Planning a new army? Genestealer Cult

With no upcoming tournaments or campaigns planned, I find I hit a lull in my hobby motivation. I am aware of a few campaigns in 2011, but the distances and cost are tough to justify – I could buy a new army for the cost of a weekend of gaming, is it worth it and can I afford it?

Do the ends justify the means? Can you put a cost against motivation and having fun? Perhaps I should consign the consequence to hell and get on with the painting!

For every new campaign, I inevitably do the worst possible thing – consider a brand new army, putting the cost up far beyond that ticket and petrol value. A new beginning should be accompanied by a new army in my mind and this brings me to this post’s topic – what army should I do next and properly?

Genestealer Cult – a classic army that hasn’t had rules for several editions now. Alongside Chaos Cultists, Lost and the Damned, Mechanicum, this cult plays heavily on a human army base, accompanied by a hybridisation and allied contingent. In this case, the infiltrating tendrils of a Tyranid invasion – Genestealers.

My first hurdle when considering this army is how to approach using it on the table. Should I build into a Codex, or handle custom rules. This particular army is due a custom codex from the Tempus Fugitives for their upcoming campaign, but the larger picture should be considered – what will I do with them afterwards? Like my Mechanicum, I would like to field them ‘legally’ in normal environments.

With codex-legality in mind, how can I best portray the army and how can I make them different to play? I don’t want another ‘guard’ army now that my Mechanicum have headed that direction. I also don’t Mechanised Infantry with Chimeras again. That would undermine my motivation from the start. I also want to avoid Space Marines –  I have more than enough!

Sidestepping the obvious choice of Imperial Guard, what other Codices are possible to use? Here’s some ideas:

  • Orks
  • Dark Eldar
  • Tau
  • Witch Hunters
  • Tyranids
  • Chaos Space Marines

For a very different appearance, Orks would help field a combat-strong force, different vehicles and a pretty darn tough HQ. However, is the appeal of human hybrids lost on Orks? Could human hybrids be used in proxy rather than actual Ork-Hybrids? How much of a headache would my opponent have?

The reduced BS and increased combat prowess, combined with mob-up rule would make for a good basis for genestealer hybrids. Grots could represent cultists, lead into battle by a demi-magos.

Dark Eldar
A great opportunity to explore a brand new codex, but how can the army be justified. The sheer lack of ground transports and armour makes the force questionable. Can flying transports and jetbikes be justifed? Would a vehicle-free list not cripple the army every game?

The mixture of Kroot and Fire Warriors would make for balanced core army, but vehicles are again limited to flyers. More importantly, the lack of a Genestealer-rank combat unit makes Tau very hard to justify. I’d like to make use of purestrain genestealers.

Witch Hunters
A balanced infantry force, supported by the flavoured faith system, but steering too close to astartes vehicles and rules, especially power armour.

An army I’ve seriously neglected, despite having a healthy amount of models. Genestealer could be fielded true to form. Brood brothers can easily be justified by Termagants. However, there’s no vehicles present – good or bad?

Chaos Space Marines
There are plenty of plusses in the list – Daemons, Princes, Noise Marines, Berserkers, Possessed could all stand proxy for a range of hybrids and Genestealers. Vehicles to provide support and transport, albeit astartes. However, 3+ armour saves are annoyingly unavoidable.

Rusty Dice

Aint nothing but a horn

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8 Responses

  1. Dave Taylor says:

    I really think Orks are the way to go here. For an interesting take on a GS Cultarmy using the Ork list, head to and check out the painting blogs of gorgon (his screen name). Some very cool stuff there.


  2. Tristan says:

    You could also check out BoLS Genestealer Cult mini-codex 🙂

  3. I was thinking Tyrannids myself, but if vehicles are a big part of your motivation then you’ve got a show stopper.

    Amusingly I used to enjoy the chaos side of the genestealer cult army back in the day, but that was mostly because I could use even more of the random minis lying around from assorted boxed games to make a ‘spare’ army up.

  4. Orks are awesome.

    Have you seen the chaosmorphes models from Illyad games? They’re amazing!

  5. Magos Explorator says:

    As Dave mentioned that counts-as Orks force looks great!

    As I think I had written to you in the past, I have also been slowly working on a Genestealer Cult (which was going to get the majority of my attention whenever I next feel like I need a break from Space Marines). That was based on the Tyranid codex, although you’re right about the lack of vehicles. My cult was going to be largely along the lines of ragged cultists on a Hive World, but the Tyranid codex may not work so well for a more established cult who have infiltrated their world’s PDF.

    I think Tyranids, Orks, or perhaps Imperial Guard are likely to work best, dependent on the intended composition of your force. It seems you already came to these same conclusions. 🙂

  6. Rusty Dice says:

    Ah Magos, we share too many ideas 🙂

  7. Magos Explorator says:

    Great minds, perhaps. 😉

    But you seem to actually manage to find the time to see them through, and carry them off very well!

    Hopefully all my belongings will be arriving here in December and I can get back to it…

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