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The Warrior Unit (in Japanese: 戦士隊, Senshi-tai) is an organization of the Marley military composed entirely of volunteer Eldian youths, a subdivision of the Marleyan military's Eldian Unit. They generally serve as the central antagonists of Attack on Titan series, as their main mission throughout most of the story is to retrieve a "coordinate" from the current Attack Titan holder Eren Yeager and wipe out the "devils" on Paradis Island. During the present story's timeline, the last generations of Warriors have been commanded, trained, and overseen by the Marleyan Theo Magath.
Cadet child soldiers of the army's Eldian Unit who volunteered to inherit the power of the Titans make up the main force of the Marley Warriors. These cadets can vary in age, ranging from young adults to some as young as seven years old. While both cadet Eldian soldiers and Warrior candidates study and train in the same classes and school, Warrior candidates also take their own separate harder training sessions and classes. Before they receive the power of the Titans, Warrior candidates need to take many tests and extensive military training for years. Like the rest of the Eldian Unit, the Warriors are still fully trained to fight as human soldiers with human weapons. Having been raised with Marleyan propaganda from a young age, the Warriors follow the orders of their superiors without question and are taught that killing both soldiers and civilians alike is acceptable as long as it is not in Marley. The Marleyan government claims that this will atone for the past atrocities of Eldia. For some, this is done out of blind faith to Marley and an honest belief in the information they have been indoctrinated with, while most do it out of personal reasons and need for better life conditions.
The Eldian soldiers who get chosen as the next Warrior gain the status of Honorary Marleyan, along with the rest of their direct family members. Even if some candidates might not get chosen right after the end of their training, they still can get called to inherit a Titan power years later, like Porco Galliard as a teenager. Tom Ksaver is the only known Warrior in the story who inherited his Titan as a fully grown adult. In Marley's society the Eldian civilians are identified with brown armbands, while Eldian soldiers with grey armbands, Warrior candidates with yellow armbands, and Honorary Marleyan Eldian civilians and their Warrior family members with red armbands. The Warriors mostly fight alongside their comrade soldiers of the Eldian Unit or the divisions made of Marleyan soldiers and Commander Magath's subordinates like the Panzer Unit.
Several years before the beginning of the series, the chosen best Warrior candidates are Bertolt Hoover, Reiner Braun, Annie Leonhart, Porco Galliard, Marcel Galliard, Pieck Finger and their senior Zeke Yeager, who inherit their Titan powers after years of education. At the time the Warriors are fighting in a war between Marley and an enemy nation in the south. In one of these years, the Marleyan overseer Theo Magath is appointed as the next Commander of the Eldian and Warrior Unit. Zeke receives the Beast Titan from Tom Ksaver in 842, while all the others receive the Colossal, Jaw, Armored, Female and Cart Titans from the previous Warriors a year later in early 843. Out of them, only Porco is not made a full Warrior by the time of the choosing. Despite being the worst candidate at the bottom, with the weakest grades and scores, Reiner was chosen as a Warrior with the contribution of Marcel, who influenced the Warrior overseers by praising Reiner's extreme loyalty and nationalism to Marley and his remarkable endurance and determination, while strongly criticizing his brother Porco and his flaws and making him look like a bad choice. It is unknown if Porco still continued serving as a soldier of the Eldian Unit afterwards, but 7 years later in 850 he will be eventually allowed to inherit the power of the Jaw Titan from the prisoner Ymir, who is responsible for Marcel's death.
Sometime in 842, the Marleyan military discovers War Chief Zeke's mysterious unique power in his blood, similar to the Fritz family's history with the Coordinate. The Titan Biology Research Society is unable to explain how Zeke is able to create and command Pure Titans from himself screaming after having Eldian prisoners consume his spinal fluid or inhale gas containing it. Because of this mystery, Zeke is labelled the Boy Wonder by the Marleyan military, who takes advantage of his useful power to devise new war strategies against enemy nations.
The new generation of Warriors is praised as the best one the military ever had, with Bertolt already fully mastering the Colossal during his first trasnformation. During 843, the rest of the newly trained Warriors are sent to the south for their first war under Commander Magath's control. The Warriors play a key role in the rest of the war against enemy nations in the south and east and bring Marley to victory. The Colossal Titan is often used as cheap nukes to destroy cities and military bases. Around 844, the Marley army successfully conquers an enemy nation's capital by using Zeke's spinal fluid on an Eldian force, turning all its people into Titans in the city's streets, killing countless civilians and combatants alike in the surprise attack. They are able to do so even in the night, so long as the full moon is out, something not possible with regular Pure Titans not affected by Zeke's spinal fluid. Marley emerges victorious from all the conflicts, and the the Warrior Unit is praised by the Marleyan Eldians as heroes upon their return to Marley.
