Saturday 8 October 2016

Genestealers Cult Codex Reviews: Part 5- Formations

This final part of my Genestealer Cults codex review will look at the various formations available to the army. 

Subterranean Uprising
This formation consists of:
0-1 Primus
1-3 Hybrid Metamorphs
2-4 Acolyte Hybrids
0-3 Aberrants

The formation special rules gives the units Infiltrate. The formation units must all deploy using Infiltrate, but get to roll 2D6 on the Cult Ambush table and choose the result they want (or 3D6 if the Primus is in the unit). This is a really nice bonus, giving you a better chance of getting one of the good results on the Cult Ambush table. 

This formation is also dirt cheap, coming in at only 130 points for the minimum size. However, you will probably want to take much more than the minimum units and definitely want the Primus in a unit in this formation. More units will give you more rolls on the Cult Ambush table and a better chance of getting the result that you want. With several units in this formation, you are probably guaranteed at least one first turn charge, maybe even more. 

Overall, I like this formation. It features a lot of the good units in the codex and gives some very nice bonuses to them. 

Deliverance Broodsurge
This formation consists of:
2-6 units of Neophyte Hybrids (each unit must take a Goliath Trukk as a dedicated transport). 

The formation units must start the game embarked on their transports (so no ambushing), but may disembark even at cruising speed, though at the risk of taking casualties in the unit. In addition, they automatically ignore the effects of Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned. 

This is another nice formation. The bonuses to the units means that your Trucks will always be mobile unless they are destroyed or immobilised and the units get an extra 6" to their threat range each turn. The only downside is that you may lose models in the unit to the dangerous terrain tests they are forced to take, and with poor armour saves on the unit, you are more likely to die from a failed test.

Demolition Claw
This formation consists of:
2-3 Units of Acolyte Hybrids (must take at least 1 demolition charge in each unit)
2-3 Goliath Rockgrinders (each gets a free Cache of demolition charges)

This formation is designed to really hurt the enemy with their firepower. The whole formation gets tank hunter. In addition, the Acolytes get to re-roll the scatter on the demolition charges when embarked on one of the Rockgrinders. Also, if they are within 6" of the Rockgrinder when the throw a demolition charge, they get another charge on a 4+. 

Tank hunter for the whole formation is great. It will make the Heavy Mining Laser on the Goliath more potent when it hits and will boost any of the combat weapons in the Acolyte squad against enemy vehicles. 

The improved accuracy of the demolition charges is also a really nice bonus, giving you a better chance of hitting your opponent and not yourself with this potent weapon. This formation should make a nice mess of any marine units without an invulnerable save or in cover. The fact that you can "respawn" your demolition charges makes them a much better investment, as well as getting free charges on the vehicles. 

A really nice formation, my only concern is that the minimum formation size costs £120!

Brood Cycle
This formation consists of:
1 Acolyte Iconward
3 Units of Acolyte Hybrids
2 Units of Neophyte Hybrids
1 Unit of Hybrid Metamorphs
1 Unit of Purestrain Genestealers
0-1 Units of Aberrants
0-1 Units of Goliath Rockgrinders

The special rules for the formation grant a unit in the formation +1 WS and Ld when within 6" of another unit in the formation. In addition, any units within 24" of the Iconward get Furious Charge and Feel no Pain (6+). 

A pretty sizeable formation, but it does come with some nice bonuses. This formation will require the pairing of combat units to give them a further bonus to their WS and Leadership. Given there are a number of ways to get WS bonuses in the force, this will boost it even further. Doubling the range of the Iconward's feel no pain bubble is great (really helping those Aberrants) as well as giving them Furious charge over a huge range. The Unquestioning Loyalty rule will keep the Iconward safe if you dump him in a big unit, so it will be hard for your opponent to take out these benefits quickly. 

The First Curse
This formation consists of:
20 Purestrain Genestealers

This formation gets an additional bonus rolled for on a random table before the game starts. These bonuses include giving the unit assault grenades, poison attacks, Preferred Enemy, Rage and increasing their armour save. 

There is little reason not to take this formation in the army. The Patriarch is a beast in combat and the Purestrain Genestealers are a solid combat unit. The additional bonuses help to make this unit even better. I imagine this formation will be seeing a lot of play in the Genestealer Cult. 

Neophyte Cavalcade
This formation consists of:
2 Units of Neophyte Hybrids (must take Chimera as transport)
1 Leman Russ Squadron
1-2 Units of Scout Sentinels or Armoured Sentinels

The Neophytes must start the game embarked in their Chimeras, but gain the Outflank special rule. In addition, Scout Sentinels gain the Cult Ambush special rule, so can Cult Ambush on the first turn. In addition, all vehicles in the formation get to ignore Crew Stunned and Crew Shaken results on a 4+. 

I'm not wild about this formation. It gives some decent bonuses, but I think there are too many tax units in it and many better formations in the codex. I would probably give this one a miss. 

