Welcome to Nights At The Game Table’s newest periodical, Top Warhammer 40K Lists, where we take a look at three lists for a given faction and break down what makes them tick and how they fared. Every entry will be pulled from a recent GT, and we’ll be going over everything from who played the army to how likely the army in question is likely to continue to perform as the game evolves.
Today, we’re going to be looking at 3 Genestealer Cult lists. Genestealer Cults are the newest army to receive their codex, and they’re breaking onto the scene in a big way. Between their ability to ally with both Tyranids and Astra Millitarum along with the myriad number of ways they break the Deployment phase, Genestealer Cults are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s see how they did!
First, we have a 2nd place finish by Cooper Waddell. He was playing in the Dicehammer Warhammer 40K GT II in Lake Forest, California. Cooper had an impressive 4-1 finish in the 48 man event, falling just behind the only undefeated player. Let’s take a look at what he was playing with!
Cooper took a combination of Kraken Tyranids and some Genestealer Cults pulled from the Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor. These two detachments work really well together, since GSC typically struggle to apply pressure to the table on their first turn. The Kraken detachment is fairly straightforward. Kraken units roll 3d6 and pick highest for their advance moves, have a unique stratagem that lets them double the roll of advance rolls, and finally Genestealers can advance and charge. On 3d6, you’ll almost certainly get a 5 or 6 on the unit advancing. Doubling that puts you at +10/+12 inches, on top of the 8 inches that Genestealers normally move. Add in a charge roll, and you’re easily making melee on the first turn with at least one unit of Genestealers.
Next turn, you will make contact with your other unit of Genestealers. To back up this horde of 40 Genestealers, we have the various tools of the Genestealer Cults. Cooper took two bombs to use with A Perfect Ambush, a full unit of 10 Aberrants loaded with a mix of hammers and picks along with an Acolyte bomb. The Hand Flamers can cook a unit on arrival and then still make their charges afterwards. The rest of the list is largely support pieces. We have a couple of Psykers from the Tyranids along with the full suite of GSC HQ’s. Finally, we have some Rippers for a little objective m
play and, interestingly, a single Locus. The Locus is likely in for 2 reasons. First, he can be placed next to a key target using Lying In Wait to lower their Leadership by 1 to make them more vulnerable to Mental Onslaught. Next, the Locus makes a decent carrier for the Sword Of The Four-Armed Emperor in games where you want that Relic.
All in all, this is a rather straightforward list. It moves fast and hits hard, with basically no shooting whatsoever outside of a Kelermorph. However, it’s highly effective and very competitive due to it’s overwhelming forward pressure and mobility. Paired with a competent pilot, it’s no surprise this list took 2nd place against a decent sized field.
Moving right along, we have Cliffton Russell, who took 5th place out of 65 in the Desperate Allies GT in Conway, Arkansas. He went 4-1 running an army that was almost purely GSC, although he took a small Astra Milltarum force. Let’s take a look at his list!
We’ll start with his Brigade. To start, he took the Jackal Alphus to take advantage of The Gift From Beyond. Over a 6 turn game, the Jackal will rack up more than a few kills against enemy Characters. His Troops choices are quite interesting. He’s actually using Acolytes as his delivery system for Demolition Charges. Lying In Wait allows them to land in range, and from there they throw grenades and flamers for days. He also took 4 20 man units of Brood Brothers Infantry. These guys combo with a Patriarch to become fearless, which in turn means they can easily control midfield without fear of losing morale.
The rest of his Brigade selections are pretty straight forward. He kept his Elites simple while taking the obligatory Kelermorph, along with a Locus. The Locus helps make the Mental Onslaught combo more consistent while also being a solid body for The Sword Of The Four-Armed Emperor. Interestingly, he opted for Sentinels over Jackals. This is most likely to save points, as a single Sentinel is cheaper than a bare basic unit of Jackals. Finally, some Mortars in his Heavy Support round out his Brigade.
