Mini-Batreps: My Fiendish Adventures in Kill Team

So, recently I have started getting into Kill Team as an alternative to mainstream 40k. This is due to a number of reasons, the primary one being time: my schedule on weekdays is too tight to get a proper 40k game in, and I would much rather not carry my army case with me to and from the office on the TTC. Kill Team, on the other hand, is on so small a scale that I can easily carry a force (or two) with me in my backpack. My leanings towards Kill Team have been further reinforced by the fact that (1) my local game stores have been really getting into it lately, and (2) my girlfriend has expressed an interest in starting a Necron Kill Team.

Because of all of this, I have started to take my first baby steps into Kill Team…and like all baby steps, have usually ended up falling over and bawling my eyes out. So, to chronicle my progress, here are my first three games of Kill Team with my plucky, heroic Drukhari, and what I learned from them (TM).

For my first matched play game of Kill Team, I put together the following list:

DRUKHARI:

Sybarite- blast pistol, agonizer, Leader- 12
Hekatrix- splinter pistol, agonizer, Combat- 11
Kabalite Gunner- dark lances, Sniper- 16
Kabalite Warrior- splinter rifle, Comms- 7
Kabalite Gunner- blaster- 11
Kabalite Warrior- 7
Kabalite Warrior- 7
Wych- 8
Wych Fighter- hydra gauntlets- 11
Wych Fighter- shardnet and impaler- 11

Total: 101 (I only realize not that I was 1 point over)

The general idea behind this Kill Team was to have a decent mix of firepower and close combat punch. The Dark Lance Sniper would try to get into an elevated position early on while the Comms Kabalite boosted his firepower. The Wyches would run up and try to stab things, and the Sybarite would be there to lend a hand in close combat or freem things with his blast pistol as needed.

For my first game, I ended up taking on some green Marines:

DARK ANGELS:

Sergeant- bolt pistol, chainsword, Leader
Space Marine- flamer, Demolitions
Space Marine Gunner- missile launcher, Heavy
Space Marine- Comms
Space Marine- Stalker bolter*
Scout Gunner- heavy bolter

I have no idea how on earth his Marine had a stalker bolter– as far as I knew, it wasn’t a Primaris Marine. 

The scenario was Ambush. For my Scouting phase tactic, he chose Plant Traps, while I chose Disarm Traps, thus cancelling the two strategies out. For my combat drugs, my Wyches got +2 to their movement, which was quite nice. My deployment looked like this:

The Dark Angels, meanwhile, huddled behind cover wherever possible– save for their one brave flamer Marine, who was ready to advance and meet the xenos with burning death.

I only remember the broad strokes of how this game went, so here is what I can recall based on the pictures:

At the start of my turn, almost everything advanced up, hoping to get into better line of sight next turn. The Dark lance shifted to try to get a better line of sight as well.
In response, his flamer Marine moved up, and everything else of his Readied up…which, as I soon discovered, meant that his stuff would be shooting before mine.
In the ensuing game, his Demolitions Marine proceeded to wreak havoc with his flamer, grievously wounding my Kabalites and Wyches, while his big guns nearly knocked out my dark lance.
In response, I tried to surround him and gun him down in my following turn, but thanks to some crappy rolls and a low damage roll from my blaster, the flamer Marine remained standing on a single flesh wound. My splinter rifles just weren’t cutting it against his power armour. My dark lance tried to shoot back at his guys in cover, without success.
Two of my Wyches tried to outflank his firebase for a charge next turn…and lost one of their number for their troubles.

I had to leave early by that point, as I was going to be late to meet with someone and had vastly overestimated how long the game would take. By that point, however, it was clear that I was fighting an uphill battle, though I at least took some valuable lessons from that first game. In particular:
-I was reminded that charges need to be declared at the start of the turn– a vast departure from 40k that I continuously forgot about. 
-Readying up units is vital, as it ensures that they will get the first shot– especially against an opponent who is moving towards you.
-Positioning is everything in Kill Team, as on turn 1 my dark lance had no line of sight to anything, and anything that I wanted to move around thos corridors in the centre was struggling to get into line of sight of that flamer Marine.
-Flamers with the Demolitions skill are MEAN.

My second attempt at Kill Team was was against Sisters of Battle, played by a gent using a fan-made Kill Team list (which, as a fellow Sororitas player, I was totally fine with).

