Kill Team: Nightmare – Nemesis Claw Review

Greetings readers! TheArmorOfContempt(AoC) and HappyRaccoon(HR) here to give you a review of the Power Armored half of the soon to be released Kill Team: Nightmare box set. The Night Lords have many fans, and despite them being “The Worst” – it can’t be denied that they are amongst the more interesting of the traitor legions in terms of lore and style. For those who are allergic to reading we can safely say that this is a strong addition to the Kill Team line-up. The Nemesis Claw rules feel appropriate for the faction, and all of them range between average to very good. 

Many thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a review copy of the Kill Team: Nightmare box for review.

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Faction Ability – In Midnight Clad

Any fan of the Night Lords knew this was going to be their team ability. Unfortunately, it might be the biggest let down in their release. The plus side is that it isn’t a bad ability, and means we only have more interesting things to look forward to. Nemesis Claw operatives count as being Obscured if they satisfy the following: have a conceal order, are within 1 inch or under a vantage, and more than 6 inches from visible enemy operatives. 

In essence this means Nemesis Claw operatives ignore long-ranged opponents on Vantage, and are much less concerned about positioning when it comes to enemy firing lines. This rule ranges from good on maps like Octarius or Bheta-Decima to awkward and difficult to benefit from on Close Quarters maps. It also falls short of the strength of “super conceal” style abilities as some teams such as Pathfinders or Phobos Strike Team can just ignore the team ability entirely. 


It should come as no surprise that Nemesis Claw operatives are nearly identical to their Legionnaires counterparts as far as their basic stats are concerned, with slightly more options to choose from than can fit on the board.

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Night Lord Visionary

The leader. At this point you all know the score, +1 wound and +1 to hit over the operatives he leads. When choosing his weapons you have to either choose between a combination of bolt pistol and power weapon, or plasma pistol and chainsword. In most situations you will take the latter as the Chainsword comes with Rending and isn’t as big of a downgrade from its power weapon counterparts as the bolt pistol is to the plasma pistol.

Where this guy really shines is he has one of the strongest leader abilities in the game. The Visionary comes with the Prescience ability that is going to make all the Eldar players very jealous. During the Strategic Phase the Nemesis Claw player may choose to generate D3 Prescience tokens with the Visionary in place of using a ploy. These tokens form a pool and may be spent to do the following: skip an activation, discard a single successful attack die made against this operative (max of one per TP), or gain 1 command point (requires an action point). 

The ability to skip an activation is immensely powerful for elite teams, especially when going up against OTHER elites. If this ability has one drawback it is the random nature of the ability as a lot can be riding on that D3 result. 

HappyRaccon Editor’s Note: I suspect that this ability will catapult this team into being the best Elite team in the game. As long as you can keep your leader around, you always out activate opposing elites. While also having flex use against more numerous opponents. These tokens can also roll over from turn to turn, so you could theoretically bank 12 extra activations for turning point 4.

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Night Lord Fearmonger

The Fearmonger is best described as the Nemesis Claw analog to the Felgor Tox-Horn or Hand of the Archon Disciple of Yaelindra. First off, this operative finds himself armed with a scoped Bolt Pistol, which is basically a boltgun that gains Lethal 5+ within six inches. What truly makes this operative interesting is it comes armed with a one use Terrorchem Vial, which can best be described as a frag grenade with a bonus attack and mortal wounds 3 instead of normal critical damage. This alone would make it a very useful piece of gear, BUT it also comes with the Terrorchem special rule. Enemy operatives who receive a critical hit from weapons with this rule will take D3 mortal wounds each Initiative Phase.

Additionally, its melee weapon also has the Terrorchem special rules, and it may perform the Poison Objective (1 AP) ability. The first enemy operative who comes within 2 inches of the poisoned objective gains a Terrorchem token for the remainder of the game. 

This operative is a must take against hordes as its Terrorchem vial is almost guaranteed to kill 7 and 8 wound enemy operatives, and can have a significant psychological effect on how your opponent approaches you.

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Night Lord Screecher

Our first melee specialist. The Screecher has no access to ranged weapons, but sports double Lightning Claws that grant him an impressive +3 hit/wound, 5 atks, 4/5 damage, Relentless, and Lethal 5+ making him somewhat equivalent to the Anointed, trading durability for combat efficiency. Additionally, this model comes with two further abilities. First, it reduces the WS/BS of all enemy operatives within 3 inches by 1, similar to Howling Banshees this ability does not stack with injury, however this operative does become Lethal 4+ against any enemies who are below starting wounds. 

