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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Beginner Guide

Warhammer 40k Kill Team Beginner Guide

Getting into miniature wargaming has never been easier with the advent of Warhammer 40k Kill Team.

Kill Team allows players to enjoy highly tactical miniature battles on a smaller, intimate scale. Instead of focusing on painting entire armies of miniatures, Kill Team creates individual highly skilled squads that perform high-risk, high-reward tasks on the board.

Two of the issues that new players come across include the entry cost and the massive learning curve required to become competitive in Warhammer 40k. Kill Team is an excellent way to start collecting and playing a mini wargame without completely destroying your bank account.

The lore and different factions of the Grimdark 40k universe span millennia and it’s a daunting task trying to figure out where to begin.

Here, I’ll explain the different factions; who they are, what they’re good at, and most importantly, how you can make a viable kill team for under $50.*

*Ok, mostly under $50. Some of the factions will be a little tricky, but we’ll get creative and make it happen.

Disclaimer: There are several different ways to play Kill Team. This guide is to help get new players started in Open and Narrative play with their friends. It’ll give you a good starting point to jump off from. If you decide afterward that Kill Team is for you and you want to start playing competitively with match play, there are much stricter rules in creating a “Battle-forged” Kill Team

I personally really enjoy narrative play. It gives players a lot more freedom to come up with fun stories for their teams.

Warhammer 40k Kill Team Astartes

Astartes (Space Marines)

The Space Marine Astartes faction comes in several flavors for you to choose from. On top of that, you basically customize any faction to be a part of any legion. Ultramarines are probably the most popular. In addition to the remaining legions still loyal to the Emperor, there are two additional Space Marine factions that you can pick from: the Grey Knights & the Deathwatch.

The Grey Knights are specialists in hunting down Psykers and Xenos, and the Deathwatch make up units from all the legions whose mission is to purge all heretics and chaos from the galaxy.

How to Build an Astartes Kill Team for Under $50

There are several ways that you can build a kill team for under $50 here.

One of the more thematic, and interesting ways is to pick up 2 boxes of scouts; regular & sniper variants ($25 each). This puts you right at-budget and can create an interesting story as a forward scout kill team. Just because they’re scouts doesn’t mean they aren’t heavily armored and the snipers add some long-range firepower to the team.

For some thematic flair, you could also look into getting a squad of Mark III or Mark IV Space Marines to have an old school look to your kill team ($50 each), and that would give a team enough models and equipment to still be viable in a fight.

If you wanted a kill team with a really unique feel, Games Workshop currently has a set called Armour Through the Ages which is a set of 5 space Marines in Mark 1 – Mark 5 armor. It won’t change any of the stats, but if you wanted a really cool thematic team this would be a fun way to play. To really set off the Through the Ages look, you could also pick up a set of easy to build Primaris Marines ($15) to showcase the newest armor and still be under budget.

A cheaper option would be the Tactical Squad at $40, which would be 10 models with all the equipment and pieces you’d need to build out a team.

If you just wanted to go as cheap as possible, you can pick up a set of easy to build Primaris Intercessors and easy-to-build marines. This would be $25 total and would almost put you at 100 points for a team. They wouldn’t have all the fancy equipment, but if you were just playing casually with some friends, this is by far the most cost-effective way to get into Kill Team.

Astartes Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Deathwatch


For those of you who want to play Space Marines but can’t decide on your favorite chapter… why not pick all of them? The Deathwatch is like the Night’s Watch from Game of Thrones. All Astartes chapters submit individuals to the Watch to keep the universe safe from the Xeno menace, but unlike the Night’s Watch, the Deathwatch is actually full of elite soldiers and is one of the highest honors in the Imperium.

The Deathwatch specializes in fighting back the hordes of alien monsters threatening the Imperium of man. To that end, each member of the Deathwatch brings their own specialization to the watch, and death is the only release from duty.

The models of the Deathwatch for Kill Team are all Space Marine models and can be highly customized and unique. It’s always interesting to see a full Deathwatch team with unique chapter insignias field a table. Having all regular Space Marine models in a team also keeps the initial cost down, and makes building a team very easy.

