Genestealer Cults Codex Review: Relics

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the relics available to the Genestealer Cults. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

Here is the rating systems I will be using in the review:

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • EfficientThis is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combined up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • SituationalThis is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.

Obviously, many Relics are situational, as you need specific things to happen to be able to use them. However, this rating does not refer to that, but rather that you will rarely be using the stratagem, even when the right conditions come up to allow you to use it.


Sacred Relics of the Cult

The Genestealer Cults also have access to a wide range of Relics to take with the army.

Icon of the Cult Ascendant– Acolyte Iconward only. Add 1 to the strength characteristic of friendly Cult Infantry and Bike units within 6″ of the bearer.

Efficient. This is the relic from Chapter Approved. I found it to be a solid addition to the army. Very useful when combined with the Twisted Helix creed, taking your Neophyte hybrids up to S5 and the Acolyte Hybrids up to S6 when in range of the Iconward, although the benefits of S6 over S5 are minimal against most units in the game. When in combination with the other effects of the Acolyte Iconward (6+ feel no pain-type save and re-rolls to failed morale tests), this creates a nice little buff bubble for the Icoward.


Sword of the Void’s Eye– A bonesword that is +2S, -3AP and D3 damage, that allows you to re-roll hit and wound rolls for the weapon.

Competitive. A solid Relic for the Primus. This takes him up to S6 and gives him some strong punch in combat. Note, this says re-roll to hit rolls, not failed to hit rolls, so you get more options to re-roll if you are against an opponent that gives minuses to hit in the Fight phase. However, the Primus does not have the best durability in combat (T3, no invulnerable save), so you may not want to throw him into combat against tough enemy character. He should do well against most basic infantry or Bikers with this Bonesword.

Amulet of the Voidwyrm
– Add 1 to saving throws made for the bearer against ranged weapons. In addition, enemy units cannot fire overwatch at the bearer.

Competitive. This is a nice bonus for a character. The save bonus is decent, but most Genestealer Cults characters have pretty poor armour anyway. I think avoiding overwatch is more of a bonus, allowing you to get your bigger units into combat unharmed if the character can get in first. It also doesn’t specify armour saves only (yet), so may give your Patriarch a 4+ invulnerable save against enemy firepower, as well as a 3+ armour save.

Scourge of the Distant Stars– Add 1 to hit rolls made with the bearer’s melee weapons. In addition, each time an enemy model targets the bearer with a melee weapon and your opponent rolls an unmodified hit roll of 1, the attacker’s unit suffers 1 mortal wound after all its attacks have been resolved.

Efficient. Not the most useful relic for a Patriarch or Primus, as they get +1 to hit anyway. Could be useful for the Abominant, allowing him to hit on a 3+ again, or a 2+ when combined with a Primus. The chance of the enemy unit doing damage to themselves is a nice bonus to helping up the damage output of the character in combat.


Oppressor’s Bane– An Autopistol or liberator autostub that is Pistol 3, S4, AP-2, 2 damage, that can target characters, even if they are not the closest. You can re-roll wound rolls for attacks that target characters.

Situational. This is ok. Probably only of use on the Kelermorph, thanks to his abilities, to do a bit more damage and have a higher AP on one of its pistols. I would probably give this one a miss though as there are better relics available.


Dagger of Swift Sacrifice– A Cultist Knife that is strength user, AP-2 and 2 damage. The bearer can make one additional attack with the weapon, and it always wounds on a 2+ unless targeting a vehicle or titanic unit. If a character loses any wounds, but is not slain, it suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Situational. A nice bonus for going after enemy characters, and useful on a Character that can do well in combat. Only really useful on a Sanctus, but the only additional bonus it gets is the chance of doing D3 mortal wounds. Good for going after weaker characters in the enemy army, as any good invulnerable save will shut down a character carrying this, as well as giving your opponent the chance to take out a fragile character.

