Kill Team Tactics: The Novitiates Kill Team (Updated February 2023)

Do you dream of dousing your enemies in righteous flames? Are you a die-hard convert to the Emperor? Is your armor made of faith? Then the Novitiates Kill Team may be the choice for you.

Novitiates were released alongside Pathfinders in the Kill Zone Chalnath box set, and were immediately amongst the most powerful teams owing to powerful flame weapons and some nasty tricks with acts of faith. Since that time they have received a number of minor changes that have reduced their overall power, and as the meta has shifted over the last year they have gone from one of the strongest teams, dominant at tournaments, to a solid but slightly below S-tier team. From a narrative perspective the Novitiates seem like an odd inclusion in a game about highly trained and experienced killers. This dissonance aside, they are a great team from both an aesthetic and rules standpoint.

Team Overview

Strengths

  • Acts of Faith – Effectively a second pool of Command points that may be used on an additional list of abilities in addition to the ploys they have available to them. Of the team specific abilities you can get in Kill Team this is one of the stronger ones.
  • Balanced – The novitiates fall somewhere perfectly between a horde and elite team with their 10 operatives, with a strong spread of ranged and melee options.

Weaknesses

  • Ranged Specialists – Novitiates do not have dedicated Gunner operatives like most human equivalent teams, and have a single special weapon that does not come with an Rng ⬟ or less restriction. This weakness can be offset by the use of their ploys, and other abilities, but can be a liability on more open boards.
  • Command Point Hungry – Even with Acts of Faith the Novitiates have a number of very important ploys that are needed to truly bring out their best, and can easily run dry at key moments if mismanaged.

Credit: Colin Ward

Structure

Novitiate Kill Teams come with (10) operatives, one of which must be the Novitiate Superior armed with either: a Boltgun, or Power Weapon and Bolt/Plasma Pistol. The further 9 operatives must be taken from the following:

  • Novitiate Militant equipped with either an Autogun or Autopistol and Novitiate Blade
  • Novitiate Penitent
  • Novitiate Pronatus
  • Novitiate Exactor
  • Novitiate Reliquarius
  • Novitiate Hospitaller
  • Novitiate Preceptor
  • Novitiate Dialogus
  • Novitiate Duellist
  • Novitiate Condemnor
  • Novitiate Purgatus

The militants, being your standard non-specialist, can be taken up to nine times, while the Purgatus may be taken twice. All other specialists are restricted to once per Kill Team.

Abilities

Acts of Faith

Every Turning Point Novitiate teams gain 3 faith points to use on Acts Of Faith (AoF). Only one Act of Faith may be used per activation (friendly or enemy) with the exception of a few of them.

  • Faithful Blessing (1 Faith Point) – This is basically the Command re-roll ploy. Re-roll an attack or defense roll of your choice. With this at their disposal Novitiates players should almost always have the ability to re-roll critical rolls, AND can save command points for other ploys. This AoF is not limited in the number of times you may use it per activation.
  • Guiding Light (2 Faith Points) – Retain a failed combat or shooting attack as a normal hit. Novitiates hit very well to begin with, but this perfect for the moments you want to force damage through on your opponent by overwhelming their defense pool. It pairs especially well with high AP weapons.
  • Vengeful Strike (3 Faith Points) – Retain a normal hit as a critical hit. A step up from Guiding Light, but the most expensive of the Acts.
  • Divine Shield (2 Faith Points) – The defensive version of Guiding Light. Retain a failed save as a normal save. From a purely mathematical perspective this is more useful than its offensive counterpart. The defense die pools of your average operative is automatically smaller than the die pools of your average ranged weapon as are the odds of success on individual die. Being able to automatically pass a save to prevent an operative from dying can swing a game.
  • Armour of Contempt (2 Faith Points) – You’re probably noticing a trend with this one. Retain a normal save as a critical save, however for whatever reason it costs one less point to use than Vengeful Strike, and is incredibly useful for all the same reasons given for Divine Shield.
  • Emperor’s Protection (1 Faith Point) – Allows operatives to ignore a Mortal Wound. More situational than the previous Acts, but cheaper, and rather unique. This one also does not adhere to the once per activation restriction meaning you can completely cancel out things such as the mortal wounds from a meltagun crit if you have the points.
  • Blessed Rejuvenation (2 Faith Points) – When an operative is activated they may regain d3 lost wounds. This is a great way to take an operative from wounded to injured, however its random nature risks it being wasted. At the end of the day it is better to spend faith points to guarantee you stop 5 damage from a plasmagun than trying to heal your way out of it later.
  • Blinding Aura (2 Faith Points) – Perform this Act on a friendly operative more than ⬤ from enemy operatives when an enemy operative performs a shooting attack. The friendly operative is considered to be in Cover, and most importantly if it has a Conceal order it is treated as having it regardless of any other rules. This is a great one to keep in your back pocket, and can be very useful for baiting out your opponent’s gunners or other high value targets. Keep in mind that your opponent will have their AP refunded if your operative is no longer a valid target, and may still fire on any other valid operative you have. This specifically means things like operatives on Guard or Privateer Assets will still have chance to select a new target.

