Ratsurrection: GS Cult Battles & Thoughts


A pure Genestealer Cult army is a site to behold.  Check out a recent battle and my thoughts after playing it a couple of times.

CaptainA has the scoop with another Ratsurrection army update. if you missed the last one check it out here.

A pure Genestealer Cult army is a site to behold. Tons of bodies on the field, phasing in and out of the battle, shifting left or right, and getting right into the opponents face. Its a ton of fun, an army you need to watch out for, and will be at a local tournament near you. Lets check out a recent battle I had and some initial thoughts after playing it a couple of times.

The List


Brood Cycle
10 Acolytes Flamer
10 Acolytes Flamer
10 Acolytes Flamer
Icon – Cult Relic
10 Metamorphs – Claw
10 Genestealers

Lords of the Cult
Magus – Lvl 2, Crouchling, Familiar

The First Curse
Patriarch – Lvl 2, 2 Familiars
20 Genestealers

Subterranean Uprising
4×5 Acolytes
10 Metamorphs – Claw

Subterranean Uprising
4×5 Acolytes
2×5 Metamorphs (Might have been one, can’t remember but it was even on points.)


My latest game was against a newer player who is trying to make a splash to the competitive scene with a Harlequin/Eldar mix.

Her List

2 Farseer
2×3 Scatbikes
2 Farseer
2×3 Scatbikes
Warp Hunter
Skathach Wraith Knight
Harlequins on Bikes
2 Harlequin Bikes

Think that was it. 🙂

Turn 1

In going second I wanted to see if I could withstand the firepower from the Eldar force, control the table, and score maelstrom. I set up heavily forward and had the Eldar forces boxed in their deployment zone. She started with her Warphunter, Wraithknight, Harliestar, and some Scatbikes on the the board. I started with everything infiltrating using Cult Ambush. The First Curse was center in a ruined bunker with the Magus and Icon side on the right and the Primus on the left. Lots of other squads in terrain and some up close to take advantage of the extra shots. In all I rolled 2 6’s and 3 5’s for my Cult Ambush roll. It is still ambiguous but we played it so that only my two 6 squads could assault on my first turn. She pummeled the squads that could charge and some others as well. Her Harliestar massacred my Magus and Icon squad with 10 Metamorphs, wiping them out. I wiffed pretty good on my attacks, even with Counterattack from my Patriarchs Warlord Trait. My first turn was somewhat lackluster as I could only shift and move, taking some pot shots with my squads. I did take out one 3 man Scatbike squad though. I also removed a ton of my forces that had rolled 1’s or didn’t need to be on my objectives to come back, also taking off two squads that hadn’t been completely wiped out.


Turn 2

Turn two was very different. She continued to pummel my forces and the Harlie star wiped out a 10 man Acolyte squad with all of her reinforcements coming on. She pushed on both flanks, trying to push me back and did some good damage, but some good cover saves kept those squads safe overall. On my turn I rolled a couple of 6’s on my returning squads and set those up to go after some Scatbike squads. The First Curse came out of the bunker and charged the Harlie star wiping it out. It was pretty brutal. I failed both charges on the bikes, so there was that. I also took out the rest of the units that came on my right flank with Cult Ambush squads reinforcing what was there already.


Turn 3

With the collapse of the right flank, She withdrew to the corner and made short work of many of the units that were right in her face and tried to take out what she could. One mistake we talked about later was in her keeping her Wraithknight back as much as she did. I felt it should have been out at least a bit more to take out some of the smaller squads and keep them from flicking out and reinforcing again. I pushed forward and stunned the Warphunter with my Neophytes and boxed her into the corner.



Turn 4

This time she continued to hole up further into the corner and I pushed forward again, killing another Scatbike squad, also securing as many objectives as I could. With most of her forces crumbling and me closing in, we decided to call it.


