Genestealer Cults Infiltrate 8th Edition

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Everyone’s favorite cult of tainted, mutant supermen with crazy eyes and demo charges gets its own 8th Edition preview.

That’s right! Courtesy of Reece and GW, we’ve got a look at Genestealer Cults in 8th Edition. The big question, just how many demo charges can you fit in one army, isn’t answered. But it looks like they’ve got a lot to bring to the table besides explosions in the new edition. Take a look!

via Warhammer Community

To begin with, let’s talk about their ambush ability. That’s one of the things that characterizes the army–it represents the insidious nature of the genestealer lifecycle–and it perfectly exemplifies why the Emperor is right to warn his subjects to fear the mutant and the Xenos. Genestealer Cultists are a bit of both, and they are capable of turning up where you least expect them.

Cult Ambush allows you to place Genestealer Cults units into reserves and then enter the game through a variety of means determined by a D6 chart. These range in effect from coming on to a table edge to being able to appear anywhere on the table more than 9” away from any enemy units but being able to move as well, allowing you to get extremely close to enemy units to shoot and then charge them as well. For units like Genestealers or Aberrants armed with power picks and rending claws, this can be punishing!

I’m not sure how swingy the D6 chart will be. It seems like there’s a potential for it to either wreck shop or inconvenience the GSC player, depending. I suppose you wouldn’t want to bank on your enemies getting the “I’m in ur base, killing ur mans” roll every time, but having those options does suggest the potential to be devastating. Especially when you see how hard those Aberrants hit:

At Strength 5, -2 AP, and with a d3 for damage, a squad of these guys could really tear their way through the table.

Then add to that the might and psychic influence of a Patriarch and you’ve got a force to be reckoned with that can’t be easily dealt with. The Patriarch is capable of holding his armies together under the most intense conditions with his psychic powers and has a Lookout, Sir! rule to protect him from sniper fire and other vagaries of the battlefield.

The Patriarch also allows nearby units to ignore morale, and he benefits from the Unquestioning Loyalty special rule which all Genestealer Cults Characters posses. This allows them to avoid taking a wound on a 4+ as a minion sacrifices its life and jumps in front of the attack.

Did your enemies bring flamers or other overwatch friendly weapons to the party? Well, Genestealers are great at getting themselves stuck in, thanks to Mass Hypnosis which really borks your opponent’s day.

Another nasty trick the Genestealer Cults have is their Mass Hypnosis psychic power, which prevents an enemy unit from firing Overwatch, makes them strike last in combat (even if they charged) AND gives them -1 to hit. Ouch! That leaves an enemy unit in a very compromised position as the minions of the Four-armed Emperor emerge from ambush and then run them through in melee.

And then to top it off, Genestealer Cults will be able to build their armies from multiple keywords. I think this may be one of their strongest qualities. They can mix with Astra Militarum forces but still be able to form a Battle Forged army to take advantage of stratagems. There are some limitations, but, fighting the Genestealer Cults means fighting the Imperial Guard, at times.

You can take one Astra Militarum Detachment for each Genestealer Cults Detachment in your Battle-forged army. They each need to be entirely comprised of units with their respective keyword, but this allows incredible amounts of diversity in your army that is also quite characterful.

You can check out the rest of the article for a full preview of the faction. But man, this looks like it’ll be a flexible, melee-focused army that’s able to get where it needs to go and cover holes in its lists with some “fallen” Guard. I guess, much like the cultists it comprises, the Genestealer Cults faction is pretty sexy.

Read the full Genestealer Cults preview here.

Oh and, make sure to guard all your denim.

  • Karru

    Having not started GSC in 7th for obvious reasons, was released when rumours of 8th edition were popping more and more, this intrigues me. They seem to have kept their interesting rules while also keeping them in check for the coming edition.

    Something I found “odd” was the lack of any information regarding their “reinforcement” thingy. Did they outright remove it? If they did, I surely hope they compensated GSC for it, as it was something they really needed to use for their extremely squishy units.

    That is actually a neat idea regarding the Imperial Guard detachment. It gives potential to see possible fancy work GW could do regarding Chaos. “Fresh Renegades” joining Chaos, thus you can include one detachment of Space Marines in your army for example. Red Corsairs would be one happy lot at that point.

  • Assault from deep strike with high probability… *sigh*
    I was hoping that would never return.

