The Guide to Kill Team Specialists, Part 1: Demolitions, Heavy, and Snipers

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Welcome back to our weekly Kill Team Tactics series. This week, we’re taking a break from doing our faction focuses to release the first part in our multi-part series covering Specialisms in Kill Team: How to evaluate and choose them, and which ones are worth paying points for if you’re using higher-level abilities. We’ll be starting with the three specialisms that are based around ranged weaponry, specifically the Demolitions, Sniper and Heavy specialists. We’ll be going through their Tactics, Abilities, and any particularly fun builds involving them that you should consider.

 

Demolition Specialists

Deathwatch Salamander with Frag Canon

Deathwatch Salamander with Frag Canon Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Demolition specialists are short-to-mid range specialists. They’re really, really good at boosting the effective strength and damage of a weapon, so you want them to focus on guns that hit automatically, or guns that have a ton of shots. You can also do some cute tricks involving grenades. Keep in mind most of their level 3 abilities are absolute trash though.

Unique Tactics

Level 1: Custom Ammo (1CP)

Add 1 to wound rolls for ranged weapons for this model in this shooting phase. A very nice thing to have, naturally goes better with a weapon that fires a ton of shots and/or a weapon that hits automatically, especially if you’re able to hit automatically. Even then, being able to wound T4 on a 3 (or even 2) depending on your weapon is always good. A

Level 2: Lucky Escape (1CP)

When this model loses a wound in the Shooting phase, roll a D6; on a 5+ it doesn’t lose that wound. If you’re planning some sort of all your eggs in one basket strategy and you know your Demo specialist is going to get shot at, then this is good for the drastic increase in survivability it gives you. Otherwise it could just function as a deterrent to shoot the specialist in the first place. B+

Level 3: High Explosive (1CP)

The Demo specialist can only fire a single weapon in the shooting phase, the number of shots becomes 1 and the Damage characteristic is increased by 2 (Cannot use at the same time as Custom Ammo) High-risk and high-reward, you’d ideally want a weapon that hits automatically and has a decent strength and AP, for obvious reasons (like balance), there aren’t that many in the game, but you can make this work sometimes. B-

 

Abilities

Level 1

Breacher – Add 1 to wound rolls against obscured targets. This is good, getting the ability to increase your wound rolls is always useful, especially if you can pair it with an auto-hit weapon that’ll get around one of the issues with shooting an obscured target. B

Level 2

Left Path

Pyromaniac – Reroll wound rolls of 1 when attacking with a weapon that hits automatically. If the name didn’t give it away, this is meant for Flamers, 1CP lets you wound most targets on a 2 or 3 and reroll 1s. However, this ends up being absolutely disgusting with the Frag Launcher, especially against T3, since you have 2D6 shots that automatically hit, and wound on 2s rerolling 1s. B for most factions. A for Deathwatch.

Right Path

Grenadier – Add 3” to the range of Grenade weapons, re-roll hit rolls of 1 for Grenade weapons. While this is a good ability in theory, the main issue with grenades in Kill Team is that you generally don’t have a model you designate as “the grenade guy”, you generally have whoever can throw a grenade throw a grenade. If you are basing something around hurling a grenade though, this has legs (and we’ll get into it a bit more later on). B

Level 3

Take the right path. There is nothing of value for you on the left path.

Left Path

Saboteur – If this model is not out of action at the end of the game. Roll a dice, on a 5+, one opponent in the game loses 1 Materiel. Outside of Campaign: Absolutely trash, you’re paying points for something that does literally nothing. This is worse than an F, it’s like a K or something. In Campaign: On a 5+ your opponent essentially counts as also losing the game, or losing more, which is just completely and utterly hilarious. But then you are spending 4 points for this, so… C

Sapper – You can booby trap D3+1 pieces of terrain instead of D3.

I have nothing to say.

No. Seriously. Go away. F

Right Path

Siegemaster – You can add 1 to injury rolls in the shooting phase against obscured models. This basically cancels out the natural bonus models get for being obscured, this is good. It’s basically the best Level 3 ability you can take on a Demolitions specialist, by far (even ignoring the fact that the other 3 abilities are absolute trash). B+

Ammo Hound – If this model is not out of action at the end of the game. Roll a dice, on a 5+ you gain 1 Materiel. Literally find replace what I said earlier but replace “your opponent” with “you” and “losing” with “winning”. However, this is probably one of the only ways to GAIN resources in a campaign.So it has that going for it. K or C+

 

Recommended builds

Grenadier

There’s three main variants of doing funny things with this ability, and they’re related to the three unique things you can do with a grenade.

