Wednesday 13 February 2019

8th Edition Genestealer Cults Codex Review: Part 4- HQ Units

Part four of my 8th Edition Genestealer Cults codex review will take a look at the HQ units in the codex. There are a few new additions to the army that give you some nice combat and firepower bonuses. 

HQ Units
All Genestealer Cults characters get the benefit of Unquestioning Loyalty, allowing them to pass on wounds to nearby units. This boosts the durability of your characters significantly. 

The Patriarch is a very strong combat monster for the Genestealer Cults, as well as providing some nice buffs to nearby units. 
He has a solid profile, hitting on a 2+, with 6 attacks at S6, AP-3 and D3 damage that allows you to re-roll failed to wound rolls with his Monstrous Rending Claws. He will chew through most squads that don't have a good invulnerable save. He is T5 and 6 wounds, with a 4+ save and 5+ invulnerable save. He is fairly durable, but will fall to high toughness, high AP weaponry. 

He also gives +1 to hit for Genestealer units within 6" (Genestealer units, not Genestealer Cults units), as well as a 6" immune to morale bubble. Like other Genestealers, he can advance and still charge. 

He also gets a boost over the Index version, now knowing 2 psychic powers from the Broodmind discipline, giving him more utility. However, he can still only cast one power per turn, unless he takes a familiar. 

There are a few of the warlord traits and relics that are of good use to the Patriarch. Unfortunately, he doesn't get any Cult Creeds, so won't receive these bonuses. 

He has dropped down to 125 pts in the codex, a 25 pts reduction over the Index. He is good value for points and will crush most units in combat. A solid choice for the Cult. 

The Magus has gone up to 80 pts in the codex. He is a psyker in the force, knowing two psychic powers from the Broodmind discipline and can cast one per turn. 

He also gives a nice bonus to nearby cult units, allowing units within 6" to deny psychic powers if they are targeted by them. This gives you some powerful psychic defence in your army against enemy psychic powers if you have a Magus nearby. 

There are some very useful psychic powers in the Broodmind discipline, so a Magus or two in your army is a solid addition. 

The Primus was almost essential in the index, giving huge bonuses to the Cult Ambush roll and helping to get your units into key position. With the change in the Cult Ambush rules, he loses some of this utility, but is still worth taking in an army. 

He has some reasonable combat ability, with four attacks, hitting on 2+ with a -2AP on his Bonesword. Alternatively, you can use the toxic injector claw and wound units on a 2+ (excluding vehicles). 

He also has a +1 to hit bubble in the fight phase, a big boost for the combat potential of the Genestealer Cults units. He also gets a new special rule for Meticulous Planner. When set up on the battlefield, choose one enemy unit. You can re-roll wound rolls of 1 for attacks made by friendly Cult units on that enemy unit when within 6" of the Primus.
This gives you some nice bonuses for getting re-rolls for wounding on a key enemy unit. 

I think the Primus is still a solid option for boosting the combat potential for the army. I would try arming him with the Relic bonesword, giving him 8 attacks in combat at AP-3!

Acolyte Iconward
The Iconward is a nice buffing character for the army. It gives all units within 6" a 6+ save against any wounds, as well as allowing re-rolls for morale tests within 6". 

As an added bonus, you also get to re-roll rolls of 1 for the Bestial Vigour saves on Aberrants if they are within 6" of the Iconward. This gives them a 5+ save with re-rolls of 1. 

The Iconward is pretty cheap (53 pts) and gives some nice buffs to nearby units. Taking the Iconward with the Relic banner is pretty strong, giving units +1 strength as well to units within 6". This is a good number of buffs for nearby units. The more reliable nature of the Cult Ambush means it is easier to get the Iconward into key position to affect a maximum number of units. 

The Abominant is a new unit for the Codex, recently introduced in the Tooth and Claw boxed set. This is a souped up Aberrant, that has some strong close combat potential. 

He has WS3+, S6, and 3 attacks. His Power Sledgehammer is Sx2, AP-3 and D6 damage (to a minimum of three), but does suffer -1 to hit. 

He is pretty durable, with T5, 5 wounds, a 5+ save, 5+ to ignore damage and regains D3 wounds each turn. 

