Competitive Innovations in Kill Team: Adepticon in Review

Greetings fellow Sam Fishers, TheArmorOfContempt here bringing you my penultimate Adepticon related article for the year. I have one more update that was supposed to precede this, but that article has been pushed back to tomorrow.

Specifically, in this update I am going to cover the results of the three Games Workshop-run Kill Team tournaments held during the convention. These tournaments were held on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, with the Thursday and Friday events being 32 players, while the Sunday event was 16 players. First I’ll cover the overall results, with commentary on the teams who tended to perform the best, and my thoughts on those that still have potential. Then I’ll go into more depth on my personal performance, my thoughts on the Wyrmblade team specifically, and what I plan on changing when I play them in the future. One final thing to remember is that Adepticon allowed all current Kill Team rules as of March 25th, including Corsairs and Legionnaires from the latest box release. 

Author’s Note: While these were billed as 32- and 16-player events, at no point did they fill out completely. For example: 26 of 32 on Friday, and 13 of 16 on Sunday.


Results Overview

Credit: Docsucram

Thursday: 32-Player – 5 rounds

  • 1st – Rob Poirier – Void-Dancer Troupe
  • 2nd – Luke Shibilski – Talons of the Emperor
  • 3rd – Jonathon Klas Reynolds – Wyrmblade <- THAT’S ME!
  • 4th – Trevor Clifford – Ork Kommandos
  • 5th – Sean Torgoley – Warp Coven 

Credit: Arranon

Friday: 32-Player – 5 Rounds

  • 1st – Adrian M. – Void-Dancer Troupe
  • 2nd – James Matchett – Warp Coven
  • 3rd – Luke Shibilski – Talons of the Emperor
  • 4th – Jason Faye – Veteran Guardsmen
  • 5th – Jamie Kuddle – Veteran Guardsmen

Confidant Veteran. Credit: Rockfish
Confidant Veteran. Credit: Rockfish

Saturday: 16 – Players – 3 Rounds

  • 1st – Jamie Kuddle – Veteran Guardsmen
  • 2nd – Joe Hamell – Wyrmblade
  • 3rd – Jason Welker – Traitor Space Marines
  • 4th – Rob Poirier – Pathfinders
  • 5th – Jonathon Klas Reynolds – Wyrmblade <- ME AGAIN!

The first thing that should be clear is that the non-compendium teams were not only more popular, but were more likely to win. Void Dancers, Wyrmblade, Warpcoven, and Veteran Guardsmen all boasted multiple top 5 placings with Ork Kommandos and Pathfinders sneaking in. This doesn’t immediately prove that the non-compendium teams are superior to the compendium teams as they also made up a majority of the entrants, but the evidence from these events at least points in that direction. It is important to note that for every example of the above non-compendium teams in the top 5 there were just as many with losing records in each event, with one notable exception.


The Jokerization of Warhammer

Note: The Adepticon event was using the recently released Void-Dancer Troupe rules, though not every Harlequins player appears to have used them.

This brings us to the elephant in the room: Harlequins, which consistently dominated. In the case of our two first-place winners, at no point did either player score fewer than 12 points. To add insult to injury, Friday’s winner, Adrian, scored a whopping 15 points or more in every match, Utterly obliterating his final round Warpcoven opponent 18-3. Going into the event Harlequins were the team I was most worried about going up against. These fears were confirmed as my Wyrmblade showed down against Rob at the top table on Thursday. I should make it clear that Rob was a great opponent, who clearly knew the game better than me as I made more than a few key mistakes leaving myself vulnerable to grenades on more than one occasion. However, it is also important to emphasize that without these mistakes I still would’ve had an uphill battle on my hands. 

