Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review

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The first expansion set for the new edition of Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is here. Already… Pitting the might of the Adepta Sororitas Novitiates against the hyper-advanced tech of the T’au Pathfinder Squad, Chalnath is set to become a battle of faith and fire. Who will be victorious: the zealous followers of the God-Emperor, or the scions of the Greater Good?

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Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Summary

Die-hard Kill Team fans and veterans, this is a box for you. Expensive though it may be, Kill Team: Chalnath is a promising step towards a bright future for Games Workshop expansion content. Sure, there are some fiddly bits amidst the models and scenery, but the end results can’t be argued with. As a box of miniatures alone, this would be an impressive (albeit pricey) release, but that it comes with all the literary content you require to take your games of the new edition of Kill Team to the next level makes Chalnath an excellent release.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Introduction

Kill Team: Octarius was without a doubt one of the high points in the hobbyverse this year.

Not only did it place the legendary Death Korps of Krieg at the forefront of the Warhammer 40,000 universe along with everyone’s favourite green-skinned ladz, but it also catapulted the Kill Team game system into the forefront of everyone’s minds – and added some seriously sweet figures to our collections.

Expectations are high for Chalnath, then. The first expansion to the new Kill Team system sees the Kriegsmen and Orks replaced with the Emperor’s most zealous followers, the Adepta Sororitas, and the blue-skinned advocates of the Greater Good, the T’au (or is it just Tau without the apostrophe these days? I can’t figure it out).

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review All

Personally, I’m stoked for this release. I’ve been collecting Adepta Sororitas for a little over a year now, but I have a bit of a history with T’au. Back circa 2004 when Warhammer 40,000 was between its third and fourth editions, and I was but a small humanoid with an age still in single digits, the first faction I ever committed to collecting (with my parents’ money, of course), was T’au.

Some of my friends’ elder brothers introduced me and my buddies to 40K and they all snapped up their respective factions very quickly: Space Marines, Orks and Tyranids were instantly claimed by the siblings of the elder brothers who had initiated us into the 40K cult, and Chaos Space Marines and Eldar disappeared shortly after.

I ended up with T’au – I seem to think I’d seen them on the cover of an issue of White Dwarf beforehand and felt inspired. Though I’ve since sold the small collection of figures I had to a friend who occasionally wheels them out to remind me of how terrible a painter I was play the odd game of 40K with, I’ve still got the old 4th Edition T’au Empire Codex my dad picked me up one rainy Saturday afternoon in my local then-Games Workshop, as they were once known.

Should’ve also got him to pick up a few shares whilst he was in there; he’d be absolutely minted now.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – What’s New

I spent quite a few words in our Kill Team: Octarius review going over some of the big changes that came hand-in-hand with the new edition of Kill Team, so won’t do so in any great detail again here.

On the whole, the new rules are great fun and are designed to take Kill Team from being just another tabletop shooter and into the realms of storytelling and narrative (hello, D&D fans), and simultaneously are intended to make the game easier for new players to grasp. There’s been a lot of slimming-down in the new edition in order to encourage people to spend more time playing the game and really getting to know their faction and less time poring over rulebooks and arguing with their opponents about the minutiae of the rules.

One thing I did like is that there are lots of new rules for terrain in order to try and encourage you to make your battlefield all the more immersive and exciting. Cast aside the tablecloth and placemats and set up a proper scale warzone on your kitchen table. What better excuse is there to finally paint all the boxes of scenery you’ve got sitting around untouched?

But it isn’t all good news, as some of the changes caused a bit of a stir in the community. For those who don’t want to read the detailed breakdown I provided of the changes and some of the issues that followed in their wake, the issues could be boiled down to the following:

  • The new edition of Kill Team introduced the concept of Fire Teams. Fire Teams are basically how you make up your squad. Depending on your faction, you usually get either one or two fire teams in a Kill team. This means that players can only field models from one or two units (i.e. Assault Intercessors and/or Terminators) as they are described in the Kill Team Compendium.
  • The Kill Team Compendium has not been included in any of the boxed Kill Team releases (so far), so you’ll have to buy it separately – and it isn’t cheap.
  • So, not only is the Kill Team Compendium  expensive, but it is also bereft of unique rules for a huge number of models. These unique rules for your models look as if they are going to be included in the Rules Manuals that come with each Kill Team expansion box. So, you’re going to have to spend even more money to get all the info you need for your faction.
  • Not only that, you’re also going to have to wait. If the Kill Team Roadmap which was released a few months ago is to be believed, these rules releases are probably going to come in pairs every quarter (i.e. the DKoK and Orks that came in Octarius, and now the Adepta Sororitas and T’au in Chalnath), so there’s a good chance the rules for your favourite faction won’t appear until well into the future and will require you to spend even more money to obtain them.

