The Astra Militarum is the military of the Imperium of Man – a billions-strong force of ordinary men and women defending their homelands against the horrors of the galaxy. They rely on cheap, mass-produced las-weaponry and strength in numbers to survive – but in this case “survive” actually means “succeed”, since no member of the Astra Militarum is expected to actually stay alive for more than a couple of hours of service. In the Astra Militarum, the individual doesn’t matter at all, and it’s an honour to die for the Emperor.
The Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team consists of fighters who have stayed alive long enough to become specialists fighting behind enemy lines, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less expendable or collectivistic. In the game, this is reflected in the way Guardsmen work as one under the orders of their Sergeant, using crude but heavy firepower and a hail of Lasgun shots to tear the enemy apart while digging into defensive positions.
If you like a shooting-focused Kill Team that rewards a consistent plan for everyone in the team where every activation is part of an overall strategy, the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team might be just the team for you.
Abilities of the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
Ancillary Support of the Veteran Guardsman
Veteran Guardsmen aren’t the strongest operatives out there, so in addition to your 10 Guardsman operatives, you can choose an Ancillary Support bonus for your Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team. Your first option is Trooper Veterans, which simply lets you field an additional 4 Trooper Veterans in your Kill Team (so no special operatives).
If you don’t have two boxes of Veteran Guardsmen, you can also choose Veteran Guardsmen Tactical Assets, which lets you pick two fire support abilities that can be chosen as once per battle activations. You can pick 2 from the following 4:
- Artillery Barrage which does Blast damage and ignores cover,
- Marked Air Strike which is similar but sacrifices the cover-canceling for higher damage
- Guided Missile which has Armour Piercing and does very high damage to a single target
- Strafing Run which does moderate damage across a long line across the killzone.
Your Leader can issue one of 4 Guardsmen Orders to all friendly operatives visible to him and within pentagon/6 inch range in every Strategy Phase. It last until the next Turning Point.
- Move! Move! Move! adds triangle/1 inch to each of the Movement characteristics
- Take Aim! lets you reroll attack dice rolls of 1 for most shooting actions
- Hold Position! takes away your ability to perform Dash or Charge actions but lets affected friendly operatives in Cover reroll defence dice rolls of 1 against enemy shooting actions.
- Fix Bayonets! lets you reroll attack dice rolls of 1 when fighting in combat.
Operatives of the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
A Veteran Guardsman Kill Team has 10 Operatives, chosen from the following:
Sergeant Veteran (must take 1 per Kill Team)
This is the Leader of the Veteran Guardsman Kill Team, and his main function in battle is to issue Guardsmen Orders (see above), but he also has quite a few different weapon loadouts to choose from: He can choose a Boltgun, which is just a good reliable gun with unlimited Range, or he can choose a pistol/melee weapon combo.
For pistols, he can choose a Bolt Pistol (same as the Boltgun but with pentagon/6 inch Range), Laspistol (pretty bad but can be upgraded with a Hot-Shot Capacitor Pack equipment if you’re playing narrative play) or the always amazing Plasma Pistol that has AP1 but can be AP2 if your overcharge it and risk causing mortal wounds to the Sergeant if he rolls 1s. Also note that the Plasma Pistol’s Ballistic Skill has been FAQed to be 3+ rather than 4+
For melee weapons, he can choose a Chainsword or a Power Weapon, and while the Chainsword does get to reroll one attack dice each time you Fight, the Power Weapon is the superior option with its critical damage of 6 and its ability to score critical hits on a roll of 5+.
Trooper Veteran (9 allowed per Kill Team)
The Trooper is your standard operative for the Veteran Guardsman Kill Team. It’s equipped with a Lasgun and Bayonet, none of which are very good weapons in their own right, but the Trooper has a Group Activation of 2, which means you can activate two of them at a time. This means the Veteran Guardsman Kill Team has the option to be shooting horde Kill Team that overwhelms the enemy with lasfire, and if you choose to field a ton of Troopers, you can use the Overcharge Lasguns Strategic Ploy to give them all AP1 at the risk of also suffering mortal wounds.
Whether you actually want to go down this route for your Kill Team can be a tough choice to figure out. Group Activations can be very good, but you also have so many interesting special operatives to choose from that you’ll miss out on many tactical options if you field too many Troopers. If, however, you choose Trooper Veterans as your Ancillary Support option, you get 4 Trooper Veterans without having to worry about missing out on any of your other operative options.
Confidant Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Confidant is essentially a spare Leader for your Kill Team: If your Leader is incapacitated, the Confidant can take over its role by gaining the Leader keyword and the ability to issue Guardsmen Orders. He can be equipped like a Trooper or choose a Boltgun or Bolt Pistol/Laspistol (note that its Bolt Pistol has sadly been FAQed to have a Ballistic Skill of 4+) plus Chainsword, so he can be effective at range and in melee as well.
