40K Solutions: Genestealer Cult Allies – SOLVED!


Well that was fast – one sharp eyed reader spotted the answer to the burning Cult-Tyranids Allies question.  We have an answer!

A special shout out to BoLS Facebook reader Matthew Friett who spotted this little nugget tucked away in the latest White Dwarf:


And there it is in black and white, straight from GW:


“Tyranid collectors rejoice! Genestealer Cults are happy to fight beside (and be eaten by) the Great Devourer.”

I think that settles once and for all the great RAW vs RAI debate on if the Cults and the Tyranids can ally (THEY CAN). The era of some (well one) faction having no allies is over at last.  Now even the bug players have some tabletop buddies at last. Now about those limos…


This will certainly represent a leap forward in power and list-building capability to the Tyranid faction. I don’t know exactly how it will affect the meta, but it only a good thing for Tyranid players. I assume they will all be jumping on any copies of Deathwatch:Overkill they can lay their clawed hands on.

~ Next question is – what types of combo army lists do you think will work well with the Tyranids and Genestealer Cults? Show us your sneaky list ideas in the comments.



  • Ben_S

    I don’t really see how this settles the debate. Pretty much everyone agreed that, RAI, they can ally. The debate was merely about the RAW.

    • Trepid

      OK so the argument for RAW was that they could ally but in the same way as Nids (i.e. CTA) – the above states that they are happy to be eaten by Nids, hardly CTA feel to it is it?

      • Ben_S

        Pretty much everyone (if not literally everyone) agreed that RAI they’re BB allies. The debate was over the interpretation of the RAW.

        Since the debate was about how to interpret the RAW, and not about the intentions, this isn’t relevant, unless you think it’s part of the rules.

        • Trepid

          Agreed, RAW was this issue, this, in addition to the existing rules helps to clarify the position.

          • Ben_S

            This clarifies the intention, but no one disputed that. The RAI were clear enough already. And this doesn’t change the RAW. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Trepid

            Fair point.

          • River Zora

            The point and relevance being that this is written in the exact same document as the other sentence causing confusion. This is the very same White Dwarf. This is rules clarification. It’s not some separate FAQ section- this is a few pages later in the same magazine that said they could ally the same as Nids. This *is* RAW because this *is* “R”.

          • Ben_S

            You think this bit in the margins of a White Dwarf is part of the written rules of 40k? Then you must have an awful lot of rules to carry around with you…

            Moreover, if this is part of the rules, then the writing is worse than I thought. Does ‘happy to fight beside’ mean Battle Brothers? Is the Great Devourer on the allies matrix?

          • River Zora

            Ben-S. Seeing as the other but that everyone seems intent on analysing is *also* from a margin in White Dwarf and also written so poorly that it’s up for debate- yes. In fact I’d give this one precedence as this is in the section saved for FAQs from Grombrindal and other such game and paint info. The old bit is just in the editor’s blurb at the beginning.

            It is clear that RAW and RAI “the same way as Tyranids” means the same as Blood Angels allying the same way as Space Wolves. On the allied matrix Tyranids and GSC are both on the same line- BB with themselves and each other, and CTA with everyone else.

            SoB,GK,IK,AM,MT,SW,SM,BA,DA all ally the same way as each other- they even have the same line on the matrix. Now so too do GSC and Tyranids. That’s how it’s written, that’s how it’s clarified in the very same publication.

          • Ben_S

            I agree that the way rules are scattered all over the place these days makes it very hard to tell what is official rules and what is simply fluff, flavour text, a sales pitch, etc.

            But if someone were to rely on a Munitorum Report to justify their position in an argument about the RAW then I think they’re on very shaky ground to say the least. It’s clearly written in fluffy terms and not in terms of game rules (e.g. it doesn’t specify what level of allies they are).

            RAI GC and Nids are Battle Brothers, sure. And that’s the way I’d play it too, since the intention’s pretty clear to everyone, as was said in the debate last week.

            The debate however was over how to interpret ‘exactly’ in the RAW.

            RAW1. Nids can ally with no one but Nids. GC ally in the same way. They can ally with Nids.

            RAW2. Nids can ally with no one but themselves. GC ally in the same way. They can ally with no one but themselves.

            Either of those looks like an interpretation of exactly the same way to me, so I’m happy to admit that RAW are ambiguous – not that it particularly matters when RAI are clear.

