The Genestealer Cults are an eclectic army, with a solid melee and ranged prowess that rewards careful positioning and movement, alongside a fair number of tricks to support them in their endeavours.
Genestealer Cults | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- Fantastic deployment and reinforcement abilities give you excellent options and threat potential
- Dependable melee for chipping away at light and heavy infantry alike
- Shooting can be boosted to strong levels, belying their overall average stats
- A wide range of army rules to suit a number of differing playstyles
- Great selection of characters to enhance and support units beyond their normal capabilities
- Overall units are quite fragile, making the army capable of dishing a hit but usually not capable of taking one
- Character and Stratagem heavy in order to boost the power of units, taking steam away from the army quite quickly when killed or low on resources
- Some units can be swing and a miss, failing a crucial charge or whiffing some shooting leaving them utterly out of the game with no real way to try again
- Anti tank can be a struggle, often on flimsy or expensive platforms
- Anything heavier than a Marine in combat will be difficult to shift without special weapons, with much of their combat prowess being high attacks at low damage
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to GENESTEALER CULTS models with the same <CULT> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no HIVECULT Auras or powers affecting RUSTED CLAW units, for example). There are occasional exceptions that will affect all CULT units, these will be called out.
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Infiltrate’ or something on those lines means the unit can be deployed anywhere on the table over 9” away from enemy models and the enemy deployment zone, instead of deploying normally.
- Some abilities interact with certain types of Psychic Powers, be they Witchfires, Blessings or Maledictions. Psychic Powers are marked with their corresponding letter to identify them (so Witchfires are W, Blessings are B and Maledictions are M).
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has GENESTEALER CULTS units in it.
- Objective Secured– All your Troops are get this, pretty standard. Whilst they aren’t the toughest Infantry around, they’re cheap enough for you to have lots of them, and your deployment abilities gives you a surprising amount of flexibility to nab Objectives.
- Gene-Sect- Each CHARACTER is one per Detachment, but each HQ unlocks a “free” slot for one other CHARACTER. Whilst the limit of one of each type isn’t too much of a problem, it can be circumnavigated for the cost of some CP, and effectively having 3 extra slots for Characters (of any kind as well, so you could have all 5 HQ choices if you wished) gives you all the slots you’d ever likely need for support elements
- Broodcoven- A PATRIARCH must be the WARLORD if it’s in your Army, otherwise it must be a PRIMUS or MAGUS. In addition, only HQ CHARACTERS can have Warlord Traits. A fluffy enough rule, and you’d probably want one of those as the Warlord anyways. No Traits on the Elite Characters is a bit of a blow, reducing some combo and power potential, but it’s not the end of the world.
- Cult Creeds- The “Chapter Tactics”, explained below
- Brood Brothers- Additional rules to add “converted” Guardsmen to your army, explained further below.
Cult Guardsmen are no longer in the book, instead you can have a one Detachment of ASTRA MILITARUM per GENESTEALER CULT Detachment, with the following addendums-
- You can only have REGIMENT or UNALIGNED in them (note that DEATH KORPS, CADIAN and CATACHAN are not explicitly <REGIMENT>, so no you can’t have Genestealer Cult Death Korps Rough Riders)
- They are BROOD BROTHERS instead of IMPERIUM and REGIMENT
- You can’t have Warlord Traits or Relics
- Their Regimental Doctrine grants everything +2 Ld, and Unquestioning Loyalty on your INFANTRY (see Special Rules).
- In addition, they don’t stop you from using Crossfire (again, see Special Rules), provided you have 25% or less of your total Points as Brood Brothers.
This is a great way to include some extra flavour and firepower to your army via tanks and special weapon support, though at the cost of CP. As you are still an ASTRA MILITARUM Detachment, you keep ObSec on your Troops, or LEMAN RUSS if it’s a Spearhead, and this will unlock Guard Stratagems for them to use (so get your 2-3 extra books ready…). One thing to note is they won’t have any synergies with pretty much every other rule in this book, so when abilities talk about friendly models, its CULT models, not BROOD BROTHERS, unless it says otherwise.
NOTE- This Article is about Codex Genestealer Cults, and so will ultimately focus on those units and rules, and how they work with each other. BROOD BROTHER elements can add some extra firepower and potency to your army, but for my sanity, I’m not going to be writing about another several dozen Datasheets and how they interact with the army (at least not yet anyway).
Every CULT unit gains a Cult Creed, depending on the Detachment they are in, granting them unique abilities, as well as a Warlord Trait, Stratagem and a new Power all their PSYKERS know in addition to any other Powers (any Power marked with a * lasts until your next Psychic Phase). Should your WARLORD have the associated Cult Creed you are also eligible to have the Relic too.
Cult Creed- Subterranean Ambushers
Reroll Charges and Light Cover against attacks over 12” away. This is a great spread of traits that cover two of the main weaknesses of the army, ensuring you make key, multiple charges, and low armour saves. Whilst the two are counterproductive to each other, they compliment each other over the course of the game, boosting the survivability of ranged units and letting melee units reliably get in to do their job. Probably the best general purpose Trait, as it will generally always be useful and fits all manner of army structures.
Warlord Trait- Inscrutable Cunning
Once per Round, a Genestealer Cult Strategic Ploy or Battle Tactic Stratagem that is used within 12” of the WARLORD costs -1CP for that use, to a min of 0CP (you’d think that would go without saying, but we’ve all seen some of the FAQ questions…). Can only be used on each Stratagem once per game, but given the often CP hungry nature of the Cults, this goes a long way to extending your effectiveness and potency, effectively giving you 5 extra CP throughout the game. You have a large selection of these two categories, so there’s tons of options, the only limiter is the range, and of course which Stratagem to decide to use it on and when.
Stratagem- A Plan Generations in the Making
Once per game, after your opponent uses a Stratagem (barring Command Reroll), use this to make any further uses of that Stratagem cost +1CP. All for 0CP. Limiting or even shutting down a key Stratagem to an opponent’s gameplan can be significant. Pesky Drukhari using Lightning Fast Reactions every turn? Bit more of an ask now. Single-minded Annihilation on those Hive Guard, well second time round is a big chunk of points. On the right Stratagem it can cripple an opponent’s plan, though of course doesn’t help in the first instance, or if it’s a Stratagem that is likely only to be used once, so use accordingly.
Relic- Sword of the Four-Armed Emperor
A Bonesword or Locus Blade becomes an AP-4 Power Sword with +4Attacks and 6s to Hit autowound. The extra AP and Attacks might make up for the fact you’re only D1, but it’s a tricky one to gauge. If you’re expecting to face lots of hordes or -1Dmg units, it could be worth it, but on the other hand there’s generally better Relics that offer more utility.
Psychic Power- Undermine* (WC 7) (M)
A non-FLY enemy unit within 18” and visible suffers -3” Mv (to min of 0”, again should be obvious), halves their Advance rolls and is -2” to their Charges. These are all incredible debuffs to impose, represented by the high casting cost. Able to mitigate a unit’s ability to get out of terrain, onto an Objective or into a more advantageous position can be game changing if not winning. Whilst this can utterly destroy a melee unit’s ability to make combat if the opportunity presents itself, consider that many top melee units won’t be footslogging unsupported.
Cult Creed- Disciplined Militants
Fall Back and Shoot with a -1 to Hit, can perform Actions after Advancing or Falling Back, and can Shoot without Actions failing. Heavily leaning into shooting aspects of the Cults, this allows you to still get a solid shooting presence even if tagged, as well as capable of participating in missions without sacrificing firepower. Whilst the Action portion is niche and mission dependent, the options it provides are solid and the freedom to still shoot after Falling Back is strong in and of itself.
Warlord Trait- Hivelord
A 6” Aura that gives CORE units exploding 6s with Ranged Attacks. Over the course of a game this will stack up well, be it from Autoguns up to Mining Lasers. Whilst not useful for tanks or Characters, a battleline or outflanking contingent backed up with this can pump out a significant amount of firepower.
Stratagem- Fire Discipline
A CORE CROSSFIRE can only target one enemy unit in the Shooting Phase, but that enemy unit gains a Crossfire token. Great for ensuring the unit in question gets the +1 to Hit, but also for effectively guaranteeing Crossfire is up for the phase, given it lasts until the end of the turn even for other units. If planned well, can ensure a key unit is marked up, and can offer Exposed bonuses effectively on demand, which for 1CP is a powerful tool.
Relic- Vocker’s Talisman
Melee attacks ignore all Saves, including Invulnerables, on unmodified 5s or 6s to Wound. Fairly middling in output on anything barring a Patriarch, who now reliably ignores most Saves with his already good AP, and given rerolls could even fish for 5s and 6s if required.
Psychic Power- Synaptic Blast (WC 5) (W)
Roll a D6 for the closest visible enemy within 18”, with +2 to the roll for each CORE unit within 6” of the caster. If the roll is equal or greater than the enemy’s Mv, they take 3 Mortal Wounds, otherwise they take D3. Effectively another Smite, with opportunity for good reliability on the output if surrounded by units, as against most units even a 4+ with one CORE nearby can do the 3 Mortals.
Cult Creed- Cyborgised Hybrids
A 6++, reroll a Wound each time they Fight or Shoot, and +3” Range to all non-Grenade weapons (including Cache of Demolition Charges). A 6++ isn’t much, but can be quite clutch, and whilst not useful for anyone with an existing Invun, most of your things will appreciate even the chance for a Save. Wound rerolls are always good to have, particularly for units with heavy melee or ranged weapons, and finally the 3” boost is great for the myriad of short range weapons you have, letting you rapid fire easier, able to bypass screens with greater ease, or just in general give you more ranged options. Good for both melee and ranged armies, this is a slow burn selection of traits that aren’t that powerful by themselves, but over the course of a game will stack up.
