Kill Team Into The Dark Review: Imperial Navy Breachers

Kill Team Into the Dark gives us two new kill teams: The stalwart members of the Imperial Navy Breachers and the stealthy hunters of the Farstalker Kinband. In this article we’re covering the rules for the Navy Breachers – how they work, how they’ll play, and how they fit into

Today’s Kill Team Coverage:

Before we dive in, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with preview copies of the Annual and Into the Dark boxed set for review purposes.

With the arrival of close quarters combat to Kill Team we are given a team that seems almost tailor made for the new rules, Imperial Navy Breachers. Up until now the Imperial Navy had very little model representation with the voidsmen from the Rogue Trader Kill Team 1.0 expansion being the closest example of small “s” space marines.

Imperial Navy Breacher Kill Teams

The Breachers are a 12-operative team consisting of one Sergeant-At-Arms equipped with either a Navis Shotgun and Navis Hatchet or a Bolt Pistol/Heirloom Pistol and Chainsword/Power weapon and then 11 Navy Breacher operatives selected from the following list:

  • Navis Armsmen (The Non-Specialist)
  • Navis Axejack
  • Navis Surveyor
  • Navis C.A.T. Unit (This is the RC drone)
  • Navis Endurant
  • Navis Void-Jammer
  • Navis Gheistskull (Servo-Skull)
  • Navis Grenadier
  • Navis Gunner equipped with either: Plasmagun, Meltagun, or Navis Las-Volley. 1 max of each weapon per team.
  • Navis Hatchcutter

All operatives are limited to 1 per Kill Team with the exception of 2 Gunners, and regular Armsmen, which have no limit.

The C.A.T. and Gheistskull require the Surveyor and Void-Jammer, respectively, to be taken, however the reverse is not true. This final limitation is an interesting take on the recent trend of giving players the option of exchanging two generic operatives for a more powerful specialist, I.E. Wyrmblade or The Blooded, but instead the operatives being exchanged simply expand the options available to their handlers. This makes for a harder decision on the part of the player as the abilities provided by the Gheistskull or C.A.T. are harder to compare against the utility provided by having an additional Breacher with a gun.

Players looking to max the potential of this team may unfortunately have to purchase a second sprue if they want to put 12 Breachers on the table.

Abilities

Breachers come with two unique abilities:

The first, Breach and Clear, is perhaps one of the more powerful unique abilities we have seen from a team. Once per Turning Point the player may select two operatives within three inches of one another, and make them both GA 2. You may then select one of the operatives to activate first, and then must immediately do the second one you selected. This is a fantastic ability as there is no limitation on what operatives can be activated in this way. Want to activate both your gunners, go for it! Want to have your Hatchcutter open up a bulkhead so your AxeJack can charge through? Breach and Clear!

The second ability is Void Armour which imparts a number of bonuses that emphasize the close quarters nature of the team. Operatives with this ability are immune to the Splash special rule if they aren’t the original target the attack, and they may re-roll one defense die against any shooting attack that originates from Torrent, Blast, or from a specified point (e.g. Detonate). Lastly, the Navis Grenadier gets to re-roll two die, because he has a cool bomb suit. These rules are especially handy in Into The Dark thanks to the Close Quarters special rules giving Torrent and Blast weapons the Lethal 5+ trait.

Operatives

Credit: 40khamslam

Navis Sergeant-At-Arms

Your typical leader operative, slightly tougher and deadlier than a generic operative, with a special ability that reflects their role as leader. In this case, at the beginning of the first Turning Point the Breacher player may select to make either the Attack Order or Defense Order ploy free for as long as your leader remains in the Kill Zone. We will get into the details of this ploy later, however this is a solid ability that is essentially the equivalent of saving you up to four command points of the course of a match. Additionally, he has the option of taking several ranged and melee combinations, all of which are reliable with none that are obviously superior to the others. From a game balance standpoint this is excellent when compared with operatives such as the The Blooded’s Traitor Chieftain that has a plasma pistol option that is a near auto-take.

