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Kill Team Shadowvaults Unboxing and Review – Warhammer 40k

We venture once more into the Space Hulk named The Gallowdark as the Cadian Kasrkin take on the Necron Hierotek Circle in Shadowvaults, the latest expansion for Warhammer 40k Kill Team up for pre order today!

In today’s review and unboxing we check out the contents of the Kill Team Shadowvaults, have a look at the rules for the two included Kill Teams and even paint up the models to see what they look like in the flesh and just what is on that Necron upgrade frame.

Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a free review copy a little early to unbox and check out! If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of Shadowvaults through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some money too!

I have also filmed a full Shadowvaults unboxing – so if you would rather read than watch this review you can check it out just below or over on YouTube!

So let’s gather together our best Kill Team as we venture deeper into the Gallowdark towards the Shadowvaults…

Kill Team Shadowvaults Unboxing and Review

It’s been less than 2 months since Kill Team Into the Dark was released, and we already have our first expansion for it! If you have not kept up with the Kill Team news, then essentially Games Workshop are releasing 4 thematically linked boxes for Kill Team this season – each set onboard the Gallowdark Space Hulk. Each box contains Space Hulk interior terrain that allows your Kill Team to have battles within the close and dangerous confines of the ship – and more excitingly all this scenery is cross compatible across all 4 sets! We’re also recently had news about a full 40k expansion that allows you to have 500 point battles across Space Hulk interiors that coincidently has a playing surface equal to 2 boxes (Hmmn, so if you had Into the Dark and Shadowlands you would already have enough terrain to play…)

Inside the box you get a Kill Team board that can be combined with the one in Into the Dark to make a 40k board for Boarding games, 2 of each of the bulkhead sprues from Into the Dark, The Shadowvaults supplement containing the rules for the Kill Teams, environment and 9 missions, a brand new Cadian transfer sheet and clear instructions for all the models

A new sprue is included that consists of some new attachments for the scenery to give it more of a munitions store vibe – we have racks of weapons, piles of equipment to scatter on the floor and floodlights to detect anyone creeping into the vault. We also get a couple of scenery pieces to represent various interactive elements to some of the missions such as an automated sentry gun (which feels very Aliens) and a robot haulage unit that can carry a rotary saw for cutting through sealed doors or a bomb!

These are very cool and made nice little palate cleansers to work on between other projects – I knocked these out in a night for the review – but you could really go to town with them!

The real star of the show however are the two new Kill Teams – The Kasrkin and the Necron Hierotek Circle

You get the Technomancer kit, the Deathshroud/Immortals sprue and a Kill Team upgrade sprue which builds two new Plasmacytes and in conjuction with parts on the Immortals kit builds two new character models for the Necrons, the Despotek (A senior level Immortal who acts as an enforcer to the Cryptek) and the Apprentek (who is a Cryptek in training!). It’s quite ingenious how these are build from the old Immortal kit, but due to the age of that kit some parts are a little fiddlier to build than on modern kits that tend to have much easier connection points to attach! The remaining 3 models on the sprue can then be built as Deathshroud or Immortals or a combination of both. Due to the upgrade kit having 3 really cool new Deathshroud heads I decided to build mind that way!

Dave has been very excited to paint up an Astra Militarum army for a long time, so snapped up the chance to start painting the Kasrkin! There are loads of options on these models with bare or helmeted heads, multiple weapon options (including 2 melta and 2 plasma) and they are oozing with style! If this heralds what we are going to see with the new upcoming Astra Militarum range and Codex then I can see a lot of people starting new Guard armies…

The other key part of the set is the Shadowvaults book – this is essentially the “codex” for the box and contains a nice lore section along with the rules for both of the kill teams, the scenery in the box and a 9 mission campaign too!

The lore section covers the background of what exactly Space Hulks are and a couple of pages information about the Gallowdark itself – I love how it discusses what Space Hulks are called by the various races of the galaxy, and how that the Imperium itself does not have a clear definition on what one actually is!

We also learn about the Ark of Hamnet – a ancient Necron artefact that had been stolen from a tomb world and is rumoured to be lost upon the Gallowdark – setting up our plucky Cryptek to try and bring it back and the Kasrkin out to recover it for the Imperium to deal with safely (probably…)

There’s also some considerable lore about the Kasrkin themselves along with what Heirotek Circles actually are. One cool thing that is covered is that while traditionally the Kasrkin came from Cadia, since the destruction of the planet they are now also drawn from other regiments – setting things up nicely for a “loan” unit to be included within any Astra Miliatrum force now that all the units don’t have to be drawn from the same regiment in the new Codex.

As per usual, we get the rules for both Kill Teams in the box

The Kasrkin are a nice elite Guard regiment with the unique mechanic of “elite points” – Basically they start the game with 10 of these and an additional 2 can be generated by the Sergeant each Strategy Phase. These are used much the same way as might points in the Middle Earth Strategy Game and are used to modify a single dice from a roll – so for example you would spend 2 Elite points to change a 3 into a 5 or spend 5 points to change a 1 to a 6 – this is a great mechanic and really leans into the concept that these are expect crack shots and are always making those lucky hits!