Warlord Trait- Single-minded Obsession
Pick an enemy unit pregame, and your WARLORD gets a 6” Aura of reroll Wounds for all CORE units. A good boost for a key enemy unit, though deciding pre game does “tip your hand” a little, giving your opponent a chance to avoid the Warlord in some capacity. Less useful if your opponent has lots of important threats, but either way this will generally be useful in most games.
Stratagem- Xenoform Bionics
A pregame upgrade, giving an INFANTRY or BIKER unit a 5++ , costing 1CP if under 6 PL, or 2CP otherwise. A great boost on a number of units, whether it’s a big unit of ACOLYTES, or a key Character, and with no limit can be used multiple times, though you will of course burn through your CP very quickly, so consider what is most important to buff.
Relic- Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah
A 4++, and all enemy units in Engagement Range take Mortal Wounds at the start of every Fight Phase- 1 on a 2-3, 2 on a 4-5, or a mighty 3 Mortals on a 6. Generally a good pick, be it on anything looking to get stuck in (though the 4++ is wasted on a PATRIARCH), or to grant a defensive boost and melee deterrent on a unit that would otherwise avoid it.
Psychic Power- Broodvolt Surge* (WC 5) (B)
Grants the caster a 3” Aura of +1 to Armour Saves vs Dmg 1 weapons. Applies to all your units, not just CORE, so this can be useful to support any unit when needed. Whilst the range is short, it is easily cast, and works nicely with the Alien Majesty Warlord Trait to boost it to a 6” range.
Cult Creed- Nomadic Survivalists
Reduces AP 1 and 2 attacks against them by 1 (so AP -2 becomes AP -1, for example), and you count as Remaining Stationary for Shooting after Moving or Advancing. A decent defensive boost against most light arms as well as affording your Vehicles some better resistance against mid power anti tank, and ignoring penalties for moving and shooting, alongside being able to Advance and shoot with no downsides, affords solid board presence without sacrificing firepower, alongside further opportunities to set up Crossfire. A mixed set of traits that aren’t as obviously good as some others, but reward cunning play and mission focus.
Warlord Trait- Entropic Touch
6s to Hit in Melee explode into 2 extra hits, and all non-Relic Melee attacks gain an extra AP. A potent combat boost, especially on the PATRIARCH but even on the PRIMUS it can lend some significant damage.
When an ATALAN unit Moves, Advances or Falls Back, you can throw a Grenade at any unit you were within 6” of this turn, even if no longer in range or line of sight, and it always does the max number of shots. Fantastic on a Demo Charge for only 1CP, letting you damage something en route to something else. Less impressive on a Blasting Charge, and not useful at all on anything other than your Bikers, this is almost certainly a “one and done” type Stratagem, which given the nature of the ATALANS and Demo Charges anyway, fits just fine.
Relic- The Nomad’s Mantle
You can Cast, Shoot and Charge normally even after Advancing or Falling Back, and when you Move, Advance, Fall Back or Charge you can pass through all models and terrain features. A powerful spread of abilities, though some aspects will generally always be wasted, as pretty much all your CHARACTERS won’t be able to make use of something, though it will be fairly minor. PATRIARCHS will love Falling Back and Casting then Charging, alongside ignoring models and terrain when doing so, so not having a gun to shoot or already being able to Advance and Charge, whilst a “waste” isn’t a massive deal.
Psychic Power- Inescapable Decay* (WC 6) (M)
A visible enemy unit within 18” is marked, and then any attacks made against them get an additional -1 AP. Applying to both melee and ranged makes this a great debuffing power, letting you really pile on the pain to a key unit, or to provide support to a unit that might be out of their depth. Consider other factors in play when choosing targets- a unit with a 4++ won’t be an optimal target if your natural AP is already forcing that to be used.
Cult Creed- Devoted Zealots
+1 to Hit in the first round of combat, and ignore all Combat Attrition modifiers. Obviously a heavy melee presence is needed to really make the most of this trait, though it can be useful if you have lesser units looking to add a little bit of punch to combat, though it won’t be amazingly significant. Units like ACOLYTES and ABERRANTS will be much more effective in the first blaze of melee, and even the Attrition bonus can be helpful to keep units around in the face of the odds. Relatively simple as far as traits go, if lacking a bit of flashiness, it will get the job done and if built around becomes very scary indeed.
Warlord Trait- Xenoprophet
Unquestioning Loyalty is automatically passed for this WARLORD, can be done units within 6”, and units within 6” can use their Ld (curiously not an Aura, so can’t be turned off, which is nice). A purely defensive Trait that, provided you have a steady flow of minions nearby, all but ensures the Character won’t be killed until the last model around them falls. Which is very powerful, just don’t sacrifice models for the sake of it, especially if they are holding your Objectives or otherwise scoring points.
Stratagem- Vengeance for the Martyr
If one of your CHARACTERS is killed, your entire army gets +1 to Wound with Melee attacks against the enemy unit that killed them. For 1 CP this is a bargain, even with the restrictions. Now of course a clever opponent can mitigate this somewhat by killing a CHARACTER with a unit they won’t mind you getting the bonus against, but this is often easier said than done, and acts as a nasty counterpunch to units that get a bit too complacent about headhunting your characters.
Relic- Reliquary of Saint Tenndarc
A 6” Aura of 5++ to all CORE units. Incredibly strong, this makes an infantry horde much tougher to shift, especially if combined with Icons. Pretty much an auto include, letting you offset some of the major weaknesses of the Cults, and a prime reason for running Princes alone.
Psychic Power- Last Gasp* (WC 5) (B)
A CORE unit within 18” and visible gets to explode on death against Melee attacks, inflicting a Mortal Wound on the roll of a 5+, up to a max of 5 per phase. Cheap enough, and can help add additional punishment onto a unit, though realistically you’re only looking at around 2-3 Mortals per unit, and that’s presuming they’re wiped. Given it’s known by all your Psykers though, it’s not exactly tricky to justify it in a list.
Cult Creed- Experimental Subjects
+1” Mv, +1 Str and unmodified Wounds of 1-2 always fail. The Movement and Strength boosts are fantastic for pretty much every unit, giving you extra reach and stronger melee, especially for your main Melee units (Str 5 ACOLYTES are potent indeed), and even the baby Transhuman is useful for your lighter units given a good chunk of your army is T3 and there are lots of Str 6 weapons out there. All in all a solid boost for most units in your army, though it will lend itself better to a more melee focused force to get the most out of the combat boost.
Warlord Trait- Bio-alchemist
+1 Dmg to all non-Relic Melee weapons the WARLORD carries. A simple but powerful boost, making you reach the lofty heights of Dmg 3 quite easily on your melee HQs.
Stratagem- Monstrous Bio-horrors
For 1 CP an ABERRANT or ABOMINANT in the Fight Phase counts any model killed by them as 2 for Morale Checks, and can choose for each model to get +1 A but make all their attacks at D1. It gives you some options for anti-horde as well as some Morale shenanigans, but the trade off is quite poor (you become D1, meaning you lose a lot of effectiveness of what you should actually be using Abberants for), and they already had low attacks to begin with so light infantry shouldn’t have been what you were sending them against. It’s not a terrible option, but it is particularly niche.
Relic- Elixir of the Prime Specimen
Grants the bearer a Genomic Enhancement, or 2 if there is a BIOPHAGUS in the army, basically a necessity to get maximum benefit from it. Any of the 3 are good choices for a Melee Character though chances are you’ll lean towards Exploding 6s and the 5+++, given the decent AP already on your CHARACTERS.
Psychic Power- Mutagenic Deviation* (WC 5) (B)
A visible unit within 12” gets autowounds on 6s to hit with Melee attacks. A simple but effective power, letting you bypass the wound roll and thus increasing efficiency and reliability. Somewhat counterproductive with your innate Str boost often meaning you’ll be wounding units on 3s anyways, but this is still a dependable power and useful against any target to help in it’s destruction.
Your custom Cults, though unlike other Armies each one has an assigned value, and you can pick as many as you want, up to a total Value of 4. In general this will result in 2 traits, though you can have 3 or even 4 if you wish, though those tend to be a little lackluster in power or synerigies.
There’s no restriction on how you mix and match them, so long as you don’t exceed 4 Value total.
Giving up the extras the Named Cults get is often a big ask, as the Stratagems and Powers in particular can be potent, so any combo you concoct has to account for this too.
As always, you technically have to use this if you aren’t explicitly a Named Cult, but whatever.
Value 4 Creeds
Splinter Cults- Pick one of the above Named Cults. You’re that now, but can be your own cool name and colour scheme. That’s it.
Value 3 Creeds
- Hunter’s Instinct- Four-Armed Emperor Jr, giving you reroll charges. Always useful, be it from on the board or emerging from underground, the reliability this offers your melee is great.
- Impassioned- +1 to Hit in the first round of combat, making you third in line to the throne (cos it’s like Pauper Princes, but below them? You know what I mean). A strong combat boost, provided you can keep it ticking throughout the game.
- Symbiotic Broodmind- Hivecult 0.75, giving you their Fall Back and Shoot at -1 ability. Obviously good if investing heavily in Shooting aspects, less so for any pure or predominately melee units.
Value 2 Creeds
- Deep Supplies- Reroll a Wound roll each time they Shoot or Fight, much like Bladed Cog. Reliable and will add up over the course of the game, be sure to prioritize heavier weapons so as not to inadvertently waste the reroll.
- Agile Guerillas- As swift as the desert wind Rusted Claw, counting as Remaining Stationary for Shooting even after Moving or Advancing. Great for an army looking to leverage mobile arms, set up Crossfire or just have more maneuverability. Cannot be taken with Martial below.
