC Character 4: Hawkgirl

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As a character who was in Injustice 1's base-roster plus being a natural for a fighting game (which was why she was in the first game to begin with), I could conceivably see Hawkgirl returning for the sequel in DLC form, not unlike how Cyrax and Sektor kind-of-sort-of returned for MKX as "Tri-Borg". Not as likely as Red Hood or Starfire, but I don't think it's a longshot either, and as far as returning characters from the first game go, I think she's more probable than say, Killer Frost or Solomon Grundy.

DLC Character 5: Star Sapphire Carol Ferris

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Another less likely but still possible choice. The thing about Lanterns is that because they can create almost anything they want, you can have multiple Lanterns in a DC fighting game and still have their fighting styles feel distinct. While more than two different Lanterns has yet to be attempted by NRS (or anyone else), that's all the more reason for the already ambitious Injustice 2 to give it a try. And, Carol fits the bill of "lesser known DC character", which is something that NRS clearly prioritized when choosing characters for the roster. So, while perhaps the least likely of all my DLC predictions here, I could still see this one happening.

DLC Character 6: Sinestro or Larfleeze

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More or less the same reasons as Star Sapphire. That, and as a major ally of Superman's in the first game plus a playable character in it, I could see him escaping from the Guardian's prison for DLC purposes. Like Carol, he's less likely to show up again, but fingers crossed.

Alternatively, Larfleeze of the Orange Lantern Corps is also a possibility, with his power of summoning orange constructs of his victims being a cool power that would help him better stand out among the other Lantern characters:

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DLC Character 7: Lex Luthor

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Lex is such a major and iconic DC villain (second only to Joker in this respect), that it would just feel wrong if he was totally absent fron Injustice 2. I am aware that he is dead in the Injustice-verse, but his presence in the sequel could still happen if it was the same as Green Arrow; he's an alternate Luthor having come to the Injustice-verse. Between that, and his being perfect for both a fighting game and the gear system, it just seems only right that Lex should return for the sequel, and DLC seems like a good way to make it happen.

DLC Character 8/Guest Character 1: Spawn

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NRS got temporary rights to the character, and as such a lot of people are already speculating that he'll be in the game as a DLC guest character. It's a sound assumption, especially with the odds of a third MKX DLC Character pack being remote at this point.

DLC Character 9/Guest Character 2: Sub-Zero

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Another one that's already been heavily speculated, and with good reason: Scorpion was a guest fighter in the first game, and Ed Boon has strongly suggested that an MK character will guest-star in Injustice 2. He even had a poll asking people which MK character they wanted, and unsurprisingly, Sub-Zero won it. I think this one is almost guaranteed, and if not him, either Johnny Cage or Raiden.

And those are my predictions. Who do you think is likely to be DLC for Injustice 2?

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