Genestealer Cults

From dark depths and shadowy streets emerge the Genestealer Cultists, malformed figures united by a sinister worship of inscrutable star-born entities. Secretive, stealthy and utterly malignant, they are the cankers growing unseen in the hidden spaces of the Imperium.

Books

BookKindEditionVersionLast update
  Genestealer Cults
  Genestealer CultsIndex10January 2024
  Balance Dataslate
  Balance DataslateRulebook10January 2024January 2024
  Munitorum Field Manual
  Munitorum Field ManualExpansion101.6January 2024
  Legends Field Manual
  Legends Field ManualExpansion101.1October 2023
  Legends: Genestealer Cults
  Legends: Genestealer CultsDatasheet10July 2023

Army Rules

Cult Ambush

Genestealer Cults keep their fighting strength carefully hidden from their oppressors until the glorious Day of Ascension arrives. When they finally emerge to fight, it is after long years of meticulous planning, and with an intimate knowledge of the battlefield that grants them a tactical advantage. Even as battle rages, reinforcements slip from the shadows or spill up from the dark places below, called to war by the Broodmind.

If your Army Faction is GENESTEALER CULTS, each time a unit with this ability is destroyed, roll one D6, adding 1 to the result if it is a BATTLELINE unit, and adding 1 to the result if it is the first or second battle round. On a 5+, add a new unit to your army identical to your destroyed unit, in Cult Ambush, at its Starting Strength and with all of its wounds remaining, and you can place one Cult Ambush marker* anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" horizontally away from all enemy units (if this is not possible, no marker is placed).

If an enemy model (excluding AIRCRAFT models) ends any kind of move within 9" of a Cult Ambush marker you placed, that Cult Ambush marker is removed from the battlefield. At the end of the Reinforcements step of your opponent’s next Movement phase, for each of your Cult Ambush markers that is still on the battlefield, you can select one unit from your army that is in Cult Ambush and set up that unit on the battlefield more than 9" horizontally away from all enemy models and with at least one model in that unit touching that Cult Ambush marker and all other models placed wholly within 3" of that Cult Ambush marker (that Cult Ambush marker is then removed from the battlefield).

CHARACTERS that are attached to a unit with this ability are not returned alongside that unit should it return to the battlefield as described above (only the Bodyguard unit returns).

Designer’s Note: Each time a unit with this ability is destroyed, it triggers all rules that apply when a unit is destroyed. For example, if a rule awards a player 1VP each time an enemy unit is destroyed, and a unit with this ability is destroyed, returned using this ability then subsequently destroyed again, it would award the opponent 2VP.

* A circular 32mm diameter marker should be used for Cult Ambush Markers.

Brood Brothers

Through cunning and unholy good fortune, a Genestealer Cult can send its questing tendrils writhing into even the highest ranks of the military forces that should be standing guard against it. So does the Patriarch seize new and potent weapons of revolution.

If your Army Faction is GENESTEALER CULTS, you can include ASTRA MILITARUM units in your army, even though they do not have the GENESTEALER CULTS Faction keyword. The combined points cost of ASTRA MILITARUM units you can include in your army depends on your battle size, as follows:
  • Incursion: Up to 250 pts
  • Strike Force: Up to 500 pts
  • Onslaught: Up to 750 pts
No ASTRA MILITARUM models in your army can be your WARLORD, and they cannot be given Enhancements. You cannot include units with any of the following keywords in your army using these rules: EPIC HERO; OGRYN; RATLING; MILITARUM TEMPESTUS; COMMISSAR; REGIMENTAL PREACHER; REGIMENTAL ENGINSEER; MUNITORUM SERVITORS; AIRCRAFT.

Ascension Day

Detachment Rule

If your Army Faction is GENESTEALER CULTS, you can use this Ascension Day Detachment rule.

They Came From Below

For generations an insidious threat has lain hidden within the shadows. Now their time is nigh, and from out of the tunnels and sewers they rise to topple their oppressors in brutally violent insurrection. None can escape the sudden ambushes that herald the Day of Ascension!

Each time a GENESTEALER CULTS unit from your army is set up on the battlefield as Reinforcements, until the end of your next Fight phase, weapons equipped by models in that unit have the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] and [IGNORES COVER] abilities.

