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Warhammer 40K: 1989’s Original Genestealer Cult Army List

4 Minute Read
Feb 2 2022

Did you know that the Genestealer Cults first infiltrated our planet in 1989? Let’s take a look at that first list from many Editions ago.

With Genestealer Cults getting a solid lineup of units in their latest codex, it’s time to go back to the early days of the game. The purple, purple eaters were included in the Warhammer 40,000 Compendium from 1991.

However the initial Genestealer Cults arrived in two separate White Dwarf lists, one for the Genestealer Cult itself, and a second for a Cult that had turned to Chaos. We’ll cover that one another time.

The Original Genestealer Cults Lore

The lore arrived in White Dwarf 114 in June of 1989. This seminal article laid out all the basics on how Genestealers worked, their multi-generational life-cycle and then moved onto the very first description of a Genestealer Cult.

Scroll down for that diorama.

Then you got the best part… one of the super old-school Rogue Trader era dioramas. These used to show up now and then back in the day but haven’t been seen in decades.

Just imagine this bad boys may be hanging on a wall somewhere after all these decades. So much hobby awesomeness in this thing.

The OG GSC Army List

The initial list laid down the foundation for the never-say-die patient insurgents we all know and love to this day. All the basics of genestealer biology and their 4-generation life cycle we know and love today came from this list – written by Paul Murphy.


Patriarch and Hybrids are up on page one. I’d like to call out the Equipment section first. Put a pin in that. Then read the little story. It’s especially good if you think Eldar… sorry Aeldari are stuck up and need to be taken down a notch or two. Suck it Harlequins! “They must make their grandfather proud of them”… Page two has the 4th Generation Hybrids Purestrains, and some optional chaos riff-raff. Again note the Equipment section on the Hybrids. It was the psychic abilities that were both formidable and expensive in points back then. Level 4 Psykers were not to be trifled with in Rogue Trader! Even one could take out half your army if weren’t paying attention.

Special Equipment Charts. This is where the magic happens! Want Hybrids with D-cannons – cool! How about a cult hopped up on Frenzon, zipping around the table on Powerboards and chucking Hallucinogen grenades at you – not a problem! Graviton guns, Jokaero digital weapons? Well, let’s just say the Patriarch has a LOT of crap in his closet for the cult to pick and choose from.

Original Genestealer Cults Minis

Now we get to the original metal and plastic armed Hybrids and Purestrains from way back in the day. Hybrid 2 on the upper row is my favorite – so skulky!

Below are the two plastic arm sprues taken from Genestealers, and the Chaos heavy weapons to make these hybrids ready to rock & roll. Yes, the old Hybrids could take conversion beamers which were apparently being handed out like candy in 1989.


There is also some fantastic early 90s artwork in here. Take a look at this John Blanche classic:

Do you have any Fond Memories of the Rogue Trader Genestealer Cult list? Let us know.

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