In year 845, the Marleyan military launches the Paradis Island Operation. Commander Magath sends Bertolt, Reiner, Marcel and Annie to begin a mission to attack the Walls and retrieve the Founding Titan, while keeping Zeke and Pieck as deterrents against enemy nations. The Warriors are escorted by Magath and other officers and overseers on the ship journey to "Heaven", and they part ways once they reach the island's borders. Magath gives them a final debriefing and bids them farewell, wishing for them to return all alive to Marley and with the Founder. While travelling to the Walls, they are attacked by the Pure Titan Ymir which results in Marcel's death and, after eating him, she reverts to her human form with his Jaw Titan power.
After they successfully destroy and enter the walls of Shiganshina District and Wall Maria, leading to the majority of the entire population of Wall Maria being devoured alive by the Titans, the Warriors disguise themselves as refugees and spend two years living in Wall Rose while spying on the Walls' nobility and Church to gain information about the local government. As a result of the Fall of Wall Maria, the humans of Rose and Maria suffer starvation and food shortage from the lack of territory. Two years after the Fall, the royal government forces the majority of the Wall Maria refugees out of Wall Rose, by having them conscripted with the Survey Corps outside the Walls under the pretext of a recapture operation to retake Wall Maria, resulting with 20% of the population of the Walls being wiped out and the alleviation of the food shortage in Wall Rose. After finding out that King Fritz and his family are impostors covering up for the real royal family, Reiner decides to begin an infiltration as part of 104th Training Corps in 847, much to Annie and Bertolt's discontent. The purpose of this is to gain residence within Wall Sheena and the ability to visit the interior and Capital Mitras as members of the Military Police Brigade, in hopes to find out which noble family involved with the Walls' government is the true Fritz royal family in hiding. However during these years, Annie is able to infiltrate Wall Sheena and the capital on several occasions to spy on the government officials, as she did before during the previous two years, having found out the truth about the false royal family. The Warriors at some point find out that one of their fellow Trainees, Krista Lenz, is actually an illegitimate child of the Reiss noble family, which is strongly involved with the Church of the Walls.
After three years of pretending to be soldiers of the Walls, the Warriors graduate and gain the right to become recruits of the Military Police and live in Wall Sheena in 850. Wanting to get rid of the lands of Wall Rose to corner the Coordinate's possessor, Reiner decides to resume the Warriors' advance of the Titans within the Walls in another attempt to smoke out the Founding Titan and provoke the government into taking action against them. The Warriors purposely choose a day when the Survey Corps go out in one of their expeditions outside the Walls, in order to speed up the Titan advance with only the Garrison and the Cadets struggling. The second invasion succeeds after Bertolt destroys Wall Rose from Trost District's outer gate, but the sudden reveal of Eren Yeager being the holder of one of the Nine Titans makes Reiner decide to call it off and not destroy Trost's inner gate to force the Eldians to fall back to Wall Sheena. At the time the Warriors are still unsure whether Eren is possessing the Attack or Founding Titan, or both. During the Eldian military's operation to seal Trost's destroyed gate to stop the Titan advance, the Warriors kill the Trainee Marco Bott to silence him after he overheard Bertolt and Reiner discussing their next move. After letting Eren sealing Trost's gate and halt Wall Rose's invasion, the Warriors continue their infiltration mission and help cleaning up the bodies from the battle.
Following Reiner's leadership and plans, the Warriors fail to maintain the ignorance of the Eldians within the Walls as Marley intended. They did not take advantage of Eren's weaker status to seize him at Trost immediately and allowed the Military Police Brigade to detain him, until the higher ups allow the Survey Corps one month of temporary custody of Eren. Wanting to avoid the Eldians finding out about the true origins of the Titans, Reiner and Annie personally kill two Pure Titan captives that were kept under the custody of the Garrison and Survey Corps to allow for experimantation by Squad Leader Hange Zoë. Yet Reiner makes the mistake of allowing the military to keep custody of Eren, which is the biggest key to find out more about the Titans' true identity, after they already found out that humans can transform into Titans, giving them clues that these creatures might be of human origins. Despite this, the Warriors neglected the need to kidnap Eren at once and even let the Survey Corps maintain custody of Eren for one month, as they experiment on him and learn more about the Intelligent Titans and how the Colossal and Armored Titans are unlikely to be mindless ones. Instead Bertolt and Reiner abandon their original plan of going to the interior and become part of Survey Corps, while Annie maintains her choice to join the Military Police.
