About two weeks ago Games Workshop dropped a series of new FAQs for Kill Team, updating the Core Rules and the rules for a large number of factions. Normally we issue a hot take as quickly as we can after the FAQs go live, but in this case some other commitments stopped us from doing so. Today we’re going over what was in the FAQs, with some thoughts on how they change things for the game.
In many ways, Games Workshop’s commitment to Kill Team balance has been admirable; even as they release updates for teams in White Dwarf they’ve taken careful steps to prevent teams from becoming too dominant. We saw a number of key adjustments in the March balance dataslate, and while today’s FAQ items are less impactful in a competitive sense, they still make some important changes to how some factions play.
Core Rules Changes
The only new change here was to the Blast rules, where the blast is measured from the initial target, and the models affected by the blast have to be visible to the model and not in Cover. This makes it so you can’t throw a frag grenade and get two models on each side of a wall in the blast.
Additionally, there are a few interesting Designer’s notes in the Core Rules FAQ:
- The Designer’s Notes clarify that you can’t combine an action like Dakka Dash (as in an action where you combine something else with Dash) with a move for the purposes of climbing, which I’d never thought of doing but which again proves Kommando players have been really imaginative with Dakka Dash.
- The Designer’s Notes clarify that pipes give cover even if there is a little gap on the terrain where it is off the ground and you can see a model’s base through that gap.
- There’s also a note here specifying that a Drop Zone is not just the Killzone floor, i.e. you can deploy in or on terrain in your Drop Zone. We’re not sure who this was for, but good to have, we guess.
The only change here was that Savior Protocols now only works within 2 inches so if you move away from the protecting drone you no longer get the benefit. Overall this is a good change. Similarly the designer’s notes here specify that when a model benefiting from Savior Protocols is hit by a blast weapon you measure the blast from the initial target and not the drone which makes perfect sense.
Two of the changes are to clarify where the writer has put Inferno as a Special Rule rather than a Critical Hit rule. It’s what they meant to do as the Purgatus Flamer has it as a Critical Hit rule.
Absolution through Destruction on the Penitent received an updated and much more specific wording that doesn’t change what it does at all, except making it absolutely clear that the second Fight action is free and can be directed against a different target to the first Fight action. The meaning hasn’t changed here but this avoids being able to offer a different interpretation of it.
Savior Protocols has the same changes and designer’s note as for Compendium Tau. The Gun drone received errata to do 2/3 damage in melee, as the author obviously didn’t want gun drones to punch as hard as a bolter space marine. This change ultimately doesn’t change much for T’au.
Some minor errata literally added a comma to the Occult Talisman ability to make it more grammatically clear. It’s a very Thousand Sons-style change. Where things got interesting however was in the Designer’s Notes, which bear careful reading.
- Schemes of Change can be used to discard (and pick a new) Tac Op you could already have revealed but did not, meaning you can potentially bluff your opponent as to what your Tac Op is before re-choosing, or discard a Tac Op you should have revealed at the beginning of the game but did not etc. This clarification makes it clear how good this Tactical ploy could be in some situations.
- Warp Portal, if the caster uses it on themselves, makes it clear they have to mark their location before moving to within six inches of that location. I take it from this clarification that there were some players out there making arguments about moving the casting model further and saying that it was still within six inches of itself.
- Capricious Plan was clarified to say that you can still use it if the Sorcerer performed a Dash Action during its activation, but only to change your current Order to Conceal. This basically means that free actions don’t allow you to get around the normal limitations placed on actions unless otherwise stated.
Confident Veteran’s Directive ability was modified to only work on other operatives. We are unsure why this change was made, perhaps certain individuals were claiming that it allowed the operative to activate twice?
The Demolition Veteran’s Detonate ability was clarified to affect both friendly and enemy operatives.
Voidscarred teams received two errata:
- Shaderunners can target a model enemy models with their Slicing Attack action, even though Shaderunners have FLY. Someone obviously got very rules lawyery about this one. This decision makes sense, otherwise the ability is worthless, but seems odd considering the below decisions for how FLY interacts with the Locus and Between Colors below.
- Way Seekers can’t cast a psychic power they already cast for their second psychic action. This is obviously just an omission in the Nachmund book.
The other new kids on the block got some updates. Now the Legionary Warrior is the only Legionary option that can be taken more than once.
We also received a clarification that the Perpetual Aggression Strategic Ploy allows models to still Charge or Normal Move even after they have used this ability, and that performing a Charge or Normal Move does not prevent them from using this ability afterward. Neat!
The Mutability and Change Tactical Ploy was slightly reworded so that it has to be used when an operative is activated NOT during an activation. This makes this tactical ploy slightly weaker as you are forced to commit to it prior to knowing if you will actually need the additional APL.
Soul Feast now only takes effect if the operative has not been incapacitated and after all successful hits have been resolved. This is a slight “nerf” as it prevents you from healing during a fight, which might have been enough to swing a combat in your favor.
The Legionary Champion’s In The Eyes Of The Gods ability grants a free action instead of adding directly to APL. This is a minor change but important. The function here is to primarily prevent your Champion from being able to hold an objective over other 3 APL operatives, and that makes sense.
Void Dancer Troupe
A small number of changes were made to Void Dancer teams, but none of them really changed the power level of the team. At the time we were worried that Void Dancer teams might have been a bit too powerful, and needed more than this. As it turns out, they may not be as oppressive as we feared… in part, because Novitates are now very, very good.
The PSYKER keyword was added to the Shadowseer. This was a no-brainer but in practical terms it means that the Shadowseer can be affected by things that trigger off the psyker keyword, like the psyk-out effect on psyk-out grenades.
Clarification was also given on when the Saedath ability is triggered – abilities such as the Just A Scratch Tactical ploy prevent it from triggering as the damage was never inflicted, however rules such as Disgustingly Resilient would trigger it as they prevent wound loss after damage has been inflicted. Other examples would include: Hardened by War on Veteran Imperial Guardsmen and the Tau Stimulant Injector, both of which allow you to roll a save after wounds are inflicted.
Cegorach’s Jest can only be used if your operative is fighting, meaning it can’t be used against abilities such as the Unending Bloodshed Tactical Ploy that act “as if they were in combat” but don’t count as performing a FIGHT action.
Lastly, the Between Colors Strategic Ploy still requires operatives to be in a valid shooting position, I.E. a place the model would be able to normally stand, to make a SHOOT action. This is a very minor clarification, but would matter in situations where an operative on a small vantage point, not visible from the ground, does not provide enough room for an opposing operative and still remain outside engagement range. It also means your opponent can’t literally fly over you, and shoot you from above.
Then there’s the Wyrmblade kill team for Genestealer Cultists. Two clarifications here.
Models that arrive via the Hiding Tactical Ploy do not benefit from Cult Ambush. This is a pretty straightforward decision based on the wording of the ploy, but it is still nice to have it clarified.
In a less obvious clarification, operatives that are using FLY do not trigger the Locus’ Quick Silver Strike (1 APL) if they pass within 3 inches. In effect this means that operatives that have FLY must end their movement within 3 inches of the Locus to be a target of its ability, while those without FLY can be intercepted at any point they pass within 3 inches of it.
Overall, this update wasn’t nearly as game-changing as the previous Errata release, and felt more like housekeeping on Games Workshop’s part. If anything, many of the decisions made here give insight on what the designer’s intended for Kill Team to be. In most cases they erred on the side of caution, and while we aren’t yet sold on the notion that Void Dancer teams don’t need adjusting, we’ve already seen some big changes in the meta as a result of this update – more on those changes tomorrow.
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