Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Octarius Review, Unboxing and Miniatures Showcase
In the grim darkness of the far future, massive armies clash in a time of unending war. But not every conflict in the 40k universe deals with armies and detachments battling for control of continents and planets, some very important battles from a lore point of view featured just a handful of special operatives striking behind enemy lines or infiltrating a key location in order to turn the wider war.
This is where Kill Team comes in – a way of playing games of Warhammer 40,000 at a much smaller scale but with a greater level of detail. Kill Teams of around 10 models jostle for control of a key objectives in tight and dense terrain as they try and set up beneficial vantage points while out manoeuvring their opponents in deadly skirmishes.
While previous editions of Kill Team were based heavily on 40k and existed almost as a “40k-lite”, the new edition of the game contained within the Kill Team Octarius box is an entirely new system and a refreshing new way of allowing you to fight skirmish combat in the 41st Millenium.
Kill Team Octarius is up for pre order on Saturday, but we have been lucky enough to receive an early review copy for free from Games Workshop for us to delve into and share with you guys! In this Kill Team Octarius review we will be looking at the contents of the set, checking out the new plastic Kommandos and Death Korps of Krieg along with the Ork Scenery, and having a dive into the new rules system and sharing our thoughts on it compared to previous editions.
If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of Kill Team Octarius from our affiliate Element Games and save yourself money too!
We have also filmed a full video review and unboxing – so if you rather watch your review content you can check that out just below and over on YouTube!
So let’s stap on our night-vison goggles, ready our fire teams and prepare to check out the new Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Octarius box!
Kill Team Octarius
The first thing we need to talk about is the absolutely jam-packed box of miniatures that is the Kill Team Octarius set itself – you get a stack of things inside the heavy box! So let’s take a look at everything you get!
First up we get a sheet of double sided token to represent objectives, active operatives and various statuses and effects that may be active during a game.
Along side these there are two identical sets of cards with two different coloured backings – these are used to generate a bank of secondary objectives that are then drawn at the start of each game. As the box contains two sets with different backings it allows two players to have access to these cards. Both these cards and the tokens are pretty much essential in order to play the game, so I do hope these come packaged with the rule book or in a future starter set for Kill Team, as sadly I don’t believe the Octarius set will be around forever. Thankfully however, one box gives you everything you would need for a 2 player game, meaning your opponent will not be lacking for cards and tokens as long as you have a set!
Along with these you also get a really nice set of orange dice that fit with the Kill Team theming! While you only get 10, this is more than enough for games of Kill Team as all combat is on a model per model basis! I’d have liked to have also seen a set of D10s in the box to use as a way of tracking wounds on operatives, but these are easy to pick up outside of this set
Next up is the Kill Team sprue – this contains movement gauges marked with symbols for ease of play during your games of Kill Team – don’t worry, this isnt some bespoke measuring system however – each of the facings also relate to inches with pips along the edge of each template marking these out. The long ruler is 6 inches long with the smaller markers having 1″, 2″ and 3″ facings in the same way as a combat gauge. Honestly, with the small scale of the game and lack of ranges for weapons it is much easier using these in a game rather than a tape measure!
The sprue also contains some barricades that are set up for each kill team during deployment. Just like with the card components above these are an integral part of the game – so I hope this is available separately, if only for the opportunity to paint your gauges and barricades to match your army!
**UPDATE** All of the cards, gauges and tokens are indeed available separately at release!
Next up we have a double sided playing surface – if you have picked up any of the recent 40k or AOS board sets you know what to expect here – these are really handy to have in the box meaning you can get set up and play just on a dining room table! Incidentally, 2 of these together will give you the required playing surface for small games of 40k too! This one has a very “Orky” design, but I imagine just like with the previous editions of the game that we will see Kill Zone boxes with themed designs and terrain.
Speaking of Terrain, you also get a mountain of sprues allowing you to build 4 Ork buildings, an Ork oil rig, platforms, barricades and enough scatter terrain to will out the entire battlefield
I managed to get this built up and painted to a battle ready standard in a day (due to needing this stuff together and painted in time for this review!) by using a combination of Leadbelcher spray, Contrast paints, washes and lots of drybrusing! I do intend to go back in with some more detail, but they are really great models and give us some much needed Ork scenery to expand our collections with!
