Critical Role, the iconic and hugely successful tabletop RPG Twitch show, is bigger than ever right now with their animated series the Legend of Vox Machina airing on Amazon Prime Video. It’s perfect timing for fans of the stream and tabletop gamers looking to spice up their sessions with a huge new range of pre-painted miniatures from WizKids Games! Last year saw the first wave of Critical Role minis featuring the PCs of Vox Machina and some of their most well-known friends and foes. Now even more of the denizens of Tal’Dorei and the greater world of Exandria can appear in your fantasy games as player characters, NPCs, big bads, and more, and we’ve got a look at them today!
The new wave of Critical Role pre-painted miniatures from WizKids is expansive, with sets of characters, NPCs, and monsters, as well as two epic Premium Figures. All of it comes to you in Critical Role-themed packaging that ties the whole line together, and features the distinctive logo, blue and tan color scheme, and a cool map background image. Most of the boxes have highly detailed and full-color 3D renders of the figures on the sides and back panels, while you can see those figures clearly through the transparent front panels.
I want to be upfront that I am not a huge Critical Role fan. I’ve watched shows here and there, I love the voice actors themselves, and there are lots of amazing people in the Critter community. During much of the Vox Machina era, I was also working at Geek & Sundry on the shows Group Hug and Brick Battles. I think mine is actually a pretty good point of view for reviewing these miniatures, though, because they’re great for such a wide audience beyond just the people who’ve seen every single episode of CR. And that’s because without fail these figures look fantastic and can be used in officially licensed Critical Role role-playing games or any other tabletop experience! As I break down each of these new sets, I think you’ll see (and agree with) what I mean. I should also mention that you can find the D&D stats for nearly all of these creatures and characters in the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn book from Darrington Press.
My loose division of products in this wave will focus on characters (Characters of Tal’Dorei – Set 1, NPCs of Tal’Dorei – Set 1, NPCs of Exandria – Set 1), monsters (Monsters of Tal’Dorei – Set 1, Monsters of Tal’Dorei – Set 2), and Premium Figures (Ember Roc, Dieter).
What I’m lumping together as “character” is actually an interesting mix of humanoids and monstrous types, from the diminutive Ravager Stabby-Stabber and Clasp Cutthroat to the hulking Ashari Octopus. There are three sets here that focus on slightly different things starting with the Characters of Tal’Dorei Set 1. This one has a super fun mix of figures all by itself, representing some of the iconic races and factions living on the continent of Tal’Dorei. From the mighty Rivermaw Tribe come two goliaths, a female Brawler with knuckle spikes and a male Stormborn with two-handed axe. More on the bestial side are two members of the Kuul’tevir lizardfolk, a skulking Rogue with two wicked knives and a shouting Fighter charging ahead with shield and spear. If you like your heroes with a bit of a shorter stature, check out the dwarves of underground citadel in Cliffkeep Mountains; this set includes a stylish (and shirtless) Kraghammer Barbarian with axe and the awesome duo of the heavily armed Kraghammer Goat-Knight and his trusty Goat-Knight Steed. With the interchangeable parts you can field the Knight on foot, or on the back of his goat! Standing on his own to protect the elven city of Syngorn is the Verdant Guard Ranger with his bow and arrow prepped and ready. Last but certainly not least is the man, the myth, the legend himself… Matthew Mercer! The long-running Dungeon Master of Critical Role, Matthew has brought countless characters to life, and now you can field him in your games with this cool mini of a gloriously decked out human gesturing broadly.
The NPCs of Tal’Dorei Set 1 is more narrowly focused, though it may not look it at first glance due to the different kinds of creatures it consists of. That’s because all seven of the NPCs here are members of the Ashari, tribes whose purpose is to protect their world from threats from the Elemental Planes. You can loosely categorize these characters in a couple of different ways, but I’ll go with their elemental association. Starting with fire, we’ve got the Ashari Firetamer wielding a flaming sword and covered in intricate tattoos as well as the monstrously snake-like Ashari Fire Elemental with lots of translucent orange plastic to sell the flame effect. Be wary of messing with any underwater portals, as you may run afoul of the breaching Ashari Shark with a huge mouth full of teeth, the gigantic purple Ashari Octopus with beady yellow eyes, and the tough Ashari Waverider with her colorful suit and harpoon at the ready. Air and Earth and protected individually by the floating Ashari Skydancer air genasi archer and the hulking Ashari Stoneguard wearing furs and wielding a two-handed axe respectively.