Stratagems

If you are using the Ascension Day Detachment rule, you can use these Ascension Day Stratagems.

UNQUESTIONING LOYALTY
1CP
Ascension Day – Epic Deed Stratagem
Broodkin are so fanatically loyal that they do not hesitate to sacrifice themselves to protect their leaders.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Shooting phase or the Fight phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One GENESTEALER CULTS CHARACTER unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of that enemy unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a CHARACTER model in your unit would lose a wound, select one friendly GENESTEALER CULTS unit within 3" of it (excluding VEHICLE units). Your CHARACTER model does not lose that wound and that selected unit suffers one mortal wound instead.
COORDINATED TRAP
2CP
Ascension Day – Battle Tactic Stratagem
Flowing like a dark tide down hidden tunnels, along rubble-choked gulleys or through sagging and rusted vents, the faithful utterly encircle their enemies.
WHEN: The start of your Shooting phase or the start of the Fight phase.

TARGET: Two GENESTEALER CULTS units from your army that have not been selected to shoot or fight this phase, and one enemy unit.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, each time a model in either of your units makes an attack, it can only target that enemy unit (and only if it is an eligible target for that attack), and when resolving that attack, add 1 to the Wound roll.
TUNNEL CRAWLERS
1CP
Ascension Day – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Squirming, crawling and scrabbling through confined spaces is second nature to many broodkin, and is a skill they use to assail seemingly impregnable enemy positions.
WHEN: Your Movement phase.

TARGET: One GENESTEALER CULTS unit from your army that is arriving using the Deep Strike ability this phase.

EFFECT: Your unit can be set up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 3" horizontally away from all enemy models.

RESTRICTIONS: A unit targeted by this Stratagem is not eligible to declare a charge in the same turn.
A PERFECT AMBUSH
1CP
Ascension Day – Battle Tactic Stratagem
These Cultists have tracked their enemies tirelessly, as predatory beasts stalk their prey. Only when their position is perfect do they strike, engulfing their victims in a hail of unexpected firepower.
WHEN: Your Shooting phase.

TARGET: One GENESTEALER CULTS unit from your army that arrived from Reserves this turn and has not been selected to shoot this phase.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, improve the Ballistic Skill and Armour Penetration characteristics of ranged weapons equipped by models in your unit by 1.
ONE WITH THE DARKNESS
1CP
Ascension Day – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
In dark nooks and crevices the true believers of the cult whisper and skulk, all but invisible to those who approach.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Shooting phase, just after an enemy unit has selected its targets.

TARGET: One GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit from your army that was selected as the target of one or more of that enemy unit’s attacks.

EFFECT: Until the end of the phase, your unit has the Stealth ability and can only be selected as the target of a ranged attack if the attacking model is within 12"
RETURN TO THE SHADOWS
1CP
Ascension Day – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Ever cunning and duplicitous, broods of the faithful often vanish back into tunnels and vents after their initial strike, ready to regroup and attack again elsewhere.
WHEN: End of your opponent’s turn.

TARGET: Up to two GENESTEALER CULTS BATTLELINE units from your army, or one other GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit from your army.

EFFECT: Remove the targeted units from the battlefield and place them into Strategic Reserves.

RESTRICTIONS: The targeted units must have the Deep Strike ability and cannot be within Engagement Range of any enemy units when targeted.

Enhancements

If you are using the Ascension Day Detachment rule, you can use these Ascension Day Enhancements.

  • Prowling Agitant 15 pts

No matter how often the oppressors seek to trap or silence this leader, they always find themselves left empty-handed and foolish, their elusive quarry long gone.

GENESTEALER CULTS model only. Once per turn, when an enemy unit ends a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move within 9" of the bearer’s unit, if the bearer’s unit is not within Engagement Range of any enemy units, it can make a Normal move of up to D6".

  • Inscrutable Cunning 30 pts

Every variable has been factored into this strategist’s master plan.

GENESTEALER CULTS model only. While the bearer is leading a unit, models in that unit have the Infiltrators ability and each time you select that unit as the target of a Stratagem, roll one D6: on a 4+, you gain 1CP.

