This article collects information about all the different Kill Team factions and their associated Fire Teams.
After the title of each Fire Team, a letter indicates in which publications its rules are available, according to the following legend:
- C: Kill Team Compendium
- O: Kill Team: Octarius
- WD(x): White Dwarf Magazine (where x is the issue number)
In the most recent edition of Kill Team, each Fire Team also has one or more Archetypes, which define what kinds of Tac Ops (the secondary objectives of Kill Team) they can achieve.
This guide states which Archetypes a Fire Team belongs to. The fully detailed Tac Ops can be found in the Kill Team Core Book, but knowing the broad strokes of what each Archetype can do is helpful when trying to pick the right Kill Team to play:
- The Seek and Destroy Archetype is all about taking enemy operatives out of action. Tac Ops within this archetype include Headhunter, which awards you Victory Points for incapacitating an enemy Leader, and Execution rewards you for incapacitating more enemy operatives than your opponent in one Turning Point.
- The Security Archetype is about controlling objectives and territory. A Tac Op such as Plant Banner gives you Victory Points for planting and defending a banner in the enemy’s dropzone, and Hold the Line awards you for keeping the enemy out of your own dropzone.
- The Infiltration Archetype rewards you for moving behind enemy lines and performing missions undetected. A good example of this is Interloper, which grants you Victory Points for succesfully escaping over the edge of the game board on the opponent’s side with an operative, or Implant, which replaces a succesful melee attack with scoring a Victory Point instead, simulating your operative implanting a tracking device or something of the sort into the enemy operative.
- The Recon Archetype is mostly about the freedom of movement and being able to traverse the killzone. The Tac Op Retrieval is a fun example of this: It requires your opponent to place a token on the game board, that you then receive a Victory Point for picking up with one of your operatives. Triangulate is another example of this: It rewards you for performing an action on more than one edge of the killzone game board, so you have to be able to spread out your forces across the battlefield.
List of all Kill Team Factions
- Space Marines
- Grey Knights
- Imperial Guard
- Veteran Guardsmen
- Forge World
- Hunter Clade
- Talons of the Emperor
- Traitor Space Marines
- Death Guard
- Thousand Sons
- Chaos Daemons
- Ork Kommandos
- Tomb Worlds
- Hunter Cadre
- Cadre Mercenary Kill Team
- Hive Fleets
- Brood Coven
- Phobos Strike Team Kill Team
- Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
- Hunter Clade Kill Team
- Novitiates Kill Team
- Pathfinder Kill Team
- Wyrmblade Kill Team
- Corsair Voidscarred Kill Team
- Legionari Kill Team
- Void-Dancer Troupe Kill
- Blooded Kill Team
- Gellerpox Infected Kill Team
- Elucidian Starstriders Kill Team
- Imperial Navy Breacher Kill Team Guide
- Kroot Farstalker Kill Team
- Intercession Squad Kill Team
- Kasrkin Kill Team
- Necron Hierotek Circle Kill Team
- Ork Kommandos Kill Team
The great protagonists of much of Warhammer 40,000 lore, the Space Marines are the superhuman protectors of humanity. Clad in ceramte power armour and wielding some of the most powerful equipment the Imperium has to offer, these towering warriors make for versatile, but very elite Kill Teams.
The Space Marines don’t have access to any special faction rules – yet. Most of their operative types do have a selectable <CHAPTER> keyword, however, so they’re probably getting chapter-specific special rules in the near future.
For a Space Marine Kill Team, you must choose 1 of the following Fire Teams.
Intercessor (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
Like all Primaris operatives, the Intercessors have an Action Point Limit of 3, which means two things: they can carry out 3 actions per turn, and they count for 3 rather than the average 2 when counting APL for controlling objectives. You can take 4 of them in a Kill Team plus an Intercessor Sergeant as a Leader, who has access to all sorts of special melee and ranged weapons. The Intercessors themselves can choose between Auto Bolt Rifles, Bolt Rifles and Stalker Bolt Rifles for their main weapon. Apart from that, the Intercessors are pretty basic, with no special actions or abilities – but that doesn’t mean they’re bad! Their good Save, diverse choice of weapons and versatile Sergeants make them a fine choice, especially for a starter Kill Team, since the models are cheaply available everywhere.
Assault Intercessor (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
Assault Intercessors are the close combat version of Intercessors, with a 5 attack chainsword for melee, as well as a Heavy Bolt Pistol, which is basically a Bolt gun with shorter range, but a chance to gain Armor Piercing on a critical hit. Otherwise, they’re exactly like Intercessors. You can take 4 of them in a Kill Team, as well as an Assault Intercessor Sergeant, which is just an Intercessor Sergeant without long range weapon options. Assault Intercessors are really easy to find in Starter Sets and the like, but in a game as focused on shooting as Kill Team, you might want to go for the versatility of one of the other Fire Teams instead.
Incursor (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
Incursors have slightly less wounds than the non-Phobos Primaris Marines, but their Occulus Bolt Carbine removes the bonus to defence rolls from cover from your target, and their Combat Blades have a higher critical damage than the standard Intercessor Fists attack. You can field 4 of these and an Incursor Sergeant in a Kill Team. The Sergeant is a bit of a downside to picking this Fire Team, as he has access to precisely none of the cool special weapons Intercessor Sergeants can take.
Infiltrator (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
Infiltrators are like Incursors, but with Fists instead of Combat Blades, and their Marksman Bolt Carbines score critical hits on a 5+ rather than the usual 6+. This does increase their overall damage output, but with their Sergeants suffering from the same limitations as Incursor Sergeants, the lacking versatility of the Infiltrators makes them difficult to recommend over the other Primaris Fire Teams. You can take 4 of these and an Infiltrator Sergeant in a Kill Team.
Reiver (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
The Reivers wear Phobos armour, so they only have 12 wounds, but their weapons loadout is one of the best among the Primaris Fire Teams: You can bring 4 of them and a Reiver Sergeant in a Kill Team, and each can choose between three loadouts. Each loadout has the special issue bolt pistol, which has an Armour Piercing value of 1, and then you can choose either a Bolt carbine (a Bolt rifle without the extra armour piercing on critical hits), a bolt carbine and a combat knife, or simply a combat knife. At the moment, there are no bonuses to forgoing the bolt carbine to only take a combat knife, but since the Reiver Sergeant has a rule that makes him do critical hits on a 5+ if he only has the combat knife, this is probably an oversight that will be FAQed in the future.
None of the Reiver weapons are the best the Space Marines have to offer, but since you can mix and match loadouts within your fire team, the Reiver fire team is the only Primaris kill team to let you freely mix long range and close combat loadouts, which is a very valuable feature.
Heavy Intercessor (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Heavy Intercessors are, well, heavy. They have more Wounds than other Primaris operatives, “only” 2 Action Points, but instead they have weapons capable of doing serious critical damage. You can take 3 of them and a Heavy Intercessor Sergeant in your Kill Team, and one of them can be a Heavy Gunner with access to even more devastating weaponry such as the Hellstorm heavy bolter which can re-roll attack rolls of 1 and distribute its attacks among all enemy targets within 1 circle of the main target. If you want a Space Marine kill team that is more elite than the rest and which can outgun almost anyone, pick these guys.
Tactical Marine (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Tactical Marines are Firstborn marines, which means they’re not Primaris (they’re older sculpts and look pretty tiny compared to the new ones), but they still have 3 Action Points and a good Save from their power armour. You can take 5 of them as well as a Tactical Marine Sergeant in your Kill Team, and you can choose 1 of the 5 to be a Gunner, and another to be a Heavy Gunner. The Tactical Marine standard loadout isn’t that impressive, but they have access to a vast array of special weapons. Gunners can take Flamers, Grav-guns, Meltaguns and Plasma guns, and Heavy Gunners can take Heavy Bolters or Missile Launchers. The Tactical Marine Sergeant can choose between 14 different weapons (some of them paired in specific loadouts, but still)! This makes a Tactical Marine Kill Team the perfect choice for the gun nut – you can really specialize with your loadouts.
Scout (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
Scouts are Space Marines in training, and playing them is very different from the other Space Marine Fire Teams: You can field 9 of them, as well as a Scout Sergeant/Scout Sniper Sergeant. Among the 9, 2 can be Heavy Gunners, and 3 can be Scout Snipers. Regular Scouts have worse stats than other Space Marines all around (except for their Move and Defence), but there’s strength in numbers, and they have access to Astartes Shotguns which hit on a 2+ and do the same damage on normal and critical hits. Heavy Gunners get Heavy Bolters and Missile Launchers like the Tactical Marine Heavy Gunners, and the Snipers’ Scout Sniper Rifles can be fired by operatives with the Conceal order and do mortal wounds. The Scout Sniper Sergeant can even re-roll dice for his rifle.
