Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the warlord traits and psychic powers available to the forces of 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.
- Efficient: This 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.
- Situational: This 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.
The Genestealer Cults get 6 new generic warlord traits, as well as the Creed-specific ones.
Focus of Adoration– Friendly Cult Infantry and Biker units can perform a heroic intervention whilst they are within 6″ of your warlord, even if they are not characters.
Situational. This was the one from Chapter Approved. It is ok, but I rarely found myself in a situation where it would come into effect. Even though units within 6″ can heroically intervene, they are still limited to moving only 3″, so may not be able to get in much of the time. I would probably give it a miss.
Shadow Stalker– Subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks that target your warlord.
Competitive. A solid warlord trait. Will help out a Patriarch in combat against enemy shooting attacks. Taking a Smash Captain up to hitting on a 4+ is a nice bonus to help the Patriarch survive for longer. A great one for a Jackal Alphus too, making it -2 to hit in the shooting phase.
Biomorph Adaptation– Add 1 to your warlord’s attacks and strength characteristics.
Competitive. Another nice bonus for a Patriarch, giving him 7 attacks at S7. Just a pity the patriarch doesn’t get the Creed bonuses, as he would go up to S8 with Twisted Helix! Works well for a Primus, going up to S5, or S6 with the Twisted Helix creed.
Born Survivor– Reduce any damage inflicted on your warlord by 1 (to a minimum of 1).
Competitive. Another nice bonus for keeping your warlord alive for longer, reducing Thunder Hammer wounds to only 2 damage is nice as well. Good for attacks that get through the Unquestioning Loyalty save.
Alien Majesty– Add 3″ to the range of your warlord’s aura abilities.
Competitive. I think this is a very strong warlord trait. This gives you a 9″ bubble of +1 to hit in the fight phase with a Primus, or a 9″ immunity to morale bubble with a Patriarch. I think this also increases the range of the Unquestioning Loyalty ability to 6″, so gives you more chance of keeping your warlord alive for longer. Would also work well on the Clamvus’ abilities, giving you a 9″ bubble that gives +1 to charge and advance rolls.
Preternatural Speed– Your warlord always fights first in the Fight phase, even if they did not charge. If the enemy has units that charged or has a similar ability, then alternative choosing units to fight with.
Efficient. A nice bonus for a combat character. However, if you are getting charged, you are not going to be able to use it in most cases, as your opponent will still pick a unit to fight first. Nice for protracted combats.
Inscrutable Cunning– Cult of the Four-armed Emperor only. Once per battle if your warlord is alive, you can re-roll one hit roll, wound roll or saving throw made for a friendly unit. In addition, if your army is battle-forged, you gain D3 command points before the battle begins.
Efficient. A nice bonus, and a chance of getting up to 3 extra command points for the game. I think this is a solid warlord trait, but possibly not the most powerful. This is a great one to choose if you are taking the Broodcoven stratagem, as it essentially gives you the stratagem for free, with the chance of getting up to two more free command points and a free re-roll.
Hivelord– Hivecult only. Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for attacks made with ranged weapons by friendly Hivecult units that are within 6″ of the warlord.
Situational. A nice bonus for a backfield Genestealer Cults warlord, however, the firepower of the Genestealer Cults is not that great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on units you would want to use it on such as Cult Leman Russ or Heavy Weapons Teams.
Entropic Touch– Rusted Claw only. Each time you make an unmodified wound roll of 6 in the Fight phase for a model within 6″ of your warlord, the AP of the attacked is improved by 1.
Efficient. A solid bonus for units in combat. However, many of the good combat units are armed with Rending Claws, so you will be at AP-4 on a 6 to wound anyway. Going up to AP-5 isn’t really much of a bonus in these situations. Good to get some AP on the Cultist Knife attacks every once in a while.
Beloved Grandsire– Pauper Princes only. Add 2 to Unquestioning Loyalty rolls made when you fail saving throws for your warlord, or when your warlord suffers mortal wounds.
Efficient. This is pretty solid, allowing you to pass off wounds on a 2+ to nearby Genestealer Cults units. This should help keep your warlord alive for even longer, but you can start to lose a lot of models very quickly.
Bio-Alchemist– Twisted Helix only. Increase the damage characteristic of weapons (other than Relics) used by the warlord by 1.