Deep Strike (Level 2 or 3: Breacher, Grenadier, Siegemaster) – The model of choice is a humble Striking Scorpion. Using Masters of Stealth you deploy a Striking Scorpion 5-9 inches away from whatever you want to try to murder, you generally want your target to be obscured. You then use Decisive Shot (if you have a ton of CP laying around) or wait until you can shoot with the model, then you…throw a Plasma Grenade and the stupidity begins.

Number of Shots – D6, you can’t do a whole lot here.

Hit Roll – Grenades are not affected by Long Range penalties (no, seriously). And Striking Scorpions are not affected by shooting at an obscured model. So you are hitting on 3s, rerolling 1s, giving you a 77.78% chance of hitting per shot.

Wound Rolls – Assuming you’re hitting an Obscured target or you use 1CP on the stratagem, you’re wounding everything T3 on a 2+, if you use both, you’re wounding T4 on a 2+ and T5 and above on a 3+

Saving Throw – Grenades are AP-1, that’s neat.

Injury Roll – Assuming you’re somehow lucky enough to wound an obscured target who is NOT near terrain, you’re getting them out of action on a 2+ due to Siegemaster. If they’re near terrain, it’ll be a 3+.

All in all, this is probably wildly inefficient, but it’s very, very funny.

I intend to live dangerously

Interested in taking some gambles? Consider a few of these strategies:

  • Use the High Explosive stratagem, I’d generally do this against things like Orks, otherwise whatever you’re shooting at will pass its armor save and you’ll be stuck with nothing, making you so angry that you punch a hole through the table.
  • Demolition Charge – An Acolyte Fighter slowly trundles up the table and then lobs a giant cartoon bomb at a pack of non-obscured models. You can use Density Analysis Lenses to hit on 4s rerolling 1s. If you are not playing in Arena, you can just use Outflank and replicate the Deep Strike tactic but with an actual powerful weapon.
  • Grenade Launcher – Space Marines get a 36-inch range Frag or Krak Grenade that gets you an 18″ no-penalty shot, and you can re-roll 1s to hit. Just shoot things with it, and pair it with a Comms Specialist if you’re feeling like a massive jerk. You can’t really mess this one up.
    Note: As of the September FAQ, Space Marine Grenade Launchers are now subject to the long range rule.

Deathwatch Frag Cannons

The Deathwatch Frag Cannon has a major claim of being the best weapon in Kill Team. Able to choose between a 2D6 shot, S6, AP-1, D1 weapon that automatically hits. Or a 2 shot, S7 (or 9), AP-2 (or 3), 2 damage weapon, it’s really, really good, and here’s some funny things you can do with it. We recommend using your Frag Cannon’s first profile, Frag Rounds, with the High Explosive Tactic and the Pyromaniac ability, shooting at an obscured target. You get 1 shot, but it hits automatically, and you wound literally anything in the game on 2s, rerolling 1s, As long as you crack the enemy’s save, you’re doing 3 damage, and putting the target out of action on a 3+. It basically turns a Deathwatch Frag Cannon into a much cheaper Foul Blightspawn.

 

Heavy Specialists

Credit: TheChirurgeon

Heavy Specialists are pretty weird. They don’t have the reliability of either Sniper or Demo specialists, but they are able to put out an absolutely disgusting amount of firepower, with the ability to reroll 1s and also inflict a swathe of hit penalties on their enemies. Finally, a combination of tactics and abilities can be used to make something like a Terminator or Bullgryn into an unkillable fuckerlord, in case you want to build them like a tank.

Unique Tactics

Level 1: More Bullets (1 CP)

In the Shooting phase, pick a Heavy specialist that fires more than one shot, they fire an additional shot when shooting their weapon. Useful when you need to spread fire across multiple targets and extend the effectiveness of a 2- or 3-shot weapon. B

Level 2: Overwhelming Firepower (2 CP)

After a Heavy Specialist shoots in the shooting phase, it can shoot again. You can’t combine this with the More Bullets tactic. This is expensive, but incredibly powerful, especially on models that can carry multiple powerful weapons. A

Level 3: Unkillable (1 CP)

Use at the start of the Morale phase to remove a Flesh Wound from a Heavy Specialist. In my experience, once people start shooting at your heavy specialist you don’t get a chance to heal them but if you do, it’s a helpful way to reset them and keep them alive. B

 