Take that for what you will. That’s not strictly what we’re here to look at today, so let’s move on to the good stuff.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Unboxing

Let’s get stuck in.

First off, if you think that some of these pictures look a little wonky, you aren’t going mad. At somewhere in its transit to my evil lair, it looks as if someone might’ve dropped the box my copy of Chalnath came packaged in, so a few of its sides are a bit bent and dented.

It’s also not in one of those super nice glossy boxes à la Octarius, Dominion and Indomitus, but a slidey-out cardboard box which aren’t quite as durable. Still, the artwork survived unblemished, so let’s take a moment to appreciate that.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Unboxing 1

Say what you like about GW, but the people responsible for all their art nail it every time.

Cover set aside and container slid out, we’re faced with a wall of plastic.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Unboxing 2

There’s a lot of stuff in here, spread across no less than 12 sprues.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Unboxing 3

The majority of the plastic – 8 sprues, to be exact – is for terrain, and there are a couple of duplicates in there. Three of the sprues are in there twice, and two of the scenery sprues are unique. The other 4 are for your Novitiates and Pathfinders two apiece.

Beneath the pile of plastic is, you guessed it, a divider

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Unboxing 4

As ever, these things will look great tacked up on your hobby room wall (other walls are also available) as a way of showing off part of your collection – provided, of course, that it has survived transit. The primary purpose of these dividers is to protect the softer paper and card goods beneath from the claws and talons of the moulded plastic above, so there’s always a chance yours may arrive scratched or punctured – which means it’s done its job.

Beneath, we have the last few bits in the box: the double-sided game board, the Chalnath book, the bases, as well as the Sisters of Battle and T’au Vi’orla Sept transfer sheet. I don’t think either of these are unique to this box (the Sisters one definitely isn’t – I’ve got about ten of these lying around), but I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Unboxing 5

And that’s that. It’s a heavy box, this one, seams bursting (quite literally in my case) with plastic.

Let’s take a closer look at everything.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Contents

Chalnath comes with a fair few bits and pieces. It’s important to remember that this box is designed to be an expansion. It is not a starter set, an all-in-one bundle, nor a collector’s edition box. It is designed to be used alongside other Kill Team purchases, most likely Octarius.

Anyway, here’s what we get:

  • 1 x 96-page Kill Team: Chalnath Rules Manual
  • 23 x Citadel Miniatures comprising of two complete kill teams comprised of an Adepta Sororitas Novitiate Squad and a T’au Pathfinder Squad. These are broken down as:
    • 10 x Adepta Sororitas Novitiate figures.
    • 13 x T’au Pathfinder Squad figures.
  • 7 x Terrain Pieces
  • 1 x Double-sided Kill Team: Chalnath Gameboard
  • 2 x Transfer sheets

And that’s it.

Anyone who purchased – or is in any way aware of – the previous Kill Team boxed release Octarius will note that there is less in here than there was in that box. This time round, we’re down a Kill Team Core Book, some Combat Gauges, Tactical Ops Cards, Tokens, and Dice.

But this is to be expected. As I said, this is an expansion.

Taken in tandem with a box like Octarius, it adds a significant amount of content to any budding Kill Team collection. Of course, if you don’t own a copy of Octarius, you’re going to be short a few of the things you need to actually play the game, such as the Core Book and the accursed Compendium, the latter of which which didn’t come with Octarius either.

GW do a couple of bundles to help you out, but they aren’t cheap. There’s the Rules Collection, which has the Core Book, the Compendium, and the Tactical Ops cards you need. There’s also the Essentials Collection, which has everything the Rules Collection has as well as some tokens, some gauges, and a few bits of scenery.

Last time I had one of these Kill Team “expansion” boxes plonked in front of me, I must admit I wasn’t very nice about it – and it was far cheaper than Chalnath. But let’s look back for a moment to Pariah Nexus in the name of comparison.