    • Pascalnz

      oh no, not super fragile units that can do it, say it aint so. if only there was some way to defend against it, like reserves or bubble wrap…noooooo

      • Karru

        Let’s play the game called “what is the forbidden word of the day game!”

        You mean like Purestrains, which are sooooo fragile?

        Also, you do realise few things that causes problems with your argument as well.

        First of all, Reserves. You cannot automatically place any unit in reserves any more. The unit now has to have a special rule specifically meant for that. For example, the Trygon Tunneling Rule which allows it to take a unit with in Reserve, but not otherwise.

        • Karru

          Secondly, bubble wrapping isn’t as easy any more as you seem to assume. Since DS units can just pop right where you want them to, what keeps the GSC player from bringing in a couple of ranged units along for the ride, maybe some of those tasty Demolition Charges, and blast the Bubble wrap away? Oh that’s right, nothing, because you no longer roll for reserves.

          • Karru

            Finally, you have the pretty flexible Assault rules which allow for multiple charges without penalties. You wrapped your important unit? Okay, I’ll just soften them up with my ranged units and now multi-charge your wrappers AND the unit I wanted to kill, your unit dies at the end anyway thanks to Morale so it is a win-win situation no matter what.

          • Karru

            Having the ability to assault from deep strike is very strong ability to have and can easily win the game for you. Before at least one could always hope for the enemy not getting what he wanted that round due to bad reserve rolls or bad scattering/mishap. Now nothing can stop them from popping right where they want.

          • benn grimm

            Lol, did you just reply to yourself three times?

          • euansmith

            Each was a good point, however. 😉

          • benn grimm

            Hey Euan! Always so nice…:)

          • Karru

            Yes, because I was trying to figure out where the dreaded “forbidden word” was that once again gave me the annoying “waiting for approval” thing.

          • benn grimm

            Ah ok, kinda looked like you were having a conversation with yourself in the bols comment section, but fair enough.

          • euansmith

            “Today’s forbidden words is “Karru”. Say it after me, children, “Kaaaa-ruuu.” Come along.”

            “But, miss, you said that is the forbidden word… and you are trying to get us to say it… Fear not, classmates, I’ve got the Commissar on speed-dial.”

          • Karru

            The more I get them, more I am convinced that the mods of BoLS are just trying to discourage me from writing my novels here.

          • Not only you, buddy, not only you.

        • J Mad

          K, just use a Stratagem on the important unit to stop the charge. Now that unit didnt charge and is in the open to be fired at.

      • Yea… because you can bubble-wrap everything everywhere, right? You’re aware that the position does not scatter?

    • ZeeLobby

      Oh. This game will be broken on day one. Anyone not seeing that is delusional at this point. I imagine the 40K we see a year from now will be a very different game (if they do rebalance).

    • Drew

      It can wreck a unit, that’s for sure- but the alternative in 7th seemed to be that the majority of assault-based armies were blasted off the table before they saw combat, so something had to give, I guess…

  • BartTP

    I hope they kept basic IG vehicles tho’ like lemans, chimeras and sentinels! Not everybody wants to play AM whatsoever. And daily reminder we need masses of human cultists.

    • orionburn

      I can’t imagine it being that different than what they could take in the 7th ed codex. They already could take the vehicles you mentioned. TBH since they could ally with AM already I’m not sure what all will be that different. Been wanting to start up a small band of these guys to use with my Nids.

    • Moonsaves

      More than likely, considering that they still sell them boxed up.

      According to the article, the keyword system will streamline it because I imagine they’ll say “can take any unit with the LEMAN RUSS keyword”, meaning that they could take any Leman Russ variant. Hell, when Forgeworld update their stuff, that’ll make it easier to use those rules, too. It’ll be the codex itself telling you what keywords an army can use, rather than the FW book telling you which armies can use it (and getting outdated in the process as new ones come and go).

  • Bootneck

    Don’t forget DS is a minimum of 9″ away now, so those charges are not guaranteed

    • Minyiki

      With them being able to move after appearing that will be down to 1″ although I imagine that will only be on a roll of a 6 for the table or something like that

      • J Mad

        Yep i think its only on a roll of 6 as well, also there are Stratagems that can stop charging.

    • With a movement of 5-6″, they only need to roll a 2-3 to get into 1″ range. I think that’s rather easy to do.