  • Meticulous Planner 40 pts

No other force spends as long laying meticulous preparations for the battles to come as the Genestealer Cults. Their plans to counter the foe are works of dark genius.

GENESTEALER CULTS model only. Once per battle, just after your opponent uses a Stratagem, if the bearer is on the battlefield, it can use this ability. If it does, until the end of the battle, the CP cost your opponent must pay to use that Stratagem again is increased by 1CP.

  • Focus of Adoration 10 pts

This warlord inspires such insane devotion that their minions will leap headlong into battle in order to win their favour.

GENESTEALER CULTS model only. While the bearer is leading a unit, you can target that unit with the Heroic Intervention Stratagem for 0CP, and can do so even if you have already targeted a different unit with that Stratagem this phase.


Destroyed
Throughout a battle, models will suffer damage and be destroyed. When a model is destroyed, it is removed from the battlefield. When every model in a unit has been destroyed, that unit is destroyed.

The BATTLELINE keyword is used in the following Genestealer Cults datasheets:

Starting Strength
The number of models a unit contains when it is added to your army is known as its Starting Strength.
Attached Units
Some CHARACTER units have the Leader ability, which lets them merge with other units (known as Bodyguard units) to form an Attached unit.

The Starting Strength of an Attached unit is equal to the combined Starting Strengths of all of its units (i.e. the number of models in the Leader unit added to the number of models in the Bodyguard unit). If either the Leader unit or the Bodyguard unit in an Attached unit is destroyed, the Starting Strength of the remaining unit is changed to be equal to its original Starting Strength.

Example: A Primaris Captain (Starting Strength 1) is attached to a unit of Intercessors (Starting Strength 5). This Attached unit has a Starting Strength of 6. If all the Intercessors are destroyed, the remaining Primaris Captain would revert to having a Starting Strength of 1.

For the purposes of rules that are triggered when a unit is destroyed, such rules are still triggered when one of the individual units that made up an Attached unit is destroyed (the Leader or the Bodyguard unit).

Example: If a rule awards you with 1VP each time an enemy unit is destroyed, and you target an Attached unit, you would gain 1VP if the Bodyguard unit is destroyed and 1VP if the Leader unit is destroyed (for a total of 2VP).
6. Select Warlord
Select one CHARACTER model from your army to be your Warlord – this will be the leader of your army – and make a note of this on your Army Roster. Your Warlord gains the WARLORD keyword.

The EPIC HERO keyword is used in the following Astra Militarum datasheets:

The OGRYN keyword is used in the following Astra Militarum datasheets:

The MILITARUM TEMPESTUS keyword is used in the following Astra Militarum datasheets:

Sustained Hits

Some weapons strike in a flurry of blows, tearing the foe apart with relentless ferocity.

Weapons with [SUSTAINED HITS X] in their profile are known as Sustained Hits weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, if a Critical Hit is rolled, that attack scores a number of additional hits on the target as denoted by ‘x’.

Example: A model makes an attack with a melee weapon with the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability. If the Hit roll is an unmodified 6 (a Critical Hit), then that attack scores a total of 3 hits on the target (1 from the successful Hit roll of 6, and 2 from the [SUSTAINED HITS 2] ability).

  • [SUSTAINED HITS X]: Each Critical Hit scores ‘x’ additional hits on the target.
Ignores Cover

Some weapons are designed to root enemy formations out of entrenched positions.

Weapons with [IGNORES COVER] in their profile are known as Ignores Cover weapons. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, the target cannot have the Benefit of Cover against that attack.
Mortal Wounds

Some attacks are so powerful that no armour or force field can withstand their fury.

Some attacks inflict mortal wounds. Each mortal wound inflicts one point of damage on the target unit, and they are always applied one at a time. Do not make a Wound roll or saving throw (including invulnerable saving throws) against a mortal wound – just allocate it as you would any other attack and inflict damage to a model in the target unit as described below.

Unlike damage inflicted by normal attacks, excess damage from mortal wounds is not lost if the damage can be allocated to another model. Instead, keep allocating damage to another model in the target unit until either all the damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.

