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Video Game / Warhammer 40,000: Gladius

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Not pictured: The scorpions the size of trains. Welcome to Hell!

Gladius Prime was known to Imperial scholars as a planet of archeological interest. During its colonization ancient relics were found, revealing hints of a shrouded past. But it was more than relics. Something awakened, an unspeakable horror from an ancient past, and the citizens of Gladius found themselves trapped in a terrible war for survival.

Gladius Prime was once a planet of peace. Now there is only war.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War is a 4X game set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000. The game was released for PC on July 12, 2018.

The game launched with four factions: the Astra Militarum, Space Marines, Orks and Necrons. Downloadable Content later added the Tyranids, Chaos Space Marines, T'au Empire, Craftworld Aeldari and Adeptus Mechanicus.


Warhammer 40,000: Gladius contains examples of the following:

  • A Commander Is You:
    • Space Marines: Elitist/Generalist. Space Marines have some of the very best infantry in the game, and dominate the early skirmishes. They are limited to one city, the Fortress-Monastery; you have to build outposts (Fortress of Redemption) to acquire Requisition (a combined food and ore resource). Because they only get one city, they to fall behind in the later game when other factions can drown their elite units through sheer economic and industrial muscle.
    • Astra Militarum: Spammer/Industrial/Loyal. The polar opposite of the Space Marines. Lots of cheap infantry that need babysitting in the early game, gradually replaced by an expansive motor pool of tanks, artillery and air power. They have a ridiculously big industrial base and powerful edicts they can issue to their cities to speed up unit production or increase resource yield. It is tricky to establish a foothold with the Imperial Guard but they are the undisputed kings of mechanized warfare in Gladius and they will drown you in a tidal wave of manpower and firepower if you foolishly allow them to reach the late-game unmolested.
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    • Necrons: Turtle/Technical. Necrons can only build cities on top of Tombs, and need energy to produce units and ore to increase population growth. Necron units are tonka-tough and can self-repair in the field, and their firepower tends to ignore armour. However their economy grows very slowly and losses are expensive, so you need to conserve every unit and be extra-careful.
    • Da Orks: Brute/Economist. Ork infantry inflict heavy damage in close combat and lose less morale, at the expense of taking damage when they lose morale. They have a high regeneration rate and they quickly sprawl across the map in large cities with a high growth rate. If you allow the Orks to gather steam and get out of control, they can become a massive problem. Unfortunately they are quite reliant on sheer momentum, and setbacks (from losing battles or just not fighting anything for a while) can see them fall behind in resources and technology as da Boyz fall into lethargy.
    • Tyranids: Spammer. Do you like big monsters and winning through sheer attrition? The Tyranids are for you! The Tyranids are constantly building new units and spreading outwards like a cancer, consuming Biomass and energy from the map. All their units are disposable and can be recycled back into resources if need be. They take even longer to get rolling than the Imperial Guard and they ruin the environment to boot, further encouraging players to stamp them out quickly.
    • T'au Empire: An odd Ranger/Economist/Diplomat faction. They can hire neutral Kroot and Vespid units to fight for them instead, turning roving units into their allies, diplomatically insult other factions to hurt their morale, reduce the effectiveness of enemy cities by spreading propaganda, and outright buying resources. As usual, T'au units are remarkable at long-range shooting and can ruin the day of any targets far from retaliation, but also get cut down like grass if anything gets within punching distance.
    • Aeldari: Elitist/Guerrilla. The resident Space Elves are defined by their mobility and map control. They have exclusive access to units that can move after shooting and the ability to remote-activate Webway Gates, with the caveat that they can only build cities (ones with abysmal population growth) on these gates, and the gates can be targeted and destroyed to limit expansion opportunities. Their non-walker vehicles are all skimmers which ignore rough terrain too. A potentially annoying enemy that can grow in threat if you ignore them.
    • Chaos Space Marines: Technical/Gimmick. Unorthodox faction that relies on a huge amount of buffs and bonuses obtained through rites performed in the name of certain Chaos gods, and often sheer dumb luck. Cultists and Chaos Space Marine units have a chance to turn into Chaos Spawn... or a Daemon Prince if they kill anything.
    • Adeptus Mechanicus: Gimmick/Industrial. The Adeptus mechanicus have global powers that scale with the number of units of a certain type. They boost Skitarii units with Doctrine Imperatives that boost one unit stat while reducing another, as well as Canticles of the Omnissiah that scale with techpriest heroes and robot units, which debuff and damage enemies. Skitarii units are irradiated and passively damage enemies who end their turn near them. Their builder unit, the Cybernetica Datasmith, can hijack control of the neutral Kastelan Battle robots which can lead to a midgame snowball for Adeptus Mechanicus players. Lastly they have special Optimization mechanic for their cities, buildings in a district gain buffs for every building of the same type in that district, and are debuffed for every building that is different, they can also get an extra slot for buildings in some of their districts. This means you can dedicate one city almost entirely to producing one resource (like ore) and another city entirely to research if you so wish.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Almost every unit gets hit with this as a result of the game's simplification. For example Terminators are stuck with storm bolters and power fists, with no heavy weapons options such as the assault cannon, Khornate Berserkers only get chainswords plus bolt pistols and the Predator only gets a single twin-linked lascannon - it'll take some of the highest tier research to get a pair of heavy bolters to back up that lone lascannon.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Gladius Prime is ridiculously important and the Imperium has barely scratched its surface. Besides being a Necron tomb world, it was also a colony for both the Old Ones and the Eldar (unknown to almost everyone except Chaos, Gladius Prime has Infinity Circuits full of souls).
