Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader Operative Build Guide

Operative's are tactical death-dealers from afar. Here's our best operative build guide in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader.
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Operatives are the single-target damage Archetype loosely focused on sniping and, later on, assassinating their targets. You’ll want to maximize their single-target damage potential through Origins, Homeworlds, and Talents. Here’s our best Operative build guide in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader.

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How to Build the Best Operative in Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader

This Operative build is focused on single-target burst damage so that you can eliminate Psykers, Commanders, Healers, and other important targets in combat first. Operatives have the potential to snipe these crucial enemy targets in round one and end combat right then and there if you get lucky with the Initiative roll. This is because your enemy’s team structure almost crumbles without these key figures and the rest is a matter of mob clean-up and minimizing your losses. In longer fights, just keep firing on the boss or another key enemy like a Healer.

I highly recommend utilizing single-shot weapons like Sniper Rifles, Longlas, or Revolvers. There’s even potential for a dual-wielding Revolver operative or a Psyker one if that is more your preference. However, we’ll be focusing on extremely long-range weapons like the first two.

Furthermore, Analyse Enemies will be our bread-and-butter ability for increasing our burst potential. Essentially, it applies a number of Exploits to our target equal to our Intelligence bonus (the first digit of our Int score). Dealing damage to that target then consumes all Exploits stacks to deal bonus damage increasing for each stack.

Lastly, our Expose Weakness ability can also consume stacks to reduce our enemy’s defense. I recommend using Analyze Enemy for damage in short fights with key enemies like Psykers and using the Analyze Enemy plus Expose Weakness combo in longer fights on bosses.

warhammer 40k rogue trader sniper character aiming
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Best Operative Homeworld in Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader

What’s better than a one-shotting high-damage sniper attack? Two of them. The Fortress World’s Never Stop Shooting ability allows you to occasionally attack twice per round, which is devastating for high single-shot weapons like Sniper Rifles or the Longlas. The ability works by granting you 10 stacks each time you kill an enemy and then at the beginning of every turn, you have a chance to be able to shoot again equal to the stacks you have.

As you’ll see later, we’ll upgrade this ability further with talents to suit our high-damage sniper shots. Moreover, Fortress World grants us a Perception bonus. This is a characteristic we need for reliable ranged attacks as it reduces the target’s Dodge chance.

Best Operative Origin

Even though the Crime Lord origin gives us a weapon skill bonus for melee attacks, it’s still one of the best single-target ranged damage origins. This is because of the Sure-fire Plan ability which boosts your next action.

This can increase the damage of an attack, reduce defenses for enemies you target with your Analyse Enemies/Expose Weakness ability, or give us Dodge chance when we move. We’ll have a number of charges of Sure-fire Plan equal to our Intelligence bonus and this cements Intelligence as our core characteristic.

I found that prioritizing Sure-fire Plan charges for shots works best. Don’t worry about the limited charges. Our Talent choices later will restore them each turn. Another neat part about Crime Lords is that they also give us a Perception bonus which directly synergizes with our ranged combat needs.

Best Operative Talents

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Let’s analyze our progression through the Operative tree (perhaps “wheel” is more fitting?). Here’s what I found works best for our sniper Operative build on every level that gives us a choice.

  • Level 2: Tech Use (I speced my operative for Tech Use for unlocking doors).
  • Level 4: Tide of Excellence.
  • Level 5: Ballistic Skill + Familiar Kickback (FK Restores stacks of Never Stop Shooting greatly as Snipers are the highest damage single-shot weapon).
  • Level 6: Sharp Shooter + Intelligence (Make sure to find cover and stand still for SS to work).
  • Level 7: Precise Attack + Tech Use.
  • Level 8: Weak Body Week Soul + Killing Plan.
  • Level 9: Tech Use.
  • Level 10: Tech Use.
  • Level 11: Fresh Target or Instant Exposure + Tech Use.
  • Level 12: Perfect Spot + The Last Plan or Contingency Plan.
  • Level 13: Fresh Target or Instant Exposure + Ballistic Skill.
  • Level 14: Ballistic Skill + The Last Plan or Contingency Plan.

This build allows us to use an empowered Exploit Weakness for free while boosting our attacks with Sure-fire Plan, which refreshes each turn. Also, you’ll avoid death once with The Last Plan and reliably refresh Never Stop Shooting with your Sniper or Longlas. Make sure to find good cover at the beginning of combat and stay still for Sharpshooter to work. Feel free to use the Sniper’s 2AP longer-range shot if enemies move further away. If you have to reposition, pop Sure-fire Plan and move for that extra Dodge chance.

I highly recommend picking up the Assassin Archetype at Level 16, as it compliments our single target damage build quite well. Bounty Hunter isn’t the best, since we won’t be focusing on Wound gain as it doesn’t benefit us. With further Characteristic increases, always prioritize Ballistic Skill and Intelligence, as it directly fuels our ability charges and damage through Sharpshooter.

That’s what I’d put my money on for the best Operative build guide in Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. Focus on those high-priority targets like Psykers and Commanders while your allies pick off the smaller mobs and you’ll do superbly. Find more of our WH40K Rogue Trader guides right here like how to play online with friends.

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Author
Gordan Perisic
From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.