Genestealer Cults Review: Elites: Hybrid Metamorphs

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the most twisted breed of cultist, the Hybrid Metamorphs. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner


The Hybrid Metamorphs are twisted monstrosities, mutating in response to the approaching hivefleet. The Hybrid Metamorphs are a variation of the Acolyte Hybrids, with the option to take additional Metamorph weapons to boost their potency in combat. The squad consists of 5-10 models, at a cost of 9 to 14 points per model, depending on wargear (10 points base).

I would rate the Hybrid Metamorphs as Situational. They can take some potent combat weaponry, but at a cost, and are no more efficient than regular Acolyte Hybrids. They suffer from the same durability problems as most of the rest of the Cult Infantry, so will fall quickly to enemy firepower.


  • Autopistol
  • Rending Claw- Melee, strength user, AP-1, 1 damage. On a roll of 6+ to wound, the attack is resolved at AP-1.
  • Metamorph Talon- Melee, strength User, AP0, 1 damage. Each time the bearer fights it can make 1 additional attack with this weapon. Add 1 to hit rolls made for attacks made with this weapon.
  • Blasting Charges (Frag Grenades)
  • Any model may replace its Rending Claw with a Metamorph Talon.
  • Any model may replace its Metamorph Talon and Rending Claw with a Metamorph Whip and Rending Claw.
  • Any model may replace its Metamorph Talon and Rending Claw with a Metamorph Claw.
  • Any model may replace its Autopistol with a Hand Flamer.
  • A Metamorph Leader may take a Bonesword.
  • One Hybrid Metamorph may take a Cult Icon.
  • Metamorph Claw- S+2, AP-1, 1 damage.
  • Metamorph Whip- Melee, strength user, AP0, 1 damage. If the bearer is slain in the Fight phase before it has made its attacks, leave it where it is. When its unit is chosen to fight, the bearer can do so as normal before being removed from the battlefield.


  • 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.
  • Keywords- Tyranids, Genestealer Cults, <Cult>, Infantry, Hybrid Metamorphs.


The Hybrid Metamorphs are a unit primarily built for close combat. They have a similar profile to the Acolyte Hybrids; WS 3+, BS 4+, S4, T3, one wound, 3 attacks, Ld 7 and a 5+ armour save (the Leader has 4 attacks and Ld8). They have an extra base attack over the Acolyte Hybrids, but with the Cultist Knife of the latter, it works out around the same (you just don’t get the extra AP of the Rending Claw for the Cultist Knife).

They also come with a Metamorph Talon, giving them an additional attack that hits on a 2+. This is useful against opponents that don’t have a strong armour save that you need the Rending Claw to deal with, but you do get one attack with it anyway, going up to four attacks in combat.

You can swap out the Rending Claw for an additional Metamorph Talon, taking each Hybrid Metamorph up to 11 pts per model (compared to 10 for the Talon and Rending Claw). This gives each Metamorph 5 attacks that hit on a 2+, with no AP value. A unit of 10 Hybrid Metamorphs armed in this way will get 50 attacks that hit on a 2+ (with re-rolls if you take the Cult Icon).

If you take the Metamorph Claw, each Hybrid goes up to 13 pts per model. They then strike at S6 in combat at AP-1 with three attacks. This allows you to wound most enemy units on a 3+. However, combined with the Twisted Helix Cult Creed, you can go up to S7, allowing you to wound most vehicles and monsters on a 4+. This is a powerful option for the combat unit, but makes each Hybrid Metamorph pretty expensive for limited durability.

The Metamorph Whip is free, and allows you to attack in the Fight phase, even if the model is slain before they get a chance to strike. This does give you a cheaper option for taking the unit, as well as giving you some insurance against not being able to do anything with the unit before they are destroyed.

Cult Creeds

There are a number of useful Cult Creeds to help your squad out and make the best of their abilities.

I think Twisted Helix is a strong creed for the Metamorphs. Going up to S5 will help their combat prowess against a range of standard infantry models. As mentioned above, it also take the Metamorphs with the Claw up to S7, making it a useful choice for taking on vehicles.

Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor is obviously another useful Creed to take with the Metamorph Hybrids, helping to ensure that you can get into combat to use the most of their abilities. Paired with a Clamavus, and you can help improve their chances of getting into combat even further.

