Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Warhammer 40,000: Genestealer Cult Index Review - Heavy Support Choices

You can see my first article in this series here. I covered HQ selections, overall traits for the Genestealer Cult, relics, psychic powers, etc. The second in the series is about troops and dedicated transports and can be found here. The third in the series is about elites and can be found here. The fourth article in the series is about heavy support choices and can be found here.

I've added two Forge World Astra Militarum units to this review because I think they're a little less known and they really add to the lists I've been using.

Cult Leman Russ

As Genestealer Cults take over planets, they take vehicles and tanks and make them their own. Once the uprising happens, they slap on Genestealer Cult icons and roll out. Leman Russ tanks are available, but only the standard battle tank, not the demolisher variant. That means you don't get a punisher cannon (lots of bullets) demolisher cannon (howitzer) or executioner (big plasma cannon). 

You do have a battle cannon, eradicator nova cannon, exterminator autocannon and vanquisher battle cannon. From what I can tell, the math supports taking the regular battle cannon pretty much every time. I modeled my first painted LR with a vanquisher tank, and unfortunately it got changed to strength 8 instead of 9 and due to lack of shots it gets outperformed vs vehicles by every other LR weapon.

Overall, Leman Russ tanks are very solid for their points - Toughness 8, 12 wounds, 3+ save. Sponsons and hull mounts make them huge weapon batteries and the ability to shoot a turret gun twice without a movement penalty is massive. 

Honestly I don't plan on using my Leman Russ tanks in a Cult detachment unless they get something different and great in the codex when it is released. Currently I use a Tank Commander from an Astra Militarum spearhead detachment because he hits better (3+). I sometimes bring a second Leman Russ for him to command.

On my second painted Leman Russ I actually put a heavy flamer on the front hull mount to try to discourage units from charging it to tie it up. The Vanquisher tank is all in on vehicle destruction with a lascannon hull mount and two multi melta sponsons.

Goliath Rockgrinder

The Genestealer Cult has access to some really cool-looking mining vehicles. The Rockgrinder, while still a light vehicle, is more of the tanky version. It has a drilldozer blade - a sweet name for a melee attack - and is Strength 8, 6+D3 attacks when it charges, hits on a 5+, and D3 damage at -2AP. It is nice to charge in before your infantry unit to soak overwatch and then actually do some damage. Add a Primus nearby and it hits on 4+. 

At toughness 7 with a 4+ save and a 6+ wound ignore mechanic it is somewhat tough. A move of 10" is rather slow for light vehicles, and once it has taken half damage it goes down to 6". I hope they bump it up to 12" for the new codex. 

It can carry six Genestealer Cult Infantry models, fewer than the Goliath Truck or a chimera but I consider this a huge value. I usually put aberrants in there, but you could put six acolytes with two heavy weapons in and pop them out to destroy softened up targets. Sometimes I reserve a spot for the Primus so that I get that +1 to hit with the models jumping out, as well as the rockgrinder.

It can take one heavy weapon - a heavy mining laser, heavy seismic cannon, or clearance incinerator. The laser is a one-shot weapon that is basically a short range lascannon. The seismic cannon has more shots - at close range it has two shots at Strength 8. It has a 'rending' type of special rule where you get AP-4 on wound rolls of 6+. It also has a heavy flamer with 12" range which is cool. 

The seismic cannon and mining laser sound really nice at first - S9 and S8 when they roll to wound - but man is it tough when you actually use them. That +1 to hit for heavy weapons when moving means you're rolling one die looking for a 5+, or four or two dice looking for a 5+. I almost never hit with the seismic cannon. 

I'm planning to try out the clearance incinerator and see how that does. The AP and damage of the laser and seismic cannon are what drew me to them, but since they almost never do anything, the incinerator should do better, especially since the vehicle wants to be up close and assaulting anyway. 

It can also take a cache of demolition charges, which would be really nice when paired with an incinerator to use on heavy infantry. Get up close at 6" range, throw down D6 S8 AP-3 D3 damage shots, then D6 S5 AP-1 shots, then a heavy stubber as well, then assault.

Overall, this vehicle is really themey and fits well in a GSC list. It is tough and the transport capacity is great. At this point I think the best loadout is probably a clearance incinerator with demolition charges, transporting an assault unit upfield.

Cyclops Demolition Vehicles

The first of the Forge World entries, this is a tiny tank that looks like a 1/4 scale Leman Russ without the turret. It is basically a 40k reproduction of the Goliath demolition vehicle from WW2. You drive it at the enemy and blow it up when it gets close, hoping it doesn't blow up in your own lines beforehand.

They have solid stats - 10" move, toughness 6, 4 wounds, 3+ armor. During a shooting phase, if they didn't advance, they can voluntarily blow up. Every unit, friendly or enemy, within D6" is hit with 2D6 S9 AP -2 D3 damage hits. 

This is pretty bonkers, especially against vehicles and heavy infantry. On average, you're going to do 8 wounds to most battle tanks and kill three terminator equivalents. If you can get it near a character, so much the better, since it just auto-hits and doesn't have to target the closest. 

For 60 points, I believe these are a steal. They're also incredibly easy to hide behind tanks and transports because they're tiny. Even if they're just soaking up anti-tank fire because your opponent is afraid they're doing their job. They explode on a 3+ and do D3 mortal wounds to units nearby, which isn't crazy but you definitely want to move them away if they have one wound left - perhaps advance them to get them really close to an enemy unit.

Sentinel Powerlifter

Normally used for moving heavy equipment, the Powerlifter is a godsend for cults. The other sentinels we have access to are wet noodles in close combat. This one is a beast!

For 45 points you get a scout sentinel that has no gun but has 3 attacks (normal version has 1), hits on a 4+ at strength 10, AP-2, and D3 damage. Did I mention it has a scout move? If you're going first, deploy 12" on, scout move 9", move 9", then charge 2D6. Hit a light vehicle, transport, or even just cause a heavy hitter to have to retreat next turn and maybe do some damage in the process. It is 45 points.

The kit isn't available from Forge World anymore, so I used an armored sentinel kit and added a heavy claw from the recent Shadow War tractor kit. I think it looks pretty cool. Obviously not realistic, but its 40k!

I've now gone through every slot available to the Cult - keep an eye out for what army list I'm using lately and then some of my suggestions / wishlist for the codex. Thanks for reading!

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