Compared to the last Kill Team expansion, so far Chalnath feels like a big step in the right direction – even if it is more expensive. The box feels bigger, heavier, and more exciting. There’s a pleasing absence of horrible little bits of boring cuboid scenery, and instead there’s a pile of detailed battlescape to make your games with this kit all the more immersive.

There are also almost double the figures in the box, which is a huge bonus. One of the main criticisms I had of Pariah Nexus was that, whilst the slight majority of the figures in the box were nice, I felt they were far too few and of too mixed quality to justify the price of the box. This has been thoroughly addressed in Chalnath, with some great-looking, unique and diverse figures.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Literature

There’s only one book in Kill Team: Chalnath, so we’ll spend a little time going over that now. We’ll keep it brief and not too in-depth, though, so we won’t spoil too much of what waits inside should any of you be eager readers.

Kill Team: Chalnath War Manual

The Kill Team: Chalnath War Manual is the literary companion to this box. Sleek and shiny, it has all the info prospective players need in order to make the most out of the contents of the Chalnath box.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Book Cover

There’s plenty in here for everyone. Of the book’s 96 pages, the first 35 are devoted to all the lore and background you could ever possibly need to catapult your T’au Empire and Adaepta Sororitas squads from the world of wargames and straight into a fully-fledged TTRPG universe.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Book 2

Of course, the majority of the book is dedicated to actually getting you pushing figures across a board and slinging dice over a table top, but everything is broken down into a comprehensive and well-structured format. The contents page is clearly labelled to the Nth degree, so you’ve got no chance of getting lost as you navigate the book, chasing down that particular rule.

And, of course, there are all the datasheets and rules you need for the new teams in this box.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Book 3

As you’d expect, the book is also filled with lots of awesome pictures to inspire you to pick up a paintbrush and bring the figures and terrain included in the box to life.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Book 1

I’m a big fan of this book. Easy to navigate, packed with info, and well-formatted, it’ll make a fantastic companion to any KiIll Team Core Book.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Wargear

A bit of a short section this time around as there’s only one bit of kit in the Chalnath box that’s designed to get you up and playing, and that’s the double-sided game board.

Double-sided Game Board

I’m beginning to really appreciate these double-sided gaming boards. Just having that pop of colour beneath the bases of your figures can make all the difference when playing a game.

As usual, I haven’t been able to get a decent, folded-out shot of both sides of the board due to the limitations of my lightbox. However, in this instance there’s not really all that much to show you on the other side. The aesthetic on the reverse of the board is, well, almost identical to the one shown below. It’s just grey instead of brown.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Review Board

That’s a little bit of a disappointment, but not a huge one (the grey of the other side of the board will go much better with my unpainted bits of scenery after all). The board remains good quality, made of thick, durable, and easy-to-fold card, so you’ll be able to set it up and put it away with ease. It’ll also last a great deal longer than any flimsy paper counterpart.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Models

With 23 figures in the box, there’s enough in Chalnath to keep you busy for a while, whether you’re just in it for the painting, or if you’re desperate for two new kill teams to begin slaughtering your pals with.

As a big fan of the Adepta Sororitas and a former T’au Empire collector, I am absolutely psyched to get into the good stuff in this box.

T’au Pathfinder Squad

There are a staggering number of build options for the T’au Pathfinders – if anything, a little too many, as the guide becomes quite hard to follow after a point as there are so many ways each figure can be assembled. I would recommend making sure you familiarise yourself with the entire T’au part of the construction manual before you begin sticking any of the figures together.

The finished results, though, are great.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath T'au Empire Pathfinders

There’s a huge amount of optional extras with the Pathfinder team as well, so there are plenty of pistols and pouches that you can choose to attach to your figures should you so wish.

And that’s not all, as are also a number of different ways you can assemble the two smaller drones so you can equip them with whatever weapons or other support tech you’d like.

There are also plenty of heads and limbs and other bits and pieces left over at the end to kitbash with or decorate the bases of your T’au-killing armies.

Excellent kit.

Adepta Sororitas Novitiates

When compared to the T’au Pathfinders, the Adepta Sororitas Novitiates are a very easy and straightforward kit to put together. Still, there are loads of alternate build options so you’ll be able to make your team look just like you want them to.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Adepta Sororitas Novitiates

There are some really lovely models in this part of the kit: the novitiates themselves are wondrously detailed, and there are so many weapons and other customisation options across the kit to make each one really unique.

But the Superior.

The Superior...

