It’s time to look at the spring tier list for Kill Team!
Today’s Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team article covers my Spring 2023 tier list! Once again I rank all the teams in the game based off my game knowledge, stats and the latest balance dataslate. I also have the separate Into the Dark tier list as well!
If you want, I’ve done a more in-depth video on the subject which you can watch here:
Explaining the Tiers
So the tiers are pretty simple:
S Tier – A super strong kill team, one you’re very likely to see at a tournament that will definitely make the top cut and/or win an event too. Possibly broken but in realty just the best team(s) to play and only really lose to other S Tier teams match-up wise, ergo having very few to no bad match-ups. Usually with a very high winrate, popularity/usage rate and good podium rate (getting 1st to 3rd at events).
A Tier – A very strong kill team. Very likely to be seen in a tournament that will make a top cut and even win the whole thing. Commonly finishes a 4 round tournament with a 3-1. Not as strong as a S Tier kill team but one you have to definitely keep in-mind for when aiming to play competitively.
B Tier – A strong kill team. Likely to be seen in tournaments and can make a top cut. Could win as well but not reliably. Definitely a team you need to remember for when playing in events Has more bad match-ups than the S and A tiers.
C Tier – An average kill team. Usually should be able to go 2 wins 2 losses in a 4 round tournament. May make the top cut but unlikely to win. You may need to remember these teams for events but it’s not a necessity.
D Tier- Bad kill teams. Weak due to either poor rules or mechanics. Unlikely to win with, commonly going 1 win and 3 losses at an event.
E Tier – Just…bad. Like a D Tier but worse. Desperately need buffs. You may not win games, but you’ll win the hearts of your opponents.
As a side note, I will not be including kill teams which have been replaced as per the balance dataslate. This may upset some people but this tier list is mainly for competitive play.
Also tiers do not represent skill. Someone who has spent a long time playing the same lower tier kill team is likely to beat someone hopping onto a higher tier one for the first time. This is just a general guide for players trying to find what the best kill team is for them to play or to watch out for at tournaments. These have all been charted by me based on the above factors as well as my tournament experience with the game and the global Kill Team stats by Hotsauceteddy.
The new tier list has had quite a bit of change once again. S tier has changed a little but the rest of the tier list has shifted dramatically based upon the March 2023 Balance Dataslate just gone by. This is mainly for open play only as I’ll have a separate Into the Dark tier list later in the article.
Gellerpox Infected: The (Ross)Gellerpox Infected remain a super strong kill team. Only seeing their leader’s free CP generation being capped to once per game instead of every turning point does help a bit but the fact that Rust Emanations and the +5 DPR (Damage Prevention Roll) of the Nightmare Hulks was not addressed mean the team is still a huge threat to deal with, plus they had a >60% winrate for 3 months straight on top of good usage and event wins. I think they’re still great and will usually win games if they survive unscathed TP1. Still incredibly hard to deal with once they get in your face.
Intercession Squad: The most popular team in the game with a solid win rate and the highest podium rate in the game. The Durable nerf was only a slight tap to that trait and the team still functions the same. Durable with a very efficient damage output at both range and in combat. Tough to deal with for a lot of teams and now their Bolters do full damage vs every team! And their rules are free!
Imperial Navy Breachers: Breachers have been hurt by the Brace for Impact change increasing the cap from 2 damage minimum to 3, however, their offensive output was effectively untouched. Blitz still survived intact somehow, so you can still retain a crit and hit for everyone you attack on your first activation with the only downside being no re-rolls….but you still have Close Assault so for the important targets you’ll still be getting 4 hits. The best alpha strike team in the game, they do have more bad match-ups now but you can’t sleep on their insane first activation plays which will delete stuff as usual.
Void-Dance Troupe: Back in the S tier based on their global performance in the past 3 months and that they received no nerfs. They love the new Crit Op changes, especially the extra CP. Having 27 APL with decently durable bodies that all have fly is amazing. Plus they are great at hunting elite kill teams.
Veteran Guardsmen: Still an A tier team overall. Some people think higher or lower but for me they’re solid A. I think the changes to Secure and Capture actually hurt this team a lot and it’s still surprising that Games Workshop hasn’t changed the spotter so it can’t flip conceal orders if you’re behind heavy cover. Regardless, this team is still great a board control with their 14 bodies as well as all their great ploys and rules. Not too shabby in combat when needed too.
