On the battlefield there is but one commandment: Thou Shalt Kill.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War is a Real Time Strategy game by Relic Entertainment, the same people who eventually would be behind Company of Heroes (which liberally borrows many game mechanics and can be considered the WWII version) and who previously brought us Homeworld and Impossible Creatures.
The original Dawn of War takes place on the planet Tartarus, which is under attack by a horde of Orks that are tearing through the planet's population and Imperial Guard garrison. The player is in charge of the reinforcements, Space Marines of the Blood Ravens chapter, but after a few missions slaughtering greenskins it becomes apparent that things on Tartarus are more complicated than they seem: the perfidious Eldar as well as Chaos Space Marines of the Alpha Legion are working behind the scenes, and a Warp Storm is incoming and expected very soon.
The first expansion pack, Winter Assault, takes place on the icy planet of Lorn V, and expands the Imperial Guard into a full-fledged fighting force of its own. In this story, two factions on each "side" team up temporarily to defeat the other two and secure the power of a massive wrecked Imperator class Titan that is lost somewhere on the planet.
The next expansion, Dark Crusade, is set on the planet Kronus, where seven different factions all are all trying to conquer the same world, or in some cases are trying to prevent another side from taking over. What follows is a free-for-all fight for various pieces of Lost Technology and Forgotten Superweapons taking place over a Risk-Style Map. Besides the more open-ended campaign, Dark Crusade introduced two new armies: the Animesque and shooty Tau, and the implacable Necrons.
A third expansion pack, Soulstorm, upped the ante by featuring a nine-way free-for-all campaign over the four worlds of the Kaurava system, in which even the three Imperial factions were at each others' throats (all located right next to each other), and introduced the Sisters of Battle and Dark Eldar as playable armies.
The sequel, Dawn of War II, is a reboot of sorts. The player is a newly-promoted Force Commander, leading a few squads of Space Marines against an Ork invasion threatening the Blood Ravens' recruitment worlds, and therefore the future of the chapter itself. Once again, the Eldar are working behind the scenes to instigate the conflict, hoping to buy time against the incoming Tyranid hive fleet. While still an RTS the game eliminates base-building altogether and greatly simplifies resource-gathering, while focusing more on squad-based tactics rather than huge pitched battles, and also incorporating RPG elements in the form of unit experience, wargear, and skill selection. The game is built on the same engine used in Relic's World War II RTS, Company of Heroes, with plenty of graphical enhancements and gameplay tweaks, mirroring Dawn of War's history with the Impossible Creatures engine.
An expansion titled Chaos Rising adds Chaos Space Marines to the multiplayer and as antagonists in the campaign, along with powerful wargear that can be used by your Space Marines, though they may lead to corruption. A second expansion named Retribution expands on the single player campaign system by reintroducing campaigns for all the playable factions, even (by the love of the videogame gods) the Tyranids, as well as bringing back the Imperial Guard as a playable faction.
In May 2016, the announcement trailer for Dawn of War III was released. According to Word of God, traditional base-building is back, with the game also expected to include larger battles and units like the Imperial Knights and Deff Dredds. So far, the initial faction roster is comprised of the Space Marines, Orks, and Eldar.
Besides these official games, the Dawn of War series has spawned numerous mods, from simple tweaks to damage and health values, to ambitious projects that add new units and factions (complete with voice acting and unit models), or even attempts to make the game more closely mirror the rules of the Tabletop Game it is based on.
See Warhammer 40,000 for the tropes used in the universe itself, although Dawn of War naturally has its own spin on some of those.
By the Emperor's Grace, a character sheet has been established and grows every day. Adepts, do your duty to the Imperium and aid in this Holy charge when and where you see fit!
- Acceptable Breaks From Reality: Though it's technically Acceptable Breaks from Fluff since you know... it's Warhammer 40,000!
- Construct Additional Pylons: Averted from Dawn of War II onwards (you only ever have the HQ building you start with), but is present in all the previous games.
- Everything Fades: There is an option to avert this by turning on "persistent corpses", and in the expansions, some factions can use fallen bodies to their advantage. Played straight in Dawn of War II to save on memory.
- Friendly Fireproof: Both used and averted depending on the type of weapon; artillery and Kill Sats will damage everything in their area of effect, but rockets and direct-fire small arms will pass through your troops harmlessly. This follows the 40K rules to an extent (troops take up "optimal firing positions" to avoid their comrades) but gets egregious when you can shoot into the middle of a swirling melee (though all units in melee take 50% less damage from ranged attacks).
- Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Hand Waved.
- Though somewhat justified in that most factions airdrop, teleport or otherwise summon more or less complete buildings into the battlefield, which simply need some final adaptations to become functional.
- Units Not to Scale: To a degree, although from Dawn of War II onwards, you get a much more believable difference in size. Transports, however, are always apparently Bigger on the Inside (The scale offset is consistent with the tabletop, though).
- You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: Units who get knocked on their arse can't be targeted... directly.
- Adaptation Distillation: Some believe that the game neatly captures the feel of WH40K without needing a player to get all the sourcebooks. According to some early developer interviews, the Games Workshop people told Relic that they did not have to stick too closely to the word of the rules as long as they captured the spirit of them, and that they should feel free to make any changes that improved gameplay as long as they stayed within that constraint. For players who would prefer to follow the tabletop rules more strictly, several mods have been made to convert the system.
- Dawn of War II gets a bit closer to the tabletop, focusing on tactics and combined arms while doing away with base construction entirely. Buildings may still be present on a map as static objectives to capture, destroy, or defend, or as terrain to occupy for cover and firing positions (Just as in the tabletop game).
- Alliteration: Multiple, simultaneous and devastating defensive deep strikes!
Commissar Lord Bernn: "I am restored and ready for revenge!"
- Amusing Injuries: Cultists are quite fond of yelling "AUGH, MAH SPLEEN!!!"
- Apocalypse Wow: Exterminatus.
- Apocalyptic Log: The opening cutscene for Dark Crusade, as well as a few of the location descriptions on the Risk-Style Map.
- Chaos Rising has a few creepy ones.
- The Tyranid ending in Retribution is done like this. Ultimately, the Exterminatus fleet is driven away by the Hive Fleet, 94% of the Imperial Guard stationed in subsector Aurelia die before the surviving forces withdraw, and all loyalist Blood Ravens are killed while making a Last Stand.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Separate headcounts for vehicles and infantry, as well as caps on various units in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm.
- In Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising, the campaign has a limit of four squads per mission (out of a total of six) and multiplayer has a 100-unit cap that effectively limits your force to about 9-10 squads. Retribution uses the multiplayer system for its campaign, with a lower 30-unit cap that can be increased by capturing certain buildings and/or using Honor Guard units in place of your Hero Units.
- Artificial Limbs: Lord General Castor of the Imperial Guard has an augmetic right arm, which he uses to hold and operate two-handed guns in one hand while holding an officer's power saber in the other.
- Artificial Stupidity: the Assassination victory condition causes loss if your Hero Unit dies, so the computer will always attach it to the first squad it builds. However, it never switches them, keeping them attached to their weakest unit for the rest of the game.
- Ascended Extra: Sgt. Merrick, a Mauve Shirt Imperial Guardsman from the Dawn of War II campaign who was present at the Tyranid incursion at Angel Gate as well as supporting the Blood Ravens during their suicide-mission strike at the heart of the Hive Fleet, becomes a playable hero character for the Imperial Guard faction in the Retribution expansion.
- Ascended Meme: Order the Commissar Lord Hero into a Chimera and... well [dead link]. He says exactly that - the dialogue was approved by Games Workshop, as all aspects of the game have to be, which could technically make this a canon example.
- One of the Ork's beamy deffguns is called the "Box Smasha", described as being used for taking away the humans' "metal boxes", which means that the meme  has gone full recursive.
- Retribution also has a Tau Crisis Suit Commander as a hero unit in The Last Stand mode, available through DLC. He has a couple of associated Steam achievements, one of which is called "Dynamic Entry", in reference to this popular customized tabletop model. The achievement requires that he duplicate the action in that picture on a hundred different units, and is rewarded with an additional piece of wargear for doing so.
- As You Know... most of our Battle Brothers are stationed in space, prepared to deep strike.
- A-Team Firing: The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 generally don't really 'aim', but Dawn of War II has an ability for the 'Shoota Boyz' squad called "Aiming? Wot'z dat?" if they are upgraded with a Big Shoota, which allows them to suppress an enemy squad (because their previous aiming abilities, or lack thereof, apparently made their fire not all that threatening. Strangely, it also reduces their damage until the squad is suppressed, so More Dakka was apparently working for them pretty well.)
- Author Existence Failure: Exaggerated. When Iron Lore picked up the license for Soulstorm, they were already going out of business. Although the end product was obviously unfinished, somebody had decided to release it anyways since it was still technically playable.
- Auto Doc: Eldar Webway Gates can be upgraded to provide a healing aura.
- Awesome but Impractical: An undeniable case would be sync kills from Dawn Of War II onwards - they look very cool, and the unit performing it cannot die until the animation is finished, but they still can change your sweeping advance from annihilating to just devastating against retreating units, or make it easier for the unit to be killed by retaliation due to being forced to be completely stationary for a couple of seconds instead of retreating.
- Awesome Yet Practical: Relic Units in the first Dawn of War and its expansions, particularly the Baneblade and the Land Raider, which respectively bring "Eleven barrels of hell!", and the ability to transport Terminators coupled with tons of support firepower. There's also the Avatar of Khaine, though some players prefer to have the Avatar stay at their base for defense since it also increases their max population.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: In the final cinematic for the Space Marine campaign in Retribution, Gabriel Angelos becomes Chapter Master.
- Badass Normal: Sergeant Merrick of the 85th Vendoland in Dawn of War II and its expansions. This guy survived a Tyranid invasion, fought through The Corruption, lived through the next 10 years of constant war, and even survives being mauled by Tyranids and an Earthshattering Kaboom in Retribution's Imperial Guard campaign.
- Badass Teacher: Cyrus gets VERY angry when the Black Legion starts attacking initiates (many of whom he had personally trained). So angry that not letting him join to kick their ass causes corruption.
- Bad Boss: Chaos Lord Bale has a cultist that delivers bad news. Abbadon, when he appears in Retribution, also fits, no surprise given all the fluff goes into what a jerk he is, threatening to kill Eliphas every time he talks to him.
- Eliphas himself counts towards Kain and Neroth. Given that he constantly derides their fighting prowess and he basically kills them in the ending for his campaign.
- Bag of Spilling: Most of the loot acquired in the Dawn of War II campaign is missing if you import a completed campaign into Chaos Rising. Justified since the Strike Cruiser they were stored in self-destructs during the final mission.
- In Retribution's Space Marine campaign, Cyrus has lost not only all of his equipment, but all of his skills as well.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the intro to Dawn of War II; there's a point where the Space Marine Sergeant is being chased by a pair of Eldar Howling Banshees, and then a Dreadnought that wasn't taking part in the early fight shows up out of nowhere (literally bursting through a cliff face!) and kills both of the Eldar.
- This is based on the opening for the original Dawn of War, where Orks are trying to overrun a Space Marine position down a hill. When jumping up to attack, automatic fire literally blasts them away. Then, a Dreadnought shows up and joins the fight.
- Gabriel Angelos and the chapter fleet couldn't have picked a better, more dramatic moment for their arrival, really.
- Lampshaded in an early mission in the same game; one of the squads you pick up introduces himself by dropping in via Jump Pack and slashing up a mob of Orks attacking you from a cliff. He then jumps down and properly joins your force.