  • After the End: The Gladius Prime that you fight over in the game is the shattered husk of a once thriving Imperial world which got hit with the triple whammy of an Ork invasion, warp storms and a Necron awakening. Ruins of old cities dot the landscape, and flavor text for certain terrain types will mention tribes of feral humans trying to eke out an existence among the ashes.
  • Alpha Strike: While many units have multiple weapons, units have only one action per turn, and so must dump all of their firepower on whichever enemy they target. The few exceptions are units with items or special abilities that don't consume an action to use, such as Jokaero digi-weapons.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Necron Tomb Blades get a variation with research into "Nebuloscope", which allows their attacks to bypass ranged damage mitigation — While it won't directly improve their attack accuracy, they'll always deal full damage against units taking cover in forests and ruins. The Adeptus Mechanicus also get a similar research called "Omni Scope" which allows both variants of their basic Skitarii infantry to also ignore ranged damage reduction
  • Ancient Tomb: One drawback to the Necrons, they can only build a city on the site of a Necron tomb.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: In this game, armour gives you an 8% percent damage reduction for each point of armour you have with a maximum reduction of 80%. This gives well-armoured factions like Space Marines and to a lesser extent Necrons, a big boost in a fight especially against base infantry which have no armor-piercing weapons. Previously the earliest weapons to start penetrating armour are heavy bolters as well as the hot-shot lasers and snazz gun that DLC units Tempestus Scions and Flash Gits use. The Doom Scythe's Death Ray will bypass any armor that's less than that of a Terminator, while a pair of Vindicators that are adjacent to each other will completely ignore armor!! Currently, starting units that had weapons with slight armor-piercing in the Tabletop game now get a single point of armor reduction - benefiting Space Marines and Necrons while Imperial Guard still can't pierce armor with their lasguns.
  • Artificial Insolence: Hellbrutes have the "Crazed" special rule (which they used to share with the tabletop unit until "Crazed) was changed in 8th edition) where they have a 1/3 chance to either obey, charge the nearest enemy, or shoot up the nearest unit (friend or foe!) by shooting them twice.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Hero units, naturally, which are all drawn from the various factions upper echelons of leadership, though the level off asskicking available depends upon which type of hero they are. Warlords deal the most combat damage, Casters rely on unusual special abilities, and Buffers won't deal much damage on their own, but magnify the fighting ability of the troops around them.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Baneblade is tied with the Tesseract Vault for the most health and boasts unmatched firepower. However it's so slow that infantry walk faster than it. Enemies can often move around it, but no matter what there'll always be a high demand for Baneblades and Tesseract Vaults. In the Astra Militarum campaign, your final mission is against an enemy full of Kastelan Robots and Hydras that have hunter-killer missiles on them and they're all in a good defensive formation. The enemy will easily be able to kill anything less than the Baneblade in its first turn.
    • The Tesseract Vault itself has a similar issue with slowness and in most cases, Monoliths and Doom Scythes are enough. However the Tesseract Vault makes up for its sluggishness by having a power that reduces the speed of an enemy, allowing your other units to trap a foe for the Vault.
    • Obliterators have assault cannons (Yay!!!) and they also have heavy flamers to go with their power fists (Yay!!!). Unfortunately in earlier patches, they used to have to alternate the weapons each time, so an Obliterator that shot someone from far range will then need to fight someone in melee before their assault cannon is ready and vice versa. In addition, Obliterators are one of the only infantry units that aren't Champions of Chaos so they can't get mutations (though they have the Daemonic trait that makes them tough as nails). Despite having the weaker autocannon, Havoc squads are the preferred choice for ranged Chaos infantry as they can at least shoot every round and earn rewards from the Dark Gods. Luckily, Obliterators have received a welcome buff since then in the form of being able to actually swap between their assault cannons and flamers manually.
  • Back from the Brink: All factions, upon victory, either leave the planet or start to rebuild. Although the Space Marine quest victory — where they annihilate all the factions, including their own, but bury their geneseed so that the Imperium might someday be able to revive the chapter — is more like Fling a Light into the Future.
  • Beam Spam: Necrons gauss weapons fire green energy beams. Monoliths and Doomsday Arks in particular fire wildly in all directions whenever they use their secondary gauss arrays. The Astra Militarum are also very fond of laser weaponry, ranging from the humble las-gun carried by their infantry to the las-cannons and multi-lasers mounted on vehicles.
