Battle Report- Genestealer Cults vs Space Marines

Hi everyone, Michael here with a written battle report. My Genestealer Cults army takes to the field against a force of Salamanders Space Marines. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

This week’s battle report sees the first outing for my Genestealer Cults army with the new Codex, taking on Chris’ Salamanders Space Marine army in a maelstrom of war mission. For more battle reports, you can check out my blog, St Andrews Wargaming, or follow the blog on the Facebook page to keep up to date on all the latest hobby updates and battle reports.

We were playing the Tactical Cascade mission with Search and Destroy deployment. In this mission, you pick the first two maelstrom cards you wish to score. In each subsequent turn, you draw two cards for each maelstrom card you scored in the previous turn, up to 6 cards in total.

My army consisted of:

Brigade Detachment (Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor)

  • Patriarch- Monstrous Rending Claws, Shadow Stalker, Might From Beyond, Mental Onslaught
  • Primus- Sword of the Four-Armed Emperor, Alien Majesty
  • Primus- Needle Pistol, Bonesword
  • Magus- Inscrutable Cunning, The Crouchling, Mental Onslaught, Mass Hypnosis
  • Magus- Psionic Blast, Might From Beyond
  • 10 Acoltye Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Drills
  • 10 Acoltye Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Saws
  • 10 Acoltye Hybrids- 2 Heavy Rock Cutters
  • 10 Acoltye Hybrids- 4 Demolition Charges
  • 10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autogun, Grenade Launcher, Heavy Stubber
  • 10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autogun, Grenade Launcher, Heavy Stubber
  • 15 Purestrain Genestealers
  • 15 Purestrain Genestealers
  • 5 Aberrants- Heavy Power Hammers
  • Scout Sentinel- Missile Launcher
  • Scout Sentinel- Autocannon
  • Scout Sentinel- Lascannon
  • Leman Russ- Battle Cannon, Lascannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons
  • Goliath Rockgrinder- Clearance Incinerator, Heavy Stubber
  • Heavy Weapons Team- Mortars

 

I chose the Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor for the additional charge distance and advance distances, as well as the Vect-type stratagem, “A Plan Generations in the Making”.

It wasn’t until I had the army made that it was pointed out that you can only have one of each character in a detachment. I had completely missed this rule when reading the codex, so played with the army I had made. I have no idea why this is a necessary rule.

For the HQ units I took a Patriarch and two Magus and Primus. I used the Broodcoven stratagem to give three of them warlord traits. The Patriarch got -1 to hit, the Primus got +3″ to his aura abilties and the Magus got a free re-roll and a bonus D3 command points (I got three bonus CP in this case). I took a spread of the new psychic powers in the force to try them out.

For troops, I took four units of Acolyte Hybrids with heavy weapons and two units of Neophyte Hybrids with some heavier firepower. I was keep to try out the Demolition charges on the Acolytes to see what havoc they could wreak.

For Elites, I went with two units of Genestealers for taking out the enemy forces and a unit of Aberrants with Power Hammers to deal with any armour in the enemy army. I kept the Fast Attack choices cheap with three sentinels, armed to give me a bit more armour-busting potential.

For Heavy Support, I took the Leman Russ and the Goliath Rockgrinder to try out its boosted combat potential. I also took a Heavy Weapons Team armed with mortars for some good firepower that I could hide out of sight.

Chris’ army consisted of:

Brigade Detachment (Space Marines, Salamanders)