Tarkus: "Ork gunners on the ridge! Take cover!"
- While the Hive Tyrant isn't exactly difficult unless you're underleveled, seeing Davian Thule, newly entombed as a Dreadnought, deep striking into the battlefield and absolutely wrecking the Tyrant's shit singlehandedly is undoubtedly impressive.
- The Tyranid campaign in Retribution has this done by the Hive Fleet, which comes to the sub-sector with enough force to drive the Ordo Malleus Exterminatus fleet back.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty: Commander Boreale certainly does say "SPESS MEHREENS" and "WE HAVE FEHLED THE EMPRAH", but not in the same sentence.
- General Stubbs never actually lost those 100 Baneblades, they were just sent to serve elsewhere.
- That is still a pretty huge mismanagement of your giant tank cathedrals.
- Pretty sure his predecessor was the one who did that, otherwise he wouldn't need to be told by the commissar.
- That is still a pretty huge mismanagement of your giant tank cathedrals.
- General Stubbs never actually lost those 100 Baneblades, they were just sent to serve elsewhere.
- Beneficial Disease: In Retribution, the healing of Chaos units is done through the powers of Nurgle, by means of Nurgle's Rot. The infected units get back to the fight as their senses get numbed to the pain and their wounds get sealed by cancerous growths.
- BFS: Usually wielded one-handed by Space Marines. The Eldar Avatar of Khaine has the biggest one of all, though.
- In Dawn of War II the Wraithlord wields a sword about half as big as itself.
- BFG: Several of them, but the Assault Cannon used by the Space Marine Terminators deserve special mention. In Dawn of War II, the Devastator Space Marines gain access to Plasma Cannons, which certainly qualify (even by Space Marine standards!). Also, the Sniper Rifle Cyrus carries is almost as big as he is.
- Blood From the Mouth: The Carnifex horks up a veritable torrent of vomit and blood when killed.
- Blown Across the Room: Air strikes, artillery, grenades and some of the less subtle guns can knock down and scatter most infantry squads. Punched Across the Room happens on occasion as well.
- When a Tyranid synapse creature like a Warrior or Zoanthrope dies, it sends out a shockwave that does this to nearby Tyranids.
- Bigger Is Better: Shoota Boyz actually say this when upgraded with 'Big Shootas', which are clear improvements from their regular Shootas.
- Big Bad: Generally one or two per game.
- Chaos Lord Bale for Dawn of War until his role is usurped by SIIIINDRIIIII!!!
- In Winter Assault, either Chaos Lord Crull or the Necrons as a whole.
- Dark Crusade had a campaign for each faction, but either Eliphas the Inheritor or the Necron Lord of Kronus could be considered.
- Chaos Rising has Ulkair, the Great Unclean One and tainted Blood Raven Chapter Master Azariah Kyras.
- Kyras is once again the Big Bad of Retribution. It is revealed that he has been collaborating with the daemon released from the Maledictum in Dawn of War, and they both have secretly manipulated the events of the entire series up to that point.
- Bigger Bad: Aside from the Chaos Gods, the Nightbringer is mentioned fairly heavily with the narrations with the Necrons in Dark Crusade. Kyras could be considered this during Chaos Rising, we hear about him, but dealing with him is left as a Sequel Hook. Abaddon could also be considered this, being Eliphas' Bad Boss that stays in the background.
- Big Good: Gabriel Angelos in Dawn of War II and its expansions. In Retribution's Space Marine campaign, he becomes the new Chapter Master of the Blood Ravens after Kyras is destroyed.
- Big No: Gabriel Angelos invokes this trope during the final mission of Dawn Of War.
- Bling of War: Some of the higher level armor that the player can equip in Dawn Of War II and its expansions goes into this territory, such as having inlays of elaborate gold sculptures. The Force Commanders from Dawn of War and its expansions have this by default.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Played straight twice, and subverted once.
- Near the end of the Order campaign in Winter Assault, your side pragmatically realizes that the other side will probably turn on them once they've found the Titan. Rather than endanger their own people, they leave their temporary allies sealed behind a forcefield facing a tide of enemies and wave good-bye. However, General Sturnn is Badass enough to fight his way out and turns up to help fight the Necrons in the final mission.
- When the Eldar stronghold is conquered in Dark Crusade, Farseer Taldeer will have one of these. In a slight subversion, her fate is revealed to the player in all but one case.
- Subverted in Dawn Of War II, when your troops, having succeeded in poisoning the Tyranid Hive Mind, are left in the center of an endless swarm of enemies with their evac ship blown up. They prepare to go out fighting when Gabriel Angelos, the hero from the first game, shows up with the Blood Ravens fleet, delivers some macho dialogue, bombards the hell out of the advancing horrors, then joins you to fight the last boss and take you home.
- Body Armor as Hit Points: In Dawn of War and its expansions, armor upgrades increase unit HP, instead of reducing the damage received outright. Averted in Dawn of War II onwards.
- Bonus Boss: The Ork Warboss and Eldar Avatar of Khaine in Dawn of War II. Notable in that they're very hard, far harder than the Final Boss! Also notable in that beating them give 30 Gamerpoints each in achievements, as well as two suits of Terminator armor.
- Boom! Headshot!: Units with Sniper Rifles can one-shot many infantry targets.
- Boring Yet Practical: For all the awesome units the Space Marines can get throughout the series, you'll nearly always find yourself having a use for your Tactical Marines.
- Boss Arena Idiocy: In an early level in Retribution, blowing up targeting cogitators causes nearby turrets to fire at the player's enemies. It might not be such a good idea to park your Baneblade in a potential crossfire between them.
- Bottomless Magazines: Everything that can shoot, can do so indefinitely. Cleverly subverted in Dawn of War II onwards, where units frequently stop shooting to reload (although they still never run out of replacement magazines).
- Several weapons in the various campaigns do not require reloading and can keep firing indefinitely, though this is usually offset by shorter range or having to set it up.
- Bug War: The main plot of Dawn of War II. Still happening on a smaller-scale in Chaos Rising, which also has a classic redux of Space Hulk, and Retribution, which also lets you play it from the Bugs' point of view in the Tyranid campaign.
- Butt Monkey: The Imperial Guard, played seriously. Consistently low/bottom tier in the first game, they have in-game models in the second game but were not playable, except for the latest expansion pack, Retribution. Cue Fan Dumb, Broken Base, and copious amounts of raging fans not expecting the Imperial Inquisition.
- Catch Phrase: The Blood Ravens get one in Retribution. It's even said in their appearance in Warhammer 40000 Space Marine.
"None shall find us wanting."
- Canon: The Dawn of War series' multiple endings have always been vague with its canon, but a few things are known.
- Gabriel Angelos "won" the first game on Tartarus, releasing the Daemon in the Maledictum in the process.
- The Eldar won Winter Assault, since Dark Crusade mentions the Imperial Guard hunting Taldeer for vengeance.
- The Blood Ravens won in Dark Crusade, and slaughtered pretty much everyone else, including the Imperial Guard, in the process.
- The Blood Ravens lost half their chapter in Soulstorm, leaving the chapter dangerously undermanned. Relic declared the Imperial Guard to be the winners, although this is never mentioned in canon.
- The Blood Ravens manage to stop the Tyranids in Dawn of War II.
- In Chaos Rising, the Force Commander slayed Ulkair, then vanished. Avitus despaired at his role in the Kronus campaign and betrayed the Blood Ravens. Tarkus killed him then took a vow of penance. Diomedes is not killed.
- The victor of Retribution is uncertain, but we know that neither Eliphas nor the Tyranids won since the Blood Ravens appear in the subsequent Space Marine, which also mentions the Aurelian Crusade.
- Canon Immigrant: The Blood Ravens chapter of Space Marines were specifically created by Relic for exclusive use in the Dawn of War series. Since the series began, they have been acknowledged as a small part of the wider WH40K canon, being mentioned in a few novels and having their color scheme displayed in the core rulebook.
- Casting Gag: The fact that the Commissars in the first game are voiced by the same guy who did Bison in the Street Fighter cartoon is probably not a coincidence.
- The Cavalry: Played with in the canon ending of Winter Assault, where Sturnn and the Imperial Guard show up with the full intention of stomping the Eldar, but Taldeer convinces them to help her fight the Necrons instead.
- Whenever a Leman Russ is deployed in Dawn of War's expansions:
Leman Russ (pilot): "Tell the men the cavalry has arrived."
- Chainsaw Good : Many units have a Chainsword, but of note is the Imperial Guard Priest, armed with an Eviscerator model.
- Character Exaggeration: The Memetic Mutation over Indrick Boreale - his accent is very obvious and a bit silly, but the jokes over it make it sound like his voice actor was on helium or something.
- Chunky Updraft: Tau and Space Marine orbital bombardments, followed by a Pillar of Light from the Kill Sat.
- Eldar Farseers (and other psykers equipped with certain wargear) have powers that work like this in Dawn of War II.
- Church Militant: The Sisters of Battle in Soulstorm. There's also the Imperial Guard Priest, who wields an Eviscerator, improves squad attack power, and can temporarily make the squad he's attached to completely immune to damage.
- Civil Warcraft: Excluding the intra-Imperium battles, Orks engage in in-fighting in Winter Assault, while the Eldar in Dark Crusade hoodwink some Chaos forces that the playable Chaos faction can take on.
- In Chaos Rising, you finally get to fulfill Avitus' dream and smash some traitor Guardsmen (that use equipment identical to that of the loyal Guardsmen).
- Also in Chaos Rising: One mission has you leading your squads against another company of Blood Ravens. How you choose to handle this can have grave repercussions on your corruption rating.
- In Retribution, you will be fighting your fellow Space Marines or Imperial Guardsmen who have (knowingly or not) turned traitor by following Kyras, or Eldar forces fighting against other Eldar. Chaos fighting against other Chaos forces and the Freeboota Orks fighting against other Orks won't be marked as a spoiler; Chaos is, after all, Chaos, and it's to be expected that Orks fight each other.
- Clown Car Base: Generally averted with actual base structures, which are more often landing pads, teleport termini, warp rifts, etc, from which units arrive on the battlefield, but played straight with some transport units in Dawn of War II onwards, which can also reinforce nearby infantry squads. Presumably soldiers are disembarking from the transport to reinforce understrength squads on foot, but those transports never run out of replacements to deploy as necessary unless the player is out of resources.
- Cold Sniper: Besides the Vindicare, Cyrus in Dawn of War II goes into this... though played with in that Cyrus is clearly the most worried character about the Tyranids.
- Colon Cancer: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Winter Assault
- Combat Pragmatist: The Blood Ravens' approach to warfare is very much like those of good RTS players. Unlike the Space Wolves' or Blood Angels' ferocious charges, the Blood Ravens focus on analyzing and targeting weak points in enemy lines, applying pressure where needed to break apart far larger forces with minimal casualties. The best example of this comes from Dawn of War II's campaign, where a strike force consisting of 11 Marines, 3 Scouts and 1 Dreadnought was able to hold off a sector-wide Tyranid invasion (with Ork infestations and Eldar interventions on top of that) by striking at key targets until the much larger relief force arrives.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: On "Harder" and "Insane" Skirmish difficulties the computer doesn't really get any smarter, it just gets bonuses to its resource acquisition rates. On "Hard" campaign difficulty, the computer gets extra HP on its units, although both are reversed in favor of the player in "Easy" or "Standard" for Skirmish and "Easy" or "Normal" for campaign. This was done because Jonny Ebert, lead designer of Dawn of War II, believes that allowing the computer to cheat is necessary to close the gap between them and the player(s)...