While it is my opinion that Harlequins are currently the most powerful kill team I don’t view them as nearly oppressive to play against as Harlequins in Warhammer 40K. In fact, I view their White Dwarf rules more as a sidegrade than as a pure upgrade that Vet Guard, Kommandos, or Wyrmblade are over their compendium counterparts. My current opinion is that Harlequins biggest strength is being the only kill team that has FLY on all its models, this combined with Domino Field allows them to truly dictate the flow of a match. I consider FLY the more egregious of these two abilities simply because it sets them in a special category of being able to ignore a core aspect of the game, every other team has to pay EP to ignore vertical distance, or has it in a much more limited fashion (Tau Drones and Stealthsuits for example). If I were to make any changes to Harlequins it would be to make flip-belts either equipment or a tactical/strategic ploy that grants fly temporarily to a model. My second change would be to make Domino Field go away after either a SHOOT or FIGHT action, currently it’s only on the former. Neither of these changes would remove Harlequins from their top spot, but would go a long way in giving their opponents more opportunities to turn the tables on them. 


Setting The Standard

Moving away from team discussion for a moment, one of the things these events made clear was what terrain GW expects your average kill zone to have. This had been a constant discussion for my local scene, and up until Adepticon we had been using the 2022 LVO packet. The tables at Adepticon alternated between 3 largely identical setups.

The first setup used exclusively the Octarius box sets, and in my opinion this was the best table to play on. This provided basically identical deployment areas and cover, and had enough open space to make placement of barricades a very important question. In fact, the tables in general seemed to trend towards less smaller scatter pieces and more larger individual pieces. The second setup involved four large ruins, each occupying a table quarter, usually with light cover in front, and then 2-3 containers or statues in the center. The third and probably the one I enjoyed least had 2 large sector mechanicus pieces in opposing corners with an L-Shape of shipping containers in the other corners, and 2 containers in the center. Basically every table had four large vantage points occupying a board quarter with either a large central obscuring piece, or several smaller obscuring pieces of heavy cover such as containers or statues. Depending on the deployment operatives were either able to start on a vantage point, or able to get on one within the first Turning Point using a dash, normal, or a combo of both. 


The Games Recap

This next part will serve as a general overview of my rounds, and some observations I made, or things I would do differently. Logically this means a lot of this will be relevant to people who play Wyrmblade, but can also be useful if you’re looking to counter them.

My Team


We’ve covered Wyrmblade teams recently – there isn’t really any variation in how you build the roster, as you can just fit every option into a 20-model list, but Jon will be talking about his in-game choices here.

The first thing I want to talk about is TAC OPS. Wyrmblade teams have access to Seek and Destroy and Infiltration. Once I had decided to run Wyrmblade I did a series of practice matches with my local group and decided that in almost all instances Seek and Destroy was the superior set. One might think that since they’re Genestealer Cultists Infiltration would appeal to them, but most of the Infiltration Tac Ops require you to be in your opponent’s Drop zone, or near to it. That makes more sense from a fluff standpoint than a practical one: Wyrmblade Kill Teams’ chief ability is spiking damage as they move from Conceal to Engage, and the ability to return to conceal in the same Turning Point. Nothing makes them particularly faster on the table than their opponents, and many of the Infiltration Tac Ops require you to remove your operatives from the board to be scored. Long story short? The Wyrmblade team are assassins first, spies second, and as such the Seek and Destroy Ops almost always provide easier options, and should be supplemented as needed with the Faction Ops. More on that when we get to the specific rounds.

The Thursday Event

You can find results for this in Best Coast Pairings.

Round 1: Talons of the Emperor (Sisters of Silence Only)

The Mission: Loot and Salvage

This first round was perhaps the easiest for me and I don’t mean this as a slight towards my opponent. This mission is one of the most advantageous missions for the Wyrmblade; in fact any mission that has mission actions to perform is very favorable to them. The once-per-game Strategic Ploy “Meticulous Plan” (reduces all mission actions AND pick up actions by 1 AP, to a minimum of zero) allows the Wyrmblade to not only score all 3 objectives on their board half rather easily, but also allows you to get the jump on one or more of your opponents objectives if you have deployed aggressively, OR used the scouting phase dash. This combined with Writhing Ingress can really surprise your opponent as your operatives move through what might have been assumed to be impassable terrain to pick off one of their table side objectives during your first activation. This strategy does leave those operatives vulnerable to counter attack, but the Wyrmblade usually have the bodies to do it.

