Kill Team Tactics: Elucidian Starstriders

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Welcome, brave adventurer! Do you feel the siren call of adventure when you gaze into the night sky? Do you see the open galaxy as a place of infinite discovery and fantastic profit? Have you ever considered wrangling your friends into an ill-conceived venture with dubious rewards and insanely high risk? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions — and you’re looking for a challenge — then the Elucidian Starstriders just may be the kill team for you! Added to Kill Team as one of the two teams in the Kill Team: Rogue Trader boxed set, the Elucidian Starstriders are a team of Imperial agents with a mixed set of talents and wargear. Also, and most notably, they have a dog.

 

Strengths

  • Specialists – The Starstriders have a number of extra specialists that don’t count against their cap thanks to the Specialist Retainer rule, meaning that an Elucidian Starstriders team will have 7 specialists out of 9 models. That gives you a lot of flexibility to do some neat stuff.
  • Leadership – The Starstriders have pretty good leadership stats – 7 at least, and several of them have Ld 8. If you’re playing Commander, they further boost this by getting +1 to their Ld within 6″ of Elucia Vhane.
  • Surprisingly durable – The Starstriders don’t have amazing durability or anything, but there are several models with 2 wounds each, and you have ways of getting 5+ invulnerable saves on everyone with the Voltagheist Array.
  • Easy to build – There is exactly one way to build a Starstriders team if you aren’t playing Commanders, and that’s using all the models that come in the box. This makes them remarkably easy to build and field.
  • They have a dog – Honestly what do the other strengths listed here even matter?

Weaknesses

  • Lack of Variety – Your team has exactly one build if you aren’t playing Commanders. That means you’re limited to what came in the box, and the team you can field isn’t great. You’re also boned in 125-point games, since your allowable team maxes out at 100 points.
  • Support  You only have access to six Tactics. Some of those are pretty good, but you’re going to have to make do with those because it doesn’t look like Games Workshop is planning to add anything to the Starstriders. They also got nothing in Kill Team Annual 2019. The upside is that the LVO rules introduced a few new subfaction rules for them you can use if your opponent is cool with it.
  • Difficult to play and generally weak – It’s easy to build a Starstriders team but difficult to use one well. They tend to be weak from a raw power standpoint, aren’t terribly tough, and rely on several specialists to function effectively which means that playing well requires you coordinate the movement of those specialists and keep them protected at all times. Lose your Sanistasia or Larsen and suddenly you’re looking at a much squishier team. This makes actually playing well with the Starstriders a challenge. Also, you’re not really a horde, so in Arena you don’t really have cheap door operators.

Competitive Rating

Bottom-Tier

Starstriders are arguably better than Kroot and Gellerpox Infected, but still among the bottom teams in Kill Team. Almost everything they do, another team can do better. Many of their individual models are competent but they don’t form a cohesive strategy for competitive games.

Special Rules

Starstriders have a couple of unique special rules, but don’t have any subfaction rules to work with. It’s worth noting however that the ITC’s rules packet for the LVO Kill Team Tournament gave them access to some custom subfactions. If you’re playing with those rules, these are a big boost, so consider asking (begging?) your opponents to play with this packet if you’re doing ITC format games. You can find those rules here.

  • Specialist Retainer – models with this ability are specialists, but don’t count against your specialist cap. You have three of these on a Starstriders team, giving you a total of 7 specialists and ensuring you always have a Combat, Comms, and Medic specialist with you.
  • Loyal Retainer – models with this ability get +1 Ld when they are within 6″ of Elucia Vhane. A fine bonus in Commander games, meaningless otherwise.

Subfactions – Crew Qualities

Janis Draik

The LVO packet introduced 3 subfactions called Paths for Starstriders teams to choose from. As long as all of the models in your team come have the same crew quality, you get this bonus. Since a Starstriders team is 9 models exactly, feel free to double up on every model so you can swap one trait for another.

