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The best archetypes in Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader

And what archetypes to choose at tier 2

Four characters with the best archetypes walk down a mechanical bridge in key art for Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Image: Owlcat Games

Archetypes are a fundamental aspect of character creation in Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader. Archetypes determine how your character plays, as well as the kit of skills you have at your disposal.

Archetypes are the Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader equivalent of classes that we usually see in traditional RPGs. At level one, you can pick one from the four initial options: Warrior, Officer, Operative, and Soldier.

As your characters reach level 16 and level 36, you unlock specializations for each of them. Each initial archetype has three specific options at tier 2 (level 16) and only one at tier 3 (level 36). These specializations not only allow tinkering further with skills and stats but also help each of your party members feel unique.

What follows is a rundown of the best archetypes in Rogue Trader, and what archetypes you should choose at tier 2 and tier 3. And for more advice on creating a character, consult our guide on the best origins in Rogue Trader.

The best archetypes in Rogue Trader

A menu shows the best archetypes in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Image: Owlcat Games via Polygon

You can’t go wrong really with any of the tier 1 archetypes, but if based on whatever archetype you start with, there are best archetypes to choose when that character reaches tier 2. They are as follows:

  • The best Warrior archetype: Vanguard
  • The best Officer archetype: Grand Strategist
  • The best Operative archetype: Bounty Hunter
  • The best Soldier archetype: Arch-Militant

You can find a more detailed explanation on why these combinations of archetypes are the best below.

The best Warrior archetype: Vanguard

Even in the easier difficulty, playing Rogue Trader is not a walk in the park. A considerable number of characters you can recruit for your party are fragile and will easily die if they get cornered by enemies. Because Vanguard characters have abilities to taunt enemies, they work perfectly as the distraction you need to win a fight and keep all the other characters safe.

If the Vanguard also has Warrior skills, then, you have a beefy tank who can also deal decent damage. In addition to that, Warrior’s Ultimate Ability “Daring Breach” restores all AP and MP, giving you a chance to reposition to protect allies or kill enemies that are getting too close to the rest of the party.

The best Officer archetype: Grand Strategist

These two archetypes make any character the ultimate support in Rogue Trader. First of all, Grand Strategist abilities allow you to create three different types of special areas to buff allies that are inside of it. Now, by picking Officer as your first archetype, you have the Ultimate Ability “Finest Hour!” which grants an ally an extra turn. In other words, you not only buff the whole party but you can make it so they can constantly attack.

The best Operative archetype: Bounty Hunter

In a game where positioning is extremely important, very few guns shine as much as snipers do in Rogue Trader and Bounty Hunter with Operative skills is the best archetype for this. A character with this combination of archetypes becomes the main source of damage in your party due to its capacity to inflict penalties onto enemies to increase the damage they receive. In addition to this, Bounty Hunter has one of the strongest skills when it comes to raw power. The archetype’s Ultimate Ability “Wild Hunt” can deal up to +300% damage to a single target, depending on how much you upgrade it.

The best Soldier archetype: Arch-Militant

Unlike the Bounty Hunter, Arch-Militant characters focus on hitting as many enemies with as many guns as possible. The archetype’s kit rewards your character for keeping attacking and using different types of weapons. This playstyle is enhanced by having Soldier abilities, an archetype that, among the initial ones, stands out as a great damage dealer and great with burst guns. The two Ultimate Abilities you end up having — Soldier’s “Firearm Mastery and Arch-Militant’s “Steady Superiority” — are perfect tools for finishing a fight in one turn by only having a flamethrower or a shotgun.

All archetypes list in Rogue Trader

A menu shows the warrior archetype in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Image: Owlcat Games via Polygon

Below, see all of the archetypes in Rogue Trader, organized by tier:

