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A Hero Unit is a unit, usually in a Real-Time Strategy game, that represents the Player Character, or a major character in the game's story, on the battlefield.

Hero Units are usually larger than basic units (sometimes inexplicably so), and more powerful than the basic infantry unit of the same type or species. They may be capable of one-shotting the basic infantry unit, and can take scores of hits before you need to consider healing them. Many of them have spells, weapons, or abilities than can hamper, if not obliterate, entire platoons of enemy units, and often have "Auras" that can confer buffs to any friendly unit near them.

But their special power does come with a price. In Single-player campaigns, completion of the mission is often dependent on their survival; if you lose them, Game Over, man! Even if their deaths don't result in instant failure, the loss of their power and enhancements will most likely swing the battle in the enemy's favor. In strategy games, every faction may have its own hero unit, and eliminating it will eliminate or convert all their other units and buildings. Compare and contrast with Tactical Superweapon Unit, contrast with Cannon Fodder.

It's notable that the proliferation of this unit helped create the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre.


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    First-Person and Third-Person Shooters 

  • The first person shooter MAG has a variation on this. To clarify: Squadleaders give buffs to everyone nearby; Platoon Leaders give better buffs to everyone nearby; and OIC's automatically heal everyone nearby, increase their armour protection, and everyone near them do not show up on the map (including the OIC). Also, every leader has abilities like dropping bombs, poison gas, destroying emplacements, slowing down the opponents' spawn, speeding up allies' spawn, making everyone not near the OIC show up on the minimap, etc.
  • Star Wars: Battlefront has Jedi heroes as one of the bonuses you can purchase for your army in campaign mode. But rather than being controllable, they move of their own volition (usually killing large numbers of enemy troops). In the sequel, the Jedi (and non-Jedi like Han Solo, Leia, and the Fetts) heroes are severely depowered and made playable.
  • Metal Gear Online has "Unique Characters". All of them are important characters in their respective games' single player mode and have a wide variety of abilities that far outstrip the average soldier. Both teams get to have only one of these unique characters, and the players that get one are usually decided at random.

