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Nemesis Claw Kill Team Guide

The Nemesis Claw is a kil team for the tabletop skirmish miniature game Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team by Games Workshop. The team is available as part of the Kill Team: Nightmare expansion for the game.

The Nemesis Claw are Heretic Astartes of the Night Lords Chaos Space Marine Legion. The Night Lords are one of the most feared Traitor Legions – quite literally, since their battle philosophy is all about sowing fear and terror among enemy troops.

They march to battle clad in flayed human skins and fanged visors, using the cruelest weapons they can, such as Terrorchem poisons or chainglaives, and fight as much through theatrical effect as tactical cunning. Few soldiers who survive a Night Lords assault would call themselves fortunate: They’ll have to live the rest of their days with the nightmares of what they saw the Night Lords do to their comrades.

In the game, the Nemesis Claw kill team is an elite kill team that specializes in debuffing the enemy and messing with their plans:

You can prevent enemy operatives from activating, move them off objectives, and even poison them with nightmare-inducing chemicals that slowly kill them off after a couple of Turning Points. When it comes to dealing direct damage, the Nemesis Claw are fierce melee combatants supported by few but powerful specialist gunners.

If you love the kind of playstyle that lets you stop the opponent from carrying out their plans just as much as making your own plan work out, the Nemesis Claw kill team might be just the team for you.

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Abilities of the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

In Midnight Clad

In Midnight Clad is an ability shared by all your operatives, and it changes how Line of Sight is determined for them.

Your operatives with this ability count as Obscured when an enemy tries to determine Line of Sight towards your operatives from their operatives if the targeted operative has a Conceal order (even if an enemy rule would ignore that Conceal order), is withing Triangle/1 Inch of Heavy or Light terrain and is partly or wholly underneath a Vantage Point, and more than Pentagon/6 Inches from enemy operatives who it’s visible to.

This might seem a bit confusing, or even seem like something that will very rarely occur, but on Bheta-Decima (season 3) killzones, the walkways are all Vantage Points and can be passed underneath, so that terrain setup actually gives you a lot of ground to move around Obscured, as long as you can keep your distance to enemy operatives.

Operatives of the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

The Nemesis Claw kill team consists of 6 operatives chosen from the list below.

Night Lord Visionary (Leader, 1 per kill team)

This is your Leader operative for the Nemesis Claw kill team, and like all your other operatives, he has a 3+ Save, 3 Action Point Limit, and a Move of 3 Circle/6 Inches. He has one more Wound than your other operatives, bringing him up to 13.

Like most Astartes/Heretic Astartes Leaders, he has a bunch of loadout options consisting of a pistol and a melee weapon, but note that you can’t mix and match them however you like:

He can be equipped with either a Bolt Pistol/Power Fist, Bolt Pistol/Power Maul, Bolt Pistol/Power Weapon or a Plasma Pistol/Nostraman Chainblade. We have no idea why the Plasma Pistol is locked to the Chainblade, but that’s what the rules say.

The Bolt Pistol is a classic 4 Attacks, Weapon Skill 2+, 4 Critical Damage bolt weapon, and the three Power weapon options it can be combined with offer each their own specialty:

The Power Fist is the worst hitter at a Weapon Skill of 3+, but does 5 normal damage, 7 critical damage and can only be parried by critical successes due to its Brutal Special Rule.

The Power Maul has 5 attacks, hits on a 2+, does 4 normal and 6 critical damage and has the Stun Critical Hit Rule, and the Power Weapon is the same, but swaps the Stun Critical Hit Rule for the Lethal 5+ Special Rule that lets it do critical damage on a roll of 5 or more.

Of the three Bolt Pistol/Power weapon options, the mad damage of the Power Fist or the Stun of the Maul seem to be the ones that offer most utility, but all three are good melee weapons, while the Bolt Pistol is definitely inferior to the other option, the Armour Penetration 1/2, 5 normal/6 critical damage Plasma Pistol.

However, the Plasma Pistol is locked to the Nostraman Chainblade, which does only 4 normal and 5 critical damage, and has the Rending Critical Hit Rule, which lets you turn one of your normal hits into a critical hit if you score at least one critical success in your attack role.

This means that, while the Nostraman Chainblade is certainly the most Night Lords-looking weapon in the Visionary’s arsenal, you should only take it because it comes with the Plasma Pistol. Otherwise, go for one of the good Power Weapons and accept that they come with a Bolt Pistol.

The Visionary has three Abilities and one Unique Action:

Prescience is the engine that powers the rest of the abilities/actions. It comes into play in each Strategy Phase, where you can add D3 Prescience tokens to a pool, which can then be used on other abilities.

Foreboding is used when its your turn to activate a friendly operative, and then lets you skip that activation for the price of one Prescience Token.

Portent can be used when the Visionary fights or someone shoots at him, and then lets you discard one of your opponent’s succesful hits for the price of one Prescience Token.