  • Captain- Bike, Thunder Hammer, Shield Eternal, Storm of Fire (warlord trait).
  • Techmarine- Bike, Power Axe, Primarch’s Wrath
  • Lieutenant- Power Sword, Combi-Melta
  • 5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Meltagun, Combi-Melta
  • 5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Meltagun, Combi-Melta
  • 5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Plasma, Combi-Plasma
  • 5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Heavy Bolter
  • 5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Power Sword, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
  • 5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Power Sword, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
  • Contemptor Dreadnought- Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter
  • Contemptor Dreadnought- Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter
  • Primaris Ancient- Bolt Rifle
  • 4 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Grav Gun, Combi-grav, Chainswords
  • 3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords
  • Attack Bike- Heavy Bolter, Twin Bolters
  • 5 Devastators- Two Lascannons, Bolters
  • 5 Devastators- Two Missile Launchers, Armorium Cherub, Bolters
  • Thunderfire Cannon- Teachmarine with Servo-arm, Flamer, Plasma Cutter
  • Razorback- Twin Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter
  • Razorback- Twin Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter
  • Razorback- Twin Lascannon, Storm Bolter

A Marine-heavy force with a lot of Bolters to worry my fragile troops, as well as heavy weapons to take out my armour. I think Salamanders are a very strong Chapter for the Space Marines. The free re-rolls for most units is great, saving you on those precious command points for re-rolls.

 

We set up the objectives as shown below:

My deployment was pretty straight forward. I spent 1CP on the Scanner Decoys stratagem to give me an extra three blip counters to deploy. I spread them around my deployment zone to give me a number of options if I took the first turn.

 

Chris set up his forces second. He put the two Devastator squads, the Thunderfire Cannon, Primaris Ancient and Heavy Bolter Tactical Squad in the ruins to the back of his deployment zone. He put the two Intercessor units in the ruins to his right. The rest of the units went towards the centre of his zone, the Dreadnoughts out in front, led by the characters.

For my maelstrom cards, I removed Assassinate, Advance, Domination, Psychological Warfare, Scour the Skies and Witch Hunter.

I decided to take the first turn and Chris failed to seize the initiative. He spent 2CP on the prepared positions stratagem.

 

TURN 1- GENESTEALER CULTS

In my first turn, I chose Secure Objective 2 and Supremacy.

I revealed the deployment of my forces. I put one unit of Neophyte Hybrids in the ruins to the left of my deployment zone, with another on the trenches in the centre next to the objective. In forward positions, I put a unit of Acolytes, a Magus and the Goliath Rockgrinder. Towards the back, I put the Mortar Team, Leman Russ and three Sentinels. I used the They Came From Below stratagem to put two units of Acolytes and a Magus into reserve and deploy in ambush.

The Rockgrinder moved up on the enemy forces, while the Acolytes and Magus advanced on the enemy army. One Sentinel advanced onto an objective.

In the psychic phase, the Magus cast Psionic Blast, doing one mortal wound on a Contemptor Dreadnought.

In the shooting phase, the Rockgrinder fired its Incinerator at the Intercessors, doing 7 hits with one command point re-roll. The flamer did three wounds, which were all saved by the armour. The Neophytes added their firepower, doing one wound with their Autoguns.

The Leman Russ fired at the Bikers, killing one with the Battle Cannon. The other Heavy Weapons did no damage. The Sentinels fired their Lascannon and Missile Launcher at the Razorback, but both failed to hit.

 

In the charge phase, the Goliath Rockgrinder charged the Intercessors, hitting four times and killing two of the Marines. It was able to consolidate into the Razorback to stop it from firing. In reply, the Intercessors managed to do 5 wounds on the Rockgrinder! Three got through its armour, and the Razorback took another wound from it.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 2 and Supremacy to give me three points.

 

TURN 1- SPACE MARINES

In his first turn, Chris chose Supremacy and No Prisoners for his first cards.

The Salamanders moved up on the approaching army. The Bikers moved to target the Acolytes, while the Razorback, Dreadnought and Characters moved up on the enemy forces. The Razorback and Intercessors fell back from combat with the Goliath Rockgrinder.

In the shooting phase, one unit of Bikers opened fire on the Acolytes, killing 7. The Intercessors fired at the Neophyte squad, killing 5 with their Bolt Rifles. The Attack Bike added its firepower, killing one more.

