The Hunter Clade is a Kill Team for the Games Workshop skirmish game Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. Their rules can be found in White Dwarf Magazine issue 468.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is an empire within the Imperium of machine-worshipping monastic orders in charge of all the technology and science of the Imperium of Man. They’re all cyborgs, replacing limbs and cognitive functions with technological prostheses, and they have access to some of the most advanced technology Mankind has ever known.
They travel out into the galaxy from their rad-saturated Forge Worlds to seek out technological artefacts and conquer any challengers to their technological supremacy, and they always bring devastating firepower to any battlefield.
When a more surgical approach is needed to retrieve alien archeotech or infiltrate enemy factories, the Hunter Clade Kill Teams are the right tool for the task. Skitarii footsoldiers move and shoot as one, due to the orders passed onto them through their neural uplink, while unsettling Sicarians skitter into close combat on spidery mechanical legs.
If you like a versatile but shooting-focused Kill Team that requires you to balance advantages and disadvantages to optimal effect, the Hunter Clade Kill Team might be just the team for you.
Abilities of the Hunter Clade Kill Team
Doctrina Imperatives are special effects that are applied to your entire Kill Team. In the Strategy Phase of the first Turning Point, you select one of them to take effect, and in each Turning Point after that, you can select a different one (it used to be just twice per game, but was changed in the Balance Dataslate – the latest Balance Dataslate this article is based on was from December 23, 2022). In short, you can have two different Doctrina Imperatives active over the course of a game. Each imperative gives and advantage (Optimisation) and disadvantage (Deprecation) two your Kill Team, so be sure to choose something that fits the playstyle of the operatives you’re bringing in a game. When you use a Doctrina Imperative in the first Turning Point, the Deprecation part doesn’t take effect – in subsequent Turning Points, it does (as per the latest Balance Dataslate). You can choose between the following Doctrina Imperatives:
- Protector Imperative:
+ You can reroll one of your failed rolls for any shooting attack if you rolled at least two failed rolls
– You have to reroll one of your critical hits every time one of your operatives fights in combat
- Conqueror Imperative:
+ You can reroll one of your attack dice every time one of your operatives fight in combat
– You have to reroll one of your critical hits every time one of your operatives makes a shooting attack
- Bulwark Imperative:
+ If you roll two or more failed defence rolls against an enemy shooting attack, you can reroll one of the failed rolls
– Your operatives can move circle/1 inch less than their usual Movement characteristic
- Agressor Imperative:
+ Your operatives can move triangle/2 inches more than their usual Movement characteristic
– You don’t receive the benefit of Cover when rolling defence dice against enemy shooting attacks
- Equalised Imperative:
No effects – this can be quite handy, especially if your team includes both shooting Skitarii operatives and close combat Sicarians.
Operatives of the Hunter Clade Kill Team
The Hunter Clade Kill Team consists of two types of operatives – Skitarii and Sicarians – that make the way they build a Kill Team a bit unusual. Skitarii, split into Rangers and Vanguard, are foot soldiers with access to an array of special wargear and ranged weaponry. Sicarians, split into Ruststalkers and Infiltrators, are tough elite troops with stronger melee capabilities. Your Kill Team can include as many Sicarians as Skitarii Vanguard and Rangers combined, but no more than that. If you have a maximum of four Sicarians in your team, you can include an extra Ranger or Vanguard, so that you get 11 operatives in total (as per the latest Balance Dataslate).
Skitarii Ranger Alpha (1 per Kill Team – Excludes the other Leader Types)
Skitarii have an average Move of 3 circle/inches, a Defence of 3 and a good 4+ Save, and this is also the case for their Leaders, such as the Skitarii Ranger Alpha. He also has an excellent Ballistic Skill of 2+ and access to a wide array of weapons, from the standard Galvanic Rifle that other Rangers can also take (a decent Heavy Weapon that gains Armour Penetration on critical hits) to special pistols and power melee weapons. Some of the best are the Phosphor Blast Pistol that has a Blast radius and ignores cover, and the melee Taser Goad that scores critical hits on a 5+ and has the Stun critical rule.
On top of that, the Ranger Alpha has the Control Edict ability, which allows one friendly operative close to the Alpha to activate along with another nearby operative – so it essentially gives Group Activation 2 to two friendly nearby operatives every Turning Point, and it isn’t limited to Skitarii.
This is an essential ability that’s only available to the Ranger Alpha and its Vanguard Alpha counterpart (see below). Along with the solid weapon options, this makes the Ranger Alpha (or the Vanguard Alpha) the superior choice for a Leader for your Hunter Clade Kill Team.
Skitarii Ranger Marksman (9-10 per Kill Team)
The Skitarri Ranger Marksman is the standard Ranger operative with a standard Galvanic Rifle and a Ballistic Skill of 3+. It doesn’t have any special abilities, but it’s still a very solid rifleman, and you can take as many of them as you can fit in your Kill Team. Pick these for a long-range Kill Team – Vanguard Shocktroopers are your other unlimited option, but they excel at close range instead.