Outside the Walls, Marley grows concerned with the five years of silence from Marcel, Bertolt, Annie and Reiner. Fearing the worse, the Marley government starts preparing a full scale invasion of Paradis with the military and Zeke's spinal fluid. Commander Magath dispatches the Warriors Zeke and Pieck as backup with a small force of Marleyan soldiers to Paradis Island. After one month of preparations, Reiner, Annie and Bertolt follow their plan to kidnap Eren by having Annie attacking the Survey Corps while outside in Wall Maria's deserted lands during the 57th Expedition Outside the Walls. As the Female Titan and following Reiner's instructions and information, Annie makes attempts to take Eren from the Survey Corps by force and bring him back to Marley. The mission ends up being a bait planned by the Commander Erwin Smith to try capturing one of the Intelligent Titans. The mission is a failure for both parties, as Annie is unable to flee with Eren before Captain Levi and Mikasa Ackerman recover him from her. Following the failed mission, the royal government summons the Survey Corps leaders and Eren to Mitras to disband the regiment and hand Eren over to the Interior Military Police.
Meanwhile, the small force of Marleyan soldiers including Zeke and Pieck infiltrated the Walls and found out confirmation that the other Warriors had successfully destroyed Wall Maria and had the mindless Titans conquer all its lands, pushing the Eldians back to the next wall. Whilst Annie is dealing with her fights against the Survey Corps, the Marleyans make a reconnaisance mission in Wall Rose's lands to stage for a future larger attack and full military invasion. There they make camp inside the ruins of the abandoned Utgard Castle, observe the enemy civilians from the wilderness and test their strength, and use a Titan gas weapon containing Zeke's spinal fluid on all the inhabitants of a village named Ragako, turning them all into Abnormal Titans under Zeke's command. The Marleyans and Pieck retreat back outside the Walls, while Zeke is sent leading the Titans to invade Wall Rose's lands and assess the enemy's military and technology.
Unbeknownst to Reiner, Bertolt and Annie, Erwin and Armin Arlert make their own plans against the Female Titan, and most of the new Survey Corps recruits, including Bertolt and Reiner, are segregated to a building on the countryside under the watch of Squad Leader Mike Zacharias and his comrades, without being given any explanation nor allowed to wear their military equipment. While trapped inside the building, the Corps recruits and Squad Mike are attacked from the south by a group of Titans from Ragako made by War Chief Zeke, causing Bertolt and Reiner to realize that the Marleyan military must be involved with this third attack. Wanting to find out about the origin of the invasion, Reiner and Bertolt volunteer to join the southern team, as part of the Survey Corps' mission to inform the rest of the military and civilians and evacuate all the people of Wall Rose to Wall Sheena, and then locate the breach in the wall. Mike stays behind to fight the group of Titans chasing the Corps, in order to buy time for his comrades to retreat and scatter. After killing the majority of them, Mike and his horse are attacked by Zeke in his Beast Titan form, who joined the Titans during the fight. Zeke seizes Mike's vertical maneuvering equipment and has the remaining small Titans eat him alive.
On the same day at Stohess District Annie is exposed as the Female Titan by the Survey Corps, but she refuses to cooperate and resists arrest by transforming and rampaging in the city. After a few failed attempts to capture Eren, Annie engages the Survey Corps in battle, including Eren's Attack Titan, but eventually gives up on the mission and tries to escape outside Wall Sheena, but is defeated and taken captive by the Survey Corps. To avoid interrogation and possibly execution, Annie uses her Titan hardening abilities to encase herself inside a crystal. Meanwhile, Bertolt and Reiner reach the village of Ragako, which is the hometown of their friend Connie Springer. The lack of blood and remains, the presence of horses in the stables and the destroyed buildings make the two realize that the Marley army transformed the whole village's residents into mindless Titans, which is confirmed to them by the presence of the deformed Titan of Connie's mother stuck on her own destroyed house, unable to move. When Connie hears the Titan talking to him, Reiner desperately covers it up as Connie's own imagination, wanting to avoid himself and Bertolt having to kill him like Marco.