    Real-Time Strategy 

  • The Age of Empires series:
    • Age of Empires I and its sequel have these only in the built-in campaigns (in which, as these campaigns follow the careers of famous Historical Domain Characters, their survival is a victory conditionnote ) or through the Level Editor; one Action Bomb hero is available through cheats. The Expansion Pack for Age of Empires II causes heroes to regenerate, and allows one to create custom heroes through the editor by changing a normal unit or hero's name, Hit Points, or attack points. The death of any unit or building can cause a Game Over if the triggers are set right.
    • Age of Mythology uses these as an extension of the Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors along with Myth units (beasts taken from the different mythologies used in the game) and ordinary human soldiers. Heroes beat Myth units, Myth units beat normal units, normal units beat heroes (if only due to superior numbers, as the heroes can take them one-on-one easily enough). The main campaign has several unique heroes as main characters, more powerful than normal heroes and effectively immortal (they can be killed, but friendly units can revive them). The expansion pack race, the Atlanteans, had an interesting twist on this — most infantry troops could become a Hero Unit for additional cost and population slots, which would increase their stats and make them effective against myth units. Although it's entirely possible to reach your population cap with infantry units and then convert them all to heroes.
    • Age of Empires III has hero units in the campaign, and the Explorer (and potentially his dog) serving the same purpose in random maps; they are near-immortal, as the unique heroes in Age of Mythology.
    • Age of Empires IV features hero units in the campaign once again, representing various historical figures. In multiplayer, the Mongols have the ability to summon a Khan, a fast ranged cavalry unit with several support abilities for helping their army in combat. You can only have one Khan at a time, and they automatically respawn for you 120 seconds after death. The English also get a hero unit of their own with the King, which can be created at the Abbey of Kings landmark and is a powerful cavalry unit with a healing aura.
  • One mission in Aztec Wars gives you a badass Arab as a Hero Unit you must escort to a safe place. In practice, the best way is to leave him tucked away in a corner, conquer the entire map, and then get him to his goal.
  • Both Battalion Wars games put the player in full control of a unit. But rather than a special unit, the player takes control of any unit in his/her battalion, and can change to a different one at will. Whichever unit you are controlling is less subject to Artificial Stupidity and, it seems from witnessing a bug in action, also gets offense and defense power boosts.
  • Battle Realms has five per side, called Zen Masters. The Zen Masters always come with pre-equipped battlegear and most of them have unique abilities, but fill the battlefield role of an equivalent regular unit in that faction.
  • In Brütal Legend, the player controls the Hero Units, who aside from fighting enemies (though they are easily overwhelmed by groups) are also responsible for giving orders and collecting resources. Each Hero has unique guitar solos that all do different things. Eddie Riggs commands Ironheade, Doviculus commands the Tainted Coil and Drowned Ophelia commands the Drowning Doom.
  • Command & Conquer:
    • While Tanya has appeared in all games across the Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series, she only truly qualifies starting from Yuri's Revenge (prior to that, she's only unique in the campaign—in skirmish, she simply acts as an elite infantry unit that a player can train an unlimited number of). In vanilla Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, the only example is Yuri Prime (which represents Yuri himself, requires you to infiltrate a Soviet Battle Lab while also owning a Soviet Barracks and a Soviet Battle Lab, and is limited to one per player). Yuri's Revenge also introduces proper heroes for the other factions (Boris for the Soviets, and another version of Yuri Prime for Yuri) while 3 gave Natasha for the Soviets and Yuriko for the Empire.
    • The Commando from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series, too. The only difference is that the Commando didn't have a name (not counting Havoc or Lt. Fullerton). Of course, you could build Tanyas in multiplayer just like you could build Commandos.
    • Command & Conquer: Generals has an American commando (Col. Burton), a Qurac sniper mercenary (Jarmen Kell) and a high-level hacker (Black Lotus) as the hero unit of each faction.
  • In Company of Heroes, the British units don't gain Veterancy, but they can train Lieutenants, who follow squads around and emits a passive Status Buff to all surrounding infantry, which grows more powerful as the infantry score kills and gain experience for the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant himself is armed with a Sten, so while he can bolster the close range firepower of a squad, he shouldn't be relied upon to engage and defeat enemy troops directly and he definitely shouldn't be needlessly exposed to enemy fire. The Captain is a tier-2 unit who functions like the Lieutenant but grants an even larger boost to all units in an entire sector as opposed to just squads, but he's only armed with a revolver and hence even less capable in combat — it's generally a good idea to keep a Bren Carrier handy to ferry him quickly around the map. The last British hero is the Cromwell Command Tank, which imparts similar bonuses as the Lieutenant but for tanks and vehicles.
    • In the Ardennes Assault and Western Front Armies expansions for the sequel, the American forces function similarly, with a Lieutenant, Captain, and Major as trainable units. Each is required to unlock certain portions of the tech tree, and at least one of the lower ranked officers is required to unlock the Major. Like the British units above, each has certain special abilities befitting their respective ranks, and each confers status buffs on nearby units (or production buildings in the case of the Maajor). Unlike the British units, each American officer spawns with a squad, which can be upgraded with weapons in the same way as other infantry units. Additionally, while the Major's squad is only 3 men with an initial loadout of two carbines and a pistol, the Lieutenant and Captain spawn with full strength five man squads, at least one member of which is automatically equipped with a special weapon — a BAR and a Bazooka, respectively.
  • Dawn of War: Called Commanders, these units are (almost always) single-model infantry units that are much stronger than the average soldier and possess special abilities, but are limited to one per player (in the first game, they are trained like normal; in the second game, you have to choose only one from three commanders, and which one you pick determines what global abilities you get to use in a multiplayer game) and enemy walkers (Dreadnoughts, Wraithlords, etc...) can chew them up and spit them out with no problems.
    • The Space Marines have the Force Commander, Librarian and Chaplain in the first game; the Force Commander, Apothecary and Techmarine in the sequel.
    • The Orks have the Big Mek and Warboss in the original; the Warboss, Kommando Nob and Mekboy in the sequel.
    • Chaos Space Marines have the Chaos Lord and Sorcerer (the former can be upgraded to a Daemon Prince) in the first game; the Chaos Lord, Plague Champion and Chaos Sorcerer in the second game.
    • The Eldar have the Farseer and the Seer Council in the original; the Farseer, Warlock and Warp Spider Exarch in the sequel.
    • The Imperial Guard in the first game has the Command Squad (which stands out for being a whole squad led by an Imperial General) and Vindicare Assassin. In the sequel, they have the Lord General, Inquisitor and Commissar Lord.
