Battle Report- Genestealer Cults vs Harlequins

Hi everyone, Michael here with another written battle report. My Genestealer Cults army takes on the Harlequins. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

This battle report features the inaugural battle featuring my Genestealer Cults army. I have been painting this army up for a few months now, so was excited to finally get them on the table. I know a few of the readers have been looking forward to this as well.


This game was to be against Yaro and his Harlequin army, and was played at the Spiky Club in Reading.


Yaro wanted to play 1500 points, as he is building up his Harlequins army and only had enough models for a smaller game. This would allow me to field a fully painted army, as I had enough done to field this level of points.

My army consisted of:

Battalion Detachment

  • Patriarch- Mass Hypnosis (Pt)
  • Magus- Might from Beyond (M)
  • Primus (Pr)
  • 10 Purestrain Genestealers (PG)
  • 10 Neophytes- Heavy Mining Laser (N1)
  • 10 Neophytes- Heavy Seismic Cannon, Grenade Launcher (N2)
  • 10 Acolytes- 2 Heavy Rock Cutters (A1)
  • 10 Acolytes- 2 Heavy Rock Drills (A2)
  • 10 Acolytes- 2 Heavy Rock Saws (A3)
  • Goliath Truck- Heavy Stubber, Twin Autocannon, Cache of Demolition Charges (GT)
  • Goliath Rockgrinder- Heavy Stubber, Clearance Incinerator (R)
  • 6 Aberrants- 3 Power Picks, 3 Power Hammers (A)

My army featured a mix of unit to try them out for the first time.

For my HQ units, I took the Patriarch, the Magus and the Primus. The Patriarch is a beast in combat, hitting incredibly hard and going through a lot of armour. I gave him Mass Hypnosis, to stop the Purestrains he would be accompanying from being shot up by overwatch fire. The Magus took Might from Beyond to boost the strength of the unit he was with. The Primus has some solid combat ability, as well as giving me useful deployment options from Cult Ambush.

For the troops, I took two units of Neophytes with Heavy Weapons. These would be used for holding objectives and taking pot shots at the enemy army. I also took three units of Acolytes. Each had two of the different Heavy Weapons, so that I could try them out and see how they performed in combat.

I took 6 Aberrants for some heavy combat punch and put them in the Goliath Rockgrinder. I also took a Goliath truck to transport another unit.

My warlord was the Patriarch, who took the new Genestealers Cult warlord trait. This allows any unit within 6″ of the warlord to perform a heroic intervention.

Yaro’s army consisted of:

Battalion Detachment

  • Troupe Master- Harlequin’s Caress, Fusion Pistol (TM1)
  • Troupe Master- Harlequin’s Caress, Fusion Pistol (TM2)
  • Spiritseer- Twilight Pathways (Sp)
  • Soltaire (Sol)
  • Death Jester (DJ)
  • 5 Troupe Players- Fusion Pistols, Harlequin’s Embrace (TP1)
  • 5 Troupe Players- Fusion Pistols, Harlequin’s Embrace (TP2)
  • 5 Troupe Players- Fusion Pistols, Harlequin’s Embrace (TP3)
  • 5 Troupe Players- Fusion Pistols, Harlequin’s Embrace (TP4)
  • Starweaver- 2 Shuriken Cannons (S1)
  • Starweaver- 2 Shuriken Cannons (S2)
  • Starweaver- 2 Shuriken Cannons (S3)
  • 2 Skyweavers- Glaives, Haywire Cannons (Sk)

A fast and hard hitting Harlequin army. The invulnerable saves of the army could prove to be tricky for me, as I think the Genestealer Cult combat troops are better at going through armour. I might also have issues with catching the fast moving Eldar army. Yaro actually had fewer points than he thought, so one unit of Chaos Space Marines were standing in for some Troupe Players in this game (in case you were wondering why they were in the photos!). His warlord was the Troupe Master.


