Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the Neophyte Hybrids, the third and fourth generation warriors of the Cult. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.
The Neophyte Hybrids squad are the basic troops choice of the Cult, functioning much like Imperial Guardsmen in an Imperial army, but without access to such a wide array of wargear as their Imperial counterparts. They scavenge for weaponry from their mining facilities to try and increase the firepower of the Cult. The Neophyte Hybrids squad consists of one Neophyte Leader and 9 Neophyte Hybrids for a cost of 50 points. You can increase the squad up to 20 models.
I would rate the Neophyte Hybrids as Situational to Efficient. They don’t really have many uses in the army that cannot be fulfilled by the cheaper Brood Brothers Infantry Squads. The Heavy Weapons upgrades are generally inferior versions of Imperial equivalents. They do get the benefit of the Cult Creeds, meaning that they have some bonuses over the Brood Brothers, but this will depend on the composition of the units and what Creeds you use.
- Blasting Charges (Frag Grenade)
- Any Neophyte can replace its autogun with a Shotgun
- One Neophyte Hybrid can carry a Cult Icon
- Up to two Neophyte Hybrids may replace their Autogun with one item from the Special Weapons List (Flamer, Grenade Launcher, Webber)
- Up to two Neophytes may replace their Autogun with one item from the Heavy Mining Weapons List (Heavy Stubber, Mining Laser, Seismic Cannon).
- A Neophyte Leader may replace his Autogun and Autopistol with one item from the Pistols list and one item from the Melee weapons list.
- Heavy Stubber (2 pts)- 36″, Heavy 3, S4, AP0, 1 damage.
- Mining Laser (12 pts)- 24″, Heavy 1, S9, AP-3, D6 damage.
- Seismic Cannon (12 pts)- Long Wave: 24″, Heavy 6, S3, AP0, 1 damage. Short Wave: 12″, Heavy 3, S6, AP-1, 2 damage.
- Cult Ambush
- Unquestioning Loyalty
- Cult Icon- Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for this unit’s attacks in the Fight phase whilst it contains a model with a Cult Icon.
The Neophyte Hybrids are a basic Troops choice for the Genestealer Cults. They are essentially Guardsmen profile with +1 Leadership, making them a bit more durable to the effects of morale. The Autogun is essentially a Lasgun, so expect around the same damage output for their firepower.
They can take a number of Special Weapons and Heavy Mining Weapons options to further increase their firepower. With only BS4+, you can expect to hit with these weapons roughly half the time, so take that into account when selecting which ones to go with. Your accuracy will also be reduced on the move, though there are Cult Creeds and other abilities that can increase their chances of hitting on the move.
One benefit they have over Guardsmen is the ability to take two Special Weapons or Heavy Weapons in a squad of 10. This allows you to double the firepower output of these weapons upgrades over the equivalent Brood Brothers squad.
The Heavy Stubber is a nice cheap option. For only 2 points, you get three S4 shots up to 36″. With the ability to take two in a squad, this gives you some nice long range firepower for very little points investment. Useful for taking on backfield units that are unlikely to be moving much.
The Mining Laser is a short-ranged Lascannon, and also much cheaper at only 12 pts. You can take two in a squad for maximising your anti-tank output. The range is 24″, meaning you will be out of range in most deployment types in the game of any prime targets you may wish to go after on deployment, forcing you to move with the unit or wait for the enemy to come to you. However, as the Neophyte Hybrids have access to Cult Ambush, you are able to take advantage to get into range of choice targets from turn 2 onwards., but your firepower will be less effective on the move (though there are ways to mitigate this).
The Seismic Cannon is a weird option for me. It has a high rate of fire at long range, but is only S3 with no AP, so can struggle to do much damage to many standard infantry units. It has the potential to to a lot more damage at short range, again, not really a problem getting into range with Cult Ambush or some of the transport options available to the Cult.
If you want to go for a close ranged firepower for the Neophyte Hybrids, you can arm them all with Shotguns and throw in a couple of Flamers as well. This will give you a unit that is pretty effective at very close range, with a high volume of shots and some auto-hit weapons. Unfortunately, you won’t get the most out of this unit if deploying from Underground Cult Ambush, as the Flamers will be out of range and the Shotguns won’t be getting the increased strength shots. You will need the squad to hang around for another turn to get the most effective out of their firepower, or move them closer to the enemy army, either through transport options or advancing on the enemy guns.
I would tend to keep the Neophyte Hybrids as cheap as possible. They are useful for using as screening units, objective holding units or for ablative wounds for Characters through Unquestioning Loyalty. However, the Brood Brothers Infantry Squad can do the same job for a cheaper points cost.
Where the Neophyte Hybrids do gain some merit is though the application of Cult Creeds to boost their abilities.
One of my favourite Cult Creeds for the Neophytes is Rusted Claw. This adds 1 to the saving throws of the Neophytes against weapons that are AP0 or AP-1. In cover, this gives the Neophyte Hybrids a 3+ armour save against a wide array of weapons. This seriously boosts their durability against enemy firepower and makes a unit in cover pretty hard to shift without some serious dedicated firepower. This is a great creed if you are using the Neophytes as backfield objective holders or for scoring secondaries such as Engineers or Recon.
