Friday, 10 January 2014

In Preperation of Kill Team

I've been given some flippant thoughts towards my goal of building a Kill Team squad. As models that will operate separately each will have to exude personality and look individual. At the same time to spend so much time and effort on a squad and not even be able to use it in my normal games of 40k would be a tragic waste. Unless I can think of something especially ingenious to do with Necrons (it's hard to justify this backgroundwise with them anyways) I've decided that it will be a Space Marine squad. In other words, Deathwatch.

Deathwatch are the perfect focal point for a Kill Team based squad for so many reasons. Firstly I collect Ultramarines and if I want some allied Space Marines these are the perfect bridge unit to use as I can use them for pretty much any Space Marine army in some way (especially if I'm using the Space Marine/Blood Angels codex). Secondly the fact that a Deathwatch Kill Team incorporates different chapters, it'll allow me to really go to town on different themes for every model. Thirdly, I think it's universally accepted and, in some cases encouraged to use Deathwatch as a fantastically elaborate Sternguard Squad and, oh look! 0-1 Elite choices in Kill Team. Perfect!

But as I have a flare for the dramatic and theatrical, I don't want to choose my chapters willy nilly. I've got to write background for every single model in this unit as stated in agenda number 3 of my 2014 resolutions. Therein lies my challenge, to have a visually striking unit that looks great together that I can logically write for.

This is where comments are actively encouraged by myself.

I want to hear your ideas of chapters you would think would be interesting to use in such a Kill Team and why. I'm surfing through thousands of chapters and I only have to pick, realistically, 6/7 of them so I want to make them good. The below chapters are hot contenders at the moment.


You probably all predicted this one, but having thought about it Ultramarines are probably one of the most fitting chapters to use in a Deathwatch Kill Team. I don't just say this as a massive Ultramarine fan but purely due to the fact the Deathwatch Kill Teams form a part of the Ordos Xenos - alien hunters for those who lack the savvy. I always imagined an Ultramarine Deathwatch Marine to look roman, as per my basic theme of my army, but having thought about it I would love to have a grizzled Tyrannic War Veteran form part of the squad. Being that he would be an expert against Tyranids it forms the perfect alibi for induction.

Crimson Fists

I chose Crimson Fists as a possible chapter candidate for similar reasons as the Ultramarines. One of the most major parts of the Crimson Fists background is their home planet Rynn's World where they fought off hordes of Orks, so much in fact that Pedro Kantor grants Preferred Enemy (Orks) to fellow Crimson Fists. Also the fact that the focus is Orks as opposed to Tyranids like the Ultramarines candidate would really work with the fact that the Kill Team are trained to deal with all kinds of xenos and not just focus on a singular threat. Think of it as pooling the combined knowledge of different species into one highly specialised unit.

Imperial Fists

If I am perfectly honest, I am not a massive fan of the progenitor Fists other than the fact that nicely painted ones look really nice in small doses, but look like a sickly sea of colour as an army if done too brightly. On top of this, they are, in my honest opinion the most boring First Founding legion in the whole 40k setting and Rogal Dorn is a snooze fest. So why am I suggesting the Imperial Fists as a possible choice? Well I only have one explanation and that is that an Imperial Fist carrying a Heavy Bolter looks DAMN COOL. Yeah, it's a shallow reason, but a reason none-the-less right?

Space Wolves

Admittedly I overlooked the Sons of Russ originally. I've never been interested in collecting a full army of Space Wolves, but I've always loved the idea of toying with individual Wolves. I actually originally dismissed doing a Space Wolf as part of the Kill Team as they are best known for fighting Thousand Sons, which are not xenos. However someone did make the point that there are so many cool things I could do with a Space Wolf Deathwatch Marine, and with such different Wolf bits available (and more importantly in my bits box) the Sons of Russ may yet live in my squad.


The Exorcists is my wild card option that was actually suggested to me by someone in my hobby group. For those who aren't familiar with the Exorcists chapter they are from an unknown gene seed but are suspected to originate from the Grey Knights. They induct their Marines by forcing possession on their new recruits and then exorcising them - those who survive are then inducted as Neophytes. Naturally this would lump them more on the Ordos Malleus side of things, but having read the novel "Fulgrim" lately there are plenty of xenos cultures that worship the pantheon of Chaos, so why wouldn't they have numbers amongst the Deathwatch as a specialist that blurs the lines between alien and daemon? Plus if Exorcist Marines have such a harsh trial to be accepted amongst the chapter's ranks, just how hard would their veterans be!?

A Custom Chapter

Nothing screams uniqueness quite like a home brew chapter does there? The problem I want to avoid however is to litter the squad with unfamiliar symbols that make people go "what the heck are they?" to every single model, but to have people say that to a particular model would add just the right amount of mystery to the squad. Of the custom chapters I want to do there are 3 that I love - The Celestial Knights, the Jungle Serpents and the Pit Vipers (the first and second being chapters I wrote and the third being my hobby group's signature chapter).

Of the 3 I am most likely to go with the Pit Vipers and I will go through why. I adore my Celestial Knights idea and I really want to do an army of them some day, but their "gift" best suits the Ordos Malleus and fitting them in the Deathwatch will be pretty difficult. The Jungle Serpents are more fitting as they have a history of fighting Necrons and would tie in with the multi-specialist idea I stated with Ultramarines and Crimson Fists, but aesthetically and, in some cases personalitywise are far too similar to the Pit Vipers.

The Pit Vipers however have been written in such a flexible way that they can encompass many different ideas and as such I can pick and choose themes that would best round the squad aesthetically. Additionally it would bridge the gap between my Ultras and any Pit Vipers I would do in the future...


  1. Great blog mate, DW Kill Team FTW.


  2. Well Crimson Fists are well known for giving members to the Deathwatch, so quite a good choice in my opinion. Ultramarines lots of experience fighting Tyranids so makes lots of sense aswell but as they are your favourite chapter you should do them for that reason really. A custom chapter would be nice aswell, add a bit of personalisation to your kill team.
    Carcharadons could be quite interesting to add in. Don't have much of a reason for specialisation but it would add something different to the group. Use someone without a helmet and add some tribal tattoos, bit of blood on their equipment, those black doll like eyes.
    And the only other thing I can say is Lamenters? Basically be a red shirt for the team and have all of the bad luck rolled into one, therefore making everyone else safer *nods*.

    1. You know that's the second time I've heard someone say "Lamenters", haha. I never really considered the Carcharadons though, interesting idea...

  3. Great article, I am reintroducing some friends to 40k and kill teams seem like a great inroad. Deathwatch Sternguard are among my ideas as well. One way to think about is through the wargear you might want to use. Your HB IF is a great shout, consider also a Salamander with a combi flamer or melta, a Dark Angel with a combi plasma, your searge can take a melee weapon, which might make him a good choice for either a Space Wolf (claws?) Black Templar (Sword) or other notable melee focuses chapter.

    As for chapters with animosity towards xenos, in DoW 2 Cyrus had done his stint in the deathwatch and also knew about the nids, maybe a blood raven? Aurora Chapter has fought Tau and Crons, Templars have fought the Orks on Armageddon, Raven Guard have also fought the Orks a lot (and employ a lot of tactics suitable for a deathwatch kill team), Emperors Scythes have fought Tau and Tyranids.

    Lastly, Iron Hands are always fun to include for a visually striking and unique model. Mantis Warriors would have interesting tactics to contribute, as well as a characterful animosity with other squad members (due to their time as rebels!). Another thought I had was a member from a Chapter that has been destroyed, he would have nowhere to return to and may well become a permanent member of the deathwatch!