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A Space Marine of the Ultramarines chapter.

Space Marines are the elite warriors of the Imperium of Man. They are huge super-soldiers enhanced by numerous implants (such as a secondary heart and other neo-organs), extensive medication and hypnotherapy. These enhancements and inhuman amounts of training grant them superhuman physical and mental abilities. Cybernetic implants allow the use of their trademark power armor, a heavily armored suit that augments their strength and provides basic survival/medical functions.

Space Marines are organized in around 1,000 Chapters consisting of 10 companies of 100 men each. Each Chapter is a completely self-sufficient force with its own space fleet, support personnel and so on. They are fiercely loyal to the Emperor, but also autonomous and tend to serve as they see fit. The Imperium they serve is a massive (about 1,000,000 worlds) but thinly spread dominion locked in endless war with Chaos and numerous alien species. The whole society is a dystopian war machine where entire planets are dedicated to weapon factories and the average citizen's life is barely better than being killed by Orks.

The Space Marines are a small force of extremely skilled and tough individuals. In addition to elite infantry they have good vehicles and orbital support. If you don't mind a little fanaticism, there's nothing not to like.


Force Commander (Gabriel Angelos)[edit]

Force Commander with bolt pistol and power sword.

W40k-dow force commander icon.gif

  • Class: Commander
  • Role: Melee, support

The Force Commander is your main commander unit, available through every mission. He is an uber-veteran with superior combat skills. He has good ranged damage and great melee damage, and can be upgraded with better weapons and armor. Attached to a squad, he provides a big morale bonus (twice as much as a Sergeant). He has two active special abilities that you should be using often:

  • Battlecry: Temporary damage bonus for nearby units. Use when surrounded by own troops (that have targets).
  • Orbital Bombardment: An airstrike from the orbit. May take down a building or a vehicle, infantry will be knocked off your screen (if still alive). Best when called on a big horde of infantry and light vehicles. Takes a while to set up; can be interrupted by attacks with knockdown.

In low-level fights, you can send the Force Commander in solo; his melee attack will disrupt infantry squads while your ranged units shoot them up. In a pinch he can even kill a light vehicle. If the enemy has many advanced units, you should be more careful and attach him to a squad. If you lose him, he will respawn around your Stronghold for free after a while.

Librarian (Isador Akios)[edit]


W40k-dow librarian icon.gif

  • Class: Commander
  • Role: Melee, support

The Librarian is your secondary commander, a Space Marine "psyker" (i.e., has psychic abilities). He's fairly tough and pretty good at melee, though his main purpose is in his support abilities. He has a higher squad morale bonus than a Sergeant (though not as high as the Force Commander) and has a decent ranged attack as well. The Librarian has three special abilities:

  • Smite: A psychic attack that damages most units and can knock down infantry. Smallish area of effect. Best used on clumps of ranged infantry.
  • Weaken Resolve: Demoralizes a target squad. Doesn't seem very effective. Use it anyway whenever it's charged.
  • Word of the Emperor: Nearby infantry units refuse to die as long as this lasts. They still get damaged, though; they just stop at 1 health point. Still, obviously very useful.

Sadly, the Librarian cannot order Orbital Bombardment strikes. Some of his abilities also require research so some are unavailable in early campaign missions.

Inquisitor Toth[edit]

Toth and Angelos.

W40k-dow inquisitor toth icon.gif

  • Class: Commander
  • Role: Melee, support

Toth isn't really a Space Marine - he's a member of the Inquisition, an Imperial organization that does just what it sounds like. He's the only representative of his faction, though, and player-controllable, so he will be described here. Toth functions as a secondary commander who has somewhat lower health than the Force Commander or the Librarian and special abilities sort of halfway between the two:

  • Smite: Like the Librarian's ability.
  • Weaken Resolve: Like the Librarian's ability.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Like the Force Commander's ability.

The ability to order Orbital Bombardment strikes is probably the best thing about him - this makes for some extremely devastating orbital attacks when you target a double OB on an area with Gabriel and Toth simultaneously.



W40k-dow servitor icon.gif

  • Class: Infantry
  • Role: Builder unit

The Servitor builds your structures and repairs your vehicles, and that's about it. You can set two on the same project to make it happen faster. Servitors take up Squad Cap, so don't keep unnecessary units around. Note that you can Deep Strike them through the Orbital Relay (can be useful if setting up a secondary base).

