Welcome to Dawn of War I Game of the Year Edition - A New Player's / ++heresy redacted++'s Guide to Play Good in Skirmish with Every Race.
This guide will take you from a ++heresy redacted++ level, someone who has just completed the in-game tutorial with 1 race and doesn't know anything else about the game.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War is a pretty unique strategy game compared to the others. You have 4 competly different races to choose from: Space Marines, Orks, Eldar and Chaos. Two types of resources called requisition and power, while it may seem simple it's easy to run out of either kind within a matter of seconds. You cannot play a defensive game only, the only way to really win at Dawn of War is to be on the offensive. Dawn of War is not a game that you can learn in a day, while you may be able to finish the campaign and win a standard skirmish on easy with no problems, the very hard mode and the multiplayer will stump you. It's an extremely complicated game and with this guide I will make things easier to understand offering tactics, build orders, explainations and more.
This guide is dedicated to everyone who's looking to learn to play with a new race, from new players to already experienced players, but mostly written from the new player's perspective. To understand this guide, all you are required to is to have played the race you want to learn's in-game tutorial. In this guide I've mostly used general names such as "Troop structure" or "Armory structure" instead of each building's dedicated name. There's one thing to see how the race works because you actually have played it at least once and then read a guide about it online, and completly another thing to read a guide about it online and only after that try the race for the first time. In the former case, you will have a better idea on how the guide applies to the race because you've already experienced it before, you get a visual perspective. So I recommend playing each race at least once first, so that you get familiar with it, then come back to this guide and follow it as you play a skirmish game.
ABOUT THE RESOURCES
First thing you need to learn about are the resources because you have to know how to manage them. The first resource in the game is requisition. In skirmish games you start with 1000 Requisition and your HQ building generates a decent amount. Everything costs some amount of requisition so this is a little bit more important than power. You can increase the rate at which you gain requisition by capturing strategic points, critical locations, relics, building listening posts on either strategic points or relics, and then by researching upgrades at these posts. Capture strategic points before you capture relics because they are faster to capture, capture relics before critical locations because you can put listening posts on them, and they unlock your super-unit (aka relic unit, we'll talk about them in tier 3).
The second resource is Power that isn't generated automatically. You need to create generators to bring this one in. In a skirmish game you only start with 100 power, and pretty much everything critical you need to start with will cost at least 50-75. Generators aren't exactly cheap at the start either and they provide little amount of power until you get to upgrade them, so you will need to build several. You can increase the power generated by researching at constructed generators.
Whatever you do in the game, make sure that you capture more than two stragegic points, in fact you should all be holding the same amount of strategic points. If you are on a team game share with you teammates. If it's a free for all take every strategic point as you come by. Also, put your listening post on them and upgrade them, this is vital for your survival in the game.
Unlike other games, it isn't absolutely critical that you supply defensive units to protect your resourcing operation, supplying any troops to them is a waste of their use and can often make the difference in a battle. If you're smart, you'll upgraded all of your listening posts to at least the first defensive upgrade, providing some light defense for your base. They're only ever effective against infantry, but the second level upgrade offers some pretty heavy punch, as well as increasing their ability to survive enemy fire. Just remember when you are being invaded that no matter what level upgrades you have, generators and listening posts are extremely popular targets.
THE SKIRMISH START (TIER 1): PART 1
You start off with your HQ (Stronghold, Settlement, Webway Assembly) and 1 builder (Servitor, Gretchin, Bonesinger, Heretic).
Orks also start with 1 Slugga Boys squad because they are Orks, Orks need numbers.
NOTE: This is a basic build order, not the only build order that ever exists. It doesn't mean that there aren't build orders that are good or even better, there are even dedicated build orders for maps and matchups. Down of War isn't a game with 1 recipe of victory, but a game with various strategies where the best course of action depends on how the enemy is playing. However, it's a good starting point, and as long as you do everything else right, these build orders are good enough to win against every Insane CPU, keep your ground or win in multiplayer, and have a huge start advantage over new players who make huge starting mistakes (starting the game with making lots of builders, not making scouts) to the point where you can just "play" with them not to mention that during the rest of the game, you’ll be able to build the right things such as vehicle building at the right time.
Step 1: Start Building Barracks
- The the first thing you should do with every race, is build your troop building (Barracks, Da Boyz Hut, Aspect Portal, Temple).
- With Orks don't foget to always fully reinforce your builders, the Gretchins, as soon as you can, it costs nothing.
Step 2: HQ queuing up scouts and builder (Order and numbers depend on the race)
- When you play Space Marines or Chaos have your HQ building queue up: Scout, Builder, Scout.
