Warhammer 40,0000 Kill Team Soulshackle Review

In our Warhammer 40k Kill Team Soulshackle review, we continue to delve Into the Dark depths of the Gallowdark looking at the new kill teams and warzone.

Published: February 17, 2023 1:34 PM /

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Kill Team Soulshackle

Kill Team Soulshackle is the next expansion for Kill Team Into the Dark. It follows the same format as the previous Kill Team expansions introducing 2 brand new kill teams, the Adeptus Arbites Exaction Squad, and the Xenos Drukhari Hand of the Archon. There is also a new kill zone that builds upon the close confines of the space hulk Gallowdark, Killzone: Soulshackle. In this article, we'll have a look at what's in the box, and talk about the 2 new kill teams and kill zone.

Kill Team is a skirmish wargame, set in Games Workshop's larger Warhammer 40,000 setting. As a skirmish game, Kill Team features a small number of elite troops, fighting special operations battles, rather than huge battles fought with entire armies. You can check out our full guide here if you want to know more about Kill Team. If you want to check out the Kill Team rules before you buy, Games Workshop has made the core rules available to download for free.

The Kill Team Soulshackle box contents.

What Does Kill Team Soulshackle Contain?

Kill Team Soulshackle contains:

  • Kill Team Soulshackle campaign book
  • 11x Adeptus Arbites of the Exaction Squad kill team
  • 10x Drukhari of the Hand of the Archon kill team
  • Gallowdark space hulk scenery set, Soulshackle scenery set, and double-sided game board

Kill Team Soulshackle is an expansion pack for Kill Team, so the Core Rulebook and accessories are required to use this set. It includes the core Gallowdark rules, along with the same Galowdark scenery that Into the Dark and Shadowvaults had. This means the Soulshackle can be used without first picking up Into the Dark, but it does expand on the Into the Dark Kill Team season.

Kill Team Logo.

What does the Kill Team Soulshackle Campaign Book Add To Games?

The Soulshackle campaign book is split into several chapters, the first, Soulshackle, details the lore and narrative of space hulks, specifically the Gallowdark, which the 2 factions of this expansion are hunting each other through. The next chapter contains the background for Adeptus Arbites Exaction Squad and the Drukhari Hand of the Archon kill teams, along with narrative ideas and hooks to flesh them out.

The core of the book is the datacards, abilities, special rules, ploys, and spec ops details for the 2 new kill teams included in the set. The Drukhari kill team is different from the one previously presented in the Kill Team Compendium, and we look at both new kill teams in detail below.

The book closes with Killzone: Soulshackle, Killzone: Gallowdark, and close-quarters special rules for all the Gallowdark scenery in the box, Gallowdark rules like the condensed environment which make weapons with the blast, torrent, and splash traits deadly in the cramped corridors, and rules for the new Soulshackle scenery, including the breach points which can be blasted open with charges. It also has a Critical Operations: Gallowdark Mission Pack (repeated from Into the Dark), a series of 9 matched play missions, and Shadow Operations: Soulshackle a series of 9 narrative missions that makes use of the Killzone: Shadowvault, which aren't as fairly balanced for matched play.

It doesn't include the Gallowdark Expedition rules for running a campaign, so if you haven't picked up Into the Dark and want those rules, you will need to pick up Into the Dark starter set or the Into the Dark mission book separately.

Kill Team Soulshackle Adeptus Arbites Guard A Command Section.

What are the Adeptus Arbites Extraction Squad Kill Team Troop Choices?

The Adeptus Arbites are a force that upholds the Imperial Law, but they aren't concerned with low-level crimes, that's the job of the enforcers, the Arbites are focused on anything that affects a world's ability to pay the Imperial tithe. The Extractions Squads are specialized units tasked with hunting down and capturing those that seek to avoid the Emperor's justice. 

The Extraction Squad has 12 different troop types and can field 11 operatives in games. If you want to build all of the troop options, you will have to purchase a second set of Arbites, and working out of 1 set, you will need to make some choices about which operatives you want to field.

Extraction Squads have the ability to fire into combat, ignoring friendly operatives engaged with their targets, so that no law-breaker is safe.