The kill team itself consists of 10 members including the sergeant, and can take up to 4 gunners (including the option for a sharpshooter sniper) giving Kasrkin Kill Teams a nice selection of special weapons to wield against their enemies!

We get a fairly standard medic that can heal wounded operatives or give incapacitated operatives a chance of standing up on a single wound, a Demo trooper who can plant melta mines and is resistent against splash damage – something that is important in the tight confines of the Gallowdark.

The Recon-Trooper can make a target ignore cover, while the Vox Trooper can grant targets additional AP

With the Kasrkin having access to all the “generic” guard options while also rocking 4 special weapons (And don’t forget those powerful weapons can use Elite Points to great advantage) makes the Kasrkin a formidable Kill Team to face!

The other Kill Team in the book is the Hierotek Circle – this is a Cryptek and their personal entourage. And interestingly you are not just limited to the Technomancer in the box – you can actually take a Chronomancer or a Psychomancer too! It’s a shame that it wasn’t one of those newer models included in the set, but I shall certainly be picking both up in order to maximise the Kill Team options available! They are accompanied by 2 Plasmacytes, the Accelerator and the new Reanimator and 5 additional operatives from Immortals, Deathshrouds, Apprentek and Despotek

The Necrons are pretty resilient with their two abilities – Living Metal allows the Necrons to heal up 2 wounds in the Ready Operatives step while Reanimation Protocols allows downed Necrons to stand up again on a 3+ the first time they are taken out (Though this needs to be activated by certain units in the Kill Team such as a Technomancer or a Reanimator)

All of the Crypteks can have some universal abilities such as being able to use a Apprentek for line of sight (Sends his apprentice forward to do the dirty work while he stays safe!) and can be used to allow another operative to make a free fight, overwatch or pickup action – but they also have a list of unique abilities that change the flavour of the operative – for example the Chronomancer can give a target additional movement or a 5+ wound shrug, the Psychomancer can make enemies within range unable to score criticals or reroll dice, and the Technomancer can bring operatives back to life using reanimation protocols

The Apprentek can be used as a way of using another of the Cryptek’s unique abilities – he gets access to the same abilities as the master Cryptek, however cannot use one of the abilities that has already been used this turn, giving you a bit of versatility across the two operatives

The two plasmacrytes are pretty cool – the accelerator is used to increase the APL of a target while the reanimator allows you to roll reanimation protocols on a target in exchange for spending 1 APL – really handy at keeping your Necrons standing!

Deathmarks are a very good unit with AP1 guns with 4 shots and mortals on crits, while the Immortals have some versatility with a range of weapon options.

Finally the Despotek is a better immortal who can also issue a free command re-roll to nearby targets for 1 APL

The book also contains the full rules for all the terrain in the box, including those that were already printed in Into the Dark, meaning that you don’t need to carry along both books to games – there is also a fold out sheet on the back page that is used to identify which part is which when putting together the scenery for the maps – something that is really handy! As mentioned in our Into the Dark review I would recommend using a sharpie to put the part codes on the bottom of each piece to make building the maps as easy as possible!

Rules are also included for the new mission specific terrain pieces such as the sentry turret (which has a really cool mechanic where it will shoot the closest target, but then have to cool down for a random number of activations before it starts shooting again – opening up some cinematic moments where you wait for the gunfire to stop before dashing past the gun to cover before it opens up again…), the robot and the bomb – these are all really fun pieces and well worth painting up!

Like with all other Kill Team supplements you also get 9 new scenarios expanding out more varieties of game you can play!


So what do I think of Kill Team Shadowvault? I’m loving the theme of a year long story onboard the Gallowdark, and the Space Hulk scenery is really good – If I have one criticism it’s that I’d have liked to have seen a new sprue or two of bulkheads, walls and doors just to mix up the look of the ship as we explore it – That would have made every expansion look different visually while still being compatible with the previous kits – I understand why they haven’t done this as I suspect the sprue budget would not stretch to this volume of new plastic in every set, and what we do get in the form of a unique frame with some box specific detailing is nice add more variety to the set ups.

Both of the Kill Teams look fun to play and the models are really nice to paint up – I will leave a disclaimer that the Immortal kit is getting a little old now and is not as easy to build as newer kits, so make sure to take your time, especially with the models that use a combination of that sprue and the upgrade frame!

I suspect a lot of non Kill Team players may pick up this box to get early access to the Kasrkin – so I will also say that this box, unlike Into the Dark, does not contain the core rulebook, cards, templates and tokens that you need to play the game – so if you are new to Kill Team you would need to pick these up seperatly

For existing players though this is a great box and combined with the Into the Dark set gives you enough Gallowdark scenery to play 40k games when the upcoming expansion for that is released!

Kill Team Shadowvault is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 22nd October

Games Workshop sent Sprues & Brews a free copy for review purposes

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