Genestealer Cults Review: Vigilus Detachments: Deliverance Broodsurge

Hi everyone, Michael here to take a look at one of the great new Specialist Detachments for the Genestealer Cults, the Deliverance Broodsurge. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.


The Vigilus Defiant book introduced the concept of Specialist Detachments to give additional special rules to certain units in your army. For the Genestealer Cults, one of the new Specialist Detachments is the Deliverance Broodsurge. This provides some great new special rules and stratagems for selected units in the Genestealer Cult army. I would rate this Specialist Detachment as Competitive. It provides some very strong bonuses to your assaults, making it easier to get a successful charge on enemy units and giving you the ability to do serious damage when you get there. I would say that this specialist detachment is pretty much a must take for a competitive Genestealer Cults army.

The Basics:

If your army is battle-forged, you have access to the Specialist Detachment stratagems. This stratagem assigns the <Specialist Detachment> keyword to certain units in the army. This in turn unlocks Warlord Traits, Relics, new Stratagems and psychic powers that those units can take. Any detachment in the army (excluding Auxiliary support detachments) can be upgraded to a Specialist Detachment. Each Specialist Detachment costs 1CP to upgrade the detachment in this way.

As far as I am aware, you still get your “Chapter Tactics” on the detachment if they are applicable. This provides some very useful bonuses to the Specialist Detachment rules, helping to make them more effective as we will see below.

You can also access the Field Commander stratagem for 1CP. This allows a Character in your detachment that has the relevant <Specialist Detachment> keyword to take the Warlord Trait from the Specialist Detachment. They are only your warlord for the purposes of the warlord trait though.

Let’s take a look at the new rules for the Deliverance Broodsurge and go into more details on what it will add to your army.

Deliverance Broodsurge
For the cost of 1CP, you can pick a Genestealer Cults detachment in the army to be the Deliverance Broodsurge Specialist Detachment. Any Acolyte Iconwards, Neophyte Hybrids, Acolyte Hybrids and Goliath Trucks in the detachment gain the <Deliverance Broodsurge> keyword. They gain access to the following special rules:

Augur of the Insurgent (Warlord Trait)– You can re-roll Advance and Charge rolls for friendly Deliverance Broodsurge units if they are within 6″ of your warlord when the roll is made.

Vial of the Grandsire’s Blood (Relic)– Add 1 to the Leadership characteristic of friendly Genestealer Cults units iwthin 6″ of the bearer. In addition, once per battle, at the start of the Fight Phase, you can pick a Genestealer Cults Infantry model from your army within 3″ of the bearer. Add 2 to that model’s Attacks and Strength.

The First to Draw Blood (Stratagem, 1CP)– Use at the start of your Fight phase. Pick a Deliverance Broodsurge unit that made a charge move this turn. Add 1 to wound rolls for attacks made by that unit unit the end of the phase.

Reckless Manoeuvre (Stratagem, 1CP)– Use at the end of the movement phase. Pick a Deliverance Broodsurge Goliath Truck unit from the army. Deliverance Broodsurge units embarked within that Truck can immediately disembark if they did not embark this turn. If any units do so, roll a D6 for each model disembarking. On a roll of a 1, a model is slain. Models that disembark in this manner must be set up more than 9″ from enemy models and cannot move that phase.


For an army that is as heavily reliant on the Fight Phase as the Genestealer Cults, the ability to re-roll Charge moves is a huge boost for the force, even if it is only within 6″ of the warlord. This will work really well for units arriving from Cult Ambush from turn 2 onwards, increasing your odds of getting off a successful charge. This gets even better when combined with some of the other bonuses in the Genestealer Cults army from characters and Cult Creeds.

First up, you should always take an Acolyte Iconward in your Specialist Detachment. I would recommend using the Field Commander stratagem to give him the Augur of the Insurgent Warlord trait, rather than making him your actual warlord. The Iconward is a decent character, but is much too squishy to be your proper warlord for most games. This will already put you down at least 2CP before the game begins, but fortunately, the Genestealer Cults have access to a ton of cheap Troops choices and Characters, allowing you to easily build up enough CP for your army to make this more than worth the cost.

Not only does the Field Commander Acolyte Iconward give you access to the re-rolls to charge and advance rolls, his inherent abilities also give all units within 6″ a 6+ save against any wounds and the ability to re-roll failed morale tests (plus bonuses for Aberrants). This makes him a very useful character to have around for your ambushing units, giving them much greater odds of getting into combat and protection against enemy attacks and a morale boost too. The Iconward will likely be a prime target for enemy snipers or those models that can target characters. With only T3, three wounds and a 5+ save, it will not take a lot to take out the Iconward. Fortunately, he benefits from the Unquestioning Loyalty ability, allowing you to pass on wounds to nearby Genestealer Cult units on a 4+. This greatly increases his durability, assuming you have enough cheap bodies nearby to act as ablative wounds, as you really want to keep him alive for as long as possible to benefit from his abilities.

