One of the things I was glad to see return to 5th Edition with the release of the Battle Missions book was Kill Team. Low point-value games seem to get overlooked, so it’s nice to see support for something as low as 200 points made official. Granted, the new version of Kill Team has been greatly stripped down from its 4th Edition version – no more brute squads or mutable rules – but the new version is much easier to run. However, that doesn’t mean that a proper list for it is easy to just throw together. There’s the low point budget, an abbreviated force organization chart to deal with – 1 elite, 2 troop, and 1 fast attack slot – and a focus on individually specialized units.
Not all units in the appropriate slots in the Tau codex are equally suited for Kill Teams, however. Here are the units that I wouldn’t run for a Kill Team:
- Fire Warriors. Sure, you can run 2 squads of 10 Fire Warriors as a kill team force. Unfortunately, that’s about as interesting as they’re going to get. There’s no flexibility in Fire Warriors, since they can’t change up their weapon choices apart from choosing carbines or rifles. You can take a Devilfish, which helps somewhat, but if you’re wanting to take a transport, Pathfinders are a better choice.
- Crisis Suits. On one hand, if you want to build specialists with different weapon loadouts, there’s no better choice in the codex. Unfortunately, they’re not cheap; 3 suits could easily fill up your entire 200-point budget with little to spare. Considering that you risk losing a Kill Team mission once you lose half your models, there’s not much room for error, and providing so few targets makes it easy for your opponent to focus-fire them down. At most, I might run a monat suit alongside some other choice.
- Vespid. They’re not good for much of anything, and Kill Team doesn’t change that. They have even less weapon flexibility than Fire Warriors, and their Jump Infantry/Fleet status doesn’t help their effectiveness at all, other than helping them run away.
On the other side of the spectrum are the units that I think would work in a Kill Team:
- Stealth Suits. You get the armor save and jet pack abilities of crisis suits and the extra defense of their stealth generation field, all for a much more reasonable price thanks to the free burst cannons. You can also upgrade to a fusion blaster, although the shorter range is risky due to the risk of assault. I wouldn’t necessarily run a list entirely of Stealth Suits, but in combination with another choice, you could have a solid team.
- Pathfinders. In Kill Team, these are effectively better Fire Warriors. They’re better equipped, thanks to their markerlights, and they have the option for rail rifles as well. They also can take a Scout move, which can help you get a better position for targeting your opponent’s team. The mandatory Devilfish takes up enough points to ensure that you won’t running anything other than Pathfinders, but it can also net you two Gun Drones, which gives you a total of 3 extra models for determining your loss condition.
- Gun Drones. Assuming you haven’t taken any Pathfinders, taking a unit of these can help fill out some points nicely. They get the jump-shoot-jump benefits of being jet pack infantry and have better initiative than Fire Warriors should they get caught in assault. It’s two points more expensive per drone to take them as a stand-alone unit, rather than as wargear with a drone controller, but they have the added benefit of not being tied to a controlling model. If you lose your non-drone units, you don’t start losing drones automatically.
- Kroot. Kroot were made for Kill Team, I think. They’ve got a fair amount of variety as far as what can be put inside a Kroot unit. You’ve got your standard kroot for all-around utility, you’ve got kroot hounds for assault, a krootox for some heavier support, and you can even throw in a shaper. In the Kill Team environment, the shaper actually makes sense: with his 3 wounds he’ll be tougher than most enemy models, and by giving him Eternal Warrior as a specialist you keep him from getting doubled-out. Kroot also have the benefit of being cheap; you can easily fit 18-21 models into your team, and that includes a little bit of everything. Take a Krootox (since outflanking isn’t an issue), give him Relentless, and let him pick off the enemy at range (since he can hit the entire 4’x4′ table) while your Kroot and hounds close in for closer kills with their superior numbers.
I’ve got a few Kill Team lists that I’m playing around with, and I hope to test them in the next few weeks or so. I especially want to try the Kroot list, although I’d need to get a few things (like Kroot Hounds, a Krootox, a Shaper, and some more Kroot) before I can build it. For Pathfinders, I’d need some Rail Rifles. In the meantime, I’ll try out a Stealth Suit list and see how it goes. Here’s what I’m looking at:
Elite: Stealthsuits (4#, 140 pts)
3 Stealthsuits (Burst Cannon x3)
1 Team Leader (Burst Cannon; Hard-wired Multi-tracker; Markerlight;) – Feel No Pain specialist
Fast Attack: Gun Drone Squadron (5#, 60 pts)
5 Gun Drone Squadron
Total: 200 points
I’m up in the air on the markerlight, since its hits are only going to be usable by one figure per turn. I could downgrade the team leader and get an extra gun drone instead. First, though, I need to test it out and see how it goes.
So, what are your opinions on Tau in the Kill Team environment? What would your ideal Kill Team be?
Image © Games Workshop.