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Made in us
Brainy Biophagus Brewing Potent Chemicals






The following is intended to serve as a comprehensive primer for the Genestealer Cult ("GSC") faction with their 8th Edition codex, providing a broad overview of their units, abilities, stratagems, and the potential applications thereof. May it prove useful for any aspiring Primuses out there!

The current FAQ for the army can be found here. I will endeavor to keep this post updated as changes are made and make revisions as the game continues to evolve.

Currently undergoing revisions for 9th edition

General Overview:

Strengths:
As a whole, the Genestealer Cults have many tools that allow them to set up favorable engagements, react to the opponent's actions, and reliably deliver threats. The faction also has a plethora of force multipliers to improve combat effectiveness of their units. The melee roster of the army, while somewhat fallen behind the 9th edition faction offerings, is still capable of delivering a solid punch with good weapon skill, armor piercing, and multi-damage options. The army's shooting capabilities are also fairly respectable once force multipliers are taken into account. Most of the faction's unique vehicles also tend to feature heavier weaponry than their counterparts and one of their transport options has the highly desirable open topped ability. The army tends to be fairly competent in securing secondary objective points that are based on positioning, thanks to a wide access to deep strike and good fast attack options.

Weaknesses

Genestealer Cult units tend to be priced similarly to more elite forces while having horde level defenses. As such they generally perform poorly with raw attrition tactics, as they simply can't absorb losses as well as a true horde. Fragility in general is a concern, as units tend to evaporate under sustained fire or prolonged combat which makes them poor at holding objectives (though offensively they have no problem taking objectives). Genestealer Cults also tend to give up lots of secondary objective points with their typical unit compositions. Armies that can deny deep strike (such as Infiltrator-heavy Marine compositions) are also a significant vulnerability for the army as it denies them one of their greatest strengths. Lastly, the army is very hungry for command points in the pre-game and early turns and may struggle to have enough available to do everything it needs.


Army Specific Rules:

Unquestioning Loyalty: Whenever a nearby GSC character suffers a wound but before damage is applied, on a 4+ an infantry model from a nearby unit with this rule (GSC player's choice) may cancel the wound (and any damage it may have inflicted) on behalf of the character and is slain instead. While this significantly helps mitigate the fragility of most GSC characters and provides a layer of protection against snipers, it does not discriminate between 1 wound infantry and multi-wound models - the loyal model is slain outright after intercepting the hit. This rule is useful as a final line of defense against snipers and other effects that can target characters directly, but shouldn't be taken as a license to be reckless.

Cult Ambush: The main army special rule for the Genestealer Cults, Cult Ambush was given an extensive overhaul from previous versions. Rather than roll on a table to see where units arrive, the 8th edition Codex version instead allows units to be deployed either on the table as an ambush token or underground in reserves if an infantry or bike unit. One of the more notable aspects of this division is that vehicle units can now benefit from Cult Ambush whereas before it was exclusively for infantry.
  • Deploying underground operates like a standard deep strike ability, allowing the selected infantry or biker unit to emerge anywhere on the table provided they remain 9’’ away from enemy units. Several stratagems modify how units emerge from underground in much the same way the old ambush table. While this is slightly weaker than the old table due to the added resource cost for the alternate deployment effects, it is infinitely more reliable. The army also has several tools which allow additional units to be moved into reserves to redeploy, bypassing some of the matched play restrictions on reserves. In 9th, this also allows units to be put into tactical reserves without having to pay command points.


  • Deploying in ambush causes the unit to be set up as an ambush marker within the Genestealer Cults deployment zone. Ambush markers are then revealed one at a time either during the first movement phase (if the GSC player goes first) or the beginning of the first shooting phase (if the opponent goes first). A unit deploying from a marker is set up so that one model is within 1’’ of the marker and the rest of the unit remains within the deployment zone. While the ambush markers are on the field, enemy units cannot end their movement or be set up within 9’’ of a given marker, making them a handy tool against certain armies that can deploy units far up the field on the first turn. Units that deploy via ambush marker are counted as having been set up on the table in Matched Play, so they do not take away from the number of units that may be set aside underground and do not suffer to-hit penalties from heavy weapons unless they move on their turn (Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good). Like deploying underground, there are several abilities that allow ambush markers to be moved around within the deployment zone before being revealed, making them very useful for setting up a denied flank deployment or counteracting one.


  • Brood Brothers: A lengthy rule that allows Genestealer Cults to include Astra Militarum detachments as allies in matched play despite not having any shared keywords. Such detachments have several restrictions:

    1. All units must replace their <regiment> keyword (or Militarum Tempestus keyword in the case of Scions) with the Brood Brothers keyword or alternatively gain the Brood Brothers keyword if they have neither. Such units cannot use <regiment> specific orders, <regiment> specific stratagems, or any AM relics (see below).

    2. The Brood Brothers detachment has no command benefits (it can never have CP refunded and does not benefit from subfaction traits).

    3. A character from a Brood Brothers detachment can never be selected as a warlord and no Brood Brothers character can be given relics.

    4. All units with the Brood Brothers keyword gain +1 leadership and the Unquestioning Loyalty ability. Note that while Brood Brothers gain the Unquestioning Loyalty rule, it only allows hits to be taken on behalf of characters with the Genestealer Cults faction keyword, so models can’t sacrifice themselves to negate wounds suffered by a Brood Brothers Astra Militarum character.

    5. Orders can only be issued to units without the Genestealer Cults faction Keyword (so Brood Brother units taken from the GSC codex are ineligible) and units with the Voice of Command or Tank Orders ability can only issue orders to units they would normally be able to issue orders to (Scions can only receive orders from a Tempestor Prime, Infantry from Commanders, etc.). (FAQ)

    6. There can only be one Brood Brothers detachment for each Genestealer Cults detachment. This generally means that there can only be a single Brood Brothers detachment per army due to the way detachments are allocated.

    All Astra Militarum derived units within the Genestealer Cult Codex also feature the Brood Brothers keyword, meaning they do not benefit from the vast majority of the character auras and other abilities that are tied to the <cult> keyword. However, they can be included in GSC detachments without breaking the creed abilities.

    Gene-Sects: A matched play specific rule that limits each GSC character to 1-per detachment. With the new 9th edition army construction rules, this has changed from a mild inconvenience to a significant drawback, as it effectively adds a command point tax to take duplicate characters.

    Broodfather: Another matched play specific rule that prohibits a non-Patriarch GSC or Brood Brother character from being selected as the army’s Warlord if the army includes any Patriarchs. This does not prevent an allied Hive Fleet Tyranid character from being selected as a Warlord if one is available, only GSC or Brood Brothers characters are restricted.


    Cult Creeds:
    One of the most major changes from the index version of the army was the introduction of the <cult> keyword, allowing GSC units the benefits of subfaction rules like most of the other armies. Like several of the early codices in 8th edition, the abilities granted by cult creeds only effect <cult> Infantry and <cult> Bikers. While the Patriarch and Purestrain Genestealers have the <cult> and infantry keyword, they specifically do not gain the abilities related to a given creed. They do benefit from other <cult> effects though, such as character auras, stratagems, and psychic powers.

    Codex Creeds:

    The six Codex <cult> Creeds can be roughly divided between 3 creeds that focus on the “hammer” elements of the army and 3 creeds that focus more on the “anvil” elements of the army. They are as follows:

    Four-Armed Emperor:
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Subterrain Ambushers – Confers +1 to advance and charge rolls on the first turn. From turn two onwards it provides its benefits whenever a unit with the cult ambush rule sets up, such as arriving from underground or disembarking from a vehicle.

    The Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor creed ability strongly favors alpha strike tactics by improving the likelihood of units successfully making the charge after coming out of ambush or a transport. Bikers can also potentially take advantage of the +1 to advance and charge rolls on the first turn to secure early objectives and keep the opponent boxed in. The creed also features a very powerful signature stratagem and useful warlord trait.

    The primary drawback to be mindful of with this creed is sustainability. In most instances the main creed ability will only get to meaningfully trigger a handful of times per game and both the signature stratagem and warlord trait can only be used once per match. As such, it is usually only used for small support detachments dedicated to ambushing melee units that benefit from the added consistency on their arrival.


    Pauper Princes
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Devoted Zealots – Allows units to reroll to-hit rolls on the turn where-in they charge, are charged, or perform a heroic intervention.

    The Pauper Princes are all about increasing the reliability of their attacks and maximizing their offensive capabilities. The creed ability on its own is a relatively straightforward trait common to many of the melee centric subfactions in other armies. It is especially useful for units that are otherwise shackled with a 4+ to hit in close combat (Abominant, Hammer Aberrants, Rock Cutter Acolytes, Neophytes, Jackals) and reduces the workload for a Primus with other units. Their signature stratagem also improves accuracy at an army-wide level, albeit with a finicky trigger condition.

    The biggest issue for the Pauper Princes is that they are the only "hammer" creed that doesn't offer anything to improve the delivery of melee threat, making it somewhat reliant on Goliath chassis vehicles to close with the foe. Certain 9th edition armies being able to turn off reroll effects is also a mild concern for the creed.


    Twisted Helix
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Experimental Subjects – Affected units gain +1 strength and add 2’’ to their advance rolls.

    The Twisted Helix creed serves as a compromise between enhancing the delivery of threats and hitting power. Unlike the Pauper Princes which focus on accuracy and maximizing attacks, for the most part the Twisted Helix is more interesting in making sure what blows land hurt between their base strength boost, signature psychic power, and various character enhancements offered through their warlord trait and relic. Twisted Helix armies will often tend more towards hordes of creed-enhanced troops with a handful of elites to pick off "problem" units.

    Of the three "Hammer" creeds, the Twisted Helix is probably the best suited for 9th edition missions. Increased speed on early turns improves the ability to secure early objectives and added strength helps in cracking heavy infantry.


    Rusted Claw
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Nomadic Survivalists – Units add +1 to their saving throws against attacks with AP- or AP -1. Biker units ignore the penalties for advancing and firing assault weapons and may treat their pistols as assault when advancing. (9th edition errata)

    The first of the “anvil” leaning creeds, the Rusted Claw offers a two part trait that improves the durability of most of its units and offers a significant mobility and firepower enhancement to Atalan Jackals and their boss. Rusted Claw infantry are unusually resilient against the sort of high volume/poor AP shooting usually used to dispose of low toughness troops, especially if they can take advantage of terrain to add cover to their already enhanced armor.

    While the enhanced durability is a major asset, the true power of the Rusted Claw lies in their synergies with the Atalan Jackals. The creed ability itself allows for an impressive threat range for squads loaded with assault weapons (Shotguns and Grenade Launchers), coupled with a surprising amount of firepower with the additional pistol shots granted with the 9th edition FAQ. The signature stratagem of the Rusted Claw continues this general theme of added firepower and mobility, allowing Jackals to both hit hard and zip away from retaliation.

    The main drawback for a Rusted Claw detachment is that the creed is so oriented towards the enhancement of Jackals that most of its best tricks are lost if they are not included. The durability enhancement itself is also vulnerable to armies that tend to field high volumes of AP-2 weapons (loyalist Marines being particular offenders) so depending on meta it might be better to look at one of the other creeds if you aren’t looking to maximize the effectiveness of Jackal packs.


    Bladed Cog
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Cyborgized Hybrids – Bestows a 6+ invulnerable save or improves an existing invulnerable save by one to a max of 3+ (only possible with their unique relic on a non-Patriarch model). Bladed Cog infantry do not suffer penalties for moving and firing heavy weapons.

    The other “anvil”-leaning creed with a focus on durability enhancement, though unlike its counterpart the Bladed Cog offers a surprisingly versatile toolbox with enhancements for both shooting, durability, and melee. The invulnerable save benefit of the creed ability is especially appreciated by characters that come with an invulnerable save (Kelermorph and Locus) and the army’s assault troops who greatly appreciate access to an invulnerable save to counteract the higher average AP of melee weaponry. The second part is comparatively harder to leverage, owing to the relative rarity of infantry-mounted heavy weapons. Neophytes with heavy mining weapons are the foremost beneficiaries (especially with the Seismic Cannon which loves the ability to move up before firing with its short-range profile) but it also benefits a sniper Sanctus as well.

    Owing to the improvements for heavy weaponry, a Bladed Cog army will generally be more Neophyte heavy than most. However, they still want a good selection of melee units to benefit from their signature stratagem and their warlord trait is equally useful for both the range and melee components of the army. Lastly, it is worth noting that the +1 to invulnerable saves aspect of the creed ability also offers some interesting interactions with fortifications that bestow invulnerable saves, making pure Bladed Cog armies one of the rare occurrences where a fortification is perhaps worth considering.



    Hivecult
    Spoiler:

    Trait: Disciplined Militants – Casualties suffered from failed attrition tests by Hivecult infantry are reduced by half (rounding up!). Hivecult units can also shoot after falling back, albeit at a -1 to hit.

    The Hivecult stands out amongst the creeds as promoting a more shooting-centric playstyle. The main trait is useful for both screening units and tarpits, allowing such units to withdraw from a prolonged combat but still get shots in (this aspect is especially useful for units armed with shotguns). The main strength of the creed, however, lies in its excellent signature stratagem and warlord trait. Both serve to drastically improve the consistency of Hivecult ranged weapons and pair remarkably well with the Jackal Alphus. These elements make Hivecult the best option when pursuing a mechanized list, since such lists tend to bring a higher concentration of heavy weaponry that can benefit from what Hivecult uniquely offers.

    The only drawback for Hivecult is that it has very little to offer dedicated assault units beyond the basic toolset available to the Genestealer Cults as a whole. As such it generally wants to be paired with another creed that can provide counter-assault elements for the gunline.


    Custom Creeds:
    Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good provided the Genestealer Cults with the option of forgoing one of the codex creeds in favor of picking two of the following abilities for a cult of one's own creation. Five of the selections are derived from the Codex creeds while the remaining six offer new abilities. In general the opportunity costs involved in taking a custom creed make them less appealing than the main codex creeds, but a few combinations may cover some tactical niches that can be used to support a mainline creed in a small supporting detachment.

    Armor Piercing Ammunition
    Spoiler:

    Effect: When performing an attack at half range with Autoguns, Autopistols, or Heavy Stubbers, add an additional AP-1.
    One of the more universally beneficial of the custom traits, Armor Piercing Ammunition provides ap -1 for some of the most common weaponry in the army at the cost of needing to play aggressively to benefit.


    Munitions Experts
    Spoiler:

    Effect: +1 strength for Blasting Charges and Demolition Charges.

    While limited in what weapons it effects, both weapons appreciate the added strength to break specific thresholds (S4 vs T3 and S9 vs T8) and most units in the army are equipped with Blasting Charges. Has some potential overlap with Armor Piercing Ammunition in that both require units to be close to be use.


    Workers Arisen
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Reroll to-hit rolls with Heavy Mining Weapons (Mining Lasers, Heavy Stubbers, Seismic Cannons).

    Probably the strongest of the custom traits, as it provides the only source of full to-hit rerolls for shooting weapons (albeit it a limited selection of shooting weapons) in the army. An appealing option for making heavy use of Neophytes and Wolfquads as fire support pieces.


    Unnatural Symbiosis
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Allows a psyker with this ability to reroll 1's when taking psychic tests while within 6'' of another unit with this ability.

    A relatively niche choice since it only benefits Magi and is thus limited by the Gene-Sects special rule. That being said, many of the Brood Mind powers have comparatively high casting values and the trait gives a bit of added reliability, so it may be worth considering as a secondary creed ability if taking a Magus and have no other plans for the "slot".


    Devout Worshippers
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Reroll charges while near friendly <cult> Metamorphs. Cannot be combined with the Hunter's Instincts ability (see below).

    This creed helps improve charge reliability for units within proximity of a Metamorph Squad (including said squad). This used to be a fairly good trait for a more-ambush centric build that can stack the reroll benefit with other modifiers (Clamavus, Insidious Mindwyrm) for further reliability, but the price hike Metamorphs saw going into 9th coupled with deep strike in general being a bit emakes it far less appealing.



    Poisoned Blades
    Spoiler:

    Effect: When attacking with a Bonesword, Bonesword with Lashwhip or Cult Knife, the model may make an additional attack for each unmodified to-hit roll of 6 (with standard caveats regarding generating extra attacks from bonus attacks).

    A fairly standard bonus attacks on 6's trait with restrictions on what weapons can trigger the effect. While the Primus, Magus, Jackal Alphus, Kelermorph, and Metamorphs gain benefit on at least one weapon, this creed ability is mostly useful for Jackals and Acolytes who can bring enough volume of knife attacks to reliably generate bonus attacks.


    Hunter's Instincts
    Spoiler:

    Effect: +1 to advance and change rolls on the first game turn.

    This trait is similar to the effect from the Cult of the Four Armed Emperor creed, but without the clause allowing the effect to be used after deep strike in subsequent turns. As such, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to effectively make use of this trait in matched play due to the restrictions on reserves for the first turn. The codex also has other means to grant +1 to advance and charge rolls independent of creed, which further adds an opportunity cost to taking this ability compared to one of the others.