  • Arbites Proctor-Exactant - The Extraction Squad leader comes with 2 weapon profiles. The standard combat shotgun and repression baton of the Arbites, or the dominator maul and assault shield that the Subductors come armed with. They also come with a Nuncio-Aquila, which can be deployed or carried, and makes it harder for enemies to capture objectives or complete mission actions.
  • Arbites Vigilant - The core Extraction Squad trooper, armed with combat shotguns and repression batons, so they can operate at all ranges. Their shotgun has four attacks hitting on 5+ for 2 damage at long, or 3+ for 4 damage within a red pentagon. Their melee batons have 3 attacks, hitting on 4+ for 2 damage for when things get up close.
  • Arbites Castigator - These ruthless Arbites come armed with the standard combat shotgun and a special excruciator maul which has 4 attacks for 4 damage, along with rending and stun. They can also ignore wounds on a 6+, and can't have their stats modified. Their special Castigators Arrest action lets them lock down an enemy with a wound stat of 10 or less if they both survive combat.
  • Arbites Chirurgant - The standard medic comes with the same armament and stats as the Vigilants, but can heal nearby Arbites and once per turning point, stop a nearby friendly unit from being incapacitated.
  • Arbites Gunner - The gunners have 3 armament options, an AP1 grenade launcher, a 5-attack heavy stubber with ceaseless and fusillade, but limited movement, and the short-range webber with lethal and stun.
  • Arbites Malocator - The Malocators come armed with the standard shotgun/baton combo, but have two very useful abilities that make them an auto-take. The first lets them complete a pick-up or mission action for one less activation point once per turn, and the second is a unique action that lets them select an enemy in line of sight, which all friendly operatives who make an attack against that unit can upgrade a hit to a critical hit until the end of the turn. Very handy for piling onto a high armor or durable target.
  • Arbites Marksman - The Arbties sniper is armed with an accurate executioner shotgun. Its profile has 4 attacks, hitting on a 3+ and dealing 4 damage with silent and heavy to restrict movement. it can be fired after the Take Aim special action which gives it the balanced and no cover special rule to really reign accurate fire on their targets. It's a much-needed ranged profile option for the Extraction Squad.
  • Arbites Revelatum - The Revelatum acts as a scout for the team, and after the first initiative phase, if they are within your drop zone, they can make a normal move with fly for free to boost them into the battlefield. They can also target nearby visible enemy operatives with the conceal order, and allow nearby friendly units to target them by treating them as if they had the engage order.
  • Arbties Subductor - The Subductors come armed with a dominator maul and assault shield that can be used in an offensive or defensive profile. Defensive makes them the attacker in combat, and allows them to discard 2 of your opponent's dice with a parry, offensive gives them stun on a crit.
  • Arbites Vox-Signifier - The comms team member comes with the same Vigilant armament, but with the added unique ability to give a visible friendly operative an action point at the cost of one of their own. Great for allowing other team members to complete mission actions and their unique actions if they've pushed ahead in the field.
  • Arbites Leashmaster - The Leashmasters deploy with the Cyber-Mastiff and they both operate together, completing their actions in any order. The Leashmaster has the same standard Vigilant armament and a unique action that can change the attack pattern of the Cyber-Mastiff. The 3 attack pattern options allow you to give the Cyber-Mastiff's attacks relentless, boost its movement, or boost its save.
  • Arbites R-VR Cyber-Mastiff - The Cyber-Mastiff has a mechanical bite that has 4 attacks, hitting on a 4+ for 3 damage and 5 crit damage, along with an Aprehend unique action that does D3 mortal wounds, and then restricting them from falling back until they win a roll off with the Cyber-Mastiff.
Kill Team Soulshackle Drukhari Killers Storm A Breach Point.

What are the Drukhari Hand Of The Archon Kill Team Troop Choices?

The Drukhari are a xenos race of beings related to the Aeldari, who are made up of kabals whose focus is on enslavement and torture. These kabals are led by Archons, and the Hand of the Archon kill teams are made up of elite warriors sworn to those leaders.

The Soulshackle sprue allows you to build all of the fighter types for the kill team, but you will have to make some armament choices for the Archsybarite, Gunner, and Heavy Gunner.

The Hand of the Archon warriors can build up pain tokens as they incapacitate enemies during the battle, which they can spend to reroll dice, gain extra activations, and perform free dash actions after incapacitating enemies.