There is a brilliant design element to the scenery too – as you can see from the images above, while they make 4 small individual buildings, any 2 buildings can be locked together to make 2 different medium sized building, or all 4 can be locked together to make a massive one – whats more the oil rip actually fits on top of 4 locked together to make the massive Ork fortress of your dreams
The smaller pieces of scatter terrain are the same ones first seen in Speedfreeks – but they still stand up today and look great alongside these new terrain pieces!
Next up in the box we have something that people have been wanting for a very long time – plastic Death Korps of Krieg!! Specifically these are titled in the construction manual as Astra Millitarum Veterans, so can be built with a wide spread of weapons and upgrades, but you do get enough pieces to build these as a standard unit of Krieg however. Interestingly, these also come with an additional sprue allowing you to build even more variants that look to be designed specifically for use in Kill Team (but are still easily used as more interesting standard guardsmen if you want to use them for 40k) – in total there are 2 or 3 ways of building each model when you factor in the different equipment options, giving you lots of variety in your guardsmen.
As a massive fan of the Death Korps of Krieg, I couldn’t wait to get these guys built and painting as soon as possible and I have to say they are absolutely outstanding models. The plastic Krieg kit is a lot more varied than the resin ones from Forge World and give you access to a lot more weapon options than those currently available – just check out that Krieg sniper!
Stylistically they are a little different than the resin ones, but honestly they will look fine together – above you can see the new plastic one on the left and an old resin one on the right. The mask design is slightly different with a metal section heading up from the rebreather to connect to the fabric, the backpacks are a little different and they now have shoulder pads on both sides rather than just over the left arm, but the guns still have the same stylings and honestly mixed resin and plastic would look fine in the same unit – something I will be doing when this kit is available on general release in order to give my existing Krieg army more weapon options.
Next up we have the Plastic Ork Kommandos, and again these are absolutely dripping with character – Sadly my frantic week of painting and review writing didn’t leave me enough time to finish these guys before the article had to go live, I did manage to build them up to show what they look like assembled!
As you can see, they are great models with loads of detail and give you an entire until of different looking operatives each with their own personality – just like with the Krieg you can also arm them with more ordinary loadouts for use with 40k, but honestly I’d go with the cool Kill Team loadouts – and it looks like in the new Ork Codex you can actually take them with all this gear anyway!
I hope that going forward each army gets a kit that is designed around Kill Team, as both of these sets are fantastic in how they give you not only a cool unit for 40k, but an entire kill team of different looking operatives for your games of Kill Team!
In the box we also get two books – the Core Book with the main rules for playing games of Kill Team and the Octarius supplement containing lore about the Octarius system, the rules for the content in the box and some Octarius themed narrative content!
The Core Book contains the rules for games of Kill Team and it’s here that we see that Kill Team really is quite a bit different than games of 40k.
Firstly, games of Kill Team are always 4 Turns (Or Turning Points in Kill Team) long – each of those turns consists of 3 phases as follows:
Similar to Age of Sigmar, Kill Team has an initiative system. The player with initiative in the first turn is usually determined by the mission you are playing, but from the second Turning Point onwards each player rolls off with the winner being able to decide who has Initiative – in the case of ties this goes to the player who did not have initiative last time.
Initiative is pretty important as not only does it determine who gets to make actions first, the game actually states that if any rules happen simultaneously, it is the player with imitative that chooses the order they are resolved in.
Don’t worry though, as being “Double turned” isn’t really something that can happen in Kill Team – as we will see in a little while each player actually alternates activating operatives rather than one player moving all theirs followed by their opponent.
This is essentially the “Hero Phase” or “Command Phase” of Kill Team – here each player generates a command point (In addition to any they start with – having a “leader” in your Kill Team for example starts you with an additional 2 CP) and then can take turns using that CP to play Strategic Ploys. These are essentially special stratagems that can only be used in that phase. Strategic Ploys are army unique and give you some cool bonuses – for example adding 1 to save rolls for that turn. However, what the players need to keep in mind is that there are also Tactical Ploys that can be used during the battle and use the same pool of CP to play. You’ll need to balance using all your CP for beneficial turn long buffs in the Strategy Phase or saving some for using reactively later in the turn.
Finally at the end of the Strategy Phase players can reveal a Tac Ops card – these are the semi-randomised secondary objectives created using the card decks mentioned earlier – the key thing here is that you don’t have to reveal to your opponent what they are, but some can only be scored after revealing them – meaning that you are always guessing what secondaries your opponent might be trying to get into position to score. What’s nice is that in addition to all the generic secondaries in the card pack there are also unique ones tied to each faction giving you something that works towards that factions play style in a similar way to how 40k objectives work.
