Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Compendium Review
Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Octarius, the brand new edition of Kill Team which includes the new Kill Team Core Rulebook is up for pre-order today! To supplement this release and allow you to use models from your existing Warhammer 40,000 armies Games Workshop have also released the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Compendium which includes rules for fielding Kill Teams from a number of different Warhammer 40,000 factions.
You can check out our full review and unboxing of the new Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Octarius here and in the video below. You can also check out a battle report between the Krieg and Orks in the other video too! In this post though we’re going to take a closer look at the contents of the Compendium.
If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of Kill Team Octarius and the new Kill Team Compendium from our affiliate Element Games and save yourself money too!
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy of the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Compendium which includes rules for fielding Kill Teams from a number of different Warhammer 40,000 factions for review purposes.
The Kill Team Compendium clocks in at 167 pages and contains Kill Teams, Datacards, Ploys and Equipment for the following Warhammer 40,000 factions :-
- Space Marines
- Grey Knights
- Astra Militarum
- Adeptus Mechanicus
- Sisters of Battle
- Adeptus Custodes and the Sisters of Silence
- Chaos Space Marines
- Death Guard
- Thousand Sons
- Chaos Daemons
- T’au Empire
- Genestealer Cults
As you can see that’s an impressive selection of factions for players to select Kill Teams from. Most factions have a number of different Fire Team ‘Archetype’ options available to them from which to construct their Kill Team (as you’ll see below). An Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team for example comprises two Fire Teams (such as a Skitarii Ranger Fire Team and a Sicarian Fire Team) whereas a Space Marines Kill Team comprises only a single Fire Team from a list of 9.
So without further ado lets have a closer look at the different factions.
The Space Marines get access to the following list of Fire Teams from which they can select a single option to include in a Kill Team :-
- Intercessor (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Assault Intercessor (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Incursor (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
- Infiltrator (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
- Reiver (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
- Heavy Intercessor (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Tactical Marine (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Scout (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
- Deathwatch Veteran (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Fire Teams themselves consist of one Sergeant and between four and nine regular marines of the associated unit type (1 Infiltrator Sergeant and 4 Infiltrators for example) with some limitations on the choice of equipment for each member (for example only a single Operative in the Heavy Intercessor Kill Team may be equipped with a ‘Heavy’ weapon). Most Space Marine Operatives have a base 3 APL which gives you additional options during an activation and allows you to really get the most from some of their unique Strategic Ploys. A 3+ save and 3 DF across the board (with the exception of Scouts) coupled with their above average Wounds means despite being few in number your Space Marines Kill Team is still quite resilient.
The various Fire Team members have access to the standard Astartes wargear you’d expect to see them wield in normal games of Warhammer 40,000 (Chainswords and Heavy Bolt Pistols on your Assault Intercessor Fire Team Operatives for example).
With the exception of the Tactical and Deathwatch Veterans who have a much more flexible composition, the Space Marine Fire Teams on the whole feel a bit one dimensional, or at least a bit more one dimensional when compared to other faction’s Kill Teams. An Intercessor Fire Team is basically four almost identically armed Space Marines and a Sergeant (which to be fair does have a fair few options in terms of wargear). If you pick an Assault Intercessor Fire Team you’re really going to be lacking in ranged firepower which may impact your options during a game. As I mentioned earlier, the Tactical, Deathwatch Veteran and even the Scout Fire Teams are much more flexible in this regard allowing you to construct a Kill Team with a variety of melee and ranged combatants which I think will prove much more interesting to use during a game.
The Space Marines get access to some interesting Strategic Ploys, allowing them to forfeit shooting to make twice the number of Fight actions and vice versa (something that is common to all the ‘Astartes’ Kill Teams). They also get access to a cool Strategic Ploy that allows their Operatives to benefit from some attack dice re-rolls whilst within range of a Sergeant.
“Transhuman Physiology” is a stand out choice, allowing one of your Operatives to retain one of their normal save defence dice as a critical save instead! Criticals often inflict higher damage or some nasty special effect and being able to spend a CP to negate this is a great ability to have – especially when you have such a small number of Operatives in your Kill Team compared to some other factions.
I also like “And They Shall Know No Fear” which allows one of your Operatives to ignore any modifiers to it’s number of actions (its APL characteristic) in addition to ignoring any injuries. Very thematic for these genetically engineered warriors, allowing you to get the most from even the most severely injured Operative – crucial in such a small Kill Team where each model must be expected to achieve 2 or 3 times as much as that of a lesser operative.
There are also a few Tactical Ploys that are restricted to certain Fire Teams, like “Terror Troop” which grants Reviers a nice ability to disrupt the opponent’s ability to complete certain objectives.
