Kill Team: Ashes of Faith introduces us to two new kill teams built for narrative, with matched play in mind. Both teams represent rag tag forces in the 41st millennium fighting for the future with humanity’s very soul at stake! Ace will be covering the loyal Inquisitorial Warband, while we will be talking Chaos. The very forces who tempt humanity with power, and in so doing, bring mortal warriors to exalted heights. As we let chaos into our souls, we shall gain the ability to charge ever onwards into enemy ranks.
In this review, we’ll be diving into the Chaos Cult team to cover their rules, and how we think they’ll fare in Kill Team.
Chaos Cult Kill Teams
The new Chaos cultist sculpts have come home to Kill Team! Combining existing box sets of chaos cultists, this team looks to hold a twisted mirror to the Blooded playstyle. As your men mutate from Devotees, to Mutants, and finally Torments, the gods grant them ever more gifts. The team has access to the Infiltration and Seek and Destroy Tac Ops, meaning they can be sneaky or killy.
The Cultist team revolves entirely around their Mutation ability, which allows players to switch their operatives for more powerful ones as the game progresses. Additionally, mutated operatives gain an Accursed Gift each time they mutate. It is safe to say that this continues the trend of Chaos teams receiving some of the most powerful and interesting Team rules available in the game. Additionally, the Mutation rule may also be amongst the most complicated ones yet introduced.
Every operative on the team has the ability to “mutate” which does the following:
- Change from the Devotee datasheet to the Mutant datasheet
- Change from the Mutant to the Torment datasheet
- Regain D3+1 wounds
- You can’t have more than 5 Mutants and 3 Torments in play at once.
You can “Mutate” when one of the following triggers is met:
- As a strategic ploy, you can mutate X operatives, equal to the turning point number. Eg TP3, you get 3 mutations.
- If a Devotee survives melee, it can mutate(and boy will you want to).
- Or the Demagogue forces a mutation with its unique ability.
- Treat the newly placed model as full wounds, basically having mutation work as a heal for a given operative. Very powerful stuff for a melee horde.
These are chosen the first time we mutate an operative into a Mutant and Torment. All later Mutants have the first gift, and all Torments have the first and second gift. This effect is unique per game, and global in effect. No mixing and matching individual torments! The gifts are as follows:
- Winged: allowing you to ignore movement characteristic penalties and the first 2 inches of climb, drop, or traverse. Seemingly very powerful especially if you need to get Mutants into strange places.
- Fleet: Add 1 inch to the operatives movement characteristic. Probably worse than winged on some maps, but better in others. Knowing which movement gift is better will be an important adaptation point for Chaos Cult players!
- Chitinous: Go from a 5+ save to a 4+ save. With how many wounds these models can get you can make Torments absolute units.
- Horned: Allows you to smack models you charge for some mortal wounds. You get some bonus wounds if you’re a Torment. While the chip damage is nice, it’s probably better saved as your tier two gift.
- Sinewed: Weapon Skill can ignore modifiers and melee weapons gain Brutal. For a melee horde, this ability can make opposing melee incredibly rough. Brutal lets you really dictate the flow of combat when you initiate.
- Barbed: Reap 1 or Reap 2 if you’re a Torment. Probably the gift I expect to see the least, but if you can set up multiple Reaping situations it could still pay off.
The weakest Gifts are easily Barbed and Horned as both Mutants and Torments come with Relentless, the best weapon trait in the game, and thus abilities that increase their speed and durability will likely be of greater use.
The number of Accursed Gift permutations allows this team to morph to threats dynamically, while the ability to simultaneously heal and upgrade an operative means this team will likely be incredibly powerful.
While the above abilities are extremely powerful, the standard cultist operatives are among the weakest in the game with: +4 to Hit/Wound, 5+ Save, 7-8 Wounds, and no ranged weapons beyond 6 inches. However, Cultists make up for this lack of quality with a quantity far ahead of any other team with 15 operatives consisting of 1 Demagogue, 1 Iconarch, 1 Mindwitch, 2 Blessed Blades, and 10 Devotees. When you factor in the increased Wound totals of mutated operatives this puts the team on Gellerpox levels of durability and board control.
Chaos is a Ladder for the Devoted
Our 10 Devotees start as mere murder hobos broken into 5 pairs of GA2 operatives who hit on +4 for 2/3 damage in both melee and ranged combat. Their defense is a mere 7 wounds and a 5+ save putting them on par with Guardsmen. Luckily mutations will let them climb far past their imperial brethren very quickly.