The Tactical Squad in the ruins fired on the Neophytes and Acolytes, killing 2 Neophytes and one Acolyte. The Devastator squad fired on the Rockgrinder, doing 11 wounds with the two shots and destroying the enemy vehicle. The Missile Launcher Devastators fired at the Autocannon Sentinel holding the objective, destroying it. The Squad’s Bolters fired at the Acolytes, killing two more. The Ancient added his firepower, wiping out the squad.

The Dreadnought fired on the Magus, killing him in a hail of fire. The second Biker unit fired at the Neophytes, wiping them out. The other Contemptor fired at the second unit of Acolytes, killing three of the squad.

The Razorback with the Lascannons fired at the Lascannon Sentinel, hitting and wounding once and taking three wounds from it. The other Razorback fired its Heavy Bolters at the Sentinel, doing three wounds. I failed all three saves, but used a CP re-roll to keep it alive on one wound and deny Chris his sixth kill.

The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the Sentinel, doing two wounds and destroying it.

At the end of his turn, Chris scored Supremacy for 2 points and 5 point for No Prisoners, as well as First Strike.

 

VICTORY POINTS:

Genestealer Cults- 3

Space Marines- 8

 

A great round of shooting had seen the Cult melt away and score Chris a huge number of points for No Prisoners. I was going to have to do a lot in my second turn if I had a chance of surviving this game.

 

TURN 2- GENESTEALER CULTS

In my second turn, I drew Defend Objective 2, Defend Objective 3, Defend Objective 5 and Lay Low the Oppressor (kill an enemy character). Not a great round of cards, as most of these were too far away from my forces to defend.

There was little movement from the Cult units on the battlefield as they waited for their brothers to launch the ambush.

I used Lying in Wait on the Demolition charge Acolytes, deploying them behind the Thunderfire Cannon. I then used Perfect Ambush on the Purestrain Genestealers, moving them 4″ away from the Intercessors. Chris used Auspex Scan on the unit of Intercessors to fire on the Genestealers, but only managed to do three hits and one wound, killing one.

A Magus and Primus also deployed to support them. Two units of Acolytes and the Abberants then deployed on the right flank, supported by the other Primus.

In the psychic phase, the Magus cast Mass Hypnosis on the Intercessors to stop them from firing overwatch on the Genesteaelers.

 

In the shooting phase, I used the Extra Explosives stratagem to fire on the Techmarine with the Demolition charges. The enemy character was easily slain by the explosive charges.

The Mortars fired on the Bikers, getting 13 shots, but no wounds. The Neophytes did one wound on a Biker.

The Leman Russ fired at the Missile Launcher Devastators, doing 5 wounds with the Battle Cannon, but only killing one of the squad. The Heavy Bolters fired at the Bikers, killing two of the squad. The Lascannon struck a Dreadnought, taking four wounds from it.

 

In the charge phase, the Purestrain Genestealers charged the Attack Bike and two units of Intercessors, losing three to overwatch fire. The Aberrants charged the Razorback, needing a command point re-roll to make it in, taking one wound to overwatch fire. A unit of Acolytes and the Primus managed a charge on the Bikers in the trench.

The Genestealers attacked the Salamanders in combat. They put five wounds on one squad, leaving the Intercessor Sergeant on one wound. The second squad also fell, leaving the Sergeant on one wound again. The remaining Genestealers struck at the Attack Bike, taking it down to a single wound.

Chris then used 2CP to interrupt, attacking with the Bikers against the Acolytes. killing four of the squad.

The rest of the Genestealer Cults forces attacked. The Primus struck at the Bikers, killing one and wounding another. The Acolytes with the Heavy Rock Drill struck at the Bikers, killing one and leaving one on a single wound. I rolled for the Drill’s mortal wounds ability, but rolled a 1, leaving the Biker alive.

The Aberrants struck at the Razorback, destroying the vehicle with their powerful attacks.

The Salamanders struck back, killing five of the Genestealers in combat. Two more fled in the morale phase.

At the end of my turn, I scored Lay Low the Oppressor and discarded Defend Objective 3.


