The Kasrkin are a kill team for Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team tabletop skirmish game, and they can be bought as part of the Shadowvaults expansion set for the game.
One of the most famous Imperial worlds is Cadia – or, more precisely, was, since Cadia was destroyed by Abaddon the Despoiler after having held back the forces of Chaos for 10,000 years. The Cadian regiments of the Astra Militarum that still survive have now become a great symbol of human resilience to the rest of the Imperium, with many other regiments aspiring to be more like them. Most highly regarded among the Cadian infantry are the Kasrkin, a force of extremely elite fighters equipped with the best weapons and armour any squad in the Astra Militarum can ever hope to get their hands on. While still unaugmented humans, they can take on any foe the galaxy might throw at them – even foes as superhuman as the Space Marines and their Chaos counterparts.
In the game, the Kasrkin are a bit like having a squad made up entirely of Gunners, with almost everyone in the team having some sort of special weaponry, and their ability to hit their targets seems almost supernatural when they use Elite points to change the value of the dice they roll! So, if you want to completely dominate when it comes to shooting as an Imperial faction, and you like to play as the toughest veterans of fallen Cadia, look no further than the Kasrkin.
[Note: This guide is now up to date with the changes implemented in the Q4 2023 Balance Dataslate.]
Abilities of the Kasrkin Kill Team
The Kasrkin kill team starts the game with 10 Elite points, and every time one of your operatives fights or shoots, you can use some of these Elite points to increase the value of 1 dice in that roll, so that you spend 1 point to change a 5 into a 6, or 2 points to change a 2 into a 4, for example. Even though you start the game with only 10 points, there are several other ways to gain and spend them, as you’ll see below. Since the Kasrkin have a couple of options for dealing mortal wounds on critical hits, you will probably spend many of your Elite points turning dice rolls into critical hits -just remember that you can only ever change the value of one dice at a time per attack roll. In each Strategy Phase, you gain 2 Elite points, and as of the Q4 2023 Balance Dataslate, you can adjust a second dice after adjusting your first, but the second can only be used to turn a failed hit into a normal hit.
Operatives of the Kasrkin Kill Team
A Kasrkin kill team consists of 1 Leader and 9 other operatives chosen from the list below (note that by order of the Balance Dataslate, everyone in this team now has 1 more Wound than they originally had):
Kasrkin Sergeant (Leader, 1 per kill team)
The Kasrkin Sergeant is the Leader of the Kasrkin kill team, and like most Imperial Leaders, he has quite a few different loadouts to choose from. The most straightforward one is that he can be equipped like a Kasrkin Trooper: with a Hot-Shot Lasgun and a Gun Butt for melee – we’ll explain that loadout when we get to the Trooper below. In addition to that, he can choose between Bolt Pistol+Power Weapon, Hot-Shot Laspistol+Power Weapon or Plasma Pistol+Chainsword.
Why those specific pistols are tied to those specific melee weapons is anybody’s guess, but that’s how the rules for the Sergeant are written. The Bolt Pistol and the Hot Shot-Laspistol have exactly the same profile (4 attacks, hits on 3+, 4 critical damage, but the Lastpistol benefits from having Hot-Shot in its name, which interacts with the Elimination Pattern Strategic Ploy, so you should always take that over the Bolt Pistol unless you have a background story for your Sergeant that says otherwise.
The Plasma Pistol is, well, a Plasma Pistol, meaning it has a Standard profile that has Armour Penetration 1 and really good damage, and a Supercharge profile with the same damage and Armour Penetration 2 at the risk of also dealing mortal wounds to your sergeant on an attack roll result of 1. The Plasma Pistol is fun, and even though you shouldn’t use the Supercharge option (you need your Sergeant to stay alive for extra Elite Points, see below), its still the best option among the pistols, even if its accompanying melee weapon, the Chainsword, is slightly less good than the Lethal 5+ on the Power Weapon the other two pistols can be equipped along with.
The best thing about the Sergeant, however, is his Leadership ability, which gives you 2 additional Elite Points in every Strategy Phase as long as the Sergeant is alive, which is the only way you can increase the amount of Elite Points you have outside of Spec Ops campaign play.
Kasrkin Trooper (9 per kill team)
The Kasrkin Trooper is the standard operative for the Kasrkin kill team. Like most of their comrades, they have 7 Wounds and a 4+ Save, which is okay but not amazing. All Kasrkin Troopers are equipped with Hot-Shot Lasguns, which have 4 attacks, hit on a 4+ and do 4 critical damage, and a Gun Butt for melee.
The Lasgun is good but not insane – however, what makes the Trooper great is its Elite Trooper ability, which lets you spend an Elite Point for free (so without depleting your Elite Points pool, and it works even if you don’t have any points) in every shooting attack the Trooper makes – so it’s essentially a mini-version of Lethal 5+ in the sense that you can change one roll of 5+ into a critical hit in every shooting attack with one of your Troopers.
