It’s time to review the new Chalnath boxed expansion for Kill Team!
Greetings and welcome to my review of the Chalnath box for Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team! First up, thanks goes to Games Workshop for providing this to review for free. As always I am to be honest, impartial and constructively critical. Now, on to the review!
If you’re interested, I’ve also done this as an in-depth video on YouTube:
What’s in the Box?
Chalnath is our first box set expansion for Kill Team after the launch of Ocatrius. Similar to that box, inside Chalnath you get: the Chalnath campaign book, the Novitiate Kill Team, the Pathfinder Kill Team, a lot of terrain sprues (similar to those found in the Kill Team 2018 core set) and then a game board and instruction manual for building. It’s actually a very densely packed box. Sure you get no dice or measuring gauges like in Octarius, but there is a lot of content inside. Especially in regards to the terrain.
Chalnath revolves around the battle for war zone Vedik. This isolated Imperial realm was almost converted to a Tau expansion from their 5th sphere force. However, the untimely arrival of an Adepta Sororiatas force mascaraed the Tau and brought the system back into Imperial hands. However, the Tau not ones to lose new land for the Greater Good, launched a heavy counterattack committing far more of their forces. Now as both sides fight across the system, multiple kill teams are sent to sortie missions over key battle zones. All the while rampaging forces like the Orks, Drukhari and Genestealer Cults fight out among the chaos.
Novitiate Kill Team
The Novitiates are a brand new unit for Warhammer 40,000 and Kill Team alike! These are Adepta Sororitas in-training, who must prove themselves in battle to earn the right to wear power armour and wield a bolter. Off the bat, the kill team can run Security or Recon, both great Tac Op choices. You have your leader and then 9 more operatives to select from, totaling in 11 additional specialists. You also have a new critical hit rule referencing their new inferno weapons.
Acts of Faith are your “passive” ability. You start off with 3 each turning point, the points listed in the box to gain additional points are locked to narrative play. However, don’t fear as their are additional ways to get more Faith points within the kill team. You can use Faith points for abilities, to which you have 8 in total. These vary from the great 1 Faith point command re-roll ability to abilities that allow you to automatically retain dice for attacking or defending, based on what you’re using. These Acts of Faith are actually pretty useful and help out the kill team a lot. It does add another layer of book keeping, but Faith points will be your key to victory.
For ploys, Eyes of the Emperor is pretty great, making your kill team a surprise ranged threat. Although it feels more like a way to fill a hole in the Novitiate’s poor range output. Defenders of the Faith, despite being 2 CP, allows for activating at the start of the firefight phase before normal initiative. It takes careful usage and can’t really be spammed but can be a very crutch play during later turning points.
Glorious Martyrdom is great for dealing damage upon death AND generating Faith points, although you do need to be within 1 white of an enemy to use it. Your other 2 tactical ploys are locked into 2 different specialists and feel quite restrictive, although it does seem to be balanced out by the 8 Acts of Faith you have access to.
Operatives, sans your leader, are all 7 wounds with a +4 save. Your basic human profile. You have a wide choice of specialist operatives to select from and you cannot run all 11 in a single kill team so choosing wisely is recommended. Still, you have your “standard” kill team specialists such as a medic, comms operative and some melee/ranged specialists. The Pronatus is your most important fighter, able to do mission actions for FREE as well as generating you an extra 2 to 3 Faith points a turn! Even your basic operatives are pretty good with their melee profile, having damage and accuracy that matches other elite combat specialists from general kill teams.
Equipment-wise is kind of lacking. You have your standard grenades along with some more situational uses. The stand-out choice has to be Adamantine-Weave Surplice. For 2 EP, the operative goes from a +4 save to a +3 save. Sure you can only take it 5 times but it gives you pseudo power armour for 5 of your operatives that are likely to be shot at a lot.
Finally, as always you have a large selection of Spec Ops narrative rules., unique specialisms, rare equipment, assets and requisitions all designed around your kill team. Great for anyone planning to use the Novitiates in narrative play and mirrors the content found in Ocatarius for its respective kill teams.
Overall the Novitiate Kill Team is interesting. Yes they are fairly fragile with minimal ranged threat. You either have to rely on Eyes of the Emperor or your Novitiate Condemnor who is effectively your sniper. Their melee output is great and the kill team features some good APL modification tools that can help you get key operatives into combat quickly. Plus you have Acts of Faith which give you extra re-rolls and accuracy/defence depending on what is chosen. It’s a pool you’ll need to manage effectively in order to win.
Pathfinder Kill Team
The Pathfinder Kill Team is an update to an existing Compendium kill team. Thanks to a new upgrade sprue, you now have an entirely new force to use. Outside of your leader, you have 12 other operatives to choose from. Your Recon drone counts as 2 choices, but you always take it and you still have 10 other operatives to use. Sadly the kill team is a bit limited being locked into only Recon for Tac Ops.
For abilities, the Pathfinder Kill Team has re-vamped markerlights. These now work as tokens that are simply applied for 1 AP to enemy operatives that are visible to the user. Interestingly, only 1 markerlight token is removed from an operative at the start of each turning point, rewarding you for placing multiple ones on a single operative. However, I find 1-3 are the ideal uses, with 4+ being too situational and easy to deny by the opponent as they can simple just move that operative out of visibility during an activation.
You also have access to an Art of War once per game. You choose between 2 based on whether you want to be aggressive or defensive. Both are flexible with powerful effects, being both narratively flavourful and effective in-game.