It is important to remember that Faith Points can be built up in the same way Command Points are, and thus you are under no obligation to use them. This means you can stockpile them for particularly critical Turning Points or operative activations.

Inferno

Novitiates flame weapons come with a special weapon trait unique to their team. If a player retains a critical hit with a weapon that has the Inferno X trait the target gains an a number of Inferno tokens equal to the X value. At the end of the Turning Point roll a D6 for each Inferno token, on a 4+ the target receives 1 Mortal Wound,  and the token is removed regardless of the result.

Credit: Tommy Law

Operatives

Novitiate Militant

The standard non-specialist. Novitiates are an example of a team where the number of specialists available is greater than the size of the team, and unlike Navy Breachers or Wyrmblade these non-specialists do not have GA2. This basically means you have zero incentive to ever take them.

Novitiate Superior

The usual 8 wound, pistol/melee weapon, and better at hitting/wounding leader option. The Superior has less options than those you’ll find on other teams, but that is largely irrelevant since she has the best option in the form of a Plasma Pistol AND Power Weapon. Additionally, she has the team’s only source of group activation thanks to her Lead By Example ability that allows a visible operative within ⬟ to be activated after her, IF she performs a Mission Action or Incapacitates an enemy operative. This can make the ability difficult to use, but has the potential to set up particularly deadly combinations, and is much easier to use on Close Quarters missions. As a final treat she has a 3+ armor save thanks to wearing power armor.

Novitiate Penitent

One of a couple melee specialists, this is the Kill Team version of a Repentia. Apparently it is never to early in a Sister’s career for her screw up and be sent on suicide mission as penance. While she does have an autopistol, that isn’t why you take her, as her Eviscerator comes with a nasty +4 hit/wound, 4 attacks, 5/6 damage, Reap 2, AND Brutal just barely falling short of the damage required to kill standard humans in a single blow. Due to her only having 7 wounds she won’t be able to kill tougher melee opponents such as Gellerpox Hulks or Assault Intercessors, however she can do an impressive number on weaker opponents thanks to her ability to Fight twice and re-roll all her attacks on her first Fight Action.

Novitiate Purgatus

The Novitiates version of the Dakka Boy these operatives are straightforward and deadly. Armed with the Ministorum Flamer, +1 damage on crits and Inferno 1 on top of a normal Flamer, these operatives would already be a strong choice. Their Burning Advance (1 AP) ability takes them to the next level by allowing them to perform a Dash followed by a Shoot Action. Additionally, they have a ploy that further increases their damage making them one of the deadliest operatives in the game, and a nightmare on Into the Dark maps.

Novitiate Pronatus

The ultimate backline sitting operative. The Pronatus can perform ONE Mission Action for free during each activation, and may use the Raise Relic (1 AP) ability to add 2 Faith Points to your pool, or 3 if within ⬤ of the center of an objective, or ⬟ of the enemy’s drop zone. This ability basically doubles the Faith Points you have access to per Turning Point, and is incredibly useful. Since the Pronatus has no other notable weapons it is best used to cover rear line objectives for as long as possible.

Novitiate Exactor

One of two Comms specialists available to the team, thanks to the Whip Into a Frenzy (1 AP) ability that gives a friendly operative within ■ and visible plus 1 APL. As a nice little bonus the Penitent receives an additional ⬤ to her movement if targeted by this ability. Unlike other Comms specialists the Exactor is also a melee specialist of sorts as her whips give her a significant number of low damage attacks, and may also be used as a ranged weapon with the Rng ■ special rule. The Exactor’s main problem is we have a Comm’s specialist who is meant to buff other operatives, but is then unable to contribute to the fight due to giving up an AP with no ranged option of note. 