I used the same Kill Team as last time (apologies for the blurry photo)

To my memory, my opponent’s Kill Team was:

SISTERS OF BATTLE:

Sister Superior- bolt pistol, chainsword
Battle Sister Gunner- flamer
Battle Sister Gunner- heavy bolter
Battle Sister Gunner- heavy bolter
Battle Sister
Battle Sister
Battle Sister
Battle Sister

I can’t remember what his Specialists were– one girl may have been a Comms expert, but beyond that, I can’t remember.

I can’t remember the scenario, but we were using the starship board from the Rogue Trader set. My deployment was as follows above…
…while the Sisters of Battle deployed on the opposite end in the control room.
Going into the game, my plan was simple: run screaming at the enemy with my Wyches, in the hopes of getting as many charges off next turn as possible, and hopefully distract the Sisters from my heavier firepower.
Long story short….that didn’t end well. While my dark lance freemed one heavy bolter girl, in response the Sororitas’ accurate firepower wasted all but one of my Wyches (plus my dark lance Sniper!) In the next turn, one Wych managed a long charge around a corridor into a trio of Sororitas…and did no damage. In the following turn, the Sisters broke off and the Wych was promptly gunned down by the rest of the kill team.
By the end of things, my Drukhari broke, and the Sisters of Battle cleansed the xenos in time for their afternoon tea and prayers.

In the aftermath of that game, my opponent was gracious enough to give me a few pointers:
-In Kill Team, as in 40k, chargers don’t need line of sight to the target they are charging– meaning that my Wyches could have hid behind walls and attempted charges without fear of overwatch! I must admit, I had completely forgotten about this rule, and had paid for it by having my reckless Wyches getting gunned down en masse. If I had remembered this, then perhaps more of my drug-crazed gladiatrixes would have made it into combat.
-I need to remember that the turn sequence is not “I go, you go” like 40k– meaning that if I move stuff into cover out of line of sight, I cannot count on those models remaining out of line of sight after my opponent’s movement phase.

Taking what I learned from these first two losses, I decided to switch things up a bit for my third game. After analyzing what worked and what didn’t, and consulting the collective wisdom of the internet, I revised my list to the following:

DRUKHARI (MKII):

Sybarite- splinter pistol, Leader
Hekatrix- splinter pistol, agonizer, Combat
Kabalite Warrior- splinter rifle, Comms
Kabalite Warrior- dark lance, Sniper
Kabalite Gunner- blaster
Wych- splinter pistol, Wych blade
Wych- splinter pistol, Wych blade
Wych- splinter pistol, Wych blade
Wych Fighter- hydra gauntlets
Wych Fighter- shardnet and impaler

The general idea was to this time keep my Sybarite out of harm’s reach and have him generate command points instead of sending him off towards the enemy’s guns. I also skipped on Kabalites wherever possible in favour of Wyches: provided I remembered to charge them from out of LOS, I could not only get into the enemy’s face nice and early, but also negate a lot of their firepower by tying them up in combat (and, hopefully, stabbing them dead).

My opponent, meanwhile, brought the following:

ELUCIDIAN STARSTRIDERS

Voidmaster Nitsch- Leader
Voidsman Gunner- Heavy
Aximillion- Forward Scout
Knosso Prond- Zealot*
Sanistisia Minst- Medic
Larrsen van der Grauss
Voidsman
Voidsman
Voidsman

*I have no idea how Knosso Prond got Zealot, but I suspect it was in the aftermath of a Kill Team campaign that the player had participated in. Having not faced the Starstriders before, this would be a new experience for me

SCENARIO AND DEPLOYMENT:

For scenario, we rolled Recover Intelligence, and we fought on the following table:

A look at our deployment zone: the big objective in the centre was worth 3 points, the ones closest to my deployment zone were worth 1 for me, and the ones closest to the other board edge were worth 2 for me.
My opponent had her Starsdriders hugging cover where possible.
I, meanwhile, had most if not all of my Drukhari huddled behind the wall on the left hand side of my zone, with my Hekatrix and one Wych being the only ones brave enough to stand in the centre of my DZ (albeit still behind cover). 
The Starstriders’ Heavy set up in a firing position atop the ruins, while Nitsch, van der Grauss and Aximilion huddled closer to the left hand side. You can barely see them because they are unpainted, but Sanistisia Minst and Knosso Prond are crouched in the middle of the ruins.

For my Wyches’ combat drugs, I rolled Splintermind, giving all of my Wyches +2 LD (not the result I was hoping for). For the Scouting phase, I chose Plant Traps, while my opponent chose…Disarm Traps. Funny how that always happens.

I won the initiative, and with that, the game commenced!

