Hot on the heels of our Shadow Throne preview, the narrative box set for Warhammer 40K, which saw the nefarious infiltration of humanities' homeworld by the Genestealer Cults, met with force from the Emperor's golden protectors, the Adeptus Custodes, this month sees the release of the full rules codexes for both factions. In this article, we'll have a look at what the Genestealer Cults Codex contains, the rules, and what if any differences there are from those presented in the Shadow Throne booklet.
Who Are The Genestealer Cults?
The Genestealer Cults are a following who infect worlds to prepare for the arrival of the Tyranid Hive Swarm. They recruit members, and if left unchecked, spread throughout worlds, undermining planetary rule and building their own power, eventually either taking over or weakening the defenses for the arrival of the Hive Swarm. Their forces contain a mix of forces, from the fully formed Xenos Genestealers, through mutated hybrids and also imperial warriors who show no outward sign of infection.
What's Included In The Genestealer Cults Codex?
The new Genestealer Cults codex begins with several pages of background information and lore, history, and details of how the Cult infects and infiltrates planets and systems, along with details of several different cults and how they operate. It also includes a few pages of painted miniatures in different color schemes and photos of the Cults in action.
The rules section begins with details of the upcoming Combat Patrol for the Genestealer Cults, a box of pre-set miniatures to get you playing straight away. The Genestealer Cults combat patrol will contain:
- 1 Magus
- 20 Neophyte Hybrids
- 5 Acolyte Hybrids
- 5 Aberrants
- 1 Goliath Rockgrinder
The codex includes stratagems. battlefield abilities that can be used during the game, warlord traits, unique abilities given to your armies' leader, and relics, powerful equipment that can be given to your armies' characters. These can be taken for any Genestealer Cults army, and the codex also includes unique stratagems, warlord traits, relics, and psychic powers for six different named cults, along with a unique Cult Creed.
- Cult of the Four-Armed Emperor - Patient masters of the subterranean assault. They have a zero-cost, single-use stratagem that increases the cost of one of your opponent's stratagems for the rest of the game.
- The Hivecult - They focus on infiltrating military units and establishments. They have a warlord trait that gives additional hits on ranged attack rolls of a six to nearby core units.
- The Bladed Cog - A dangerous mix of Xenos mutation and machine augments. Their creed gives them all a 6+ invulnerable save, lets them reroll wound rolls, and adds three to the range of the ranged weapons.
- The Rusted Claw - Nomads with a focus on guerrilla warfare. They have a Drive-By Demolitions stratagem that gives a unit the maximum number of attacks with a grenade weapon against a target that at Atalanbike unit passed near during its movement phase.
- The Pauper Princes - They take the cult creed to a level of obsession beyond the other cults. They have a psychic power, Last Gasp, that deals mortal wounds to an attacker if they destroy friendly cult units in melee combat.
- The Twisted Helix - This cult voluntarily embraced the Genestealer mutation in order to research it. Their cult creed adds one to the strength, movement and lets them ignore wound rolls of a 1 or 2 against them.
There are also rules for creating your own cult, with abilities you can choose without selecting one of the larger cults. Units can also be upgraded with Proficient Planning abilities which can be bought during force creation, to add a unique element to individual units, like A Perfect Ambush, which increases the proficiency of the Crossfire rule which is also introduced in the new codex.
What Is The Genestealer Cults New Crossfire Rule?
Crossfire units can work together to make it easier for other crossfire units to damage enemies. Each time a crossfire unit attacks an enemy, if they score five or more hits, or hit with a weapon with a two or more damage characteristic, then the unit gets a crossfire marker. If the target unit already has a crossfire marker, it adds one to all attack rolls, and if it's exposed by being directly between two crossfire units, they also add one to the wound roll.
The rules section also includes unique Genestealer Cults Rules, for taking your force on a narrative campaign. These include agendas, like Genestealers Kiss, which boosts experience points for Patriarch and Genestealer units who take out enemies in melee, requisitions, battle traits, like Brood Prophet, which boosts their aura abilities, relics, artifacts, battle scars, and the rules for a Path to Ascension, which follows your cult as it takes over a world.
What's Included In The Datasheets Section Of The Genestealer Cults Codex?
The Datasheets section includes the rules for the new Reductus Saboteur that was introduced in Shadow Throne without any changes, along with all the units from the previous codex. Genestealer Cults armies can also include an Imperial Guard detachment in their forces, to represent the slow infiltration of local defense forces. In the previous codex, the datasheets for some Imperial Guard units were included, but Cults players in this edition will have to pick up the Astra Militarum codex in order to include those units in their force. While this means an additional purchase, it does increase the variety of units they can include in their forces. It also gives you full access to the rules mentioned in Shadow Throne but not detailed, like the full conceal rules, Crossfire mentioned above, and Unquestioning Loyalty and the Broodmind Discipline, for the psychic powers that the Cults have access to.
As a Cults player, you will rarely be able to attack targets head-on. Even their most powerful troops are usually exposed and vulnerable while trying to get into close combat. So Cults players have to use all the tricks and tools available to them to level the playing field, sacrificing units in order to draw the enemy in and expose their weaknesses. before closing their own traps.
The copy of the Warhammer 40K Genestealer Cults Codex used in this preview was provided by Games Workshop.