    Innate Fighters
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Reroll to-hit rolls of 1 in combat on turns where the unit charged, was charged, or heroically intervened.

    A weaker version of the Pauper Princes creed ability, but it is the only custom creed ability that improves melee capabilities without significant restrictions. Unlike the Pauper Princes version, Innate Fighters prefers units that already possess good accuracy to offset its more limited scope for rerolling the to-hit die.


    Seasoned Enforcers
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Infantry ignore the penalty for moving and firing with heavy weapons.

    The move and fire benefit from the Bladed Cog creed ability. Seasoned Enforcers has some appeal when combined with one of the other shooting-centric abilities to create a fire support creed, but its benefit only applies to two units which may make the opportunity cost hard to balance.


    Agile Outriders
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Bikes ignore the penalty for advancing and firing assault weapons, may treat pistol weapons as assault while advancing. (9th edition errata)

    Like above, this replicates the accuracy benefit of the Rusted Claw for Atalan Jackals and the Alphus. Given that the Rusted Claw has difficulty in environments with volumes of AP-2 shooting, this is one of the more appealing custom traits for someone running large quantities of Jackals that could benefit from a more reliable secondary ability.


    Thralls of the Patriarch
    Spoiler:

    Effect: Halves casualties from attrition tests (9th edition errata)

    Copied from Hivecult. The usefulness of this trait is somewhat dependent upon taking larger units where moral can come into play.


    Psychic Powers:

    Broodmind Powers
    The Broodmind discipline is the basic set of powers available to all GSC psykers regardless of creed. Befitting a subversive faction, the Broodmind discipline features a mixture of unit buffs, enemy debuffs, and damage powers. A common theme is that many of these powers check against the target’s leadership characteristic before applying their effects, making leadership penalties more useful than they normally are. The powers are:

    Mass Hypnosis: When manifested, Mass Hypnosis prevents its target from firing overwatch, forces them to swing last in combat or as normal if they had an ability that allowed them to always swing first, and puts a -1 to hit penalty on all of their attacks (ranged or melee). Each individual effect is useful, but together they can completely shut down a unit and make it very vulnerable to assault. This is generally the default power to look to as it is good in most circumstances and is rarely without at least one good target.

    Mind Control: A somewhat situational but potentially game changing power in the right situations. If manifested it rolls 3D6 against the target's leadership and if the result is equal to or exceeds the leadership of that model it may make a shooting attack or make a single close combat attack against a target of your choice as if it were one of your own models. While being able to use the foe's own models against them is always powerful, the power of Mind Control goes up significantly the more guns the victim has available to shoot with and is especially dangerous to models carrying plasma weapons that can be overcharged in hopes of slaying the model outright with an overheat in addition to any other damage. However, outside of these targets Mind Control has relatively little utility since it can only affect one model at a time. Note that models under the effects of Mind Control must obey most firing restriction rules (cannot shoot most weapons if an enemy model is 1’’ away) with exception that they are able to attack other models within their own unit.

    Psionic Blast: A smite variant that can be directly targeted at the cost of reduced damage potential. When manifested Psionic Blast rolls 2D6 against the target’s leadership: If the result is less than the target’s leadership the target suffers 1 mortal wound. If equal or greater the target suffers D3 mortal wounds. Arguably the weakest power in the discipline and rarely picked since it doesn't do much more than basic smite.

    Mental Onslaught: When manifested, both the target and the caster roll off and add their respective leadership to the roll. If the target loses the roll, the suffer a mortal wound and must roll again until they either beat the GSC player’s score, roll a natural 6 (FAQ), or are slain. While it is no longer the automatic model-deleting power it was pre-FAQ, Mental Onslaught remains a useful tool for sniping specific models out of units (such as heavy weapons or icons) and putting wounds on low leadership vehicles, but can be made more dangerous with leadership manipulation abilities.

    Psychic Stimulus: When manifested, confers the ability to advance and charge to the targeted GSC unit as well as the ability to always swing first. A good counterpart to Might From Beyond, insuring that the bolstered unit is both delivered and will get to make its blows before the foe can retaliate. Can also be used to aid units caught in an ongoing combat or as a countermeasure against foes with always swings first abilities. Atalan Jackals are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of this power, given their high mobility, but Acolytes appreciate it as well.

    Might from Beyond: When successfully manifested the target GSC Infantry unit gains +1 strength and +1 attack. Generally used to insure a successful alpha strike against tough targets by lowering the to-wound threshold and providing extra attacks.

    Creed Powers
    Introduced in Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good, these powers are tied to the codex cults and can only be taken by a psyker with the corresponding cult creed. Each is themed with their specific cult in mind, making for a rather diverse set of effects compared to the manipulative Broodmind powers.

    Undermine: (Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor) When manifested, a selected enemy infantry unit within 18'' of the psyker must halve all movement, and distances gained from advance or charge rolls. While this has a rather high warp charge value, it is a fairly powerful tool against opposing melee infantry (especially ones that tend to be given double movement, such as Kraken genestealers or possessed).

    Synaptic Blast: (Hive Cult) When manifested, a selected target must roll 1 die for each Hivecult model within 3'' and suffer 1 mortal wound for each 6 rolled. This appears to be designed with Hivecult's trait in mind, as the most likely condition to large volumes of infantry within 3'' would be melee or having just withdrawn from melee. While this could be highly amusing if mobbing a large target, in practice it is difficult to reliably set up compared to standard Smite.

    Undying Vigor: (Bladed Cog) When manifested, a selected Bladed Cog unit gains the ability to negate wounds on a 5+ until the player's next psychic phase. A clone of the Tyranid Catalyst ability and similar in application for making a unit tougher for a turn.

    Inescapable Decay: (Rusted Claw) When manifested, attacks made against a targeted vehicle unit gain an additional point of AP. A nifty tool for combating vehicles with mid-strength weapons that otherwise have poor AP (such as Autocannons) and allows Mining Lasers and Lascannons to punch through a 3+ save entirely. Also worthy of note, Inescapable Decay currently does not care about faction affiliation for applying its effects which gives it added utility in lists bringing allies.

    Last Gasp: (Pauper Princes) An unusual power that gives a Pauper Princes Infantry unit the ability to either shoot or fight before being removed as a casualty on a 4+. This has several potential applications but in general will want to be put on a unit that expects retaliation as a way of getting a bit of extra offense.

    Mutagenic Deviation: (Twisted Helix) When a friendly Twisted Helix model makes a melee attack against the target of this power, they gain the ability to add +1 to the wound roll. This power is especially helpful against high toughness infantry such as Custodes, Grotesques, or Centurions with the added benefit of also reducing the roll needed to cause an AP-4 wound with Rending Claws (or an AP-6 wound with Monstrous Rending Claws) to a 5+.


    Units Overviews:

    HQ:

    Patriarch:
    Spoiler:
    Roughly analogous to the Tyranid Broodlord, Patriarchs combine good melee capability with speed and limited army support through its aura abilities and psychic powers. Each has a suitably monstrous stat line with WS: 2+, S6, T5, 6 attacks, and 6 wounds backed by a 4+ armor save. In addition, they share the Lightning Reflexes rule with their Purestrain kin, granting them the ability to charge after advancing and a 5+ invulnerable save. When combined with the Patriarch's already high innate movement speed, this grants an impressive average threat range of 19’’. Once in combat, the Patriarch’s aptly named Monstrous Rending Claws grant the ability to reroll all failed wound rolls and excellent armor piercing capability with D3 damage per blow, with 6’s to wound being resolved at a staggering AP-6 and a damage characteristic of 3. Outside of its direct offensive capabilities, the Patriarch also acts as a psyker that can manifest and deny a single power each turn. Furthermore, they also possess two aura effects, one that grants friendly <cult> units and Brood Brothers infantry moral immunity and a second which provides a +1 to hit effect for <cult> Purestrain Genestealers.

    While a powerful model, these features come at a rather premium cost. The Patriarch is the one of the most expensive models in the army and, despite its impressive stats, is relatively fragile against return blows. The Broodfather rule also means that it will almost always have to be the Warlord in matched play games, making it an even higher priority target. As such it will generally want to be accompanied by multiple squads to serve as sacrificial pawns and/or look towards warlord traits and relics that improve its ability to avoid damage.


    Magus:
    Spoiler:
    The Magus serves as a "budget" psyker that provides access to the Broodmind discipline at a somewhat reduced cost. Like the Patriarch, the Magus knows two powers in addition to Smite and may manifest one power a turn by default. Where the Magus differs from their counterpart is their Spiritual Leader ability, which allows all friendly non-pyker <cult> models (including vehicles) within range to attempt to deny a hostile psychic power targeting them as though they were psykers themselves. This is especially helpful against Smite and similar offensive powers, freeing the Magus to use their deny attempt on support powers instead.

    A Magus will generally focus more on support powers and lurk somewhere further from the action, due to their fragility. However, their lower cost and smaller base size makes them a preferable candidate for high risk powers like Mind Control. They can defend themselves in melee reasonably well with their Force Staff and Cult Knife, but will generally want to avoid combat where possible.


    Genestealer Familiars:
    Spoiler:

    Genestealer Familiars are small unit add-ons that may be purchased to accompany either a Magus or a Patriarch, forming a character "unit" consisting of the psyker and up to 2 familiars. In addition to providing ablative wounds with which to take high damage hits that Unquestioning Loyalty fails to intercept, each also offers 2 additional S4 attacks with which to lash out against anyone threatening the psyker they are bound to. In addition, if at least one Familiar is present, their master gains a once per game ability to cast an additional psychic power after successfully manifesting a power. If all familiars are slain, this ability is also lost so it is best used earlier than later.


    Primus:
    Spoiler:

    Whereas the Magus is a budget psyker, the Primus at first glance appears to be a budget fighter. However, his true power lies in supporting GSC units with his Cult Demagogue and Meticulous Planner abilities: Cult Demagogue provides a flat +1 to hit for all friendly <cult> units in range during the fight phase, allowing even lowly Neophytes hit most things on a 3+ and practically everything else in the army to hit on a 2+. Meanwhile, Meticulous Planner allows the Primus to pick a single enemy unit on the turn in which he first sets up on the table and bestow the ability to reroll to-wound rolls of 1 for friendly <cult> units with the Cult Ambush ability in range when targeting the marked unit. This latter ability also applies to shooting attacks, allowing the Primus to support shooting assets in taking down a key target if need be.

    Offensively, the Primus has mildly above average combat stats for a guardsmen-sized model, with an innate weapon skill of 2+ and 4 attacks with either a Bonesword or unique Toxin Injector Claw. Unless given a relic Bonesword, he will generally be better off swinging with the Toxin Injector Claw, as it wounds non-vehicle models on a 2+ in addition to the benefits of a common Rending Claw. The Primus also carries a Needle Pistol (poison weapon that wounds on a 2+) and a supply of Blasting Charges to provide limited ranged capability against light infantry.

    The Primus is that he is rather fragile for such a high priority melee target, with the standard GSC armor save of 5+ and no innate invulnerable save. As such he will generally want to lurk behind the main line and only wade into combat with a wall of minions to take hits on his behalf.


    Abominant:
    Spoiler:

    The Abominant is unusual in that it is a surprisingly durable character with multiple layers of defenses to keep it alive and kicking. They feature a monstrous statline with S6, T5, and 5 wounds which are further augmented by the Bestial Vigor ability shared with Aberrants and a passive D3 wounds per turn health regeneration. The Power Sledgehammer wielded by the Abominant provides it with an impressive S12 AP-3 attack with 3 to 6 damage per blow, albeit at the cost of -1 to hit which makes it somewhat inaccurate without assistance. The Abominant also comes equipped with a Rending Claw (which may be used in place of the Sledgehammer against light infantry) and a Mindwyrm Familiar which offers 2 additional S4 attacks after the Abominant itself has swung.

    Like the other GSC leaders, the Abominant has its own aura abilities. Its Chosen One ability causes each natural to-hit roll of 6 made by a friendly <cult> Aberrant unit in range to inflict two hits instead of one, increasing their already impressive offensive capabilities further. Due to the Abominant having the Aberrant keyword it benefits from its own ability, mildly compensating for the relatively low attacks characteristic it possesses and making for a truly unpleasant surprise for targets when the dice are hot. Lastly, the attending Mindwyrm Familiar imposes a -1 penalty to casting rolls on opposing psykers within range, which pairs nicely with the Spiritual Leader ability of the Magus and the Shadow in the Warp ability of Tyranid allies.


    Acolyte Iconward:
    Spoiler:
    The Iconward provides a comparatively cheap support HQ that offers an assortment of effect auras. By default, the Iconward allows friendly <cult> infantry or bike units within range to reroll failed moral checks and confers a 6+ FNP-like ability to nearby units, which adds a bit of extra durability and offers a save against mortal wounds. <cult> Aberrant units in range instead gain the ability to reroll 1’s for their Bestial Vigor ability. Neophytes especially appreciate having an Iconward around, as their larger squad sizes compounded with relatively low target priority means moral is more likely to come into play for them than melee squads. While an Iconward is far from durable, they are relatively capable fighters with 4 rending claw attacks at WS: 3+ and are perfectly comfortable wading into the fight alongside their fellow hybrids if a good opportunity presents itself.


    Jackal Alphus
    Spoiler:
    The Jackal Alphus is unique amongst the GSC HQ options in that her talents favor ranged combat over melee. Being a bike-mounted character, the Alphus features an unusually tough defensive profile for a character by the standards of the faction, with T4 and 5 wounds protected by the ever present 5+ save and a -1 to hit granted by her Skilled Rider ability. The Alphus is armed with a Sniper Rifle with -2 AP and D3 damage as well as an autopistol and cult knife for close combat defense. The most notable aspect of the Alphus, however, is her Priority Target Sighted ability, which allows friendly <cult> units within range (and biker units at double range) to add +1 to hit rolls against a designated target within 36’’ of her during the shooting phase, making her a huge boon for Neophyte-based units and a near-mandatory inclusion for lists incorporating cult vehicles.




    ELITES:

    Aberrants:
    Spoiler:
    Aberrants are the "heavy infantry" of the Genestealer Cults, featuring S5, T4, and 2 wounds backed by the Bestial Vigor rule which reduces damage by 1 and provides a 5+ FNP ability against wounds suffered. Due to this, Aberrants are unusually resilient against common 2 damage weapons that vex other multi-wound infantry, though they are still vulnerable to mass small arms fire due to their 5+ armor. Offensively, each model is equipped with Rending Claws and either a Heavy Power Hammer or Power Pick and may mix weapons in the squad.

    - Power Picks: Power Picks are the anti-infantry focused Aberrant weapon with AP-2, and D3 damage. Furthermore, for each attack made with a Power Pick the bearer may make 1 additional attack with their Rending Claws. This brings models equipped with picks to a more respectable 4 attacks each and a staggering 6 attacks each if under the effects of Might from Beyond, allowing them to pulverize most infantry and even threaten light vehicles/smaller monsters through sheer weight of attacks.

    - Heavy Power Hammers: Heavy Power Hammers are one of the hardest hitting weapons in the army, offering S10, AP-3, and a fixed 3 damage per blow at the cost of a -1 to hit penalty. This makes Aberrants with Hammers one of the best tools available for demolishing T8+ models while offering consistent damage against any multi-wound target. Low volume of attacks means Hammers are rather ineffective against infantry, however, so it is recommended to bring a few Power Picks along to counteract tarpitting. A Primus is also an ideal accompaniment to counteract the accuracy penalty and potentially allow rerolls of 1 to wound against a key target.

    -Rending Claw A Tyranid biomorph commonly found throughout the army, featuring -1 AP and the ability to jump to -4 AP on to-wound rolls of 6+. While all Aberrants are equipped with them, they are unlikely to be used outside of power-pick wielding models, unless the ability to swing without a to-hit penalty is paramount or strength is a non-factor (S6 vs T3 for example).

    In addition, one in five Aberrants may be upgraded to a Hypermorph. The Hypermorph features an additional attack over its regular counterparts, a hypermorph tail, and either a heavy improvised weapon or a power hammer.

    - Heavy Power Hammer: Same weapon as that found on standard Aberrants, though with the benefit of an additional attack at no additional cost. Previously it was a bit overshadowed by the power of the Heavy Improvised Weapon, but post-Chapter Approved 2019 and the release of 9th edition it has become a bit more appealing as the cheaper weapon that still delivers quality S10 attacks.

    - Heavy Improvised Weapon: A weaponized signpost unique available to the Hypermorph. Despite being what amounts to a lump of concrete on a metal pole, this dubious weapon hits remarkably hard, starting at S10 with AP-1 and 2 damage per blow, though like the Heavy Power Hammer it suffers from a -1 to hit penalty. Furthermore, the weapon makes 2 to-hit rolls for each attack made with it, allowing for an impressive number of attacks. While powerful, the weapon saw a hefty price hike in Chapter Approved 2019 that makes it exceedingly expensive, making it a rather poor choice.