How to Build a Deathwatch Kill Team for Under $50

The Deathwatch is always an interesting choice. They basically come from any of the various chapters. There is a specific box called the Deathwatch Kill Team that comes with a full set of 5 marines full of different gear options. That one box alone gives enough to build out a full team pretty close to a 100 point game.

The strength of playing Space Marines is the high stats of the Astartes and the versatility offered by having so much equipment to choose from. If your whole kill team is decked out in vanilla gear (boltguns) it limits how you can play, and in a highly-tactical game like Kill Team, that’s a death sentence. Customizing the loadout of your Space Marines can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

Deathwatch Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Grey Knights

Grey Knights

The Grey Knights are the Astartes answer to Daemon incursions.

They’re like the Ghostbusters… if the ghosts were slathering Daemons from the warp and if Bill Murray was a roided-out samurai. (I wish I could find an image for that.)

The Grey Knights are a specialized chapter within the Astartes that focus entirely on fighting and pushing back the creatures of the warp. To that end, they really like melee and swords. Almost every unit has a force sword or glaive to carve up daemons. They’re incredibly strong and excel at close-quarters combat.

That doesn’t mean there are no ranged options, though. Two marines can be chosen as gunners to pick up the heavier ranged weapons to fight from afar, and it’s the only Astartes kill team that has Psykers to either attack or defend from psychic attacks.

How to Build a Grey Knights Kill Team for… $60 or Less

Damn. Couldn’t quite get under $50 here. I’ve tried to find a cheap way to build a Grey Knights army but unfortunately, the problem comes in with their love for cutlery. As I mentioned earlier, almost every unit is required to have some kind of force melee weapon and the only way to get them is to specifically buy the Grey Knight units (which are pricey). The easiest way is to just grab a box of the Grey Knights Strike squad ($60), but that puts us over the budget.

A cheaper alternative would be to get any of the cheaper sets of Space Marines and look on Reddit or ask at your local hobby shop to see if anyone has any leftover sprues from a Grey Knights set they aren’t using. You could also try and get really creative and just make some swords yourself or cannibalize another model that uses swords.

EDIT: I did manage to find a few boxes of grey Knights for around $50 online. That’s honestly going to be the best bet for playing Grey Knights. It comes with 10 models and enough equipment to customize the whole team. It’s a lot easier than trying to glue cocktail swords to a regular Space Marine.

Warhammer 40k Grey Knights Strike Squad
$60.00 $55.25

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09/17/2023 01:30 pm GMT
Warhammer 40k Kill Team Astra Militarum

Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard)

In a world full of genetically-enhanced super-soldiers, swarms of chittering monsters, daemons, and hyper-advanced races, one group stands apart from the rest; the steadfast Imperial Guard. They stand apart not because they have super strength, speed, or even intelligence, but because they are completely ordinary in a world full of exceptional and extraordinary. Yet, the Guard holds fast and perseveres.

Despite being completely outclassed, the regular humans of the Imperium of Man still rush into battle to protect humanity. As an actual veteran, I have a ton of respect for the Astra Militarum. They are far inferior to the powerful races of this universe, yet still manage to push forward and fight.

Games Workshop was definitely inspired by the World War I style of trench warfare, holding the line, and sustaining massive casualties when designing the Guardsmen. The Imperial Guard is a really fun army to collect and paint, and even better in Kill Team. The opportunity to create a really cool ragtag group of soldiers with backstories lends itself well to the Guardsmen’s units.

Paint your flamer unit with burn marks all over him and name him Twitch.
Sarge always has a perfect uniform and is ready with a sharp word for his subordinates.
Your heavy is a shirtless Cadian that runs around with a melta gun named Sheila.

There’s just something about the ragtag squad of misfits coming together in the classic military look that just tickles my imagination. I love the fact that among all of the crazy aliens and super soldiers there’s a poor sap who was conscripted and is fighting to keep his family safe back home on Terra.

How to Build an Imperial Guard Kill Team for Under $50

There are actually quite a few ways to build an effective Imperial Guard Kill Team. First off, the push-fit Cadians give you 5 models for $10 dollars. One box will give you several regular troopers to build, customize, and round out a kill team. From there, you have several options depending on how you want to expand the team.