​ Kill Team Soulshackle Drukhari Hand Of The Archon Troop Choices.
  • Kabalite Archsybarite - The kill team's leader comes with a variety of armament options. An accurate, low-damage but lethal splinter pistol, or a higher-damage AP2 blast pistol, and a venom blade (if the blast pistol is taken), or a power weapon with lethal 5+ and 6 crit damage or an agoniser with brutal and lethal 5+ (if the splinter pistol is taken). Or they can take a longer-range splinter rifle and array of blades combo. They gain an extra CP if you pass during your first play in each strategic phase, and they can take aim if armed with a splinter rifle to give it the balanced special rule.
  • Kabalite Agent - Agents are the standard warriors of the Hand of the Archon. Armed with splinter rifles and the unique take aim action, they can be pretty decent for line troopers.
  • Kabalite Crimson Duelist - The Duelist comes armed with a splinter pistol, which has the same stats but a shorter range than the splinter rifle, and a razor flail. Their flail has 4 attacks, hitting on 2+ for 4 damage, with brutal and the ability to parry 2 hits for each of their hits make them extremely handy in combat, and their crimson assault unique action lets them attack, and then attack again if they are still within engagement range of an enemy. They can also stop nearby enemy operatives from performing mission actions if they incapacitate other enemy operatives.
  • Kabalite Disciple of Yaelindra - This poison specialist has a couple of very nasty tricks. Their stinger pistol deals mortal wounds for rolling under the target's save characteristic, and if it incapacitates an enemy, they can explode dealing mortal wounds to other nearby operatives (friend or foe), who can further explode if incapacitated. They also have torment grenades, that on a 3+ deal 2 mortal wounds a turn and injure the targets for the rest of the game.
  • Kabalite Elixicant - The Elixicant is an auto-include for any Hand of the Archon kill team. At the start of the game, they can give all friendly operatives the ability to negate the loss of a wound on a 6+ or add a black triangle to their movement. They also have a unique action that lets them heal D3+1 wounds to nearby friendly operatives, or change the ability selected at the start of the game for that operative. Along with their splinter rifle, they also come armed with a short-range stimm-needler that causes no damage but stuns on a 3+.
  • Kabalite Flayer - Flayers reduce the damage stat of all attacks against them by 1, and also give nearby operatives pain tokens the first time each combat they hit with a critical with their pain sculptor melee weapon.
  • Kabalite Gunner - Gunners have two weapon choice options. The 4 attacks, high damage AP2 blaster, or the 5 attacks lower damage shredder with blast.
  • Kabalite Heavy Gunner - The heavy gunners also have 2 weapon choices. Both are heavy, so restrict movement, and the dark lance requires 2 action points to fire, but has 4 attacks dealing 6 damage each. The other option is a splinter cannon that has 5 attacks only dealing 3 damage each but has lethal 5+ and 5 crit damage.
  • Kabalite Skysplinter Assassin - The Skysplinter Assassin is another auto-include for the Hand of the Archon kill team due to their Omen special rule, which allows them to select an enemy operative who then has to re-roll all attack and defense dice rolls of 6 or a friendly operative who has to reroll all attack and defense rolls of 1. They also come armed with a razorwing, which can be used to mark enemy operatives for this unit, to target them when they have a conceal order, or for an additional attack action with the razorwing, allowing them to also shoot with their shardcarbine, which deals 2 mortal wounds on a 5+.
Kill Team Soulshackle Gallowdark Scenery.

What Gallowdark Space Hulk Scenery does Kill Team Soulshackle Contain?

Soulshackle includes the same great Gallowdark space hulk scenery that Into the Dark and Shadowvaults had, along with a new Soulshackle scenery set, which allows you to build the breach point walls, hatchway jammers, hololith dias, augur display, control lectern, and relay station for use in the Killzone: Soulshackle rules. All of the scenery is completely interchangeable with the Into the Dark and Shadowvaults sets, allowing you to build up a larger claustrophobic space hulk over the course of this Kill Team season.

This means that if you don't have Into the Dark, you still have enough scenery to fill a standard Kill Team Gallowdark board, without having to pick up Into the Dark or Shadowvaults, but if you already have either of those, it does duplicate the Gallowdark scenery, which will allow to fill 2 or more linked boards for some large scale space hulk exploration.

This also ties in with the Arks of Omen boarding actions rules for Warhammer 40K, which will require 2 sets of Gallowdark scenery to play. With 2 of the 3 Kill Team sets, you'll also be able to play the boarding actions just by picking up Arks of Omen.

What Are Our Final Thoughts On Kill Team Soulshackle?

Both of the new kill teams are fun and thematic, and the 9 Soulshackle missions also have some solid gaming experiences. The new breach points and hatchway jammers in the Soulshackle scenery sprue also add some great new dynamics to games. Picking this up or not will depend on how much you want any of the contents, and we discuss below if you should buy it or not as each of the parts will be available separately eventually.

Should I Buy Kill Team Soulshackle?

Picking up Soulshackle will entirely depend on how much you want the individual content. If you want either of the kill teams and don't want to wait for their individual release, then this will be the only way to get them until they are released separately. Most of the scenery is duplicate Gallowdark walls, so if you already have both Into the Dark and Shadowvaults, you're going to have another set of scenery (even beyond the requirement for 40K Boarding Actions which needs 2 sets). But if you are looking to set up huge multiplayer Kill Team games in Gallowdark, then you might want that much scenery. The Hand of the Archon kill team is the same core sprue as is already available, but with an added upgrade sprue for all the unique units, so that might have an effect on if the purchase is right for you.

If you haven't picked up Into the Dark or another Kill Team starter set, you will need to core rulebook and other accessories to play as this is an expansion, not a starter set. All that aside, if the cost is right for you to access the 2 new kill teams, then this is still a solid Kill Team experience, with 2 great new forces, 9 new missions, and the hatchway jammers and breach points also add some great new dynamics to games.

The copy of Kill Team Soulshackle used to produce this preview was provided by Games Workshop.


Review Summary

Both of the new kill teams are fun and thematic, and the 9 Soulshackle missions also have some solid gaming experiences. The new breach points and hatchway jammers in the Soulshackle scenery sprue also add some great new dynamics to games. Picking this up or not will depend on how much you want any of the contents, and we discuss below if you should buy it or not as each of the parts will be available separately eventually. (Review Policy)

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A Potts TechRaptor
| Senior Tabletop Writer

Adam is a Tabletop Specialist for TechRaptor. He started writing for TechRaptor in 2017 and took over as Tabletop Editor in 2019 and has since stood down… More about Adam

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