I started things off by moving my Sniper up onto an elevated position. 
My Leader and Comms both hung back to avoid enemy firepower. On the left flank, all of my Wyches advanced up, hugging cover where possible, with one Wych grabbing an objective. My Kabalite with the blaster edged up around a corner to get line of sight on the enemy Heavy, all the while hoping to be able to grab the central objective as well.
On the left, the Hekatrix and her Wych friend both sped up, hugging cover as they did so.
My opponent had markers on hand to denote movement and advances. They are really handy, I need to get some of my own.
In their own movement phase, the Starstriders dispatched one of their Voidsmen to run up and contest the central objective. Elsewhere, Prond and Minst skirted around the edge of their ruins, preparing for a charge. Everywhere else, the Starstriders Readied up.
Larrsen van der Grauss edged up to support the Starstriders with his kustom force field voltagheist array, while Nitsch stayed behind cover and Aximillion…marked his territory.

In the shooting phase, I used both of my command points on Decisive Shot, hoping to take out the Voidsman on the objective with my blaster Kabalite before the enemy Heavy could take him out in turn. Unfortunately, my opponent did the same thing. We rolled off, and the Gunner won, opening fire with his fancy gatling gun and blasting two flesh wounds off of my Kabalite Gunner.

Thankfully, he was still standing, and returned fire, managing to hit despite his wounded state and freem the Voidsman in one shot! The Sniper, meanwhile, fired at the Heavy…and despite being boosted by comms, missed. 
Another Voidsman shot at the Kabalite Gunner and missed, but the other managed to blast another flesh wound off of him. The Kabalite was still standing, but at this point he had suffered more flesh wounds than he normally liked. Finally, Nitsch managed to spot the Wych with the hydra gauntlets in the distance, and blasted two flesh wounds off of her with his artificer shotgun.

At the end of the round, the Kabalite Gunner failed his morale test and went to ground, and thus was unable to score the central objective. Despite this, we managed to tie 2-2 in the first round.

At the start of my opponent’s turn, Knosso Prond and Sanistisia both charged my rightmost Wych. In response, the Hekatrix quicky charged into the fray as well.
On the left, my wounded Wych with the hydra gauntlets charged Nitsch…and took another wound from overwatch! Although she survived and made it into combat, by this point she was dangerously injured. My shardnet/impaler Wych also tried to charge Nitsch, but fell short, as did another Wych trying to charge Larsen (though the failed charge move at least moved her onto the middle objective).
In the shooting phase, sadly, the Voidsman Gunner turned his attentions to that Wych and opened fire with his rotary cannon, shredding her.
Vengeance was swift, however, as the Gunner was soon blasted down in return by my dark lance Sniper.
In close combat, my injured Wych Fighter was now hitting on 6s thanks to her flesh wounds, and failed to hit Nitsch. Nitsch, at least, missed in return.
Elsewhere, Knosso Prond unleashed half a million attacks and horrendously overkilled my poor Wych, despite me using a command point reroll on one of her saves. In response, my Hekatrix did two wounds back to Prond, both of which were saved.

By that point, however, my opponent had to leave, and we called it there. I was satisfied, however, that I had at least made it to turn 2 without being horrendously butchered (for the most part).

So, some overall thoughts so far on Kill Team:

-The turn sequence is far more dynamic than that of mainstream 40k, with players moving and reacting to one another far more rapidly– the roll-off to see which of our models could shoot first sticks out in my mind as an example of that. It does a lot to make the game feel less like a chess match, and more like a roiling, active firefight.
-At the same time, the movement phase feels a lot more tactical: given that the map is more compressed and charges only happen at the start of the turn, a lot more though has to be given to things like line of sight, cover, where the enemy is probably going to go, etc. It actually reminded me a lot of old-school Warhammer Fantasy, and in a good way. 
-It is genuinely fun to have individual models squaring off against one another in duels and in gun battles. It makes models that would have been just basic troops in 40k feel more like individual characters.
-My Drukhari will take some more practice for Kill Team. I am already toying with the idea of trading the Sniper specialism on my dark lance gunner for the Heavy one instead, so that he can move and shoot with some accuracy instead of having to get into an elevated position. And I haven’t even started to look at the things in the Commander supplement yet.

I think it’s fair to say that Kill Team has already made it’s mark on me, howeer– I enjoyed that last game so much that, on a whim, I’ve already started work on a Deathwatch Kill Team…but that’s a post for another time. In the meantime, I hope to get more batreps in soonish!

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