Deathwatch Veteran (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Deathwatch Veteran Fire Team is even more specialized than the Tactical Marine team. You can field 4 of them, as well as a Deathwatch Veteran Watch Sergeant in your Kill Team. 1 of the 4 can be a Fighter, 1 a Gunner, and 1 a Heavy Gunner, and each of these have access to many special weapons, some of which even have quite a few different ammo types with various effects. There are just too many options to list here, but if you want to craft a Kill Team with an answer to any challenge or threat, look no further than the Deathwatch. The rules for Space Marines in Kill Team seem to suggest that you will be able to also include other Space Marine operatives as Deathwatch operatives in a Deathwatch Veteran Kill Team via <CHAPTER> keywords, but it doesn’t seem to be the case yet.
Two of the most “Space Marine-esque” Strategic Ploys available to Space Marines are Bolter Discipline, which lets your operatives (excluding Scouts) make two Shoot actions in a Turning Point if they don’t also Fight, and Shock Assault which does the same, but with two Fight actions and no Shoot actions.
Space Marines have access to a selection of grenades, as well as many others, such as specific gear for Reivers focused on mobility, Haywire Mines for Incursors and Grenade Launchers for Intercessors.
These secretive, holy warriors are psychic Space Marines tasked with eradicating the Daemons of Chaos wherever they find them.
All Grey Knight operatives have the Special Action Manifest Psychic Power, which lets them either improve their Save characteristic, inflict more damage when making a Fight Action or ignoring Cover while shooting for one Turning Point.
Grey Knight (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
Grey Knights are basically Tactical Marines with better guns (their Storm Bolters can re-roll any or all attack dice) and much better close combat weapons. You can take 4 of them and a Grey Knight Justicar in your Kill Team. 1 of the 4 can be a Gunner, with access to Incinerators, Psilencers and Psycannons. The basic Grey Knights are pretty great, with their Action Points Limit of 3 and access to weapons with re-rolls or the powerful Stun special rule that subtracts from your opponent’s Action Points and subtract from their normal hits in combat. Combined with their Psychic powers, this makes Grey Knights very versatile Kill Team operatives.
Grey Knights have access to many of the same Ploys as Space Marines, such as Bolter Discipline and Shock Assault.
Among the holy equipment of the Grey Knights, the Truesilver Armour stands out because it turns an operative’s Save characteristic into a 2+, but they also have access to the Psyk-Out Grenade which can do extra damage to Psykers and Daemons.
The backbone of the Imperial military, the Imperial Guard is made up of ordinary men and women defending Humanity from the terrors of the Galaxy.
The Imperial Guard Kill Team don’t have any special faction rules, but its operatives do have the <REGIMENT> selectable Keyword, so they will probably get subfaction rules down the line.
When building a Kill Team, you can choose two Fire Teams from the ones listed below:
Guardsman (C) (Security)
Guardsmen are pretty weak, with few Wounds, a bad Save and some below-average standard weapons, but they have a couple of really good things going for them. Their standard troopers have a Group Activation of 2, which means you can activate two of them each time its your turn to activate an operative, and their specialists can really improve your Kill Team’s tactical versatility. You can include 7 of them in your Kill Team – up to three of those can be Gunners with loadouts such as grenade launchers, meltaguns (meltaguns are crazy and can do 4 mortal wounds!) or flamers, one can be a Comms specialist, and if you don’t have another Leader in your Kill Team, one can a Guardsman Sergeant.
This means you’ll end up with a Fire Team that can perform many different roles, and your Comms specialist can be a catalyst for this as well, since it can make one of your Guardsman Orders (see the Ploys section) effect all your operatives in a killzone once per battle. If you field two Guardsman fire teams, that’s 14 operatives receiving the same bonus (if they’re not dead).
One final thing: That 3+ Save on Guardsmen Gunners in the Compendium is a mistake and was FAQ’ed to a 5+ in the FAQ on October 8, 2021)
Tempestus Scion (C) (Security/Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
Basic Tempestus Scion Troopers are only a bit better than Guardsmen, but the special weapons of their Gunners and Sergeant are pretty great, and a 4+ Save is a lot better than a 5+. You can bring 5 Scions in a Fire Team – 2 of them can be Gunners, 1 can be a Comms specialist, and 1 can be a Tempestor Leader if you don’t already have a Leader. The Tempestor is particularly great, since he has an ability that lets you use a Strategic Ploy without spending any Command Points in each Strategic Phase – an essential ability for making the most of your Guardsman Orders.
Imperial Guard Ploys are few, but very thematic: In the Strategic Phase, you can issue Guardsman Orders, which give you small but significant one-time bonuses to all friendly operatives close to a Guardsman Sergeant, as well as to all your Scions. The Tactical Ploy Bring it Down! lets you reroll attack dice used by all your operatives against one target that one of your operatives has already shot at in that Turning Point.
Imperial Guard equipment is a pretty standard selection of grenades, a medikit, some armour and a Standard you can plant to improve your control over an objective.
The Veteran Guardsmen of the ever-penitent Death Korps of Krieg are Astra Militarum soldiers from a planet that once rebelled against the Imperium, and they’ve been trying to make up for it ever since by throwing themselves carelessly into the fray against the enemies of Mankind. They’re one of two launch Kill Teams for the new edition, and they function very differently from the Compendium factions.
The Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team look like Death Korps of Krieg through and through, but like the Imperial Guard, they have the <Regiment> selectable keyword, so when subfaction rules show up, they’ll be able to take those.
The Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team also has the Ancillary Support special rules, and theres a few to choose from: They can choose to bring 4 extra Trooper Veterans, or Tactical Assets which are a variety of powerful artillery support/air strikes you can launch over the course of the game.
Finally, the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team have Guardsmen Orders, which are a lot like the one the Imperial Guard have, but they’re not Ploys here, so they don’t cost Command Points. If at this point you start thinking that maybe non-Compendium Kill Teams have better rules than Compendium ones, you’re not wrong!
A Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team consists of just one Fire Team.
Standard Trooper Veterans are exactly the same as an Imperial Guard Guardsman, so the most interesting thing about them is their Group Activation of 2. However, they have all sorts of specialists available: You can take 10 Veteran Guardsmen in a Kill Team, including a Sergeant Veteran Leader, but among those other 9 Veteran Guardsmen, one can be a Sniper Veteran (with a Mortal Wound-dealing mostly silent Long-Las), one can be a Gunner Veteran (Flamers, Grenade Launchers, Meltaguns, Plasma Guns), one can be a Confidant Veteran (an extra officer that can replace your Leader if he dies), one can be a Demolition Veteran who can plant mines, one can be a Zealot Veteran that can make nearby friendlies get one extra critical hit in on a 5+ attack roll.
– And we’re not done: One can be a Medic Veteran who can revive incapacitated friendly operatives and heal others, one can be a Comms Veteran who can relay Guardsmen Orders across the Killzone and give another operative an extra point to its Action Points Limit, one can be a Bruiser Veteran who’s better in close combat, one can be a Hardened Veteran who ignores wounds on a roll of 5+, and finally, one can be a Spotter Veteran who can call in mortar fire or group activate with another specialist.
In short, the Veteran Guardsmen have more specialists than they can fit in a Kill Team, and each of them have their uses.
The Veteran Guardsmen have a Strategic Ploy that can overcharge their lasguns, as well as a very Death Korps of Krieg-appropriate Tactical Ploy called In Death, Atonement, which lets an incapacitated but readied Veteran Guardsmen get their activation before they leave the killzone, among others.
The Veteran Guardsmen have many pieces of equipment available, with a couple of highlights being the Hand Axe, which is an extra melee weapon with a high critical damage value, and the Chronometer that lets you reroll your initiative roll.
The machine-worshipping and highly religious cyborgs of the Adeptus Mechanicus travel the Galaxy to procure new technology and serve as a beacon of logic and reason (by 40k standards) throughout the Imperium. Be aware that this section has the rules for using this faction found in the Kill Team Compendium – these have since been more or less replaced by the Hunter Clade Kill Team described below this entry, but are apparently still legal to play.
The Forge World Kill Team doesn’t have any special faction rules, but its operatives do have a <FORGE WORLD> selectable keyword, so they might get subfaction rules before long.
A Forge World Kill Team can take two fire teams from ones listed below.
Skitarii Ranger (C) (Recon/Security)
Skitarii Rangers have Save of 4+ and the really good basic Galvanic Rifles, so even though they don’t have many Wounds, they’re a good core troop for your Kill Team. You can include 5 of them in a Fire Team. 2 of those can be Gunners, which give them access to an Arc Rifle with Stun, the mortal wound-dealing Transuranic Arquebus or a Plasma Caliver. If you don’t already have a Leader, one of them can be a Skitarii Ranger Alpha, which has access to some very good close combat weapons and a pistol with Stun, among others.