Coming from all corners of the Critical Role world is the NPCs of Exandria – Set 1. And here, as with Matthew Mercer himself in the “Characters” set above, we find some specific personages from the show and planet in addition to generic NPCs. Oh, and most of the characters here are evil or scary or both. If you need something underhanded done you may find yourself working with the Clasp, a guild of all sorts of shady types. You can spice up your games with such lowlifes as the vicious little dual-wielding Clasp Cutthroat, human male Clasp Member checking the point on his dagger like a classic villain, and a very cool male tiefling Clasp Enforcer with an eyepatch and mighty hammer. Then there are death cultists galore, both from the Ravagers who revere Gruumsh the Ruiner and the archlich Vecna’s pals the Remnants. Both the Remnant Cultist and Remnant Chosen look like human magic users employing and surrounded by arcane energy (in the form of translucent blue plastic), while there’s a Ravager odd couple of the itty-bitty goblin Ravager Stabby-Stabber with two knives and the large orc Ravager Slaughter Lord covered in layered armor and weapons. Lastly, we’ve got three unique characters from Exandria. The elf pirate Captain Avantika looks resplendent in her green coat and rainbow feathered hat, keeping secret her devotion to the kraken Uk’otoa. King Warren Drassig may not have had actual Critical Role screen time, but his role in the instigation of the Scattered War makes him a famous character; he also looks cool as an old man in expensive armor with sword, cloak, and crown. Probably the most complex character and miniature is Jourrael, the Caedogeist, a drow specter and agent of Lolth! Her miniature is super detailed, capturing the essence of her insubstantiality as well as her many modes of attack.
Monsters are a crucial component of any good tabletop role-playing game, and WizKids has a fantastic track record bringing wildly imaginative ideas into plastic form with great sculpts and paint jobs, and that definitely continues here in the Critical Role monster sets. Exandria is a wild and sometimes scary place, as we can see with these collections. Monsters of Tal’Dorei – Set 1 journeys under the sea, to Visa Isle, and beyond. The Deepkeeper is a hideous aboleth resembling a huge purple fish with three eyes, a mouth filled with rows upon rows of teeth, and clusters of tentacles at its sides. On land the comings and goings of the red dragon Thordak have created and mutated many creatures, among them the rocky Cinderslag Elemental that has a great texture and transparent lava insides, and the Magma Landshark, like the one Vox Machina encountered, is a hot variation of the classic bulette. There are three metal-skinned monsters here, a Miskath Gorgon spewing noxious gas like the one the Mighty Nein fought, a magical rune-covered Platinum Golem like the ones that protected the vault of the Horn of Orcus, and a fearsome (and colorful!) Cobalt Golem as sent against Vox Machina by J’mon Sa Ord. The final three minis take us to the mysterious Visa Isle and the Yuan-Ti who live there. A standard snaky Vos’sykriss Serpentfolk with short sword is joined by two translucent Vos’sykriss Serpentfolk Ghostforms, while WizKids could have gone a less expensive route reusing molds, each of the three are unique sculpts!
Monsters of Tal’Dorei – Set 2 continues the parade of creatures and entities with even more references to key battles and challenges faced by Vox Machina and the Mighty Nein. There are a few undead here with a standard Flaming Skeleton I would not want to shake hands with and the curious pair of Centaur Skeleton and Centaur Skeleton with Head (a generic placeholder for the stallion-lord Ichabarr, Headless Horse-Man and Herd of the Damned). The iconic two-headed Ettin is a common sight in fantasy worlds, with such giants encountered by both main adventuring parties, as is the fey Satyr; both minis take a standard creature and give it plenty of personality in pose and paint applications. There is a lot of magic in this set, including in the small but deadly ice crystal elementals known as Cold Snap Spirits and the super fancy Cyclops Stormcaller, a somewhat weaker than average member of his species but given magic powers by the Stormlord thanks to its birth during a storm. Two more creatures are artificially created, the majestic transparent purple Adranach, an Astral Planar energy construct created by the League of Miracles, and the Demonfeed Spider the Ravagers enhance via dark rituals. Connecting strongly to the NPCs of Exandria box is the cosmic horror-like Wraithroot Tree, an entity that for a time guarded the heart of Jourrael the Caedogeist.