Bladed Cog can also be useful for helping to improve the durability of the unit, as well as giving you access to the Overthrow the Oppressors stratagem. With up to 5 attacks each, the chances of getting additional attacks with the stratagem are improved.

Battlefield Roles

Most things that the Hybrid Metamorphs can do, the Acolyte Hybrids can do for a cheaper points cost and with access to more buffs and stratagems, so their roles will be limited in the army.

One useful role I do see for the Hybrid Metamorphs is in going after lightly armoured infantry models. With two Metamorph Talons, you can go up to 50 attacks for a unit that hit on a 2+. That is a large number of attacks for 10 relatively cheap models to put out. Paired with Twisted Helix, you can do a lot of damage to light infantry such as Guardsmen, Ork Boyz, Poxwalkers, etc. An outlay of 120 pts gives you a unit that has 50 attacks that hit on a 2+ (with a re-roll thanks to the Cult Icon) and will wound most infantry models on a 3+. They have no AP, so may struggle to deal with heavily armoured units, but on average will put 27 wounds on a unit of Ork Boyz, 21 wounds on a unit of Guardsmen and 11 wounds on a unit of Space Marines.

That is a reasonable amount of combat ability for a relatively cheap unit. With sufficient buffs from other parts of the army, you can increase this even further.

A Magus can cast Might From Beyond on the squad, to take them up to S6 and 6 attacks each (or S5 if you don’t go Twisted Helix), further increasing their damage output. Alternatively, Mass Hypnosis can be used to prevent enemy overwatch and give the unit -1 to hit, making the Hybrid Metamorphs safer from reprisal attacks if they charge into combat.

Once more, their durabilty is a major weakness to the unit. With only T3 and a 5+ save, they are going to fall quickly to enemy firepower and combat attacks in most cases. They can potentially function well as a unit working on the periphery of the battlefield, going after isolated units or objectives, where line of sight blocking terrain can keep them safe from enemy firepower.


The Hybrid Metamorphs have some added utility to the Genestealer Cult army if you arm them appropriately. They do benefit from not needed much in the way of support characters, allowing you to use these sparse resources on other parts of the army.

There are simply better units in the codex that can do the same job as the Hybrid Metamorphs in most cases, or can do it better, albeit for a greater points cost. They lack the Heavy Rock Weapons that give the Acolyte Hybrids a lot of their punch in combat, but can do well against lightly armoured opponents.

I do not think they are an essential part of the force, but could come in handy under certain situations and against certain unit types.


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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.

18 Responses to “Genestealer Cults Review: Elites: Hybrid Metamorphs”

  1. Avatar
    Yarium September 16, 2019 2:54 pm #

    I guess they’re good if you know you’re going up against Plaguebearer spam. 3+ +1 for Metamorph Talon, +1 for Primus, rerolling 1’s – more than makes up for the penalties Plaguebearers will put out.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 17, 2019 12:10 am #

      Yeah, not as useful for tournament play, but could come in handy in a casual game where you know in advance what you will be facing.

      • Avatar
        Yarium September 17, 2019 4:24 am #

        Metamorphs need something going for them to make them different, but the only spot for them game-wise is to make them a more in-between unit of the Acolyte Hybrids and the Purestrains (and the Acolytes are already an in-between of the Neophytes and Purestrains).

        Maybe give them advance+charge? Twisted Helix versions would be terrifying.

        • Avatar
          Kitane September 19, 2019 5:30 am #

          Before the codex was released, I was trying to figure out a potential niche for metamorphs and it was difficult, the gap between acolytes and genestalers doesn’t leave much room for another fragile melee unit.

          Metamorphs had to keep body stats of acolytes, but they couldn’t match the hard hitting power of the mining gear. That left the horde blending as the only viable area, and that’s what GW did in the end. But it wasn’t enough, they were too specialized, risky to take and their flexibility was left unused.

          The only answer to that problem I came with was a stratagem to field “promote” acolytes into metamorphs during game, growing weapons best suited for the moment.

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr September 19, 2019 9:53 am

            That would make a really cool stratagem for the squad. Allowing a number of them to “grow” metamorph weapons during the game.