  • Crew of the Truehawk – Improve the AP of ranged weapons shot by models in your kill team by 1. This is straight fire, and a wonderful passive bonus to have. It helps shore up your shooting and gives you some real bite. It’s the clear winner among the LVO subfaction traits. A
  • Crew of the Vanguard – You start the first battle round with an extra Command Point. Also, you change all mentions of “Elucia Vhane” in your team’s datasheets with “Janis Draik” and change their faction keyword from “ELUCIAN STARSTRIDERS” to “DRAIK’S EXPLORERS.” This is cute, as like this and the Crew of the Ultimatum ability are designed to show that your team is actually another Rogue Trader’s team. If you’re playing Commanders in a casual game and want to run Janus Draik instead of Elucia Vhane, consider using this as a way to do that, with your opponent’s permission of course. Note that, as written, the keywords don’t actually line up to do this but if you’ve come this far you may as well just roll with it. C+
  • Crew of the Ultimatum – Re-roll failed hit rolls of 1 in the Shooting phase for models in your kill team. Also, replace Elucia Vhane with Neyam Shai Murad and “ELUCIDIAN STARSTRIDERS” with MURAD’S CADRE. Same thing as above, only this is a better ability than Crew of the Vanguard. Still not as good as Crew of the Truehawk, though. B

 

Weapons

Ranged

  • Lasgun – Your trusty human-normal standard issue weapon. In Kill Team it wounds many factions on 4’s and reaches across the board, but it’s still not a great weapon.
  • Laspistol – The pistol variant of the lasgun.
  • Artificer Shotgun – A Strength 4, Damage 2 shotgun that goes up to Strength 5 within half range. This is your leader’s gun so you have to watch how close you get with it but it puts a lot of hurt on lightly armored opponents.
  • Rotor Cannon – 24″ Heavy 4, S4, AP-1, Damage 2. This is a really good profile against most things in kill team. It’s too bad you can only take one.
  • Dart Mask – An AP-1 pistol that wounds everything sure on a 2+. Used by the Death Cultist.
  • Voltaic Pistol – A Strength 5 pistol that deals 3 hits on a hit roll of 6.
  • Heirloom Pistol – A Strength 4 AP-2 Damage 2 pistol used by Elucia Vhane, the Rogue Trader.
  • Concussion Grenade – Half the attacks of a frag grenade but if the target is within 1″ of a terrain feature then add 1 to the Strength and Damage characteristic of the weapon (taking it to S4 AP 0 D2). Kill team boards should be terrain heavy so these make a great alternative to the default weapons most of your team is equipped with.

Melee

  • Death Cult Power Blade – An AP-2 power sword.
  • Monomolecular Cane-Rapier – An AP-4 power sword.
  • Scalpel Claw – An AP-1 melee weapon.
  • Vicious Bite – Just another name for the default Close Combat Weapon

Starstriders Units

You have a 9 model team that you have to take so none of this is optional.

Voidsman

These are a Guardsman profile with Leadership 7 and BS3. The lasgun limits the damage they’ll put out so you’re mostly going to use them to hold objectives. They can be Demolitions or Veteran specialists but they don’t make great use of either so feel free not to take it if you think your opponent will take objectives that work against specialists.

Voidsman Gunner

A Voidsman with a Gatling Gun. They can be Heavy specialists, do that. They’re your most powerful ranged unit and nothing else really competes.

Voidmaster Nitsch

Your leader. He has an extra wound and a nice shotgun but he’s still pretty squishy. Try to protect him to keep your CP.

Executioner Shell – 2 CP

Use this when Voidmaster Nitsch is chosen to shoot in the shooting phase. Make a single shot and add 3 to the hit roll. If it succeeds, do a mortal wound and end the attack. This usually works on a 2+ and since it’s part of an attack you’d still use the shotgun’s damage characteristic of 2 for the injury roll. This will put away things like marines, but it uses up all of your CP for the turn and it puts your leader in danger. B

Aximillion

Good Doggo Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Good Doggo Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

The best doggo in the team. He’s not tough or dangerous. Don’t expect him to kill things. Your best bet is to use his speed to get to objectives or tie up models that are bad in melee.

Knosso Prond

The Rogue Trader’s personal Death Cultist. Two wounds and an invulnerable save give her a little bit of durability but if she’s caught in the open even standard weapons like bolters will tear her to shreds. Get her into close combat where 5 attacks re-rolling misses will threaten most things that are squishier than Custodes.

Killing Strikes – 2 CP

Use this tactic before Knosso Prond is chosen to fight in the Fight Phase. Until the end of the phase her power blade becomes D3 damage. This takes her from threatening things that are squishier than Custodes to threatening everything in Kill Team. A

Larsen Van Der Grauss

Another two wound character, this tech-priest is tougher than the rest with a 4+ save and an aura that gives a 5+ invulnerable save to allies in 6″. His weapons aren’t great but he is a Comms specialist, so he’ll tag along with your Voidsman Gunner most of the time.