The Visionary’s Unique Action, Premonition, costs 1 Action Point and is a Psychic Action. It lets you gain 1 Command Point for the price of one Prescience Token.

The Visonary’s use of Prescience Tokens really adds to the value of your team, and skipping activations is particularly powerful, so make sure you keep him alive for as long as possible – you can’t use your remaining Prescience Tokens if he’s taken down!

Night Lord Warrior (5 per kill team)

The Warrior is your standard operative with 12 Wounds.

It can be equipped with either a Bolt Pistol/Chainsword or a Boltgun/Fists.

The Boltgun is as standard as they come, with 4 attacks hitting on 3s, 3 normal and 4 critical damage, and the Bolt Pistol is the same, but with only Pentagon/6 Inch Range.

The Chainsword is pretty good in combat with 5 attacks, a Weapon Skill of 3+ and 5 critical damage, while the Fists are much more potent than non-Astartes fists, since they have the same Attacks and damage as a Boltgun.

Which loadout you choose depends entirely on how important ranged firepower is to the mission you’re playing, but since you’re limited to 6 operatives and have plenty of specialists to choose from, you’ll rarely, if ever, field any Warriors anyway, due to their lack of special weapons or abilities.

Night Lord Fearmonger (1 per kill team)

The Fearmonger is a specialist operative built around the ability to deal mortal wounds to enemy operatives.

These mortal wounds come primarily from the Terrorchem Critical Hit Rule unique to him, which lets you add a Terrorchem token to enemy operatives the first time you resolve critical hits against them in an attack (if it happens in combat, this critical hit must be used to strike, not to parry). Then, at the beginning of each Initiative Phase, all enemy operatives with Terrorchem tokens suffer D3 mortal wounds. Powerful stuff!

The Fearmonger can apply Terrorchem tokens in three ways:

His melee weapon, the Tainted Blade, has the Terrorchem Critical Hit Rule, and so does the single-use ranged weapon Terrorchem Vial, which is a 5 attack grenade-like weapon that also does 3 mortal wounds on each critical hit on top of the Terrorchem tokens.

Finally, the Poison Objective Unique Action lets you spend one Action Point to add a Terrorchem token to an objective marker, and then when an enemy operative without a Terrorchem token moves within Circle/ 2 Inches of that objective, they suffer D3 mortal wounds and gain a Terrorchem token.

The potential to slowly kill of a big part of your enemy’s kill team through Terrorchem tokens, which stay on an operative until the end of the battle, is very powerful, so if you can keep your Fearmonger alive and get him to where he needs to go, that alone makes him a must have in your Nemesis Claw kill team.

As an extra bonus, he is also equipped with the Scoped Bolt Pistol, which is a Boltgun at long range (4 attacks hitting on 3s, 4 critical damage), but gains the Lethal 5+ Special Rule at close range.

Night Lord Gunner (1 per kill team)

The Gunner has the three classic special guns most Astartes/Heretic Astartes Gunners have access to:

The Flamer, which has 5 attacks, a Weapon Skill of 2+ and the Torrent Circle/2 Inches rule for area damage; The Meltagun with 6 normal damage, Pentagon/6 inch range, Armour Penetration 2 and the Mortal Wounds 4 Critical Hit Rule, which is always amazing against armoured targets, and the Plasma Gun with its high damage and option to Supercharge it at the risk of doing damage to yourself, but with the benefit of gaining Armour Penetration 2.

Against most enemy kill teams, we’d always recommend picking the Meltagun for raw close range power, since your team isn’t about sniping from afar anyway. The Gunner also has the Boltgun-grade Fists for close combat, which is pretty good for a Gunner operative in melee.

Night Lord Heavy Gunner (1 per kill team)

The Heavy Gunner can choose between the two classics of Astartes/Heavy Astartes Heavy Gunner loadouts:

The Heavy Bolter with its 5 attacks, 5 critical damage and the Fusillade Special Rule (lets you split your attacks between targets close to each other) and P1 Critical Hit Rule (it gains Armour Penetration 1 if you score any critical hits), or the Missile Launcher, which can switch between a Frag profile (area damage) and Krak profile (high damage and Armour Penetration 1). Both options also come with the Fists melee weapon.

Which loadout you choose strongly depends on whether you’re facing an opponent with a horde team, or an elite one. For elite teams, the 7 critical damage and Armour Penetration 1 of the Missile Launcher’s Krak profile is the one to go for.

Night Lord Screecher (1 per kill team)

The Screecher is a melee specialist, equipped with Lightning Claws that have 5 attacks with the Lethal 5+ Special Rule (lets you score critical hits on a roll of 5 or more instead of on a 6) and the Relentless Special Rule (lets you reroll all your attack dice).

