Kill Team Annual Review, Part 2: Imperial Factions (except Sisters)

Hello again and welcome back, readers! If you’re just joining us, we kicked off our review of the 2019 Kill Team Annual last time with a look at the core contents of the book and a look at the new stuff for the Chaos factions, covering Daemons, Heretic Astartes, Death Guard, Thousand Sons, and Servants of the Abyss. This time we’re talking about the Imperial factions in the book and how they fared, which means we’ll be covering the all-new Adepta Sororitas, plus Custodes, Space Marines, Astra Militarum, Adeptus Mechanicus, Deathwatch and Grey Knights.

Similar to last time around, there’s a lot to cover so we’re gonna dive right in. We’re saving the really detailed faction overviews for our Kill Team Tactics articles, so today we’re just covering the new stuff and changes to each faction. We’ll eventually be updating our faction tactics articles to include all the new stuff as well.


Faction Reviews: Imperium

Aside from basic Space Marines, who have by far been the best-supported faction in the game, most Imperial factions haven’t seen a ton of support. Astra Militarum and Grey Knights in particular have fallen by the wayside, and Adepta Sororitas have been a noticeable omission through the game’s lifespan. With the annual, we finally get Sisters of Battle Kill Teams, and stratagems for every other Imperial faction to help shore things up.


Battle Sisters
Battle Sisters. Credit: RichyP (yes he’s finished the whole box already, no none of the rest of us want to talk about it)

Adepta Sororitas

The true new faction introduced in the Kill Team, the Sisters of Battle finally have rules for building and fielding their kill teams. There’s a lot to cover here, such that, in a bit of a cop-out, we’ve moved our analysis of Adepta Sororitas to its own article for early next week. While you wait for that, here’s the basic rundown: Adepta Sororitas get the basic rulebook treatment here, with 6 Tactics for their faction, no access to subfactions (Orders), 3 unit choices (Battle Sisters, Sisters Repentia, and Arco-Flagellants), and 2 Commander options, the Canoness and Repentia Superior. It’s a little disappointing to see Sisters of Battle not get a fully-realized Kill Team with elites options, but it does leave us hopeful that a full Sisters of Battle release could be in the works for early next year as the army’s multi-part kits are released. Anyways, check back early next week for our detailed write-up of Adepta Sororitas Kill Teams.


Credit: Chris ‘whiteshark12’ Cowie

Adeptus Astartes

The only significant update for Adeptus Astartes is Death Denied going to 3 CP. which is a significant nerf. It’s now a little harder to build a strategy around a single powerful model, but Marines have a lot of other good stratagems so I don’t see their overall power level being impacted that severely. We’ve covered Adeptus Astartes in detail in our faction review here, and the annual also reprints the newer Vanguard unit datasheets for them, which we’ve discussed in detail in our review of those rules here. Otherwise, there wasn’t much new for the faction that already had the most tactics and options.

The Annual includes a few extra pieces that were printed in White Dwarf, like the new Intercessor data sheet with Power Fists and Thunder Hammers, Incursors and Eliminators. The big miss here is that Errata changes to the Intercessor datasheet (adding the medic specialism, giving the Auxiliary Grenade Launcher long range penalties and adding an Auspex option) were not carried over, which, as with Chaos Space Marines losing the Combat specialism, we are assuming is an error. But it’s one that will need to be corrected with a new/revised FAQ, unfortunately.


Custodes Guard Squad
Custodes Guard Squad. Credit: Pendulin

Adeptus Custodes

I hope you Custodes players like tactics, because hoo boy did you get a pile of them. No other changes, though. The new batch are mostly decent, and a solid boost for every player who has long gotten past the burden of being “the guy who brings Custodes to games of Kill Team.” For a more detailed look at Custodes in Kill Team prior to this release, check out our faction guide here.

  • Piercing Strike (1CP) – Add 1 to wound rolls for a model with a guardian spear until the end of the turn. Gives you a 2+ to wound against almost anything in the game. A useful upgrade that’s priced to move and will come in handy in the clutch. A
  • Avenge the Fallen (1CP) – Add d3 to the Attacks characteristic of one of your models if at least one other model from your kill team is out of action. Losing a model really hurts Custodes, and having this available to offset that is nice. B+
  • Sentinel Storm (2CP) – Upgrade a sentinel blade’s ranged profile to Pistol 4 for a turn if it’s within 1” of an enemy model. This punishes your opponent for leaving a model in combat with you to tie you up. Given that your model can’t fire a Pistol weapon if it charged or was charged in a battle round, this won’t come into play very often, but when it does it will help you clear out combat so you can move on to the next target. C+
  • Tanglefoot Grenade (1CP) – Choose an enemy within 12” of one of your models, and reduce its Move characteristic by d6”. Doesn’t effect models with FLY, but can help you take control of the board so you can divide and conquer. B+
  • Emperor’s Justice (1CP) – Re-roll wounds in the Fight phase against HERETIC ASTARTES models. Eh. This may be more useful now that Chaos Space Marines now seem more worth taking but you probably won’t need it even when you are up against them. C+


Sicarian Infiltrators
Sicarian Infiltrators by Zuul the Cat

Adeptus Mechanicus

Adetpus Mechanicus already had a ton of tactics, including a set exclusive to each of the original starter box and their newer box set. All of these tactics are now printed in one convenient book. And if that wasn’t enough, they also pick up two more tactics that make their electro-priests even scarier. We recently covered Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team tactics in our write-up last week, and you can check out that guide here.

