Kill Team Annual Review, Part 3: Xenos Factions

Hello again and welcome back again, readers! If you’re just joining us, this is part 3 of our Kill Team Annual review. We started by covering the core content and new stuff for the Chaos factions (check that out here), and then continued yesterday with a look at the Imperium factions (which you can view here). Today we’re closing out the faction review with a look at the game’s Xenos factions and the new stuff they got.

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 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, so stay tuned for that.


Faction Review: Xenos

Chucat's Eldar Kill Team
Core roster of Chucat’s Eldar Kill Team. Credit: Chucat


Craftworlds Kill Teams have the dubious honour of being one of the factions to receive no sort of box support at all (Vanilla, Commanders or Elites), which meant they didn’t get any sort of new stratagems… until now. We’ve already covered Asuryani kill teams in detail in our faction tactics article, which you can check out here

Craftworlds get a fair few new tactics to use, most of which generally apply to smoothing out their variance, and making their good units even better, let’s go through them.

  • Celestial Shield (2 CP) – Use when a Guardian Defender is selected as the target of a shooting attack. They get a 4++ for the rest of the phase. If this was 1CP, it’d be really good, but paying 2CP to basically force a coinflip before the coinflip of a flesh wound, on a model that generally shouldn’t get shot anyway is a bit disappointing. D
  • Bring Forth the Torch (1 CP) – Use at the start of the shooting phase. When rolling to determine the number of attacks made by flamers, 1 and 2 count as 3 instead. Really neat, especially if you’re bringing 2 Flamer Guardians and can get them both to shoot something that turn, 3 shots will generally be enough to make something neat go happen. B-
  • Warriors of the Webway (2 CP) – Use at the end of the Movement phase. Choose 3 models that you had in reserve and set them up more than 5” away from an enemy and within 2” of each other. Has the potential to be hilarious, especially with something like a Wraithcannon or double flamers. The CP cost is a bit prohibitive, but once again, this is neat to have. B+
  • Our Time of Need (1 CP) – Use this when you choose a Heavy Weapon Platform to shoot with during the shooting phase. You can re-roll hit rolls with it until the end of the phase. Amazing. Pretty much means you can save your CP re-roll for an unlucky wound/injury roll. Pair this with a Comms specialist so you don’t fall prey to the re-rolls before modifier issue. A
  • The Great Enemy (1 CP) – You can re-roll wound rolls for a model that targets an enemy model with the Slaanesh keyword. Extremely situational, for obvious reasons, but it’s nice to remember when it actually can go off, since it’ll absolutely mince enemy Slaanesh units (you’re already re-rolling hits against them anyway). Technically more useful now that the Endless Cacophony stratagem exists to make taking Slaanesh-marked Chaos Space Marines worthwhile, but it’s just not going to come up often enough to matter. D
  • Supreme Disdain (1 CP) – Use when you choose a model to fight with in the Fight phase. Each unmodified hit roll of a 6 lets you make an extra attack against the same target. This is fine I guess. Use it on a Striking Scorpion Exarch if you’re fighting something huge that you want to absolutely die. C



Drukhari see no changes to datasheets or points values, but have the tactics that were previously only available in the Slicing Noose box reprinted here, together with a bonus tactic, The Taste of Pain. We’ve already covered Drukhari Kill Teams in detail in our faction tactics write-up, which you can find here.

  • The Taste of Pain (1 CP) – Use when a model takes a flesh wound to ignore the effects of that flesh wound for the rest of the phase and gain another attack to hit back with. This is most immediately useful in the fight phase, where your melee specialists can take a hit and then dish it back out with interest, but also has some edge case utility in the shooting phase: if your dark lance sniper gets hit first but survives with a flesh wound, this tactic could allow it to shoot back with its full BS rather than taking the penalty to hit. All in all, this is an interesting addition to a faction that could use a boost to their reliability. A


Genestealer Cult Infantry
Genestealer Cult Infantry. Photo: RichyP

Genestealer Cults

Genestealer Cults have also been well-loved and well-supported by Kill Team so far, and so already had access to a host of tactics. All of those have been reprinted here. Otherwise, none of their points values have changed, so if you play Genestealer Cults in Kill Team, you are free to keep on living your life the same as you always have, albeit with some tougher competition to handle in the future. We’ll be covering Genestealer Cults kill teams in detail in a future kill team tactics article.


A Harlequins Troupe
Harlequin Troupe. Credit: Flavivirus


No point changes here, either, but a heaping helping of new tactics, several of which are very interesting. We haven’t covered Harlequin Kill Teams in detail yet, but that article’s in the works. Here are Cegorach’s latest tricks:

  • Blades of Cegorach (1CP) – Add 2 to the Attacks characteristic of a model that rolls 10+ on its charge roll. At first glance, this seems situational and unlikely to trigger, but when you factor in that you’re rolling 3d6 rather than 2d6 for charge rolls, it turns out you’ll have this available on more than half of your charges. Also turns those long-bomb charges into terrifying threats. A
  • The Joy of Lament (1CP) – Use this when an enemy model fails a Nerve test to make your models within 6” of that model immune to morale. With Ld 8 and a 4+ invulnerable, this isn’t likely to be that relevant. C
  • Dance of Death (2CP) – Choose a model within 1” of an enemy model during the movement phase to move it 2” so it’s out of combat, then charge something, subtracting 2 from the charge roll. Combines excellently with your other mobility tricks to make you near impossible to tie down, letting you get to the target you want and fight first when you get there. The only thing keeping this from an A rank is its 2CP cost. B+
  • Ghosts of the Webway (2CP) – Deep strike up to 3 models you set up in reserve. Might be cool if they could charge, but as it stands you’re probably better off using flip belts and Rising Crescendo to get where you’re trying to go. C
  • Point-Blank Shot (2CP) – Choose a model to shoot its pistol in a turn it charged. Too expensive for what it does, but could help clean up if you’ve managed to charge multiple targets with a fusion pistol. C
  • Trickery and Deception (1CP) – Choose 2 models on your kill team, and swap their positions. If either model you moved ends up outside 1” of an enemy model, it is considered to have Fallen Back. If either model you moved ends up within 1” of any enemy models, it’s considered to have charged every enemy within 1”. This is the good stuff, and should probably cost 2CP. Use it to swap an uninjured model in for one with a flesh wound, to change up what weapons you’re attacking so they’re applied against better targets, or to fight as though you’d charged with two models that got charged. There are a ton of ways to use this, and at 1CP you should be actively looking for situations where you can get mileage out of it. A