    • The Tau have Commanders and Ethereals.
    • The Necrons have Necron Lords and Destroyer Lords.
    • The Sisters of Battle get the Cannoness and Confessor.
    • The Dark Eldar have the Archon and Haemonculus.
  • Divinity: Dragon Commander: The Player Character themselves. When commanding a battle personally, you can switch from Non-Entity General to a jetpack-enhanced dragon and lay waste to your foes personally.
  • In Dungeons 3, Thalya is the "hero" for your dungeon. She's a decently powerful damage dealer capable of tossing explosive fireballs and (after sufficient upgrades) summoning shadows to attack foes. Unlike other creatures she does not level from combat but must be upgraded via research.
  • Empire Earth:
    • The first game splits heroes into Warriors (durable combat units that increase the defense of nearby allies) and Strategists (a much weaker attack and they don't even auto-target enemies, but instead heal allied units and periodically reduce enemy defense), and you can only have one at a time (the campaigns often give you one of each). These heroes represent historical figures from Sargon of Akkad to Napoleon to von Richtoffen and can be upgraded with every era (resulting in oddities like Charlemagne and Caesar or Napoleon and Bismarck being available at the same time).
    • The second game has Leaders given when you win a Crown (a mechanic rewarding the player for researching all military/economic/cultural technologies for the era). They have both a passive effect on nearby units (such as faster researching or training) and an active one (such as area healing, summoning illusions, speeding up construction times, etc.). In the expansion, designating a Leader as Supreme leader grants a unique area buff that can be made weaker but affect units across the map by keeping the Leader in a fortress.
      • The campaigns feature some leaders as the player character for the map (the American campaign starts with Theodore Roosevelt himself leading the Cuban expedition).
  • End of Nations have buyable hero units to complement your company on battles, and have special abilities.
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings has you build your forces around them. If they all die, you lose, but the same is true for your opponents.
  • Halo:
    • In the first Halo Wars, the Covenant have their leaders (namely the Arbiter, the Prophet of Regret, and the Brute Army Commander), who can be quite important to have out on the field for their battle prowess, as their other units tend to be on the "subversive" side of the Faction Calculus scalenote . You can also only use your faction superpower by controlling them directly. On the other hand, the UNSC have Spartans; while not as singularly powerful as the Covenant's leader units, they are still quite badass in their own right and can hijack enemy vehicles or commandeer friendly vehicles for a power boost. The limit on how many of these units you can have still goes for both sides, thoughnote ; namely, one leader for the Covenant and three Spartans for the UNSC. In the campaign, Sgt. Forge, Professor Anders, and SPARTAN-II Red Team function as a quintet of Hero Units; if one of them goes down, there is even text reading "You have a downed hero."
    • In Halo Wars 2, some of the leaders on both the UNSC and Banished sides can directly appear on the battlefield as incredibly powerful units with various special abilities. The UNSC has Sergeant Forge, Jerome-092, Sergeant Johnson, and Morgan Kinsano, while the Banished has Decimus, Ripa' Moramee, Pavium, and Voridus. Additionally, some leaders can train subordinate hero units of their own; on the UNSC side, Captain Cutter, Isabel and Anders can train one Spartan each, Jerome can train three other Spartans, and Serina can build a Bison APC, while on the Banished side, Atriox can train an Atriox's Chosen, Let 'Volir can train one Sangheili Honor Guardsman, Colony can train a Mgalekgolo Captain, and Yapyap THE DESTROYER can train up to three Goblinsnote . Additionally, there's Sunray 1-1, a squad-based hero unit available only in the Operation: SPEARBREAKER DLC campaign (though they were temporarily usable in multiplayer during the Yappening event, where they replaced Cutter's Spartan unit).
  • Herzog Zwei was one of the first games to use hero units, which actually integrated them into the interface, using them to move and direct the other units around the battlefield.
  • There are three such hero units in the Homeworld series, all in Homeworld 2: Captain Soban's super-frigate, the Dreadnaught, and Sajuuk. All feature greater firepower and sometimes greater HP than other vessels in the same 'class'. Soban's frigate has a substantially greater firepower than a regular frigate, the Dreadnaught is rather more powerful than the Battlecruiser, the most powerful ordinary vessel, and the third... well, calling it a god is about right.
    • The Command Ship in Cataclysm might also count as well, along with its Beast counterpart in multiplayer, being the only Mothership-equivalent in the franchise that's not only well-armed enough to hold its own in combatnote  but aso gets a unique and very powerful special ability later on.
  • King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame had the Knights of the Round Table. Since King Arthur doesn't take part in anything other than as a figurehead, it's up to the Knights to be his enforcers. These unique characters can be attached to a unit and are far mightier than any other individual in raw stats alone, and then there's the supernatural abilities that they have and magic items are usable only by a Knight.
  • In Lord Monarch, the leader unit is very strong, but money can only be raised when it occupies its throne, and losing it means losing everything.
  • Noblemen: 1896 has armies led by a Nobleman (a Jack of All Trades or Master of All who leads and finances the army) and his Officers. The Nobleman's unique ability is to choose armor he's picked up from supply chests and he can freely switch out between "classes" (standard, ranger, support, anti-armor, Tesla) which all have a variety of weapons unique to them. The Officers are modified versions of regular units and have far greater stats and often carrying weapons not available to regular units. Another advantage is that the Officer gains experience at drastically higher rates than regular units and it's very common to have Officers that are far stronger than their noblemen leaders.
  • Ogre Battle is full of units with unique sprites and unique stats who are members of a standard class. The Opinion Leader and Magnus Gallant in OB64 have unique attacks.
  • There is one in Patapon 2, named "Hero" by default. He wears a mask, can change his class and activate special attacks of the class and connect with Hero Units of other worlds via the Paraget. If he dies, he's resurrected within a short while.
  • Each player in Rescue Raiders requisitions automated ground units while directly piloting the only airborne unit, a helicopter. Multiplayer games permit up to two players/helicopters per side.
  • Interestingly, Rise of Legends used three heroes per side, unlike its predecessor. Oddly, air heroes cost more and are Always Female.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has Capital ships act as Hero Units, with RPG Elements like the ability to level up, gaining new abilities, auras, strikecraft squads, etc. and upgraded stats. Additionally, the player has to train new crews specifically to build more capital ships.