  • Brainwashed: Enslavers are psychic creatures from the Immaterium that can take control of units (even Heroes and Cities! Though this is extremely rare) that are low on morale, and force the mind controlled units to attack their own allies. The Necrons are not completely immune to their powers, despite being mechanical beings who make use of anti-warp technology, but are generally next to impossible to control for them due to having a tougher morale bar to crack than even Space Marines. Meanwhile the Tyranids' animalistic nature and hive-mind, make them immune too, as long as they are a Synapse creature or otherwise within Synapse range. Also since the mind-control works by attacking morale, units with the Fearless trait are immune (Chaos Space Marines can make any of their infantry immune with the Icon of Vengeance). Killing the Enslavers will free mind controlled units from their grip.
  • Bonus Boss: If you have the Lord of Skulls DLC, if you play long enough (this could happen dangerously early when you're barely scraping into the 4th tech tier) then all players can get a surprise quest to slay the Lord of Skulls, which will appear near the current strongest faction and go on a rampage until destroyed. Its a Humongous Mecha that's tougher than a city, goes berserk when damaged, can one-shot most opponents with a single one of its three weapons and it has a strong Healing Factor. For some factions beating it almost requires a few of units from the highest tech tiers; but if you win, you get a massive three-digit experience award for units in the area and a global 10% damage reduction bonus.
  • Call-Back: Several base and structure designs are lifted straight from the Dawn of War series.
    • As tiles in a Necron City get built up, you will be able to see structures from Dawn of War: Dark Crusade emerging, such as Summoning Cores, Obelisks and Forbidden Archives.
    • Space Marines use Requisition (in lieu of Food and Ore) from the Dawn of War games.
    • Also from the Dawn of War games, Chaos Space Marine bases use Chaos Temples, Armouries, and Daemon Pits, while Tau bases are centred around the Tau HQ building, with Barracks, Ethereal Centres, and Plasma Generators appearing as their cities build up further.
    • The Norn Cyst housing Tyranid Norn Queens in their "cities" bear a resemblance to the Tyranid HQ structure in Dawn of War 2.
  • Can't Catch Up: The biggest drawback of the Space Marines. They're still viable mid-way through the game, provided they're careful about conserving their forces, but if the Marines didn't dominate early they'll fall off badly late game as their single city ultimately can't match the economy and production of other factions. The most advanced Space Marine units are also comparably weak (for example the Land Raider is only a bit mightier than the Leman Russ tank, despite one being the faction's final unit and the other middle tier, and the Land Raider is only available from the Reinforcements DLC). About their only saving grace is that their early game units can stay slightly competitive with new abilities and weapons, such as Land Speeders becoming decent anti-armor with their Multi-Melta upgrade.
  • Citadel City: The Space Marines can easily turn their city into one, if they have the DLC to produce Macrocannons and updated their game so that Fortresses of Redemption get Heavy Bolters in addition to their lascannons and missile batteries.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The "Bodge Jobz" upgrade states that mekboyz can increase production by, essentially, building life-sized Hot Wheelz toys that only work because everyone thinks it's a real car. This works due to the Waaagh! making ork belief reality.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Besides each factions' assault option (ie Bullgryns or Assault Marines), a number of units like Ork Boyz and Apothecaries can only attack targets in an adjacent hex - the sidearms they wield are so short ranged that the only difference between shooting and pure melee is that they can perform overwatch and hit flying targets in a pinch. Likewise the vast majority of Tyranids and most heroes are stuck hitting enemies up close.
  • Chest Burster: Psychneuein have a special rule that causes enemies they attack (even cities and necrons, somehow) to spawn another horde of wasps, provided they die within one turn of being infested.
  • Civil Warcraft: That the Space Marines and Astra Militarum are two branches of the same Imperial war machine does not matter. If you play the Imperial Guard you will try to hail the Space Marines and they will refuse your comms and you can only assume hostilities. Playing as the Space Marines they're shocked that there's any survivors at all, let alone a standing regiment, and can only assume that prolonged exposure to the Warpstorm has tainted them. The guards even realize this if they meet the Chaos Space Marines, knowing that just seeing them is enough to give the Inquisition reason to purge the whole regiment.
    • Made even worse with the Adeptus Mechanicus DLC. The Admech's private army was using Gladius as a secret research outpost and are indirectly responsible for the Tyranid's being released on the planet. They need to wipe out both the Space Marines and the Astra Militarum in order to hide the illegal research they've been conducting on the planet.
  • Combination Attack: Some units when paired with each other have their attacks improved. Examples include the Predator's Kill Shot trait and the Vindicator's Line Breaker trait, which increase the former's damage against enemy vehicles, monsters and fortifications, and allows the latter to ignore ranged damage reduction, respectively.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Almost every Tyranid is bristling with venom-coated weapons and many of them are Monstrous Creatures that can batter through most armour. But only a few can shoot at a distance and they're almost all units needing high-tier research.
