Kroot Tactica for 5th Edition

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This tactica is a guide to getting the most out of your favourite cannibalistic space chickens in 5th edition. Kroot are probably one of the most versatile units in the Tau Codex, and there are many different ways to use them in battle and make the most of this versatility, they can be dedicated assault unit, a stealthy infiltrator, a speed bump, a counter assault unit, an objective holder…or even just a damn nuisance. The most important thing is to work out what job you want them to do and then build the unit appropriately to fill this roll. Kroot played well have the potential to be truly devastating (especially when you figure in there low cost - Point for Point they are probably the best thing in our Codex).

So in this Tactica we will look at the available Kroot models and there usage, building Kroot units to maximise there advantage, and Kroot Tactics and sneaky tricks for 5th edition - and hopefully teach a few opponents to never underestimate the Kroot!

Kroot Models

These are the main component choices of a Kroot Unit - and what you pick from the list above should really depend on what job you want the Kroot to fill within your Army (we will cover this in greater detail later in the Tactica). Each different Kroot type adds different strengths and abilities to you list, and in many ways add even more versatility to you unit choices.

Kroot - A decent, very cheap troop type carries a Kroot rifle which basically amounts to being a Bolter and an additional close combat weapon.

Significant advantages. - Can Infiltrate and Outflank, low points cost.

Disadvantages - No save (5Th Ed gives cover save though), Low leadership.

Kroothound - Very cheap, can be added as part of the basic Kroot Unit, has initiative 5 and the same basic stat line (+1 Attack) as the Kroot.

Significant advantages.
- Can Infiltrate and Outflank and has I"5, very handy for CC.

- No gun, no save, low leadership - although for the points cost I am not sure these really count as disadvantages.

Krootox - Expensive and carries a gun that is easily replicated (and bettered) by other models in the Tau list - probably the worst option for a Kroot Unit, but does have its uses depending on how you use your Kroot.

Significant advantages.
- 3 Wounds (useful Wound sink), S6, Highest Strength gun the Kroot can have.

- When included in a unit you lose Infiltrate (and Outflank). Expensive, Gun easily replicated.

Shaper - Kroot Leader. Can be given Pulse weapon.

Significant advantages. - 3 Wounds (useful Wound sink), higher leadership, 3 attacks (5 on the charge with Kroot Rifle). Can give Kroot a 6+ Save (but this is not really that useful).

-costs the same as 4 normal Kroot, 6+ Save not really that useful.

Kroot roles on the battlefield.

Depending on your list and play style Kroot can either form a major part of your list and strategy or a minor role, outlined below are just a few of the most common uses for Kroot and the models you will need to select to perform these rolls in the most efficient (and cost effective way).

Kroot role 1)

- A cheap scoring unit. I am not a particular fan of this use of Kroot, I don't think it makes the most of there abilities, but it is still a valid usage. In 5th edition Fire Warriors and Kroot are your only scoring units in 2/3rd's of games. Kroot are the most cost effective way to get a cheap scoring unit (that still has the potential and numbers to affect the game). And many people will take a standard unit of 10 Kroot just for this purpose, it's an extra scoring unit, it's cheap, and it has an ok gun and is ok at CC.

Using Kroot in this way you probably don't have any great plans for them, they are designed to be a cheap disposable unit that can hopefully hold an objective/bolster your defensive line etc. You are not really utilising the unit's potential, but it is adequate to do the job you have assigned it.

Kroot role 2).

The Kroot Rifle Squad/Pill Box approach.  - This is similar in purpose to the above, using Kroot as a Rifle Squad within your Army (and therefore scoring unit etc) but here there is more scope for boosting the unit and more reliance on them tactically - you haven't just taken them because they are a cheap Troops choice, you are taking them because they have a Job to do.

A Kroot Rifle Squad will generally number between 10 - 20 basic Kroot and will sometimes include a Shaper (for the extra leadership). There are many different ways to use this unit, but most commonly it will either form part of your defensive line (protecting suits, adding fire power [they essentially carry a basic Bolter that counts as an extra CC weapon] or sitting on an objective and refusing to be moved) or an Objective Holder.

