I was very excited to see a fellow Genestealer Cults player perform extremely well at the Dallas Open last weekend, but I was equally as confused when I opened the player’s army list to see how they won five out of their eight games. The first thing I saw was a Battalion Detachment of Pauper Princes. Remember when I wrote an article about Bladed Cog being the only way to play GSC? Well, it takes a big person to admit when they were were wrong, and I am that big person.
By looking at THE GSC (there was only one) list from the Dallas Open we can see why the Pauper Princes were an obvious choice for a Cult Creed. Bringing all Acolyte squads armed with the Heavy Rock Cutter makes the Pauper Princes re-rolling all missed hits in close combat on the turn they charge or were charged extremely valuable. The -1 to hit from the Rock Cutters is completely mitigated from the re-rolling hits with a squad of 10 Acolytes with 4 Cutters getting 8 Cutter attacks (12 if they have Might From Beyond).
By mitigating the biggest downside of the Heavy Rock Cutter it is clear that it is much more effective than the ever popular Rock Saw. With the chance to simply kill any infantry model by rolling over their remaining wounds characteristic the 4×10 Acolyte Squads in this list can punch well above their weight. Sure, once they go in and hit something they are dead to any counter punch, but this is where the Pauper Prince Cult trait makes even MORE sense.
The second part of this interesting Cult is their models get to fight, or shoot, on death with the use of a Psychic Power or Relic. The (clearly better then me) GSC player from the Dallas Open chose not to utilize either of these fight on death methods, but I think I understand why. Using 4 squads of 10 Acolytes and 2 of 5 with Rock Cutters ensures they will not be around once they spring out of their transports and charge into the opponent’s lines. Either the Acolytes killed what they charged, or they didn’t and they are about to be easily killed by basically anything in the enemy army.
My guess is these units were used more as trading pieces during the game to turn off Primary scoring for opponents with the Acolytes Objective Secured, and their, relatively, low points cost for the damage they are capable of dealing in close combat (it is very important after reading this sentence you don’t check some points values in the Drukhari Codex). Knowing an opponent had to respect 50 ObSec bodies with a plethora of mining tools designed to lop heads off the next part of the army list seems like an excellent choice as well.
9 Ridgerunners fill up the Fast Attack slots in the Pauper Princes Battalion. Not getting the extra buff from the Bladed Cog Warlord Trait or the Hive Cult re-rolling 1s to hit from Hive Commander may make these seem like an odd choice, but with the right stratagems, and buffs, from this army’s Primus and Jackal Alphus, these little buggies still put out a respectable amount of fire power. +1 to hit coming from the Alphus will be all that is needed unless your unit is shooting through Dense Terrain, or at a unit who has a built in -1 to hit, but the Raking Fire stratagem fixes that issue on the 54 Heavy Stubber shots these units can put out. Ridgerunners are also fast enough to make sure they get the first punch at the enemy before taking fire themselves, and the Primus’ re-rolling 1s to wound aura against an enemy unit will help push the unit’s Heavy Mining Lasers over the top.
Finally, we come to this list’s second detachment in the form of a Cult of the Four Armed Emperor Patrol. This detachment is here for fluff purposes only since the Emperor does, in fact, have four arms, and this player wanted to make sure his opponents knew that. This detachment also provides another 25 ObSec bodies that can Cult Ambush behind enemy lines with a Patriarch who is capable of Mind Controlling big shooting pieces in the enemy army (love this choice now that vehicles and monsters can shoot into combat, making this power MUCH better in 9th Edition). The Magus in this detachment, who is a super buffed psyker with the Crouchling and The Cult’s Psyche, can cast Might From Beyond Psychic Stimulus onto the Pauper Prince Acolytes since GSC powers are not Cult locked.
This list is also amazing at scoring secondary points. The Four Armed Emperor units can be dropped into the enemies deployment zone for a few turns of Linebreaker and Teleport Homer. Both Secondaries that can potentially score you more then the average 10 players expect from Raise Banners or Engage on All Fronts. This gives opponents a tricky choice during games on whether they take care of the 25 Neophytes and 2 Characters in their back lines, or deal w the 40 Acolytes and 9 Ridgerunners moving onto the objectives.
It is awesome to see a player sticking to the faction they love and getting results most people thought were a dream for an army who is widely considered one of the worst in the game. Actually, I don’t know this player, I hope they love GSC, or they just pulled off a major flex to us long time GSC fans! GSC stonks (the word some talking heads in the 40k content creation universe use 50,000 times weekly when describing anything and everything) have never been lower , but with all the negativity focused on a truly broken Drukhari codex its nice to see people taking risks with their favorite armies!