Competitive. A nice bonus for the Patriarch, making its Monstrous Rending Claws very potent in combat. Useful on a Patriarch, as your Monstrous Rending Claws go up to damage 2-4.
Overall, some nice warlord traits available for the Genestealer Cults. The initial stand outs for me are the Alien Majesty, Biomorph Adaptation and Inscrutable Cunning, for the additional command points. I can see uses for most of them, but there are none that seem like immediate choices for me.
The Genestealer Cults had three very strong psychic powers in the Index, are the four new powers as useful for the army? One big bonus is that the two casters, the Magus and Patriarch, each know two powers from the Discipline, rather than just the one. This gives you more variability on your psykers, though they can each only cast one power as standard.
Mass Hypnosis– Warp charge value 7. Select a visible enemy unit within 18″. The unit cannot fire Overwatch, fights last in the Fight phase and must subtract 1 from its hit rolls till the start of your next psychic phase.
Competitive. This is a solid psychic power. The ability to shut down an opponent’s overwatch, make them fight last and give them -1 to hit with a single power is very strong. Great for units that are strong in the shooting phase or fight phase. The range is also great, giving the Magus the ability to threaten units from afar. One that always makes my list and works great at blocking damage to charging units.
Mind Control– Warp charge value 7. If manifested, select an enemy model within 12″ and roll 3D6. If the score is equal to or more than the model’s Leadership, that model can immediately shoot another enemy unit of your choice, or make a single close combat attack against it. Models cannot attack themselves, but can attack other members of their unit.
Efficient. Another solid power. Obviously better on larger models, such as vehicles or an Imperial Knight. This has the ability to do a lot of damage to the enemy army if there is a suitable target of the power.
Psionic Blast– Warp charge value 5. If manifested, select a visible enemy unit within 18″ and roll 2D6. If the result is less than the highest Leadership characteristic, it suffers one mortal wound. Otherwise it suffers D3 mortal wounds.
Efficient. This is like an extra Smite attack for the character. You will do at least 1 mortal wound with this power, with the option to do D3 if you can roll high enough. This targets any enemy unit within range, so can be used to snipe characters on a single wound.
Mental Onslaught- Warp Charge value 6. If manifested, select a visible enemy model within 18″. Both players roll a D6 and add their Leadership value. If you score higher, the enemy model suffers 1 mortal wound. If the enemy model is still alive, repeat the process until the model is slain, or you fail to score higher than your opponent. or your opponent rolls a 6.
Competitive. This is a strong power on a Patriarch, who is Leadership 10. This means you have a good chance of doing serious damage to an enemy model if you can roll high enough. There is no limit on the number of wounds you can cause, so this has the potential to seriously harm an enemy vehicle if they have a lower leadership (or they roll a 6). Also works well if you can lower the enemy Leadership value, of which there are several ways to do so in the codex.
Psychic Stimulus– Warp Charge value 6. Select a friendly Genestealer Cults unit within 18″ of the psyker. Until the start of the next psychic phase, the unit can charge, even if it Advanced, and always fights first in the Fight phase (if your opponent’s unit charged or has a similar ability, alternate which units fight).
Efficient. A decent psychic power for the army. The always attack first abilities are odd for me. If you are charging after advancing, you are striking first. If your opponent charges you, they are striking first. It only really works for extended combats. This is a solid power, but not one I’m sure I would take often.
Might From Beyond– Warp charge value 7. A friendly Genestealer Cults Infantry or Biker unit within 18″ adds 1 to their strength and attacks characteristics until the start of your next psychic phase.
Competitive. I think this is one of the strongest psychic powers in the discipline for me. Combined with the strong combat abilities of many Genestealer Cults units, this is a very powerful ability to have. Works well on Twisted Helix Aberrants, taking them up to 3 attacks and S7, allowing them to wound most vehicles on a 2+ with their Heavy Power Hammers. Also great on Purestrain Genestealers, putting them up to S5 and four attacks each (or 5 in a unit of 10 or more).
Overall, I still think Mass Hypnosis and Might From Beyond are the strongest powers available to the Cult. Mental Onslaught has the potential to do a lot of damage if you can keep rolling well for the roll-offs. Psionic Blast gives you the ability to do automatic mortal wounds on an enemy unit, which is a nice bonus. Combined with Smite, you can do a lot of mortal wounds damage on an enemy unit.
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