            I don’t see this as part of the RAW but merely flavour text. I suppose if you do think this is part of the RAW then, fair enough, the RAW are somewhat clearer – but please explain how this ‘attack from the shadows’ rule works… 😉

          • wibbling

            I think you’re over analysing. Isn’t it enough to say that Genestealers can be fielded alongside Tyranids?

            What does it matter? Just enjoy the game.

          • Ben_S

            I never said it really matters. I didn’t take much part in the debate last week. But I don’t have a problem with people debating what the rules actually say if they want to.

          • Zingbaby

            It doesn’t really matter – the debate was an acknowledgement of the language; because that is all we have here – yet nobody as far as I could tell was arguing that we should follow that RAW.

        • TweetleBeetle

          “Pretty much everyone” is the internet, and the internet is almost universally wrong when they are unified in an opinion. Especially since it’s mostly people who hate something that choose to post about it.

          There isn’t a debate. There never was (except among those like to make things more confusing for themselves and others than they need to be).

          Genestealers Cults are the same as Tyranids. They can be used all alone, or with other GC’s and Tyranids. Everything else is CTA. The end.

          Anyone trying to argue otherwise is just making it difficult for literally no reason.

          • Erik Setzer

            Every time I feel like you can’t be more of a jerkwaffle, you find a way to remind us all who the biggest Troggoth around is. Claiming that a unanimous decision is “almost universally wrong” is ridiculous, especially as you’re doing so in the context of trying to claim any criticism regarding anything by your dear GW is wrong.

            The funny thing here is that people aren’t even attacking GW on this, and yet you rush to slam people in defense of poor widdle G-Dub.

            Almost everyone – and no, it doesn’t just mean “the Internet” – already had this thing figured out, and they were RIGHT. Unless you’re actually trying to argue Cults can’t ally with Nids as BBs, which you seem to be trying to do, only you just said everyone else is wrong, while then reiterating their view, which shows just how bad of a Troggoth you are.

          • Zingbaby

            Wait, aren’t/weren’t you and TB in agreement here?

            You were both wrong of course; everybody already knew what the INTENT was. The entire previous debate was not about intent though — again, nearly everyone agreed what the intent was, nearly everyone agreed to follow the RAI _despite_ what the RAW said.

            The debate, as far as I could tell, was simply about ‘acknowledging the language’, not determining how the rule should be played – which, again everyone agreed should be RAI.

            Just because you, or I, or everyone, or “the internet” doesn’t like something doesn’t make it not so.

          • Erik Setzer

            But RAW was the same as RAI in this case. Only people determined to be @$$clowns claimed that the wording meant something different than “Use the allies chart for Tyranids.”

            I still don’t see a real debate here. I doubt there’d even be people talking about it if websites didn’t stir the pot claiming it’s a “rules conundrum” in order to get hits.

          • Zingbaby

            Actually people _were_ talking about here and on forums prior to the ‘rules conundrum’ article.

            Second – you are TB ARE agreeing with each other fyi.

            Third – you’d be an @$$clown for trying to “enforce” such a ruling, but the rule says what the rule says; even if nobody likes it. Trying to claim otherwise doesn’t make you some kind of man of the people.

          • Erik Setzer

            TweedleDumb might be correct on the rule but not on his other comments.

            And I’d never claim to be a “man of the people” in any way. Populist opinion doesn’t sway me and I generally don’t really care what people think about me, nor do I want to be any kind of leader.

          • Zingbaby

            To be fair, I couldn’t be bothered to even read through the rest of his comment.

            Ok Erik. Maybe. For years I’ve enjoyed reading your comments; I agree with you at least half of the time, and Jebus you are so unbelievably negative – but you make me laugh.

          • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

            This is true as well, and better stated.

          • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

            He didn’t have anything to say about GW in that particular post. Relax.

          • wibbling


          • Ben_S

            Come The Apocalypse.

          • This, thank you. In the words of Blade, “Some mother f*#%er’s always trying to ice skate uphill”

          • Scott Guise (Shrew8541)

            Agree so much on this. I have been playing for over 20 years and it’s like the worst release of warp spawned rules lawyer naziism I have ever seen in the last 5 years or so. I am so glad I have good people to play with who like to play for FUN.