    - Hypermorph Tail: Provides 1 (and only 1) free AP-1 attack in addition to the Hypermorph's standard attacks. Not a huge amount, but every little bit helps.


    Biophagus
    Spoiler:
    A Neophyte-based support character designed to bolster Aberrants via their Genomic Augmentation ability. When used, the selected unit gains either +1 attack, +1 toughness, or +1 strength for the rest of the game at a small risk of one model being slain outright by the augmentation. The Biophagus also comes equipped with a relatively nasty melee weapon in their Injector Goad, which confers +1 strength and the ability to both wound non-vehicle targets on a 2+ (similar to the injector claw of the Primus) and potentially inflict mortal wounds on characters that suffer an unsaved wound from the weapon.

    The Biophagus may also be accompanied by an Alchemicus Familiar, which confers a once-per-game ability to roll a second die for the Genomic Augmentation ability (selecting the preferred roll) and the standard Familiar bonus of an extra wound for high damage shots and 2 S4 attacks.


    Clamavus:
    Spoiler:
    Another Neophyte based character that specializes in area denial and infantry support. Their Scrambler Array ability prevents enemy units from arriving from reserves within a 12’’ radius and has the potential to inflict mortal wounds on foes within 6’’. Meanwhile, their Proclamation Hailer grants +1 ld. to friendly <cult> models within range as well as +1’’ to advance and charge rolls. Both features are very useful for ambushing squads to both push back retaliatory deep strikes and as a means of reducing the distance needed for a successful charge.
    While useful, it is important to note that the Clamavus suffers from abysmal offensive capability, being armed with the GSC standard issue autopistol and nothing else. As such, they will generally want to avoid following their fellow hybrids into close combat and instead focus entirely on their support and disruption role (ideally with some Neophyte or Brood Brothers bodyguards).


    Kelermorph:
    Spoiler:
    The Kelermorph is an expensive dedicated shooting character that specializes in character and chaff removal. They feature an impressive ballistic skill of 2+ and employ it with a trio of fancy Liberator Autostubs, S4 2-shot pistols with Ap -1 and 2 damage each. While this is already considerable firepower from a single character, the Kelermorph also gains an additional shot for each successful hit scored (with the standard caveat of these additional shots not generating further hits) and the ability to ignore the targeting restrictions on enemy characters from their Gunslinger ability. Combined with their already impressive ballistic skill and the Kelermorph is able to lay down a weathering barrage of anti-infantry firepower.

    The Kelermorph also comes equipped with a Cult Knife for melee combat and a rare 5+ invulnerable save, giving them slightly more resilience than most of their counterparts. Like most GSC characters, the Kelermorph also possesses a support aura, albeit a conditional one. If they should successfully slay an enemy model with a shooting attack, nearby <cult> models can reroll to-hit rolls of 1 until the end of the phase. Note that the Kelermorph himself never benefits from his own aura, as it triggers after he has performed his attacks (2019 fall FAQ further clarified this point).


    Locus:
    Spoiler:
    The Locus is a relatively cheap dedicated bodyguard character, though they are designed more for proactive defense of their masters rather than passively absorbing wounds. Each Locus features an impressive selection of abilities that enhance their melee capabilities, including a 5+ invulnerable save, the ability to always swing first (alternating with other units with similar abilities), and an extended range for heroic intervention. For offense, they are armed with a set of unique Locus Blades, which confer a solid AP-3 and a conditional 3 damage per blow when charging, heroically intervening, or being charged. They also feature a Hypermorph tail identical to the sort found on the Aberrant Hypermorph, bestowing 1 additional attack at -1 AP. With this suite of abilities, the Locus is especially useful against melee assassins, such as the Lord Executioner, Deathleaper, Callidus Assassin, or a rival Sanctus. Against such threats the Locus can threaten a counter charge via their enhanced Heroic Intervention and force the opponent to either swing with their assassin first (possibly opening other units up to a counterattack) or risk multiple 3-damage attacks from the Locus. Outside of this, the Locus is also a remarkably capable assassin in their own right, being more durable and cheaper than a Sanctus but admittedly more specialized against infantry characters.

    The Locus also gets the standard wound intercept ability found on other bodyguard units, in the form of their Unquestioning Bodyguard ability. When used, one Locus (FAQ) may be selected to intercept wounds from friendly characters in range on a 2+ and suffer a moral wound in exchange (this wound cannot in turn be passed off to different model via Unquestioning Loyalty or another Locus). Due to the ready availability of sacrificial minions, the Unquestioning Bodyguard ability is generally only useful against low damage attacks or effects (such as perils of the warp) where a single mortal wound is less wasteful than killing a model.

    Lastly, the Locus also features a -1 leadership bubble, originally a very valuable tool for a Mental Onslaught bomb. Post-FAQ it is still a useful aid for all three offensive powers of the Broodmind discipline and as a modifier for enemy moral tests, but overall is not quite as potent as before.


    Metamorph Hybrids:
    Spoiler:
    An anti-infantry strain of the first and second generation hybrids, Metamorphs are the mass attack specialists of the Genestealer Cults. Each features an impressive 3 rending claw attacks each (4 for the leader) and an assortment of bioweapons that further augment their capabilities, allowing them to tailor their performance to deal with specific threats. For the most part Metamorphs excel at shredding other single wound infantry regardless of bioweapon, though they can put damage on larger targets with sheer volume of attacks.

    Biomorphs:

    - Metamorph Talon: Default meta-weapon, resembling a Tyranid scything talon. Grants +1 to hit rolls made when attacking with the talon and one “free” talon attack whenever the bearer fights, bringing basic Metamorphs to 4 attacks each or to a staggering 5 attacks each if they exchange their rending claw for a second talon. A Metamorph with twin talons is ideal for horde clearing with a flurry of accurate attacks, while a single talon + rending claw allows the Metamorph to instead act like an elite Acolyte with a more accurate knife attack and extra rending attack.

    - Metamorph Whip: The cheapest of the three meta-weapons and notable for only providing an ability rather than a unique weapon profile. If a model equipped with a metamorph whip is slain during the fight phase before making its attacks, they are not removed until after they and their unit have fought. Whip-morphs are especially useful for intercepting opposing melee threats such as Druhkari Incubi, but can also be taken as comparatively expendable bodies to protect more expensive biomorphs. Lastly, the Whip is especially ideal for a model carrying a Cult Icon to keep the pricy investment on the field until the end of the turn.

    - Metamorph Claw: Resembling a miniature Tyranid Crushing Claw, this weapon features +2 strength and AP-1, but takes up both the model’s meta weapon and rending claw to equip. While theoretically effective against higher toughness infantry or bikes, high cost makes it a poor option compared to an Acolyte.

    -Rending Claw A Tyranid biomorph commonly found throughout the army, featuring -1 AP and the ability to jump to -4 AP on to-wound rolls of 6+. Rending Claws are the primary armament for Whip-morphs and Metamorphs with a single talon, being effective against most targets.

    Other Equipment:

    - Autopistol: Standard-issue 12’’ range S3 pistol. Metamorphs generally won't be shooting much due to their desire to close for melee, but these do give them some ranged capability at no additional cost.

    -Hand Flamer: Any Metamorph may upgrade their default Autopistol for a Handflamer, increasing rate of fire to D6 shots that automatically hit. Given how expensive Metamorphs are this isn't as appealing an option as on their Acolyte kin, but it is a significant firepower improvement and is a nice fit for Whipmorphs and their counter-melee role.

    - Bonesword: Unique to the Metamorph leader, a Bonesword offers an additional AP-2 weapon to supplement their biomorph. Pairs especially well with duel talons for a truly staggering amount of attacks from a single non-character infantry model while retaining a degree of AP capability when needed.

    -Cult Icon One Metamorph model in the unit may be equipped with a Cult Icon to gain the ability to reroll to-hit rolls of 1 in combat. Synergizes very well with Talons for near perfect accuracy, though due cost it is generally only worthwhile for full size squads.



    Nexos:
    Spoiler:
    The Nexos is a non-combat strategic advisor character with two support abilities. Firstly, when the Nexos is revealed from an ambush token one other ambush token may be picked up and relocated to a new position anywhere within the deployment zone provided it remains 12’’ from any enemy models. Secondly, each time the GSC player or his opponent spends a command point, the Nexos may roll a die and generate a command point on a roll of 6+. If there are any friendly <cult> Primuses on the table the Nexos may add +1 to the roll to recover a command point the player spent, while a friendly <cult> Clamavus instead allows them to add +1 to rolls made when an opponent spends a command point.

    While their command point recovery abilities are extremely useful, it is important to remember the matched play restrictions that limit such regeneration to 1 command point per battle round. The ability to move tokens can be useful in setting up a denied flank or avoiding abilities that prevent setting up (such as a rival Clamavus or Infiltrator marines), though on its own likely does not merit the inclusion of multiple Nexos.


    Purestrain Genestealers:
    Spoiler:
    Purestrain Genestealers serve as fast-moving counter-assault specialists, having a high number of Rending Claw attacks backed by the same advance and assault ability as the Patriarch, the same high base movement of 8'', and the same 5+ invulnerable save. Like their Hive Fleet counterparts, Purestrains gain an additional attack when taken in broods of 10 or more via their Flurry of Claws ability and can be upgraded with a set of Scything Talons (in this case Purestrain Talons) for rerolls of 1 to hit against things that are unconcerned with the AP of Rending Claws.

    Unlike their Hive Fleet counterparts, Purestrain Genestealers otherwise lack customization options beyond the random boons granted by the First Curse stratagem. Instead, they gain Cult Ambush for superior deployment options and have access to the various in-faction strength buffs, allowing them to handle tougher targets that Hive Fleet Genestealers would struggle with. That said, they are more expensive than their Tyranid counterparts and if not taking advantage of Cult Ambush are better run as the (mildly) more cost-efficient Hive Fleet ‘stealers.


    Sanctus:
    Spoiler:
    The Sanctus is a Neophyte-based assassin with an accompanying Soulsight Familiar, which grants the ignores cover ability to its master and two additional S4 attacks with their claws. The Sanctus can be configured for melee or range assassinations, with the following weapon options:

    -Bio-Dagger: Effectively a 2-damage bonesword that grants the bearer an additional attack and the ability to wound non-vehicle targets on a 2+ regardless of toughness. A Sanctus so equipped has a rather impressive volume of attacks (5 from his dagger and 2 from his familiar) at WS 2+, though they lose all ranged capability in exchange. A good option for hunting monsters or for raw damage output.

    -Silenced Sniper Rifle: A S4 AP-1 sniper rifle with the added ability to inflict Perils of the Warp attacks on a Psyker model who suffers at least one wound from the weapon and survives. A highly specialized tool, but very effective at its specialization.

    To perform their task, the Sanctus features an assortment of abilities useful for an assassin. Their Camo Cloak ability allows them to add +2 to their saving throws while in cover (bringing them to an impressive 3+ base or 2+ with Rusted Claw) while their Cult Assassin ability allows them to use the Perfect Ambush stratagem at no command point cost, allowing them to grab free shots or extra movement whenever they arrive from ambush. Like the Imperial Assassins, a Sanctus can never be selected as a warlord (presumably because they are too busy slinking around).



    TROOPS:

    Acolyte Hybrids:
    Spoiler:
    Acolyte Hybrids serve the Genestealer Cults as shock troops, offering supreme lethality from an assortment of close range weaponry. In many ways Acolytes are defined by their special weapons, acting as either an armor-cracking melee heavy weapons team with their aptly-named Heavy Rock Weapons or as a chaff-destroying flamer team when given Hand Flamers. Without their special weapons Acolytes are inexpensive enough that they can be used as a melee horde with their stock cult knives and rending claws, but they aren’t quite as efficient at delivering mass rending attacks as their Elite counterparts.

    Basic Weapons

    -Cult Knife Standard issue melee weapon that provides a free attack with it each time the bearer fights, bringing standard Acolytes to 3 attacks total (2 rending and 1 knife). All Acolytes come equipped with one by default, though those taking special weapons lose theirs.

    -Rending Claw A Tyranid biomorph commonly found throughout the army, featuring -1 AP and the ability to jump to -4 AP on to-wound rolls of 6+. All Acolytes come equipped with one by default, though those taking special weapons lose theirs.

    - Autopistol: Standard-issue 12’’ range S3 pistol. Acolytes generally won't be shooting much due to their desire to close for melee, but these do give them some ranged capability at no additional cost.

    -Hand Flamer: For a modest price increase over the default Autopistol, Handflamers grant D6 shots that automatically hit. Entire squads so equipped are exceptionally good at burning down light infantry with a deluge of S3 hits, though are somewhat pricey.

    Special Weapons

    - Demolition Charges: Demolition Charges are S8 grenades with D6 shots, AP -3, and D3 damage per shot. Their crippling short range makes delivery a somewhat tricky business and generally means that the squad will be outside of range for accuracy enhancements. Furthermore, the grenade type limits the number that can be used to 1 per squad unless the Extra Explosives stratagem is used. As such, they are generally a poor option outside of MSU truck squads or as an add in to flamer squads that will be dropping in with the Lying in Wait stratagem

    - Rock Saw: Rock Saws are the cheapest and most general purpose of the three special melee weapons available to Acolytes. Being what amounts to a chainfist without any to-hit penalty, Rock Saws are designed to simply put damage on targets without frills or fuss. Of the three melee weapons, they are the best suited for chopping up multi-wound infantry due to their combination of accuracy and consistent 2 damage per blow backed by AP-4. They can also be used to threaten larger targets when used en-mass but will generally need some support to deal with especially large targets (such as Knights).

    - Rock Cutter: While superficially similar to a power fist with D3 damage and a penalty of -1 to hit rolls, Rock Cutters possess an extremely dangerous ability that is rarely seen. In short, whenever a model suffers damage from the weapon, a D6 is rolled and the result is compared to the model’s remaining wounds. If the roll exceeds the wounds remaining, the model is simply slain outright regardless of how many wounds it has remaining. This makes Rock Cutters a highly useful tool for dealing with models with wound negating abilities, monstrous creatures, characters, and non-vehicle models with 3 or more wounds (Custodes, Tyranid Warriors, Grotesques, Terminators, Nurglings, Scarabs, etc.) but less effective than Rock Saws against targets where their ability cannot trigger (vehicles, single wound models) or is less likely to trigger (2 wound models). Models wielding Rock Cutters will generally want to swing after the rest of their unit when attacking a larger target, to make it easier to hit the threshold needed to deliver the coup de grace.

    - Rock Drill: The most expensive of the three melee weapons, Rock Drills have the lowest initial damage per swing and lower AP than their counterparts but make up for it with their ability to potentially inflict multiple mortal wounds. For each drill that successfully inflicted 1 or more unsaved wounds, the controlling player may roll a D6 and inflict a mortal wound on a 2+, then on a 3+, 4+, 5+, and finally on a 6. This ability makes the drills primarily interested in dealing with high health targets and models with decent invulnerable saves, as they only require 1 wound to slip by in order to start the mortal wound chain and grind the target down.

    Other equipment

    -Bonesword: Only available to the Acolyte Leader, the Bonesword provides a fixed AP-2 weapon for a relatively low cost. It is a bit redundant with Rending Claws but is slightly better at slicing through single wound 3+ save models due to the better AP and doesn't replace any existing weapons.

    -Bonesword/Lash Whip: Same weapon as the above but paired with a Lash Whip which allows the Acolyte Leader to swing even if slain.

    -Cult Icon One Acolyte model per squad may take a Cult Icon for rerolls of 1's to hit in combat for the unit. This is generally best reserved for larger squads that both gain more benefit from having an icon and offer additional ablative bodies to keep the icon active longer.



    Neophyte Hybrids:
    Spoiler:

    Neophytes are the primary ranged troops of the Genestealer Cults. Unlike most of their counterparts, Neophytes have the unique ability to equip two special and two heavy weapons per squad even at minimum size. Neophytes have a surprising amount of weapon options and are fairly customizable, though for the most part Neophytes are primarily concerned with eliminating opposing light infantry with volumes of low strength firepower. Neophytes are somewhat more sensitive to creed selection than the other troops, favoring ones that lean more towards the "anvil" parts of the army.

    Basic Weapons

    -Autoguns: Standard-issue 24’’ range S3 Rapid Fire weapons. On their own Autoguns are fairly weak weapons but they are sufficient against opposing toughness 3 infantry when used en-mass and their range pairs well with the heavy weapon options available to the squad. As such, squads carrying heavy weapons will generally want them.

    -Shotguns: Shotguns are 12'' range Assault 2 S3 guns with the ability to add +1 strength when attacking at half range. While sacrificing the range of their rapid-fire counterparts, Shotguns are comparatively more mobile due to the assault type and are significantly more dangerous when they are able to get half-range shots.

    - Autopistol: Standard-issue 12’’ range S3 pistol. While it won’t come up often, it is worth remembering that Neophytes do come with them in the rare event the squad is stuck in an ongoing combat.