Skitarii Vanguard (C) (Security)
Skitarii Vanguard are mostly like Rangers, with the same special weapons, the same amount of operatives you can take in a Fire Team, and the same stats. The only thing separating them is their standard ranged weapon, the Radium Carbine, which has less damage than a Galvanic Rifle, but it’s not Heavy (so you can move before shooting with it), and it has the Rending rule which gives it an extra critical hit instead of a normal hit in a shooting attack if you’ve already rolled one critical hit. It’s not a big difference, and which of the two Fire teams you prefer will depend on what other Fire Team you’re taking alongside it.
Sicarian (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
The Sicarian Fire Team can be built from two different operative types: The Ruststalkers are strong close combat fighters that can either wield a Chordclaw and transonic razor with 5 attacks, one of those being rerollable, or Transonic Blades which have Rending so they can get extra critical hits. Infiltrators are more versatile, wielding both a ranged Flechette Blaster/Stubcarbine and a close combat Power Weapon/Taser Goad. Both operative types are consistent damage dealers, and you can mix and match between them in a Fire Team, which can consist of four Sicarians in total. If you don’t already have a Leader, you can pick one as one of the four, and there’s both a Ruststalker and an Infiltrator Leader to choose from.
The Forge World Kill Team uses Imperatives as Strategic Ploys. Imperatives gives you a buff and a debuff in one sweet package. For example, the Protector Imperative lets you reroll 1 of your attack dice for each shooting attack any of your friendly operatives does in a Turning Point – but you have to reroll 1 of your succesful hits for each attack in the fight phase as well. Their Tactical Ploys are also pretty strong, such as the Control Edict lets you activate an additional operative when you activate your Leader.
The Forge World equipment is, as expected, a bunch of tech add-ons for you monastic cyborgs. A good – and very useful – example of this is the Data-Tether, which lets you spend one Action Point to gain a Command Point.
The Hunter Clade Kill Team is an alternative Kill Team for the Adeptus Mechanicus, released in issue 468 of the White Dwarf Magazine. It’s pretty much superior to the Compendium version of the faction.
The Doctrina Imperatives Strategic Ploys of the Forge World Kill Team are instead a free faction ability for the Hunter Clade Kill Team. This means that in the Strategic Phase of each Turning Point, you can select one Imperative to be in effect for your Kill Team in that Turning Point. Each Imperative has a buff, called an Optimisation, and a debuff, called a Deprecation. For example, one will let you reroll an attack dice for a shooting action each time a friendly operative shoots, but you also have to reroll a critical hit every time a friendly operative fights. Making this ability free instead of basing it on Command Points is a big boost to the faction.
The Hunter Clade Kill Team also has 3 faction-specific Tac Ops in addition to the ones available from its Archetypes.
A Hunter Clade Kill Team isn’t split into Fire Teams, but is simply built as a Hunter Clade Kill Team from a list of operatives, much like the Death Korps of Krieg or Ork Kommandos.
Hunter Clade (W 468) (Recon/Seek and Destroy)
A Hunter Clade Kill Team mixes all the operative types of a Forge World Kill Team into one single list: For your Leader slot, you can choose between a Skitarii Ranger Alpha, a Skitarii Vanguard Alpha, a Sicarian Ruststalker Princeps or a Sicarian Infiltrator Princeps, and then you can mix and match 9 operatives from a list of Rangers, Vanguard, Ruststalkers and Infiltrators – you just have to always have more Rangers/Vanguard than Ruststalkers/Infiltrators.
The rules for those operatives are largely the same as for the Forge World Kill Team stats-wise, but a few new operative types and abilities have been added: Rangers can now be Marksmen (regular Rangers), Diktats (with an ability to give another operative an extra Action Point), Surveyors (with an Omnispex action that makes another friendly operative ignore a list of negative modifiers to shooting against a hostile target), Gunners ( same as the one for the Forge World Kill Team) and Alphas (now with a Control Edict that effectively lets friendly operatives near the Alpha activate two at a time).
Vanguards now have an ability called Rad-Saturation that forces enemy operatives close to them to behave as if Injured. Vanguard operatives can be Shocktroopers (regular Vanguard, but they now have a critical damage of 4), Diktats/Surveyors (like the Rangers), Gunners (same as for the Forge World Kill Team) and Alphas (same as for Rangers).
Sicarian Ruststalkers have had the Attacks characteristic for their Transonic Blades cut down from 5 to 3, but they’ve gained a new ability called Wasteland Stalkers that improve their benefits from being in cover. Their Princeps now only has one weapon profile, but it’s taken the best of both of the old one, so that it has both the Balanced and Rending rules.
Sicarian Infiltrators are mostly just like the ones in the Forge World Kill Team, but their Princeps has a new ability that lets it perform one action for one less Action Point (meaning it could be a free action if it was 1 Action Point before) each Turning Point.
All in all, this new roster is a massive upgrade for the Adeptus Mechanicus, and there a so many good combinations you can make. Note that the Gunner operative restrictions count across both Rangers and Vanguard, so you can’t take, say, 2 Ranger Gunners and 2 Vanguard Gunners in the same Kill Team. You can, however, include three Gunners if you have three Sicarians or less on your team.
The Hunter Clade Kill Team has received a couple of great new Ploys since Doctrina Imperatives are no longer Ploys. Two of the best are Martial Protocol which provides an attack dice reroll for Rangers who haven’t moved and Vanguard close to objectives, and the Tactical Ploy Motive Force Vitality which lets you heal a wounded operative.
Much of the Hunter Clade equipment is operative-specific, but more often than not, it just makes it more useful due to its specific bonus to that type of operative, such as the Command Uplink that lets a Diktat Ranger/Vanguard trade 2 Action Points for a Command Point, or the Ruststalker Optimised Gait that essentially gives it a free jump by letting it ignore some of the distance moved when it climbs, drops or traverses.
The Ecclesiarchy Kill Team represents the military branch of the religious authorities in the Imperium. In Kill Team, they’re represented by the Adepta Sororitas, an all-female army of monastic fighters fueled by the fires of faith.
The Ecclesiarchy Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules, but they have an <ORDER> selectable keyword, so they’re bound to get subfaction rules in the future.
You build an Ecclesiarchy Kill Team with two Fire Teams chosen from the following three:
Battle Sister (C) (Security)
Standard Battle Sisters have a good Save of 3+ and carry Boltguns. They’re good average operatives without any special rules. You can field 5 of them in a Fire Team, of which one can be an Icon Bearer, one a Gunner, one a Heavy Gunner, and if you don’t have a Leader, one can also be a Battle Sister Superior.
The Icon Bearer adds a lot of value to the team: It can add 1 to its Action Points Limit for the purpose of figuring out who controls an objective only, and its unique action Icon of Purity lets all friendly operatives visible and within Square range of the Icon Bearer turn one roll of 5 into a critical hit whenever it shoots or fights in that same Turning Point.
The Gunner has access to the ever awesome Meltagun, a flamer and a Storm Bolter, adding a lot of firepower to the team, and the Heavy Gunner can take a Heavy Bolter or a Heavy Flamer, both of which are good for fighting crowds of hostiles.
The Battle Sister Superior is one of the few operatives who can compete with Space Marine Sergeants when it comes to weapon options: it can choose between 13 weapons, some of which are combi-weapons, meaning they’re also a boltgun in addition to whatever else they can do.
The regular Battle Sisters might not be anything special, but since you only have to take one of those in your fire team, and everyone else will be a pretty badass specialist, Battle Sister fire teams pack a lot of firepower, and the Icon Bearer really improves their usefulness.
Repentia (C) (Seek and Destroy)
The Repentia are easy to kill with their 7 Wounds and a Save of 6+, but their giant chainswords called Penitent Eviscerators are really scary: They do 5 normal damage and 6 critical damage, can only be parried with critical successes and have the Reap ability which allows it to do Mortal Wounds to every enemy operative within 1 inch of it when it strikes with a critical hit! They’re the human fire-and-forget weapons of the Ecclesiarchy. Their Leader operative, the Repentia Superior, is entirely different with its Neural whips, good Save and a unique action called Whip into Fury which can add Movement and an Action Point to a nearby Sister Repentia. You can include 5 Repentias in a fire team, with one of them being a Repentia Superior if you don’t already have a Leader. Note that the Repentia, but not the Superior (this might be an error in the book) can also ignore wounds on a roll of 5+.
Arco-Flagellant (C) (Seek and Destroy)
Arco-Flagellants don’t have a Leader operative, and can’t perform mission or Pick-up actions. Their sole purpose is just to destroy stuff, and they’re pretty good at that with 5 attacks, the Ceaseless special rule for a re-roll and Reap for mortal wounds to all hostiles around them when they score a critical hit. They can also ignore wounds on a 5+.
A combination of a Battle Sister Fire Team for ranged attacks and either a Repentia or Arco-Flagellant fire team for close combat really makes for a versatile, damage-dealing Kill Team
The Ecclesiarchy have some really cool thematic Ploys, such as the Strategic Ploy Divine Shield that lets you reroll a failed save when being shot at, or the Tactical Ploy Penance Through Death that lets a Repentia or Arco-Flagellant make one last melee attack when they are incapacitated.