    • euansmith

      I really astonished that anyone uses RAW as an argument when dealing with GW’s vague guidelines. 😉

      • NagaBaboon

        I was just about to say something to the same effect

      • nurglitch

        I’m really astonished that anyone uses RAW for anything. Or thinks it’s a way of reading rules.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          WAAC players will try to use it to rule lawyer. Hell last weekend I was in an AoS tourney and the mother $%#@! tried to tell me I couldn’t use the magic power against him to stop his over powered shooting against my army because the writing said it was summoning magic to bring a cloud to g me a save against shooting, and summoning per our tourney rules was limited. Yet he was allowed as the attacking player to infinitely respawn lost units per the battle plan!.

          People will always try crap like this to play things in their favor. People fear GSC because they have weapons that shoot back to support their crap?

      • Muninwing

        it’d be different if they’d bother to FAQ in any decently efficient way.

        i love the fluff. i love the game. i used to not understand why so many people hated the company. but they are so incredibly unprofessional about pretty much every aspect of their own product.

        they’re like a young teacher who desperately cares whether their classes like them, and then tries to use that instead of actual management/discipline skills to maintain order. it might work for a little while, but it doesn’t work all the time… and it doesn’t last for more than a few months… and it’s harder to use the older you get… and at some point you have learned all sorts of bad behaviors without any of the proper ones and cannot actually do the job at hand.

        plus, GW has squandered a ton of the goodwill they have earned over the years, particularly recently. they need an influx of community connection and involvement and support in order to reclaim that.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Which they lately have been trying. I am shocked. They are going back to like 2000! Handing any stores that want to run clubs full tables of terrain and realm of battle boards at no cost! Throwing 250 dollars of support of 8 man minimum tourneys! its incredible. I think they are trying hard to fix the damage they caused as far as the corp bean counters will let them. Course it is a work in progress. Time will tell.

      • Spacefrisian

        Yeah i just used a mirror and noticed the obvious…But some just like to argue without doing the obvious and try to hide behind something called RAW…

        BTW i always watch RAW on thursday evening on german television…or like some irish say, halfnaked men in there undergrundies…but that TNA.

      • Chris. K Cook

        I use it as a bellweather.

        Anyone making a RAW Argument vs clear RAI is not worth playing.

      • David Leimbach

        Who reads? I thought being a GW customer was all about buying kits and throwing them on the alter of boxes of models you’ll never have time to build.

    • Local Ork

      I guess this is RAF – rules as fulff.

      Because it is pretty much background filler, not even piece of rules.

      Also, Cult =/= Tyranids. In fact, they are not even a faction, just bunch of models with rules.

      • Chris. K Cook

        ‘All minis have the Genestealer Cult Faction’

        It’s a Faction.

  • BT

    Ah yes… just really take in that last picture. Guard were able to be taken as part of this list. Then you have Khorne Flesh Hounds and Beastmen (who were also able to be part of the Guard). Then think really long and hard at the fact that they are all Khorne worshipers with Psykers (Magnus).

    Now wouldn’t that have been something, if GW said Nids can Ally with these guys, but then allowed these guys to Ally with other factions, like Guard and Chaos. You use it like the ability to manipulate those other Factions for doing their dirty work.

    • Tox

      That is an old White Dwarf Genestealer Cult list, it let “desperate struggling” Genestealer Cults devote themselves to the dark gods for more power, the Patriarch could even be possessed.

      • wibbling

        I think if you present a fluff based reason any army could ally with daemons: the imperial psyker who loses control, the Tau who begins to enjoy war, the Ethereal plotting a future, the Ork mistakening calling on Khorne instead of Mork, the Magus creating a pleasure cult to extend his influence or a faux hospital pretending to ‘heal the sick’ with Nurgle’s gifts…

        • Chaos Orks need to come back, they were such fun

          • nurglitch

            Gork is Khorne, Mork is Tzeentch.

          • I feel like Gork is too cunnin’ to be Khorne and Mork is too brutal to be Tzeentch

          • Maybe it’s the other way around then 🙂

          • euansmith

            Gork is Korntch and Mork is Tzeene.

        • Muninwing

          i wish someone would come up with an altered Allies Matrix that made more sense.

          one that mitigated certain superfriends advantages. one that gave both the fluff (imperium allies) and the game (rivals and backbiting), one that didn’t penalize anyone (nids) while still showing accurate fluff representation of what might be occurring (nids) and who the real threats are (nids).

          i don’t disagree with having the AM. i just think it’s too nice, except where it’s really restrictive.

          and armies like AM vs Scions? or Genestealer Cult vs Nids? or CSm vs Daemons? or Harlequins vs either Eldar? or Skiitari vs AdMech? they’re basically the same… and i’d be perfectly fine if they were the only BB allies, and everyone else was more reserved/distant.