In its long and continuing tradition, WizKids Games is including Premium Figures alongside the Critical Role main line of miniatures. Premium figs are generally quite large and feature tremendous detailing both in sculpt and paint jobs, and that’s absolutely true of the new pair. First up, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the mind-blowing Ember Roc!
The first thing that struck me was its huge 10-inch wingspan. It’s not the biggest miniature overall, but that’s pretty rad and really stands out in a collection of Critical Role figures. The variant of the usual giant bird that’s gotten fire powers from close association with the Plane of Fire. As such, the Ember Roc has lots of fiery parts, flames erupting from its body alongside its regular feathers. There’s a tremendous amount of sculpted detail and texture on the birdie’s feathers as well as the flames, and it’s all made lifelike with transparent yellow plastic and a dreamy paint scheme in blues, reds, and yellows. Seriously, holding this thing up to a light source is super cool.
And then there’s the mighty creature known as Dieter! The gigantic Lucidian Ocean Dragon Turtle (whose species name was shortened to D. Turtle and then Dieter) is replicated here in what’s nearly a diorama, swimming atop a watery base as he pursues ships to take what he wants.
The Dragon Turtle is a pretty unique creature in Dungeons & Dragons, and I think this is about the perfect representation of one. There are fantastic and varied textures on Dieter’s shell and leathery skin, with numerous spikes, creases, protuberances, and much more. The claws are scored and uneven, and the huge beaked maw is open and ready to bite. And then there’s the water base! Elevating the Dragon Turtle completely off the display base, the section of ocean has a dark bottom that lightens as it gets higher, turning to frothing spume around the creature as it breaches the waves. Dieter’s coloration is good with a green shell, brownish-green skin, red mouth interior, and solid yellow eyes, though I have to admit I wish there were some brighter accents to break up the large areas.
Frankly, I could go on and on about every single figure here, but I’ll let my photos do a lot of the talking. Instead, I want to call out a few of my absolute favorites from this second wave, and trust me when I say it was hard to narrow them down! I’ve always had a hard time tracking down shark minis for some reason, so I’m super excited for the Ashari Shark. It’s truly fearsome and incredibly rendered, and it will definitely be showing up for some unsuspecting water travelers in a future game. Captain Avantika is a perfect PC mini for anyone playing a flamboyant swashbuckler, buccaneer, privateer, or pirate. She’s got tons of style and uniqueness to really stand out from the crowd.
The same could be said for the Kraghammer Goat-Knight, a figure that makes me want to roll up a new character to use it. Almost all miniatures are static, and at some point just won’t be able to portray a character properly. And so, the ability to switch out the Knight to be on foot or riding his goat is a huge bonus!
Other monsters that really stood out for me are the Gorgon (I’m a Classicist, so of course) and the Cobalt Golem with a beautiful patina-like paint job and a texture that looks brittle and solid at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Centaur Skeletons before, so I’m happy that I can add two of those to my collection, especially since one of them is holding his own flaming head.
Both of the Premium Figures can stand tall next to anything on the market, though I have a big soft spot for Dieter, and really any mini that is a scene unto itself. Finally, my absolute fave of the entire bunch might just be the Wraithroot Tree; it’s malevolent, it reminds me of cosmic horror and the demons from Locke & Key, and I love it.
Among its substantial fanbase, any Critical Role miniatures would be an instant hit, but it’s clear that WizKids really went above and beyond with the character and monster selection as well as the quality workmanship in these figures. Without exception they look great, and would make solid additions to any gaming table. If you are already a Critter, I expect you’ve already ordered these, and if you haven’t, you’re now going to want to. The figures will take you back to some of your favorite scenes, and even if you don’t run the minis as the exact characters on Critical Role you can come up with your own storylines and locations to include them! I also have to recommend these miniatures highly to any tabletop RPG player or Dungeon/Game Master as they’re versatile and look fabulous. These can be used for player characters, non-player characters, bosses, background elements, and more. And remember that these sets make up the second wave, so if this is the first time you’re hearing about the line you may want to go check those out too!
The Critical Role Wave 2 miniatures are hitting store shelves now; the standard box sets are all MSRP $59.99 each, with the Dieter Premium Figure at $79.99 and the Ember Roc $89.99.
For more information or to purchase directly, you can head over to WizKids Games here.
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Review and photos by Scott Rubin.
Review samples courtesy of WizKids Games.
Characters of TalDorei
Monsters of TalDorei1
Monsters of TalDorei2
NPCs of Exandria1
NPCs of TalDorei1