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Adepta Sororitas Novitiate Superior

Blimey. That’s a model and a half. In a set filled with excellent models, being able to make such an impressive stand-out figure really stand-out is quite the achievement. And doesn’t she just.

There aren’t any optional extras with the Sisters – but, to be completely honest, they aren’t really needed. The vast amount of diversity and unique options across the kit makes it to attaching any extras may almost seem like overkill. That said, though, there are still lots of spares on the sprue once you’ve finished if you feel like getting a few extra parts on your figures or kitbashing some of the extras onto your other figures.

Scenery

When I first saw that there were only 7 pieces of scenery in this box, I remember thinking that it seemed a bit frugal. “Only seven little bits of ruined wall? Pshaw.”

How wrong I was.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Scenery

Whilst five of the scenery pieces are, indeed, the kind of low ruined walls one may expect to find littering the battlefield of any table top game of 40K, the final two bits of scenery, which are much larger sections of ruined buildings (or one ruined building if you position it in such a way) are enormous.

Most of it is fairly straightforward. Except those big things. Those big things are a nightmare.

I don’t know if it was me, but I could not get the various side panels on the larger structures to go together. Perhaps I wasn’t shaving off my sprue gates well enough, but between a mould line remover, a file and a decent pair of RedgrassGames Precision Nippers I like to think I’d done a good enough job tidying up the sides of these things. But still, getting everything to actually stay stuck together firmly was horrible.

That’s not all. The guide is extremely long and at times quite confusing and convoluted – and the bit of scenery you end up with at the end is massive, so good luck finding a place to keep this one whilst it awaits the attention of your brush!

The one thing that really threw me, though, was that you are required to actually break off several parts of moulded scenery. You’ll see this warning in the build guide:

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Gimme Stuff to Break

This mean those little skull motifs need to be cut off. They aren’t easy to do either, as the component is actually reasonably thick. You’ll notice on the back of of the skull motif there’s a very fine indented line. Press the blade of a craft knife firmly into this little nook and carefully drag it the length of the little nook. Do this two or three times, then you should be able to bend it off with your fingers.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team Chalnath Break Stuff

Just make sure you do this before you’ve glued all the other bits on around it.

I’m also not convinced the build guide for the larger bits of terrain is correctly numbered throughout – but by the time I finished building the kit, it was 11PM on the night of release day and I had completely lost track of where I was and what I was doing.

I mean, when it’s all finished it’s a seriously impressive collection of scenery. This is the kind of stuff that’ll find a home on armies on parade boards across the world this time next year. But, and there is, unfortunately, a big but, it is a real pain to put together.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Price and Availability

As I said above, the previous Kill Team boxed release Octarius box had far more in it than the Chalnath box does. Here’s a blow-by-blow comparison of the two boxes:

Kill Team: OctariusKill Team: ChalnathKill Team: Pariah Nexus
Kill Team Core BookYesNoNo
Sector-Specific War ManualYesYesYes
Number of Figures232312
Transfer Sheets221
Pieces of Scenery17748
Combat GaugesYesNoNo
Game MatYesYesYes
Tactical Ops CardsYesNoYes
TokensYesNoNo
DiceYesNoNo
Overall Price £125/$199USD/€155 £105/$170USD/€155 £95/$160USD/€125

Octarius had significantly more in it when put side-by-side with the new Chalnath box. This is to be expected, though: Chalnath is an expansion; it’s designed to work in tandem with the original Octarius box.

Still, I’m struggling to work out whether I feel like I got a bargain with Octarius, and that the price of Chalnath is thus to be expected, or if I feel like Octarius’ price was fair, and therefore Chalnath is a bit on the expensive side given its contents.

When looking back at Pariah Nexus, the picture gets muddier still. The previous Kill Team, expansion set, which was for the last edition of the game, was £95/$160USD/€125. Pariah Nexus felt like daylight robbery, and yet it was cheaper than Chalnath. Yet with Chalnath, I feel the price is fairer.

Beyond the table above, looking at the contents of Chalnath and Pariah Nexus side by side, the quality of the content in Chalnath significantly supersedes that of its predecessor – at the very least, you’re getting almost double the figures for only a little more money, and all the figures in Chalnath are excellent, whereas Pariah Nexus was seriously let down by the Flayed Ones. The scenery included in Chalnath is also great (and doesn’t look like it’s come out of an ice cube tray), and the gaming board, whilst a little plain, doesn’t give you a headache.

