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Kill Team Guide: Tips for the Psychic, Shooting and Melee Phases

The core mechanics of actual combat of Kill Team are very similar to 40K. There are some key differences that change how the game plays, and what choices you’ll need to make in designing your roster.

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To be honest I could lump these all together as “The Fighting Phase”, since they’re all very similar. The mechanics are roughly the same, with players taking it in turn to activate models. As such, there are some general tips to follow:

  • Use your heavy hitters first
  • Target your opponent’s heavy hitters first if possible

Fairly self-explanatory. If you leave your big guns until the end of the turn you will either reduce their targets or risk losing them before they can fire. A heavy weapon that doesn’t get used is wasted points.

Psychic Phase

The psychic phase in Kill Team is probably more like what people want from something labelled as a sorcerer or all-powerful psyker.

In 40K direct damage spells tend to be a little on the underwhelming side for the point investment. The ability to knock off a few mortal wounds on a large unit or tank doesn’t sound too exciting for 70 points, even less so when those 70 points can explode in your face. Kill Team has the same rule set, with the following considerations that make everything run a bit better for your Mob Psycho 101.

  • Less teams that can field psykers, for fewer Deny the Witch chances
  • Killing one model with mind bullets reduces the opposing forces by an average of 10%
  • You get to shoot mind bullets before the shooting phase begins, which can cripple ambush plans and Readied models.
  • You can still shoot mind bullets after Advancing and Charging. 
  • You can shoot mind bullets in Combat too!

Shooting phase

This is largely the same rules as 40K, but you’ll also have Readied models going first. There is a quick tip to know because of this:

If you don’t have Initiative, make sure you ready the same number of models as your opponent
This way you don’t let your opponent get two shots off in a row against you, once the Readied models have fired.

The changes that affect shooting are as follows:

  • -1 for models over half range
  • -1 for cover
  • -1 for broken Kill Team
  • -1 for each Flesh Wound
  • You can split your fire between models that are 2-inches apart... but you need to declare which shots go where before rolling.

So you can see… a bucket load of negative modifiers. Your best bet is to get close as possible, and try to give yourself cover as much as possible whilst keeping the enemy in clear line of sight. Pretty much what you want from a skirmish rule set!

Keep in mind that this makes Rapid Fire weapons super effective compared to other weapons at half range. They will tend to have better effective ranges that nearly every other weapon type on the field, as both pistols and Assault weapons tend to have max-ranges less than 24-inches for balance sake in 40K. Only Heavy weapons will be more effective shooters, and even then usually only with Relentless trait from a Heavy Specialist.

There’s a big tip here though:


The rules state that a model that has made a charge attempt cannot shoot. A charged model also cannot shoot it's pistol in the shooting round. Since the first round of combat will not fire, it's a very easy thing to miss that Pistol weapons can be fired in the next rounds. Anyone in close combat will be eligible to shoot during this phase. It will be one of those things that are easy to forget.

Fight Phase

So you’ve managed to charge in, despite the completely chaotic movement phase, and temperamental charge. You also haven’t accidently shot your target to death with pistols. So now you get to enact glorious slaughter in close combat!

It’s the same as shooting, but without any long range modifiers. The big advantage to it is pinning your opponent in place, and the fact that the majority of Kill Teams won’t be set up for it. Try to get models that ignore terrain or vertical distance if that’s what you’re going for… you’ll be able to pull off unexpected charges that way.

Once your opponent is charged they cannot shoot their weapon, and unless things go well for them, they will need to Fall Back in the next round. Get a costly heavy weapon model in combat and it's dead weight for about a third of the game (barring Command Point shenanigans).

One more tip to consider:

  • If you’re charging, you’re not shooting.

If you consider the weapon choices of some units, in 40k you tend to choose extra shooting attacks over close combat ones, to give you that ranged flexibility. Space marine Reivers are a good example of this, choosing between Carbines or extra big knives. In Kill Team, those Carbines will not be as helpful to you.

Reader Insights

There’s probably quite a few tips and tricks I’ve missed out, so please let me know what I need to be teaching my students in the School Warhammer Club. A good example for this was given by Chris Noble over on the Twtitters.
“Vertical movement is very important and a unit that gets free vertical moves (like Space Marine Reivers) are exceptionally useful.”
Thanks for pointing that out Chris, and I couldn’t agree more.

Next time we’ll look at Injuries and the Morale phase. It plays a much more significant role in Kill Team than in 40K, and your entire force can be broken and demoralised!

Until next time!

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  1. Hey. Regarding the vertical movement. I was just wandering, since I am quite a noob, what is an advantage of having a Reiver go to higher ground? He is then usually far away from everybody else with no help and most of enemies can shoot him (sometimes with -1). Hwo to use properly higher ground like scond floor of a building?

  2. Thanks for commenting!

    The big advantage is effectively ignoring walls, and changes in height. Whereas other models would need to use up their move value going up and down, the Reiver just moves 6-inches across the board.

    It's faster movement across the battlefield, moving over terrain for free rather than around.

    High ground in general can give you full view of an opponent whilst you are obscured by the floor. Hiding behind a chest high wall might work if you're on the same level, but by moving higher you can see fully over the top of the cover.


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