Killteam 2021 Frequently Asked Questions

Killteam is out in the wild now and naturally there are a number of rules questions that have popped up from Facebook and Reddit so I thought that I would compile an initial FAQ of sorts from the various replies and responses to resolve some of the simpler issues that people are having with their games, and also to point out some rules that might be easy to miss on first reading.

Fireteam Construction

Q. Do I take Leader operatives in addition to my normal fireteam selection or by replacing an existing model?
A. It depends on the fireteam we are looking at. Pathfinder fireteams for example gain an additional member (bringing them to a total of 7 operatives) whereas Stealthsuit fireteams replace an existing member.


Q. What happens if all my operatives die?
A. If one player has no operatives remaining in the killzone, the other player continues to play out each remaining Turning point until the battle ends. Killteam missions are won and lost on Victory Points so it is possible to be wiped out and also win the game due to VP advantage.

Q. Do you get any Victory Points for killing enemy operatives?
A. In the nine listed missions from the Killteam core book, no. You can however, claim victory points for killing enemy operatives through various tactical objectives such as Head Hunter.

Q. Can I use Tactical and Strategic ploys multiple times in a round?
A. Unless specified otherwise, Tactical and Strategic ploys can only be used once in a round. The current only exception to this is Command Reroll.

Critical Hit Rules, Special Rules and Abilities

Q. How does AP work?
A. APx reduces the number of defence dice rolled by the target of a shooting attack with the APx special rule where x is the number after the weapon's AP. For example; If a Guardsman was shot by a weapon with AP1, then when rolling his defence dice he would only roll 2 dice as his DEF stat is normally 3 but modified by -1 due to the AP1.

Q. When are Mortal Wounds triggered when a target is hit by an attack that causes them?
A. As of the main rulebook, there are a number of abilities that cause mortal wounds (Reap, Splash) as well as the MWx special rule. Splash applies Mortal Wounds when the dice is retained (so before rolls for saves). Reap applies it's mortal wounds when the hit is used to strike which means that if the dice is parried, no mortal wounds are caused. Note that Reap doesn't actually cause mortal wounds to the target operative, only other operatives within range of that target. The MWx special rule works in a similar way to Splash as in the mortal wounds are caused when the critical hit dice is retained (so before dice rolls for saves).

Q. Do mortal wounds count as losing a wound?
A. Yes. Mortal wounds cause a point of damage, and for each point of damage the operative takes a wound. This would cause any relevant abilities to trigger.

Q. How does Torrent work and who can it hit?
A. After making a shooting attack an operative firing with a weapon with the Torrent x special rule can then make shooting attacks at each other valid target (so they have to be within line of sight, un-obscured, etc.) within x of the original target and each other (where x is the distance after the weapon's torrent, normally 2"). For example, if your original target has 2 operatives within 2" of it and there is a third operative within 2" of one of those other operatives but not within 2" of the original target, only the 3 operatives that are within 2" of eachother will be able to be shot at due to the 4th being more then 2" away from the original target.

Q. Is there a specific order of operations for relentless, rending and toxin sacks? Does it matter or is there a mathematical benefit if done a certain way?
A. Everything happens in the 'Roll attack dice' step of the combat if you retain those specific dice. Unless I am missing something, the order in which abilities happen isn't actually clear; if the abilities only take effect on your original rolls (so if you rolled a crit, 2 hits and a miss if you can turn the miss into a hit and one of your other hits into a crit) or if it affects the entire pool of retained dice at any time during that step (so in the same situation turning a miss into a hit and the same dice into a crit). RAW however would indicate it's the latter as all of the abilities trigger when you retain the dice and both rending and toxin sacs indicate that you retain the dice as something else. Functionally there isn't much difference except in the situation where you roll a crit and all misses (though unlikely due to genestealers re-rolls).

Terrain and Cover

Q. How do cover lines work?
A. Cover lines are drawn from any point of the shooter's base to each side of the base of the intended target. This makes an imaginary 'cone' from the shooter to the target that if any piece of terrain falls under, might interact with the cover and obscuring rules.

Q. Can you please explain how visibility and shooting work ingame?
A. For an operative to be selected as a target as a shooting attack it needs to be within Line of Sight. For this to be the case it depends on if the target has a conceal or engage order. If the target has an engage order for it to be within Line of Sight it must be 1. Visible and 2. Not Obscured. If the target has a conceal order for it to be within Line of Sight it must be 1. Visible and 2. Not Obscured and 3. Not in Cover.

For Visibility, all you need is an unobstructed line from the head of the active operative to any part of the miniature of the intended target (not it's base). Essentially if you can see it, it's visible.

For the target to be obscured, it must be more then 2" from a point where a cover line passes a terrain feature with the obscuring trait (this normally means that the target must be more then 2" away from the terrain piece except in cases where there are some strange angles at play), and not within 1" of a point where a cover line passes a terrain feature. This means that under the majority of cases, if the target is more then 2" away from a piece of terrain with the obscuring trait and a cover line crosses it, the target is obscured.

For the target to be in cover, the target must be more then 2" away from the firing operative and within 1" of a point where a cover line passes a terrain feature which provided cover. This means that under the majority of cases, if the target is within 1" of a piece of terrain with the cover trait and a cover line crosses it, the target is in cover.