We rolled for mission and got the Race to Victory maelstrom mission from Chapter Approved. In this mission, each player draws 3 maelstrom cards in their turn. The game ends when the first player scores 10 maelstrom cards, the winner being the player with the highest maelstrom score at this point.

We placed the objectives as shown below:

The deployment zone was Search and Destroy (table quarters) and Yaro chose his side to deploy. The deployment orders was as follows:

  1. Neophytes
  2. Skyweavers
  3. Purestrain Genestealers (Cult Ambush)
  4. Troupe Players
  5. Patriarch (Cult Ambush)
  6. Starweaver
  7. Goliath Truck
  8. Skyweaver
  9. Neophytes
  10. Starweaver
  11. Rockgrinde
  12. Soltaire
  13. Magus (Cult Ambush)
  14. Death Jester
  15. Rest of my army

I decided to set up my three characters, the Purestrain Genestealers and two units of Acolyte Hybrids in Cult Ambush. This would allow me to engage the Harlequins where they ended up on the board. I deployed one unit of Neophytes to hold an objective in my deployment zone, while the other unit of Neophytes and my two vehicles went behind the cover to keep them safe from the enemy guns.

Yaro spread out in his deployment zone, one Starweaver and the two Skyweavers towards the back. One Starweaver took cover behind the ruins, joined by the Troupe Players on foot. The Death Jester took up position with them. The final Starweaver and Soltaire went a bit further forward, ready to advance on my forces.

Yaro won the roll for first turn and chose to go first. However, I managed to seize the initiative and decided that I would go first. I was hoping I could build up a good lead with the cards and race towards victory.



In my first turn, I drew Defend Objective 1, Scour the Skies and Kingslayer. Not the best set of cards for my first turn. Objective 1 was out of reach of the enemy army, but to get it, I would probably need to sacrifice an Ambush unit. Kingslayer would also be tricky, as Yaro’s warlord was securely aboard one of the Starweavers. Hopefully, I could take out one of the skimmers to score Scour the Skies.

On my right flank, the two vehicles moved around the cover, as the Neophyte unit moved up on the objective. I then decided to launch my ambushes.

The Patriarch and Purestrain Genestealers used Meticulous Uprising to roll twice on the ambush table. I rolled a 2 and a 4. I used another command point to re-roll the 2, getting another 4. This allowed the unit to deploy at least 9″ from an enemy unit. I set them up behind the Starweaver and Skyrunners. The Primus and a unit of Acolytes then deployed, getting a 5 on the ambush table. They deployed next to the Starweavers, then managed to move up 3″ towards the units.

In the psychic phase, I cast Mass Hypnosis on the Skyweavers, using another command point to succeed. This would stop them from firing overwatch and they would fight last in the Fight phase.

In the shooting phase, the Neophytes fired their mining laser at the forward Starweaver, hitting and wounding it, but failing to get past its invulnerable save. The Goliath Truck fired at the same skimmer, hitting and wounding once, but once more the Starweaver’s invulnerable save protected it. The Rockgrinder fired its Heavy Stubber at the vehicle, but failed to hit. The -1 to hit on the enemy skimmers was proving to be powerful against my army.

On the other side of the field, the Acolytes fired their pistols at the Troupe Players, scoring only 2 hits with their 8 shots and killing one of the squad. The Primus fired his Pistol at the squad, killing another of the capering Aeldari.

In the charge, the Genestealers launched a multi-assault on the Starweaver and Skyweavers. I rolled a 6 and a 2, failing the charge. I used another command point to re-roll the 2 and was dismayed to roll a 1, failing the charge.

The Patriarch was able to make his charge against the Starweaver. The Acolytes charged the Starweaver and Skyweavers, while the Primus charged the enemy skimmer.

The Patriarch hit and wounded the enemy skimmer 5 times. Yaro failed one invulnerable and the Starweaver took a single wound. The Primus struck at the skimmer, wounding it once, but failing to get past its save.