          • euansmith

            I really think they should do away with Battle Brothers as no one gets along in 40k; and even modern day armies try to avoid mixing units with other forces, let alone other countries.

    • Erik Setzer

      Technically they can still ally with anyone, you just have to keep them from getting too close or they might start standing around useless because your dice hate you and love to roll 1’s. (I have no prior experience with that, of course.)

      • Zingbaby

        It’s tough to deploy on some missions too. Although if you take the GSC formation the entire thing can infiltrate so that might help.

        • Erik Setzer

          Yeah, that’s part of the “keep them from getting too close,” I just simplified it instead of rehashing all of how it works. I’ve done some CTA allies just for fun at times, it did present a challenge for setup, but it wasn’t too rough. Although, if I ever ally my Blood Axes with Imperial Guard (something that’s relatively common in the fluff), that could present a problem as both armies have a lot of bodies.

    • I’m considering adding my GC to my daemonkin, I like the idea that a dormant cult would come out to take advantage of a daemonic incursion, and I don’t have a tyranid army to run them with (nor do I plan to get one, I’m mostly interested in using them for necromunda, but I’d like to at least try them in 40k)

  • benn grimm

    Allies matrix is stupid, best to just ignore it and move on at this point. If i ever get round to finishing my daemons/dark mech and decide to do a G-Cult, they WILL be rocking up in Limo-shaped Chimeras, inconsistent rules be damned.

    • ZeeLobby

      My biggest confusion is that obviously GW does not playtest or really care about rules anymore, so why does the Allies matrix even exist? At this point I’d rather have them AoS 40K and let the community fix it, as the sheer number of loopholes and head scratches have gotten out of hand…

    • Spiderpope

      And if you were local to me, id be damned glad to play against it. The rule of cool supercedes all others.

  • BigGrim

    Yay! An answer to a question that no-one should have felt the need to answer. It was glaringly obvious.

  • Erik Setzer



    There was nothing to be “solved.” There was no problem before besides people purposely being jerks and you guys running with it in order to get more views. That’s where the problem is, and we haven’t gotten rid of the trolls and clearly you haven’t stopped claiming problems that don’t exist in order to get page views.

    For the people claiming that the original text wasn’t clear enough, that tiny blurb isn’t going to clear it up either. So if there was an issue – and there isn’t – it still wouldn’t be solved.

    FFS, this is getting out of hand.

    • wibbling

      Hi Erik, it’s off topic but I noticed your avatar and wondered if you had a larger picture of it? It looks superbly painted and I’m looking for ideas.

      Many thanks.

    • Zingbaby

      Yah know Eric – acknowledging something, pointing out that it exists; because it DOES – does not mean one is “purposely being jerks”. That is just acknowledging unpopular/inconvenient truths… so yes, this IS getting out of hand.

      Purposely being jerks – would be actually making someone play Nids and GSC as CtA, OR accusing anyone pointing out what the rule actually says of being a jerks. 😉

      • Erik Setzer

        The rule says what it says; people are trying to claim it says something different, or misread what it says (despite it being pretty clear). Either they’re dense or they’re doing it to mess with people, which makes them jerks.

        I guess some people are just dense rather than jerks.

        • Zingbaby

          Haha, well from what I gather nobody was really “doing it to mess with people”. However, you are projecting (intent) and yes, common sense, but taken purely at face value, given the English language — the rule is f***ed, and some were acknowledging that.

  • PrimoFederalist

    RAW vs RAI is only a “thing” because a) the RAW are not clear and b) RAI are almost impossible to verify.

    When we have a case of ambiguous rules being able to be interpreted one way or another, but the *intent* of the rule is made clear, the debate should be over.

    If a codex gives one points cost on page 31 and another points cost on page 86, there is now a debate because RAW are unclear. If GW comes out and says “page 31 is correct”, the RAI have now superseded the RAW because we have absolute clarity on what the RAI are.

    People lose sight of this with their ridiculous rules-lawyering. Its one thing to default to RAW because of GW’s consistently bad rules writing, it’s a whole new level of stupid to ignore RAI in favor of RAW when the intent has been made clear.

    • Shiwan8

      In this case RAW and RAI were the exact same thing. Some people just get their panties twisted when something cool happens to someone else.