  • Sacrifice has the wizards, who cast the spells, build the armies, order their creatures around, and function as the player's controllable avatar: Everything on the battlefield is seen from your wizard's point of view. Defeating a side's wizard for good by desecrating his respawn altar wins the games. Their spell and unit list depends on which gods they follow, and in addition each wizard has some minute differences in movement speed, health, and physical/magical damage resistance. Sacrifice also has unique Hero Unit versions of certain units, representing some particularly important non-wizard servants of the various gods. Some of them appear only on certain levels and have a Hero Must Survive clause, others join your cause permanently (as long as you keep supporting their patron god) and are expendable (but will not be accessible in subsequent missions if they die).
  • Star Wars:
    • Used in Empire at War and its expansion. All heroes are larger (in space battles, they usually command Ace Custom spaceborne battleships), though in some cases they're still at their canon scale, and most of them are unique units. The only ones that aren't are Red/Rogue Squadrons (X-Wings, but larger), Luke's X-Wing (again, just larger, though in this case it's the size of a freakin' transport), Accuser and Admonitor (larger Imperial-II Star Destroyers), and Merciless (a Zann Consortium flagship). The Admonitor is coloured blue (except when it dies), though, and the Merciless has unique engine exhaust colour and hull paint.
    • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds has hero units in the campaigns and Terminate the Commander games. Hero units tend to be extremely powerful, although as soon as they die, you're screwed (except in Terminate matches, where the hero isn't even capable of attacking, and has to hide in a fortress in order to survive).
  • Stick War: You can make any unit one temporarily by selecting them and manually controlling them. While under your control, the selected unit is faster and stronger, and a controlled Miner mines faster.
  • Total Annihilation:
    • The first game has its Commanders as the linchpin of the gameplay; on top of being a powerful combatant with both a high dps normal weapon and the unique D-Gun which can one-shot anything, they're also the game's fastest builder; though they can only initiate construction on the most basic buildings, having the Commander assist the high-tier builders allows you to get your strategy going that much faster. Losing the Commander often meant losing the game, even if the "assassination" victory condition wasn't active, because a good chunk of your base or army is usually destroyed when a killed Commander goes up in a massive explosion. The second one also created the dubious strategy of "Commander Bombing": In games where the loss of the Commander wasn't an instant lose condition, some players would fly their Commander into the middle of the enemy base and let the inevitable happen.
    • Supreme Commander takes this a step further, allowing for customization of the ACU and support ACUs. They still go up like nukes, though.
  • Total War: Generals are deployed with the rest of your army. On the field, the General's Bodyguard is usually a large group of heavy cavalry (e.g., knights or lancers, although some of the later-set games give them revolvers as well). Sometimes, especially in the early game, they're the only heavy cavalry around, and a well-timed charge by the general can make or break a battle. On the other hand, if the general dies, every unit in the army loses some of its morale and the army loses the passive benefits of their traits. Unled armies are also disadvantaged in other ways; depending on the game, armies without a general might not be able to replenish their numbers, hire mercenaries, purchase new units from nearby cities, or call in naval fire support.
    • Total War: Warhammer expands on this concept, having four distinct types of Hero Units.
      • Legendary Lords represent individual characters of importance in Warhammer lore, such as Emperor Karl Franz, Warboss Grimgor Ironhide, Archaon the Everchosen or Orion the King in the Woods, each faction starting out with two and more being available through DLC. They act as generals for armies and are very powerful units in their own right, being quite able to fight several normal units at once. Even if they die, they can be recruited again in a few turns, and will not "die" permanently as long as their faction exists. The one you choose at the start of the game will serve as your faction's leader.
      • Lords are essentially regular generals, in charge of the armies the Legendary Lords don't lead. Many are "general" versions of a legendary lord, with similar profiles and roles but overall weaker stats and abilities, and will not respawn if killed unless leveled up enough to take the Immortalty trait.
      • Heroes are the more typical type of Hero Unit. They can operate separately from armies and can be sent to scout out territory, boost cities and provinces, assassinate enemy units and prevent enemy heroes from doing the same. They can also be attached to armies, serving as powerful one-model units on the battlefield. Each faction has a number of types to choose from, usually including a hero suited for assassinations, such as Imperial Witch Hunters, a more melee-oriented hero, such as the Beastmen's Gorebulls, support heroes geared towards buffing other troops and a selection of spellcasters.
      • Legendary Heroes are unique and very powerful units that also represent specific characters from the lore but, unlike Legendary Lords, cannot lead armies; they're typically summoned using specific in-battle spells or by meeting certain campaign conditions, and will remain attached to your army for a variable amount of time — the undead champion Krell will only last for the duration of the battle he's summoned in, for instance, while the Green Knight of Bretonnia will appear after a certain amount of chivalrous actions are taken and will remain on the map for a set number of turns and Lord Kroak can be recruited by the Lizardmen through a quest chain and will afterwards remain on the map permanently.
  • Blizzard Entertainment games:
    • The first two Warcraft games and StarCraft, heroes are simply a more powerful version of a regular unit (Zeratul, the hero Dark Templar, can do over 100 damage in a single hit), that was usually given a different team color than your regular units. To distinguish herself from other regular units, Kerrigan has two unique sprites: one while she was a Terran Ghost and one when she became the Queen of Blades.
    • In Warcraft III, heroes really came into their own, with each having distinctive spells and appearances that pretty much took over the gameplay; additionally, unlike StarCraft, they could be built in multiplayer. Many user-created maps were made as essentially Diablo-like RPGs, and ultimately resulted in the birth of the Multiplayer Online Battle Arena genre. Blizzard themselves got into the act with the Bonus Orc Campaign in The Frozen Throne Expansion Pack being effectively this. On top of this, in Warcraft III the importance of Heroes lead Blizzard to ease up penalties for their deaths—unlike other units, Heroes could be reborn at an altar, and if a mission required the hero to stay alive, the Hero wasn't considered dead until the Altar was destroyed and you'd lost any possibility of building more.
    • StarCraft II brings back the hero units in both forms. The classic heroes are available in the campaign, sometimes possessing different abilities, depending on the mission they're in, and being an essential part of Heart of the Swarm and a core mechanic for certain Co-op mode commanders. The mechanic for RPG-style heroes exists, but they are not implemented in the game itself, and must be created manually in the editor. Like the original StarCraft, they cannot be used in multiplayer, unless one counts the Protoss Mothership, which a player can only have one of at a time.
  • Warrior Kings from Microids, had Arthos in the campaign. He's a unique Heavy Cavalry unit that is the hero of the story and it's an automatic game-over if he dies. That said he's extremely powerful and gains new abilities at different points in the campaign depending on his current alignment.