- Thralls of the Patriarch- Ignore Combat Attrition modifiers, like the second part of the Pauper Princes. Whilst ignoring modifiers can be useful, it isn’t really worth 2 of your 4 points here.Toxin Agents (2)- 6s to Hit with Melee against non-VEHICLE/MONSTER units autowound. A potent buff for a combat heavy force, and even for non-melee units to help out in a pinch.
- Martial- CROSSFIRE INFANTRY that Remained Stationary always count as firing with a Crossfire marker. Strong, but tricky to utilise as you’re giving up movement to do so, which can often be a mistake when playing the mission.
Value 1 Creeds
- Accustomed to Toil- 1s and 2s always fail to Wound, ala Twisted Helix. Decent enough to help with your T3 units, though anything tougher likely won’t get huge amounts of returns from it. Cheap to take with others for no real downside though.
- Industrial Affinity- Ignore any WS/BS and Hit Modifiers for Industrial Weapons. There’s a lot of Industrial Weapons across the army, both Melee and Ranged, so this can actually afford a fair bit of reliability for your heavier hitting weaponry.
- Alien Fury- +1” to Pile In and Consolidation moves. Whilst it doesn’t sound like much, this can be a significant improvement for your melee troops to get more attacks, for tagging units that thought they were safe, or establishing more board control.
- War Convoy- All your VEHICLES and BIKERS get a 6+++. Obviously only useful if going heavy on these units, this can make a fairly tough to shift armoured wall. With your tanks being somewhat pricey however, be careful about overloading on them to make use of this, at the expense of other units.
- Synaptic Resonance- Your PSYKERS can reroll 1s and 2s on Psychic Tests. The Psychic powers are good, but you can only have 2 per Detachment, and realistically probably won’t have more than that. Is this good for them, yes, but this is definitely a “third pick” Creed at best, if you even have the option.
- Cold-eyed Killers- 6s to Wound in Melee get -1 AP. A pretty meaty buff for a low value, this makes the already high AP your units have exceptionally strong when leveraged en masse, and can also provide a bit of extra punch to your shooting units.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
Genestealer Cults have a strong selection of Stratagems for both offense and utility, as well as some solid defensive abilities, however you can burn through them quite quickly so try to plan ahead as to what you will really need.
- Bore Through- Melee Attacks with Industrial Weapons can reroll Wounds against VEHICLES and MONSTERS. A fair few hoops to jump through, but decent enough at 1CP, and Industrial Weapons are fairly ubiquitous in the army so there will generally be some use for this, at least from time to time.
- Rapid Advance- Auto Advance 6” with a GENESTEALER, BIKER or VEHICLE unit. At 1 CP this offers a solid option for board presence, or outright offense with the Patriarch or Purestrains given their innate Advance and Charge. Especially useful with Rusted Claw who can continue to shoot without a downside after Advancing, allowing them to set up Crossfire easily.
- One with the Shadows- An INFANTRY unit gets +1 to their Save if benefiting from Cover when shot at, lasting until the end of the Shooting Phase. Suddenly bumping your basic cheap infantry up to a 3+ Save when in Light Cover can be a pretty significant survivability boost for a key unit, especially for Four-Armed Cults who get Cover innately over 12” (as the Stratagem says receiving the benefits of cover, not receiving the benefits of cover from Terrain). Cheap at 1CP to keep a unit around longer against small arms fire.
- Dig Them Out- When a model in a unit shoots at an enemy within 12”, it’s Industrial Weapons get Exposed. Whilst strong, careful positioning is needed here, as it’s on a model by model basis, so you could encounter some models not getting the benefit. Regardless, it’s a powerful buff at 1CP, letting your heavy hitting shooting become extra reliable in close range, and particularly if you know you won’t be able to set up Exposed from another unit.
- Overloaded Fuel Cells- A unit’s Industrial Weapons become mini-plasma, granting either +1 Dmg for Ranged Weapons, or +1 Str for Melee, at the cost of suffering 1 Mortal Wound for each 1 to Hit. The Ranged boost is much stronger than the melee one and so use of this should be concentrated there, though the Str boost can be useful depending on the unit (Twisted Helix Aberrants hitting at Str 10 vs T5 units, for example). The Mortal Wounds can be passed off to other members of the unit, not just the wielder of the Industrial Weapon, so feel free to sacrifice some Autoguns for that tasty +1 Dmg on some Mining Lasers.
- Monstrous Vigour- Grants an ABERRANT unit or an ABOMINANT Transhuman Physiology for a Phase, so they can never be wounded on better than an unmodified 4-6. A powerful tool on an already pretty tough unit, this can make a unit stick around for far longer than they had any right to. Costs 2CP on units of 6+, or 1 CP otherwise, so not the most expensive tool to have either.
- Raking Fire- An ATALAN or RIDGERUNNER unit that targets a unit with both a Crossfire marker and is also Exposed, gets to reroll their Hits. The unit has to actually be Exposed by the main rule (ie with another unit the other side of them), not via any other rules such as Dig Them Out above. Either way this is a great enhancement to their reliability, letting these units lay down some significant anti infantry and anti tank firepower in some cases for only 1 CP. Whilst there are some caveats, they aren’t too major as you should be looking to benefit from Crossfire for these units already.
- Massed Firearms- A CROSSFIRE unit with 6+ Models autowounds on 6s to Hit when Shooting, provided they all target a single enemy unit with a Crossfire marker. Can be a pretty strong ability, especially on big units of NEOPHYTES, helping to make their otherwise pretty meagre weaponry suddenly forcing a bunch of save through. 1CP regardless of size, it’s useful to have, though realistically might be used once a game on a bigger unit before they get cut down to size
- Devoted Crew- For 1CP, a VEHICLE in your Command Phase can act on it’s top damage profile until your next Command Phase. Great to ensure one last blaze of glory, particularly with a ROCKGRINDER, though don’t neglect having a GOLIATH on it’s top profile for movement purposes, especially if it can help you tie up a unit, set up Crossfire, or get a unit closer to the front.
- Hyper-metabolism- A CHARACTER heals D3 Wounds in your Command Phase. A good utility power for a CP, letting you keep a unit around for a bit longer than expected. However, given most of your Characters have around 4 Wounds already, they’ll need a bit of luck to make it a round of attacks, especially if your opponent is in a position to start doing damage on them in the first place. Nice to have, though don’t expect to use it too often.
- Rigged to Blow- A VEHICLE equipped with a Cache of Demolition Charges auto explodes on death. A pity it requires the Cache to activate, though with how cheap they are it’s not a massive ask. Hilarious on a ROCKGRINDER which will be rocketing towards the enemy already, and 1CP to detonate in a pretty significant area isn’t shabby if the opportunity arises.
- Data Parasite- Select an enemy VEHICLE within 18” and visible to a CLAMAVUS in your Movement Phase. They count as having half wounds remaining for their Damage Table until your next Command Phase, if you roll a 3+. A fair few caveats here, though it can be potent it’s not worth the risk of the dice roll unless you desperately need the edge. Costs 2CP on a TITANIC, 1CP otherwise. Handy to have, but don’t take a Clamavus just for this, consider it a nice bonus if the situation arises.
- Legendary Demise- For 2CP, when a KELERMORPH dies use this to immediately Shoot before removing them. In other words, turn them into an 80s Action Movie Sidekick, literally going down guns blazing! Kelermorphs already have potent shooting and can be tricky as it is to pin down, so being able to add a final round of damage when they finally do die is a powerful trick, albeit expensive, so make sure the final target is a good one. Bonus points if you yell stuff like “You like that?!” or “Get Some!” as they fire their final salvo.
- Gestalt Consciousness- When a PSYKER casts a Blessing Power, you can pick any friendly unit on the board, regardless of range or line of sight. Useful to grant a buff to a key unit you might not have otherwise been in range of, or need them to go off out of visibility. By no means essential, but good to have to afford flexibility.
- Reckless Demolitions- A single model in the Fight Phase lobs their Grenade point blank instead of fighting normally, even if it has Blast (note it doesn’t lose Blast, so you’ll still be making minimum shots against certain units). On top of that, you always hit on a 2+, but 1s to Hit outright kill a friendly model instead. Hilarious. And in the hands of units with Demo Charges, very powerful for the 1CP. Losing 1 or 2 Acolytes is a worthy trade to do a bunch of Str 8 -3 D2 hits on the enemy.
- Leaders of the Cult- Your “Grant Characters Warlord Traits” Stratagem, but this is a 2-4-1 Special, letting you pick 2 HQs to get a Trait each. Can only be used once, so it effectively saves you a CP. The main issue is some of the Warlord Traits don’t have amazing synergies with the HQs, but it’s generally worth it for Alien Majesty on a Primus alone.
- Gene-sire’s Gifts- Give someone a Relic, with all the usual caveats. Cults have some pretty strong Relics, and it’s quite easy to go for the max 3 in an army, depending on your Character makeup and Creed. Remember you are CP hungry at the best of times however, so you’ll need to ensure those Relics pull their weight.
- Pack Hunters- A unit of ATALAN JACKALS picks an enemy unit within 6” and visible to them in your Shooting Phase, letting your entire army treat that unit as Exposed for the Phase. Obviously requires you to get into position as well as have Crossfire set up ready to go on the unit, and not cheap at 2CP, but effectively army wide +1 to Wound, and potentially Ignore Cover as well, is a powerful buff if you can get this up.
- Genetic Lineage- Let’s an ACOLYTE or METAMORPH unit charge even if they Advanced this turn. Great at 1CP for the extra burst of speed granted, and the neat thing with this is it’s used in the Charge phase, meaning you can either go in knowing you’ll need it, or can simply use it for redundancy if the Psychic Stimulus power fails to cast.