The Acolytes then attacked the Harlequins. The Acolytes managed to wound it 5 times and the Starweaver took 3, leaving it on a single wound. One of the Acolytes with the Rock Drill attacked the skimmer and managed to destroy it, killing two of the squad in the process.

The other Acolytes attacked the Skyweavers. The normal Acolytes managed to do a single wound. The other Rock Drill did one more wound, then was able to do another mortal wound with its drill ability and kill one of the Skyweavers.

At the end of my turn, I scored First Blood and Scour the Skies. I discarded Defend Objective 1.

Not a great first turn for me there. I had used up four of my six command points and had only managed to take down a few Harlequins and a single transport vehicle.


In his first turn, Yaro drew Area Denial (have no enemy units in the centre of the battlefield), Secure Objective 1 and Hold the Line (have three of your units and no enemy units within 12″ of your deployment edge).

The Skyweaver fell back from combat, moving onto the objective. The Spiritseer disembarked and moved up on the Acolytes, Primus and Patriarch, supported by the Soltaire. The Troupe Players and Troupe Master from the destroyed Starweaver moved up to engage the Purestrain Genestealers.

The Death Jester moved up into the ruins to gain a better line of sight, while the two Starweavers moved up to target the enemy vehicles.

In the psychic phase, the Spiritseer cast Twilight Pathways on the three Troupe Players, periling in the process, but Yaro used a command point to pass the test. They moved up on the Acolytes. He then cast Smite, killing 3 of the Acolyte Hybrids.

In the shooting phase, the Skyweaver fired at the Acolytes, but failed to hit. The Death Jester fired at the Acolytes, killing two of the squad.

The Spiritseer threw his grenade, beating the Acolyte’s Leadership with an 11 and killing two more of the squad. The Troupe Master fired his Fusion Pistol at the Patriarch, hitting but failing to wound.

The three Troupe Players fired at the Patriarch, hitting and wounding twice, and causing 7 damage. The Patriarch took four wounds, passing three onto the nearby Primus. One of the Starweavers fired its shuriken cannon at the Acolytes, killing the last member of the squad.

On the other flank, the Harlequins turned their attention to the Goliath Truck. The Troupe inside one of the Starweavers fired their Fusion Pistols at the truck, hitting three times and wounding once. The single wound managed to do 6 damage, one of which was blocked by my Rugged Construction save. The Troupe Master warlord added his firepower, doing another 4 wounds to the Goliath Truck and leaving it on a single wound. The Starweaver fired at the vehicle, wounding it once, but I made by 4+ armour save.

This forced Yaro to fire the second squad of Fusion Pistols at the Goliath Truck, destroying it and killing one of the Acolyte Hybrids embarked. That was lucky for me. Had I failed the save from the Starweaver’s wound, it would have allowed Yaro to target the Rockgrinder with the Fusion Pistols and possibly destroy that as well.

In the charge phase, the Soltaire charged the Patriarch. The Spiritseer and Troupe Players charged the Primus. The other unit of Troupe Players and Troupe Master charged the Purestrain Genestealers.

The Troupe Players struck at the Genestealers, hitting and wounding 7 times, killing five of the Purestrains. I then used my last two command points to interrupt, striking with the Genestealers. They wiped out the Harlequin Troupe they were in combat with.

The Shadowseer attacked the Primus, killing him. The Soltaire attacked the Patriarch, hitting 8 times and wounding twice, but it was enough to kill the Cult Warlord.

The Troupe Master attacked the remaining Genestealers, killing two of the squad.

In the morale phase, the rest of the Purestrains fled the battlefield.

At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Slay the Warlord, Area Denial for one point and Secure Objective 1 and discarded Hold the Line.



Genestealers Cult- 2 (one card scored)

Harlequins- 3 (two cards scored)



In my second turn, I drew Advance (have no units in my deployment zone), Secure Objective 4 and had Kingslayer.

