Kill Team: Adeptus Arbites Exaction Squad – Freeze! Or Don’t, I don’t care

Attention troopers! Welcome Back to the black company corner. Today we have a first look at the shiny new Arbites, with new models all in plastic; the badass police of the 40k universe are here with big shotguns, some interesting combos and a lot of justice to deliver. To have all the options available (And as a competitive player you should want to do this), you will need at least one and a half boxes in order to have all the shields and gunner options you want.

Before we dive into the team, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of the upcoming box for review purposes.

Exaction Squad Kill team:

The new Arbites come in hot with 11 operatives. Roster won’t be so much of a worry, since you can fit all of your operatives into those spots, but there are a lot of options available to teams when it comes to what to bring to each fight.The operatives are: 


  • Arbites Proctor-Exactant (With shotgun or shield)

10 Exaction Squad:

  • Castigator
  • Chirurgant
  • Gunner (With 3 options)
  • Leashmaster
  • Malocator
  • Marksman
  • Revelatum
  • Subductor
  • Vigilant
  • Vox-Signifier
  • R-VR Cyber-Mastiff

As usual, your team can only include multiple warriors, 4 Subductors and 2 gunners.

The Arbites’ archetypes only allow them to play Security or Seek and Destroy. And playstyle-wise, this may be one of the most reactive, “Secure” teams we’ve seen: This is a team that wants to wait for an enemy to crash into its shields and then use their powerful shotguns to clear the field. It’s a great Security fit, where you want to wait and clean the line. Also pretty much any weapon this team has access to can be a shotgun (shotsniper, shot pistol…)


Exaction Squads have a single ability:

Ruthless efficiency – You can shoot at an enemy in engagement range as long as you are within 6” of the target and not shooting a blast weapon.

This means no enemy will be safe for the punishment of your weapons even if they are in combat with one of your models. So the tactic is pretty simple here: Use your subductors to hold the line and then the Shotguns or gunners to clean out anything they’re locked in combat with.


An Exaction team generally is going to consist of a mix of Shields + Shotguns, so one of the first things to decide is who to bench. We’ll talk more about that below.

Arbites Proctor Exactant

Credit: Games Workshop

The leader of the pack. You can equip him with shotguns and hit on a 2+, which is awesome, or opt for a shield with 3+. The shield has two profiles but the one to look out for is the Defensive option, since you can use it like a Storm shield (parry 2 enemy attacks with one of yours) and also be the attacker.  This makes any enemy 8 wound-models susceptible to being killed on their own charge. As a little extra gift, if you equip a shield you also improve your save to a 3+, improving your durability. 

Nuncio-Aquila: Any enemy model within 3 inches of your Aquila will have to spend 1 more APL to perform mission actions and also the total APL of those enemies counts 1 less. This is awesome for holding objectives and your leader will have it on him at all times. That is, unless you…

Deploy Nuncio-Aquila (1AP): For 1AP you can deploy your aquila within 6” of this model. If you do this action again you can move the aquila for 6” more inches.

Arbites Castigator

Your combat specialist, equipped with the standard shotgun (Have we said that this shotgun is a 4/4 DAMAGE! weapon? Because it is), and an excrutiator maul, which is a 4/4 damage melee weapon with rending AND stun. This guy can hit like a truck while being able to survive via Stun skill.

Castigator Arrest 1AP: You can perform a fight action and if both operatives survive and the enemy has 10W or less you can arrest the suspect. If you do then that model can only pass on his activation. 

This model is awesome and I will always bring him as he is the only one that can inflict real pain on your enemies. You can also give him +1 APL for an awesome double kill activation. Or arrest somebody and be completely safe from shooting, which can be a real game-changer.

Arbites Chirurgant:

Credit: Games Workshop

Your standard medic, equipped with a shotgun and a repression baton (Worst combat weapon ever?). He can revive and heal your models. Another must-have on your team unless you are going against a full melee Kill Team.

