Unboxing the New Kill Team Chalnath: Five Things You Need to Know

Kill Team: Chalnath goes up for pre-order today, and Games Workshop were kind enough to send us a preview copy to dig into and learn more about the war in the Vedik System. We’ll be talking about the rules for the new Novitiate and Pathfinder Kill Teams today, and the new Killzone and mission rules later in the week but those are just a part of what is in this box, and so with that in mind we’re going to pre-empt some of the questions you’re likely to have and talk about the box itself.

The new campaign book, complete with combatants who seem a bit uninterested in each other

1. This is a real campaign box!

If you’re used to the GW model of “battle box” releases, you’ll know that they ordinarily try and add some kind of light fluff or gaming content to them, and that it’s often not very good. Maybe there’s some datasheets so you can technically play the game with just the models in the box, maybe there’s one or two narrative missions someone dashed off in a lunch break. Who knows – chances are you never even opened the pamphlet except to find out the stats for your new guy that aren’t in a Codex yet.

Much as we expected after the Octarius box, Chalnath is different. There’s a reasonably chunky campaign book in here, with some fluff pieces and a nice showcase for each team, as well as some cool John Blanche art which looks slightly out of place in the otherwise quite sleek, modern-looking Kill Team aesthetic but is nevertheless very cool. It’s only a couple of dozen pages, but it has the feel of a real thing people cared about writing.

Beyond that, there are of course the rules for the teams, with the same depth as the ones we saw in Octarius, replete with Specialists, Tac Ops, Battle Honours and all the rest. This isn’t a get-you-by until a Codex can come along and replace the pamphlet, these are rules you’re expected to use for your team for the foreseeable; supplementing those are additional Killzone (terrain) rules and nine new Shadow Operations missions. If you’re interested in playing one of these teams, the book is essential; even if you’re not, there’s plenty here to get to grips with and integrate into your games or campaigns of Kill Team.

2. This is NOT a core box

Unlike its predecessor, and probably suggesting the model for these things going forward, there’s no core rules in here. You get a whole bunch of stuff – campaign book, two teams, a big pile of terrain, a battle board – but the core manual is absent. This is a smart decision; the Core Manual is a thing you can buy separately, and if you were way into Kill Team 2.0 you probably bought Octarius anyway and have a copy from there, so why not just leave it out? The price is reflective of its absence, with this set being £20 cheaper than Octarius was. It also allows GW to utilise more box space stuffing it full  of sprues, helpful for the big chunky Sector Imperialis pieces, of which you get two big ruins and a selection of smaller ruined walls to go with them. Perfect for a game of Kill Team, or a great supplement to a 40k terrain collection.

It’s a seriously big pile of terrain

3. GW might have worked out that some stuff can just look cool

If you’ve seen the 40k Kommandos datasheet you’ll remember how annoying it is, with six different bullet points of different gear to make sure that if you built the cool options for specialists in Kill Team, everything had specific rules that conformed to exactly what’s in the kit. Judging by the new Novitiates datasheet released on Warhammer Community, someone may have realised this was getting a little out of hand – they have stuff they can take, sure, but the Kill Team Specialists here have a lot going on – there’s a trainee Dialogus, one with neural whips, one with an Eviscerator, a big old mace/censer, a condemnor boltgun, some duelling blades. The rules team have resisted the urge to translate this into 40k terms, and the Novitiates in that game can take a few bits of gear, but most of it gets rolled up into “autoguns” or “Novitiate melee weapons.” This is an incredibly sensible decision; you can build the stuff you want to play Kill Team and not find your squad is useless for 40k because you put 100pts of upgrades on a 75pt unit. We’ll have to wait and see if this plays out on the T’au side, with their new codex trailed for “early next year” on Warhammer Community this week, and we might end up seeing some of their upgrades integrated into a new 40k datasheet – the Medical Technican and Transpectral Interference Pathfinders both have shades of the Helix Adept/Comms Array guys from their sort-of equivalents, Infiltrators – but it’s nice to see a bit of restraint exercised here. Sometimes you just want to use your guys (or girls) without each one having a slightly different gun or extra thing they do.

