Hey guys! Freddie Lovebeard here, and I just got home from a tournament prep game which also happened to be my first experience ever with the Genestealer Cult Codex, and wow, there’s a lot going on. Let’s get right into the game.
We rolled up ITC mission 2, in which there are 3 objectives. One in the center, and one we each place in our deployment zones. The Bonus Point is only scored by holding both the center objective and the objective in our opponent’s deployment zone.
I played my standard Battalion and Vanguard.
Brother Captain – Warlord, Psycannon, Nemesis Daemon Hammer, First to the Fray
3x 5-man strike teams – 3 Falchions, 1 psycannon, and a halberd on the Justicars
2x 10-man Paladin units – 7x Halberds, 2x Nemesis Warding Staves, Nemesis Daemon Hammers on Paragons
Paladin Ancient – Banner of Refining Flame, Psycannon
Apothecary – Nemesis Daemon Hammer
He was playing something like 3 battalions, all of which Rusted Claw Creed
10 Abberants – 4 Claws, 4 Picks, 2 Signs
18 Acolytes with Handflamers and 4 Demolition Charges
2x 5 Atalan Jackals
Heavy Weapons Team – Lascannons
I chose Headhunter, Reaper, and Old School for my secondaries. He had enough models to get reaper, and even though he got bonuses to his saves against all my bolterfire him being T3 meant I was going to chew through a lot of bodies. He also had several squishy characters that I didn’t think I’d have any trouble getting to, and Old School is a personal favourite if I can get a kill on the first turn, which I knew I could.
He chose Recon, Engineers, and Gangbusters. I’m not really sure why he chose those, as he didn’t start scoring recon until turn 3 and engineers really didn’t work out for him, but Gangbusters was an obvious choice because he was going to have to kill my paladins if he wanted to be in the game at all.
I knew some of the shenanigans Genestealer Cult could pull, and I don’t have nearly enough models in my army to adequately screen them. I knew this would be a hard match-up going in, and wanted to score high early and ride the mission out while I slowly got taken apart by precision deepstrikes removing key targets that I couldn’t protect.
This was a really intense game that took a lot of focus, and taking pictures kind of fell by the wayside. Sorry about that. I did take notes though so I should be able to explain the game fine.
My opponent won the roll-off to choose deployment and rolled Frontline Assault. Since he got to choose his side I chose to deploy my whole army first to go first. I might have preferred he went first, but I couldn’t really risk him getting his turn 2 before mine and deepstriking all over and taking the whole table so I would lose all my mobility.
I deployed front and center in my deployment with my paladins, Draigo, and Voldus, while leaving a strike team on my friendly objective on the bottom floor of an enclosed ruin in my deployment zone.
He deployed all in blips with most of his characters deepstriking, and did a bunch of nonsense to get his Abberants and both units of Jackals in reserve without the limit of needing to come in before turn 3. His Rockgrinders were hidden behind an enclosed ruin that was home to all 3 10-man units of his neophytes and his nexos. Characters were strewn about with all his lascannon units on his table edge.
Turn 1 passed fairly uneventfully for both of us, and turn 2 is where it really got interesting. I began building my point lead on turn 1 because I went first so I knew I’d get to control the center ruin. I cast Astral Aim on my Paladins, Gave them Sanctuary just in case, and Gated them into the center ruin with Draigo having advanced in first to make sure he was safe and they got their rerolls.
The Paladins shot and killed a 5 man Acolyte unit because they were all in fearless auras, so I didn’t leave anything to chance. The +1 to save they get is really good, and since they’re only T3 to start with using Psybolt Ammunition didn’t seem worthwhile.
On his return fire his Jackal Alpha took 1 wound off of Voldus.
I scored Hold, Kill, Hold More, Kill More, and Old School. He only scored a point for holding an objective. The score was 5 – 1 in my favour.
I brought in all my reserves, with the new Paladin unit wrapping around my warlord and ancient to pick up an easy kill on the Alpha Jackal. I knew he’d be able to bring his reserves in and counter charge me, so I cast Sanctuary on one unit and Hammerhand on the other. He’d either have to risk not killing the unit, or he’d risk getting smacked right back in the face. I killed 2x 5-man Acolytes, one of the 10 man Neophyte units that he’d realized he never named as his engineering units so was only beginning to score on turn 2, and charged to kill the Jackal Alpha.
He brought in all of his reserves except the Abberants and Jackals, and charged my forward paladin unit with both Patriarchs, some Acolytes, and 2 Rockgrinders. He dropped his 18-man unit of Acolytes in my back lines where my screen was insufficient and killed my Apothecary with explosive charges and a strike team with 14 hand flamers (he used the strategem to come in 3″ away. His charge killed 8 of my paladins. I tried to interrupt but he used a strategem to block it and rolled a 6 so I ended up wasting 2 CP, which was huge, but it also meant I had to eat all the attacks from his Rockgrinders and Patriarchs before even trying to return attacks. When I swung back with my hammer paragon I rolled 4 1s to hit.
I ended up killing 4 units to his 2, and holding 2 objectives to his 1. I scored Kill, Kill More, Hold, and Hold more, plus 1 point for Headhunter and 1 point for Reaper. He scored Kill and Hold, plus all 4 points for Gangbusters and 1 Engineers point. I was leading 11 to 6.
