Codex Genestealer Cults Review Part 2 - Wargear and Infantry Units

I'm back again with Part 2 of my Genestealer Cults Codex Review.  In Part 1 I went over the army special rules and the HQ units.  This review will focus on the wargear that is unique to Genestealer Cults as well as the infantry units that make up the army.

Genestealer Cults have several unique pieces of wargear available to units in their army.  First up, let's take a look at the Ranged Weapons:

Clearance Incinerator
Template S5 AP4 Assault 1, Torrent

Demolition Charge
Range 6" S8 AP2 Assault 1, Large Blast, One Use Only

Grenade Launcher
Frag Range 24" S3 AP6 Assault 1, Blast
Krak Range 24" S6 AP4 Assault 1

Leman Russ Turret Weapons
Eradicator Nova Cannon
Range 36" S6 AP4 Heavy 1, Large Blast, Ignores Cover
Exterminator autocannon
Range 48" S7 AP4 Heavy 4, Twin-linked
Vanquisher Battle Cannon
Range 72" S8 AP2 Heavy 1, Armourbane

Mining Lasers
Mining laser Range 24" S9 AP2 Heavy 1
Heavy Mining Laser Range 36" S9 AP2 Heavy 1

Range 48" S4 AP6 Heavy 1, Barrage, Blast
Needle Pistol
Range 12" Sx AP6 Pistol, Poisoned (2+)
Seismic Cannon Weapons
Seismic Cannon Range 0-12" S8 AP3 Heavy 2, Resonance or
                           Range 12-24" S5 AP4 Heavy 4, Resonance
Heavy Seismic Cannon Range 0-12" S8 AP3 Heavy 3, Resonance or
                              Range 12-24" S5 AP4 Heavy 6, Resonance
Resonance: To Wound and Armor Penetration rolls of 6 are always resolved at AP1

Web Weapons
Web Pistol Range 12" S3 AP* Pistol, Blast, Cocooned
Webber Range 16" S4 AP* Assault 1, Blast, Cocooned
Cocooned: The AP of a wound caused by this weapon is equal to the current Strength characteristic of the model it was allocated to.

Overall some really nice ranged weapons options are available to Genestealer Cults.  Particularly the Mining Lasers and the Seismic Cannons stand out as capable of laying down some pretty heavy firepower especially out of Infiltrating with Cult Ambush.  And the Leman Russ Vanquisher Battle Cannon is brutal with 72" AP2 Armourbane. 

Next up, the Melee weapons:

S user AP3 Melee, Life Drain (rolls of 6 to wound cause Instant Death)

Heavy Rock Cutter
Sx2 AP2 Melee, Two-handed, Unwieldy, Snip
Snip: When a model takes an unsaved wound it must pass a separate Toughness test for each wound suffered or be removed from play.

Heavy Rock Drill
Sx2 AP2 Melee, Two-handed, Unwieldy, Pulverise
Pulverise: When a model with this weapon makes its close combat attacks, it can instead make a single pulverise attack which is resolved as S10 AP1

Heavy Rock Saw
Sx2 AP2 Melee, Two-handed, Armourbane, Unwieldy

Lash Whip and Bonesword
Same as Bonesword with added rule of Lash
Lash: A model equipped with this weapon has +3 to Initiative during the Fight sub-phase.

Metamorph Weapons
Metamorph Claw S user AP5 Melee, Crush
Metamorph talon S user AP5 Melee, Scythe
Metamorph whip S user AP5 Melee, Lash
Crush: +2 bonus to Strength during Fight sub-phase
Scythe: With one talon add +1 to Weapon Skill in Fight sub-phase. With 2 talons add +2 to Weapon Skill instead

Patriarch's Claws
S user AP3 Melee, Rending, Shred

Power Hammer
S+3 AP2 Melee, Concussive, Specialist Weapon, Two-handed, Unwieldy

Power Pick
S+2 AP3 Melee, Unwieldy

Rending Claws
S user AP5 Melee, Rending

Scything Talons
S user AP6 Melee

Some pretty amazing melee weapons available here. Particularly interesting are the weapons that increase the Strength and/or weapon skill of the wielder.  This helps mitigate some of the mediocre stats of many of the Genestealer Cults units.

Of course the Patriarch's Claws are pretty impressive on the Patriarch.  Rending and Shred on AP3 weapons which will likely swing before the opponent due to the Patriarch's high initiative means he is an absolute character assassin.

The Heavy Rock Cutter is also an amazing melee weapon because of the Snip special rule. Pass a Toughness test or be removed from play. This is a great way to counter those pesky Eternal Warrior models.

Now, onto the Special Issue Wargear:

Blasting Charges
Follows rules for Assault Grenades

Cult Icon
All models in a unit have +1 Weapon Skill while the bearer is alive

Genestealer Familiar
Two additional S4 AP- Rending attacks per model equipped

Sacred Cult Banner
Friendly Genestealer Cults models within 12" have the Furious Charge special rule

Toxin Injector
When equipped with rending claws they gain Poisoned special rule.