Kroot Kill Team
A Kroot Kill Team! – Credit: That Gobbo

Kroot Mercenaries

The rules for Kroot Mercenary kill teams published in White dwarf earlier this year have been reproduced in the annual, though they currently appear to have lost the Alien Auxiliaries rule from the White Dwarf article that allowed you to give Kroot Carnivores the T’au Empire faction keyword instead of the Kroot faction keyword, meaning that Kroot are now locked to their own faction until we see an updated FAQ or errata. Otherwise, what’s in the annual is the same as what was printed earlier this year. Kroot are still very much a horde faction with a focus on melee combat, and would lack a Commander option were it not for Dakyak Grekh, the Blackstone fortress character who has also been reprinted in the Annual. We’ll cover Kroot kill teams in more detail in a future Kill Team tactics article.


Meganobz. Photo: Soncaz


Hey Ork players, remember the Charlie Brown Halloween Special? Well, you got a rock! No new Ork Tactics have been included in the Annual, and in fact the one that was exclusive to the Toofrippa’s Krew box (Shattered Stone) is missing.

Orks also saw a few notable melee weapon point increases. The old reliable Choppa goes from zero to 1 point for everyone except Nobs and Big Mek, which effectively raises the cost of Boyz and Kommandos by one point. This particularly hurts because there’s no way around the point increase, and if you’re going for a “boyz before toyz” list you may be losing an entire model to the price hike.  Boyz Boss Nobs and Kommando Boss Nobs eat a 1 point increase on Big Choppas and all flavors of Nobs pay 1 more point for Power Klaws. All small increases overall but they affect the basic building blocks of many Ork lists, and are not offset by any new gains. Enjoy that rock!

It’s a really disappointing development overall, and something we hope gets errata’d soon. We’ll also be covering Ork kill teams in detail in a future kill team tactics article.


Credit: Ethan “Firehead” Case


Despite their lack of support in Warhammer 40,000, Necrons have somehow gotten two boxed sets in Kill Team to-date, the Ankra the Colossus commander box and The Exalted Scythe boxed set, which gave them a fair host of faction tactics to choose from. The tactics from both have been reprinted here, as well as the tactics they got in the Commander and Elites expansions. We’ll cover Necron Kill Teams in detail in a future article.


Credit: Charlie A.

T’au Empire

T’au kill teams are already pretty solid (if incredibly boring in their most competitive state), thanks to some fairly rough rules governing how drones work in kill team. With the annual, they get additional help from three new tactics, and they’re all pretty good. Inspiring Sacrifice is literally free, and Prudent Retreat helps Tau do their thing even better. We’ll be covering Tau kill teams in more detail in a future article.

  • Support Turret Replacement (2 CP) – Used at the end of the Movement phase to get a new Tactical Support turret for a Fire Warrior or Breacher team that’s already lost its turret this game. The turrets are free and being able to replace one can be very useful in a pinch, or give you some extra value if your turret is taken out by losing its set-up model. B
  • Inspiring Sacrifice (0 CP) – Yeah you read that right. 0 CP. When your Commander dies, you immediately gain D3 CP. It’s uh, sure something. Sure, a lot of Commander missions have you lose the moment your Commander dies, but any time you lose your Commander and don’t lose the game, this is a no-brainer, immediate use for free CP and you don’t even need to have CP left to use it. A+
  • Prudent Retreat (1 CP) – Used after a model on your Kill Team has fired Overwatch. It gets to retreat, even if it has already moved this phase. This is just gravy for the T’au, who’d love to shoot you in the face right before they retreat and leave you left unable to reach anything in combat. A


Tyranid Kill Team
A Tyranid Kill Team, these guys will (mostly) want to rip your face off – Credit: Sharkopath


Tyranids didn’t change much in the Kill Team Annual, either. They gained a single new tactic to compliment their set. We’ll cover Tyranid kill teams in more detail in a future kill team tactics article.

  • Phermone Trail (1 CP) – Use at the start of the movement phase to set up a unit being held in Reserves within 3″ of a Lictor on your kill team and more than 5″ away from enemy models. An extra way for Tyranids to get a unit deep striking onto the battlefield, and helpful if you wanted an alternative to having to take Raveners to do it. A welcome addition for Tyranid kill teams. A


Next Time: Adepta Sororitas Kill Teams

That wraps up our coverage of the Xenos factions in the 2019 Kill Team Annual and yes, we know – you’re still waiting on Adepta Sororitas Kill Teams. The good news is, we’re working on it. The bad news is, it’s gonna be a few more days while we get everything written up. Rather than do a quick pass on the Sisters of Battle, we’ve chosen to do a full tactics write-up for them, and will be publishing that later next week. In the meantime, if you have any questions, notes, or feedback, drop us a message in the comments below, or email us at