Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Genestealer Cults(8E)

From 1d4chan
Jump to: navigation, search

Why Play Genestealer Cults[edit]

Because you like creepy cults, alien hybrids, and giving birth to hideous monstrosities. A strange fascination with being stroked by xenomorphs is optional but recommended. Or you want to play a different flavor of Imperial Guard. If you leave out the more buggy bits and kitbash, you could go from an army of many armed minions to an army of pissed off Gangers!


  • Everyone gets at least one extra arm when graduating from Neophyte status.
  • Yours is the Heavy Rock Drill that will pierce the heavens.
  • You like Genestealers.
  • You like tanks.
  • You like Genestealers IN tanks.
  • You know the truth about what's coming.
  • Cult Ambush lets you bring Space Hulk into 40k, and you're the Genestealers.
  • You can have your pick of Astra Militarum detachments for brainwashed allies to shore up some of the list's inherent weaknesses.
  • You can mix in some Tyranid units into your army as an allied detachment as well
  • You get to combine the character and custom model options of IG and Tyranids (and AdMech too for the Bladed Cog), fancy an army made up of death korps of Krieg models combined with Tyranids painted in the manner of Gorgon? You can do that. Fancy drop troops backed up with war boy style hybrids? You can also do that (MY BODY IS CHROME!!!). No other faction (other than the orks of course) can boast such customising potential as you literally have a galaxies worth of variations to choose from or make up.
  • You can proxy IG models for your more “different” models and that’s also fine as they may simply be hiding their extra limbs, even Xenos can get camera shy.
  • Genestealer cults received their codex relatively late in 8th Edition, meaning that they are still surfing the crest of improving rule design and power creep (+1 strength AND a bonus to charge range makes catachans jealous), aside from Chaos Knights and the Marine Codex 2.0.


  • Average shooting ability, with BS4+ across the board and limited shooting buffs. You're not going to be pulling off space marine tricks of +1 to hit, and rerolls. That is, not unless you put in some elbow grease and line up some buffs.
  • Heavy Support, fliers and Fast Attack choices are extremely limited without using other allied factions, and these allied factions don’t get to share your keywords and other buffs.
    • Alas, the way this works also mean that you can’t take a titan with your pseudo guardsmen, no reverting the forest battle on endor for you.
  • The entire army is extremely squishy and expensive, 8th edition is a cruel place and time to be a GEQ.
    • Fortunately with the Codex, we have some ways of patching over this.
  • Your gods will eat you after all's said and done.

Faction Keywords[edit]

Did you guess GENESTEALER CULTS? Well, you're half right. Unlike most factions, Genestealer Cults have the Cult and TYRANIDS Keywords, which gives you outstanding synergy with the big alien bug monsters you love so much. However, even though Genestealer Cults units have the TYRANIDS faction keyword, they cannot use Relics, Strategems, Warlord Traits, or Psychic Powers from Codex: Tyranids, as per the most recent Tyranids FAQ. The Cult Keyword is the standard way of getting your Chapter Tactics, in this case called Gene-Cults.

Special Rules[edit]

  • Cult Ambush: Drastically reworked from its original form. Infantry and Bikes with this rule can be set up underground, like any other kind of Deep Strike ability and with all the limitations normally associated with Deep Striking. But that's not the fun version. For that, you skip setting up units underground or on the battlefield and instead place a special set of ambush markers in your deployment zone (which does work for vehicles despite their not being able to Deep Strike) representing each unit. The catch? You don't actually reveal which ambush marker corresponds to a given unit until either the start of your first movement phase or the end of the opponent's movement phase, and in the latter case they can't move within 9" of any of the markers; they can't be shot at either, so there's no danger of them being blasted off the board by out-of-phase attacks before they can do anything. With this, your opponents will have no idea what you've actually deployed until it's too late for them to prepare for it.
  • Unquestioning Loyalty: If a GENESTEALER CULTS CHARACTER model fails a saving throw OR would suffer a mortal wound, and a GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit is within 3", you may roll a D6. On a 4+, one model of your choice from the GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit you picked is slain. This effectively grants all your characters a 4+ FnP against mortal wounds and a 4+ to avoid all damage from a failed save so long as a squad is hiding them. Go full Bond villain with this one; surround your key dudes with cheap mooks and let them take the heat.
  • Brood Brothers: You may include ASTRA MILITARUM units in your matched play GENESTEALER CULTS army, even though they share no faction keywords in common with you. You may only take a maximum of one ASTRA MILITARUM detachment for each GENESTEALER CULTS detachment you have, and you can't mix units within detachments. The ASTRA MILITARUM detachment will not benefit from REGIMENT-specific rules and cannot use any named characters, but you can include MILITARUM TEMPESTUS unit, as they are specifically mentioned in the rules. For all purposes, the units will use BROOD BROTHERS as its REGIMENT keyword. However, as of the new book, they get a bonus to their Leadership and the Unquestioning Loyalty ability to compensate. Furthermore, a BROOD BROTHERS detachment can not include your Warlord or take relics, and the command points generated by this detachment are halved (rounded up).
    • Big FAQ April 2019 limits the taking multiple datasheets of Brood Brother units, i.e. a Cult Leman Russ is the "same" datasheet as an IG Leman Russ squadron, likewise Heavy Weapon Squads.
  • Insurrectionists: Objective secured. Affects all troops in both Genestealer Cults and Brood Brothers detachments.
  • Gene-sect: In matched play, you can include each character only once in the same detachment. In other words, if you want Magus spam (and you won't because they're 80 pts a piece, better go Patriarch/Gunslinger spam at this point), you will need multiple detachments.
  • Broodfather: In matched play, if you include any Patriarchs, no other characters can be your Warlord. However, see the stratagem section for a work around.

Cult Creeds[edit]

Here's your Chapter Tactics/Doctrines/Specialisations, like everyone else has. These replace the Cult Keyword when you choose one. Infantry and Bikes (ie, not vehicles) gain the relevant ability listed below; in addition, anything with the GENESTEALER keyword (namely Patriarchs and Purestrain Genestealers), does NOT benefit from these either. Sorry but no Str 5 or 4++ Purestrains. Familiars are fair game though, apparently.

  • Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor - Subterranean Ambushers: Until the end of the first battle round, gain +1 to advance and charge rolls. From the second round onwards, units that are set up (e.g: Cult Ambush) get this bonus. GSC's Black Heart but with an actually useful trait. Expect everyone and their mother to have a detachment of these for the things it unlocks. Very competitive choice.
  • The Twisted Helix - Experimental Subjects: Everyone with this Creed gets +1 Strength, and adds +2 to their advance rolls. S3, S4, and S5 are the largest jump on to wound rolls, massively increasing the effectiveness of your army across the board, melee-wise that is. Ironically this doesn't appear to be the best Creed for Aberrants based on ability alone but the related Stratagem makes up for it. Best used with Acolyte spam and one big unit of Aberrants.
  • The Pauper Princes - Devoted Zealots: You may re-roll hit rolls for attacks made with Melee Weapons in a turn where a unit with this Creed charged, was charged or performed a Heroic Intervention. Another melee sub-faction, it competes with the Twisted Helix; The problem lies in the fact that Cult has easy access to +1 to Hit via Primus (effectively making the Creed just a reroll 1s the times it applies) and Cult Icon (which comboed with Primus effectively gives you the Pauper Princes Cult Creed). Can't effectively compete with C4AE and Twisted Helix. On a side note, this will save you points on buying cult icons.
  • The Hivecult - Disciplined Militants: If a unit with this Creed fails a morale test, half the number of models that flee (rounding up). Furthermore, units with this Creed that fall back may still shoot, but they are at -1 to hit when they do so. Neophytes/Kelermorphs are incredible with this strategy; make sure to combine this with the Jackal Alphus' target marking ability to maximise shooting potential plus Hivelord Warlord Trait (preferably on a Magus with Broodcoven) and the related Creed Stratagem (Chilling Efficiency) to maximise shooting potential. It isn't a Cult Creed you're willingly take as "Main" (in case of Cults mix) but has potential to be the best Cult Creed for shooting units in a specific Detachment.
  • The Bladed Cog - Cyborgised Hybrids: Models with this Creed have a 6+ invulnerable save if they don't have an Invulnerable beforehand, and add +1 to their Invulnerable Save if they do have one. Furthermore, Infantry models with this Creed do not suffer the penalty for moving and shooting with Heavy Weapons. If you think about it only Characters with a built-in invulnerable save and Multiwound units really benefit from it (you want Rusted Claw to improve the survivability of the sea of Hybrids) but the Heavy Weapons bonus suggests taking Neophytes with such weapons. Also its Creed is something you can only use in Fight phase so it's really schizophrenic after all.
  • The Rusted Claw - Nomadic Survivalists: When making armor saves, add +1 to the result if the weapon has an AP of 0 or -1. In addition, Biker models with this Creed do not suffer any penalties for moving and shooting with Heavy Weapons, or for advancing and firing assault weapons. A must for Bikes and still a very decent chapter tactics if you want to improve the general survivability of your models. Best defensive Creed by a miles but considering the extremely aggressive playstyle of the army might not find universal acclaim.



  • Scanner Decoys (1 CP): Use when setting up a unit from your army with the Cult Ambush ability. Instead of placing one ambush marker for that unit, you place four of them, with three of the markers being fakes. Thankfully this is usable only once per battle, because the mind games Cult Ambush lets you pull off are cruel enough without infinite red herrings being thrown into the mix too.
  • They Came From Below (1 CP): Use before revealing an ambush marker. Select up to 3 non-vehicle units from your army set up in ambush. Remove their markers from the battlefield and set them up underground instead. Surprise your opponent when the flanking threat they were planning to counter suddenly disappears and leaves them poorly positioned for your real offensive. Note: The units are considered to have been put into underground instead of ambush when you play this stratagem, preventing them from being immediately deployed again as if they were in ambush which is considered to be deployed on the table. This Stratagem specifically CAN be used to bypass the "half your army" restriction on units deployed in reserve in matched play, letting you deploy half your army plus three units underground. Also no longer allows turn 1 ambushes, as clarified in Big FAQ 2019.
  • A Perfect Ambush (3 CP): Use in the Movement Phase immediately after setting up an Infantry or Biker unit with Cult Ambush on the battlefield. It can either move d6 inches (even if it arrived as reinforcements!) or shoot with all its ranged weapons as if it was the shooting phase. If used on your turn, this stratagem does not stop that unit from shooting or charging later in the turn. The Sanctus can use this for free!
  • Hyper-Metabolism (1 CP): At the start of your movement phase, pick a Genestealer Cults character. That character regains d3 wounds.
  • Lying in Wait (2 CP): At the end of the movement phase a unit with Cult Ambush set up in Reserves can deploy more than 3" away from an enemy but can never charge for any reason. The real beauty of this is that it lets the Kelermorph set up 3" from the enemy screen, meaning the enemy screen has to be 15" deep to truly shield his characters. Also, if you're playing a Narrative mission that allows Reserves, you can do mean things with your Vehicles, like dropping a squadron of Leman Russes onto your opponent's high value units.
  • Brood Coven (1 CP): If a Patriarch is your Warlord, and you have a Magus and a Primus you can give them Warlord traits too. For rules purposes only the Patriarch is considered your Warlord. A steal at 1CP, as most of our Warlord traits are good. Strictly better than the Drukhari Alliance of Agony, as it does not require you to run 3 differently keyworded Detachments in order to get maximum value, so you can solo/Stealerbomb with the Patriarch, buff the Magus, and use the Primus to carry Creed-specific Warlord Traits as needed, in as many or as few detachments as you'd like.
    • Combined with a Field Commander from both specialist detachments, this allows Genestealer Cults to be the only faction in the game that can have 5 Warlord traits active in 1 army.
    • Wording is up to one of each, so could use on just a primus if you don't have a magus, or vice versa.
  • The First Curse (1 CP): Use before the battle to upgrade a unit of Purestrain Genestealers with upgrades available to the vanilla Tyranid Genestealers, only randomly. roll a d6 and the result will grant either toxin sacs (6 to wound in the fight phase cause +1 damage), adrenal glands (+1 to advance and charge rolls), or extended carapace (+1 to the armor save but loses the ability to advance and charge). Normally, the extended carapace option is not worth the trade, but it becomes more useful on purestrains, as they are more likely to be charging out of an ambush.
  • Cult Reinforcements (1 CP): return d6 slain models to a troop unit.
  • Detonate Concealed Explosives (2 CP): Use at the start of the Shooting phase. Pick an enemy unit and roll a d6. -1 to the roll if its a character and +1 to the roll if the unit has 10 or more models. on a 4+, the unit takes d3 mortal wounds. on a 7+, the unit takes d6 mortal wounds. Can only use if you have a Genestealer cult unit on the table. Genestealer Cults love their dynamite.
  • Telepathic Summons (2 CP): Pick a <CULT> Psyker. they can't manifest psychic powers this turn. Instead, you roll 3d6 and create a new infantry or bike unit with a power rating equal to the result. The unit must have the Cult Ambush special rule, but can be set up anywhere more than 9" away from an enemy model. Purestrain, abominants, take your pick. We stole your cheese, Chaos, and made it BETTER! However, you still has to pay reinforcement points though, so this is probably better left for narrative play.
  • Return to the Shadows (1 CP): Use at the end of the movement phase. Lets you put an Infantry or Bike unit back into tactical reserves for one turn provided that they are 3" away from an enemy model. There are a ton of tactical uses for this stratagem. Need to evacuate your Warlord from certain death? Use this. In CC with something you can't kill? Fall back, pop this stratagem, and watch your opponent rage. Need to grab a last turn objective? use this to send a unit across the entire board. Note that if the battle ends before it returns then it counts as being destroyed, though a FAQ clarified it doesn't die for being in reserves after the third battle round.
  • Clandestine goals (1 CP): A copy of the Dark Angels stratagem. Lets you keep your tactical objective hidden.
  • Lurk in the Shadows (2 CP):Pick an infantry unit in cover. They can't be targeted in shooting unless they are the closest unit. More expensive and limited Cloud of Flies which activates at the start of opponent's shooting phase. This could work to protect a fragile Brood Brother weapon squad, or a range oriented Neophyte squad. Also handy for denying mortars and other LoS-ignoring weapons the ability to invalidate terrain.
  • Devoted Crew (1 CP): Use on a GENESTEALER CULTS Vehicle. It can use the top level of its damage chart regardless of how badly damaged it is until the end of the turn. Get that Clearance Incinerator in the opponent's face!
  • Monstrous Vigor (2 CP): Your Aberrants gain +1 to their FNP saves for an entire turn.
  • Meticulous Uprising (1 CP): Use this stratagem before revealing an ambush marker. You can move up to three markers. Each marker can move up to 12" but cannot move within 9" of an enemy or move out of your deployment zone.
  • Rigged to Blow (1 CP): Use when a vehicle with demolition charges is destroyed. The vehicle automatically explodes.
  • Extra Explosives (1 CP): Lets up to 10 models in a unit throw grenades and/or up to five models throw demo charges.
  • Grandsire's Gift (1/3 CP): Your standard extra relic stratagem.


  • Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor - A Plan Generations in the Making (3 CP): Once per game, use when your opponent spends CP for using a stratagem but before it takes effect. Roll 1d6; on a 1, nothing happens. On 2-5, the CP used by your opponent is refunded but the stratagem does not take effect and can't be used again this phase. On a 6, the CP is not refunded and the stratagem does not take effect and can't be used again this phase. This stratagem cannot be used against a stratagem that is used before the battle or during deployment.
    • Every bit as potent as it is for the Kabal of the Black Heart, and your version is 1 CP cheaper too. Once use per game limits it's effectiveness for mind games, however.
  • Twisted Helix - Monstrous Biohorrors (3 CP) : Drop 3 CP for your big special muscle boys to attack again at the end of the fight phase. Also -1 LD for units within 6". This lets your pick aberrants totally annihilate what they touch when combined with the Abominant, who can also use this to finish off that Baneblade or eat another Leman Russ. Remember your aberrants are +1 S for being Twisted Helix too. Could be good with the Anointed Throng detachment, since a model has a chance of fighting three times a turn
  • Hive Cult - Chilling Efficiency (2 CP) : This is basically 'Overlapping Fields of Fire' from Cadian guard. Activate in the shooting phase, +1 to hit vs a unit that you've done a wound against. Fits with the Hive Cults' general theme of being the shooty subfaction.
  • Bladed Cog - Overthrow the Oppressors (1 CP) : Use this Stratagem before a Bladed Cog unit (excluding Genestealer units) from your army is selected to fight in the Fight phase. Until the end of the phase, each time you roll an unmodified hit roll of 6 for an attack by a model in that unit, that model can immediately make an additional hit roll against the same target using the same weapon. These bonus attacks cannot themselves generate any further attacks. These extra attacks are instead generated on unmodified hit rolls of 5 or 6 when targeting Imperium units or on unmodified rolls of 4, 5, or 6 when targeting Adeptus Mechanicus units. If you find yourself as Bladed Cog against AdMech in CQC... You probably don't need this, but there is no kill like overkill. Much more useful and will see much better results against Marines, High Invul Characters and Custodes as opposed to the Cogboys.
  • Rusted Claw - Drive by Demolitions (1 CP): Use on a Rusted Claw Biker Unit. +1 to hit and wound rolls with grenades. After it resolves all its shooting, it can immediately make a move as if it were the movement phase, but cannot charge this turn. Combine with the Extra Explosive Stratagem and dirt cheap Demo Charges for maximum grenade shenanigans.
  • Pauper Princes - Vengeance of the Martyrs (1 CP): Use when a Pauper Princes Character dies. For the rest of the battle, your units gain +1 to hit when targeting the unit that dealt the killing blow.

Broodmind Discipline[edit]

This is the only psychic discipline table your psykers can use. You can either roll randomly or choose one. Don't forget every psyker also automatically knows Smite.

  1. Mass Hypnosis: WC 7. A visible unit within 18" can't Overwatch, Fights last even if it charges, and suffers -1 to hit, all for one turn.
    • One of the best debuff abilities in the game. Most similar powers only do one of these effects, not all three at once. Unfortunately, most of the time you’ll only be able to make use of two out of the three abilities, the minus one is universally useful, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be charging a unit which can fight first in melee and can provide reliable and dangerous overwatch cover. Note that this says one turn, not round, so it doesn’t carry over to your opponents turn. Not anymore, now it's until your next Psychic phase!
  2. Mind Control: WC 7. Target an enemy model within 12" and roll 3d6. If you equal or beat its Leadership, the model immediately makes a single ranged or melee attack against another enemy unit. Correction you get to fire all weapons or make a single close combat attack. It can't hit itself, but it can hit other models in a unit to which it belongs.
    • Particularly effective when used on units with single-use weapons you can misdirect (Imperial Hunter-Killer Missiles etc.) or anything big and scary like snipers, tanks, and heavy weapons teams.
    • Can also be used to directly attack CHARACTERS hidden inside squads, by making a guy 1" away melee attack them or picking someone for whom the CHARACTER is the closest target.
    • Especially effective against plasma weaponry, as you can use the overheat and possibly kill the bearer as well as who you shot at.
    • Though in theory it can make a Baneblade or an Imperial Knight shoot on its own army, there's still only a ~53% chance of going off vs. a Ld9 target (~30% chance if there's an enemy psyker there to deny it), taking into account having to cast the power and roll above leadership. You also have to get within 12" - if your opponent is sensible their targets will be screened. It's a good power, just don't revolve your (anti-titan) strategy on getting this to work.
  3. Psionic Blast: WC 5. Target a visible enemy unit within 18" and roll 2d6. It the result is lower than the highest Leadership in their unit, they suffer a mortal wound. Otherwise, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.
    • Can target key units (even characters) directly.
  4. Mental Onslaught: WC 6. Similar to Eldari Mind War. Attack one model via leadership, inflicting mortal wounds if you keep winning the dice off. Makes leadership modifying abilities desirable. For a brief time, there was an insane combo that made it possible to do infinite mortal wounds if you stacked upgrades properly, but as of the April 2019 FAQ the power stops any time your opponent rolls a 6, pushing it from worth building around to merely decent in some situations.
  5. Psychic Stimulus: WC 6. Allows a unit within 18” to charge after advancing and to fight first while affected. Let’s your other units advance and assault like Genestealers.
  6. Might From Beyond: WC 7. A friendly GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY or BIKER unit within 18" gains +1S and +1A for a turn.
    • Have your Patriarch use this on his Purestrain Genestealer bubblewrap squad for frankly excessive amounts of melee damage.
      • Also consider taking a Magus with this and a Patriarch with Mass Hypnosis, with careful positioning the Magus can cast this outside of DtW range making it more reliable and leaving the Patriarch (who, as a melee character, is going to be within DtW range anyway) free to cast Mass Hypnosis.
      • When cast on purestrains in range of an Iconward with the +1S relic your genestealers will hit on a 2+ with 4-5 S6 rending attacks. While not affecting their chance to wound against most vehicles they can wound almost all infantry on a 2+ or 3+!
      • Give a Magus Might From Beyond to cast it on a unit of Hammer Aberrants w/ Iconward + relic (+1 Strength) to give them 3A at S14 AP -3 D 3. The only issue would be hitting on 4's but you could bring a Primus for +1 to hit.

And since everyone gets Smite, here it is for reference.

  • Smite: WC 5. Targets closest enemy unit within 18". Inflicts D3 mortal wounds, or D6 mortal wounds if the WC roll was more than 10.

Warlord Traits[edit]


  • Alien Majesty: Increase the range of the Warlord's aura abilities by 3". While the Patriarch and Magus has a decent buff, It's the Primus that you really want to have this trait. It means that he can fail his charge and still buff units that don't.
  • Biomorph Adaptation: Add 1 to your walord's Attack and Strength characteristic. Simple but deadly effective on a Patriarch (possibly best Warlord Trait for him alongside Pauper Princes WT), remember most of your unit's Strength are in that sweet spot where it can massively affect their wounding chances.
  • Focus of Adoration: Friendly Infantry units can do a Heroic Intervention within 6″ despite not being characters. It sounds strong as fuck at first glance but once you consider the fact that your Acolytes will probably be dealt with Shooting instead of Fighting (since they kill things very easily there) you won't generally take it.
  • Born Survivor: Decrease the damage taken by the warlord by 1 to a minimum of 1. Doesn't protect from mortal wounds but boy does it get silly when put on an Abominant. The problem is: why would you take the current Abominant and not a Patriarch?
  • Shadow Stalker: -1 To Hit against your Warlord, on both melee and ranged attack. Not as good as Born Survivor sadly because our Characters are generally intargetable but it's better than Born Survivor when deciding to use Unquestioning Loyalty since you'll be reducing the chances to be hit in Fight phase and then trying to pass them onto your troops.
  • Preternatural Speed: Your Warlord always fight first in the fight phase. The Locus already has this as an ability so if you roll for it, he gains Biomorph Adaptation instead. Useless Warlord Trait since you'll be pretty much destroying things in the Fight phase and you won't generally have the enemy voluntarily staying there to fight you.


  • Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor - Inscrutable Cunning: Gain d3 bonus CP. Additionally, once per battle you can re-roll one hit, wound, or saving throw for any friendly unit (not just the Warlord) as long as the Warlord is on the field. Nice to give to a Magus via Broodcoven stratagem.
  • The Hivecult - Hivelord: Friendly units within 6" re-roll hit rolls of 1 with ranged weapons. Also best option for Broodcoven Maguses since they fine staying on the board mindprotecting your units, casting a buff/debuff and giving reroll hit rolls of 1s to your units.
  • The Bladed Cog - Single-minded Obsession: After deployment but before the first battle round begins, pick an enemy unit. Friendly units within 6" of the Warlord can re-roll failed wounds against that unit. Old Grudges but for GSC, works in Fight phase too but what kind of list are you playing then?
  • The Rusted Claw - Entropic Touch: Friendly units within 6" of the Warlord that make an unmodified wound roll of 6 in the Fight phase improve that attack's AP by 1 (e.g. AP0 becomes AP-1). Useless since your dedicated melee units already have AP -4 on 6s to Wound so it only makes sense for Acolyte's chainsword attacks. Pass.
  • The Pauper Princes - Beloved Grandsire: Add 2 to Unquestioning Loyalty rolls made when the Warlord fails a save or is hit by a mortal wound. 2++ against mortal wounds is incredible; literally the best save in the game. Park your guy behind a pack of Neophytes and watch your opponent rage as your Primus Matrix dodges Vindicare bullets. How does it feel to have your entire army as a T'au Drone?
  • The Twisted Helix - Bio-Alchemist: The Warlord's weapons deal 1 extra damage. This does not apply to Relics. Absolutely brutal on a Patriarch, allowing him to mincemeat most HQs and light tanks. You generally choose this when your enemy has many multiwound models instead of the +1 attack and strength.


