Well they’re back. First appearing in Kill Team: Rogue Trader, a narrative-based Kill Team supplement back in 2018, the team was based on John Blanche artwork, and the miniatures were designed before Kill Team 2018 was developed (they were thinking of maybe using them for a board game?). The miniatures were warmly received in terms of criticism, but the sales of the box were poor and part of the reason why Kill Teams release cycle changed after the first wave of boxes. In general the product design for KT2018 was a bit of a mess, and while lots of good stuff was there, we can all remember the issues, particularly after the release of Elites.
Bringing Gellarpox and Elucidian Starstriders alongside the release of a box about plunging into a space hulk is on theme and a great addition to the beginning of What you might call Kill Team 2: Phase 2.
Today’s Kill Team Coverage:
- The KT 2022 Annual and Kill Team: Into the Dark
- The Killzone Gallowdark Terrain Review
- Imperial Navy Breachers Kill Team Review
- Kroot Farstalker Kinband Kill Team Review
- KT Annual: Gellerpox Infected Kill Team Review
- KT Annual: Elucidian Starstriders Kill Team Review (This article)
Before we dive in, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with preview copies of the Annual and Into the Dark boxed set for review purposes.
Elucidian Starstrider Kill Teams
Similar to the Gellerpox, Starstriders don’t have any options – you just use the entire set of models. That’s cool, since previously you weren’t able to use all of them unless you were playing Commanders. Your team will consist of Elucia Vhane, one doggo, one Death Cult Executioner, a Lectro-Maester, a Rejuvenant Adept, a Voidmaster, and four Voidsmen, and one of those gets a rotor cannon.
Starstriders get two faction abilities. Warrant of Trade is all pre-game boosts, and some of these are very nice (extra equipment points to tool up Voidsmen for a start). Privateer Support Assets, which need targets to be visible, are much better on open maps rather than Into the Dark maps, as you’ll be able to get four turns out of them whereas in the close confines of a space hulk, you might not see your opponent on some turns.
Warrant of Trade
Warrant of Trade is an ability that can be used up to three times (though you must choose different options each time). There is a lovely table of options, each of which gives the specific time you can use the ability (and all but one of them are before you begin the first Turning Point).
- Coerce – Re-roll your dice to determine Attacker or Defender.
- Coordinate – Start the game with an extra CP.
- Adaptable Terms – You can select your Tac Ops from two archetypes
- Consideration – You can spend an extra 6EP on equipment
- Explore – Select and resolve an additional scouting option
- Seize – You can reroll the dice to determine initiative
I would rate Adaptable Terms as the best of these, and the rest as personal preference. Consideration I highly recommend as well.
Privateer Support Assets
Remember the Veteran Guard Support options that let you shell your opponent? Well these are like those, only they represent your guys having a bunch of bonkers weaponry they were able to buy with all their war profiteering money. Instead of activating a model, you can select a support strike on a model, measuring visibility and cover from a friendly Navis or Elucia Vhane operative that is not within Engagement Range of enemy operatives. This restriction, particularly in the close confines of a space hulk, means your opponent may tie up models to prevent them being able to call in strikes if they’re clever.
You can call in three types of strike, and may do so more than once but not on successive turns. This means the most you’ll be able to use any strike is twice.
- Archeotech Beam – 4 dice, 4+ to hit, 6/7 AP2 Barrage – Trying to kill something big and armoured
- Guided Shell – 5 dice, 4+ to hit, 3/5, Barrage Blast 2” – Fairly damaging blast
- Cluster Bomb – 5 dice, 4+ to hit, 2/3, Barrage Blast 3” – A large blast to chip damage a group of enemies
Starstriders is an unusual team, as the operatives are fixed (you get what you get – Elucia Vhane, a dog, a Death Cult Executioner, an Electro-Maester, a Rejuvenat Adept, a Voidmaster, 3 Voidsmen with lasguns and a Voidsman with a rotor cannon). This is basically a restriction due to the models on the sprue.
Your leader, Elucia comes with an interesting selection of weapons and abilities, but no unique action.
Elucia has two ranged weapons, a Digital Laser (I take it this is the Jokaero digital weapon of my childhood that you stuck on every combat character) and a Heirloom relic pistol. Both are 4 dice with 3+ to hit, but the Digital laser has a 3 inch range, is Indirect, Lethal 3+ and Limited, has damage 0/0 but does 2 wounds on a critical hit. The Heirloom relic pistol has a 6” range, is 4/5 Damage P1 and Indirect.
Indirect is a better version of No Cover, as No Cover simply means that the target can’t automatically retain successes for being in Cover, whereas Indirect means they are treated as not being in Cover, which is different and better.
In melee she has a Monomolecular cane-rapier (4 dice, 3+, 3/6 damage, Lethal 5+) which is a slightly worse power sword.