Kasrkin Combat Medic (1 per kill team)
The Combat Medic is the healer of your kill team. He is equipped like a Kasrkin Trooper, but he also has the Medic! ability which most healers have. It lets you revive the first nearby incapacitated friendly operative in every Turning Point, bringing it back into the fight with 1 wound left and and with a free Dash action to be taken immediately. The price of this is that both the Combat Medic and the target subtracts 1 from their Action Point Limit.
Finally, the Combat Medic also has the Combat Stimms Unique Action which lets a nearby friendly operative regain 2D3 lost wounds (so you roll 2 dice, and half the value of each of those dice are then added to the wounds of the target).
Having a healer is always great, and regaining 2D3 lost wounds is impressive, so be sure to always bring your Combat Medic.
Kasrkin Demo-Trooper (1 per kill team)
The Demo-Trooper is the demolitions expert of the Kasrkin kill team. It is equipped with a Hot-Shot Laspistol (a close range Hot-Shot Lasgun) and Gun Butt, but also with the Melta Mine. The Melta Mine must be placed on the battlefield with the Plant Melta Mine Unique Action, and then it goes off the first time and enemy operative moves within Circle/2 Inches of it. The Mine then makes its attack against every operative close to it, and since it hits on a 2+, has 4 attacks, Armour Penetration 2 and does 3 mortal wounds on each critical hit, that attack is no joke.
In addition to the explosive horror of the Melta Mine, the Demo-Trooper also has the Blast Padding ability, which works a bit like the Void Armour of the Imperial Navy Breachers, making the Demo-Trooper immune the Splash X critical hit rule and letting you reroll all your defence dice against shooting attacks with Blast.
Kasrkin Gunner (4 per kill team, including the Sharpshooter in those 4)
The Kasrkin Gunners are really the heart of the kill team. You can include up to 4 of them, minus any Sharpshooters you have, which is more Gunners than most other kill teams can field. It makes sense since the Kasrkin are all about being ordinary (elite) humans with excellent gear, and you have a lot of options to choose from.
The Flamer has the Torrent Circle/2 Inches Special Rule, letting it attack everyone in a small area, The Grenade Launcher can launch Frag and Krak Grenades, The Meltagun has Armour Penetration 2, great normal damage and does 4 mortal wounds on a critical hit, and the Plasma Gun also has great damage and Armour Penetration but can hurt your Gunner if you use the Supercharge profile for it. So far, so traditional for Imperial Gunners.
In addition to all those classic options, the Kasrkin Gunner also has the Hot-Shot volley gun, which is like a Hot-Shot Lasgun with an extra attack, the Piercing 1 Critical Hit rule that adds Armour Penetration 1 to any critical hits, and the ability to split its 5 attacks between different targets close to each other.
The fact that you have access to these great guns isn’t unusual for a kill team, but the fact that you can take 4 of them is pretty unusual, so make sure to take advantage of that.
Kasrkin Recon-Trooper (1 per kill team)
The Recon-Trooper is a Kasrkin Trooper with an extra ability and an extra Unique Action (but without the free Elite Point shenanigans). Reconnoitre Killzone lets you perform an extra Recon option in the Scouting step of your game, and the Warden Auspex Unique Action, which lets you pay 1 Action Point to pick an enemy operative. As of the Q4 2023 Balance Dataslate, that enemy operative is never Obscured when target by shooting attacks from any friendly operatives.
The Unique Action is really useful, and since the Recon-Trooper still has a Hot-Shot Lasgun for regular shooting, there’s no reason not to pick this operative instead of one of your regular Troopers.
Kasrkin Sharpshooter (4 per kill team including Gunners in those 4)
The Kasrkin Sharpshooter is the sniper of the Kasrkin kill team. He has a Hot-Shot Marksman Rifle with two profiles: the Sharpshot profile operates just like a Hot-Shot Lasgun, while the Snipe profile hits on a 2+, has the Silent Special Rule so you can shoot while Concealed, and it does 3 mortal wounds per critical hit. The only drawback to the Snipe profile is that it has the Heavy Special Rule so you can’t perform non-Dash moves in the same activation as one in which you want to shoot with that profile.
In addition to that, the Sharpshooter can retain one additional dice as a normal save without rolling it as a result of Cover when defending against a shooting attack.
Kasrkin Vox-Trooper (1 per kill team)
The Vox-Trooper is, quite simply, a Kasrkin Trooper minus the free Elite Point, but plus the Battle Comms Unique Action, which lets you pay 1 Action Point to increase the Action Point Limit of a friendly operative anywhere on the battlefield by 1. Since the Kasrkin’s Tac Ops are all about holding objectives (see below), this is a very useful action that’s well worth forgoing a free Elite Point.
Ploys of the Kasrkin Kill Team
Elimination Pattern gives all the hot-shot weapons (Lasguns, Marksman Rifles, Laspistols, Volley Guns) in your kill team the P1 critical hit rule (Armour Penetration 1 when you score critical hits) against enemies that are not in Cover for 1 Turning Point.