That melee profile is scary enough on its own, but it works really well with the Screecher’s two Abilities:

Screecher lowers the Ballistic and Weapon Skill of enemy operatives by 1 when they’re within Square/ 3 Inches of the Screecher (unless they’re already down 1 from being Injured), and Appetite for Cruelty buffs your Lethal 5+ to Lethal 4+ when fighting in combat against enemies that have less than their starting Wounds remaining at the start of a combat.

This makes the Screecher an excellent “finisher”, letting you wear down targets with your Gunners and then move the Screecher in for an almost sure kill.

Night Lord Skinthief (1 per kill team)

The Skinthief is another debuffing melee specialist, but with the option to do area damage.

He is equipped with a standard Bolt Pistol (see the Warrior entry) and the Nostraman Chainglaive, which has 5 attacks, 6 critical damage and bothe the Reap 1 and Rending Critical Hit Rule.

Those two Critical Hit Rules work really well together: Rending lets you turn a normal hit into a critical hit if you already rolled one critical hit in your attack roll, and Reap 1 does 1 mortal wound per critical hit you strike with in combat to each other Visible enemy operative within Triangle/1 Inch of the target.

The Skinthief has two Abilities:

Flay Them Alive can happen once per Turning Point when the Skinthief incapacitates an enemy operative in close combat. It then lets you select one Visible enemy operative withing Pentagon/6 Inches of either the Skinthief or the incapacitated enemy.

That selected enemy operative then can’t perform Mission or Pick Up actions, or control objective markers, until the start of the next Turning Point.

Tyrant of the Skinning Pits lets you subtract 1 from the normal and critical damage characteristics of the enemy operative when you fight in combat with the Skinthief.

The Skinthief is pretty great against multiple targets, and his ability to stop enemies from controlling objectives is also strong, but when you’re building your kill team, the most obvious either/or choice will probably be if you’re taking this operative or the Screecher, and since most kill teams won’t have much trouble spreading their operatives out to avoid taking Reap damage, the Screecher will often be the best choice of the two for its ability to wipe out strong single targets.

Night Lord Ventrilokar (1 per kill team)

The Ventrilokar is the icon bearer of the Nemesis Claw kill team, armed like a Bolt Pistol/Chainsword-wielding Warrior.

He has the Icon Bearer ability, which lets you count his Action Point Limit as being 1 higher for the purpose of determining control of an objective, which is really handy for an elite kill team.

He also has the Disconcerting Mimicry Unique Psychic Action, which lets you spend 1 Action Point to do one of the following to an enemy operative within Pentagon/6 Inch range: Subtract 1 from its Action Point Limit, Change its order (great fun against Kommandos!) or perfrorm a free Dash action with it, where you tell your opponent where to move it to. The last option is especially fun, and not something most kill teams have access to: you can’t move the enemy into engagement range of your melee operatives (it’s not a Charge action), but you can move them off objectives, or out of Cover, both of which are very powerful.

Kill Team: Nightmare
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Ploys of the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

Nemesis Claw Strategic Ploys

Nightmare Manifest

This lets your operatives make two Fight actions, or two Shoot actions with bolt weapons (so anything with Bolt or Bolter in its name), per activation for the duration of one Turning Point.

We Have Come For You

This lasts for one Turning Point, and lets you do D3 mortal wounds to one enemy operative in Engagement Range of your operatives whenever your operatives finish a Charge action as their first action in an activation.


This also lasts for one Turning Point, and lets you treat enemies within Pentagon/ 6 Inches of your operatives as having an Engage Order when determining Line of Sight for them from one of your operatives, unless the targets are in Cover from Heavy terrain.

The Black Hunt

For one Turning Point, this lets you re-roll one attack dice whenever your operatives fights or shoots against enemy operatives who have less than their starting Wounds left when that attack begins.

Nemesis Claw Tactical Ploys

Out of the Darkness

This can be used at the end of the Scouting step before the game begins. It lets one of your operatives who is wholly within your drop zone perform a free 2 Circle/4 Inch as if it had Fly.

Vox Scream

This can be used when the enemy activates one of their operatives, and lets you prevent that operative from activating until you’ve had an activation or made an Overwatch action. It can’t be used if the enemy has no other ready operatives to activate instead, and this Tactical Ploy costs an extra Command Point for each time you’ve used it in a game.

Death to the False Emperor

This Tac Op can be used whenever one of your operatives rolls attack dice for a combat or a shooting attack. If the attack is against an IMPERIUM operative, you can reroll results of one chosen number (so all 3s, for example), but if it is an ADEPTUS ASTARTES operative, you can reroll any of your attack dice for that attack roll.

Proclivity for Murder

This can be used when one of your operatives takes down an enemy operative within Engagement Range. It then lets your operative make a free Charge action of Square/ 3 Inches or less, or a free Dash action, even if it would otherwise not be allowed to do so because of another action it performed in that activation.