  2. Avatar
    Brakhal September 17, 2019 2:52 am #

    I don’t think the double talon can be stacked. The extra attack is an ability given by the weapon, and the same model cannot be benefited twice from the same ability.

    Is the same logic applied with Tyranid Warriors equipped with 2x bonesword Tyranid Warriors (Tyranid faqs).

    The text should be: “… can make 1 additional attack with each metamorph talon it is equipped with”, like what happens with ork dread klaws, but it is not the case.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 17, 2019 3:57 am #

      I don’t see why it does not stack. The wording to me seems to indicate that it can. “Each time the bearer fights it can make 1 additional attack with this weapon”. If you have two of those weapons, you make two additional attacks.

      It’s the same way that Marines get two extra attacks for taking two chainswords, whihc has the same wording. I don’t see why they cannot benefit twice from the same ability.

      I think the rules for Scything Talons are different, as it is specified in the rule that you need more than one pair to get the additional attack. For me, this differs compared to the wording of this rule and other similar wargear.

      • Avatar
        Brakhal September 17, 2019 4:22 am #

        I think space marines don’t have the extra attack for 2 chainswords, neither.

        In both cases, it’s the same wording as the boneswords (not scything talons), and the faq clarifies that those don’t stack.

        I thought the same as you before the bonesword had the faq, but now that’s the only way that faq makes sense: some weapons give abilities, and one model can’t apply the same abilitie twice. The extra attack is an abilitie.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy September 17, 2019 5:53 am #

          Two Chainswords (or similar weapons) give you two extra attacks. It’s been confirmed in FAQs and repeatedly ruled that way at major tournaments as well.

          • Avatar
            Brakhal September 17, 2019 7:20 am

            I don’t remember any faq saying that, nowhere.

            I mean, there’s a faq that says you can equip 2 chainswords in one model, but it doesn’t says that model gets +2 attacks. Is the same case with boneswords, except in the tyranid case there’s an extra faq specifying the second pair doesn’t give a second extra attack.

        • Avatar
          Anggul September 17, 2019 6:09 am #

          I think you’ll find that’s specific to Tyranids

          For some reason

          • Avatar
            Brakhal September 17, 2019 7:22 am

            It can’t be something specific to tyranids, after all, it’s a clarification, not an errata.

  3. Avatar
    Xerxus September 17, 2019 7:49 am #

    A chainsword has the following rule:

    “Each time the bearer fights, it can make 1 additional attack with this weapon.”

    Emphasis on “this weapon”. Therefore, each time a model with two chainswords fights, both of the chainswords add an extra attack.

    Boneswords has the following rule:

    “A model armed with boneswords can make 1 additional attack with them in the Fight phase.”

    A model will be armed with boneswords whether it has one or two selections of boneswords. Therefore, each time it fights it makes one additional attack using the boneswords profile.

    • Avatar
      Brakhal September 17, 2019 9:49 am #

      The wording is not that different: as the model with 4 boneswords have 2 pairs of weapons, he would be able to apply the abilitie one time with each pair of boneswords.

      The only reasoning I can find to figure the tyranid faq is that a model can’t make use twice of the same wepon abilitie, That, or boneswords rules are not correctly written, and must be rephrased to be clearer.

      Either way, boneswords wording is weird, tho.

      • Avatar
        WestRider September 17, 2019 3:44 pm #

        The difference is subtle, but important. The Boneswords ability applies to the Model. As long as it has more than one Bonesword, regardless of how many, it gets one extra Attack. The Chainsword and Metamorph Talon abilities apply to the weapon, and each of those Weapons has the ability to make one extra Attack each time the bearer fights.

  4. Avatar
    Ohlmann September 17, 2019 11:32 am #

    Did you read the ability ? It don’t mention pairs. It only mention +1 attaques if you have more than 1.

  5. Avatar
    sultansean September 18, 2019 8:57 pm #

    I think the whips are a great option against other close combat armies. They can gut Ork or other GSC units that charge and kill them, but then are killed in return. This provides a unique kind of durability which brings an interesting element to GSC.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 19, 2019 9:54 am #

      The whip is a nice option against combat units, as you say. They provide you with an opportunity to still strike when slain.

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