Skitarii Ranger Diktat (1 per Kill Team)
The Skitarii Ranger Diktat is a standard Ranger with the Unique Action Enhanced Data-tether which lets it spend 1 Action Point to add 1 to the Action Point Limit of another nearby friendly operative. This is great for improving another operative’s ability to control objectives.
Skitarii Ranger Surveyor (1 per Kill Team)
The Skitarii Ranger Surveyor is a standard Ranger with the Unique Action Omnispex. This lets it choose a nearby friendly operative and an enemy operative, and for the remainder of the Turning Point, your friendly target ignores Cover, Obscured and smoke that would normally make the enemy target harder to hit. This makes the Surveyor an essential companion for one of your Gunners.
Skitarii Ranger Gunner (2 per Kill Team, or 3 if you have 3 or more Sicarians in your Kill Team, occupies the same slots as Skitarii Vanguard Gunners )
You can choose between 3 different Ranger Gunner weapon loadouts, and each loadout can only be taken once (including for Vanguard Gunnners, see below).
The Arc Rifle has Armour Penetration 1 and the Stun critical rule, and it’s the least interesting of your three options. That means it’s what you should pick as your third option if you are allowed to field 3 gunners in your Kill Team.
The Plasma Caliver has very high normal and critical damage, and Armour Penetration 1. If you supercharge it, it gains Armour Penetration 2, but also the Hot special rule that means you risk wounding yourself when using it. This is a great weapon for heavily armoured targets.
The Transuranic Arquebus is an awesome sniper rifle with a 2+ Ballistic Skill, Armour Penetration 1 and the ability to do 3 mortal wounds on a critical hit. Even though it has the Heavy and Unwieldy special rules, this one is still the best pick, being your teams only loadout option for dealing mortal wounds on critical hits.
Skitarii Vanguard Alpha (1 per Kill Team, excludes the other Leader types)
The Skitarii Vanguard Alpha is mostly the same as the Ranger Alpha, but instead of a Galvanic Rifle, it has access to the Vanguard standard issue Radium Carbine which has the Rending Critical Rule which lets you turn a normal hit into a critical hit if you score another critical hit as well. Its other weapon options, same as the ones for a Ranger Alpha, are much better, though.
The Vanguard Alpha also has the Control Edict ability that lets two nearby friendly operatives activate in succession, and the Rad-Saturation ability that all Vanguard have, which makes enemy operatives act as if they’re injured when within circle/1 inch of operatives with this ability. This makes their Ballistics and Weapon Skill worsen by one and decreases their Movement, so it’s great for ganging up on strong melee targets. This is especially useful on the Vanguard Alpha because of his access to strong melee weapons.
Whether you choose the Ranger Alpha or the Vanguard Alpha is completely up to you, but unless you really want a Leader with a Galvanic Rifle, there’s no reason not the take the Vanguard Alpha, since, that’s the only option he doesn’t get.
Skitarii Vanguard Shocktrooper (9-10 per Kill Team)
The Shocktrooper is the standard Vanguard operative, armed with a Radium Carbine and the Rad-Saturation ability (see above). You can field as many of these as you can fit in your Kill Team, but a mix of these and Rangers for your standard operatives are the best choice, leaving you with advantages at both close and long range.
Skitarii Vanguard Diktat (1 per Kill Team)
The Vanguard Diktat is just like the Ranger Diktat (see above) in a Vanguard version, but probably the better option of the two since it will often be near close combat fighting where its Rad-Saturation is useful.
Skitarii Vanguard Surveyor (1 per Kill Team)
The Vanguard Surveyor is just like the Ranger Surveyor in a Vanguard version, but the Ranger version is arguably better, since it will often be next to a Gunner where its unlimited-range Galvanic Rifle can be put to good use.
Skitarii Vanguard Gunner (2 per Kill Team, or 3 if you have 3 or more Sicarians in your Kill Team, occupies the same slots as Skitarii Ranger Gunners)
This is, once again, the same as a Ranger Gunner, but with Rad-Saturation. However, that ability is not really important when you’re fighting at long range, so feel free to take them as Rangers instead.
Sicarian Ruststalker Princeps (1 per Kill Team, excludes the other Leader types)
The Ruststalker Princeps is one of two Sicarian Leader operatives. It is armed with Chordclaw and Transonic Blades, which has 5 attacks, a Ballistic Skill of 2+, as well as the Balanced special rule and the Rending critical rule. All of this adds up to a pretty scary melee damage output. The Wasteland Stalkers ability lets the Princeps (as well as other Ruststalkers who have the same ability) count one additional dice as a normal save because of Cover when defending against shooting attacks.
The Princeps doesn’t buff the rest of your operatives the way Skitarii Leaders do, but he is a pretty fearsome melee combatant in a shooting-focused Kill Team.
Sicarian Ruststalker Assassin (Limited: you can have as many Sicarians as you have Rangers and Vanguard combined)
The Ruststalker Assassin can choose between two melee loadouts: Chordclaw and Transonic Razor or Transonic Blades. The Chordclaw and Razor can reroll one of its attack dice and has 5 attacks, and the Transonic Blades have the Rending critical rule. Since an FAQ changed the attacks of the Transonic Blades from 3 to 5, they’re the strongest option of the two.