    • Ben_S

      Bad rules writing is a reason to avoid sticking religiously to RAW, because bad writing means that the RAW often differs from RAI. With good writing, the RAW expresses the intention. But the problem is that the only access we have to the author’s intentions is what they wrote.

      • nurglitch

        So what you’re saying is the only way to know what’s intended is the text as it is written?

        • Ben_S

          There are other ways that are in principle possible, like asking the author what he meant, but for most of us we can only try to discern the intention from what’s written. If the rules clearly say X, then we assume the author intended X.

        • Zingbaby

          Haha pretty much.

  • deuce1984

    To me this does not seem to support BB allies but instead CTA. Saying you can “fight beside and be eaten by” says to me that they are meant to be CTA allies only because they will attack each other. That will only happen between CTA allies.

    Snice CTA allies is not “ally in the same way as tyranids”, I feel this bit of WD marketing is only useful for muddying the argument further.

    • Spiderpope

      It says “happy”. And its referring to the fluff not rules mechanics.

    • davepak

      As others have pointed out, this is referring to the fluffy fact that few understand about the END of a tyranid battle.

      ALL the nids are eaten. After all the humans/aliens etc. have gone into the digestion pools – the nids themselves jump in – including the cults – this is how they get back to orbit.

      Nids don’t have “pick up” transports….
      (well its a straw…)

  • Nicholas Bollaert

    People were getting RAW wrong. You do NOT replace the name of the faction in the chart you just follow who Tyranids can ally with. Tyranids can ally with Tyranids so can GC.

    The real RAW take is GC cannot ally with GC :-p

    The point of the weird wording is they don’t have to ever add GC to the matrix and if new allies for Tyranids show up then they auto apply to GC

  • This is in the issue too

  • Benderisgreat

    Really their only allies should be the Imperial Guard. After all, the whole reason they’re there is to subvert the population of a planet.

    • Commissar Molotov

      The last iteration of the Genestealer Cult Army allowed them to ally with Tyranids or Chaos – but not at the same time…

      They already had pseudo-IG units in their list – “Brood Brothers” and looted vehicles.

      • Benderisgreat

        Right, hence the assertion. Also, guys with guns just don’t look right alongside Nids.

  • Nathaniel Wright

    That’s right, ladies and gentlemen… ‘They’ are among you, and they breed.

  • Davor Mackovic

    Not sure if this was said or not, but is this the same White Dwarf that said EVERYONE can have Imperial Knights including Tyranids and Chaos Space Marines? We all know how that worked out.

    • Brian Griffith

      If anyone is seriously doubting that Genestealer Cults are intended to be Allies for Tyranids, I have to wonder about them.

      • Crablezworth

        come the apocalypse allies are….allies

  • Satyan Patel

    “Can’t we just all get along” – Rodney King

  • Sam Nolton

    Does that mean GW is retconning their fiction again? I think I remember reading that the Genestealers and their cult have like…a super powerful survival instinct and they flee the planet when the hive fleet arrives.

    • Spacefrisian

      Ymgarl genestealers have a different idea.

      • Sam Nolton

        Yeah those ones actively try to get back into the Hive Fleet. But purestrains aren’t Ymgarls, as far as I can tell.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          well that is because fluff has been retconned over the years, genestealers stopped coming from ymgarl in the last few editions and were just part of the hivemind and no longer used cults. Now the cults are back and they changed the fluff again to be an amalgamation of the two. Just like how they keep retconning other armies.

  • Andrew Thomas

    Another slow news week strikes again.

    To answer the question: Lictors, Stealers, and some big guns.

  • Shaun Reid

    I’m not sure why there is confusion about allies for Genestealer Cults as the inside front page that they ally in the same way as Tyranids.

  • SuperHappyTime

    RAW: Genestealer Cult is Battle Brothers with Tyranids.

  • Chris. K Cook

    So we’ll ignore the fact that I pointed this out days ago?

    Do the Admins here even read the Comments section?

  • Talys

    The guys who write the rules must shake their heads. It’s as if people just WANT to make life difficult by looking for things that aren’t there. The RAW was a perfectly clear unless you were TRYING to look for a problem that wasn’t there, and the clarifification is also crystal clear. Why can’t people just enjoy the game?

  • Crablezworth

    come the apocalypse allies are, this may shock you, still allies

  • JP

    SIGH. Even Koko could’ve interpreted it right the first time….

  • Beyond Boredom

    This only proves that GW are sloppy about their rules, borne from the fact they don’t much care about anything beyond the models.