Abilities are a Disruption field for a 4+ invulnerable, Predator, which gives a free Fight or Shoot action during activation and Merciless, which let’s you reroll an attack dice when shooting or fighting an enemy that has less than it’s starting number of wounds.
All of this seems really good, but remember Elucia is still an operative with a 4+ save and 8 wounds, and while she is immune to the ravages of AP, it’s still just 8 wounds.
Are dogs just as good as Kroot Hounds? Well since they’ve got exactly the same abilities, the answer is yes (Rob: Empirically this makes sense, as they are all just wonderful boys. 11/10). An 8” basic move, APL2, 5+ Save and 6 wounds wrapped around a Vicious Bite with 4 dice, hitting on 3+, Damage 3/4 and Rending make Canids the fastest operative on the team. While you cannot give them equipment and they cannot perform mission actions, they have the Loyal Companion ability and Retrieve unique action. They also ignore the first 2” for climb, drop and traversing when they are activated.
Loyal Companion allows an out-of-activation Charge when an enemy operative finishes a Charge action within Engagement Range of an Elucidian Starstrider operative within 3” of the Canid as long as the Canid finishes it’s Charge within Engagement range of that enemy operative. There is not a limit on how many out of sequence Charges you can make and the wording specifically says ‘Each time’. If an enemy operative performs a Fight action and the Canid would be a valid target, you can force them to target the Canid instead. It’s worth pointing out that you don’t have to do this, as 6 wound models die quick, but even the Charge can be used to move the Canid forward and to provide a supporting model for whatever operative is being targeted by the Fight action, giving them +1 to hit.
Retrieve lets you, for 1AP, perform a free Dash, Fall Back or Normal Move and a free Pick Up action at any point during that move. Great for grabbing an item that you need to Pick Up for a Tac Op.
Death Cult Executioner
The team’s melee powerhouse. With 3APL, a 5+ invulnerable and a raft of abilities, and a unique action, she has the punch to win fights and to use orders on the way in or out of melee to stay alive.
The Dartmask is an interesting 6” range Silent weapon, which while it only does 1/1 damage is Lethal 5+ with a Stun critical effect. In melee the much more damaging power weapon comes out, and 5 dice with 2+ to hit and Lethal 5+ means a lot of hits and a good chance of criticals.
Rapid Reflexes gives you a 5+ invulnerable and Zealot gives you a 6+ save on every wound you would lose.
Duellist means you can resolve a dice before the Attacker when someone fights you, but must use it to Parry. This is ok because you are rolling 5 dice hitting on 2s, so you should have plenty of hits spare. If you are fighting a normal grunt, and this operative is great for hunting them, they may only have two hits to resolve and you can parry both of them and then shishkabob them.
The Assassin ability lets you change your order for 1AP, meaning you can switch to Engage, Charge, Fight and then switch back to Conceal.
You know what wins games? Doing objectives and getting mission actions done. This model buffs nearby friendly operatives, and has a couple of unique actions with a lot of potential.
Armed with a 4/4 pistol with Rending and Splash 1 (but a mediocre 2/3 Gun butt in melee) this model is useful for getting stuff done and for it’s special actions.
It has two abilities, Voltagheist Array, which let’s friendly operatives within 4” reroll a defence dice when they get shot at, and Missionary of the Martian Creed, which reduces the cost of mission actions the operative does once per turning point by 1 AP to a minimum of 0AP. This makes them great for sitting on objectives doing mission actions, giving your nearby operatives a reroll and shooting with their pistol if they can.
The two unique actions are Voltagheist Field – until the end of the Turning Point, if an enemy operative finishes a move within 2” it takes D6 mortal wounds and Voltagheist Charge, which gives their Voltaic pistol Lethal 4+, making it great for Splash damaging a group and getting lots of crits on the target which are hard to save. However it can only pick one of these actions per Turning Point, and cannot perform either while in Engagement range of an enemy operative.
The medic to keep your operatives on the table, and with a lot of 7 wound operative, you need the help.
Slightly better than the Guard medic, with two good abilities and a unique action. Normaliser helm gives a 6” bubble where friendly operatives ignore the effect of injury. Battlefield Surgery lets this model revive the first friendly operative incapacitated within 3” of this operative each turn, provided neither operative is within Engagement range of an enemy operative. The incapacitated operative is healed to three wounds and can perform a free Dash as long as it finishes that move within 1” of the Adept. Both models subtract one from their APL. This keeps an operative from dying and can be done even if the Adept has previously activated.
The unique action Healing Serum (1AP) Heals D3+3 lost wounds of a model within 1”. As normal you can’t do this in Engagement range of an enemy operative.
This is a solid healer with a little combat ability, but you aren’t taking it for the firepower.
The sergeant character for your Voidsmen, wielding a super cool shotgun and an upgraded laspistol. This model buffs your nearby Voidsman and has a cool unique action.
