Should you buy Critical Role Wave 2 miniatures by WizKids?

Are Critical Role miniatures worth your hard-earned money? Don’t worry, you’re no less a Critter for considering that question. Even if you’re a big fan of the online series or its animated adaptation by Amazon, minis to go with the best Dungeons and Dragons books are expensive.

That’s why I’ve been having a closer look at many of the new Critical Role miniatures by WizKids. Heavily inspired by artwork from the likes of Tal’Dorei Reborn, these figures promise to give you premium, tablet-ready game pieces you can throw straight into your games. But are they worthy of the Critical Role name? Similarly, how do they compare to other WizKids miniatures?

You’ll find my thoughts on all of the above here, including how well these minis would integrate with other entries from our list of the best tabletop RPGs.

Critical Role Wave 2 – Characters of Tal’Dorei (Set 1)

Critical Role: Characters of Tal'Dorei

(Image credit: WizKids)

This pack isn’t quite what you’d expect. With a name like ‘Characters of Tal’Dorei’, it’d be understandable to think you’re getting well-known faces from the world of Critical Role – perhaps those who aided Vox Machina in their many quests.

As it turns out, there’s only one recognisable name in here… and it’s Dungeon Master Matt Mercer himself. Everything else is drawn from the creatures section of Tal’Dorei Reborn, allowing you to use them as foes, NPCs, or something else entirely.

Essential info

Price: $59.99 / £59.99
What’s included:
Matthew Mercer, Rivermaw Brawler, Rivermaw Stormborn, Kraghammer Barbarian, Kraghammer Goat-Knight, Goat-Knight Steed, Kuul’tevir Rogue, Kuul’tevir Fighter, Verdant Guard Ranger

In many ways, this is a net positive. There are many suitable candidates for player characters here if you’re starting a game set in Tal’Dorei, and many of them are refreshingly unusual. The Kraghammer Goat Knight is a great example. Designed to split in half along the waist so that he can be seated on his (very grumpy-looking) steed, it’s a good showstopper piece for your party.

Another case in point would be the Rivermaw goliaths. They’re the same species as Vox Machina staple Grog, so tower over other models and boast intricate tattoo patterns all over their bodies.

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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While the other miniatures are more in line with archetypes, they still offer good – if not excellent, in the case of the Kuul’tevir lizardfolk – paintwork. The Verdant Guard Ranger will appeal to anyone that finds themselves drawn to playing wood elf bowmen, for instance. That means these minis are compatible with the likes of Pathfinder; there isn’t much that ties them to Tal’Dorei specifically, letting them pull double-duty for games with different settings.

Naturally, I couldn’t go any further without mentioning Mercer himself. Matt’s miniature is delightful thanks to an outfit that evokes his real-life DM attire, along with a sly expression that suggests he’s about to drop a very nasty monster on you. He’d make a great villain for your adventurers.

As always, the only hang-up I have is price. Costing $59.99 in the USA (or $62.99 from WizKids directly (opens in new tab), where the price is currently fluctuating) and £59.99 in the UK, that’s steep for nine models – as awesome as they are.

Fortunately, UK fans can save some money if they’re quick; the minis are discounted to £47.99 at Magic Madhouse (opens in new tab).

Critical Role Wave 2 – NPCs of Tal’Dorei (set 1)

Critical Role: NPCs of Tal'Dorei

(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

Even though it’s called ‘NPCs of Tal’Dorei’, a better name for this pack might be ‘Ashari’ – these elemental guardians are the focus. With a representative from each of the four tribes (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire) to go with elemental monsters they can battle against, the set stands out from other Critical Role miniatures thanks to unique designs. Take the Waverider; their outfit looks like something out of Aquaman, bringing a very different flavor to the tabletop. It’s nice to see more diverse body types being represented, too.

