Kill Team Expansions

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Hey everybody!
So the Kill Team train has been going pretty much full speed since the game dropped over the summer, and in addition to the main box and the first major expansion, we’ve seen a whole ton of re-packaged models alongside this, comprising, to date, four waves of models. I’ve picked up a couple of these things now, so thought I’d come here today and ramble for a bit about my thoughts on the way Kill Team is moving so far.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

As you can see, I’ve picked up some of these boxes that most fit along with existing armies that I have – I’m going to get the Necrons box at some point as well, for sure! I suppose I’ve been looking at KT almost in the opposite way to perhaps how GW wants me to look at it, and building teams out of existing armies that I own, rather than going for models that I’ve always wanted to paint just a couple of, and then sliding into a full-blown army. But I suppose I’ll get to that point a bit more shortly…

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Each of these boxes includes a plastic infantry squad, a plastic terrain piece (or pieces), and the necessary rules bumph that allows you to use the plastic in your games. So in the above photo, we have a Drukhari infantry squad, which happens to be Wyches, alongside some Deathworld Forest terrain, and all of the tactics cards, squad cards, and tokens that we’d need to use these folks. There are also two mission cards included that make use of the terrain – notably, they tend to include a requirement for more terrain than comes in the box – and a little booklet that has some fluff and a few photos of the fully built and painted kill team.

Interestingly, the Drukhari kill team that they suggest you build – The Slicing Noose – is only 86 points in matched play. The T’au team is 94 points, and the Scions team 58 points. I find this interesting that the suggested teams don’t aim to maximise the 100-points available, though I suppose something like a five-man Scions team could never be very points-effective, given the costs of the units you can make with just one box of Scions. And it’s something that has been there since the core box, where the Ad Mech and Genestealer Cultist teams were not exactly points-efficient.

This brings me on to a minor tangent that I’ve mentioned before, of course,  but I’m still bemused to see mentioned around the internets. A lot of people seem to be genuinely baffled as to why GW are releasing the kill teams that they are – why not include more variety in the models? It’s been very clear since the core rules box came out that the “official” Kill Teams are comprised from single kits that are already available for 40k, so we won’t see a proper mix of units if you can’t make that unit from the whole kit supplied – I suppose in the case of the Necrons box, it got a bit confusing because there were Deathmarks and Immortals in the team. But enough of this rant!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

The boxes are, I think, pretty decent in terms of value for money. At MSRP, you’re getting a five or ten-man squad, all of their rules, plus some terrain, for a lot less than it would cost to get these things separately. The above Tempestus Scions box costs £30, and you get roughly £51-worth of models (I say roughly, because the Munitorum Containers box contains three sprues of containers, while you only get two of them here). There is a lot of value to be had by getting these things, and I’m really excited to see these sorts of products being made.

There have been a few issues of course, notably the coloured plastic they use for the infantry feels somehow softer than the plastic of the regular kits, and the Scions in particular have some really terrible mould lines.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

Re-packaged kits aren’t the only expansions to come for the game, of course – Rogue Trader landed last month while I was on honeymoon, and I managed to finally pick it up a couple of weeks ago. The set contains a whole load of new models – 33 of them, to be precise, along with some small-scale terrain that is mainly in the form of bulkhead doors and the odd treasure chest. I suppose the biggest thing about this is the fact that it happened at all, and brought the Rogue Trader, an iconic character class from the very earliest days of 40k, into the game with new models.

The expansion is pretty much what I think a lot of us were expecting from the off for Kill Team expansions, if I’m honest. The main rule book includes the rules for fielding regular troops that we can already purchase, whereas this box is full of all-new stuff that we’ve never seen before. I suppose I was hoping for something a bit like Shadespire, where we get new bands of miniatures that come with everything we need to play them – whereas we get everything we need to play with pre-existing sculpts. It’s a weird situation because, for the most part, we’re buying these expansion boxes in order to get the tactics cards and (perhaps) the scenarios to try. There are doubtless people who will benefit from these boxes who have not got the models either, for sure, but it does feel a bit weird when it comes to established players. I guess there’s an assumption that established players will be invested enough that buying five or ten more guys for an existing army is no big deal if they also want the tactics cards and scenarios. But I’m no business expert!

