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Warhammer 40K: Genestealer Cults Have The Best Rule Of 10th Edition

4 Minute Read
Jun 1 2023
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The new Genestealer Cults army rule is the best one I’ve seen in 40K a long time. It bodes very well for 10th Edition.

Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition is rapidly approaching. Someday soon, it will arrive in all its glory. In the lead-up to that GW has been showing off the new faction rules for the frankly massive number of armies now in the game. Some of the armies have big changes, and big challenges to face. Earlier this week, we took a look at Grey Knights and their interesting rules. However, GW has also shown off the new rules for GSC and they might just be the best rules we’ve seen for the edition yet. Here’s why.

The Endless Cult

The core GSC rule is called Cult Ambush. How it works is that whenever a unit with this rule dies, you roll a die. On a 4+ that unit is placed into Cult Ambush. If that unit is battleline you get to add +3 to the roll – which means you can’t fail! Whenever a unit is placed into ambush you have to put down a Cult Ambush Marker. The marker has to be more than 9 inches away from the enemy and if non-aircraft enemy units come within 9 inches of a marker it is removed. At the end of each enemy movement phase, you can deep strike one unit in ambush onto each of the markers, which is then removed.

Played correctly, this can in effect, give you unlimited GSC models. Moreover, it means you can effectively never table GSC.  Since Battleline units auto-pass the test you could have a unit die and come back up to five times in the same game. It’s powerful.

How Good Will It Be?

There’s little doubt that it’s a good rule. Cult Ambush is also helped out by the Cult Icon wargear item. This heals dead models from its unit. The enemy is thus left with the choice of killing a whole unit and letting it come back full, or trying to leave a battered unit alive, only to watch it “grow” back. All of this adds up to the fact that you can’t get an overwhelming numerical advantage over the GSC. However it’s also a limited, maybe even balanced rule.


We don’t know what GSC units will have it. It seems that characters don’t, as we know it can’t bring them back. I’m going to guess that vehicles also won’t have it. It’s likely limited to infantry and maybe bikes. Since units come back in the enemy’s turn, not yours, it also limited things a bit. A player going first will get a lot less use out of the rule for instance. They are unlikely to lose many units on their first turn, so they won’t get use out of it one turn one. Then in turn five, units will come back without a chance to do anything. The enemy can also counter it with good movement. So it can be dealt with.

The Best Rule

So why is Cult Ambush the best rule? Well, it’s not the most powerful, but I think it’s one of the best designed. This rule fundamentally changes the game when GSC are around. It makes playing against them unlike playing other armies. Both GSC players and those fighting them need to use different tactics than the rest of the game. You are now facing an unlimited horde of the enemy. It’s very much like the old 3rd Edition Meat Grinder mission (1998 is back baby), which is great!

GSC isn’t an army you can just sit back and shoot off the table. In fact, you can’t really even rely on just killing their units. Instead, the game becomes very focused on winning the mission objectives. It’s also a game much more about positioning. The enemy needs to try and chase down ambush markers. The GSC player needs to defend them. The GSC player can also use them to draw the enemy out of position if they want using those markers. It’s really cool. Even the fact that it helps counter alpha strike and balance not going first is great. Overall for the way it changes the battle so much, it’s the best rule I’ve seen in 10th so far.


Let us know what you think about this rule, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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