As far as this game went we both had a good time, but the disparity in options between the Sisters of Silence compendium team and the Wyrmblade was on full display, and my opponent, while making no major errors, just didn’t have what was needed to overcome the early points deficit. 


Round 2: Ork Kommandos

The Mission: Escalating Hostilities

The first real nail-biter of the event. My opponent and I had a lot of give and take until the end. This was my first time seeing what the Kommandos can do, and they aren’t to be taken lightly. Simply due to the way the mission and table setup worked together it involved both our teams doing their best to control a huge central area of containers, playing back and forth for the objectives. The Rokkit Launcher, Snippa, and Burna Boy are all serious threats that should be given priority


Round 3: Grey Knights

The Mission: Seize Ground

When I spoke with Rob Poirer at the end of Round 5 he mentioned that this Grey Knights team had inflicted the greatest number of losses on his team throughout the day, removing 7 of his 8 operatives. When it comes to this match I think my opponent’s loss came down mainly to his inexperience. Grey Knights having a sixth body (thanks to the recent dataslate) and storm bolters on every model is incredibly deadly to teams without 3+ saves. In addition, these bolters can be buffed with equipment points. If I had to pick out a weakness it would be that the Gunner can’t take a BOLTER option to take advantage of Bolter Drill, in effect making him the least threatening model on the table. In the hands of experienced players who know how to properly take advantage of Overwatch, this team could easily be a top contender for best Loyalist Space Marine team, especially in a meta that seems dominated by horde teams with models that average 7-8 wounds.


Round 4 – Warpcoven

The Mission: Domination 

This was an incredibly close game in which I won by a single point. Warpcoven are an incredibly good team, with many potent options. The psychic power that is simultaneously BARRAGE and INDIRECT is particularly threatening to a team such as Wyrmblade who rely on retained saves and cover to survive being shot more than once. Thanks to the terrain setup my opponent had accurately surmised that it greatly favored my shooting capability, and that if he simply sat in his deployment zone during the duration of the round he would at the very least force a draw. This meant if I wanted a victory I would have to go on the offensive as he ceded the center of the board to me entirely. Looking back I had a perfect option to prevent this deadlock, but my own experience with my team came into play.

Enter Wyrmblade Faction Tac Op 1, Nowhere Unreachable. This involves your opponent placing another objective marker on the table that must be placed more than ⬟ (6 Inches) away from their deployment zone; you gain 1 VP per TP that you have a model within ▲ (1 Inch). In practice matches I had deemed this Tac Op mostly worthless as the deployment size usually meant it ended up in a very useless position. However, Domination is one of the few missions with a 9 inch deployment zone meaning your opponent has to place it on the centerline, suddenly making it very achievable. Had I realized this I would’ve had a much easier time. 

Instead, I ended up using a combination of Writhing Ingress and Meticulous Plan to force my operatives into one of my opponents objectives to gain a 1 VP lead that would end up being the tie breaking point. My opponent, Sean, was very fun to play with and energetic with the right amount of smack talk to make the banter a fun back and forth. However, he was also very new to Kill Team, his inexperience with his own team is primarily what made him decide to play defensively when going on the offense might have been more to his advantage. 


Round 5 – Troupes

The Mission: Secure Archeotech

As I mentioned before, Rob Poirer was an excellent opponent. Up until this round I had been mostly correcting my opponents on how to play the game, something that everyone was doing throughout the weekend as none of us apparently knew the game as well as we would’ve liked. In Rob’s case he was doing a majority of said corrections. Either way my main take away from this was that Harlequin grenades are very deadly – I left myself open to at least 2 good grenade drops that severely weakened my team. In addition, I had taken grenades of my own, but Rob was wise to this, not leaving himself grouped at any point. 

