Games Workshop has brought the gacha system to their blind box series. Mixing the heroes series with Kill Team, and giving everyone an excuse to kitbash some named heroes! In this preview, we’ll be diving into the Strike Force Justian (SFJ) team to cover their rules, and how we think they’ll fare in Kill Team.
Strike Force Justian Kill Teams
We currently don’t know the archetypes or tac ops allowed for the SFJ team. However, the team functions similarly to the Intercession Kill Team released to Warhammer Community last year. This means I’d guess they should have the Security/Seek and Destroy archetypes, and Tac Ops 1-3 from Intercession Squad. Strike Force Justian loses the Chapter Tactics and Equipment of the Intercession Squad in favor of the easier datacards provided with each blindbox.
Iron Halo on Captain Justian: Grants a 4+ Invuln save, since it’s stapled to a 15w operative this is going to make the captain incredibly hard to remove from the battlefield.
Smoke Grenade on Brother Thysor: Single use smoke grenade for (1ap) which mimics previous smokes. Definitely a good equipment choice that allows turn one set ups that the intercession team can’t do.
Camo Cloak on Brother Flavian: Double retain while in cover, however Brother Flavian has a heavy silent weapon, so how often will this really come into play? When it does though, it’ll make him even harder to remove.
Adjust Optics on Brother Flavian: (1ap) action to ignore obscurity, since you’re sitting on a heavy gun, this will probably see some good use on both open and in the dark terrain. Ignoring obscurity will let Flavian counter punch enemy operatives that mess with your melee specialists.
What the team lost in Chapter Tactics, they’ve gained in power armor chassises. Going from a flat 14w 3+ SV structure across the board, to mixing in 2 different armor types. Brother Acules rolls in with 18w’s but 4” of movement in heavy intercessor armor. While Brother Flavian is a spritely 12w phobos mark. While this certainly is not a fair trade for loss of Chapter tactics you can take both a Captain and a Sergeant so your ballistic skill across the board is notably better than Intercession kill teams.
- Captian Justian, a 4+ invulnerable save, supports a 2+ plasma pistol(5 ⁄ 6 AP1 or 2), and 3+ power fist(5/7 Brutal). While the rites of battle gives the team 1 cp per turning point! That means keeping Justian alive is going to be critical for any players aiming to use this team seriously. Having an additional 4 CP to tactical reroll on your 2+ shots feels like it will be critically important.
- Sergeant Marius, a bolter disciplining 2+BS bolt rifle (¾ P1) intercessor warrior. He’ll be selected when you need the ability to punch through saves, but without the lethal 5+ offered by intercession equipment he’ll be much less effective. Luckily with the 2+ ballistic skill he’ll often be putting some damage down range.
- Brother Flavian, sniping from afar Flavian cannot double shoot, but does have 3 different profiles. Executioner, Hyperfrag, and Mortis rounds all make their appearances. Each round profile has 4 attacks, on a 2+, with Heavy and Silent. Executioner rounds are ¾ damage with balanced, and no cover which easily lines up against soft targets. Hyperfrag rounds are 2/4, blast 1” to punish clumped. While Mortis rounds are AP1, MW3, giving you a chance to punch through high Saves and invulnerable saves. Against the horde teams his inability to shoot twice may be a liability, but the flexibility is very cool.
- Brother Thysor, a 3+ Bolt Rifle (¾, P1) intercession warrior, with a Smoke grenade. Being able to move into position in one turn. Then double shooting on a later turning point, while dropping a smoke means Thysor can play as a sneaky gunner. Alternatively you can create a safe position for your melee threats to move up towards in later turns.
- Brother Acules, the Heavy Intercessor chassis, finally sees a playable interpretation! With only 4” of movement they remain clunky, however you can bring the 3+ heavy bolter (⅘ heavy, fusillade, p1) to bear with his own bolter discipline. Votann has shown us that 4” of movement really cripples teams, so maybe Acules never makes it onto the battlefield. At five attacks of suppressive heavy bolter fire, Acule’s 10 shots a turn once he’s set up are a tantalizing prospect for any commander.
- Brother Marius, a 3+ bolt rifle (¾ p1) intercession warrior, with nothing special to speak of. Luckily Bolter Discipline comes on the tin, so when you need more dakka Marius will answer the call.
