Battalion - Twisted Helix
No Force Org: Abominant
HQ1: Patriarch, Mass Hypnosis, Mind Control, WARLORD - Preternatural Speed, Elixir of the Prime Specimen, Enhanced Aggression, Enhanced Resistance
HQ2: Primus, Meticulous Planner
HQ3: Magus, Mental Onslaught, Might from Beyond
TR1: 5 Acolytes
TR2: 5 Acolytes
TR3: 20 Neophytes, 16 Shotguns, 4 Seismic Cannons, Cult Icon, Enhanced Resilience
EL1: Kelermorph, Wyrmtooth Rounds
EL2: Nexos, Cranial Inlay
EL3: 10 Purestrain Genestealers, They Came From Below
EL4: 10 Purestrain Genestealers
EL5: 10 Aberrants, A Trap Sprung
EL6: Biophagus, Alchemist Supreme
FA1: 4 Atalan Jackals, 2 Demo Charges
FA2: 8 Atalan Jackals, 2 Demo Charges
FA3: 3 Achilles Ridgerunners, 3 Achilles Missile Launchers
DT1: Goliath Truck
Battalion Detachment - Ebon Chalice
Canoness - Blessed Blade, Saint in the Making, Terrible Knowledge, Word of the Emperor
Palatine - Rapturous Blows
Celestine and Geminae Superia
5x Battle Sister Squad
5x Battle Sister Squad
15x Battle Sister Squad - 2x Artificer-Crafted Storm Bolter
5x Celestian Sacresants
Hospitaller - Books of St Lucius, Saint in the Making, Beacon of Faith
9x Sisters Repentia
5x Retributor Squad - 3x Multi-Melta, 1x Ministorum Heavy Flamer
5x Retributor Squad - 3x Multi-Melta, 1x Ministorum Heavy Flamer
Immolater - Immolation Flamers
Immolater - Immolation Flamers
Supreme Command Detachment
Morvenn Vahl - Warlord
I've really enjoyed the last couple of times I played Sisters and starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of them. With Liam bringing the new Genestealer Cult I thought It’d be good to bring an army I’m a little less comfortable with too.
With the points changes from Chapter Approved my list hasn't really changed with its model count. I have moved a few things around within the units. I’ve added two storm bolters to the large 15 Battle Sister Squad to open up Blessed Bolts stratagem and dropped the 4 cherubs. Otherwise the increase on Movernn and the Sacresants have been covered by the drops to the Exorcist and Immolators. Models that were already doing pretty well for me. Sadly I have dropped the Castigator for the Exorcist.
The list plays quite defensively other than the Repentia which I usually try and slingshot forward in the early game to take something key out or be annoying. If there's one thing I do feel I am missing, it's another 5 Sacresants. I'd like to make it a large unit of 10 but I'd have to drop something significant to do so. I may drop the Repentia and the Rhino in the future but at the moment I’m quite happy with how the list plays.
All right! With a brand new codex being released I was hyped more than ever to try out the new rules for Genestealer Cults! I haven’t played this army in literal years, and felt it would be a great opportunity to see how their new rules perform.
This was my first ever game with the new codex, and I was excited to try them out. Deepstriking 8” away instead of 9”, Aberrants that can take a hit, and Purestrains are actually good again!
Apologies for the army not being fully painted, but since this battle report I have managed to finalise and fully paint my army, and I’ve had a blast playing it. I know people are still unsure on whether Aberrants are worth it, but I really wanted to give them a good go, as they seem to be the one unit in our army that can actually take a hit, especially when combined with the Biophagus.
THe MIssion and the Board
Nachmund Missions 2022
12. Tear Down Their Icons
James' Adepta Sororitas
With this being the first game with the new missions for both of us, I am not 100% sure where to go with Secondaries. I take Sacred Grounds, Stranglehold and Assassinate. Sacred Grounds should be an easy 9, Stranglehold will depend but again, should be at least and if I get going I should max Assassinate.
I’ve picked Hand of the Emperor and The Passion as both of my Sacred Rites thanks to being Ebon Chalice.