- Meticulous Uprising- Before you reveal any Ambush Markers, you can move 2 of them (or 1 if playing Incursion or Combat Patrol), setting them up again wholly in your Deployment and over 9” away from enemy models, before revealing your Ambush as normal. Costly at 2CP, but can be powerful for baiting an opponent, or to strengthen a flank that is under heavy attack. Not useful in every game, but good to have access should you need.
- Clandestine Goals- Hide one of your Secondaries pregame, only revealing it to your opponent when you first score it. Now for some matchups this could be obvious, depending on the category that is “missing”, others not so much. Remember you don’t have to reveal this for End Game Objectives until the game is over, so for some Secondaries like To The Last or Assassination you can keep it secret (and safe) all game only to reveal your insidious victory at the end. For a CP this can help play some mind games as well as give you a trump card against tough odds, though a player that’s able to figure out what you’re gunning for can mitigate it somewhat.
- Booby Trap- For 1CP A CORE unit or a SABOTEUR can plant a landmine on an Objective you control at the end of your turn, causing the next non-AIRCRAFT enemy unit to come within range of it to take D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or flat 3 on a 5+. Fun and can be useful as a last ditch attempt to deny an objective to an encroaching enemy unit, though not to be relied upon, and fairly easy for the foe to counter by sending in chaff or a tank first to absorb the hits. Each Objective can only be bombed once, so timing is key. Fun, but not something to consider often.
- Lurk in the Shadows- Pick an INFANTRY unit at the start of your opponent’s Shooting Phase; they cannot be shot unless they are within 12” of the firing model, or the closest eligible target. Costly at 2CP, and can be somewhat worked around, but this is overall a potent defensive ability to keep a key unit alive, be they holding an Objective, doing Actions, need to be alive for a Secondary, or just to ensure they have as many bodies left alive as possible for your next turn. This does turn off Bodyguard, so no using this on a LOCUS to protect another Character, so just do it on them instead.
- Return to the Shadows- An INFANTRY unit can, instead of Moving or Consolidating, can be placed into Reinforcements, provided they are more than 3” away from enemy models. Great for moving around the board in following turns for late game Objective or Secondary grabs, or to avoid reprisal after wiping a unit in melee. All round great utility for only a CP, though do note they must arrive over 9” away when returning, not the usual 8” when coming from Underground, so account for that when they return.
- Covering Fire- An enemy unit with a Crossfire marker in your Charge Phase can’t fire Overwatch, Set to Defend or Heroically Intervene. A powerful tool for a CP to protect a unit on the way in, or to shut down a unit looking to utilise rules or Stratagems to catch you flatfooted via an Intervention.
- Tunnel Crawlers- Pick an Area Terrain feature in your Charge Phase, and then any INFANTRY units that charge an enemy unit within that Terrain can’t be Overwatched or Set to Defend against, and you ignore Difficult Ground to boot. Great at 1CP to help propel a lone unit into melee, with even better returns with multi charges.
- Fanatical Devotion- For a CP, a CORE unit can Heroically Intervene 6”, but only against one enemy unit that is within Engagement Range of a PATRIARCH, MAGUS, or PRIMUS, and only if they don’t get in Engagement Range of any other enemy units when they finish the move. There’s obviously a number of restrictions here, and whilst it can be useful to add in a big unit of ACOLYTES into a melee, oftentimes you won’t find yourself able to use this much, precisely due to the limitations. Good to have, but not something that will see much use outside of niche scenarios.
- Roaming Engagement- An ATALAN or RIDGERUNNER unit makes a 7” Normal Move after Shooting, at the cost of not Charging this turn. Fantastic for repositioning out of range, line of sight, charge threats, to block lanes, nab Objectives, setting up Exposed or otherwise establish more board presence. Expensive at 2CP, regardless of unit size, so use sparingly, but always remember you have it for key movement plays.
- Coordinated Assault- An enemy unit with a Crossfire marker at the start of your Fight Phase must Fight Last. Great for 1CP, able to negate Fight First abilities and prevent Interrupts, and if used with units in ongoing melee (remember Crossfire can still be done with Pistols or Big Guns Never Tire), can let you get the jump on a unit that would otherwise strike you first.
- Neural Overload- When an enemy model loses wounds to attacks from a SANCTUS, roll 3D6. If you beat that model’s Ld, any Auras they have are turned off until your next Shooting Phase, and if they are a PSYKER they immediately Perils. This is a strong ability, but can only be used on each enemy unit once, and given when it ends timing is crucial. For 1CP and a fairly reliable chance against most units (avg 3D6 is 11, beating most Ld), it’s good to have in your toolkit.
- Summon Familiar- Pick a unit that has used their Familiar in your Command Phase, and they get it back. Can only be used on each model once per game, which is usually enough, and good to have for the Psychic Familiars. Decent enough for a CP, though by no means essential.
- Primed Explosive- A unit can fire a Grenade or Cache of Demolition Charges with max shots. Good for 1CP, and goes without saying best on any of the Demo weapons, especially against units where Blast won’t apply, or you need to ensure maximum carnage. It’s Shooting Phase only, so no combination with Reckless Demolitions or Overwatch.
Your paid upgrade rules, giving you extra rules for certain units in your army. As you’d expect, each one is unique to the army, and a unit can only be given one upgrade. Some of these are very potent indeed, but it’s easy to go overboard on them, and generally most of them are one time deal, so make sure you aren’t sacrificing too much on them.
Lying in Wait
One of the two most expensive at 20pts, an INFANTRY unit arriving from Underground can appear over 3” away from enemy units, but cannot charge. You can already arrive within 6”, but this ensures you can chuck Grenades as well as potentially steal Objectives from under the enemy’s nose.
A PRIMUS can, once per game, use their Meticulous Planner ability twice, and can pick any unit, not just CORE, when it does so. Giving two units reroll 1s to Wounds is strong, and particularly on heavy hitters like RIDEGRUNNERS or ABERRANTS. The main issue is this can only be used in the Command Phase, so you’ll have to either wait a turn should you arrive from Underground, or have your units on the board already to benefit from it. Easy enough to work around with, and not too pricey at 15pts, but needs some good forethought to maximise.
A BIOPHAGUS automatically grants one of his Genomic Enhancements to a CORE or ABERRANT unit pregame. All of their abilities are good, so having this done already is a great boon and incredibly cost effective for 15pts, letting you have more options for deployment and who they will be near to support, as well as the ability to pick for CORE units offsetting some randomness of the main ability itself.
A Trap is Sprung
When this unit arrives from Underground, they roll 3D6 and discard one for charges. Great reliability for 15pts, regardless of the unit given to, allowing you to make those vital charges the Cults need to ensure a key target is attacked.
A Perfect Ambush
A CROSSFIRE unit picks an enemy unit within 12” when they arrive from Underground, and when they shoot at them they count as having both a Crossfire marker and being Exposed. Whilst it doesn’t synergise with other units or Stratagems, it’s good for setting them up, as well as letting a lone unit operate independently. If you read as getting +1 to Hit and Wound as well as Ignore Cover when arriving from Deep Strike, it’s fantastic for 15pts.
From Every Angle
For a mere 10pts, this unit can be placed into Strategic Reserves at the start of the First Battle Round, and you count the Battle Round as one higher than it currently is. This explicitly allows you to arrive Turn 1, and lets you arrive in the opponent’s Deployment Zone from Turn 2. Cheap and flexible, this is great on VEHICLES to let them “pseudo Deep Strike” around the board, the only downside is they can’t have been in Ambush before hand (as they aren’t technically on the board when this triggers).
Meditations in Shadow
A PSYKER knows an additional Power for 15pts. Useful for flexibility, though you’re still limited to casting 2 powers. If you’re only looking to run the one Psyker, this let’s you have some options, but otherwise there are better Planning picks for the cost.
If the unit with this is set up Underground, after rolling for First Turn you can pick a Terrain Feature on the Battlefield (though not a Fortification), and it loses Defensible, Inspiring, Light & Heavy Cover, and gains Difficult Ground. For 20pts you can turn a Ruin that could provide ample defenses for your foe into something utterly worthless and detrimental. Fairly costly at 20pts, especially since they can circumvent it by just avoiding the terrain, but it can still be a solid disruption ability especially for units without FLY or that are looking to shore up in the midboard. Remember it will affect your units as well, so be wary of that part later in the game.
They Came From Below
A non-VEHICLE unit set up in Ambush can either go Underground instead of being revealed, or make a Normal Move ending over 9” from enemy models. Both are useful tools, and at 10pts this is potent for its ability to catapult a unit forward for board control or offensive threat, or to pull back for safety and attacks on later turns.
Our Time is Nigh
At a very affordable 15pts (yes the points section says 10, but the main rules bit says 15, so err on the side of caution pending an FAQ), this grants the unit +1 Attack the first time they are chosen to Fight. Units of ABERRANTS will adore you for this given their otherwise low output, but even other Melee units will make good work with this. Make sure you get them into combat with what you want though to maximise the use of the extra flurry of claws.
- Focus of Adoration- CORE and PURESTRAINS within 6” can Heroically Intervene. A good little bonus for an HQ looking to support a battleline without getting their hands dirty themselves, this is also great for defensive plays on Objectives and other parts of the battleline. Weirdly not an Aura, so can’t be turned off, so bear that in mind for those niche cases.
- Shadow Stalker- -1 to be Hit. It’s a simple but effective defensive ability, useful on pretty much any HQ, except really the ALPHUS who already has -1 innately.
- Biomorph Adaptation- +1 Attack and Toughness, giving you both an offensive and defensive boost. Obviously best on a PATRIARCH or PRIMUS looking to engage in melee.
- Prowling Agitant- Once per turn after being declared the target of a Charge, the WARLORD can make a Normal Move of 6” before the charge roll is made. A great utility and defensive boost to protect against melee threats, all but making you immune to charges from Deep Strike, as well as increasing all but the closest of charges into the double digits if not impossible to make, should you move in a straight line. Obviously try not to get into such positions in the first place, but this is a good back up to have.