Bladed Cog is also very useful for the Neophyte Hybrids. This gives them a 6+ invulnerable save against enemy attacks, helping to boost their durability. In addition, they don’t suffer any penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons. This helps to make their firepower much more accurate on the move, or when deploying from Cult Ambush from turn 2 onwards, allowing you to get these more powerful weapons into range. You can add this to other abilities in the army to boost their firepower even further and hitting on a 3+ with their Mining Lasers.
Hivecult is also a good trait for them which is often overlooked. This allows you to halve the number of casualties to a failed morale test, as well as being able to fall back and shoot at -1 to hit. With the increased Leadership of the Neophytes (relative to Guardsmen), this gives them further protection from the effects of morale. In addition, as one of the few Cult units that can muster some serious firepower, the ability to fall back and still shoot will help them out, though you will be hitting on a 5+ in most cases.
Twisted Helix is also a strong trait for the Neophytes, taking them up to strength 4 and adding 2 to any Advance rolls. This boosted strength makes them a slightly better threat in combat, giving them a better chance of wounding weaker enemy models in the Fight phase, though you probably don’t want them in combat all that often. The +2 to advance rolls makes them great for moving quickly around the board, grabbing objectives or moving to block enemy units from getting into position.
If taking a few units of Neophyte Hybrids, I would recommend taking them in their own detachment with either Bladed Cog or Rusted Claw. This allows you to take a separate detachment for your combat units and give them a more useful Cult Creed, such as Cult of the Four Armed Emperor or Twisted Helix. For the HQ units, a Jackal Alphus is useful to take in the Rusted Claw, allowing them to move and fire their sniper rifle without penalty and also boosting the firepower of the Neophytes thanks to their abilities.
There are a few support units that will help out the Neophyte Hybrids in their battlefield role.
The Jackal Alphus is a useful support unit if you are going to be taking Heavy Weapons on the Hybrids. The Priority Target Sighted ability allows you to pick a selected enemy unit and get +1 to hit on it when within 6″ of the Jackal Alphus. This means you can be hitting on a 3+ with the Mining Lasers if you do not move (or if you are Bladed Cog). This can actually help to provide some fairly accurate anti-tank firepower for the Cult, an area where they are generally lacking. Note that the Neophyte Hybrids do benefit from his ability, whereas Brood Brothers firepower units do not gain the benefit.
The squad can also be of use when supporting a Magus. Thanks to the Spiritual Leader special ability, you can get additional attempts to deny enemy psychic powers if they are manifested within 12″ of your Neophyte units. This is a cheaper method of getting additional attempts to block enemy psychic powers that could hamper your forces.
The Goliath Truck is also a useful option for supporting the Neophytes and keeping them safe from the enemy firepower. This also provides a cheap unit inside to fire off a Cache of Demolition Charges on the move, as well as allowing the squad to get into range with their own Heavy Weapons. A squad of Neophyte Hybrids with Mining Lasers and Grenade Launchers in a Goliath Truck with a Cache of Demolition Charges can provide a strong source of anti-tank firepower if they get close to the enemy unit they are targeting. Making them Rusted Claw will allow you to move with the vehicle and still keep up a good rate of firepower.
The Neophyte Hybrids are not the toughest of units to take out with shooting attacks or combat attacks in most cases. They do benefit from Cult Ambush, meaning that they can spring up around the battlefield and cause some damage where you are not expecting it.
In most cases, the units can be ignored unless they are being used for screening or for scoring objectives. Most of their firepower is S3 with no AP, so they will not be doing too much damage to your units unless you get unlucky with your saves or have masses of T3 infantry. With the addition of special weapons or heavy weapons, their firepower can become somewhat of a worry. However, most of these weapons are generally shorter ranged (up to 24″), so will not worry you on turn 1, unless the unit moves, in which case they are hitting on a 5+ in most situations.
If they deploy using Underground Cult Ambush, you can use an Interceptor-type stratagem, such as Auspex Scan to severely worry them as they deploy. However, in most cases, you will be saving these stratagems for more dangerous units in the Cult army.
When being used as screens for Cult characters or units, they will be pretty easy to deal with with standard weaponry such as Bolters, Lasguns, etc, if you have enough firepower and re-rolls to deal with the unit. Just bear in mind that the Cult has a number of morale mitigating abilities and special rules, so don’t always count on the morale phase being able to finish off a damaged squad.
The Neophyte Hybrids squad is generally one that can be ignored if you don’t have to deal with them. They are a solid choice for scoring Recon or Engineers for your opponent, so some form of firepower that can fire at targets out of line of sight can be useful for clearing them off such objectives. However, certain Cult Creeds can quickly give them a strong armour save in cover, so you may need to devote more firepower to them than you thought to ensure that they are wiped out.
The Neophyte Hybrids are a decent Troops choice for the Genestealer Cults. If you want a cheap screening unit or ablative wounds for a character, the Brood Brothers Infantry Squad is a cheaper option that will save you some points.
However, the right use of Cult Creeds and stratagems can make this unit surprisingly hard to shift if in cover, so they can be useful for holding objectives or for beefing them up as Engineers units for little points investment. Their Heavy Weapons and Special Weapons are a cheap points investment for some added firepower, though the short range of many of these means that their firepower can be wasted if you are using them as backfield objective holders, or your opponent is not moving up on your army.
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