- Brother Vignius, a 3+ auto bolt rifle (¾ ceaseless) intercession warrior, with again nothing special to his name. Auto’s are better against squishier armor saves as you can more reliably get 3 or more hits against 5+ saves.
- Brother Decian, an assault intercessor by any other name. Decian brings nothing distinct from his nameless brothers. As one of the only 2 assault marines on the team, he will be critical to defending the gun line.
When it comes to ploys, you have all the Intercession Squads choices barring Adaptive Tactics, because Justian is as vanilla as they come. It seems Ultramarines can rely on the classics. Setting up Assault, Tactical, or Devastator Doctrines. While Knowing no Fear as the emperor’s Angels of Death. Justian’s additional CP will probably find more Wraths of Vengeance’s and Transhuman Physiology plays.
Time will tell if the extra 4 CP will allow these marines to play with the big bespoke teams of Kill Team.
The three Tac Ops for Stirke Force Justian are not known, but we are assuming they will be similar to the Intercession Squad (link). If they have no tac op or archetypes, then the team will be flatly unplayable in competitive play. Something that would be disappointing.
- Shock and Awe, a solid choice, that is looked at against Champion. When you need to play positionally with 1-2 heavy models, or a mostly shooting team. This seems much much worse.
- Champion of Mankind, will strongly remain mostly free against horde teams, while being rougher against more elite teams. I suspect that Justian himself will often be a champion, with the 2+ plasma pistol, and 4+ invulnerable save.
- Indomitable Superiority, will probably still be an almost never take, as it asks too much of a competitive game.
How They’ll Play
HappyRaccoon: I truly expect very little competitively from this team. The extra CP from Justian sounds interesting, but the ploys just don’t provide all that much oomph. They are a solid teaser for newer players interested in Games Workshop’s blind box system, and will be playable for newer players. I’d have preferred a couple more differentiators for the brothers, so that the selection process would be more interesting. At least I’d like an 8th brother who can melee, so that you could run a 3/3 ranged melee split would have been a good choice. Giving the team more legs when it boards the Gallowfall.
TheArmorOfContempt: I am in agreement with Travis. While this team has some standouts, such as Captain Justian, it seems very inflexible. Having two operatives with Heavy on their weapon in a six man team does ALOT to kill their mobility, which is one of the strongest things Marine teams have going for them. That being said, this team has some very strong shooting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if players find themselves chewing up their opponents on Open boards, but whether they can capitalize on that seems unlikely.
Thundercloud: I expect this team to do better on open maps rather than Gallowfall. The presence of two models with Heavy weapons lends itself to spending a turn getting models on Vantage Points (though Flavian is best somewhere where he can also do a mission action so AP aren’t wasted) and then blasting anything that pokes it’s head out of cover. There’s some solid shooting in this team, in particular against the GEQ equivalents that a lot of teams are made up of (Veteran Guard, Cultists, etc) and some solid melee, again in particular against easily bullyable squishy humans.
On Gallowdark maps I’d expect either Flavian or Acules to get left at home, and I can see arguments each way (Flavian can go round in conceal and hugging cover the entire time, and has reasonable movement, Acules makes a great model for covering a door or key point and blasting anything that comes into line of sight) and going Intercessor heavy. The Intercessors keep the fundamental strengths seen in the Intercession team (high wounds, solid damage output, either fight twice or shoot twice) and the same advice applies on multi-charging with assault intercessors to get multiple Fight actions in.
People were worried about this dominating the competitive scene, and if they were allowed to take all seven models (as was initially implied and not clarified) then that would be a concern, as that’s a lot of 3+ armour save wounds to chew through and lots of the squishier teams would really struggle. With six bodies while there is more variety than the Intercession Squad (and variety is cool and it looks like a fun team) it isn’t the 7 wound model super efficient meatgrinder that they are, and there’s no flexibility in equipment and the ploys are a little less good.
As a starter team it’s interesting, models do different things, Captain Justian is a solid hero model that does a lot (has AP, good in combat, great command ability) and the rank and file intercessors are still big hulking monsters it’ll take a while to bring down.
I’d love to see Heavy Intercessors changed to 4” move 3APL as the model has here, but GW don’t seem eager to revisit the Compendium teams at this point.
I’m looking forward to playing it, and it’s a good casual team. I also hope GW revisit Series 1 and 3 (tactical marines and Deathguard) with a similar approach, as Deathguard need a more interesting team and Tactical Marines are always in need of love.