Warhammer: Vermintide II – Sister of the Thorn Review

Vermintide II - Sister of the Thorn - Key Art

I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but I am a fan of Warhammer: Vermintide II. I like co-op, I like Warhammer fantasy, and more than anything else, I love a game that lets you cut loose and just murder wave after wave of vile Chaos-Spawn. Once again, the developers behind Vermintide II have graced us with another career expansion, Sister of the Thorn for everyone’s favorite elf: Kerillian. The question is if this new career is as much fun as the chain-gunning glee of the Dwarf Engineer?

As with the other two career expansions that FS has released, Sister of the Thorn contains a new career for one of your heroes, as well as a few new weapons to help spice up your game. However, things are a bit different with this expansion. Normally, you’ll get a ranged weapon and a melee weapon, depending on the career. This time, you get a melee weapon and two ranged weapons. Sort of, anyway.

The weapons in question are the Briar Javelin and the Deepwood Staff, with only the new Kerillian career working with the staff. The staff is sort of what it sounds like, a magic nature staff. It can shoot out tiny magic bolts and has an alt-fire that allows you to make one specific enemy float in the air, making them an easier target for you or a teammate to finish off. The aim of the game here is crowd control, with your staff being perfect for peppering an enemy swarm to thin the herd slightly.

 

Vermintide II: Sister of the Thorn – Javelin, Javelout

Sister of the Thorn - Rat Attack
The Sister of the Thorn is a great character when it comes to crowd control. | Source: Steam

The real star of the Sister of the Thorn pack is the Briar Javelin. Not only can Kerillian use it in any career, but it’s one of the most OP weapons in the game. You can use the javelin in your ranged weapon slot, despite having a melee attack as well, and you can one-shot any elite enemy with it from a distance. You also won’t be able to run out of ammo with the javelin because you can reload it wherever you like as often as you like. No pickup or ammo station is necessary.

The main new class, the titular Sister of the Thorn, is a new support class, supposedly. The class isn’t designed for high damage output but is instead a great character for controlling the battlefield. The new Ult has you pulling up a deadly hedge that enemies cannot move through. These death hedges also cause damage as they disappear. You can stack up to 3 of these things too if you’ve got the right build at level 25 onwards. They’re useful for funneling enemies, as well as straight up taking out hordes in a lot of cases, especially when added effects, like poison, get thrown into the mix.

The issue here is that despite being called a support class, the new Sister of the Thorn is a total powerhouse. Someone at Fat Shark must really love Kerillian (let’s not mince words, we know there are a lot of Elf mains on the team from past live streams) because she was already a pretty overplayed character, and with these new changes, she’s the dominant strategy for winning all your games. When properly specced, her new career not only controls the battlefield but totally decimates it. It gets even worse when you throw in the overpowered javelin she has too.

 

Vermintide II: Sister of Thorn – Too Much Power

Sister of the Thorn - Rat Ogre
It might look like Kerillian is in trouble here, but trust me, with that javelin in hand, she’s gonna be fine. | Source: Steam

This means that while playing as Kerillian, you can have a total blast with almost any build. You can one-shot enemies even as a shade before using your Ult to also one-shot bosses because, hey, why not? You can take care of entire hoards with your new Ult and pick off the survivors with your unlimited javelin. While that’s all well and good, it does have a knock-on effect that has caused a few problems in my personal playing experience.

While I was playing this new career, I had several players straight up refuse to play with me while I was using the javelin/Sister of the Thorn combo. They’d drop in, see me, and either ask me to change characters or just drop straight back out again. There’s a subset of the community who really just hate how powerful this new career is. It’s easy to see why. People who are willing to fork out extra cash have an advantage over everyone else. While this isn’t as much of a problem in a co-op setting, it still sucks. No one wants a game where they don’t get to do anything.

While Sister of the Thorn is a great addition to the game for the individual, it has upset the delicate balance of the meta game. She never runs out of ammo, shuts down hordes, and kills most elites from across the map. It’s no wonder people aren’t always down for playing with her. We’ll just have to hope that Fat Shark will give us some nerfs. With a little less power, this class could be one of the most fun in the entire game.

Developer: Fatshark

Publisher: Fatshark

Release Date: 30th June 2021

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows

Gaming Respawn’s copy of Warhammer: Vermintide II – Sister of the Thorn was provided by the publisher.

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