Novitiate Reliquarius

Perhaps one of the more underwhelming options available to Novitiates. The Reliquarius comes armed with only an autopistol, and in exchange for this provides a 50/50 chance for operatives that are incapacitated within ⬟ of her to perform a free Shoot Action when incapacitated.

Novitiate Hospitaller

Your standard Medic Specialist with both a revive and healing ability that now operates identically to those found on other teams. Additionally, her surgical saw provides a slightly improved melee profile over an unarmed operative, granting her an extra attack and Lethal 5+.

Novitiate Preceptor

Another odd combination of melee specialist and support operative. Operatives within ■ of the Preceptor may re-roll a single defense each time a shooting attack is made against them. This is very powerful, especially when combined with the ability to auto-retain defense dice. She has an additional ability called Glorious Hymnal (1 AP) that allows operatives within ⬟ and visible to re-roll 1s and 2s in combat, however, much like the Exactor, we have an operative that is best suited for close combat, but unable to provide her buff and perform a Charge and Fight without the aid of a Comms specialist.

Novitiate Dialogus

The other Comms specialist, she is able to grant 1 APL to friendlies at the normal ⬟ unlike the Exactor, while also coming with Auto-broadcaster (1 AP) ability that allows her to drop a token within ⬟ that reduces the Ballistic Skill of enemy operatives within ⬤ of it by 1. This later ability is rather difficult to use properly simply due to its limited range from the Dialogus, and the area affected. It is best used in a situation where you expect an opponent will move within ⬟ of another operative to employ a weapon of limited ranged such as a Meltagun or Grenade.

Novitiate Duellist

A rather unique melee specialist that comes with 4 attacks, +2 hit, 3/4 damage, and Lethal +5. This is a significant drop in damage when compared with the power weapons we often find in the hands of similar operatives. The Duellist instead comes with the Deadly Riposte ability that allows the owner to deal critical damage when they choose to Parry with a critical hit. This two-for-one usage on critical hits can be incredibly devastating against standard operatives with 3 attacks, as a string of 2-3 crits can allow the Duellist to simultaneously Parry out your opponent’s die pool, while doing maximum damage. Keep in mind that the Duellist still only comes with 7 wounds and will be quickly killed by enemy operatives such as Assault Intercessors, Custodians, or the Genestealer Cult Locus who come with a significantly greater amount of attacks and damage.

Novitiate Condemnor

The sniper specialist of the group, the Condemnor comes hilariously armed with a crossbow that has 4 attacks, +3 hit/wound, 2/3 damage, P1, Silent, and MW2. Right out the gate this makes it one of the better sniper options thanks to the lack of the Heavy trait. However, the Condemnor becomes truly frightening when using the Righteous Comdemnation Ploy that allows the controller to re-roll any or all hit dice. Additionally, the Condemnor puts out a ⬟ aura that that prevents enemy operatives from having an APL greater than 2 and makes psychic actions cost one additional AP. Once again we find that Novitiates operatives are a strange combination of support and offensive specialist with the Condemnor’s aura ability directly conflicting with her purpose as a ranged specialist, additionally this ability is very niche against APL 2 teams. 

Ploys

Novitiate ploys are rather odd when compared to other bespoke teams we have seen since their release. They are a combination of ploys that directly address the team’s weaknesses, while others directly influence specific operatives. This latter trait is one that is often found with compendium teams that I have regularly described as “shit rules” but in the case of Novitiates they overcome this problem by nearly doubling the lethality of the operatives in question. The final type of ploys available to them fall into the, interesting but incredibly niche, category that I would also normally poo-poo but is entirely offset by having access to Acts of Faith.