- Other examples include the Imperial Guard scanner having an uncanny ability to always hit your infiltrators dead on (despite the fact they're, you know... invisible).
- Conspiracy Redemption: The 'pure' ending of Chaos Rising flat-out states that this will be happening to the Blood Ravens. This being Warhammer 40,000, the ensuing civil war will probably cripple the chapter beyond recovery, but hey.
- Thanks to your tireless efforts across two intense defensive campaigns, however, the chapter's recruiting worlds remain secure, which means that it will not die out completely, but will need a long (long, long) period of recovery.
- Plus, the Blood Ravens have been shown recruiting Guardsmen who show enough promise, so there are plenty of battle hardened veterans available.
- Thanks to your tireless efforts across two intense defensive campaigns, however, the chapter's recruiting worlds remain secure, which means that it will not die out completely, but will need a long (long, long) period of recovery.
- Continuity Nod: Retribution adds 'Barbarisater' as an equippable weapon, noted in its item description as being the very same blade once used by Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn.
- In the Space Marine campaign of Retribution, there is a Thunder Hammer called 'Hammer of the Nameless'. Its description implies that this was the weapon the Force Commander used to banish Ulkair.
- If you defeat the Eldar as the Blood Ravens in Dark Crusade, the narrator notes that the Blood Ravens have had to deal with Eldar machinations before, both in the first game on Tartarus, then in the novels on Rahe's Paradise.
- Hints at Taldeer's actual prophecy, which compelled her to act in Dark Crusade, are mentioned in more detail in the Eldar campaign in Retribution.
- The Imperial Guard campaign in Retribution has some wargear referring to Imperial Guard commanders from the previous games, namely the Hand of the Governor-Militant, Alexander's Livery (both from Governor-Militant Lukas Alexander from Dark Crusade) and the Shield of Sturnn (from General Sturnn from Winter Assault).
- Coup De Grace: In some sync kills. Most are more... excessive.
- Critical Existence Failure: Played straight as an arrow throughout the series. Justified in the case of Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines, as their augmented physiology and decades of training will keep them up and fighting until a mortal blow is struck.
- Also justified in the case of daemonic units like Bloodthirsters, Bloodletters and the Avatar of Khaine, who are maintained with a warp presence, and once they take a certain amount of damage, their otherwise unharmed physical bodies simply fall apart.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Normally avoided as described in the article but most units have a clear preference of using either melee weapons or guns and won't survive long when fighting in the wrong element. For a demonstration of this, try winning a firefight with Khorne Berserkers or Nobz, or a melee with Dark Reapers or Fire Warriors.
- Faction-wise, Tau units can destroy nearly anything from afar, but don't last long in melee. While they do have auxiliaries decent at melee, they're not quite as good as the equivalent melee units of the other factions.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Doesn't usually apply, considering that everyone in the 40K universe is inherently badass to a degree. But Martellus, a minor character from Dawn of War II, earns special mention by becoming a major character in Chaos Rising. In the first game, the most he ever did was pilot Thunderhawk Two to deploy power generators and Tarantula sentry guns for you. In Chaos Rising, it turns out he actually survived the final battle against the Tyranids and held his own against Ork looters for at least a year. If none of your other squad leaders become corrupted he turns to Chaos and serves as That One Boss by driving a huge and powerful tank - which he probably built himself, considering he's a Techmarine. According to Retribution, this is not Canon and Martellus goes on to become a playable character in the Space Marine campaign.
- Culture Clash: In Dawn of War II, this is brought up by Administrator Derosa when you first arrive on Meridian.
"This is not the hinterlands of Calderis or Typhon, Commander, so a certain amount of discretion would be appreciated."
- Crucified Hero Shot: The pilot of the Sisters of Battle Penitent Engine is constantly in this position. Given that it's the Sisters of Battle, this is probably not a coincidence.
- Cutscene: Mostly using the in-game engine, but there are rather magnificent CGI cinematics at the beginning of both games and some of the expansions.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Oh, how the intro cutscenes are guilty of this, except in Dawn of War II, which plays out almost exactly like some multiplayer matches might feel.
- When sync killing, units show abilities not normally seen (like Tau guns being rapid-fire, Boom! Headshot!, etc.).
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Subverted: When Davian Thule is revived as a Dreadnought, he initially misidentifies teammates, believes he is fighting somewhere else, and is nearly catatonic outside of combat. This is not because of the cybernetics, however, but because he's delirious from a nearly fatal dose of Tyranid venom. Later in the game, he returns to mostly normal (mostly, since for some reason he has to....pause frequently...when he...speaks).
- Played straight with Thomas Macabee, a.k.a. the Necron Pariah spokesman from Dark Crusade.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In Dawn of War II, squads deployed in a mission are automatically assigned numerical hotkeys (which the player can override if desired) and placed in positions on a unit selection bar on the right side of the screen (which the player cannot override.) Typically, four player chosen squads are deployed to any given mission. However, there are times when a particular mission might deploy specific squads instead of player chosen ones, or other squads might deploy mid-mission which the player then gets command of. This can be difficult when the player usually assigns certain squads to certain hotkeys and expects them to occupy specific slots on the unit selection bar, confusing the control scheme somewhat.
- Dancing Mook Credits: In Dawn of War, if you replace "dancing" with "getting viciously sync-killed".
- Danger Deadpan : The Chaos Hell Talon from Soulstorm always talks like this, sounding like a servitor, rather than screaming loudly like every other Chaos unit. Amusingly, this is because it is piloted by a servitor according to its fluff from the Imperial Armor books.
- Dark Secret: The Blood Ravens have a motto, "Knowledge is power, guard it well." They fulfill this, first by having a scholarly bent that drives them to seek out and record information, particularly as relates to the lost knowledge of their chapter's origins, and second by guarding that information jealously, hence a great deal of secrecy. In particular, some of the uncovered knowledge about their chapter is implied to be things that the Blood Ravens would rather nobody know. Captain Thule, for example, found relics and information about the early days of the chapter on Kronus, which he promptly destroyed and would share with no one except Captain Angelos.
- Deadpan Snarker: Taldeer in Dark Crusade is this trope incarnate:
Thule: "The Blood Ravens will not be driven back by one such as you!"
- Avitus takes this role in the team in Dawn of War II. Most of his lines are one-liners of various kinds, most of them snarky as Warp.
(Upon defeating a Tyranid brood threatening the already small population of Typhon)
- Death Is Cheap: For Eliphas the Inheritor, at least. Canonically killed at least twice, neither of which stuck. He's offed a third time in the Space Marine campaign of Retribution, but that probably won't stick, either.
- Killing a Hive Tyrant or another vital or large Tyranid creature will disrupt a Tyranid swarm and cost the Hive Fleet valuable biomass. They'll just keep making more large Tyranids to replace them. Very true for the smaller Tyranids.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: While really hard to do, possible from Dawn of War II onwards. Very upsetting should your Terminators get offed by mere Shoota Boyz via Scratch Damage, although it is very easy to retreat from them.
- The setting is, ironically enough, one of the few places were this trope actually makes sense, as exploding rocket-propelled bullets and high-powered lasers are standard-issue sidearms for at least three factions.
- Considering the ridiculous amounts of health the final bosses of Chaos Rising and Retribution have, this is probably what you do to them.
- Daisy the Battlewagon in Retribution is definitely going to have you performing this trope on it, since it has almost as much health as the Final Boss. Luckily, it doesn't do as much damage (and helpfully indicates where and when it makes its big attacks) and isn't periodically invulnerable.
- Death From Above: Assault Marines (who even shout "Death from above!" when they deploy), and their Ork Stormboy/Chaos Raptor counterparts. Equipped with: pistol, melee weapon, jump-pack, and berzerker rage. Warp Spiders from the Eldar do largely the same thing, but with teleportation instead. Also, Whirlwinds ("His wrath falls from the heavens!"), Basilisks ("Shatter their sky!") and the various bombardments that commander units can call down.
- Soulstorm adds bombers for some races, fighters for others. If you count Soulstorm.
- Dawn of War II and its expansions have a particularly nasty one in form of Tankbustaz, who, if none of your units are in their line of sight but some of them are in a certain range, will rain down rokkitz upon your head until you can engage them directly. One of these tucked away in a hard-to-reach place while you are beset by enemies can easily make a battle much harder.
- Terminator squads in Dawn of War II onwards can be equipped with Cyclone missile launchers, allowing them to rain down a powerful missile barrage on enemy heads. They keep all their other weapons and armor, so they can still slaughter units without using it.
- The 'Skyleap' ability for Autarch Kayleth in Retribution.
- Instead of the Basilisk, the Imperial Guard has the Manticore in Retribution. It can fire 4 missles, which are all targeted individually within a small area.
- Decapitated Army: The "Assassinate" victory condition.
- The Tau are a hardcore shooty army, complete with Mini Mechas, that will completely give up, retreat and abandon the entire freaking campaign if you can kill their Ethereal in their stronghold mission. Of course though, by the time you fight your way past all the invisible units, heavy long-ranged firepower and rapid redeployment idiocy, the Ethereal makes for an incredibly underwhelming fight.
- Defector From Decadence: In Chaos Rising, part of the Blood Ravens' third and fourth companies rebel against their tainted chapter master. If Avitus was the traitor, which canonically, he is, he expresses similar sentiments as a reason for his actions.
- Didn't See That Coming: Idranel knew the Blood Ravens would attempt to prevent her from destroying Angel Forge. Unfortunately for her, she didn't count on Tarkus' squad showing up in Terminator Armor.
- Difficult but Awesome: Cyrus. Mastering him seems to be required to beat Primarch. Bringing him along makes the last Calderis mission in Chaos Rising MUCH easier if you want to remain pure.
- Difficulty Spike: Winter Assault is less then half the length of the original campaign (5 levels in Winter Assault, 11 in the original), but the later levels are equally difficult, i.e, difficulty shoots up very quickly. The fourth level deserves a mention, as you are under almost constant attack.
- Discontinuity Nod: In Dawn of War II it is revealed that the Kaurava system campaign (Soulstorm) is remembered as a shameful and epic failure for the Blood Ravens, and that it should never be mentioned again. If Cyrus turns out to be the traitor in Chaos Rising, he actually mentions this as a motivation for his Face Heel Turn to Chaos
- The Ditz: The Ogryn definitely count if their selection and order quotes, and general battlefield chatter are anything to go by:
- That said, what they lack in minds they overcompensate in brute strength and durability, resulting in some of the toughest troops in multiplayer.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: Averted. All but the heaviest weapons can be fired on the move, but expect sharp accuracy drops. The Seraphim unit is notable for not running, but flying while firing Guns Akimbo, and doing it more accurately than anyone else possibly could.
- Ironically inverted by Avitus, the heavy weapons specialist, and the only Space Marine character (in Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising) with a sprint ability. He can't fire while doing this, of course.
- A trait that Tarkus can learn allows him to avert this with special weapons like Plasma Guns, though it's still not very accurate.
- Drop the Hammer: The Space Marine Force Commanders along with Assault Terminator Squads can get access to Thunder Hammers that can stun victims.
- Captain Angelos from Dawn of War gets a special variant called a Daemonhammer, named God-Splitter, which is highly effective against Daemons.
- It is also worth noting that Dawn of War was the first to depict Space Marines wielding Thunder Hammers outside of Terminator armor (or the Salamanders chapter), let alone two-handed ones. This inspired Games Workshop to create a line of tabletop models with that kind of equipment in subsequent editions.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Before the release of Chaos Rising, Dawn of War II received a new game mode called "The Last Stand". Those who managed the feat of reaching the final wave would find themselves facing a Chaos Lord and Bloodletters, which would not make an appearance until Chaos Rising.