The Aberrants disembarked from the Rockgrinder, moving up to engage the enemy skimmers, supported by the nearby Acolytes. The Goliath Rockgrinder moved up on the Starweavers as well.

In the ruins to the south, the Neophyte Hybrids advanced out towards the objective. At the end of the phase, the final units of the ambush arrived. The Magus led the Acolytes towards the Troupe Master and other Harlequin characters.

In the psychic phase, the Magus failed to manifest Smite on the Troupe Master.

On the left flank, the newly arrived Acolytes opened fire on the Troupe Players with their pistols. They managed an impressive one hit out of eight shots (despite only needing a 4+ to hit!), but failed to wound with that single shot.

On the other flank, the Clearance Incinerator from the Rockgrinder fired on the Starweaver in front of it, getting one shot that failed to wound. The nearby Acolytes fired at the transport and was able to cause two wounds from their pistol fire that got through the invulnerable save.

The squad of Neophytes added their firepower. The Seismic Cannon failed to hit, but one of the Autoguns managed to get past their armour.

In the charge phase, the Acolytes charged the Troupe, Soltaire and Spiritseer on the left flank. The Spiritseer managed to hit with a hallucinogen grenade, killing two of the squad after Yaro used a command point.

On the other flank, the Rockgrinder charged one of the Starweavers, taking a wound in overwatch. The Acolytes charged both Skimmers, while the Aberrants charge the other Starweaver.

On the left flank, the Acolytes attacked. Some of the squad attacked the Troupe, causing three wounds on the squad. For once, Yaro failed his saves and the squad was killed. The Acolytes with Rock Cutters targeted the Spiritseer. Four attacks, hitting on a 4+, I was dismayed to roll four 3’s for my attacks! Some of the other Acolytes managed to put a single wound on the Spiritseer with their attacks.

On the other flank, the Rockgrinder attacked a Starweaver, causing four wounds. Yaro passed all his invulnerable saves and the transport was unharmed. This was starting to get infuriating!

The Aberrants attacked the other Starweaver. The Power Picks managed a single wound that was saved. The Power Hammers then struck, wounding the vehicle three times. Yaro passed two saves, then used a command point to pass the third save and leave it unharmed!

Finally, the Acolytes targeted the Warlord’s Starweaver. The squad did 7 wounds on the skimmer, destroying it. Three of the squad died emerging from the vehicle. Due to model placement, only two of the squad could be deployed, so a single Troupe Player and the Troupe Master were deployed.

The Starweaver struck back at the Aberrants, wounding one of them once. On the other side of the field, the Spiritseer killed two of the Acolytes, while the Soltaire killed another three.

In my morale phase, one more Acolyte fled the field. The lone Troupe Player passed his morale test.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4 and discarded Kingslayer. Another pretty poor turn for me. The attacks of the Cult had been severely blunted by the amazing invulnerable saves of the Harlequins (couple with Yaro’s rolling!).



This turn, Yaro drew Defend Objective 6, Overwhelming Firepower and Psychological Warfare.

On the left flank, the Starweaver, last Skyweaver, Troupe Master and Troupe Player converged on the Neophytes holding the objective. The Soltaire fell back from combat, blitzing towards the Aberrants.

The other Troupe Master moved up on the Magus, while the Spiritseer fell back from combat as well.

The Spiritseer threw a Hallucinogen grenade at the two Acolytes, hitting but failing to do any damage. The Death Jester fired at the two Acolytes, killing one of the squad.

The Skyweaver fired on the Aberrants, wounding and killing one of them. The Troupe in the Starweaver fired at the Neophytes, killing four of them. The Troupe Player and Troupe Master added their firepower, killing two more.

The other Troupe Master fired at the Magus, slaying him with his Fusion Pistol.

In the charge phase, the Starweaver, Skyweaver, Troupe Player and Troupe Master charged the Neophytes. The Soltaire attempted to charge the Aberrants, but failed to make the distance. The Spiritseer tried to charge the lone Acolyte, but failed as well.

