Navigating Genestealer Cult - Battle Honors Season Two


Warhammer 40,000 – Since the release of the 8th Edition Genestealer Cult Codex I’m been trying to figure out a list that works for me. Initially I looked at doing the Tyranid, Guard and Cult force … but that’s not really where I wanted to go with my force. To me GSC is about hidden mutants and dissidents rising up to overthrow the Fascist Imperial Oppressors. The dark Cthulu-esque nature of a cult from beyond the stars is really where the GSC thrives narratively. For me unless it’s part of a campaign or the later part of an uprising allying with Tyranids doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. I’m sure there’s probably a good way to justify it as you can usually rationalize any story hook.


With a very specific theme in mind I started off my cult by hamstringing myself and removing any allies that don’t appear in the codex proper. I might at some point look into some Brood Brothers as I think a Scion force to guard the shipping concerns could be fun in the future, it would also open up some options for flyers as the book doesn’t actually have anything that flies. But before I look at expanding into other forces i want to build a solid single codex force with units I can shift around to try out the various cults, relics and stratagems. It’s pretty amazing how differently identical forces play simply by switching around the abilities.

Using the models I owned from the previous release and some stand-ins for stuff I didn’t have assembled yet I played a bunch of games with different forces until I settled on this one:

GSC Brigade - 12CP, 1642 points

HQ - Acolyte Iconward 
HQ - Magus + Familiar
HQ - Patriarch + Familiar
HQ - Primus
TROOP - 5x Acolyte Hybrids
TROOP - 5x Acolyte Hybrids
TROOP - 5x Acolyte Hybrids (2x Hand Flamers)
TROOP - 20x Acolyte Hybrids (Icon, 1x Hand Flamer, 8x Rock Saws)
TROOP - 10x Neophyte Hybrids
TROOP - 10x Neophyte Hybrids
ELITE - Clamavus
ELITE - Kellermorph
ELITE - Nexos
ELITE - 5x Purestrain Genestealers
FAST - Achilles Ridgerunners (Heavy Mortar, Survey Auger)
FAST - Achilles Ridgerunners (Heavy Mortar, Survey Auger)
FAST - Achilles Ridgerunners (Heavy Mortar, Survey Auger)
HEAVY - Leman Russ (Nova Cannon, Heavy Flamer)
HEAVY - Rockgrinder (Clearance Incinerator, Heavy Stubber, Cache of Demo Charges)
HEAVY - Rockgrinder (Clearance Incinerator, Heavy Stubber, Cache of Demo Charges)

GSC Outrider - 1CP, 358 points

HQ - Jackal Alphus
FAST - 10x Atalan Jackals (Shotguns and Demo Charges) 2x Wolfquad (Incinerator and Shotgun)
FAST - 4x Atalan Jackals (Shotguns and Cult Knives)
FAST - 4x Atalan Jackals (Shotguns and Cult Knives)

So far my best success has come from using Cult of the Four Armed Emperor for both detachments. The +1 to advance and charge rolls gets me in pretty reliably. Combined with the Deliverance Broodsurge Specialist detachment I can get my horde in place to tear things up with their Rock Saws without dying to shooting immediately.


With the Patriarch I’ve been focusing on buffing up his leadership to try and pull off the Mental Onslaught trick, which while hilarious, isn’t guaranteed. I’m averaging 1-3 wounds before my dice turn cold so maybe I should rethink this strategy. Getting the power off seems to be pretty reliable with the Crouchling as my relic and being able to know a third power, and being able to cast a second when it matters is a big deal.

I’m on the fence about mixing Genesects. Making the Outrider Detachment Rusted Claw makes them faster, the Alphus more reliable and gives access to the drive-by demo strat. The 4+ armor also is pretty decent against small arms fire. Not mixing means I have less rules to remember, all my buffs apply across the entire army and I don’t have to find a way to visually identify which detachment is which. (Although it’s pretty easy to say all the bikes are XXX, everything else is YYY).


My troops are pretty solid, although they die to a stiff breeze. As I learn to take better advantage of the Cult Ambush rules and playing to the objectives I feel like they are going to be where my points come from. This season in our Battle Honors Campaign we’re playing through the Maelstrom Missions in order for six weeks. Deep-striking Ob-Sec units should shine in missions where they can pop up on an objective the same turn I drew it. That is so long as my opponents don’t completely zone me out. Only being able to use the Lying in Wait Strat once a turn means I need to make whatever comes in do some work.

The characters are the backbone of the list, each one fulfills a necessary role and buffs the rest of the force. I haven’t been overly impressed with the Nexos, but 50 points for a body that may net you a few command points over the course of the game is pretty good he’d be better if he could net more than 1, but I’m not going to go on a rant about matched play rules here. I feel like figuring out what to do with the characters is something I should focus on as they bring a lot to the table that i don’t think I’m maximizing their potential.

I love the Ridgerunner models. The buggies are really cool and very mobile. I’ve had decent success just spreading them out along my back line out of line of site. Besides protecting my backfield from deep-strikers they can also reach most of the field. Ignoring cover means camo cloak scouts in cover die just as quickly as those in the open. Once they’ve exhausted their mortar targets I can move them quickly across the board to get to an objective or anywhere else I need to go.

Finally with the Heavy Slot I opted to got with some Rockgrinders. These vehicles are center pieces for the army. They look amazing and are decent on the table. Being able to transport my smaller units or explode on command gives them a level of utility you don’t get from mortar teams. Roughed construction means they just might live thorough some focused fire-power which means you’re more fragile elements are getting shot. My third Heavy Slot is the Leman Russ. The battle tank can put out some firepower but more importantly it draws a bunch of fire.