There are 12 pieces of equipment available to Space Marines Kill Teams, some of which is restricted to specific Fire Teams, for example the “Helix Gauntlet” which can be given to an Infiltrator, granting them the “Medic” keyword and giving them access to a new action allowing them to heal up a nearby Space Marine. We’ve got things like Haywire Mines, Smoke Grenades, Suspensor Systems and even Purity Seals too. Many of these pieces of equipment grant additional actions to the bearer which is great and can make up for the lack of ‘unique’ or ‘special’ actions that the Space Marines have access to by default.
The Grey Knights get access to a single Fire Team of the “Seek and Destroy/Security” archetype which consists of a single Justicar in Power Armour and four Grey Knights in Power armour. Each member of the Fireteam can be equipped with a Storm Bolter and the usual Nemesis flavoured weapons. In addition, one member may swap their default loadout for either an Incinerator, Psilencer or Psycannon. Just like the regular Space Marines we’re looking at 3’s across the board (M, APL, SV and DF) with wounds varying between 11 and 12 for the standard Grey Knights and Justicar respectivly.
Another unique ability which sets them apart from almost all other factions is that each operative gains access to a Manifest Psychic Power action which, for 1AP, allows the operative to resolve a Psychic Power from the list of three provided. These include Armoured Resilience (improving the operative’s save characteristic by 1), Hammerhand (increasing the damage inflicted when performing a Fight action) and Astral Aim (allowing the operative to benefit from the No Cover rule). These are interesting and useful abilities, and when coupled with a Grey Knights base 3 APL (and some interesting Strategic Ploys) can allow your individual Grey Knights to out perform lesser operatives from other faction’s Kill Teams.
The Grey Knights share some Strategic Ploys with their Space Marine cousins, allowing them to forfeit shooting to make twice the number of Fight actions or vice versa – synergising well with their base 3APL. They also get access to two unique Strategic Ploys related to the ‘Tides of the Warp’, granting additional cover bonuses and improved charge distances.
The Grey Knights Kill Team is quite effective at both ranged and melee actions, with tools to increase the effectiveness of your ranged attacks, close the distance and enagage in melee with opposing models and then survive any attacks that may be redirected back at them – quite fitting for a small elite Kill Team.
There are only two Tactical Ploys available to Grey Knights Kill Teams both of which give you some options to maximise the efficiency of your small model count in spite of any injuries or APL modifiers your operatives may have suffered. Again these are crucial abilities to have in your back pocket in games where you’ll often find yourself outnumbered by the opposing Kill Team.
There are 6 pieces of equipment available to Grey Knights Kill Teams which add some useful utility. Sanctic Blessing allows an operative to perform the Manifest Psychic Power action for free! Truesilver Armour also looks nice, giving the operative a 2+ SV characteristic and synergises well with the Armoured Resilience Psychic Power. They have a couple of unique options tailored to fighting enemy Psykers and Daemons too, which is quite fitting.
Astra Militarum Kill Teams consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Guardsmen (Security)
- Tempestus Scion (Security/Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
A Guardsmen Fire Team is quite a flexible team, giving you access to a number of different special weapons (Plasma Guns, Meltas, Flamers and even Sniper Rifles). You also get access to a Comms Trooper who comes with a unique ability to relay Orders to all operatives on the board (more on this shortly) and a unique action allowing them to add +1 APL to a nearby Guardsmen. Your regular human only gets 2APL base so this extra APL could allow you to get a key piece into position to perform a crucial shot or action.
The Tempestus Scion Fire Team is very similar (though fewer in number) with the option to select operatives with Hot-shot Lasguns. These ‘veterans’ have a better SV and wounds characteristic over their Guardsmen alternatives however their ‘Comms Trooper’ option lacks the ability to relay Orders.
So what are Orders? Well they are basically the Astra Militarum version of Strategic Ploys. The difference is that these Strategic Ploys only affect operatives with a certain range of your Leader (you’ll need to relay them via the Comm Trooper if you want that Sniper on top of that building to benefit!). On the whole the Astra Militarum Strategic Ploys are quite good, Take Aim allows you to re-roll 1’s when making a Shooting Action and Take Cover allows you to re-roll 1’s when making a defence roll if the operative is in cover. There are other options too that you can use when fighting in combat, moving across the battlefield or performing mission objectives.
You get access to a single Tactical Ploy, Bring it Down!, which can be used re-roll attack dice when shooting a specific target, allowing you to maximise the impact of your shooting, especially when coordinated across multiple members of your Kill Team.
There are 6 pieces of equipment available to Astra Militarum Kill Teams, my favourite has to be the Regimental Standard which grants the bearer a new unique action, Plant the Standard, allowing nearby operatives to re-roll defence dice! I love these little unique actions which really add flavour to the different Kill Teams.
Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Teams consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Skitarii Ranger (Recon/Security)
- Skitarii Vanguard (Security)
- Sicarian (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
Lots of variety in this faction with each individual Fire Team having plenty of options for different ranged and melee weapons meaning you’ll be able to create a flexible and balanced Kill Team. There are quite a lot of AP1/2 and Lethal 5+ options here which means Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Teams are especially deadly at range. I’d have liked to have seen some kind of Canticle mechanic here to set them apart from other Imperial forces but alas we get no unique mechanic for the Mechanicus.
There are four Strategic Ploys available to Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Teams which share similar theme of granting a bonus to your operatives at the cost of a minor debuff. For example you can use Protector Imperitive to re-roll one shooting attack dice however you must also re-roll one successful combat attack dice. Likewise Bulwark Imperitive allows you to re-roll one defence dice however your movement value is descreased too. I like this set of Ploys, it’s almost binaric (you can be good at one thing at the expense of another) which really plays into the Mechanicus theme.
There are two Tactical Ploys to choose from during your game but my favourite is Neurostatic Interference which allows you to target an enemy operative near an Infiltrator and prevent them from activating until another enemy operative has activated. This is a high impact ploy that can be used to really disrupt an opponents game plan and potentially leave an enemy piece vulnerable or our of position.
There are 6 pieces of equipment available to Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Teams, 2 of which grant unique Actions. Data Tether looks great, allowing you to gain an additional CP (a precious resource in games of Kill Team).
Sisters of Battle
Adeptus Sororitas Kill Teams consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Battle Sister (Security)
- Repentia (Seek and Destroy)
- Arco-Flagellant (Seek and Destroy)
The standard Battle Sister Fire Team is very similar in composition to the Tactical Fire Team option available to Space Marines, giving you a very balances and flexible Fire Team right off the bat. The Superior herself has lots of interesting wargear options including a variety of Power Weapons and Combi weapons allowing you to tailor her load out to suit the mission at hand. In addition, a Battle Sisters Kill Team may also contain an Icon Beaer giving you access to a unique ability and unique action allowing the Icon Bearer to better contest objectives and improving the critical hit chance of nearby Adepta Sororitas operatives (including those from other Fire Teams!).
Repentia Fire Teams also look interesting as they too have a set of unique actions and abilities. The Superior has access to a unique action allowing her to improve the movement characteristic of nearby Repentia operatives, great for getting those melee focussed game pieces into engagement range. The Repentias themselves have a 5+ wound shrug ability which compensates for there otherwise poor defensive characteristics.
I think a Kill Team comprising one of each of the above Fire Teams would be quite fun to play with. Plenty of synergies between the different models and unique actions to play around with means it’s a bit more interesting than some other options. The Argo-Flagellant Fire Team on the otherhand is very straightforward, point at an enemy and try to get into engagement range. They have the same 5+ shrug as the Repentias but they are not as fast and so they risk being picked off before they can even get to fight. If they do make it to combat though they have some very impressive attacks!
There are three Strategic Ploys here and to be fair they are all good. Extremis Trigger Word may just be enough to see your Arco-Flagellants reach combat, increasing the range of their Charge and Dash. Divine Shield and Emperor’s Grace are great buffs for your Sisters operatives, giving their critical rolls a trigger effect which allows you to re-roll a failed roll too!
There are three Tactical Ploys which all provide some boost to the damage output of your operatives with the exception of Divine Intervention which can be used to ignore the damage from a single opponent’s attack dice. Save that for incoming melta shots perhaps?
There are 6 pieces of equipment available to Adepta Soroitas Kill Teams although none of them grant unique actions (not such an issue here with the Icon Bearer and Repentia Superior having access to their own anyway). The Phial of Restoration looks to be a good pick, allowing you to recover 2D3 lost wounds (those Arco-Flagellants might just get there after all!).
Talons of the Emperor
The Talons of the Emperor are a very interesting Kill Team allowing you to field a force comprised of only Custodians, Sisters of Silence or a mixture of both, and as you’ll see, there are advantages to fielding both types of Fire Team together!
A Talons of the Emperor Kill Teams consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Custodian Guard (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Sister of Silence (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
Your basic Custodian Guard Fire Team consists of just two models (although you still have a potential wound count of 37 between them!). They can be outfitted with either Guardian Spear or Sentinel Blade and Storm Shield (the later granting a 4+ invulnerable save and a bonus to parrying attempts). With a DF of 3 and a base 2+ save these guys are very tough. Even if you do manage to get them below half wounds they have unique ability which allows them to ignore injuries and modifiers to their APL (and they can’t be stunned either). WIth their impressive APL of 4 these guys are going to fighting at peak efficiency right until you put them down for good. On top of their already impressive defensive capabilities they have access to even more defensive buffs via their Strategic and Tactical Ploys as you’ll see below. These guys will be terrifying to fight against and I’m not sure there is much that can go toe to toe with them in a direct confrontation. Their weapons too are mightily impressive, hitting with a BS/WS of 2+ for considerable damage…oh and they have the Lethal 5+ rule in combat too.