- Don't forget the final mission of Winter Assault, where you must face off against the Necrons before they became a playable race in Dark Crusade.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Among other things, the original Dawn of War let you have four Land Raiders, equip Ork mobs with anti-eveything weaponry, and have armies consisting entirely of high-end units.
- Earthshattering Kaboom: The events of Retribution are kicked off when the Inquisition plans on performing Exterminatus on the whole of sub-sector Aurelia after 10 years of indecisive battles. As most 40K players know, this is a wee bit unpleasant for those still on the surface of a planet subjected to it. Each campaign has stopping the Exterminatus (or hijacking the Big Bad's plan for using it, in the Chaos campaign) as a high priority, though for varying reasons. All of them have you get suckered into speeding it up, and having to make a daring escape from Typhon Primaris while the initial stages of Exterminatus are being carried out.
- Cyrene before the events of Dawn of War, thanks to Captain Angelos. Mentioned again, in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it manner, in the sub-sector map in the intro to the Dawn of War II campaign. Which pays off in a Book Ends ending in Retribution.
- Enemy Exchange Program: Possessing enemy vehicles with Necron Lord Destroyers.
- World Eater Sorcerers possessing Guardsmen in Winter Assault, luring them to the sacrificial Blood Pits in, not one, but two different missions in the Disorder campaign. These parts are made annoying by the fact that, once possessed, they can be targeted by enemy units. And they will be.
- Enemy Mine: In both Dawn of War and Winter Assault, the Imperial forces temporarily ally with the Eldar. In Retribution, Inquisitor Adrastia is willing to enlist the help of the Eldar and hire Bluddflagg on as a mercenary in order to prevent the Exterminatus.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Regardless of who the traitor is in Chaos Rising, and regardless of the fact that he freely gives Galen the vox codes for his company, he explicitly tells Galen not to use the vox to set up an ambush, saying that if he winds up being exposed, he'll gladly expose Galen (and presumably all the other traitors they know of).
- Evil Tastes Good: Ulkair joyfully talks of the tastiness of souls and consuming entire sectors.
- Expansion Pack: Three of them for the original: Winter Assault, Dark Crusade and Soulstorm, as much as some would like to forget that last one.
- The sequel has Chaos Rising, which, as if the name didn't give it away, adds Chaos to the list of playable races, and Retribution, which includes playable Imperial Guard and one campaign, playable as any of the 6 races with different dialog and altered mission details.
- Face Heel Turn: In Chaos Rising, the most corrupted member of your team will do this. If none of them are corrupted, Martellus does instead.
- Retribution confirms Avitus was the traitor.
- Faceless Mooks: Pretty much every faction has them, most notably the Eldar, whose only unhelmeted unit before Dawn of War II is the Harlequin.
- Field Promotion: In Dawn of War II, the Blood Ravens' manpower is greatly depleted, so the protagonist has been promoted to the rank of Force Commander by the Chapter Master after an impressive victory under his leadership and expected to save the recruiting worlds of the Blood Ravens in sub-sector Aurelia - despite being on the young side for a Space Marine and has never actually met the Chapter Master in person.
- As an in-game loading screen fluff bit elaborates, the promotion actually happened during another campaign, but it didn't go into effect until the events of the game.
- In the novelization for Dawn of War II, Sergeant Aramus (the nameless playable Force Commander) is made into the Force Commander for the company, replacing Thule.
- Fight in The Nude: Averted. One of the highlights of the series' engine is watching units change their equipment in response to how they are upgraded.
- Double extra averted in Dawn of War II onwards. You get equippable wargear in the campaign mode that dramatically changes the look and function of your squads, and as you advance in multiplayer rank, your units get more and more bling.
- And yet, played straight in multiplayer, as the better looking rank unlock armor is purely decorative.
- Fighting a Shadow: Ulkair in Chaos Rising.
- Five Philosophy Ensemble:
- Avitus is The Cynic (scornful of civilians and Guardsmen, concerned only with killing the enemy)
- Thaddeus is The Optimist (considers being a Space Marine to be an adventure, eager to protect The Emperor's subjects)
- Cyrus is The Realist (concerned with getting results, tries to keep the group focused on their priorities)
- Tarkus is The Apathetic (focuses on executing his duty to the best of his ability, leaves the worrying to others higher up the chain of command)
- Davian Thule is The Conflicted (confused at first, coming to terms with his new existence, slower than he used to be)
- Foreshadowing: A good case in Chaos Rising. In the opening trailer, the Big Bad shows its horrifying laughing face around the 'depositing untold horrors of the Warp' part, way before you find out anything about it.
- Early in the game, the Marines realize that the Orks are actually using strategy, which given these are Orks, tip them off to something manipulating them. Later, Cyrus has an Oh Crap moment when he hears that an Astropath has been complaining about a "Shadow in The Warp" (he's the only one that knows about Tyranids).
- Fluffy the Terrible:
- The Ork campaign of Retribution has a playable Kommando Nob named "Spookums." With the right equipment and abilities, he is terrifying in combat.
- The super-heavy Ork Battlewagon you fight (and capture, in the Ork campaign) with the ridiculously cute (and un-orkily feminine) name of "Daisy".
- Freudian Excuse: Part of Avitus' hatred towards Imperial Guardsmen is due to how he grew up with his settlement being oppressed by a corrupt Imperial Guard regiment. The other half is having his two best friends killed by Guardsmen during the assault on Victory Bay.
- Finishing Move: Tons of them, in the form of "sync kills". Some units will even have personalized finishing moves against certain victims. Go ahead, check them out.
- Big (size-wise, not number-wise) units are especially prone to doing this. The best ones, however, are the ones big units perform on other big units, for example, a Dreadnought grabbing a Wraithlord's weapon, forcing it away, grabbing it by its neck and crushing it in its power claw - in other words, a Walking Tank strangling a Humongous Mecha.
- Or when above Humongous Mecha gets its sword stuck in said Walking Tank when it kills the pilot inside for good, forcibly removes his sword, sees that the Walking Tank is still standing, then gently tips it over.
- The Force Commander's sync kill against the Bloodthirster in Dawn of War and its expansions deserves special mention. He performs a Colossus Climb on the thirty-foot daemon, stands on its shoulders, pounds it into the ground with repeated whacks from his hammer, then vaults over its disintegrating corpse (which is on fire). In other words, a most excellent Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- Perhaps one of the most epic sync kills from Chaos Rising onwards is the Avatar of Khaine vs the Great Unclean One. If the Avatar is sync killing the GUO, it will stab it in the chest; causing it to laugh and use its puke of doom on the Avatar, which responds by shoving its gigantic sword into the Great Unclean One's mouth and out the back of its head. If the GUO is sync killing the Avatar it will jab its meat cleaver sword into the Avatar's back, turn its sword upright and lift it into the air and use gravity to impale the Avatar all the way through the sword
- In Dawn of War and its expanisions, the humanoid Relic Units also had their fair share of epic sync kills. If a Bloodthirster sync kills an Avatar, the Bloodthirster gets smacked around by the Avatar, but bats the Avatar's head off with its axe in the end. If the Avatar is the sync killer, it gets knocked down, but before the Bloodthirster can capitalize on this, the Avatar impales it with his giant sword. If the Nightbringer sync kills the Avatar (never the other way around due to the Nightbringer's invulnerability) after (now this troper is just going off of memory) a brief fight the Nightbringer scythes the Avatar's head off. While technically not a Relic Unit, if the Daemon Prince defeats the Greater Knarloc (pretty hard to do considering the differences in DPS and HP) it will leap up into the air with its sword pointed downward and impale the Knarloc's head and pin it to the ground before pulling its sword out and walking away.
- In Dawn of War II, if a Chaos Aspiring Champion of Khorne (or the Force Commander) sync kills a Carnifex (really hard to do) he will perform a Colossus Climb and stand on the Carnifex's tusks, holding on to his melee weapon impaled in the side of the Carnifex's head, and blast it repeatedly in the face with his pistol before finishing it off with a blast to the mouth. This sync kill is featured in Retribution in the mission where you have to escape Typhon as Exterminatus is being performed on it. When you get to a certain point the Deranged Chaos Champion (since this is his full title he must be crazy even by Chaos' standards...eep), will start roaring to the sky, enraged by the fact that people would be trying to escape from Kyras's gift of death before doing this in the Typhon Arena.
- While not a sync kill, this is undoubtably epic. In the last mission of Retribution; after you have hammered at Daemon Prince Kyras for quite a while and brought him down to one last sliver of health, your commander (Bluddflagg for the Orks for example) will note that he's weakened and tell you to finish him off with your big damaging global power (Rok bombardment, which drops a bunch of Asteroids, for the Orks to continue this example.) Bluddflagg will say "Look, 'es reelin boys. Now it's time ta zap 'im wiff da biggest rok we 'ave." and you'll get one free usage of Rok bombardment. Once you target Kyras with this, you'll get a cutscene where Roks will start raining on Kyras, causing him to shudder until an absolutely massive rok falls on top of his head and completely destroys it. Once the dust clears you'll see the bloody stump where his head used to be and watch his corpse slump back into the lava pit. A similar thing happens with the other factions (with the Space Marines using orbital bombardment instead, for example.) But man is it satisfying to watch Kyras's head explode.
- Foe Yay: Farseer Idranel in Dawn of War II seemed rather... pleased after your first fight with her.
- Fog of War
- Friendly Enemy: If Tarkus is the traitor, he constantly refers to your strike force as "brothers" and offers tactical advice while you're making your way to him, and quotes from the Codex Astartes during the actual boss fight. He's basically acting completely normally, which utterly infuriates your sergeants.
- Friendly Fireproof: Averted and inverted—not only can your artillery and/or other explosive weapons (grenade launchers generally) harm your own troops, but if you, as the Imperial Guard, attach a Commissar to an infantry squad, you can actually have him execute one of your troopers to raise the morale and accuracy of all nearby soldiers.
- You can still pour small arms into a chaotic melee without any harmful consequences to your troops, on the other hand (though all units engaged in melee combat take 50% less ranged damage). This is one of the most obvious breaks from the tabletop game.
- Horribly averted if you don't back Cyrus far away enough from his Remote Detonator, which can kill him and his squad in one hit, even at full health, if the blast so much as wings him! It can also do the same to your other squads.
- Game Mod: Lots, with some truly ambitious ones like Dawn of Warhammer 40k: Firestorm.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: A minor example. The Ancient from Retribution's Space Marine campaign has taken a vow of silence. He never speaks, not even to confirm the player's orders until The Reveal of his identity on the Judgement of Carrion. Tarkus talks differently from his Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising self, but that is to be expected since he hasn't used his voice in a decade.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: A Daemon Prince should, fluff wise, be basically immortal towards everything. It would not be balanced if building a Daemon Prince resulted in the Chaos player being undefeatable.
- If they were "immortal towards everything", that too would break the fluff. As aptly put in Retribution's Imperial Guard campaign, enemies may be bigger, stronger, and more cunning than the average human, but that doesn't matter once you put enough high caliber explosive munitions into it.
- Initially played straight with the Nightbringer, the god of Death, worshipped by a race that specializes in killing everything. The Necron Lord can let the Nightbringer possess him for a short period of time, during which, he is invincible and floats around chopping up enemies good. It seems a shame that he's not actually all that good at killing things - he doesn't have the raw killing power that some other units have. However, upon inspection of his in-game stats, he does vastly more damage to heavily armored vehicles and monsters... which includes every top tier unique unit in the game. While he won't be laying waste to entire armies, his damage output is such that during his brief stint on the battlefield he is capable of killing any single unit in the game that doesn't run away from him.