  • Damage Reduction: Some units take a significantly less damage from range, melee or both after deductions are made from armor. For example Castelan Robots originally took 30% less damage from ranged attack because of their defense grid passive ability, while the Space Marine Captain takes 50% less damage from everything because of his Iron Halo and the Hero passive trait.
  • Dangerous Terrain: Spaces infested with Wire Weed will damage any non-flying or non-skimmer unit unfortunate enough to end their move there, and will force land units to stop moving when they cross. By the same token, Space Marine players can create damaging tiles with research into portable minefields that can be deployed by their Scout Bikers, while Tyranids can research a trait that makes enemy units passively take damage every turn within their cities.
  • Death from Above: Jump troops are present and accounted for, it just wouldn't be Warhammer without them. Space Marines can drop down a Fortress of Redemption from orbit, surprising your foes with a pair of lascannons on the next turn (great for spooking neutral units). They also, as a mid-game upgrade, can launch units anywhere on the map via orbital drop pods.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: The leader of the Chaos army's quest is to become a demon prince. If he completes it, he succeeds...for a few minutes. All of the Chaos Gods pull a fast one on him and he becomes something more, he ascends into becoming something more akin to an Eldritch Abomination , Cosmic Entity or Genius Loci.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
    • The Necron quest ends with them using an artifact from the Silent King and Old Ones technology to rip apart the Deceiver and turn him into a bunch of shards for the Tesseract Vaults.
    • If you defeat the Lord of Skulls, the quest results say that your faction couldn't believe you just downed that behemoth, and neither could the Lord of Skulls as its Bloodthirster occupant gets hurled back to the Warp.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • If you have the Chaos Space Marines DLC, it's rare but it happens. As Chaos, you're given 4 units of Cultists to start with since they're so weak (though later patches replaced this with 2 Cultists and 1 squad of regular Chaos Marines). However unlike the table-top game, Cultists are considered Champions of Chaos and have a chance of becoming either a Chaos Spawn (which are surprisingly decent early on, but really fall off against things that hit hard) or mighty Daemon Princes (one of the two Chaos final tier units). You could luck out and have one or two Daemon Princes running around when every faction is still using the early stuff.
    • For the Adeptus Mechanicus, if you can get the structure that trains Cybernetica Datasmiths early on and manage to encounter a decently-sized group of Kastellan Robots, said Datasmiths can reprogram the Robots to your side, giving you a sizeable force of tough, mid-tier hard hitters several turns earlier than you otherwise might. Be careful however, for the neutral Datasmiths that accompany said Robots can also reprogram them back into hostiles.
    • For all factions, getting a Jokaero Digiweapon means an almost guaranteed victory for that hero. Even enemy cities take a lot of damage from a single attack by one of those and best of all using one doesn't count as an action. Having one of these is as early as getting your first hero and 160 Influence points to buy one.
  • Downloadable Content: There are ones to add the Tyranid, Chaos Space Marines, Tau, Craftworlds, and Mechanicus factions. The Reinforcements and Assault DLC's adds a new unit type for the original factions - for the most part it's just some elite infantry like Tempestus Scions to add a bit of flavour but for the Space Marines, they get the Land Raider!! Without this, the Space Marines got screwed when it comes to the final units.
  • Drop Pod: Available to the Space Marines. It allows them to deploy their soldiers from their city by teleporting them up to their orbiting Battle Barge, who then loads them into a pod and shoots them to where they're needed.
  • Dungeon Shop: Nearly every type of vile Xenos you can imagine may be waging war against one another, but the Jokaero Trading Post stays open all the time to outfit a hero with nice equipment. Everyone from Marines to Orks, and even the Tyranids can, for some reason, show up to shop.
  • Early Game Hell: You begin the game with a few basic infantry units and a whole heap of hostiles knocking on your door. You generally won't even encounter another faction for a few dozen turns and will instead have to battle off Kroot hounds, roaming Enslavers, and a whole host of neutral nasties. If the game is feeling particularly dickish, you'll get a pack of wandering Kastellan robots, which are entirely capable of flattening your base before you have weapons that can do more than annoy them.
    • This goes double for the Astra Militarum (aka Imperial Guard), since their troops lack the durability of the Space Marines, the regenerative powers of the Necrons or the raw strength of the Orks. You'll need a fair amount of research in order to produce units who have a job other than "try not to die too quickly".
    • The new Tyranid faction also get a Hard rating in-game. Like the Astra Militarum, the starting infantry are weak - you get three units of Termagants who are even flimsier and while their guns are stronger, they're only usable against targets in the adjacent hex and unlike Ork Boyz - they don't have a melee Dual Wielding attack. In fact, the only (non-hero) unit that can shoot further than 2 hexes is the Tyrannofex and that's in the final tiers of research - otherwise there's only a few units that can shoot further than up-close and of those, some of them have weak attacks at range.