Q. How do vantage points work when shooting at enemy operatives?
A. To be able to claim being on a vantage point, the shooter has to be at least 2" vertically higher then the target. Operatives on vantage points treat targets with the conceal order that are in cover provided by light terrain or other operatives as having the engage order instead. This means that they will be valid shooting targets as long as they are visible and not obscured. Vantage points don't cancel the benefits of cover however so the target will still be able to retain a defence dice for being in cover. Similarly, if the target is on a vantage point and the shooter is at least 2" vertically lower then the target, the target operative cannot claim cover from the floor of the vantage point.

Q. Can invulnerable saves be retained due to cover?
A. Yes. Cover allows you to retain one defence dice as a successful normal save without rolling it. Invunerable saves are made instead of the normal save characteristic. As cover affects the dice and not the save characteristic, you can use both.

Q. Are objectives treated as an infinitely tall cylinder as in previous games, or is it specifically the marker its-self? (For example, if the objective is on the ground below a building, can a model on the floor above control that objective?)
A. No. Objectives in Killteam 2021 are designated by the physical markers provided in the box (40mm discs). Unless otherwise specified, when measuring distance to an objective marker or token, you always measure from it's center.

Q. Is there a difference between cover provided by Heavy and Light terrain?
A. Yes and No. The cover rules are the same between both terrain types. However, if the shooter is on a vantage point, it will be able to treat targets with the conceal order that are in cover provided by light terrain or other operatives as having the engage order instead whereas this is not the case for heavy terrain. 


Q. Dash movement can also be divided in 1" increments?
A. Yes. It follows the same rules as a Normal move action.

Q. Can you climb "through" a vantage point? If I'm on the inside of one of the buildings from the octarius box and I'm within triangle of a wall can I just climb straight up through the roof?
A. You can't move through a terrain feature (in this case phasing through the roof) unless it is traversable. However, traversable terrain only covers horisontal movement, not vertical.

Q. Now say you were climbing from outside of one of those building with an operative that had a movement of 2 circles. It takes 2 circles of movement to climb up, does that operative need to dash in order to finish the climb since it needs a little horizontal movement in order for its base to be on the building?
A. Yes. You can combine a dash and climb and to end your movement on a vantage point you physically have to place your model there.

Operative Activation

Q. Can you use action points on the same action more than once during it's activation?
A. No. Unless otherwise specified.

Q. When do you change orders during a turn?
A. Orders are set for all of your operatives when they are first setup on the killzone and they retain their orders until the second round or when another rule allows them to. From the second round onwards, operatives have the opportunity to change their order when it is their turn to activate. Note that their are other special rules that allow you to change an operative's order out of this normal sequence.

Shooting and Combat

Q. How does the DEF stat work?
A. The DEF stat indicates how many dice an operative will roll for it's saving throws when shot at as a result of a shoot action. Note that some special rules can modify the amount of dice (specifically APx).

Q. Is it accurate that all operatives attack in melee?
A. Operatives only fight if they are in engagement range with eachother and one of the participants uses a Fight action. Note that it is possible to perform a charge action and then pass without initiating a Fight action.

Q. Operative has a 4+ BS, with a lethal 5+ weapon, and is wounded. It shoots in overwatch. In that case, a 5 on the die is a miss (-1 due to overwatch, -1 due to wounded status):

  • Is a 5 on the die is retained as a success since it's a crit.
A. No. It has not equalled or beat the BS characteristic.

  • Do special rules on crits like MWx or Px apply if a die shows a 5?
No. Unless otherwise specified, you need to retain the dice in order to resolve the critical hit rules of a weapon. As you don't hit the dice are discarded instead of retained.

Q. Can heavy weapons shoot in overwatch?
Yes. Note that Unwieldy and Blast weapons do not allow overwatch actions and some weapons have multiples of those traits.

Q. Can invuln saves and regular saves be mixed or do they have to be all one or the other.
No. When the shooting attack is made the operative has to declare which save characteristic it is using for that attack (normal or invulnerable).

Rules to be aware of

  • Retaining dice means that those dice are not discarded. This is important for Hot weapons; If you have an ability that allows the operative to retain a miss as a hit (Starfire Cores for example on Necron Immortals), the dice is not discarded and the operative wouldn't take the mortal wounds from rolling a 1.
  • Climbing rounds the movement needed up to the next 2", dropping rounds down.
  • Traverse reduces your movement by 2", but you still need enough movement to completely move over the traversable object and place your operative's base on the other side.
  • You cannot cross any models base without flying.
  • APL can only be increased by a maximum of 1 and APL modifiers last until the end of that model's next activation. So an APL change after a model has activated means it keeps that for the next turning point.
  • Indirect treats targets in the choose target step as not being in cover instead of changing their status from concealed to engaged. Genestealers are not immune to this rule.

Many thanks to the folks over at the Killteam Reddit and Facebook pages for both question suggestions and helping to answer/providing some of the more confusing rules that might not be evident or intuitive on first reading. Note that there are several faction-specific rules questions that seem to also be asked but I've decided not to go over them here for sake of clarity (and my sanity reading though the sometimes contradictory core rulebook and suppliments).

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