His best ability, however, is Directive, which lets another nearby friendly operative activate right after the Confidant (at no action point cost since it’s an ability), so it’s essentially a Group Activation for non-Troopers, which is great if you’re not going down the mass Troopers route for your Kill Team.
Zealot Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Zealot has the same loadout as a Trooper, but it’s also really into the religious aspect of serving the Emperor: Its ability The Emperor Protects lets it re-roll all its defence dice against shooting attacks, and its Uplifting Primer Unique Action lets it read from its Imperial Primer Handbook to uplift nearby friendly operatives. Being uplifted lets a friendly operative score critical hits on a 5+ in both shooting and melee combat, so bringing a Zealot Veteran in your Kill Team and keeping it close to heavy hitters such as your Sniper Veteran or Gunner Veterans can really boost their efficiency.
Medic Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
This is the healer of your Kill Team, with the ability revive a nearby incapacitated friendly operative to 1 Wound remaining instead of being taken out, and it can also heal up to 6 Wounds to a friendly operative it didn’t revive in the same Turning Point. Since it also has a Lasgun and Bayonet, you’re not missing out on any firepower by bringing this, so it’s a must-have in any Veteran Guardsman Kill Team.
Comms Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
This is another essential operative to bring in your Kill Team: The Relay Orders ability of the Comms Veteran activates when it is issued a Guardsmen Order, and then that Guardsmen Order is issued to every friendly operative in the Killzone rather than just the ones close to your Leader, at the cost of a -1 to the Action Point Limit of the Comms Veteran. This is a huge bonus to your Kill Team, so keep your Comms Veteran alive and close to your Leader at all times.
The Comms Veteran also has the Signal Unique Action which lets it pay 1 Action Point to add 1 to the Action Point Limit of a nearby friendly operative, which is always useful for controlling objectives, performing missions actions and so on.
Demolition Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Demolition Veteran has the Plant Mine Unique Action, which lets it place a Mine token and then perform a free Dash action to get away from it. It can then later use Detonate to make a very strong Shoot attack against each operative within square/3 inches of the Mine Token. This is an excellent area effect attack, but can also serve the psychological function of creating a rather large area where the opponent will think twice before placing any of its operatives.
Bruiser Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Bruiser Veteran is one of the very few melee-focused operatives in the Veteran Guardsman Kill Team. In addition to its Trooper weapon loadout, it has the Trench Club melee weapon with the Stun critical rule, and the Bruiser ability that lets it ignore the damage inflicted against it by one normal hit in one fight action each Turning Point.
This hardly makes the Bruiser a melee powerhouse, but as with so many other Veteran Guardsman operatives, its special abilities come in addition to having everything a Trooper Veteran has apart from the Group Activation 2 characteristic, so you might as well bring it along.
Hardened Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Hardened Veteran is a Trooper with a Bionic Arm melee weapon profile that has a critical damage of 5, as well as the ability Hardened by War which lets it ignore wounds on a dice roll of 5+ (after any other defence rolls) and ignore any modifiers to its Action Point Limit.
This makes it one of the more durable fighters in your Kill Team, but while that isn’t saying much, it still means it can make a good bodyguard for one of your better shooters while also having being able to fire with its Lasgun until the enemy closes in.
Sniper Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Sniper is, well, the sniper of your Kill Team. Its Long-las rifle causes a whopping 3 mortal wounds on a critical hit, and can be fired while the Sniper has a Conceal Order of is hasn’t made a move (other than a Dash) in the same activation. This is one of the best weapon profiles in your Kill Team and including it in your roster is a no-brainer.
Spotter Veteran (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Spotter takes some setting up to use optimally, but it’s still great: It has the Mortar Barrage ranged weapon that can be fire while concealed and hits everything in a circle/2 inch area (just remember that targets determine if they’re in cover from terrain above them rather than between them and the Spotter), and its Spotter Unique Action lets you pick a visible enemy operative and a friendly operative next to the Spotter. The friendly operative chosen can then treat the enemy operative as having the Engage order, so that it can shoot it even if it was originally Concealed.
Both the Mortar and the Unique Action are great, but they also both require 2 Action Points to use, so you’ll have to carefully set up your Spotter and a nearby friendly operative so that you can make full use of both Mortar and action during the game.
Gunner Veteran with Bayonet and Grenade Launcher (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Grenade Launcher of this Gunner is a versatile weapon that can choose between shooting with Frag or Krak Grenades, for either an area effect attack or a strong, single-target AP1 attack. The fact that these attacks have unlimited Range, unlike the hand grenade versions of those attacks other Kill Teams can usually equip, makes it even better.