Mutants lose the desire to do missions actions and shooting, costing an extra point to do mission actions and losing their guns entirely. I guess when you spontaneously grow limbs you go from murder hobo to murder enthusiast. Alongside your Accursed Gift the operative gains an extra Attack, 3/4 Damage, 5++ Feel No Pain, Relentless, AND Rending. Remember you heal to a full seven wounds, so fresh mutants will be quite the thorn in opponents plans.
Chaos Torments are fully possessed by demons hulking up enormously. Topping up to a fresh 13 wounds, +1 Attack and Damage, and an additional Accursed Gift, while retaining all the other special rules they had as Mutants. However nothing is free and being so big means that light cover and non-Torment friendly operatives can no longer provide Cover, while being possessed entirely means they’re no longer capable of Mission or Pick Up Actions. These guys can be compared to Nightmare Hulks, and while they don’t have as many wounds they’re far deadlier in combat and their Accursed Gifts can make them far more versatile.
The Chaos C-Suite
Chaos Cult leadership has 4 unique models, who augment the horde of Devotees. While they may not be incredibly flexible with the same 5 always hitting the field, they are all very good at their assigned roles, and provide some much needed support early on as you try to build up your Mutant horde.
- Cult Demagogue, leader of the cult and benefactor of mutation. With three powerful support abilities and so-so weapon profiles, the demagogue’s speeches are the driving force behind the cult. They can mutate one operative a turn within 6” to the next rung of the ladder, force a free fight from a friendly operative within 6”, or get someone to do a shortened 3” charge. Truly a mouthpiece fueling the frenzy of his followers. Keep him alive and let the cult do his dirty work!
- The Blessed Blades, a pair of operatives with 4 attacks and +4 WS power swords. While their +4 leaves something to be desired their Attuned in Purpose ability allows them to simultaneously activate and mix their actions. Meaning you can Charge with both and have both fight with Combat support. Being a fearsome duo most opponents will want to Fall Back from them, but their Cut Them Down will punish those cowards with mortal wounds. Basically, you will always want to keep these guys close to one another, and combined they can handle almost any operative in the game.
- The Iconarch, pyromaniac, and objective holder. The Iconarch’s Burning Censer belches flames with Torrent 3 and an extra attack over your standard flamer. Additionally, they generate two simultaneous 4 inch auras, Ruinous Deterioration and Ruinous Invigoration, with the later reducing damage from attack die by 1 all friendly operatives, while the former increases damage from attack die by 1 on all enemy operatives. Frankly, This guy is outrageous, this means he can nearly auto kill all but the toughest enemies with his Censer, while making Torments and Mutants even more obnoxious to kill. Odds are we will see Invigoration changed to match other damage reduction effects in the next data-slate.
- The Mindwitch, a psyker that is here to soften up opponents before the wall of mutating flesh lands in their lines. Heinous Deluge stuns an opponent in the witch’s Line of Sight, while Malefic Vortex and Infernal Gaze provide mortal wounds in AoE or Single Target modes. You’ll generally want to lay down a Vortex early as the token remains in place until recast. The Gaze functions similarly to a gun needing the Witch to expose themselves with an Engage order, but with a potential D3+5 mortal wounds it can be well worth the risk. This operative is nearly helpless in combat, so be aware that once he gets in close with your opponent he is unlikely to last.
When it comes to ploys, the Cult has great options, and they mostly revolve around combat. Getting in close will enable your strategic ploys, while staying in the back line will hamper your abilities to impact the field. Exaltation In Pain lets all operatives ignore injury, and reroll one defense die while under max wounds. This ploy can be slightly redundant if you have chosen Winged as your Accursed Gift, but is generally very useful if you have chosen something else. Fervent Onslaught provides a free normal retain in combat for all operatives, since we hit on 4+s this can do some work to soften missing when you need one hit, but is also redundant on some level thanks to Mutants and Torments receiving Relentless. Creatures of Nightmare allows Mutants and Torments to impact opposing operatives’ ability to control objectives by 1 total APL. Sickening Aura, causes Dark Commune operatives, Mutants and Torments to worsen opposing BS and WS by 1 while within 2” of those operatives. This is by far the best of the ploys available, and when paired with the Iconarch’s auras can be very oppressive, especially against close combat teams.