Arbites Gunner:

One of the biggest “oofs” on your team, the grenade launcher has no frag profile but does have 4/6 damage, which is still good. The other options are a webber (5A 3+ Stun) and heavy stubber (5A 4+ Ceaseless, Heavy), which are not that good; at best they are situational and you can consider replacing one of them for a subductor. 

Arbites Leashmaster:

The good boy buddy, equipped with a shotgun can be used as a GA2 model with intermingle actions (can you say “Custodes ploy?”) with your Cyber-mastiff, the good cyboi can have 3 patterns:

  • Aggressive: Gains Relentless
  • Swift: Can move 2 more inches
  • Defensive: Can get 3+ Sv

He starts the battle with one pattern active and for 0AP you can make the mastiff change that pattern. 


Credit: Games Workshop

Your faithful K9 (Also PRT in Spanish). Comes with a 4+ Sv, 7W but only 6” movement, and a bite that has 3/5 damage and hits on 4+. He can’t do mission actions other than Gather Evidence.

Apprehend (1AP): You can select an enemy within engagement range and that operative suffers D3 mortal wounds. If that operative tries to fall back the opponent rolls a D6 adding 1 for the difference of wounds remaining between him and the K9; if that operative fails the roll, they cannot move.

This operative is on the fence. Sometimes you’ll want the flexibility, aggression, and some magic that this couple bring to the table since you can intercalate activations. However in some other games you will be happy enough putting more subductors on the field.

Arbites Malocator:

Equipped with the standard loadout can do mission actions and pick up for 1 AP less, which is really good.

Veriscant (1 AP): Choose an enemy operative within the LOS of this operative; until the end of the turning point each time any exaction squad model shoots or fights you can retain a normal hit as a critical hit instead. This is a very good skill but requires LOS, so you will try to use it on activated models to secure kills. 

This model is really good on almost any occasion. Bring him to the battlefield.

Arbites Marksman

Credit: Games Workshop

Probably one of the worst snipers (comes with heavy as usual) in the game but still worth it, this guy comes with a Sniper Gun which only does 1 damage on a crit but 3 MW which is nice. This model can also take aim for 1AP and gain balance and no cover which is always a good thing. 

This is not the best sniper in the game, but since you don’t have that many reliable long-range tools he can make the difference so he will most likely make the cut.

Arbites Revelatum:

Equipped with a pistol that can do mortal wounds, (but still 3/1+2 MW damage) without range restriction, this operative is the first on the field and he can make a normal move after the initiative phase as it can fly. This open room for some nasty turn 1 frag grenade shenanigans.

Soulguilt Scan (1AP): The “auspex” of the team, you can mark an enemy visible to this operative, any other Exaction Squad model within 3” of this can shoot the enemy as if it has an engage order. 

This operative isn’t good, but it’s not bad either; further testing will be required but it is yet another model that you can bench for a subductor. 

Arbites Subductor:

One of the best models on the team. Good news! You can have 4 of them. He gets the same shield as your leader but hits on a 4+. The defensive profile is still awesome since you can parry 2 hits on one success and always be the attacker. So he will be your guy to hold objectives and wait for charges. He also saves on 3+, which is nice. 

Arbites Vox-signifier:

The Standard comms, equipped with a shotgun and can pass 1 APL, please note that he doesn’t have the range requirement as other comms operatives do; he only needs visibility. 

Arbites Warrior:

The standard warrior, nothing special, no real reason to bring him.

Squat Arbites Proctor. Credit: Fowler

Strategic Ploys

Exaction squad teams have some absolutely brilliant Strategic Ploys.

Guilt Reveals Itself: You can shoot an enemy operative within 4” (Instead of 2”) and for that shooting attack he is not in cover. This is awesome, your shotguns will be super happy to use this ploy and with Terminal Decree this is your bread and butter in the shooting department.

Inviolate Jurisdiction: You get a Re-roll on defense if you are on an objective marker or within 2” of the enemy. That gives you more durability but at 7 wounds can come out short

Dispense Justice: Any of your models that has not moved more than his move characteristic gets a Re-roll in combat. This is solid specially for your shields. 