    • Averted with Chaos Space Marines, yes the starting Cultists are weak but you get 4 of them (later patches replaced these with 2 Cultists and 1 Chaos Marine squad) and each are builders. So you can get 4 cities up and running without too much difficulty (provided you hoard Influence and Ore like crazy). Additionally if the Cultists do defeat some of the local wildlife, there's a chance they can become Chaos Spawn or a powerful Daemon Prince (at a time when other factions don't have their first hero yet).
  • Elite Army: The forces of the Deceiver are brutal for the factions unlucky enough to face him. Against the Necrons, he has a Level 10 Tesseract Vault plus a significant number of high level Obelisks and Monoliths. These are further backed by a Doomsday Ark, a Triarch Stalker, some Doom Scythes and scattered numbers of Heavy Destroyers and Triarch Praetorians - these foes are all experienced to varying degrees too. Before you start that final quest, be prepared and load up on your mightiest units and deck out your heroes. Other factions that face a Necron invasion will be facing forces that are only marginally weaker than the Deceiver's own.
  • Energy Weapon: Like most 40k media, instant travel/ visible beam subtype. With Las-weapons producing a yellow/white beam of excited air, Meltas producing a solid red one, and Necron gauss weapons naturally producing a beam of green light accompanied by lightning.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: The Space Marines accept that to stop the evil tainting Gladius, they'll have to resort to performing an Exterminatus on the planet while they're still on it. However, before they do so they create a Geneseed Bunker to safely store geneseeds for the eventual revival of their Chapter. Indeed, their faction epilogue mentions that, because of your courage and tenacity, the Chapter lives on and, by the time of Guilliman's return and the Indominus Crusade, they've recovered to their full strength.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Necron Tomb Blades are pairs of nimble jetbikes with twin-linked gauss blasters, which can be upgraded via research to completely bypass ranged damage reduction. They're great for harrying flanks and mowing down infantry camping in forests/ruins/cities, but they've only got a measly total HP of 8, so any serious counterattack will down at least one of them and halve their combat effectiveness.
    • Chaos Spawn are an odd case of this. They are extremely fast and capable of moving at a whopping 6 (7 if they have a Mark of Slaanesh) when 4 is considered quick. Chaos Spawn also have a LOT of health. However they have an Armor rating of 1, which means everything does heavy damage to them when it hits. Additionally since they're not a "Champions of Chaos" unit, they can't get the Mechanoid or Crystalline Body mutations to improve this (though they can get Marks/Icons that give an infantry unit some invulnerable resistance).
  • Gameplay Randomization: This is the big schtick of the Chaos Space Marines, unlike other factions that have predictable results depending on their actions, Chaos does things more randomly. Almost all of their infantry have a mechanic where after they kill an opponent, they can get a benign mutation, turn into a Chaos Spawn or turn into a mighty Daemon Prince. The Helbrute also has some randomness towards its actions, each round the Helbrute has a chance of disobeying your command and instead opts for its own choice - often with a bonus (an example, the Helbrute may stand still and decide to frenzy with its autocannon - it'll get significant damage bonus to shooting but can't charge nearby enemies).
  • Genius Loci: What the Chaos Space Marines do to Gladius Prime in their story ending. They succeed in a ritual that not only turns their commander into a Daemon Prince of Chaos Undivided and destroys the rest of their warband - the ritual causes the new Daemon Prince to sink into the planet and possess it after consuming all the souls in Gladius Prime's Infinity Circuits. He awakens as a unique planet-sized Daemon Engine and a new major power in the Warp.
  • The Ghost: Averted as, at long last, creatures which have been fixtures of Warhammer lore but were never depicted finally appear on screen. Enslavers, Psychneuein, Ambulls and Catachan Devils can be found as hostile creeps, while Grox pastures are quite useful resources.
  • Glass Cannon: Fire support units, as a general rule, are designed to sit behind tougher but less offensively optimized units and dish out death.
  • Got Volunteered: Forcible conscription on pain of death is one the Astra Militarum's primary tools in ensuring they have a steady supply of new recruits. What this means for you is increased infantry production.
  • Green Rocks: One Necron structure is a mine for them, too. It's called "Al-Khemic Quarry".
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: Unlike most Civ-style games, there's no diplomacy mechanic of any kind in Gladius: Unless you set up fixed teams before the game begins, everyone is permanently at war with each-other.
  • Healing Factor: All Necron units can regenerate extra HP regardless of whether they acted that turn, though the game distinguishes between the healing for infantry (Reanimation Protocols) and vehicles/structures (Living Metal), with different technologies requires to increase the effectiveness of each. Malanthropes also have regeneration, while large Tyrannid creatures can regenerate with highest-tier research. Most of the Daemon Engines from the Chaos Space Marines DLC have a even stronger regeneration ability called "It will not die". Space Marine heroes have an active ability called "Healing Surge," which restores 20-40% (depending on skill level) of their HP upon use.