Credit: 40khamslam

Navis Armsman

Your standard generic, run-of-the-mill operatives, where you trade out any special abilities for GA2. Running the standard human equivalent profile of 7 wounds, your armsmen differ in some significant ways from their Guardsmen counterparts. First off, armsmen have a 4+ armor, putting them closer to Scions or Skitarii in terms of durability. Second, they’re armed exclusively for close quarters combat, sporting the two weapons that are distinct to the Breacher team: the Navis Shotgun and Navis Hatchet. The shotgun is basically a slightly superior version of the shotgun found on other Kill Teams, sporting the same short range profile, but also coming with a long range profile that hits/wounds on a 5+ and has one of the weakest damage profiles of 1/2, which is better than nothing. The Navis Hatchet is a significant melee upgrade over a standard human’s, with a 3/4 damage profile meaning they can hit as hard an unarmed space marine in melee. All of these attributes combined give Breachers a significant advantage over other horde teams at the six inch and closer range.

Credit: 40khamslam

Navis Axejack

The obligatory melee specialist. He trades in his shotgun and axe for a…bigger axe? This weapon is functionally a power weapon, but apparently he has been practicing a lot with it as he sports a +1 attack and hit/wound over his generic kin, and even has an autopistol as a backup weapon. Additionally, he brings two melee oriented special abilities, Emboldened grants him a 5+ ignore wounds ability until the end of any Turning Point in which he performed a charge, while Wade In (2 AP) allows him to charge, and then perform a free fight action with the Reap 2 weapon trait. The axe Jack does fall short of models such as the Wyrmblade Locus or the Legionary Butcher in terms of pure close combat effectiveness, and is more comparable to the Blooded Traitor Butcher.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Navis Endurant

This hulking mass is your bodyguard operative and is armed with a shotgun and ballistic shield. Additionally, he has three wounds over the standard armsman and comes with several unique abilities that serve to help him and his allies stay alive. The first is that he trades in his axe for the shield, which allows each of your parries to remove two of your opponent’s retained attack dice. His second, Breachwall, allows him to select a single operative, that moves into base contact with him, to be “shielded” as long as the Endurant has the Engage order and remains in base contact. Shielded operatives are not considered in line of sight to enemy operatives if any cover lines are dawn across the Endurant’s base, unless that enemy operative is on a vantage point. This ability is great as the shielded operative can be under an Engage order and thus shoot at enemy operatives while hiding behind the Endurant, the Endurant may also perform this ability while engaged in combat. Lastly, the Endurant may perform the Fall Back action for 1 AP.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Navis Grenadier

Ole Hurt Locker himself, this guy is perhaps the best version of the demolition specialist we have seen yet. Not only does he come with the Frag, Krak, AND Stun grenades, but he can also use them TWICE at no equipment cost. In addition, he comes with a Demolition Charge, a single use ranged weapon with 4 atks, +3 hit/wound, 4/6 dmg, AP1, Blast 2 inches, Indirect, AND a 4 inch range. This is rather insultingly good compared to similar specialists such as the Guardsman Demolitionist or Infiltrator Saboteur who have to set up their weapons to use them, while this guy just gets to hurl a hunk of C4 at someone. Despite being festooned with explosive he doesn’t even risk exploding on anyone like The Blooded variant. In is unclear if this guy’s rules were written before the data-slate balance limited grenades to one per type per Kill Team, which will assumedly be addressed in the future. Lastly, it is worth pointing out that he still comes equipped a Shotgun and Hatchet, meaning he is still more than capable even without his many bombs.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Navis Gunner

The special weapons guys, they have three weapon options, two of which are your trusty meltagun and plasma gun that everyone should be familiar with. The new addition to the arsenal is the Navis Las-Volley, which comes with an insanely deadly profile of 6 attacks, 4+ hit/wound, 3/4 damage, Fusillade, Heavy, AND Relentless. This final weapon trait is what really seals the deal here making this weapon nearly as deadly as a Soulreaper Cannon. Gunners also gain 1 wound over their standard armsmen counterparts, but sacrifice their hatchet leaving them more vulnerable to close combat.

Navis Hatchcutter

This operative just piles on the abilities that are likely to make Breachers a threat to be reckoned with in Into The Dark. The hatchcutter trades in his standard arms for an autopistol and chainfist, but gains a number of unique abilities that make an incredible force multiplier. The Hatchcutter trait means that this operative never has to spend more than 1 AP to open a closed hatchway, while Weld Shut (1 AP) action allows them to “Weld Shut” a closed Hatchway they’re within 1 inch of. Doing means other operatives have to spend an additional 1 AP to open that hatchway, once it has been opened again the effect is lost.

