Wednesday 29 August 2018

Battle Report 164- 2000 pts Genestealer Cults vs Adeptus Mechanicus/Space Wolves

This week's battle report sees my Genestealer Cults take on the Adeptus Mechanicus and Space Wolves in a maelstrom of war mission. We were playing the Kill Confirmed mission, which is the one with three cards per turn and kill points in addition. 

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment
Patriarch- Monstrous Rending Claws, Mass Hypnosis(Pt)
Primus- Needle Pistol, Bonesword (P1)
10 Acolyte Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Saws (A1)
10 Acolyte Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Cutters (A2)
10 Acolyte Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Drills (A3)
6 Acolyte Hybrids (A4)
15 Purestrain Genestealers (G)
5 Aberrants- Power Hammers (Ab)

Battalion Detachment
Primus- Needle Pistol, Bonesword (P2)
Magus- Force Stave, Might From Beyond (M1)
10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autoguns, Heavy Stubber (N1)
10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autoguns, Mining Laser (N2)
5 Acolyte Hybrids (A5)
Leman Russ- Battle Cannon, 3 Heavy Bolters (LR)
Goliath Truck- Twin Autocannon, Heavy Stubber (GT)

Outrider Detachment
Magus- Force Stave, Mind Control (M2)
Scout Sentinel- Heavy Flamer (S1)
Scout Sentinel- Missile Launcher (S2)
Scout Sentinel- Autocannon (S3)

I took a good mix of units in my army. The Patriarch was selected to lead the army, as a strong fighter and good support. I took two Primus units to lead in my heavy hitters, the Genestealers and Aberrants. These should hopefully allow the two units to charge from reserve. 

I took the Leman Russ and Neophytes to hold my backline, while the Sentinels could scout ahead to harass the enemy army or block enemy deep strikers. I took a strong force of Acolyte Hybrids. The two small units could be used to block out my backfield and give me enough power level to put my strong units in reserve. 

Chris' army consists of:
Battalion Detachment (Adeptus Mechanicus, Stygies)
Tech Priest Dominus- Volkite, Macrostubber (TD)
Tech Priest Enginseer (TP)
3 Kataphron Destroyers- Plasma Culverins, Phosphor Blasters (D1)
3 Kataphron Destroyers- Heavy Grav Cannons, Phosphor Blasters (D2)
6 Rangers (R)
5 Infiltrators- Taser Goads, Flechette Blasters (I)
3 Kastellan Robots- Incendine Combustors (KR1)
3 Kastellan Robots- 3 Phosphor Blasters each (KR2)

Outrider Detachment (Space Wolves)
Wolf Lord- Thunderwolf, Thunder Hammer, Wolf Claw (WL)
Wolf Guard Battle Leader- Jump Pack, Frost Blade, Storm Shield (BL)
5 Wulfen- 3 pairs Frost Claws, 2 Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields (W)
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry- 3 Storm Shields, 2 Frost Blades, Thunder Hammer (T1)
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry- 3 Storm Shields, 2 Frost Blades, Thunder Hammer (T2)
Cyberwolf (C)

Some very strong assault and shooting elements in the army. The Mechanicus elements could put out a lot of strong firepower to shred by weakly armoured units. The Space Wolves contingent could also threaten my own forces in assault, thanks to having some strong invulnerable saves thanks to the Storm Shields.

We set up the objectives as shown below:

We rolled for deployment and got Spearhead Assault. We then deployed our forces as shown below:

I put a unit of Neophytes on the left and in the centre, making sure they were out of line of sight of the enemy guns. I deployed the Leman Russ late, avoiding most of line of sight to the enemy guns and target the fast moving units. I used the two small Acolyte Hybrid squads to screen it from enemy reserves. The three Sentinels went across the battlefield, ready to move up on the enemy army. The Goliath Truck (with Acolytes inside) and Magus in the centre.

I put the other 8 units in reserve to ambush the enemy army.

Chris deployed the bulk of the Adeptus Mechanicus forces on the right, the Castellan Robots and Destroyers to the right, another unit of Destroyers in the centre. The bulk of the Space Wolves forces went on the left, the Wulfen and two units of Thunderwolf Cavalry deploying close to my army. The Tech Priest and Priest deployed on the ruins on the left to support them.