Tier 1 archetypes

A menu shows the tier 2 archetypes available in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Image: Owlcat Games via Polygon
  • Warrior: If cutting through enemies with a giant sword is the kind of experience you want, this is the archetype for you. Warrior excels in melee combat and raw damage. While you can pick it and pivot it to become a straightforward damage dealer, it’s possible to make a tank out of your Warrior due to the abilities this archetype has to mitigate damage and taunt enemies. This archetype’s signature move is Charge, an ability that allows the character to dash towards an enemy and attack them.
  • Officer: As you cut through groups of heretics, you don’t find an Officer in the front line. Their role, actually, is to stay behind supporting allies with their skills. Officers are capable of even giving a new turn to an ally. With the “Bring it Down!” ability, the Officer grants an ally an extra turn in which they have fewer action points than usual and no movement points. The second signature ability of the Archetype is “Voice of Command,” which buffs an ally’s characteristics for one round.
  • Operative: Among the initial options, Operative characters are the ones focused on causing a large amount of damage to a single character. This archetype gives you tools to find and exploit the enemy’s weaknesses, allowing you to cause a lot of damage to them. Characters running this archetype end up quite squishy so melee combat is not an option. But, by finding a good spot during a fight, Operative characters don’t even need to move to hit most enemies in the area. Operative’s signature skill “Analyze Enemies” places exploits in one enemy based on your bonus of Intelligence.
  • Soldier: In Rogue Trader, Soldier is an archetype focused on dealing raw damage to enemies. Soldier characters try their best to kill as many enemies as possible by using guns that allow burst fire, an attack that sacrifices accuracy for the chance to hit more than one enemy. Killing enemies is such a key aspect of this archetype’s design that “Revel in Slaughter”, one of the Soldier’s main skills which buffs the character, becomes available only after the Soldier kills three enemies. The other main skill, “Run and Gun” allows you to attack more than the attack limit in one turn.

Tier 2 archetypes (level 16)

A menu shows the tier 2 archetypes available in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Image: Owlcat Games via Polygon
  • Assassin: Following the traditional concept of a silent killer, the Assassin archetype gives you access to abilities that cause damage to specific enemies by exploiting their vulnerabilities. By picking this archetype, you also have some good abilities that assist you in traversing the grid, such as “Danse Macabre” and “Elusive Shadow.” Only Warrior and Operative can pick into the Assassin archetype.
  • Vanguard: This is the upgrade a tank character needs. The Vanguard has a good variety of tools to mitigate damage and survivability. Vanguard characters are capable of keeping themselves and their allies alive due to their main ability “Unyielding Beacon”, which grants temporary wounds to nearby allies. To pick this archetype, you need a Warrior or Officer character.
  • Bounty Hunter: If you picked Operative or Soldier as your tier 1 archetype, then you can choose the Bounty Hunter. This archetype keeps the concept of a deadly marksman by giving you the “Hunt Down the Prey”, the Bounty Hunter’s signature skill. This ability marks one target as prey and your attacks cause more damage to this specific enemy. But there is more. The Bounty Hunter has many other abilities that also affect the marked enemy, allowing you to create powerful combos and defeat strong enemies in a single turn.
  • Master Tactician: The role of a Master Tactician character, as the name implies, is to employ tactics to defeat enemies. In Rogue Trader, this means having the tools to assist allies by giving them the upper hand in combat. By granting buffs to single characters, they can raise their damage or a character capacity to generate Momentum. At the same time, Master Tactician characters are good fighters. The two main skills, “Press the Advantage” and “Tactical Advantage” increase their own damage and the amount of Momentum gained. To pick this one, you need to have an Officer or Soldier character.
  • Grand Strategist: If you enjoy planning every character position and how to take the most out of the battlefield, the Grand Strategist is a great option for you. This archetype is available for Operative and Officer characters and it comes with abilities that are capable of affecting areas on the grid, like improving allies’ attributes or forcing enemies to re-roll dodge and parry tests. Grand Strategist characters have the “Combat Tactics” unique ability, which allows them to create areas in which allies receive bonuses.
  • Arch-Militant: This archetype is the representation of a one-person army. Arch-Militant characters are efficient in using either melee or ranged weapons, becoming the masters of warfare. Most support abilities this archetype has are for personal use and they are great for increasing the damage output of each attack. The signature ability “Versatility” buffs you as you go through a weapon rotation – using melee, then one-shot, then burst attacks, for example. To turn into this killing machine, you need a Warrior or Soldier character first.

Tier 3 archetype (level 36)

  • Exemplar: Different from tiers 1 and 2, you don’t have options to choose from in this tier. Every archetype can become Exemplars at level 36. You can understand this archetype as the ultimate specialization of the combination of archetypes you previously picked up. Once unlocked, you access additional abilities and talents for the other two archetypes.

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