The Crouchling– Patriarch or Magus with Familiar only. Follows the normal rules for a Familiar. In addition, while the Crouchling is alive, the Patriarch or Magus knows one additional power from the Broodmind discipline and adds 1 to any psychic test it takes when attempting to manifest a power from the Broodmind discipline.

Competitive. A nice bonus for the Patriarch or Magus. This means they get three powers from the Broodmind discipline, but can still only cast one per turn unless they use the Familiars. Using the familiar does not remove it from play, so you still get the bonus to casting and knowing the additional spell until the Familiar is slain.


The Gift From Beyond– Model with a Jackal or Silencer Sniper Rifle only. Add 2 to wound rolls made with this weapon, unless it is targeting a Vehicle or Titanic unit.

Competitive. This is a solid relic to take if you are using one of the Sniper characters in the army. This means that you will be wounding most Infantry characters (T4 or less) on a 2+, and doing an additional mortal wound to them on a 4+. This is a pretty solid option for taking on enemy characters, but if they have a good armour save or invulnerable save, you may not get the shot through their save. Great for the Sanctus if you are likely to be facing enemy psykers, as you will get the chance to do additional mortal wounds from a Perils of the Warp if they take a wound from the shot.


Sword of the Four-Armed Emperor– A Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor Bonesword. This is strength user, AP-3 and 1 damage, and allows the bearer to make four additional attacks.

Efficient. Pretty solid on a Primus, giving it 8 attacks that hit on a 2+ at S4 and AP-3. Great at going through standard infantry models. The only downside is that it is strength user, so the Primus will only be S4 in most cases. I prefer the other Relic Bonesword, but this will be a big boost for going through standard infantry with poor toughness or armour saves, though that is not really a unit type that the Cult struggles against.

Vockor’s Talisman– Hivecult only. You can re-roll hit rolls for attacks made with the bearer’s melee weapon when targeting enemy characters. In addition, each time you roll a wound roll of 6+ for an attack, the attack inflicts one mortal wound on the target in addition to any normal damage, as long as it is not targeting a Vehicle or Titanic unit.

Situational. A decent bonus for any of the Assassin-type characters in the army, to allow them to do extra damage in close combat. Most Genestealer Cult characters are pretty squishy, so going toe to toe with tough enemy characters is not something I would recommend. Not one I’m sure I’d take that often.


Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah– Bladed Cog only. The bearer has a 4+ invulnerable save. In addition, each time this model finishes a charge move, select one enemy unit within 1″ of it and roll a D6. On a 2+, the unit suffers one mortal wound.

Competitive. This is a really solid relic, giving most Bladed Cog characters a 3+ invulnerable save (when the Cult Creed bonus is applied). Only the Patriarch gets a 4+ invulnerable save, but a nice bonus for him anyway, boosting his survivability in combat. Very good for keeping other characters alive for longer or in combat.


Metallophagic Stave– Rusted Claw Magus only. A Force Stave that is +2S, AP-5, D3 damage. Each time you roll a wound roll of 4+ for an attack that targets a vehicle, it suffers 1 mortal wound in addition to normal damage. If you roll a wound roll of 6+, it suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Efficient. This gives the Magus a huge AP bonus on his Force stave, making it a useful weapon against most units he may face. However, the Magus is not the best melee character for the army, hitting on a 3+ with only 3 attacks, but this should give him some punch if he does find himself in combat. This puts him at S5, so he is still wounding most vehicles on a 5+, but with a 50% chance of doing a mortal wound on a vehicle, it will be decent for taking a few wounds off of one. Not a bad relic, but not one I would see being taken most often.

Reliquary of Saint Tenndarc– Pauper Princes models only. Friendly Pauper Princes units automatically pass morale tests when within 6″ of the bearer. In addition, roll a D6 each time a friendly Pauper Princes Infantry or Bike unit is destroyed when within 6″ of the bearer. On a 4+, that model can either shoot one of its ranged weapons as if it were the shooting phase, or make a single attack with a melee weapon as if it were the Fight phase.