Abilities

Level 1

Relentless – This model doesn’t suffer the -1 penalty to hit for shooting with a Heavy Weapon if it moved in the preceding Movement phase, or for shooting an Assault Weapon after advancing. This is a solid ability, and exactly what you’d expect the first level of the Heavy Weapon specialist’s path to look like. It’s best for heavy weapons with a medium range, where you’ll want to stay on the move or close distances quickly to get to half range. The only downside is that you’ll often want to ready your heavy weapon specialist to ensure they get their shots off. A-

Level 2

Left Path

Suppressor – Enemy models targeted by this model in the Shooting Phase suffer a -1 penalty to hit rolls until the end of the phase. This has the potential to be completely and utterly hilarious. There are two important things to keep in mind though: Firstly, all you have to do is target the model, you don’t have to succeed in hitting them, so you could split fire and give multiple models this penalty. Secondly, it only applies for that phase, so you’re going to have to get in fast in order to apply that penalty to targets that want to shoot, whether by reading the specialist or using Decisive Shot. However, when you manage to get this off on a Tau clump, or a Comms + Sniper duo, you might be very happy. It’s very good with the right weapons, and not too useful otherwise. C+

Right Path

Extra Armour – AP-1 weapons that target this model count as AP0. This is sort of useful for helping to make your specialist as completely unkillable as possible, but it doesn’t really do much else besides that. It can be helpful for making sure your Heavy Specialist survives the first round of shooting, particularly if you can’t ready them, but more often than not it won’t be worth paying extra points for. C

Level 3

Left Path

Devastator – You can re-roll the damage for a ranged weapon that has a random damage characteristic.This is surprisingly huge for three reasons:

  1. Quite a lot of high damage weaponry tends to be D3 or D6, and getting to reroll that is useful regardless.
  2. The CP reroll doesn’t work for damage rolls, meaning this is the only way to reroll damage rolls in the game.
  3. Nothing specifies that it is “Once per battle round”, so you can do this for each individual shot of a weapon

Pair this up with More Bullets or Overwhelming Firepower and a good D3/D6 weapon to just put out as much damage as possible. It’s a surprisingly good ability. A

Rigorous – Reroll hit rolls of 1 for this model in the shooting phase. Never ever bad, always useful, if you’re running a level 4 Heavy, take this alongside Devastator. B+

Right Path

Indomitable – Once per battle round, you can make your opponent reroll an injury dice for an attack that targets this model. This is okay, I guess, you could convert an out of action to a flesh wound, and then heal it with Unkillable, but that’s it really. C

Heavily Muscled – Reroll wound rolls of 1 for this model in the fight phase. What? Why? Heavies are generally limited to being Gunners for Kill Teams, who are pretty much ‘heavily encouraged’ to not take melee weapons. The only model in all of Kill Team this works for is a Bullgryn with a maul, that’s it. F (unless it’s a Bullgryn in which case C).
TheChirurgeon’s Counterpoint: No other ability in the game designates your model as being buff as hell. So yeah, while it’s worthless from a game ability standpoint, it’s extremely important to have from a being rad standpoint.

 

Recommended Builds

Terminator Gunner

We’re here to literally cosplay as the Team Fortress 2 Heavy. Run Relentless, Suppressor, Devastator and Rigorous. The real fun begins when we get to the weapons, and you’re giving this model the Cyclone MIssile Launcher and the Storm Bolter. You then proceed to use the Overwhelming Firepower stratagem while just slowly walking up the battlefield, and at this point you’re putting out:

  • 2D3 S4, AP0, 1 damage shots OR 2 S8 AP-2, D6 (with a reroll!) damage shots

and then…

  • 2 or 4 S4, AP0, 1 damage shots

And then you pop the Overwhelming Firepower Tactic and repeat the process to completely house anything still left alive.

During this, you’re only suffering penalties for long range and obscuration, and you can essentially cancel out both by tagging along a Comms Specialist Tactical Sergeant with an Auspex, putting you on BS2+, rerolling 1s to hit. Anything you even tag with a shot will be -1 to hit for the rest of the phase, which will probably be their non-readied models (but once you get into an extremely advantageous position, there’s nothing stopping you from standing still and readying up…)

If you want to be even more of a jerk, set this Terminator up in Reserves, drop them somewhere extremely annoying with the Teleport Tactic, then use the More Bullets Tactic the turn you teleport them in and just force the enemy to shoot the 2-Wound, 2+/5++ save model rather than something more squishy.