If, when a unit is selected to shoot or fight, one or more of its attacks can inflict mortal wounds on the target, resolve any normal damage inflicted by the attacking unit’s attacks on that target before inflicting any mortal wounds on that target. If an attack inflicts mortal wounds in addition to any normal damage, but the normal damage is subsequently saved, the target unit still suffers those mortal wounds, as described above.

  • Each mortal wound inflicted on a unit causes one model in that unit to lose one wound.
  • No saving throws can be made against mortal wounds.
  • Mortal wounds inflicted by attacks always apply after any normal damage, even if that damage was saved.
Wound Roll
Each time an attack scores a hit against a target unit, make a Wound roll for that attack by rolling one D6 to see if that attack successfully wounds the target unit. The result required is determined by comparing the attack’s Strength (S) characteristic with the target’s Toughness (T) characteristic, as shown below.

WOUND ROLL
ATTACK’S STRENGTH VS TARGET’S TOUGHNESSD6 RESULT REQUIRED
Strength is TWICE (or more than twice) the Toughness.
+
Strength is GREATER than the Toughness.
+
Strength is EQUAL to the Toughness.
+
Strength is LESS than the Toughness.
+
Strength is HALF (or less than half) the Toughness.
+

If the result of the Wound roll is greater than or equal to the required number shown in the table above, then that Wound roll is successful and scores one wound against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Wound roll of 6 is called a Critical Wound and is always successful. An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails. A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Critical Wound: Unmodified Wound roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Wound roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Wound roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.
DEEP STRIKE

Some units make their way to battle via tunnelling, teleportation, high-altitude descent or other extraordinary means that allow them to appear suddenly in the thick of the fighting.

During the Declare Battle Formations step, if every model in a unit has this ability, you can set it up in Reserves instead of setting it up on the battlefield. If you do, in the Reinforcements step of one of your Movement phases you can set up this unit anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" horizontally away from all enemy models.

  • Unit can be set up in Reserves instead of on the battlefield.
  • Unit can be set up in your Reinforcements step, more than 9" horizontally away from all enemy models.
Hit Roll
When a model makes an attack, make one Hit roll for that attack by rolling one D6. If the result of the Hit roll is greater than or equal to the attack’s Ballistic Skill (BS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a ranged weapon) or its Weapon Skill (WS) characteristic (if the attack is being made with a melee weapon), then that Hit roll is successful and scores one hit against the target unit. Otherwise, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends.

An unmodified Hit roll of 6 is called a Critical Hit and is always successful. An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails. A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.

  • Hit Roll (Ranged Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s BS.
  • Hit Roll (Melee Attack): A hit is scored if the D6 result equals or exceeds that attack’s WS.
  • Critical Hit: Unmodified Hit roll of 6. Always successful.
  • An unmodified Hit roll of 1 always fails.
  • A Hit roll can never be modified by more than -1 or +1.
STEALTH

Some warriors are masters of disguise and concealment.

If every model in a unit has this ability, then each time a ranged attack is made against it, subtract 1 from that attack’s Hit roll.

The GENESTEALER CULTS and BATTLELINE keywords are used in the following Genestealer Cults datasheets:

Engagement Range
Engagement Range represents the zone of threat that models present to their enemies. While a model is within 1" horizontally and 5" vertically of an enemy model, those models – and their units – are within Engagement Range of each other.

Models cannot be set up or end a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move within Engagement Range of any enemy models. If for any reason a model cannot meet this condition, that model is destroyed.

  • Engagement Range: Within 1" horizontally and 5" vertically.
  • Models cannot be set up or end a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move within Engagement Range of any enemy models.
Normal Moves
When a unit makes a Normal move, each model in that unit can move a distance in inches less than or equal to its Move (M) characteristic, but no model can be moved within Engagement Range of any enemy models.

  • Normal Move: Models move up to M".
  • Cannot move within Engagement Range of any enemy models.
Advance Moves
When a unit Advances, make an Advance roll for that unit by rolling one D6. Add the result in inches to the Move characteristic of each model in that unit until the end of the phase. Each model in that unit can then make an Advance move by moving a distance in inches less than or equal to this total, but no model can be moved within Engagement Range of enemy models. A unit cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn that it Advanced.