The Ecclesiarchy Kill Team has some standard Imperial equipment such as grenades and Purity Seal, but also the cool Rosarius, which lets a Leader ignore wounds on a roll of 4+ (we’re not getting into the math of it here, but that’s a significant increase in survivability).
Talons of the Emperor
The most elite of the elite, The Talons of the Emperor Kill Team is made from two legendary branches of Imperial military: The Adeptus Custodes, guardians of the Emperor’s Palace on Holy Terra, and the Sisters of Silence, specialized psyker-hunters.
The Talons of the Emperor don’t have any special faction rules, but the Custodian Guard have a <SHIELD HOST> selectable keyword, so they might gain subfaction rules in the future.
A Talons of the Emperor Kill Team has two fire teams, chosen from the following two available:
Custodian Guard (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
You might only be able to take two of these in a Fire Team, but each of the Custodian Guard are absolute powerhouses. With 18 Wounds, a Save of 2+ and 3 Action Points (the Compendium says 4 but that was FAQ’ed on October 8, 2021), they can handle anything that comes at them, and their weapons such as the Guardian Spear are pretty great in both ranged and close combat. They also can’t be injured outside of narrative play, and if they carry Storm Shields they can also ignore wounds on a 4+. If you don’t have a Leader, one of the Custodian Guard can be your Leader, which only gives him an extra Wound (and that’s pretty ok since he was already so powerful). If you choose two fire teams to be Custodian Guard, you’ll end up with a Kill Team of only 4 models! Their high Action Points Limit means they can still take objectives, and they have great survivability, but you miss out on a lot of the diversity and tactical abilities of more numerous Kill Teams.
Sister of Silence (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
The Sisters of Silence come in three versions: The Prosecutor, which has a Boltgun, the Witchseeker with a Flamer, and the Vigilator with an Executioner Greatblade that lands criticals on a roll of 5+. Their survivability is pretty average, with a good 3+ Save, but they prevent psychic actions around them and can’t be affected or targeted by psychic powers. That’s a very conditional skill to have in a game with only a few psykers, but as the game develops, we’re sure more psykers will show up.
You can field 5 Sisters of Silence in a Fire Team, and if you don’t have a Leader, one of them can be a Sister of Silence Superior, who can wield any of the Sister of Silence weapons.
The Ploys of the Talons of the Emperor are just as powerful as the Custodian Guard themselves: For example, the Strategic Ploy Aegis of the Emperor makes the Kill Team take critical hits made against them as normal hits, and the Tactical Ploy Talons lets you activate a Custodian Guard and a Sister of Silence at the same time.
Among the Talons of the Emperor equipment is a Tanglefoot Grenade that subtracts an Action Point from an enemy, and the Vratine Faceplate which gives a Sister of Silence a one-time damage reduction for an attack made against her.
Traitor Space Marines
The Traitor Space Marines are the dark mirror of the Imperiums superhuman protectors: They were once Space Marines themselves, but have since switched sides to the forces of Chaos. In Kill Team, they fight alongside Chaos Cultists, ordinary humans who have also heeded the call of the Chaos Gods.
The Traitor Space Marines don’t have any faction-specific special rules, but the Chaos Space Marine operatives have the <LEGION> selectable keyword, so they’ll probably get subfaction rules before long.
A Traitor Space Marine Kill Team is built from two fire teams, both of which can be either of the two below:
Chaos Space Marine (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon/Infiltration/Security)
Chaos Space Marines are almost the same as Tactical Space Marines stats-wise, with only an extra Wound to make them stand out. The standard Chaos Space Marine can be equipped with either a Boltgun or or a Chainsword and Bolt pistol – all of which have 4 attacks and hit on a 3+. They’re strong fighters with 3 Action Points, and you can field 3 of them in a Fire Team. One of those three can be a Gunner (Flamers, Meltaguns, Plasma Guns), one can be a Heavy Gunner (Heavy Bolter, Missile Launcher), and one can be an Icon Bearer, which gives it an ability that let nearby friendly Chaos Space Marines change a failed hit into a normal hit if they also score a critical hit, as well as count for an extra Action Point Limit point for controlling objectives. If you don’t already have a Leader, one Chaos Space Marine can also be an Aspiring Champion, which can take Chaos Space Marine weapons or a Plasma Pistol, Power Fist or Power Weapon.
Chaos Cultist (C) (Recon/Infiltration)
The standard Chaos Cultists have a Group Activation of 2, which means you can activate two of them at a time. Their Autoguns are just like Imperial Guard Lasguns, but they can also be equipped with Brutal Assault Weapons and Autopistols if you want to make a swarm of expendable melee troops. You can include eight Cultists in their Fire Team – two of them can be Gunners with Flamers or the pretty cool Heavy Stubbers, and if you don’t have a Leader, one can be a Cultist Champion who can wield a Shotgun that hits on a 2+. The real problem with Cultists is actually finding any models to use: The Cultists the weapon options are based on have been out of production for years, and the Cultists of the Abyss currently available don’t have all the right weapon options.
Three of the cooler Ploys for the Traitor Space Marines are the Tactical Ploy Veterans of the Long War that gives you a do-over on a failed Shoot or Fight action, and Malicious Volleys/Hateful Assault that let Chaos Space Marines do two Shoot actions/two Fight actions in an activation.
The Traitor Space Marines have quite a few different pieces of equipment, including grenades and special ammo, but the Grisly Trophy stands out with its ability to subtract 1 from the Attacks characteristic of enemy weapon actions within an aura around the bearer.
The Death Guard are Chaos Space Marines solely dedicated to the Chaos God Nurgle and their Primarch Mortarion. They’re very elite and exceptionally tough, and their unique aesthetic and big selection of terrifying melee weapons make them very different to regular Chaos Space Marines.
The Death Guard don’t have any special faction rules, but the Plague Marines have the <PLAGUE COMPANY> selectable keyword, setting them up for subfaction rules in the future.
The Death Guard Kill Team is built from two Fire Teams chosen from the two below:
Plague Marine (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Plague Marines are slow, but some of the toughest versions of Space Marines you’ll find in Kill Team, with their 3+ Save and a Disgustingly Resilient ability that lets them ignore a wound on a roll of 5+ as well as never being injured outside of Narrative Play. You can take 2 of them in a Fire Team. The regular version has a Boltgun and a pretty good Plague Knife, but you can also field one operative in the Fire Team as a Gunner, which has the usual Meltagun and Plasma Gun, but also a Flamer-like Plague Belcher.
You could also choose a Heavy Gunner (with either an armour-piercing Blight Launcher or an improved “Flamer” Plague Spewer). Another version you can take is more specific to the Death Guard: A Plague Marine Fighter is a close combat specialist with 6 melee weapons to choose between, with the terrifying Great Plague Cleaver among them. There’s also an Icon beare to choose from, with the extra objective marker control that always comes along with that, as well as an ability that lets nearby Plague Marines reroll 1s and 2s for Disgustingly Resilient.
What’s important to remember, however, is that you can only pick one of these specialists – the other operative in your Fire Team has to be a regular Plague Marine. This is too bad, since all the models and weapons are so cool, so taking two Plague Marine Fire Teams can be a good idea.
Finally, only Plague Marine Fire Teams have a Leader operative, the Plague Marine Champion, who is a really hard-hitting combat Leader who hits on a 2+ with almost everything.
Poxwalker (C) (Infiltration/Security)
Poxwalkers also have the Disgustingly Resilient ability the Plague Marines have, but are otherwise very different as operatives: They have a Save of 6+, but a Group Activation of 2, so they’re made for swarming the enemy with their melee weapons while your Plage Marines mess stuff up elsewhere. You can take 8 of them in a Fire Team, but there are no specialists or Leader operatives to choose from, so use them as a screen/chaff unit for a Plague Marine Fire Team.
The Death Guard have some of the same Ploys as the Traitor Space Marine Kill Teams such as Malicious Volleys/Hateful Assault, but they also have really thematic Tactical Ploys for their contagious ways such as Effluent Demise, which does Mortal Wounds to everyone around a Plague Marine when it’s incapacitated – you can just imagine one of these disgusting monsters exploding in a green cloud of disease.
The Death Guard equipment is wonderfully thematic: One option is a Nurgling, the little imps that show up everywhere on Death Guard models, and another is the Plague Bell that can ring to make all nearby Plague Marines move faster, which is very handy for a Kill Team as slow as this one.
The Thousand Sons are another Kill Team of Chaos Space Marines dedicated to a specfic Chaos god, but where the Death Guard worship Nurgle, the Thousand Sons worship Tzeentch, the Chaos god of change. They’re the best psykers of the Traitor Legions, and in Kill Team, they’re represented by the magically undead Rubric Marines and the bestial Tzaangors.