The only downside of the Custodian Guard Fire Team is the lack of options and here is where the Sisters of Silence Kill Team comes in. With four different options you’re able to build a fairly balanced close range Fire Team to support the monsters that are the Custodes. All the Sisters options have a unique ability “Psychic Abomination” which can make nearby Operatives untargetable with Psychic Powers…very thematic!
This small Kill Team gets even more interesting when we start looking at the different Ploys available to them. Aegis of the Emperor makes your Custodian operatives immune to critical damage wheras Creeping Dread gives your Sisters of Silence an ability to debuff the BS/WS of nearby enemy operatives. Peerless Warriors is my favourite though, allowing your Custodians to make two shoot and fight actions each time the activate!
There are three options here designed to further improve your defences and the number of actions a model can make (important when you have such a small number of operatives) and finally a really interesting one which leans on the lore that these two wings of the Emperor’s Talons often fight alongside and support one another, granting free activations in specific circumstances. These Ploys will be very useful in such a small Kill Team and can be used to potentiall give a single Custodian Guard multiple activations in a single Turning Point.
There are 5 pieces of equipment available to Talons of the Emperor Kill Teams although some of them are restricted to either Custodian Guard or Sisters of Silence operatives. I like the Tanglefoot Grenade that can be used to reduce the APL of a nearby enemy operative (like they really need a disadvantage againts these monsters anyway!).
Chaos Space Marines
A Chaos Space Marines Kill Team consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Chaos Space Marine (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon/Infiltration)
- Chaos Cultist (Infiltraion/Recon)
The Chaos Space Marine Fire Team is very similar to the Loyalist Tactical Marine Fire Team although limited to just 3 operatives in total. It seems then that you’ll almost certainly want to supplement this with a Chaos Cultist Fire Team to get some more bodies on the table. You get a good mix of ranged and melee options across both Fire Teams meaning you’re able to put together a balanced Kill Team overall. The Icon Beaer is a cool choice with a unique action granting a similar effect to the Adpeta Sororitas Icon Bearer. The Cultists themselves are a bit underwhelming and lack any unique abilities or actions although they do gain access to a cool deployment method via the Strike from Within Tactical Ploy allowing you to gain an early advantage in certain missions.
The options here are very similar to the Space Marine ploys however I do like the Let the Galaxy Burn ploy which improves your chance of rolling critical hits!
There are three options here, my favourite being the Veteran of the Long War ploy which allows you to shoot or fight again if you failed to inflict any wounds the first time round! A useful ability to make sure you get the most out of your Kill Team’s limited shooting actions.
There are 8 pieces of equipment available to Chaos Space Marine Kill Teams, again some is restricted to a specific Fire Team’s members. Grisly Trophy looks useful, reducing the attacks value of enemy operative’s ranged and combat attacks within a certain range whereas Sacrifical Dagger allows the bearer to recover wounds if they are able to incapacitate an enemy operative – this could prove useful especially as you only have such a small number of Chaos Space Marines to begin with.
A Death Guard Kill Team consist of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Plague Marine (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Poxwalker (Infiltration/Security)
The Plague Marine Fire Team consists of just two Plague Marines which can be outfitted for either melee, short ranged or long ranged combat. Despite such a low model count you really have plenty of weaponm options. Plague Marines are a bit slower than other Astartes however to make up for it they do have their trusty Disgustingly Revolting ability and are able to shrug wounds on a 5+. The Icon Bearer option looks interesting providing a buff to the Disgustingly Revolting rolls of nearby Plague Marines. I can see a dual Plague Marine Kill Team with one Icon Beared being a tough nut to crack.
The Poxwalker Fire Team is pretty basic, a single option with a below average profile and even a restriction on performing specific mission actions. They at least have Disgustingly Resilient I guess!
The options here are very similar to the Chaos Space Marine ploys however they get a unique ploy called Contagion which can be used to make nearby enemy operatives count as being injured – ouch!
There are 3 options here mostly focussed on improving the already considerable resilience of the Plague Marines themselves. Dig in looks good, allowing you to sacrifice an action to get +1 DF.
There are 7 pieces of equipment available to Death Guard Kill Teams and they all seem suitably ‘nurglish’ in their effects. The Plague Bell grants a new unique action that allows you to compensate for the slower movement of your Plague Marines and Nurgling can reduce the APL of nearby enemy operatives (those cheeky nurglings). The Filth Censor can be used to extend the range of your Contagion Strategic Ploy so looks like a good pick too!