There are the Tempestuous Scions, which will give your kill team a little more stopping power, and the models look pretty nasty in a fight. ($35)

You could make an infiltration team and load it up with a Catachan Sniper squad to get real sneaky and shooty. ($17)

If you wanted some different looking models in your kill team, I would suggest getting one of these three.

  • Catachan Jungle Fighters ($29)
  • Catachan Command Squad ($25)
  • Steel Legion Squad ($35)

When making your Imperial Guard, you basically want to pick one of the bigger squads to have access to some of the bigger guns, and then round out the team with the push-fit Cadians or a Sniper team. For a decent cheap starter, a box of Scions and some infantrymen will fill up a 100 point team. When done right, I think a well-crafted and customized Imperial Guard army on the table is probably the coolest-looking kill team.

Astra Militarum Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Adeptus Mechanicus

Adeptus Mechanicus

The Adeptus Mechanicus are the Machine Cult of Mars who worship the Omnissiah (the machine god). To that end, every Mechanicus unit has fused their bodies with technology to transcend their weak flesh and merge with machine.

The lore of 40k puts Mars as the center of technology for the Imperium of Man. The hulking Titans of war come from the forges of Mars, along with all of the equipment used to outfit the Imperial Guardsmen and all the Space Marine chapters. To complement an entire planet dedicated to industry, the Mechanicus fields their own mechanically-enhanced soldiers that are often more machine than man.

How to Build an Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team for Under $50

The Mechanicus is a newer faction to play in the 40k universe. The models used to field their armies are all highly detailed and intricate to show off the mechanical cables and limbs that the units have augmented themselves with.

This is possibly the easiest faction to start a kill team with. If you can find a starter box set, you’ll get the core rules and a complete set of Genestealer and Mechanicus kill teams to start playing right away.

If you don’t want to bother with the starter set, you can pick up a set of Skitarri to have a complete kill team in a box ($39). The Skitarri box allows you to build 10 Rangers or Vanguard (or you can mix and match). This one box will give a starting player enough variety and stats for a beginner kill team that can always be augmented later on if you decide this is the faction for you.

Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Heretic Astartes

Heretic Astartes


The Chaos Space Marines that comprise the Heretics Astartes are the remnants of the traitor legions of the Horus Heresy. These legions followed Horus down the path of Chaos and are warped (ha!) by the daemons of the warp. Each legion has pledged their souls to one of the Daemon Lords and is infused with daemonic energies that fill them with horrifying and unnatural powers. The major factions (Death Guard and Thousand Sons) are so powerful and unique that they have their own unique models and codexes that are specific to them.

Chaos Pantheon

Khorne: The Blood God
Tzeentch: The Great Conspirator
Nurgle: The Plague God
Slaanesh: The God of Excess

Each Chaos god has a ton of backstory and if you plan on playing any of the Heretics, I highly suggest reading into their backgrounds and figuring out which god your faction will follow.

How to Build a Heretic Astartes Kill Team for Under $50

The Heretic Astartes just recently underwent an update by Games Workshop. The good news is the models have been updated to the newest version and are very cool looking. The bad news is they start out at $60 which already blows away our price point.

You could try to find some cheaper used models on Reddit or eBay. I know that there are subreddits dedicated to selling and trading 40k models. eBay is another good aftermarket spot to check. You can usually find something.

If you can’t find any, then I suggest picking up some cheap cultists ($10) and then augmenting the kill team with 1 or 2 of the unique single models like the Aspiring Champion or you could mix-and-match with Death Guard or Thousand Sons models, but that gets a little weird if you’re concerned about lore.

If you do decide to mix and match you’re not going to be able to play in competitions or matched play and you’ll lose some faction abilities by having a mixed team.  You can still play in open play and you can forge some really cool grimdark stories during narrative play.

Heretic Astartes Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Death Guard

Death Guard

The Death Guard is probably the most grotesque of all factions in the 40k universe. They have fallen to the Chaos God Nurgle, the lord of decay. To that end, their physical appearance has been warped to suit the vision of Papa Nurgle. The Death Guard are bloated monstrosities full of festering wounds and rot.

Due to the “gifts” of Nurgle, Death Guard marines are hulking monstrosities that are extremely hard to kill. Enemies of the Death Guard can pour heavy fire into the walls of rotting flesh only to watch in horror as the festering wounds are reknit together by maggots and vile creatures.

