ByNicholas Montegriffo, writer at Creators.co
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Nicholas Montegriffo

Dawn of War 3, the latest in Relic Entertainment's rendition of Games Workshop's gothic military sci-fi setting, introduces some interesting new mechanics for RTS fans to get to grips with. One of the coolest new elements of DoW3 are the Elite units.

Unlike its predecessor, doesn't have persistent RPG elements or wargear that carries over from one mission to another. However, there are special units that gain experience as they rack up kills across the campaign and multiplayer. These are the Elites—devastating units that can often turn the tide of battle.

Watch the Space Marines, Orks and Eldar duke it out in the gloriously grimdark trailer for Dawn of War III:

Elite units gain experience as they kill units in single player and multiplayer games. The XP unlocks new doctrines that can be equipped, which often provides a specific buff to a single unit or class of units once they're on the battlefield.

Each of the three factions—Space Marines, Eldar, and Orks, have different Elites with abilities that complement the fighting style of their race. Let's break down the Elites available to the Emperor's Finest, the Space Marines.

'Dawn Of War 3' Space Marine Elite Units

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

Aside from their formidable battlefield prowess, Elites in Dawn of War 3 also enable Doctrines, which are buffs to particular units that can modify their abilities or grant new ones. The 'Command' type Doctrines, upon reaching Level 8, can even have their benefits extended to the entire army.

Commander Gabriel Angelos

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

The Dawn of War 3 Space Marine army leader is represented as a melee infantry unit that specializes in high area of effect damage and disruption. Angelos' legendary God-Splitter hammer charges up over time, imbuing his abilities with additional effects in the late game.

Abilities:

  • Retribution: Gabriel swings his hammer, damaging enemies in a circle around him and also knocking them back. Creates a barrier that absorbs and reflects enemy fire. Barrier duration increases with each charge of God-Splitter.
  • God-Splitter: Gabriel jumps to the target, causing knockback and stun effects in a circle. Increases speed after landing.
  • Critical Strike: Passive ability that powers up every 8th attack to cause knockback and AoE damage. Triggers more frequently with additional charges of God-Splitter.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Gabriel Angelos' Command - Slam Barrier: The Dreadnought's Slam creates a temporary barrier that absorbs and reflects enemy fire.
  • Gabriel Angelos' Presence - Inspiring Drop: When Gabriel is deployed, drop pods heal in a circle upon landing.

Kill Team Ironmaw

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

This Deathwatch Kill Team is a flexible ranged infantry squad that can choose different weapon packages to take into battle. In lore, the Deathwatch are elite alien-killers. In Dawn of War 3, they function as a souped-up tactical squad.

Abilities:

  • Vortex Grenade: Throws grenade which slows enemies in AoE and applies a debuff which causes damage over time.
  • Teleport Homer: Teleports Squad back to your Elite queue, allows you to deploy them again at full strength.
  • Furor Tactics: Upgrades squad member with a Flamer that deals Normal damage in a cone. Disables Malleus Tactics.
  • Malleus Tactics: Upgrades squad member with an armor-piercing missile launcher. Disables Furor Tactics.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Deathwatch Command - Land Speeder Mark: Land Speeders apply a debuff to their target that increases damage taken and reveals the target.
  • Deathwatch Presence - Death From Above: Deathwatch can be deployed anywhere you have vision. After the Deathwatch is deployed, other Elites can be deployed around it.

Assault Terminators

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

These juggernauts appear in Dawn of War 3 as a tanking/crowd control unit. The heavily armored terminators can take huge amounts of damage, and also dish it out with their punishing close combat loadout.

Abilities:

  • Hammer Slam: Causes AoE damage and slow.
  • Teleport: Teleports the squad to target position, causing knockback in a circle.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Assault Terminators Presence - Charging Slam: While the Terminators are deployed, the Dreadnought charges in a target's direction, causing damage and knockback in its path and ending the charge with a Slam.
  • Assault Terminators Command - Frag Grenade: Enables Tactical Marines to throw a grenade which causes AoE damage and knockback.

Librarian Jonah Orion

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

Librarians are the psyker specialists of the Space Marines, unleashing their mental power on the enemies of the Imperium. However, Dawn of War 3's librarians play out much differently from tabletop Warhammer 40K. These Librarians are somewhat fragile, better kept in the backline, using their abilities to protect your army.

Abilities:

  • Stonewall: Creates a magical circular barrier around the Librarian that blocks movement through it and absorbs shots. Fury of the Ancients and Emperor's Light are modified when cast inside Stonewall.
  • Emperor's Light: An activated and channeled ability that increases allies' damage while disabling attacks, blinding and silencing enemies in an expanding circle.
  • Fury of the Ancients: Jonah projects arcs of lightning in a line which damage enemies and increase ally speed.
  • Zeal: Passive ability. Jonah gains a Charge when using abilities that decay over time. Every Charge gained increases his attack speed.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Jonah Orion's Command - Blind Grenade: Scout grenades also blind and silence the enemy for a duration that increases as you Tier up.
  • Jonah Orion's Presence - Standard Stonewall: When Jonah is deployed, the standard erects a magical barrier around it that blocks movement and absorbs shots.