- Alien Majesty- +3” to any Auras, and to the Command Phase abilities of the PRIMUS or ALPHUS. Tailor made for the PRIMUS as they get the most benefit from this, maximising their potent abilities to hit bigger swathes of the battlefield is only a good thing. Also has good synergies with the ICONWARD given their strong Auras. Weirdly increases the range of the ‘Jackal’ ability…which lets the ALPHUS Fall Back and Shoot/Charge. Right. Editors not gonna edit, it seems.
- Preternatural Speed- Fight First and reroll Melee Hits, making for a reliable melee beatstick. Goes without saying this makes a PATRIARCH exceptionally good in combat, all but ensuring maximum output when combined with their innate Wound rerolls.
Any Power marked with a * lasts until your next Psychic Phase.
- Mass Hypnosis* (WC 7) (M)- A visible enemy unit within 18” suffers -1 Attack and has Fight Last. An incredibly strong combination of effects that can hamper a melee oriented unit, or outright cripple a more general purpose one’s chances of fighting back. Well worth the high cost, this is a strong ability and should generally always be in your power selection, even for the Fight Last alone.
- Mind Control* (WC 6) (M)- A visible enemy unit within 18” is -1 to Hit, and if the Psychic Test was equal or greater than their Ld, they are also -1 to Ld and Combat Attrition. The second part is generally neither here nor there, and shouldn’t be aimed for, rather consider it a useful bonus should it arise, the main selling point is an on tap minus to both Ranged and Melee, ideal for neutering a key unit in your foe’s army.
- Psionic Blast (WC 5) (W)- A visible enemy unit within 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds, or flat 3 if the Test was equal or greater than their Ld. A sort of second Smite with the added bonus of being targetable, though this is subjected to Look Out Sir restrictions, so no CHARACTER sniping with this. Still, handy to have, as being able to pick who will take damage is useful.
- Mental Onslaught (WC 5) (W)- Roll 4D6 for a visible enemy within 24”. Each 5+ does a Mortal Wound, then if a model in the unit was destroyed, do it again but with 3D6, then 2D6, then finally 1D6. Basically if you can roll a 5+ and kill a model each time, you get a diminishing chance of doing more Mortals. Potentially great, in practice not so much, as on avg will only net around 2-3 Mortals vs 1 Wound models, and be lucky to kill anything with more than that. There will be times you hit the whole shebang and nuke like 3 Space Marines or 10 Orks, but generally a Smite is better. What this does have the advantage with is range and targetability, and whilst you can’t really expect to do more than 1 or 2 wounds to a CHARACTER, this can slowly chip away at them from distance, so there is that aspect.
- Psychic Stimulus* (WC 6) (B)- A friendly visible unit within 18” can Shoot and Charge even if they Advanced, and ignores the penalty for Assault Weapons when doing so. A powerful, if somewhat risky Power, as you’ll need to commit to Advancing before you know whether you’ll get this off. Do so, and you can set yourself up for some nasty punch. Fail, and you could be out of position and wasting a turn. Better make sure you have a reroll handy…
- Might From Beyond* (WC 6) (B)- A friendly visible unit within 18” gets +1 Attack. A great offensive boost on any of your melee units, as well as on CHARACTERS in a pinch. Turns the already high attacks of your Infantry into true blenders, and suddenly even the ABERRANTS become something to reckon with.
- Sword of the Void’s Eye- Replaces a Bonesword or Locus Blade with +2Str -3 D2, and rerolls all Hits and Wounds to boot. Great for making a decent mid level combat Character, though not really a first choice as there are better all purpose Relics, and the below exists if you want to make a fighty PRIMUS.
- Hand of Aberrance- A PRIMUS upgrades his Toxin Claw with an extra AP and a whopping +2 Damage. Whilst as useful vs VEHICLES and TITANICS as it’s normal version (ie not at all), this makes the humble Primus capable of punching out things many times its size and power should you get the jump, though bear in mind that anything that survives your Falcon Poison Punch will probably kill you in return.
- Amulet of the Voidwyrm- Grants a 4++, enemies can’t Overwatch or Set to Defend against the bearer, and once per game they can automatically make a Save on a 6 (before rolling). A good spread of benefits, though realistically one of them will often be wasted on most Characters. As such, consider the two parts you’ll want most on a Character and go from there.
- Oppressors’ Bane- Upgrades an Autopistol with +3” Range, +2 Shots, +1 Str, -2 AP and +1Dmg. On top of that, the bearer gains CROSSFIRE, the Crossfire rule, and units they shoot at always counts as having a Crossfire marker and being Exposed. Phew. Lots of things there, but where it’s most useful is to set up Crossfire for other units, and consider any damage as a nice bonus.
- Wyrmtooth Rounds- A KELERMORPH can load any number of their Autostubs with this ammo instead, hitting at a whopping Str 6 -3 Dmg 3. There are some trade offs however, namely becoming Heavy 1, not doing Mortal Wounds, and not being able to target Characters, so this is more for the utility of dealing with big things and heavier grade units. You still get the Gunslinger and Sensory abilities though, letting you fish for more shots and get to safety after shooting, however you need to weigh up what you’re shooting at each time you fire.
- Dagger of Swift Sacrifice- Upgrades a Bio-dagger to reroll a single wound roll, and should a model take damage but not killed by the Dagger’s attacks, they take an additional D3 Mortal Wounds on a 3+ after Fighting, though these wounds don’t overspill. Decent enough, though barely worth it on a MAGUS with their one attack. On a SANCTUS however, this makes them a very effective assassin, if you can get him into combat.
- The Crouchling- Upgrade a Psychic Familiar to work once per Turn rather than once per Battle, and if you cast a Power or Action with a double, it cannot be denied. A worthwhile upgrade, especially if you consider it as saving you 5 CP on rerolls every turn, with the doubles acting as a useful, if somewhat unreliable buffer to enemy denies. With many of your Powers being quite potent, having a free reroll every turn is worth the points on the Familiar and the Relic slot to upgrade.
- The Gift From Beyond- A super Cult Sniper Rifle, with +12” Range, -1AP and +1Dmg. That’s it though, and whilst there will be times you one shot a lighter support Character, in general it’s still going to take 2 if not 3 turns to get rid of most enemy Characters. Not bad, not great.
- The Unwilling Orb- A PSYKER gets to Deny an additional Power, Deny anywhere on the board, and +1 to Witchfire and Malediction Powers. The +1 is a powerful boost in itself, with your Maledictions being strong already, and the bonus to Witchfires being helpful on the side if you have any of those powers. The Deny boosts are of course more niche, but can be great to help deal with vital Psychic powers that are cast just out of normal range, giving you at least a chance to shut them down.
- Cranial Inlay- A NEXOS grants you a CP on a 5+ when you use a Stratagem with him on the Battlefield, and they can use their Strategic Coordination ability twice a turn. The CP regen alone is great, given the strength of the Cult Stratagems, and whilst the Coordination ability is a bit more niche to use, requiring careful set up at the best of times, having access to it twice offers some nice utility for an army attacking on multiple fronts.
- The Voice of the Liberator- A CLAMAVUS gets +6” Range to their Proclamation Hailer and Voice of the New Truth abilities, as well as granting friendly units within 12” +1 to their Ld. A decent spread of buffs, being able to impact the battlefield from a much safer range. Less useful if you were looking to have them arrive via Underground, already pretty close, and happy to accept the potential loss of them.
The following are available if you have a GENESTEALER CULTS WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one GENESTEALER CULTS Secondary per game regardless of its category.
A note on BROOD BROTHERS– they can still contribute to and score these Secondaries, provided they meet the criteria outlined in each.
Shadow Operations - Sabotage Critical Location
Your opponent sets up 2 Sabotage Objectives anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” away from each other and any table edge, after choosing Deployment Zones. From Turn 2 onwards, one or more non-CHARACTER INFANTRY or BIKER units (though the SABOTEUR can do it, it’s in their name afterall) can perform an Action when in range of those Objectives, starting before bringing in Reinforcements, and provided there are no non-AIRCRAFT enemy units within range of it. The Action is completed at the end of your turn, removing the Objective Marker and scoring you 9, 7, 5 or 3 VP, for turns 2, 3, 4 or 5 respectively. A potentially high scoring Objective, if your opponent abandons those Objectives, or low scoring if they don’t, but with the risk of them giving up board control. Given how these Objectives can basically be stacked on top of the normal Primary, and you can’t arrive from Reinforcements on them, does limit you somewhat, and against certain armies that are capable or happy to hold a lone point for ages this is a bad pick. This will on average be fairly middling, but can cause some headaches for your foe to work around lest they give you chances to get some high scores.
Battlefield Supremacy - Broodswarm
If you have more models than enemy models in your Deployment Zone, the enemy Deployment Zone, or in no man’s land, score 1 VP for each area, with an additional 1 VP if you have all 3, all scored at the end of your turn. A strange one that is a sort of mix of Engage and Behind Enemy Lines, lending itself to spreading your forces out, which is often what Cults end up doing anyways. The main issue is “models”, and given your bigger things like VEHICLES or BIKES still only count as one, their presence won’t add much to achieving this. Likewise though, this works against enemy tanks, as each one still only counts as one (something about elves and elephants). Against things like Knights or Custodes, this is a pretty great pick. Against armies that are of similar size, or could reliably reduce your numbers quickly, this isn’t so hot. Similar to Sabotage, this can cause headaches for your opponent as they need to decide between pressing attacks, or keeping units back to prevent you scoring Secondary points, especially since this is at the end of your turn so you can simply walk towards points. Note as well it is “within”, not “wholly within”, so a model that toes the lines will count towards both areas.