The advantages here are that they can lay down a withering amount of fire at 24 inches, Rapid Fire within 12 inches and if they are charged in CC they stand a better chance of winning the fight than anything else in the Tau Codex. They also get to take advantage of Cover Saves. Sit them in cover and they have a 4+ save, sit them in cover in Woodland and they have a 3+ Save (or if there are no enemies in range to fire at they could go to ground, giving them a 2+ save). These are Kroot Pill box tactics, sit them in cover and let them absorb huge amounts of fire while holding an objective/blasting the enemy) - Adding the Shaper for these units can be effective because he adds +1 leadership to your brave boys (which could help them say in place for longer).

The other choice for this type of unit is the Krootox, but you need to be very sure of what you want the unit to do before you choose them - for these reasons.

With the Krootox.

Your unit gains a S7 long range gun, increases there effectiveness at light armour destruction and has the potential for S6 CC attacks if the enemy gets close. The other big advantage is Wound Allocation - they are a 3 Wound Model that counts as a different model type for wound allocation purposes. Let's say you have a unit of Kroot that has a Shaper and 3 Kroot Ox (the maximum you can take per unit) sat in cover. You have 4 three Wound Models (of two different types) within the unit, let say the unit takes 5 Wounds - you could allocate 1 wound to the Shaper - 3 Wounds to the Kroot Ox's and then only 1 wound on the normal Kroot. The advantage of this is that you limit the chances of losing a model, as the Shaper would take 1 wound (and have 2 Wounds left) - The Kroot Ox's would take there 3 saves as a batch, and would only lose a model if you failed all 3 saves (if you allocated only 2 wounds to them then it would be impossible to lose a model) - and then you have the last wound on the normal Kroot. If you take a 4+ save as average, then 5 wounds on the Kroot would normally result in 2.5 Dead Kroot, with the Ox's and the Shaper this drops to 0.5 Dead Kroot. - It adds survivability. (But watch out for weapons that remove cover saves/inflict instant death).

The problem with the Kroot Ox is you lose a lot of the units versatility, you can no longer Infiltrate or Outflank - which means your Kroot Rifle Squad is tied down to one roll (and deployment option) for the whole battle.

Without the Krootox.

You keep the versatility of the unit (but have less survivability) - Basically without the Krootox you have the full range of options for your Kroot - depending on the situation your Kroot Riflemen could perform multiple roles. They could deploy normally in a key position and do there intended job, but you also have the option to Outflank them if you want (if there is a juicy objective on the flank for example) or Infiltrate them (let your opponent deploy and then place them in the most advantageous place). You could even infiltrate them in a more aggressive role - for example - you can infiltrate within 18 inches of a target unit in LOS and within 12 Inches out of LOS. Imagine the carnage that two units of 20 Kroot could cause infiltrating within 12 - 18 inches of the enemy, moving forward a bit and then rapid firing - 80 S4 shots will make a mess of most targets! Especially if you have some fast moving back up moving up the table in support. Or maybe some other Infiltrate Support. Similar to the above but bringing Kroot in with something else, such as stealth suits (then rushing up support such as Piranha's etc). With a unit of stealth's high ROF the Kroot are very effective at covering the Stealth's, providing assault cover, extra shots etc. Makes your suits more survivable and can cause havoc with your enemy early on (Stealth's, Gun drones and Kroot) infiltrating in close and pouring fire on a horde army, or infantry heavy force will make a mess - and people don't expect Tau to get that close that fast

Final Option.