Strategic Ploys

Eyes of the Emperor AND Sanctified Rounds (1 CP each)

I decided to put these two together because they basically go hand in hand. As I mentioned a majority of your operatives having auto pistols is the closest thing to a major hindrance this team has, and these two ploys combined is basically the equivalent of giving everyone a boltgun for the Turning Point. In the case of Eyes it also allows your Superior’s Plasma Pistol to be fired without range limitation. Obviously the downside here is having spend 2 CP per Turning Point you wish to employ these ploys in conjunction, but thanks to the extra CP of the new Critical Ops, AND your ability to lean on AoF for things like Command Re-Rolls you should be able to conserve your CP for the appropriate moment to maximize either of these ploys. B

Aegis of the Emperor (1 CP)

Enemy operatives within ⬟ suffer 1 mortal wound each time they perform a Psychic Action. This falls into the niche category, and even then it is of questionable use against the few teams that have access to Psychic powers. D

Defenders of the Faith (2 CP)

At the beginning of the Firefight phase one operative within ⬤ of the center of each objective may make either a free Fight or Shoot action. This one is just freaking bonkers, and honestly I am surprised you don’t hear more about it. With the right operative parked on an objective this ploy has the potential to completely swing a battle, and is surely something your opponent will need to keep in their mind if you have 2 CP in your points pool. A+

Tactical Ploys

Glorious Martyrdom  (1 CP)

Use when an operative is incapacitated, enemy operatives with ⬤ and visible immediately suffer 1 mortal wound, and you gain 1d3 Faith Points. This is another niche ploy, obviously it is great for instances where you have reduced an enemy operative to a single remaining  wound after a combat, but it can also double as a way of exchanging Command Points for a greater number of Faith Points. However, in just as many cases you will find that a single wound to your opponent isn’t worth your limited CP, and the amount of Faith Points you receive in return may come out to 1. C

Burning Wrath (1 CP)

The first example of a ploy that only affects a single operative, this boosts a Purgatus’s flamer to an impressive 3/4 damage and Inferno 2. Ministorum Flamers were already superior to your standard Flamer, and this ploy basically makes them instant death to all but the most hardy enemy operatives. Always keep 1 CP in your back pocket, and your opponent will never put two operatives within ⬤ of one another while a Purgatus is still on the table. This ploy only becomes better for the obvious reasons while playing on Close Quarters boards. B

Righteous Condemnation (1 CP)

Allows the Condemonor to re-roll any or all hits during a shooting attack. As mentioned earlier this ploy basically helps to define the usefulness of the Condemnor as her weapon is incredibly reliant on at least one critical hit to reach the lethality required to kill most standard operatives, otherwise it is basically an autogun. B-

Equipment

Novitiates come with a strong set of useful equipment, so strong in fact, that one item in particular was so good that it amounted to a team-wide reroll 1s to hit ability. This item had its cost doubled in a balance data-slate, but is that enough to give the rest of the inventory a chance to shine?

Icon of Faith [2 EP] One Per Team

Allows the operative in question to perform any Act of Faith for free. This still falls under the restrictions for Acts of Faith, but you can basically look at this as 1-3 free Faith Points. This can be especially useful on the Condemnor or Penitent when you REALLY need a critical hit. C

Chaplet Ecclesiaticus [2 EP]

When the operative activates it has a 1/6 chance to gain an additional APL. This is our first big bust. You could make this item 1 EP and it would still be a questionable choice due to the randomness. At least you don’t have to spend an AP to use it, like Shock Grenades. F

Adamantium-Weave Surplice [2 EP] 

Gives an operative a 3+ save. Pretty straight forward. Defensive options are always hit or miss in Kill Team simply because they are sometimes irrelevant in the face of certain attacks. In this case, the ability to have a 3+ on over half your team is nothing to scoff at. B

Frag and Krak Grenades [2 EP and 3 EP]

You know’em you love’em folks. Always strong choices on a team that has no other Indirect options. I would not recommend taking both, but almost always an auto-include of one depending on your opponent’s team composition. B

Auto-Chastiser [2 EP]

Allows the operative re-roll hit rolls of 1, and if the re-roll is also a one you take a mortal wound. In the past these were 1 EP and were frankly, broken as hell, now you can only equip half your team with them, which still makes it exceptionally powerful. These are basically an auto-include for your Superior and at least one Purgatus operative.  A

Sainted Reliquae [2 EP]

A strike in combat gains you a free Faith Point. This is another bust, while not as straight useless as the Chaplet it is simply too expensive for what it does. This would be a fantastic 1 EP item. D

Critical Operations Missions: Open Missions

Loot – As a mid-size team Novitiates don’t suffer or excel at any single primary mission type, Loot likely falls firmly as their middle option when it comes to preferred mission. Use your Pronatus and Condemnor as backline sniper support and Faith Points generators, while the Superior sets up on a more forward objective to use the Loot Mission Action to trigger Lead By Example.