Ploys are varied and actually mostly useful. The standout strategic ploys for me are Bonded, which rewards you for pairing-up operatives and getting more re-rolls, and then Determined Tactician, that grants you a once-per-game second Art of War for operatives within red of your leader.
A Worthy Cause is maybe one of the best ploys in the game. Activate at the start of the firefight phase before initiative order if within engagement range or controlling an objective. Cheap, powerful, and allows you to double activate before the opponent or just activate before them. Incredibly useful. Your other tatical ploys are okay but just situational.
Pathfinder operatives have 7 wounds with a 5+ save. Fragile but this is balanced by having very powerful guns which output 4/5 damage as well as Markerlights. On top of your standard medic, comms and sniper specialists, you have exemplary ones like your Transpectral Interference Pathfinder who can do -1 APL to enemy operatives from any range while having an engage order. While it is a risk, removing an APL from an operative can effectively shut them down. Use him at the end of turning point 1 and the start of turning point 2 to severely neuter 2 enemy operatives.
An odd note is drones mostly remain the same with 2 minor exceptions. Marker drones apply 2 markerlight tokens to an operative, which is amazing. The Recon drone has 4 defence compared to 3 for its Compendium version. Drones are otherwise unchanged.
The Pathfinders have a huge selection of varied equipment to choose from. While the Orbital Survery Uplink is nice, it is limited to 1. You have very useful EMP and Fusion grenades but my favourites are Target Analysis Optic and High-Intensity Markerlight. The first has the user count as having +1 markerlight token when shooting at a target with 1 or more markerlight tokens, the second turns you into a marker drone. Both are just incredibly useful.
Once again you have a wide selection of narrative Spec Ops rules to use, just as with the Novitiate Kill Team.
The Pathfinder Kill Team is once again interesting. Very powerful but still severely lacking in melee output and defence. However, their ranged output is crazy good and the kill team has access to so many re-rolls. You’ll have to play turning point 1 cautiously and mostly concealed-up but then doing a big turning point 2 counterattack with Kauyon active is fearsome indeed. You can’t take a hit but your goal is to obliterate whatever you shoot at. Plus Pathfinders can take 2 gunners (Ion Rifles *cough*) along with your Marksman for 3 powerful ranged operatives. Not to mention all your drone tricks as well as A Worthy Cause.
Terrain and Rules
For terrain, as mentioned earlier, you basically get all the terrain from the out of production Kill Team 2018 starter box. It’s great terrain and nice to see back in circulation. Terrain rules were basically all shown off on Warhammer Community. Doors and hatches make terrain traversal even easier, although I would have preferred if they costed 1 white to move through instead of for free.
Punishing Vantage Points are new. While some people are upset over their addition, I find them fine. Especially as they are basically only for buildings that are 5 inches tall or higher. The only thing I would say is I would have the sides with no terrain facing the enemy drop zone/center of the kill zone. Just to make it easy to shoot at operatives on punishing vantage points.
Finally the last thing is all the other walls included are heavy terrain. It’s…interesting for sure. A board with no traverseable light terrain, while helping melee kill teams also makes it harder for them and other operatives to move around the kill zone. Definitely something to test out to see how it effects the game.
Chalnath is an interesting box. The Chalnath book is packed with competitive rules along with narrative rules too and is still a great way to release new rules for new kill teams. The included kill teams are nice as well and it’s interesting if this format of 1 brand new kill team and 1 updated old kit will be the norm going forward. While I’m mixed on having a terrain and board inside, the terrain included is good and you get a lot. I’m not a fan of the cost at £105 as £95 would have been good but you still actually save a lot with the combined price due to all the included terrain.
- 2 great new kill teams
- Chalnath book providing equally good content for competitive and narrative players
- You do get a lot of terrain inside that is currently out of production
- The Pathfinders can basically all be built without having to buy more
- Cost is not so great
- Novitiates suffer from the Krieg problem where you cannot build all options from 1 box, so you will need 2 Noviaite kits to get all the operatives for a full roster
- If you’re not interested in the terrain, then the box becomes less attractive
Overall I do think Chalnath is good. The kill teams inside are balanced yet powerful, needing skill to use correctly. They’re not as strong as the Octarius kill teams but still pack quite a punch. Its not so much power creep as rules expansion, showing us what Games Workshop plans to do with kill teams. They remain narratively accurate yet strong. I am not a fan of being unable to build all specialists from a single Novitiate kit but at least the Pathfinders allow the opposite. Although if you want to build most of the drones, I do recommend picking up a drone sprue from Games Workshop. The terrain rules are nice too and can easily be adopted into all your games of Kill Team.
So would I recommend this? Yes. It’s a nice optional purchase for those looking to expand their Kill Team collection or if you’re interested in one or both of the new kill teams. It’s not an essential purchase so you don’t have to buy the box if you don’t want to. I personally would have, mainly for the Tau Pathfinders alone. They just have so many tools and depth that I want to explore, especially as they still have key weaknesses like with melee and durability.
If you want to get Chalnath, you can do so directly via the Games Workshop website. You can also purchase it at my affiliate link from Element Games which will grant you a 20% discount at no extra cost to yourself while helping to support my work.
So that’s my review for Chalnath! Remember, if you want a full look at everything check out the YouTube video. Still, I’m really hopeful for the direction of Kill Team with Chalnath and the roadmap. A box like this every 3 months is a stable and fun way to expand the game. Especially as everything inside Chalnath feels pretty balanced.
Until next time, keep rolling crits, even in the depths of Vedik!