The Combat Robots and Infiltrators went in reserve. Chris then set them up on either flank, the Castellan Robots going near my Leman Russ, while the Infiltrators went towards the Neophytes on my left flank.

I won the roll off for first turn, despite Chris getting the +1 for deploying first. He failed to seize the initiative and I took the first turn. I used the Scout moves on my Sentinels to move up on the enemy lines.

In my first turn, I drew Secure Objective 4, Defend Objective 1 and Defend Objective 5. A decent set of cards, I could get to Objective 4 with my Sentinel, while the two defend objectives were close to my lines.

One Sentinel advanced to grab the objective on the landing pad, while the other two moved up on the enemy force, the Infiltrators on the left and Castellan Robots on the right.

The Goliath Truck moved towards the centre, while the Magus advanced towards the Robots. The Acolytes moved up on the Robots, one unit advancing to get to the objective. My plan was to assault the Robots with the Sentinel and Acolytes to stall them, allowing me to score the objective 5.

At the end of the phase, I brought in the first of my ambush units. I used the Meticulous Uprising stratagem on the Primus and Genestealers. Rolling 3D6 on the ambush table, I got a 3, 3 and 4. Not a great result. I used the Primus re-roll and got another 3. I used a command point re-roll and got a 2! Out of 5D6, I was unable to get a single 5 or 6 on the table.

My original plan was to put the Genestealers on the left flank to assault and tie up the Mechanicus units and tie up their firepower. However, with a 9" charge, my odds were not good. I put them on the right flank, so that if they didn't make the charge, they wouldn't be in front of all the enemy guns.

I brought in a unit of Acolytes and the Magus. I rolled a 2 on the table, putting them on the board edge on the left flank, next to the Destroyers.

In the psychic phase, the Magus on the left cast Might From Beyond on the Acolytes, with the help of a command point re-roll. The other Magus cast Smite, taking two wounds from the nearby Robots.

In the shooting phase, the Neophytes on the left opened fire on the Infiltrators, killing one with their Autoguns. The Sentinel fired its Autocannon, hitting once but failing to wound. The Goliath Truck added its firepower, killing one more of the Infiltrators.

The forward Sentinel fired its Heavy Flamer at the Wulfen. I rolled one shot, using a command point re-roll and getting another 1! The single shot failed to do any damage.

The Leman Russ fired its Battle Cannon at the robots, but failed to do any damage. The Heavy Bolters managed to put a single wound on the Wulfen unit.

In the charge phase, the Sentinel charged the Infiltrators. The Neophytes surged forward to join them in combat.
On the other flank, the Sentinel charged the robots to soak up the overwatch fire. The Acolytes then tried to charge, but I rolled a double 1 and they failed. Even though they were a few inches away, I wanted to save the re-roll for the Genestealers. The nearby Acolyte Hybrids also made their charge on the Destroyers.

The Purestrain Genestealers then assaulted and made their 9" charge, multi-charging the Vanguard, Enginseer and Thunderwolf unit. Two Genestealers succumbed to the overwatch fire.

The Acolytes on the left flank also made their charge against the Destroyers.

The Genestealers struck, butchering the Rangers and Engineseer. They could not make the distance to the Thunderwolves, so left them unharmed.

On the other flank, the Acolyte Hybrids attacked the Destroyers, wiping out the squad thanks to the boosted psychic support. The Acolytes consolidated into the Castellan Robots to stop them from firing in their next turn.

The Neophytes attacked the Infiltrators, wounding them once. The Sentinel did no damage. The other Sentinel attacked the robots, doing no damage.

In reply, the Infiltrators killed two of the Neophytes, while the Castellan Robots killed two of the Neophytes. The other Robots managed to slay the Sentinel, freeing them up.

In the morale phase, two of the Neophytes fled. One Infiltrator also fled the field. I used two command points on Insane Bravery to pass with the Acolyte Hybrids in combat with the Robots.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4, First Blood and three kill points. I discarded Defend Objective 5. Chris also scored one kill point.

In his first turn, Chris drew Defend Objective 2, Secure Objective 3 and A Quest for Knowledge (control an objective held by your opponent).