  • Fire Emblem: The "Lord" class has always been a staple of the series. Lords are the main characters of the games, have unique sprites, and usually start off slightly more competent than your other units. The Lord tends to be quite a powerhouse by the end of the game, getting more and more overpowered as the series progresses. They are also, however, the only units that will always cause a Game Over should they fall in battle (note that many players will quit and restart the mission if any character dies anyway...).
    • In Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem and Fire Emblem: Awakening, the actual Lords, Marth and Chrom respectively, share their main character duties with a player-created Avatar. In Fire Emblem Fates, the Avatar is the main Lord.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn averts this, as not only are the Lord characters no longer "lords" per se, the death of MANY story-important characters can lead to a game over, especially early in the game. There's Micaiah, Elincia, Ike, Tibarn, which make a modicum of sense — and then there's Sothe, Soren, Nolan, Tauroneo, Raphael, Nialah, Skrimr, Nephenee, Brom, Lucia... the game gives you many, many, many characters, and almost any number of them dying can cause a game over in certain parts of the game. Sometimes, it doesn't exactly make sense.
  • Used in Heroes of Mana, a spin-off of World of Mana, where they're called Leader units. They have an aura to boost troops and are very strong. You only lose if the main character dies, but losing others can lower your rank.
  • In Mass Effect 2, it's a plot point that sometimes, the primary antagonist, Harbinger, will "Assume Direct Control" of one of his Collector mooks, giving them a huge boost to shields, armor, and tactical acumen. It's like you're playing a 3PS/RPG,while Harbinger is playing an Action RTS.
  • Ys Strategy on the DS gives you two types of units literally called the hero and heroine. The actual fighting methods differ depending on which country you're playing as but the common trait is that they're stronger than everything else. Their power is cranked up further when the player chooses to directly control either- not only overcoming Artificial Stupidity but boosting movement and offense power.