Scout Marine Squad[edit]

W40k-dow scout marine squad icon.gif

  • Class: Infantry
  • Role: Scouting, sniping

Scout Marines are light infantry that can infiltrate, making them invisible to most enemy units as long as they do not attack. They are lightly armored and have a maximum squad size of 4, so they should generally avoid fights. In single-player they are mainly used to scout enemy positions and spot targets for long-range firepower. When upgraded with sniper rifles they can also take out leader units and destroy enemy morale from behind your lines in bigger scraps. You should get Scout Infiltration Research from the Stronghold right away to make them less vulnerable (besides, it's pretty cheap).

Space Marine Squad[edit]

Tactical Marines with plasma guns, heavy bolters and standard bolter guns.

W40k-dow space marine squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Versatile

The Space Marine Squad - Tactical Squad in the tabletop game - is your basic infantry unit. They hold their own in both ranged and melee combat; mostly you want them shooting but sometimes charging at ranged specialists. They can be upgraded with a variety of heavy weapons, making them useful in all situations. Upgrading one squad with only one type is best for managing your Marines (i.e., correct range and correct targets).

  • Flamers have short range and moderate damage, but will quickly wreck enemy morale, making infantry very ineffective.
  • Heavy bolters have long range and great damage against infantry, but cannot be fired while moving and require a short setup time to fire.
  • Plasma guns have shorter range but can be fired on the move and are more effective against heavy infantry and commander units.
  • Missile launchers have very long range and good damage against vehicles and buildings. They do little damage against infantry, however they will disrupt and demoralize.

There are several global upgrades that apply to Space Marine Squads. You want all, probably starting with the Bionics and Heavy Weapon Increase upgrades. Each squad can be upgraded with a Sergeant who increases squad morale and has the Rally special ability (instant full morale) which should be used a lot. Also get the Frag Grenades upgrade and frag ranged squads to disrupt them.

Assault Marine Squad[edit]

Assault Marines jumping on the enemy.

W40k-dow assault marine squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Melee anti-infantry

Assault Marines are jump infantry, meaning they can jetpack over impassable terrain. They are melee units, most effective when jumping on enemy ranged specialists. Because of their mobility they can quickly reinforce a weak spot in a fight or prevent an enemy squad from escaping. Assault Marines can be equipped with short-range melta bombs so they can jump in, bomb a vehicle or building, and jump out. You can also jump them into an enemy base to spot good targets for artillery or a place for some Deep Striking.

Terminator Squad[edit]

W40k-dow terminator squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Ranged firepower

These are the most senior veterans of an already elite army, equipped with a heavier version of power armor. The squad can carry 2 vehicle-class heavy weapons; they are slow but fire on the move and also teleport (with a delay). They are excellent - the only drawback is that they take 4 Squad Cap, meaning you could get 2 Tactical Squads (8 heavy weapons) instead, so you must weigh whether they are worth it. In cramped surroundings where it's difficult to fit many squads, definitely - in many other cases, probably not.

Note: When you buy Terminator Squads, they come teleport-ready but without reinforcement or upgrades. It's usually best to Deep Strike them inside your own base, get the upgrades, then put them back in the Chapel-Barracks for full-strength insertion.

Assault Terminator Squad[edit]

W40k-dow assault terminator squad icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Melee specialist

These are a close-combat version of regular Terminators, effective against everything. They take 4 Squad Cap as well, but replacing them with 2 Assault Marine Squads isn't the same - these guys have crazy health and beat even vehicles to scrap. Throw in the teleport with decent range (and Deep Strikes from your base) and they can really stir up trouble. Attach a commander unit to them for best results.


W40k-dow aphotecary icon.gif

  • Class: Heavy infantry
  • Role: Healer unit

The Apothecary can be attached to a squad like a commander unit; he doesn't improve the squad's morale or fighting capacity, but boosts the squad's health regeneration (and that of other nearby units). He has a chainsword and can hold his own in melee, but he's not really a combat bonus like a commander. There's no reason not to get and attach the maximum number (4) of Apothecaries.