So are the tactics cards worth shelling out £37.50 for? Let’s take a look at the Drukhari box again. In the core book, there are four tactics available, which play into the theme of the army being lightning-fast, as well as being vicious reavers from outer space. The box gives us six more tactics that can be used by Drukhari teams in any warzone, and one that is specific to there being an Eldritch Ruin on the game board. More on this in a bit.

The six new tactics are a surprising bunch – two of them are specifically for Wyches (only one actually says it, Bloodied Grace, though there is the Hyperstimm tactic that affects any unit with the Combat Drugs ability – so, only Wyches). There are three more tactics that play into that lightning-fast theme of the force, and one that buffs Power from Pain, which both Wyches and Kabalite Warriors have access to. They’re a good mix, for sure, and they definitely give you some nice options that could potentially keep your guys alive, but I’m not sure if I would pay a premium to get them. Of course, the argument has already been made that you’re basically getting most of the terrain and all of the accompanying paper stuff for free when you buy these boxes, but that isn’t the only way we should be looking at these things, after all.

I think a lot of the Kill Team experience boils down to just that – the experience. We’ve seen GW selling us this sort of thing before when they have major new army releases, where we have to get the exclusive codex and the dice and all the fancy stuff. The fact that Kill Team comes with so much more gubbins than we’re used to in regular 40k is perhaps making this more obvious, as we have the faction-specific cards and tokens as well in these boxes. It’s in this respect, I think, that Kill Team comes very close to Shadespire, as we have the opportunity to make that sort of statement with our collections – we want to play Kill Team using our faction-specific cards and dice and tokens and all the rest of it, because we are that faction. It’s a really interesting way of selling these sorts of games, to me, because I am so often sucked-in to this whole experience! I’ve been collecting everything for Necromunda since day one, so have all of the gang-specific stuff even for those gangs I have no interest in playing! I just want that experience (and of course, I am a completionist).

Something I’ve talked about previously on my blog is the possibility that GW will do another round of these sort of repackaged kill team expansion boxes, where they give us more of our chosen faction’s options – for instance, I could totally see another Drukhari box with Kabalite Warriors, or T’au box with Pathfinders, and because I’m heavily-invested in both of these armies at this point, I would most likely buy them as well. It’s a really quite effective way they have of making money off something that basically already exists – that is, the miniatures. Not to discount the length of time that goes into designing a ruleset here, of course…

This post has been really long and quite rambling, so I’m going to draw it to a close now. Suffice it to say, I feel both excited about how much we’re seeing to support Kill Team, while at the same maintaining a decent cynicism about the whole repackaged theme that GW have got going on here. I really hope that we can see more unique products for Kill Team in the future, once the initial flurry of releases is over and each faction has had their kill team specific box. They don’t have to be particularly huge expansions like the Rogue Trader box, either, but just unique sculpts for existing bands of minis. Maybe that’s how we’ll eventually get new models such as new Chaos Space Marines, or plastic Flayed Ones. I’m really hopeful that Kill Team: Inquisitor will turn out to be a thing, and I would love to see similar styles of releases in the future, with specific warbands pitted against one another.

Kill Team Commanders

Before I do close this blog, however, I feel that I have to mention this bad boy. Up for pre-order this weekend, there’s a significant part of me that feels like this is getting a bit out of control. Gone is the idea of having a small team of five or ten models – games are now running to 200 points, and being led by such luminaries as a Genestealer Patriarch, or a Necron Overlord. What, now?! What happened to the small-scale skirmish?! I mean, for sure, it’s entirely plausible that kill teams can be led by these HQ choices – you can come up with all manner of fluff such as the big guy is out with his elite bodyguard cadre, or whatever, but as many people have already said, where is this going to end? Is the next thing going to be vehicles? Will I end up being able to bring an Annihilation Barge?

I’m a huge hypocrite, for I’ve already pre-ordered the book anyway, but there is a part of me that is just bemused by how this game line is progressing, cannibalising regular 40k as it goes…

5 thoughts on “Kill Team Expansions”

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