Essential info

Price: $59.99 / £59.99
What’s included:
Ashari Fire Elemental, Ashari Firetamer, Ashari Shark, Ashari Octopus, Ashari Skydancer, Ashari Stoneguard, Ashari Waverider

For the most part, these models do their inspiration justice. The Firetamer has a distinctly moody expression that’s easily readable from a distance, and they’re rocking a translucent flaming sword (always a win in our books). Equally, the Skydancer has a badass shooting-a-bow-while-in-midair pose that’s elevated by opaque hair you won’t find from other miniature brands. As for the Waverider, they possess surprisingly detailed facial features despite the figure’s smaller size. That’s true across the board for Critical Role Wave 2, actually.

The monsters are cool as well if a little plain at times. The Ashari Octopus has a creepy, mindflayer-eque face that adds spice to what would otherwise have been… well, just an octopus. Meanwhile, the Fire Elemental’s aggressive flame effects and beady little eyes make for a genuinely intimidating foe. Yes, it’s a shame the shark isn’t given an equal amount of ‘awesome’ to play with, but it’s an evocative sculpt nonetheless.

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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That leaves the Stoneguard. Sadly, there’s a reason I’ve held it back for last; despite having a suitably dramatic design (they’re holding something off with the haft of their axe), the paint really leaves something to be desired. While I may have ended up with a dud, the model in official PR photos isn’t much better. That makes me wonder whether the dark color scheme is to blame; the overall result is muddy.

Still, I’d say these miniatures are worth their $59.99 / £59.99 price tag on the whole – you won’t find pre-painted Ashari sculpts anywhere else.

You can currently order the set from WizKids directly (opens in new tab) (though it’s currently sitting at a slightly inflated $62.99). If you’re in the UK, you can find it for a greatly reduced £47.99 at Magic Madhouse (opens in new tab).

Critical Role Wave 2 – NPCs of Exandria (Set 1)

Critical Role: NPCs of Exandria

(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

This pack is broader in scope than the other Critical Role miniatures listed here; it takes us through the world of Exandria’s history. King Warren Drassig is exhibit A of that particular concept. As one of the setting’s most infamous despots, he’s the perfect villain for anyone running a campaign set in the past – and the model is suitably imposing. Although I would have liked to see more layering in the paintwork (it’s somewhat plain), it’s still an epic pose with that fur cloak flapping in the wind.

Essential info

Price: $59.99 / £59.99
What’s included:
Captain Avantika, Clasp Cutthroat, Clasp Enforcer, Clasp Member, Jourrael the Caedogeist, King Warren Drassig, Ravager Slaughter Lord, Ravager Stabby-Stabber, Remnant Chosen, Remnant Cultist

The other miniatures are equally well done (the criminal Clasp members ooze menace, particularly that devilish Enforcer), but the most notable one might be Jorreal, the Caedogeist. As a Critical Role villain from campaign two, she’s probably the standout because this is the only way of getting her onto your tabletop. I’m in love with the translucent, billowing smoke she’s leaping out of; it’s a nicely premium touch.

Captain Avantika is every bit as cool, if not as flashy. A long-running NPC from the second season of Critical Role, this model has suitable swagger and conveys a strong personality without much effort. It’s inspiring, practically crying out for a campaign revolving around her early adventures.

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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(Image credit: WizKids / Gilmore’s Glorious Goods)

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The downside of this pack? The Ravager Slaughter Lord isn’t nearly as interesting as the art from the book, and neither is the Ravager Stabby-Stabber (though in its defence, it does have the best name ever). Tal’Dorei Reborn depicts haunting, corpse-like monsters that you really wouldn’t want to encounter down a dark alley, but the miniatures opt for very generic fantasy instead. They’re good sculpts, of course, but they don’t represent the source material all that well. Considering how close the others hew to the book’s illustrations, it’s an odd choice.


Reviewed using samples provided by WizKids.

This is just part one of our coverage, and we’ll be adding to this page with more thoughts later. Until then, be sure to check out more tabletop action with the best board games, or maybe some good board games for adults.

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