Melee Weapons[edit]

  • Bonesword (3 pts): An AP-2 melee weapon for your unit leaders and the Primus. More of a sidegrade to the standard Rending claws which are free for those who come with them. It costs 1pt less than a Power Sword that other armies get access to and is 1 ap worse. Skip unless you take a Primus as he has to have one. Never let the Primus use it, the Toxin Injector is always better. Acolytes Leaders perform worst against T4 Sv3+ and less than 5% better against guardsmen by using a BS instead of the Rending Claws, take an additional Neophyte Hybrids that have a 16.66% to kill a guardsman instead and wait for GW to learn how to math and price things.
    • Lash whip & Bonesword (5 pts): The reason not to take a solo Bonesword. For 2 points more, you get the same stats as a base Bonesword, and the ability to use that character's attacks if they're slain before their turn in the fight phase. If you're going to spend the points for that -2 AP, may as well spend the measly 2 points for this as well. Remember that an Acolyte Leader has to trade both the Autopistol and its Cultist Knife for this - this does mean you lose an S4 AP0 D1 attack in melee and an S3 AP0 D1 attack at range, and, of course, you can't take this with a Hand Flamer.
  • Chainsword (0 pts): Bonus attacks as standard.
  • Cultist Knife (0 pts): It's a chainsword with a funny name and great aesthetic.
  • Heavy Improvised Weapon (10 pts): A Power Fist only better, in handy stop sign format. Exclusive to the Aberrant Hypermorph. Sx2 AP-1 D2, makes two hit rolls per attack, and doesn't have -1 to hit like a power fist....now your squad leader(s) can oneshot Primaris units by THEMSELVES before the others can even attack!
  • Heavy Rock Cutter (12 pts): Sx2 AP-4 D1d3 -1 to hit sounds fantastic (in fact, that's better than a power fist but worse than a chainfist), but that's not all. If you successfully damage a non-VEHICLE target and beat its remaining wounds on 1d6, it dies instantly. Goodbye Ogryns, TyraWarriors, Terminators, and characters.
    • The roll to beat a model's remaining wounds happens each time it takes damage. If you're rolling lots of dice at once, make sure to stay on top of this - for example, if you hit, wound, and beat the target's save twice with one of these, and you're trying to murder some Ogryn (W3), correct procedure is roll the first damage die, then if the Ogryn lives roll to slay it, and only then move on to the second damage die. You can speed this up with colored dice, so you can roll the damage die and the slay die together, but be careful of doing this against a target with optional abilities for damage resistance, like a feel no pain strat - you should be forcing your opponent to be making the choice to trigger those abilities or not after the damage die but before the slay die.
    • Don't forget, while the instant slay will trigger instant slay feel no pain, like Graia has, that's incredibly rare - most feel no pains will not be able to roll against the slay effect.
  • Heavy Rock Drill (17 pts): At first glance, it's a D1 Power Fist with no accuracy penalty. However, it can inflict up to 5 extra mortal wounds per unsaved wound. No piercing the heavens for us, unfortunately, as the rock drill stops dealing mortal wounds once the skewered target dies. However, this is our best weapon against tough targets with lots of wounds, as it does an average of 2.777 damage against any target with 6 or more wounds or that has a feel no pain. Usually worse than the Rock Saw, because all that damage is incredibly swingy, with lots of variance - unlike the Saw, which is also a lot cheaper, you can't really guess how well this will do against a given target.
  • Heavy Rock Saw (10 pts): A chainfist, without the -1 to hit roll. Real saws that make chainswords look like pool noodles. Stick a primus nearby for effective 2+ to hit shenanigans. Best special CQC weapon GSC has by a mile.
  • Heavy Power Hammer (16 pts): Your Aberrants' weapon upgrade choice. 7 more points than the already expensive Pick they start with, but it might be worth it for a thunder hammer, which is what it is. Generally not worth it due to -1 to hit and the loss of your rending attacks.
  • Improvised weapon (0 pts): Probably the most egregious example of copy-pasting from GW ever. It's just a close combat weapon, doesn't even give +1 Strength or anything. For obvious reasons, take cultist knives or guns on your Jackals instead.
  • Injector Goad (0 pts): A poisonous(2+) with d3 damage for the biophagus. Also when a character loses any amount of wound due to this weapon, roll a die, and if it's higher than it's wound characteristic it suffers d3 extra mortal wounds. Like a shittier Heavy Rock Cutter. Weirdly it also has S+1 even though it always wounds on 2+ except against vehicles and Titanic units. Good weapon on a throwaway unit like Biophagus.
  • Locus Blades (0 pts): Basically a power sword; SU AP-3 D1, but boosted to 2 if the Locus charged, got charged, or performed a heroic intervention. 4 attacks and always strike first makes a great chaff defense against any melee units, like berserkers and such.
  • Power Axe (5 pts): S+1 Ap-2. It's a power axe, what else do you want? Give it to an Atalan leader or a neophyte if you want to splurge a bit, but it's not really points efficient, since you're only S3 - stick with a Maul on the Neophyte (if you really want them), and the Atalan Leader should be taking an autogun plus shotgun before he takes this.
  • Power Hammer (4 pts): This is a Power Maul. A classic, and pretty nice on your neophytes so they can wound easier.
  • Power Maul (4 pts): S+2 AP-1 D1.
  • Power Pick (9 pts): Your choice of viewing this as a -1S Force Axe or a +1AP Force Sword, that costs halfway in between what those two cost for factions that can take them. Grants a free Rending Claw attack (if you have one) for each attack made with the Power Pick, which is the only way to make this weapon earn back its cost - because there are exactly three ways to take these, the rule of thumb is simple. Neophytes and Atalans should never, ever take this. Aberrants should take this to be cheaper and better at better at fighting hordes than their hammer flavor.
  • Drilldozer Blades (0 pts): S9 AP-2 D1d3 and can make an additional 1d3 attacks when the rockgrinder charges.
  • Sanctus bio-dagger (0 pts): The Sanctus' brain melting knife with 2's across the board. S1 but always wounds on 2s, Ap-2 and 2 damage and can make an additional attack with this weapon.
  • Toxin Injector Claw (0 pts): Default Primus weapon, a venomous Rending Claw. It always performs better than the Bonesword the Primus carries, so this should be chosen for slicing and dicing.


  • Autopistol: Standard S3 sidearm. Most of your troops have one, don't forget to use them before charging (if that doesn't increase your charge distance) and sometimes even in melee. Absolutely wonderful to have since they're free damage.
  • Bolt Pistol: Standard S4 sidearm.
  • Hand Flamer: Absolutely brutal weapon, 1 point D6 S3 Pistol. Get this for your Acolytes, shove them into your opponent's chaff with Lying in Wait, shoot with "A perfect ambush" and then shoot again in the following Shooting phase. Sisters and Salamanders wished they could be half as hot as these. Or at least as cheap. and then there's Overwatch...
  • Laspistol: Standard S3 sidearm, and carbon copy of the Autopistol.
  • Liberator Autostub: The Kelermorph's rootin' tootin' shootin' 12" Pistol 2 S4 AP-1 D2. The Kelermorph has three of these babies and can just gun down space marines and below with ease. Cipher wishes he could get guns this good - seriously, these easily outperform even Deathwatch bolt pistols. Ignore the fluff entry about these being popular with gangsters and arbites - there aren't any Imperium pistols that can compete with this thing.
  • Web Pistol: Makes wound rolls against the lower of the target's S and T. Situational. It is a 1 point, 1 shot hand flamer, for what it's worth.

Basic Weapons[edit]

  • Autogun: Not much to be said here. Standard S3 Rapid Fire, your Neophytes all get one. Surprisingly vicious against T3 (and T5) en-masse if you make effective use of cult ambush.
  • Flamer: Not a very effective weapon since you can't use them from Ambush (unless using A Perfect Ambush but why would you?), also a bit pricey when the Webber is literally half a flamer for 1/6 the cost. Pass
  • Grenade Launcher: Just like tossing a hand grenade, except with a 24" range and an Assault weapon type, so you can use more than one per unit and toss them while Advancing. Especially useful for you because you don't have access to regular Krak grenades. Can also be fired as a single [S6, AP-1, Dd3] shot, which you might prefer to use when targeting vehicles and other bigger models. Very good weapon you should be taking for Shooting Neophytes Builds.
  • Lasgun: Identical to, and interchangeable with, the Autoguns your Neophytes start with.
  • Shotgun: Assault 2, and +1S below half range. Not bad if you're zerging across the table, but the short range will come back to bite you in other circumstances.
  • Webber: Makes wound rolls against the lower of the target's S and T, using its S of 4. Situational rule but it's half a flamer for 1 pt with a 16" range (that can be used after running as well). Very good weapon and a bit underestimated by many people. If you're playing Neophytes you should be either taking this or Grenade Launchers, else back to Brood Brothers.
    • A largely accurate summary of units where this matters, typically meaning T8+/S5-7,T5/S4,T4/S3, or if you can find it, T3/S1-2:
- Most artillery (mek guns, etc)
- Almost all bikes, Eldar Vypers, Marine gravis/landspeeders
- Wraithlords, Ironclad Dreads
- Most T'au drones
- Most Coven units
- Necron Destroyers, Tomb Blades
- Sammael
- Death Guard
- Hive Guard, Malanthropes

Heavy Mining Weapons[edit]

These only require one guy or quad to wield, so Neophyte squads can take two of them.

  • Atalan Incinerator: 12" Heavy Flamer. Can only be taken by Wolfquads and expensive as hell.
  • Heavy Stubber (2 pts): Standard lead-flinging man-portable support gun. Not great, only 2 points. Was probably being used for mine defense. A Grenade Launcher is 1 point more, suffers no penalty on hit rolls if you moved, and is more versatile, so if you're looking for an upgrade to a squad, consider them as well - the frag grenade profile is functionally equivalent to the stubber on average, so the additional point is mostly buying you the krak profile, there. Can also be taken by Wolfquads. You either take this alongside Grenade Launchers or not at all.
  • Mining Laser (12 pts): It's a half-range lascannon. On the upside, it's cheaper, and you can have two. Can also be taken by Wolfquads. Not bad but not great either.
  • Blastmaster Seismic Cannon (12 pts): Functionally pretty similar to a grenade launcher, but more reliable and with a shorter range and deadlier armor piercing mode. Longwave it's a Heavy 6 lasgun, nearly twice (12/7) as good as a frag grenade unless moving. Shortwave halves your range and shots but gives you AP-1 and doubles the strength and damage, much like krak grenades, but with better damage against W2 targets. AP-4 on 6+ to wound, but with cultist BS it doesn't fire enough shots to reliably get those. Badly needs a point decrease to make it worthwile.

Heavy Weapons[edit]

Standard options with Brood Brothers, but you can give these to Neophytes if you use their Index entry instead.

  • Mortar (7 pts): It's a dirt cheap frag launcher that ignores line of sight; cost-effective anti-horde that you should take in dedicated Heavy Weapons Teams.
  • Heavy Bolter (8 pts): Your source of medium-strength support fire. Anti-infantry mainly but almost as versatile as the Autocannon. Since Mortars exist however there aren't really many reasons to go for this.
  • Autocannon (10 pts): This is your answer to T6 light armor and monsters, and generally decent at blasting things of all sizes. Loves medium-heavy units like Nobs, Rough Riders, TyraWarriors, and TEQ (especially if they have good invuln saves). One-shotting Primaris marines is also a nice feeling. However remember that your army has the most capabilities to kill multiwound models so it's a mediocre choice.
  • Lascannon (20 pts): Long-range anti-tank punch. Eats T8 and 9 for breakfast and comes back for lunch and dinner. Don't take them and go for Mining Lasers instead (if you have the choice, else just don't use them).
  • Missile Launcher (15 pts): For when you can't make up your mind between anti-tank and anti-infantry, or when versatility is important. Not recommended since it performs horribly in both cases.