    Tower Defense 

  • This is what sets the Kingdom Rush series apart from many other Tower Defense games out there. Aside from towers, they also have hero units.
  • Heroes make in appearance in the sixth game of Bloons Tower Defense, where they automatically level up and can gain new abilities.

    Turn-Based Strategy 

  • Age of Wonders:
    • On the one hand, Wizards are not too cool, and are forced to stay in towers most of the time. On the other hand, they are killed for good only when their Empires are wiped out and there's nowhere to respawn.
    • Ordinary heroes, on the other hand, can wipe out armies singlehandedly about halfway through the campaign. Bringing them back if they are killed is very hard, through, as it requires powerful spells you are likely not to research throughout the whole campaign (because the research tends to be extremely slow). And since they are so powerful and rare, losing them usually means reloading the last save.
  • Battle for Wesnoth has at least one (the Player Character, with the ability to recruit units) per side, and usually a number of others who are Hero Units in that they are plot-critical, and you lose if they die. Multiplayer mode simply has you pick from a list of upgraded unit types to serve this purpose.
  • Elemental — War of Magic: You can have an army of them. Your sovereign's children, their children, their children etc. and whatever champions you may pick up along the way.
  • Endless Legend allows players to hire heroes from the mercenary market, who can be assigned to armies (granting large bonuses to attack, defense, movement, et cetera) in addition to being a powerful unit in combat (or support), or can be assigned to cities to grant bonuses to food, science, industry, or Dust. Every game starts out with one Hero, a settler, and two basic infantry units. Heroes can't be permanently killed; if one falls in combat, they're returned to your Academy to heal slowly or be revived instantly with a large sum of Dust.
    • Endless Space doesn't have heroes as independent units, but they function similarly; large buffs to fleets or solar system statistics. The Pilgrims specialize in Hero utilization; any Hero they hire is immediately promoted to level two, allowing them to get a jump-start on expansion or combat to make up for their sub-par fleet strength.
  • These were introduced to Heroes of Might and Magic in the fourth game, but removed in the fifth. At level 1, they had a ridiculous amount of HP, but poor offensive capabilities—at level 30 (generally only reached in the campaigns), they could take out entire armies single-handedly. Depending on the mission, some were main characters who had to stay alive, but the rest could be brought Back from the Dead.
  • Langrisser (Warsong) for the Sega Genesis had characters and "troops" which could be bought. Troops were ineffectual enough that it was possible to play through the entire game (except for the first map) without using any.
  • In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, the CO can travel with a unit, promoting it to the highest rank, and projecting an aura of power around it.
  • In XCOM 2's two Downloadable Content missions (Alien Rulers and Shen's Last Gift), Central Officer Bradford and Chief Engineer Lily Shen (respectively) take to the field as the highest ranking soldier in your squad. Bradford uses an impossibly-customized and ludicrously overpowered assault rifle, while Shen uses a tier 3 Attack Drone, has powers mutually exclusive in normal Specialists, and her special attacks are cooldown-based instead of once-a-mission.
  • Prismata has several units that are limited to one per set. They usually cost a lot and have a major impact when played.
  • Wargroove has the commander units, who are named characters in the game's story. Commanders are very powerful melee infantry that can capture buildings, with a single unique ability called a 'groove' that charges when the Commander captures buildings or fights in battles. If your Commander unit dies, your side loses the battle.
  • Wrath Unleashed has the Demigod and upgraded God units (officially referred to as Overlord Units). They're among the most powerful units in their respective factions, capable of casting tons of magic and kicking ass when threatened. However, there can only ever be one Demigod or one God in the army, and if they die their controlling player instantly loses.