The Thousand Sons have faction-specific rules for the Psychic Powers their Aspiring Sorcerer can cast. These powers range from a single attack dice reroll to a mortal wound-dealing Shoot action and you can also try to roll a d6 to cast two of them instead of 1. Beware, however, that if you roll a 1 or 2 when trying to activate your psychic power, you take d3 mortal wounds instead – the Warp’s a dangerous thing to play with!
The Rubric Marines also have the <GREAT CULT> selectable keyword, which sets them up for getting subfaction special rules at some point.
You build a Thousand Sons Kill Team from two Fire Teams which can both be either of the two below:
Rubric Marine (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Rubric Marines are largely just like Chaos Space Marines, only their boltguns are Infoerno Boltguns, which have an Armour-Piercing value of one. They also ignore wounds on a roll of 5+, and if an incoming attack against them has a Normal Damage of 3 or less, the Rubric Marine’s Save for that attack goes from a 3+ to a 2+ – so they’re pretty tough.
You can take 2 in a Fire Team, and while one of them has to be a regular Rubric Marine, the other can be either a Gunner (with either a Warpflamer, which is an armour-piercing Flamer, or a Soulreaper Cannon which is a sort of machine gun), an Icon Bearer which gives nearby Aspiring Sorcerers an extra Psychic Power as well as counting extra for holding objectives, or if you don’t already have a Leader, one can be an Aspiring Sorcerer, the psychic power-wielding Leader operative mentioned above in the Special Features section.
Tzaangor (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
The Tzaangor are Chaos mutants which can be equipped with either a Chainsword and Autopistol or Tzaangor Blades, which have the Relentless special rule that lets them reroll all their attack dice every time they Fight. They also ignore Wounds on a 5+, but are otherwise much weaker than the Rubric Marines. You can field six of them in a Fire Team – one of them can be an Icon Bearer which is better at claiming objectives and can use an action to improve the Invulnerable Save (that 5+ from above) by 1 for Tzaangors around it.
Another can be a Horn Bearer, which can use an action to improve the Move characteristic of Tzaangors around it. If you don’t have a Leader, one Tzaangor can also be a Twistbray which is a Leader with the same weapons as a regular Tzaangor, but with an additional wound – which is not much, so you’re better off picking an Aspiring Sorcerer in a Rubric Marine Fire Team as your Leader.
The Thousand Sons have the Malicious Volleys Strategic Ploy that all the Chaos Space Marines Kill Teams have, but also the Sorcerous Focus Tactical Ploy which lets you auto-succeed on casting a second Psychic Power with an Aspiring Sorcerer.
The Thousand Sons has a good selection of equipment for both Rubric Marines and Tzaangors: For example, an Aspiring Sorcerer can get a Mythic Scroll which (you probably guessed it) lets you use a Psychic Power for free once, and the Tzaangors can carry a Treasure Trinket that gives you an extra Command Point.
The Chaos Daemons are horrifying monsters of the Warp, each the embodiment of the power of one of the Chaos Gods. In Kill Team, Khorne is represented by Bloodletters, Slaanesh is represented by Daemonettes, Nurgle is represented by Plaguebearers, and Tzeentch is represented by Horrors.
The Chaos Daemons don’t have any faction-specific rules.
A Chaos Daemon Kill Team is built from two Fire Teams chosen among the following options:
Bloodletter (C) (Seek and Destroy)
Bloodletters are Daemons of Khorne, and they’re an entirely melee-focused Fire Team. Their Hellblades cause critical hits on a roll of 5+, and they have an Invulnerable Save of 5+ as well. You can field 6 of them in a Fire Team – one of those can be an Icon Bearer that can improve the Invulnerable Save of Bloodletters around it, and it is also better at controlling objectives. Another Bloodletter can be a Horn Bearer with an action that improves the Move characteristic of Bloodletters around it. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can also be a Bloodreaper which has an additional Wound and a better chance to hit with its Hellblade.
Daemonette (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
Daemonettes are Daemons of Slaanesh, and they’re once again entirely close combat-based and have a 5+ Invulnerable Save. Their Claws have the Relentless special rule so they can reroll their attack dice. You can field 6 Daemonettes in a Fire Team, and one can be an Icon Bearer with the objective-claiming boost that comes with that role, as well as a Unique Action that improves the Invulnerable Save of nearby Daemonettes. One of those six can also be a Horn Bearer with it’s Movement-boosting action, and if you don’t have a Leader already, one can be an Alluress, which has a 2+ Weapon Skill for its Claws and an additional Wound.
Plaguebearer (C) (Security)
The Plaguebearers are Daemons of Nurgle, and as such, they’re naturally very tough to kill. This is represented in the game by them having both an Invulnerable Save of 5+ and a Disgustingly Resilient ability that gives it another 5+ wound prevention dice roll and an immunity to being Injured. You can field six of them in a Fire Team, and just like the rest of the Chaos Daemons, one can be an Icon Bearer, one a Horn Bearer and, if you don’t already have a Leader, one can be a Plagueridden.
Pink Horror (C) (Security)
The Pink Horrors are Daemons of Tzeentch with both a ranged and a close combat weapon, unlike the Fire Teams of the other Chaos Gods. It has an Invulnerable Save of 5+ like the other Daemons. You can field 6 of them in a Fire Team, one of which can be an Icon Bearer, one can be a Horn Bearer, and if you don’t already have a Leader, one can be a Pink Horror Iridescent. Apart from being able to shoot, what’s really interesting about the Pink Horrors (and their blue cousins below) is their associated Tactical Ploy Split, which lets you turn an incapacitated Pink Horror into two Blue Horrors for 2 Command Points.
Blue Horror (C) (Security/Recon)
While most of the Chaos Daemon Fire Teams are very similar in their rules, the Blue Horror Fire Team are Chaos Daemons of Tzeentch with some very different mechanics. Stats-wise, they’re like weaker Pink Horrors, but you can field 8 of them in a Fire Team. Blue Horrors can also be generated by the Split Tactical Ploy for Pink Horrors, and they can also replace themselves with smaller Brimstone Horrors when incapacitated for 1 Command Point.
In reality, Chaos Daemons don’t have a large selection of Ploys, since most of them are specific to one Fire Team, such as Split which is described above, or the Khorne-specific Strategic Ploy Unstoppable Ferocity, which boosts the Attacks of all Bloodletters for one Turning Point.
The Chaos Daemon Kill Team’s equipment is also Fire Team-specific, such as a ranged vomit-weapon for Plaguebearers, or the Piercing Claws which can improve the Critical Damage of Daemonettes.
An ancient and graceful civilization, the Aeldari Craftworlds have been in decline for thousands of years. Their warriors are still extremely skillful and dedicated to their craft, however, and their Kill Team operatives move with deadly speed and grace, defending their people no matter the cost.
The Craftworlds Kill Team has no faction-specific rules, but its operatives do have the <CRAFTWORLD> selectable keyword, so they’re likely to get subfaction rules in the future.
A Craftworlds Kill Team is made up of two Fire Teams chosen from the ones below:
Guardian Defender (C) (Security/Recon)
Guardian Defenders have both melee and ranged weapons, and their ranged Shuriken Catapult has the Rending critical rule that gives it an extra critical hit instead of a normal hit if it has already scored a critical hit in the same Shoot Action. Otherwise, they have a decent Save of 4+ and 8 Wounds, and you can field 5 of them in a Fire Team. One of these can be a Heavy Gunner, which is very different from the Heavy Gunners of other Kill Teams: It has no special weapons, but instead it has a Unique Action that lets it control another operative you can take called a Guardian Defender Heavy Weapon Platform. This Heavy Weapon Platform can be equipped with one of a selection of impressive weapons such as the Aeldari Missile Launcher og the Scatter Laser, and is always worth taking in this Fire Team – you just have to also pick a Heavy Gunner.
If you don’t already have a Leader, one Guardian Defender can also be your Leader, which also has a better Ballistics Skill and Weapon Skill than regular Defenders.
Storm Guardian (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
Storm Guardians have Shuriken Pistols and Storm Guardian Blades, making them ideal for close quarters combat, and otherwise they share the same stats as the Guardian Defenders. You can field 5 of them in a Kill Team, one of which can be a Gunner with a Flamer or a Meltagun-like Fusion Gun. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can also be a Storm Guardian Leader with better weapons and an additional Wound.
Ranger (C) (Recon/Infiltration)
Rangers are less durable than Guardian Defenders and Storm Guardian, but their Ranger Long Rifles are Silent (it can shoot even when Concealed) and can deal Mortal Wounds, and they automatically succed one additional normal Save when they’re in cover. You can include 4 of them in their Fire Team, with one being a Leader if you don’t already have one.