A Thousand Sons Kill Team follows the same patterns as the other Chaos Marine Kill Teams and consists of two Fire Teams from the following list :-
- Rubric Marine (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Tzaangor (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
Just like their plague brethren, the Rubric Marine Fire Team consists of just two Rubric Marines although one can be chosen as an Aspiring Sorceror. Just like the Grey Knights, the Sons of Magnus get access to unique Psychic Powers which I’ll come to shortly. There are a lot of great options here and several of the choices have unique actions, such as the Icon Bearer which allows a nearby Aspiring Sorceror to make another Manifest Psychic Power action. In addition, all Rubric Marines have a 5+ invulnerable save a save characteristic that is improved to 2+ against shooting attacks with a damage of 3 or less. The Fire Team is focused more in ranged combat with only the Aspiring Sorceror having access to a decent melee weapon (although the Tzaangor Fire Team can shore up your melee needs).
In terms of Psychic Powers, you get a choice of four. Doombolt is basically a free shooting attack with an impressive damage output (Lethal 5+ and 2 mortal wounds on a critical roll!) whereas Immaterial Surge can be used to grant additional APL to a friendly operative. Where the Thousand Sons differ from the Grey Knights is that their able to attempt to the Manifest Psychic Power action twice however there is a risk they could ‘perils’ and suffer mortal wounds in the process.
The Tzaangor Fire Team is equally as interesting, with multiple options (although mostly with a melee focus). They also share the 5+ invulnerable save ability and have access to a handful of unique actions (one of which improves this invulnerable save to a 4+). Wheras with the Death Guard I’d be looking to just use two Plague Marine Fire Teams I think in the case of the Thousand Sons you may want to mix it up a bit.
Three options for the Thousand Sons but the most useful has to be Sorcerous Automata which grants an additional APL to nearby Rubric Marines. Very useful in a Kill Team which lacks numbers.
Again another three options here as well. Sorcerous Focus can be used to make sure you get that second Psychic Power off wheras Infernal Fusilade can be used to make sure you maximising the damage you cause from your limited shooting actions.
There are 7 pieces of equipment to choose from, none of which grant any additional unique actions unfortunately. Mythic Scroll looks good though, allowing your Aspiring Sorceror to make a free Manifest Psychic Power action whereas the All-Seeing Eye is a potential game winner, allowing you to activate two models in sequence!
Wow, the Chaos Daemons get plenty of options, able to select two of the following Fire Teams when putting together their Kill Team :-
- Bloodletter (Seek and Destroy)
- Daemonette (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
- Plaguebearer (Security)
- Pink Horror (Security)
- Blue Horror (Security)
Most of these Fire Teams follow the same format, you’re able to select from a number of profiles that include a ‘Champion’ type daemon, a Horn Blower, Icon Bearer and regular fighter (the exception being the Blue Horror Fire Team). Only the Tzeentch Daemons possess any kind of ranged attack so I suspect most Daemon Kill Teams will include one of these and then it just comes down to whether you want to combo that with speed (Slaanesh), melee (Khorne) or resilience (Nurgle). All Daemons share a 5+ invulnerable save (with Plaguebearers also benefitting from Disgustingly Resilient too).
There are four God-specific Strategic Ploys here which sort of encourages you to maybe focus on a single God when constructing your Kill Team to maximise the benefit. As you’d expect, each ploy enhances the main trait of the respective God (extra attacks for Khorne, more speed for Slaanesh) etc.
There are two generic Tactical Ploys which can be used to enhance any type of Chaos Daemon (restoring wounds and improving defences) and a final Ploy which can be used to ‘split’ your Horror operatives which looks quite fun (although is quite CP heavy).
Each God-specific Fire Team gets access to two pieces of equipment and whats interesting is that in a lot of cases they add ranged attack options, meaning that you might not be quite so lacking in the shooting department as it first appears.
The Craftworlders can choose two Fire Teams from a choice of four :-
- Guardian Defender (Security/Recon)
- Storm Guardian (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
- Ranger (Recon/Infiltration)
- Dire Avenger (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
Your standard ‘Guardian’ type operative has a decent movement characteristic coupled with average defences and APL. Outside of the Heavy Weapon Platform you don’t have access to many ranged weapon profiles and just two melee weapons (one of which is ‘fists’). The Ranger and Dire Avenger Fire Teams are much more interesting with the former having access to a cool Camo Cloak ability allowing the operative to retain an additional defence dice when in cover. Their Ranger Long Rifiles also have the Silent special rule which means you’ll want to set these guys up in cover and give them a Conceal Order – they’ll be tough for the opponent to flush out. The Dire Avenger Fire Team looks fun too, with the Exarch option buffing the defences of nearby Dire Avengers and having access to a unique action allowing them to in effect shoot twice. I do feel though that this will be fragile Kill Team, with relativly small model count and wound characterics across the board.