  • Hold the Line: The final story mission for the Space Marines, which requires them to hold a specific relic against endless swarms of Necrons for twenty turns.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: If you spring for the Tyranid DLC. Also one of the Creeps you encounter are squads of Genestealer cultists.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Actually used as a boast. Space Marines are... unimpressed with the Necrons as a concept.
    Space Marine: "Ancient revenant machines? Far darker things yet live within the hearts of Men."
  • Land of One City: The primary limitation of the Space Marines, they can only have one city. They can still hard-cap distant resources by dropping Fortresses of Redemption adjacent to them, but the Space Marines have to deal with placing their city in an area where they can USEFULLY expand their borders (never build near a coast or edge of the map) and mobilizing their units against distant enemies (they get better once they research orbital deployment).
  • Living Structure Monster: Tyranid "cities" and "buildings" are actually Norn-Queens (starship-sized, sessile Tyranid Hive Queens) and their "organelles,' compared to "a person and his limbs" in the Flavour Text. They're usually safe within their Hive Ships, but the Warp Storm grounded or destroyed nearly every ship except for the Marines' Battle-Barge.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Almost every Astra Militarum and Space Marine vehicle gets all of the advantages and none of the disadvantages of this trope, especially after you research the Hunter-Killer missile. This missile has by far the longest range in the game and potent stats. Unlike the table-top game, you have unlimited reloads (though there's a significant cool-down time). The AI on quests LOVE to teleport in a ton of vehicles to bombard your cities, heroes and high-tier units with these if they have them. The only Imperial Guard unit that is actually gimped in point-blank combat is the Basilisk, which cannot shoot adjacent targets with its Earthshaker Howitzer, but can still dish out some major hurt with its howitzer, backup Heavy Bolter and Hunter Killer Missile alike against targets that are two tiles away.
  • Magikarp Power: In contrast to the Space Marine's early game strength and late game decline, the Astra Militarum are easily bullied in the game as their humble Guardsmen struggle to survive. But the moment you research the Basilisk and later Leman Russ, the Imperial Guard keep climbing to new heights as ever more powerful vehicles and upgrades keep getting added - including the mighty Marauder and Baneblade. Only the Necrons can match the Astra Militarum in the late stages and the odds are still on the Imperial Guard at that point.
  • Mêlée à Trois: While neutral units never fight each other, they will fight the different factions (just like the factions battle against each other). Very funny to see a blurb about the Imperial Guard wiped out without ever encountering them and then reading further it turns out that their last holding was taken by Kroot Hounds.
  • Mighty Glacier: Few things can crack open your enemies and soak hits like the Baneblade, Tesseract Vault and Obelisk. That said getting them to their target is a test of patience, if the foe doesn't run away first.
  • Morale Mechanic: Units which see their allies suffer heavy casualties will have their combat efficacy reduced, eventually breaking and becoming almost useless. Orks will, at low morale, start suffering additional damage from infighting. Tyranids have a unique morale system where they take no to morale damage while in the presence of a synapse creature, but lose morale and will start taking damage when outside the range of a synapse creature (this does mean synapse creature are effectively immune to morale damage).
  • More Dakka: There's plenty of in-game units that can throw up a hailstorm of shots, but the most trigger-happy are the Ork's Gorkanaut (Deffstorm Megashoota, twin-linked Big Shoota and some other weapons), Space Marines Stormraven (assault cannons, heavy bolters, hurricane bolters and a missile) and the Necron Obelisk/Tesseract Vault which does so many hits with its Tesla Spheres that it can knock a Monolith down to half health in a single attack, despite the Obelisk/Vault not having any armor-piercing weapons.
    • One DLC faction, the Adeptus Mechanicus, exemplifies this in particular with the Onager Dune Crawler and Knight Crusader Walkers, the former of which is particularly good at deleting Fliers, Skimmers and Tau Battlesuits with four separate weapons, most of which have the anti-air trait, and the latter which is good at deleting almost anything in general with its autoloading Battle Cannon and Avenger.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Recaf Leaf, a hardy strain of herbs that can be steeped in water to produce a caffeinated tea, can be found growing across Gladius. Each plantation of the stuff you can secure provides a global increase to your Influence and Loyalty, since apparently even the soulless machines of the Necrons or the mindless gibbering hordes of the Tyranids are chock full of caffeine junkies.
  • Neutrals, Critters, and Creeps: The map is stuffed full of unaligned creeps that exist to harass your scouts and uncap your undefended resource points, and much of the early game is spent slowly clearing them out. Your initial starting area is simply full of kroot hounds, but venturing further afield will put you up against ambulls, catachan devils, psychneuein and kastelan robots. You will also find enslavers, which exclusively guard artifacts. Expansions later added more creeps to the mix, such as neophyte hybrids, chaos cultists, vespid stingwings and umbra.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: Some ranged weapons, while capable of attacking distant targets, have traits that increase their effectiveness when firing against closer targets. The "Rapid Fire" trait is the most common, doubling the number of attacks a unit performs at half their maximum range.