- In fluff, Necron Gauss Weapons (which are not Gauss weapons at all) are capable of eating through any kind of armor, and can inflict damaging blows on even the sturdiest target. In the game, they're about as effective as regular guns against armor.
- Garrisonable Structures: Originally used for transportation in Dawn of War; an Imperial Guard specialty from Winter Assault onwards. Useful in Dawn of War II and its expansions, but beware of units bearing flamers, demolition charges or frag grenades.
- The Imperial Guard have an ability that air-lifts in a bunker in Retribution.
- Gatling Good: Assault Cannons, Burst Cannons, etc.
- Genre Savvy: The Blood Ravens in Dawn of War II decide that to beat back a planet-wide invasion, they only need one Player Character, a few squads, and no additional companies. Partially justified by the chapter being dangerously undermanned at the time, but seriously, it's spelled out in the first campaign loading screen - they expect you to turn the tide.
- Also, considering that one of the first things that they do is suggest that the Orks might be being manipulated or directed by some other power, this quickly enters Dangerously Genre Savvy territory on the Space Marines' part.
Farseer Macha: "You can never ambush a Space Marine. They expect treachery around every turn. You can only validate their suspicions."
- Geo Effects: The cover system.
- Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The Necrons will come off as this in the Winter Assault Disorder campaign. While they're mentioned earlier in the Order campaign, in Disorder they essentially show up out of nowhere.
- Glass Cannon: The Dark Eldar's Dais of Destruction in Soulstorm. Extremely high firepower plus a beam capable of literally wiping out an entire army in one shot. Not exactly "glass", but still by far the most fragile of the Relic Units.
- On a smaller scale, Necron Immortals, with very long range and devastating anti-vehicle/structure firepower, but low HP and a small squad size that can see them wiped out in seconds.
- All set-up weapons in the sequel are powerful anti-infantry and/or anti-vehicle counters at range. At melee range, you'd have better had them start retreating before the first hit gets in.
- Eldar of Dawn of War II are, comparatively, the Glass Cannon faction (they even have near-literal glass cannons). In the Chaos Rising expansion this role is easily fulfilled by the traitor House Vandis militia (using Imperial Guard equipment) you encounter in the beginning and the droves of Chaos cultists. Both of them can bear weapons with high damage output, but tend to die from a poke. They try to compensate by walking around in big numbers, but it doesn't help them much, it simply gets them cut down by the dozen.
- A Good Way to Die: The Imperial Priest that can be attached to Imperial Guard squads in the expansions for the original holds to this trope, if his battlefield lines are anything to go by:
Imperial Priest: "Our deaths shall be MAGNIFICENT!"
- Goomba Stomp: Most melee units that are capable of flying or leaping. The Assault Marines in the Dawn of War II intro do it with such force that they shake the camera.
- The Assault Jump in Dawn of War II actually causes damage and also breaks various things usable as cover, making it much more effective.
- Skykilla, one of the first bosses in Dawn of War II does this, but his version stuns him momentarily. It also has a massive tell in the form of a glowing rune on the ground before he takes off, giving you time to re-position.
- Gorn: Dawn of War II's 'sync-kills'.
- Summoning a Bloodthirster, an animation reused to represent a Daemon Prince killing Eliphas in Dark Crusade.
- Units in Dawn of War II can be blown apart into their component parts. There is no greater joy than seeing the Dreadnought's Assault Cannon Barrage ability mince entire squads of infantry.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The last image a non-Eldar player sees of Farseer Taldeer is her charging down a slope, surrounded by enemies. Then the camera tilts up into the sky...
- Subverted by the first few seconds of the intro movie for Dawn of War II. And throughout the intro movie, for that matter, with one of the tamest deaths being a Warp Spider taking a Bolt Pistol round to the face.
- Grim Reaper: The Essence of the Nightbringer, which is a 40 foot tall metal reaper that shoots green lightning.
- Guilt Based Gaming: Quit, and the "are you sure?" dialog box is headlined COWARDS DIE IN SHAME. About as subtle as you might expect, given the source material; sadly, it was not kept for the sequel.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Gorgutz vs. Crull in Winter Assault. Pretty much every scene the two appear in turns into a scenery-chewing contest.
- Units in Dawn of War II can occasionally throw lines related to whatever they're doing. If in battle, this has the potential to turn into a literal example of ham-to-ham combat.
- Have You Seen My God?: The Ascendant Daemon-Prince Azariah Kyras claims that the Emperor's "soul was picked clean centuries ago." Captain Angelos points out that daemons are liars, and that slaying them is the only way to avoid their influences.
- Hearing Voices: Chaos, naturally. Chaos Space Marines in Dawn of War and its expansions will occasionally ask you when you select them:
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Most Imperial squad leaders and commanders fight bare-headed, just like in the source material. Ogryn Boneheads and Sisters of Battle Sisters Superiors are the only exceptions. The other factions have a mix of bare-headed and helmeted leaders.
- Heroic BSOD: In such a Crapsack World, this is only to be expected. Angelos has one when Isador falls to Chaos, Taldeer has another when the (much larger) Necron second wave appears in Winter Assault, and most of the commanders in Dark Crusade or Soulstorm have one as you batter inexorably through their stronghold.
- At the end of Dawn of War II, your Space Marines seem a little affected by the Armageddon being critically damaged and sacrificing itself, leaving them on the ground in the middle of an endless Tyranid swarm. That is, until the chapter fleet comes out of the Warp just in time to save the day.
- Diomedes has a major one in Retribution's Space Marine campaign. After finally realizing Kyras was a villain the whole time AND barely surviving the start of the Inquisition's Exterminatus campaign, he's ready to just sit down and die, figuring the Blood Ravens are officially doomed anyway. It takes the Ancient (actually Tarkus) threatening to kill him and providing a Rousing Speech for him to return to his senses and start bringing down Kyras.
- Villainous Breakdown: Lord Bale after being betrayed ("SSSSINDRIIIIII!"), and most of the evil commanders during their stronghold missions.
- Heroic Mime: The Force Commander in Dawn of War II, in-game at any rate. He gets lines in the trailer and in multiplayer, and in the campaign of Chaos Rising he gets a few small bits of dialogue during the mission briefings. All text, of course.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The guy who plants the flag in the opening cutscene of Dawn of War.
- Averted in Dark Crusade, where you plant a bomb in the Necron base... then run like hell. The soldiers who get the honor of covering your escape however...
- Averted in a different way by how the mini-epilogue plays out if you won the battle as the Orks. A lot of Ork boyz did get left behind because they were slow or stupid or unlucky, and the survivors think that's pretty funny.
- Hero Unit: Especially in Dawn of War II, where the commander unit you pick determines what renown powers you get to use in a multiplayer game.
- Hey, It's That Voice!:
- Scott McNeil provides both his Dinobot voice and his Silverbolt voice, and also adds an English accent to his Rattrap/Duo voice.
- Cyrus is not only Martellus and Eliphas, he's Wolverine, Orochimaru, Oghren and Spike eff'in Spiegal!
- Tarkus is obviously the British Lieutenant from Company of Heroes (which strangely makes sense).
- The Imperial Guardsmen and Storm Troopers from Retribution are the British Infantry Section from Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts.
- It's entirely reasonable to speculate that elements of 3rd Battalion from Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts somehow found their way into the Imperial Guard. As noted above, the Infantry Sections are now Guardsmen, and Major Blackmore/the Churchill Tank Commander (you may know them as Fenris and Balthier) pilots a Sentinel.
- The Commissar is M. Bison and... Keroberos?! HOEEEEEEE!
- Dawn of War 2's Wraithlord is Harbinger! Also noticeable, to an extent, with the Wraithguard. Extra special bonus points because some of the Wraithlord's lines are completely interchangeable with some of Harbinger's, with neither of them necessarily needing to break character to deliver them. A bonus in that Apollo Diomedes is also Harbinger!
- Hold the Line: The final mission of Dawn of War II has your small platoon of Space Marines and Imperial Guardsmen holding off thousands of Tyranids while poisoning the Hive Mind until Gabriel Angelos and the chapter fleet arrive.
- Hollywood Tactics: The Dawn of War intro, in which a squad of Space Marines with Heavy Bolters charges into melee with Orks.
- I Let You Win: The entire campaign of Dawn of War.
- Implacable Man: Eldar Fire Dragons in Dark Crusade and beyond. Mass of Baneblade + Fleet Of Foot + Decent health = Imba base wreckers that can't be disrupted.
- The Librarian in Dawn of War and the Apothecary in Dawn of War II both have a power that can temporarily render their troops invulnerable, as do Ork Mad Doks. ("I'LL BRING DA FIGHTIN' JUICE!") and the Priests of the Imperial Guard ("Rise up and strike them down!"). Necrons of course go without saying.
- Insane Ork Lojik: The Nob piloting "Daisy", exclamation point. When told that the needle is in the red, he shakes it off by saying that "Red goez fasta!" and when told that Daisy hit something it wasn't supposed to hit, he says there's nothing Daisy isn't supposed to hit.
- Instant Win Condition:
- "Control Area" and "Take and Hold" victory conditions. The default mode of play for multiplayer in Dawn of War II is "Victory Point Control". Players can attempt to destroy the enemy's HQ(s) instead, but that is very unlikely if they aren't winning already as said HQs are very durable.
- "Destroy HQ" can count, especially in campaign missions; if you can send a small force of jetpacking Lightning Bruisers into the (handily marked) centre of the enemy's massive base to destroy their HQ, you're done. No matter if it was a Suicide Mission, the remainder of your forces are outnumbered ten-to-one, and the enemy have enough resources to build 50 more HQs.
- It Amused Me: The reason why Eliphas is still alive after the Exterminatus of Typhon Primaris.
- It's Raining Men: Deep Striking. Also, to an extent, Assault Jumping.
- Jack of All Trades:
- The Ancient in Retribution. You could easily describe him as a Tactical Assault Devastator Marine.
- The Eldar have Autarch Kayleth, who functions similarly, able to shoot, jump, and assault depending on how you kit her out.
- Karma Houdini: Gorgutz, who has managed to escape in each game upon defeat rather than face death, perhaps due to Popularity Power.
- Karma Meter: A 'Corruption' meter in Chaos Rising, which affects what abilities and wargear are available to your squads. The campaign also has multiple endings, based on your choices in-game.
- Kill It with Fire:
- A number of factions have access to flamethrowers, though it is featured more prominently with the Sisters of Battle, in much the same way that sunlight is featured more prominently on the surface of the sun.
- The most spectacular skill of the Librarian in Chaos Rising is throwing fireballs as big as himself that incinerate and scatter infantry about as effectively as the Dreadnought's Assault Barrage.
- Melta weapons, though not technically fire, tend to qualify as "fire" weapons in-universe, given their thermal properties allowing for the burning of witches.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: The Blood Ravens have a habit of recovering, or otherwise "finding" relics from other chapters, among other sources. This quality of the Bloody Magpies is a bit exaggerated in the Fanon.
- Large Ham: Nearly every main character (except Eliphas and Taldeer), but especially the narrator. Dawn of War II makes everyone a bit more sedate and sinister (witness the new badass-sounding Eldar), but which angle is better comes down to personal preference.
- Chaos Rising compensated for that with the new villains (Eliphas remaining his old self) packing a ton of ham. The leader of the Chaos warband, Araghast, seems incapable of saying anything without hamming it up to ridiculous levels. The true Big Bad, in turn, takes this to unholy lengths - every line packs twice the ham compared to Araghast's.