The Death Guard is seriously vile… which makes them really fun to play and paint.

How to Build a Death Guard Kill Team for Under $50

There’s really only one option for putting together a Kill Team under $50

1 box of plague marines will give a player everything they need to make a 100 points worth of models. Alternatively, if you just want to get into the hobby cheap 2 boxes of easy to build plague marines ($15) will give you six plague marines, and then you could try to supplement them with an easy to build pox walker box. This will give you a lot more models, but with a little less variety.

If you’re playing with a group that uses the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) for your models you’re going to want to spring for the bigger box. It’ll come with all of the extra equipment you’ll need and they honestly do look better than the easy build variants.

Death Guard Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Thousand Sons

Thousand Sons

I really like the look of the Rubric Marines. I bounce back and forth as to which units I think are the coolest looking, and currently, it’s the Thousand Sons. Combined with their intimidating appearance, and probably the most tragic backstory in all of the 40K universe, they make an extremely interesting faction to play.

If you don’t know, the Thousand Sons were the 15th legion before the Horus Heresy and were led by the Primarch, Magnus the Red. He didn’t agree with Horus’ betrayal and actively opposed him. Magnus actually broke several oaths by using sorcery to try and warn the Emperor of Horus’ impending betrayal.

The Emperor ignored the warning and instead sent several legions to punish Magnus for his use of sorcery. It was during the destruction of the 15th legion and Magnus the Red’s homeworld that Magnus made a deal with a Chaos god to save his legion. From there, it’s one tragic story after another that turns the majority of the legion into animated husks of armor, and only the strongest Psykers survived.

How to Build a Thousand Sons Kill Team for Under $50

I highly suggest using Rubric Marines over the Tzaangors when making a Thousand Son kill team. The box of Tzaangors comes $10 cheaper than a box of Rubric Marines ($50), but the Rubric Marines will give a team much more flexibility. The Rubric Marine box gives players enough models to field a strong kill team and an aspiring sorcerer to lead them.

Players will be able to customize the loadout and even make a gunner specialist with a Soul Reaper Cannon. On top of all of that is the fact that the Rubric Marines are rather hard to injure, allowing players to field only a few models and still be a viable kill team.

The Tzaangors, I’ve noticed, focus heavily on melee and have basically no long-range skills. Paired with the Rubric Marines, they work excellently in tandem, but for a kill team under $50, the Rubric Marines are the better choice.

Thousand Sons Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Asuryani Eldar

Asuryani (Eldar)

Space elves…

The Eldar are basically space elves. They were the most advanced civilization in the universe while humanity still had tails and was flinging poop at one other, the Eldar had spread throughout the universe and were the masters of all it contained. As with most great civilizations, hubris was their downfall. With complete mastery over the universe came boredom. The Eldar began to delve into their primal desires and descended into debauchery sating any and all vices that they could imagine.

From the depths of excess pursued by the Eldar the Chaos god, Slaanesh was born, and in a moment the Eldar were reduced from masters of the universe to slaves to a Dark god they created. Not all were consumed. There were a scant few who foresaw the coming fall and did everything they could to save their race, but the best they could manage was to save a small percentage of the Eldar who would later become the Asuryani race.

The Eldar are a highly advanced faction that mixes technology with mysticism. They are few in number yet formidable foes that unleash incredible attacks combined with psychic forces. In Kill Team, you’ll lead some of the most elite units in the galaxy.

How to Build an Asuryani Kill Team for Under $50

Starting an Eldar army under budget allows for a few options. You can go all Guardians by picking up the Black Guardians ($36) or the Guardian Squad ($36). Either set will give a new player enough to start a kill team and both come with a heavy weapons platform that will be brutal against other players. If you wanted to go with a more elite squad, you can get a Dire Avengers box ($35) or Rangers ($33) and supplement them with a small box of Guardians ($10).

Any of these choices will give you some trooper guardians and some form of elite units to quickly infiltrate, destroy, and fade away into the darkness.

Asuryani Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Drukhari

Drukhari (Dark Eldar)

With the birth of Slaanesh, the Eldar were shattered. Those that chose to delve into the darkest parts of their soul birthed a Chaos God that would wreak havoc upon the universe. That, of course, didn’t stop them.