Imperial Knight Solaria

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

Imperial Knight Solaria is a massive walker unit, new to Dawn of War 3, capable of nuking entire armies with devastating firepower that deals damage over an area. Sustained attacks will cause Solaria to overheat, slowing her movement speed but modifying her attacks.

Abilities:

  • Ironstorm Missiles: Fires up to 6 missiles at independent target positions that cause armor-piercing AoE damage. Each missile not fired reduces cooldown. When overheated, the missiles burn the ground, also causing damage over time and slow.
  • Gets Hot!: Passive ability. When overheated, Solaria slows down but causes increased damage.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Solaria's Command - Fire on Move: Tactical Marines with bolters can fire on the move, although not as rapidly as when stationary.
  • Solaria's Presence - Inferno Missiles: When Solaria is deployed, whirlwind rockets leave behind burning pools upon exploding, causing damage over time.

Chaplain Diomedes

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

Apollo Diomedes from Dawn of War 2: Retribution returns in Dawn of War 3 as a space marine chaplain, keeping his signature oratory abilities. Chaplain Diomedes is capable of soaking up a huge amount of damage and boosting the allies around him.

Abilities:

  • Liturgies of Battle: Diomedes recites the Liturgies of Battle to inspire himself and his battle brothers. Increases speed, rate of critical strikes and applies critical bonus to normal attacks. A similar but smaller bonus is granted to nearby allies.
  • Zeal and Fury: Diomedes gains Fury as he attacks, losing it when disabled or out of combat. At max Fury it grants a Charge, empowering his Critical Strike with additional properties. The first Charge grants bonus damage, the second heals in a circle.
  • Critical Strike: Every 6th melee attack delivers a powerful blow which grants shields in a circle and additional bonuses based on Zeal and Fury. When Liturgies of Battle is active, triggers every 3rd attack.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Diomedes' Command - Final Slam: Instead of dying, Dreadnought activates slam and heals enough to avoid death. Only triggers once.
  • Diomedes' Presence - Rosarius: When Diomedes is deployed, Elites become temporarily invulnerable for a time instead of dying. Has a long cooldown between uses.

Imperial Knight Paladin

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

A more balanced alternative to Solaria, Dawn of War 3's other imperial knight walker comes with a mix of ranged, melee and defensive capabilities.

Abilities:

  • Piercing Shot: Fires a powerful shot in a direction which pierces and damages units it passes through.
  • Reaper Chainsword Sweep: Sweeping melee attack that causes damage, knockback and stun in an expanding arc.
  • Ion Shield: Deploys Shield in the target direction that absorbs shots that pass through it.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Paladin's Command - Shield Wall: Devastator Marines gain a shield if they've been stationary for a time. Moving removes the shield but if it is destroyed or the unit is disabled, it will regenerate over time.
  • Paladin's Presence - Piercing Shot: When the Imperial Knight Paladin is deployed, the Predator Destructor can fire a powerful shot in a direction which pierces and damages units it passes through.

Terminators

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

Equipped with a devastating arsenal of ranged weaponry, these space marine terminators deal death from a distance, nuking groups of enemies.

Abilities:

  • Cyclone Missile Barrage: Fires a barrage of missiles that scatter in a circle around the target. Causes damage in a circle, additional missiles are fired for every Charge. Terminators gain charges in ranged combat, and lose them while out of combat.
  • Teleport: Teleports the squad to target position.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Terminators Presence - Devastation: While the Terminators are deployed, Devastators with heavy bolters no longer need to set up or dismantle their weapons.
  • Terminators Command - Focused Shot: Devastators fire a focused lasconnon shot at the target vehicle, causing silence, slow, and disables attacks.

Venerable Dreadnought

A much more powerful version of the regular dreadnought available in Dawn of War 3, this Venerable Dreadnought is especially effective against armored targets like structures and vehicles, and unleashes hell with its powerful plasma cannon.

Abilities:

  • Toss: Throws a piece of terrain at target position which causes armor piercing damage and knockback in a circle. Infantry in a cone in front of him are knocked back to target position. Causes True Damage to target upon impact and stun in a circle.
  • Maximal Charge: Fires charged plasma shot at target location. Damage in a circle on impact and keeps doing damage over time. Generates considerable heat, slowing the Dreadnought and disabling ranged attacks temporarily.

Elite Doctrines:

  • Venerable Dreadnought's Presence - Plasma Storm: While the Venerable Dreadnought is deployed, plasma guns carried by Tactical Marines do not overheat.
  • Venerable Dreadnought's Command - Assault Leap: Assault Marines perform a low flying leap in the target direction, causing damage to units they pass through.

The Emperor's Finest

'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]
'Dawn of War 3' [Credit: Sega]

These are the top tier units that Dawn of War 3's Space Marines will be able to bring to bear against the Imperium's foes. Like the baseline army, these Elites are durable, versatile and capable of laying down devastating firepower. Contrast with the Eldar, whose Elites are hard-hitting and speedy, but much more fragile. Or with the Orks, which use strength in numbers backed up with their Waaagh! and looting abilities.

The Elites you choose will play a big part in determining army strategy, as their presence and careful use of their abilities, adequately supported, will be the focus of the decisive actions on the battlefield.

Which of the Space Marine Elites are you most looking forward to using?

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