- Soulstorm's Sisters Of Battle are particularly bombastic, and none more so than their flame-thrower tank:
- Large Ham Title: Apollo Diomedes, Captain of the Honor Guard!
- Laser Sight: Sniper Rifles in Dawn of War II have them emitting from underneath the barrel, in addition to a scope, for no logical reason other than it looks cool.
- Laughably Evil: No matter how evil Gorgutz and Ulkair are, you can't help but laugh at them due to the good acting associated with their characters.
- In Retribution Kaptin Bluddflagg and his crew take the cake.
- Left Hanging: Gabriel Angelos and the daemon in the Maledictum. He doesn't tell us when he appears in Dawn of War II, and no-one asks him about it.
- It apparently was responsible for much of the Blood Raven's problems, and is now presumably very unhappy after you blow up Chapter Master Kyras and purged the chapter in Retribution.
- Leitmotif: Especially noticable in Dawn of War II, where every faction has a few different tracks (almost all with Orchestral Bombing when the on-screen action heats up) dedicated to them, and each of those faction-particular tracks shares elements among themselves:
- Space Marine music tends to have Ominous High Gothic Chanting.
- Ork music tends to have Tribal Chanting.
- Eldar music tends to alternate between a One-Woman Wail and an Ethereal Choir singing in Eldanar.
- Tyranid music tends to have Drone of Dread and Psycho Strings.
- Chaos music tends to have Ominous Pipe Organ with an occasional Dark Reprise of the loyalists marines' Ominous High Gothic Chanting.
- The Imperial Guard music tends toward Marching Chants that range from upbeat to ominous.
- Lemony Narrator: The Narrator for Dark Crusade and Soulstorm was a bit of a Large Ham, and had INDEED an unusual way of intoning his monologue.
- Levitating Base of Instant Death: Fully upgraded Necron Monoliths in Dark Crusade.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: While all games in the series have Loading Screens, and quite long ones for the largest Dark Crusade campaign maps, Soulstorm is just guilty of this. On a computer able to operate the previous games at the middle mark of visual settings seamlessly, Soulstorm will take nearly twice as long to load the poorly programmed campaign map, than it will to load any level.
- Dawn of War II at least gives you some pretty pictures and helpful advice to look at while you wait for your opponents to finish loading.
- Love Makes You Evil: In a non-romantic example, the traitor in Chaos Rising if it's Thaddeus explains that Ulkair began whispering to him a long time ago, and he was perfectly happy to completely ignore it...until the final mission of the campaign when it looked like a Bolivian Army Ending was inevitable and it told him, "Pledge yourself to me for later, I'll open the Warp right now so the Litany of Fury can get through the Tyranid interference." Given that this isn't a part of anyone else's reason for turning should they be the traitor, it's likely this is a flagrant lie and the fleet made it through on its own, but Sergeant Thaddeus believes it, and believes his bargain saved his friends.
- Ludicrous Gibs: A number of sync kills leave these, while even normal shooting results in quite a bit of bloodshed.
- There was a chance that when the Imperial Guard Sanctioned Psyker uses one of his special abilities that it will backfire with messy results.
- In Dawn of War II, a number of ranged weapons (notably Assault Cannons and Web Spinners) turn anything they kill into giblets.
- A bit silly for the Tyranid Carnifex, who will tumble onto its stomach, curl up into a ball, explode outwards, and leave a wreck. (The game engine treats Carnifexes as vehicles.)
- The summoning of the Bloodcrushers (Dawn Of War II) and Bloodthirsters (Dawn Of War), the latter of which doubled up as the death animation for Eliphas the Inheritor in the Chaos stronghold defeat in Dark Crusade.
- When the Great Unclean One dies, his ribcage explodes outwards.
- As a relatively mild example, the simple Space Marine bolter in 'Dawn of War II tends to cause huge splashes of blood or blow off limbs when they kill enemies, unlike the original game where they act more like generic firearms. This is actually more faithful to the lore.
- Lukk Nounverba: Mostly Ork bossez.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Provided by Tau Skyray Missile Gunships and their Missile Barrages, Sisters of Battle Exorcists and Space Marine Whirlwinds.
- In Dawn of War II, Tankbusta Boyz and Cyclone Missile Launchers.
- Magikarp Power: Imperial Guardsmen. They begin the game as weak as Cultists and more expensive, and with terrible morale to boot, but upgrades give them a bigger squad limit, great weapons and temporary morale immunity and double damage after a Commissar Execution. Priests can make them temporarily invulnerable, and Psykers annihilate the morale of the enemy. Fully upgraded, plasma slinging guardsmen with any of these leaders are truly a sight to behold. Also, arguably, Heavy Weapons teams.
- The Heretics from Chaos Rising onwards can sacrifice themselves to summon large and powerful Bloodcrushers.
- Also, every Ork squad. Every Ork you add into a squad/have standing about nearby improves the morale and, eventually, combat stats of all your other Orks. Pile O' Gunz enables you to add Nob leaders cheaply, and a mere two fully reinforced Slugga Boy squads can cause significant disruption to any enemy. Obviously, there are MANY examples of this kind of upgrade.
- The Man Behind the Man: In Dawn of War. Eldar enjoy doing this, which they also demonstrate in the sequel.
- Marathon Boss: Some of the bosses, especially in Dawn of War II and onwards, have a lot of hit points, and unless there are easier ways to take them out, expect to take a while killing them. Daemon Prince Kyras takes the cake, with his ability to summon infinite waves of Bloodletters and Bloodcrushers, along with his ability to summon three towers to shield his life bar from damage.
- Meaningful Name: Important characters or places may have these. Leading the lineup, we have Brother-Captain Gabriel Angelos. Coming in second place, with a much less subtle Meaningful Name, we have Warboss Gorgutz Ragescreama/Tankbusta/Deffkilla/etc. He's big on titles.
- Some fans give Gorgutz the title of "Bitchslappa" for defeating the Sisters of Battle in Soulstorm.
- Metal Boxes: The Orks have the Trukk, the Marines, Sisters of Battle, and Chaos Marines have the Rhino (Dawn of War II and its expansions have the Space Marines using the Razorback variant, and the Chaos Marines stuck to foot-slogging), and the Imperial Guard have the Chimera. Space Marines also have the Land Raider (Redeemer variant in Dawn of War II). Tau Devilfish, while invisible, are decidedly non-boxy, as are the jump-capable Eldar and Dark Eldar transports.
- Moral Myopia: The entire reason the story of Dawn of War II HAPPENS. Fucking Eldar.
- Actually, the Tyranids were coming to subsector Aurelia regardless. It could be argued that the fucking Eldar actually saved the sector by bringing the Orks there, forcing the Blood Ravens to recall some of their troops from elsewhere, allowing them just enough forces to hold back the hive fleet until the chapter fleet could arrive.
- More Dakka: An actual researchable upgrade for the Orks in Dawn of War, while also applied to some weapons. The sequel instead has 'More Dakka' as a multiplayer ability you can use if you chose the right Ork commander which makes weapons have no fire cooldown (but still have to reload, sadly), and an ability called 'Luv da Dakka' for Kommandos, whose tooltip is: "Hold down da trigga fer maximum carnage! Knocks over enemies hit by your shots.". It still does more damage.
- Honourable mention to the upgrade to replace a Dreadnought's flamer with an Assault Cannon. It nerfs the Dreadnought's melee abilities, but is so much dakka that infantry whose existence critically fails at its hands turn into a pile of blood and limbs. Also the general purpose of any Heavy Weapons squads.
- Musical Assassin: In Retribution Slaanesh's followers finally make an appearance in the form of Noise Marines, Chaos Marines who fight anyone and everyone with The Power of Rock.
- Multiple Endings: One for each campaign/sub-campaign. That means four in Winter Assault, seven in Dark Crusade, nine in Soulstorm, six in Retribution.
- Chaos Rising has several, depending on how far you slid down the slippery slope, if you did at all. It also depends on some of the actions you take during the campaign, such as killing Diomedes or Eliphas.
- Never Found the Body: In the Eldar campaign of Retribution, they mention that despite their defeat on Kronus, the Eldar's subsequent mission to discreetly recover the soulstones of the dead around the Vandia region was a resounding success, with the Space Marines never suspecting their presence and all fallen Eldar accounted for except for the spirit stone of Farseer Taldeer, of whom no trace could be found...
- Nice Hat: Kaptin Bluddflagg, in Retribution. He also demands Inquisitor Adrastia's badass inquisitor hat as payment for a merc job, but she refuses. He then mugs her for that same hat when she hunts him down to kill him in the Ork campaign's ending cutscene. The achievement for winning the Ork campaign? Nice Hat, of course.
- For players who preordered Retribution with the Imperial Guard bonuses, General Castor gets a very spiffy hat that he can equip. When you see the bonuses it gives him, you'll never want him to take it off.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The ending of the original Dawn of War.
- And true to form, it does come to bite them in the ass many years later, with Adrastia saying to Diomedes that Angelos' confessing what happened there is actually damning evidence against the Blood Ravens.
- Pretty much all the factions when they put an end to the Biel-tan Eldar ritual on Typhon, big time. Special mention goes to the Eldar of Alaitoc when they inadvertently cause the Infinity Circuit of a dead craftworld they were trying to save to be destroyed by the Exterminatus fleet.
- Nightmare Face: This is Warhammer 40,000, but Great Unclean One Ulkair's face takes the cake.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Avitus, if he is the traitor, which he canonically is.
- Before the final battle of Retribution, Kyras proudly declares that the senseless violence committed by the followers of Khorne is the only way to truly be free, as life and the universe is ultimately meaningless.
- Nintendo Hard: So you tried 'Hard' mode in Dark Crusade's and Soulstorm's campaign mode? Good. Now try Dawn of War II's Primarch mode; the first few missions intended to get the player adjusted to the campaign's gameplay have the potential to KILL you outright if you're not careful. And it only gets worse...
- No Campaign for the Wicked: In the vanilla versions of Dawn of War and Dawn of War II, only the Space Marines are playable. Averted in Winter Assault, Dark Crusade and Soulstorm although there is still...
- No Canon for the Wicked: The official winners of the above are the Eldar, the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard respectively.
- The campaign for Chaos Rising officially ended with the second best ending, in which Martellus isn't the traitor, since he is a playable squadmate alongside Cyrus. While the Golden Ending was not the official one, it still counts for this.
- Noisy Guns: The Commissar's standard-issue laspistol makes a Dramatic Gun Cock every time he uses it to do a summary execution. Note that this is a LASER-based weapon, which does not click when it is fired at non-friendly targets.
- Maybe it has a vestigial (and very noisy) hammer which the Commissar cocks in order to get the entire squad's attention as an announcement that he's about to execute a Guardsman as an example because, y'know, the whole squad is sucking goa- *BLAM*
- No One Could Survive That: In Chaos Rising, Eliphas the Inheritor isn't quite as dead as his fate in Dark Crusade seemed.
- One ending cutscene in Chaos Rising might count as well. If you killed Eliphas in the final campaign mission, he apparently can regenerate his body somehow.
Ulkair: "His refusal to accept death is an insult to Grandfather Nurgle."
- The Blood Ravens also get rather exasperated by Eliphas' ability to come back from the dead twice so far. Davian Thule lampshades this as he and Eliphas fight in Retribution's first Chaos mission.
Davian Thule: "I've grown rather adept at killing you, Eliphas."
- No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Most levels in Retribution. Thought you could use jump-capable infantry to Sequence Break? Think again.