The Dark Eldar fled into the webway, a connection of pathways throughout the universe, using warp energy. There, they created the great city of Cammorragh to continue their vile experiments and sate their darkest desire for torture and other vile activities where they would become Drukhari. From here, they ventured into other worlds to raid and kill for pleasure or to capture and enslave more victims.

How to Build a Drukhari Kill Team for Under $50

The choices for the Drukhari are fairly limited, which makes sense for a bloodthirsty raiding party, and it does make it easier to field a force. If you’re looking to go under budget for Drukhari, you really only have 2 choices.

Wyches ($29)

Wyches are basically a group of drugged-up, screaming slavers running at you with whips, guns, and knives. It’s not a good thing to see coming at you. They’re the more melee-oriented of the 2 options. They are all armed with pistols and some nasty melee weapons allowing for a bloody assault on your enemies.

Kabalite Warriors ($29)

Kabalite Warriors are hate-filled sadists that will tear your enemies apart with destructive guns from long range. They have several options for devastating long-range weapons that will wreak havoc before enemies even get close to you.

The best kill team will have a combination of the two, but specializing in either long-range or melee is still a viable team. They just require different setups.

Drukhari Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Harlequin


The Harlequin are probably one of the most aloof and mysterious factions in 40k. They are Aeldari (Eldar) who have given up all aspects of their life and have committed themselves to the laughing god, Cegorach. The laughing god protects the Harlequin from Slannesh and in exchange, they dedicate their lives to his will.

The Harlequin are all elite fighters who use their incredible grace and speed to dance through the battlefield, tearing enemies to pieces before they even know they’re under attack. Kill Team players who decide to field Harlequin will need to understand this and keep this strength in mind when fighting other players.

The Harlequin are incredibly graceful and agile, but they’re squishy. If they get caught out of position, they can get pulped pretty easily. If however, you make use of cover and their speed, you’ll be able to dance circles around other players and tear them to pieces before they can get a shot off.

How to Build a Harlequin Kill Team for Under $50

Because the Harlequin are so specialized and small in number, there is only one option to start collecting. The Harlequin troupe ($40) is the only box available. It comes with enough to start and customize for a unique kill team. They are probably the most colorful 40k miniatures on the market and you can really get into customization and creating unique units.

Harlequin Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Necrons


Necrons are like Nazi space zombies. Before even the Eldar roamed the galaxy, another race reigned supreme. They ruled the galaxy through the strength of will and brutal oppression. When the war on all fronts finally weakened the Necrons, the entire race underwent a cybernetic transformation. The entire race went underground in stasis for millennia to awaken in the future when the races of the universe were weakened and unprepared for their new conquest.

As time went on the Necrons were forgotten. Buried deep underground, the Necrons slumbered. Whole civilizations rose on planets, completely unaware of the danger below the surface until the ground split open and the Necrons emerged once more. The undying automatons’ only goal is to eradicate all other life.

Necron armies are particularly nasty and know for their reconstructive properties. As each Necron warrior is shot down it has a chance to repair itself and immediately return to the fight. This is demonstrated through several Necron tactics like “Prime Reanimation Protocols” where a player can force their opponent to reroll successful injury rolls.

Just because the Necrons are machines doesn’t mean you can’t have a cool looking customized kill team as well. I’ve seen some models where players have added bits of other models to their Necron kill team as trophies in battle.

How to Build a Necron Kill Team for Under $50

The Necron forces are all priced obnoxiously at around $30-$33, so if you want to build a kill team for under $50 you’re basically limited to one choice. For that particular choice, I would suggest the Immortals/Deathmark box. Each model can become an immortal or Deathmark, but I suggest building immortals. They have the same stats as the Deathmarks and they have an option for their weapons; either armor-piercing or assault that does massive damage. The Deathmarks will basically all have identical equipment.

You’re still not going to hit 100 points with of these options alone. I have found that there are some small blister packs that are single units for cheap. 2 of these will put you around 100 points, but honestly you might as well just buy another pack of units. Necrons are one of the forces that are rather difficult to field for $50 or less.

