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Kill Team Guide: What you need to know about Comms and Demolitions Specialists

The Comms and Demolition Specialists are two of my favourite in the rule book, and form a very strong backbone to a shooting based Kill Team. The Comm Spec I think will be an auto-include for many, and the Demolition Spec can potentially out-sniper the Sniper!
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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)

Comms Specialist

Whether this be your Scion with the radio or Marine with the auspex, these specialists provide extremely useful buffs to your team’s shooting. For Orks you have the choice of the forgotten Shouta-boy or the lad armed with the Orky-Talky gubbins.

  • Scanner: Once per shooting phase, when you pick  model from your Kill-team to shoot, and it is within 6-inches of the Comms Spec and it is not Shaken, you can add 1 to Hit rolls for that model in this phase. 

Whee. This almost makes the Comms Spec an auto-take for any kill team, and certainly first on the list for a Shooty list. The presence of this as an ability spits in the eye of the Sniper, doing what they do as a Tactic as an easy to gain buff. Obviously, this should be paired with your big gun model, but this works with pretty much everyone as a straight forward accuracy buff.

Your synergies work well with Heavy (provided he has a big gun), but surprisingly not so well with the Sniper. The Sniper gets to re-roll 1s already, and whilst adding 1 to Hit rolls means they will never miss (provided you can avoid rolling too many 1s), you can actually get better results with the Demolitions Specialist… see why below.

  • Tactic: Rousing Transmission
  • Use this in the Morale phase before taking any Nerve tests. 
  • Subtract 1 from Nerve tests as if the Comms Spec was within 2-inches of them
  • Cost: 1CP

See my page on Morale tests for how these rolls work. This is invaluable for any kill team and means you can spread your guys out across the field a little more easily. Situational, but very handy if you need to split your party. Not so great on its own, but the Scanner ability really makes up for that!

Demolitions Specialist

I was dreaming up a Reiver only Kill Team and was disappointed to find they couldn’t take the Sniper Specialisation. However, after crunching some numbers I’ve found the Demo Spec to be just as competent in the cover crowded table top of Kill Team.

  • Breacher: You +1 to this model’s wound rolls against targets that are obscured.

It might not feel like it when you’re rolling, but this makes up for the -1 to Hit rolls against models in cover. It doesn’t quite fix it, but it does help in most cases.

Now where this gets interesting, and the maths explodes into about 8 or so tables, is when you compare this to the Sniper. Out in the open the Sniper obviously comes out on top, being able to hit their target more reliably with a re-roll on to Hits of 1. The Demo Spec starts to out-damage the Sniper on anything in cover, at least in the majority of Toughness cases.

The Demo Spec, if tooled up as a non-flamer weapon carrier, works much better with the Comms Spec, using the ability from the Comm Spec to effectively ignore cover but still getting the +1 to Wound roll. The maths works out more in favour of the Demo Spec than it does with the Sniper for this combo. I’ll show a more thorough comparison between the Sniper and the Demo Spec once we’ve gone through all the Specialisations, because it gets more complicated when considering Tactics. Speaking of which:

  • Tactic: Custom Ammo
  • Use this Tactic when you choose the Demo Spec to shoot in the Shooting phase
  • +1 to Wound on ranged weapons
  • Cost: 1CP

Nothing but awesome with this one. This is Veterans of the Long War from the Chaos Space Marine codex, the one which turns Rubric Marine fire from merely good to pure bullet storm. Ironically, this Tactic and the ability makes the Demo Spec a better user of Sniper rifles than the Sniper, getting those Mortal Wounds out on a 4+ against guys in cover!

Now before anyone jumps at me for not mentioning this; if you’re taking a flamer make the carrying model a Demo Spec. You don’t need to roll to hit, making this Specialisation absolute murder against anything in cover.

Suggestions

I really do recommend pairing the Comms and Demo Specialists together, if you’re not running flamers and don’t have access to the Sniper. They make a wonderful shooting combo, much like the Leader and Combat Spec make for a good assault combo.

A very quick Kill Team for new players would be the following Space Marine Kill Team:

  • Reiver Sergeant, with grappling gun and combat knife (Leader)
  • Reiver Specialist, with grappling gun and combat knife (Combat)
  • Reiver, with grappling gun and combat knife
  • Intercessor Sergeant Specialist (Comms)
  • Intercessor Gunner Specialist (Demolitions)
  • Intercessor

This comes in under 100 points and has a close combat half and a shooting half, allowing you to use both combo pairs. Nice and flexible, and all the models come in the First Strike kit!

If there’s anything I’ve missed or made a mistake on, let me know in the comments below. I’m moving on the Medic and Heavy Specialists, one of which I’m thrilled by, and the other I find underwhelming.

Until next time.


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Comments

  1. I'm considering an Intercessor Gunner with Stalker and AGL as my demo man. Would that be a good choice of rifle, or does the launcher make it redundant?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At first blush the Stalker Bolt Rifle looks like a side grade to the auxiliary grenade launcher. Less strength but better AP, and slightly more range on the rifle.

      The maths shows the grenade launcher firing krak to outperform the rifle though, the higher strength helping out with that. The only time the rifle does better is against 2+ armour save models, which is only Rubric Marines in Kill Team... who would lose their 2+ armour save thanks to the grenade launchers d6 damage anyway.

      Oddly enough the frag grenade does better than both of them, those extra shots helping boost up the average wounds.

      So yes, stick with the grenade launcher for the demo man. If you want to use the Stalker Bolt Rifle make your specialist the Sniper. The Space Marines have a unique Tactic which lets them add +1 to Hit and Wound rolls for 1CP for Intercessors armed with talker Bolt Rifles.

      Delete
  2. Actually just using the command point to reroll the Wound roll is statistically better than using Custom Ammo. Custom gives you a 1/6 of being helpful. the reroll gives you a 2/9 chance of helping, and you have a 1/3 of it not even being needed saving you the command point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting! Most of the time a re-roll trumps everything, so I don't doubt you're correct. I'll need to check the maths on that when I get a spare minute though, to make sure it's true for every situation.

      Delete

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