Lastly, and most importantly, this operative can perform the Breach Point (1 AP) action that allows them to place a token within 1 inch of the operative. This token must be placed on a piece of terrain no more than an inch thick. Friendly operatives may then pass through any part of that terrain feature as long as they are within 1 inch of the token. The ability to ignore terrain has proven to be incredibly powerful up until this point as demonstrated by Harlequins and Fly, the Wyrmblade’s Writhing Ingress ploy, and the Kommando Breacha Boy. I assume this ability would already be very useful on a standard Kill Team board, and is likely to be doubly so in Into The Dark Kill Zones.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Navis Surveyor and Navis C.A.T. Unit

While these are two separate operatives the requirement to take them together means they’re linked to one another. It is important to note that the C.A.T. Unit and Gheistskull both come with the Support Unit and Machine traits, which introduces a host of limitations on them. They have no direct combat function, and serve almost entirely to expand the range of abilities of their attendant Armsman operative.

Credit: 40kHamslam

The Surveyor is essential the Breacher variant of the Commsman with access to two separate abilities. Wayfind (1 AP) which allows him to increase the APL of any Breacher within 6 inches of him or the C.A.T. and the Surveillance (1 AP) action, which allows a surveillance token to be placed within 6 inches of the C.A.T. Unit. Enemy operatives within 3 inches of the token and visible to the C.A.T. are considered have the engage order for shooting attacks made by friendly operatives. This latter ability, while cool and fluffy, is an extremely convoluted way to basically simulate the effects of a vantage point, and while it may have its uses in the close confines of Into the Dark, it is extremely limiting for a standard Kill Zone.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Navis Void-Jammer and Gheistskull Unit

As with the above two operatives the Gheistskull is basically an extension of the Void-Jammer. Unfortunately, both of his abilities REQUIRE the Gheistskull, which is a problem as we will see. Interference Pulse (1 AP) allows the Void-Jammer to reduce the APL of an enemy operative within 6 inches of the Gheistskull, while Detonate is a shooting attack that originates from the Gheistskull with 4 atks, +3 hit/wound, 2/3 dmg, Blast 2, Silent, and a Lethal Quality equivalent to the save characteristic of the target. Lastly, performing this action incapacitates the Gheistskull. This is a pretty insane choice on the part of the designers, while it makes sense from a fluff standpoint the attack from the Gheistskull isn’t very powerful, and using it immediately means the Void-Jammer can no longer use Interference Pulse.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Ploys

Breachers come with the usual number of ploys for new teams, all of which are well balanced, and play into the aesthetic of the team.

Strategic Ploys

Attack and Defense Order

Place an attack or defense token, depending on which ploy you choose, and place it anywhere in the kill zone. Until the end of the Turning Point friendly Breacher operatives within 3 inches of an attack token may re-roll a die result of your choice when making either a shooting or combat attack. If you decide to place a defense token, operatives may do the same but with defense rolls made against shooting attacks. This is especially strong on the Into The Dark Kill Zone where you can easily fortify chokepoints. It is worth pointing out that operatives don’t need to be visible or have line of sight to the token, presumably meaning it can effect operatives through walls.

Close Assault

Until the end of the Turning Point friendly operatives that score two or more successful hits in combat or when making shooting attacks at enemies within 3 inches may retain a single failed hit as a normal successful hit. This is likely to find plenty of use simply due to the close range nature of this team, and is excellent for forcing damage through against more heavily armored enemies.

Brace for Counter-Attack

Until the end of the Turning Point enemy attacks against friendly operatives that have yet to perform a Normal Move, Fallback, or Charge Action have their normal and critical damage characteristics reduced by 1 to a minimum of 2. Another excellent and fluffy ploy that can do a lot to keep your operatives alive.

Tactical Ploys

Overwhelm Target

When you use the Breach and Clear ability select one of the two operatives to be activated, and add 1 to its APL. Fantastic ploy, Breach and Clear is already an immensely powerful team ability, and abilities that increase operative APL are only icing on the cake. This ploy will do ALOT to open up new and creative plays for Breacher players.