Flash Git

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the Flash Git, who can also be nasty with the right Heavy Specialist abilities. Give them a Gitfinda Squig and the Relentless, Suppressor and Rigorous abilities. Bring along a Comms Nob as well, to give them an additional +1 to hit. At this point you have an effective BS of 2+, and the ability to reroll 1s, firing 3 S6, AP -2 D2 shots an attack, and anything you tag is -1 to hit.

So far so good, but it’s the application of Tactics where this gets really funny, provided you can stockpile the CP. First, you can use the Dakka Dakka Dakka Orks Tactic to shoot again, at a different target, or the same target if you really hate it. Then you can use Overwhelming Firepower to shoot once again another time. So that’s 9 shots for 3CP–pretty neat!

But wait!–there’s more: After ANY of these rounds of shooting, the Flash Git’s Gun-crazy Show-off ability has a chance to activate on a D6 roll of a 6, allowing you to shoot again (albeit at the closest enemy model), and there’s nothing that says you can’t roll the dice after that round of shooting…

Literally the Terminator, from Terminator 1 (it’s also a Terminator)

Take a Blightlord Terminator Gunner and give it a Reaper Autocannon for the extra firepower (and to be a jerk). Give them the Relentless, Extra Armour, Indomitable and Rigorous abilities. Use a Tactic to Deep Strike your Blightlord right onto an objective. Your opponent now has to deal with:

  • A toughness 5 model with
  • A 2+ armour save unless they’re firing an AP-2 or more weapon at the model, in which case it’s a 4+ invulnerable save, that has
  • 2 wounds, plus
  • When they lose a wound, they can roll a D6 and they don’t lose it on a 5+, and
  • They have the ability to re-roll the first ‘bad’ injury roll that comes their way as well as the ability to ignore their first flesh wound.

Of course, your opponent could just ignore the model, but then you’re shooting them with 4 S7, AP-1, D1 shots per turn, with the ability to re-roll 1s to hit, so that probably won’t go well for them.

 

Sniper Specialists

Credit: Merton

As the name suggests, these are your long ranged firepower specialists. They’re able to stack an obscene amount of hit bonuses as well as hit and wound rerolls. You want these guys to have either Plasma weaponry, or obscenely powerful single shot weaponry. Pair them with a Comms specialist and it gets even funnier. Naturally though, you’ll want to ready them, otherwise they will get shot a bunch and die, and you’ll be sad.

However, even though the name suggests you should, Do not run these with a Sniper Rifle, you’ll do it, try it out and then wonder where and how you lost control of your life.

Unique Tactics

Level 1: Careful Aim (1CP)

Add 1 to hit rolls in the shooting phase. This is absolute value; it lets you raise quite a few models to BS2+, and if you’re shooting something unobscured at short range, you’ll be re-rolling those 1s, making you almost guaranteed to hit. This is one of those stratagems you generally want to use almost every turn. A-

Level 2: Headshot (1CP) 

Models shot at by this model do not count as being obscured. Another amazing stratagem. This cancels out any penalties from both hitting the target, and making injury rolls against the target. Also, due to how this stratagem is worded, it does not count as a +1 modifier to shooting, meaning if you have the ability to reroll misses, you won’t get caught out due to the modifiers before rerolls rule. Always consider this when shooting at an obscured target you want to murder. A

Level 3: Quick Shot (1CP)

Subtract 1 from hit rolls in the shooting phase, but double the number of shots made by this model’s ranged weapons. (Cannot use at the same time as Headshot). You do not have to use this Stratagem. That may sound like I’m saying it’s bad, I’m not, it’s situational. When you’re at long range, you’re generally going to avoid this, but once something comes into Rapid Fire range, you might be operating at -2 BS, but you’re firing 4 shots at it. It’s situational, and there’s times when you’ll love it. Especially since you can use it with split fire. B+

 

Abilities

Level 1

Marksman – Re-roll hit rolls of 1 in the shooting phase for this model. Amazing, always useful, makes it so that you’ll almost never die to overheating Plasma ever. A

Level 2

Left Path

Assassin – Re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the shooting phase for this model. Once again, another great ability, and it’s always going to be useful, especially since your Snipers will be wounding on 2s or 3s anyway. A

Right Path

Sharpshooter – Add 1 to hit rolls in the shooting phase when Readied. Another great ability, you generally want your Sniper to just go and…live somewhere and shoot stuff, and this just adds to that, cancelling out either the long-range or obscured penalty (or giving you an awesome bonus). Pair this with the stratagem and a comms specialist for some really funny things. B+

Level 3

Left Path

Deadeye – On an unmodified wound roll of 6, increase the Damage of that attack by 1. This is a nice bonus ability, especially since you’ll be pairing this specialist with single shot, high damage weapons, and this just lets you get a bit more bang for your buck. Do NOT pair this with Sniper Rifles, especially against 1 wound models, you’ll just proc the mortal wound and the excess damage will be wasted and you’ll be sad. B+ for non Sniper Rifles, D for Sniper Rifles.