If you want to further boost his durability, you can always give him the Mark of the Clawed Omnissiah for a 3+ invulnerable save, or the Elixir of the Prime Specimen to increase his toughness and wounds.

The Specialist Detachment also allows you to field Acolyte Hybrids. These are one of the better assault units in the Genestealer Cults army. They are reasonably cheap and can hit hard in combat against standard infantry. Each Acolyte Hybrid comes with 2 Rending Claw attacks (AP-1, or AP-4 on a 6 to wound) and one Cultist Knife attack that hit on a 3+ at strength 4. A unit of 10 (0r even 20) Acolyte Hybrids can do a lot of work in the Fight Phase.

They also have access to some great combat weapons in the Heavy Rock Weapons that they have access to. Most of these are Sx2 and AP-3 or -4, and come with some great additional bonuses, such as the chance to do mortal wounds or remove models entirely. You can take up to two of these weapons for every 5 models in the unit, giving you access to a huge number in a single unit.

Getting to re-roll charge rolls for the Acolyte Hybrids is a big boost for these combat-centric units. This will work best when deploying from Underground Cult Ambush from turn 2 onwards. You want to keep the units from this Specialist Detachment in reserve, so that you can deploy them most effectively where they need to go on the tabletop. With the specialist warlord trait, you can help to ensure that they get into combat when they arrive, doing maximum damage before they can be targeted by the enemy guns.

Note that the warlord ability allows you to re-roll charges, not just failed charges. This is a big difference and allows you to risk a re-roll to increase your charge range to get into optimal positioning for wrapping around enemy units or consolidating into other units once the initial threat has been dealt with. Coupled with the Perfect Ambush stratagem for an extra D6″ move on the arrival from reserves, this gives you a bigger threat range for getting to enemy units, perhaps getting a long enough charge to get past screening units to the juicy targets behind them if they are not too far away.

The First to Draw Blood stratagem is going to be very powerful for the Acolyte Hybrids as well. At S4, they will be wounding most infantry units on a 2+ (T3 or less) or 3+ (T4) with the stratagem in use. In addition, your Rending Claw ability will be triggering on a 5+ with the stratagem in effect, giving you AP-4 attacks for roughly half your wounds against standard infantry models. With two attacks each, this should allow you to shred most enemy units that don’t have access to invulnerable saves.

The stratagem is going to be more limited for those models armed with Heavy Rock combat weapons, as they will be wounding models with T4 or less on a 2+ anyway. However, this will help you out against tougher enemy units, allowing you to wound most vehicles on a 2+, or Imperial Knights on a 3+. This should help you to take out very tough enemy threats with ease, an area where the Genestealer Cults can lack.

Neophyte Hybrids and Goliath Trucks can also be taken as part of the specialist detachment. I generally want to keep the Neophyte Hybrids out of combat, as I use these as firepower support or for ablative wounds for Unquestioning Loyalty. However, if you do want to get them in to combat, this is a nice boost for their abilities. It is also useful for getting re-rolls to charge on a Goliath Truck. This can be useful for soaking up enemy overwatch or to prevent enemy units from firing in the following turn.

I see the Reckless Manoeuvre stratagem as being less useful, but it could come in handy every once in a while. There is no restriction on the Goliath Truck advancing and the unit disembarking, so this could give you some extra range for going and grabbing an objective, or getting a unit into the enemy deployment zone for Behind Enemy Lines, Linebreaker or Recon. However, as you cannot deploy within 9″ of an enemy unit, it is of less benefit if your opponent has some appropriate screening on objectives or their deployment zone.

Where this stratagem does have benefit is that it allows charges after deployment. This has the potential for getting off a first turn charge with a unit of Acolyte Hybrids and Iconward inside. Put the Truck at the edge of your deployment zone and move up and advance on turn 1 (moving between 13-18″), deploy out 3″ in front (and at least 9″ from an enemy unit). You can then make a 9″ re-rollable charge to get into combat. This is a risky ploy, as you have to hope you roll enough to get into combat, and your unit will be horribly exposed in the following enemy turn if they kill off the unit they are in combat with. I wouldn’t recommend this too often, but it will be a nasty shock to get into the face of the enemy army right away.