Blitz

Select a friendly operative when it makes a Shoot or Fight Action against an enemy within six inches. If it is the first friendly operative to be activated that Turning Point you may retain a single attack die as a critical hit without rolling it, while if it also the first time a friendly operative has made a Fight or Shoot Action during that turning point it may also retain another attack as a normal hit without rolling it. This is a good ploy, but is unfortunately a bit overshadowed by others in terms of usefulness as the standard Voidsman firearm has the same normal and critical damage profile.

Lock it Down

When a friendly operative is activated you may select one objective marker, and until the end of the battle that operative treats their APL as 1 higher when determining control of that objective. This is an excellent little surprise you can drop on opponents when they try to take objectives from you.

Calm Head

When an operative is activated, until the end of the battle, they no longer suffer penalties to movement or attacking. Like Lock it Down this ploy can be very useful, and has the added benefit of lasting the entire game.

Credit: Dylan Gould

Equipment

Unfortunately here is where Breachers begin to appear a little lackluster. In the case of grenades you have little reason to select them since the Grenadier comes with them, and many of the other choices are either very situational, or marginal in their effectiveness.

Frag and Krak Grenades [2 EP and 3 EP]

As mentioned above, they come with the Grenadier, who you should always take. Otherwise always a solid choice for any team.

Stun Grenades [2 EP]

These technically don’t adhere to the grenade changes of the balance data-sheet due to not having the limited trait. They grant the Stun (1 AP) action to the operative, who may perform it only once per game. The operative may select a point within 6 inches, and any operatives with 2 inches of that point lose 1 APL on a roll of a +4. This is frankly, bad, simply due to the random nature of the weapon. You have a 100% chance of losing your AP to have a 50% chance against your opponent? You only do this is you have no other choice, have multiple enemies that can reasonably expect to effect with this ability.

Rebreather [1 EP]

Operatives equipped with this are immune to APL reduction and the Stun ability. A common piece of gear that is useful on melee operatives such as the AxeJack who need to 2 AP to be useful.

Slugs [1 EP]

A very interesting piece of equipment that grants an operative two ammunition types: cartridges and slugs. The former is simply the standard weapon profile already available to the weapon, while the latter allows the operative to only use the long range profile of the weapon, but with +1 damage and +1 BS, effectively turning your shotgun into a lasgun. When your operatives are initially setup you choose which ammo type they’re equipped with. Additionally, the operative gains the Load Shotgun (1 AP) action, which allows them to change their ammunition type. This is a great inclusion into the set, as it will help keep Breachers viable on more traditional Kill Zone boards.

Stimm [1 EP]

Perhaps the most generally useful piece of equipment available to the team. An operative simply gains 1 wound, which is a fantastic way to elevate nearly the entire team it 8 wounds, an important thresh hold. Combine this equipment with Brace for Counter-Attack and Defense Order and you have an incredibly durable team.

System Override Device [2 EP] One per Team

After the Scouting Phase you may open one hatchway. A very niche piece of equipment that is almost entirely dependent on how the Kill Zone is setup, opening a hatchway may give your team early access to objective markers or better strategic positions on the map. However at the end of the day this item is useless if no hatches are present making it the least overall useful item available to the team.

Credit: Dylan Gould

Tac Ops

Breachers have access to two archetypes of Tac Ops: Security and Seek and Destroy, both of which play very well towards their strengths, general durability, and lethal close range firepower. They also receive the obligatory three faction Tac Ops that they use in place of the generic Tac Ops.

Storm Target

Reveal this Tac Op during the first Turning Point. Your opponent then selects an objective to be the target of this Tac Op. If you control this objective during any Turning Point you gain a VP, and an additional VP if you control at the end of the battle. This Tac Op is a letdown both creatively and from a tactical standpoint. The only limitation on which objective your opponent can choose is that it may not be removed from the game. This means your opponent is likely to pick the most difficult objective they can, which is only compounded if it is one that can be picked up and moved. Additionally, many of the Into the Dark missions simply lack objective markers making this one difficult in the best situations, and useless in others.

Into the Breach

At the end of the battle if one operative is within six inches of your opponent’s kill zone edge you gain 1 VP, and you gain additional VP if you have two or more. A straight forward objective, however this can be a decidedly difficult depending on your opponent, or the Kill Zone layout. This may put you in a position where you need to hold your own objectives, for a primary objective, and simply not have the operatives needed to perform this Tac Op and it at the same time. The one plus side of this Tac Op is that it pairs very well with Storm Target since doing one will likely play into the other.

