Just a few weeks after the release of Kill Team: Into the Dark, the next big box set follows with Kill Team: Shadowvaults. The brand new Cadian Kasrkin take on the Necron Hierotek Circle. In this review, we take a look at the full box contents and find out whether it’s a worthy follow-up to Into the Dark or not.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults Review/Unboxing
This item was provided by Games Workshop. Thoughts and opinions are our own.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults will be available for preorder starting Saturday, October 15th 2022, and is on sale one week after. It’s my impression that this box will have a single print run only, so when it’s gone it’s gone, likely to be replaced with separate releases for the warbands, terrain and books.

Similar to Warcry (see our Warcry: Heart of Ghur review here), Kill Team releases are tied to a themed “season” that started with Kill Team: Into the Dark (see our review here). Two more boxes will follow at quarterly intervals, further expanding the Gallowdark setting and terrain, and introducing two new Kill Teams each. The name of the next boxes will be Kill Team: Kill Team: Soulshackle and Kill Team: Gallowfall.

Please note: Due to shipping delays we were unable to photograph the contents of the box ourselves in time and therefore have to resort to image material from Games Workshop. We will replace the pictures as soon as possible.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults review

Kill Team: Shadowvaults contains two new Kill Teams, the Cadian Kasrkin, which are completely new models, and the Necron Hierotek Circle. These are based on the existing Immortals/Deathmarks sprue, with a new upgrade sprue plus the existing Cryptek Technomancer model.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults review contents
Kill Team: Shadowvaults content (© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission)

The terrain is largely identical to the contents of the Kill Team: Into the Dark box, but there is a new scatter terrain sprue that includes mobile ordnance in the form of a heavy bolter sentry turret and a robot crawler with buzzsaw arm. The gaming board is the same.

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Kill Team: Shadowvault does not contain a copy of the core rules, nor the Kill Team essential sprue and counters. but a new Shadowvault book that contains the rules for close confines combat,

The Kasrkin – review

The Kasrkin come on three medium sprues and thus follow the same layout as Ork Commandos and the Corsair Voidscarred. The base size is 28mm, and there is a new Cadian transfer sheet.

Cadian Kasrkin from Kill Team: Shadowvaults
© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission

You can either build all 10 Kasrkin models with either a hotshot lasgun or a special weapon (included are 2 plasma guns, 2 meltaguns, 2 flamer, 2 grenade launchers, and 2 hot-shot volley guns), a Sergeant (with a choice of bolt, plasma or hotshot laspistol, chain or power sword, or pointing hand), and one of each of the Kill Team exclusive operatives: 1 Sharpshooter, 1 Vox-trooper, 1 Demo-trooper, 1 Combat-medic, and 1 Recon-trooper.

The models are insanely detailed and have more realistic proportions than old Cadian Astra Militarum models. In terms of size, they are on the same eye level as other modern human models such as the Traitor Guardsmen and Chaos Cultists. As it has become the norm with most modern multipart infantry kits, the torso and legs are fused so that only the heads are freely posable and interchangeable. There are 23 heads in total, 10 enclosed helmets with rebreathers, 10 heads with exposed faces, and 3 bare heads without helmets.

The special operative upgrade parts are designed for specific bodies. While the assembly guide proposes certain arm pairs for specific bodies, the arm and shoulder connections are flat. So in theory, all arm pairs can be combined with all bodies, though not all combinations might compliment each other pose-wise.

The Kasrkin are a 10-model Kill Team that bring a new resource in the form of elite tokens, which you could use to increase dice rolls by 1. You can select each special operative once, and up to four Gunners (or three Gunners and a Sharpshooter), but they have to pick a different special weapon each.

The Necrons

As already mentioned, the Necrons are based on old models plus a new upgrade sprue. You get the old Immortals/Deathmarks sprue, which contains 5 models on 32 mm bases, the old Cryptek Technomancer on a 40 mm base, as well as a new upgrade sprue.

Necron Hierotek Circle from Kill Team Shadowvaults
Some of the Necrons’ promo pictures showed 9 instead of 8 models (© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission)

The upgrade sprue contains extra bitz to make one Apprentek and one Despotek, two Plasmacytes on 25mm bases, and a few optional Deathmark heads. Some of the promo pictures have been misleading, showing four Deathmarks plus the Apprentek and Despotek, but, in fact, you only get five Immortal/Deathmark bodies, of which you can upgrade two to an Apprentek or Despotek.

