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Land warfare


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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 2.3.

This article is for the PC version of Stellaris only.

Wars are not decided only in space. In order to capture enemy planets, entire armies will be needed, along with the preparation and battlefield awareness to properly use them. However planets may only be invaded if the system's starbase has been occupied.



Although secondary to space battles, ground warfare is a vital aspect of many wars.

Ground combat takes place between the planet owner's defense armies and the invader's assault armies. The number of armies that can be engaged in combat on either side is half the size of the planet. Armies not engaged in combat will be placed a row behind the fighting armies and replace any killed army.

Generals are leaders who command armies and give them bonuses. However Generals, particularly at lower levels, may die during the fighting.

Each army has a morale value, and once morale drops low enough the army will be negatively affected with the following modifiers:

Morale Penalty
50% -25%   Army Damage
0% -75%   Army Damage

Armies gain experience from combat and can rank up. Higher rank armies are more effective in combat.

An attacker can always attempt to retreat. However there is a significant chance that each retreating army is destroyed while attempting to return to space, making retreat a risky endeavour and something to do only in very poorly chosen engagements.

Planet DevastationEdit

Planet Devastation is a measure of how much damage has been caused to the planet's population centers. It goes from 0 to 100% and the higher it is the more damage defensive armies take and the more likely pops are to be killed. Every 1% Planetary Devastation causes a 1% decrease in   Housing,   Amenities,   Trade Value,   Resources from   Jobs,   Upkeep from   Jobs,   Growth Speed and   Immigration Pull.

Planet Devastation is caused by orbital bombardment and assault armies. Assault armies have a Collateral Damage modifier that determines how fast they cause Planetary Devastation. Defense armies do not cause any.

Planet Devastation Damage to armies Kills pops FTL inhibitors functional
0% 50%    
25% 100%    
50% 100%    
75% 200%    

Planet Devastation is reduced monthly by 0.5% as long as the planet is no longer bombarded or invaded.

Defense armiesEdit

Defense armies are automatically recruited by certain buildings from the species working them and can be robotic or organic. They are stationed on planets and used to defend against enemy armies. While they are stronger one-for-one than assault armies, their static nature means that investment is necessary to fend off a concentrated attack. Their combat ability is also improved by certain technologies.

Job Defense Armies Notes
Colonist 1
Enforcer 2
Soldier 3
Patrol Drone 2
Warrior Drone 3
Slave Overseer 2 Only available on planets with the Thrall World Specialization
Protector 3 Only available to biological Fallen Empires
Xeno-Keeper 2 Only available to the Enigmatic Observers Fallen Empire
Guardian 3 Only available to the Ancient Caretakers Fallen Empire

The type of army recruited depends on the pop working the building that spawns them. Defense armies do not incur any upkeep beyond that of the building that creates their Job. Defense armies do not cause Collateral Damage.

Army Type Army Damage Morale Damage Health Morale Pop Species
  Defense Army 2.25 - 4.50 2.25 - 4.50 250 250 Organic
  Robotic Defense Army 1.50 - 3.00 1.50 - 3.00 250 immune Robot
  Drone Grid 1.65 - 3.30 1.65 - 3.30 220 immune Machine Unit

Assault armiesEdit

An empire can recruit armies of any species that is present within its borders, as long as there are members of that species living on the planet which the army is recruited from. Unlike Defense Armies, they are based in space and each recruited army will board a transport ship. Transport ships are unarmed but automatically upgraded with the latest defense components.

The amount of armies an empire can build from a species is limited to the number of pops of that species living within the empire. Titanic beasts are limited to three per empire and lost armies cannot be replaced.