Vehicle Weapons[edit]

  • Heavy Mining Laser (25 pts): It’s a D3 shot lascannon with 3/4 the range. If the Neutron Laser is the Lascannon's big brother then this is it's weird older cousin. Good weapon to have but the platforms that can use it are kinda in an awkward spot rules wise.
  • Heavy Seismic Cannon (20 pts): Similar to the infantry version only bigger. The longwave should be used against elites like bikers and such while the shortwave's higher output should be used against vehicles. It's short range however, hampers it. Longwave is 24" Heavy 6 S4 AP-1 D2, while Shortwave is 12" Heavy 3 S8 AP-2 D3.
  • Clearance Incinerator (30 pts): Heavy Flamer with 2d6 autohits and 12" range. A nice option for your Rockgrinders to join in the fun with any cult Hellhounds you have. Very very expensive and it might need a lower price.
  • Heavy Mortar (8 pts): A mortar with one extra strength and AP-1. Don't use it.


  • Demolition Charge: An enormous single-use grenade, now actually Grenade-type. Inflicting D6 S8 hits at AP-3 dealing D3 damage each, probably the best weapon around for Rusted Claw Atalan Jackals build.
    • Cache of Demolition Charges: Your transports get these. Can only be used if the transport has embarked passengers (with a BS, so not Purestrain 'stealers), but they're infinitely reusable, unlike the single ones you buy for infantry.


  • Blasting Charges: A Frag grenade by any other name, booms just as sweet. Never forget to use them since it increases your shooting output from 1/2 S3 shots to D6 (and you also use the Grenadier like stratagem to shoot 10D6 of these!).

Other Wargear[edit]

  • Cult Icon ( 10 pts): Allows Re-rolls to hit of 1 for the unit in the fight phase while the bearer is still alive. Good if you're going for 15/20 sized units, a bit useless otherwise.
  • Familiar (12 pts): For 12pts get an extra body to add onto your Patriarch or Magus. The Familiar has the same statline as an Acolyte Hybrid, albeit with no weapons, no BS, +1Ld and a 6+ save (rather than a 5+). Once per game if your Magus or Patriarch has at least one familiar, you can cast one additional power - this will almost always be Smite. As it counts as a separate model, it can also absorb atleast one (or more if you're lucky) hit which would otherwise hit your Magus/Patriarch.
    • Note that although the Primus has the Familiar's statline on its Index datasheet, this was an error, and was removed in an early FAQ, and in the Codex.
    • Remember that having more than one familiar with a Patriarch/Magus does not give it more than one extra power per game - the ability is once per battle, regardless of how many familiars you have with the character.
    • Consider that adding a familiar is like adding an Acolyte "bodyguard" to your character, as the Familiar has a near-identical statline to an Acolyte Hybrid.

Genestealer Cults Relics[edit]


  • Icon of the Cult Ascendant: Add 1 to the Strength characteristic of friendly GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY (and biker) units while they are within 6" of the bearer (Iconward only). You should take it for every single battle, it allows your “guardsmen” to wound GEQ’s on a 3+ and MEQ’s on a 4+, not to be sniffed at as one of your army's main weaknesses is its low strength, and you could use it on your deepstriking genestealers to provide maximum butthurt to a unit of marines. Its range of 6” also means that you could have most of your army being affected by the icon, just keep in mind that most of your deepstriking units won’t be benefiting from this. Bonus note: since this is +1 to the strength characteristic, Aberrants with hammers are now hitting at S12, and a Patriarch with the Biomorph Adaptation Warlord trait and Might from Beyond will have 8 attacks at S9. Combined with his claws' innate reroll wounds this allows you to throw him even at heavy tanks (the T8 variety) and take chunks out of them.
  • Gift From Beyond: Lets one cult character sniper rifle have +2 to wound against non-vehicles/non-titanic. For when you really want that one shot per turn to count. Makes the Sanctus an even more reliable threat against Psykers.
    • The +2 to wound means that there is a reasonable (50%) chance to score a mortal wound and a 50% chance to force Perils on a Pskyer that lacks an FNP rule.
  • Scourge of Distant Stars: +1 to CC hit rolls, and opponent suffers a mortal wound when they roll 1’s to hit.
  • Sword of the Void's Eye: Replaces a bonesword. S+2 AP-3 d3 D, and re-rolls failed hits and wounds. Helps the Primus take on tougher infantry and light vehicles, especially when boosted by Twisted Helix and the Biomorph Adaptation Warlord trait.
  • Amulet of the Voidwyrm: +1 to saving throws (RAW this applies to invulnerable saves for now, keep an eye out for FAQs) against ranged weapons, and enemy units cannot fire Overwatch at the bearer. I shouldn't have to explain to you how awesome the second ability is. Take a cheap character with this relic, and charge him at a unit with worrisome weapons (Hellhound, Leman Russ Punishers, Land Raider Crusaders, Deathwatch Frag Cannons), and then send in your nasty CC unit. Alternate take, stick it on your patriarch and get him stuck in turn 1 with no Overwatch.
  • Oppressor's Bane: Replaces a pistol or Liberator autostub. 12" Pistol 3 S4 AP-2 2 D, can snipe characters and re-rolls failed wound rolls made against Characters.
    • The sniping effect is redundant on a Kelermorph, but the wound re-roll is always welcome and one more shot never hurt anybody.
  • Dagger of Swift Sacrifice: Replaces a cultist knife or Sanctus bio-dagger. S User AP-2 2 D, adds an extra attack and wounds everything but vehicles and Titanic units on a 2+. If a character is wounded but not slain by it, that Character takes D3 mortal wounds after all attacks are resolved.
  • The Crouchling: Patriarch and Magus only, replaces a Familiar. Acts like a normal familiar, and while it's alive the bearer knows one more psychic power and gains a +1 bonus to manifest Broodmind powers. Note that Smite is not a Broodmind power.


  • Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor - Sword of the Four-Armed Emperor: Replaces a bonesword or Locus blades. S User AP-3 1 D, and when used in the fight phase it grants 4 extra attacks. Say goodbye to that MEQ squad.
  • The Twisted Helix - Elixir of the Prime Specimen: The user increases their Attacks, Toughness, and Wounds by 1. There is no reason not to give this to your Patriarch, and then buff him even further using Might from Beyond too.
  • The Bladed Cog - Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah: The Bladed Cog model only. The bearer has a 4+ invulnerable save. In addition, each time this model finishes a charge move, select one enemy within 1” of it and roll a D6; on a 2+ that unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Bear in mind that this stacks with the Bladed Cog Cult Creed, giving a non-Patriarch a 3++.
  • The Hivecult - Vockor's Talisman: Re-roll hits for the user's melee weapons when targeting Characters, and on a wound roll of 6 in melee the bearer inflicts a bonus mortal wound on units that aren't vehicles or Titanic.
  • The Rusted Claw - Metallophagic Staff: Magus only, replaces a force stave. S+2 AP-5 D3 D. When attacking a vehicle, a wound roll of 4+ causes an extra mortal wound, which increases to d3 mortal wounds on a 6+.
  • The Pauper Princes - Reliquary of Saint Tenndarc: Friendly Pauper Princes units within 6" are immune to morale, and if a friendly infantry or biker model dies in that range it can perform one last shooting or melee attack on a 4+.

Specialist Detachments[edit]

Specialist Detachments are a type of Detachment that were added with the Vigilus Defiant campaign supplement. These Detachments are custom made for specific sub-factions which grant them access to additional Stratagems, Warlord Traits, and Artifacts.

General stratagems[edit]

  • Field Commander (1 CP): This stratagem bears special mention. For one command point, you can designate a character with a Specialist Detachment keyword, and they gain the warlord trait associated with that detachment. Can't be used on named characters or to give your warlord a second warlord trait. Usefulness may vary.

Anointed Throng(1CP)[edit]

Gives all Abominants and Aberrants the Anointed Throng keyword, making them entitled to the stratagem, warlord trait and relic listed below. Overall it’s a perfect detachment if you want to run a lot of the new aberant models to deliver maximum ass-whipping to the enemy at a high point cost.


  • Devotion Till Death(2CP): A strategem that allows fallen Anointed Throng aberrants to pile in and fight after they are slain in the fight phase, even if they have already fought in that phase. Excellent if you know your 10 man squad of hammerrants will perish after a hopeful charge against a knight or something else that would lead to their demise. However it must be activated at the start of the fight phase.
  • Fight for the Anointed One!(1CP):at the start of the fight phase you can pick a unit of Aberrants within 6" of an Abominant and the get to re-roll wound rolls of one for that phase, when you want to ensure you put out maximum damage on your target.

Warlord Trait[edit]

  • Insidious Mindwyrm: add +1 to charge rolls for Anointed Throng models within 6" when the roll is made, can help make the charge out of cult ambush easier. Combine with a Clamavus and The 4 Armed Emperor Creed for +3 out of ambush for your aberrants.


  • Blessed Sledgehammer: For Abominants with the Anointed Throng keyword, which improves his weapon to Ap -4 compared to his previously already strong Ap-3. This means most tanks do not get any saving throws when this big boy and his big boy hammer do what they do best, however it might be overkill when considering the abundant amount of invulnerable saves currently in the game. Note that this bypasses the -1 to hit on the base weapon!

Deliverance Broodsurge (1 CP)[edit]

Same as the Throng gives all affected units the Deliverance Broodsurge keyword, this affects your acolytes, neophytes, Iconwards and goliath trucks; not bad if you have a lot of trucks as transports.


  • The First to Draw Blood(1CP):At the start of the fight phase a Deliverance Broodsurge unit that made a successful charge can add +1 to its wound rolls, perfect for a big squad of rending claw acolytes. Note: Twisted Helix acolytes with rock saws and a Primus can wound on a Knight on 2s (re-rolling 1s from the Primus the turn they come in). That's zesty.
  • Reckless Manoeuvre(1CP):At the end of the movement phase a Deliverance Broodsurge unit embarked in a goliath truck can disembark if they did not embark within it that turn, however if they use this they must roll a dice for each model and on a roll of one that model is slain, the models must be more than 9" away when they disembark though and cannot move that phase, that last part makes it a lot less appealing.

Warlord Trait[edit]

  • Auger of the Insurgent: Allows Deliverance Broodsurge units to re-roll advance and charge rolls within 6"; a shame this doesn't include purestrains, but still nice for your acolytes.
    • Combined with a Clamavus, it gives your Acolytes a 66% chance to make that 8" charge, 82% with Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor.


  • Vial of the Grandsire's Blood: Effectively Iconward only due to keywords, add +1 leadership to friendly cult models within 6" and once per game you can give a Genestealer Cults infantry model within 3" +2 to their strength and attacks; perfect to use on an Abominant to ensure whatever it's pointed at is gone.