    Special Weapons

    - Flamers: Standard flamer with D6 S4 shots at 12'' range that automatically hit. With 9th edition price standardization and errata, these are more worth considering on shotgun or mining laser squads for charge defense.

    - Grenade Launcher: An excellent multi-role special weapon that offers either D6 S3 shots for hunting infantry or a single S6 AP-1 D3 damage shot if faced with a tougher target. In general, the weapon is more effective as an anti-infantry tool, but the multi-damage option is nice to keep in mind against heavy infantry or light vehicles.

    -Webber: An unusual weapon with D3 S4 shots at 16’’ range that automatically hit. As before, Webbers also come with a situationally useful ability to use the target’s strength characteristic in place of toughness when rolling to wound if the strength value is lower.

    Heavy Mining Weapons

    - Heavy Stubber: A cheap heavy weapon that offers 3 S4 shots with good range. Ideal for low investment squads dedicated to holding objectives.

    - Mining Laser: Effectively a short-ranged Lascannon (FAQ increased damage from D3 to D6) with the ability to be deployed in pairs. Mining Lasers offer anti-armor punch to an otherwise anti-infantry tailored squad. Due to their single-shot nature, they especially like the guiding hand of a nearby Jackal Alphus to improve accuracy.

    - Seismic Cannon: The Seismic Cannon is an unusual weapon that features two profiles depending on range. At 24’’ it features 6 S3 shots while at 12’’ and closer it drops to 3 shots at S6, Ap-1, and 2 damage. Regardless of firing profile any to-wound rolls of 6+ made by the weapon are resolved at AP-4, akin to the rending claws found throughout the army. The duel-nature of the weapon pairs especially well with grenade launchers due to very similar profiles, allowing the squad to maximize anti-infantry S3 shots or throw a surprising amount of S6 shots if confronted by heavy infantry or light vehicles.

    Leader Weapons and other equipment:

    - Cult Knife/Chainsword: Cheap and chipper basic melee weapon that provides an extra attack.

    - Power Maul: Adds a much appreciated strength boost to the Leader and a bit of AP capability, making him a credible threat to most infantry at a modest cost.

    - Power Pick: The Power Pick offers good AP and D3 damage but lacks an innate strength boost which means the poor S3 Leader will have difficulty wounding the multi-wound models it is designed to hurt without outside aid. Can be an effective weapon with outside assistance, but on its own is unreliable and rather expensive due to being shared with Aberrants.

    - Bolt Pistol: Effectively upgrades the Leader's autopistol to S4. Not a must have, but it makes sense for shotgun squads and is a good place to dump odd leftover points.

    - Web Pistol: The Web Pistol offers D3 S3 shots that automatically hit and the same ability as its larger counterpart. Again, not a must have, but a reasonable option for some extra firepower with a
    situationally useful ability.

    -Cult Icon One Neophyte in the unit may take a Cult Icon for rerolls of to-hit rolls of 1 in the fight phase. While Neophytes without outside assistance are rather poor melee fighters, there can be some merit with larger squads looking to leverage buffs, especially with Hivecult or Twisted Helix creeds.



    Brood Brothers Infantry Squad
    Spoiler:
    Brood Brothers were formerly AM themed Neophytes, but with the codex are now a distinct unit of their own. Brood Brothers Infantry squads are very similar to their stock Neophyte counterparts in most respects, trading the <cult> keyword and most of the weapon options available to Neophytes for the Brood Brothers keyword. Compared to infantry squads taken from Codex Astra Militarum, the GSC Brood Brothers squad gains a larger maximum unit size (20 vs 10), Cult Ambush, and the ability to double up on special weapons, but looses access to Plasma/Melta special weapons and cannot be issued Orders (FAQ).

    Brood Brothers are generally most useful for the creeds with traits that are more melee-centric in nature (such as Four-Armed Emperor), where they offer an inexpensive solution for the on-table presence and detachment troop requirements. They also can be used to bring additional long ranged fire support with their ability to include a weapon team in the squad, but their inability to benefit from the accuracy improvements in the codex due to their faction keyword limits some of their effectiveness at the role.

    Basic Weapons

    -Lasgun Standard-issue 24’’ range S3 Rapid Fire weapons. On their own Lasguns are fairly weak weapons but they are sufficient against opposing toughness 3 infantry when used en-mass.

    -Chainsword/Laspistol Standard-issue equipment for the squad leader. The Chainsword provides an additional attack while the Laspistol provides a single S3 shot at half range.

    Special Weapons:

    -Flamer: Standard Flamer with D6 S4 shots that automatically hit. Could have some merit on forward operating squads but is a bit pricy for general use.

    -Grenade Launcher: A multi-role weapon with the same general application as it has for Neophyte squads, offering D6 S3 shots for opposing infantry or a single S6 shot for heavy infantry and light vehicles.

    Heavy Weapons:

    -Heavy Bolter: A relatively ubiquitous long range heavy weapon with 3 S5 AP-1 shots. Cheap and reasonably multi-purpose though it prefers targeting heavy infantry to take advantage of its strength and AP.

    -Mortar: A cheap anti-infantry oriented heavy weapon with the unique ability to fire out of line of sight. Useful in cities of death and other circumstances where blocks line of sight terrain is plentiful.

    -Autocannon: Multi-purpose weapon offering 2 S7 shots with AP-1 and 2 damage per shot. Like the Heavy Bolter, the Autocannon is primarily oriented towards combating heavy infantry (especially 2 wound infantry), but the added strength and damage gives it a bit more capability against light vehicles than its counterpart.

    -Lascannon: The standard for long-range anti-tank armaments, featuring S9, Ap-3, and D6 damage per shot. While not terribly reliable due to the squad’s ballistic skill, it is an option for backfield squads looking to soften up enemy armor for melee squads to deal with.

    -Missile Launcher The missile launcher is more or less an upscaled grenade launcher with a S8 anti-tank shot or D6 S4 shots. A flexible weapon that can do a bit of everything but excels at nothing in particular.

    Misc. Equipment:

    -Vox Caster: Unlike its Astra Militarum counterpart which interacts with Orders, the Genestealer Cults Vox Caster instead grants a reroll for moral checks for a modest cost.





    FAST ATTACK:

    Atalan Jackals
    Spoiler:
    Neophytes mounted on dirt bikes! Atalan Jackals are ideally suited for the on-table presence for many lists, thanks to their speed and defensive capabilities. The Atalan dirtbikes ridden by the Jackals bestow the standard bike benefits of +1 toughness and +1 wound, as well as an impressive movement characteristic of 14’’. While they lack the integrated weapon mounts of most bike units, the Jackals instead benefit from a -1 to hit penalty imposed on enemy shooting through their Skilled Outriders ability.

    Unlike Neophytes, the weapon options available to Jackals almost exclusively focus on close range shooting and melee, making them far more aggressive in application than their footslogging counterparts. As such, they will generally be operating near the front lines as both infantry hunters and a tool to tie up opposing fire support in melee. Each standard Jackal must make two different selections from their weapon options, with the Jackal Leader having some additional options exclusive to themselves.

    Standard Weapons:

    -Autopistols: Standard-issue S3 pistol. All Jackals are equipped with one by default and can take a second one if desired as one of their two selections (FAQ). Pistols are one of the few options that the Jackal kit has in sufficient quantities to arm all models with out of the box, making them a fair choice for those who want to keep their models “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” without too much conversion work. Tactically, twin pistols allow squads to put out a the same amount of S3 fire as Shotguns at 12’’ with the ability to still fire while in close combat, making them potentially useful for squads dedicated to tie-up duties if nothing else.

    -Shotguns: Same as the shotguns carried by Neophytes, but on a far more nimble platform which allows them to take advantage of their added strength at half range ability with greater frequency. The ability to advance and fire coupled with the bonuses to advancing available to Jackals gives them a deceptively long threat range, potentially allowing for first turn engagements with a bit of help.

    -Grenade Launcher: Special weapon identical to the one carried by Neophyte squads, albeit restricted to 1-per-4 instead of 2-per-squad. Pairs well with Shotguns as another assault weapon that can take advantage of the Jackal’s high mobility, though will generally want to be reserved for larger squads that can protect them better.

    -Demolition Charges: Anti-tank explosives identical to the sort available to Acolytes, but without the restrictions on quantity. The high mobility of the Jackals compensates for the short range of Demolition Charges considerably. Squads maximizing their allotment of demolition charges are generally used more like a traditional ambusher and tend to be very command point hungry, but conversely have the potential to 1-round an Imperial Knight which is highly respectable for such a comparatively inexpensive squad (though Chapter Approved 2019 increased the cost of such squads considerably).

    -Improvised Weapon: Doesn’t have any unique rules outside of allowing one weapon slot to be filled for free and looking cool. Just a standard close combat weapon that happens to be a tool in non-combat instances (either a wrench or crowbar).

    -Cult Knife: Basic melee weapon that grants an additional attack. This is generally a good pick for the second weapon if one doesn't have other plans, as it effectively doubles the model’s attacks.

    -Power Pick: S user weapon with AP-2 and D3 damage. While they can be spammed, the low strength of Jackals coupled with the high cost makes them a bit unappealing compared to the other melee options available to the unit.

    Power Hammer: S+2 weapon with -1 AP and 1 damage per blow. While a bit odd compared to the Heavy Power Hammers wielded by Aberrants, the standard hammer makes up for the weedy S3 of the Jackal for a modest price.

    Leader-exclusive Weapons:

    -Autogun: Standard-issue S3 rapid fire gun with 24’’ range. On its own a single Autogun isn’t especially impressive but it can be paired with a shotgun to give the Jackal leader 4 S3 shots at 12’’ range.

    - Power Axe: Highly similar to the Power Pick, exchanging the D3 damage of the Pick for +1 strength and significantly reduced cost.

    -Bolt Pistol: Adds an additional pistol to the leader with a boost to S4.

    For every 4 regular bikers the unit may be accompanied by a Wolfquad ATV to provide heavy weapon support. The Wolfquad sports the same defensive capabilities as the cyclist counterparts with an additional 2 wounds to protect the heavy weapon mount. In addition to its heavy weapon, the Wolfquad rider can also take a Shotgun, Autopistol, Improvised Weapon, or a Power Pick.

    -Heavy Stubber: An inexpensive long-range anti-infantry weapon. Best used for squads looking to use their Wolfquad as ablative wounds for regular bikers (such as demolition squads), since the total cost per wound is cheaper than adding 2 regular bikes.

    -Mining Laser: Same S9 Ap-3 weapon as the footslogging Neophytes, though with the added advantage of mobility to compensate for the middling range. Offers additional anti-armor capability on a relatively durable platform with an extended range for the Alphus' accuracy enhancement.

    - Atalan Incinerator: A compact version of the Rockgrinder’s Clearance Incinerator, offering a 12’’ range heavy flamer to the squad. Ideal for ambushing squads focusing on chaff clearance.



    Achilles Ridgerunner
    Spoiler:
    The Achilles Ridgerunner is a light vehicle designed to lend concentrated fire support with an assortment of heavy weapons. While the Ridgerunner is rather fragile with 8 T5 wounds and a 4+ armor save, they possess the ability to be deployed in squadrons of up to 3 vehicles, have no degradation table, and are relatively inexpensive post Chapter Approved 2019. It is also worth noting that the Ridgerunner is a remarkably squat vehicle, allowing it to hide more easily than many similar-sized models and potentially benefit from barricades and other terrain features where cover can be obtained through being obscured.

    In general, the Ridgerunner prefers to be run in squadrons to maximize the effectiveness of certain force multipliers and ambush tokens. They also, appropriately enough, like being paired with Atalan Jackal packs which offer screening potential and benefit from the Ridgerunner’s Flare Launcher (detailed below). The Ridgerunner itself may perform a free 9’’ move before the game begins (provided they did not deploy via Ambush) which allows them to redeploy out of sight or aggressively up the field depending on who has initiative.

    Weapons:
    - Heavy Mining Laser: Highly similar to its infantry-portable counterparts, with the advantage of slightly more range and D3 shots. This is generally the default armament for the Ridgerunner, it is one of the best ranged anti-armor options available to the codex and provides a good counterpart to the built-in heavy stubbers.

    - Heavy Mortar: Cheapest of the three primary weapons with D6 S5 Ap-1 shots that do not require line of sight. While its firepower is rather negligible, the ability to ignore line of sight is situationally useful and as the cheapest weapon option the mortar is ideal for Ridgerunners that are being taken exclusively for flare launchers to sling Atalan Jackals up the field.

    - Missile Launcher: Standard missile launcher with either a single S8 AP-2 D6 damage shot or D6 S4 shots. While it offers flexibility at a modest cost, the two firing modes are inferior to those offered by the more specialized weapon options available to the Ridgerunner, so it is generally best avoided.

    Other equipment:

    - Flare Launcher: Provides a 6+ wound negation ability and grants a once-per-game ability that allows one nearby <cult> Biker unit to advance a full 6'' without needing to roll. Of the three systems this has the most utility for mechanized lists incorporating lots of Goliath hulls for 6+ wound negation saturation as well as lists making heavy use of Atalan Jackals.

    - Survey Auger: The most expensive of the equipment options, the Survey Auger allows the Achillies weapon systems to ignore cover. Useful as a countermeasure against counts-in-cover armies such as Hive Fleet Jormungandr or Raven Guard but is otherwise a rather niche piece of equipment.

    - Spotter: A Neophyte crew woman who increases the range on all weapon systems. The improved range is a valuable asset for keeping the Ridgerunner alive, as it allows it to attack from outside of retaliation range of most threats. A good option for lists that are not bringing many other vehicles or Jackals.


    Cult Sentinels (Armored and Scout):
    Spoiler:
    Light walkers “on loan” from the local Astra Militarum. Regardless of version, Sentinels provide relatively cheap heavy weapon platforms with greater durability than infantry weapon teams. The primary difference between the two models is the Armored Sentinel sports T6 , a rare-in-faction 3+ save, and the ability to take an equally rare Plasma Cannon while the Scout Sentinel has a 4+ save and T5 in exchange for +1'' of movement and the ability to make a free move before the first battle round. This means Scout Sentinels will generally be playing more aggressively forward in support of tunneling infantry while Armored Sentinels will generally be lurking near the backfield to provide fire support. Either version can be taken in squadrons 1-3 for threat saturation.

    - Heavy Flamer: Standard Heavy Flamer with D6 S5 shots and AP -1. Ideal for Scout Sentinels as the only weapon that doesn't care about movement. Less ideal for Armored Sentinels due to very short range and reduced mobility.

    - Multi-Laser: A S6 anti-infantry weapon with good range and low cost. The Multi-Laser is the default armament and is a fair option for hunting T3 infantry, but lack of AP makes it rather ineffective against units in cover or heavy infantry.

    - Autocannon: Mid-priced weapon good against multi-wound infantry and light vehicles. Lends fire saturation with the Autocannons found elsewhere in the codex and is a fairly good weapon against MEQ models and light vehicles.

    - Plasma Cannon: (Armored Sentinel Only) Same cost and strength as the Autocannon but with better AP in exchange for lower damage and D3 shots instead of a fixed 2. Can overcharge like other plasma weapons for +1 Strength and Damage but destroys the Sentinel if any 1's are rolled to-hit. As Brood Brothers taken from Codex: Genestealer Cults lack the means to modify these shooting rolls, this should be used sparingly or when the Sentinel is already critically damaged.

    - Lascannon: The premier long-range anti-tank weapon across the Imperium. Not a bad option for a backfield Armored Sentinel, but single-shot weapons on a BS 4+ platform without dice modification tend to disappoint and the Ridgerunner can deliver a higher volume of fire for a modest amount of added points.

    - Missile Launcher: Half the cost of the Lascannon with a S8 anti-tank Krak shot or D6 S4 Frag shots. Gives the Sentinel some flexibility but doesn’t excel at any one job.

    Other Equipment:
    -Hunter Killer Missile: A single-shot Krak missile for a reduced price compared to a Missile Launcher proper.

    -Sentinel Chainsaw: A melee weapon with AP-1. Has some merit on Scout Sentinels acting in support of tunneling squads, but otherwise is of limited use for units predominately intended for fire support.



    DEDICATED TRANSPORTS:

    Cult Chimera:
    Spoiler:
    Unlike its index counterpart, the Cult Chimera is now a Brood Brothers unit and can only transport Brood Brothers infantry as a result. While it is no longer the premiere assault transport it once was, it still excels at infantry clearance with its plethora of weapon systems and is surprisingly durable for its cost between its innate armor, toughness, and smoke launchers. The chimera must take a single turret heavy weapon and one hull mounted heavy weapon, with the following options.

    -Multi-Laser Turret only. The Multi-Laser is the cheapest turret mount and effectively trades the AP of the Heavy Bolter for S6.

    -Heavy Bolter Hull or Turret. Offers the same reach as the Multi-Laser but with the benefit of armor piercing for a modest cost.

    -Heavy Flamer Hull or Turret. While the Heavy Flamer has the shortest range of the available heavy weapons and is the most expensive, it has the very tangible benefit of automatically hitting its targets. Ideal doubled up on an aggressive Chimera dedicated to chaff clearing duties.
    Other Equipment:

    -Hunter Killer Missile: A single-shot Krak missile for a reduced price compared to a Missile Launcher proper.

    -Heavy Stubber: Additional anti-infantry weapon that can be mounted on the Chimera’s turret. Cheap and offers long reach for a Chimera desiring to hang-back, but as a heavy weapon suffers accuracy penalties upon moving.

    -Storm Bolter: Additional anti-infantry weapon for the Chimera turret. Storm Bolters throw a surprising number of shots up close and as a rapid-fire weapon are unaffected by movement, making it a better option for more-aggressive Chimeras.

    - Auger Array: Cheap equipment option that bestows a once-per-game reroll of a single to-hit roll. Could have some merit in conjunction with a Hunterkiller missile, but the other weapon systems see little benefit from it.

    -Dozer Blade: A cheap melee upgrade that confers +1 to hit rolls on the turn in which the Chimera charges. While a Chimera might very well charge in order to shield a squad from overwatch fire, it still needs a 5+ to hit even with this upgrade and a few extra S6 hits probably won't be enough to justify the points investment.

    -Track Guards: A cheap upgrade that allows the vehicle to ignore movement penalties incurred by the damage table. Almost mandatory for an aggressive Chimera to maintain mobility, less important for ones sitting back lending fire support.


    Goliath Truck:
    Spoiler:
    Goliath Trucks serve as the primary transport available to <cult> units. They offer surprisingly good offensive capabilities with a Twin-Autocannon and Heavy Stubber, giving it reasonable multi-purpose firepower and good range for a transport vehicle. While defensively the Goliath lacks the toughness and armor of its military counterpart with T6 and a 4+ save, its Rugged Construction special rule grants it the ability to negate unsaved wounds on a 6+. Furthermore, its Open Topped ability allows passengers to use their ranged weapons while embarked which lends some added utility to the Goliath as a transport that can shield units while allowing them to contribute offensively.

    The sole upgrade option available to a Goliath Truck is the Cache of Demolition Charges, granting it an Assault D6 S8 weapon while a unit is embarked. The added firepower gives the Goliath some ability to take on other vehicles at close range, but the requirement of a passenger means it is most often best reserved for vehicles transporting units with short-ranged firepower of their own (such as Acolytes with demolition charges/hand flamers or shotgun Neophytes).



    HEAVY SUPPORT:

    Brood Brothers Heavy Weapon Team
    Spoiler:
    Identical to the Heavy Weapon Teams found in Brood Brothers squads, just without the other accompanying infantry. On their own, Heavy Weapon Teams provide extremely cheap fire support and brigade filler, though in turn they are extremely fragile to retaliation with only 2 T3 wounds and a 5+ save to protect each gun. Due to this fragility, Weapon Teams are generally given mortars thanks to the ability to fire out of line of sight.


    Goliath Rockgrinder:
    Spoiler:
    The Goliath Rockgrinder serves as a melee line breaker vehicle with an impressive 6 attacks base and a modest transport capacity with which to carry small squads into assault range. It features a defensive profile very similar to its Goliath Truck counterpart, with an increase to T7 but otherwise featuring the same 4+ armor and 6+ Rugged Construction as the dedicated transport version. The vehicle's primary armament consists of the rather unsubtle Drilldozer Blade at the front, which adds an additional D3 attacks on turns in which the Rockgrinder successfully charged and hits at S8 AP-2 with D3 damage. While effective against both infantry and larger targets, the Rockgrinder's (admittedly better-than-usual-for-a-vehicle) WS of 4+ means it really wants a Primus nearby to maximize its potential once in melee.

    In addition to its melee weaponry, the Rockgrinder also features a heavy weapon mount with three industrial weapon options to choose from in addition to a Heavy Stubber.

    - Clearance Incinerator: The Clearance Incinerator is effectively a heavy flamer with 12'' range and 2D6 shots that automatically hit. It is ideal for an aggressive Rockgrinder intent on getting itself or its cargo into combat as quickly as possible since they can move while still being able to fire to full effect without requiring the assistance of a Jackal Alphus. Being a weapon that automatically hits its targets also makes it the sole weapon option that is unaffected by the Rockgrinder's damage table, allowing it to fire at full effect even when the vehicle is on its last bracket on the damage table.

    - Heavy Seismic Cannon: The sole weapon option available to the Rockgrinder that offers a fixed rate of fire. Like its infantry-portable counterpart, the Heavy Seismic Cannon features the ability to ignore most armor on to-wound rolls of 6+ and offers a choice of between firing at 24’’ with a Heavy 6 S4 with AP -1 and 2 damage per shot or 12'' at Heavy 3 S8 AP -2 with 3 damage per shot, making it rather flexible in targeting capabilities.

    - Heavy Mining Laser: Identical to the weapon found on the Achilles, the Heavy Mining Laser offers the longest range of the three heavy weapon mounts and the highest damage potential, at the cost of the lowest rate of fire. It is a reasonable option for a Rockgrinder being used predominately for armor hunting, but its low rate of fire makes it comparatively vulnerable to the Rockgrinder damage table compared to the other weapons, necessitating the use of the Devoted Crew stratagem to function at full efficiency once damaged.

    - Cache of Demolition Charges: Optional weapon that may be taken in addition to one of the three heavy mining weapons above. As the Rockgrinder will generally want to get close to foes the Cache has more utility than on the more stand-off Goliath Truck but has the slight drawback of more limited passenger options to activate it due to the Rockgrinder's reduced carrying capacity. Pairs especially well with the Heavy Seismic Cannon as a source of additional S8 shots at close range.


    Cult Leman Russ:
    Spoiler:
    The heaviest vehicle available natively to the Genestealer Cults, the Cult Leman Russ offers a blend of durability and firepower. Its Grinding Advance ability allows it to fire its main turret-mounted cannon twice if it moves at half speed or remains stationary, while the vehicle itself has the highest concentration of heavy weaponry available in-codex. Compared to its counterparts from the Astra Militarum book the Cult Russ looses access to some turret weapons and the benefits of a Tank Commander, but does gain Cult Ambush which can be useful for insuring that it can set up with good lines of fire away from the opponent's heaviest concentrations of anti-tank weapons.

    Turret Weapons

    - Battle Cannon: In most instances this will be the go-to gun option unless one has something more specific in mind, as it offers the highest strength and flexibility of the three weapons at the lowest cost.

    - Eradicator Nova Cannon: The Eradicator trades the strength of the other turret mounts for the ability to ignore cover, making it ideal for rooting marines and similar high save models out of cover in hard to reach places.

    - Exterminator Autocannon: Effectively the same armament as a Goliath Truck with the ability to fire twice due to Grinding Advance and on a more durable platform. Perhaps worth considering if spamming autocannons or as a makeshift anti-air tool, but otherwise doesn’t offer anything unique.

    - Vanquisher Battle Cannon: A variant of the battle cannon that trades rate of fire for D6 damage and the ability to roll two dice/take the highest on damage rolls. Due to the accuracy of the Cult Russ, the battlecannon will generally be a superior choice despite each individual shot having lower damage.

    Secondary Weapons

    -Heavy Bolter (Hull and/or Side): The least expensive option available to fill the hull mount, Heavy Bolters offer some added anti-infantry firepower to supplement the main cannon. Can also be taken as side-mounted guns for additional firepower.

    -Lascannon: (Hull) The most expensive of the hull-mounted weapons, offering a long-range anti-tank shot to supplement the main turret mount. Best suited to anti-armor configurations.

    -Heavy Flamer: (Hull) Mid-priced option offering an auto-hitting weapon with very short range. The primary purpose of a Heavy Flamer for a Russ is charge deterrence, as in most circumstances they should be near the back field well out of range.

    -Multimeltas: (Side) Unique to the Cult Russ, Multimeltas offer additional S8 AP-4 shots for armor hunting. They are rather pricy however, and the chassis itself is already one of the most expensive units in-codex.

    -Plasma Cannons (Side) Offers additional S7 firepower with good AP and a reasonable rate of fire. Can also be overcharged for added strength and damage, though any 1’s to hit will result in mortal wounds from the Emergency Plasma Vents (FAQ).

    Other Equipment:

    -Hunter Killer Missile: A single-shot Krak missile for a reduced price compared to a Missile Launcher proper.

    -Heavy Stubber: Additional anti-infantry weapon ubiquitous in the army. Offers an additional anti-infantry weapon with similar range bands to the other weapon systems found on a Russ for cheap.

    -Storm Bolter: Additional anti-infantry weapon. While capable of laying down an impressive hail of fire, due to the Cult Russ generally preferring to lurk near the backfield the full firepower of the Storm Bolter is unlikely to be realized.

    - Auger Array: Cheap equipment option that bestows a once-per-game reroll of a single to-hit roll. The weapon systems of a Russ are more likely to see benefit from this than the Chimera, especially if it features a hull-mounted Lascannon or Multimelta sponsons.

    -Dozer Blade: Grants +1 to hit rolls on a turn in which the vehicle charges. A Cult Russ ideally does not want to be anywhere near combat (waste of a fire support asset), so this upgrade is of very limited use to it.

    -Track Guards: A cheap upgrade that allows the vehicle to ignore movement penalties incurred by the damage table. Russes generally aren’t concerned with moving due to their role as fire support, but it is a nice option to insure they have the option to move a fair distance and still employ Grinding Advance after sustaining damage.



    FORTIFICATIONS:

    Tectonic Fragdrill
    Spoiler:
    The Tectonic Fragdrill is an unusual combination of support structure, area denial, and a once per game nuke (albeit not an especially dangerous one). The first and most useful of its abilities is the Underground Ingress, which allows one GSC unit that can end its move within 1’’ of the drill to leave the table and be redeployed via Cult Ambush next turn. This has some applications for more ambush-centric builds as a means of getting more units into reserves after deployment (in conjunction with They Came From Below) or as a tool to rapidly relocate a backfield squad without burning command points on Return To Shadows.

    The drill's second ability involves it being activated by a controlling model. When activated, all units on the ground floor within 3’’ of the drill suffer D3 mortal wounds. Then, the controller rolls a D6 and adds one to the result for each instance of a drill being activated. On a 1-6 the drill reduces charge and advance rolls by 2’’ in a 12’’ radius of itself. On a 7+, the drill also triggers an earthquake consisting of a line drawn from any two table edges with the drill interesting at some point. Any unit on ground level (not in the upper levels of a building or with the Fly keyword) passed over by the line must roll a D6: on a 4+ the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds and must halve its movement characteristic until the next GSC movement phase. The earthquake sadly can only be triggered once per game regardless of the number of drills being employed, but the ability to disrupt charges is a potentially useful feature against opponents who favor deep striking assault such as Orks, Daemons, or Tyranids.



    Warlord Traits:
    Spoiler:

    Legendary Fighter: (main rulebook)
    Warlord gains +1 attack on turns in which they charge. This trait is somewhat obsolete with the introduction of the Biomorph Adaptation trait in the codex, which provides a constant +1 attack and +1 strength. The only instance this is likely to be of use is in conjunction with the Brood Coven stratagem to give a Primus (or Magus) access to +1 attack after the Patriarch has taken the Biomorph Adaptation trait.

    Inspiring Leader: (main rulebook)
    Warlord gains a +1 Ld aura. The primary application of this trait for a Patriarch (who otherwise provides moral immunity to troops in range of the leadership bubble) lies in increasing the threshold for Mental Onslaught, resulting in potentially disastrous damage to a target. For other characters, this is most useful for an Iconward acting in support of Neophytes and anyone tasked with babysitting Aberrants who otherwise must make do with Ld 7.

    Tenacious Survivor: (main rulebook)
    Warlord gains 6+ FNP ability. Useful on a Magus or Primus Warlord as they lack invulnerable saves (outside of Bladed Cog) and in the case of the former provides a bit of protection from Perils of the Warp. Confers no benefit to an Iconward or Abominant, due to their already possessing FNP abilities which do not stack with Tenacious Survivor (FAQ).

    Focus of Adoration:
    Warlord allows nearby Genestealer Cult Infantry units to perform Heroic Interventions as if they were characters. This has some interesting applications since it allows unengaged units to pile into a fight if the opposing charger ends their move within 3'' and per the assault rules the intervening unit cannot be chosen as targets for attack unless they were included as charge targets during the charge phase, effectively allowing for risk-free combat for the turn and leaves the victim locked down on your turn to deal with as you see fit. The biggest limitation is the short range for Heroic Interventions and relatively few things having any desire to get into combat with GSC models to begin with. Pairs very nicely with the Pauper Princes cult creed.

    Shadow Stalker:
    Enemies must subtract 1 from hit rolls that target the Warlord. Notably affects both shooting and melee. All GSC characters can take advantage of this, though it is especially handy for a Jackal Alphus who can stack it with the penalty provided by their Skilled Rider ability for a -2 to hit.

    Biomorph Adaptation:
    The warlord gains +1 strength and attack. Any of the melee-oriented characters can take advantage of this, though it is especially liked by a Patriarch.

    Born Survivor:
    Reduces damage inflicted on the warlord by 1 (to a minimum of 1). While any of the characters can appreciate a damage reduction, this is especially cruel on an Abominant warlord as it stacks with the innate -1 damage provided by their Bestial Vigor ability, meaning anything less than 4 damage will inflict but a single wound.

    Alien Majesty:
    Increases the aura abilities of the warlord by 3’’. As all GSC characters have some sort of bubble effects, this is a very handy ability indeed. It is especially well liked by characters that have multiple effects that benefit from the increased range, such as the Patriarch, Primus, Iconward (especially with one of their unique relics), or Abominant.

    Preternatural Speed:
    Grants the ability to always fight first regardless of charging with the standard caveats regarding fighting units with the same ability. Cannot be given to a Locus warlord (who has this ability innately), and if randomly generated the result is treated as being the Biomorph Adaptation trait instead.

    Inscrutable Cunning (Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor)
    Once per battle, if the Warlord is on the battlefield one hit, wound, or saving throw may be rerolled. In addition, the army gains D3 additional starting command points.
    This is a very straightforward warlord trait that provides an element of command point efficiency, with one “free” command point reroll and D3 extra command points to work with. Primary drawback being that it is of finite benefit rather than an ongoing effect like the others, but still highly useful.

    Hivelord (Hivecult)
    Allows nearby friendly Hivecult units to reroll to-hit rolls of 1 while shooting.
    The effects of this trait pair very well with the existing +1 to hit benefit provided by a Jackal Alphus and the effects of the Hivecult’s signature stratagem, resulting in a barrage of surprisingly accurate firepower.

    Single-Minded Obsession (Bladed Cog)
    Before the battle begins, the Warlord may nominate 1 enemy unit. All friendly Bladed Cog units within range may reroll all failed to-wound rolls when attacking that target.
    Effectively an upgraded version of the Primus’ Meticulous Planner ability and can be used in conjunction with said ability to nominate two different targets for dice modification. A very useful trait against an opponent with a key target to destroy (Knight, named character, etc.) and at worst a handy boon against the opposing warlord.

    Entropic Touch (Rusted Claw)
    Friendly Rusted Claw units within range of the warlord improve their AP by 1 for melee attacks that roll an unmodified 6 to wound. This trait is most useful for units that rely on weapons other than rending claws, as it is a bit redundant with their ability (-5 AP vs -4 AP only matters vs 2+ armor). Still, there are a surprising number of units that can benefit from this trait, including Aberrants, Metamorphs, Rockgrinders, and Atalan Jackals kitted for combat.

    Beloved Grandsire (Pauper Princes)
    The Warlord adds 2 to Unquestioning Loyalty rolls made on their behalf, effectively allowing them to pass off damage on a 2+ instead of the usual 4+.
    An extremely useful trait for warlord preservation, provided enough fodder is available to pass wounds off on. Patriarchs especially like this trait, as it allows them to be far more aggressive than normal and remain relatively safe.

    Bio-Alchemist (Twisted Helix)
    Increases the damage characteristic of non-relic augmented weapons used by the Warlord by 1.
    A useful ability for any character, though it specifically does not allow its effects to apply to weapons already being improved by a relic. This includes things like the Scourge of Distant Stars in addition to more conventional relics. Still, a highly useful trait given that it augments both the model’s range and melee attacks without using a relic slot. Especially amusing on a Kelermorph (where it bolsters both their blade and guns), Abominant (where it effects the attached Mindwyrm familiar as well) or Patriarch (who already has high damage as is).


    Relics:
    Spoiler:

    Icon of the Cult Ascendant:
    Only available to Iconwards. <cult> Infantry and Bike units near the barer gain +1 to their Strength characteristic. Simple but effective relic that provides an additional support functionality to an Iconward and stacks nicely with the assortment of strength buffs available to the faction.

    Sword of the Void’s Eye:
    Only available to a Primus. The Sword of the Void’s Eye is a relic bonesword with heavily upgraded stats and the ability to reroll all failed hit and wound rolls. A good option for those looking to upgrade a Primus to a dedicated melee fighter rather than a support piece.