Competitive. A nice bonus for the army, giving you another way to get an immunity to morale bubble in the force. The ability to fire back or fight back with nearby fallen models is also a nice boost, giving you a chance to do more damage on enemy units. Probably going to be more useful for fighting back in combat, rather than getting to shoot with a model in your army, in most cases.


Elixir of the Prime Specimen– Twisted Helix model only. Increase the attacks, toughness and wounds characteristics of the bearer by 1.

Competitive. Along with the strength bonus for the Creed, this is a solid Relic for really boosting the durability of your warlord. This is strong on a Patriarch or Abominant to make them even more powerful in combat.


Overall, there are some solid relics to choose from. I think the Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah is probably the strongest, but is limited to only Bladed Cog models. I think my choices would be the Crouchling and The Gift From Beyond. Amulet of the Voidwyrm is also a solid Relic, as the ability to block enemy overwatch can be pretty powerful in the right circumstances. What are your favourite relics? Any that you think I have underrated?

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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.

6 Responses to “Genestealer Cults Codex Review: Relics”

  1. Avatar
    Charlie A. May 10, 2019 4:11 am #

    Thanks for the article! I’m woefully ignorant on GSC at the moment and appreciate the info.

    Reece, could you please add a GSC section to the tactics page? I didn’t see one and having all the GSC tactica in one place would be swell. 🙂

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr May 10, 2019 5:10 am #

      Thanks Charlie! I think Genestealer Cults are a solid army. They have a lot of tricks that can mess up your opponent if they are not prepared for them.
      However, much of the army still has the resilience of wet tissue paper, so they will fold quite easily after the first big strike.

  2. Avatar
    Brakhal May 10, 2019 5:51 am #

    I found the dagger more usefull in the “wrong” hands. I mean, you give the dagger of swift sacrifice in a Sanctus, and it just becomes a bit better Sanctus. Give it to a Kelermorph, and now you have a Kelermorph and a Sanctus in the same model, without investing the point cost of both.

    Something similar happens with the pistol. A Kelermorph with oppressor’s bane gets a couple of extra shots with almost the same profile of their basic weapons, but a Clamavus or a Biophagus gets the full weapon, with all the abilities.

    You get more value from those relics when taken for models with vanilla knifes and pistols.

    The bonesword for the Primus is also pretty good. Whithout it, the Primus is almost exclusively a support model, as he doesn’t hit too hard. With the void’s eye, it becomes something close to a Patriarch.

    I found the Crouchling a bit underwhelming. At first glance I thought it was almost an autotake, but in the end, while the +1 to cast is decent, the psykers taking don’t cast that many powers (1 per phase, 2 once per game). If your battleplan can depend on a successfull Psychic Stimulus is a safe investment, tho.

    I agree, the relic of the Cog is too good to ignore it, if you have a model to have it.

    I always take the icon, and almost always the amulet (in rare cases, the opponent’s list does not have shooting power to take the amulet). They are key relics.

    • Avatar
      Vipoid May 10, 2019 7:08 am #

      I had the same thought with regard to the Dagger of Swift Sacrifice. It seems far better on the Kelermorph than on the Sanctus.

      I mean, the Kelermorph already has to get within charge range of his target, but this way you have the option of finishing a wounded character in melee. Plus, compared to the Sanctus, it’s a huge increase in power.

  3. Avatar
    NinetyNineNo May 10, 2019 11:40 pm #

    Small note, you’re missing the Blessed Sledgehammer from Vigilus Defiant (Anointed Throng, power sledgehammer with no -1 to hit and AP-4). Doubt it’s a huge gamechanger, but just for completeness’ sake.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr May 12, 2019 11:22 pm #

      Cheers! I need to pick up the Vigilus books at some point. The new detachments for the Cult are pretty powerful from what I’ve heard.

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