Purge the Enemy - Ambush
At the end of your turn, score 1 VP if a unit was destroyed whilst it had a Crossfire marker, 1VP if destroyed by a unit arriving from Ambush or Underground, and 1VP if a Ranged attack destroyed a unit that was Exposed, though explicitly by the rule, not via any Stratagems or abilities. These are fairly reliable things to do, and what you’re probably aiming to do anyways and remember if you destroy a unit that was Exposed, it had to have a Crossfire marker, effectively netting you 2VP for destroying one unit, if you’ve aligned your army correctly. Also consider that Crossfire markers last until the end of the turn, so a unit with a Crossfire marker is still eligible to give up some points in melee if you whiffed in shooting. This is fantastic against some armies with light infantry you can blitz through with your Crossfire units, less so against armies that are tough and elite. Don’t try this vs Daemon Monster Mash or Deathwing for example, but Guard and Tau this is a great option.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Genestealer Cults Codex.
Everything gets this, giving you access to two unique deployment options.
The classic “Blips”, letting you set up a marker instead of deploying the whole unit, allowing you to effectively hide your deployment from your opponent.
If you have the first turn, you reveal them all at the start of your Command Phase, if you go second reveal them at the end of the enemy Movement Phase. Enemy units can’t end a move within 9” of the centre of any Marker, and likewise when you reveal them the units have to be more than 9” away from enemies. In addition, you have to set up the first model within 1” of the centre, and the rest of the unit if applicable wholly within 6”, with all models wholly in your Deployment Zone.
Whilst they will be able to see where your markers are, they won’t know what they represent, and indeed you don’t need to even know what they’ll be until you reveal them (though it does help), allowing you to play some potent mind games with where certain units might be. Remember you do still need to declare units in any relevant TRANSPORTS before this, so you can’t suddenly have units inside of a GOLIATH, and you also need to be careful when revealing markers that you leave enough room for other units, especially if you have a number of markers next to each other. All in all it’s a strong ability for deployment, allowing you to hide a portion of your gameplan as well as mitigate any cheeky Turn 1 Charges that your opponent might be gambling on.
Alternatively, your INFANTRY and BIKERS can set up Underground, arriving from Reinforcements. Unlike other Reinforcements though, you have two options when you appear-
You can appear over 8” away, allowing you to make some slightly easier charges compared to other melee units arriving from Reinforcements, or you can arrive over 6” away but unable to charge, which whilst more limiting opens up great options for move blocking, Objective nabbing and setting up Crossfire.
On top of that, if a unit arrives from Underground and has abilities that can target a unit in your Command Phase, it can immediately use them, so you don’t miss out on any abilities by putting your CHARACTERS in reserve.
You still need to declare what units are Underground, so consider that when planning Deployment.
All in all, the various Deployment options Cults have offer a great amount of utility and options for a variety of purposes regardless of the unit in question. Use them liberally to play mind games before the game even begins!
When a CHARACTER fails a Saving Throw, another model within 3” can take the hit instead if you roll a 4+ (3+ for PATRIARCHS), dying in their stead. Whilst this will outright kill the saviour regardless of damage (so yes, you can lose a 3W ABERRANT against a Lasgun), it can be well worth it to keep a vital Character alive.
Every unit has this apart from the PATRIARCH and VEHICLES, so this really spreads out across the army to keep your key leaders a bit safer. Be wary it is model however, not unit, so you can only attempt to roll for each model in range, and not remove models from the other side of the unit. This does also mean you’ll have to slow roll a lot of the time, so you know where you stand in terms of when to roll, and who to remove, so be prepared for that.
Also of note is any Mortal Wounds, regardless of source, will bypass this as no Save is being made, so be wary of Psychic Powers and the like.
If every model is CULTS (or UNALIGNED, or <25% of the army is BROOD BROTHERS) you can use the Crossfire rules.
In your Shooting Phase, if a CROSSFIRE unit targets one enemy unit and either hits it 5+ times, or hits once with a Dmg 2+ weapon, the enemy unit gains a Crossfire marker after all the attacks are finished, until the end of your turn.
You’ll also need to look out for if you can draw a 1mm line between any part of two CROSSFIRE models that are visible to each other, that crosses over an enemy unit, and doesn’t go over Obscuring as it does so. If it does, it is Exposed.
Right, now we’ve got the set up done, it’s time for the juicy bits!
When a CROSSFIRE unit shoots at an enemy unit with a Crossfire marker, they get +1 to Hit, which is a powerful ability for an army with average BS, letting you really stack up hits with your more potent weaponry.
If it’s Exposed as well, you get +1 to Wound on top of that, making even the humble Auto weapons you have capable of wounding most things on 4s, and enhancing your heavier weapons into the lofty heights of wounding most things on 3s if not 2s.
And that’s not all; if the model shooting is within 12” as well as the above, it Ignores Cover to boot! Ignoring Light and Dense is a potent tool, despite the short range, but putting units down to their base save or bypassing minuses to hit really helps stack up the damage.
Now obviously this is a powerful shooting tool, letting you outperform your otherwise average stats, though you need to position carefully, and focus fire is crucial to both set it up and maximise the benefits, but this adds some potent punch.
Even if you can’t get close enough to Ignore Cover, or can’t set up Exposed, the +1 to Hit will stack up a lot over the game, as well as unlocking other abilities, and with ways to add Exposed via certain special rules, you don’t always need to get encircling happening to benefit.
Whenever you’re told to Summon the Cult, you bring back D3 destroyed Models to a unit, or D6 if they are a NEOPHYTE unit. Whilst you can Summon from different sources, you’re capped at a max of 3 revived models, or 6 for NEOPHYTES. Bringing back models is a powerful tool, letting you potentially steal Objectives, to bog down enemy units even longer, or just to add a bit more damage output. The downside is that Cult units tend to not be amazingly survivable in the first place, so sticking around long enough to revive models can be a bit of an ask, and the Icons are fairly costly. However the mere threat of leaving one or two models left alive only for them to turn into maybe 4 or 5 can be enough for the enemy to overinvest in destroying a unit, leaving other units alive. Is it worth it on small 5 man squads, not really, and putting it on every unit will stack up very quickly across the army, so either consider which units will need it most, or consider an Iconward surrounded by multiple units.
Regarding Keywords, anything that is not a CHARACTER, ABERRANT, PURESTRAIN or VEHICLE is CORE.
Units marked with a * are CROSSFIRE units.
The big man in charge, the Patriarch packs an impressive melee statline with WS2, Str 5 and 6A, all hitting at -3 D2 rerolling Wounds, and 6s to Wound getting a hilarious AP-6 and Dmg 3. Defensively T5 7W and a 4+/4++ keeps him trucking for a good while, and with innate Advance and Charge on his 8” Mv, he can get to where he needs to quickly, whether it’s to make combat or shore up a battleline. Support wise he knows 2 Powers, and can Cast 2 and Deny 1, alongside having a 6” Aura that lets units ignore Combat Attrition modifiers. FInally he can buy a Familiar for 10pts to let him reroll a Psychic Test once per game. The Patriarch does a bit of everything pretty well, barring Shooting obviously, but at 140pts he does pay for it. You probably won’t regret bringing one, but don’t throw him away into units that can survive his onslaught, especially not unsupported. Use him cautiously to support your units and act as a deterrent, before striking at unsuspecting units.
A pseudo commander/leader type Character, with a Marine Captain-esque statline, though lacking the Armour, he grants the all important 6” Aura of Reroll 1s to Hit for CORE, and he also has a Command Phase ability to grant a CORE unit within 9” Reroll 1s to Wound, making him ideal for supporting your shooting and melee units alike. His own output is fine, with a Bonesword (a Master-crafted Power Sword with AP 2), a Toxin Claw (an Astartes Chainsword that always Wounds non-VEHICLES/TITANICS on 2+), and finally a Needle Pistol for a single shot at 18” with same Wounding rule as the Claw, but with AP0 and D3 Dmg. This is fine. But he is not an offensive character, especially with his lack of defenses as T4 5W and a mere 5+ means he will get deleted by pretty much anything short of a few Guardsmen, and at 80pts he’s not too expensive, but expensive enough that you won’t want to throw him away. Keep him surrounded and helping your main forces as much as possible.
The Psychic support element, with a standard “human PSYKER” statline of T3 and 4W, knowing 2 Powers, Casting 2 and Denying 1. She packs a Force Stave, a Bio-dagger, an Autopistol, and the option for a Psychic Familiar, and also grants a 6” Aura to INFANTRY and BIKERS, granting a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds in the Psychic Phase only. The aura is fairly niche, and the wargear is kinda there, but you’re taking her for access to more of those great Cult powers, which for 80pts is a decent enough cost given the strength of said powers.
75pts nets you a 4W 5+ Sv Space Marine who carries a big old standard, granting a 6” Aura that lets CORE units Summon the Cult, as well as a Charge boosting Action. The downside of the Action is it has to be started at the end of the Move Units step, so you can’t do it after arriving from Reinforcements, which admittedly is fair, otherwise it’s an autotake. However, when you do the Action, you get a 6” Aura of +1 to Charge Rolls to non-GENESTEALER INFANTRY, BIKER and CHARACTERS (the latter of which is irrelevant as all your CHARACTERS are INFANTRY or BIKERS, but ho hum…). Jumping this guy out of a GOLIATH to then slam the Banner down for other units arriving is a solid plan, or just have him hanging out with units to revive them. Putting him Underground will generally be a waste, as you’ll need to wait at least a turn for them to be in effect, as his Summon the Cult Aura doesn’t work on arrival, as the unit in range has to Summon, not the Iconward himself. As with all the Characters that aren’t a Patriarch, just avoid combat unless he’s needed to finish off a tiny unit, as his generally poor defensive statline won’t last long, and 4A at Str 3 -3 D1 won’t go too far.