- Non-Entity General: Some commander units, such as the Warboss and Farseer, will address the player when you select them.
- Mega Armored Nobz will occasionally lampshade this when clicked on:
"Why's you givin' me orders?"
- Averted big-time, however, by Dawn of War II's singleplayer. There, the Force Commander is explicitly stated to be the player's character.
- Dawn of War II's multiplayer still play this trope straight however. If you are playing as the Eldar, your units still refer to you as "Farseer" (even if the commander you chose, that is on the field, is a Farseer); the Force Commander in the multiplayer acts if you are commanding him; while Orky players are still da Boss of all da boyz.
- Played straight by the Tyranids, who obey the Hive Mind.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Imperial administrators of Meridian take this all the way into Genre Blindness and Dying Like Animals (Bats, specifically) territory. Seriously, the Tyranids are about to ravage the sector and you only want to spare one tenth of one percent of factory production?! Administrator Derosa does get better once she realizes the gravity of the situation however.
- It's hinted at being more than that once you find out the Governor had Blood Ravens relics hidden near Angel Forge. Chaos Rising goes on to confirm that Governor Vandis has connections with Chaos.
- Obviously Evil: Chapter Master Kyras. His portrait even has a demonic red aura around it along with the impression that something just isn't right with him. Captain Diomedes is oblivious to this for a good chunk of the campaign. To be fair, though, this is the 41st millennium.
- Oh Crap: One of the Orks in the intro movie of Dawn of War, right before he gets shot in the face. Also Necron Pariah Thomas Macabee in Dark Crusade, when he spots the bomb that your troops have planted at the heart of the Necron tomb complex.
Macabee: "My lord! The living have -" BOOM
- Dawn of War II: This describes Cyrus' reaction when he realizes that communications are being impaired.
Cyrus: "A shadow in the warp? Those were his exact words!?"
- Everyone shares this moment on Typhon when it's subjected to Exterminatus.
Mr. Nailbrain: "Not a good place to be! Not a good place to be!"
- Eliphas has one when Abaddon decides to have a word with him the first time.
"Lord Abaddon, it cannot be you!"
- One-Liner: Seems to be most of Avitus' dialogue from Dawn of War II.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Taken Up to Eleven with Chapter Master Azariah Kyras in Retribution.
- Honorable mention goes to Eliphas in the same game, who lets Kyras's plan go through, just with him in Kyras's place in the end of the Chaos campaign.
- One-Man Army: Averted by Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising: rather than a single Space Marine facing hundreds of attackers, you're in control of nearly a dozen Space Marines facing thousands of attackers. This is still enough for the job at hand, as long as you use the same combined arms and defeat-in-detail tactics as the "real" Space Marines.
- One-Winged Angel: Considering that this series involves at least two seperate attempts of characters ascending into daemonhood this is pretty much inevitable for some Final Boss sequences.
- Papa Wolf: Cyrus. Gods help you if you mess with his initiates.
- Planetville: Averted throughout the first three titles of the series. Dawn of War and Winter Assault both take place on one single planet and in Dark Crusade the Narrator will describe just how the defending faction was defeated and killed/driven off the planet once you conquer their stronghold. Soulstorm plays it partially straight with the factions traveling through the webway between four planets and three moons, although the planets admittedly have multiple large, separately-captured zones each.
- Dawn of War II has you leaping between three different planets to choose your missions. Played pretty straight, as your fight to save entire planets (and the rest of the game's events) are taking place on a small patch of land on a side of said planets. It is justified since you're leading a small strike force against important targets like enemy commanders and the like, while your brother Blood Ravens and the Imperial Guard Hold the Line.
- Power At a Price: In Chaos Rising, there are some very powerful items. The catch is that they are tainted by Chaos and corrupt their users.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Of course, WH40K being the place that it is, this applies to the protagonists as well. Lord General Castor in particular gets a moment of this:
Castor: "A guardsman's life is to die. I take them to a place where they may die. I am not afraid to spend their lives, but I will not waste them." [...] "Now, you may continue with your attempt to kill me, but as I said, I will not waste the lives of my men, and executing you for insubordination would be... wasteful."
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "ACCEPT OUR DOMINION." RRRAAATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATATA~
- Jonah Orion also delivers one when he makes his entrance, "No more Blood Ravens fall this day, NO MORE!"
- Araghast responds back to one of these with a one-liner of his own.
Tarkus: "Your end is at hand."
- Psycho for Hire: Chaos Space Marines. They won't even deny it.
"Sanity is for the weak!"
- Ranged Emergency Weapon: Many melee specialists have a ranged weapon or an upgrade that gives them one.
- Rated "M" for Manly: In the grim darkness of space, there are only BIG MEN.
- Redheaded Hero: Popular among Eldar Farseers - Macha in the original, and Taldeer in Winter Assault (although hers is literally red rather than auburn). After that long hair seems to go out of fashion so you can't tell for the helmets, but the trope makes a return in Dawn of War II where the Eldar Farseers again have red hair.
- Redshirt Army: The Imperial Guardsmen are ordinary humans in a world filled with genetically engineered Super Soldiers, omnicidal robots, and aliens with high technology and/or terrifying Psychic Powers. They are surprisingly Genre Savvy about this, meaning that infantry have crap morale because they know exactly how expendable they are. Fortunately, these morale problems can be solved by using superior numbers, propaganda and Commissars executing soldiers to motivate nearby troops to fight harder. Once fully upgraded however...
- The Remnant: In the Tau campaign of Dark Crusade, when the Imperial Guard are defeated, the narrator mentions that many of the survivors continued to stage guerrilla attacks against the aliens. Also, in the actual game, the forces remaining in any enemy-controlled province after their main headquarters on the Risk-Style Map has been captured probably count.
- Ret Canon: Dawn of War introduced and popularised the use of two-handed Thunder Hammers by Space Marine Commanders in power armor - at the time, not even doable in the tabletop.
- Risk-Style Map : Nicely done in Dark Crusade, poorly done in Soulstorm: the developers even go so far as to have the planets rotating, in a day-night cycle, but leave the territory borders immobile, meaning that a city will simply be owned by a given faction at a given hour of the day. Or would if the developers had also remembered that a 3D object has a side facing away from the viewer at any one time.
- It may be a more recent version, but for players the planets themselves don't rotate: Only their clouds do.
- Also done in Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising (though the latter is rather more linear), where the player is tasked with traveling to different hotspots scattered across three different planets, as well as a Space Hulk in Chaos Rising. Some of these have time limits attached, so it's the player's call as to what takes priority.
- The Reveal: The Ancient, the mute veteran sergeant you have as one of your hero Space Marines in Retribution? It's Tarkus.
- Ronahn, the sarcastic Ranger who was once part of Idranel's force and is now a playable hero in Retribution's Eldar campaign? He's Farseer Taldeer's brother.
- RPG Elements: Wargear in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm, and especially Dawn of War II and its expansions. Your squads gain experience and can choose talents and traits over the course of the campaign, and certain enemy squads will randomly drop wargear color-coded by rarity and value. This combined with co-op play can make the game feel like a very strange session of World of Warcraft.
- Not only that, your units will gain experience and level up in Dawn of War II's multiplayer.
- Chaos Rising adds a Karma Meter. In an RTS, of all things. The scary thing is that it's actually well implemented.
- Road Cone: The events of the Winter Assault, Dark Crusade, Soulstorm and Chaos Rising expansions are all dictated by later expansion packs in the series. Winter Assault was won by the Eldar, Dark Crusade by the Blood Ravens, and Soulstorm was a SPESS MEHREEN, er, Blood Raven defeat with an unconfirmed victor, widely believed to be the Imperial Guard. Diomedes survived the events of Chaos Rising, and The Ancient aka Tarkus reveals that Avitus was the traitor.
- Rousing Speech: In Dark Crusade several leaders give you one of these in response to you attacking their stronghold (often doubles as a Sedgwick Speech, as you usually defeat them regardless). Same for Soulstorm, though with a higher chance of Narm. Indrick Boreale gives an especially bad speech wherein his accent dulls the intended effect.
- In the Retribution expansion for the second game, 'Inspiring Speech' is actually an equippable item for Imperial Guard campaign heroes. It restores energy to all nearby units.
- Royal Decree: The Exterminatus in Retribution is initiated with one of these.
"We have arrived, and it is now that we perform our charge. In fealty to the God-Emperor (our undying lord) and by the grace of the Golden Throne... I declare Exterminatus upon the Imperial world of Typhon Primaris. I hereby sign the death warrant of an entire world, and consign a million souls to oblivion. May Imperial justice account in all balance. The Emperor protects."
- Rule of Fun: "The Last Stand" mode in Dawn of War II and its expansions, which has you and two other players survive against waves of enemies of... many different species, while the players themselves don't even need to be from the same faction. Relic doesn't even try to justify it, it's just for fun.
- Say My Name: "SIIINDRIIII!"
- Scenery Gorn: Dear Emperor does this series love this! Explosions leave scorched craters, heavy firepower chews up cover, objects are crushed beneath the treads of massive units, buildings get bits of masonry knocked off them before eventually collapsing... The aftermath of a big battle in the game can drastically alter the look of the terrain, bearing all the scars of war proudly.
- Separate but Identical: Players are distinguished from each other with "army schemes". The default ones reflect existing sub-groups of the different factions, but the in-fluff differences between these groups are not reflected, not that this has stopped fans trying to make mods that reflect the proper way things are.
- Seven Man Band: In Dawn of War II:
- Shoot the Messenger: During the Dawn of War campaign, a Chaos cultist brings warning to Lord Bale and Sindri that the Space Marines approach. Bale goes out to meet them, telling Sindri:
- Shout-Out: To Prince, of all things, in the original game. Mouse over Sindri in the final mission and look at the bulletpoints in the description box.
- In Chaos Rising, if the Ork Weirdboy gets a kill with the Foot of Gork ability he'll usually say this.
- Bloodletters also say the above after killing a unit or a squad.
- Some of the loot you get in the Ork campaign in Retribution has names and descriptions similar to certain memes, and they're all written in Orky English, which at times bears more than a passing resemblance to kitty pidgin.
Chopped Up Armour description: Dis looks chopped! I can tells from some of da hack marks, and from seeing quite a few chops in me time.
- "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!"
- "My chief weapons are fear and surprise."
- This may be a bit of a stretch, but Lord General Castor also, at some points, says that perhaps the enemy will appreciate their "Devotion to the Emperor, and ruthless efficiency." Notably, he says this right after saying that they have lost the element of surprise and that the enemy doesn't fear them.
- "Get to da Valkyrie!"
- On occasion, Catachan Devils utter "I love it when a plan comes together!" upon killing an enemy unit.
- When an Ork vehicle kills a human, they sometimes say "Humie killed, dat's five points!"
- This one is a stretch, but the Eldar Avatar of Khaine in Dawn of War II has an ability called "Khaine's Wrath".
- When Stormboy Nob Brikkfist is downed, he sometimes mutters, "Urge to kill fading... fading... gone."
- Retribution has a Tau commander as a playable hero character in The Last Stand available through DLC. When reviving another player's hero, he sometimes says "Even a broken sword can still cut." This phrase was used to describe Shas'la'Kais in the Novelization of the franchise's earlier game Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior.
- One of the items Space Marines can unlock in Retribution is a Power Fist called Polaris Fist. Unfortunately, it's just a shout out in name only without any special abilities.
- Schrödinger's Gun: In Chaos Rising. There's a traitor amongst you—who it is won't be decided until the mission when he reveals himself.