Gunner Veteran with Bayonet and Meltagun (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Meltagun is an absolute gem that any Kill Team should take if they have access to it, and here it is on one of your Gunner operatives! It does 6 normal damage, has AP2 and does 4 mortal wounds on a critical hit. It’s insane. Keep it alive and keep it close to a Medic or an operative that can buff it in one way or another.
Gunner Veteran with Bayonet and Plasma Gun (1 allowed per Kill Team)
The Plasma Gun is a unlimited range version of the Plasma Pistol your Leader can take, and while it’s not as great as the Meltagun, it’s still a very good ranged weapon. Since you can take one per Kill Team, there’s no reason not to bring it if you’re not going for the Group Activation 2-style Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team filled with Trooper Veterans.
Gunner Veteran with Bayonet and Flamer (1 allowed per Kill Team)
This operative has a standard Flamer with 5 attacks, a Ballistic Skill of 2+ and the Torrent circle/2 inch special rule that lets it hit all targets near the original target. Torrent is a bit fiddly since all targets have to be within 2 inches of each other, but unlike the similar Blast special rule, it can be used in Overwatch actions.
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Ploys of the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
This changes the profile of all of your Lasguns for 1 Turning Point, so that they get a new Overcharge option which gives them Armour Piercing 1 in exchange for the Hot keyword that damages the wielder for every attack roll of 1 you discard. It’s a gamble, but rolling out AP1 across your entire Kill Team can make a difference against heavy targets.
Improves all your Save Characteristics for 1 Turning Point if you’re rolling saves against shooting actions while you’re in Cover.
Into the Breach
A free Dash action for each friendly operative within your drop zone, as long as it brings them closer to the enemy’s drop zone. Great for moving up the board in the beginning of the game.
Clear the Line
Gives you the ability to automatically succeed on one of your attack dice rolls in each attack action made in combat for 1 Turning Point.
This lets your Leader issue one Guardsmen Order (see above) in its activation rather than (and in addition to, as long as you don’t issue the same order twice) in your Strategic Phase.
In Death, Atonement
When one of your friendly operatives are incapacitated, you can use this Tactical Ploy to keep it alive and uninjured (and available for activation if it hasn’t already activated in that Turning Point) until the end of your next activation (or the end of the battle if that’s what comes first).
This lets you reroll all your attack dice for a shooting attack if another friendly operative has already targeted you target in the same Turning Point.
Equipment of the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
Hot-Shot Capacitator Pack
+1 to Damage for Lasguns and Laspistols equipped on the operative bearing this equipment.
Ignore the damage inflicted on you by one attack dice (one use per battle).
An extra close combat weapon with a Critical Damage characteristic of 5.
Allows you to dig trenches (create Cover from Light Terrain) around the bearer for itself in your drop zone.
Cover-ignoring area effect grenade with moderate damage output potential.
Armour-Piercing single target grenade with good damage.
Lets you reroll your initiative roll once per battle.
Lets you pick an additional Scouting option in missions where Scouting is allowed.
Tac Ops of the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
The Veteran Guardsman Kill Team is a Security archetype Kill Team and can choose Tac Ops from the Security table in the Core Book, but it also has access to the following faction-specific Tac Ops:
Boots On The Ground
Gives you Victory Points for having more operatives than your opponent near both your drop zone and their drop zone.
Score this is you control 2 objective markers while also controlling more objective markers than your opponent.
Glory in Death
If you lost more operatives than your opponent at the end of the battle, but at the same time you scored more victory points from the mission objective, you score additional Victory Points from this Tac Op.
Playing the Veteran Guardsmen Kill Team
The Veteran Guardsman Kill Team is mostly a shooting Kill Team that’s all about doing big moves as a group. The Guardsman Orders ability gives you big advantages to large groups of your Kill Team that simultaneously reward you for everyone doing the same thing: Move! Move! Move! is only good if you want everyone to make a Dash action, Hold Position is far more valuable if everyone’s in Cover, and so on.
So: At least a part of your Kill Team should always work as a single organism. This can be done in a couple of ways: You can take Trooper Veterans as your Ancillary Support option and take as many Trooper Veterans with Group Activation 2 as you can in addition to that, as well as a Comms Veteran to make your Guardsman Orders affect everyone. You could also go the other way and take as many of the special operatives you have access to as you can, which can especially give you access to a lot of heavy firepower at the cost of just doing activations normally, apart from with one operative that’s close to a Confidant Veteran.
The one thing you should definitely avoid is getting into close combat. While you have some melee weapons, your Saves and low Wounds characteristics just won’t sustain your for consecutive Turning Points in close combat. That doesn’t matter too much, though, since you have many ways of being a great gunline Kill Team that just fires away from Cover at anything that moves. Always remember that most of your special operatives have Lasguns in addition to their other loadouts, so in a pinch you can always use Overcharge Lasguns to make everyone shoot with AP1 at the cost of suffering mortal wounds.