Unit Analysis[edit]

HQ Units[edit]

  • Patriarch: A Broodlord from the Tyranid list, with +1 Strength and the obvious factional ability swaps. Just as much of an obscene infantry blender in melee, and also grants all GENESTEALER CULTS within 6" immunity to morale along with the usuals (5++, giving Genestealers +1 to hit in melee, and being able to Charge after Advancing). Like the Broodlord, the Patriarch has monstrous rending claws which are AP-3, re-roll all failed wounds, and on a 6 to wound become AP-6 and deal 3 damage! Slightly cheaper and now knows two psychic powers in the codex!
    • Also still a one power/one deny psyker, but can optionally bring up to two Familiars to throw a second Psychic power once per game. Note that you can only still cast 1 additional power per game even if you bring two familiars. They do give you extra wounds to throw around though!
    • They do have a <Cult> but gain no benefit from the Cult Creed. Oh well. Like other Cult characters, only one allowed per detachment. Unlike other Cult characters, if you take one, no other Cult or Brood Brothers character can be your warlord, so it has to be him (Or a Tyranid, if you also took a Hive Fleet detachment)
      • The Brood Coven stratagem does allow you to spread the love with Warlord traits on your Primus/Magus etc. which allows you to bypass the restriction somewhat - but remember that the Patriarch still counts as the Warlord for all other rules (e.g. scenario objectives)
  • Magus: Your cheap psyker option, with two power, one deny, and up to two familiars. Grants a lesser version of Deny the Witch to all GENESTEALER CULTS units within 6" (except psykers), which can deny 1 psychic power as if they were a psyker if they are within 12" of the casting unit, measuring from the closest model.
    • Specially designed to make Grey Knight players cry as all of your units can Deny their Rites of Banishment.
  • Primus: New codex, new Cult Ambush, that means new abilities. Meticulous Planner now gives re-roll 1's to wound against one enemy unit when the Primus first appears on the battlefield towards friendly <CULT> units within 6" of him. His Cult Demagogue gives nearby <CULT> units +1 to hit in the fight phase. No longer gives you better ambush but a bit better on buffing your units.
    • Never use the bonesword, the Toxin Injector Claw is still your best weapon except in some very small cases.
  • Acolyte Iconward: Ignore wounds on a 6 for GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY, and re-roll morale tests for GENESTEALER CULTS, within 6". An HQ slot and 53 points might seem expensive, but you'll probably still want a lot of these guys around.
    • 53 points isn't expensive when you consider that these guys will be in the middle of a huge infantry blob, a turn or two of enemy shooting and you'll have made the iconwards points back. In short, you'll be wanting A LOT of these guys around if you're running big infantry blobs (which you should be doing anyway). Subject to the one-per detachment limit, of course.
      • Sadly, the Codex didn't put him in the Elite slot but it did make him cheaper and now he also gives your Aberrants and Abominants reroll 1's on their FnP roll. Actually rather useful considering the Monstrous Vigour stratagem.
  • Abominant: Fielding the abominant is most of the way to fielding a Carnifex. He may have strength 6 and toughness 5, with 5 wounds, but he only has 3 attacks and his signature weapon has a -1 to hit penalty unless you take the relic version from Vigilus. He's mainly useful for his ability The Chosen One, which makes ABERRANT units(including himself) inflict two hits instead of one on unmodified 6s to hit. However, you're probably better just spending the points for this guy on more Aberrants instead, and running a Primus to buff them. He's tough, and you can make him tougher, but he just doesn't hit well enough to justify it.
  • Jackal Alphus: This is your fire support character, allowing a visible enemy unit within 36” to be marked. Friendly units within 6” of the Alphus (12 for Bikes) gain +1 to shoot the marked unit. So as to not be otherwise useless, the Alphus comes with a sniper rifle so can still contribute while sitting with a fire base. Has a high movement rate since rides a bike, with the bikers -1 to be hit by shooting; but will cry if placed in close combat.


  • Acolyte Hybrids: Your infantry blob, melee flavour. They're first and second generation hybrids, highly deadly for troops and can be made even deadlier with loads of weapons. Even vanilla Acolytes are gnarly; for 7 points you get a S4 WS 3+ 2A Deep Striking mutant armed with a re-named chainsword and a Rending Claw. Don't forget their pistols, too; great to soften up that juicy blob of GEQ before rip-and-tearing your way through the unbelievers with some knives. Absolutely an auto-take.
    • The Heavy Rock Drill and Heavy Rock Cutter can give tough enemy units a very, very nasty surprise with their mortal wound spam and instant kill abilities.
      • If they wound, they will on average deal ~2.8 damage with each swing. Consider taking the Saw instead - it's 10 points rather than the Drill's 17.
      • The maximum 8 Heavy Rock Drills in a 20 man squad is a potential 80 mortal wounds with every round of fighting (or 120 if you're using Might From Beyond). Never mind the heavens, you can pierce a titan with power like that. Now only 136 points just for the Drills! Still, if you do somehow manage to get stuck in against something that would require that many mortal wounds to down (like an entire Imperial Knight army) they will make back significantly more than their cost.
    • Now that Hand Flamers are 1 point each, seriously consider ignoring melee options and giving everyone of your lads a hand flamer. Set them up underground, emerge 3 inches away from some poor sod and drown him in a tide of flame. A GW approved strategy.
      • Demo charges aren't a great pick - d6 shots at 4+ BS means you'll get 1.7 hits per model, on average, and since they have Grenade you need to spend CP to throw more than one at a time. Stick with mining equipment.
    • Cult Icons are pretty much ALWAYS worth it. Re-rolling 1s for a mere 10 points is amazing on a unit that hits on 3s, and will be hitting on 2s so long as you're near a Primus. It can also save you when you roll three embarrassing 1s on 4 attacks with your heavy rock weapons.
  • Neophyte Hybrids: Doing dual duty as both expendable meat shields and troops: ranged flavour, these guys manage to have a separate identity from guardsmen and cultists through their use of cult ambush. You can easily spare points for some of these guys without having to rely on transports. It's not one hundred percent reliable, but it is cheap and can be scary done properly. Can take two Heavy Mining Weapons and/or two special weapons. Consider what you're likely to be facing before making your choice.
    • Big Warning: Chapter Approved has made them 55 points per model. It's obviously a major typo, but stay away from Munchkins until its FAQed.
    • Autogun Neophytes are perfect for seizing distant objectives. Plop down some guys from Underground and you instantly have the objective in your grip; an absolute irritation for your opponent if you leave them open on the first turn before you seize them and turn your big gunline of 20x Neophytes on that now-vulnerable objective seizing unit. Even better if you run Rusted Claw Neophytes, which consequently gives them the equivalent of a 3+ in cover.
    • Shotgun Neophytes are the perfect bodyguard for a Kelermorph. Pop them up together, Kelermorph mows down the poor sod he aims at and all your lovely Assault 2 S4 guns are re-rolling 1s. Blast the apostates back to the Warp!
    • Cult Icons aren't as valuable for Neophytes as they are for Acolytes, but they can be useful if paired with certain creeds; Twisted Helix, Pauper Princes and Hivecult spring to mind. They're only really useful for Shotgun Neophytes though; don't bother handing them to Autogun Neophytes.
    • For 80 points a 10 man Neophyte squad can have 2 mining lasers, and 2 grenade launchers effectively doubling the firepower for the points cost for the weapons in most other forces. Bladed Cog then means no matter how you move them up these boys still hit on normal BS!
      • Give two of such squads this loadout and give the champ a Chainsword/Cultist Knife and a Web Pistol and give the five others shotguns to give a mean overwatch. Buff out these two squads with an Acolyte Iconward, and for 215Pts you have 4 Krak Granades and Lascannons going out to 24", and a nice DISTRACTION CARNIFEX for the rest of your dudes.
        • This strat is only really worthwhile if you spring this blob next to some Leman Russ' or other type of tank/walker.
    • Three squads with a Alphus and either a Primus or a warlord trait character giving them rerolling wounds vs a target means the Neophytes are hitting on 3s with 6 lascannons, along with 6 krak grenades hitting on 3s, all rerolling to wound - a major threat to any vehicle.
  • Brood Brothers Infantry Squad: These are the same as in the Guard codex. Your cheapest troop choice by 1 point. They swap out access to Guard Regiments & Regimental Orders for the basic GSC army rules of Cult Ambush and Unquestioning Loyalty. They're your source of man-portable heavy weapons such as lascannons and mortars, which combined with Cult Ambush can make for some nasty ambushes, but otherwise - pass in favour of Neophytes; the miners get Creeds, stratagems, buffs from characters, while the Brood Brothers are just...there.
    • An alternate view: Per the latest FAQ, these dudes can no longer take orders from allied in Brood Brother Guard officers. However, a squad is up to 20 models and if you want to upgrade a cheap squad's firepower, they can take two flamers or grenade launchers regardless of squad size. There is, at least, an argument to be made for their place in a list.
      • Vox-casters are always useful as they grant re-rolls to Morale instead of the range boost to orders they give in the AM codex.

Dedicated Transport[edit]

As of the Codex, the Goliath Truck may only transport <CULT> units, while the Chimera may only transport Brood Brothers units. Bear this in mind when planning your army.

  • Goliath Truck: Open-topped so you can fire your autoguns and hand flamers out of it. You also get 10 point Demolition Charges to throw if there's a unit with a BS embarked. Comes armed with a single heavy stubber and a twin autocannon. Fragile at T6 and a 4+, but ignores wounds on a 6. This unit costs just under 80 points, so if you're taking it to solely protect your Neophytes, remember you could be taking 16x extra Neophytes for the same cost. It's also a pretty good way to deliver 10 d6 flamer pistol hit without using cult ambush.
    • Consider using it as a battle-bus with some cheap neophytes in it, but be aware that it'll fold under any concentrated fire - it's a light vehicle, not a tank.
  • Cult Chimera: Generally more durable than the truck with +1T and +1Sv (although lacking the Rugged Construction ability to ignore wounds on a 6), but loses open-topped so your troops can't add their firepower to the Chimera's guns. The Chimera has more versatile - although not necessarily more powerful - weapon options, smoke launchers, and a slightly bigger transport capacity so you can bring a couple of characters with your 10-man squad. Embarked units enable it to shoot its Lasgun batteries, which are weaker but much longer ranged than the Goliath's demo charges.