Disciplinarian – Friendly Voidmen within 4” get the Balanced rule on their weapons. A nice buff given Voidsmen are 4+ to hit.
Hardy – Once per battle in the Resolve Successful Hits step of a combat or shooting attack, you can ignore the damage inflicted on this operative from one attack dice. This lets you soak a critical and keep this operative alive.
Uncompromising Fire – 1AP unique action that counts as a Shoot action, but lets you fire your Shotgun (close range profile only) and Laspistol as one action. Normal restrictions for Shoot actions apply. Double tap a tough enemy or hit two for chip damage.
Remember that you can buy this model Carapace Armour to increase his save to 4+. It is a very good idea to do so.
Your rank-and-file guys, you take three with lasguns and one with a rotor cannon. They’re basically guardsman, but the rotor cannon has 6 dice and can overwhelm defence dice that way. Get some buffs on it to help it pile on hits, though it suffers massively from being Heavy and no access to suspensors.
Voidsman will do a lot of objective holding, and equipment can improve them to Stormtrooper levels, so think seriously about buying them Hot-Shot Capacitor Packs and possibly Carapace Armour.
Lethal Proximity – Reroll one attack dice in shoot actions as long as the target is in 6”. Great on Into the Dark boards and considering the number of pistols the team is running around with.
Stake Claim – Place a Claim token anywhere in the Kill Zone. Whenever a friendly model fights or shoots an enemy operative within 3” of that token, before rolling attack dice, retain one as a success. Another great buff.
Undaunted Explorers – Each time a friendly model within 2” of an objective or 6” of your opponents drop zone takes damage, in the Resolve Successful Hits step you can halve the damage inflicted from one of your opponents successful hits. Great for keeping models alive.
New Frontiers – Friendly operatives (if they aren’t a dog) get +1” of movement when they perform a Normal Move, but must end up closer to the opponents drop zone. Great first turning point ploy to get around the board.
Combined Arms – If the target of your Shoot action was the target of a Shoot action by another Starstrider operative in the turn, then after you’ve rolled your attack dice you can opt to re-roll any or all of the attack dice. This is a get out of embarrassing miss free card, and incentivises plinking away at something big early in the turn then rotor cannoning them with re-rolls on your misses later in the turn.
Survivalist – Once only for each operative in the whole game, when they activate use this ploy to give them back 4 wounds. This is absolutely great for getting models that have taken damage back in the fight, and it’s enough wounds to pull a model back from the brink.
Daring – Use when a friendly operative is activated, add +1 to APL. Great for grenade runs of Shoot/Charge/Fight.
Well-Drilled – Use when a friendly operative is activated, select another friendly operative Visible to and within 6” of it. When the first operative has been activated, activate the other one. 1CP to get GA2 with any combination of models.
Flash Visor [1EP] – You can ignore any and all modifiers to APL and you aren’t affected by the Stun critical. It’s ok but not as good as a lot of the other options.
Carapace Armour [2EP] – Only for the Voidmaster and Voidsmen, this increases their save to 4+, which is a bargain for 2EP, especially for the Voidmaster and Gunner.
Hot-Shot Capacitor Pack [2EP] – add 1 to the damage for lasguns and laspistols the operative has. Turns lasguns into a bolter equivalent.
Concussion Grenade [2EP] – Gives you a single unique action to pick a point within 6” of the operative, and each operative within 2” loses one APL on a 4+, subtracting 1 from the roll if they aren’t visible. It’s good for messing up enemies holding objectives.
Frag Grenade [2EP] – It’s a frag grenade.
Krak Grenade [3EP] – It’s a krak grenade, and gives you some APL and high damage to bean an enemy operative.
The roster for Starstriders is fixed, and the only difference between games will be equipment, so every team is the same and you can’t really do an example one. Ditto your competitive roster.
Equipment you need to think about. I recommend getting six extra EPs from Warrant of Trade, and giving carapace armour to the Voidmaster and Gunner. The Voidsman I’d go with either a grenade or carapace and hot-shot capacitor pack (you can outfit everyone with carapace and all the lasgun goods with hot-shot to turn them into imitation stormtroopers, and the +6 EP option on warrant of trade seems designed for exactly that). Concussion grenade is interesting and can give your opponent a horrible surprise with a last action throw to drop the APL of the operatives he has on an objective.
An interesting team, if one lacking in different options to take due to the nature of the beast (a single unvarying sprue without on model options). It’s very thematic to bring the Rogue Trader teams back for Into the Dark, and five new teams (you’ve got to include Intercessors) launching at the same time will shake up the meta a lot.
While Starstriders are not going to be kicking Harlequins off the top of competitive play, I think good players will make them work the same way good players make pretty much any faction work, and as a hobby project there is nice variety and a limited number of models to give a reasonably quick but ultimately satisfying experience.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.