BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Warhammer 40K: Good, Bad, & the Ugly – Codex: Genestealer Cults

7 Minute Read
Jun 11 2024

Goatboy here, with what you need to know about the new Warhammer 40K 10th Edition Codex: Genestealer Cults.

Goatboy here with the 2nd codex coming out in the next few weeks.  The Genestealer’s Cult is always a weird book.  It does a few things that other armies don’t do, tries to represent a crazy cult mentality, and is filled with crazy lunatics.  It always skates the edge of being too good or just being awful.  This 40K 10th Edition update obviously took a lot of the Dataslate tweaks, locked them into the army, and left a kind of weird feeling plastic horde of fanatics.  I think of the two codex releases this is the weaker than Adeptus Sororitas, but let’s talk about it further down below.

As usual I will talk about the things I find good, the stuff I find bad, and of course the ugly things left over in the book.  As a whole I have a weird black spot in my heart with the GSC.  I had to paint an insanely huge army of them for a friend and while I think the models are cool I would never run one of these armies myself. It is just too many models and I don’t want to have to pick things up, hope they come back, and then replace them over and over.  I still like the way they look though – soo cool!

Genestealer Cults – The Good

Getting a codex is always a good thing. You get more rules, get more options, and hopefully a new unit or two.  This book does give us a new unit to use – and while it isn’t the best thing it does look pretty sweet.  Overall as a codex it feels like a lot of was built when this initial Index was wrecking the tabletop while fighting off the Aeldari menace.  Genestealer Cults took a lot of hits to get it into the place it is currently and it feels like those hits were locked into their overall rules.  I think any army that can regrow units as easily as the old Index could, makes it very hard to truly balance.  How many points is a unit worth if it comes back two times in a game?  I am happy they fixed it so units coming back isn’t guaranteed. But then I wonder if there would be a better system than the 5+ (with a +1 for turns 1 and 2).

Detachment – Ascension Day

The book has five detachments with the old Host of Ascension aka Ascension Day detachment.  Their main rule stays the same and it seems pretty good getting Sustained Hits and Ignores cover when popping out as Reinforcements.  Their Enhancements changed, with an option for the Bearer and unit attached gaining Lethal Hits, a +1 to hit versus Characters upgrade for the unit, and a +2 to the charge roll once per game for the bearer and unit.  This army seems to all be about coming out, wrecking things with piles of firepower, and maybe a charge or two.  The Genestealer Cult horde of gribbling horrors and multi-armed lunatics.  The Stratagems had a lot of changes with just Coordinated Trap, Tunnel Crawlers, and Return to the Shadows staying.  They gain a 5+ critical hit ability, an ability to be farther away from the Cult Ambush token, and an ability to cause mortal wounds on a unit charging your bros.

Detachment – Xenocreed Congregation

Xenocreed Congregation is all about the leader’s detachment.  If you have units attached to some units they can reroll Advance and Charge rolls.  Those leaders also get a 3+ FNP as well while attached.  This again, only really matters for those armies with Precision abilities so it isn’t always the best as you can’t just dump wounds on these guys.  The one enhancement that seems powerful is the ability to reroll the Cult Ambush roll once per turn as well as one of the options to allow the unit to Advance and Charge as needed.  All of the Stratagems are either using characters to make units better, having units hit better by gaining hazardous on their weapons, an advance/fallback and charge ability, a deployment without having to use a Cult Ambush marker, and some fun counter movement abilities.


Detachment – Biosantic Bloodsurge

The Biosantic Broodsurge is more than just a mouthful to say. This is all about the the Abberants, Genestealers, and Biophagus gaining an extra attack when they complete a charge.  This one’s Enhancements are all about making these combat monsters better with things like options gaining infiltration, better punching power, regenerating wounds abilities, and even dropping enemy units OC within engagement range. The Stratagems all pump up these units with fun options like movement Cult Ambush markers if the enemy gets to close, exploding characters when they die, adding 1 to wound rolls versus monsters/vehicles, better charge options for multi charges, and even scaring the enemy enough to get them a -1 to their Ballistic Skill if they fail a leadership test.  Really this is all about the beasts in the GSC army and how you can make them hit better.

Detachment – Outlander Claw

The bike gang detachment is the Outlander Claw.  All your mounted and vehicle units double their Objective Control value.  The Atalan Jackals gain sticky objectives as well which means this army is going to move fast and hold a ton of objectives.  The Enhancements all are about using vehicles and doing better with them.  Things like all the guns from the Firing Deck hits better and gaining rerolls to hit if you pop out of a transport.  You even have an option that lets you hit a target and they are -1 to hit after being blinded by the light of your firepower.  The Stratagems all revolve around your vehicle and how they are used.  You can reduce damage by 1 on those Goliath vehicles, gain lethal hits on units within 18″, get a 4+ invulnerable save on your Jackals and Ridgerunners, and even an ability to pull a unit that is near the board edge and put it into reserves.


Detachment – Brood Brothers Auxilia

The final Detachment is the Brood Brother Auxilia which is the Brood Brothers detachment that utilizes Astra Militarum units to grant overlapping fire to Genestealer Cult units which grants a +1 to hit roll.  You also gain the ability to take up to 1000 points of AM units for 2000 points armies and they lose their Voice of Command abilities, can’t be warlords, and are limited in some of the things they can choose.  Their Enhancements all revolve around buffing AM units near the GSC units.  One of them lets you give a AM unit a +1 to their Armor Penetration.  Another gives GSC infantry the ability to hit on a 5+ for Overwatch.  You can even give a unit nearby a 0 CP Heroic Intervention to help ensure your leaders are not charged.  Their Stratagems do things like help move your Cult Ambush Markers, put one of your AM into Cult Ambush if they die on a 3+, turn off enemy Overwatch abilities, shooting at enemy units in engagement range of your GSC units, reroll wounds of 1 on a targeted unit, and even a “move” after the enemy deploys in their reinforcement step.

Genestealer Cults Datasheet Updates

There are a lot of little tweaks to datasheets, too.  This is more to bring things in line like too much FNP options on some things.  It does make a lot of units squishier than before. With the less likely chance to regenerate, it is difficult to see where these units and models should be costed.  The Patriarch loses the Epic Hero keyword so now this model can get Enhancements and upgrades as well.  The new model – the Benefictus seems fun when you roll him around in a Rock Grinder and put any mortal wounds onto the vehicle as it shoots Brain missiles.  The other interesting thing is how the Acolyte Hybrids got shifted into two data sheets – one with guns and one without.  This lets them not be Battleline and thus a bit to easy to recycle in some of the detachments.

Genestealer Cults – The Bad

A lot of the big time damage with Demolition Charges was nerfed down.  You are not going to see so many come out of a small unit and cover you as they went from Strength 12 to Strength 9.  This is a huge drop in damage potential and probably one of the biggest nerfs for the army.  It is the same with the Mining Laser going from strength 12 to Strength 10.  All the lasers went down in strength. It is just a hard thing to see on an army that is this squishy.  It just means big, tough tanks are going to be hard for this army to chew through.  Really a lot of the lethality of the army got hit and it is just paying for the crimes it caused initially in the beginning of 10th Edition.

Genestealer Cults – The Ugly

I think the biggest ugly is we don’t know the points right now for Genestealer Cults.  This makes it really hard to figure out if the codex is good or just overcosted.  We already know this army is punishing to build with so many models, character units, and everything costing a ton of cash.  It is just a hard thing to really think of how to start and if it is worth it to get into.


Welcome the Four-Armed Emperor Into Your Heart!


  • Warhammer 40K: Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters