In addition to new rules and new models, the new Kill Team Pariah Nexus book also lists out rules for more than a dozen models, adding new units and completely updating the Space Marines Kill Team range while doing… a bit less for Necrons. In this third and final part of our review, we’ll talk about the new faction rules, what’s in the box, and the new datasheets for each faction.
Chucat: Right from the outset, it’s clear there’s already a pretty big imbalance between the two Kill Teams. Just looking at the points alone, Necrons weigh in at 94 total points and Marines come in at 161 points, assuming a level 1 Commander on both sides. The Narrative missions attempt to work around this by forcing the Marine players to always attack, and thus be ‘out of position’ and vulnerable to Necron attacks and traps and so on, except this then appears to fall apart when you actually look at the models and just how durable one group of them is compared to the other.
This boxed set finally gives us models for Space Marine Heavy Intercessors, and like their Codex counterparts they have 5 Toughness, 3 Wounds and a 3+ Armor Save. In contrast, Flayed Ones are Strength 4, 3 Attacks and armed with an AP-1, D1 weapon. It’ll take, on average, NINE attacks (or three Flayed ones going at it) to do a single wound to a Heavy Intercessor. The Necron player does not have enough Flayed Ones to actually reduce a single Intercessor to 0 wounds in a single turn, let alone take one out of action. Just let that sink in for a minute.
The sole recourse for the Necron player is to use their Chronomancer, whose Entropic Lance MIGHT be able to deal enough wounds to a Heavy Intercessor in order to take one of them out (which is already pretty unpleasant with essentially 1 Attack in melee or a 1 shot weapon), which still leads to the issue of the Injury Roll and Death Denied.
Of course there’s still the elephant in the room that is the Primaris Captain. He’s got 5 attacks, his Master Crafted Power Sword wounds on 3s, prevents armor saves for every Necron model in the box, and it does 2 damage, which is the sweet spot for getting a kill. He can almost kill the Chronomancer in one round of melee and he just carves through Flayed Ones like they’re not even there. This isn’t even getting into shooting, which is pretty much a wash for Marines, considering Flayed Ones don’t even have ranged weapons. There’s no point even bringing it up when a Heavy Intercessor will take a Flayed One out of action before the Flayed One can even have a chance to attack the Heavy Intercessor.
Needless to say, I’m not a fan of the balance in this, when one set of models can’t even hurt the other set, there are major, major problems. Giving the Necron player a mixture of Triarchs and Lychguard/Immortals would probably not only have been more thematically fitting, but actually given us something approaching balanced.
The Space Marines
In addition to introducing heavy intercessors, the Pariah Nexus book also updates the rest of the marines faction, both to bring them in-line with the 9th edition codex treatment that gives them an extra wound and to shove it in the craw of Chaos Marine players, who have to live with vastly inferior marines in two game systems now.
Chapter Tactics and Tactics
There appear to be no visible changes at all to any of the Chapter Tactics that were first introduced in Elites, and this includes the Deathwatch. Large chunks of Elites’ rules have been directly copied over, meaning the Deathwatch example for Mission Tactics talks about targeting Tyranid Warriors, despite this being a Marine vs Necron campaign book.
The sole change for Marines in the Tactics section has been Death Denied dropping from 3 CP to 2 CP after being increased to 3 CP in the 2019 Kill Team Annual (TheChirurgeon: I honestly suspect this is because someone copied the text for Death Denied from Elites, where it was still 2 CP… there is literally no reason for this to be cheaper now). This tactic is now better in every way than tactics such as Rapid Regeneration and Rune of Ynnead, which only work on a roll of a 4+, as opposed to the automatic activation of Death Denied.
Pariah Nexus gives you the entire current Space Marines range. In addition to new datasheets for Heavy Intercessors, Assault Intercessors, and Bladeguard Veterans, they’ve also reprinted the datasheets for Incursors, Suppressors, Eliminators, Infiltrators, Reivers, and Phobos Armour characters from Kill Team Annual 2019 with some tweaks. Incursors can now be set up anywhere more than 9” from an enemy deployment zone, for example. And Eliminators have gone from BS 3+ to 2+. Reivers’ pistols went from AP-1 to AP-2. Each adjustment makes these options a bit more viable in a faction roster that’s overstuffed with options. Marines have more Kill Team options than some factions have in their 40k Codexes now.
In addition to reprinting those new units, every marine unit also got an update, with all but scouts getting the +1 wound adjustment marines got in 9th edition. So now your tactical marines are 2 wounds.
The three new datasheets here are Assault Intercessors, Heavy Intercessors, and Bladeguard Veterans. Missing here are Eradicators, who presumably will show up in a future expansion for some reason.
Assault Intercessors basically pack an AP-1 chainsword and the ability to take the Zealot Specialism on top of the Intercessor body.
Heavy Intercessors are probably the most problematic unit in the game now, clocking in at a mere 17 points per model for a 3-wound, T5 model with a 3+ save. Their base guns are also free, giving them a S5 AP-1 36” Rapid Fire 1 gun out of the box, but if you prefer you can swap it for the Executor Bolt Rifle for free, giving you a Heavy 1, S5 AP-2 2 damage, 36” option on any model. For reference, regular Tactical Marines are 15 points per model, meaning that the extra wound, toughness, and significantly better gun have been costed at… 2points. They also get access to all the good Specialisms you’d want – the Sergeant can be a Leader, while the others can get Sniper, Demolitions, Comms, Veteran, and Heavy.
Bladeguard Veterans are the third new datasheet and the only model that seem to clock in at a reasonable points cost, coming in at 29 point each thanks to their Storm Shields. They’re still stupid deadly, and they’ve got a ton of Attacks to play with on their D2 power swords, but they’re at least more reasonably costed.