Equipment of the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

Flayed Skin

This prevents enemy operatives Visible to and within Square/ 3 Inches of the bearer from re-rolling attack or defence dice.

Grisly Trophy

This subtracts 1 from the Attacks characteristics of weapons used by enemy operatives Visible to and within Square/3 Inches of the bearer. Flayed Skin and Grisly Trophy can’t be worn by the same operative.

Chain Snare

Whenever only one enemy operative is in Engagement Range of the bearer, that enemy operative is snared, which means that, each time that operative would perform a Fall Back action, you roll a dice and on a roll of 4 or more, that action cannot be performed. You subtract 1 from the roll if the enemy has a higher Wounds characteristic than the bearer, and add 1 to the roll if the enemy is Injured.

Suspensor System

This changes the Heavy Special Rule of a Gunner wearing it, so that it cannot move more than 3 Circle/6 Inches and Shoot in the same activation, rather than how Heavy normally works.

Combat Blade

This gives the bearer a 4 attacks, 3+ Weapon Skill, 5 critical damage melee weapon.

Frag Grenade

This is the standard Blast Circle/2 Inches Frag Grenade available to most human and Astartes kill teams.

Krak Grenade

This is the standard Armour Penetration 1 Krak Grenade available to most human and Astartes kill teams.

Tac Ops of the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

The Nemesis Claw kill team has the Infiltration, Recon and Seek and Destroy archetypes, giving it access to all the Tac Ops from those sections of the Core Book in Matched Play games. In addition to those, it also has access to the following faction-specific Tac Ops.

Sow Terror

This Tac Op can be revealed at the start of any Turning Point. Then, if one of your operatives takes down an enemy in melee while that enemy is close to an objective marker in their territory that isn’t on the centre line (a very specific condition if there ever was one), you score 1 Victory Point, and another whenever this condition is met again in any later Turning Points.

Dread Tale, Dark Rumour

This Tac Op is only revealed at the end of a battle. You then score 1 Victory Point if one of your operatives is within Pentagon/ 6 Inches of the opponent’s killzone edge, and another if one of your operatives is within Pentagon/6 Inches of an enemy operative. A pretty easy Tac Op to score!

Hunt the Weak

This Tac Op can be revealed at the start of any Turning Point in a game. It scores you 1 Victory Point if one of your operatives takes down an enemy with a Wounds Characteristic of 7 in combat while that target is more than Pentagon/ 6 Inches from all other enemy operatives, and another Victory Point whenever that happens again in any other Turning Point.

Playing the Nemesis Claw Kill Team

The Nemesis Claw kill team is a strong elite kill team that’s especially great at messing with the rules of your opponent:

You can prevent them from activating specific operatives, debuff their operatives in all sorts of ways – especially in close combat – and even move them around with Disconcerting Mimicry. It’s also a kill team with access to lots of mortal wounds, making them an excellent anti-elite elite team.

The downside to all that is that it does take a lot of micromanagement to pull off. The Nemesis Claw kill team is elite but not particularly fast, and while In Midnight Clad does help you get close to even ranged specialists in relative safety on some killzone layouts, you are pretty dependent on getting a small team very close to the enemy while still alive. On top of that, you have to get them there quickly in order to make the most of close range stuff like your Terrorchem tokens, your melee operatives ot the Ventrilokar’s Unique Action.

While the Nemesis Claw kill team is great against elites, playing them against horde teams can also be really fun, due to how many of their bonuses – such as enemy debuffs or free Moves – come from incapacitating enemy operatives, which means having many enemy targets to take out is a good thing for you.

All in all, the Nemesis Claw kill team is a kill team that plays just like it should in terms of its lore, causing disorder and chaos all around it to the frustration of your opponent.

Building and assembling your kill team

The Nemesis Claw kill team is built from a pack of Chaos Space Marines and a Nemesis Claw upgrade sprue, both of which are available in the Kill Team: Nightmare box.

Like many other elite kill teams, the sprues for the Nemesis Claw kill team actually builds you 10 operatives rather than the 6 you need, giving you plenty of options for operatives to put in your roster.

The upgrade sprue, as well as the Chaos Space Marines sprues themselves, are laid out in such a way that no two specialist operatives have to be built from the same Chaos Space Marine body – you usually have the pick between a boltgun Warrior, a chainsword and pistol Warrior, and a specialist such as a Gunner, for each body – and on top of that, each torso fits with most of the arm/gun combination on the sprues.

This means that you are almost entirely free to mix and match bodies and loadouts to make a team that looks unique. Just remember to use the Nemesis Claw heads and pauldrons at all times, since otherwise your operatives will just look like regular Chaos Space Marines.

If you buy the Nightmare box you might also be interested in reading the Guide for the Mandrake Kill Team that you also get in that box.

Kill Team: Nightmare
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