Next, we have his Battalion, which is also pretty straight forward. The Patriarch can make his Guardsmen either Fearless or it can help on the front lines. Note the Patriarch’s warlord trait. That’s the +1 Leadership aura from the baserulebook. That +a Clamvus puts you to Leadership 12. There’s also a -1 to enemies on the Locus and an extra Leadership drain on the Astra Milltarum Psyker. Wrapping all this together and you have a potent Mental Onslaught bomb. Other than that, the army has multiple Acolyte units with mining gear to pop out of the board on Turn 2. These guys all have a +2 to charge, which means they can reliably get into melee without A Perfect Ambush, and with it the charge is all but guaranteed.
Finally, we have his Supreme Command, which is his Brood Brothers detachment. As you would expect, this detachment is 100% utility for the rest of the list. The Psyker provides a situational anti-horde option in Gaze Of The Emperor, but primarily he’s taken for Terrifying Visions. This is a -2 to Leadership to make those Mental Onslaught casts extra lethal. He also takes two Tempestor Primes. Both of these also have a Command Rod, which allows them to issue orders to all the Brood Brothers units in the list. Guardsmen are normally capped at 10 per squad, but the Brood Brothers Infantry Squad’s are all 20 man strong. This makes Orders extra efficient on them. All in all, this is a very all-in list for GSC. Basically all of the models are 1 wound, Toughness 3 in a 5+ armor save. However, there’s tons of them and they have the support and weapons to bring the pain and cripple their opponent before they have a chance to really respond or react.
This brings us to the last list of the day. Tom Higginbottom went 4-1 as well in the Warhammer 40K March Grand Slam GT, which was in Liverpool, England. Tom finished 3rd in the 28 man event, losing only to the 1st place winner. Let’s take a look at his list!
Tom’s list consists of 3 Battalions, and is another Cult Of The Four Armed Emperor list. To start, he has a small Battalion of Astra Milltarum. The Company Commanders exist to order around the Brood Brothers Infantry Squads, and the Astropath provides light psychic support, most likely in Terrifying Visions for that -2 to Leadership to help ensure that Mental Onslaught goes off successfully.
Next, we have a mixed GSC detachment. There’s not much to unpack here as it’s rather barebones. The Patriarch is taken out of Twisted Helix for the unique Relic that they have. Interestingly, the Patriarch takes Alien Majesty over the Twisted Helix Warlord Trait. This is probably either a typo or a loose decision, since there are multiple generics that are much stronger than Alien Majesty. Not to mention that the Twisted Helix Warlord Trait is also very strong in it’s own right. The detachment wraps up with 4 units of 20 Brood Brothers Infantry Squads and a Kellermorph, which is fairly standard.
His last detachment has all of his meat and threats, and it’s quite the package. Although his list doesn’t specifically state as such, it’s most likely also taken from the Cult Of The Four Armed Emperor. This Battalion has a static +3 to charge (except for the Aberrants, who only have a +2) which in turn makes the horde of Acolyte Hybrids able to land charges out of deep strike. The Aberrants will most likely rely on A Perfect Ambush to guarantee they make contact as well. At this point, this list tries to grind it’s opponent to dust before they have a way to meaningfully defend themself.
Although all 3 lists go about it in different ways, they all have very similar strengths and weaknesses. They are all looking to leverage an obscene amount of offensive pressure to kill their opponents before their very pitiful defenses actually matter. The army is difficult to properly screen against due to its ability to clear out chaff units and it’s extremely high mobility options. The best way to combat this is to be ready to sacrifice all of your anti-tank and other heavy hitting units as extra screening. GSC lists are typically about as durable as wet tissue paper, and if you can keep your units that are meant to kill Infantry alive, you should be able to quickly grind your opponent out. Of course, this is much easier said than done.
GSC are the newest kid on the 40K block, and they’re already establishing themselves as a potent competitive force. As players learn and grow with the army, GSC are likely to stick around as a mainstay contender in the competitive scene. The army has an extremely high skill-ceiling and a low skill-floor which is a classic hallmark of many a highly competitive force.
That wraps us up for today. Let us know what you think about these lists and Genestealer Cults in the comments, we’d love to hear your ideas about the army. If you loved this article, and can’t wait to get more awesome Nights At The Game Table content, check out our Members Area here!
Thanks to Games workshop for the images used in this article.