Reviewing the 3rd box for Kill Team Season 2!
Welcome to my review of Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Soulshackle! I go over the contents of the new box from the new Drukhari and Arbites Kill Teams to the new terrain. Just how worth it is the next expansion for season 2 of Kill Team?
I’ve also done this as a more in-depth YouTube video which you can watch here:
What’s in the Box?
The box is once again huge, mirroring the Into the Dark box in terms of size. Contents inside include: Soulshackle rule-book, building instructions, Hand of the Archon Kill Team, Exaction Squad Kill Team, Into the Dark terrain, a new terrain sprue, and game board and bases.
Sadly, once again, you get the same base terrain as the previous 2 boxes. The only different thing is how you get a new terrain upgrade sprue. It is nice that it has pop-out walls but I would have much rather had different terrain altogether like we got in each box of season 1.
Now I’ll briefly go over the 2 kill teams included in the Soulshackle box. If you want a more in-depth review I have videos on YouTube for them both.
Hand of the Archon Kill Team
The Hand of the Archon are the first bespoke Drukhari team for Kill Team! They are a kill team consisting of 9 operatives (a leader and 8 other operatives) which mirrors the Corsair Voidscarred kill team and basically makes this the baseline for Aeldari teams. They can select Security, Recon as well as Seek and Destroy which is amazing for Tac Op choices, meaning they only miss out on Infiltration (the weakest archetype).
Ability wise they effectively have the original Power from Pain which was found in the 5th edition codex. Basically depending on an operative you kill, you gain 1 to 2 pain tokens which can be used for 3 different abilities. While these abilities are nice, Power from Pain is notably weak. If you don’t kill, you don’t trigger it. What’s worse is you either pop Vitalised Surge immediately after killing someone or using Stimulated Senses for defensive re-rolls. Dark Animus is great but you’ll rarely get to use it because the issue is you are likely to die after killing an enemy operative. This isn’t a horrible faction ability, I just wish Power From Pain was like the current codex where you get stacking abilities that trigger every turning point. E.g. TP1 everyone has 6+ DPR, TP2 everyone gets a free dash during their activation, etc. Something that didn’t rely only on killing.
Operative wise, everyone is pretty great. On top of a powerful selection of ploys, everyone is 8 wounds baseline. All the specialists are very good and compliment the kill team exceedingly well. My favourite ability is the Cunning rule for your leader. Pass your first chance to play a strategic ploy every turning point to get an extra CP. Exceedingly powerful when going first although a little bit of a downside when going second.
Equipment has lost combat drugs but gives you better options overall. All very useful equipment choices overall, helping to make the Hand of the Archon very well-rounded. The only real downside is that their Faction Tac Ops are pretty bad. Not horrible, just not worth taking compared to general Tac Ops. This isn’t so bad as you basically have access to every archetype in the game but still a point worth making.
Exaction Squad Kill Team
The Exaction Squad bring the Adeptus Arbites to Kill Team! They are a kill team consisting of 11 operatives (a leader and 10 other operatives) with a general human profile. They can select Security and Seek and Destroy which is a good combination for Tac Op archetypes. They can build 3 gunners but you can only take 2 but the real kicker is that you’ll want 2 Arbites kits for a competitive kill team.
Ability wise, Ruthless Efficiency is very powerful. As long as you aren’t using blast weapons (or grenade launchers) you can shoot into close combat. Very powerful for such a short range team. You can charge block people then punish them in the following activations. Probably a little too good but time will tell.
Everyone has 7 wounds and a +4 save, which goes up to a +3 save if you have an Assault Shield. The Leader is quite unique but I prefer his close combat load-out over his gun load-out. His little drone has a neat aura that either radiates from the leader or itself when deployed as a token. The biggest loser here is the Cyber-Mastiff. Despite being the most threatening-looking Kill Team animal, it’s rules are pretty weak. Even when buffed by the Leashmaster, the dog does very little. I wouldn’t run it but if you only get 1 kit of Arbites, you only get 10 Arbites and the Cyber-Mastiff. Just a weird end result.
Equipment wise is mostly good from the standard Imperial grenades as well as hilariously good disco rave glow-sticks. Ploys are very strong, likely too strong. One strategic ploy lets you ignore enemy cover if they’re within 2 white instead of white and a re-roll effect that works in the same range. Crazy. The worst offenders are the tactical ploys which are strong and just not fun to play against. The worst is the Tactical Ploy that negates the effect of any scouting option your opponent uses (but not for initiative order). For 1CP, you punish your opponent for minimal cost with no downside or interaction. Just an overly powerful and un-fun rule, the kind of rules I hate to see in any game.
Overall, the Exaction Squad are strong but in a more balanced sense than Imperial Navy Breachers. I still feel they’re a little over-tuned but not in a bad way mostly. Overly thematic but lots of crazy powerful stacking rules.
Terrain, as mentioned earlier, is exactly the same sans the upgrade sprue. You get a nice set of “exploding” walls and some neat control panels but it’ll basically never be used due to how Into the Dark forces the symmetrical, sterile boards of competitive play where no scatter terrain or asymmetrical layouts are allowed. The new rules are fun but, yeah, basically will not be used. I miss the old season 1 boxes. Great if you haven’t bought any prior Into the Dark boxes however.
Kill Team Soulshackle Overview
Overall I actually really like Soulshackle. After the weirdness that was Shadowvaults, this kill team box comes with 2 great new kill teams that remain thematic and strong. Plus the new terrain is pretty neat. I love the Drukhari range so this was always going to be a win for me but now I’m even more happy after seeing the rules. Plus the Arbites are truly amazing models as well.
- 2 Great new thematic and powerful kill teams with amazing models
- Nice new interactive terrain
- Great for players who haven’t bought any prior season 2 boxes or only 1
- Same core terrain, making it almost useless if you already have 2 sets of it
- Arbites need an additional set if you want to build a competitive team
So would I recommend this box? Yes! As a single buy box, it’s amazing. I likely would have got it for the Hand of the Archon alone if I didn’t get a review copy. The narrative content is also great, making missions fun and balanced with the new terrain and explosive action. Once again it’s just odd how the narrative content is more engaging than the competitive side. Even if you have 2 prior season 2 boxes, both teams will be a joy to paint and play. Maybe give away or sell your 3rd set of Into the Dark terrain?
If you want to pick up Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Shadowvaults you can pre-order it directly from the Games Workshop website or use my affiliate link at Element Games to net you a 25% to 15% discount at no additional cost to yourself while helping to support me and my work.
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That’s pretty much it from me. So until next time, no matter how many times your soul gets shackled, remember there’s always hope as long as you can roll a crit!