Dire Avenger (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
Dire Avengers are like harder-hitting Guardian Defenders with a very nice ability that means they don’t have to worsen their Ballistic Skill when performing an Overwatch action, which is very valuable for a pretty elite Fire Team. You can include 4 of them in their Fire Team, one of which can be their Leader (if you don’t already have one), the Dire Avenger Exarch, which is a pretty wild operative: It can choose from a long list of both ranged and melee weapons, including the very good Diresword. If you equip it with a Twin Avenger Shuriken Catapult, it can also perform the action Shuriken Storm, which gives it two Shoot Actions for the price of one, and if it’s equipped with a Shimmershield (which it can take in its Fire Team description, but doesn’t seem to have an option to be equipped with on its datacar – that is probably just an FAQ-able oversight), it can give a 5+ Invulnerable Save to nearby Dire Avengers. This is definitely the Leader to take for this Kill Team if you’re bringing Dire Avengers!
A cool and thematic aspect of Craftworlds Ploys is that quite a few of them are about giving you extra Movement: Fleet lets you perform a Dash action after another move action, Hidden Paths let Rangers Dash to Cover, and Matchless Agility lets one operative skip its Shoot and Fight actions in exchange for moving an extra 2 inches/1 circle when it uses a Dash action. You’ll be skipping across the Killzone!
The equipment of a Craftworlds Kill Team boosts what your operatives are already good at, such as a scope for Rangers that makes it easier for them to roll critical hits, or give you options that other Kill Teams get from their operative specialists, such as the Avenger Shrine Banner for the Dire Avenger Exarch, which makes it an Icon Bearer for the purposes of controlling objectives.
The Drukhari Commorites have chosen the opposite path of the Aeldari after the collapse of the Aeldari golden age, giving in to all their worst tendencies and becoming pain-worshipping, brutal raiders all over the galaxy. They’re still fast and graceful, but also insane and merciless.
The Commorite Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules, but the Kabalite operatives have the <KABAL> selectable keyword, and the Wych operatives have the <WYCH CULT> selectable keyword, so they’re bound to get subfaction rules in the future.
There are two Fire Teams in a Commorite Kill Team, chosen from the ones below:
Kabalite (C) (Security/Recon)
The standard Kabalites has a basic ranged weapon, the Splinter Rifle, that I really like: 4 attacks, 2 normal damage and 4 critical damage, but it scores critical hits on a 5+. Add to that a melee weapon that has the Rending rule that gives it the chance of an extra critical hit, and you have a basic operative that should churn out a good amount of critical hits. You can field 5 of these in their Kill Team, one of which can be a Gunner (with either an armour-piercing Blaster or a Shredder that does area damage on a critical hit), one a Heavy Gunner (with either a Dark Lance that’s an upgrade to the Blaster, or the Splinter Cannon that’s an upgrade to the Splinter Rifle) and, if you don’t already have a Leader, one can be a Sybarite which has access to some really good close combat weapons such as the Agoniser.
Wych (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
The armaments of Wyches are similar to those of Kabalites, but reversed, so that their ranged and melee weapons have similar rules, but their melee weapons are better than their ranged weapons. On top of this, they have a worse Save, but also a 5+ Invulnerable Save, which is arguably better. You can field 5 of them in their Fire Team, two of which (three if you have two Wych Fire Teams) can be Fighters. Fighters add some versatility to your Kill Team with either the very dangerous close combat Razorflails or Hydra Gauntlets, or the Shardnet and Impaler weapon that lowers the Attacks characteristic of nearby enemy operatives, which can be a big advantage if you’re getting into big melee brawls. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can also be a Hekatrix, which has mostly the same weapon options as a Kabalite Sybarite (minus the Splinter Rifle).
The Commorites have access to some very thematic Ploys, which is great, since their operative rules aren’t that colourful: The Strategic Ploy Agile Gladiators lets Wyches much more maneuverable, ignoring other operatives and move the first two inches of a climb, traversal or drop for free, as well as automatically passing jump tests, and also parrying better – The Ploy makes them the acrobatic combat artists they’re supposed to be. Prey on the Weak makes all operatives in the Kill Team able to re-roll some attack dice for every Shoot or Attack action against a target that has lost half or more of its wound, the sadistic bastards. For Tactical Ploys, they have Power from Pain, which gives one of your operatives an extra point to its Action Points Limit and the ability to Shoot or Fight Twice in their next activation if they were close to a recently incapacitated enemy operative.
The Commorites have 11 different pieces of equipment, among them the awesome Haywire Grenade that scores criticals on a 4+ if the target(s) have a Save of 3+ or better (great against Space Marines! -but as of the October 8, 2021 FAQ, it can only be used once per battle), and the Kabalite Banner that gives you the Icon Bearer objective-controlling ability the Kill Team is otherwise lacking.
The Harlequin Troupe is a truly unique Kill Team: Each of its highly skilled warriors plays a role in a lethal drama reenacted in the fight against their enemies, dedicated to the Aeldari God of Laughter. Their artistic combat style and taste for the theatrical lends itself well to Kill Team-style narratives of small, intense battles, and you can build a whole team from one box of them, so they’re a good place to start if you want a Kill Team that’s also challenging and fun to paint.
The Troupe Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules, but they do have the <MASQUE> selectable keyword that might be used for subfaction rules in the future.
A Troupe Kill Team is built as one single Fire Team.
Troupe (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
A standard Player Operative has a Shuriken Pistol and one of 4 different (but all with 5 attacks and good damage values) close combat weapons. They also have 3 Action Points, a 4+ Invulnerable Save, and they move as though they could Fly – so they’re pretty great! You can field 8 of them in a Kill Team, always including a Leader with even more weapons to choose from, and up to two Gunners with either the Meltagun-lite Fusion Pistol or the Neuro Disruptor with Stun (the one that takes away Action Points from the target). Having 8 operatives with an Action Points Limit of 3, great mobility skills and an excellent Invulnerable Save is pretty impressive.
As if they weren’t already great at moving around, the Strategic Ploy Rising Crescendo gives your entire Troupe the ability do Dash and Charge while close to enemy operatives, as well as moving an additional inch/Triangle whenever they Normal Move, Fall Back, Dash or Charge. Among their Tactical Ploys are the really good Hero’s Path, which gives you an action for 3 Action Points that lets you teleport anywhere in the Killzone not close to enemy operatives.
Among the Troupe equipment is the Death Mask which gives you a Command Point when its wearer is incapacitated and the Wraithbone Talisman that lets you use the general Command Re-Roll Tactical Ploy for free once per battle in shooting or combat.
This raging horde of war-loving brutes are both one of the great terrors of Mankind within the game and one of the more humorous and fun factions of Kill Team as a game. They’ve also recently received a big and long-awaited update to their model range, so there has never been a better time to build a Kill Team of Waaagh!-screaming Orks – just be aware that the rules for the Ork Kommandos in the Octarius starter set are a different Ork faction with much more detailed rules than these lads.
The Greenskins Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules, but they have the <CLAN> selectable keyword, which means they’ll probably get subfaction rules at some point.
The Greenskins Kill Teams are made up of two Fire Teams, chosen from the ones below:
Boy (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The Standard Ork Boy can choose between a Shoota Rifle or a Slugga/Choppa pistol/melee weapon combo for its loadout. None of it is particularly impressive (the ranged weapons have a 5+ Ballistic Skill), but they have 10 Wounds, which is above average for their type of operative. You can field 5 of them in their Fire Team, one of which can be a Gunner with either a Big Shoota or a Rokkit Launcha), one a Boss Nob if you don’t already have a Leader (he’s amazing and has access to all sorts of weird weaponry). Finally, you can replace one standard Ork Boy Fighter with two Boy Gretchin, which are really weak, can’t carry equipment or benefit from Ploys. They do, however, have a Group Activation of 2, so if you want to swarm the killzone, they’re you best option for that.
Clan Kommando (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
The Clan Kommando Fighters are, confusingly, almost exactly the same as an Ork Boy Fighter with Slugga/Choppa. The only thing that distinguishes them is their access to the Strategic Ploy Skulk About that which makes them better at rolling saves while Concealed – because they’re the sneaky Orks, of course. You can field 5 of them in a Fire Team, and one can be a Kommando Nob if you don’t already have a Leader.
Speshulist (C) (Seek and Destroy)
You can only have one of your Fire Teams be a Speshulist Fire Team, and they’re basically your Heavy Weapons team. You can field 4 of them in your Kill Team, each of which can be either a Burna (with a Flamer-like weapon) or a Loota with the machine gun-like Deffgun. If you don’t already have a Leader, one of them can also a be a Spanner, which has 3 strong heavy weapons to choose between, one of which can be the armour-piercing Kustom Mega-Blasta.
The Ploys of the Greenskins are about as Orky as can be. Take, for example, the appropriately named Strategic Ploy Waaagh! which grants you an turn a normal hit into a critical one when fighting if you already scored two normal hits, or the Tactical Ploy More Dakka that lets you make a free Shooting attack against a target if you just shot at it without causing any wounds. More is more when it comes to the Greenskins.