In Retrospect

One thing that was interesting was that I typically fear the Warp Hunter, but this time, I wasn’t so worried. Losing a handful of models was no big deal, and even losing most of the unit didn’t matter all that much as I could take them off and reinforce next turn. She is a newer player and working to be more competitive and one of the things she has learned was to protect the Warp Hunter. I think that was a mistake overall as she had to use her Scatbikes to bubble wrap them. I knew I had to take out her Scatbikes and so focused on them as much as I could to force morale tests and whittle them down as their massed firepower is what worried me most. Her key mistake was leaving her Harliestar to close to my First Curse and losing that unit in the charge. It could have done a lot of damage to my smaller squads had it been able to roam free.


Thoughts on Playing the Cult

For playing the Cult, a mix of MSU and fuller squads is probably best, but I worry about time management. That first mass infiltration is a bit overwhelming and I need to find some ways to manage that on and off the table. I’m thinking about colored beads for my units that have 1-6 on the bottom so they show and place those next to squads when they come in so I can remember who and what was placed where. I’d use one color for the Uprising and one color for the rest. That might work. I think I might also have a chart and grid for rolling and recording that first turn or two as well.

Going second wasn’t so bad although against an even more shooty force it could get bad as only having the ones that rolled 6’s being able to charge that first turn was limiting. It was neat to not care about losing squads or models as you had so much more and could also reinforce them by pulling them off and coming on next turn.

I also loved being able to pull units off the table and reinforce the other side. In one of the turns above, I removed 10 Neophytes, 5 Acolytes, 2×10 Acolytes and some Metamorphs from my right flank and then came barreling on the left flank. Nothing needs to sit and wait or move and shuffle to get to the other side as they have the chance to move the entire distance of the table to get elsewhere. The mobility is great.

Thoughts about Playing Against the Cult

I think my main thought that might help players facing a horde army like the cult is one word – focus. If you are going to shoot or attack a unit, focus on it until it is dead or if you can at least stop them from retreating by being within 6 inches. Focus on the power units such as the Magus, Icon, and Primus. You may have to feed the First Curse units to slow them down, using 5 man Scout squads to line up in front of them, blocking their path.

Also, utilize their lack of obsec as it doesn’t matter if they set up on an objective if you just push next to it or tank shock through them. Don’t be afraid to flee if it will put you in a better position later turns. There is a bit of luck in the Cult as you need to get those 6’s to get those charges off.


~So there you have it! Some thoughts on the Cult and what they are capable of. You will probably see them allied with Tyranid or IG flyers as that is something they lack, but the horde Cult is a real force to be reckoned with and a ton of fun to boot so far.


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  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    I really like that mountain terrain feature in the lower left of the picture. I would love to get something like that for my table.

  • Moonsaves

    I love battlereps where the Genestealer Cults are involved because 90% of what I’ve seen is players going off what the meta tells them they should go off for most armies. The Cult is so unique is baffles people that they have to really think about what they have and what they need to do with it, at least most of the time.

    People are so used to relying on old standbys that they’re quickly overwhelmed now there is a horde army that plays like one.

    • sethmo

      KDK MSU and Genestealer cults function really similar. (Except you want to kill the unit off not leave it with 1-2 models like KDK)

      KDK MSU is really hard pressed when people realize none of the units are a “HUGE” threat and instead focus on objectives.

      • Moonsaves

        Again, KDK is another example of a “non-traditional” Codex with fun stuff, and like you said MSU is another example of things that can wreck people’s day. Relying on high-strength weapons and elites that can wreck face but have limited amounts of shots are wasted on units of 8 Cultists at a time. Bad for kill points missions though.

  • Zingbaby

    Small pics and a totally unpainted army in the batrep …eh, you could do better guys.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Good stuff.

    More pictures next time! 🙂

  • Pyrrhus of Epirus

    I find things that can assault out of reserves/deepstrike whatever to be the most anti-fun things in this game. Ive played this army , my opponent rolled a 6 for his patriarch and the first curse, game was over before deployment. He ended up being able to string out his huge unit, multicharge 4 different units of mine and either kill them outright or in the course of a couple turns. By games end a single 400 point unit had killed over a 1,000 of my points with me only having a single turn of actually being able to fire on them with anything resembling a army still.