Yes, it’s still expensive, and yes, you’re going to have to make at least one other purchase to get the most out of Chalnath, but Chalnath feels considerably more worth it. It feels like an expansion, a proper expansion with, y’know, more stuff and better content.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Where to Next?

Now that’s quite the question, isn’t it?

Where you head to next after Chalnath depends entirely on what you want to get out of the box. If you were just after the box for 23 unique figures to paint, then turn you’ll likely want to cast your eyes over the Adepta Sororitas and T’au ranges. The Adepta Sororitas in particular have some stand-out HQ models that are a delight to paint.

But if you’ve been bitten by the Kill Team bug and want to get playing as soon as possible, the route you need to take is a little more difficult.

The problem with the new edition of Kill Team isn’t that there’s no content for it. It’s quite the opposite. Between the heaving Octarius box and the Chalnath expansion, and a host of other add-on releases, there’s plenty to fill up your gaming shelf, cupboard, or wherever it is you keep your games. The problem is that while there’s plenty of stuff available, it’s all spread out across several releases, and it’s all really expensive.

First off, if you feel like adding another big box to your collection but missed out on GW’s Octarius, get down to your local independent store or check their website. Whilst Octarius is no-longer listed as available on GW’s webstore, there will be copies around elsewhere. You just need to look for them.

But, if you’ve only bought Chalnath but want to get playing right away, assuming you already have dice, at the very least you’re going to need to get yourself a Core Book, probably a Compendium as well if you’re planning on fielding a different faction, and some of the Combat Gauges (which are only available in a a £20/$35USD/€25 box along with some tokens and terrain). That’s another £80/$135USD/€100 by itself.

If you’re content with the two factions in Chalnath and just want to get playing, as I mentioned above GW do a couple of bundles to get you started, but once again they aren’t cheap. There’s the Rules Collection as well as the all-inclusive Essentials Collection.

Or you could simply wait and see what’s coming next. Shortly before Ocxtarius was released, the Warhammer Community team revealled the following roadmap to us:

Kill Team Octarius Review Roadmap

If Chalnath doesn’t take your liking, or you would just rather wait and see if there’s another expansion box on the way that’s more up your street, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing at the very least two more expansions in the first two quarters of 2022. Perhaps save your hard-earned cash for those if Sisters and T’au aren’t your thing.

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team: Chalnath Review – Final Thoughts

ProsCons
Sublime figures
Heaps of good-quality scenery
Decent gaming board
Interesting and well-formatted campaign book
Will require additional purchases if you want to use (but then again, it is an expansion, so…)
T’au build guide isn’t great
Larger pieces of scenery are quite challenging to put together

Chalnath does a lot of stuff right. Following my last dive into a Kill Team expansion, I was a little nervous I might end up feeling hard done by and disappointed, underwhelmed by a lack of content and a paucity of material that I actually wanted to paint. But I’m pleased to say Chalnath does none of this.

All the figures in this box – and I mean all the figures – are great. The Novitiate Superior is absolutely the stand-out amidst them all, though, and I can’t wait to get some paint on her, or see what the community does with this excellent model. The scenery is impressive, even if it is the standard 40K affair of wrecked buildings and tumbledown walls, and will no doubt be featured in promo photos for other Warhammer 40,000 releases for years to come.

Even the book is good. Warhammer and its spin-offs have a reputation of requiring enormous heavy tomes overflowing with unpalatable and difficult-to-follow rules in order to play, and whilst there’s no shortage of complexity in the Chalnath book, the information is laid out in a clear, straightforward, and easy-to-follow format.

It is, however, not without its flaws: frustrating scenery builds and an at times confusing and convoluted build guide can leave you scratching your head and wondering what exactly it is you’ve done wrong at points during the build process. But once everything is finished and put together, the results can’t be argued with.

It’s also undeniable that Chalnath is not aimed at beginners, nor the uninitiated. Completely green players looking for a way into Kill Team are best having a root around for the Octarius box, then trying to swipe a copy of Chalnath in a few weeks time (providing that it’s still available, which it may not be). At the end of the day, the set is an expansion, and relies both on other purchases, and a pre-existing understanding of Kill Team, in order to be fully realised.

But if you’re a fan of Kill Team and you aren’t put off by the price, you certainly won’t be disappointed with Chalnath. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Author

  • Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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About VoltorRWH 58 Articles
Rob has spent most of the last 15 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

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