W40k-dow rhino icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Transport

It's an unarmed transport - you put guys inside and drive around. In theory it's very smart as it can nullify lots of anti-infantry fire and you can move your infantry around faster. In practice it seems pretty useless (in campaign play). Build armed vehicles instead and tell your guys to walk.

Land Speeder[edit]

W40k-dow land speeder icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Anti-infantry

The Land Speeder is a light vehicle that can jump (like Assault Marines) and deal out a good amount of anti-infantry fire. If the enemy has no anti-vehicle capacity, even one of these could be a pain. For example, take one to scout around and kill any lone infantry squads. Mass several and jump them to an enemy base through the back for some sabotage. They are fried pretty quickly by anti-vehicle weaponry, however, so heavier vehicles are preferable most of the time.


W40k-dow dreadnought icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Close combat

The Dreadnought is your walker vehicle, a war machine operated by a horribly wounded Space Marine veteran permanently implanted within. It is heavily armored and comes with two melee weapons. Don't get the ranged weapons, the Dread does huge melee damage and you have tons of other ranged units already. Put it in front to draw useless anti-infantry fire or (the best part) drop it right on the enemy from the Orbital Relay. Always have some.

Hellfire Dreadnought[edit]

W40k-dow hellfire dreadnought icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Ranged combat

This is a ranged Dreadnought variant with no melee capacity. It's less durable and a bit cheaper. You probably won't want this; you already have ranged infantry, and if you want a vehicle with ranged weapons, get a Predator tank instead.


W40k-dow whirlwind icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Missile artillery

It's like a Rhino transport with a ballistic missile launcher. Huge range, effective against buildings and disrupts infantry like no tomorrow. It also needs a spotter unit to utilize the range and is very inaccurate (you will probably hit your own scouts occasionally). If you use these, you should have 2-3 and keep an eye on them to avoid shooting yourself in the leg; they will happily fire at enemy melee units engaged with your troops, who can subsequently be found all over the map. Consider using the Cease Fire stance when not manually choosing targets.


W40k-dow predator icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Main battle tank

The main Space Marine tank. Durable with good upgrade options. The default configuration is anti-infantry with autocannon & heavy bolters. All weapons can be upgraded to a lascannon for (very roughly) about double anti-vehicle damage and half anti-infantry damage. The basic choice is mixing the big lascannon with the default bolters. If you want a dedicated tank killer, then upgrade the small guns as well - though the difference may not be huge.

Land Raider[edit]

Ultramarines chapter Land Raider.

W40k-dow land raider icon.gif

  • Class: Vehicle
  • Role: Super-heavy tank/transport

Yes, it's as cool as it sounds. It's a behemoth tank effective against everything and it can also transport one squad, including Terminators, who can't fit in normal transports. The only problem is the Vehicle Cap cost of 5, which means you can almost get 2 Predators instead. Still, you probably want one of these anyway... The Land Raider is your Relic unit, meaning you have to control a Relic on the map in order to build them.

The Land Raider has two twin-linked lascannons, so it's most efficient to use it as a tank killer. Make use of the transport capability; load an infantry squad (remember it doesn't have to be Terminators, a Tactical Squad can be powerful too) or, alternatively, bring along a Servitor to repair your tanks. Also remember to activate the Machine Spirit ability (-40% damage) when drawing fire.


Heavy Bolter Turret[edit]

W40k-dow heavy bolter turret icon.gif W40k-dow missile turret icon.gif

  • Class: Building
  • Role: Stationary defense

Well, it's a box with heavy bolters. Decent against infantry, can be upgraded to missile launchers so it's decent against vehicles. If you really need them to defend something, build several and mix both types (missile launchers in the back row as they have longer distance). Even if the enemy has no vehicles, have some missile turrets - they will knock infantry around and your bolter turrets will pick them off.

Orbital Relay[edit]

Deep Strike markers - always bad news for your enemy.

W40k-dow orbital relay icon.gif

  • Class: Building
  • Role: Deep Striking

This structure allows you to Deep Strike most infantry units and Dreadnoughts and enables the Orbital Bombardment special ability. You walk your units inside and after a delay you can drop them anywhere on the map (that's not covered by fog of war). The obvious tactic is using it to drop melee units on/behind enemies but of course you can put a ranged squad in a good position or use it for transportation on large maps. You should hotkey your Orbital Relay to a number for ease of use.