Secure – Perhaps the more ideal of the three missions available. Quickly Secure points on your side, and then use your Purgatus to clear the opponent’s objectives, while using the Pronatus and Superior as aggressive objective takers. Additionally, use your Exactor and Dialogus to boost melee specialists to 3 APL who can then Charge and Fight enemy operatives and perform the Secure Action all in a single activation, or simply Move and Dash to take it from them.

Capture – Perhaps the worst mission option for Novitiaties as the lack of a primary mission action gives the Superior one less option to work off, and makes the Pronatus less useful. Your Exactor and Dialogus still remain useful as a means of swinging contested objectives in your favor at the end of a Turning Point by raising the APL on operatives that have already completed their activations.

Close Quarters Missions

While I am not going to go over every single map setup for this way of playing there are a few things players need to keep in mind. The average room size on these maps are perfect for two operatives specifically. The Penitent and Purgatus are ideal to Close Quarters for the obvious reasons, their deadly close ranged weapons, but also because the movement/Action bonuses they gain from Burning Advance, Stirring Rhetoric, and Whip Into a Frenzy allows them to essentially Open Door, Move and Dash across a room, and attack multiple enemy operatives on the opposing hatchway. This is especially powerful when Loot or Secure are your primary mission as you can use your Superior‘s Lead by Example ability to group activate off a mission action. 

Tac Ops

Novitiates come with access to two Archetypes, Security and Recon, and a decently strong set of Faction Ops that give them plenty of options to win games.

Security

Seize Ground – A map dependent Tac Op. There are two ways to go about this, either you pick a location as close as possible to your Drop Zone so that ranged specialists such as the Condemnor can camp there, or a piece of terrain that is along a planned line of advance so that units such as the Purgatus or Penitent can pull double duty on it. In all, not a bad choice if the terrain is in your favor. C or B

Seize Access Point – The Close Quarters version of the above Tac Op. This one can be trickier due to it requiring an access point on the centre line or closer to your opponent’s zone. Unlike Terrain features access points have a defined size, SMALL, getting the required amount of operatives next to one to hold it can set you up for punishing attacks. D

Hold Them Back – This isn’t really the best Tac Op for any team as it is not difficult for your opponent to put operatives on to your side of the board, however it is most useful against Elite Teams who will have to suffer through several more of your activations before the Turning Point ends, essentially giving you an opportunity to push them off your side. C against Elites, D against Horde

Central Control – This one unfortunately does not pair well with the new objective setups. None of them involve a centrally located objective marker. Similar to Seize Access Point this Tac Op gives your opponent a single point that they can approach to counter you, and much like Hold Them Back it isn’t very difficult for opponents to position themselves in a way to counter you, especially if they are numerically superior. This Tac Op can become even more difficult on Close Quarters maps where walls may run across the center point.  C against Elites, D against Horde

Protect Assets – A strong choice when facing horde teams, especially if Loot is the primary mission, as you can expect to find a large number of enemy operatives camping objectives for points. Conversely stay away from this when up against any Elite teams. Using your Sister Superior you can combo with another operative to Incapacitate two enemies before they have a chance to respond. B against Horde, F against Elites. Heavily Primary Mission Dependent.

Secure Centre Line – This Tac Op runs into a similar problem to Hold Them Back where the size of the area being contested gives your opponent ample opportunity to position themselves in a way that contests you while remaining hidden. Additionally as a Novitiates player you can’t count on outweighing horde teams while you will need to put two operatives on the line to overcome your standard elite operative. This being said, against elite teams you can use your Dialogus and Exactor push operatives up to 3 APL after they have been activated to swing control in your favor. C

Escort Operative – Perhaps the riskiest of the Security Tac Ops, this can be an easy two points if your opponent deploys their operatives poorly, and leaves you a gap, however the requirement that you declare an operative to be escorted means your opponent will likely to be gunning for them. Once that operative is dead you may not declare a new escort. In my opinion this is a weak choice for any team, and not exactly great for Novitiates. D

Recon

Surge Forward – An excellent Tac Op simply because your opponent can’t counter you through placement of their own operatives unlike many we find in Security. A

Courier – Escort Operative but easier, no Turning Point restriction, and you don’t need to be as close to your opponent to score the second point. It still runs into the issue that once the courier is declared he runs the risk of being killed. C