Counteract

When you use the Breach and Clear ability gain 1 VP IF both operatives incapacitate an enemy operative, OR if one operative incapacitates an enemy and the other controls a marker than you did not already control. A second VP is scored if you manage to do this a second time. This likely the best of the three faction specific Tac Ops as it plays directly into what you will likely be doing throughout the match. Its main weakness is that it will likely be less useful against elite teams as the odds of your armsmen each individually gunning down two Space Marines or Custodians is very unlikely.

The Models

Dylan: Like previous Kill Teams, this kit has three frames: two full size frames that contain the lion’s share of torsos and weapons and the third half-size sprue that has all the special stuff on it. Except for one Breacher, all the others have two builds, either a standard shot-gun wielding Breacher or the specialist build. Assembly is very straightforward, and the quality of this kit is in line with other modern kits. 

Care needs to be taken when assembling these to ensure their coats line up properly in the front. I ended up with a couple small gaps that I didn’t notice until they were primed. There are some leg sets that don’t have the best alignment points, with the only true identifier being the back of the coat. Others have multiple nubs, to align the legs, but ensure that you dry fit before you glue to make sure that everything fits as intended.

I really appreciate the extra equipment that is molded to fit seamlessly on the Breacher’s backs, with notches to fit onto the belt loops. 

Credit: 40kHamslam

I only did one sub-assembly, which was on the Navis Endurant. Their shield and shotgun slot together solidly and the connection points to the torso are very straightforward. Otherwise, most of the other poses are fairly open, with the shotgunners and special weapons having decent access to work around the weapons to paint the chest.

The kit comes with so many heads, you could assemble everyone without a helmet if you wanted. I used a bunch of helmets (love the vibe) but on the ones where I used heads, I trimmed down the connection points on helmets and attached them to their belts.

Credit: 40kHamslam

Painting

For my paint scheme, I decided to lean into the “everyone is a baddie” theory and went for a dark and menacing scheme, which I think ended up having some light Battlestar Galatica vibes. Another driver of the limited palette was to save time. I managed to paint the full squad in about a week. 

Credit: Dylan Gould

Like the majority of my other skirmish stuff, I primed these guys with my usual spray of Army Painter Leather Brown base and then a zenithal coat of Army Painter Skeleton Bone. After that the minis get a drybrush of white before I got into the color.

I painted their coats and other cloth with Black Legion Contrast (which I may note, is pretty close to Corvus Black) and a highlight of grey. The coat edging, shotgun casings, and visors received a coat of Blood Angels Red Contrast and highlighted with a mix of Wild Rider Red, Fiery Orange, and White. Their boots, gloves, and belts got a coat of Cygor Brown Contrast. 

All the metal was painted with Army Painter Plate Metal and the gold bits with Retributor. The metals got a solid layer of Nuln oil. Frag Grenades got a quick hit of OOP Knarloc Green with a glaze of Creed Camo Contrast.

Credit: 40kHamslam

The finishing touches were to paint up the screens with a coat of black, some details in white and a glaze of Warp Lightning Contrast. These and the visors got a coat of Ard Coat and then onto bases.

The bases are cut styrene with some bits to match the floors I made. I added some Vallejo Black Lava paste for patches of a gritty, rusty texture. I painted them a base of Doombull Brown. I made a wash of Fiery orange and water, which I applied to the textured bits, and then finished it with a thinned coat of Nuln oil. The rims were painted black and they were done!

Final Thoughts

Navy Breachers are a strong check in the “win” column in my book, they look great and most of their abilities range from good to great, while simultaneously meshing with the fluff behind the team. From a competitive standpoint I predict they will be slightly stronger than The Blooded in standard Kill Zones, but still lag behind Veteran Guardsmen or Novitiates. However, with the introduction of the Into the Dark missions in competitive play you can expect these guys to be a nightmare to play against, they’re durable, numerous, deadly up up close, and versatile. Basically these guys were clearly tailor made for Into The Dark. Perhaps the biggest letdown of the team are the two drone operatives who will likely find themselves benched in competitive play in favor of standard voidsmen.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.comAlso if you’re a Space Marines player, check out the new Intercession Squad Kill team – you can find the free rules here and our writeup here.