Armour Piercing – On an unmodified wound roll of 6, increase the AP of that attack by 1. This is generally going to be worse than Deadeye, since most of the weapons you’ll be using this on are at least AP-3, you can get some use with this by making sure that almost no one gets a normal save, ever. Besides that though, there’s nothing really good outside of some sort of captain wacky build involving Krak Grenades. B-

Right Path

Mobile – This model suffers no penalties for shooting a Heavy/Assault weapon after Moving/Advancing. This one is weird, the bonus is always really, really good, but you generally just want your Sniper to be readied, especially since you’re generally taking Sharpshooter to get this. Do consider this for Ad Mech and Drukhari though, who do have good Sniper specialist weapons that happen to be Heavy and/or Assault. C

Eagle-eye – The range of Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons this model has are increased by 6”. Once again, another nice little bonus, the extra 6 inches is a nice surprise, and keep in mind it raises your ‘short range’ by 3 inches. This won’t ever blow you away, but do definitely consider it. C+

 

Recommended Builds

Overcharged Weaponry

Credit: Robert “TheChirugeon” Jones

Sniper specialists are pretty much made to work with overcharged Plasma (or its equivalent), to the extent that you wonder why they’re not called Overcharge Specialists. Run them as Marksman, Sharpshooter, Eagle-Eye and Assassin for a 30-inch range Plasma gun, and then use Careful Aim and/or Headshot to give them an effective BS of 1+ or 2+, re-rolling To hit and To Wound rolls of 1. If you prefer to rely on a bit more luck, swap out Eagle-Eye for Deadeye, for the chance of some sweet 3 damage shots.

Note: Keep in mind Astra Militarum and Tau have ways to replicate Assassin and Headshot respectively (with the Bring it Down! Order And Recon Suite, respectively), so you might want to adjust the abilities you pick for these cases.

Drukhari

Drukhari Kabalite Gunners get the option of taking either a Dark Lance or a Blaster, both of them are extremely powerful single-shot weapons, the Dark Lance is double the range of the Blaster, but is Heavy, while the Blaster is Assault. Run them as Marksman, Sharpshooter, Eagle-Eye (Dark Lance) or Mobile (Blaster) and Assassin, and consider pairing them with a Comms Specialist. This gives you a weapon that hits on a BS of 1+ when Readied (Comms and Sharpshooter bonus), rerolling 1s, wound everything short of Death Guard on 2s, while allowing you to reroll 1s, and having enough AP to crack everything in the game that doesn’t have an invuln, and then there’s D6 damage, which isn’t ideal, but you can’t have it all.

Ad Mech

Skittari Ranger Gunners also get two options, and both of them are pretty workable and fun with the Sniper Specialism.

Plasma Caliver

It’s Plasma, and it can OverSupercharge, so you know what that means. Marksman, Assassin, Sharpshooter and Mobile. Spend the first turn advancing into a good position, consider using Shroudpsalm to lower your chance of dying, and then just hammer out BS2+ overcharged shots with those sweet re-roll 1s

Transuranic Arquebus

This gun is S7 has a 60” range and an AP of -2. Give the model running this the standard 3 abilities and then Eagle-eye, just to rub it in and hit people two tables over. Pair them with a Comms Ranger with an Omnispex and then use the More Bullets stratagem. This gives you a +2 modifier to shoot (Comms and Sharpshooter) and a -1 to hit (More Bullets). Once again, you get to hit on 2s, reroll 1s, wound on 2s or 3s, reroll 1s, and the 2 shots will probably get around the ‘low’ AP of this weapon.

 

Next Time: Melee Specialists

That wraps up part 1 of our guide. Next time we’ll tackle another three specialist classes, looking specifically at the melee-focused specialisms but we’ve our eye toward eventually covering every single class and combining these into one easier-to-parse article. As always, if you have feedback for us, feel free to add it in the comments section below, shoot us a note on social media, or send us an email at contact@goonhammer.com – we’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, happy hunting!

 

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