The Assassins are capable melee fighters, but the Infiltrators (see below) are much more versatile, so they are mostly the better option if you want Sicarians in your Kill Team.
Sicarian Infiltrator Princeps (1 per Kill Team, excludes the other Leader types)
The Infiltrator Princeps is the other Sicarian Leader option. It has the same Power Weapon and Taser Goad melee loadout options as the Skitarii Leaders (both very good), and a choice of either the shotgun-like Flechette Blaster or the Stubcarbine for ranged attacks. The Flechette Blaster can attack multiple targets and reroll all of its attack dice, which is an effective combination. The Stubcarbine has unlimited range and can reroll all attck rolls of 1.
The Princeps also has the ability Data Prehensiles which let it perfrom a mission action for one less Action Point than usual once per Turning Point. Once again, this isn’t a support Leader, but a very versatile frontline objective grabber with the Leader keyword.
Sicarian Infiltrator Tracker (Limited: you can have as many Sicarians as you have Rangers and Vanguard combined)
The Infiltrator Tracker has the same loadout options as the Infiltrator Princeps, which arguably makes it a more useful Sicarian for your Kill Team than the Assassin.
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Ploys of the Hunter Clade Kill Team
This Ploy makes Vanguard and Ranger operatives better at what they do: Vanguard operatives can reroll one of their attack dice for a shooting attack if they’re next to an objective marker or close to the enemy drop zone. Ranger operatives can reroll one of their attack dice for a shooting attack if they haven’t moved during the Turning Point in which the Ploy is active.
This Ploy lets each friendly Ruststalker perform a free Fight action and perform two Fight actions in one activation. If you’re fielding Ruststalkers, this Ploy is a must.
This Ploy creates a pentagon/six inch aura around each of your Infiltrators where enemy operatives can’t reroll their attack dice for shooting attacks.
This Ploy lets you keep one failed save as a succesful normal save when rolling defence dice against shooting attacks coming from more than pentagon/6 inches away from the friendly operative you’re rolling for.
This Ploy gives you a free Dash action for two Ranger operatives if you selected Recon in the Scouting step of a mission. Or, if you select Infiltrate instead, two Ranger operatives can change their order.
As the name suggests, this Ploy lets you select one friendly operative to have a different Doctrina Imperative active than the one that’s active for the rest of your Kill Team.
This Ploy allows you to set up one operative with a Conceal order close to Heavy Terrain and more than pentagon/6 inches from enemy operatives in the Set Up Operatives step of the mission.
Motive Force Vitality
This Ploy lets one ready friendly operative regain D3 lost wounds.
Equipment of the Hunter Clade Kill Team
This is a very good piece of equipment that’s only available to Skitarii: It allows the bearer to keep its natural Ballistic Skill when performing Overwatch actions, making it easier to hit its target for that action.
This equipment lets you perform a mission action for one less Action Point than usual each Turning Point.
This does the same as the Servo-Skull, only with Pick Up actions.
This equipment lets nearby friendly operatives ignore modifiers to their Movement characteristics (apart from that coming from Doctrina Imperatives.
This can only be equipped by Diktats. It lets you gain 1 Command Point for the cost of two Action Points.
This gives a +1 to normal damage for either a Radium Carbine or a Master-Crafted Radium Pistol.
This lets a Ruststalker ignore circle/1 inch of Movement when climbing, dropping or traversing.
This can only be used by Leaders. It gives the bearer a 4+ invulnerable save.
Tac Ops of the Hunter Clade Kill Team
The Hunter Clade Kill Team has the Recon and Seek and Destroy archetypes for the purposes of determining which Tac Ops from the Core Book they can use, but in addition to those, it has the following Faction Tac Ops:
This Tac Op is scored when no enemies are more than pentagon/6 inches from your operatives.
This Tac Op is scored when you have an active Doctrina Imperative and the enemy has lost more wounds than you in a Turning Point, and then again if you change your Imperative and the enemy has once again lost more wounds than you.
For this Tac Op, your opponent has to choose one of their operatives as your target. You then score one Victory Point if you incapacitate that target, and one additional point if you incapacitate it with a friendly operative close to it.
Playing the Hunter Clade Kill Team
The Hunter Clade Kill Team is, first and foremost, a shooting Kill Team that’s also good at dominating objectives. Unlike the Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team originally featured in the Kill Team Compendium, the Hunter Clade Kill Team lets you branch out into Sicarian operatives, but with Doctrina Imperatives and the Strategic and Tactical Ploys available to the Team, you can still make a very cohesive and effective Kill Team, even though you have quite different types of operatives in it.
If you want to keep list building simple, you can still build a versatile Kill Team from just one box of Skitarii: Rangers can stay back and use their superior firepower, while Vanguard can rush forward to take objectives.
The key to success with the Hunter Clade Kill Team is to plan each Turning Point well enough to make the most of your active Doctrina Imperative and mitigate the disadvantages it also gives you. Luckily, you’ll always have both good ranged and close combat options if you equip your Skitarii Leader right and mix Rangers with either Vanguard or Sicarians.