With our tactical ploys we are encouraged to keep our operatives close to one another and get into striking distance with opposing models. Faithful Follower lets a Devotee, Mutant, Torment, or Blessed Blade within 2 inches jump in front of a shooting attack meant for leadership (Demagogue, Iconarch, Mindwitch). Meanwhile any non-Dark Commune model can immediately gain an Accursed Gift via Abhorrent Mutation, they retain any previously gained gifts. Pricey for what it is, but if you need that 4+ save or extra 2” of traversal penalties it’s invaluable! Frenzied Demise lets you detonate an incapacitated Mutant or Torment for d3 or d6 damage to one enemy operative. I can foresee this being absolutely brutal when a Torment has already done some work as potentially 6 mortals is insaaaane. Finally Unleash the Daemon lets your Mutants and Torments let rip, with a free fight and two potential fight actions. With mission actions costing 1 additional action point this really will be focused on double fighting and I expect this to be quite strong.
The chaos cult has many standbys of the human sized teams. With Frag and Krak grenades being obvious picks we’ve got other interesting options as well. Devotee’s get two separate equipment that help them with melee. Trophy Weapon+ is 1EP and can boost a devotee’s melee or pistol damage by 1, however it is unique and can only be taken once. Covert Guise costs 2EP and allows a devotee to make a Recon dash. Meaning potentially half your Devotees start ahead on board positioning. On the defensive end Chaos Sigils cost 2EP and gift the operative and any mutated operative it changes into a 5+ invulnerable save. Vile Blessing+ costs 3EP and provides a once per battle dice shrug. This benefit lasts through mutation and seems amazing as all shrug effects have overperformed.
The three Tac Ops for the Chaos Cult give you flexible ways to interact with the board. Whether it’s Torments in the opponent’s backline, central leadership defilement, or objective ritual desecration we’ve got something for everyone.
- Tear Through, get two separate Torments within 2” of opposing drop zones, at the end of the game. Since we plan to mutate into Torments multiple times by turn 4 this seems like a strong all around tac op.
- Proface Defilement, your Demagogue, Iconarch, or Mindwitch must start and end a turning point within 3” of the center of the board, over two different turning points. You cannot do this on turn 1. Defilement is much harder than Central Control, albeit with a smaller selection of scorable models. Since we don’t have access to the security archetype, maybe this could see play. However I suspect this won’t be that strong.
- Blood Offering, a variant of Eliminate Guards where kills on objectives cover them in blood. Friendly operatives can then spend 1AP to pray on those objectives scoring you a victory point. This can be done on any objective making it more flexible in some ways from Eliminate Guards.
How They’ll Play
HappyRaccoon: While reading through this might make these guys seem complex, I think most players will get some good games with them. You’ve got one primary plan, and everything naturally moves you towards that direction. You’re a big mutable horde pushing forward to get bigger over time. Save those devotees so that you can mutate through the ranks, and really punish opponents with 13 wounds Torments. Over the course of the game you get 14 mutation windows by existing and keeping the Demagogue alive for four turns. That equals roughly 7 torments with 13 wounds and a 5+ feel no pain, which sounds like quite the chew toy. With 15 operatives it sounds impossible to avoid a handful of torments ending up inside enemy lines. Chaos of that level does sound quite appealing and with so many gifts Chaos Cult generals will have plenty of options.
When compared to their opponents in the box, the massive number of models is going to make a splash in competitive environments. Hordes have often been quite forgiving and this pair looks to be no different. I’m looking forward to seeing them duke it out with Beastmen against the frenzied goats, and duking it out with Gellerpox hulks. This summer will truly be a melee-centric summer as all these teams get stuck in!
TheArmorOfContempt: Co-Author here! Normally I simply edit these articles leaving Travis to a majority of the commentary, ensuring the article doesn’t sound like two different people talking at once. This being said, I am going to make a “called shot” on this team being the next big competitive terror, eclipsing Gellerpox in their prime. The Fellgor’s new Frenzy ability had me worried enough, but with only 10 operatives I was able to envision matchups they would find difficult, however this team feels over tuned. Mutants and Torments receiving Relentless, being able to ignore Movement modification, fully regenerating their wounds on transformation, AND having a 5+ Feel No Pain feels like a recipe for trouble. At least they don’t ignore Stun!
So now does chaos sound like the team for you? Want to share some cool cultist conversions? Drop us a line at Contact@Goonhammer.com.