    Visual Novels 

  • Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!: During the Kawakami War segment, pretty much the entire main cast, barring a few exceptions, become these, effortlessly knocking aside all of the portrait-less characters in seconds. Momoyo takes it to a whole new level, requiring three of the other most powerful characters just to hold her off!.


  • The eponymous King of King Arthurs World for SNES was a powerful fighter, but was prone to the same instant-kill traps and situations that plagued the rest of his far more expendable army. Often, a few preventive measures were necessary to keep him alive, such as building a little platform for him to stand on so he wouldn't get eaten by teleporting monsters while the player was occupied elsewhere.
  • In Monster Train, each deck starts with one Champion unit card from your primary clan. They're very powerful, cost nothing and always start in your hand, and have their own set of upgrades, forming the backbone of every deck.
  • Savage 2 has the Hellbourne units, a selection of nasty demons that can only be used while controlling a certain location and expending souls from defeating enemies. Each can easily take on large numbers of normal units, and have a counter in the form of the otherwise offensively weak support units for either side, who deal more damage to the Hellbourne.
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane allows player to hire up to four "lords" to serve him.
  • In Evil Genius as well as the sequel, you can hire Henchmen to either defend or support your lair. Your chosen Evil Genius is also a unit in the game with various abilities geared towards certain playstyles, with the sequel making it so that they can defend themselves semi-reliably (though their deaths will result in a Game Over).
  • Ratatan: As seen in the trailer, alongside regular Cobuns the player can take a few special members that have unique designs and abilities.

    Non-Videogame Examples 

  • In the GURPS Mass Combat system, elements can have the Hero enhancement. A hero element counts as an element of his type, but is made of only one soldier. Elements are typically made of ten soldiers.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The actual mages and other powered individuals during the Mage vs Martians battle, who were allowed to use their full power since the Muggle students believe that it's all special effects that's part of a game, were explicitly called Hero Units (this series loves its gaming references).
  • The HQ/Commander units and other heroes for Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy Battle, are often combat beasts who have 4 wounds and 4 attacks, when even Elite Mooks often only have 1 wound and perhaps 2 attacks. That said getting one of these heroes killed will often spell disaster for your warband.
  • Warmachine: Each player's army is led by a named character within the Iron Kingdoms universe—either a warcaster, warlock or infernal master, who fulfils a role akin to a chess queen and king combined. They are (usually) powerful combatants, boast an array of spells, and most notably have forged a mental link with their battlegroup (consisting of warjacks, warbeasts, monstrosities or horrors, depending on the specific army), allowing them to make use of Focus, Fury or Essence. No two warcasters, warlocks and infernal masters are alike—what they do and which units they synergise with is one of the most important parts of building an army. In a standard game, each army can only field one, and if they die, you automatically lose the game.


Video Example(s):


Yuriko Omega

Vengeful survivor-graduate of a secret paramilitary telekinetic research program.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroUnit

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