The best RTS units of all time

Our favorite knights, tanks, ships, and giant aliens to ever be clicked into combat

Loved by: Matt Keast

The Tauren is what inspiredme to finally settle on the Orcs asmy primary race afterI watched a pack of them lumbering across the battlefield. It’s one thing to use minotaurs as units, but it’s quite another to give them Native American-inspired culture and then have them carry freaking totem poles as weapons. These guys stomp into enemy ranks, hefting their mighty totems on their shoulders, and when they attack, you can really feel the weight and power of their weapons slamming home on unfortunate enemies. To top it off, they can learn a special ability called Pulverize where they’ll randomly bash their totems into the ground, causing an area-of-effect shockwave that does horrific damage.

Tauren also synergize beautifully with the Orcs’ spellcaster units. The Shaman’s Bloodlust speeds up their attacks, meaning more chances to Pulverize. The Witchdoctor’s Healing Ward regenerates a percentage of total health every second, so the Tauren regenerates ridiculously faster than other units. And finally, the Spirit Walker, a tauren caster, has the Ancestral Spirit spell, which brings a dead Tauren back to life with full health. There is nothing more terrifying than watching multiple Tauren rise from death, instantly crashing the ground with Pulverize attacks.


Defense of the Ancients (Warcraft III mod)

Razor

Loved by: Tyler Nagata

Defense of the Ancients (aka DotA) is a popular Warcraft III mod. In this special multiplayer mode, the goal is to push your way through the opponent’s defenses to assault their home base. The bases are separated by three lanes, with waves of NPC units from both camps crashing into each other in the middle of the map. Each player controls a special hero unit, which grows stronger over time by leveling-up and purchasing gear from shops on the map.


Above: The official art which Razor is based on

One of the most popular DotA units is Razor; you’ll almost always see at least one player choose him in just about every game. His lightning attacks deal major damage, but he’s also great for owning his lane due to his fast speed. When equipped with damage enhancing gear, like the Black King Bar, and loot that improves his movement and attack speed, Razor is real a force to be reckoned with. Pwning careless players and clearing NPCs as he pushes forward in his lane is almost too easy.


Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

Bloodthirster

Loved by: Michael Grimm

You’re probably looking at this list going “Wow, ANOTHER spaceship/tank? Weak.” Well hold on to your man bits ladies, because the Bloodthirster is here, and he’s a huge ass demon straight from an 80s metal album. A greater daemon of the Chaos Blood God Khorne, the Bloodthirster has to first be summoned with blood, at which point he possesses a unit who then explodes into chunks… and blood. As you can see, there’s a focus on blood here.


Above: A Bloodthirster, thanks to Komrad

All the little baby Space Marines bring lasers and tanks to the battlefield -you know what the Bloodthirster brings? A huge Axe and his bare hands. The Bloodthirster just runs in there, knocks everyone over and goes to town. But the best part? One of his killing animations involves scooping up his opponent and crushinghim like a refreshing blood filled Squeeze-It. Hey, even a four-story-tall daemon from the Warp has to stay hydrated.


Civilization IV

Camel Archer

Loved by: Tyler Wilde

Hah! You thought I was done writing about the technically-shouldn't-be-in-this-article Civilization. No sir, no ma'am, I could write about Civilization all day, but I'll spare you that and just tell you about one more very special unit.

I played as the Arabian Empire in Civ IV for just one reason: Camel Archers. Instead of Knights, Arabia was able to train camel-riding archers, which are so fun to look at, and think about, that I couldn't help but train far too many of them. (Research horseback riding and archery ASAP!)

They're not the best units. I mean, sure, they're immune to first strikes and can withdraw from combat with a 15% rate of success, which Knights can't do - oh, and, of course, you don't need horses. But you know, they're nothing mind blowing. They're just solid units which are extra-special because of theirawesome awkwardness.


Above: Is there anything sadder than a dead guy on a dead camel?Probably, but just accept my hyperbole


LOTR: Battle for Middle-earth II

Tom Bombadil

Loved by: Charlie Barratt

What can I say? I'm not usually very good at multiplayer, but on the rare occasions that I am more skilled than my opponents, I can't simply beat them. I must HUMILIATE them, preferably by winning the match with a super silly, garishly girly, frivolously frou-frou character that causes the other player to lose faith in his own masculinity. This is why I always choose Princess Peach for Mario Kart, why I often opt for neon pink armor in Halo… and why I love using Tom Bombadil in Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth II.

A special "hero" unit that the armies of good can summon for short periods of time, Tom Bombadil doesn't defeat his enemies with a powerful, orc-slicing sword like Aragorn, a magical, earth-rendering staff like Gandalf or a fiery, hobbit-incinerating whip like the monstrous Balrog.

Nope – he just sings. And dances. Sings and dances and skips merrily across the battlefield in his blueberry jacket, canary yellow boots and feathered cap. And because Tolkien wrote Tom Bombadil as an enigmatic god-like figure older than time itself, that shit works! He's one of the strongest units in the game, and because he's so ridiculous, I'm usually the only player willing to use him.


Above: There he is, dancing away in front of the tower

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Associate Editor, Digital at PC Gamer
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