  • Hybrid Metamorphs: In 7th edition, these guys were your light can opener and elite infantry blenders alike, 8th ed doesn't really change that, but it does change how useful their wargear is. Coming with autopistol, blasting charges, rending claws and Metamorph talons with the option to take hand flamers and 1 of 3 exclusive melee weapons. With CA2019, they now cost the same as a naked Acolyte.
    • Metamorph Talon: Basic CCW with +1 to hit and an extra attack. If you have a Primus nearby these are somewhat redundant as statistically the rending claws have the same effect but have more potential.
      • These give an extra attack in addition to the rending claw, so go nuts with 3 rending claw attacks and a fourth attack with +1 to hit. Having two of them gives an extra two. Decide if you'd rather have 3 rending claw attacks, or 5 CCW's hitting on 2s.
    • Metamorph Whip: These are actually pretty decent. If the bearer dies before he fights in the fight phase, he gets to make his attacks with a weapon of his choice before being removed. Generally used as a fall back plan if they end up getting charged as they are as squishy as a 4 point guardsman. Note that this option is cheaper than the metamorph talon, so the cheapest possible loadout is Autopistol + Rending Claw + Metamorph Whip.
    • Metamorph Claw: Effectively power mauls. Might be worth it, but you are replacing Rending claws with it and for a cost for the same general effectiveness but less potential. With the Twisted Helix creed, you're one +1S buff away from S8, which can come in handy in certain situations. Watch as your drown your opponents MEQs and Tanks with waves of S8 crab claw attacks *queue "Crab Rave" song*.
    • Chapter Approved 2019: With the points update, these models are no longer outclassed by Acolytes. While the Acolytes will have access to the God Tier Rock Saws, these guys will pack a bit more punch with a bit more utility for same points as naked Acolytes (after you trade the Talon for the Whip). The Acolytes get 2 rending claw attacks + 1 ccw attack, while the Metamorphs will get 3 rending claw attacks. This is on top of them being able to get their attacks should they die before their turn in combat. This makes them a great candidate for the Hand Flamer bomb strategy. Your opponents will have to think twice about charging into your blob of meat blenders parked in their face since each model will be guaranteed their attacks regardless of who fights first. Of course, they're still incredibly vulnerable to small arms fire (but so are the acolytes, so not really a strike against the Metamorphs).
  • Aberrants: The melee blender to end all melee blenders. Take your pick of Heavy Power Hammers or Power Picks. The Hammers are exactly like Thunder Hammers, on a Strength 5 model so you'll be wounding Bikes and Custodes on 2s. Heavy Power Hammers are expensive, making the unit 32 points per model. Power Picks on the other hand, are your cheaper anti infantry option: Making the Aberrants clock in at 25 points each, the power pick is a S User AP-2 weapon with D3 damage - decent on its own, but the real beauty is that for each attack made with the power pick, the attacking model can also make an attack with its Rending Claw. Essentially this puts your Aberrants up to 4 attacks per model, with two different AP and damage profiles. With the proper support, these guys will shred their victims.
    • Defensively, Aberrants are not T5, even though you'd expect them to be. They're T4, and while they have the same 5+ save as all your units, they also have a 5+ FNP AND an ability which reduces incoming damage by 1 to a minimum of 1. As two wound models, being able to ignore autocannons and the like is very handy.
    • Aberrants need support in order to be properly utilized. They should always have a Primus on hand to give them that critical +1 to hit buff, especially since they can't get a cult icon. If you're using Power Hammers, the Primus cancels out the -1 to hit from the hammer. If you're using Picks, congrats, your stuff hits on 2s now. The Abominant, sadly, is a bit too expensive to be worth it. If you have 50 or so points left over after building your list, consider a Biophagus with Alchemicus Familiar - he randomly gives your Aberrants a buff of +1 Strength, +1 Toughness, or +1 attack, any of which can easily send your Aberrants over the top into MVP territory, for only 35 points plus the small chance of killing one. For extra insurance, a 12 point Familiar lets him roll twice and pick, if you want one result in particular(probably Attacks, unless you need to clear a huge T3 horde with those picks).
      • One in every five Aberrant models can be upgraded to an Aberrant Hypermorph. The Hypermorph gets an additional attack and access to an AP-1 Chainsword, but the real reason you take him is for the Heavy Improvised Weapon. It doubles the number of attacks your Hypermorph gets(usually to 6!), at AP-1 and Damage 2, this guy can clear out characters and squads of Primaris Marines all on his own. Pretty much always worth the points.
  • Purestrain Genestealers: The powers-that-be have not smiled upon our Purestrain brethren this codex. Costing 3 points per model more than their equivalents in Codex: Tyranids, Purestrains are Elites rather than Troops. They may have Cult Ambush, but they don't benefit from Cult Creeds. An 8" move and the ability to charge after advancing looks decent on paper, but with only 1 wound, T4, and a 5+ invul, they'll be shot to hell before they can reach the enemy. If you really want some Genestealers in your army, you're probably better off allying them from Codex: Tyranids so they can have a Hive Fleet trait and get you access to their own suite of stratagems,
  • Kelermorph: Kill-Team's new wave is giving the GSC a new solo model, a genetically modified folk hero. Can target characters like a sniper. Triple-wielding liberator autostub pistols, 2 shots each with S4 AP-1 D2, fired at BS 2+. Plus for every shot that hits you can immediately make one additional hit roll (those hits don't generate more hits though). So we're looking at a potential of 12 shots per shooting phase. While they're flimsy as hell with only a 5+ save and 5++ (I mean, they're still a character, and benefit from Unquestioning Loyalty, so...) They're meant to be assassins, using their guns to pick off characters amid crowds by simply shooting through them like a sniper and inspiring other cultist infantry to re-roll 1's to hit in shooting if they gun down an enemy model.
    • This guy can take out a KNIGHT in one shooting phase if he hits and wounds with everything, and the Knight fails all it's saves... I know it's almost impossible, but if you manage it, you're the real hero here.
    • Drop him with a squad of Neophytes or two for a cheap but effective amount of firepower.
    • With the Oppressor's Bane Relic, he gets 3 shots instead of 2, with these 3 shots being AP-2 instead. Sadly, this only upgrades one of his three pistols.
    • On average, the Kelermorph will fire 6 shots and get 5 hits, netting 5 additional shots which probably also all hit. Ten shots at S4 against a T4 character will net 5 wounds. Assuming this character has a 3+ save, that's an average of 2.5 unsaved wounds, which will mean either 2 or 3. 4 damage is enough to kill a non-Primaris captain and any Marine support character short of that, while 6 damage will kill any Primaris captain as well. In essence, you can expect the Kelermorph to kill you a Lieutenant, Apothecary, Librarian, or the like in one volley, and have a 50% chance of killing a Primaris Captain. The mere threat of this is often enough to back your opponent into a corner just to keep his support hero alive, and once he's conceded board control he's lost.
  • Clamavus: The Genestealer Cult's preacher-slash-DJ-slash-com hacker. Gives every <CULT> units within 6" +1 to charge, leadership, and advance. Enemy units also cannot deep-strike within 12" of him, that three inches may not seem like much but it does plug holes in your army and prevents any other special Stratagem or rule from appearing closer than 9" like, say, yourself. He's also the new Primus for your units, in that he's there to make sure your ambush successfully pulls of their charge. Unlike the Primus, he doesn't do anything else considering he's only armed with a pistol. Though he does deal a mortal wound to a unit within 6" on a 6 from dropping his sick beats. Probably the most useful of the new characters, that +1 to charges is incredibly useful coming out of an ambush.
    • Stack this with an Iconward with the Vigilus relic banner and your DELIVERANCE BROODSURGE units are hitting the enemy on an 8 to charge with rerolls - a very decent chance.
  • Locus: Your new bodyguard character allowing you to transfer wounds from another character to him on a 2+, unfortunately, you can't pull a hot potato on the wound by using other units or with another locus. Also, remember the difference, the normal rule is done on a failed saving throw but this one happens when a wound is lost. Armed with Locus blades which are S4 AP-3 D1 that increases to D2 when you charge, get charged, or did a Heroic Intervention. He also has a hypermorph tail for an extra Ap-1 attack. Speaking of heroic intervention, the Locus can also perform one at 6" and can choose to move towards the nearest enemy character instead of an enemy model and always fight firsts. He has 4 wounds and the standards GSC statline but with a 5++ and a 6" -1 leadership aura which can useful if you plan on using the Mental Onslaught combo, though sneaking him into range is rare.
  • Sanctus: A nasty little assassin with either a ap-2 D2 dagger that always wounds on a 2+ except for Vehicles and Titanic units or a S4 ap-1 D3 damage sniper rifle that causes perils on psykers who suffer an unsaved wound from it plus a extra mortal wound on a 6+ roll to wound. He comes with a camo cloak for an additional +1 in cover and a soulsight familiar which allows him to ignore cover.
    • He has the ability to use the perfect ambush stratagem for FREE!!, guaranteeing he can get to his target, or take it out in the opponent's movement phase.
    • Special mention should be given to the relic he can take on his sniper rifle (Gift From Beyond). The Relic Sniper rifle forces perils on any model that loses a wound, be it Mortal or regular. With said relic, there is a 50/50 chance to force perils (Before FNP variants at least) and that doesn't include the regular save. This relic is brutal against any Psyker, with special mention to Thousand Sons and Eldar. If the Psyker is standing too close to anyone else too...
  • Nexos: Your armchair general of CP farming, should get plenty of use given GSC proclivity to burn through their command points like crazy. Also lets you shuffle a blip marker around after he's been set up, which can be handy if your opponent gets the first turn and you need to adjust something. It's a 6+ to get a command point whenever you or your opponent uses a Stratagem, but gets better if you have certain characters. It goes to a 5+ if its your stratagem and you have a Primus on the field, and goes to a 5+ for your opponent's stratagems if you have a Clamavus. He should always start on the board, out of line of sight, and hopefully sitting on an objective.
    • Worth considering to put as part of a Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor detachment, even if every other unit of that detachment goes underground, that way you can Vect on the first turn.
    • Obviously gains value the more command points you have so is best used in a double battalion or brigade list.
    • Remember that you can only gain 1 CP per battle round since the April 2019 update. Still, with the amount of CP's you'll be spending it seems pretty likely that you'll get that as long as he's around.
  • Biophagus: A budget Fabius Bile for your Aberrants, he's responsible for corrupting the masses and actually creating your favourite tankbuster Frankensteins. At the end of your movement phases he can attempt to give any of your Aberrant squads (or Abominants) a random buff of either +1 Strength, +1 Toughness or +1 Attack depending on the result of a D3 roll. All of these buffs are fantastic, but be warned; before he buffs the squad the good doctor has to roll a D6, and on a roll of 1 a model in the unit is slain, but the buff will still go off nonetheless (woe betide the player that instakills his Abominant with this). Be sure to keep CP for a re-roll handy if you don't want to lose a mutant.
    • For 12 points he can give himself his own little Igor in the form of an Alchemicus Familiar, which allows him to roll 2D3 instead of one for his enhancements once per game and pick what result he wants.
      • His Injector Goad gives him 3 S4 AP0 Dd3 attacks, and always wounds on a 2+ unless his target is a vehicle or titanic. While you should never willingly put him too close to danger, considering the unit he's dedicated to buffing you might not have a choice. It has an added bonus against characters, however; if you wound with the Goad, roll a d6 and compare to the target's current Wound counter. If it is higher than the Wound counter, that character suffers an additional d3 Mortal Wounds; very nice against weak buff characters such as Guard officers, Cadre Fireblades, and enemy Genestealer Cult gene-sect members.

Fast Attack[edit]