Finally we come to the Firefight Phase where all the action takes place – in here the players take turn picking to activate an operative and then spend that operative’s action points in order to perform actions – what’s cool is that there’s a list of things that you can spend action points on, but usually you cannot pick the same action twice – so for example you could move then pickup an objective, or maybe shoot then hide behind cover, or hit someone in close combat then disengage allowing a friendly to shoot the now exposed target. It adds another level of detail to games and makes you think about what order you make actions and who with, keeping in mind that after every operative you active your opponent will be able to active one too perhaps ruining your carefully laid plans!
Adding an extra level of strategy to this is the fact that when you active an operative you can set them to “Engage” or “Conceal”- Engage simply allows them to make more actions, this is essentially the standard state of your units. Where things get interesting is the Conceal option – you are not able to perform lots of the actions available to units sets to Engage, however your model conceals themselves within cover making it impossible for opposing models to draw line of sight to them (Well, there are some exceptions – in a cool rules interaction some kill teams have designated “Spotters” who can mark concealed targets if they can see them allowing someone in your kill team to target them)
There’s also another element to picking what order you make actions – if it would be your turn to make an action, but all your operatives have already done so this turn then you can issue a free “Overwatch” action to one of your units, allowing them to shoot at -1BS. This can only be done on each of your operatives however – but can be done by multiple different operatives. This means that if you are suffering from heavy casualties and are heavily outnumbered it could be that your entire force manages to dig in and fire some desperate overwatch as a valiant last stand, which is an interesting balancing mechanic. The 40k concept of overwatch on a charging unit doesn’t exist, this is more so your operatives managing to get off an inaccurate reactive shot in response to an enemy action.
While there is a list of universal actions within the book, some operatives and factions also have unique actions only they can perform – and I imagine this will be expanded further in later supplements. Each action also has different costs – for example a “Normal Move” costs 1AP but a “Fall Back” costs 2AP making it important to weigh up what each operative can do with the limited pool of AP they have (While most units have 2AP this can be higher or lower depending on the unit! Plus there are ways of granting additional AP allowing you to set up some cool cinematic combos)
Combat is quite different to 40k and differs further between shooting and close combat.
For ranged combat, the shooter will roll a number of dice equal to the attacks characteristic of that weapon looking to roll equal or higher than their BS – any roll of a 6 is a critical hit however, which both does more damage and is harder to negate.
The defender then rolls a number of dice equal to their defence value – this may be more or less dice than the number of times they have been hit too! They are then looking for a save value (For example 5+ for guardsmen) with 6s being a critical save.
For each normal save they make they can negate a normal hit, for 2 normal saves they can negate a critical hit and for each critical save they can negate a normal or critical hit.
This is a great system and makes even making a save roll exciting when you see those 6’s pop up!
In close combat we get echoes of early editions of 40k – Each player rolls a number of dice equal to the attacks of one of their weapons, again with standard and critical hits being separated – then starting with the attacker they take turns picking a dice and choosing to either cause damage to their opponent directly or parry one of their opponent’s blows – defence stat is for nothing in brutal close combat if you get stabbed in the face with a rusty blade!
By parrying you sacrifice that hit to remove one of the opponents hits, again with your critical rolls being able to remove their criticals. As you take turns doing this your pool of dice will shrink as the fight goes on, so seeing an opponent with lots of hits you may decide to simply use your single hit to do some damage, or instead if you re badly wounded you might use your hits to reduce the damage coming into you. This is a really cool system that represents the back and forth in a close combat fight that would be too cumbersome to represent in a large scale game, but works brilliantly here!
As each operative has on average 7 wounds each it means you can get some suitably cinematic battles with two rivals playing a game of cat and mouse as one perhaps gets wounded and tries to slink away into cover while their counterpart hunts them down to finish the job. Once an operative has lost half their wounds they also reduce their movement, BS and WS to represent them being on their last legs!
Ways to Play
As with most other GW games, Kill Team keeps the “3 ways to play” mantra allowing different play styles.
Open Play as you would imagine is more open, with the rules presenting more of a frame work with the players themselves deciding on any special rules, objectives and storyline along with a basic example mission.
Matched Play is designed for tournament play, and here we see each player being able to bring a list of 20 operatives, but then select the actual members of the kill team once they know the mission, terrain and deployment zones – this is great as represents how a kill team would be tailored for the mission at hand then sent to do the job, rather than being a random collection of guys not suited to that specific mission.