Both the cheap Kroot Unit and the Kroot Rifle Squad have another purpose and advantage. Ablative Wounds for your XV8 Commander. If you deploy these units normally you have the option of adding your Shas'El/'O to the unit. There are lots of advantages to this. One, your Commander gains a large amount of ablative wounds (in the form of Kroot). Two, your Commander adds to the Fire Power of the unit. Three, the Kroot benefit from the Commanders Leadership, and Four, the Commander increases the units survivability [For example, a Commander, 2 Shield Drones, a Shaper and 3 Krootox in one unit - that's 4 different units for wound allocation purposes, 5 with the basic Kroot as well - It means your Kroot could take a Large amount of Wounds before they lost a Model].

The main disadvantage of this is the fact that whatever unit you attach the Commander too loses the Fieldcraft ability to move through woodland (as the Commander does not have it).

Kroot Role 3

Dedicated Assault. Your Kroot can be truly effective as a dedicated assault unit (thanks to large numbers and the mighty Kroot Hound). Kroot in numbers (with Hounds) can be devastating on the charge, and can take out literally anything, Outflank is one of the main components here, enabling them to get close and personal without suffering from enemy fire beforehand, or just to sweep onto an objective - attack behind the lines, destroy fire bases etc. You need at least 10 Kroot and 10 Kroot Hounds for this (I normally play 15 Kroot and 10 Kroot Hounds, 75 attacks on the charge). Close Combat should pan out with your Hounds going first (against most enemies), then your opponents attacks, then your Kroot (or your opponent and Kroot go at the same time. If your opponent goes first (with what he has left after 30 Hound attacks) then remove any casualties he causes from the Hounds and you still get your full complement of attacks from the Kroot. (Great with Ninja Tau, Mobile armies)...

You could also choose to infiltrate you assault units, or deploy them in line as a counter assaulter.

Generally speaking the Assault unit Kroot do not require Shapers or Krootox, both would be counterproductive to the unit's abilities and push up costs.

Kroot Role 4
Counter Assault.  Protecting your gun lines, standing in front of important units and either taking the charge or counter assaulting and slowing down the enemy's attack. Again, 10/15 Kroot can do this, or maybe 10 Kroot and 5 Hounds. (Good for static/Gun line lists).

Kroot Role 5
With Deep Striking  more common, and thinks like drop pods coming down with Melta weapons in the 1st turn it can sometimes help to flood the area with Kroot, stopping them from getting in that sweet 12 inch double damage dice range on your vehicles, forcing DS mishaps, or granting cover saves to crisis/broadsides etc.
(Good for static/Gun line lists).

Most Versatile Unit Configuration.

The Most Versatile unit configuration is the Standard Kroot and Hounds Combination - 10 Kroot and 10 Hounds - It is capable of filling any of the above rolls and can deploy equally effectively in anyway (Infiltrate, Outflank, Table Edge Reserve). It can operate as an Assault Squad, a Gun line, and above all it's a scoring unit. It is probably the best overall Kroot Build for a Hybrid Army (as it can be used in so many different ways).

Kroot in battle.

How you use your Kroot in battle really depends on the sort of unit you have taken and the role you have assigned them. For example, in a Ninja Tau force you will probably be running with the combined unit of Kroot and Hounds and Outflanking them into battle in the later stages of the game - either to take Objectives, destroy tanks (Rear Armour 10 will fall in CC to Kroot, especially if the vehicle has not moved) or wipe out units. If your Kroot outflank beside a unit of 10 Guardsmen, or a vehicle that has not moved/moved 6"  you will probably assault, if they Outflank by a unit of Genestealers (or equivalent) you will probably want to rapid fire them (they have a Higher Initiative than your Hounds so would strike before them in CC).

That's just one example however - there are many other different ways you can deploy and use your Kroot in combat, and Kroot are so versatile that they can play effectively in pretty much any scenario. - So rather than concentrating on a scenario by scenario reading it's probably better to focus on a few Kroot Rules for battle. These Rules will enable you to get the maximum use from your Kroot in the most cost effective way, and also prevent you from throwing them away unnecessarily against inappropriate targets.

Kroot and Shooting.

