Last week Games Workshop previewed Chalnath, the next expansion to be released for Kill Team. Kill Team, for those who’re unfamiliar, is the skirmish answer to Warhammer 40k and often seems to have been regarded by its parent company as very much the junior sibling, making do with hand-me-downs in the form of repackaged models, rather than dedicated releases of its own. With the release of the new edition a month or so ago however the company appears to have finally taken the bull by the horns and started giving the game the kind of attention that it deserves. Releases have been promised for every quarter year for the foreseeable future, with new warbands likely to be a regular occurrence. Already we have seen Ork Kommandos and Death Korps of Kreig, and now Chalnath brings us T’au Pathfinders fighting Sisters of Battle Novitiates.
These, however, are known quantities and I’m not here to talk about them. Instead join me as I speculate wildly, and entirely without basis, about what might over the horizon in the unknowable mists of the future!
The Emperor’s Finest
The process of turning a male adolescent into a fully fledged space marine doesn’t take place over night. As well as all the surgery and genetic tinkering involved the subject also requires a great deal of training. Youngsters who are undergoing this process are known as scouts and tend to be given the kinds of missions that call for a bit more stealth and a bit less brutal shock and awe than those undertaken by their elders. Missions, in other words, that are perfect for games of Kill Team. Indeed this isn’t a million miles away from the Sisters of Battle Novitiates already announced for the game.
Wargamers are an argumentative and opinionated bunch but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who regards the current space marine scouts as anything other than dreadful. Squat, ugly and unlovable the dustbin of history has been calling out to them from the very moment they were released.
Lately the old fashioned, oddly short and ill-proportioned space marines of yesteryear have been pushed aside in the release schedule by a new breed of space marines, the bigger and better looking primaris. Amongst these newcomers the scout’s battlefield role – sneaking around performing ambushes and acts of sabotage ahead of their fully initiated brothers storming in all guns blazing – has been given over to fully trained and developed specialist space marines like the Eliminators, Infiltrators (below) and Incursors. I must admit I’m not a big fan of these latter two, although I do see a lot of potential in them as the basis for converting decent looking Scouts. That said I’ve not got around to it yet so if Games Workshop wanted to save me the bother by just releasing some decent looking Scout models in the meantime they should feel entirely free.
One of the most iconic factions in Games Workshop’s stable, the haughty space-elves of the Eldar also have one of the oldest ranges of models, and one of the most deserving of an injection of new kits and miniatures. The obvious choice for Kill Team has to be the Rangers…
Far from the craftworlds of their people the Rangers act as scouts, seeking out potential threats, spying out danger and reporting back to the Farseers and Autarchs. They’re cool looking models and I’ve long had an affection for them, but really they deserve to see the benefits of modern miniatures design lavished upon them. Plus their role in sneaking around, ensuring that fate favours their race by assassinating anyone liable to prove a menace them in the future, makes them perfect for a game like Kill Team.
However this is my wishlist and I’ll dream big if I want to! How about taking the things even further along the path of the outcast and creating a kit that makes both Rangers and Corsairs? Whilst some young Eldar find life aboard the Craftworlds too restrictive and leave to become Rangers others slip even further from their society, becoming pirates and raiders. These Corsairs live much as Eldar did thousands of years ago, neither embracing the asceticism of the Craftworlders nor the sheer cruelty and decadence of the Dark Kin. There were even models for them produced by Forgeworld until comparatively recently.
Imagine a pirate crew of Eldar (peglegs and xeno-parrots optional) made up of specialists and hardened veterans and doing the jobs too dirty for their Craftworlder kin to touch – or working for whoever will pay them to keep their ships in void and continue their lives of adventure. Perfect for Kill Team I’d say!
Lurking in the darkness of rusting space hulks, gloomy underhives and tangled jungles, the predatory genestealers are every honest Imperial citizen’s worst nightmare and never to be confused with a man who sells Levi’s. These terrifying alien monsters have been leaping out at unsuspecting gangers and space marine terminators alike for decades. The current crop of models may be old but they’re not bad so much as simply less than they could be.
In recent times their peers, models released at around the same time and representing similar roles in the rank and file of their respective ranges – the ork boys and necron warriors for instance – have been updated and look much the better for it. Genestealers, I would argue, deserve the same treatment. Around a decade ago they actually received a rather nice suite of new models (below) via the limited edition re-release of Space Hulk (another game from years gone by that GW really ought to look at bringing back). However when said limited edition was sold out (and then sold out again after Games Workshop “found some in a warehouse that they’d overlooked… honest…”) we were back to being stuck with the old models.
They might not be the most traditional kill team but small packs of genestealers leaping out of the shadows to slaughter your elite operatives is the stuff that the very best action movies are made of. In fact why not go all in and package them in a boxset with some nice jungle terrain and an updated squad of Catachans? Failure to quote all the best lines from Predator whilst playing will be deemed a criminal offence!
Nobody Expects the Emperor’s Inquisition…
One of the best things about a skirmish game like Kill Team is the opportunity to break out of the restrictive structures of traditional armies and build unique bands of unusual operatives. Enter the strange world of the Inquisition. Granted near limitless authority to act in defence of the Imperium, Inquisitors can – and frequently do – take command of entire armies when they need some serious muscle on a project. Traditionally however we tend to picture Inquisitors working in the shadows, aided by small groups of carefully selected agents – many of whom are amongst the weirdest characters the strange world of 40k has to offer. I’ve often dreamed of seeing the Inquisition developed further in 40k and given a suite of new models, but realistically 40k is a game of armies and Inquisitors don’t have armies, they just borrow other people’s (and heaven help the Imperial Guard commander who even thinks about saying “no”). Kill Team however is exactly the kind of set-up that favours the Inquisition and gives Games Workshop a golden opportunity to give them their due at last.
The Less Well-known Players
Until now I’ve been thinking in terms of kill teams acting on behalf of the 41st Millennium’s big players. Each of the factions I’ve described so far would operate behind enemy lines on behalf of a faction which already commands entire armies on the tabletop in 40k. However that’s still falling into the trap of seeing Kill Team as 40k in miniature, rather than as a game in its own right. The galaxy is a strange and multifarious place full of wonders – many of whom are keen to strike the big players where it hurts but lack the manpower to do it in a straightforward military engagement. Mustering a few elite operatives however is much more within their remit – and gives Games Workshop the chance to play around with concepts that might otherwise be left to gather dust on the drawing board. How about the weird and unsettling Hrud for instance? Just look at this beastie – it’ll give you nightmares!
Or what about the hyper-violent Barghesi, the secretive Eldar Exodites, the various races of beastmen, murderous mandrakes, the ancient constructs from the Blackstone Fortresses, or even the much-missed Squats? Dig a little deeper into the lore of 40k and the possibilities are almost endless.
Anyway, that’s my current Kill Team wishlist, but I’m all ears to hear what you think. Is there a squad that would be perfect for Kill Team, something that’s crying out to be made but which I’ve not included? Get your crazy ideas in the comments box below then!