That night, Reiner and Bertolt reach the ruins of Utgard Castle with their small group of comrades. They find out it has been recently occupied by soldiers of the Marley army, who left their food and drink provvisions there, but the rest of the Scouts think it is stolen goods left by bandits, and are unable to read the mainland Marleyan language's words on the products. Later in the night Zeke's Beast Titan attacks the Corps in the castle by sending almost the whole Titanized population of Ragako on them. The ensuing battle results with Reiner getting an arm injury he cannot heal with his Titan powers to maintain cover, and with the deaths of all the Corps seniors and the horses, leaving Bertolt and Reiner with only Ymir, Krista and Connie. Before the two Warriors can decide whether to rescue the three or transform and go after their War Chief, Ymir surprises them by transforming into a Titan and revealing herself to be the same Titan who devoured Marcel and now holds the Jaw Titan.
Despite Ymir's efforts, she is outnumbered by Zeke's Titans, but before she is eaten the group is rescued by a Survey Corps unit led by Hange Zoë. In the morning while the Corps and Garrison still try to locate the hole in Wall Rose, Bertolt and Reiner decide it is time to go back to Marley and run after Zeke, as his presence and the massacre of Ragako only mean Marley's new orders to them. Bertolt wants to do so later and quietly, after they retreat back to Trost with the Scouts and after informing Annie and return to Liberio with her and Eren. But Reiner's personality disorder only results with him exposing himself and Bertolt as the Armored Titan and Colossal Titan to Eren and the others present. The two are cornered and to avoid getting captured after blowing their own cover they transform into their Titan forms and try to kidnap Eren and Ymir. After fighting both the Attack Titan and the Survey Corps soldiers, Bertolt and Reiner kidnap Eren and Ymir and escape to Wall Maria's wilderness.
Reiner convinces Ymir to join the side of her homeland Marley by promising safety for Krista, who actually revealed herself to be named Historia Reiss hours before, by somehow bringing her to Marley as an ally without the military harming her. Reiner, Bertolt and Ymir are forced to continue their escape sooner when they see the whole Survey Corps coming for them. The Warriors let Ymir kidnap Historia to bring her along with them on their journey back to Marley, but they slow themselves too much and are reached by the Survey Corps and two units of the Garrison and Military Police. The Warriors try to escape, but they fail to keep Eren with them when Armin reveals to them that the Eldian military found out Annie's identity as the Female Titan, much to Bertolt's wrath. During Reiner's efforts to have anyone of the Pure Titans roaming around eat Eren so they can inherit his power, Eren manages to control all the Titans around, confirming to the Warriors and Ymir that Eren has the Founding Titan and thus the Coordinate within him. The chase ends with the Eldian military taking back Eren and Historia, while Ymir chooses to stay with Bertolt and Reiner.
Although they failed to bring Eren to Marley, the two accept to take the volunteer Ymir and return her to their homeland first, where she becomes their prisoner and is sent to Liberio to return the Jaw Titan to another Warrior. Reiner and Bertolt deliver all the information they gathered on Paradis to Zeke and the Marleyan government, while they take residence on a ship belonging to their military with Zeke and Pieck on Paradis' borders at the coastline. The information regarding Eren Yeager and his powers confirm to Zeke and the Marleyan government that Eren is the second son of the Eldian Restorationist Grisha Yeager and that he is carrying two Titan powers in him; the Attack Titan and the Founding Titan, the latter stolen by the royal family. Marley considers all this to be the result of the scheme of the infamous spy who infiltrated the nation's government many years ago, the Owl Eren Kruger.
Two months after Historia is crowned the queen of the Walls after the fall of the Reiss government, Magath and his superiors of the Marley party leave Zeke to command the Warriors and complete their mission to recover the Coordinate. The War Chief, Reiner, Bertolt and Pieck return to the Walls to complete their mission and retrieve Annie. According to Bertolt and Reiner's intel from their infiltration in the Eldian military, the enemies have been planning to head back to Shiganshina District in order to recover what the Warriors presume to be documents with vital information of the world that Grisha Yeager left in his house's basement. Thus Zeke decides not to launch a third invasion of Wall Rose, and instead await for the enemies of the Survey Corps to come to him at Shiganshina's ruins. This causes a dispute between Reiner and Bertolt and Zeke about whether heading north to rescue Annie first or give priority to kidnap Eren. After defeating Reiner in a fight, Zeke forces him and Bertolt to fall back in line and plans with them to besiege the Survey Corps in Shiganshina to wipe them out inside its ruins. For this mission, the Marley army adds the support of Pieck's Cart Titan for the incoming battle and brings a force of several Eldian prisoners from the mainland and grants its custody to Zeke after having them all consume his spinal fluid. The prisoners are left hidden on the lands of Wall Maria outside Shiganshina's inner gate, so that Zeke can transform them into Pure Titans with his scream when the time of the next fight comes. In the case of failure and the possibility of having to retreat, no Marleyan military branches other than the Warrior Unit participates in the battle, as Marley wishes to possibly avoid the Eldians finding out about the existence of larger and more advanced human groups outside the Walls, and maintain the advantage of the Eldians' complete ignorance of the world.