The Castellan Robots and a unit of Thunderwolves moved up on the Acolytes on the right flank. The other unit of Thunderwolves moved up on the Genestealers, supported by the Wulfen and Wolf Guard Leader with the Jump Pack.

On the other flank, the Castellan Robots fell back from combat, as the Destroyers moved round to support them. The Wolf Lord moved up on the Sentinel holding the objective. The Dominus and Wolf moved up to engage the Acolytes.

The Robots fired their flamers at the nearby Acolytes, killing one of the squad after some poor Flamer rolls. The Thunderwolves threw a grenade at the other unit of Acolytes, killing one with a Frag grenade.

The Destroyers fired at the Acolytes on the hill beside the objective, killing three. The Dominus added his firepower, but did no damage.

The Infiltrators fired their Pistols at the Neophytes they were in combat with, wiping out the squad.

In the charge phase, the Thunderwolves, Wulfen and Battle Leader charged the Genestealers. The Dominus and Wolf charged the Acolytes on the objective. The Thunderwolves charged another unit of Acolytes, while the Castellan Robots charged the unit on the hill.

The Wulfen attacked the Genestealers, killing four of the squad.

I used 2 command points to interrupt with the Acolytes, hoping to kill the Dominus and secure the objective. The Acolyte did one wound to the Dominus. The two Rock Drill-armed Acolytes then attacked, getting two hits with 1 command point re-roll. One wound got through his invulnerable save. I then rolled for the mortal wounds, needing a 2+ and rolled a 1! A waste of some good command points there.

The Dominus struck back, wiping out the Acolytes. The Castellan Robots used a command point to change their protocols and fight twice, wiping out the Acolytes on the hill. The Thunderwolves attacked the Acolytes, wiping out the units, but only just after poor rolling from Chris.

The other unit of Thunderwolves were unable to attack the Genestealers thanks to my casualty removal. The Wolf Lord attacked them, wounding twice, but I made both invulnerable saves.

The other Wolf Lord was able to slay the enemy Sentinel, while the Infiltrators did three wounds on the other Sentinel, using their stratagem to give them +1 to hit.

In reply, the Genestealers attacked the Wolf Guard Battle Leader, wounding him twice. The Sentinel killed one Infiltrators.

In the morale phase, I used two command points to keep the Genestealers alive from their losses.

At the end of his turn, Chris scored A Quest for Knowledge for 5 points (!), and 5 kill points. He discarded Secure Objective 3. I also scored Defend Objective 1.

Genestealer Cults- 7
Adeptus Mechanicus/Space Wolves- 11

I had a pretty poor first turn. Some terrible Cult ambush rolls had seen my big unit of Genestealers get wasted. They took out a couple of weak units, but were pretty much taken out by the Wulfen and Thunderwolves. I had done some damage, but the return fire and assaults had decimated my army.

This turn, I drew Advance, Overwhelming Firepower and Defend Objective 6.

The Acolytes disembarked from the Goliath Truck, moving towards the Robots, while the Truck moved up around them (aiming to soak up the overwatch fire). The Magus moved towards the Dominus, while the Leman Russ retreated.

For my ambush, I used Meticulous Uprising with the Primus and Aberrants. Once more, I rolled poorly, getting a 2, 3 and 3. I used my Primus re-roll to get a 6 and moved up on the Thunderwolves on the left, hoping to do enough to secure objective 6.

The Patriarch and Acolytes rolled a 2 on the cult ambush table. I used a command point re-roll and got a 1. They arrived on my deployment edge, moving on to engage the other unit of Thunderwolves.

In the psychic phase, the Magus cast Smite, but only did a single wound on the Dominus. The other Magus cast Smite, killing one Thunderwolf. The Patriarch cast Smite, killing another Thunderwolf.

The Goliath Truck fired at the wolf, wounding him 3 times, but he made all three of his armour saves!
The Leman Russ fired at the furthest away unit of Thunderwolves, wounding them once.

In the charge phase, the Patriarch assualted the last of the Thunderwolves in the unit, with the help of a command point re-roll.

The Goliath Truck charged the Robots, taking two wounds in overwatch. The Acolyte Hybrids followed it in to combat.

The Aberrants and two Primus charged the Thunderwolves. The Aberrants struck at the Space Wolves, only hitting with four of their 10 attacks (on a 3+!) and killing two of the squad.