Terminal Decree: If you shoot an operative within 4” inches you can re-roll one of your attack dice. This combo so well with Guilt reveals itself allowing you to be really efficient on shooting. 

Credit: Fowler

Tactical Ploys

Long Arm of the emperor’s law: Your enemy is choosing a scouting that you don’t like? Use this! and deny that scouting option.

Exact Punishment: If an enemy at 3” range of your operative makes a shooting or a combat and doesn’t kill you, you can use this tactic and make an overwatch or a combat. This can get your enemy by surprise and make them pay. Still situational but really good in the correct spots.

Brutal Backup: Use it after one of your operative fights in combat you can fight for free with another operative that is giving combat support. Really cool tool to have in the toolbox. Ah the usual police double-team action really fluffy. 

Execution order: Use it when your leader activates select one enemy operative in its LOS. Until the end of the battle you get relentless against that enemy for your whole kill team. This Tactical can only be used one time.

One of the best tactics against elite teams, if you want someone to be killed this makes justice serve.

Credit: Games Workshop


Shot Pistol [1EP]: Is a pistol that hits on a 4+ with 3/3 damage. Nothing to see here

Manacles [2EP]  You can arrest somebody as the castigator can but only for operatives with 7 or fewer wounds. This is good in the correct situation.

Frag/Krak Grenade [2/3EP]: Standard equipment here; most of the time you will get both of them or at least the krak, put them on your subductor operatives and enjoy some explosion action. 

Stun Grenade [3EP]: Same as always but more expensive; still not that good unless you want it for a special matchup as Gellerpox.

Strobing Phosphor-Lumen [1EP]: This is awesome. You put it on an operative and any enemy operative within 6” cannot re-roll attack dice against that operative. Allies will benefit from this while they’re within 2” of the operative.

Reinforced Mirror-Visor [1EP]: Really good for your medic. Makes your operative immune to Stun and APL modifiers.

Tac Ops

Arbites get the usual 3 tac-ops to work with, and they’re pretty solid:

Seize or incapacitate: You must reveal this tac op on T.P one and select an enemy operative to be the criminal. If you can incapacitate that operative their body sticks around as an criminal token, and you can pick up that body but if you do you must subtract 2” from your movement when you do. You score 1VP for killing the enemy and another one if you control that token at the end of the game. This can be either really bad or can be good, especially against melee-oriented teams or elite teams that will want to be aggressive.

Contain Threat: You can reveal this tac ops on the first turning point. You basically need to contain your enemy, preventing the entire enemy team from being more than 6″ away from their drop zone or within 2″ of one of your operatives, you score 1 VP. If you do this on another turn, you can score another point. This Tac Op seems very doable in some layouts and can be especially good in Gallowdark terrain layouts, where getting further than 6″ from your drop zone on turn 1 can be very difficult.

Gather Evidence: Reveal this Tac-op the first time you do the Gather Evidence action. At the end of the battle if one operative that has done this action survives you get one point, or 2 VP if you have two surviving operatives who have done the action. To do the gather evidence action you need to be on a point that you control with a specific operative – the Malocator, Revelatum, and the Mastiff are the only operatives which can do it. This can be really risky because of how it’s tied to just three operatives, but it’s also very scorable and so a good Tac Op to have in your pocket just in case.

Credit: Games Workshop

Final thoughts

The new Exaction Squad seems super fun and hard to play. Your Subductor will hold off enemy attacks, but if someone else gets charged you are up for a very bad time. 4/4 shotguns are really something but not reliable at all. You lack good AP guns, and have little aggression since you don’t have tools to kill enemies reliably and have only one model that can kill 2 models in one swing. Your faction tac-ops are solid but situational and this team is asking to be played with security which is not the best archetype at the moment.

I’m really interested in what top players can do with this team since there are a lot of decisions that need to be made and a lot of good placement that the general will have to consider. All in all after the letdown that Shadowvault was I think this team is way more exciting and will be strong if played in the correct hands. 

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