Saturday, October 1, 2016

Genestealer Cults: Army Special Rules and Warlord Traits

Let's dive right in on the Day of Ascension...some thoughts on Army Special Rules and Warlord Traits.

Having spent a fair amount time today reading through our newest codex, I have to say that GDub has created a very unique army for us.  The mechanics of play and the build options are quite different from what we have had available up to now; no armour clad, heavily armed humanoids trudging about the battlefield.  The Cults might even be able to give Space Marine Decurions and Eldar Bike Spam a bit of a go.  Lets see why...

Army Special Rules

Cult Ambush:  This is the rule that has been the talk of the Interwebs.  Units that have the Infiltrate special rule, or arrive from Reserve or Ongoing Reserve roll on a table.  At worst, you arrive from your own board edge.  At best, you arrive 3+" from enemy models, and can Assault in the same turn! In between, you get Outflank, arrive 6-9" from enemy models, or arrive 6+" away, and shoot when you arrive as well as your shooting phase.  But wait Dan, what about all the units in the army that don't have the Infiltrate special rule?  I have a solution for your problem.  Just take the Cult Insurrection Detachment...all non-vehicle units now have the Infiltrate special rule!  Wait for it...and units (like Genestealers) that already have Infiltrate get Shrouded during the 1st game turn.  Something very important to point out.  When units arrive by Cult Ambush there is no mention of scatter!  Finally, there were rumors that there would be ways to re-roll/get extra Cult Ambush dice.  I have seen no evidence in the dex.  If you have, please comment.

Return To The Shadows:  If not within 6" of an enemy model, a unit with this special rule (which is every unit except the Guard units) can go into Ongoing Reserves in your Movement phase.  Not going so well for that unit holding an objective and getting shot up?  Pull it.  When it comes back next turn using Cult Ambush, it gets back D6 models lost earlier due to the Numbers Without Counting rule (from the Cult Insurrection Detachment)!  So let's see.  I have second turn.  I deploy all of my units on the board.  After my opponents 1st turn, I pull my entire army with the exception of a couple of units that can survive a round of shooting.  I have a 67% chance ( a comms array would increase that to about 83%) of redeploying my entire army to pretty much anywhere I want on the board, and any units that took 1st turn losses due to shooting can bring back D6 models.  Is the room spinning yet?

Unquestioning Loyalty:  Models with this special rule (basically all of the army HQs) auto-pass Look Out Sir rolls.  Who needs a 2+ armour save when you have meat popsicles?

Allies:  Tyranids and Guard are Allies of Convenience.  Yes you can bring some fun toys from your Guard army, but the Guard units in the codex get a few nice benefits.  If part of a formation, Scout Sentinels get the Cult Ambush army rule, and all vehicles ignore Crew Shaken/Stunned on a 4+ plus get Outflank (including the Leman Russ)!.  The Leman Russ can get the Vanquisher Cannon upgrade for a S8, AP2 weapon with Armourbane, or an Exterminator Autocannon that is Heavy 4 and twin-linked.
If I end up building a Cult list (which is very likely), I don't think that Tyranid allies would be very consistent with the "uprising" narrative.  Think about it.  By the time the actual Nids arrive, the battle would pretty much be over.  Moreover, several of the units in the Cult army would now be actively controlled by the newly arrived Hive Mind and would no longer be part of the Cult army.  How about Guard units that aren't in the dex?  Those points could be put to good use with units that ARE in the dex, including Cult tanks, Sentinels and Goliaths.

Warlord Traits

A couple of these are mehhh...a couple are quite powerful.  As with many Decurions, your Warlord can re-roll on the table when taken in such a detachment.

Shadow Stalker: Warlord has Stealth.  Better than no Cover Save I suppose...

Focus of Adoration:  Units with 12" of the Warlord have Counter-Attack.  This would be especially nice for the First Curse Formation, which is a Patriarch and 20 Stealers.  Otherwise, OK.

Wall Creeper: Warlord has Move Through Cover, and he and any attached unit do not suffer from charging into difficult terrain.  Patriarch and Stealers already have Move Through Cover.  The "no initiative penalty" ain't bad, again in the case of the First Curse.

Born Survivor:  Warlord has It Will Not Die.  Pretty useful, considering a Patriarch can't be doubled out.

Alien Majesty: All models in the same detachment as your Warlord use his Leadership.  An entire army with Leadership 10?!  Sign me up!

Ambush Leader:  The Warlord or any unit that he joins does not roll on the Cult Ambush table; you chose instead...need I say more??

I think the last two would be worth re-rolling for in almost every case.  I might keep Wall Creeper depending on the terrain in the table.

There you have it.  As stated earlier, the deployment mechanics of this army are so unorthodox that almost any unit, properly kitted out, can be a threat.  Imagine the value when trying to capture objectives.  The formation which allows Cult Guard units to Outflank and use Cult Ambush is incredibly powerful as well.  If you have two Goliaths, 3 Sentinels and 3 Leman Russ, does it really matter which board edge you arrive on?

Last Word...sorry gents, no limo. But if I play against your Cult army and you want to bring one to proxy a Goliath, I would be totally down with that.

Does this codex interest you to the point that you might start a Cult army?


  1. Check the Decurion rules and the formation 'Subterranean uprising'. Also their Psychic powers are pretty strong too.

  2. Thanks Ian. I now see the Uprising formation with those options for rolling either 2 or 3 dice, depending on the presence of a Primus. This certainly looks to be a fragile but mobile army, with lots of options for kitting out and customizing units.


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