    Amulet of the Voidwyrm
    An interesting relic that allows the bearer to add one to their saving throws against shooting and ignore overwatch when attempting a charge. Does not replace existing wargear, giving it a great deal of flexibility in what characters can take it. Custom made for a Patriarch or Sanctus, though any of the melee characters can appreciate the added durability and ability to negate overwatch.

    Scourge of Distant Stars:
    Provides +1 to hit rolls for the model’s melee weapons and causes mortal wounds to attacking models in melee whenever they roll a natural 1 to hit. An ideal option for an Abominant, as it counteracts the -1 to hit imposed by their sledgehammer and provides an additional defensive trick on an already tanky model. Other melee characters find it of limited use as most hit on a 2+ anyway.

    Oppressors Bane
    A relic version of a Liberator Autostub that replaces a model’s autopistol or Liberator autostub. The Oppressors Bane benefits from an additional shot and AP over the stock version and confers the character-sniping abilities of a Kelermorph to the bearer. Furthermore, attacks made with the weapon gain the ability to reroll-to-wound rolls when targeting characters. While it can be given to a Kelermorph to enhance one of their guns, it also has merit for the autopistol wielding support characters (Clamavus, etc.) as a means of improving their otherwise negligible offensive capabilities and offer another source of character sniping capability.

    Dagger of Swift Sacrifice
    Replaces a model’s Cult Knife or Sanctus Bio-Dagger with an upgraded blade that always wounds non-vehicle or titanic models on a 2+ and inflicts an additional D3 mortal wounds if its target is a character and survives the initial attack. As the Sanctus Bio-Dagger already mirrors most of the functions of the relic, this is best reserved for other knife-equipped characters (Magus, Kelermorph, Alphus) that appreciate the ability to wound on a 2+ with their basic melee weapon.

    The Crouchling
    An upgraded familiar for a Patriarch or Magus that confers +1 to casting rolls while manifesting a Brood Mind discipline power and provides 1 additional Brood Mind power while alive. Effectively adds half a psyker for a significantly reduced cost and improves reliability of casting.

    Gift From Beyond
    An upgraded Sniper Rifle that provides +2 to wound rolls when attacking a non-vehicle or non-titanic target, allowing most infantry to be wounded on a 2+ and the sniper rifle mortal wound ability to trigger on a 4+. Extremely useful for a Sanctus dedicated to Psyker elimination, as it allows them to consistently inflict mortal wounds to trigger their perils of the warp inducing ability.

    Sword Of the Four-Armed Emperor
    Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor Locus or Primus only. A very unusual upgraded bonesword that provides 4 additional attacks whenever the bearer fights. Especially interesting on the Primus as it effectively allows them to make full attacks with both their melee weapons.

    Vockor’s Talisman
    Hivecult only. Allows the bearer to reroll hit rolls in the fight phase against enemy characters and causes mortal wounds on to-wound rolls of 6+, provided the target is not a vehicle or titanic model. As the sole melee enhancement offered by Hivecult, this relic offers an interesting option for a Patriarch as it synergizes remarkably well with Monstrous Rending Claws.

    Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah
    Bladed Cog only. Confers a 4+ Invulnerable save and on a 2+ inflicts 1 mortal wound on an enemy unit within 1’’ after completing a charge move. Due to the associated cult creed, it in actuality provides a 3+ Invulnerable save for most characters and the 4+ only on a Patriarch. An attractive relic for a durable warlord, especially on an Abominant which can leverage its already impressive durability as an imitation of the infamous “smash captains” of the Space Marines.

    Metallophagic Staff
    Rusted Claw Magus only. Upgrades the Magus’ staff of office with a staggering AP -5 and an ability that inflicts 1 mortal wound against vehicles on a to-wound roll of 4+ or D3 mortal wounds on a roll of 6+. As a Magus generally does not actively seek out combat, this relic is more for fluff purposes than general usage (in part due to competition with the other relics).

    Reliquary of Saint Tenndarc
    Pauper Princes only. Friendly Pauper Princes models within range automatically pass moral. Furthermore, whenever an infantry or biker unit in range is slain, on a 4+ they may make a shooting attack or melee attack before being removed as a casualty. This is a useful tool for keeping squads in the fight and continues the Pauper Princes theme of maximizing damage potential. Best taken on a non-Patriarch model to avoid redundant moral immunity.

    Elixir Of The Prime Specimen:
    Twisted Helix Only. Provides +1 Attack, +1 Toughness, and +1 wound. An impressive set of stat boosts combined with the innate strength boost provided by the creed. Ideal for a Patriarch or Abominant to leverage their already impressive stats.



    Stratagems:
    Despite being a relatively small army, the Genestealer Cults have a dizzying array of stratagems available to them. As such, the following stratagems have been grouped based on the book in which they were published.


    Codex: Genestealer Cults
    Spoiler:

    Clandestine Goals
    Cheap stratagem used before the battle if the mission uses the Malestorm of War rules. For the duration of the battle, the player’s hand of objectives is hidden from their opponent until individual objectives are achieved. Strategically, this makes it harder for the opponent to prevent scoring attempts and allows for “bluffing”, though a canny opponent will probably be able to figure out what you are doing based on your actions. Still, it is a significant advantage and is mostly unique (Dark Angels being the other) so is worthwhile to consider.

    Grandsire’s Gifts
    Standard extra relic stratagem. Nothing fancy, though seeing as GSC has several good relics to choose from it will likely see heavier use than many of its counterparts.

    Broodcoven
    Cheap stratagem used at the beginning of the game if the player has a Patriarch warlord. If they do, they may select 1 Magus and 1 Primus to also generate warlord traits, though they are only treated as the warlord for the purposes of the ability (i.e. the Patriarch is the one that gives up Slay the Warlord if slain, not his underlings). Very similar to the abilities that allow additional warlord traits in the Imperial Knight and Drukhari codices, offering a bit of compensation for the restrictions imposed by the Broodfather rule. Note that as of this current writing this stratagem does not require that the Magus and Primus belong to the same <cult> as the Patriarch warlord, allowing for some shenanigans with mixed creed armies.

    Lurk in the Shadows
    Moderate cost stratagem used at the start of the opponent’s shooting phase. For the duration, one selected GSC infantry unit in terrain cannot be targeted by ranged attacks unless they are the closest target. The terrain requirement makes it a bit more situational than similar stratagems in other armies but can be useful for protecting a key squad coming out of ambush provided it is dropped in cover and there is a closer target.

    Hyper Metabolism
    Cheap stratagem that restores D3 wounds to targeted GSC character. Standard regeneration stratagem, albeit limited to characters only and cheaper to use as a result. GSC has a lot of useful characters so this has some utility in keeping them in play if they suffer incidental injury, especially psykers who are prone to suffering perils of the warp.

    Sensor Decoys
    Cheap once-per-game stratagem that deploys an additional 3 ambush tokens when a unit is set up in ambush (meaning 4 tokens total are dropped). The additional tokens are then removed after the last ambushing unit is deployed. While not something that will be used every game, it is a useful tool to create additional deployment options and can be used as insurance against Phobos infiltrators.

    Meticulous Uprising
    Cheap stratagem used before revealing an ambush marker. If used, up to 3 markers can be moved to a new location within 12’’ of their original position provided they remain more than 9’’ from enemy models and entirely within the deployment zone. The primary use for this stratagem is as a tool to adapt deployments against units with the ability to drop uncomfortably close to your deployment zone, such as Primaris Infiltrators or Ork units teleported via Da Jump. With it, the markers can simply be shifted away from the offending units to deny them targets. Not something that will be used every game, but a useful tool to keep in mind for the match ups where it can help.

    They Came From Below…
    Cheap stratagem that allows the player to choose 3 non-vehicle units and set them up underground instead of revealing them at an ambush token once per game (FAQ). In matched play this also bypasses the ordinary restrictions on no more than half the army being able to be set up in reserves (FAQ), making it useful for increasing the number of units arriving via the tunnels beyond what is normally permissible. Units put into reserves with this stratagem still must obey other aspects of the matched play reserve rules, so they cannot be set up on the table until turn 2 and must be set up by turn 3. (FAQ)

    A Perfect Ambush
    Expensive stratagem used when a unit with the Cult Ambush special rule is set-up from ambush or tunnels (FAQ). That unit can either shoot as if it was the shooting phase (and shoot again in the following shooting phase if applicable) or move D6’’ even if it arrived from reserves that turn. Effectively an on demand version of result #5 from the old ambush table, this stratagem is an extremely powerful tool. Due to the high command point cost it will generally be reserved to improve charge distances for key assault squads emerging from ambush, but the secondary free shooting attack can also be useful for certain units (generally in conjunction with other stratagems). As mentioned previously, the Sanctus can use this stratagem at no cost each turn if desired, but must obey other rules governing its use.

    Lying in Wait
    Medium cost stratagem that allows a unit arriving from underground to be placed >3’’ away from enemy models rather than >9’’, at the cost of not being able to initiate a charge that turn. A very useful tool that can be used to insure short ranged weaponry can be brought to bear or a as a means to prevent enemies from being able to withdraw by dropping in behind an assault target. Cannot be used on the first turn of the game (FAQ).

    Devoted Crew
    Cheap stratagem used at the beginning of a turn (either player’s). Until the end of that turn, a selected vehicle may use the top row of their damage table rather than whatever bracket they currently are (naturally ending if the vehicle is reduced to 0 wounds). This is especially appreciated by the Goliath Rockgrinder to regain its full melee capabilities and mobility or a Cult Russ to regain their accuracy.

    Monstrous Vigor
    Moderate cost stratagem used at the start of the GSC player’s turn. Until their next turn, a selected Aberrant unit gains +1 to their Bestial Vigor rolls. A simple stratagem that provides a durability boost on what is already a high value squad for a turn. That said, it does incentivize taking one larger squad rather than multiple smaller ones, as otherwise a canny opponent will ignore the unit under the effect and target an unenhanced unit instead. Still, given the sort of targets Aberrants tend to be tailored for, the extra durability can make the difference.

    The First Curse
    Cheap stratagem used before the battle and can only be used once per battle. When used, a selected unit of Purestrain Genestealers gains the benefits of a random Tyranid biomorph for the duration of the battle, with Toxin Sacs on a 1-2, Adrenal Glands on a 3-4, and Extended Carapaces on a 5-6. While each individual item has utility (and an associated point value in the Tyranid codex – making up some of the cost discrepancy), the inherent randomness does limit some of the applications since the exact biomorph set can vary from game to game and drastically alter how the unit behaves in the case of a 5-6.

    Also as a bit of random trivia, this references the 7th edition formation of the same name and same effect.

    Cult Reinforcements
    Cheap stratagem that replenishes a random number of casualties to a selected GSC infantry unit with the troops battlefield role. The most obvious benefit of this stratagem is its effects on objective scoring, with the replenished models improving the claim on a given objective but can also be used to bring back special models (leader, icon, weapons).

    Telepathic Summons
    Cheap stratagem used in the psychic phase. In place of casting any powers, the targeted psyker may instead roll 3D6. One <cult> infantry or biker unit with the cult ambush ability may then be added to the army, provided the power level of that unit is less than or equal to the result rolled (and reinforcement points are available in the case of matched play). The unit then immediately deploys per cult ambush.

    Formerly a psychic power, the new Telepathic summons allows a player to bypass turn-1 deep strike restrictions and pull in a unit tailored to deal with the opponent. It is especially useful for summoning any of the assassination characters (Kelermorph, Sanctus, Locus) depending on the needs of the battle as well as more specialized squads (Metamorphs) that benefit from being configured to deal with specific targets.

    Rigged to Blow
    Cheap stratagem used with a Goliath Truck or Goliath Rockgrinder with a demolition cache is destroyed. The vehicle automatically detonates rather than rolling to see if it explodes. Of the two, this is more likely to come into play with the Goliath Truck as they are more likely to equip a cache in the first place (to be used with Acolyte demo teams), but conversely is more useful for a Rockgrinder owing to their melee nature likely leaving them surrounded with potential victims for a detonation. In either case, has no effective if no vehicles with demolition caches are present which limits its utility to specific builds.

    Detonate Concealed Explosives
    Moderate cost “nuke” stratagem used at the start of the shooting phase provided at least 1 GSC unit is present. If used, the player may select an enemy unit and roll a D6, adding to the roll if the target unit has more than 10 models and subtracting from the roll against a character. On a 4+, the target suffers D3 mortal wounds, while on a 7+ it instead suffers D6 mortal wounds. The primary benefit of this stratagem is that it has no range or line-of-sight restrictions and due to not being an attack can be used to bypass abilities that prevent a unit from being targeted (Cloud of Flies, Lurk in Shadows, etc.). Unlike other "nuke" stratagems, Detonate Concealed Explosives can be used multiple times a game, provided command points are available (which is the main issue for this stratagem unfortunately).

    Extra Explosives
    Cheap stratagem used before a GSC unit makes any shooting attacks. When used, up to 10 models from the selected unit may throw a grenade that turn, though only half of which may be Demolition Charges. While most obviously useful for Acolyte or Atalan Jackal units carrying multiple Demolition Charges, the extra shots offered by the humble Blasting Charge can be useful for chaff clearing if a squad is close enough to employ them. Pairs remarkably well with the Rusted Claw’s signature stratagem (detailed below).

    Return to Shadows
    Cheap stratagem used at the end of the movement phase that allows a Genestealer Cults infantry unit with the Cult Ambush ability to be removed from the table provided no enemies are within close range of them and they did not arrive from reserves that turn. The removed unit then returns to play next turn as if it had been set up underground. Return to shadows adds a great deal of tactical flexibility and board control options, allowing a stranded unit to redeploy at a moment's notice, a large unit to be reallocated as the needs of the battle dictate, or a wounded character to be whisked away to safety. The 2018 fall FAQ clarified that Return to Shadows is not affected by the Tactical Reserves rule so units leaving the table after turn 3 will still arrive safely.

    Chilling Efficiency (Hivecult)
    Moderate cost stratagem used in the shooting phase after a Hivecult unit damages an enemy model. Until the end of the phase, all other Hivecult units targeting that unit may add +1 to their hit rolls against that target. When combined with the spotting abilities of a Jackal Alphus (or two), the army can lay down a shockingly accurate barrage of firepower against a key target (such as a Knight).

    A Plan Generations in the Making (Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor)
    Requires at least one Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor model on the table to use. Expensive stratagem used after an opponent has spent points for a stratagem but before the stratagem goes into effect. On a 2+ that stratagem’s effects are ignored, and the command points are refunded. In addition, on a 6 the command points spent are not refunded. The ability to counteract critical stratagems is extremely useful in the current competitive environment, though it can only be used once-per-game (FAQ).

    Overthrow the Oppressors (Bladed Cog)
    Cheap stratagem used before a Bladed Cog unit (without the Genestealer keyword) is selected to fight. For that phase, the unit may make an additional attack for each natural hit-roll of 6 with the standard caveats about successive hits not generating further rolls. If attacking a unit with the Imperial keyword, the extra hits instead occur on a natural roll of 5 or 6, and against an Adeptus Mechanicus unit the extra hits instead occur on a natural roll of 4, 5, or 6. In either case, this is especially useful for mass attack squads and has excellent synergy with the Chosen One aura from the Abominant (each hit of 6 generates an extra hit and extra hit roll).

    Drive-By Demolitions (Rusted Claw)
    Cheap stratagem used before a Rusted Claw biker unit is selected to shoot. That unit may add +1 to hit and wound to any attacks made with a grenade weapon that turn, and then may immediately move after performing their attacks (though they cannot charge afterwards). Excellent for making the most of a lone Demolition Charge and potentially horrific when paired with the Extra Explosives stratagem. When not being used for an alpha strike, it also offers some utility in get a bit more movement out of a squad attempting to reach an objective deep in the opponent’s backfield or else to move out of line of sight and avoid retaliation.

    Vengeance for the Martyred (Pauper Princes)
    Cheap stratagem used when a Pauper Princes character is slain by an enemy model. For the rest of the game, all Pauper Princes Models may add +1 to their hit rolls when targeted the offending unit.
    A simple but effective deterrent for foes targeting Pauper Princes characters, one that bolsters both melee and shooting. The primary drawback is that most players will likely attempt to use cheap/expendable units to finish off characters where possible, so the odds of triggering it on something important is unlikely. This can be circumvented by intentionally sacrificing a cheap character such as a Biophagus or Locus, though depending on circumstances this may be difficult to set-up and is somewhat gimmicky.

    Monstrous Bio-Horrors (Twisted Helix)
    Expensive stratagem used after a Twisted Helix Aberrant unit has fought. That unit can then fight again and gains a -1 ld bubble until the end of the turn. Effectively a standard fight-again stratagem with an added leadership penalty. While the leadership debuff is unlikely to come into play (not much can survive two rounds with an Aberrant squad), the ability to fight again is very useful for finishing off large targets like knights.



    Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good
    Spoiler:


    Prepared Ambush
    Cheap stratagem used at the start of the shooting phase. One Neophyte unit that setup via Cult Ambush may treat their autoguns as Assault 2. The most noteworthy aspect of this stratagem is that the affected unit can deploy using either mode of Cult Ambush, so a unit advancing up the board from an ambush marker is just as valid a target as one arriving from deepstrike. This stratagem appears to have been designed to be paired with the Armor Piercing Ammunition trait for use against forward screens that might otherwise restrict deepstrike, but in most cases the command point costs make this hard to justify.

    Close-Range Shoot-Out
    Cheap stratagem used in the shooting phase. Allows Atlan Jackal units to reroll wound rolls made with Pistols, Grenade Launchers, and Shotguns when attacking enemies within 12''. Full rerolls to wound are relatively rare which gives this some added appeal, though the low strength of most of the eligible weapons hinders some of the effectiveness against heavier infantry.

    Violence Unleashed
    Cheap stratagem used in the fight phase. Adds +1 attack to a selected Metamorph unit. Simple effect that is remarkably potent given the sheer volume of attacks Metamorphs are already capable off without it. All configurations can make some use of this stratagem to more effectively hack through infantry, though talon-equipped Metamorphs can get especially silly (5-6 attacks per body, 6-7 from leader).

    Genetic Lineage
    Cheap stratagem used in the charge phase. Allows a selected Acolyte unit to charge despite advancing. This is effectively a stratagem version of the Psychic Stimulus power, and makes a fair back-up option in the event that said power fails. Allowing Acolyte squads to act like Purestrain Genesealers for a turn is a very strong ability, especially when paired with the tools found elsewhere to extend or reroll advance and charges.

    Heart of the Creed
    Cheap once-per-game stratagem used before the game begins. A selected Primus may choose an additional target for their Meticulous Uprising ability. This stratagem offers a useful effect but is somewhat hamstrung by its window of use making it a bit of a gamble as to whether one can effectively use both instances of Meticulous Uprising before the Primus is defeated. In general, this stratagem is easier to maximize the benefits of with a firebase that can leverage range to hit both targets over the course of the game or can hammer one target before the Primus redeploys to the front line to support assault squads against the other. Attempted to set up a multi-charge against two potential targets is an option, but one that is hard to do.

    The Cult's Psyche
    Cheap once-per-game stratagem used before the game begins. A selected Magus gains the ability to manifest an additional psychic power and may add one to their psychic tests for each other <cult> psyker within short range.

    The Gnarled Fist
    Cheap once-per-game stratagem used before the game begins. A selected Abominant gains a 3'' extension to their Chosen One ability.

    Commanding Amplification
    Cheap once-per-game stratagem used before the game begins. A selected Clamavus gains a 3'' extension to their Proclamator Hailer ability.

    Integrated Vox-Net
    Moderate stratagem used during the shooting phase. Replaces a Jackal Alphus' Priority Target Sighted ability with a variant with triple the radius of effect. While expensive, the range extension allows a single Alphus to cover many more units than they otherwise might. This is particularly useful for heavily mechanized Hivecult builds or Neophyte-heavy Bladed Cog builds where a large portion of the army is reliant upon the Alphus' target painting ability for accuracy. Note that Atlan Jackal packs do not get special benefit from this stratagem as it replaces the ability they reference.

    Slipping Through the Shadows
    Cheap stratagem used in the movement phase. Allows a Sanctus model to advance a full 6'' and still charge later in the charge phase. A significant boon for a melee-based Sanctus, as it allows for an impressive amount of mobility to get them to their target.

    Annihlating Advance
    Cheap stratagem used in the charge phase. Allows a Goliath Rockgrinder to inflict D3 mortal wounds to an infantry unit it charged on a 2+. Generally not worthwhile, as the damage is low and the Rockgrinder will rarely want to engage units with invulnerable saves that would warrant mortal wounds.

    Evasive Driving
    Cheap stratagem used in the opponent's shooting phase. A selected Goliath Rockgrinder or Goliath Truck gains the ability to treat Ap-1 or Ap-2 as Ap - until the end of the phase. Can be useful to make a particular Goliath (such as one carrying an important character or one being used to sling units with Reckless Maneuver) an unappealing target for a turn. Offers reasonable protection against mid-strength/mid-AP weapons such as Autocannons but has no effect against heavier anti-armor weapons (such as plasma or lascannons).

    Overcharged Weaponry
    Cheap stratagem used in the shooting phase. Adds +1 to wound rolls made by Clearance Incinerators, Heavy Seismic Cannons, or Heavy Mining Lasers carried by the selected unit. This is an especially effective stratagem for Ridgerunners that can maximize the amount of effected models via their squadron ability, but a Rockgrinder can also make use of it in a pinch.

    Raking Fire
    Cheap stratagem used in the shooting phase. A selected Achillies Ridgerunner unit gains +1 to hit and wound rolls with its Heavy Stubbers until the end of the phase. This stratagem is helpful for Ridgerunners acting as fire support batteries where their primary target is being painted by an Alphus but secondary infantry targets are also available.




    Allies:

    The Genestealer Cults are unusual amongst the Xenos armies in that they have access to two different allies. As part of the Tyranids faction, they can ally with Hive Fleet Tyranids naturally while their Brood Brothers rule grants access to the Astra Militarium (albeit with the restrictions mentioned at the beginning). Both allies can be taken in the same army if desired, though this will generally mean a significantly diminished GSC presence if looking to maximize the strengths of both allies.

    Tyranids

    At their core, the Hive Fleet Tyranids emphasize attrition in their battlefield tactics, thanks to a combination of (comparatively) low cost bodies, easy access to accuracy penalties against shooting, and near-army wide moral immunity. The GSC will generally be looking to maximize the board control elements of the Tyranids and their own ability to put units in reserves, so the deep strike capable Tyranid units will generally be unappealing (with possible exception being made for the Mawloc due to its burrowing ability allowing it to start on the table). Tyranids tend to struggle with high toughness units while their hybrid cousins excel against such targets. As such, a typical ally detachment for Tyranids will involve a handful of armor-cracking assault squads or Rusted Claw Atlan Jackals with demolition charges. Tyranids also very much appreciate the overwatch mitigation offered by the GSC.

    Tyranid allies are fairly flexible in which creeds they can work well with, though by their nature will generally be serving as the "anvil" part of the army which makes "hammer" creeds especially appealing to maximize offensive potential.

    User babelfish provided an excellent writeup looking at Tyranid allies which can be viewed here for a more in-depth analysis.

    Astra Militarum
    Undergoing revision

    Specialist Detachments:
    Specialist detachments are a special sort of stratagem introduced in Vigilus Defiant that add a keyword to select models and unlocks one additional relic, warlord trait, and additional stratagems that can only be used on models that have gained the specialist detachment’s keyword. Note: The 9th edition Chapter Approved specifically forbids the use of specialist detachments in official tournament play for the 2020 cycle. It is likely that these will be phased out entirely as the edition continues, but will remain included in this writeup for the sake of thoroughness.

    Anointed Throng:
    Spoiler:
    Adds the Anointed Throng keyword to all Aberrant and Abominant units in the selected detachment. Unlocks the Devotion Till Death and For the Anointed One! stratagems, Insidious Mindwyrm Warlord trait, and Blessed Sledgehammer relic.

    An Aberrant themed specialist detachment which provides more reliable charges via its warlord trait and offers some damage enhancing stratagems and relic. Each of the “hammer” oriented creeds can imitate some facet of the detachment, so its main utility is either offering the missing toolsets (generally the +1 to charges offered by the warlord trait or ability to get a second swing) or as a means for the “anvil” centric creeds to bolster their Aberrants without having to mix creeds.

    Warlord Trait/Relic:
    - Insidious Mindwyrm: (Viligus Defiant)
    Anointed Throng Abominant only. Warlord allows nearby Anointed Throng models to add +1 to their charge distance. Very nice when paired with a Clamavus or the Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor creed for cumulative bonuses and can be used as a substitution for either effect if needed.

    Blessed Sledgehammer (Vigilus Defiant)
    Only available to an Anointed Throng Abominant. Upgrades the Abominant's sledgehammer to AP-4 and removes the to-hit penalty. The extra AP helps against 3+ save targets and the added accuracy improves the damage output considerably.

    Associated Stratagems:

    Field Commander
    Cheap stratagem that allows a non-unique character in a specialist detachment to gain that detachment's unique warlord trait ability. Can be used multiple times provided each is affecting a different specialist detachment (can't use on 2 of the same kind) and no more than 1 instance of a given trait is in play (can't have two Abominants with the Insidious Mindwyrm trait).

    Devotion Till Death:
    Medium cost stratagem used at the beginning of the fight phase. Allows slain Anointed Throng Aberrants from the selected unit to pile in and fight before being removed as casualties. Primarily useful against big game targets such as knights to maximize damage output, since the models get swing even if they have already gone.

    Fight for the Anointed One!:
    Cheap stratagem used at the beginning of the fight phase. One Anointed Throng Aberrant unit within range of an Anointed Throng Abominant gains the ability to reroll wound rolls of 1 until the end of the phase. Rerolls are always useful, though the effect is perhaps a bit redundant if a Primus is available to offer their own reroll bubble (albeit limited to a specific target).


    Deliverance Broodsurge:
    Spoiler:
    Adds the Deliverance Broodsurge keyword to all Acolyte Iconwards, Acolytes, Neophytes, and Goliath Trucks in the selected detachment. Unlocks the First to Draw Blood and Reckless Maneuver stratagems, Augur of the Insurgent Warlord trait, and Vile of the Grandsire's Blood relic.

    A troop themed specialist detachment that offers a diverse toolbox. Its warlord trait and one of its stratagems improve the reliability of threat delivery, while the other stratagem provides a noticeable damage enhancement. The relic is also worthy of mention, offering a once-per-game damage boon and a +1 leadership bubble.

    Being oriented around troops, the Deliverance Broodsurge is fairly universal in its application even for builds that do not incorporate Goliath vehicles. The primary benefit lies in its damage enhancement options, though the ability to disembark a unit after moving does have some potential applications in gimmicky early pressure lists using other movement tricks (flare launchers + jackals, Swarmlord) to put several threats in the enemy’s deployment zone on the first turn.

    Warlord Trait/Relic:

    - Augur Of The Insurgent: (Viligus Defiant)
    Deliverance Broodsurge Iconward only. Warlord allows nearby Deliverance Broodsurge models to reroll advance or charge rolls. Very similar to the Insidious Mindwyrm but affects a wider range of models. Again, useful out of ambush or when making a last-minute objective play.

    Vial of the Grandsire's Blood (Vigilus Defiant)
    Only available to a Deliverance Broodsurge Iconward. Bestows +1 Ld. to units within a short distance of the Iconward and grants a once per battle ability that increases a chosen model's Strength and Attacks characteristics by 2 for the duration of the Fight phase. The leadership boost has some interesting stacking potential with the Inspiring Leader warlord trait for Ld. 10 on almost any affected squad (scans Aberrants) though it comes at the cost of alternative traits. The once-per-game character buff is a bit trickier to use due to the required proximity, but in theory would be ideal for an Abominant or (ironically enough) a Patriarch going up against a key target that absolutely must die that turn.

    Associated Stratagems:

    Field Commander
    Cheap stratagem that allows a non-unique character in a specialist detachment to gain that detachment's unique warlord trait ability. Can be used multiple times provided each is affecting a different specialist detachment (can't use on 2 of the same kind) and no more than 1 instance of a given trait is in play (can't have two Abominants with the Insidious Mindwyrm trait).

    Reckless Maneuver:
    Cheap stratagem used at the end of the movement phase. Allows a Deliverance Broodsurge unit to disembark from a Deliverance Broodsurge Goliath that has moved this turn (provided said unit did not embark this turn). The unit must roll a die for each model and a single model is slain for each 1 rolled similar to an emergency disembark from a wrecked vehicle. The unit has to disembark in such a way as to be more than 9'' away from the enemy. The ability to sling a unit up the board very quickly for a first turn charge has some potentially interesting applications though being a single 10-strong unit of Acolytes or Neophytes limits the damage potential somewhat. Best used in conjunction with Atalan Jackals that can provide extra threat saturation.

    First to Draw Blood:
    Cheap stratagem used at the beginning of the fight phase. Adds +1 to wound rolls made by the selected Deliverance Broodsurge unit. Devastating when paired with Acolytes, who love the boost to their heavy rock weapons and having the AP-4 ability of their rending claws trigger a 5+ while under the effect. Also allows Neophytes to be fairly threatening in melee when paired with other in-faction strength boosts.

    This message was edited 45 times. Last update was at 2021/08/30 02:12:03


     
       
    Made in us
    Scuttling Genestealer





    Now that's a proper primer, great writeup, you've served the Four-Armed Emperor well.


       
    Made in au
    Dakka Veteran





    Great work and I love your style of addressing these units. You've clearly articulated the strengths and weaknesses of units, but without making a statement on whether or not that unit is top tier or not - which is ideal as it's far too susceptible to meta, playstyle and list, as well as subjectivity. Don't fall into that trap. Great stuff.

       
    Made in us
    Brainy Biophagus Brewing Potent Chemicals






    Thank you both for your kind words. I’ll try to get the to-do list hammered out over the next few days (also spotted a few things I need to fix).

    Anything else I should add? As said, the goal is to be as comprehensive as possible.
       
    Made in it
    Dakka Veteran




     Strat_N8 wrote:
    Thank you both for your kind words. I’ll try to get the to-do list hammered out over the next few days (also spotted a few things I need to fix).

    Anything else I should add? As said, the goal is to be as comprehensive as possible.


    Btw Acolyte Iconward provides FNP 6+ to ALL MODELS OF A UNIT within 6", effectively granting UNITS within 6" FNP, not models.



    Automatically Appended Next Post:
     Nitro Zeus wrote:
    Great work and I love your style of addressing these units. You've clearly articulated the strengths and weaknesses of units, but without making a statement on whether or not that unit is top tier or not - which is ideal as it's far too susceptible to meta, playstyle and list, as well as subjectivity. Don't fall into that trap. Great stuff.



    GSC vehicles and Genestealers being hot garbage is not a "meta-dependant" statement, but the simple truth as long as GW doesn't both reduce the points and apply chapter tactics to vehicles

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/10 17:30:45


     
       
    Made in us
    Brainy Biophagus Brewing Potent Chemicals






    KurtAngle2 wrote:

    Btw Acolyte Iconward provides FNP 6+ to ALL MODELS OF A UNIT within 6", effectively granting UNITS within 6" FNP, not models.


    Fixed. Thank you for pointing that out. I'm ashamed to admit I missed that change.

    KurtAngle2 wrote:

    GSC vehicles and Genestealers being hot garbage is not a "meta-dependant" statement


    I'm not sure on purestrain genestealers, but vehicles being meta dependent is a fair statement. Most tournaments currently are skewing towards heavy armor and counters for heavy armor which makes it a rather hostile environment for more mechanized builds (Tyranids have the same issue currently). If in comparison your local meta is skewed more towards anti-infantry or lots of light to medium mech the vehicles will perform better since they skew against the former and have tools to deal with the latter.

       
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    I just bought 2 tempestus scion command squads w/ 4 plasmas in each for fun. Has anyone run Militarum Tempestus with GSC? Was thinking about running a vanguard of 2x Tempestor Primes with the 2 scion command squads and a commissar to fill out the detachment.
       
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    landersloot wrote:
    I just bought 2 tempestus scion command squads w/ 4 plasmas in each for fun. Has anyone run Militarum Tempestus with GSC? Was thinking about running a vanguard of 2x Tempestor Primes with the 2 scion command squads and a commissar to fill out the detachment.


    Outclassed by every GSC antivehicle choice (Aberrants, Rock Saws). Why would you do that? It's not even that fun
       
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    KurtAngle2 wrote:
    landersloot wrote:
    I just bought 2 tempestus scion command squads w/ 4 plasmas in each for fun. Has anyone run Militarum Tempestus with GSC? Was thinking about running a vanguard of 2x Tempestor Primes with the 2 scion command squads and a commissar to fill out the detachment.


    Outclassed by every GSC antivehicle choice (Aberrants, Rock Saws). Why would you do that? It's not even that fun


    I bought them because:

    A) They're cool models
    B) I suffer from the incessant need to spend my money on plastic miniatures
    3) GSC don't really have access to plasma or things that can fire them with BS better than 4. and i like plasma

    If i include them in my list i would still have rock saws

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/21 19:00:50


     
       
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    Do i understand this primer correctly:

    If i wanted to run a Gunfocused list, i would run either Rusted Claws for durability or Bladed Cog if i wanted to go heavy with Neophytes and Broodbrothers?

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    landersloot wrote:I just bought 2 tempestus scion command squads w/ 4 plasmas in each for fun. Has anyone run Militarum Tempestus with GSC? Was thinking about running a vanguard of 2x Tempestor Primes with the 2 scion command squads and a commissar to fill out the detachment.


    I used them for a bit in the index but I have not had a chance to run them with the codex.