  • Advance Move: Models move up to M+D6".
  • Cannot move within Engagement Range of any enemy models.
  • Units that Advance cannot shoot or charge this turn.
Fall Back Moves
When a unit Falls Back, each model in that unit can make a Fall Back move by moving a distance in inches less than or equal to its Move characteristic, and when doing so you can move it within Engagement Range of enemy models, provided it does not end that move within Engagement Range of any enemy models – if this is not possible, that unit cannot Fall Back.

A unit cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn that it Fell Back.

Desperate Escape Tests
Unlike when making other types of move, models can move over enemy models when making a Fall Back move as if those enemy models were not there, but you must take a Desperate Escape test for each model that will do so (excluding models that are TITANIC or can FLY) before any models in that unit are moved. In addition, if a unit is Battle-shocked when it is selected to Fall Back, you must take a Desperate Escape test for every model in that unit before any are moved.

Each time you take a Desperate Escape test for a model, roll one D6. For each roll of 1-2, one model from the unit that is Falling Back is destroyed (selected by you). The same model can only ever trigger one Desperate Escape test per phase.

  • Fall Back Move: Models move up to M".
  • Units that Fall Back cannot shoot or declare a charge in the same turn.
  • Models can move over enemy models when Falling Back, but you must take Desperate Escape tests for them before they do so (excluding models that are TITANIC or can FLY).
  • If a Battle-shocked unit is selected to Fall Back, take a Desperate Escape test for every model in that unit.
  • Desperate Escape Test: Roll one D6. On a 1-2, one model from that unit is destroyed.
INFILTRATORS

Many armies employ reconnaissance units who can sit concealed, waiting for the right moment to strike.

During deployment, if every model in a unit has this ability, then when you set it up, it can be set up anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 9" horizontally away from the enemy deployment zone and all enemy models.
Charging with a Unit
Once you have selected an eligible unit to declare a charge, you must select one or more enemy units within 12" of it as the targets of that charge. The targets of a charge do not need to be visible to the charging unit.

You then make a Charge roll for the charging unit by rolling 2D6. The result is the maximum number of inches each model in that unit can be moved if a Charge move is possible. For a Charge move to be possible, the Charge roll must be sufficient to enable the charging unit to end that move:
  • Within Engagement Range of every unit that you selected as a target of the charge.
  • Without moving within Engagement Range of any enemy units that were not a target of the charge.
  • In Unit Coherency.
If any of these conditions cannot be met, the charge fails and no models in the charging unit move this phase. Otherwise, the charge is successful and the models in the charging unit make a Charge move – move each model a distance in inches up to the result of the Charge roll. When doing so, each model in the charging unit must end its Charge move closer to one of the units selected as a target of its charge. If you can also move a charging model so that it ends its Charge move in base-to-base contact with one or more enemy models while still enabling the charging unit to end its move satisfying all of the conditions above, you must do so. The controlling player chooses the order in which to move their models.

  • Charge Roll: 2D6".
  • Targets of a charge must be within 12" but do not need to be visible.
  • If the distance rolled is insufficient to move within Engagement Range of all targets while maintaining Unit Coherency, the charge fails.
  • Cannot move within Engagement Range of any unit that was not a target of the charge.
  • If the charge is successful, each model makes a Charge move less than or equal to the Charge roll, and must move into base-to-base contact with an enemy model if possible.
Charge Bonus

Many warriors thunder headlong into combat, using the impetus of their charge to bring swift death to their foes.

Each time a unit makes a Charge move, until the end of the turn, that unit has the Fights First ability.
HEROIC INTERVENTION
2CP
Core – Strategic Ploy Stratagem
Voices raised in furious war cries, your warriors surge forth to meet the enemy’s onslaught head-on.
WHEN: Your opponent’s Charge phase, just after an enemy unit ends a Charge move.

TARGET: One unit from your army that is within 6" of that enemy unit and would be eligible to declare a charge against that enemy unit if it were your Charge phase.

EFFECT: Your unit now declares a charge that targets only that enemy unit, and you resolve that charge as if it were your Charge phase.

RESTRICTIONS: You can only select a VEHICLE unit from your army if it is a WALKER. Note that even if this charge is successful, your unit does not receive any Charge bonus this turn.

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