      • J Mad

        Yeah but if you read the artical, they say it in a way that to me only a roll of a 5 or 6 on the chart will let you do that.

        To me it seems they took away the Roll of a 6 in current GSC and gave them “DS with move, shoot and charge” so they still have to be more than 9″ away, with a movement of 6 you can still fail the charge of 4″.

        Dont forget Stratagems can stop a charge as well.

        • BaronSnakPak

          If it’s at all similar to their rules in 7th, then you basically need to roll a 6 for them to be scary.

          Anyone freaking out about this article (and the lack of info) probably hasnt played with or against GSC. They’re a VERY fragile army that requires a ton of luck.

        • Right… Strategems can stop one assault per phase. And not rolling a 4 is very low chance.

          • Maitre Lord Ironfist

            Also Flamerstratagem. It was allways good against them. 0 CP only 5 – 10 Points each.

            A bargain, now at Stans! [plz do not buy the Rootbeer if you are a ghost]

          • IF your squads can be upgraded with flamers, yea, sure.

          • Simon Bates

            But they most likely to have to roll a 6 on their deployment chart to get to do this, it is not guaranteed. It might happen a couple of times in a medium-sized battle (considering presumably only half of the army can be setup in reserves) and not necessarily with the most dangerous units. They also have to find somewhere to setup which is more than 9 inches from any enemy units, that is potentially very limiting, especially for larger units.

  • Bootneck

    Reading between the lines on the new version of GSC ambush rules, it seems they can no longer get that cheesy 3″ away deployment which is a nerf for GSC but in fairness that was way to OP

  • Bootneck

    Good upselling from GW though, I thought it was a bit odd how GSC could only have some Guard units and not others.

    Opens up a whole load of options for a combined force which will be good for GSC and Guard players.

    • John Henry III

      As a guard player I am just worried that this means that GSC will be objectively better than the Guard as they can take as much as they want from the Guard faction and the GSC units. The Best of Both Worlds situation.

      • Simon Bates

        I wondered this too. I guess the thing is they have to take one GSC detachment for every IG detachment, while at the same time they can’t take any other Imperial units (Agents, Marines, etc). IG units presumably also won’t benefit from GSC area effect buffs (and vice versa) so a mixed force has disadvantages as well as advantages.

        • John Henry III

          even if the army wide rules don’t spill over they still will be contained within the detachment. So the GSC has all the GSC rules while the guard will have all the Guard rules, letting you pick and choose what you want from the Guard codex. Seems like any Guard list you put together will force you to ask, why don’t I just remove these few units and replace it with GSC units?

  • euansmith

    I think it is a shame that they sticking with the random chart instead of maybe using Command Points to create the various levels of Ambushiness.

    I’m not a bit fan of units being able to completely circumvent the need for planned movement and simple be placed exactly where they are needed. Hopefully the actual units won’t be too overpowered.

    • Everything looks to be overpowered in 8th. And that’s no surprise, considering tournament-organisers and power-gamers had their words in it.

      • Karru

        This was the thing I was worried about when GW revealed who they’ve been working with. While more professional in their testing that the Desing team as well as less biased, their ideas are still bad for the game.

        They follow the same ideology that the Design team does. Never downgrade, always upgrade. This leads to a massive arms race, where all factions have some stupidly powerful ability to use. The wiser solution would always be to first look for ways to bring something down instead of upping everything else. Makes for much more fun and balanced games.

        • Jabberwokk

          For once I’m going to have to disagree with you but only on a minor point. I am very Happy they brought in people who have been running tournaments, enjoy the game, and are very good in their own right. They have a vested interest in seeing the game succeed since they have a lot invested in it personally. GW is also wise to bring them in as it is a sign of outreach and shows that GW has gotten over their Anthrophobia of other thinking human beings.

          Also having been on the receiving end of ‘bring it down’ for 3 editions I’m ready for some elevation. I remember joking around with ZeeLobby a while ago about being the “bottom of the barrel” and “having nowhere to go but up” and then listened to Reecius’s podcast for him to use the same words verbatim.

          As for dying really fast that would be no different at all for me now. ‘Cept I might kill some stuff before I go. What’s an Armour save?