TURN 2- SPACE MARINES

In his second turn, Chris drew Defend Objective 1, Defend Objective 5, Secure Objective 2 and Psychological Warfare.

On the left flank, the Contemptor Dreadnought and Tactical Squad moved up on the Acolytes and Aberrants. The lone Biker fell back from combat towards the objective, while the Biker Captain and Techmarine moved up to engage them.

The Attack Bike moved back towards the Acolytes behind the ruins. At the end of the phase, the Techmarine healed 3 wounds on the Dreadnought.

The Razorback opened fire on the Neophytes, killing three of them. The Biker added its firepower, killing one more. The Contemptor added its firepower, killing two more and leaving one remaining.

The Captain fired at the Acolytes in front of him, killing two. The Tactical Squad fired at the Aberrants, killing two.

In the backfield, the Attack Bike fired at the Demolition Acolytes, killing 7 after every shot hit and wounded! The Tactical Squad added their firepower, killing them off. The Devastator Squad fired their Lascannons at the Aberrants, hitting and wounding only once. Chris rolled a 1 for damage, but I made my Monstrous Vigour save.

The second Devastator Squad added their firepower, killing only one of the squad, even with the Armorium Cherub.

The Contemptor fired at the Aberrants and Acolytes, wiping out the Acolytes. The Kheres Assault Cannon did four wounds on the Aberrants, but I made all my saves.

In the charge phase, the Dreadnought charged the Aberrants, while the Captain assaulted the Primus. The Dreadnought took out the Aberrants, but the Captain only managed a single wound on the Primus, taking 3 damage from him.

The Intercessor Sergeant killed one Genestealer, while the rest of the Genestealers killed the other Sergeant. The Primus did three wounds on the Captain, but all were saved.

In the morale phase, the one Neophyte and two Acolytes fled the field.At the end of his turn, Chris scored Secure Objective 2 and Psychological Warfare, discarding Defend Objective 5.

 

VICTORY POINTS:

Genestealer Cults- 4

Space Marines- 10

The Salamanders had managed to get a big lead, as well as inflicting heavy casualties on the Cult.

 

TURN 3- GENESTEALER CULTS

In my third turn, I had Defend Objective 2, Defend Objective 5, Blood and Guts and Claim Dominion (control an objective your opponent controlled at the start of the turn).

The Primus moved up on the lone Biker, while the Magus and Genestealers moved up on the lone Intercessor. On the other flank, the lone Acolyte moved up on the Captain and Primus.

At the end of the phase, the Patriarch arrived near the Dreadnought. The Genestealers used Perfect Ambush to go after the Space Marines in the ruins, getting a 6″ move up on the units.

In the psychic phase, the Magus cast Mass Hypnosis on the Tactical Squad on the ruins. The Patriarch then cast Mental Onslaught on the Contemptor Dreadnought, taking 8 wounds from it!

 

In the shooting phase, the Sentinel fired on the wounded Dreadnought, but failed to hit. The Mortar team fired at the Tactical Squad, killing one.

The Leman Russ opened fire on the Contemptor and Biker, doing one wound on the Biker. The Battle Cannon failed to do any damage on the Dreadnought, the Lascannon hitting, but failing to wound with a command point re-roll.

In the charge phase, the newly arrived Genestealers assaulted the Tactical Squad and Primaris Ancient. The lone Acolyte charge the Captain, while the Magus and Genestealers assaulted the Intercessor Sergeant. The Patriarch failed to make a charge on the Captain.

In the fight phase, the Genestealers tore the Tactical Marines and Ancient to shreds, consolidating into the two units of Devastators.

The Primus did three wounds on the lone Biker with his Toxic Injector Claw, but Chris made all three of his 4+ armour saves. The Acolyte in combat with the Captain did two wounds with the Rock Cutter, but both were saved by the Storm Shield. The Primus failed to do any damage to the Captain.