There are some very nice options here as well. Obviously the Cult Icon and the Sacred Cult Banner stand out.  This army is all about providing strong army wide buffs and the icons do a great job in boosting your units up when they make that charge.  The Genestealer Familiar is also awesome allowing you 2 extra Rending attacks on a model equipped.

Next up is the Cult Vehicle Equipment:

Cache of Demolition Charges
In the Shooting phase one model embarked upon a vehicle equipped with Demolition Charges can choose to throw one instead of firing it's weapon. The profile is the same as the Demolition Charges above.  Also, each time a vehicle equipped with demolition charges suffers a penetrating hit, roll a dice. On a 1 the vehicle suffers a further S8 AP2 hit after any initial damage has been resolved.

Drill Dozer Blade
Auto pass Dangerous Terrain tests. Add an extra d6 to the Strength of the vehicle when it Rams another vehicle.  If that Ram causes a penetrating hit add 1 to the vehicle damage table roll. 

When performing a Tank Shock, each unit that would be hit must take an Initiative test before rolling the Morale check.  If it is passed nothing happens. If failed, the unit suffers D3 Strength 10 AP2 hits.  If an enemy unit makes a Death or Glory attack and fails to stop the vehicle the unit suffers an additional D3 Strength 10 AP2 hits in addition to the damage they normally suffer for the failed attack.

The Cache is interesting as you can have your vehicle rolling around tossing out short range grenades that are extremely deadly.  That short range means they could very well scatter back onto the vehicle and cause even more damage than normal however, so there is a risk involved.

The Drill Dozer Blade is also pretty strong as you can tank shock enemy units forcing them to take those initiative tests or take some massive damage.  And the bonus to the Ram almost always guarantees a major advantage to get through the opponent's armor.

 Now, let's get to the meat of the codex; the infantry units.

Troops: There are two Troops options available to the army. The Acolyte Hybrids and the Neophyte Hybrids.
Acolyte Hybrids: Cost 40 points for 5 models in the unit.
They have a pretty average statline for a cheap troop option:
WS 4 BS3 S4 T3 W1 I4 A2 LD8 Save 5+
Wargear: Autopistol, Close Combat Weapon, Rending Claws, Blasting Charges
Special Rules: Cult Ambush, Return to the Shadows
  • You can add up to 15 additional models at 8 points per model.
  •  One can take a hand flamer for 5 points.  For every 5 models in the unit, 2 of them can replace their close combat weapon and rending claws with either Demolition Charges for 20 points, Heavy Rock Drill for 20 points, Heavy rock cutter for 25 points, or a Heavy Rock Saw for 25 points. 
  • One model may take a cult icon for 10 points. 
  • One model may be upgraded to an Acolyte Leader which has one more attack and Leadership 9. 
  • The Leader can replace his close combat weapon with a bonesword for 20 points.
  • He can replace his close combat weapon and autopistol with a lash whip and bonesword for 25 points.
The unit can take a Goliath Truck as a Dedicated Transport.

This is a cheap Troops unit that can hit like a freight train.  At only 10 points, the Cult Icon is a must take to boost that WS up to 5 for the unit.  Hitting with Rending Claws and a close combat weapon means they are swinging 4 attacks on the charge at Strength 4 with Rending.  Keep them close to a Sacred Cult Banner and they are hitting at Strength 5.  Their Initiative 4 means they will usually get to swing at least at the same time as most enemy units and their grenades means they won't be hindered by terrain in assault.  Throw in two Heavy Rock Cutters and this becomes a pretty deadly unit to face.

Neophyte Hybrids: Cost 50 points for 10 models in the unit
Again another average statline for this unit
WS3 BS3 S3 T3 W1 I4 A1 LD8 Save 5+
Wargear: Autoguns, Autopistols, Close Combat Weapon (leader only), Blasting Charges
Special Rules: Cult Ambush, Return to the Shadows
  • You can add up to 10 additional models at 5 points per model. 
  • You can either give two of them a weapon from the Heavy Mining Weapons list, or Two of them may form a Neophyte Weapons Team that must take items from the standard Heavy Weapons list. 
  • Additionally two more models may take weapons from the Special Weapons list (which includes a Flamer for 5 points, Grenade Launcher for 5 points, or a Webber for 10 points). 
  • Any model can replace their autogun with a shotgun or lasgun for free. 
  • One can take a cult icon for 10 points. 
  • One model can be upgraded to a Leader with 1 extra attack and Leadership 9.
  • He can take items from the Pistols and/or Melee Weapons list.
The unit can take a Chimera or a Goliath Truck as a Dedicated Transport.