Outflank – This can be an exceedingly tricky Tac Op to pull, especially on certain board setups where there might not be terrain in the areas you want to take advantage of. Finally, the requirement that BOTH neutral edges be controlled can make it exceedingly easy for your opponent to interfere with you. When you take into account that all maps now come with six objective markers this Tac Op can lead to your team being spread too thinly. D

Secure Vantage – A wildly swingy Tac Op as terrain placement can make it impossible. It is also worth noting that Novitiates don’t come with the ability to Fly or access any equipment such as Climbing Ropes that can make it easier for operatives to get on top of vantage points. If you have to use this Tac Op ensure you have your Pronatus on hand. D to C depending on vantage point presence

Secure Unexplored Room – The Close Quarters replacement for Secure Vantage. Compared to its Open Board counterpart this is a strong choice for Novitiates who only benefit from the tight confines of Close Quarters maps, however map layout does a lot to determine if this Tac Op can even be achieved. For example Conduit is very ideal for this Tac Op while Channels would be very difficult. D to B depending on map layout.

Recover Item – Once again a better version of some of the Tac Ops found in Security, while this revolves around a single point of failure your item token need only be placed along the centerline, and may even be picked up and moved by FRIENDLY operatives. These two things combined make it significantly better than Tac Ops such as Central Control or Seize Access Point.  B

Secure Transponder – Perhaps the most difficult Recon objective to achieve. The terrain limitations imposed by this Tac Op can make finding a legitimate location very difficult to do on crowded maps, especially if your opponent places barricades in the open locations. However, should you find yourself in a position to use it, a combination of either using your Comms specialists, or your Reliquarius can allow you to quickly place your transponder.  D

Faction Tac Ops

Purge with Flame – A flavorful Tac Op, but not ideal. Essentially only two types of operatives are able to score this objective, and if they die you’re shit out of luck. The requirement that the enemy leader be killed for the second VP is especially difficult. D

Reconsecrate Ground – A strong choice. Depending on the layout this allows you to choose an objective marker that is firmly within your territory, and all you need to do is then hold it during two different Turning Points as long as one of them is the last Turning Point. Additionally, you can combine it with Tac Ops such as Recover Item or Seize Ground to create a particularly valuable area of the board that your opponent can’t afford to ignore.  This last part can make this a risky choice simply because if you are losing the battle you might find yourself pushed out of the points game entirely. A

Glory to the Martyrs – A once commonly taken Tac Op, this has become much more difficult now that every mission involves six objective markers meaning your opponent can actively avoid killing operatives on the declared marker. D

Building a Novitiates Team

When it comes to deciding on your team for any particular match up a Novitiate player is basically decided who to leave home as there are 11 specialists and 10 spots with the Purgatus having the option of being taken twice. Operatives such as the Hospitallar, Condemnor, and Purgatus are basically auto-includes while operatives such as the Reliquarius may find their abilities too niche and others such as the Duelist, redundant, when compared to the Preceptor or Penitent.

Regardless of your final team selection you will almost always want to take Auto-Chastisers on your Purgatus and Superior with a grenade option appropriate to the type of team you’re up against. If you have any equipment points left, an Icon of Faith or Weave for one of your more valuable support specialists is a good choice.

Playing Novitiates Against Other Teams

A = Great matchup heavily in your favor

C = Equally matched

F = Prepare for an uphill battle

Hunter Clade – Skitarii come with a similar stat line with a focus on ranged firepower over melee, but make up for that with close combat specialists and the ability to turn off your ability to reroll attacks thanks to Neurostatic Inference. On its face this is a difficult fight, use your defensive abilities to survive shooting, and rely on your powerful flamers to discourage or directly attack Sicarian operatives before they get too close. D

Imperial Navy Breachers – Prepare to be outnumbered by operatives who are also equipped with a similar combination of close combat ranged weapons, and have armor that grants them re-rolls against some of your more effective weapons. Don’t be too aggressive early as over extending could set you up for a Breach and Clear that leaves you at a significant operative deficit. F

Kasrkin – While their shooting is inherently stronger you’re looking at a similarly equipped team in terms of numbers and stat line with not nearly as many bonuses and special abilities. Keep an eye out for their above average number of weapon specialists, but otherwise this fight is strongly in your favor. A