One of the coolest Greenskin pieces of equipment is the Spanner-exclusive Kustom Force Field that grants a 5+ Invulnerable Save against shooting attacks for operatives inside a bubble around the Spanner if the shooter is outside of the bubble, but they also have more traditional stuff such as grenades and armour.
The Ork Kommandos are one of the two flagship Kill Teams of the new edition of Kill Team. They’re a hilarious set of sculpts, including a Gretchin in scuba gear and a squig with a ton of explosives strapped to it, but they’re also a very diverse Kill Team with a specialist operative for every slot in your team. You can find our complete guide to the Ork Kommandos kill team here.
Ork Kommandos (not the Bomb Squig, though – that one’s not very sneaky) have the faction-specific ability Throat Slittas, which lets them Charge while they have a Conceal Order.
Operatives in the Kill Team also have the <CLAN> selectable Keyword which could grant them subfaction-specific bonuses in future rules releases.
An Ork Kommandos Kill Team is made up of the single Fire Team below:
Kommando (O) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
Standard Kommando Boys have 10 Wounds, a Save of 5+ and a good Slugga/Choppa weapons combo for both ranged and close combat, but you also have bunch of other specialists to choose from. Apart from a Kommando Nob Leader who can improve the Action Points Limit of one nearby friendly operative once per Turning Point, you can include 9 operatives in your Kill Team. Each of those can be a Kommando Boy, but one can also be a Slasha Boy (a melee specialist who can do mortal wounds each time it survives a melee fight in which it lost wounds), one a Breacha Boy (who can move through terrain features!), one a Snipa Boy (with an automatic, Mortal Wounds-dealing Scoped Big Shoota that it can shoot even when it’s Concealed) and one a Dakka Boy (which can reroll all attack dice if its close to its target).
Furthermore, one can be a Comms Boy (which can Stun and deal Mortal Wounds, as well as do cheaper mission or Pick Up actions and add an extra Operative to a nearby friendly operative), one can be a Burna Boy (with a bit Burna flamer), one can be a Rokkit Boy (with an armour-piercing, attack dice-rerolling Rokkit Launcha), and finally, one can be a Kommando Grot (which can zip across the Killzone with its Grappling Hook action) and one a Bomb Squig (which is exactly what it sounds like: a mouthful of explosives on legs).
The Ork Kommandos have a really thematic Strategic Ploy called Sssshhhh! which lets you perform a free Dash action with all Concealed operatives and operatives not close to enemy operatives once per game, an Tactical Ploys such as Krump ‘Em! which gives one operative a free Fight Action.
The Ork Kommandos have a lot of special equipment on their models, and most of them appear in their equipment list (which is one of the things that are so great about model kits built specifically for Kill Team), such as the Stun-inflicting Sledgehammer, the Climbing Rope which improves Climb actions, and the Stikkbomb.
These ancient and mysterious metallic warriors have been entombed across the galaxy for millions of years and are now marching tirelessly in their quest to restore their ancient empire. They were one of the two starter factions for Warhammer 40,000 9th edition, so their newly refreshed model range is cheaply available everywhere.
The Tomb World Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules, but its operatives do have the <DYNASTY> selectable keyword, which means there’s a possibility they’ll get subfaction rules at some point.
Tomb World Kill Teams have 2 Fire Teams, which can be either of the ones below (with the one restriction that only one can be a Necron Warrior Fire Team):
Necron Warrior (C) (Security)
Necron Warriors are pretty straightforward: They can equip either a Gauss Flayer or a Gauss Reaper (in the Compendium it looks like they can take both, but that was FAQ’ed on October 8, 2021), where the first is a rifle with unlimited range, and the secon has shorter range but the P1 rule that makes its critical hits armour-piercing. They also have Bayonets, which are average-to-good melee weapons. Like all other Tomb World operatives, they have the Living Metal ability that makes them regain up to 2 wounds when each Turning Point begins, which is very good. You can field 5 of them in a Fire Team, with no specialist operatives to choose from.
Immortal (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
Immortals are basically better, more durable Necron Warriors with either the armour-piercing Gauss Blaster or the Tesla Carbine with which has the Splash 1 rule on critical hits, which does mortal wounds to the target and nearby operatives. You can field 4 of these in a Fire Team, and if you don’t already have a Leader, one can be a Leader which just has a better Weapon/Ballistic Skill.
Flayed One (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
The Flayed Ones are the (horrifying) close combat specialists of the Tomb World Kill Teams, with 5 attacks hitting on a 3+ and the Rending critical hit rule. You can field 5 of them in a Fire Team, one of which can be a Leader which hits on a 2+ instead.
Deathmark (C) (Seek and Destroy/Recon)
The Deathmark are equipped with the excellent Synaptic Disintegrators, hitting on a 2+, being armour-piercing and doing mortal wounds on critical hits, but they’re also the only weapons with the Heavy special rules in the Kill Team, so be sure to balance them out with another Fire Team with more mobility. If you don’t already have a Leader, one of them can be a Deathmark Leader that adds a one-dice reroll to its Disintegrator.
The Deathmark operatives have a cool Strategic Ploy that lets them change their order (from Engage to Conceal or vice versa) in a Turning Point, but the Tomb World Kill Team’s most iconic Ploy is the Tactical Ploy Reanimation Protocols, which lets you place a token on the killzone where one of your operatives were incapacitated. In the next Turning Point, you can roll a dice, and on a 3+(2+ for Necron Warriors), that operative returns to the killzone with D3 wounds remaining where the token was placed. If that’s not thematic for an army of metallic skeletons, I don’t know what is.
While the Tomb Worlds have quite a few useful pieces of equipment, the Mindshackle Scarabs are truly unique: They give you an action that worsen the Action Points Limit of an enemy operative on a dice roll, but if you roll more than double the enemy operative’s Action Points Limit, you instead get to make a free Shoot or Fight action with them as if you were controlling that operative!
The Hunter Cadre of the T’au Empire represents the military branch of this comparatively young empire at the fringes of the galaxy. The T’au are creating an empire where everyone works together for the Greater Good – or perishes. In a manner quite opposite Imperial human attitudes, the T’au are perfectly okay with intelligent machines and technological innovation, so the Hunter Cadre Kill Team is full of high tech weaponry and drones.
The Hunter Cadre Kill Team has a faction-specific rule called Drones, which lets you fill operative slots in your Fire Teams with all sorts of different drones that can range from being full of guns to giving your Fire Team new abilities, generally improving the versatility of your Kill Team a lot. Drones can also protect your other operatives, so that attacks against one of your operatives can be directed against a drone instead. Drones are an integral part of playing Hunter Cadre Kill Teams, and the models for these drones are generally available in the same model kits as the Fire Teams they belong to.
Hunter Cadre operatives also have the <SEPT> selectable keyword, setting them up for gaining subfaction rules in the future.
Hunter Cadre Fire Teams are made up of two Fire Teams, chosen from the options below:
Fire Warrior (C) (Security)
The standard Fire Warrior Shas’La operatives have a Save of 4+ and can choose between three ranged weapons: The Pulse Blaster, which is a really cool weapon that is really dangerous at close range but can also do a weaker attack with unlimited range if you need it, or the Pulse Carbine or Pulse Rifle. The Pulse Rifle has a Strategic Ploy called Aimed Pulse Volley associated with it, but is otherwise identical to the Pulse Carbine, so there’s no reason to ever pick the Pulse Carbine as far as we can tell. You can take 6 of them in a Fire Team, and if you haven’t already chosen a Leader, one can be a Fire Warrior Shas’Ui.
Pathfinder (C) (Recon)
Pathfinder Shas’Las are a bit more basic than the Fire Warriors, but they have the Unique Action Markerlight, which lets every one of your operatives re-roll one attack dice when shooting at a target marked by this action. You can field 6 of these in a Fire Team, and one of them can be a Heavy Gunner with either an Ion Rifle or the mortal wound-dealing Rail Rifle. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can also be a Pathfinder Shas’Ui.
Stealth Battlesuit (C) (Infiltration/Recon)
The Stealth Battlesuits are the really elite operatives of the Hunter Cadre Kill Teams. They have a Save of 3+, 10 Wounds , and are armed with powerful Burst Cannons. They also have the ability Camouflage Field, which means they’re almost always treated as being in Cover against shooting attacks, even in open terrain. If they’re Concealed, they can’t even be targeted from a Vantage Point. You can field 3 of them in a Fire Team, and one of these can swap their Burst Cannon for the Meltagun-like Fusion Blaster. One can also be a Stealth Battlesuit Shas’Vre if you don’t already have a Leader.
Hunter Cadres are all about strong shooting, and that shows in Ploys like the Tactical Ploy Stand and Shoot, which lets you use a ranged weapon in close combat when attacked in melee, or the Strategic Ploy Breach and Clear which lets you ignore cover when shooting with Fire Warrior Pulse Blasters against nearby targets and reroll one of your attack dice for those shooting actions.