This lets you reroll all defence rolls of 1 against shooting attacks for friendly operatives in Cover for 1 Turning Point.
Clearance Sweep lets you palce a Clearance Sweep Token on the battlefield that lasts 1 Turning Point. When a friendly operative is close to this token and targets an enemy operative that’s also close to the token with a shooting attack, you can spend 1 free Elite Point in that shooting attack. If you’re playing on a killzone with a lot of close quarters fighting, such as an Into The Dark killzone, this can be really useful.
This lets you pick a friendly operative that’s more than Square/3 Inches from enemy operatives, and then perform a free Dash action with that operative and any friendly operatives near it. Only works after the first Turning Point.
This lets one friendly operative who is close to other friendly operatives make a Fall Back action at the cost of 1 less Action Point than it usually pays for that action.
This lets you reroll all your attack dice in one shooting attack against a target that is not Ready and has an Engage order or is not in Cover.
Seize the Initiative
This Tactical Ploy lets you reroll your Initiative dice once.
This gives the Gun Butt melee weapons of your operatives a +1 to normal and critical damage for one Turning Point, and for the duration of that Turning Point, it also lets your operatives ignore wounds on a roll of 5+ when damage would be done to them. A great Ploy to use at the end of a game when it’s all become a big brawl in the middle of the battlefield.
Equipment of the Kasrkin Kill Team
The Foregrip can only be equipped on Hot-Shot Lasguns. It works on Overwatch actions so that you don’t have to worsen the Ballistic Skill of your Lasgun when performing Overwatch. As of the Q4 2023 Balance Dataslate, Gunners and Sharpshooters can be equipped with this for 2 Equipment Points, and it then works on whatever ranged weapons they have.
This can only be equipped on Hot-Shot Lasguns and Hot-Shot Marksman Rifles. It gives the weapon a new critical hit rule which gives it the No Cover Special Rule every time is makes an attack roll with any critical hits in it against a target that’s more than Pentagon/6 inches away.
This lets the bearer ignore any modifiers to its Action Point Limit for the duration of a single activation in a battle.
This is the standard Frag Grenade available to many kill teams, dealin damage in a small area.
This is the standard Krak Grenade available to many Imperial kill teams, with good critical damage and Armour Penetration 1.
This grenade hits an area and lets you roll a dice for each operative within it (friend and foe alike). On a roll of 4 or more, the operative rolled for can’t Guard or Overwatch for one Turning Point (even if they were already on Guard). Throwing the grenade costs 1 Action Point. A great piece of equipment when fighting elite kill teams with a low model count, as they often rely on Overwatch actions.
This grenade also hits an area and lets you roll a dice for each operative within the area, but on a roll of 4+, it subtracts 1 from the Action Point Limit of the operative rolled for.
This is a slightly better than standard melee weapon with 3 attacks and 4 critical damage.
Tac Ops of the Kasrkin Kill Team
The Kasrkin kill team has the Recon, Security and Seek and Destroy Archetypes, giving it access to the corresponding Tac Ops in the Kill Team Core Book. It also has access to the following faction-specific Tac Ops.
For this Tac Op, you have to select an objective marker you don’t control at the beginning of each Turning Point. If, at the end of that Turning Point, you control the objective marker you selected, you get 1 Victory Point, and 1 additional Victory Point for any other Turning Point where you also end up controlling the objective marker you selected at the beginning of that Turning Point.
For this Tac Op, you score 1 Victory Point at the end of any Turning Point where you reveal this Tac Op at the beginning of it, and at the end of it you control two objectives and that’s more objectives than what the enemy controls. You score an additional Victory Point for every Turning Point after that where you still control two objectives and the enemy controls less.
For this Tac Op, you place a Secure Zone token away from your drop zone and close to an an enemy operative. The token lasts for one Turning Point. If you have operatives near that token at the end of a Turning Point and the enemy doesn’t, you get 1 Victory Point. You can repeat this process each Turning Point for an additional Victory Point.
Playing the Kasrkin Kill Team
Even though the Kasrkin are an elite kill team, their playstyle is very straightforward: Almost everyone in the kill team is pretty great at shooting, especially if you take your Elite Points into account, which makes the shooting of the Kasrkin much more reliable than that of most other kill teams.
You don’t really have any melee specialists to keep track of, nor any operatives with Group Activation 2 to keep close to each other, so as long as you can keep your Kasrkin Sergeant alive for the free Elite Points, you’re free to spread your elite operatives across the battlefield. This is great, since that’s precisely what you have to do to make the most of your faction-specific Tac Ops, which all require you to control operatives or areas on the battlefield.
Compared to some of the other kill teams released for the Into The Dark setting of Kill Team, the Kasrkin can seem a bit boring rules-wise, but with the slight boredom comes great reliability, and the Kasrkin aren’t at any disadvantage in non-Into The Dark missions with more open spaces, either, so if you love shooting and taking objectives, you can’t go wrong with the Kasrkin.