The Genestealers and Magus struck at the Intercessor Sergeant on one wound, but neither managed to do any damage. The Sergeant struck back, killing one Genestealer. The Captain split his attacks between the Acolyte and Primus, killing both.

 

At the end of my turn, I scored Claim Dominion and Blood and Guts. Unfortunately, I had only killed two units in combat. Had I been able to finish off the Intercessor Sergeant or Biker (both on one wound), I would have got the D3 points for it.

 

TURN 3- SPACE MARINES

In his third turn, Chris drew Blood and Guts, Defend Objective 1, Secure Objective 5, Kingslayer and Big Game Hunter.

The Captain moved up on the Patriarch. The Tactical Squad and Lieutenant disembarked from the Razorback to move up on the Genestealers. The lone Biker fell back from combat towards the Leman Russ, accompanied by the Dreadnaught, who moved up. The other Tactical Squad moved up on the Primus in the ruins. The Attack Bike moved round to target the Genestealers and Magus. Another Tactical Squad advanced on the Sentinel.

The Tactical Squad fired their Meltaguns at the Sentinel, doing 5 wounds on it. The Dreadnought added its firepower, destroying the enemy vehicle.

The Techmarine fired at the Mortar team, killing two of them. The Razorback added its firepower, destroying the last member of the squad.

The Dreadnought fired on the Leman Russ, doing two wounds to the enemy vehicle. The Razorback fired its Lascannons at the Leman Russ, doing two wounds with one CP re-roll. Chris rolled 9 damage for the attacks, leaving the Russ on a single wound.

The Devastator Squads fired their Pistols at the Genestealers, killing 5 of the squad.

In the charge phase, the Captain assaulted the Patriarch. The Lieutenant and Tactical Squad assaulted the Genestealers, while the Attack Bike assaulted the other unit of Genestealers.

 

The Captain struck at the Patriarch, only hitting once (thanks to the -1 to hit from the warlord trait), taking three wounds from him. The Tactical Squad and Lieutenant attacked the Purestrains, killing five. The Attack Bike killed the last two Genestealers from the other unit.

The Devastators then attacked the Genestealers, killing two more. The Magus attacked the lone Intercessor Sergeant, hitting once but failing to wound. The other unit of Devastators managed to wipe out the Genestealers, while the Sergeant put two wounds on the Magus.

The Patriarch struck at the Captain, doing five wounds, but Chris made all his Storm Shield Saves. Chris spent 3CP on the Captain to attack again, hitting and wounding twice, but I made both invulnerable saves!

At the end of his turn, Chris scored Blood and Guts and Secure Objective 5.

 

VICTORY POINTS:

Genestealer Cults- 6

Space Marines- 12

 

I decided to call the game there. Chris was way ahead on points and I had only a handful of models left on the board. A win for the Space Marines!

AFTER-BATTLE THOUGHTS

Thanks to Chris for a fun game. I’m still working out the kinks in the new Genestealer Cults codex.

I really need to get some of the new buffing characters painted up. The Sanctus and Jackal Alphus with their Sniper Rifles would have been useful to try and take out some of the buffing characters. The Nexos would have been useful to try and gain back a few more command points, and the Clamavus would have helped me make a few more charges.

 

There were a number of tactical errors that I made during this game.

One error was throwing away the unit of Acolytes and the Magus that started on the board. I was unable to put one unit of Acolytes in reserve, thanks to the matched play limits. A better use would have been using the Return to the Shadows stratagem to put them into reserve to come on in turn 2. The Magus would have been better deployed further back to be of more use in future turns.

Another error was going after the Thunderfire Cannon with the Demolition charges. Even though this scored me the maelstrom card, I might have been better going after the two Devastator squads. Reducing their firepower for the rest of the game would have been a good use of their grenades before they were destroyed.

Going after three units with the Genestealers in turn 2 was also a mistake. If they were regular Marines, I would have probably wiped out all three squads. However, the extra wound of the Primaris Marines meant that I was not able to kill any of the three units, allowing them to hit back and take out many of the Genestealers in combat.