          • Karru

            Oh, don’t think that I am not happy that they brought in outside help from the tournament scene. Had they taken input from the community as a whole, through FB and maybe some minor events in stores, things wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.

            The tournament scene, while highly competitive, is very professional when it comes to testing. They actually properly test things and find out ways to make things viable. They also know how to make things viable.

            The problem is the thing I mentioned though. They have the same mindset going for them as GW does. Upgrade, never Downgrade. The problem is that it creates this “mutually assured destruction” situation where everyone is so stupidly powerful that it can easily turn into a game of “who gets the first turn, wins”.

            What I would have done on the sides would have ran weekend events at Warhammer World or even just events running every time they had a 40k Stream. Bring in 2-3 dudes with different armies and let people “challenge” them to a game using the new rules that are being tested. “Everything” is allowed, as long as the rules allow it.

            This way, a good variance of people would have been able to test things out and people whose first thought would be “why not reduce the effectiveness of this unit, instead of buffing this one” are getting their voices heard more. It would also allow for more testing in general and give them a good idea before they make anything final. Everyone wins in this situation.

          • Jabberwokk

            Fair enough. I guess the only rebuttal would be no one likes nerfs.

      • ZeeLobby

        And when you look at the rules complexity, it’s still pretty high up there. App they basically did to simplify was to-hit. But now that will have a ton of modifiers. They moved 10 pages of USRs to thousands of dataslates. My guess is the only reason games go faster is because everything just kills everything very fast. I guess I’ll have to see if I enjoy that.

    • Haighus

      Hmm, the command point re-roll strategem could be used though at least? We also don’t know what the faction specific strategems are- they may have one to that effect.

    • Frank Krifka

      to be fair, a lot of the mechanics we’re seeing are already present in AoS and they seem to work just fine without to badly disadvantaging one side or the other. Several armies have the potential to deep strike and them move closer for a charge, and it almost always works off a random chart.

      It’s actually fairly difficult to coordinate multi-charges this way, since you never know what will get freedom of movement and what won’t, and bubblewraping is a fairly effective way of dealing with it.

      it’s powerful and useful certainly, but not reliable enough to be gamebreakinig.

  • Bootneck

    The changes to the rule set is are nice, have allowed for previously useless units like the aberrants to actually be quite good from the initial look. Although it still means there will be a bias towards things like metamorphs + LW, Howling Banshee’s and Twarriors + LW. Anything which alters the attack sequence will be powerful now.

    • Being powerful doesn’t only relate to the attack order, but also to the amount of attacks, the strength of the weapons being used, the AP they get and the points they cost. I mean, Banshees were always hitting first and probably still will most of the time, but S3, T3 and 4+ ain’t a Terminator after all.

      • euansmith

        I wonder how they will separate high “hits first units”, will there be, “Hits First”, Hits Firster” and “Hits Firsterest”? Oh, and of course, “Hits First With A Vengence”.

        • There will be. In case they ever release an FAQ about these units and their inherent shenanigans.

          • Maitre Lord Ironfist

            hopefully the Magicway: Normal is Simultan (here Charger goes first) – First Strike: You Strike first, both have First Strike? Both strike simultan (here the Charger first)

            but cpuld they make it that simple x)?

        • lorieth

          Go no sen
          Sen no sen
          Sen sen no sen

          Alternatively, perhaps each unit could be given a numerical score, and the hits could be resolved in order, from highest to lowest? I’m surprised GW haven’t thought of that. 😉

  • Danny Carr

    It seems like every army is genuinely been boosted for this edition. The Tyranid and Genestealers sound pretty viable now. Even standard Assault units look like they may be formidable now.

    The impression I’m getting is that everything kills everything fast in 8th, the extra attack assault units get for using a standard assault weapon like a choppa or chainsword will also make assaults end quicker. All of which makes me wonder what the stat line for something like the Grey Knights or Custodes is going to look like. Considering their smaller numbers (especially the custodes) point cost and armour not been as reliable in 8th they’re going to have to buff them out the wazoo for them to keep their feel and effectiveness.

    • John Henry III

      While every faction appears to be buffed I’m worried that the GSC will now be objectively better than the Guard as they can take whatever they want from the Guard list and tack it onto theirs.

      • euansmith

        Do the Guard units generate Command Points for the GSC? Maybe that is how the forces will be balanced?

        • John Henry III

          If the detachment you take them in does, they do