One box of immortals would be cheaper than the Games Workshop Kill Team starter at half the price, and you’ll get the same amount of models for $30 instead of $60, but the Necron Kill Team starter set comes with some extra terrain and data cards. If the extra goodies are worth the $30 to you it may be worthwhile to look into that instead.

Edit: I was able to find the Necron Kill Team box outside of the official Games Workshop website for $50.

Necron Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Orks


The dreaded Greenskins took the combined might of several legions at the height of their strength to break during the battle of Ullanor. The Orks are a swarmy, shooty, choppy bunch of lovable bloodthirsty psychopaths ready to cause destruction and mayhem wherever you go.

Orks in 40k lore are a mixed bag. They’re taken as a bit of a joke with their goofy way of talking and lingo in their codex (shootahs, choppas, WAAAGHGHGHGH), but they’re not to be underestimated. The Orks have on several occasions halted all progress of Astartes’ advancement during the great crusade, and it was only the intervention of the Primarchs themselves that were able to break the stalemate.

How to Build an Ork Kill Team for Under $50

There’s a lot of options when it comes to the Orks. The bigger squads will all give a few models but they’re all around $25.

The first thing to do is pick if you want the Ork Burna Boys or Lootas. They’re the same box at around $25 and will have enough to start building models and choosing how your kill team will function. Do you want some heavy fire? Go with Lootas. If you want crazy bomb-throwing units with flamethrowers, then go with the Burnas. You can always mix and match too.

From there you have several options to round out the team. Gretchin ($16) come 10 to a box and are useful little meat shields, and there’s a set of easy to build Ork Boys ($10) that can be used to boost the kill team numbers for a campaign play.

The other option is to double down on the elite units and get 1 box of Kommandos ($45). At max strength, you won’t be able to hit a full 100 points with just 1 Box of Kommandos, so if you want more elite units in the kill team, I would suggest getting a set of Burnas and Lootas.

Ork Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Tau


The Tau are the newest combatant in the Grimdark 41st millennium. They’re the newest race on the scene, but they’re one of the most technologically advanced in the ‘verse. Their relatively frail bodies are augmented with powerful mech suits.

The Tau Society is guided by a philosophy called the Greater Good, where the entire society works towards the advancement of the Tau civilization, which uses a caste system. The highest is the Ethereal caste (leaders) and the lowest are the auxiliary races that they have subjugated and added to their own society. They’re basically space imperialists.

Tau was actually the first set of models I ever owned and painted. I liked the long-range weapons, stealthsuits, and their ability to move quickly around the field while blasting opponents.

In Kill Team you won’t be able to use the heavy artillery of the battlesuits, but infiltration teams made up of Pathfinders and elite Fire Warriors can shoot a lot of firepower from across the map with surprising accuracy. When your enemies finally manage to close-in for an assault, they may find stealthsuits appearing in front or even a wall of drones with another barrage of pulse fire to bar their path.

If you enjoy playing with a highly tactical team, the Tau is an excellent choice for your starting army.

How to Build a Tau Kill Team for Under $50

There are a few different ways paths to choose when going for Tau. You can choose a Pathfinder team, fire warrior team, or stealthsuits. Ignore the Breachers for your first team.

Picking up 1 set of Fire Warriors is going to immediately put you at-budget, but it will offer you a fun team to play with. Tau are known for long-range precision shooting, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get here. There is virtually no melee here, so if you get overrun you’re going to be in trouble.

The Pathfinders are cheaper at $35 and can pick up a sniper for longer range and damage. To mitigate the lack of melee skills, players can pick up some smaller drone sets to augment the team ($12).

The best way to create a Tau Kill Team is to simply get a Firewarrior set, but my personal favorites are the stealthsuits and they are the reason I first started collecting Tau. They look awesome, and some painters have made some really cool models that look like they are mid-shift in a stealth field. The stealthsuit models are considered flying and have jetpacks, and pack some serious firepower.

1 box of stealthsuits and 5 drones make for a very cool Kill Team in my opinion. They can zip around the battlefield shooting everything in sight, and the drones can soak up the damage and fire back.

Tau Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Tyranids


Tyranids embody the swarm. They’re a race of hive mind creatures that come from outside the galaxy, devouring and consuming everything in their path. The trillions of Tyranids swarming through the universe creates a black hole or “Shadow in the Warp” that disrupts all psychic powers/phenomena within the swarm making them deadly to everything in the materium daemonic, alien, and human.

