We noticed some players in the ongoing beta creating bad Elite combinations in their loadouts and we thought we’d jot down some thoughts on how to plan correctly for Dawn of War 3
First, you want to make sure the total Elite Point cost of the Elites in your loadout is not too high. In a 1v1 35 minute match, you can expect to earn around 16 Elite Points. This means if the total cost of the three Elites you've chosen is higher than 16, you may not be able to bring each of them out in the match. Because Elites have much higher power levels than line units, you really need to get as many on the field as you can. Look at each of the three Elite slots as a resource - if you can't bring out one of those Elites, you are putting one of your biggest resources to waste.
It's helpful for your first two slots to have a combination of early game Elites. Choosing one that costs 3 Elite Points and another that costs 4 gives you the option to bring one out earlier to swing momentum in your favor, or to wait just a bit longer to bring out a different Elite that may be more advantageous to the current situation. Unit composition is everything in Dawn of War 3. Since resources accumulate slowly at first and roughly half of the line units have active abilities, spending your resources wisely to counter your opponent's units and their faction's strengths wisely is absolutely crucial to winning early fights. This makes the luxury of choosing between two very different Elites all the more valuable.
For example, if you are winning early as Eldar and put your Space Marine opponent on the backfoot, you can bring in Farseer Macha
right away to wipe their line units and start going after objective structures. However, if they aren't building their melee Assault Marines and are instead hiding their ranged Tactical Marines and Scout Snipers behind shield generators, it's more beneficial to wait only a minute or two longer to bring out Jain Zar
. She can engage targets immediately with her leap, ignore shields with her melee, and wipe squads quickly with her blade toss.
You also want to consider picking Elites to counter your opponent's strengths, especially earlier on in the match. For example, the Ork faction's Boyz are arguably the best starting unit in the game - not only are they cheaper than Tactical Marines and Dire Avengers, they are the only starting melee unit, guaranteed to win 1v1 against any ranged units they lock down, whom they will automatically charge and slow if they get close enough. Space Marine players can use the 2-point Deathwatch kill team to bring out an Elite very early in the game for only 2 points, also giving early access to flamethrowers. The Deathwatch give a free Drop Pod to knock down the enemy and disrupt positioning on their arrival; their flamethrowers make quick work of close range light infantry such as Boyz; and their gravity grenades can hold fleeing units in place to wipe your opponent's starting army and give you the space to start pushing hard. You can also add a doctrine to your loadout giving a melee critical strike passive ability to your starting Tactical Marines. Together, this Elite and Doctrine combination neutralizes the Ork early game advantage over Space Marines, if not swinging it insurmountably in the humans' favor. Just make sure your Deathwatch don't get tied up in melee with any Boyz, as good Ork players will engage them to prevent their flamers and grenades from going off.
Later in the game, heavy armor line units will begin to eclipse the early game Elites you've selected in your loadout. Although the earlier Elites are indispensable for establishing and sustaining an advantage in the early and mid game, you generally need at least one high-cost Elite to carry you in the late game. A lot of players gravitate towards the spectacle of 9 and 10-point Elites like Beauty the Morkanaut, Solaria the Imperial Knight, and Taldeer the Wraith Knight. However, you could gamble in choosing a 7-point Elite like the Wraith Lord or Terminators who will overshadow your opponent's early game Elites and give an extended window to dominate the field before your opponent can bring out their final Elite.
Also keep in mind that your Elite Points reset to zero, extending the time it takes for you to bring out more expensive Elites in exchange for an advantage right now. This leads to two exceptions to the general advice above:
1) Although we caution against it in 1v1, you may be able to get away with stacking two high-cost Elites in your loadout in team games. Matches tend to go on longer here since there are fewer resources in play in the middle of the map and your teammates can make up for your disadvantage of not having as many early game Elites. This might give you the space you need to bring out a powerful 7-point heavy armor Elite like Mad Dread while your opponents are only bringing out their second early game light infantry Elite.
2) You may be able to use timing to hold off on your second Elite if it means bringing out your third faster. Let's assume you and your opponent both bring out your three-point Elites at the same time, and you use the Eldar Farseer Macha to defeat the Orks' Weirdboy. Before your opponent can accumulate the 4 Elite points to bring out Gorgutz, your Farseer defeats Weirdboy again, who is now out of the game for an even longer window of a few minutes. Your opponent now brings out Gorgutz but since you've had the advantage, Macha on her own might be able to stand up to him with her supporting cast of Wraithguard and Shadow Specters. Instead of spending your 4 Elite Points on Jain Zar now, you can afford to wait just a few more minutes to bring out your Wraith Lord for 7, long before your opponent can bring out anything to match its power level.
These last two points are highly speculative and dependent on ideal hypothetical scenarios, so let me know if you think they are off base or if you managed to have success with them. Thanks for reading and hopefully this helps players make smarter decisions with their loadout choices before each game.
PS) For a nice (Dawn of War 3) chat, join our Discord server