Monday, 4 March 2019

8th Edition Genestealer Cults Codex Review: Part 7- Fast Attack

Part 7 of my 8th edition Genestealer Cults Codex review will take a look at the fast attack options for the army. The codex features a couple of new units in this section, which should be useful for giving the Cult some fast mobility on the board before the reserves arrive. 

Fast Attack
Achilles Ridgerunners
The Cult gets a new buggy, fitted with a heavy weapon for some mobile firepower on the battlefield. First off, I think these are some great models and I look forward to adding one to my army. 

The Ridgerunner has a standard profile for a light vehicle. It has move 14", which makes it one of the fastest units in the game outside of flyers. It has the standard WS6+ for vehicles and BS4+ for standard infantry. It is strength and toughness 5, has 8 wounds, 3 attacks and a 4+ save. It is only Ld 7, which may make it susceptible to psychic powers that use Leadership values. 

It can be armed with either a Heavy Mining Laser, a Missile Launcher or a Heavy Mortar, in addition to two Heavy Stubbers. The Heavy Mining Laser is 36", Heavy D3, S9, AP-3 and D6 damage, so is a great anti-tank weapon. The Heavy Mortar is 48", heavy D6, S5, AP-1, 1 damage and can fire at units not visible to the firer. 

You can also take either a Survey Auger, which denies enemy cover saves, or a Spotter, which increases the range of its weapons by 6". I think I prefer the Spotter, allowing you to go longer range with your firepower. 

The vehicle also gets the Cult Ambush rule, as well as a 6+ save against wounds. It can also make a 9" Scout move before the game begins, though cannot move within 9" of an enemy model. While the Scout move is a nice rule, you cannot use it if you begin the game in Cult Ambush, so may have limited utility in practice. 

The Flare Launcher also allows you to make a Biker unit automatically advance 6" once per battle, which is a nice bonus for some of your Bikers. 

I think the role of the Achilles Ridgerunner is a bit odd. It is a fast vehicle, so useful for getting to good position on the board or to grab objectives. However, all its weapons are Heavy, so it will be hitting on a 5+ if it moves. This makes its firepower pretty expensive for only a 1 in 3 chance of hitting the target. The vehicle costs between 62 and 79 points depending on its armament. This is pretty expensive for a light vehicle with heavy weapons. You would be cheaper with a Heavy Weapons Squad for anti-tank firepower in the army. 

The Heavy Mortar is probably the best choice, but then you are better off sitting at the back of your deployment zone out of line of sight for firing. 

The Ridgerunner doesn't even benefit from the Rusted Claw Cult Creed, so cannot move and fire heavy weapons without penalty (thanks to WestRider for pointing this out in the comments below). 

As nice a model as it is, I don't think the Achilles Ridgerunner is a strong addition to the army. It does give you some mobility early in the game, but there are other ways to get this. 

Atalan Jackals
A new Biker unit for the Genestealer Cults army, giving you some much needed mobility around the battlefield in the early turns of the game. 

Each Jackal has move 14", BS and WS 4+, S3, T4, 2 wounds, 1 attack, Ld 7 and a 5+ save. The leader gets an extra attack and point of Leadership. They can be taken in squads of 4 to 12 and can include a Wolfquad. 

Each Biker gets an Autopistol and must take two weapons from the selected weapons list (though they cannot take the same weapon twice) and only one in four can take a Grenade Launcher. 

The weapons list includes an Autogun, Autopistol, Bolt Pistol, Cultist Knife, Demolition Charge and shotgun. 

I think the Demolition Charges and Shotgun or Autogun are a good option for the squad. They can use their mobility to get in close and fire Demolition charges at the enemy unit (probably using the stratagem to allow the whole squad to fire them). 

They get some protection from shooting, as they are -1 to hit from enemy firepower, which should help with their durability a bit. They can also use Cult Ambush, so can benefit from hidden deployment or kept in reserve for later in the game, which is a rarity for Biker units. 

The Wolfquad has four wounds and comes with a Heavy Stubber. Again, it suffers from moving and firing in most cases, so has limited utility on the battlefield. 

I think the Rusted Claw Creed is strong with the squad, allowing them to advance and fire their assault weapons without penalty or allows the Wolfquad to move and fire heavy weapons. Unlike most Bike units, they do not automatically advance 6", so advancing is not always guaranteed to help with their mobility significantly. 