The Doting Throng
This formation consists of:
0-1 Magus
3-6 Units of Neophyte or Acolyte Hybrids in any combination

This formation gains Zealot when within 12" of the Magus and gets to re-roll failed to hit rolls in every turn of combat, not just the first. In addition, the Magus gets to re-roll a failed psychic test if attempting to cast a blessing on a unit from this formation. 

A 12" fearless and combat re-roll bubble is a great bonus for this formation, especially if you load it up with tooled up Acolyte Hybrids. The Broodmind discipline also comes with some great blessings, so better odds of casting them are a big bonus, especially if you don't have a great number of power dice to throw at your psychic powers. I can see a real use for this formation in many armies. 

This formation consists of a Patriarch, a Magus and a Primus. The three characters must form one unit, but can join other units together. The characters also give the unit a bonus if they are still alive, including Fleet, Counter-attack and Preferred Enemy. 

The one issue with this formation is that the three models must be deployed as a single unit. Does this mean they cannot join another unit on deployment? If so, this makes a very tempting target for your opponent in the first turn. 

When this unit does join another unit, you will have a unit that has Fearless, Zealot, Adamantium Will, Fleet, Infiltrate, Counter-attack, Preferred Enemy, Move Through Cover and Fear. That is a lot of special rules for one unit!
This formation is a great way to get all three characters in the one army. The only downside is that you will be putting all your eggs in one basket with this unit. It will significantly boost one of your units, but it will be a prime target for your opponent the whole game. 

Cult Insurrection Detachment
This is the Decurion-type detachment for Genestealer Cults. It consists of 1-6 core choices, 1+ auxiliary choices and 0-3 command choices.

The core choices include the Brood Cycle and Neophyte Cavalcade. The Command Choices are one of the HQ unit from the codex, the First Curse or Broodcoven. The auxiliary choices include the other formations in the codex as well as options for taking single units of Genestealers, Aberrants, Metamorphs or the Imperial vehicles. You can only include one Patriarch, Primus or Magus in the formation, so no loading up on multiple Patriarchs in the same army. 

The Command Benefits for the detachment are pretty awesome. If the Patriarch is your warlord, you get a warlord trait re-roll, pretty standard for most of these formations.

All non-vehicle units get infiltrate (or shrouding if they already had it). In addition, you get a bonus to your reserve rolls, while your opponent gets a penalty. This is great, allowing you to set up your entire army in a cult ambush if you wish. The bonus to reserves rolls means you can keep units in reserve with less of a risk that they wont show up till late in the game and the penalty to your opponent's rolls could really hinder their battle plan. 

The other command benefit is that you get to return D6 models to a unit each time they arrive from ongoing reserves. Given the number of times a Genestealer Cult can potentially do this, this is a huge bonus, allowing you to return "dead" models to each unit as you recycle them. 

This is a really solid detachment that gives some great bonuses to the Genestealer Cults and really suits their style of play. 

I like almost all the formations available to the Genestealer Cults. They are not massively overpowered compared to other formations in the game, but give some really solid bonuses and compliment the special rules and army style of the Cults very well.

Genestealer Cults Codex Review:


  1. I always think the Brood Cycle sounds more like it should be some badass motorcycle that the Primus can ride or something ;)

    The main reason I can see to take the Neophyte Cavalcade is that it's a much cheaper Core Choice than the Brood Cycle. If you want to load up on Aux Choices in the Cult Insurrection, it leaves you a lot more room for it.

    1. Now you've done it WestRider! I fully expect to see a conversion of a Primus riding a Brood Cycle.

  2. Subterranean Uprising and the First Curse seem like auto takes to me for a GSC army. And the decurion detachment is insanely good. This is going to be a tough army to play against.

  3. I think perhaps you're underestimating the neophyte cavalcade formation a bit - in the insurrection detachment your reserves arrive on a 2+, and that pretty much means you can have this whole formation, and all the firepower that it brings, turning up on the flank of the enemy on turn 2 without taking any fire getting there.

    Personally I'm looking at taking one as my core in the insurrection detachment and kitting it out for max firepower, bringing russ exterminators on on turn 2, which also represent my best chance of taking down enemy flyers with their multiple twin linked shooting, which is likely to be hitting rear armour if they outflank.

    1. Some nice points there Nick. I didn't hold outflanking in too much regard as the Cult Ambush rule is just so damn good most of the time.

  4. Additionally for the cavalcade, I have found from game experience that taking squadrons of single scout sentinels packing an autocannon can yield very interesting results. Especially when they are placed to be mostly out of sight when they arrive. Double fun if you roll a 5 on their ambush result.

    Furthermore, as they are walkers, when you have a unit you want them genestealers to tear apart, a sentinel can absorb alot more over-watch fire and survive with 0 losses. Thus leaving your stealers unimpeded for the mop-up. Speaking of them in melee, a scout is surprisingly effective as a mosh pit to tie down enemies with ranged weapons that threaten the rest of your army.

    Ultimately, I've started taking a cavalcade every time purely for the utility the sentinels bring the decurion.