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Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader – Best Operative Build

Tear down the enemies of the Imperium with this Operative build guide!

Whether up close or afar, the Operative dismantles the enemies of the Empire with ease. Stripping defenses and exploiting weak spots, the Operative is an analytical agent of death. If you want to destroy your enemies with robotic efficiency then the Operative is the Archetype for you. In this guide, I’ll be going over the best way to build your Operative and rule the Koronus Expanse.


To make sure our build starts on the right foot we need to make sure our choices during character creation are the best ones for our playstyle as you won’t be able to change every option if you choose to respec your character.

While the Operative is a very flexible Archetype, able to operate in close and long range, we’re going to be aiming for a sniper build. This means the best Homeworld to choose would be the Fortress World. The +5 to Perception is nice, but we’re here for the feature Never Stop Shooting. This feature gives us a stacking percentage every time we kill an enemy to give us a free attack. An excellent feature for any character using a gun.


The next choice we need to make is our Origin. Like I said earlier, the Operative is very flexible so there are a lot of options depending on how you want to play. In this guide, since I’ll be focusing on a ranged damage dealer, we’ll be going with Astra Militarum Commander.

This Origin gives us modifiers to our Ballistic Skill and Perception, two Characteristics that are important for ranged combat. We also get the Regimental Tactics feature which is a nice buff to our damage when taking out enemies engaged with our companions.


Since we’re building an Operative we want to grab the Operative Archetype here for our starting class. What you’ll notice here, however, is that each Archetype has access to certain advanced Archetypes once you hit level 16. Each Advanced Archetype will better help define your role on the battlefield.

For the Operative, they have access to the Assassin, Bounty Hunter, and Grand Strategist Archetypes. The Assassin focuses on high damage and is the perfect route if you want to be mainly a damage dealer. The Bounty Hunter is perfect for taking down bosses and high-priority enemies on the battlefield. The Grand Strategist is a support path through and through. If you want to focus on buffing your allies and debuffing your enemies, this is the Archetype to choose.


Finally, we choose the starting Characteristics for our character. Since we’re going to be mainly ranged combatants we want to get our Ballistic Skill, Perception, and Intelligence as high as possible. This will also be the order we up our Characteristics as we level up. Ballistic Skill increases our hit chance with ranged weapons. Perception decreases our opponents’ ability to dodge our attacks and Intelligence boosts our Operative abilities as well as raises certain useful Skills.

Here’s a Characteristic breakdown for a character with the Fortress World Homeworld and Astra Militarum Commander Origin:

Weapon Skill30
Ballistic Skill45

Operative Talents

As you level up through Operative you’ll be able to choose Archetype-specific talents. Whenever given the chance, you should always choose an archetype talent over a common talent since your chances to grab them are limited.

Here’s a breakdown of the best Operative talents to grab as you level up:

  • Level 4: Tide of Excellence
  • Level 6: Passive Learning 
  • Level 8: Uncanny Sight
  • Level 11: Fresh Target 
  • Level 13: Informed Hit

These talents all work to spread Exploits to as many enemies as possible and maximize damage when you hit them. Tide of Excellence will give us stacking damage as we fight and Passive Learning will ensure there are always enemies with Exploits on them.

Operative Abilities and Special Abilities

While leveling up we’ll also be given access to different abilities and special abilities specific to the Operative. Like talents, you can’t grab all of them so you want to make sure you grab the ones best fit for your playstyle.

Here’s a breakdown of my choices for abilities:

  • Level 7: Precise Attack 
  • Level 9: Dismantling Attack Upgrade II
  • Level 12: Perfect Spot
  • Level 15: Dismantling Attack Upgrade I

These abilities focus on increasing our ability to hit our targets while debuffing them for our teammates.

Advanced Archetype

As I mentioned earlier, the Operative gets access to three Archetypes upon hitting level 16. This decision is entirely up to what your party needs, as each Advanced Archetype fills a specific role. If you need a damage dealer and want to be more melee-focused, grab Assassin. If you need a boss killer and want to stay at range, grab Bounty Hunter. If you want to play a support class, grab Grand Strategist.

Your companions share all these Archetypes as well so you’ll find some overlap between Archetypes in your party depending on how you build them. Each option is powerful and you shouldn’t have any trouble progressing through the game no matter which you choose.

Bounty Hunter

For this guide, I’ll be going over a possible level route through the Bounty Hunter Archetype. This Archetype focuses on taking out priority targets across the battlefield. Their unique ability Hunt Down The Prey allows them to mark an enemy as prey and receive bonuses for killing them depending on their difficulty tier.

The Bounty Hunter continues to make use of Ballistic Skill, Perception, and Intelligence so we don’t need to switch up which Characteristics we raise while going through this Archetype. Since these stats will already be pretty high, don’t be afraid to invest a couple of points in Toughness or Agility if you feel like you get hit too often or go down in combat a lot.

Below I’ll go over a breakdown of the Bounty Hunter’s talents, abilities, and special abilities to grab while leveling. And just like the Operative, we want to prioritize Bounty Hunter talents over common talents whenever possible.

Bounty Hunter Talents

  • Level 18: Gruesome Kill
  • Level 21: Hunting Surge
  • Level 23: Share the Spoils
  • Level 25: Withdraw
  • Level 28: Heightened Concentration
  • Level 31: Claim and Maim
  • Level 33: Expert Finesse

These talents help us buff ourselves passively during combat while also providing slight debuffs to the enemies. Abilities like Claim the Bounty, Heightened Concentration and Hunting Surge ensure we critically hit our enemies often and are buffed because of it.

Bounty Hunter Abilities and Special Abilities

  • Level 17: Cull the Bold
  • Level 22: Claim the Bounty
  • Level 27: Wild Hunt Upgrade III
  • Level 30: Raid
  • Level 35: Wild Hunt Upgrade I

These abilities are focused on debuffing our enemies, dealing high damage, and providing a little bit of support for our companions.

Abilities like Cull the Bold will deal additional damage to enemies while stripping their defenses if they survive. Claim the Bounty gives us a free attack that’s perfect for finishing off low-health enemies while also providing a way to regain Hunt Down the Prey charges.


The Exemplar is the third tier and last Archetype you’ll unlock while leveling up in Rogue Trader. While technically every class gains access to the Exemplar, it is unique in that this Archetype is somewhat made up of your previous two Archetypes.

Use the Exemplar to fine-tune what you want your character to be. Pick up any archetype talents you couldn’t grab while leveling, and round out whatever weakness your character may have while moving into the end-game.


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