How to Build a Tyranid Kill Team for… $65 or Less

It was hard to come up with a cost-effective way to play Tyranids. Well, what did you expect when I said, “swarm”? There are a ton of these guys, so we’ll need more miniatures accordingly.

Tyranid Kill Team

  • 1 lictor (1 box $25)
  • 11 hormagaunts (1 box $30)
  • 5 termagaunts (1 box $10)
  • Total cost around $65

The truly cost-effective way to play Tyranids is to get a box of Genestealers, and a set of Gaunts to round out the list. This will come in under the $50 mark, but it just didn’t feel swarmy enough for me. I like to have my kill teams with a bit of thematic flair, so for Tyranids ($15 over budget), I came up with an advanced raiding party.

Lictors by nature are advanced scouts and the idea of having one as the leader with a small swarm of Gaunts felt just right.

There are no synapse creatures in this list, which is a bit of a disadvantage. If money is no object or if you already have some of the models I would swap the Lictor out with a warrior for the synapse ability. This list is designed to support the Lictor’s stealth and tactics.

While the enemy kill team is dealing with the 16 Gaunts swarming and shooting at their main forces, the Lictor can get in close by moving from cover to cover and springing in for the kill. There’s not going to be much surviving the battleground with this tactic, but the swarm is endless and there will always be fresh troops coming in from the spawning pools.

Tyranid Kill Team Recommendations

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Warhammer 40k Kill Team Genestealers

Genestealer Cults

Throughout the Imperium of Man not all glory in the light of the Emperor. Those unsatisfied with the Corpse Emperor may look to other sources for guidance. Many of those individuals find their way into the arms of the Genestealer Cults who worship their saviors from above who will come and deliver them from the oppressive grasp of the Imperium.

It is a lie, of course.

Genestealer Cults are a byproduct of Tyranid invasions. Genestealers who come before the swarm are sent forward to sow dissension and prepare the way for the chittering swarms. They will mutate and brainwash the races they find and spread their cults throughout the world. First, they spread through the downtrodden and easily manipulated, and then they spread to the higher reaches of society; military, government, and through the churches of the Emperor.

When the timing is right, they will rise up and sabotage the planetary defenses leaving the planets defenseless to the Tyranid invasions. The Genestealers and the planet itself will then be consumed by the swarm and their biomass added to the Tyranid birthing pools where they will become part of the swarm.

How to Build a Genestealer Kill Team for Under $50

A full Genestealer kill team comes with the box set for Kill Team along with a Mechanicus kill team. It is by far the easiest way to start playing Kill Team and the Genestealer Cult teams, but the point of this is to find the cheapest, not the easiest way to build a kill team.

There are a few options, but all are going to require you to get a little creative. From the Genestealer force, you have two options to start with: Neophyte Hybrids ($40) and Aberrants ($40). I highly suggest the Neophytes. They’ll have a lot of choices for equipment and are much more flexible. You also will get closer to the 100 point cost limit in one box.

Either way, you choose, you’ll only have $10 left in a $50 budget. I was trying to figure out how else players could build up models for $10 and I thought of the easy to build Cadian models. With a little bit of doctoring and fancy paintwork, you could (with a little effort) turn a cheap Cadian model into another neophyte cultist for a much cheaper cost.

There’s going to be a few leftover weapons and cosmetic pieces from the Neophyte box anyway, and adding them to the Cadians should be the cheapest way to build up the last few points needed for Genestealer kill team.

Edit: Thanks to our reader WestRider for her comments and suggestion.
“Acolytes are better to start with. Like Nids and CSM, tho, you’re really going to want to spend more than $50 to get into them properly.”

I think I may have just been prejudiced with my model selection when I wrote this. On a second look through the Acolytes will definitely give you a lot more freedom in your Kill Team. I think I just really like the Aberrant models at the time of writing this.

Check out WestRider’s blog. She has some really nifty walkthroughs on how to paint minis.

Genestealer Kill Team Recommendations

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Wednesday 5th of June 2019

The Pop up offering army lists blocks people from looking at this content on some android phones. it breaks the scroll function of the page. Good article, otherwise

Bryan Truong

Friday 14th of June 2019

Hey Gil,

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I always appreciate the feedback.