They do get access to a nice stratagem, allowing them to move and fire, then move again (though they cannot charge). This allows them to have a huge threat range. You can move up to an enemy unit and unleash your Demolition Charges, then move back out of harms way or move onto on objective or block an enemy unit from moving. 

They can be kept cheap at 10 pts per model, or 15 pts each with a Demolition charge. For a unit of 4 or 5, this is not a huge points investment for having them on the board. However, there are much stronger combat and firepower units that the army can take instead. I'm not too sure what role there is for the Atalan Jackals in the army in most cases. 

Armoured Sentinel
The Sentinel provides a reasonably durable heavy weapons platform for the Genestealer Cults. You can take a Heavy Flamer, Autocannon, Missile Launcher, Lascannon or Plasma Cannon on the Sentinel, giving you some strong anti-tank firepower. 

It is reasonably durable, with T6, 6 wounds and a 3+ save. It is only BS4+, so you probably want to keep it stationary to get the most out of its firepower. It has no Cult Creed, so will not benefit from the Rusted Claw creed, allowing it to move and fire without penalty (or any other Creed bonus). 

A decent addition to the army for some good firepower. 

Scout Sentinel
The lighter version of the Sentinel as more limited weapons options, and has a lower toughness of 5 and a 4+ save. 

Because of this, it does get a Scout move of 9" at the start of the game, as well as a 9" move. This allows it to get a bit closer, to use its Heavy Flamer, for example. 

It can use Cult Ambush, but again, if you do so, you will not be able to use the Scout move of the vehicle, so I'm not sure it is worth using in many situations. 

A decent addition to the army, but not really required in most cases. 

The Genestealer Cult gets some great new models for its Fast Attack section. These give you the option of taking some highly mobile firepower in the army, albeit at reduced accuracy in most cases. If you are planning on running the Rusted Claw creed, then they could make useful additions to the army, otherwise they will struggle to do much in the game, in my opinion. 

I will probably want to run a small squad of Jackals for early mobility in the game and for grabbing objectives or harassing enemy units before the reserves can arrive.

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. It seems like the rules don't match the lore of the Ridgerunner, its best ability is to hide and fire a Mortar over the obstruction whilst stationary, which is a shame. I fancied Mining Lasers as short move up and blitz a tank but hitting on 5+ makes that a suicidal idea and gifts the opponent an easy kill. But I guess rule of Cool prevails and I have ordered one. Just one mind you.

    1. Yeah, I'll probably pick up one and a unit of Bikers, just as the models are pretty nice.

  2. I still haven't got around to fixing it, but it was pointed out in my own review of the Vehicles that only Infantry and Bikes benefit from the Cult Creeds. Even if they did, Rusted Claw wouldn't help with the Heavy Weapon problem, since that ability is Bikes only.

    I still bought one, and am going to get at least one more. My first one has a Mortar glued in place, but the "support system" can be swapped between the Spotter and the Augur (my personal preference when combo'd with the Mortar). For later ones, I'm going to try to make the weapon system swappable as well.

    Vehicle-mounted Heavy Weapons are really in an awkward place in 8th Ed. I do have a few ideas on how that could be fixed, but I'm not on the Dev Team, so it doesn't really matter :(

    Note that the Bikers can include more than one WolfQuad if the Unit is large enough. I feel like Shotgun/Cultist Knife* is the way to go for most Bikers. Maybe mix in a few Demo Charges in larger Units, or load up with them for a suicide squad to use Extra Explosives and Drive-By Demolitions for one big hit, but I don't really see them as a default option. Cheapness is the Jackals' main virtue. Outside of Rusted Claw, I think the WolfQuads could still be usable, either with Stubbers (because they're so cheap that hitting on 5+ isn't much of a sacrifice) or Incinerators (since they auto-Hit, and have 12" range, so you can use them immediately from Ambush or Tunnels). I do kind of wish you could mix up the Units a bit more. Take a handful of WolfQuads with Mining Lasers and just a few cheap Jackals as ablative Wounds or something like that.

    *Speaking of which, why is the Improvised CCW flat out worse than the Cultist Knife/Chainsword, despite being the same price? What's up with that? I'm just counting them as Cultist Knives, since they look cooler.

    1. Ah, good catch on the vehicles not benefiting from the Creeds. I keep forgetting about that!

      I agree that vehicle-mounted heavy weapons are an issue. They are fine on stationary tanks, but for mobile vehicles, they really suffer, especially at BS4+ or worse.

      There is no reason to take an improvised CCW over a cultist knife, other than the models are pretty cool. I can either get an extra attack or nothing?!? Difficult decision!