 

The firepower of the Cult is pretty useless. I rarely achieved anything in the shooting phase with my army. I think hiding the Neophytes for grabbing later objectives would also have been more useful. On a similar theme, the Sentinels are pretty useless too. Single shot weapons with BS4+ are simply too unreliable to be of much use.

Some things do work well though. Mental Onslaught is a great power for the Patriarch. With Ld10, he has the potential to do a lot of damage if you are rolling well. He was able to take all but one wound from one of the Dreadnoughts in a single phase. He will probably take this power from now on.

Chris’ rolling in this game also didn’t help. He didn’t fail a single invulnerable save on his Captain the whole game, despite being wounded about 10 times in total. The Salamanders trait was also a big boost, giving him a ton of re-rolls on key units during the game. The massed bolter fire was pretty devastating for my lightly armoured units.

 

I think the Rusted Claw creed would have been useful in this army. Getting a 4+ armour save in combat or up to a 3+ armour save in cover against shooting attacks really would have boosted the durability of my weaker infantry units.

A few lessons to learn in my first game with the new codex. I’m looking forward to trying out the different creeds and units in future games.

For more battle reports, you can check out my blog, St Andrews Wargaming, or follow the blog on the Facebook page to keep up to date on all the latest hobby updates and battle reports.

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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.

7 Responses to “Battle Report- Genestealer Cults vs Space Marines”

  1. Cthoss May 1, 2019 4:35 am #

    Sorry to be persnickety, but you cannot have two Primuses, Magi or Patriarchs in the same detachment.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr May 1, 2019 4:57 am #

      Yeah, I mentioned this in the report. I somehow managed to completely miss this rule in the codex. My opponent was happy for me to play them anyway, but I’ve been running double battalion since then.

  2. Schmuvness May 2, 2019 1:46 am #

    Hello Michael, what do you think of the Salamanders list? What do you think should your opponent have played to be more competitive? It seems to me that list is a little more on the lower end of competitiveness.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr May 2, 2019 3:38 am #

      Marines are in a tough spot right now in terms of competitiveness. I agree, the list is perhaps not the most competitive, but it is well suited for taking on the Cult.
      I think Salamanders are pretty strong thanks to the abundance of re-rolls you get, so you can save those CP for stratagems.

      Scouts are one of the key units for competitive Space Marines. They give a ton of board control and reserves control to block space from your opponent. I also think the Thunderfire Cannon can be a key choice, as the stratagem is fantastic against a range of opponents. Bikers have gotten a bit of a boost with the new Bolter Drill rules, able to put out a lot more firepower.

      The army may have struggled against a force with more firepower, which the Cult is somewhat lacking.

      Check out the Space Marines review articles in the Tactics Corner for more tips on what units can be effective in the army.

      • Reecius
        Reecius May 2, 2019 7:28 am #

        Yeah, the T-Fire is so dumb good, even better post FAQ. Why everyone Marine player isn’t using one is beyond me.

        Scouts are amazing, the new Phobos Marines are super good, too. Those Infiltrators just shut down reserves armies, particularly GSC.

        Another monster unit I have been loving are Centurions. Post Bolter Discipline they’re just monstrously powerful.

        • Michael Corr
          Michael Corr May 2, 2019 8:50 am #

          In any other army, the Thunderfire Cannon would be the most ridiculous OP thing ever, but it is somehow ignored in the Marine Codex on a regular basis.

          Yeah, Centurions are really strong for anti-horde firepower with the Bolter Drill rules (can’t call it beta any more!). All we need is for Grav weapons to be made better, then they can be all over the tables once more, a la 7th edition 😉

          • Reecius
            Reecius May 2, 2019 9:43 am
            #

            Not even anti-horde, I smoked Morty with a unit of 6 backed by G-Man, they just blew him away.

            But I think the Grav Cannons are actually not bad at all. Lots of shots and good AP for horde clearing and can deliver quite a punch vs. harder targets, too.

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