Folks, it’s time to return to Golarion with a new Pathfinder Battles review! Last time we checked in with the epic fantasy miniatures series from WizKids Games we delved deep into the Darklands, with a bunch of characters and creatures you might encounter underground and in dark places. Well, WizKids is back with the next full set bringing you a huge host of awesome minis perfect for utilizing in your Pathfinder gaming sessions or displaying in your collections. Coming in collectible, blind box packaging is Pathfinder Battles Bestiary Unleashed, and we’re going to look at a select group of figures from that expansion along with its Premium Set, the incredible Treerazer!
Paizo launched the Pathfinder role-playing game in August of 2009, and it was only three months later that the first Bestiary book was released. As with many other RPGs, including another huge fantasy publisher, Pathfinder requires NPCs and monsters for fun role-playing and combat encounters, and these are supplied via the Bestiary series. These are tomes with hundreds of such creatures, everything from goblins to dragons, demons, and more. In fact, Pathfinder has had no fewer than NINE Bestiary books (six in the first edition of the game, three so far in the current second edition)! And now, you can get miniatures of some of the coolest (and hottest) creatures from those books in this new set. That’s also one of the big draws here, a nice variety of characters without one overarching theme.
Bestiary Unleashed has a huge 47 all-new figures ranging from itty bitty Small creatures to massive Huge monsters, truly some fun surprises in every booster box. Now, it’s very important to note that for this preview we were sent a specific selection of figures, so I can’t offer a look into booster pulls specifically.
Your results will vary, but based on what I’ve seen I’ll saw with confidence that you’re guaranteed to find some cool-looking and useful minis in every box. And it is pretty cool to note that while the majority of the characters and monsters here are fantasy-based or Pathfinder-specific, a couple of the most impressive models, the Leng Spider and Shoggoth, come from one of my favorite fictional themes, cosmic horror!
Here’s a list of the models you’ll see in this review:
- 15 Goblin Warchanter (Shortbow)
- 16 Arbiter Aeon
- 26 Efreeti
- 27 Marid
- 28 Shaitan
- 29 Ceustodaemon
- 30 Celestial Defender
- 31 Giant Mantis
- 32a Ettin (Flails)
- 33 Astral Deva
- 34 Grim Reaper
- 35 Enforcer Aeon
- 36 Lich
- 37 Mummy Pharoah
- 38 Succubus
- 39 Celestial Legionnaire
- 40 Merfolk Warrior
- 41 Pleroma Aeon
- 42 Quelaunt
- 43 Adult Copper Dragon
- 44 Adult White Dragon
All in all, here (and again, this is just a segment of the full expansion) we’ve got two Small figures, eight Medium figures, nine Large figures, and two Huge figures. Right off the bat you can see some really interesting trends, not least of which is that there are no specific, named characters. This is fairly non-standard, as most sets include some notable characters from specific adventure paths, settings, or locales. In general, then there are fewer player character stand-in figures, which might be a negative for some people, but on the other hand, there are more monsters and NPCs which a lot of people are going to love! Similarly, there’s a cool array of creatures here.
A few trends stuck out to me, the first being the Aeons. These metaphysical beings originating from the Astral Plane take a variety of forms, and there are at least three in this set with the Arbiter that looks like a small floating mech, the metal golem-like Enforcer, and the mind-shatteringly powerful Pleroma holding in its hands the energies of creation and destruction. You’ve got heroic-looking and angelic figures like the Celestial Defender, Astral Deva, and Celestial Legionnaire, while the demonic and undead include the Ceustodaemon, Grim Reaper, Lich, Mummy Pharoah, and Succubus. There are Efreeti, Marid, and Shaitan genies, a Giant Mantis for your animal collection, a fearsome (and female!) two-headed Ettin, and a horrific alien entity in the Quelaunt. Our two Huge figures are mighty Copper and White Dragons, and of course there’s a Goblin with the diminutive but awesome Shortbow Warchanter.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best sculpts in this preview set, and there are some really great ones to choose from. The Warchanter Goblin is absolutely enchanting, the Arbiter and Enforcer Aeons have all sorts of sculpted mechanical details, Efreeti is just magnificent and head to toe covered in great details, the Celestial Defender and Celestial Legionnaire wear intricate armor for their battles against evil, the chitin is strong on the Giant Mantis, the Pleroma Aeon has lots of smooth lines adding to its mystery, and the Quelaunt is just… freaky. My favorite sculpts are probably the Astral Deva with her huge level of detail and lifelike look, the Lich and all of his evil paraphernalia, and of course the mighty dragons, especially the White with its segmented wings. Speaking of, there are cool sculpted textures throughout these figures like the flame effects on the Efreeti, the Marid’s water base, Ceustodaemon’s fur, Celestial Defender’s scale mail, the wings on the Astral Deva and Celestial Legionnaire, and the dragon scales.