Army Type Cost Time Army Damage Morale Damage Collateral Damage Health Morale Maintenance Requirements Description
  Assault Army  100  90 1.50 - 3.00 1.50 - 3.00 100% 200 200  1.00 Starter Assault armies come with their own transports and can invade other planets.
  Slave Army  50  60 1.50 - 3.00 1.12 - 2.25 150% 200 150  0.50   Neural Implants Slave soldiers who serve their masters on the battlefield. Most are conscripted by force, but many slaves volunteer in a desperate attempt to increase their food rations or escape from grueling labor.
  Clone Army  75  30 1.50 - 3.00 1.50 - 3.00 125% 200 200  0.75   Gene Banks Vat-grown clones that reach adulthood in a matter of months. With a natural lifespan of less than a decade, their lack of personal initiative is deemed an acceptable trade-off for their total obedience to officers.
  Robotic Assault Army  150  90 1.50 - 3.00 1.50 - 3.00 150% 400 immune  1.50   Droids tech
Allowed Robotic Workers Policy
Cold and heartless killing-machines designed only for war. They pursue their objectives relentlessly, and are impervious to the shattering effects of poor morale that so often plague organic combat units.
  Psionic Army  250  120 3.00 - 6.00 4.50 - 9.00 50% 350 500  2.50   Telepathy Soldiers gifted with psionic abilities. Their focus on destructive psionic powers has led to drastically different tactics and strategies on the battlefield – their first objective is always to remove the enemy's willingness to fight.
  Xenomorph Army  200  100 3.00 - 6.00 6.00 - 12.00 500% 400 immune  2.00   Morphogenetic Field Mastery Ravenous hordes of bio-engineered horrors made up of little more than teeth, claws, and an instinctive urge to kill. A cadre of scientists monitor and supervise the raging swarms as best they can from hardened bunkers behind the front.
  Gene Warrior Army  300  150 3.00 - 6.00 3.00 - 6.00 75% 500 500  3.00   Gene Seed Purification Genetically enhanced super soldiers. Recruits are typically chosen from the elite of the conventional military forces. These then undergo extensive gene therapy, and are made larger, stronger, and faster than their peers.
  Hunter-Killer Army  100  90 1.50 - 3.00 1.50 - 3.00 200% 200 immune  1.00   Machine Intelligence Mass-produced tracked war machines designed to seek out and destroy everything that has been designated as an enemy.
  Battle Frame Army  200  120 2.25 - 4.50 3.00 - 6.00 200% 500 immune  2.00   Machine Intelligence
  Adaptive Combat Algorithms
Large, bipedal warbots that are surprisingly fast and mobile given the heavy armaments they carry. They are quite intelligent and renowned for the insidious tactics they often employ.
  Mega-Warform  800  500 6.00 - 12.00 9.00 - 18.00 400% 1200 immune  8.00   Machine Intelligence
This single colossal warform towers over the battlefield and its massed firepower exceeds that of most armies. Bringing one of these behemoths down is extremely difficult.
  Titanic Beast  300  90 4.50 - 9.00 9.00 - 18.00 300% 1000 600  1.00 Titanic Lifeforms event chain
Only up to 3 can be recruited
Research breakthroughs have enabled us to train Titanic Lifeforms into military units, but due to the rarity of suitable subjects we will be able to only field a limited number of these Armies at a time.
  Azizian Army  250
 90 4.50 - 9.00 9.00 - 18.00 100% 1000 400  1.00 Ice Alien event chain
Only up to 3 can be recruited
The Azizians make titanic murderous slugs, crushing their foes, secreting a sticky fluid.
  Psionic Avatar event event 7.50 - 15.00 15.00 - 30.00 100% 1400 immune none   Shroud event A colossal warrior from the Shroud that has been forged out of pure psionic energy.
  Nanite Warform event event 15.00 - 30.00 90.00 - 180.00 500% 3600 immune none   A Quiet Stroll event gray_army_desc

Army rankEdit

As armies fight battles they will increase in rank, improving their stats based on their experience points. Armies get +2 experience points each time they deal damage and +1 when they take it. Armies recruited on planets with a Military Academy, Mercenary Liaison Office or War factory are granted 100 experience points and therefore start out as Experienced.

Rank Exp Points Effects
Regular 0 - 100 None
Experienced 100 - 1000   +10% Damage
  +10% Morale
Veteran 1000 - 10000   +20% Damage
  +20% Morale
  +10% Health
Elite ≥ 10000   +40% Damage
  +40% Morale
  +20% Health

Orbital bombardmentEdit

Orbital bombardment occurs when a fleet is in orbit around a hostile planet, and is generally a precursor to invasion. Genocidal empires can even opt to skip the invasion entirely and simply exterminate all life on the surface. Orbital bombardment causes damage to any defensive army but also Planetary Devastation. Effectiveness is based on the   Fleet Size of fleet in orbit. A fleet of at least 10   Fleet Size is required to perform orbital bombardment, and maximum effectiveness is reached at 100   Fleet Size. Orbital bombardment damage is reduced by 50% if the world has a Planetary Shield Generator, which cannot be destroyed by the bombardment.

Stance Planet damage Army damage Pop kill chance Other effects Requirements Description
  Selective 50% 100% 25% (20 min) Will not bomb undefended planets None Selective Bombardment targets only identified military sites, taking care to avoid needless civilian casualties.
  Indiscriminate 100% 150% 50% (10 min) Not    Pacifist Indiscriminate Bombardment targets military and planetary infrastructure with no regard to civilian casualties.
  Armageddon 150% 200% 100% If last pop is killed, planet becomes a   Tomb World   Fanatic Purifiers or   Determined Exterminator Armageddon Bombardment blankets the planet in heavy ordnance with the explicit aim of maximizing civilian casualties.
  Javorian Pox 20% 150% 150% (  )
0% ( )
If last pop is killed, planet becomes a   Tomb World   Javorian Pox Sample relic activation Javorian Pox Bombardment showers the planet with a deadly pathogen.
  Raiding 100% 50% 100% (1 min) Abducts pops instead of killing them   Barbaric Despoilers civic or   Nihilistic Acquisition ascension perk Raiding Bombardment targets enemy population centers with specialized raiding craft that scoop up their people and bring them back to our worlds to put them to work.

Terror BombingEdit

Each pop killed by Orbital Bombardment lowers the   opinion of every non    Militarist empire, particularly    Pacifist ones. Fallen Empires also ignore it, with the exception of the Benevolent Interventionists. Pop abduction does not cause a lowered opinion.