Pathfinders: Still the best shooting kill team in the game. Wanted them in S tier but put them in A because I’m not sure why they’re doing so badly overall. Markerlight spam is still your bread and butter and 12 operatives only stings slightly.
Novitiates: Novitiates remain very strong. They have the best dice modification rules in the game which keeps them as a very viable threat.
Corsair Voidscarred: These Aeldari pirates remain perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Their Shredder gaining rend is amazing and they sit perfectly happy in A tier. As with the Troupe, these Aeldari love hunting elite kill teams too.
Legionary: Mark of Nurgle’s damage reduction being capped to 3 minimum instead of 2 is a pain but the Legionary are still great. A solid team that operates well individually, does shooting and combat to a great standard with a good spread of general Tac Ops archetypes serves them well. I think once people get over the damage nerf, this team will still be riding strong. Could even see more Tzeentch Legionary pop up.
Blooded: A good kill team that now loves the Seek and Destroy changes. Not undefeatable but overall has a lot of good matchups into most of the meta now. Not much has changed so they remain static.
Phobos Strike Team: A team that got the hugest blowup. Now definitely A tier from the depths of C tier. Probably the most efficient action economy kill team in the game, their Bolters are now always doing full damage and still have all their other buffs. What locks them back is having okay faction Tac Ops and still no really decent high damage ranged output and being vulnerable to combat (especially power weapons). Assuredly strong but not the best.
Hunter Clade: A solid team that balances combat and shooting equally. Quite an honest team with no blast attacks. No longer the monsters they were before, Hunter Clade remain a strong yet fair kill team.
Elucidian Starstriders: Heavily nerfed but justifiably so. Were definitely S tier last time but now solid A. They do miss relentless chaingun and all the assets hitting on 3s as well as their super damage negation ploy yet now this kill team has to play more honestly/fairly. Still very strong with lots of tricks, just not overwhelmingly so.
Farstalker Kinband: Might be S tier with the global damage negation changes but Farstalker Kinband remain A tier for now. The best kill team at maxing Tac Ops early due to the FAQ allowing them to take Recover Item, Balance the Books and Implant, with all their prior buffs the Kroot remain a great threat to everyone.
Hand of the Archon: A tier for me. Slight nerfs in the Erratas and how elites aren’t great to play into, this team still excels at open board play. A lack of comms and reliable APL modification is the biggest pain but still a very tricksy and powerful kill team in the right hands.
Drukhari: Living on 10 Kabilites with 2 Blasters and a Splinter Cannon. Wyches flex for melee threat too.
One day we’ll get a bespoke team. We got a bespoke team!!!
Deathguard: No real change. Live and die based off their DPRs but solid nonetheless.
Hive Fleet: Tyranids remain the same as always, a Xenos toolbox that just wants a bespoke update. Love the new Tac Op changes.
Imperial Guard: Strong as always and dodged the balance dataslate erasure. So basically, the bane of all Kasrkin up until recently.
Kommandos: Loving the Bomb Squad and Kommando Grot change, being able to spec up to 11 activations is probably all this kill team needed for now. Kommandos are still a solid threat so it will be interesting to see how this change plays out. It could even push them up into A tier.
Warp Coven: Probably still the most complex team to play. The Rubric buffs remain good but the kill team just lacks something for open play. It’s just odd, especially how Legionary kinda do what they want to do but better. Showing their age as being once of the first White Dwarf teams.
Wyrmblade: Still a very strong kill team that struggles with S and A tiers mostly. The changes to Tac Ops help them a lot as well as the new missions and scouting phase changes. Still need to be very good with them and basically make no mistakes as you’ll basically lose if your Cult Agents go down early.
Hierotek Circle: Another kill team rising from the depths of C tier. While people may argue they are A tier, what holds the Necrons back is that they are still only 8 models, with only 6 of those having real offensive output and that reanimation only works on a +3. No doubt, their recent buffs have pushed them up strongly but they still have a lot of mechanical downsides. However, they are now definitely a team you cannot underestimate.