    Things that are reliant on a 6 (like D weapons), need to be redesigned to not be ridiculous when you do roll the 6, should be stronger on the 1-5 roll. Nextime i play my friend, the only thing i can even think of to defend against him is to take a bastion, throw whatever unit in there, let him go first and wait for my full army in reserves to showup once he is committed on the table already.

    • Nyyppä

      Do you play Tau?

      • Pyrrhus of Epirus

        isnt it obvious i dont? while you dont know me from a hole in the ground, if i played tau and complained about things coming in from reserve, i would be a flat out idiot.

        • Nyyppä

          Well, no. Not really. Tau players tend to get their panties twisted the second something can reach melee with them.

          • Drpx

            Most Tau players I’ve known don’t even use half of what’s in their Codex and play their army like Anime-theme Imperial Guard. The handful that actually understand how markerlights and Mont’Ka work are terrifying.

    • nurglitch

      Try bubble-wrap and flamers.

      • Pyrrhus of Epirus

        i play eldar, you cant exactly bubble wrap things with d-scythe wraithguard (because of cost) , and the only other flamers in the entire army, are storm guardians which frankly are garbage and not even that cheap. With that being said, ill try my bastion plan, and ill try using some guardians with the 2 flamers, and after that, i just wont bring eldar to play him anymore, the beauty of having many armies.

        • Drpx

          Good idea. You’re not gonna get a lot of sympathy over an Eldar army being surgically annihilated in one turn.

        • grim_dork

          Wraithlord has flamers -?

          • Pyrrhus of Epirus

            what am i gonna do, buy 3-4 wraithlords (and by buy i mean field as i already own that many) costing me over 400 points to protect a 200 point farseer/bike unit? or field 5-6 so i can wrap up sub 200 point tank, or even a 300 point wraithknight isnt worth it. In my specific game i griped about we played hammer and anvil and it was trivial for him to basically assault in a line across the entire table width. Atleast when you deepstrike you forced to deploy in a circle limiting how many units you can reach at once.

            With that being said, the guardians are the answer as somebody suggested , FW wraitknight in a corner, guardians around him, and everything else in reserve. Hellstorm templates need not fear a unit caught in the open after wiping out guardians.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Buy Guardians to bubble wrap your units.

      Buy things with flamers so you can burn him in overwatch.

      Hide things in tanks/fortifications that way he has to work to fight you.

      Use Wraith Knights to murder. Stomp is really powerful, use it.

    • rtheom

      Welcome to the gaming experience of every Ork, Dark Eldar and Tyranid player for the last 4 years?

      • Pyrrhus of Epirus

        what does this have to do with what is being talked about here? you think those are the only trash armies in the game? CSM have had it just as bad, and you know what i did after dropping thousands on the army over 20 years of playing and establishing they are trash, i bought another army.

        It dosnt change the fact that single rolls of 6 on a warlrod trait should not outright decide a game.

  • vlad78

    First line ‘a site to behold’? or a sight?

  • Rob brown

    Apologies if I’ve missed something but doesn’t the Brood Cycle formation require 2 units of neophytes in addition to the Acolytes, Metamorphs and Purestrains listed above?

    Also I totally support being able to assault out of melee. Particularly against armies that normally wipe the opposition off the table with a turn one Alpha Strike.

    • Drpx

      But don’t you know that Reserve-assaulting units are cancer and Warhammer should be about who min-maxed for range without any melee of their own?

    • captaina

      I forgot to put it in the list text, but the neophytes were there as part of the formation.

  • benn grimm

    Brutal 🙂 I love how (finally) there is an assault orientated, horde type army, which really scares the big shooty armies like (broke)dar and (tau)dar back in 40k. Bit sad it’s not Orks, but hey, them’s the breaks. Look forward to hearing more on the rats and looking forward to seeing them with paint on…;)

    • captaina


  • euansmith

    I like a chap who is up front about enjoying “pulling off” units of Cultist.