If Marines weren’t among the top Kill Team factions before it was thanks to CP cost on Death Denied. WIth that and an across-the-board buff for their units, i can’t imagine why you’d run anything else outside of NOVA-like formats that strongly encourage hordes. Four Heavy Intercessors and a Bladeguard Veteran Sergeant as your leader seems so stupid good I would expect it to lose me friends in most casual settings.
Although the bulk of the book is Marines Datasheets, the Necron range also gets an update here, adding the four types of Cryptek to the roster, adding Royal Wardens from Indomitus, and updating the datasheets for other options.
While all of the previous Dynastic Codes Necrons had remain unchanged, they gain access to a new one:
Szarekhan: Uncanny Artificers – Your Kill Team can re-roll a single failed hit and wound roll per phase (as with other abilities, any model can use this, but you only get one re-roll across your team).
It’s Master Artisans – it’s great, especially in a game like Kill Team where you generally want to work with a low number of shots and a decent amount of damage so your weapons can knock down enemies nice and fast. It’s a good code. A+
The good news is that the Necrons have received a rather sizeable amount of new Tactics; the bad news is that they’re all Commander Tactics, so you won’t be making your base Kill Team any stronger. They’re… only OK, really.
Temporal Impediment (1 CP) is a great boost for Chronomancers that lets you drop the attacks of a model by 1 and prevent it from reacting after you hit it with an Aeonstave. It’s not grossly overpowered, but it’s neat to have and you can do it at the point when it will definitely work. Harbinger of Destruction (2 CP) is for Plasmancers lets one deal mortal wounds to the nearest visible model after moving, making it a crummier Psybolt you can cast for 2 CP. You also get Living Lightning (2 CP) which can do mortal wounds in the Fight phase to every model within 6” on a D6 roll of 6 which is neat, but costly.
Psychomancers have Harbinger of Despair (1 CP) that adds 1 to Nerve tests for nearby models, which is decent, but it’s on a crummy model. Technomancers get Nanosurge (1 CP) to improve the AP of the weapons of a model within 9”, which isn’t bad but it’s not amazing, either.
There are also tactics for the Royal Warden and the Overlord. The Overlord gets the better of these with Tachyon Arrow (2 CP), which can just drop D3 mortal wounds on anything you can see. You give up the Resurrection Orb to take it, though.
Necron units have received mostly buffs, though all of these tend to be relatively minor (+1 to Attacks, Toughness and Ballistic Skill for certain units) and designed to bring them in line with the 9th edition Codex profiles. This has been balanced out by point increases for some units as well, putting Immortals at the same cost as Heavy Intercessors and Triarchs and Lychguard slightly cheaper than Suppressors and Bladeguard, respectively.
Some of the weapons have also been tweaked as well, with Necron Warriors getting access to a Gauss Reaper (essentially doubling your shooting output and giving you better AP but much shorter range), the Deathmarks’ Synaptic Disintegrator is buffed as well, now somewhere between a Rail Rifle and a standard sniper rifle (but still damage 1). Triarch Praetorians also walk away as the big winners here, going up 2 points per model but getting an extra attack and now having a damage boost for their Rod of Covenant, which go to a much-needed 2. It’s hard to imagine building a Necron Kill team roster that doesn’t include at least one of these.
By far the most inexplicable change is the nerfing of Flayed Ones, with their claws no longer being able to reroll failed wound rolls, which really, really wasn’t a nerf they needed. This isn’t really offset by the claws now being AP-1.
On the whole Necrons did get better and it’d be easy to be happy about these changes if there weren’t 30 pages of marine updates staring you in the face that make things like 17 point Immortals laughable. Reanimation Protocols are good but they aren’t nearly as good as getting 2 more wounds, Transhuman Physiology, And They Shall Know No Fear, and access to Death Denied. Necrons are better-equipped to compete against everyone else now though, so there’s that.
Final Thoughts – Should you buy this?
TheChirurgeon: If you’re a marines or Necrons 40k player and you need Heavy Intercessors or a Chronomancer now, you’ve probably already resigned yourself to buying this. If you were hoping for an overhaul of Kill Team, this sadly isn’t it. It’s pretty necessary for playing either faction in Kill Team, but if you aren’t, you can easily skip this. For the love of god, if you’re looking to get into Kill Team, don’t buy this as a starter set. The internal balance between the two factions is just terrible. That said, it’s going to sell out immediately because it’s the only place to get Heavy Intercessors.
If you’re looking to make a Kill Team purchase right now, the Sector Fronteris Killzone is by far the best deal, with some stellar terrain you can’t get anywhere else at a decent price.
Chucat: Like TheChirugeon stated. If you’re a 40k player who needs the models for your main army, you’re buying this regardless of what we’re going to say. As for Kill Team players:
- If you’re a new Kill Team player, the rules don’t even contain the core rules, so this isn’t exactly useful for you, even if it was, playing with the two factions right out of the box if going to be an exercise in frustration due to how badly they’re balanced.
- If you’re an experienced non Necron/Marine Kill Team player, then I’d say just wait for the rulebook, unless you have some (likely very grateful) friends you can split the models out to.
- If you are an extremely experienced Necron player who has a young child who you want to get into 40k via Kill Team, then buy this box and let them play the Marines.
What I’d recommend is tricky due to my feelings on Kill Team, but I’ll have to echo the idea of buying the Fronteris box. The wild west ruins look cool and I’m actually behind the prospect of using KT as a springboard to get into 40k, but that’s an article for another time…
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