- When you play Orks queue up: Builder > Basic Infantry (Slugga Boys Squad are not scouts, they serve as Orks' main fighting force)
- When you play Eldar queue up: Builder > Scout > Scout.
These differences may seem like nothing but they are important for a quick start.
Step 3: Complete the Troop Building, Start Capturing Points, and other stuff based on the race
Have the 1st scout (or Orks' 1st Basic Infantry) capture strategic points, the new builder join the one building the troop buildng and and the 2nd scout also capture strategic points. Keep in mind that assigning more than two builders to a job doesn't make it go any faster.
- When playing Space Marines or Chaos, after the troop building is complete have the builders build listening posts on captured strategic points. That's it, nothing special for you in this section. Barracks + Listening Posts.
When playing Orks after the troop structure is complete, have 1 builder build 1 Waaagh! Banner and the other build listening posts on captured strategic points. After the Waaagh! Banner is complete, have the builder in the base build 1 generator, you should be able to build them in immediate succession, then stop with this line and focus on listening posts next to your base until you get enough resources, and as soon as you get enough resources and have no problems with the army, build the armory building (Pile'O'Guns), and then another generator.
Barracks> Waaagh!> Generator> ...(take a break)...> Armory> Generator + Listening Posts.
When playing Eldar, after the troop structure is complete have your builders build a generator next to the troop structure, by the time the generator is complete one strategic point should be almost complete, have 1 builder build a listening post on it and the other builder build another generator. Eldar need early power more than other races.
Barracks > Generator > Geneartor + Listening Posts.
Your troop structure should be right next to your HQ, you'll need a quick start if you want to keep up with the other player or players. You can also click on your troop structure then right click anywhere on the map to set up a rally point, that way your new depolyed troops will automatically move right there, you can also do this for your HQ building. The other buildings can be built anywhere you like. Except for mines, turrets, Ork Waaagh! Banners and Eldar Webway Gates, typically the best place is near your HQ, where your enemy cannot access them simply by capturing a strategic point.
Step 4: As soon as your Troop Building is complete: start queuing up your Commander (aka Hero)
(Force Commander, Big Mek, Farseer, Chaos Lord) and one basic infantry squad.
You don't have to queue them up in a certain way (except for Orks, they can't build their Basic Infantry as soon as the barracks are complete right before Big Mek because at that time they won't have enough Ork Resource, the Ork's 3rd resource), sometimes building the Basic Infantry first can be useful, for rushes on small maps for example, killing the scouts or whatever, there are various tactics, or even not queueing up the Hero at all, but 2 Basic Infantry squads is a good plan in certain games. This Hero then Basic Infantry is the general build that is not great or terrible depending on the map, matchup and skill, but simply always good, always reliable, always solid. The fights are not just army A shoots army B, it's also how you fight, which units attack which, in melee or in range, in cover (we'll talk about it later) or not in cover, broken or not broken, etc, that makes a difference.
With Space Marines or Chaos you have Tactical Space Marines or Chaos Space Marines as your Basic Infantry. (Chaos has 2 more units that are possible to create at this stage of the game, the Horror and Possesed Squads from the Sacrificial Circle which can be built right now, however this course of action is not recommended since is not that effective, for experienced players - possesed rush was nerfed patches ago, now it's anything but efficient).
Force Commander > Tactical Space Marines / Chaos Lord > Chaos Space Marines
With Orks you have Slugga Boys for melee damage and Shoota Boys range damage. Shoota Boys are not as powerful as other races' range troops (except for scouts) and should only be used as support for the Slugga Boys or other more powerful melee troops.
Big Mek > Slugga/Shoota Boys
Eldar are a little bit different here, they have a very rock, paper and scissors army, if you fight against light infantry get Warp Spiders, if you fight against heavy infantry get Dark Reapers, if you need melee damage get Howling Banshee, if you need morale damage then get Rangers. However, in this stage of the game, don't start with Howling Banshee or Rangers. Alone and unupgraded, Howling Banshee are outmatched by other races, you need them upgraded and used in conjunction with other Eldar troops to have them at full strength. Rangers are also more of a support squad; they do high morale damage (we'll talk later) but very little phisical damage.
Farseer > Warp Spiders/Dark Reapers
Keep in mind that you'll need Power for your Hero. Generally you'll be queuing up your Hero before before a listening post is complete, but if this doesn't happen, don't upgrade your listening post yet because it also costs power and you need that power for your Hero, you don't get any additional power until you get your first generator up and running.
The Skirmish Start (Tier 1) Part 1 Includes: What you start with, what you do first, what you queue up from HQ first, what you queue up from barracks when built, what you spent your early power on, what kind of Basic Infantry you have, where to build your buildings, building listening posts.