The Strategic Ploys available to Craftworlders can be used to further improve their manoeuvrability (for example allowing Rangers to perform a free Dash action between cover), their defences (one re-roll of a defence dice after being targetting with a shooting action) or damage output (turn one normal attack dice into a critical). They are all good bonuses but nothing too exciting.
Only two Tactical Ploys available to the Craftworlders and again they are not really that exciting. One further improves your mobility and the other increases the APL of one of your Dire Avengers. This last ploy can have it’s uses as you’re able to stack this effect. If you’re benefitting from the additional mobility afforded by the above ploys you may be able to exploit these extra actions to cover some substantial distance and still be in a position to perform an attack or mision action.
There are 7 pieces of equipment for a Craftworld Kill Team to select from but my picks would be the Ranger Scope and Pathfinder Cloak. The former adds the Lethal 5+ to your already impressive Ranger Long Rifle whereas the latter means you always count as being concealed regardless of rules like Vantage Point. I think two Ranger Fire Teams could get some work done although it’s a shame there is not at least one melee option for them.
Drukhari Kill Teams can choose two Fire Teams from a choice of either :-
Both Fire Teams consist of 5 operatives with a variety of profiles and weapon options across them. It’s possible to create a fairly balanced Kill Team by mixing both together, with a selection of standard, special and heavy weaponry. The only disapointing thing about this faction is the lack of unique abilities or actions. In this case there is not even a piece of equipment that provides such things and I feel this could make the Kill Team a bit less interesting to play with compared to some of the other options (even more so when compared to the two Kill Teams in the Octarius box!).
The Drukhari do have some unique and interesting Strategic Ploys however, including Agile Gladiators which can be used to give your Wyches an additional chance to turn enemy strikes into a parry. This Ploy actually has a dual effect, also granting your Wyches a bonus to the movement, climbing and jumping!
There are only 2 Tactical Ploys but Power from Pain looks very good. It basically gives every operative within range of an opponent’s operative that has just been incapacitated an additional APL and a chance to activate at that point with the added advantage of being able to fight or shoot twice! With the right positioning you could set yourself up for some chained activations and pottentially inflict a lot of damage on the opponents Kill Team. Be careful not to get distracted away from the mission objectives though.
Lots of equipment choices for the Drukhari, with 11 options split across the Kabalite and Wych operatives in your Kill Team. I like the equipment choices that act as force multipliers, providing bonuses to multiple operative so the Kabalite Banner seems like a good choice, give additional APL to nearby Kabalite operatives.
The Harlequins get a single Fire Team choice from which to build their Kill Team :-
- Troupe (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
The Fire Team consists of 1 Leader operative and then 7 Troupe operatives (2 of which can be Gunners). The Harlequins look terrifying to be honest, with plenty of melee and short ranged weapon options available to choose from for each player. They have greats characteristics, with 3 M, 3 APL and 3 DF and a flat 4+ invulnerable save across the board. There weapons are brutal, with generally high damage, high attacks and a mixture of special rules. Harlequins are able to use their Flip Belts which allow them to move as if they could Fly and automatically pass jump tests.
Some very interesting options here, especially Domino Field which means that operatives that forgoe shooting and stay within range of a terrain feature are always treated as having the Conceal order regardless of any other rules (such as Vantage Point). Harlequins have the mobility to bounce between cover as they move across the Kill Zone limiting the amount of incoming attacks against them whilst still being able to make opportune charges and attacks themselves.
There are 3 Tactical Ploys available to Harlequin Kill Teams, the majority of which enhance your performance in a fight, either allowing you to strike faster than your opponent orfall back after striking (perhaps to some cover). The last Ploy basically gives an operative a new action, alllowing them to move to anywhere on the board (outside of range of enemy operatives). Very useful for getting onto a mission objective, getting out of dodge or even setting yourself up for a brutal assassination attempt on a backfield enemy operative.
There are 7 pieces of equipment for the Harliequins but I think my favourite is the Wraithbone Talisman which grants a once per battle free Command Re-roll to the bearer. The Death Mask also seems quite interesting, granting an additional CP when the bearer is incapacitated.
An Ork Kill Team consists of two Fire Teams selected from the following list :-
- Boy (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Clan Kommando (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
- Speshulist (Seek and Destroy)
There are a lot of options across the different Fire Teams but compared to the Ork Kommandos from the new Kill Team Core box these guys all seem to be missing the equivalent unique abilitites and actions. My advice, take the new Ork Kommandos instead!
The Strategic Ploys available to the Orks are great fun. Dakka Dakka Dakka allows you to rack up additional hits when shooting if you score a critical. A lot of Ork weapons have a high attacks value so you can really go fishing for those sixes. Skulk About, whilst not sounding very orkish, provides a decent defensive bonus for your Orks with a Conceal Order.
