Kill Team Gripes

Every now and then at the LGS we do a Kill Team tournament on our 40K night. It’s perfect in that we can play a 3-4 round tournament in a few hours and nobody is out late on a work night. Plus it just mixes things up a bit so we’re not doing the same thing week in and week out.

Here’s the thing, every time we do this I find that roughly half the players throw down the cheesiest thing possible. Let’s face it, 40K at 200pts with a restricted force org for Kill Team is nowhere near balanced, it just can’t be. It doesn’t ‘need’ to be either as Kill Team is a ‘fun’ off-shot mission meant for fast games. However, when you take a mission/game type designed for fun and throw down as beardy a list as possible then the whole thing just sucks honestly.

Now, you won’t hear me bitch about cheese factor in a normal tournament. I’m a semi-competitive gamer and will not blame my losses as a result of the list my opponent brought. Yet to me there’s something different about running a Kill Team tournament on a 40K night at your LGS. The expectations are different, at least to me. To others it’s a tournament and thus you bring out the biggest guns possible.

I have my opinions yet I don’t blame those who rock a super hard list for Kill Team either. I will, however, finally get around to checking out Big Jim’s Killzone. Based on what I’ve heard about it it’s a must-have if you like Kill Team. The shop has talked about doing it in the past but we’ve just never gotten around to it. I think it’s time though because I’m done with Kill Team and have no interest in doing it again.


I began playing Warhammer 40K in 2006, and have been an avid player and hobbyist since then. I have also been blogging about 40K for almost as long as I've been playing it, having started Creative Twilight in 2009.

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  • Anonymous

    I hope that you like Killzone.  It’s not really meant for hardcore tournament play, but a lot of things are pretty well balanced. 

    • Balance is a good thing.

  • Fenlok

    I found Killzone to be much more prone to cheese then stock Kill Teams. As an example, check out the legal Space Wolves  unit choices vs. Space Marine unit choices. The adding in of custom USR’s can make some ‘interesting’ builds.

    So yeah, for tournament play… meh. For a fun session, its more fun than Kill Team if everyone has the right idea. If you want to make a flavorful strike squad with a cool back story, Kill Zone gives you the tools to do that.

    • Hmmm…that’s unfortunate, the cheese factor anyway. I suppose like Kill Team, as you said, it requires two people looking to have a good time and do something different.

  • Todd the Goalie

    And now you know the REAL reason I didn’t play last night, or at the Anni.
    When people talk about bringing 60 Grots, 100 Conscripts, or other such junk, I bow out.
    As you siad, it’s supposed to be a thematic scenario representing a small-scale skirmish between opposing but thematically equal forces. Not a cheddar factory.

    • hah! I knew the, “I have stuff to do at home,” bit was an excuse :P However, I can’t argue with the reason for it.

  • Raymond Linton

    The gripe at kill teams should be the poor rules support and balance between armies, not against individual players legally using the rules to their most potential.

    Honestly, I’m hoping that in 6th Edition, Kill Teams gets done up like Mordheim is for Fantasy. You need something where stuff is based on individual models being awesome rather than on beefing up cheap unit entries with efficient weapon options.

    • You’re right. I have true issue with players doing what’s allowed and within the rules, it’s indeed the rules for Kill Team itself that suck.

      I’d love to see Kill Team get some love like Mordheim but I don’t see it happening, well not officially by GW, there is Killzone. They dumbed it down in Battle Missions and made it terrible. So, I can’t see GW saying, “Yeah, sorry we screwed that all up. Here’s a kickass version.”

  • I’m in agreement that balance is key in games/rulesets (just look at my diatribes on trying to balance Apoc for evidence), but it comes as a bit of a shock that you’re complaining that the rules aren’t balanced if you’re running the event.  Why not just impose some house rules (limit the total model count, or the maximum cost of a single model), or just go with an existing ruleset like Killzone (which you’ve already hinted at).I guess maybe I misread and you’re not running the tourneys, so forgive me if I’ve inferred something that wasn’t there.  But the point still stands: it’s not a GW sanctioned event, so why not try to convince the store owner that change is warranted?  (though sometimes that’s easier said than done).

    I’ve had this exact discussion with our local game organizer about a 750 point tourney coming up.  Some of us feel that more restrictions need to be put in place to reduce cheesy armies, but the T.O. isn’t convinced it’s necessary to impose additional rules.  (For the record, I think we’re going to lose this one–but it’s worth a shot).

    • I’m not running it but the person who is has always been open for discussion on anything we do. As long as we’re all happy, the gamers, it’s fine by him.

      We did implement some stuff, namely no vehicles or monstrous creatures, which helped but then people opted to run other stuff that’s just as crazy to deal with in a Kill Team game.

      The thing is, is it really worth trying to balance? There’s the obvious stuff that comes to mind but then there’s always ways around restrictions and you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle. My opinion on things like that is, generally, play it as is or don’t play it. If a few simple changes to Kill Team won’t make it fun then it’s just not worth bothering with otherwise we’d end up with our own Killzone and hey, someone already did that.

      So all the decisions where you play are at the mercy of one organizer? That would suck.

  • ming from b&c

    I played a 200 pt kill team last sunday and it was pretty fun, and different.  The guy who won the day and I could have just kept circling around for a draw, but just like a kid with a stick near a hornets nest I just had to poke him.  And then I lost.  Assault terminators can get wrecked pretty quick against higher I.  Your comments elsewhere about codex marines needing sternguard as their kill team may be spot-on. 

  • Justin Morgan

    We’ve been playing Kill Zone for at least a year, and loving it!  It’s a work in progress, but a great change of pace from our standard 40K.  Any rule system will have its challenges, and a WAAC player is going to make themselves evident which ever system they choose.  

    The other thing that I love about what the KZ guys do, is they listen!  They are actively working to make the game better, and take suggestion, criticism, and general discussion very well.  

    And don’t get me started about the new terrain ideas!!!  

    • The fact it’s supported by the community is awesome. That board looks great!

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