Kill Team Soulshackle introduces us to two new kill teams. Both teams warp-bent on arresting and slaving out the wider universe of 40k. While the Arbites bring shotguns and fascistic dogs to the table, the Hand of the Archon will enslave all who stand in their way, using the pain their opponents feel to empower their myriad abilities.
In this review, we’ll be diving into the new teams and talking about their rules, and how we think they’ll fare in Kill Team.
Hand of the Archon Kill Teams
Hand of the Archon teams consist of Commorites sent out from the webway to capture fresh slaves, and commit atrocities in real space. They sport the ability Power from Pain, which rewards your operatives incapacitating opposing operatives. You’ll still maintain the ability to go fast, but it remains a strategic ploy. Tac op wise, the team has access to Recon, Security, and Seek and Destroy, giving them flexibility across both forms of play.
Power from Pain
A variation of a points gathering mechanic, operatives gain Pain tokens for incapacitating opposing operatives with 5 or more wounds, getting 2 if you fell a model with 11 or more wounds, which limits that to mostly Space Marines. With that Pain token you’ll have 3 separate Invigorations to spend that pain, for the following effects:
- Dark Animus, When an operative is activated, add 1 to the operative APL. This gives you a 3 APL operative that can use Fleet of Foot to act like a 4 apl model!
- Vitalised Surge, After incapacitating an enemy operative, you can perform a free dash that can ignore Charge restrictions!
- Stimulated Senses, After rolling an attack or defense dice with the operative, you can re-roll a die. Basically flexible, balanced on either attacking or defending. Nice to have as a backup. This is the only Invigoration that can be used more than once per activation.
A Hand of the Archon Kill Team consists of 9 Operatives: 1 Kabalite Archsybarite, and 8 other operatives, sticking to the Aeldari template of 9 operatives with 4+ saves and 8 wounds. You can’t take more than 2 Darklight weapons, which are your AP2 weapons, but you are allowed both a gunner and a heavy gunner. However with only 8 unique operatives, you’ll be forced into taking a Kabalite Agent as well.
The Generic Operatives
Generally speaking, Hand of the Archon operatives have 6” movement, 8 wounds, a 4+ save, 3 DF, and APL 2. They hit on 3+’s and echo the Commorites from the Compendium. Most of the weapon profiles are similar, but Rending for Array of Blades has been moved to a strategic ploy. The Agents can load up on equipment to turn themselves into a more mixed threat, can Take Aim, gaining Balanced, to make those buffed Splinter Rifles punch fairly hard.
We’ve got all the same Commorite gunners, sporting non-hot Plasma stats, and Darklances from our gunners. Along with Shredder and Splinter cannon variants. With how awkward the darklance can be to set up, we expect the shrunken cannon to see play as well.
The Unique Operatives
Now for the fun stuff, the specialists of the Hand of the Archon:
- Kabalite Archsybarite, your leader who notably only hits on 3+s with the Blast Pistol, your AP2 pistol, who has to take a venom blade if you take it. Going along with the more recent restricted leader loadouts. You can definitely load the Archsybarite out as a 3rd melee specialist as the Agoniser looks particularly dangerous with 4 attacks, 3/6 damage, Brutal, Lethal 5+, and Reap 1. Additionally Cunning allows you to pass your first opportunity to use a strategic ploy to gain 1 CP, a powerful but risky ability.
- Kabalite Crimson Duellist, the first melee specialist, able to fight twice for 1 AP. Additionally its Razorflail parries twice, and is Brutal, so you’ll make mincemeat out of most smaller models. Brutal Display turns incapacitation into an artform disabling an opposing model, when killing, from controlling objectives and pick up actions!
- Kabalite Disciple of Yaelindra, a debuffing model with quite the trick. Her Torment Grenade, might be one of the nastiest abilities in the game causing 2 mortal wounds and permanent injury on a 3+, regardless of other rules! Take that Legionaries! Alongside her grenade she sports a Stinger pistol that wants to roll under an opponent’s save to cause a range of mortal wounds, ignoring save entirely. Any models unfortunate enough to perish to the Stinger, explode on death, dealing d3 MW to operatives within 2 inches, which can chain further explosions!
- Kabalite Elixicant, the medic of the Kabalites, isn’t too keen on saving lives, but she brings a slew of Combat Drugs if brought into play, giving all friendlies either a 6+ Feel no Pain, or +1 normal move. She can also Administer Drugs to heal 1-4 wounds or switch which set of drugs the targeted model has.