- Sissy Villain: The sorcerer, not so much in the way he is dressed but his voice. (in some versions)
- Smoke Out: In Dawn of War II and its expansions, Cyrus can be upgraded to have this as an ability, dropping a smoke bomb that stuns enemies as he enters and exits stealth mode, making this both a Smoke Out and a Smoke Entrance.
- SPESS MEHREEN: An entire faction of them, with their Evil Counterparts making up most of another faction.
- Space Irish: Kaptin Bluddflagg's accent has distinct Irish elements to it.
- Space Pirate: Kaptin Bluddflagg, complete with pirate hat and pirate accent.
- The Starscream: Sindri Myr is a painfully obvious one in Dawn of War (although this is because he is entertaining himself by dropping hints that he knows will go over Lord Bale's head). Archon Tahril is this to Asdrubael Vect in Soulstorm. In fact, it's a good rule of thumb for every single member of the Dark Eldar faction.
- Eliphas in Chaos Rising.
- Staying Alive: Eliphas at the end of Chaos Rising.
- Stop Helping Me!: In the last mission of Chaos Rising you first receive a couple of Predator tanks to command and when your squads are finally deployed, they are backed by several dozens of NPC Space Marines. While the area does hosts much more Chaos troops than usual, it's still nothing your max-levelled Marines couldn't take on by themselves, whereas the tanks are short of a hindrance and the auxillary Marines do little except create confusion and inevitably get slaughtered, whereby the Final Boss doubles his initial Hit Points. Worse still, the Chaos forces respawn indefinitely.
- Storming the Castle: Stronghold missions in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm. Also the final missions of Dawn of War II and its expansions.
- Suddenly Shouting: When Chaos Lord Carron sees some Space Marine-
- Suicidal Overconfidence: "Squads Broken!" will "Keep Firing, Keep Firing!" nevertheless and won't "Fall Back And Regroup!" without player intervention. However, in Dawn Of War II, a suppression mechanic was added, meaning that while the unit may be staying in the same spot, when under heavy firepower, they'll be pretty much ducking their heads and looking like they wish they'd be allowed to run. They will also move slower and attack less often. Some campaign heroes in Retribution add even more debuffs.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Taldeer's opinion of the Imperials' efforts at the start of Winter Assault. This leads to two short sections playing as the Eldar where she "fixes" their problems for them.
- Taldeer uses this mindset again as a justification for Ulthwe Eldar taking to the field of battle in Dark Crusade, realizing that the forces on the planet already aren't going to be able to defeat the Necrons, in her not-so-humble opinion.
- Sword and Gun: By many troops made for close-combat, though some use things other than swords...
- Tactical Withdrawal: Units whose morale have been broken in the first game are only good for this. Dawn Of War II gives most infantry a button to retreat back to their base with, a system from Company of Heroes. However, now you have to make sure melee units don't get too close to your retreating units, since retreating causes them to take extra melee damage.
- Said word for word by the Space Marine Force Commander in Dawn of War if his morale is broken:
"Brooothers, initiate a tactical withdraaaaaawal!"
- Take Cover: Certain types of terrain provided defensive 'cover bonuses' in the first game and it's a major feature of the series. Directly drawn from the tabletop game.
- Take That: Apparently the team that did Dawn of War II shared many players' opinions about Soulstorm. Not only is Brother-Captain Indrick "SPESS MEHREENS" Boreale confirmed as being killed in action, but Scout Sergeant Cyrus calls the entire Kaurava campaign a "mistake" that dangerously depleted the chapter's manpower.
Cyrus: "What happened on Kaurava was a mistake... I will not speak of it again."
- There's a slightly more subtle strike on one of the loading screen tips: Cyrus' highly successful tactics - based on ambush, planning and precision attacks - were fiercely resisted by Indrick Boreale, but Captain Thule ignored Boreale's complaints.
- And yet... Boreale is namechecked in a specific piece of wargear in Dawn of War II; a Sniper Rifle called Cold Mercy used by the man himself during his Scout Marine days, with the flavour text mentioning how Boreale remained unmoving for days in sub-zero temperatures for the opportunity to (successfully) take out his intended target. Perhaps it soured his view on such tactics, or he could have been a better commander had he learned more from Cyrus and that experience.
- It's not a very good Sniper Rifle.
- It's still better than the standard issue Sniper Rifles.
- In Chaos Rising, Cyrus uses this as an explanation for his turn to Chaos, if he is the most corrupted unit in your force.
- There's a slightly more subtle strike on one of the loading screen tips: Cyrus' highly successful tactics - based on ambush, planning and precision attacks - were fiercely resisted by Indrick Boreale, but Captain Thule ignored Boreale's complaints.
- Talking to Himself: It happens quite a bit in the series. Cyrus, Martellus and Eliphas, Bale and Sindri, Davian Thule and Ulkair...
- Tank Goodness: The Imperial Guard Leman Russ and Baneblade, and the Space Marine Predator and Land Raider.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Various units get teleportation abilities.
- The Eldar get warp gates, which can be built almost anywhere and can be used to transport units. The builder units can also teleport long distances.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Some of the sync kills, most notably one where the Ork Warboss grabs an enemy and REPEATEDLY slams it head first into the ground.
- This Is Sparta: In Retribution, as you wait for the Tyranids to attack on a mission on the Judgement of Carrion, the Space Hulk's machine spirit will point out: "They. Are. Here."
- Throw the Pin: Invoked when Orks say "Hold on to the pin. Throw the other part."
- Tragic Villain: Who the traitor is in Chaos Rising varies, but he always comes off as being rather sympathetic.
Thaddeus: "Explain yourself Tarkus! What power could possibly be worth betraying us all?"
- Thaddeus made a deal with Ulkair in order to help defeat the Tyranids by helping the chapter fleet arrive... or so he thinks. Jonah is convinced the daemon was only lying to him.
- Jonah is possessed by a daemon, and isn't in control of his actions. He's still Fighting From the Inside.
- Avitus cracked after learning that Chapter Master Kyras was corrupted and that he wars in the name of a minion of Chaos. His actions are implied to be Suicide by Cop. Avitus is all but stated to be the canonical traitor.
- Cyrus grew disgusted with the incompetence of the Blood Ravens' command staff, and wants to reform it by any means necessary.
- Martellus was only trying to survive.
- Treacherous Advisor: "SIIINDRIIII!"
- Eliphas in Chaos Rising.
- Unorthodox Reload: Scout Marines in Dawn of War 2 and its expansions equipped with Combat Shotguns use the typical action hero reloading method with Sawn Off Shotguns; using the weight of the shotgun to pump it.
- Unreliable Narrator: The narrator in Dark Crusade is an Imperial scholar. For some reason, fans of the series disregard this (and the fact that this particular planet has a history of rebellion) and take his alarmist speculations about the human population drop on Kronus in the Tau victory movie as absolute proof that the Tau sterilize the non-Tau populations of their worlds.
- Unstable Equilibrium: You get resources for taking points. So whoever can take more points, for example by pushing his opponent off a point and capturing it for himself, has an advantage.
- Justified in that were this not the case, matches could very well go on for hours, given two combatants of roughly equal skill.
- Violent Glaswegian: The drivers of the Imperial Guard APCs and tanks in Retribution.
- Xanatos Gambit: The campaign of Chaos Rising. Eliphas turns out to have orchestrated the events of the entire campaign to start a Blood Ravens civil war -- which would have failed if a daemon destroyed the chapter's recruiting worlds.
- Same thing for Retribution. Kyras manipulates the various factions so that their fighting will force the Inquisition to order an Exterminatus on the entire sector. Kyras would then offer the billions of resulting deaths as a sacrifice to Khorne and ascend to Daemonhood.
- Wall of Weapons: The Orks' Pile O' Gunz!
- We Can Rule Together: In Chaos Rising, if Cyrus becomes the traitor he will make this offer to your team when you confront him, though it will be quickly rejected.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Tarkus, if he becomes the traitor in Chaos Rising.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Thaddeus, Davian Thule and Elena Derosa are given no mention in Retribution. Subverted with Tarkus, who is actually The Ancient.
- Thule does show up in the Chaos campaign, where he is the first boss and is killed.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: The Chaos Cultists of the first game had such an accent, which coupled with a hilariously squeaky voice has become one of the Memetically Narmy things of the game.
- Whoring: It used to be possible to treat the highest tech level units like you would in an Age of Empires game, replacing earlier ones so that battles between armies of Space Marine Terminators and Imperial Guard Kasrkins and Ogryns were common. Capping the top-tier units from Dark Crusade onward brought it more in line with the 40k setting and tabletop game.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Imperial Guard infantry start off weak, but then they start to roll out the bunkers, plasma guns, morale upgrades, and lots and lots of tanks. One of the responses of the Baneblade, their most powerful unit, is literally "Who's dying now?!"
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Brother-Sergeant Thaddeus. Yes, really. The other Space Marines do find it a bit naive. He's very young (he doesn't even have a single service stud yet) - one of the youngest leaders to be promoted to squad leader. Ironically, he's also a former ganger.
- Do note though that "very young" is relative. Thaddeus left Meridian to join the Blood Ravens over eight decades ago.
- Wolverine Claws: Imperial Guard Generals in Winter Assault to Soulstorm, and Space Marine Assault Terminators.
- They come as equippable items in Chaos Rising, with sets both for normal and Terminator armour.
- The Worf Effect: Dark Crusade and Soulstorm open with movies of Necrons wiping out Space Marines and Battle Sisters ignoring Tau pulse fire respectively.
- Chaplain Varnus establishes his credentials by smiting a Bloodthirster.
- There's non-cutscene case of this in the final Imperial Guard level in Winter Assault. When the Necrons show up, they will outright slaughter the Chaos and Ork bases, giving a pretty good idea of what will happen if you try and fight without the Titan's guns.
- World of Badass: It's Warhammer 40K, do you really need further elaboration on this?
- World Of Jerkass: Again, it's WH40K; even the Wide-Eyed Idealist Tau Empire get more than a few Kick the Dog moments, and everyone else in the franchise ranges from slightly dickish to outright evil.
- World of Ham: Nearly every unit that talks is as hamtastic as possible. Dawn of War II toned it down a bit, which some fans were disappointed by. Fortunately for them, the villains in Chaos Rising bring the ham. It's like a Saturday morning cartoon with blood and gore!
- Would Not Shoot a Good Guy: One mission in Chaos Rising involves having to go up against another company of Blood Ravens to destroy a specific building in order to expose a mole, and those other Blood Ravens have orders to shoot-on-sight. The player is encouraged to avoid unnecessary bloodshed during this mission and play this trope straight. However if the player averts this trope and gets aggressive, it results in corruption points.
- You Call That a Wound?: The Trope Namer.
- You Have Failed Me...: Eliphas' fate when his stronghold is destroyed. Which doesn't stop Popularity Power bringing him back in Chaos Rising (luckily this can be hand waved by death being cheap in the Warp). He lasts all the way up to Retribution.
- You Require More Vespene Gas
- (Chaos Lord Firaeveus Carron's hatred of Rhinos, disdainfully referring to them as "Metal Boxes")
- However, there's nothing stated about when Space Marine happens in relation to the series, and it also does not specify which of the three Aurelian Crusades is being referred to (The First Crusade is Dawn of War II, the Second is Chaos Rising, the Third is Retribution). For all we know, Space Marine might have taken place between Chaos Rising and Retribution, or even right after Dawn of War II.
- Salamanders use lots of forging iconography, including lots of hammers
- Delivered by Shas'O Kais, the commander of the Tau in Dark Crusade, the Flat Earth Atheist race with a strong resistance to the Warp, including telepathic communication.