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Night Lord Skin Thief

This is the operative The Butcher always should’ve been. Armed with a 5 atk, +3 hit/wound, 4/6 damage, Reap 1, and Rending Chainglaive this guy can hit like a truck with the right roll. Whenever the Skin Thief incapacitates an enemy operative within engagement range it may then choose a single enemy operative visible and within 6 inches that may no longer perform Mission Actions, Pick Up Actions, or Control Objective Markers until the next Turning Point. Lastly, it also reduces the normal and critical damage of enemies in close combat.

Credit: John from Can You Roll A Crit?

Night Lord Ventrilokator

A bolt pistol and chainsword wielding “Icon Bearing”… PSYKER?! The puppet can perform Disconcerting Mimicry, a psychic action that allows the Night Lords another powerful initiative control ability. A selected enemy operative within 6” can be forced to Dash, lose an APL, or have their order flipped. Luckily for your opponents you can only only use each option once, but we can foresee a world where a Chain Snare wielding Vetrilokator can drag an operative out of cover to launch off at a later date. This ability also does not require visibility meaning there is strong potential to alpha strike improperly positioned foes. 

Night Lord Gunner, Heavy Gunner, and Warriors

Identical to their Legionnaire counterparts, except the Heavy Gunner doesn’t get to take the Gatling Cannon. 

Credit: Games Workshop


Nemesis Claw has access to a number of simultaneously useful and thematic ploys, and for the most part they are all decent to fantastic. There is a bit to complain about, but overall players should feel like they have access to enough that they need to be very careful how they spend their Command Points. The best ploys are in your tactical ploys, and we suspect one ploy in particular is going to do most of the work.

Strategic Ploys

Nightmare Manifest

Allows operatives to make two fight actions OR two shoot actions. FINALLY, we have the perfect version of this ploy for Space Marines, now you no longer need to spend two command points to do both, nor do you have to make a choice between shooting twice and not fighting at all, and vice versa. Given how rough Elite teams seem to have things these days it might not be a bad idea for this merely to be the ploy available to all Marine teams going forward. 

HappyRaccoon Editor’s Note: I suspect that between this, the Warp Coven changes, and the success of intercessors. Eventually we’ll see a world where all marine equivalents will function similarly to double fight or double shoot across the board.

We Have Come For You

Operatives who make a Charge Action as their first action during their activation may deal D3 Mortals to one target within Engagement Range. Great for ensuring that you finish off weakened enemies, or ensuring that 7 to 8 wound operatives can be killed in a single strike.

HR: Similarly turns the screecher into an absolute monster with lethal 4+ during any combat step. Thematic, fun, and powerful against 9/10 wound teams where the d3 wounds changes the # of hits to kill.


Enemy operatives count as Engaged when determining Line of Sight if they are within six inches of your operatives UNLESS they are in Heavy Cover. 

The Black Hunt

Effectively gives your team the Balance special weapon rule when targeting enemies that have less than their starting wounds. A perfectly good re-roll ploy that will likely find itself being used a lot. 

Credit: TheChirurgeon

Tactical Ploys

Out of the Darkness

A single operative wholly within your Drop Zone may make a free 4 inch move with Fly. This ploy has nothing saying it may not be used more than once, so if you want to spend some CP for what is effectively extra Recon Dashes, knock yourself out. A solid ploy that is great for helping you get your team into ideal positions. 

Vox Scream 

Easily the strongest ploy the team has, and it is clear the designers recognize this because it increases by 1 in cost every time it is used. When an opponent activates an operative you can pay 1 CP to tell them they can’t, and they have to pick someone else. This makes the Omni-Scrambler seem tame by comparison. Note, this does not work if they have no other eligible operatives to activate. Unlike Omni-Scramble, you can do this at any point during the turn, so you can either use it to get the jump on an opponent after losing initiative, OR if an opponent with superior activation economy is stalling by selecting backline operatives. 

HR: Between this ploy and your leaders prescience this is the first Elite team that should almost always have the initiative. Allowing a leader with foresight to land those 3-apl missiles into the best targets all the time. I somewhat suspect that you can expect to use this every turn and it’ll be worth the CP each time.

Death to the False Emperor

And now we follow up the best ploy with the biggest “meh”. Combats with or shooting attacks  against a keyword IMPERIUM enemy operative may re-roll a number result of your choice. If that enemy has the ADEPTUS ASTARTES keyword you may re-roll all of them. Look, there are plenty of Imperium teams out there, so it isn’t like this won’t ever be useful, but at this point you’d think we would have finally learned that abilities that ONLY work against certain teams are bad design unless they’re specifically contained in Narrative play sections. 

Proclivity for Murder

The second best option available to the team. After incapacitating an enemy operative that was within its engagement range, that Nemesis Claw operative may either perform a free Dash or Charge up to 3 inches, even if it has performed an action that would normally prevent it from doing so. 