The Hierotek Circle is an elite 8 operatives team. While the box contains only the regular Cryptek (Technomancer), you can in fact choose between a Technomancer, Chronomancer, and Psychomancer for your Leader operative, each having APL3 and bringing a unique set of Cryptek Actions. Then you have to take the two Plasmacytes, and then select five operatives from a list of Apprentek, Despotek, Immortals, and Deathmarks. The Apprentek and Despotek can only be chosen once.

While it is a pity that the Necrons are based on old models (Kill Team: Into the Dark had two completely new teams), the addition of the Cryptek, Apprentek and Plasmacytes adds a good amount of unique flavour compared to the Necrons Kill Team from the Compendium. However, unlike Compendium Necrons, Warriors and Flayed Ones are no longer an option.

The terrain

The content of Kill Team: Shadowvaults can best be described as “more of the same”. Included are the same 6 sprues of Gallowdark Space Hulk walls and doors as in Kill Team: Into the Dark (three different sprues twice each).

Instead of the two scatter terrain sprues from Into the Dark, you get a new sprue, which means Shadowvaults has one less sprue of terrain than Into the Dark had.

New Gallowdark terrain sprue from Kill Team: Shadowvaults
The new Shadowvaults terrain sprue (© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission)

On the new Shadowvaults terrain sprue you will find two weapon caches, two search light elements, and two security consoles (all identical), a bomb and two piles of weapons, as well as the buzzsaw-armed robot crawler and heavy weapons sentry turret, which all play a big part in the new Shadowvaults missions.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults terrain and gaming board
© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission

The gaming board is exactly the same as the one from Kill Team: Into the Darkness. At 70.3 x 60.7 cm, this has a different format to the previous Kill Team and Warcry game boards (which have a size of 75.9 x 56.7 cm, nominally 30″ x 22″).

Kill Team: Into the Dark terrain dimensions & measurements
Gallowdark terrain element dimensions & measurements

By the way, exact measurements of all the Gallowdark Space Hulk elements and a comparison with other 40k terrain pieces can be found in our Kill Team: Into the Dark review.

Shadowvaults rulebook review

The structure of the Shadowvaults expansion book is quite similar to the Into the Dark book. There are the usual lore sections with a few short stories and a miniature showcase mixed in. We have rules for the Kasrkin and Necrons, and a reprint of the Killzone: Gallowdark and Close Quarter rules. The book has a new Killzone: Shadowvaults section, which covers the unique terrain features from the new sprue like the turrets, but doesn’t comprise the Killzone: Into the Dark rules for the scatter terrain pieces from the Into the Dark box. Feels very DLC-ish, especially since that was only one page of rules.

Kill Team: Shadowvaults rulebook review
© Copyright Games Workshop Limited, used without permission

Last but not least, there is a new Shadowvaults mission pack with 9 new missions, while the competitive Gallowdark mission pack is a reprint from the Into the Dark book.

While this box lacks the Core Rules book that Into the Dark had, remember you can also download a condensed 3-page version of the core rules over on Warhammer Community (as well as free rules for Primaris Intercession Kill Teams).

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Value

For the price of £110 / 145 € / $185, the box obviously offers a lot of content. The Kasrkin are fantastic and the Necron upgrades are okayish. Still, I can’t help to feel a bit disappointed with Shadowvault’s selection of terrain, and there’s just a little less of everything than in Kill Team: Into the Dark. On the other hand, if you haven’t grabbed Into the Dark yet, perhaps because you weren’t interested in the teams or already have the core rules book and templates, this box offers a good and even slightly cheaper entry into the Killzone: Gallowdark games of Kill Team.

If you want to (pre)order Kill Team: Shadowvaults and grab a discount of up to 20%, please check out our partner stores Wayland GamesElement Games, and Taschengelddieb to see if the box is still available:

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7.0
Score

Pros

  • Kasrkin are fantastic plastic upgrades with loads of options and 8 special weapons
  • Enough Gallowdark terrain to cover a whole Kill Team board
  • Bombs, crawlers and sentry turrets add some new spice to Gallowdark games

Cons

  • Necrons are "just" older models with a new upgrade sprue
  • The terrain is pretty much identical to the content of Into the Dark

Final Verdict

Kill Team: Into the Dark already contained enough Space Hulk walls and modules to fill an entire Kill Team board, and the only real innovation of Shadowvaults are the two vehicles (their sprue & rules could easily have been added to Into the Dark). Hopefully the new terrain sprue will also be released separately, because buying both Gallowdark boxes only makes sense if you want to combine the contents for Warhammer 40,000 games with the announced Boarding Actions expansion. Fingers crossed that Games Workshop will come up with something more exciting for the next two Kill Team boxes in the Gallowdark setting.