    As far as tactical usage they should serve well as another general purpose deepstrike threat with the benefit of being able to shoot over screens, though I'd probably have them focus primarily on removing key heavy infantry (Havocs, Aggressors, Devastators, Wraithguard) before vehicles. The only concern I have with your detachment plans is that it feels a bit character heavy for two fire support squads (I know the Tempestors can't be helped). Are there any other units you might want to pull from the AM that could give you more mileage out of the detachment?


    Not Online!!! wrote:Do i understand this primer correctly:

    If i wanted to run a Gunfocused list, i would run either Rusted Claws for durability or Bladed Cog if i wanted to go heavy with Neophytes and Broodbrothers?


    I'd put the Bladed Cog as more a combined arms creed despite the second part of its ability, as it has tools for both melee and ranged and really wants a bit of both to take full advantage of its toolbox. For a list or detachment focusing predominately on the ranged side of the army I'd look at Hivecult or Rusted Claw. Hivecult gives you several tools to improve the accuracy of the ranged aspects of the army and the ability to screen big guns more effectively (bit like early 8th Valhallans) while the Rusted Claw is more geared for mid-field shooting thanks to their interaction with cover and general synergy with bikes (which can also take over some of the ambushing "hammer" role with demo charges).
       
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    I'd put the Bladed Cog as more a combined arms creed despite the second part of its ability, as it has tools for both melee and ranged and really wants a bit of both to take full advantage of its toolbox. For a list or detachment focusing predominately on the ranged side of the army I'd look at Hivecult or Rusted Claw. Hivecult gives you several tools to improve the accuracy of the ranged aspects of the army and the ability to screen big guns more effectively (bit like early 8th Valhallans) while the Rusted Claw is more geared for mid-field shooting thanks to their interaction with cover and general synergy with bikes (which can also take over some of the ambushing "hammer" role with demo charges).



    I mostly ask due to beeing finally fed up with the rules R&H got and am therefore sitting on a massive ammount of infantry. And whilest i could go with Am it would bore me to no end and wysiwg would not be upheld due to stubbers and an abundance of sniperrifles.

    So i was looking around for an army to atleast somewhat fit the bill for a desperate professional now imrpovising force.





    This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/21 21:24:15


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     Daedalus81 wrote:

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    Not Online!!! wrote:

    I mostly ask due to beeing finally fed up with the rules R&H got and am therefore sitting on a massive ammount of infantry. And whilest i could go with Am it would bore me to no end and wysiwg would not be upheld due to stubbers and an abundance of sniperrifles.

    So i was looking around for an army to atleast somewhat fit the bill for a desperate professional now imrpovising force.


    Yeah it is sad what has happened to that army. One of our locals has it and it used to be his favorite and it was a joy to play against pre-8th. Now he mostly plays a mix of CSM and Daemons (albeit still Khorne and Nurgle, as per Siege of Vraks).

    For your purposes Hivecult with Brood Brother allies will probably be your best fit, as Rusted Claw is more focused on the bikers than on-foot infantry. Stubbers can go with Neophyte squads perfectly fine, though I'm not sure what to do with lots of Snipers (could use some to make Sanctus and Alphus characters I suppose).

    Hope that helps.

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/21 21:46:05


     
       
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     Strat_N8 wrote:
    Not Online!!! wrote:

    I mostly ask due to beeing finally fed up with the rules R&H got and am therefore sitting on a massive ammount of infantry. And whilest i could go with Am it would bore me to no end and wysiwg would not be upheld due to stubbers and an abundance of sniperrifles.

    So i was looking around for an army to atleast somewhat fit the bill for a desperate professional now imrpovising force.


    Yeah it is sad what has happened to that army. One of our locals has it and it used to be his favorite and it was a joy to play against pre-8th. Now he mostly plays a mix of CSM and Daemons (albeit still Khorne and Nurgle, as per Siege of Vraks).

    For your purposes Hivecult with Brood Brother allies will probably be your best fit, as Rusted Claw is more focused on the bikers than on-foot infantry. Stubbers can go with Neophyte squads and Snipers can go in Veteran or Command Squads taken from the AM codex (could also use some to convert an Alphus and/or Sanctus).


    Tbf 7th had a lot of gak in it.
    Like formations and massive balance issues.

    IA13 and the renegade army within wasn't part of that.
    A refreshingly balanced and fun and especially customizable list.

    I converted my army out of gsc, IG, 3rd party bits and fw. But after 74 matches of bollocks in 8th at varying sizes it was mostly sitting in a vitrin, until i studied it a bit and saw one of my older gsc conversions.


    Thanks for the hivecult tip though, seems like a decent choice but i guess traits and paint style would probably anyways not bother me
    Do you rekon the tactician to be worth it?

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/21 21:51:25


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    I have somewhat mixed feelings on the Nexos. Command point regeneration is a very nice thing to have, but he is really expensive for a non-combat character and the restrictions on CP regeneration in matched play limits how much he can give back. I think the most compelling place for him lies in ambush-centric lists where much of the nastier tricks are driven by stratagem use, giving him more opportunities to refund and giving each CP recovered more a bit more value. Mass ambush lists also generally will have a Primus and Clamavus included for their support abilities, which in turn also improves the reliability of the Nexos' regeneration ability. The Nexos can also serve as a "safe" warlord (provided no Patriarch is present) content to lurk in the backfield while the other characters throw themselves in harms way.

    I suppose a simpler way to frame it would be he has his uses but isn't something I would consider an "auto include" choice (at least in matched play).
       
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     Strat_N8 wrote:
    I have somewhat mixed feelings on the Nexos. Command point regeneration is a very nice thing to have, but he is really expensive for a non-combat character and the restrictions on CP regeneration in matched play limits how much he can give back. I think the most compelling place for him lies in ambush-centric lists where much of the nastier tricks are driven by stratagem use, giving him more opportunities to refund and giving each CP recovered more a bit more value. Mass ambush lists also generally will have a Primus and Clamavus included for their support abilities, which in turn also improves the reliability of the Nexos' regeneration ability. The Nexos can also serve as a "safe" warlord (provided no Patriarch is present) content to lurk in the backfield while the other characters throw themselves in harms way.

    I suppose a simpler way to frame it would be he has his uses but isn't something I would consider an "auto include" choice (at least in matched play).


    Shame, really liked the model.

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     Strat_N8 wrote:
    I have somewhat mixed feelings on the Nexos. Command point regeneration is a very nice thing to have, but he is really expensive for a non-combat character and the restrictions on CP regeneration in matched play limits how much he can give back. I think the most compelling place for him lies in ambush-centric lists where much of the nastier tricks are driven by stratagem use, giving him more opportunities to refund and giving each CP recovered more a bit more value. Mass ambush lists also generally will have a Primus and Clamavus included for their support abilities, which in turn also improves the reliability of the Nexos' regeneration ability. The Nexos can also serve as a "safe" warlord (provided no Patriarch is present) content to lurk in the backfield while the other characters throw themselves in harms way.

    I suppose a simpler way to frame it would be he has his uses but isn't something I would consider an "auto include" choice (at least in matched play).


    Hey Strat N8 - I think the Nexos is really good. I run neither Clamavus nor Primus, I still spend 50 on a Nexos. Cheapest battalion we can get is like close to 250 pts (for 5 CP), for a fraction of that the Nexos brings like at least 2 CP your way even on 6's, sometimes more, and that's around half a battalion worth of CP for 50 pts. I include him for that alone, then he has the blip ability as a bonus. If you are running Primus or Clamavus he's literally double as good. I think the Nexos is a good unit!
       
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     Nitro Zeus wrote:
     Strat_N8 wrote:
    I have somewhat mixed feelings on the Nexos. Command point regeneration is a very nice thing to have, but he is really expensive for a non-combat character and the restrictions on CP regeneration in matched play limits how much he can give back. I think the most compelling place for him lies in ambush-centric lists where much of the nastier tricks are driven by stratagem use, giving him more opportunities to refund and giving each CP recovered more a bit more value. Mass ambush lists also generally will have a Primus and Clamavus included for their support abilities, which in turn also improves the reliability of the Nexos' regeneration ability. The Nexos can also serve as a "safe" warlord (provided no Patriarch is present) content to lurk in the backfield while the other characters throw themselves in harms way.

    I suppose a simpler way to frame it would be he has his uses but isn't something I would consider an "auto include" choice (at least in matched play).


    Hey Strat N8 - I think the Nexos is really good. I run neither Clamavus nor Primus, I still spend 50 on a Nexos. Cheapest battalion we can get is like close to 250 pts (for 5 CP), for a fraction of that the Nexos brings like at least 2 CP your way even on 6's, sometimes more, and that's around half a battalion worth of CP for 50 pts. I include him for that alone, then he has the blip ability as a bonus. If you are running Primus or Clamavus he's literally double as good. I think the Nexos is a good unit!


    If my understanding of the army is correct, then you require CP on demand. meaning you can't really skip the battalion tax with 1-2 of Nexoses.

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    Something people forget about with the Nexos is the free ambush marker movement. Against turn 1 charge armies like Harlequins or Kraken genestealers who want to get up in your grill, being able to keep them 9” away from your frontlines and then move your frontlines out of charge range is pretty useful.

    Other than that though my Nexos sits with the mortar teams and babysits objectives.
       
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    I guess I might have come across more of a downer than I intended. I do think the Nexos is useful (as mentioned, ambush lists love extra command points and he makes a good warlord), most of my misgivings stem from whether a list can leverage his ability sufficiently to compensate for the points spent on a non-combat model. Just need to balance how much is invested in support pieces vs actual combat units.

    Not Online!!! wrote:
    If my understanding of the army is correct, then you require CP on demand. meaning you can't really skip the battalion tax with 1-2 of Nexoses.


    Unfortunately no, due to the Strategic Restraint matched play rule that was finalized in the last big FAQ. You can only recover 1 command point per game turn regardless of however many sources you have that can do so. In matched play the Nexos is mainly going to be sustaining the use of key stratagems rather than completely fueling them.

    Anyway, I'm hoping to spend some time on the weekend working on the allies section and beginning work on a list archetypes analysis section.

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/04 16:38:31


     
       
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    I feel the nexos is worth it.

    The building blocks of all of my lists is usually a broodcoven with a clamavus so the nexos to me seems like an auto take. Worse case, I shuffle a blip around, which is good because I abuse blip manipulation as much as possible.

    On vehicles, I agree that in a GSC list, taking the GSC vehicles isn’t the best option. Arguments can be made for Tank Commanders and Vulture allies, but the vehicles don’t play into our strengths.

    My main list uses just 200 bodies, no tanks, but I’ve been known to bring in tanks or even the Fragdrill just for fun.


     
       
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    Updated the main post with the beginnings of allies analysis. I need to get more table time with both to provide more definitive analysis, but if anyone has anything they would like to add I'd be happy to take thoughts under advisement.

     Iur_tae_mont wrote:

    On vehicles, I agree that in a GSC list, taking the GSC vehicles isn’t the best option. Arguments can be made for Tank Commanders and Vulture allies, but the vehicles don’t play into our strengths.


    Most of my experiences with vehicles has been positive, but I'm generally using them to rush the midfield and put several threats on the opponent's doorstep on the first couple turns and then offer fire support afterwards. Doing so works well against most of the tricks used to deny deepstrike landing zones in the early game and the cargo within will generally be close enough to start causing trouble on the second turn alongside ambushers.

    I am curious to see if the competitive meta will see a shift with the new Marine book and soon-to-be-out Sisters of Battle book. Both have a lot more anti-horde firepower than is typical currently and being more infantry-centric themselves might see armor as a reasonable skew option to combat them and counters for them.

    This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2019/09/10 15:29:01


     
       
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    A Plan Generations In The Making. What stratagems is it worth looking out for and using it on? I would really appreciate your suggestions and favourites on key stratagems that tend to break up your opponents plans when denied.

    For example:
    Imperial Knights - House Taranys: Our Darkest Hour. Revives a slain Knight at the end of the phase.

    Drukari - Kabal of the Black Heart: Agents of Vect. Deny one stratagem.

    Genestealer Cult - They Came from Below on powerful melee units. A Perfect Ambush on flamer acolytes.

       
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    As far as knight lists I prefer using it on whatever it is that lets other knights nearby overwatch and pile in on units I’m charging. That one wrecks me more than anything else.
       
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    Mellon wrote:
    A Plan Generations In The Making. What stratagems is it worth looking out for and using it on? I would really appreciate your suggestions and favourites on key stratagems that tend to break up your opponents plans when denied.


    If the army you are facing doesn't have any huge impact stratagems like those you highlighted (probably add Grot Shields if you have a good shooting component), I would keep an eye out for any stratagems that give extra actions or out of sequence actions.

    Examples:
    - Shoot again stratagems (there are a lot of these in a lot of armies)
    - Shoot at units arriving from reinforcements stratagems (also a lot of these)
    - Stratagems that grant extra movement. (Metabolic Overdrive, Opportunistic Advance, Hit and Fade, Drive-by Demolitions, etc..)
    - Fight again stratagems (more to stop people from piling in after slaughtering a screen)
    - Stratagems that mess up your ability to charge (Custodes have one, don't remember if anyone else did)
    - Stratagems that shut down psychic powers if you really need a given power to go off.

    A lot of these also have the benefit of being high cost stratagems themselves, so if you get lucky enough to not refund the CP spent it is doubly worthwhile.
       
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    That seems like sound advice. Thank you!
       
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    Mellon wrote:
    That seems like sound advice. Thank you!


    i'd add VotWl on condition that it serves as a safety use for Obliterators. (if they are not slaanesh)

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    After NOVA I promised myself I'd shelf my guard and start a new army. Almost no one in my flgs runs gsc so I figured I'd pick it up. Already bought a ton of models and the 'dex and have been watching youtube battle reports. Most of them though are just that, battle reports. Most of my games are won/lost based on deployment and this army looks like it's the king of deployment shenanigans... unfortunately I don't think I've seen any youtube videos specifically about that. Unless there's nothing there but it sure seems like there is. I'd love to hear any war stories or deployment tricks any of you have tried...even ones that went horribly wrong

    This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/13 19:01:59


     
       
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    Hello,

    As a new genestealer cult general i really love this topic.

    I´m still raising the army, but the few games that i played with them i really ejoyed them a lot.

    As @necron99 says i think its almost everything in the deployment, not in ours but in our rival deployment. We play the first and second turn with just half of the army, appearing as we desire. So it´s a big advantage because we can take advantage of his mistakes and correct ours. But if he doesn´t make any mistake we won´t have a great counterattack and we wil be charging what our rival wants

    Anyway, ive only played a few games with genestealer cult. I love the way the genestealer cult play. I´m still not so clever about the way of playing but i love the optionsthat they have. Do you want an anti-infantry army? Acolytes with hand flamer and aberrants will do the job. Antitank? Call the atalan jackals with demolition charges and aberrants.Call the aberrants for almost everything Do you want heavy support?Lemmans and mortars batteries. And you have cheap troops for controlling the table!!!!. So, what else do you want?

    For now, the two battles that i suffer most were against death watch:I did perfect ambush with genestealers against a unit with 3 heavy flamers.....they use the stratagem of shooting when i appear The rest is history , i was unable to finish that unit and some flying vehicle destroyed the few genestealers who still where alive. And the second against CK with two shields of plaguebearers. I were unable to reach the CK, and when i finally reached it, my genestealers were no rival and were easily defeated.

    Now i want to finish the core units of the second bataillon, get some acolytes with hand flamer and have fun.I want the nexos and clamavus too. You get out of CPs really fast, so 50 points in a 1500 or higher army i belive they it´s worth it.

       
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     necron99 wrote:
    After NOVA I promised myself I'd shelf my guard and start a new army. Almost no one in my flgs runs gsc so I figured I'd pick it up. Already bought a ton of models and the 'dex and have been watching youtube battle reports. Most of them though are just that, battle reports. Most of my games are won/lost based on deployment and this army looks like it's the king of deployment shenanigans... unfortunately I don't think I've seen any youtube videos specifically about that. Unless there's nothing there but it sure seems like there is. I'd love to hear any war stories or deployment tricks any of you have tried...even ones that went horribly wrong


    GSC can do a sort of "null deployment".If you place plenty of blips out of line of sight and a few at the front, then use the stratagem They came from below to remove the blips at the front. This can deny a static shooty opponent any useful targets for turn one and possibly two. Combine, if neccessary, with Lurk in the Shadows on a key unit to make them untargetable. (pro tip: aberrants are great for this)

    As for personal stories: I made a bait by pushing my warlord patriarch and a bunch of brood brothers into a ruin front and center in the table. My opponent took the bait and pushed his shooty vehicles forward to get a chance at taking out my warlord. Thanks to amulet of the void wyrm my patriarch survived, and next turn his vehicles was in good position for a aberrant Perfect ambush and jackal bikers Lying in wait.

    lastly: D6 evolution has made a clever video about deployment shenanigans. Some of these are appliable for GSC, some of them are useable against us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B-0WnggIto
       
     
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