Dialogus Jr.

4. 28mm rears its head again

The new Novitiates are on 28mm bases, like the Neophytes from the Black Templar box, and their sisters in the Repentia. There seems to be a clear theme emerging here, with 28mm being the base size for units/models in power armour armies that are not themselves power-armoured – with power armour being on 32mm or bigger, as is the Novitiate Superior here. We’ve otherwise only seen these for Howling Banshees and Incubi, which suggests a similar kind of thing – those are in power armour, kind of, but they’re lighter in weight class than a Space Marine or Battle Sister so the slightly smaller base suits them better. The Pathfinders remain on their accustomed 25mm, so don’t worry, Tau players, it looks unlikely that rebasing stuff is in your future.

5. The box is pure Kill Team

This should probably go without saying, but it’s one of the first things we checked – there’s no 40k rules in here at all. The new Novitiates have a 40k datasheet but it was published on Warhammer Community separately, and the Pathfinders are just as per the Tau codex unless we get told otherwise in future. Kill Team 1.0 releases were often pretty thinly-veiled ways to push out new 40k stuff, with datasheets right in the box and without much thought to what was best suited to Kill Team in its own right. This box continues to push Kill Team as a game in its own right, with a singular focus on the reasonably substantial KT content that’s in here. Of course you can use all this stuff in the big brother game, but it’s not assumed that you are going to or have to – if your game is Kill Team and that’s what you want to play, this product is designed to enhance that experience, without feeling any need to remind you of what else you could be doing. It’s a refreshing kind of confidence in the product that Kill Team has needed, and we’re glad to see it.

The new Novitiate sprues

Final Thoughts

As you might expect, this is partly a creation of convenience – all the stuff here is fully ready to part out and sell separately, and indeed some of it already is for sale separately, and in the case of the Pathfinders (sans upgrade sprue) has been for a while. Octarius is listed as “while stocks last” so we can assume that it will eventually sell out completely, and we’d expect this to go the same way, as a big splashy release that kickstarts the Novitiates and helps keep the KT pipeline flowing.

What that means is that the box is not essential as the only way to get the stuff inside, at least in model terms. You’re not gonna miss out on anything unique by not buying it, not even slightly different sculpts – you can pretty much assume that what’s in here is what will be in the Novitiates kit, as weill repacked Pathfinders at some stage. The ruins are just the regular Sector Imperialis ruins you may already own a bunch of, the battle board is nice but you are probably going to be drowning in Kill Team boards if you start buying all of these when they come out. The big X-factor is the rules; if you want to play one of these teams then you will need to get them from here, at least for now, and if you don’t grab a set you might actually end up missing out on them, even if only temporarily. As far as we can tell at this fairly early stage in the game’s life, these campaign books are how you access the rules for the new teams – and while not strictly better than what’s in the Compendium, there is more to them, including the faction-specific Tac Ops and such which are absent from that book – and those are only in the box they belong to, at least for now. It’s hard to imagine that they won’t get put into some kind of compendium or something down the line, since it’d be pretty weird for a box to sell out and no more players be able to play Novitiates for lack of rules, but we have no indication of such a thing yet or any idea how regular it’ll be.

With that in mind then – the box is £105, and if you want everything that is great value just by totting up the RRP (or likely RRP) of the box contents. If you don’t want all of it, or if you’re not bothered about the teams in here, then you have a bit more to think about. The good news is that with the roadmap in mind, it seems quite likely we’re going to get one of these every quarter for a while, and if you have a particular faction you’re waiting for it’s likely you will get something exciting in one of these, and at a price that is not too savage. Either way, we’re looking forward to getting in some games in Kill Zone: Chalnath.

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