Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team, Games Workshop’s small-unit miniatures skirmish game, is in a great spot right now.
Bolstered by last summer’s reboot, the game’s mechanics are lively and engaging. It also benefits from a newfound focus on narrative play, a kind of storytelling-through-wargaming that veers into the territory of tabletop role-play. Its newest boxed expansion set, Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Moroch, leans into those strengths admirably. But the bits inside the box will likely only appeal to a narrow section of the fan base — either those looking for very specific miniatures to complete their army in a hurry, or those who simply can’t wait for the individual components inside to go on sale separately. Dedicated players should hold out for the stand-alone campaign book, which includes new rules and unit lists, while most hobbyists can also pump the brakes until its new Chaos-themed units go up for sale a la carte.
Inside the Moroch box you’ll find a lot of older models that already exist in the wild. The Space Marine Phobos Strike Team is basically a bunch of Incursors plus a new sprue with some extra bits. On the upside, it does allow you to finally build a post-human warrior that dabs. The terrain is not new, either. Games Workshop essentially chucked in the better part of a Battlezone Fronteris – Nachmund set and called it a day. I actually prefer this terrain to the ork-themed stuff included with Octarius, as it feels a bit more general-purpose, but obviously your mileage may vary.
The truly new bits come on the opposing side of the fight. Inside Moroch is an all-new set of Traitor Imperial Guardsmen known as Blooded. The new sculpts of the rank-and-file soldiers are a little disappointing, as they riff on poses previously released with Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress. The elite units are top-notch, however, including a Traitor Commissar with a power fist and a Chaos-tainted Ogryn. Like the terrain, however, neither is new. Regardless, players of the full-fat Warhammer 40,000 who want to field a thematic army of Astra Militarum will likely be buying all of these Chaos models in bulk once they’re sold separately.
While the miniatures are a bit of a mixed bag, it’s the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Moroch Rules Manual that die-hard Kill Team players will want to get their hands on. Inside is an excellent revision of a Space Marine Kill Team that blends together both the uber-sneaky Space Marine Infiltrators and the tactically flexible Space Marine Incursors. It’s a combination of units that was not previously possible using the rules in the Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Compendium and really opens up what had previously been a very vanilla faction with a lot of hit points.
Meanwhile, the rules for the Blooded Kill Team reward aggressiveness — which is ironically not the case with all factions. Players will be able to field larger (compared to standard Imperial Guard) sets of units without making any concessions to durability. The faction also includes a new mechanic that rewards consistently killing the opposition with guaranteed hits and other goodies in later rounds. Once they get going, Blooded Kill Teams can be very hard to stop, making them more than a match for the Space Marines in this box.
The narrative campaign included in the box is a lot of fun, with a good mixture of symmetric and asymmetric battles and great payoffs as far as upgrades go. To accomplish that, Moroch introduces rules for sentries and infiltration to the latest version of Kill Team. Essentially, the feature adds a few rounds of play before the game actually starts. Commanders take one or two models each and move them around the battlefield before any other units get placed on the table. The goal is to sneak your way forward without revealing yourself, thereby securing an advantage or an objective from your opponent before the larger skirmish kicks off. It feels a bit like XCOM 2’s concealment mechanic, but with a live player controlling the opposition instead of mindless bots wandering in circles.
Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Moroch goes up for pre-order on May 28, and while a price has not yet been formally announced, independent retailers tell Polygon that the set will be in the $200 price range, which feels about right given what’s in the box. It would be nice if the set included the core rulebook, however, which is required to play the game. Shipping is expected sometime in June alongside a retail release.
Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Moroch was reviewed using a retail copy provided by Games Workshop. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.