I made it a bit smaller, and an "x" should pop up to have it removed. Just out of curiosity. What type of phone were you using that was having trouble?

cheers, Bryan Truong


Monday 6th of May 2019

GW's site doesn't always make this entirely clear, but many of their kits make more than one Unit. For example, there's no need to choose between Burnaz and Lootaz because the box comes with 5 bodies and 10 sets of arms, so you can make any combination of the two types that add up to 5 Models. Similarly, the Necron Immortals are the same kit as the Deathmarks, the Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard are the same kit, as are the RustStalkers/Infiltrators and the Tau Fire Warrior Strike/Breacher Squad.

I'm not sure where you got the $75 figure for DeathWatch. Their basic Squad is $35 for 5 dudes with some great options, and then there are Kill Team Mordelai fo $60 with that plus some Terrain, or Kill Team Cassius (11 Models, but not all are usable in Kill Team) for $65. A DW Squad box plus a set of ETB Intercessors should be a good starter force there.

I think Chaos Space Marines didn't have a basic box on the website because you wrote this during the gap when the old one had been pulled, but before the new kit came out. Unfortunately for our purposes here, the new kit is $60. There used to be an ETB set of three of them, tho, that can probably still be found in independent stores or online. Looking on eBay or something for sections of their stuff from the old Dark Vengeance starter box might be worth trying as well.

I don't have my book on hand right now, but I think the GSC options are actually Neophytes and Acolytes, not Neophytes and Aberrants. Even if Aberrants are part of their options, Acolytes are better to start with. Like Nids and CSM, tho, you're really going to want to spend more than $50 to get into them properly.

Bryan Truong

Thursday 9th of May 2019

Hi Westrider,

Thanks for the comments.

I went back and looked at the Deathwatch box price, and saw a completely different price from when I wrote this. I’m also not sure where the heck I was looking. I think I was on one of the weird listings for Amazon when I looked at it. It definitely was not $75 dollars this time around, so I edited the list.

Thanks for the tip with the chaos marines. I was looking around like crazy when I was writing this and could not for the life of me figure out why they didn’t have a standard box. That definitely makes a lot more sense.

Aberrants are an option. I double checked the rules to make sure I wasn’t crazy, but it does make more sense to use acolytes. I think I just liked the look of the Aberrants more.

Thanks for all the tips! I checked out your blog. You do some really cool painting tutorials.

Cheers, Bryan


Saturday 4th of May 2019

The suggestion of a box of immortals won’t work. It’s not enough to play a normal 100 point game. The suggestion of a box of easy to build death guard and pox walkers won’t work. Not enough to fill a 100 point game. You don’t recommend the Death Watch killteam box for death watch? The models you recommend are not the right models. The weapons you recommend are not legal for death watch to use. The $30 Kill Team box has both death watch models, and death watch gear AND will have enough to get you to a full 100 point team.

Tactical marines are smaller, easier to hide on the board, and could be viewed as modeling for advantage- a type of cheating. Taking the weapons you suggested is straight against the rules.

Mixing thousand sons, death guard, and chaos space marines is straight against the rules.

Tired of pointing out errors. Honest question- have you ever played kill team? I don’t think you have. It would be sad if someone followed your guide and wasted $50.

There are plenty of under $50 kill team guides. You could have at least gone through the effort of ripping them off instead of making up junk.

Bryan Truong

Thursday 9th of May 2019

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the comments.

You are correct that when building a Kill Team you cannot mix-and-match factions when playing match play. The rules are much more strict when you’re playing competitively and I wasn’t as clear on that in the first edit. You can make a mixed kill team if you’re playing open or narrative though.

I rechecked my Death Guard lists and realized I had 2 boxes of the easy build plague marines in the list. Thanks for the catch.

I don’t play in competitions and you’re correct that a veteran player probably knows how to build a better min/max team than I can. This guide was meant to be for beginners who have heard of the game and had no idea where to start. I usually just play with close friends and enjoy painting the models when I get the chance.

Out of curiosity, what illegal equipment did I mention in the article?

Thanks for the comments and if you see anything else I missed please feel free to shoot me a message.

Cheers, Bryan