The Alphus is predominately a support piece to set up Crossfire and Exposed by virtue of her rules and wargear. With a speedy 14” Mv, she can bring her BS2 Sniper Rifle to bear where needed to set up Crossfire with a single shot thanks to it’s Dmg2. It’s pretty hefty at Str 5 -3 and doing an additional Mortal Wound on an unmodified 4+ to Wound, but it’s not oneshotting too much so focus on the Crossfire aspect. It also combines nicely with her Priority Target ability, picking a visible enemy unit within 36” in the Command Phase, and letting herself and a CORE CROSSFIRE unit within 9” of her count that enemy unit as Exposed, making her an ideal support element to lay on ranged damage with some heavy hitters. On top of that, she’s untargetable with Shooting whilst within 6” of a JACKALS or VEHICLE unit, is always -1 to be Hit, and can Fall Back Shoot and Charge, making her a real pain to deal with. At 80pts, she won’t do much herself, but the support she provides for your ranged elements is pretty significant.
Your combat Troops, coming in units of 5-15 and packing a pretty solid WS3 Str 4 and 2A, with their base Claws and Knives granting +1A and AP-2. They have a bunch of wargear options, from an Icon to Summon the Cult, upgrading their Autopistols to Hand Flamers (great for small units to arrive and set up Crossfire), and every 2 in 5 can replace all their weapons with a choice of Industrial Weapons. These range from 2 Demo Charges, the general purpose Saw (an AP-4 Power Fist without a -1 to Hit), the heavy hitting Cutter (an AP-4 Thunder Hammer), or the gamblers Drill (autowounding at -4 D1, but doing 2 additional Mortals for each 6 to Hit). The Leader can upgrade either of their weapons to a Bonesword or a Lash Whip (not a weapon but does give them reroll Hits vs non-VEHICLES/MONSTERS). All in all, these epitomise the Genestealer Cults, capable of hitting hard without support, but being brutal when they have the backup, but they are glass cannons, as T4 1W and a 5+ means they will die pretty quickly once their job is done. Not too expensive at 9pts a model, but with the Industrial Weapons being 10pts a pop and Flamers at 3pts, it can add up quickly. The Icon is 20pts, so provided you can bring back at least 2 models throughout the game that covers itself, though as mentioned above, lasting long enough to Summon is the issue. All told however, they are a flexible and fairly cost effective unit, whether arriving from Underground, riding around in TRANSPORTS or skulking around the battlefield. 5man units are ideal for Secondaries with their small footprint and cheap cost, with bigger units able to go toe to toe with most units in the game outside the heaviest of things.
The shooting Troops, with a Guardsman’s statline (albeit with +1 Ld, cult mind control being a heck of a thing) and a fairly affordable 6pts. Whilst their Autoguns won’t generally do much without Crossfire support, they can all freely trade them out for Shotguns a nicer Str 4 at the cost of range, and with both 2 Special Weapons and 2 Heavy Weapons per 10, they can pump out a significant amount of firepower. At 5pts a pop, some Flamers, Grenade Launchers or Webbers offer a bit more punch (the Webber being particularly weird, an 18” Range Flamer with D3 shots that, rather than wounding normally, does a Mortal if you roll over the target’s Strength). Heavy wise they can go for a Stubber for 5pts, or for 15pts go for the much more appealing Mining Laser, being a half range Lascannon, or the Sonic Cannon for some nice flexibility, shooting at 24” with one of two profiles, either a Heavy Bolter with +1Str and AP, or a Str 4 Assault Cannon. Finally you can take an Icon for Summoning, and give the Leader some pistol and melee options, though it’s not really worth the cost. When supported with Crossfire, these units can hit pretty hard for their cost, though not really able to take a hit in return. An Icon can help this somewhat, but not getting hit by being in a GOLIATH or Underground and not being hit at all is a safer, and cheaper, bet. Oh, and yes, the Points Section says 5-15 in a squad- ignore this obvious copy-paste issue of the Acolytes above them, they’re definitely 10-20 like the Datasheet says.
Getting a massive glowup, the Purestrains do get reduced to a max of 10 models, but get WS2, a permanent 4A instead of a squad reliant buff, a mighty 4++, and their Claws are always AP-3 without needing the 6s to Wound. All for a pretty efficient 14pts. Whilst they don’t have CORE, they don’t really need it, able to operate pretty independently and effectively. That’s kind of it. They’re fast, killy, and whilst only T4 1W, whether popping up from Underground or scuttling across the battlefield with Advance and Charge, the threat of these guys is significant for their cost.
Basically an ACOLYTE in statline, but give them +1 Str and AP with their melee claws, and fight on death if they haven’t already fought. They also get capped at 10 models and lose access to the Industrial Weapons, and cost an extra 3pts. An odd sidegrade, the Str and AP bonus, whilst nice, isn’t really worth the 3pts, meaning the Fight on Death aspect needs to be used…but you want to be charging with Cults, making these a weird sort of sidegrade to the basic Acolytes. Their ability is a nice deterrent to chargers or interrupts, but they aren’t doing much that can’t be done elsewhere.
Ahh you silly chonky boys. On paper, these guys fill a much needed role for the cults in melee, hitting at a whopping Str 8 -2 Dmg 3 with their hammers and picks. But with only WS 3 and 2 Attacks each, and at 30pts a pop, they aren’t all that efficient at killing stuff. Where they do well is tanking stuff. Despite their 5+ Sv, they do pack a healthy T5 3W and -1Dmg, making them ideal to go and fight heavier hitting things to tie them up. The main downside of the Aberrants is, despite their lack of CORE, they are fairly reliant on support from Characters. Giving them an offensive buff from the BIOPHAGUS, or more importantly the 5+++, makes them even better at their role, coupled with Psychic Powers or ABOMINANT rerolls helping as well. Alone they are fairly overcosted, but with support they are significantly improved. Yes you have to pay the cost for the Character support of course, but they also help other units, and the cost-return is generally better. Oh, and one has to be a Hypermorph, giving him +1 A, a tail (essentially an Astartes Chainsword), and the option to swap out his hammer/pick for a Stop Sign (giving +1 -1 D2, but damage isn’t lost and overspills to give some anti horde, but meh). Overall, these guys are an interesting pick, and can be pretty nasty and hard to deal with, but only really with backup.
Speaking of backup, Mr Be Good here is both good support for the ABERRANTS, giving them full rerolls to Hit, as well as being a pretty decent big-thing buster himself, with 3A at Str 10 -3 3+D3 Dmg, and whilst only WS3 he can reroll a Hit or Wound roll each Fight phase. With the same -1 Dmg combined with a 5+++ and 6W, makes him pretty tough to chew through. At 95pts, he’s not a bad buy, capable of oneshotting most enemy Characters or tanks, or holding up small elite units with his sheer refusal to die. Oh his Familiar attacks as well with 2 Str 4 attacks, but whatever.
With his model of Warhammer World, the Nexos is here to scan the battlefield for key threats, putting an automatic Crossfire marker on an enemy unit anywhere on the battlefield in your Command Phase. He also acts as a relay for a PRIMUS, ALPHUS or CLAMAVUS within 6” of him in the Command Phase, letting a CORE unit anywhere else on the battlefield count as being in range of their Auras, as well as making them eligible for their Command Abilities regardless of range. A purely support piece, the Nexos is neither killy nor survivable with his Autopistol and Magus statline, they need to be accompanying one of the aforementioned Characters to make the most of their own rules, and whilst the Crossfire marker aspect is good, whether it’s worth 50pts by itself is a trickier ask.
With a bunch of speakerphones, this guy yells so loudly even your opponents have to listen. Focusing on controlling parts of the battlefield and the mission, his first of three abilities picks a CORE unit within 12” in your Command Phase, and lets them autopass Combat Attrition as well as be able to still Shoot whilst doing an Action, ensuring a unit can stick around to hold a point or do a Secondary until the last bug-man hybrid thing. The second ability picks an enemy unit within 12” in your Morale Phase, and should you roll over their Ld on 3D6, you can either turn off ObSec, or prevent them from doing Actions (and auto fail any current Actions), both powerful abilities to help flip Objectives and mitigate scoring. And just to cap it off, they have a 12” bubble of “No Deep Strike here please” to help cordone off parts of the battlefield. At 50pts, they are cheap for the abilities they bring, however they are all fairly niche ones, and quite short range putting their Nexos-identical statline in danger. In some games all three will come up and win you the game, in others they won’t do much, so account for at least some aspect of that in list building.
A Bodyguard/light melee Character, coming in with a Primus statline with +1A, a Master-crafted Power Sword, 5++, Fight First, a 6” Heroic Intervention which can ignore the closest enemy model if they can fight an enemy CHARACTER instead, and during Deployment picks a single non-LOCUS CHARACTER to protect, making them untargetable by Shooting when within 3”, and Melee if the LOCUS can be targeted as well. At 50pts, he’s handy in a fight as well as effectively acting as 4 ablative wounds to a key Character, so long as he’s nearby. Now of course, if both are targetable in the first place, you probably have some bigger issues, and whilst decent enough in a scrap, might not be quite enough to punch out heavy units in melee, though they’re probably cheap enough to justify if other support Characters aren’t fitting your gameplan.
Rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ alien cowboy. That’s all you need to know. Alright fine. The Kelermorph comes in at 80pts but gives a ton of utility. Whilst only having a Magus level statline (though with +1A and a 5++), they pack 3 Liberator Autostubs, each one a Pistol firing 2 shots at 18” with Str 5 -1 D1, ignoring Look Out Sir and doing an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound. On top of that, each Hit lets you fire another shot at the same target (not stacking, obviously), if you kill a model in the Shooting Phase they get a 6” Aura for CORE units to Reroll 1s to Hit for the rest of the Phase, and for ultimate trolling, after you finish shooting in the Shooting Phase, they can immediately make a Normal Move or Fall Back, even if you arrived from Reinforcements! This ability alone is wildly good, letting you avoid reprisal, nab Objectives or Secondaries, set up a Charge to a unit that won’t kill them, reposition for his new found Aura or move to grant Exposed for other units. Overall, he’s a great unit, able to support shooting elements, set up Crossfire, deal with light characters, or just chip away at enemy units. Difficult to pin down with a decent amount of firepower, the Kelermorph is a great pick in most situations and army builds, and affordable enough at 80pts.
A glass cannon assassin type Character, coming in at 70pts and with a choice of 2 bits of wargear, either a Sniper Rifle for range or Bio-dagger for melee. Regardless of choice, you have a Magus level statline, but rock WS/BS2 (lol we’ll get to that), and 4A, as well as a bunch of special rules. First and foremost they’re a literal ninja with -1 to be Hit, a 5++ +1 to Armour when getting Cover and untargetable unless within 12”. Yup. Even if they are out in the open, with no other targets, if they’re 12.1” away, you can’t see him. John Cena would be proud. On top of that, they can see through walls and magic, ignoring cover and autohitting. That WS/BS 2 above? Minuses to hit? Who cares! So far, so bonkers, but let’s talk wargear. The Sniper gives him the CROSSFIRE Keyword and rules, and you always count as getting Exposed when Shooting, whilst the Bio-dagger is the same Mortal Wound chunning machine as the Magus’ version, but with 5A instead of a max of one. So it boils down to what you want him to do. The Sniper won’t be killing too much, though over the course of the game and with limited reprisal he can pick off stragglers and is ideal for setting up Crossfire, whilst the melee is obviously better at killing stuff, but will be at a higher risk of danger to themselves.
Do you like explosives? Do you like setting us up the bomb? The Saboteur has you covered. Another Magus-esque statline, the Saboteur has BS2 and all the Grenades (though frustratingly no way to throw them all- you have 3 arms, that’s one for each Grenade, come on GW it writes itself!), as well as their Remote Explosives for a cool Assualt 2D3 Shots at 24” with Blast and Str 8 -3 D1, plus a tasty Dmg 3 vs VEHICLES and MONSTERS, though not able to target AIRCRAFT (hard to set off bombs in the sky). In addition, once per game they can do an Action from your Command Phase to the end of your Movement Phase to plant a stack of Goldeneye Proximity Mines, setting them off when an enemy ends any Movement Phase or your opponent’s Charge Phase. When they go off, every enemy model within 3” takes a Mortal Wound on a 4+ (2+ if a BIKER, VEHICLE or MONSTER), which becomes 4 Mortals if they’re a VEHICLE or MONSTER, which is hilarious on units of Vehicles like Sentinels, Talos or ironically Ridgerunners. Finally they’re a pseudo-ninja, having -1 to be Hit vs Ranged, and being outright untargetable whilst on Area Terrain and over 12” away from the attacker, keeping them safe for a good period of time on the battlefield. At 80pts they aren’t that cheap for what they do, but offer some good anti tank as well as bit of area denial
The final support Character, and the cheapest at 40pts, albeit the nichest. With a statline you can probably guess by now (you have 3 guesses, the first 2 don’t count, and if you said anything other than ‘Magus-like’, get out), they are here to buff up units with one of three abilities via an Action. Started at the end of your Movement and completed at the end of the Shooting Phase, you pick a CORE or ABERRANT unit within 3” with either a +1AP to Melee, Exploding 6s in Melee, or a 5+++. If it’s an ABERRANT you can pick, otherwise roll a D3 for them respectively. They can also take an Alchemus Familiar for 10pts to extend the range of the Action to 18” once per game, letting him stay away from dangerous melee (also worth it for the image of a baby Genestealer running across the battlefield with a bunch of strange potions labeled “Drink Me” and yelling “I’m late I’m late!”). They also have their Injector Goad for melee, which at AP 0 but D3 Dmg and always wounding non-VEHICLE/TITANICS on a 2+ is ok, and if you do manage to wound something at the end of the Fight Phase you just instantly kill them if you roll over their Wound Characteristic on a D6, which is cute. He also throws vials of acid, with a single shot at -1 D2 with the same wounding ability as the Goad (but not the instant kill). Without ABERRANTS or at least a big unit of ACOLYTES or METAMORPHS to support, he’s a waste of points and space. With them, he can make them much scarier, and even with the random element on non-ABERRANTS, all the buffs are great melee boosters.
For all your two-wheel and quad bike desires, the Atalans have a bunch of options and utility for close range gunfights and support. Effectively a NEOPHYTE on a Bike, granting them 14”, T4 2W and a 4+, they come stock with Small Arms (yes yes, T-Rex jokes), effectively 2 Shot Bolt Pistols, representing their mix of Shotguns and Pistols. They can all carry a Demo Charge for 5pts a pop for a bit of close range punch, and for the same cost 1 in 4 can swap out their Small Arms for a Grenade Launcher instead. They can also all take an Atalan Power Weapon for 3pts each, giving them all what amounts to a Power Axe, which with their 2 Attacks each isn’t a terrible use of some spare points, albeit only at WS4. Finally you can have one Wolfquad per 4 Bikers, coming with an extra 2 Wounds and either a Heavy Stubber, a Mining Laser for 15pts, or a Clearance Incinerator (a Heavy Flamer but Assault type) for 10pts. In addition, like their ALPHUS counterpart they are always -1 to be Hit and can Fall Back Shoot and Charge, giving them some utility and extra defense. If not set up in Ambush or Underground, they can make a 9” Normal Move before the First Turn, and if they shoot at a unit within 6”, the target is always Exposed. Whilst you’ll still need a Crossfire marker on the enemy to make use of it, it is a nice bonus to have given their low range and access to Demo Charges. Good for harassing light targets, Atalans are fast and tricky enough to pin down that they’ll absorb a bit more damage than their statline indicates, and helpful for providing and setting up Crossfire and Exposed with their speed.
Big ol’ dune buggies that look sweet and offer some of the much needed heavy firepower in the book. A decent enough statline of T6 and 8W makes them tough enough to shift, though their 4+ Sv leaves a bit to be desired, and they have a bunch of wargear and weaponry options. Coming standard with 2 Heavy Stubbers for some light anti infantry, they come with either a Heavy Mining Laser (a 36” D3 Shot Blast Lascannon), a Heavy Mortar (48” D6 Blast Str 6 -1 D1 Ignore Line of Sight) or the unique Achilles Missiles (3 Shots at 36” at Str 6 -3 Dmg 3). Each one obviously fills different roles, and so it will depend on what your army needs, though really you have infantry covered so it’ll be the potentially devastating if unreliable Mining Laser, or the generalist and consistent Missile Launcher. Then there’s ancillary wargear, either a Spotter that gives +12” Range to your Weapons, letting them stay safe on the backline, the Augur to Ignore Cover against enemies within 24” for some mid range boost, or the Flare Launcher to grant a 6++ vs Ranged and -2” to enemy chargers provided you aren’t in Engagement Range, for some nice defensive boosts. Given the small board sizes the Spotter isn’t necessarily the best choice, and Crossfire might afford you the Ignore Cover if used well, albeit not without risk. The Flare Launcher is always useful however, and will generally be the go to choice. Finally they come with the same Scout move as the JACKALS above. All in all these guys are pretty great, and at 80pts regardless of loadout are affordable and offer some necessary firepower, alongside being reasonably tough to shift. Leverage their speed and effective redeploy to avoid getting caught flatfooted and set up firing lanes, and try to get Crossfire going for them as much as possible to maximise their output.
Take the giant drill thing from Total Recall and strap guns to it. With a decent T7 10W 3+ and -1Dmg, they’re fairly robust against all but spammed anti-tank, and quite speedy to boot, degrading to 12”/9”/6” Mv. Useful to get them into combat to leverage their 6/D6/D3 Attacks at WS3 (!) at Str 8 -2 D2, and not forgetting +2A on the Charge. On top of that, it comes with a Heavy Stubber and a choice of Heavy Mining Laser ala the Ridgerunners, a Heavy Clearance Incinerator for anti-Infantry duty with 2D6 Str 6 -1 D1 shots at 15” (sure, I guess), or the versatile Heavy Seismic Cannon that fires either 6 Shots at Str 6 -2 Dmg2, or 3 Shots at Str 8 -3 Dmg3. You’ve even got the option for a Cache of Demo Charges for a mere 5pts, and though they require someone inside your 6 man Transport Capacity (PATRIARCH takes up 5 models though, he’s large and in charge after all) in order to fire them, they aren’t a terrible upgrade if you’ve the points lying around. All this for a pretty neat 110pts regardless of weapons, making it a good workhorse tank for ferrying small units and a Character around, or acting as a sort of battle tank. Ideally you want to get up close and personal sooner rather than later to leverage your solid melee stats, so take some ACOLYTES along for the ride to grab an Objective or chew up a lighter squad when you get there.
Similar to the above Rockgrinder, but trading out a point of Toughness to increase it’s Transport Capacity to 10, as well as being Open Topped, letting your shooting units inside contribute to the battle from safety. You also lose the heavy weapon options, instead settling for a Twin Autocannon and that’s it (you still get the option for a Cache of Demo Charges if you want). They don’t contribute much in the way of firepower, though are helpful for setting up Crossfire thanks to D2 on the Autocannons, and useful for carting your Infantry around and keeping them protected on their way. One thing to consider is that at 90pts, each one costs about as much as 10 NEOPHYTES tooled up with special weapons, so consider the offensive output and board control being lost for keeping 1 unit safer.