  • Cult Scout Sentinels: Identical to the Imperial Guard version. Except we pay 3pts more for HK missiles, autocannons and 2 more for Heavy flamers than the IG, even though we basically are the IG. Guess lack of proper Mechanicus support hurts. Since they are Brood Brothers, they can not benefit from a Jackal Alphus for example.
  • Cult Armoured Sentinels: As above, identical to the IG version save for Keywords.
  • Atalan Jackals: SP 14" with cult ambush and a variety of CC and ranged weapons. Enemy units targeting them suffer a -1 to hit to shooting and the bikers have 2 wounds each (4 wounds on the optional quad bikes), which adds up to be a very solid defensive profile, especially with the improved save from the Rusted Claw Creed. The quad can choose to take a heavy stubber, an atalan incinerator (12” heavy flamer), or a mining laser (24” LASCANNON). Jackals function as either fast, cheap melee threat, or much needed fire support. The fire support role is greatly improved by a Jackal Alphus, who can affect them from up to 12” away. The biker doctrine (Rusted Claw) also improves the ability of fire support with the no-penalty-to-moving heavy weapons, and the move-shoot-move stratagem. However, the incinerator flamer option for quads means that they can be equally effective at close range fire support without such additions. Neither of these are necessarily bad choices. Alternatively, any cult type can use them as a cheap, fast and fairly accurate delivery system for demo charges.
    • Since there's no limit to the number of Demo Charges the unit can take, a Rusted Claw unit with 5 demo charges can make for a really solid mini-nuke (and for only 75 points!). It'll cost a couple of CP, but with a Jackal Alphus buff and Drive by Demolitions + Extra Explosives, you'll be throwing 5d6 shots that hit on 2s and wound a knight on 3s. Anything without a decent invul save will likely be reduced to a pile of used car parts. And afterwards you can zip around and continue being a nuisance until your opponent decides enough is enough.
  • Achilles Ridgerunner - Mv 14”, Scout move, 2 heavy stubbers and a choice of heavy mining laser, missile launcher or heavy mortar. Also gets the options of either +6" to all ranged weapons or ignores cover with its weapons. Flexible and fragile. Take 2 so you get the most out of their options. Heavy mining laser weapon option has D3 shots, which helps offset the average BS skill. Shorter ranged than a lascannon, the spotter wargear choice can fix some of that if desired. While the heavy mortar option is unimpressive, assuming that you ignore the indirect fire and still use its heavy stubbers, it may be better at clearing chaff compared to its other options for a cheaper overall cost. It’s overcosted as only an indirect fire unit, with Brood Brother mortar teams serving that role better. No matter what the optional weapon is, the Ridgerunner needs to use all its guns. Despite the Ridgerunner’s fast speed, it prefers not to move due to carrying heavy weapons. However if a desired target moves behind sight blocking cover, moving a good 14” and hitting at a penalty is better than maybe not being able to hit at all. The Ridgerunner is fragile, so it really relies on scout move or cult ambush to set up in the best possible position (I would disagree; please see 3rd bullet point)
    • With a huge point drop in CA 2019, this unit has quickly become a solid contender for dedicated anti-tank duty; especially after the point increase to demo-charges. When equipped with the Heavy Mining Laser, they're now only 9 points more than a lascannon Sentinel. Meaning it's much more feasible to run a fleet of 3 or more of these guys and escort them with a Jackal Alphus for that juicy +1 to hit. Not many armies can spam mobile lascannon shots as cheap and efficiently as Ridgerunners, so it's definitely an element of the army worth exploring.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • Cult Leman Russ: Almost identical to the Imperial Guard version, except you can't take additional tanks in a squadron (so you need a Heavy Support slot per tank, rather than being able to squeeze up to three into each) and you are limited to the Battle Tank guns (Battle Cannon, Eradicator, Exterminator or Vanquisher). In the Cult tank's favor, you can set it up in Blip Ambush deployment (Multi-melta party!) and it can benefit from various GSC Stratagems.
    • However, if you want massed tanks, then an allied Imperial Guard Spearhead Detachment might be better, as it lets you take the Tank Commander you were planning on taking anyways and nets you both Objective Secured on your tanks, Tank Orders and +1CP to boot. It happily works around the "One Guard detachment per GSC detachment" rule, since, as above, Guard tanks can be taken in Squadrons. Taking Guard tanks also gives you access to the best Russ guns: the Conqueror, the Annihilator, and the Punisher. And while you cannot take any Relics, Stratagems or Regimental Doctrines on these tanks, kindly direct your attention to the oft-forgotten Leman Russ Mars Alpha Battle Tank. The Krieg tank can take any Russ gun with the exception of the Stygies Vanquisher, can take a Plasma Cannon or Multi-melta in its Hull gun slot in addition to the usual options, can take a Co-axial Heavy Stubber with its Vanquisher Cannon and, most importantly, has the Krieg equivalent to Regimental Doctrine vehicle rules, Mars-Alpha Hull (The tank gains a +1 bonus to armour saves, so 2+, against weapons with S4 or less), attached directly to the tank itself. While not the most spectacular bonus, its completely free and more than you would gain by taking tanks from any other Regiment. The one drawback worth mentioning is that Mars Alpha tanks unfortunately don't have access to Track Guards, so be sure to think about their positioning more carefully than usual to make sure they don't get caught somewhere they won't be able to crawl away from.
  • Goliath Rockgrinder: Loses open-topped and 4 of its 10 transport capacity for a bigger gun and a massive rock drill attached to the front that gives it a potential nine S9 AP-2 attacks on the charge hitting on a 4+. With only 6 spaces inside, you'll probably want to use this to shield something like an Aberrant squad on their journey to the enemy lines. Consider swapping the weapon for a Clearance Incinerator if you want to rush this in, as all of the other weapons are Heavy class and will only be hitting on 5s. Get into charge range, disembark the infantry then smash your way in to soak overwatch for them.
    • A great source of anti-armor/monsters; put 5 or 6 Acolytes with heavy weapons inside. Jump your models out 9" in front of the grinders, then charge in. The dozer blade does about the same damage as 5-6 missile launchers.
    • Has 3 different guns options to choose from in addition to the stock Heavy Stubber and Drilldozer blade and can also take a Demo charge cache for 10 points like its counterpart Truck. The priciest option at 30 is the previously mentioned Clearance Incinerator-this is a twin Heavy Flamer with a 12" range and is the best complement to the Drilldozer. Next, at 25, is the Heavy Mining laser-this is a 36" Lascannon with D3 shots. Finally, at 20, we have the Heavy Seismic Cannon, like its smaller counterpart available to Neophytes. This gun has 2 modes of fire and wound rolls of 6+ have AP-4 for both. Longwave is 24" Heavy 6 S4 AP-1 D2, while Shortwave is 12" Heavy 3 S8 AP-2 D3. Just bear in mind that you have guard armor level BS for your shooting (4+ to 6+) and at T7 W10 Sv 4+ trying to imitate a Russ will usually get you wrecked in short order. They are quite a bit cheaper than a Leman Russ, however, at 120 pts max.
  • Brood Brothers Heavy Weapon Teams: As per the guard codex. Can set up in Ambush, but do note that they will count as moving for that turn, so you will be hitting on 5s. NOnetheless, the tactical use for instant heavy weapons wherever you like is extremely tempting, and their dirt cheap point values means that they can effectively act as a distraction carnifex. The look on your opponent's face when a team of lascannons pops up behind his tank - and the massive amount of firepower that will attract - is worth the points value. Otherwise, use as standard Guard teams: Mortars for hordes, Autocannons for multi-wound units, Lascannons for tanks, HBs for medium infantry, MLs for jack-of-trades.


  • Tectonic Fragdrill (75 pts): Once per turn it allows one cult ambush unit that can move all it's models within 1" to be removed and redeployed via cult ambush the next turn. Cause Mortal Wounds on units across the battlefield on a 6+ (D6 + number off times you used the drill before). Reduce nearby charges by 2"! Might be useful but can only cause mortal wounds once per game. Be careful though, as the penalty to charges affects all models so, you might ruin your own chances but it could save that gunline of yours.
    • Anecdotal thought: I've tried to make this thing work, and I really wanted to like it, but it just does not add enough to your army to be worth it. If you really like the model, just use it as a terrain piece. Could make for a fun objective in a narrative game.

Tactics and Strategies[edit]

Notable Combos and Unit Builds[edit]

  • Flamer Acolyte Bomb: 15-20 Acolyte Hybrids with Hand Flamers using the Lying in Wait and A Perfect Ambush Strategems allowing them to clear enemy screens before other units deep strike close to important targets e.g. tanks. Almost a must take for competitive play.
  • Rusted Claw Jackal Bomb: 5 man squad of Jackals with demo charges and a Jackal Alphus using Lying in Wait, Drive By Demolitions and Extra Explosives to nuke a tank for a reasonable price. If you really want something dead, make it a max size unit and in addition to the above, use A Perfect Ambush and Extra Explosives twice (Can be done since the shots from A Perfect Ambush are done in the movement phase, still allowing you to use the strategem again in the next phase). Anything this stupid overkill bomb touches will die, guaranteed, but will cost you most of your CP.
    • After CA 2019, this unit took a big nerf with demo-charges going up 5 points each. While the unit isn't any less effective, the extra 25pts can really put a strain on other aspects of your force and running a backup unit or two has become much less enticing.

Brood Brothers, Tyranid Allies, and you[edit]

As mentioned above, Genestealer Cults armies have the option of allying in with the following:

  • Astra Militarum: Requires one Genestealer Cults detachment for every Astra Militarum detachment, so in most cases you can take one detachment of them. They lose their objective secured, and Regimental-specific orders, stratagems and relics. They may also not select a Warlord for their detachment. All other bonuses (such as voice of command) and stratagems can be used. Did I mention you can take a Baneblade variant in a Superheavy Auxiliary detachment? It wasn't getting any regimental-specific bonuses anyway.
  • Tyranids: These can be allied in freely. They also happen to have the Tyranid keyword which they share with the Genestealer cults, (big surprise there what next telling us that chaos is bad?). Unfortunately, you still can't use any of the Tyranid stratagems on your GSC units, due to the Tyranid FAQ preventing you from doing so, and can't be the target of their psychic powers either.

You should use allies to shore up the weaknesses in the Genestealer Cults army (for example, by bringing in a Shadowsword to deal with titans). The "hot takes" for allies will be added below. In general Genestealer Cults have the following issues:

  • Removing screens for their Cult Ambush: Any Genestealer Cults player knows that a simple screen can end up with you wasting a 376pts deathstar on a few weak squads. Genestealer Cults rely on their Cult Ambush to get a lot of their "heavy lifting" done, so it's often worth having allies on the board to first remove the screens with shooting.
  • Anti-tank (and anti-titan): This issue can be resolved with Aberrants in melee, but this strategy often has the flaw of being screened, as mentioned above. Furthermore, your Aberrants can't be everywhere at once, and so it is best to have some points-efficient allies who can take down tanks. The mining lasers provided by the Genestealer Cults don't prove effective unfortunately, or at least when compared to allied choices. Or you could get a 6 point differnce in leadership and auto kill even a warlord titan.
  • A first-turn board presence that doesn't feel wasted: As per the "Big FAQ 2", now at least half your points (and units) must be deployed on the battlefield. This means that without allies, you have to put over 1,000pts of squishy glass cannons on the board turn 1. Rather than fill up this 1,000+ points on Neophytes or expensive units like Aberrants that will quickly get picked off, it is better to have sturdier allies start on the board, and put most of your Cult in reserve, where they belong.
  • Keeping board control before Cult Ambush: It is highly important that you gain control of the "no man's land" area of the battlefield, to prevent your opponent from expanding their forces to create a null-zone of anti-deep strike. The last thing you want is for your ambushing units to be restricted to the back corner of your deployment zone when ambushing. Use some fast and reasonably durable units to do this.
    • Also, throw a Clamavus at the front of your deployment zone to get a nice 12" bubble of deep stike denial, then just shore up the flanks with some scout move Ridgerunners.
    • Our new Ambush Blips provide a 9" no entry bubble for first turn.

Abominations Against The Four-Armed Emperor[edit]

This is where matchups and counter-play is discussed. Feel free to add what tactics and strategies have worked against specific armies in your own personal experience.