In the fight phase, the Harlequins easily wiped out the Neophytes.

At the end of his turn, Yaro scored Overwhelming Firepower.


Genestealers Cult- 3 (two cards scored)

Harlequins- 4 (three cards scored)



In my third turn, I drew Secure Objective 4 and Defend Objective 2, to go with Advance.

The Aberrants moved up on the Harlequins holding the objective, while the Rockgrinder and Acolytes moved up on the Soltaire. On the left flank, the lone Acolyte moved up on the Troupe Master.

In the shooting phase, the Rockgrinder fired its Incinerator at the Soltaire, hitting and wounding 5 times. Yaro passed all his invulnerable saves once more. The Heavy Stubber fired at the nearby Troupe Player, hitting twice but failing to wound.

The Acolytes fired their pistols at the Soltaire, but failed to cause any damage. The remaining Neophytes fired on the Skyweaver, killing him with their Grenade Launcher.

In the charge phase, the Goliath Rockgrinder failed a 6″ charge on the Soltaire. The nearby Acolytes did managed to make it into combat. The Aberrants charged the Troupe Master and Troupe Player, while the lone Acolyte charged the other Troupe Master.

The Acolytes struck at the Soltaire, hitting with only 12 of their 19 attacks and causing 8 wounds. True to form, Yaro failed a single invulnerable save on the Soltaire. Yaro then used his last two command points to interrupt and attack the Aberrants with the Troupe Master. He managed to slay two of the squad.

The Aberrants then attacked the Troupe Master. They hit with 5 of their 6 attacks, then managed to do only three wounds (as I rolled two ones to wound). Yaro then passed all three invulnerable saves and the troupe master was fine.

The other Acolyte hit and wounded the Troupe Master with the Rock Cutter, but unsurprisingly, the invulnerable kept him from harm.

In reply, the Troupe Master killed the lone Acolyte. The Soltaire struck down 6 Acolytes. The Starweaver killed another Aberrant in combat.

In the morale phase, I lost another Acolyte. At the end of my turn, I scored Advance, while Yaro scored Defend Objective 6 and Psychological Warfare.



In his third turn, Yaro drew Mission Critical Objective (Objective 4), Secure Objective 5 and Behind Enemy Lines.

We decided to call the game there. Yaro would score all three of his cards this turn, and I would be unlikely to survive the rest of the turn, as I had very few units left.


Genestealers Cult- 4 (three cards scored)

Harlequins- 10 (8 cards scored)



Wow! That game was “new model syndrome” personified!

A pretty abysmal first outing for the Genestealers Cult. It doesn’t help when your opponent appears to be making around 90% of his invulnerable saves during the game! I think this was shown in the third turn, when I scored 17 wounds in the turn, for Yaro to fail a single invulnerable save the whole turn. This was pretty much par for the course for the whole game.

Unfortunately, I had a lot of high AP attacks in my army, but these were pretty useless against the Harlequins.


I think perhaps seizing the initiative was the wrong move. Had I let Yaro take the first turn, he may have spread his units out a bit more, allowing me to gang up on a unit at a time and hopefully cause a bit more damage to the army.

Not sure what else I could have done in this game. All my attacks simply bounced off the Harlequin army, causing little damage, so I was at a severe disadvantage when it came to the return firepower and attacks.

I look forward to more games with the Genestealers Cult. Hopefully, they will go a lot better than this.

I hope you enjoyed the report. If you have any tips or tactics on using the Genestealer Cults army, please let me know in the comments below.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

11 Responses to “Battle Report- Genestealer Cults vs Harlequins”

  1. Hiveminded December 27, 2017 6:27 am #

    Nice battle report.

    GSC are in a tough place right now…even against other index armies. The faction can’t really stand on its own. The only people I’ve seen be successful with cult are running IG/cult allied lists and leveraging the IG strengths.