Each player secretly makes a deck of 6 cards for their secondaries, then draw cards two at a time keeping one and discarding the other until they have a final 3 semi-randomised secondaries – again I love this as you will know what is in the deck, but you cannot guarantee what 3 you end up with.
Finally after deployment there is the scouting phase where essentially you pick from Fortify, Infiltrate and Recon each having a different benefit but each also beating a different choice as in rock, paper scissors. The outcome of the scouting phase determines who gets the first game, and crafty players may be able to bluff and second guess their opponent based on the rewards for each choice.
Finally we get Spec Ops which is the Narrative Play module for Kill Team and where I feel the game is at it’s strongest. If you have played Crusade or Path to Glory then you know the drill here (And Spec Ops actually kinda works as a blend of the two) you start with a kill team and over the course of the campaign you will gain experience, earn special equipment and goals, expand your available pool of operatives and even expand your base of operations from a hasty built forward post to a bustling command centre.
As with Crusade your operatives will level up and gain more skills, or perhaps take injuries or even die if they fall in combat
The Base of Operations is fun and works like the strongholds in Age of Sigmar with you being able to upgrade the facilities such as being able to build a Med Bay where you can potentially save your injured operatives or build an engineering bay that can be used to create a temporary fortification in the drop zone your are headed into. As with your operatives you are encouraged to create some background for your base – is it a strike cruiser in orbit for example, or maybe it’s a mighty Ork Fortress crafted from the destroyed tanks of your enemies? I can see us having a lot of fun with this!
Like with the quests in Age of Sigmar, Spec Ops also features some overarching objectives that will take several games to achieve, but earn you upgrades, equipment, experience and other benefits for finishing them. Again while we get a list in the book I imagine we will see more warzone or army specific ones added in the future.
Battles then follow the same core rules as Matched Play missions – which I do feel it makes Spec Ops the best way of playing Kill Team as not only do you get the full core game experience, but you also get the fun narrative content on top of this!
Finally we get a mission pack of 9 missions – the mission pack concept is something we have seen in multiple systems and is a great way for GW to put out additional content on a regular basis.
Also included in the box is a full supplement about the Octarius system – we see a lore section giving us the story so far about Octarian War that I believe we will see play out over the next few months in 40k supplements – Essentially, Inquisitor Kryptman had the idea that the best way to deal with the Orks and Tyranids in that region of space was to draw a hive fleet towards Ork inhabited planets – the plan being that they would destroy each other and thus save humanity. Unfortunately he did not account for the fight that the more Orks fight then the bigger and tougher they get, with the Tyranids hungrily consuming this biomass to create even more deadly organisms. Rather than wipe out two Xenos races he has inadvertently made both even stronger! And so the forces of the Imperium have been sent do deal with this mess, including a spec ops team of Death Korps of Krieg who are performing strikes on an Ork force
The rest of the book is then essentially the “Codex” for both factions in the box, with lore and rules for all the models contained within plus an additional 9 mission battle pack allowing you to fight your battles in this killzone
So out of the box you get 18 missions to play and 2 army lists, presumably with more missions and army lists to follow in future. Games Workshop have also shared news that a book containing the army lists for all existing 40k factions will be coming alongside the game, but I hope that we get regular kill team expansions in a similar style to this one featuring rules for any new kits along with new missions.
Kill Team Octarius is an outstanding set, not only does it contain some stunning miniatures such as the new Ork terrain, Kommandos and plastic Death Korps, but it is also a much needed refresh of the Kill Team. Rather than watered down 40k, Kill Team now feels very much like it’s own entity – a distinct game with different mechanics and a more detailed way of playing skirmish battles.
My favourite part has to be the narrative content, it really feels like GW have captured the essence of the 40k universe and distilled it into a narrative system that captures the feeling of stories that we have read about crack teams of operatives in do or die operations.
I have high hopes for us seeing 40k kits in the future designed with Kill Team in mind featuring optional parts allowing you to make unique operatives and give each and every model in the set their own personality.
With time being a precious resource, there’s loads of games to play and not nearly enough time – but with only a handful of models on each side and a small gaming footprint I can see Kill Team being a regular addition to our gaming rotation.
Kill Team Octarius is not available forever, but I would highly recommend picking it up and giving this skirmish system a go and getting your hands on the models in this box a little earlier than they are available seperatly!
Kill Team Octarius goes up for pre order this Saturday
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy for review purposes.