  • Space Marines - Can fire at units coming in from reserve with one unit of infantry, as long as the target is within 12", and they subtract 1 from their hit rolls, for a 2 CP stratagem. A unit of intercessors with a re-roll aura nearby can tear up T3 units, even with the -1 to hit. Generally SM depend on their comparatively expensive captains and named characters to boost their army and thus huddle around them. Kelermorphs, Jackal Alphus and well played melee asassinations slipping theough the gaps in the SM chaff strip the SM of many of their bonuses making their shooty units less of a threat than basic Tau or an IG gunline. Ultramarines and Iron Hands have counters to your assault shenanigans thanks to the smurfs being able to fall back and shoot with a -1 penalty, and Iron Hands overwatch on 5+.
    • With their new Codex, Marines are back and more dangerous than before with their Combat Doctrines. The Devastator, Tactical, and Assault Doctrines up the AP of all Heavy, Rapid Fire & Assault, and Melee weapons by 1, respectively. Some chapters also modify specific doctrines, such as Ultramarines who count as having stood still unless they advanced or fell back during the Tactical Doctrine. Correction, NOW a unit of Intercessors with a re-roll aura can tear up your T3 units by rending off your squads' 5+ save with AP-2 during the Tactical doctrine. Oh, Shock Assault lets all Marines get +1 attack if they charge, get charged, or heroically intervene so you HAVE to wipe those Primaris units you charge otherwise you'll get a nasty counter-assault.
    • All Chapters including Deathwatch and Grey Knights got the Shock Assault rule in an errata, so the above point on SA applies to all of the snowflakes below (especially if they're close-combat oriented like BA and GK).
    • Beware of their easy access to Scrambler arrays. Depending on your meta, you may find certain opponents spamming them all across the map. As you might imagine, this is a huge pain for any majority GSC army and likely a matchup you will struggle to gain any ground in.
  • Blood Angels - You should be able to easily keep him away from your deployment zone with smart blip deployment. Use Meticulous Uprising and ensure he can't charge anything of value turn 1. If you do go first, consider deploying Clamavus on the board to further screen out the incoming death company/sanguinary guard. Blood Angels armies are often coming to you, so keep positioning and safe deep striking zones in mind. On the other hand, if all of his stuff is coming at you, his backline should be very open and chargeable with a big blob of acolyte hybrids. If you can hold the initial deepstrike punch from him, then you should be able to decimate whatever he has left in his backlines. Beware of Baal Predators with flamers (unlikely though as why would anyone run a Baal Predator).
  • Dark Angels - Have the same Auspex Scan stratagem Vanilla marines have, while also principally focused on being a static gunline that is almost immune to morale, or fearless if they are Inner Circle units. Again, characters such as Azrael and Ezekiel are lynchpins for their insanely good auras. Deal with them first and watch their gunlines crumple. Ravenwing units can ignore cover with the help of their Talonmaster, a vehicle HQ that can still hide behind other units, making him a bit of a hassle to deal with since being a T5 vehicle screws with Sniper Rifles and Daggers that are mainly intended to be used against Infantry models. Belial and Sammael act like mini-Chapter Masters to their First and Second company units, respectively. Speaking of the Deathwing and Ravenwing; Terminators, Bikers, and vehicles are bullet hoses thanks to Bolter Discipline, making a mockery of your mostly T3 army at a 24" range. Don't let them kite you, get stuck in there quickly. Elite armies suffer greatly once the casualties start piling up, but remember your cheap hordes of Neophytes and Acolytes are strictly worse stat-for-stat and will die much easier than a space marine.
  • Space Wolves - The Corgi "shoot at things coming in from reserves" strat requires the unit being targeted to be within line of sight of a Rune Priest AND it can be any unit that fires at the unit coming in. If they have a Rune Priest, kill him ASAP with a Sanctus using the relic sniper or keep your underground ambushing units out of the LoS of the Rune Priest. Their Chapter Tactic gives them +1 to hit if they charge, get charged, or perform a heroic intervention. It's...lackluster compared to the Blood Angels' similar Tactic, but it helps their unwieldy stuff hit its mark at least.
  • Deathwatch - Their Mission Tactics let them re-roll 1s to wound against a unit type of their choice, and Special Issue Ammo stings like a bitch. The only way around it is if you have a detachment of C4AE units to stop them from swapping mission tactics mid-game once they deal with their chosen units. Frag Cannons and Infernus Heavy Bolters are a bitch. Luckily, so is charging from around a corner out of line of sight, the Mass Hypnosis power, and the Amulet of the Voidwrym relic to deny overwatch. They too can shoot at units coming out of reserve like normal Marines, but it has the same pitfalls as the Vanilla version. They also tend to rely on their comparatively expensive HQs, who would have guessed? Handle them as you would Space Marines.
  • Grey Knights - These guys cry when they see a Magus in your list. Every squad has the potential to deny a smite against itself, within range of your Magus, obviously. sitting [Feb 2019] in the lowest spot on competitive as it is, the Grey knights will likely wonder why they thought playing a GSC army was a good idea, without a Magus present. GW really owe Grey Bois some love. Also, the Sanctus with the relic sniper has a field day with GK.
  • Imperial Guard - With the Number of snipers available to the faction, you should be bringing 1-3 Jackal Alphus already. Their Rifles mean you should be picking off enemy Officers with ease, making the Guardsmen as average in shooting as you are. Just be aware that their characters cost next to nothing, and they probably got a Brigade Detachment, plus others in 2K. If you bought the Starn's disciples Kill Team set or kitbash a Commissar or Magus to make him, a Kelermorph is absolutely bonkers against a guard army. Remember: It's High Noon... Also, Cadian gunline is tasty for ITC, as you can easily secure the entire board, whilst also ambushing in rapid fire range to remove their wall of guns in one turn. A safe bet for your cult creed would be the Bladed Cog, giving your entire army a 6+ invulnerable save (or +1 to existing invulns), making the guard's quality firepower a bit easier to tank.
  • Adeptus Ministorum - The abundance of hand flamers can make your life hell when charging in. Once you do get in, you are going to tear their T3 models to shreds with the number of attacks that Acolyte Hybrids or Metamorphs can get. Beware counter charges from Arco-Flagellents as they will annihilate any unit they can get their hands on. In the same vein, their special characters can have some serious punch in melee, so beware of them. They traditionally have a lack of anti-psyker defenses beyond their 4+ deny stratagem. Bring a pair of Magus and a Patriarch and make their decision of what to try and deny really tough.
  • Adeptus Custodes - Mental onslaught states that you deal a mortal wound to the unit, but if the targetted models is still alive, the process continues. This is useful for targetting a unit that has a wound already, but selecting a different model, as it can guarantee 2 dead Custodes. See the Imperial Knight entry for how to assure the success of a Mental Onslaught. If you don't want to use psychic cheese, remember that while Custodes are insanely durable, you can always just swarm them in close combat and hope to drown them in bodies, and preferably Rending Claws too.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus - You have a Cult Creed that is designed to pinch one of the AdMech's quirks (Everything having an invuln) whilst also being very anti-Admech Fluff wise and even a little crunch wise. Chaos can only watch as the Bladed Cog's version of Death to the False Emperor procs on a 4+ against these guys (Sadly only as a strategem, but you shouldn't forget it exists). Ultimately, you probably won't need it because the AdMech lack top tier melee units, but the idea of your acolyte Hybrids demolishing Infiltrators/Rustalkers is one you should remember should you bring Bladed Cog.
  • Imperial Knights - Charge a block with 6 twisted Helix rocksaws into the Knight with a Primus giving their bonus either by strat to get closer or by +3 bubble warlord trait. The Rocksaws with a banner will be hitting on 2s rerolling, then not even using anything to boost the damage rolls are wounding on 3s rerolling, which averages 10 successful wound rolls (20 damage) going straight through Armor and then the minimum 20 claws and 10 daggers wounding on 5s rerolling can most likely finish it, add in Might from beyond and the saws can potentially kill the toughest knights by themselves.


  • Chaos Space Marines: Chaos Space marines do not have a whole lot of answers as a mono codex. However, be wary of cultist bombs with Abbadon as they can out out a lot of fire power. Alpha Legion's -1 to hit outside of 12" won't be a problem once you close in to close combat. That being said, watch out for the new Obliterators, they'll turn anything that isn't a Rusted Claw Aberrant into mincemeat in 1 shooting phase.
  • Chaos Daemons: With how many hand flamers you should be taking the plague bearer spam lists should not be too scary. Just pop up 3 inches away and fire 40d6 shots into a blob to statistically kill 21 plague bearers. With most Nurgle lists only taking 60 to 80 of them laugh as you just killed 25% of your opponents ability to fight and protect his characters. And we're not even getting into how easy it is to torch the T3 Bloodletters, Daemonettes, and Horrors. Then, you charge the leftovers. Also, snipe Greater Daemons, Daemon Princes, and Heralds silly with the Relic Laden Sanctus.
  • Death Guard: Snipe Morty silly with the Relic Laden Sanctus. Outside of that, you have enough shots and attacks to force so many saves and disgustingly resilient rolls that he'll still lose a majority of his army. That being said, Death Guard love them some mortal wounds so remember to pop the Hypermetabolism stratagem to heal a wounded character of your choice.
  • Thousand Sons: Laugh as you one shot Magnus the Red with your less than 150 point model (no longer valid with the Spring 2019 FAQ, if the opponent rolls a 6 Mental Onslaught stops). Also snipe Magnus (Or half the army really) silly with the Relic Laden Sanctus. Like Grey Knights, seeing a Magus in your list makes them cry. While Warpflamers are scary, so are your own hand flamers.
  • Chaos Knights: See knights
  • Renegades and Heretics (FW) See guard, just no orders for them.


  • Eldar - I for one cannot wait to prevent Doom every turn, because of a Magus. Also Rangers seem like a poor choice due to our ability to "Look out Sir" [Sir, or Master?]. They are also one of the factions that can shoot at units coming in from reserve with the Forewarned stratagem, but they need a Farseer nearby to pull that off. Also everything said about the anti-psyker relic Sanctus applies here. Craftworlds to beware of are as follows; Ulthwe gives their units an inherent 6+ FNP, making them a bit tougher to crack than the usual Eldar army (but not by much). Alaitoc is an infamous Craftworld with its -1 to hit against ranged attacks outside of 12", but you shouldn't have any problems closing that gap with cult ambush and using Acolytes instead of Neophytes for the obvious reasons. Saim-Hann specializes in lightning-fast assaults with its speedy jetbikes ignoring movement penalties with heavy weapons. Funnily enough, the two craftworlds that may give you the most trouble are Biel-Tan and Iyanden. Biel-Tan gives a re-roll of 1s to hit on shooting and overwatch attacks on all Shuriken weaponry (and Eldar can spam them like no tomorrow), making even humble Guardians an absolute terror against your units. A deep-striking unit of 20 with two Shuriken Cannon platforms can dish out 40 S4 shots and 6 S6 shots, re-rolling 1s to hit and being AP-3 on 6+ to wound. That WILL sting like a bitch. In addition, it confers +1Ld on all Aspect Warrior units, making leadership bombs a bit harder to pull off than usual. Iyanden's specialty is in near-morale immunity and with Vehicles that ignore the damage chart.
  • Dark Eldar - Can you vect a vect? Yes you can! A popular tactic Dark Eldar players like to do is use their flyers and flying transports to zone out their deployment zone and no man's land, preventing you from cult ambushing close to stuff that's important. This is why it's important to leave half of your army on the table armed with stuff that can pop their relatively fragile transports. Be aware though that Venoms are -1 to hit, so a Jackal Alphus will do you wonders there. Also, Heavy Flamers and Clearance Incinerators can do the same thing, auto-hitting at S5/6, and their Venoms and Raiders are T5.
  • Harlequins - Due to the fact that Harlequins are a speedy army, use Cult Ambush to pull a few tricks of your own such as blocking them out of the deployment zone with Ambush markers, or use APA to pop up 3" away with a unit full of flamers/Hand Flamers. Like all Eldar, the Harlequins love their -1 to hit modifiers, and your army's average ballistic skill is mediocre at best. Take as many auto-hitting as possible (but you were doing that in the first place like a good boy), and throw in a Kelemorph and Jackal Alphus to deny them their -1 to hit fuckery. An army with a universal 4++ seems like a daunting prospect at first, but they are an elite army after all, let's see them make a truckload of those saves. Their Death Jesters act like Snipers, if you can't tuck your characters out of LoS, Unquestioning Loyalty and taking Locuses to tank the hits make them a lot less threatening. Plus, you can easily fight fire with fire by throwing your own snipers at them. Shadowseers cast an aura of -1 to wound around themselves, but believe me they will hate you for taking a Magus with the Crouchling relic. Rule #1 of running a close ranged/melee army in 8th edition is if everything is a viable target, nothing is. Throw off their target priority using whatever means necessary.
  • Ynnari
  • Tau Empire - Casting Mass Hypnosis on a unit does not stop it from getting help via For the Greater Good, so you will have to choose wisely what will get it. Cast it on a big squad of Fire Warriors to decrease the insane amount of overwatch they can put out, or gun drones for the same reason, or on a Riptide so it doesnt light you up with burst cannons, these are all decent choices. More than likely, whatever charges first is going to get waxed. If you are smart (or lucky) however, you chose something that will survive in good enough condition to run in and allow the rest of your ambush to flood in. Alternate take: The Amulet of the Voidwyrm explicitly states that overwatch cannot be fired at the bearer, so safely charge a patriarch using his fairly bigger base into two packed units and tag them, and then send in the rest of your army.
  • Tyranids - Kraken Bomb Genestealers hurt us as much as we love them. Thankfully, they cannot move within 9" of our deployment zone, and if you do some tricky deployment blip things, you can have your entire army more than 12" away [deny a charge attempt all-together]. You can also just Vect the Opportunistic Advance stratagem that Kraken Genestealers get to deny the charge attempt and buy your units another turn, as well. If you're feeling extra saucy, the mining drill fortification can shorten charge ranges by 2" as well.
  • Genestealer Cults - Let the mind games commence! Clamavus' anti-deepstrike bubble is your friend. Can you vect a vect? Yes you can!
  • Necrons - The lynchpin of a necron force is its reanimation protocols. If even a single Necron is left standing in a unit there is a 33% chance for each slain model to stand back up. Play for keeps and don't let up on a squad until it's 100% wiped, otherwise the Necron player will likely stack crypteks and resurrection orbs to ensure most of his slow-moving tin men stand back up. Use your superior strength and/in numbers!!!
  • Orks - If you face Melee orks, your opponent may get fairly annoyed to hear you can bring S5, 3 attacks, 5+ save models for 7pts each, with an option to add hand flamers. And with a psychic power can boost them to S6, 4 attacks each. I know my local Ork player lost his mind reading that. You can rush down the orks in melee, where they will actually lose to your significant strength advantage, and attacks advantage. They will still wound us on 3s and 2s and can have up to 6 attacks each with exploding 6s for more attacks and they have bolt pistols at just 7 points a model as well. Just make sure you have handflamers for overwatching IF you messed up and let them charge you! and more importantly make sure you attack first! You have to attack them first or atleast kill enough of them so you have that attack advantage and get rid of their mob rule LD bonus. Orks can be a tough matchup). Your Snipers can deny significant character use from Weirdboys and Warbosses even with the obligatory 5++ Force shield aura. Lootas are a shooty unit, but they need significant babysitting in a competitive list. Finally, a poorly designed gretchin wall may become useless if your Cult units ambush from behind [making the grot stratagem ineffective]. Even if it's decently strategically deployed you can just up and rinse them using 20 hand flamers Acolytes and the Perfect Ambush stratagem.
Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
General Tactics