  • Divine Current (1CP) – Use this at the start of the shooting phase to let a model with electrostatic gauntlets use them at 18” range. This adds 6” to their range and, perhaps more importantly, 3” to their short range, letting them pick up shots without penalty slightly farther out, which could make the difference if you advance and fire them. Not an amazing tactic, but one to keep in mind if you’ve got the CP to burn. B
  • Omnissiah’s Tears (2 CP) – Use this when an Electro-Priest takes a flesh wound to allow that model to ignore penalties to hit from flesh wounds for the rest of the battle. Melee units tend to pick up flesh wounds on their way across the board, and this stays in effect for the remainder of the battle, making your chosen Electro-Priest a consistent threat right up until it finally dies, and is especially useful on a Fulgurite who’s managed to pick up a kill to get the 3+ invulnerable save. Unfortunately, at 2CP it’s probably not worth it, especially since once you close to melee, your priest is more likely to die than to take the second flesh wound, and you get essentially the same effect as Reknit Circuitry on attack rolls but keep the penalty to future injury rolls. Keep it in mind if you need a late-game hero and can’t wait until the Morale phase, though. C+


Credit: BuffaloChicken

Astra Militarum

Astra Militarum Kill Teams got two new tactics to support their efforts; one for their frag grenades and one that’s exclusive to Sly Marbo. We’ve already covered Astra Militarum in our guide on them, so if you want to read more about those teams, you can check that guide out here.

  • Cooked Grenade (1 CP) – Use when a model in your kill team tosses a frag grenade. Instead of rolling the number of shots for the attack, roll a D6 and on a 1 you take a mortal wound but on a 2+ the grenade becomes type Grenade 6. B
  • Knife in the Dark (2 CP) – A Sly Marbo tactic that you can use before making an attack roll to do D3 mortal wounds on a hit. It’s pretty nasty, and a makes Marbo someone you don’t want to mess with. A



This book codifies a few updates from different sources like the updated Intercessor datasheet and additional tactics, but there are no new changes. That’s largely OK, because Deathwatch are still the coolest faction in Kill Team, although far from the most powerful. We’ve already covered Deathwatch kill teams in detail in our guide, which you can check out here.


Grey Knight Kill Team
A Grey Knight Kill Team. These guys are psychic powerhouses – Credit: Pendulin

Grey Knights

Being one of the factions without a box set, Grey Knights received a number of new Tactics. They’re on the more expensive side but some are reasonably strong, so you’ll want to keep them in mind.

  • Leave No Witnesses (1CP) – When a model fights, if there’s only one enemy within 6” you can re-roll failed wound rolls. This is relatively easy to trigger, especially against elite teams, is reasonably priced and has a powerful effect. A
  • Mental Fortitude (3 CP)Add 6” to the range of psybolt for a model. This can only be used once per battle. This is too expensive for what you get, but it’s a unique and powerful effect so there might be games where it wins you the battle. I don’t think it will see a lot of play but you will want to keep it in the back of your mind. D
  • Psychic Onslaught (2 CP) Give a Psycannon or Psilencer +1 S and an additional point of AP. This turns Psilencers into a pretty monstrous weapon at S5, AP-1, D3 damage and basically infinite shots. That’s an elite model murdering profile, and you’ll be using it often. A
  • Psychic Communion (2 CP)Use before a psychic test. Add +1 to the test for each friendly model in 3” of the caster (including the caster). This is great if you want to try to trigger the improved Psybolt profile or if you’re working around a deny. A
  • Rite of Exorcism (2 CP)Use before a deny. If the deny is successful, deal 1 mortal wound to the caster. It’s a chance for some free extra damage, but very conditional. C
  • Ceaseless Vigil (2 CP)Use at the beginning of the shooting phase. All models in your team get +1 to hit models that can in from reserves. The condition is something you don’t have control over but it effectively cancels out an attempt to deep strike a model into cover. C
  • Canticles Of Warding (1 CP)Ignore mortal wounds on a 5+. These sorts of abilities are very conditional and you already have deny to protect you against Psykers, but if you’re in a situation where it helps then it can be worth the CP. C
  • Stillness of Spirit (1 CP)Add 1 to the commander’s invulnerable saves until the end of the turn. This will give Brother-Captains and Champions a 3++ or Librarians a 4++. B
  • Vengeful Strike (2 CP)When a Brotherhood Champion is taken out of action the get to fight against before being removed. They already have this ability on their datasheet, so they can potentially fight 3 times that turn. B
  • The Six Chants of Denial (3 CP)A librarian can automatically deny a psychic power. The cost is high but there’s no randomness to this. If there’s a critical power that you absolutely must turn off this is your get out of jail free card. C
  • Clarity of Vision (1 CP) – Add 1 to hit rolls for a Brother-Captain. Brother-Captains can take a selection of powerful ranged weapons like Psycannons or Psilencers, and if you do this can help you hit on a 2+ or 3+ even at long range and obscured targets. A strong ability to have in games of Commander for turning your Brother-Captain into a murder machine from any hiding spot you choose. B

Elucidian Starstriders

Sadly, the Starstriders get no support in the 2019 Kill Team Annual, outside of seeing their points costs reprinted. Same goes for the Gellarpox Infected, who we neglected to include in our review yesterday. This is a shame, because they’re a cool faction and it’s not a good sign if GW is sidelining the only two factions it has created exclusively for Kill Team less than a year after their release.


Next Time: Xenos Factions

That wraps up our look at the Imperial factions and their new toys. Join us in another day or two for the final part of our Kill Team Annual 2019 review, when we look at the Xenos factions and how their new tactics stack up and affect their game. And as always, if you have any questions, notes, or feedback, feel free to drop us a message in the comments below, or email us at