The second thing I learned is that you should never wait to take advantage of the Meticulous Plan Strategic Ploy. Secure Archeotech specifically allows the Wyrmblade to not only get up to 5 of the 6 objectives on TP 1, but also allows them to perform the Pick Up action at the same time they Disengage Tech, incredibly powerful. Against a team like Harlequins this is an excellent way to bait them out. That being said, I did none of the above things, Rob got in my business, and while I killed 5 of his 8 operatives ,he had me pretty handled by the end of the match.


The Sunday Event

Sunday was the three round event. Adrian Martin won the other 5-round event on Friday with his own Harlequins team. You can find results for the three-round Sunday event in Best Coast Pairings.

Round 1: Pathfinders

The Mission: Loot and Salvage

What are the odds? I find myself up against Rob again! This time he had elected to take Pathfinders, who I had not yet played against. He admitted he was not as experienced with them as his Harlequins, and this match ended up being a significant reversal of fortunes from our prior game. Based on the last time playing Loot and Salvage I didn’t hesitate to use Meticulous Plan to gain an early lead, and combined with Climbing Gear, Frag Grenades, and Writhing Ingress I applied pressure to his team early to put him a points deficit he was unable to make up. In addition, just to add insult to injury his dice were doing him no favors. Having a chance to take out a chief rival early like this really had me riding high to take this event.


Round 2: Traitor Legionnaires

The Mission: Escalating Hostilities

Nothing surprising here coming from Jason other than his fantastically painted Word Bearers team. I had played against this team several times at my local scene, and came into this round very confident (you could say overconfident) that I knew exactly how to handle Jason. What followed was me nearly blowing the game as I exposed my mining laser early in an attempt to kill Jason’s leader. Basically, Jason baited me perfectly, my mining laser failed to kill his leader, and then proceeded to get evaporated by his Heavy Bolter Gunner. I then sacrificed another of my gunners in order to finish off the leader. By end of TP1 Jason had me down 3-4 operatives to his one, and I was starting to feel the heat as the Heavy Bolter Gunner had complete domination of the table. Perhaps at this point Jason became overconfident himself as he focused more on killing my team than securing the center objectives. Some clutch moves with my Kelermorph allowed me to kill off 5 of his 6 operatives by the end of TP4, and myself with only a single operative left, but his Heavy Bolter gunner was nowhere near a valid objective.

My main takeaway here is that unless you have designated one of your Heavy Gunners as your Deadly Marksman, it is in your best interest to start moving them up the table on TP3. Many times I have been reduced to only a few operatives, and had I kept some individuals back they would not have been in position to hold late game objectives.


Round 3: Veteran Guardsmen

The Mission: Secure Archeotech

Once again I found myself on the final table, but this time up against Jamie’s Veteran Guardsmen. We’d both played in previous events over the weekend, and knew what to expect on this table setup, and this mission. Two primary mistakes cost me this game. First, I deployed incorrectly, and left myself open to a frag grenade shot that cost me my Locus on TP1 and seriously injured my Icon-Bearer and Mining Laser. The second mistake I made was I used Meticulous Plan to quickly pick up several objectives, but instead of retreating those objectives to my side of the table I attempted to press the offensive against Jamie, who was rolling very well in addition to just being a very shrewd and knowledgeable player. In fact, both my final opponents displayed a grasp of the rules and tactics that was commensurate with their placement. I point this out simply to emphasize that while they were playing two of the most powerful teams in the META skill is the deciding factor in Kill Team, something that isn’t always true about standard Warhammer 40K. 


Credit; TheArmorofContempt

Lessons Learned

There isn’t a lot to say that I haven’t covered earlier. One main thing is that despite playing numerous practice games with my place group, playing in a tournament environment is a much better way to understand the game. We all have rules interactions that we have likely misinterpreted, and this is especially true in games like Kill Team where one might have fewer opportunities to play it outside your local scene where these misinterpretations only get reinforced.

Beyond that, most of what I learned is very specific to how the Wyrmblade Team functions in the different missions and team match-ups. With this in mind those of you who are also devotees of the Swole Armed Emperor, or are eyeing the Wyrmblade as an option for a future Kill Team, keep your yellow eyes peeled for a future article where I will go much more in depth on this team covering every aspect of it.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at