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Kill Team Guide: What you need to know about building a Kill Team

There are 3 formats for playing Kill Team; Open Play, Matched Play and Narrative Play. Each mode has roughly the same Force (note the capital F… it’s a technical term!), but there are some distinct differences when building into them.

kill team warhammer 40k 40000 shooting melee assault psychic psyker guide faq analysis games workshop building a kill team list

Open Play

Technically you can bring whatever you want to an Open Play game, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree to take on your Imperial Knight with their Fire Warrior squads (although that might be possible in the context of Kill Team… loads of negative modifiers etc.). This is for the most casual of players, and as such, a single squad should suffice.

This is a recommendation rather than a rule, but for Open Play:

  • Bring one of your regular Troops units from 40K
  • Specialists: Leader, Comms, Demolitions and Heavy (for a shooty unit), or Combat and Zealot (for a choppy unit)

That should work for most scenarios, and the specialists should work well for any normally armed Troops choice. I’m sure you could all think of better load-outs for your Factions, but these will work without you putting in too much brain power.

Matched Play

I imagine this is where most of my readership is coming from and will be the format for the Schools League in the UK.

The rules are as follows:

  • 100 points for Kill Team
  • 3-20 Models 
  • 1 Leader
  • 3 other Specialists
  • Specialists will only be up to Level 1 (more on that later)
  • Some models have a maximum number you can field (e.g. one Sergeant model)
  • They must share a Faction Keyword (so no more Kitchen Sink Imperium armies)
  • You gain an additional Command Point per turn for every 10 points you are below your opponents Force value.

Figuring out the best loud outs and Forces for matched play will be a lovely little puzzle to crack for the next year or so, until the School League meta changes again. I’ll need to dive deep into each faction specific rule set to say what’s best though.

However, there is a small alteration I’d like to make. In the current rules for Matched play, Specialists only have their first level, with other levels and abilities reserved for campaigns. Whilst I can see why balancing across the different specialisations and Factions will be an absolute nightmare, I’d propose the following additional rule for your home games:

  • An additional 20 points per roster to be spent on Specialisations
  • Any unspent points goes towards determining how many additional command points you receive

20 points would allow you to make one Level 4 super solider, or more evenly spread levels across your specialists. And I realise this is meaningless to anyone who hasn’t read the rule book yet but wait until later this week to see what this all means.

Narrative Play

I consider this to be a weird mish mash of Matched and open Play, so just go with whatever story you and your buddies are crafting together. I do recommend sticking with Matched Play rules as much as possible though, so you add some tension to your games (and a little fairness).

Data cards

One last thing. Kill Team uses data cards for each model. Think of these as character sheets, and if you’ve ever played Shadowrun or any GURPS you can see some similarities. They will be useful for tracking flesh wounds and injuries across games, but for matched play all you’ll really need to know is this:

  • Each model has 3 flesh wound boxes. They go out of action when they are all filled.

Well, still a more in-depth analysis and suggestions than I wanted to do today, but I hope this was useful. Command Points are next, and there’s much more to discuss and analyse there. Sadly though, no opportunities for spreadsheets and maths… just logic so far.

Until next time!

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  1. I like the extra point to upgrade Specialists - I wonder if 20 might be a bit more than intended? That will give you a level 4 and a level 3, or a level 4 and two level 2's, or two level 3's and a level 2, or three level 2's and a level 3.

    That said, if I ever get the elusive opportunity to play in a group that's open to house rules, this is a wonderful concept. The higher levels of specializations open up a lot of interesting changes to play that get missed in the basic one-off match.

    1. Thanks for commenting! To be honest, 20 points may well be too much. How all the traits would interact with each other is a balancing headache that Games Workshop probably wisely avoided.

      Still, I think it would be a fun way to open up depth of play to the game, and would make it really good for the tournament crowd. If you do find a group willing to try it let me know how it goes.


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