On turn 3 I moved forward more. I cast Astral Aim on my paladin unit which still had models in it, and fired backward into the unit of 18 Acolytes, then followed up with my 2 remaining strike teams and guaranteed his morale test would see the rest of his unit running away. I failed all the charges with my characters except for my Warlord, and threw my paladins into the Fray.
I killed a Patriarch in the Psychic phase, and charged his whole like with my paladins. Popping the strategem to fight twice they killed both Rock Trucks and both units of 10 Neophytes on his home objective, both denying him any more engineers points for the rest of the game and scoring me the bonus point. When it came time for morale he wanted to autopass, but I explained that spending 2 CP to save 4 guys wasn’t worth it since he still had the iconward in that quarter hidden to score recon and he let them run away. I need to stop helping my opponents…
He killed my remaining 2 paladins on my turn since I left them in combat, and dropped in his Kellermorph to kill my strike team off the center objective. He brought in Jackal units in both quarters of the table on my side for recon and hid them outside LoS. He brought in his Abberants with the strategem to move them 1d6″, rolled a 1 with a CP reroll, but then made a 8″ charge into my paladins and that pretty much decided the game. He killed several of my paladins, but didn’t finish the unit. He also moved some acolytes onto his friendly objective just over 1″ away from me so he could hold his own objective. His Warlord Patriarch charged and killed my Ancient in the second floor of a ruin where I’d positioned to smite his other Patriarch.
He scored recon, Kill, and Hold. I scored Kill, Kill More, Hold, Bonus, Headhunter, and 2 points for Reaper. I was leading 18 – 9.
Even with my lead the game wasn’t looking good in turn 4. I’d lost just about everything and I knew I had to make some pretty significant plays to actually get anything done for the rest of the turn, so I started trying to make charges. Draigo made the charge into his Patriarch Warlord in a last ditch effort for Slay the Warlord, my Paladin Paragon made a charge into the Magus, and my Brother Captain whiffed on a charge into the Nexos, but had declared against everything so charged into the Abberants with Sanctuary up hoping I might get lucky and save my Paragon from getting charged in the next turn so he could kill the Nexos himself. That didn’t work out. Draigo also rolled 5 2s and 1s to would against the Patriarch and didn’t put a single wound on him. He took 3 wounds when the Patriarch hit back. At least the Paragon did his job and killed the Magus. My warlord died on my turn.
On his turn he fell back with the Patriarch and brought in one of his Jackal units and killed Draigo with explosives, his abberants turned around and killed my Paragon, and his other unit of Jackals and Kellermorph came around to kill Voldus off of the center objective.
I scored Kill, Hold, and Headhunter. He scored Kill, Hold, Kill More, Hold More, and Recon. I was winning 21 to 14.
Disclaimer. At this point we’d been playing for over 3 hours and had to pack up because the store was closing so just quickly talked through what we thought we’d have done for the rest without really thinking each decision through. If that was the last turn I’d have won the game 22 – 14 with Last Strike. If we were playing in a tournament with set round times I’d probably have won at the bottom of 3, or if we were on a chess clock I may have gotten to 5 while he got through two and a half or so.
Turn Five – Six
At the top of turn 5 I had literally nothing left but a strike team in an enclosed ruin on my objective. I could have gone for a kill on his Jackals if I charged out and ended up on the center objective, but when we rolled to see how it’d go – just for fun – I didn’t end up killing them, so I just scored hold and then got tabled.
Getting tabled I’d have lost 23 – 26 because the couple bikes would have given me my last reaper, and he’d have scored 4 points on the primary for the 5th and 6th turns.
Just keeping them hidden in the ruin his Jackals wouldn’t be able to interact with them though, and I’d still score the hold just the same. This’d stop him from scoring Kill or Kill more on either of the last turns, but he’d still score recon. Assuming I hid (which I would in a tournament where I actually keep track of point totals turn by turn) I would score 1 point for holding an objective on my 5th and 6th turns, and he’d have scored hold, hold more, and recon on each of his turns. That’d come out with a 23 – 22 win.
This was a really close game that could have gone either way if we’d actually gotten through the whole thing within a tournament time limit.
Genestealer Cults hit like a TRUCK.
What I wanted to do was to save a paladin unit to be able to Psybolt Ammunition into the Abberants when they came in, but once he’d made sure they could come in on any turn instead of having to come on turn 3 I couldn’t just wait forever and I had to commit too much early to have the points to be able to sit on a lead once they came in to kick my ass.
I rolled pretty badly, but that kind of thing happens. I think this game being as close as it was came down more to the fact that Genestealer cults are just a really strong counter to my particular list. You need to screen a LOT against genestealer cults, and they throw so many dice you have to just accept that things are going to die. That’s hard for me. I can’t just leave a strike team 18″ away from my characters to keep them safe from deepstrikes because they can pop up 3″ away, and I don’t have enough models to actually keep Genestealer cults out. I knew I had score a lot early, and deny as many points as possible, which is why I committed so much into killing his Enginner units and jumping on his objective for the bonus. Hiding on my objective and just waiting out the game I would only have won by 1 point. That play could have been it.
My opponent thought I should have just filled the enclosed ruins with paladins so they couldn’t be charged, but I don’t think slowing the game down against an army like GSC is the way to go for me. Overall I’m about as happy as I could have been with how my list performed, but I’m not looking forward to having to play into GSC again.
Placeholder. Sorry for the utter lack of pictures. I’m having trouble getting anything uploaded to the site. I’ll come in and add them later if I can. I didn’t get pictures of everything but I did get some.