The Relic is an interesting option.  The +1 Ld is nice, especially with the re-roll from the Acolyte Iconward, giving you a better chance of passing morale tests. The ability to boost the attacks and strength of a model is a very strong bonus. It applies to any Genestealer Cults Infantry model, not just Deliverance Broodsurge models, so could be a huge boost to either your Acolyte Iconward, an Acolyte with a Rock Weapon or a Patriarch in the army.

Cult Creed Synergy

There are a number of Cult Creeds that really boost the effectiveness of the Deliverance Broodsurge specialist detachment.

The first that springs to mind is Cult of the Four Armed Emperor. This gives you +1 to charge and advance rolls on turn 1 or a turn that you arrive from reserve. Added to a Clamavus (that gives you an additional +1 to charges), your Deliverance Broodsurge units will generally need a 7″ re-rollable charge to get into combat from ambush, giving you about a 75% chance of making a successful charge. This is a huge boost for an Acolyte Hybrid unit coming out of reserve. Taking the Creed’s warlord trait also gives you D3 bonus CP before the game starts, which has good odds of paying for your specialist detachment and field commander stratagems.

Twisted Helix is also a great Cult Creed to take with the Specialist Detachment. This gives you +1 strength to all models that benefit from the Creed. This takes Acolyte Hybrids up to S5. With the First to Draw Blood stratagem, you will be wounding T4 (or less) models on a 2+, greatly boosting the damage output of the army. You will even be wounding most vehicles on a 4+ with the stratagem in play.

This bonus gets even better when you apply it to the Heavy Rock weapons. These will take the Acolyte Hybrids wielding them up to S10. When the stratagem is used, you will be wounding just about any unit in the game on a 2+. This will even allow you to wound Imperial Knights on a 2+ (or the fancy new Chaos Knights). Without any form of invulnerable save in combat, this will allow you to potentially do a lot of damage in a single round of combat, giving your Cult an answer to these powerful enemy units.

Alternatively, you could take the Icon of the Cult Ascendant on your Acolyte Iconward to give nearby units +1 strength. This allows you to essentially get the benefits of Twisted Helix for units in close proximity to the Iconward, coupling it to the Cult of the Four Armed Emperor creed for maximum effect.

Support Units

To make the most out of the Deliverance Broodsurge, you will want to make the most of the support characters for the Genestealer Cults.

First up, a Clamavus is a great choice. He gives all units within 6″ +1Ld and +1 to charge and advance rolls. Paired with the Field Commander Acolyte Iconward, this gives you greatly boosted odds to getting into combat with these key units. Paired with the Deliverance Broodsurge relic, this will give most Genestealer Cults units within 6″ of both Ld10 with a re-roll for morale tests. This is another great bonus for overcoming the effects of morale, which can be crippling for large units of Genestealer Cults models.

The Primus is also a great support character for Deliverance Broodsurge units. He gives nearby units +1 to hit. This allows the Acolyte Hybrids to hit on a 2+ in most cases. With the +1 to wound from the stratagem, you will be doing a lot of damage to enemy units with your massed attacks from the Acolyte Hybrids.

A character with the Amulet of the Voidwyrm is also a great support unit for Broodsurge units. This relic prevents enemy units from firing overwatch. If the character makes a successful charge, this can allow your Broodsurge units to get into combat in safety of enemy fire. This is especially useful for those units that have auto-hit weaponry or bonuses to overwatch rolls to hit. This is probably not a good relic to give to the Acolyte Iconward though. He only gives the charge re-roll bonuses to nearby units when the roll is made, so if he goes charging in first to soak up enemy overwatch, he is unlikely to be in range of Broodsurge units to give the bonus.

Battlefield Uses

Let’s take a look at a single unit of Acolyte Hybrids with support characters:

  • 20 Acolyte Hybrids- Rending Claws, Cultist Knives, 8 Heavy Rock Saws
  • Acolyte Hybrid- Augur of the Insurgent
  • Primus
  • Clamavus

This will set you back just over 400 pts. Deploying with the force in reserve allows them to assault from turn 2 onwards. With all the buffs in place, you will be getting +1 to your charge, plus a re-roll. In combat, you will get +1 to hit, +1 to wound (with the stratagem used) and a 6+ FNP-type save.

The standard Acolytes will get 24 attacks with Rending claws and 12 Knife attacks (assuming all can get to attack). Against standard T4 infantry, you will do 20 wounds (approx 6 at AP0, 7 at AP-1 and 7 at AP-4). This is enough to do serious damage to most standard infantry units in the game, killing around 12 Marines with the standard Acolytes.