    • Michael Corr December 27, 2017 6:50 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it.

      It was only my first game with the Cult, so I am hoping matters will improve as it goes on. I got a big bunch of re-inforcements in the form of a Leman Russ, Sentinels and more Purestrains, which I hope will help out.

      Unfortunately, I don’t really like mixed armies, preferring to play with one faction, so we’ll see how I get on with pure Genestealer Cults in the new year.

  2. CWDub December 27, 2017 7:11 am #

    Beautifully painted Cult army, Michael. Same scheme was mine! (the orange and purple look sooooooooooo gooooood together.)

    As Hiveminded said, GSC are in a real bad place right now. The acolytes are just too expensive for what they do compared to Purestrains and there’s not enough morale mitigation in an army that basically plays like choppy guard without much in the way of force multipliers. Still though, kudos on you busting them out and great batrep!

    • Michael Corr December 27, 2017 7:18 am #

      Thanks very much, CWDub! I’m taken a lot of time and effort on my Genestealer Cult army. Such beautiful models, I wanted to try and do them justice.

      I agree with you, the orange is very striking on the models. I think it works really well with the grey of the armour and the blue/purple of the skin.

      The morale has been a big shock to me. I’ve only really played Marine armies in 8th edition so far, so didn’t really have much to fear from morale. I didn’t think there was much point to it, but it can be brutal on armies with larger units that don’t have much in the way of morale mitigation.

  3. Clem December 27, 2017 8:53 am #

    Great BR! The “sand table” movement graphic looks great.

    • Michael Corr December 27, 2017 3:03 pm #


  4. Twitch December 27, 2017 6:26 pm #

    Good report. A couple things of note though. Neophyte units cannot take the heavy versions of the mining laser and seismic cannon. Also when you use unquestioning loyalty to pass off wounds it doesn’t do wounds to the receiving squad, it slays models, so the primus could only take one wound from the patriarch and he would have died from it.

    • Michael Corr December 28, 2017 2:36 am #

      Awesome, thanks for the clarifications! I thought the Unquestioning Loyalty passed on mortal wounds, but it is models removed. Will need to try and remember that for future games.

  5. bonesaww666 December 27, 2017 10:15 pm #

    Great Battle report man, loved it, glad to see some GSC stuff up for me to read!

    Acolytes are great with the Rock Saws man, the other weapons need a Primus about to help boost their to-hit potential.

    Aberrants are potentially great, but I think they all need hammers to do what they can well, the pick wielding Aberrants are better replaced by Purestrains… I’m hoping in the Codex Aberrants get one more wound… they need a little something to get them over the hill.

    Army looks great, I look forward to see how you get on, keep up the good work and may the 4 Armed Emperor Protect and Guide you!

    • Michael Corr December 28, 2017 2:39 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it, hoping to get a lot more practice with them in the new year.

      The Aberrants took a mix of weapons to see what worked, plus it was what they were armed with. The damage potential of the hammers is crazy, so will probably be going with them from now on. I think they could do with a wound boost as well. The -1 to damage is nice, but doesn’t come in to play a whole lot of the time. If they were 3 wounds each, it could be a really nice boost for them.

      And remember, the true 4 armed Emperor protects and guides us all!

      • bonesaww666 December 28, 2017 9:06 am #

        I hope when GW gets around to making an actual Aberrant Kit that we can take them without weapons, as of right now I just use the Pick Axe guys as ablative wounds for the far more valuable Hammers, but yeah the one extra wound would really help them out.

        With the points drop on the Seismic Cannons they are pretty good now too, it greatly increase the shooting potential of your Neophytes, coupled with Grenade Launchers it allows small units to lay down some decent fire for your troops.

        As far as Brood Brothers go, I really like the Punisher Tanks, Purestrains often get gummed up wrestling with bubble wrap (then usually shot into bits) and the Punisher excels at getting rid of them.

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