The Kroot Rifle is a very good weapon, it is often pointed out that the Rifle has less Strength (and therefore less potential to kill than the Pulse Rifle/Carbine) - However this is a neglible difference when you take into account the differing factors between Kroot and Fire warriors - Kroot are cheaper, you can take bigger unit sizes (hence more guns firing), they have the same Basic BS Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill(but can't take advantage of Marker lights) and In CC the Kroots basic stats combined with the extra attack granted by the Rifle will guarantee a far more effective showing than any unit of Fire Warriors.

When you take this into account the Kroot Rifle is a fearsome weapon - it's basically a Bolter with Benefits. The Key is deciding when to shoot, what targets to shoot at, and recognise when CC will be the more effective option.


The Kroot rifle (exactly like a Bolter) will annihilate horde and targets with no armour save/6+ save out in the open, it will also do well against T3 models with a 4+ save etc. However, against most vehicles it has a fairly slim chance of penetrating (and even then most of the time you need to be facing the rear armour), It will also struggle to effectively hurt TEQ's etc. Monstrous Creatures are an interesting quantity - you are unlikely to do much damage but if they have only 1 Wound left its worth firing at them - you may get lucky.

The interesting point with Kroot comes when you get/your enemy gets close (within 12 inches). - You then have to decide if it's better to charge or fire.

For example - you have a small unit of 10 Kroot and a Unit of 20 Orks within 12 inches - your options are firing or assaulting, so which one is better?

If you rapid fire you will get 20 Shots, 10 will hit, 5 will wound - 5 dead Orks. The 15 remaining Orks will then charge you next turn (Getting there furious charge bonus). You will fight at the same time, so 15 Orks with 60 attacks on the charge….To cut a long story short all your Kroot will die Tongue - you will get to fight too - 20 attacks, 10 will hit, 5 will wound - 5 Dead Orks.

So the end result if you fire in this situation is that the Orks lose 10 (from there unit of 20) and the Kroot are wiped out.

If your 10 Kroot charge into CC however, they go before the Orks in combat - so they get 30 attacks - 15 will hit,  7.5 will wound, with the 6+ save 6/7 will die. If the Orks lose 7, they will only have 13 Models to strike back with - 39 attacks back - 19.5 will hit 9.75 Kroot will die. The Orks will win the Combat and your Kroot will probably be wiped out.

So in this case it's more effective to fire rather than charge - either way you are going to lose your Kroot but firing first will kill more Orks.

However - what if you have 20 Kroot v 20 Orks. - If you fire (40 Shots) - 20 will hit, 10 will wound - 10 dead Orks - when the Orks charge you next turn they will have 30 attacks, 15 will hit 10 will wound - Your Kroot get 40 attacks back, 20 will hit, 10 will wound - 8/9 Orks should die (6+ Save) - The Orks should be wiped out with cumulative losses and you will lose 10 Kroot.

If you charge - you get 60 attacks before the Orks fight - so 30 will hit, 15 will Wound, 13 Orks should die. - The Orks have 7 left so have 21 return attacks - 10.5 will hit, 5.25 will wound. 5/6 Dead Kroot. You win the Combat and if they don't break you will finish them off next turn. - Your losses will be 5/6 Kroot.

So - with equal numbers its better for the Kroot to charge then fire and be charged. - Less Kroot will die.

And this is the skill of playing with Gun line Kroot - When is it better to fire and when is it better to charge? - You have to take other factors into account as well - For example if the Orks were in Woodland they would receive a 4+ Cover Save against your firing, but with the Kroots Field Craft skill if the Kroot assaulted the enemy would not get to strike first in CC for being in cover (Kroot don't have to take a Difficult Terrain test in Woodland so would strike in normal I order). - So in this situation the Assault would kill more Orks.

Then you have dedicated Combat Units - Such as Genestealers, 20 Kroot rapid Firing will wipe out a Unit of Genestealers without losing a single Kroot, if you charge into CC the Stealers go first with I6 (even if you have Hounds) and could win the Combat (or severely hurt your Kroot) before they are wiped out.

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