Only two options in terms of Tactical Ploys, with my favourite being More Dakka, allowing you to shoot again if you failed to inflict any wounds the first time round – suitably orkish!
There are 7 equipment choices here and some that provide those useful force multiplier bonuses including the Kustom Force Field which provides a 5+ invulnerable save to nearby Greenskins. Your Kill Team will normally have a fair few bodies in it so these force multiplier soon stacks up. I also like the Bosspole which means your Boss Nob or Kommando Nob are now rocking 3 APL – det’s go bash sum ‘umies!
The Necron Kill Teams also provide a lot of variety with four different Fire Teams from which you choose two :-
- Necron Warrior (Security)
- Immortal (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Flayed One (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
- Deathmark (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
The thing that first jumps out about this Kill Team is just how tough they are. DF 3 and a 3+/4+ save across all their operatives is great with between 9-11 wounds each. On top of that each operative is recovering 2 wounds each Turning Point thanks to their Living Metal unique ability. Your Kill Team will have about 10 operatives in it in most games and I suspect it will be tough for your opponent to incapacitate all of your operatives during a game. Whilst there is a lack of unique abilities available to Necron Kill Teams they do have some nice weaponry, with AP1 appearing on several of their ranged weapons.
There are 4 Strategic Ploys for Necron Kill Teams to utilise. Implacable March is perhaps the most useful as it can be used to mitigate the Necrons relatively slow movement characteristic. Relentless Onslaught can make your Warriors and Immortals brutal at close range, granting attack re-rolls whilst shooting.
Two word, Reanimation Protocols. If the opponent does manage to get through your substantial defences and overcome your Living Metal there is a chance that the downed Necron will still stand back up in subsequent Turning Points only to begin it’s inplacable advance towards your opponent’s lines!
The Necrons have a fairly limited selection of equipment to choose from with 6 individual options. Sempiternal Weave can be used to further augment the defences of a Deathmark or Immortal Leader operative (giving them a 2+ SV characteristic). The Mindshackle Scarabs look fun too, granting the bearer a unique action that let’s them debuff nearby enemy operatives, reducing their APL and also potentially allowing them to make a free shoot or fight action against them too!
The T’au Empire looks like a very interesting and involved Kill Team option with perhaps the most variety in terms of operative selection than any other faction. They get to build a Kill Team from two Fire Teams in the following list :-
- Fire Warrior (Security)
- Path Finder (Recon)
- Stealth Battlesuit (Infiltration/Recon)
T’au Kill Teams are able to exchange their Shas’la (or equivalent) with a Drone instead if they wish. This includes Gun, Shield, Marker, Recon, Pulse Accelerator, Grav-Inhibitor, Guardian Drones and the Tactical Support Turret. Each Drone has it’s own unique abilities and actions in addition to having a common set of rules which allow them to intercept attacks for friendly T’au operative a’la Survivor Protocols. The Drones themselves provide lots of useful bonuses for the T’au operatives so I’d be looking to include at least one in my Kill Team at all times. Some operatives also have access to a Markerlight unique action, which can be used to provide attack re-rolls for other operatives against a designated target. The T’au operatives themselves are not very tough, with below average wounds, DF and SV characteristics so you’ll be wanting to keep them in cover and at range if possible (something that your Drones can help with). This Kill Team has plenty of options in terms of unique actions and abilities which I think will translate into an enjoyable playing experience, they really have their own feel compared to other factions.
T’au shooting is already quite strong and can be further improved by their various Strategic and Tactical Ploys. Both Aimed Pulse Volley and Breach and Clear can be used to provide additional attack re-rolls for example.
Only two options here but both are focussed on shooting again. Supporting Fire can be used to target an enemy operative engaged with a friendly operative (T’au really don’t like melee do they?) and Stand and Fire can be used to allow you to shoot in combat with their ranged weapon rather than rely on any combat weapons they are equiped with.
Only 5 pieces of equipment for the T’au including a selection of grenades, a Markerlight and a cool Stimulant Injector that gives the bearer a 5+ wound shrug and allows it to ignore injuries and modifiers to its APL. Could be quite fun on a Fusion Blaster armed Stealth Battlesuit working behind enemy lines.
Only a single Fire Team option for the Kroot which consists of 13 models total :-
- Cadre Mercenary (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
You get to choose from a selection of Kroot, Kroot Hounds and the mighty Krootox when constructing your team. With the exception of the Krootox all are sporting a 6+ SV characteristic which means your operatives are very vulnerable to enemy attacks. You can improve this to a 4+ if you’re able to get into cover thanks to their unique ability Masters of Camouflage. There are also no unique actions (outside of one provided by the Bolas equipment). In terms of damage output, the Kroot are lacking here too, with average WS/BS and profiles on their ranged and melee weapons.
