Genestealer Cults Codex Review: HQ: Acolyte Iconward

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the standard bearer of the Genestealer Cults army, the Acolyte Iconward. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.


The Acolyte Iconward is chosen from the most intelligent and capable of the Acolyte Hybrids to proudly bear the Cult Icon into battle, no longer hidden in secret form the foe. On the battlefield, the Acolyte Iconward provides some useful buffs to nearby Genestealer Cults units, as well as providing some decent combat prowess. The inclusion of the Specialist Detachments from the Vigilus Defiant book have made the Acolyte Iconward a valuable addition to the army. The Acolyte Iconward costs 53 points.

I would rate the Acolyte Iconward on his own as Efficient. He provides some nice buffs for nearby units that can help with your durability. However, if you are using the Deliverance Broodsurge specialist detachment, he becomes a Competitive choice, thanks to the extra bonuses he can provide to your forces.


  • Autopistol
  • Rending Claw
  • Blasting Charges (Frag grenades)


  • Cult Ambush
  • Unquestioning Loyalty
  • Nexus of Devotion- Roll a D6 each time a <Cult> Infantry or Biker model (other than an Aberrant) loses a wound whilst its unit is within 6″ of the Acolyte Iconward. On a roll of a 6, that wound is not lost.
  • Sacred Cult Banner- You can re-roll Morale tests for friendly <Cult> units whilst they are within 6″ of this model.
  • Bestial Devotion- Re-roll Bestial Vigour rolls of 1 for friendly <Cult> Aberrant models whilst their unit is within 6″ of this model.


The Acolyte Iconward is a souped up version of an Acolyte Hybrid. He has WS and BS 3+, strength 4, toughness 3, four wounds, 4 attacks and a 5+ save. He has some reasonable combat ability, when combined with the Rending Claw, so should be able to hold his own in combat against standard infantry. However, with T3 and a 5+ save, he will fall pretty easily to dedicated firepower and combat attacks. He does get the Unquestioning Loyalty ability to help him pass on wounds to nearby units.

The real strength of the Acolyte Iconward is in the buffs he can supply to nearby units. His banner allows all units within 6″ to re-roll morale tests and have a 6+ save against all wounds. In addition, he helps out nearby Aberrant units by allowing them to re-roll 1’s on their Bestial Vigour rolls.

Note that the Acolyte Iconward allows you to re-roll morale tests, not just failed morale tests. This can come in handy in certain situations. For example, if your opponent assaults one of your units and is able to kill enough of the unit members to wrap around and prevent you from falling back to target them with your firepower. The re-roll allows you to try and fail a morale test to removed models and allow you to fall back with other members of the unit or to destroy it entirely.

The Acolyte Iconward can take the Icon of the Cult Ascendant relic. This gives all units within 6″ +1 strength in addition to all the other bonuses the Iconward provides. This is a nice boost, allowing many Genestealer Cults units to wound standard infantry on a 3+. This pairs well with the Twisted Helix Cult Creed, allowing you to gain +2 strength on nearby units, increasing the number of enemy units they can wound on a 3+. For Aberrant units, this takes them up to S7, allowing you to wound most vehicles on a 2+ with the Heavy Rock Hammers.

Cult Creeds

There are a number of useful Cult Creeds for helping out the Acolyte Iconward. Bladed Cog gives him a 6+ invulnerable save, helping with his durability. You can also take the Cult Relic to give him a 3+ invulnerable save. Rusted Claw is also a useful Creed for boosting his durability, giving him a 4+ armour save against AP0 and AP-1 weaponry.

Deliverance Broodsurge Specialist Detachment

A great boost for the competitiveness of the Acolyte Iconward was the introduction of the Deliverance Broodsurge specialist detachment from the Vigilus book. This allows the Iconward to take the Broodsurge warlord trait, allowing selected nearby units to re-roll charge rolls.

This is obviously a huge boost for an assault-heavy army such as the Genestealer Cults, and the Acolyte Iconward is key to helping with this strategy. For a full review on the uses of this specialist detachment, check out the Deliverance Broodsurge review.


With the Deliverance Broodsurge specialist detachment, the Acolyte Iconward turns into a buffing powerhouse for the Genestealer Cults army. He provides a range of bonuses to selected nearby Cult units, helping them to get into combat with greater efficiency and helping with the survivability of close units.

In this role, you are better going with Cult Creeds such as Twisted Helix or Cult of the Four Armed Emperor. While not directly helping the Iconward a great degree, such Creeds are very useful for the units he is helping to support and buff, ensuring you can do maximum damage on the turn that you arrive from reserve. With Cult of the Four Armed Emperor combined with the Icon of the Cult Ascendant on the Iconward, you can some of the benefits of Twisted Helix in addition to the bonus to charges.


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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.

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