Kill Team Guide: Tips and tricks for Veteran and Zealot Specialisations

I was initially cool on the idea of the Veteran, blinded as I was by ogling the higher tier abilities. However, on further examination of the tactic I think it will be one of the most used Specialisations and is destined to get calls for a nerf bat. Zealot… well, it sounds cool?

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Here are some of the ground rules before we go into discussing the Specialists. I’ll only be talking about them in terms of Matched Play, which means the following:

  • Tier 1 only, so only the first ability and level 1 Tactic
  • Only 4 Specialists per team
  • One must be a Leader
  • Each specialist must be unique in the Kill Team (i.e. you can’t field 2 Combat specialists)


The one specialisation I would go cowboy with, having supreme first turn mobility when paired with an assault flamer weapon. They’re also slightly more resistant to the fear caused by going solo.

  • Grizzled: This model ignores penalties to is Leadership characteristic and Nerve tests

Not as exciting as some of the other Specialist abilities and probably not all that helpful to you. Models taking Nerve checks are going to either be wounded or part of a broken team, and they’ll be marginal in their effectiveness in either of those situations. Being able to pass Nerve checks more easily will at least make them functional, in that they won’t be Shaken, but they still won’t be at full fighting capacity.

Still, very cool and thematic for models carrying key equipment. Shrugging off wounds and the horrors of war to get on with the job at hand is a common story everyone has about a model in their collection*, and this makes it easier to do that.

Their tactic though… now that’s fun!

  • Tactic: Adaptive Tactics
  • Use this at the start of the first battle round, but before the Initiative phase
  • A Veteran Specialist can move or Advance.
  • You can only use this once per battle
  • Cost: 1CP

Excellent! This is the Kill Team equivalent of a Deep Strike, giving your model effectively 2 moves in the first round, which for most models will be 12-inches plus your Advance roll. Your options with this are:

  • Running to an objective
  • Running to a choke point
  • Move up and Ready
  • Move up and Charge

Keep in mind that most Kill Team matches will have models setting up a minimum of 12-inches away from each other, half that of the standard in 40K. With most models you can get halfway across that distance, before charging an average of 7-inches the rest of the way.

One point of rules lawyering before you get too excited. The Advance rules specifically states the model cannot Charge, React or shoot non-Assault weapons after advancing IN THAT BATTLE ROUND. The Tactic is used at the start of the Battle Round, not before it. This means you can’t Advance your model using the Tactic and then charge.

However, you can get around all of that using a flamer… an Assault weapon that can shoot after advancing and doesn’t care about the -1 to Hit roll. My gosh! That Rubric Marine or Plague Marine can move a minimum of 12-inches clear across the battlefield and spit out noxious poison/warp flame right on the first turn… and be an absolute pain to charge or kill to boot!

In all honesty pairing this spec with an Assault weapon isn’t a bad idea at all and makes your Veteran faster than a Scout. I’m sure you can all think of some scary shenanigans to ruin your opponents carefully laid out first turn plans!

*My story of a die-hard veteran not about my own model, but a Deathwing Terminator sergeant that munched its way through half my Craftworld Eldar army after his squad was wiped out in a classic Webway alpha strike. The TOTALLY LOYAL son of a lion survived three full rounds of shooting and combat. Frustrating. And he survived to the end of the battle too! 


A Fight phase specialist that is quite thematic, but probably not best to be relied upon. Works well for bruisers that you expect to rampage and charge through the opponent each round, and not be bogged down in combat.

  • Frenzied: You add 1 to this model’s attacks and strength in a battle round in which they charged

A nice variant of the Combat specialist, but I wouldn’t be picking the zealot over the Combat specialist. The benefits only work on the charge, and whilst an increased strength is nice it might not always be usefully applied. Off the top of my head, a Space Marine attacking a toughness 3 Genestealer Cult Neophyte would not gain any benefit on their to Wound roll, and neither would that Neophyte charging a Toughness 5 Plague Marine.

You’re also obligated to Always Be Charging, and as Blood Angels players can tell you, the enemy tends not to sit still for you to attack.

The tactic is rather underpowered for a Command Point.

  • Tactic: Killing Frenzy
  • Use this when you pick a Zealot to Fight
  • Each time you roll a 6+ to Hit, then you can make another attack against the same target
  • These extra attacks do no not generate extra attacks
  • Cost 1CP

Exploding attacks are typically sought after in 40K, but the single model nature of Kill Team makes it much less appealing.

Let’s look at a typical close combat character; the Reiver. A Zealot with a knife will put out 3 attacks. Assuming you get the charge, that goes up to 4 attacks. This means you’re going to gain an average 0.7 extra attacks. But, this does not automatically hit, so this translates to less than half an extra hit. Which still needs to wound.

And this assumes that you have no negative modifiers to Hit.

This tactic really works for multi-damage weapons, where the extra half hit can convert into a whole wound (statistically speaking). So if you can equip a high attack number model with a good strength, good AP, multi-damage weapon and manage to get them to charge… you’re still better off spending the CP on the Leader/Combat Spec alpha strike combo.

There is certainly a niche for this (and I’m looking specifically at a Plague Marine with a flail for this), but it’s not a generalist Tactic, and perhaps something you can avoid.


The Veteran and Zealot both offer some solo model opportunities. They are, however, specific niche and strategy specialisations to build into the theme of your Kill Team. They don’t really have much place in a generalist force, with the Veteran being somewhat more useful in that regard.

With that said, I’m almost certain I’m missing something key with the Zealot, so please let me know in the comments below. We’re also done with the examination of the Specialists and can now move on to different Factions!

Until next time!

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