Another cheap hard hitting unit, the Neophytes are your mutated Guardsmen essentially.  Whereas the Acolytes hit hard in melee, the Neophytes do most of their damage in shooting.  Being able to take two Mining Lasers or Seismic Cannons combined with Cult Ambush can make for a bad day for the opponent.  Not to mention throwing a couple of Flamers in the squad on top of the Heavies.  This unit is capable of putting down some devastating firepower.

Elites: The Elites section has three units available: Hybrid Metamorphs, Purestrain Genestealers, and Aberrants. 

Hybrid Metamorphs: Cost 45 points for 5 models in the unit
Statline is the exact same as the Acolyte Hybrids
Wargear: Autopistol, Rending Claws, Metamorph Talons, Blasting Charges
Special Rules: Cult Ambush, Return to the Shadows
  • You can add up to 5 additional models to the unit for 9 points each.
  • Any model can replace his standard Rending Claws and Metamorph Talon for a pair of Metamorph Talons for free.
  • Or replace a Metamorph Talon with either a claw or whip for 2 points each per model.
  • One may take a cult icon for 10 points.
  • Any model can replace its autopistol with a hand flamer for 5 points.
  • You can upgrade one model to be a leader who can then take a Bonesword for 20 points.
The unit can take a Goliath Truck as a Dedicated Transport.

This is essentially a slightly harder hitting version of the Acolyte Hybrids.  Their wargear is overall slightly better, but is limited to the Metamorph variants or their Rending Claws.  The claws are the best choice here as you're getting a lot of Strength 6 attacks out of this unit with them, which can be absolutely devastating after a charge from Cult Ambush.

Purestrain Genestealers: 70 points for 5 models
Their statline is that of the Genestealer
WS6 BS0 S4 T4 W1 I6 A3 LD10 Save 5+/5++
Wargear: Rending Claws
Special Rules: Cult Ambush, Return to the Shadows, Fleet, Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, Stealth, Hyper-reflexes (gives a 5++ Invulnerable Save)
Brood Instinct: Only a Patriarch can join this unit. When joined, the unit gains Furious Charge
  • May include up to 15 additional models at 14 points each.
  • Any model take Scything Talons for 3 points per model.
This unit really is the meat and potatoes of the Genestealer Cults army.  Having Infiltrate and Cult Ambush means they can deploy using the Cult Ambush rule, even outside of a Cult Insurrection Detachment and gives them the potential to get a first turn charge. The biggest drawback to these guys is the lack of assault grenades which means most of the time they will be swinging at Initiative 1 as savvy players will hide hard targets in terrain.  These units will usually be fielded in giant blobs of 20 models with the Patriarch attached.  Getting a stealth bonus for cover really helps them along with the 5++ Invulnerable. Their Move through Cover and Fleet gives them the speed to make it into combat.  With the Patriarch attached they gain Furious Charge with 4 attacks each at Strength 5 with Rending.  Enough to tear most infantry units apart quite easily.  Tyranids players have been begging for years for Genestealers to be good again, and now they are.

Aberrants: 120 points for 4 models
Their statline is not bad but not great either
WS4 BS1 S5 T4 W2 I2 A2 LD8 Save 5+
Wargear: Power pick, Rending Claws
Special Rules: Cult Ambush, Feel No Pain, Stubborn, Return to the Shadows
  • May include up to 4 additional Aberrants at 30 points per model.
  •  May replace their Power pick with a power hammer for free.
I suppose there should be at least one less than stellar unit in every Codex and this is the one for Genestealer Cults. These guys are just way overpriced in comparison to the other cheaper options in the Codex. It is not necessarily that they are bad, it's just that the other unit options are so much better. Toughness 4 with 2 Wounds is ok, but they can easily be killed with Strength 8 weapons and with a 5+ save they have very low survivability. The Power Pick and Rending Claws are nice as it gives them a lot of high strength and/or Rending attacks, but with absolutely no shooting attacks whatsoever, you're pretty much relying on getting that 6 on Cult Ambush for them. If there is one unit in this book I'd say to keep in the box, it would be the Aberrants. 

Overall there are some solid choices here.  The troops are very cheap even with the upgrades available to them, and they are capable of putting down some massive damage in either shooting or assault, but that is mainly due to the Cult Ambush rule and their ability to get where they want when they want. Issues like Line of Sight, Range, etc don't really become much of an issue for them because Cult Ambush lets you get so close to the enemy you can usually take full advantage of say a weak rear armor on a vehicle, or troops trying to hide behind a building. 

The army is just chock full of crazy good options. I'm looking forward to seeing it on the table soon.  In Part 3 I'll cover the Vehicles and Relics.
Codex Genestealer Cults Review Part 2 - Wargear and Infantry Units Codex Genestealer Cults Review Part 2 - Wargear and Infantry Units Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 9:24:00 AM Rating: 5

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