Chris then used his last two command points to interrupt with the Wulfen, who struck at the Genestealers and wiped them out.

The Patriarch put six wounds on the lone Thunderwolf, but he made all his invulnerable saves. The Acolytes struck at the Castellan Robots, killing one of them. The Destroyers struck back at the Acolytes, killing four of them.

The Infiltrators attacked the Sentinel, wounding it once. The Thunderwolf attacked the Patriarch, wounding him four times.

At the end of my turn, Chris scored Defend Objective 2 and one kill point. I scored no points.

Genestealer Cults- 7
Adeptus Mechanicus/Space Wolves- 14
End of the game.
I decided to call the game there. I had very few units left and Chris had double my score. There was little point in playing on.

Well, that did not go as planned!

I got lucky with getting the first turn, but my luck quickly turned with the Cult Ambush rolls later in that turn. I rolled 6D6 in total for my ambushes on turn 1 (including stratagem and re-rolls) and failed to get above a 4+ on any of them.

Annoyingly, this put my Purestrains out of position. My original plan had been to put them on the left flank to deal with the Adeptus Mechanicus units and shut down their firepower. I needed a 5 or a 6 on the table to give me a good chance of getting a charge off with them. However, I had to deploy over 9" away, so could not be relied upon to make the charge.

In hindsight, I should have put them on the left anyway. I didn't want them decimated by the enemy firepower, but they were quickly overwhelmed by the Space Wolves combat units on the right flank in the following turn. At least they could have soaked up some of the enemy firepower on Chris' first turn. With my charge roll, I would have got them in against the Robots and probably wiped that unit out. consolidating into the other unit of destroyers and stopping them from shooting.

This would have put Chris in a position to split his forces between the two flanks and might have allowed my backline more chance to breathe against the second unit of Kastellan Robots.

Annoyingly, my failed charge against the Robots did not help either, as I may have been able to tie them up and stop them from destroying the second unit of Acolytes and allowing me to claim the Defend Objective card.

The big problem with the Cult is their durability. They can hit hard on the turn they come in, but quickly melt to enemy attacks and firepower in reply. My basic infantry have terrible armour saves, but don't have the numbers to stick around too long.

I hope to get a codex this year. The Acolytes need a big points reduction. At 11 points per model, they are very expensive for a model with a 5+ save, T3 and 1 wound. They melt away as soon as you look at them.

Another loss for the Cult. I think I may have to invest in some Guard allies to bolster them. Infantry squads would serve as a better backfield unit than the Neophytes, allowing me to access the orders and stratagems of the Astra Militarum. 


  1. Another great Batrep, really enjoyable. I like his Thunderwolf Wraiths, and your army looked great on paper, interesting to see that the power is in those ambush rolls, not OP at all I think, sometimes devastating but as proven sometimes melting... Would the Purestrains not be better suited with the Patriach or has that 7th trick gone now?

    1. Cheers Siph!

      Yeah, the ambush can be incredibly powerful if you can get it off. You just need to fluff your rolls though and it can all go wrong. I would like to see an improvement to the cult ambush in the codex. For an army that is so reliant on the charge out of reserves, having to make a 9" charge on two thirds of the table is not great. With most armies, this would be incredibly, but the Genestealer Cult doesn't have the firepower to capitialise on getting so close on turn 1, they really do rely on combat.

      The Patriarch gives the Purestrains +1 to hit, as well as immunity to morale. The Primus also gives +1 to hit and much better odds of getting a good ambush roll when combined with the stratagem. I prefer the Primus for this reason. If you don't get the Purestrains into combat on the turn they arrive, they can be easily butchered by the enemy firepower.

    2. Thanks for the compliment on my robo wolves I did them so they would fit well as mechanicum allies.

  2. I spy Tekno-Heresy!

    And yeah, dear lord your dice were awful there. For an Army like GSC that tends to lack resilience, that can pretty much spell doom. I had a similar experience with my Slaanesh Daemons last weekend: They can hit hard, but they fall apart as soon as anyone so much as looks at them funny.

    1. Yeah, GSC really need that alpha-strike to do any sort of damage to the enemy army. If you have some poor ambush rolls, it can pretty much spell the end of the game for you.