  • Percent Damage Attack: The Necron's gauss-based weaponry will scale up the minimum damage to match the target's maximum health. This makes even the humble Warrior unit surprisingly deadly against vehicles and buildings, especially if you get it in range to use its rapid-fire ability.
  • Power Fist: Except for a few items, these are the only weapon relics you get - there's the power glove and lightning glove which are both power fist weapons which upgrade only your melee damage (so some heroes get screwed). Also you can get Jokaero Digi-weapons to give your fingers some more firepower.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Space Marine quest victory, where they manage to exterminate all the enemy factions on Gladius... at the cost of eradicating their own chapter, as well. The achievement for this is even called "Pyrrhic Victory".
  • Red Baron: Whenever a unit earns a level, there's a random chance it can earn a random title unique to its faction such as "Avenger of Cadia" or "Shadow of the Outsider". Currently its just a fancy name, but the developers say that in the future versions these titles can grant a small boost to stats or a minor ability.
  • The Remnant: Every playable faction is this, with varying degrees of severity.
    • The Space Marines are attempting to rebuild what used to be their prosperous chapter homeworld, after the orks invaded and their fleet was obliterated by the warp storm that followed. When the game begins, the chapter is reduced to their isolated fortress-monastery and a single, crippled spaceship in orbit.
    • The Adeptus Mechanicus had long ruled Gladius Prime and used it as a site for unsanctioned research. When the Tyranids broke out of captivity, the Tech Priest force are the only survivors of the xeno escape.
    • The Astra Militarum are a mix of local survivors and off-world reinforcements trapped by the warp storms, seeking to restore Imperial rule to the world.
    • The Craftworld Aeldari get this for the entire species. Ever since the birth of Slaanesh and the fall of the Eldar empire, all Aeldari are in decline. This particular craftworld is in especially bad shape but receive a prophecy about Gladius Prime that promises to change the fortunes of the Eldar race.
    • The Orks are the remains of the Waaagh! which brought the storms in the first place, having since collapsed back into tribal infighting.
    • The Necrons get it double, being both those whose bunkers weren't shattered by the churning upheaval of the planet, and by being the desperate survivors of a dynasty that had been nearly destroyed during the War in Heaven.
    • The Tyranids are elements of Hive Fleet Kraken that were captured for study by the Adeptus Mechanicus, only to escape containment amid the chaos of Gladius Prime's devastation.
    • The Chaos Space Marines are a warband that was participating in the 13th Black Crusade, only to be trapped in the immaterium during interstellar travel. The ship and most of the warband were promptly possessed by daemons and wiped out almost everyone else on board, forcing the survivors to flee planetside once the ship finally emerged from the warp.
    • The T'au Empire are represented by the decimated remains of a Fourth Sphere colonization fleet that was thrown off-course in the warp and flung halfway across the galaxy to Gladius Prime.
  • Rpg Elements: Units and heroes will level up as they destroy enemy units, with their attack power and morale increasing as they grow from raw recruits to hardened veterans, and heroes gaining powers and abilities. Units can also receive cosmetic commendations which grant them spiffy new titles for accomplishing mighty deeds. Heroes get abilities, as well, such as the Space Marine's "Deeds of Glory," which generates Influence when the hero gains XP.
  • Sentry Gun: While all factions have their Headquarters packing weaponry, the Space Marines and the Imperial Guard have the Fortress of Redemption and Imperial Bastion respectively. The Imperial Bastion can brutalize most enemies with 3 Heavy Bolters, while the Fortress of Redemption gets a pair of lascannons to dent individual targets and at high tech tiers can be upgraded with a long-ranged missile battery for artillery strikes. The Fortress of Redemption is also the only way the Space Marines can use resource percentile bonuses - taking over the map with fully upgraded Fortresses and then mass-producing only high tier SM units like Terminators and above, is the main way to easily do the final Space Marine quest.
    • The Fortification DLC pack adds a bunch of these for some of the other factions too, plus some bonus ones for the Marines and Guard. Loyalist Marines get the Aquila Macro Cannon, the Guard get a Void Shield Generator which greatly reduces ranged damage taken by any units in a wide area (be careful, as enemies that get too close can use it to their advantage too), Chaos gets the Noctilith Crown, which has a mid-range warp energy attack and grants an invulnerability save to adjacent friendly units while disrupting enemy psykers, and finally the Necrons get the Gauss Pylon, a late-game defense with an extremely powerful range 4 attack that can phase shift, granting invulnerable saves (though not to the same extent as the Noctilith Crown's) to itself and friendly Necron units nearby.
    • The Tau DLC faction was released after the Fortification pack, so they instead get their defensive structure in the Assault Pack DLC in the form of the Tidewall Gunrig, a massive floating railgun turret that can be relocated if Tau infantry are garrisoned in it.
  • Siege Engines: The aforementioned Fortification DLC gives the Space Marines a Macro Cannon, great for pummeling enemy cities if there's still any by the time you can research one. It also makes a great base defense for bombarding invaders.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slave Race: The Necrons don't think too highly of humanity's technological prowess, but they do feel the need to remark on how mankind makes for very high quality slaves.
