Relic’s Dawn of War series is over a decade old now. But despite some impressive number of playable factions (nine in Dawn of War: Soulstorm, six in Dawn of War 2: Retribution), one slightly frustrating thing is that there are still a good deal of lovely Warhammer 40,000 units that have yet to be seen. It’s not like subsequent games and expansions don’t add new toys at all, but when will we see stuff like the heavily-armoured and heavily-armed Space Marine Centurions, Eldar jetbike squadrons or a Lord of Change that have been around for a while now?
Granted, there’s balance, function overlap and the sheer amount of units to consider from. Even so, it’d be a waste to miss out on some of the fun stuff the tabletop side gets. Like these, for instance:
Among the most notable aspect of Warhammer 40, 000’s 8th edition was the introduction of Primaris Space Marines - essentially bigger and better Space Marines. They’ve got a cool bunch of unique units and toys, and the ones with the best toys are arguably the Hellblasters with their magnificent Plasma Incinerators.
These things can hit pretty damn hard at a pretty impressive range, and they’re not even heavy weapons like missile launchers. Also, an entire squad of plasma-wielding super soldiers just looks really cool.
If Relic decides to give the disease-spreading god Nurgle and his followers more of a focus (like on the tabletop currently) one day, the Foetid Bloat-Drone would make for a pleasant-looking addition. It’s like those fancy drones that people like to fly around, but bulkier, spikier and more disgusting-looking… so maybe not like those drones after all.
Mechs are far from a rare sight in Dawn of War, but the Onager Dunecrawler is a bit special from others in the series. For one thing, it’s a unit from the Adeptus Mechanicus - a cybernetic-heavy faction that has so far been only represented via other Imperial armies with units like Tech Priests and Servitors. Aside from that, it’s a tank with legs.
Sure, the Eldar have anti-gravity tanks, but those and track-based tanks have been around since the first Dawn of War. Having a tank that walks would make for a fresh and fascinating sight, especially with the AdMech’s unique appearances.
The only one on the list that’s just too big and epic to be a regular unit, the Stormsurge is a massive Tau mech that comes with an absurd amount of weaponry. Its arsenal - likely putting the first game’s Baneblade tank to shame in some ways - might be a bit of a balance concern, but what a beautiful and shiny sight it would provide; and that’s before it even unleashes all its guns and missiles.
Pretty much all Tyranids are freaky-looking, and even then the horrifying Tyrannofex still stands out. With a back half that towers thanks to two hoofed limbs and a pretty big ranged weapon for more face-level intimidation, this is a hideous sight that could provide memorable and nightmare-inducing encounters.
The Necrons of Dawn of War do have several units in the vehicle category, but they’re arguably lacking in units that actually look like vehicles. Things are different on the tabletop, and the small, flying piloted craft called Tomb Blades are an example.
The fact that they’re a mobile unit in an army that isn’t really associated with the term is something that the miniatures’ store page itself points out. But even as a traitorous staunch Imperial loyalist, there’s a temptation to see these pretty stylish machines in addition to the slow-advancing ranks of Necron infantry.
The Deathwatch is comprised of veteran Space Marines from various Chapters and specialize in combating aliens. A Deathwatch killteam is like a special forces unit, and they’ve got access to weapons that standard Space Marines don’t, like the Frag Cannon.
Dampening the cool factor somewhat is the fact that their special ammunition like Hellfire and Vengeance rounds have been seen in Dawn of War before, but they can still stand out from other units (outside of looks and the Frag Cannon) if those are made exclusive to them.
If there’s anyone or anything who can ride a non-flying bike and not make their grimdark faction look silly (in Dawn of War at least; Space Marine bikers definitely look cool on tabletop), it would be an Ork, since they’re already the least serious army in the series. Adding a unit of excited bikers to their roster would further liven things up with the faction.
Armoured Ogryns with powerful shields. When equipped with battle mauls, they make for a scary close combat unit too. While it might be better for Dawn of War’s Imperial Guard to remain gun-focused outside of leader units, having a trio of Bullgryns come to the aid of a broken gunline and bashing some xenos/heretical skulls - or provide bodyguard duty for the army’s leaders - would be pleasurable.
Armoured humans that brandish swords and protect themselves with shields. This being the future, the swords and shields are much better than those of the past, although the armour isn’t power armour sadly. Making them deal with a tank would be visually amusing, but sending them to battle hordes of Daemons and Chaos Space Marines? Yes please.