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What would I change in the Genestealer Cults?

If you read something on my blog lately you know that I have some doubts about the Genestealer cults Codex. It’s a good book and the army is one of the best in the game, but for my professional deformation I inevitably find stuff that I would change.

A single genestealer sneaks under the nose of billions of humans to create his genetically altered cult, a cult of countless members that adore the Patriarch and the genestealers like gods, and you are telling me they are "too alien" to use the cult’s tactics, tactics inspired in the first place from the same aliens that are now too confused to remember them? No, the lore is not in favour of removing the gene-sects to the GENESTEALER keyword. The Patriarch and Purestrains would be esceptiona with the cult benefits, so it’s just a balancing issues, but it’s bad game design (this blog written by a game designer, allow me to call this out), as you should use points to balance the game. Everybody complained about this, nobody would have complained if the genestealer where just more rich and fun to play even if expensive. Now they only get a higher points and the excuse that "the Cult Ambush is already their gene-sects". I would honestly reverse this decision by not only giving the Genestealer the benefits of the gene-sects, but also an additional buff: +1 Resistance with Twisted Elix , +2 to movements with Four Armed Emperor, stuff like this. It’s sad and boring that Genestealers are nerfed in an army that has the word Genestealer in the name. They should have been the centerpiece of the army, not a second thought. Needles to say, vehicles are next in line, Achilles, Goliath and Rockgrinder should just get the gene-sects buff too, they don’t benefit from them too much, but that’s exactly why they should have them. No lore reason to remove those here too. I just think that this kind of decisions are there just a way to pop up unexpectedly and unwanted with 9th edition and say: "we didn’t like that some units were not getting the buffs, now everybody does!". No way...

Looking at the list of character (especially HQ) in the codex, I cannot avoid to think how overpriced they are. Somehow I’m still not use to the 8th edition point values, neither GW, because seeing what everybody else gets, the character in this books are overpriced! Most of them are a one trick card, the do their stuff to inevitably die. The rumored idea/fear of the "Ambush Tax" on all the model, fortunately, is not a reality… but nobody was expecting the "Unquestionable Loyalty Tax"!!! This rule is kinda useless in 8th edition already for the way characters works, but activating only on a 4+ makes it unpredictable, at least it was buffed with the codex, so that one guy can block a Knight Fist aimed at your Magus! Yet, GSC gets the strongest relics in the game, so strong that I think that there is an actual "Relic Tax" in place out of all the possible taxes. All the character (elites included) have access to a relic that change them completely, ranking up the value of the model, funny enough is that often the best results do not come from the obvious upgrades, but rather by mixing stuff, like giving the Kelemorph relic gun to a Clamavus, or the Sanctus knife to a Magus, by the moment those weapons replace an autogun or cultist knife too. Is it fair to pay a model more points just for his potential to take a relic? I don’t think so. It looks like GW often reason in this way when assigning the price points. What should change at this point, following the idea that "relic" is a synonym of "cult" (maybe is just my, IDK), I would add a rule that allow the player to select an additional relic for each GSC detachment in the army AND the relic stratagem would give 1/2/3 additional relics for 1/2/3 Command Points respectively. More relics means that, the overpriced characters will actually get a relic to customize and maximize their role in the field. A nice pistol is just what the clamavus needs, a nice knife is just what the Magus needs.

Ok, I’ll just change the genesepts no matter what, but other buff will have to come with a little nerf. I think GSC overall are kinda strong, they need a nerf... or at least what looks like one. GSC are bad on the low level of the game, if you don’t know how the whole ambush shananigan works, you just lose, but if you know how it works… you just win, so violently that only experienced player can withstand the impact of this army (I wrote about it on a previous blog). The ambush is too reliable, GSC were design in 7th to be a random army, managing their randomness was the key to success, now they always enter at 9". So, here’s quickly how I would change them: roll a d6:
deploy at 15" from an enemy
deploy at 12" from an enemy
deploy at 9" from an enemy
deploy at 9" from an enemy, then you can move 1" or shoot 1 weapon of the unit.
deploy at 9" from an enemy, then you can move D3" or shoot with half the models of the unit rounded up
deploy at 9" from an enemy, then you can move D6" or shoot with the unit.
In addition, you can decide to not deploy, characters change 1s and 2s into 3s automatically, all Elite Characters have bonuses at their roll (like the Kelermorph had a +3 for 2 weeks before the release of the codex, check out Warhammer Community, it’s true).
Keeping aside all the possible modification like how the Nexos and "A Perfect Ambush" would work differently or allowing results up to 12 (shooting 3 times?) here is how this version of the Ambush works: you shoot a lot with the blip units, making the army always shoot first basically, it’s a needed buff on the Ambush (not underground) portion of the army, stuff like the Leman Russ and Ridgerunners would become more viable. Characters will have a buff out of these, all units will, but here is the difference: now you take 10 Abberrants with the +D6" movement and you smash the opponent. If you have to roll instead, maybe you roll a 1 with them they don’t enter anymore and you have to rely on something else. This would deprive GSC of the straightforward access to a direct punch they have now, to go back to a random assortment of strong and week result that the player needs to manage to win. I would, overall, like a less predictable army, that is able to still punch hard, but needs to adapt.

A man can dream… I liked to roll 6s. Here is a thing: I have this weird state of mind were I don’t like army, characters in video games, decks in TCG, that are strong, because I feel that if I win is not my merit, it was just the army being strong, if I lose… just f*** me… Seeing the GSC being so strong makes me so happy, in particular because they are that particular kind of strong that only expert players will know what’s going on and people will think you are playing the dumb dumb army and 1 hour later they don’t realize when they got f****d, they just know they did got f****d. But that said… I have this feeling now… that it’s not me winning anymore… is them… should I look into another army?




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