Phobos – This team has received a lot of changes in the past, and has weapons that are very effective against your team. That being said they’re rather weak up close, and your Acts of Faith provide many ways to interfere with them. Keep an eye out for the Marksman’s Track Target and your own positioning in relation to Omni-Scramble. Your best strategy is give your opponent as few targets as possible on Turning Point 1, close the distance, and try to hit them as hard as you can come TP2. B

Intercession – Still the most popular team in the game, and one of the strongest. All the problems of fighting Phobos, but none of the weaknesses. Here you have to be very careful on how you engage your opponent, Assault Intercessors will kill any of your operatives with two regular hits in close combat, and regular Intercessors are likely to be sporting P1 with Lethal 5+ thanks to scopes, which will make short work of you. Keeping your Superior and Condemnor safe until they can do the most damage should be your primary concern, losing either of these units can leave you in a very dangerous situation. Your melee specialists will want to go after weakened targets as they’re incapable of going toe to toe with fresh enemy operatives. C

Starstriders – While on their face these guys might seem at disadvantage, their recent buffs and fantastic assortment of ploys and special abilities have seen them rise from a middling team to one that should not be underestimated. Specifically, you need to keep in mind how your positioning relates to Privateer Support Assets and Well-Drilled as either of these abilities can be used to effectively drop your operative count, while leaving you unable to respond in kind. Basically, we have a team of roughly equal size with similar durability and lethality that has its own unique gimmicks to rely upon. D

Legionnaires – Many of the same issues one finds when going up against Intercessors, but leaning more towards melee specialists such as the Shriv-Talon or Champion that can easily outclass yours in combat. Saving your Faith points for Vengeful Strike  can be the difference between winning or losing when up against ploys like Mutagenic Flesh. Otherwise save ploys such as Sanctified Rounds or Burning Wrath against non-Nurgle operatives. C

Blooded – From a thematic perspective these are the guys your Novitiates are itching to take down. From a competitive perspective your main issue is that they outnumber you by 2-4 operatives. The Blooded have a number of ranged and melee specialists that are more than capable of killing your operatives in a single activation. The Diabolyk Bomb and Plasma Gunner being the best examples of the former and the Ogryn and Butcher the later.  This being said, Blooded are very delicate, and their penchant for wanting to get close means you have all the short ranged tools to make quick work of them. Keep an eye out for any poor placement by your opponent for your flamers, or opportunities to combo with your Superior. Focus on using your Faith points in a defensive manner to keep your operatives alive as long as possible and overcome your opponent’s numerical superiority. B

Warpcoven – One of the few times you have a reason to use Aegis of the Emperor this matchup has its pros and cons. Ephemeral Instability will serve to slow you down early on, and runs the risk of preventing maximum use of abilities such as Burning Advance. That being said, your ranged weapons are very effective against both Tzaangors and Sorcerers, which you should be focusing on, keeping your Superior and Condemnor in reserve against the Rubric Gunner, who could become an absolute terror if you lose your primary sources of AP. Remember that the Sorcerers are absolute monsters in combat, so don’t expect your melee specialists to be able to take them as they also have 13 wounds, putting them outside even the Penitent’s ability to kill in two strikes. Ultimately, this should be an easier match up than Legionnaires or Intercession. B

Gellerpox – Another one that has both its advantages and disadvantages. You have lots of weapons that will absolutely destroy the non-hulk operatives, and have little to fear from what shooting they have as long as you don’t give them any good grenade targets. Things get trickier when it comes to the Hulks themselves, as ranged Stun is one of the best forms of crowd control against them. Additionally, none of your melee operatives really have the ability to cause significant damage to them before they’re killed in turn. Basically, you want to focus on the smaller operatives, and only engage with the larger ones when you know you have the output to kill them. This is where your Inferno rule could come into play and a Purgatus with Burning Wrath and Auto-Chastiser is likely to do 9 damage or more after saves and resilience rolls. C