Most of the Strategic Ploys allow you to play around with the different Order states during an activation. You’ll almost certainly want to stay in the Conceal Order state as much as possible but being able to change and adapt on the fly is very useful in this Kill Team.
Just two Tactical Ploys for the Kroot, both quite thematice but not as impactful as those available to other factions in my opinion. My favourite is A Gory Feast which allows a Kroot operative to ‘power up’ as he consumes the flesh of his kill!
From the 5 pieces of equipment on offer the stand out piece is the Kroot Hunting Rifile which has an impressive profile, inflicts a mortal wound on a critical hit but more importantly has the Silent special rule meaning you’re able to fire it whilst remaining concealed.
Tyranid Kill Teams consist of two Fire Teams chosen from the following list :-
- Tyranid Warrior (Seek and Destroy/Security)
- Tyranid Swarm (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
- Genestealer (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
Tyranid Kill Teams are very balanced and flexible with a good mix of numbers, melee and ranged capabilities. They also have a interesting ‘faction’ ability Synapse which makes them immune to effects of M/WS/BS modifiers as the result of being injured if they remain within range of a Synapse operative. The Tyranid Warrior Fire Team consists of 3 Warriors who each have a great selection of ranged and melee weapons to choose from and are very tough with 18 wounds each, a DF of 3 and a SV of 4+. They are a bit slow and only have 2 APL each but they provide a solid core around which to form your Kill Team. Genesteaker Fire Teams look terrifying, able to rapidly move across the Kill Zone thanks to their high movement and free Dash ability. When they do make it into combat they get a bucket load of attacks with impressive damage profiles.
The Strategic Ploys on offer here are not fantastic (especially when compared to those from other factions). I think my favourite is Lurk which allows your operatives to retain additional defence dice under certain conditions (in cover, conceal order ot is ready).
There are 3 Tactical Ploys and I would have loved to see one that further improves the melee proficiency of your Genestealser but instead they seem to focus on shooting instead. Unseen Hunter is quite cool though, allowing you to change an operative’s order at the end of it’s activation which can be used to perhaps protect a Genestealer who has just finished mauling a hapless enemy operative.
There is a nice selection of equipment for the Tyranids. Feeder Tendrils allows your operatives to regain wounds as they incapacitate enemy operatives and Adrenal Glands can be used to make your Genestealers even faster (or perhaps help those Tyranid Warriors armed with Boneswords get into combat).
Last but not least we have the Genestealer Cults who get a choice of 3 Fire Teams from which they pick 2 when constructing their Kill Team :-
- Neophyte Hybrid (Security/Recon/Infiltration)
- Acolyte Hybrid (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
- Hybrid Metamorph (Seek and Destroy)
This Kill Team is packed with options, variety, unique actions and abilities which at first glance seems like it will provide a lot of enjoyment for the player. There are a good mix of melee, short and long ranged weapon options across the different profiles. They are not the toughest Kill Team, nor are they the fastest but they certainly hit hard and have a few tricks up their robed sleaves when it comes to activation timings.
Only two options here which revolve around trying to mitigate your poor defencive chartacteristics. Cult Ambush lets you change an operative’s order after it has activated (useful if you’re in cover and have just taken a shot for example as you can then switch back to a Conceal order) howver it’s restricted to the first Turning Point. Lurk in the Shadows allows those operatives in cover or with a Conceal order to retain additional defence dice.
There are options here again to manipulate the order state of your operatives which can make your Kill Team very difficult to pin down with attacks. Underground lets you set up your operatives deep into enemy lines which is very fitting for the Genestealer Cults. Lying in Wait allows you to mess around with the normal activation sequencing, activating additional operatives before the opponent can activate their own which can leave them back footed or exposed.
There is some nice equipment options for the Genestealer Cults but I’m so happy to see the Demolition Charge on this list (with a suitably impressive profile).
Overall I think the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Compendium is a good book to own if you’re just getting into Kill Team and will allow you to use your existing Warhammer 40,000 collection to jump straight in. Some of the Kill Teams, such as the T’au, Tyranids and Genestealer Cults have almost the same level of variety and mix of unique abilities and actions comparable to the new Krieg and Kommandos Kill Teams found in the new Kill Team Octarius box which is great. There are a few ‘less interesting’ Kill Teams though which feel a bit limited when compared to the aforementioned Kill Teams. We’ve just learnt that Games Workshop intend to support the new Kill Team game with quarterly releases so we expect we’ll see more Kill Team rules and options for some of the factions that appear in this publication in future too!
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a free copy of the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Compendium which includes rules for fielding Kill Teams from a number of different Warhammer 40,000 factions for review purposes.