He also buffs himself and nearby Aberrant units, where each unmodified 6 to hit results in two hits instead of 1. He also gives nearby enemy psykers a -1 to casting penalty. 

The Abominant has the potential to do some serious damage in combat. At S12, he will wound most enemy units outside of vehicles on a 2+ and can do up to 18 damage in a single round. Only having three attacks that hit on a 4+ means he may not do a lot of damage all the time. 

There are ways to adjust this though, either having a Primus nearby to give bonuses to hit, or giving him warlord traits or relics to give him extra attacks or re-rolls. For example, with the Twisted Helix creed and warlord trait, your Abominant goes up to S7, wounding vehicles on a 2+ in combat! He also does a minimum of 4 damage with each hammer blow and can do up to 7 damage on a single wound. 

At 105 pts, he is not the cheapest unit, but can potentially do a lot of damage if you can get him into combat. If he had more than 3 attacks, I would say he was a sure pick, but he could potentially fluff all his attacks and do no damage in combat. He is also susceptible to enemy firepower, with only a 5+ save and 5+ FNP. 

Jackal Alphus
Another new unit for the Genestealer Cults, the Jackal Alphus is a Biker armed with a Sniper Rifle. 

He has a 14" move, BS2+, WS3+, S3, T4, 5 wounds, 3 attacks and a 5+ save. He gets -1 to hit against enemy shooting attacks, helping to improve his durability. 

He also has a special rule called Priority Target Sighted. This allows you to pick a visible enemy unit within 36" of the Alphus. Until the end of the shooting phase, Cult units that target the chosen enemy unit get +1 to hit rolls when they are within 6" of the Alphus (or 12" if they are Bikers). This gives your units a nice bonus to their hit rolls if they are near the Alphus, allowing you to take on key enemy units. Again, this doesn't work for units like the Leman Russ or Heavy Weapons Teams, who would benefit the most. 

He also has a sniper rifle that is S4, AP-2 and D3 damage. This has the normal sniper rules, allowing you to target characters and doing mortal wounds on a 6+. 

Despite his high mobility, the Jackal Alphus is probably better being used as a backfield stationary unit, due to his heavy sniper rifle and long range. However, you can use his mobility if you need to. It also works well for Rusted Claw units, as you can move and fire the sniper rifle without penalty. 

A great relic for the Alphus is the Gift From Beyond, giving them +2 to wound and doing mortal wounds on a 4+. 

For 70 pts, he is pretty pricey for what he can do. I think the Priority Target Sighted rules is useful, but you would need to maximise the units that can use it, taking heavy weapons on your Neophyte hybrids. The sniper rifle is useful for taking on enemy characters. 

The Genestealer Cults have some very strong HQ units in the force. I would probably try and field most of them in the force, as they all give nice buffs to the army in general, or can cast good psychic powers to help out the army.

I look forward to trying out some of the new options available to the Genestealer Cults.

Genestealer Cults Codex Review
Part 1- Special Rules, Cult Creeds
Part 2- Stratagems
Part 3- Warlord Traits, Relics, Psychic Powers
Part 4- HQ Units
Part 5- Troops
Part 6- Elites
Part 7- Fast Attack
Part 8- Heavy Support and Dedicated Vehicles


  1. I don't care for the Abominant too much outside of Twisted Helix, for the reasons you mention, but if you give him another Attack with their Relic, and +1 to Hit with a Primus, he starts looking pretty awesome.

    The Jackal Alphus seems to me to be best with the various Fast Attack options (What a surprise!). Priority Target Sighted makes the Mining Lasers on Wolfquads and Heavy Mining Lasers on Ridgerunners much more effective. Or you can use it on a closer target for fun with Shotguns and/or Drive-by Demolitions.

    The others, there's not a whole lot to say about. They all have a pretty clear job, and in a welcome change for GW, they all seem to be pretty good at it.

    1. The smaller number of attacks does make the Abominant less appealing, especially as he is only hitting on 4+ normally.

      I think most of the HQ units are well suited to their roles, I'm looking forward to trying them out with the new rules.