Kasrkin: Their durability buffs and combat blades push Kasrkin into B tier. Being able to use For Cadia! to go to 4/5 in melee for a turn is pretty…weird but we’ll roll with it. Extra elite points helps a lot too. I think the ideal loadout for them is 1 krak and 7 combat blades, so I’m interested in seeing how they play out. They no longer fear horde teams!
Exaction Squad: Personally A tier for me but currently I’ll put them in B tier. The Exaction Squad are one the first “counter” kill teams we’ve seen, in terms that the really punish GEQ kill teams and those that rely on super conceal. Elites are still their bane, however, and if elites continue to run rampant, it will hurt this kill team overall.
Aeldari: With the extra body rule, all Eldar kill teams still remain good. Just not as powerful as their bespoke alternatives.
Chaos Daemons: Even with 12 Daemons, they struggle against a lot of the bespoke teams. Their shooting just isn’t as good as it was due the state of shooting power currently. However, they do great a rushing up the board against more melee-orientated threats.
Talons of the Emperor: Still solid. Just give Custodes 4 APL.
Grey Knights: I’ve been convinced by Chaos Gate Daemonhunter that these guys need a bespoke update now. Still good, especially on more open boards.
Scouts: 10 Scouts will always be a very balanced kill team.
Deathwatch: Should also be their own bespoke team, remains very solid.
Orks: Yeah they have some meme builds but Kommandos are just better.
Sisters of Battle: Remain exactly the same too, a very solid kill team.
Space Marines: Just play Intercession. Or even Phobos now!
Genestealer Cults: Even if you love the more monstrous mutants, Wyrmblade are just better.
Heretic Astartes: Honestly thought these would get removed now we have Legionary and Blooded but still solid. 3 CSM and 8 Cultists still has some play. Just no as good when compared to either bespoke kill team.
Tau: Just play Pathfinders. Stealth Suits aren’t going to be a thing, stop trying to make them a thing. Oddly Breachers are quite fun on ITD.
Kroot: Time to retire this golden kill team for the Farstalker Kinband.
Necrons: Hierotek are literally a much better alternative now.
Into the Dark Tier List
Here’s my latest ITD tier list. Whereas on open boards where the tiers are much closer together, I feel the reverse is for ITD where the A and S tiers are much further apart from each other and the other tiers. It’s due to the warping nature of ITD due to it’s lack of being able to shoot stuff before the enemy gets in and how much APL mods you have for doors etc.
Added Blooded and Quins to the S tier because both kill teams play ITD exceedingly well. Vetguard are in A tier due to their 14 bodies where as Novitiates love the bizarre buff of being able to go on guard before they activate now thanks to their FAQ (how does this even work? Like what happens if you guard shoot before you activate, can you no longer shoot for the turning point? Creates so many bizarre rules interactions and such a very strange change for an FAQ). Farstalker Kinband are down in B tier as they just don’t play ITD as well as on open and Hand of the Archon are B tier because no comms or strats for +1APL makes ITD very hard to play well.
Phobos are now beasts on ITD but are just very CP intensive. Talons of the Emperor are A tier for ITD because they love exploiting the way ITD works (especially Unexplored Rooms) as do Tyranids. Wyrmblade go down to B tier despite their Adepticon performance as generally ITD is not a nice place for them.
Once again we’re at the end of another tier list. Overall, things are pretty healthy. Open play remains very tight with the tiers super close together leaving little apart between teams. There are more S tier teams but it’s only marginally so (except for probably Gellerpox and Intercerssion). I’m happy to see all bespoke teams are now at least B tier as a whole, although I won’t be excluding compendium teams as they still exist (even as a dwindling player-base) and a lot have found life on Into the Dark.
It’s great to see Games Workshop buffs and (mostly) nerfing teams as appropriate so I’m pretty excited for the new meta. The changes to scoring for Secure and Capture probably do a lot of good (we just need loot to change to not being able to loot TP1) and will change balance a lot, especially with how damage negation as a whole is capped at minimum of 3. Just very exciting times ahead. I am eager to see what the Beastmen and Votann do to the meta as well.
Before I go, feel free to check out my Discord as well as my Patreon if you want to give me some more support!
So remember, until next time, no matter what the tiers say, stay away from tier 15 and you’ll always be able to roll a crit!