  • Sincerest Form of Flattery: Necron troops will speculate that Kastellan robots or even the Space Marines were an attempt by humanity to imitate them. If so, they are most definitely not flattered..
  • Squishy Wizard: Generally played straight, the spellcaster heroes tend to have lower armour values compared to other heroes and most spellcaster heroes only carry a single weapon of medium power, which limits their close combat ability. Averted to a degree with the Space Marine Librarian as his armour has a good rating and he carries a bolt pistol as well in close combat. Strongly averted with the Transcendant C'tan and especially the Tesseract Vault. A starting Tesseract Vault is even tougher than a Lord of Skulls and can use the C'tan's powers. One on one, the Vault could end up scaring the Lord of Skulls away especially if you have other units approaching the battle. And with the DLCs, there are additional hard-as-nails magic-users like the Tervigon and Daemon Prince.
  • Stat Sticks: Except for those items that give you an ability to activate, items for your heroes just give a passive bonus - which is why all the hero items for every faction is the same regardless of how humanoid they are.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: Gladius uses two different strategic asset capture methods; one each for the Necrons and the Space Marines, respectively, on top of everyone needing to found a city in proxemity to a resource node to get income from it.
    • Necrons can only found a city on a Necron Tomb tile.
    • The Space Marines, being based around a One-City Challenge, gain control of resource nodes in a similar way to Dawn of War. They need to be Captured by first moving a squad onto them, then Secured by dropping an upgradeable fortification nearby with oneof their Support Powers.
  • Support Power:
    • The Space Marines have access to the Orbital Command, which allows them to air-drop forts and (with research,) units, call in Orbital Bombardments, and fire off Tactical Doctrines.
    • Astra Militarum cities have Edicts, such as a recruitment drive and increased quotas for manufactorums and soylens viridian farms.
  • Take That!: The popular "'Fix Bayonets!' makes Guardsmen indecently happy" meme is mocked by their Heavy Weapons Team unit.
    "Ever tried fixing a bayonet to a missile launcher?"
  • Timed Mission: The Imperial Guard's final quest is to prevent a renegade Techpriest from escaping Gladius. The mission would be easy as you only face Kastellan robots and Hydra flak tanks, while you probably have loads of Baneblades, Basilisks, Leman Russ tanks and Marauders. Unfortunately you only have a limited amount of time and you must kill everything, additionally the Hydras have Hunter-Killer missiles so they can easily shoot down any aircraft that chases after them. What really makes this a Luck-Based Mission is that the enemy is in random places on the map, if you're lucky they'll be near some of your cities and close to the bulk of your heaviest units...if not good luck chasing them down in time.
  • Torture Always Works: The Necrons find this out the hard way. The Chaos Space Marines are given a quest from the god Slaanesh, to torture and pleasure the Necrons to point where it destroys their minds despite the Necrons being robots. They succeed after discovering the electronic pleasure/pain centers in a Necron body.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Hostile Kastellan robots can be found wandering the wastes of Gladius and attacking anything that moves, including their former Astartes and Astra Militarum allies. Space Marines will say this more or less verbatim when in the presence of such a machine.
  • Undesirable Prize: The prize for one later Space Marine quest is...a unit of Ambulls. Cute but almost useless for the heavily ranged yet very muscular Space Marines, especially when their next quest is brutal.
  • Useless Useful Noncombat Abilities: Terminators have the "Slow and Purposeful" trait, it gives them the ability to move and shoot heavy weapons without any penalty. Unfortunately, Terminators don't have heavy weapons in this game (no assault cannons, heavy flamers and etc.), so the trait is meaningless. Other units have similar issues.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Predator tanks and Bastions of Redemption need research to use heavy bolters, which they usually have by default almost everywhere else in the franchise (unless Predators are equipped with a different sponson gun). Infantry units also need research to throw different types of grenades. In most cases it's given a Hand Wave: All of the factions are struggling to rebuild after the cataclysm, so in many cases "research" is simply rediscovering equipment that was lost in the chaos of Gladius Prime's destruction. The tyranids, however, have lost nothing, but the Hive Mind might decide that, for example, poison glands aren't worth the resources when fighting against robots or the *good* fleshborers aren't needed against Puny Humans wearing t-shirts.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The basic resources in the game are food (population growth and upkeep), ore (used for construction), energy (used for upkeep), research (unlock stuff) and influence (currency for special abilities). Not every faction follows this pattern, however:
    • Space marines combine their food and ore resources into the nebulous requisition, which represents the ability of their companies to request access to the chapter's limited resources.
    • Necrons, being machines, have no use for food and instead sustain their infantry upkeep with ore. Conversely, most necron units are purchased primarily with energy, since necron units are not built but rather re-activated within their tombs.
    • Tyranids, being a Horde of Alien Locusts with Organic Technology, only need biomass (food) to create units and structures, forgoing ore and energy entirely.