As far as the paint applications in Bestiary Unleashed, they’re quite good and feature a couple interesting trends. There are multiple figures bedecked in bright, shiny gold, some dark and malevolent undead, etc. Looking through the batch some of the paint jobs that impressed me the most were Goblin Warchanter with his perfectly rendered smile and neat outfit, the Efreeti with her colorful armor, skin, and hair, the various shades of green on the Giant Mantis, the Astral Deva’s face and the script on her and the Lich’s miniatures, the spooky Grim Reaper, and the Adult White Dragon with shading to bring out the white color. There’s a lot of metallic paint use in this set on weapons and armor, especially heavily armored minis like the Celestials and the coloration of the Adult Copper Dragon. Lastly, translucent plastic is used to great effect on the Efreeti’s and Celestial Legionnaire’s sword flames, Marid and Merfolk Warrior’s water bases, the flame breath of the Mummy Pharoah and Adult Copper Dragon, and the Pleroma Aeon’s floating spheres.
As with most of WizKids’ Pathfinder Battles expansions, the Bestiary Unleashed set comes with a separately sold, limited edition, large scale figure, and this one’s pretty remarkable. Check out the Treerazer Premium Set! All I can say is, wow. Now, if you’re not familiar with the character, Treerazer is not actually a green dragon as he may appear, but rather a demon typically described as having a dinosaur-like shape with huge wings. WizKids has translated this into a 3D form that is massive and full of character, just a perfect centerpiece for your collection (and of course a fantastic menace to drop on your players, especially any elves). Treerazer is a Gargantuan miniature, both technically and as a description, with a height AND wingspan of about 7 inches.
The draconic demon is captured as it roars in an unending rage, standing on its two legs with wings outstretched and its iconic weapon in its hands. Treerazer has a unique body shape (keen-eyed fans will note where it differs from typical green dragon physiology) with a vaguely humanoid shape, longer legs with shorter arms, a coiled tail, spikes running down its back and spines emerging from its shoulders, wicked claws and teeth, and three horns on its head. There is a truly awe-inspiring amount of sculpted detail on display here with scaly and membranous textures over the entire body, not to mention the small terrain base covered in the fungus that always sprouts in the demon’s wake. Treerazer’s pose and expression on his head conveys aggression and hatred, as does the way it holds the obsidian Blackaxe which itself is detailed with jagged construction and the signature acid drip. Further confusing viewers is the demon’s deep green coloration, which here is contrasted with brighter greens and yellows while its claws and tongue are black, horns brown, and beady eyes orange.
I was a big fan of Mengkare, the previous Premium Set, but I may actually like Treerazer even more. There’s just so much malevolence in him, and fantastic details like the axe and base. Plus, while it’s technically important to remember that he is a specific demon, you can of course use the model as a unique Gargantuan green dragon as well. Every miniature is made better with flexibility on the tabletop!
There you have it folks, another hit Pathfinder Battles miniatures expansion from WizKids. This one is pretty rad with a wild character lineup and some amazing figures. There certainly isn’t a miss among the preview set we looked at here, and there are plenty more cool things to see in the Bestiary Unleashed set beyond this. The set is on the way to stores near you, though there isn’t currently a specific release date (distribution is pretty challenging these days). A standard booster has an MSRP of $19.99, or $159.92 for a Brick of eight boosters (32 figures total). The Treerazer Premium Set has an MSRP of $89.99 and is a limited edition, so if you’re looking for one get a hold of your local comic book store to make sure they’ll have one for you or pre-order one now!
Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games.