The Warriors are defeated in the Battle of Shiganshina District and Bertolt is ends up unconscious and captured by the Survey Corps. Zeke, Pieck and Reiner are not able to rescue him, so they leave him behind at Shiganshina while they escape back to Marley. Bertolt is devoured by Armin Arlert's Pure Titan, resulting with Armin returning human and obtaining Bertolt's Colossal Titan power. The Paradis Operation is declared a failure by the Marleyan government, its results being the loss of the Colossal and Female Titans. Marley recovered the Jaw Titan after having Porco Galliard turning into a Titan and eat Ymir. The infuriated Marley brass deems Reiner and his poor and unnecessarily long plans responsible for the failure and are very close to decide to have Reiner eaten by another Warrior. Commander Magath and Zeke are both convinced that Paradis' military most likely killed Annie and Bertolt, by whether they got eaten or not they cannot be sure. Zeke reminds the Marleyan authorities that their enemies might have learned about the Titan inheritance from Grisha's memories.
While Reiner and his comrades were carrying out the Paradis Island Operation, Marley was training the next classes of Warrior candidates, having started years ago with the ones competing to become Zeke's successors for the Beast Titan. Years before the Battle of Trost District, younger child soldiers and Warrior candidates for the other Titan powers were being trained in the Eldian Unit. After years of extensive and harsh military training, Magath's overseers chose Colt Grice to be the Beast Titan's successor, and later chose Falco Grice, Gabi Braun, Udo and Zofia as the best candidates to inherit the Armored Titan, with Gabi being at the top of her generation's classes in both Warrior and normal soldier military training.
The defeat of the Warrior Unit and the loss of the key weapons Colossal Titan and Female Titan inspire the many enemy nations to see a great sign of weakness in Marley. At some point during 850, various nations in the Mid-East form a military coalition called the Mid-East Union and declare war on Marley over a dispute of a territory on a peninsula for resources. The war involves Marley's army, navy and air force, forcing the government to put the Paradis Island Operation on hold. The entire Eldian Unit is brought into the conflict, including all the Warriors Zeke, Reiner, Galliard and Pieck and the Warrior candidates Colt, Gabi, Falco, Zofia and Udo. The war lasts 4 years and a good portion of it is fought in naval battles on the sea. At the same time during these years, the Marleyan military sends a total of 32 scouting ships to Paradis Island in place of the Warrior Unit, but none of them returns. Reiner manages to redeem himself in the eyes of Marley's government by bringing multiple victories in battles for the nation, earning the position of Zeke's second in command as Vice Chief.
Final and surviving members
- Reiner Braun - Vice Captain/Vice Chief and last Armored Titan
- Annie Leonhart - Warrior, Spy, and last Female Titan
- Pieck Finger - Warrior and last Cart Titan
- Falco Grice - Warrior candidate and last Jaw Titan
- Gabi Braun - Warrior candidate
- Theo Magath - Former Commander, promoted to Marley's top General †
- Zeke Yeager - Captain/Warchief and last Beast Titan (defected) †
- Bertolt Hoover - Warrior and former Colossal Titan †
- Porco Galliard - Warrior and former Jaw Titan †
- Marcel Galliard - Warrior and former Jaw Titan †
- Tom Ksaver - Warrior, member of the Titan Biology Research Society, and former Beast Titan †
- Colt Grice - Warrior candidate, chosen successor of the Beast Titan †
- Udo - Warrior candidate †
- Zofia - Warrior candidate †
- Despite being officially a full Marleyan citizen, Lara Tybur (Willy Tybur's sister) is the only Marleyan holder of titan power who is not part of the Warrior Unit, as the War Hammer Titan is not property of Marley's military, but belongs to the Tybur family exclusively. The War Hammer still belongs to the nation of Marley as a whole, as the Tyburs are part of it and are loyal to it.