There’s a lot to love (and talk about!) in the new Genestealer Cults codex. I think Games Workshop did an excellent job with this book. It’s characterful, fun, has a unique play style and I think it will be good on the tabletop, too! Nicely done, GW.
While going over the book with my friend and teammate iNcontroL (which you can listen to, here, or watch, here) we were debating the pros and cons of the various core formation choices in their Cult Insurrection Detachment (Decurion style detachment). We both agreed the command benefits of it made it more attractive to us than a CAD but I gravitated towards the Neophyte Cavalcade while iNcontroL was drawn to the Brood Cycle. The Brood Cycle features more of the unique Genestealer Cult units while the Neophyte Cavalcade has more of an Astra Militarum feel to it, and is cheaper.
The Neophyte Cavalcade comes with some “tax” units, which are usually what makes or breaks these Decurion style detachments. In this instance, the perceived tax units are pretty much all of the Astra Militarum units, haha. The stock Leman Russ Eradicator it comes with is cheap as chips and actually not bad though, in my experience
Having used one frequently with my Astra Militarum I can say that no, it is not an all star unit, but for 120pts you get a solid tank. AV14, and an Ignores Cover large blast that ISN’T Ordnance (meaning you can fire all other weapons without Snap Firing) makes it a solid “tax” unit. I usually run mine with a Heavy Bolter or Flamer. If I take Sponsons for it, which I typically do not, I run with Heavy Bolter Sponsons. Dozer Blades are a good consideration though, as you will often have to move through terrain to get into range of your main cannon. Keep this bad boy in the rear with the gear to protect backfield objectives or go after enemy light infantry sitting on objectives such as Scouts, Fire Warriors, Guardians, etc. He’s great at taking them out, just be wary of enemy infantry assaulting him as he will go down pretty easily in melee.
The Sentinel, unfortunately, is just terrible. I love the model but man they are so bad. This is the real tax in the formation but thankfully he’s cheap at 35pts stock. He also gains the Cult Ambush special rule which lets him deploy using some fun special rules, potentially getting to shoot twice or assault first turn, which is good fun. Otherwise, just use him to go after objectives and try not to die. In this instance, I’d run with either the stock Multi-laser or a Heavy Flamer and call it a day.
The formation’s two units of Neophytes must take Chimeras as their dedicated transports which is not bad, but not good either. Chimeras are meh this edition, certainly not bad but the core rules limiting vehicles to a single normal shot when they move really hurts them, unfortunately. It encourages them to sit and shoot which is counter to what a vehicle should be, IMO. But hey, that’s a topic for another day. The Chimera though, is not bad as stated. I run mine now with the Multi-laser and a Heavy Flamer in most instances if they will be mobile as these often will. The Chimeras also gain Outflank which is super useful and fits in with the high mobility of the rest of the army.
Also, all of the above units gain the ability to ignore the effects of Crew Stunned or Shaken on a 4+ (although they still lose a Hull Point) which is a nice bonus. In all, You’re looking at a base cost of only 285 points in “tax” units of which only 1 is truly bad (the Sentinel) but if you get first turn and roll well on the Cult Ambush table can actually do some serious work. Dropping two Heavy Flamer templates on a vulnerable unit or assaulting a shooting unit the first turn and tying it up can be really useful.
As for the Neophytes in the formation? For now on paper I have them with just two Flamers per unit to keep them cheap but play-testing may change that opinion. Some of their special weapons are pretty cool and could be quite good appearing in the backfield via Outflanking Chimeras.
So why this choice over the Brood Cycle which has no tax units and comes with a lot more of the characterful Genestealer Cults units? Because for me, the fun in this army is going to be in playing them using the Cult Ambush and Numbers Beyond Counting special rules! These are where the real fun for me will be I think. The Subterranean Uprising formation gives you MUCH better odds of using the above rules to maximum benefit as that formation’s special rules: Time to Rise Up and Meticulous Planner let you roll 2 or 3d6 on the table and choose the result you want. That way, every point I spend on units that will take advantage of Cult Ambush will be doing so more efficiently.
Then of course, I simply must take the Demolition Claw because mutants chucking TNT with abandon is awesome and the First Curse formation for my love of Genestealers that are actually scary again.
From there, I am batting around some ideas. I definitely think I will ally in another Patirach as they are incredibly for their points, possibly even another First Curse formation, muahaha! Not certain yet, but am enjoying theorizing out a list.
Which Core Formation are you thinking about taking for your Genestealer Cults army? You can pick them up at Frontline Gaming at up to 25% off this week, too!
Also, we have two new F.A.T. Mats now available! Be sure to grab yours, soon!