Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Horde Armies and their effect on Kill Team

While horde type armies are legal forces in kill team, I think it goes against the spirit of what a Kill Team game is meant to be. In my eyes, Kill Teams are all about an elite type force (not necessarily elite FO selections) sent on some important secret mission, slipping through the enemy lines to accomplish their goals. I totally see this type of game being completely themed and story driven.

We had two horde examples brought to us yesterday, of themed horde style Kill Teams by Sons of Taurus and Da Masta Cheef.

28 Kroot with bells and whistles and 20 Penal Legion backed up by a Sentinel. I could totally see both these units sent on a special mission.

Oddly I have never seen the situation come up where someone wanted to run a horde team as my gaming group thinks the same way I do. So since it has been brought up I have taken a few hours to think about it and here are my thoughts.

The real problem with Hordes and Kill Team is that because of the Every Man for Himself (EMfH) rule these types of forces unbalance the game if they come up against a non horde team.

Now before anyone overreacts, I am not saying they break the game or that a well played Marine list with 6-10 models played well couldn’t beat them.

Now I realize that the Horde teams are generally squishy (have low armor saves) so they tend to die in droves, but with the EMfH rule being in effect, benefits the Horde team greatly. This combined with the cover saves (which will be abundantly available in KT) completely vaporizes the actual killing power of all shooting in Kill Team games. Which as a side effect makes the horde army even stronger, more shots = more save attempts. That’s not even taking into account weight of numbers in the assault phase.

This is something I had never considered before in Kill Team. I think I found the inherent flaw in the system here. I’m not quite sure how I am going to balance the shooting back out, but I will post up a few ideas for house rules tomorrow.

I know that some will not agree with my assessment, which is fine. All I ask is to please keep you comments constructive.


  1. Yes, Hordes can create balancing issues.
    However, to date in watching the games at the FLGS, Space Wolf and Harlequin kill teams still seem to come out on top.

  2. On the converse, I think the hordes issue can be used to great effect. Kill Team should be all about storyline and the 'special forces' going in, but what better way to do so than go up against insurmountable odds? Outnumbered 5:1? No problem, they're Marines (Kasrkin, Chaos Chosen, etc.)!

    Mechanics aside anyway, right? Once things like "rules" get in there, it does get a bit dodgy.

  3. I agree with Gyro that a horde doesn't negate the story - after all, it's appropriate for the elite team on a special mission to be up against a horde of grunts, right? In many ways that brings back the feel of 4th ed KT. And a horde on horde has just as much of the skirmish feel as elite on elite IMO. I'd love to run a unit of Sternguard or a bunch of Joe Guardsmen against something like a 'gaunt or zombie horde, I think it would be a blast either way.

    While I do think there are some mechanical advantages, the smaller team has some too - smaller footprint, being able to avoid LOS easier, can concentrate force without as many worries for things like templates, generally better stats, including I and A, and once the grind on both sides starts, better Ld to hold on. An elite KT played well against a horde can do just fine, it just needs to work to its strengths. IMO hordes don't break Kill Team, but they are a viable option.

    "Weight of numbers" in assault isn't really that big of a deal. As individual units, each hordeling will need to be in BTB - no 2" window here, so unless you're incredibly outpositioned, you're not going to see each elite guy completely surrounded. And when there are multiple guys on an elite dude, multiple assault rules will help out the elite in some ways. The elite guy will be more likely to hit, to wound, to avoid wounding, and to save. If he doesn't go down, the losers will *each* need to make Ld tests, or *each* take No Retreat wounds. If the horde bunches up too much, a well-timed multiple assault by the elites could cause serious carnage.

    I think once you actually play with/against a horde, you won't see them as that much of a problem. Again, viable, yes. Game-breaking, no.

  4. I just played 10 Eldar Rangers vs. a guant horde last night. It ended as draw called on account of time, but I had a pretty good shot at all out victory. I sniped the bejeepers out of them. It was a city type terrain. So lots of good cover and obstacles to break up and delay the gaunts, but nice clear shots down streets for me.

  5. Thanks for all the comments and feedback.

    My response is much too lengthy to put here, so expect a follow up article in a couple of hours!


  6. Ooh, a Harlequin kill team..

    My ideas are purely theoretical, as no one locally has shown any interest in that scenario aside from myself. Indeed they whine if I 'only' want to play 1500pts.

    Interesting discussion though.

  7. I understand what you are saying, but I think there is a disconnect between the Battle Missions Kill Team and the Fourth Edition Kill Team.

    The Battle Missions KT is WH40K Lite. It is a pretty intense game with some very loose rules that allows anyone to bring their junk and play.

    Fourth Edition KT was like watching a movie. Highly trained mercs going in and taking out 20 or more "red-shirts".

    The two games are totally different and have different purposes. I think the biggest mistake is GW used the same title for both.

    ANYONE can play BM-KT within 5 minutes. To play 4Ed-KT, you needed to understand a set of somewhat complex rules and really think about what you were doing. Then you needed to have the "brute" army. Then you had to decide who was going to play the KT and who was going to be the brutes. If you had time for only one game, you're screwed.

    Two different games.

    I did write a tactica concerning Kill Team that showed that you needed to bring a horde or bring "something special". .

    GW should update the 4th Ed KT rules, but call them something different. Maybe "Movie Marines". Oh, that was already taken.

  8. Thanks for the comments, and that is a great post on your Blog.

    I agree, they are two different games, and I am looking for something more along the lines of the original.

    So I will be making my own set and then put them up for download for anyone to use that might be interested.


  9. I havent really seen it unbalance anything mainly because of leadership. Besides tyranids i dont see any horde armies with high leadership. leadership 10 is king in kill team.