- Kabalite Flayer, the second melee model, comms specialist, and Pain token sharer wrapped in one. Whenever the flayer fights in melee, it Flays the opponent, gifting a friendly operative within 6 inches a pain token. Since that pain can be spent as a Dark Animus, this operative works like a comms variant. Additionally the flayer is Insensible to Pain and drops all damage dealt to it by 1!
- Kabalite Skysplinter Assassin, the revealer specialist, with a bird! Interestingly enough this operative works in tandem with Razorwing to double shoot, or Razorwing Marks models in light cover Engaging opposing operatives for the Skysplinter’s assassin Shardcarbine. Bringing the assassin marks an Omen for a friendly or enemy operative. Friendlies with an omen reroll all 1’s for attacks and defenses, while enemies must reroll 6’s!
Hand of the Archon teams have some ploys that will look familiar to other Aeldari teams, with more of them feeding into the shadow play of the Commorites. Notable Fleet of Foot gives all operatives a free Dash that must be paired with a Normal Move or Fall back. Blade Artists gives all melee weapons Rending, when paired with the Wicked Blades, which grant Lethal 5+, turning all operatives into serviceable melee threats. From Darkness, Death is the mechanically unique strategic ploy, letting each activating operative pick an enemy that does not have them in LoS, if that condition is met you can retain a normal hit as a critical hit in melee or shooting! Meanwhile, defensively Denizens of Night makes concealed operatives always concealed if they are more than 6” from enemies and within 3” of their drop zone. Don’t forget that your Archsybarite can be Cunning, passing your first opening to do a strategic ploy to gain 1 CP. Playing chicken with the opponent on whether or not they want to use extra strategic ploys, most of the time you gain 1CP per turn.
On the tactical end, Cruel Deception, lets you fall back for 1 less. Devious Scheme, targets an opposing ploy, after they are used causing them to cost more the next time they are used, with only 1 scheme allowed at a time. Prey on the Wounded, lets you get relentless on operatives with half or fewer wounds. The most interesting tactical ploy is Heinous Arrogance, which lets you skip an activation window, meaning you can pay to act like a 10 activation team!
Archon kill teams have a large spread of equipment that are pretty flexible. Letting you take the Agents into acting like a specialist. Chain Snares makes falling back harder, with a chance to waste the fall back AP entirely. Wicked Blades add 1 attack to the basic Array of Blades profile, taking that to 4 attacks ¾ damage. Toxin Coating adds lethal 5+ to melee weapons, costing 1 point if applied to Array of Blades, and 2 points for anything more exotic. Refined Poison adds 1 damage to any of the splinter gun profiles, pushing them into bolter territory. The poison is harder to apply to big weapons like the Splinter Cannon and the Shardcarbine, costing 3 points. Plasma Grenades make a return as a ¾ Blast 2 grenade. Phantasm Grenade Launchers+ are a stun grenade with a 3 inch radius. The Kabalite Banner+ matches the compendium banner increasing the APL of all friendlies within 3 inches by 1.
The three Tac Ops for the Hand of the Archon all play into their theme of being debaucherous slavers of the webway.
- Pay the Soul Debt, sees you aiming to collect 7 or 9 pain tokens acting like a Seek and Destroy tac op, which I can see becoming popular.
- Slave Run, has each opposing operative drop a slave token that incurs a 2 inch movement penalty from the slaving model who picks up the slave. It asks for 2 or 4 slaves which seems incredibly difficult if you’re being pressured for activations. More flavorful than good.
- Contemptuous Slaughter, aims for you to incapacitate an enemy while suffering zero friendly casualties on two separate turning points. This is revealed as a surprise at the end of a turn where you score this, but similar tac ops have been some of the worst in the game thus far. Perhaps hiding the first scoring window makes this playable.
How They’ll Play
The Hand of the Archon looks to be the punchier weirder end of the Aeldari kill teams, sporting the more exotic weaponry of the Commorites and drawing pain from slain models to fuel your raids. With the ability to sprint out of the shadows to retain extra crits, you’ll be able to apply a scalpel to enemy game plans. The team looks to be very flexible with 3 out of 4 available tac op types, letting you adapt to the enemy and the map with ease. Equipment can adjust the strengths of the team to be more melee-centric or shooty-centric which will give the team room to flex, which has been strong for competitive play.
This team definitely leans more aggressive than their Corsair brethren, which will be nice for more aggressive minded players. Personally I am looking forward to bringing the raiders out for a raid on real space. Got any questions or suggestions? Drop us a line at Contact@Goonhammer.com.