You can choose the Markerlight that Pathfinders get for free as an equipment option for other types of operatives, but the Hunter Cadre equipment list also includes the Leader-exclusive Holographic Readout which lets a nearby friendly operative perform a mission action for one less Action Point than its usual cost.
Cadre Mercenary Kill Team
These carnivorous mercenaries of the T’au Empire are especially known for their ability to incorporate genetic traits of other species into their own by devouring members of those species.
The Cadre Mercenary Kill Team doesn’t have any faction-specific rules
The Cadre Mercenary Kill Team is built from just the one Fire Team below:
Cadre Mercenary (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration/Recon)
The standard Kroot Carnivores are pretty basic with an average-to-good Kroot Rifle and Rifle Blades equipped. It has an ability called Masters of Camouflage (like all other operatives in this Kill Team) that changes its Save characteristic from 6+ to 4+ when it’s in cover. You can field 12 of these in a Kill Team, but you can replace one with a Leader, and up to 4 Kroot Hounds, which are melee specialists (and bird-dogs!) with the Rending critical hit rule, or you can use two of the 12 slots to field one Krootox, a mobile weapons platform gorilla-like monster with a whopping 16 Wounds and pretty good weapons for both melee and ranged combat, as well as an Action Points Limit of 3. These are all pretty old sculpts, but if you have them or are able to buy them, you’ll have a very unique-looking Kill Team.
The Cadre Mercenary Kill Team has a Strategic Ploy that lets all friendly operatives Charge while concealed, as well as a Tactical Ploy called Gory Feast that lets an operative eat an incapacitated enemy hostile to regain D6 lost wounds, among others.
Among the Cadre Mercenary equipment is a mortal wounds-dealing Kroot Hunting Rifle and the really cool Sure-Foot Charm that lets you group activate the bearer and one other nearby operative.
Hive Kill Teams are made up of Tyranids, a hive-mind species that swarms across the galaxy, devouring everything and incorpoating the biomass of the devoured into new and terrible lifeforms.
The Hive Fleets have the faction-specific ability Synapse, which removes the penalties for being Injured as long as a Hive Fleets operative is close to another Hive Fleets operative.
The Kill Team’s operatives also have the <HIVE FLEET> selectable keyword, which allows it to get subfaction rules in the future.
Hive Fleet Kill Teams are built from two Fire Teams, chosen among the ones below (the only restriction being that you can only select a Tyranid Swarm Fire Team once):
Tyranid Warrior (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security)
The standard Tyranid Warrior Fighter is a huge beast with 18 Wounds and can be equipped with two weapons chosen from two separate lists of options, which can end up with making them dual-wielding melee fighters or a combination of ranged and melee weapons – they have four arms, after all, so they can equip a lot of stuff. The weapons they can choose are all pretty good attacks- and damage-wise, so which ones you pick depends on whether you want to gain an extra attack from wielding two melee weapons, score critical hits on a 5+, Stun on a critical hit, or a number of other bonuses. The Lash Whip is a particularly interesting choice, being a ranged weapon that is also an aura around your operative that subtracts 1 from the Attacks characteristic of nearby enemy operatives.
You can field 3 of these in a Fire Team, one of which can be a Heavy Gunner that can either do area damage with a Barbed Strangler or pierce armour with a Venom Cannon (as well as having access to Fighter weapons such as the Lash Whip. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can be a Tyranid Warrior Leader, which has better Weapon and Ballistics Skills and an extra wound.
Genestealer (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
Genestealers are very effective close combat fighters with a 5+ Invulnerable Save, a free Dash action every activation, an ability to always be Concealed, even from operatives on Vantage Points, and a choice between some effective melee weapons. You can field 5 of them in a Fire Team, one of which can be a Leader if you don’t already have one. The models are pretty old, but they’re a great choice for a sneaky melee-focused Kill Team.
Tyranid Swarm (C) (Seek and Destroy/Security/Recon)
You can field 8 operatives in Tyranid Swarm Fire Team, and each can be either a Termagant or a Hormagaunt. Both operative types have a Group Activation of 2, so they’re great for swarming the enemy. A Termagant can be equipped with either a Fleshborer, Spinefists or a Devourer, all of which are ranged weapons, but it also has Claws for close combat. If you choose the Devourer for an operative, it counts for two slots in your Fire Team, since that weapon is much better than the others with its ability to reroll hit rolls of 1. A Hormagaunt has a Scything Talons melee weapon with the Relentless trait that gives it full rerolls on its attacks, which is great when each has 4 attacks, and the weapon has a critical damage of 5.
The Hive Fleets have three Strategic Ploys called Stalk (a free Move for one operative), Lurk (an improved save for Concealed operatives in cover being shot at) and Feed (extra damage on the first critical hit of any friendly Fight action), as well as Strategic Ploys such as Aggressive Biostrain which lets you repeat a shooting attack if it didn’t cause any wounds.
Among the equipment of the Hive Fleets are the Flesh Hooks ranged weapon that scores critical hits on a 5+, and Feeder Tendrils, which let’s an operative heal after devouring an incapacitated enemy operative.
The Brood Coven Kill Team are members of the Genestealer Cults, human-Tyranid hybrids worshipping the Four-Armed Emperor, who they hope will liberate them from the oppression of the Imperium. In reality, their uprisings and sabotage is just paving the wave for the Tyranids devouring their homeworlds. As a Kill Team, they’re a fun and unusual combination of xenos monstrosities and human guns, grenades and explosives.
The Brood Coven Kill Team doesn’s have any faction-specific rules, but its operatives do have the <CULT> selectable keyword, which sets up the framework for them getting subfaction rules in the future.
Brood Coven Kill Teams are made up of two Fire Teams, chosen from the ones below:
Neophyte Hybrid (C) (Security/Recon/Infiltration)
The standard Neophyte Hybrid Trooper can be equipped with either a weak Autogun or stronger Shotgun (in the Compendium, it looks like you can take both, but that was FAQ’ed on October 8, 2021) with limited range, and they have a Group Activation of 2. You can field 7 of them in a Fire Team, and while you can fill a Fire Team with just these group activating small-arms-firing Troopers, what makes the Fire Team special is, well, its specialists: Two can be Gunners, with either a Flamer, Grenade Launcher or the Stun-inflicting Webber (you can only choose each weapon option once per Fire Team). One can be a Heavy Gunner with either a Heavy Stubber, an armour-piercing Mining Laser or the Stun-inflicting Seismic Cannon. One can be an Icon Bearer which is better at controlling objectives and grant a single dice reroll for Shoot and Fight actions for nearby Brood Coven Operatives.
If you don’t already have a Leader, one can also be a Neophyte Hybrid Leader, which has its own selection of cool pistols and close combat weapons to choose from.
Acolyte Hybrid (C) (Seek and Destroy/Infiltration)
Standard Acolyte Hybrid Troopers are pretty basic pistol/close combat weapon operatives (even though their melee weapon is pretty good), but the Fire Team’s specialists are great. You can field 5 operatives in an Acolyte Hybrids Fire Team, and you can choose for two of them to be either up to two Gunners (with Hand Flamers), up to two Fighters (with either a Heavy Rock Cutter, Heavy Rock Drill or Heavy Rock Saw, all of which are really cool. Each option can be chosen once), or one Gunner and one Fighter. In addition, one can be an Icon Bearer which works more or less like the one for Neophyte Hybrids. If you don’t already have a Leader, one can be an Acolyte Hybrid Leader, who can choose some really good weapons, among them the Lash Whip with the attacks-reducing aura some Hive Fleets operatives can also take.
Hybrid Metamorph (C) (Seek and Destroy)
Hybrid Metamorphs are much like Acolyte Metamorphs, but with better standard melee weapons. You can field 5 in a Fire Team, two of which can be Gunners with a Hand Flamer, and one of which can be an Icon Bearer like the one for Acolyte Hybrids. You can also pick one as your Leader if you don’t already have one, and this Leader is largely like the one for Acolyte Hybrids, but with Metamorph weapons and without the option to take a Lash Whip.
The Brood Covens have a Strategic Ploy called Cult Ambush which allows its operatives to change their order when they activate, and a Tactical Ploy called Underground which lets you set up a Concealed operative anywhere in the Killzone not close to enemy operatives, as well as a few other Ploys that are also all about sneaking, ambushing and overwhelming the enemy.
The Brood Covens equipment is really cool, since it emphasizes the working-class roots of the Kill Team by more or less consisting of mining equipment: Theres Demolition Charges, a Mining Tool Rig and a Structural Surveyor that gives you bonuses for being near a specific terrain feature, among others.
We’re updating this guide where it’s particularly relevant to new players of the various factions, but for the full FAQs released for Kill Team, you can always check here.