Priority Objective Identified – 1 CP

If Larsen is within 3″ of an objective and not shaken, give him +1 to his attacks and saving throw. The attacks are usually wasted but the saving throw is a nice boost if you need him to survive and hold an objective. B

Voltagheist Transference – 2 CP

Larsen teleports anywhere that’s more than 4″ away from an enemy. This is really broad and powerful, but he’s not a character that can abuse it easily. B

Voltagheist Field – 2 CP

Larsen either does a few things that are only relevant in the board that the Kill Team came on (open/close doors, scan terrain) or ignores penalties to hit for being obscured from his pistol. This is expensive for that ability. C

Sanistasia Minst

The Rogue Trader’s doctor. She has a point of AP on her melee attacks but you’re mostly using her healing ability. At the end of the movement phase she can remove a flesh wound from a nearby model on a 4+. This is nice, but you wouldn’t be taking her if she didn’t bring you up to 100 points.

Combat Medicine – 1 CP

User her Healing Serum ability again. It’s priced appropriately and there’s no restrictions on using it on the same model. B

Commanders

The Elucidian Starstriders only have one Commander option, but in the spirit of working with this LVO subfaction trait rules, which we highly recommend considering, we’ll cover the other two Rogue Trader options here.

Elucia Vhane

Like all of the Rogue Trader commanders she’s a human scale generalist. She has no psychic powers, she’s toughness 3 and her melee and ranged attacks are mediocre. she’s best taken as a Strategist to gain extra CP and then fighting defensively because she won’t last long going toe to toe with Terminator Captains or Ork Bosses. She does have a once per battle melee trick to do D3 mortal wounds in the fight phase and she has a 4+ invulnerable save so she’s not too squishy to incidental fire.

Multi-Spectral Auspicator – 1 CP

A 6″ re-roll 1’s to hit aura. B

Digital Laser Regalia – 2 CP

Use after fighting with Elucia Vhane. Make a hit roll against an enemy within 1″, if she hits then deal 1 mortal wound to the enemy. This gives an extra chance at an injury roll and bolsters her melee offense. B

Janus Draik

Very similar to Elucia, with an Archaeotech Grenade that gives a heavy attack once per battle instead of Concussion Grenades. He re-rolls his own hits instead of having an aura tactic and is locked to being a logistics specialist, which is a little wasted with his 4+ save and 4+ invulnerable save.

Neyam Shai Murad

Rogue Trader Kelermorph

Nyem Shai Murad. Credit: That Gobbo

A bit more specialized than the other rogue traders, Neyam is focused on her two Negotiator Pistols. She lacks a melee weapon or invulnerable save but she always shoots as if readied, ignores obscured penalties and re-rolls 1’s to hit because of the shooting specialism. The gimmick works well enough for fun games, but it doesn’t carry a competitive team.

 

Starstriders Tactics

All of the Elucidean Starstriders Tactics are tied to specific characters so I’ve listed them under the characters above.

Playing the Starstriders

  • Your models are specialized, use them in the right spot.
  • Your shotgun and gatling have most of your ranged damage
  • Aximillion and Knosso want to be in melee
  • The doctor and the tech-priest want to help out the rest of your team and need to be close to others
  • Your standard Voidsmen are objective holders and speed bumps. Don’t expect much more.

Playing Against the Starstriders

  • Most of the team is very bad in melee. Not the scary lady with the katana though, shoot her before she stabs you.
  • Half of their models have 2 wounds, half have 1 and many have invulnerable saves. If you’re confused about the defensive profile of a model ask your opponent.
  • If you care about the invulnerable save, kill the tech-priest.

 

Starstriders Kill Team List

These 13 models are the only legal options you have. Note that you can only have 3 Voidsmen and 1 Gunner and Aximillion in a game. The extras are just there so you can avoid taking non-mandatory specialists.

Crew of the Truehawk

Specialists

Voidmaster Nitsch – Leader
Voidsman Gunner – Heavy
Voidsman – Demolitions
Voidsman – Veteran
Aximillion – Scout
Knosso Prond – Combat
Larsen Van Der Grauss – Comms
Sanistasia Minst – Medic

Non-Specialists

Aximillion
Voidsman
Voidsman
Voidsman
Voisdman Gunner

 

Explore!

That’s it for the Starstriders. They’re hard to recommend as a competitive team but they’re quite varied and interesting, and they have great models. You’ll be happiest if you pick them up as a fun team to play for a change of pace or to introduce new players to the game. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.comOtherwise, good luck – you’re going to need it.

 

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