The Rock Cutter Acolytes are the heavy hitters of the unit, able to take on vehicle or monster threats in the enemy army. Against a standard vehicle (T7, 3+ save), these 8 models will do an average of 22 wounds in combat, enough to destroy all but the toughest of vehicles (or put 18 wounds against a Knight-level threat). With the Twisted Helix Creed, they will be wounding even Knights on a 2+, so doing 22 wounds on a Knight with no form of invulnerable save in combat.

This unit comes in at 220 pts and will shred most enemy units you can put it against. Obviously you want to go for an optimal enemy unit(s) to make the most of their attacks, rather than screening units your opponent may have. This may require you to use your first turn to clear out any screening units that are blocking you from prime targets in the enemy army.

You can add a second (or even third) Acolyte squad to the Detachment to create an assault powerhouse in your army. Stringing out the two large squads will give you a large range of board control and the ability to threaten a number of units in the enemy army.

You really need to hit big on the turn you arrive from reserve. With only T3 and a 5+ save, Acolyte Hybrids and Neophyte Hybrids melt to enemy firepower with ease. The humble Lasgun and less humble Bolter will absolutely shred these units if you give them the chance. With careful positioning you can use the Lurk in the Shadows stratagem to keep one of your Broodsurge units safe from the enemy firepower for a turn.


The Deliverance Broodsurge is a fantastic specialist detachment for the Genestealer Cults. It provides a lot of valuable benefits for the combat elements of the Genestealer Cult army, really boosting units of Acolyte Hybrids for combat. The stratagem for Goliath Trucks also gives you some good options for mobility with the unit inside, possibly allowing you to gain extra range for objective grabbing or going after your secondary objectives.

I think this is a must take for any Genestealer Cults army, as it maximises the effects of your turn 2 ambushes to help you do maximum damage. It also gives you another tool for dealing with very tough threats to the Cult, such as tough monsters or vehicles. The easy access to CP for the Cult means that the 2CP outlay for the specialist detachment can be easily spared and well worth the cost.


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.

4 Responses to “Genestealer Cults Review: Vigilus Detachments: Deliverance Broodsurge”

  1. Avatar
    Mark July 16, 2019 2:35 pm #

    If your going to be keeping your iconward close fir the fnp, you should almost always be bringing the +1 str banner.

    You also didnt factor in the cult icon for rerolls of 1 to hit or the primus’s ability to reroll 1s to wound. A unit with 8 rock saws will massively overkill a knight or literally anything else it touches.

    If your going knight killing even a unit of 15 with 4 saws will kill it as long as they have the character support and +1 to wound.

    Taking 20 with 8 rocks saws is overkill unless you intend in charging 2 knights at once.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr July 16, 2019 11:18 pm #

      I wouldn’t say the Relic banner is always essential. If you are taking Twisted Helix, then there is little benefit in the additional +1S most of the time. Useful against T5, but most of the time you are still wounding on a 3+.

      I will be covering the support characters and strategies in more detail in the Acolyte Hybrids review. There are a ton of options and combos for the Cult, so getting it all in one article is going to be tough.

      A unit of Acolyte Iconwards with 8 Rock Saws, +1S, Primus +1 to hit and re-rolls of 1’s to wound will do an average of 25 wounds on a Knight with the saws. Enough to kill it, but that is assuming average dice rolls and no invulnerable or boosted armour save on the Knight. With the +1 to wound stratagem, you will be doing around 30 wounds on average.

      A unit of 15 Acolytes with 4 Rock Saws (and all the buffs mentioned above) will do an average of 23 wounds on a Knight in a single round of combat, enough to seriously harm a Dominus or kill another Knight. The Rock Saws can do a maximum of 16 wounds, so you need at least 8 wounds from the Acolytes. With average dice and +1 to wound, you should do the 8 wounds to finish off the Knight.

      However, that is assuming a number of factors; you don’t lose any to overwatch on the charge, you can get all the models in the unit to attack (difficult if you are stringing back to get all the buffs), all the saws hit and wound, the Knight doesn’t have an invulnerable save or boosted save, etc.

      It is a solid combat squad, but hardly a guaranteed kill on a Knight. Any other unit will probably melt easily, it is just a couple of specific cases where you need the extra bodies to take it down.

  2. Reecius
    Reecius July 16, 2019 3:32 pm #

    Thanks for the great, in-depth review, Mike. GSC have some amazing tools at their disposal. Every time I play them I feel like I get pantsed at least once and this type of info helps a ton to prepare for games against them.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr July 16, 2019 11:20 pm #

      Cheers Reece! They are certainly a lot of tricks and buffs you can use with the army and get caught out with if you are not prepared.

      They are not an army I tend to see too often in my area (I think I am the only one with them). I don’t know whether that is a price point issue or they don’t appeal to many players. They are definitely a glass cannon type of army.

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