HR: Giving me Fellgor flashbacks already, especially with this team’s preponderance for incredible anti-melee equipment. A melee alpha strike can line up a truly monstrous turn where your screecher or skinner can catapult into opposing lines to roadblock opponents.


For Legionnaires players most of what you find on this list you’re already familiar with, but we have a few tweaks and additions that at least do the job of giving it that Night Lords flavor.

Frag Grenade [2 EP], Krak Grenade [3 EP], Grisly Trophy [3 EP], and Suspensor [3 EP]

The old reliables. Identical in all ways to their Legionnaire counterparts. While you wouldn’t call them original, there is nothing here to complain about, solid stuff that will absolutely be used at some point. 

 Combat Blade [1 EP]

Essentially the cheaper variant of the Malefic Blade from Legionnaires. For half the cost you get half the capability, only receiving the critical damage upgrade to 5 over the standard 4 for melee weaponless operatives. Despite this being inferior to having an extra attack odds are you will probably be putting this on your gunners at some point.

Flayed Skin [2 EP]

Enemy operatives with 3 inches don’t get to re-roll attack dice. A solid upgrade for your more combat focused operatives, especially when going up against foes with Relentless. A more reasonable version of the Exaction Squad’s Phosphor-Lumen. 

HR: Considering how many teams rely on re-rolls to cover their weaknesses I expect this to feel just as good as it does on Exaction Squad. Take these, and take them often, especially against opposing melee-centric teams.

Chain-Snare [1 EP]

Gives the user a 4+ chance to prevent enemies within engagement from performing a Fall Back action if they are the only enemy operative within engagement. You subtract one from your roll if the enemy is injured, and add one to it if their wound total is greater than the equipped operative. A solid piece of gear to give to melee operatives. While the random nature of it makes it unreliable, its 1 EP cost makes it a steal, especially against ranged teams like Pathfinders. 

Night Lords Chaos Space Marines – Credit: RichyP

Tac Ops

The Nemesis Claw has access to three of the four Tac Op Archetypes: Infiltration, S&D, and Recon giving them a strong range of options to work with depending on their opponents and Kill Zone. 

HR: I personally think it’s somewhat annoying that the team is releasing with 3 archetypes from a design perspective, but there is no doubt it’s a boon for the Nemesis Claw.

Sow Terror 

Incapacitate an enemy operative within engagement range, while they’re within 2 inches of an objective within their territory, and NOT on the centerline for 1 VP. Repeat for second VP. This falls somewhere on the more difficult side of Seek and Destroy, while it isn’t exactly impossible it is likely more preferable against more numerous teams, or Close Quarter boards. The fact that it doesn’t require you to choose a specific enemy like Eliminate Guards is a big plus. 

Dread Tale, Dark Rumor

Reveal at the end of the battle. If you have an operative within 6 inches of one of theirs, gain 1 VP. If an operative is within 6 inches of the opponent’s Kill Zone Edge, gain another VP. At the very least this Tac Op is worth a solid 1 VP if you manage to find yourself not tabled by the end of the game, getting within 6 of your opponent’s edge might be a more difficult task, especially as that might mean you’re not within range of an objective marker.

Hunt the Weak

Easily the worst of the three choices here. If one of your operatives incapacitates an enemy with an unmodified wounds characteristic of 7 within engagement range, BUT more than six inches from all other enemy operatives you gain 1 VP. Repeat this for your second VP. This is weak for the obvious reason that only applies to certain teams, and additionally 7 wound teams tend to have the most operatives on the table making fulfilling the distance requirement that much  more difficult. 

Example Roster 

Whole team fits on the roster. No notes, easy peasy!

Final Thoughts

Nemesis Claw is a welcome addition to the roster of bespoke Kill Teams, and our first subfaction specific team since Warpcoven. Operatives such as the Visionary and Ventrilokar bring some very strong abilities to bear, while Vox Scream and Proclivity for Murder are excellent ploys that will likely be used every game. However, we have some rather underwhelming rules to balance them out, most specifically In Midnight Clad (almost laughable when compared to their Mandrake counterparts), the Death to the False Emperor ploy, and Hunt the Weak Tac Ops. This all being said this team is still a strong B to B+ on the part of the rules team striking a good balance between competitive and flavorful. 

HR: I am much higher than Armor of Contempt on this team. I suspect this team will be released as the straight up best Elite team we currently have. While they are less durable than Nurgle or Intercession their ability to manipulate the action economy is going to yield huge boons for them. The extra layers of obscurity mean that Horde teams should be SoL on early interaction and 10-activation teams play on even footing. Elite players rejoice your time has come!

As always, drop us a line if you have any questions or suggestions!