Void-Dancers – The X factor team. Ensure you keep Faith Points in your pool that allow for abilities such as Vengeful Strike in order to prevent Cegorach’s Jest from neutering your combat specialists. Domino Field is not a major concern and if your opponent is foolish enough not to use it, punish them with Eyes of the Emperor. Your Condemnor is especially useful here thanks to their ability to deal out mortal wounds, while your Superior might find her plasma pistol less useful thanks to team-wide 4++. The Purgatus is another operative ideal for this matchup as Burning Advance can help to get you around Domino Field while flamers are extremely reliable at pushing through damage thanks to volume of attacks. The last thing you want to focus on is positioning by denying your opponent the ability to Shoot and Fight different operatives in a single activation. Your opponent will surely take the Kiss as their primary melee weapon meaning your operatives are likely to die in a single strike making combat a risky action for anyone other than your Superior. B

Voidscarred – You have a one operative advantage over these guys, and are similarly armed and armored, the question comes down to what is stronger…Acts of Faith or team-wide free Dash. Normally I’d say speed kills, but in this situation Faith seems to provide a strong edge in both lethality and defensive options. Don’t be overly aggressive, and methodically close with your opponent. B

Wyrmblade – Similar to fighting The Blooded with the added emphasis on deadly shooting. Reserve Faith and Command Points to survive or avoid being shot all together, and attempt to close the operative gap. Melee specialists will make short work of everyone but the Locus, who should be handled with your Purgatus. Any opportunity to sacrifice an operative to kill a Cult Agent should be immediately seized as they’re by far the biggest threats, another task the Purgatus plus Blazing Inferno is well suited for. Keep a sharp eye on positioning, especially on Turning Point 1 where a combination of Hiding, Slink Into Darkness, and Indirect Weapons can result in a significant alpha strike for little return. Once again, focusing on survival is a key use of your Faith Points as your weapons should be more than enough to kill these delicate enemies. C

Kommandos – I’ve said before, I think Kommandos are one of the most balanced teams in the game, and this is especially true against Novitiates. These guys can match you on both the ranged and melee front. Armed with Choppas they can make short work of any of your operatives in melee while shrugging off fatal hits with Tis a Scratch. Ensure that you watch your spacing due to not only Blast weapons, but also if something like the Kommando manages to engage two operatives you definitely lose them both thanks to Krump’em!. Basically, what we have here is an even matchup that will require you to ensure combat occurs on your terms, and maximize your shooting based Ploys at the correct time. C

Farstalker – Initially a very favorable matchup, we have seen a significant swing in this team’s favor. Having gained an 12th operative and having many of their specialists improved this is not a team you want to get in a protracted ranged fight with. While your Superior and Condemnor can overcome Rogue the remainder of your shooting is likely to be greatly reduced in effectiveness. This puts you in the position of looking to get close to a team that doesn’t mind finding itself in close combat with Kroot Hounds able to act as bodyguards, or simply outrange you in charge distance. Approach this team with caution and attempt to make favorable exchanges looking to maximize your Purgatus and your leader’s ability to group activate. Keep Acts of Faith on hand to survive as much as you can. D

Pathfinders – Not an ideal match up. This team not only outnumbers you, but only needs two successful hits on any of its guns to kill your operatives. Stay close to Heavy Terrain, and absolutely don’t give them a shot unless you’re in a position to respond. Thanks to the Tac Ops available to this team they aren’t heavily incentivized to get close to you, so it’s on you to use your defensive Acts Of Faith, especially Blinding Aura, to stay alive and close the distance. On the fortunate side they’re rather delicate if you manage to get close, meaning you shouldn’t have to spend too many Faith or Command points to take them out once you’re into them. Save operatives such as the Penitent or Purgatus for an opportunity to trade up and overcome the numbers gap. C

Hierotek – It’s no secret that even after buffs these guys are having a tough time. However, you should never be complacent even in favorable matchups meaning you want to do your best to prevent your opponent from using Reanimation Protocols effectively, additionally the Cryptek with Fly and Magnification Conduit can be a very versatile opponent, and hard to pin down. Immortals also have very effective ranged weapons, and should be given as few targets as possible, while trying to focus on the Plasmacytes. It is important to note that even without these support operatives you should expect your opponent to regain 3-4 operatives over the course of a battle, and take that into account when you attempt to Shoot or Fight them. A

Final Thoughts

Novitiates still remain as one of the best teams in the game who have a plethora of effective special abilities. At the same time they have a high skill threshold as they are not forgiving towards players who use them carelessly. Acts of Faith will save you through the odd automatic critical hit or save, but they will not rescue you from poor placement/tactics in the same way Hardy or other in-built bonuses will do for other teams.

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