Hey guys, Erik here with a detailed breakdown on Genestealer Cults! In this article I will walk you all through: their strengths and weaknesses, their place in the meta, and some plans for moving forward with this incredible faction in the future.
Let’s start off with talking about some of the many strengths you have when playing GSC. Genestealer Cult in my opinion is an army with a very high skill ceiling, they have a crazy amount of over lapping rules and buffs that greatly impact how you can use your units on the table top and this takes quite a lot of time and thinking to really wrap your head around just how to put it all to proper use.
Main strength – Versatility: GSC are the most versatile army in 40k. Now that doesn’t just come down to list writing. The ability to be able to change your game plan on the spot with the use of stratagems or deep strike placements is insane! It makes this faction very hard to mentally map out a game with, because your opponent is forced to spend multiple turns screening some of your main threats which takes away from resources spent on their own game plan.
Functional Strength – Synergy: In this codex you will find that there is a million different ways to stack rules, stratagems and a multitude of buffs. However with all these buffs you can find yourself sinking too many points into things you realistically could do without. The key to getting maximum value out of all your buffs is finding a balance. Once you have your compulsory things like iconward, patriarch, primus and your broodsurge detachment start asking yourself if anything you are adding after that is really worth the investment.
Psychological Strength – Table Influence: One of the greatest strengths GSC have is their psychological influence they have on their opponent. They are a very different style of army to have to face as they operate in a very unique way. They force people to play very cagey to protect key units and try to effectively screen you out, the problem with that is it opens up the game to be played your way, will you come in turn 2? Or will you force them to wait until turn 3? The longer you can keep them guessing the more power you give yourself.
Some of the key weaknesses or problematic situations you have to watch out for as a Genestealer Cults player are specific units that prevent deep strikes and abilities/strategems that allow the enemy to intercept you. Even effective screening that strong players use by creating multiple well spaced layers can be challenging to overcome.
The main issue I have personally found with GSC is their lack of ability to play an attrition war against their opponents. Often you find yourself trading big expensive combat bomb units for units that generally have little value which isn’t sustainable at all. Even if you are able to trade for one key target you have probably traded that bomb + supporting characters + command points for one high value target, this can quite easily mean the difference towards the end of the game when you are trying to scrape together the remnants of your army to hold on for the win.
This issue has lead to what I believe to be the solution for GSC and the way forward. My theory on GSC for the future is to head down an MSU (multiple small unit) road. I don’t mean just 5 man units of acolytes with nothing or 10 man brood brother spam, I’m talking 5-10 man acolyte units with 2-4 rocksaws in each unit. This removes the concern of trading a whole ~20 man acolyte unit just to escort four rocksaws into combat. It also alleviates the pressure of trying to keep a larger unit alive through wrapping units in combat, which simply doesn’t work as well these days. It also allows you to overload your opponent with threats, and it spreads your rocksaws throughout the army instead of having all your eggs in one basket. You can also make majority of the army quite reliable in getting into combat by making a brigade a broodsurge detachment. This gives all your small rocksaw units 7″ rerollable charges on the drop as well as one of your 10 man units using perfect ambush.
Another bonus to running GSC in this way is it allows you to be very flexible with your deployment and deepstrike ratios and what you may decide on what you want to start on and off the table instead of being locked into having to make sure your big units of accolytes are starting in reserve. Using strategems like “return to the shadows” late game to stagger the deployment of small rocksaw units will really keep your opponent on his toes in the late game.
Just remember my Xenos friends…. The Imperium is weak.