Playing with your Primus

In past GSC articles we have covered various tips and tricks for using characters like the Patriarch and Magus, but there is one more unit from the GSC codex that forms the complete Brood Coven. The Primus, along with the Patriarch and Magus, leads the Cult throughout the planning and execution of overthrowing the Imperial oppressors. Just like his Cult brethren the Primus provides powerful aura buffs to the GSC units around him, but requires some finesse to use to his full potential.

A quick glance over the Primus’ stat line may seem underwhelming to some players, but, like many other things in the GSC army, this Cult leader needs to be analyzed carefully before throwing him on the tabletop to get those wins. With five wounds, toughness three and a 5+ save to keep him alive it is obvious the Primus isn’t included in most GSC army lists for it’s ability to win combats. So, why take this 85 point Guard Company Commander equivalent?

The Primus is in your army because of the buffs he can give the Cult units around him. The first of these buffing effects is Cult Demagogue which allows units within 6 inches of the Primus to ADD 1 to hit rolls in the Fight Phase. This is extremely strong on a unit of Acolytes with a Cult Icon (which allows the unit to re-roll hit rolls of 1). This now gives the buffed Acolytes the ability to hit on 2s re-rolling 1s! With the sheer number of attacks a unit of Acolytes puts out this buff turns the unit into a real danger to any unit in the game. But, what if my stupid opponent (don’t call your opponent stupid it’s bad sportsmanship!) is playing Dark Angels, Death Guard, or Transhumaned Marines?! The Primus has a buff for that.

Notice these are NOT Abberents

Meticulous Planner allows the GSC player to pick one unit the first time the Primus is set up on the table for all Cult units within 6 inches to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against the chosen unit. This ability works in any phase where you find yourself rolling to wound against the targeted unit, and is extremely helpful in getting those extra wounds through onto the tough units currently popular in the meta. While dealing with units that can only be wounded on 4+, or subtract 1 from their damage taken, can be extremely frustrating, a good GSC player needs to leverage all the available buffs in order to have a chance of clearing out that tough anvil unit. Remember, this buff only effects one enemy unit, but as long as your Primus is alive giving the aura out multiple GSC units can benefit, and odds are your GSC army has more units to throw into the fray than your opponent has expensive anvil units (I hope).

In order to show how powerful these two aura buffs coming from the Primus are I am going to attempt something rarely seen on the internet….hard data in the form of math! In my, not so hard data, opinion a unit of 20 Acolytes with 8 Rocksaws is about as hard hitting as the GSC codex can get. This unit, with a Cult Icon, comes in at 250 points. A steep investment, but with the Primus’ buffs they can punch well above their weight. The unit gets 16 S8 AP4 D2 attacks from Rocksaws, 24 Rending Claw attacks, and 20 Cultist Knife attacks. All of these attacks are hitting on 2s re-rolling 1s to hit and wound against the Primus’ chosen target. So how do they fair against some staple units from the meta?

I hope these numbers are right…..

Wounding on fixed 4+-

Rock Saw-15/16 hits no save 9 unsaved wounds

Rending Claw- 23/24 hits 13.6 wounds 6.8 unsaved wounds

Cultist Knife- 19/20 hits 11.3 wounds 3.78 unsaved wounds

From these numbers we can see a unit of 20 Acolytes with 8 Rock Saws and Cult Icon will have no trouble taking out a unit of 10 Transhumaned Primarus Marines.

Wounding on 4+, -1 Damage, and 4++ save

Rock Saw- 15/16 hits 9.04 wounds 4.5 unsaved wounds

Rending Claw- 23/24 hits 13.6 wounds 6.8 unsaved wounds

Cultist Knife- 19/20 hits 11.3 wounds 3.78 unsaved wounds

As we can see here the situation becomes a little more bleak against things like Dark Angels or Death Guard Terminators, but not many things in the game can handle these units on a single charge, and don’t forget about powers like Might From Beyond. The +1S may not help in these situations, but getting an additional attack on every model sure will help.

Note: they will not be the same color on your tournament table

Any advice about the Primus would not be complete without talking about his tailor made Warlord Trait. Alien Majesty allows one character to add 3 inches to their auras, and it always goes on my Primus when I am writing GSC lists. The units the Primus is trying to buff are going to be charging away from him in the majority of situations, and the Primus doesn’t always want to tag along to fight those Deathwing Terminators (believe in the Cult Acolytes the Primus is right behind you).

Keep in mind your Primus doesn’t necessarily need to come out of ambush with your other units to provide these amazing buffs. By starting on the table your Primus can buff units starting on the first turn, but it will require careful planning to make sure he is in the right place at the right time.

While math is not my strong suit I hope these rough numbers provide some context to the powerful buffing ability of the Primus, as well as show the damage potential of a properly planned Acolyte charge.

About BugProletariat

If my wife ever makes good on her threat to do an inventory of the models in my garage I'd have a real problem on my hands. Until then, I enjoy playing GSC (along with some other armies located in the garage) at local tournaments and hope one day to prove my gaming group wrong about how terrible I am at this game I love. If you enjoy my articles you can find clips of me actually talking over on my YouTube Channel:
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1 year ago

Thanks for the notes! This motivates me to finish painting my Brood Coven :>

1 year ago

I’d hazard to say that the Primus is just about the most important character in a GSC army due to that +1 to hit buff. The choice of when and where to deploy your Primus is one of your most critical decisions in the army. Too early and you risk losing him to ANYTHING that is able to get a bead on him, which is far more common early in the game. Too late, and you risk missing the right time to deal that critical damage to neuter your opponent.

The Heart of the Creed isn’t a bad upgrade for him. It allows you to come down with one of these really big Acolyte units and reliably kill 2 enemy units rather than just 1.

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