So two of these are pretty straightforward for me. Engage and RND should be easy for me to score, but the last was a little tricky. I would have normally hidden my final secondary and taken To The Last, but James is fully aware of this trick, so I decided to just try To The Last and see how it goes.
I’ve tried to hold back a bit here, leaving most of my stuff way out of reach of Liams intense Turn 1 pressure with those bikers. The only thing I have slightly near the line are 5 Battle Sisters, a Rhino and both Immolators. If he does tag my Immolators, I’ve got the possibility to just fire the flamers into combat with the Cleansing Flame stratagem. Finally, my Exorcist is right at the back corner and will probably stay there for most of the game blocking off Liam’s potential future deepstrikes.
Not really much to say here, thanks to the ambush system that GSC have. My Bikes deploy on my front lines ready to utilise their pregame move, but otherwise everything else is hidden in blips. Underground however, I have 10 Aberrants, the Biophagus, the Abominant, the Kelermorph, the Patriarch and 20 Neophytes with 4 seismic cannons. I’m gearing up for an insane turn 2!
I win the roll off and get the first turn, and this is something I actually didn’t want. GSC excel at being able to waste the enemy’s turn 1, but unfortunately I have no choice in this matter. My Bikes use their pregame move to move up to the middle of no-mans land, and I begin to reveal my blips.
5 Acolytes and the 3 Ridgerunners take up the top half of my deployment. My Primus and Nexos both hide in the central ruin in my deployment, and the Magus and 5 Acolytes hold the Objective at the bottom of my deployment. A Goliath Truck filled with 10 Purestrains also accompanies them, ready for a turn 2 assault. 10 Purestrains are deployed front and centre of my deployment, and thanks to their upgrade “They Came from Below”, they immediately move 9” in the command phase after being revealed. After everything is revealed, I use the Nexos and the Primus to give reroll 1s to hit to both units of Jackals, and reroll 1s to wound on the larger unit of Jackals.
Into movement, and the smaller unit of Jackals moves to touch the centre objective but also staying hidden. My Ridgerunners move up to gain line of sight onto James’ army, and my larger unit of Jackals zooms up into James’ deployment. My Purestrains spend 1cp on Rapid Advance to guarantee a 6 on their advance roll, and they move 15” right up into James’ face. My Goliath truck also moves up ready to disembark some more Purestrains in turn 2, and my Acolytes perform RND in the bottom left corner.
Psychic, and I manage to cast Might From Beyond onto the Purestrains, spending 1cp on Gestalt Consciousness to do so. Straight into shooting, and there isn’t much to say here outside of the Jackals. I spend 1cp on Primed Explosives so their demo charge is a guaranteed 6 shots, and I fire into the Rhino. James manages to make a single save from 5 wounds, and after the small arms fire the Rhino is left on a single wound remaining! The Ridgerunners also fire their missiles into the Immolator, but thanks to some very poor wound rolls I only manage to inflict 3 damage on it. I then spend 2cp on Roaming Engagement to move the Ridgerunners back behind the building, hopefully out of line of sight of James’ army.
Charge phase, and the Purestrains charge into the Immolator and the Battle Sisters on his objective, spending 1cp on Covering Fire to turn off the Immolator’s potential overwatch. The Jackals also charge into the Rhino to try and keep James in his own deployment zone. The Purestrains successfully kill all the Sisters and do some more damage to the Immolator, but unfortunately fail to kill it. On the bright side, I’ve covered both of James’ objectives so he can’t do Sacred Ground in his turn! I score 3 on Engage and have also started RND.
So Liam got the first turn and boy do those bikes move ridiculously fast! The frustrating thing for me here is Liam's on both of my home objectives so I’m unable to do Sacred Grounds this turn which is a big knock on my Secondary points early, as I was hoping to get an early 4 points.
I move the large block of Sisters and pop the Defenders of Faith. I'm expecting Liam's big block of Neophytes or Aberrants to try to connect with these next turn. The rest of the force moves up slowly. I want to create a bit of a bubble around my deployment zone to stop Liam coming in hard behind or to the side of me. If I force his units to come in front of me it’ll stop his Crossfire and make it somewhat easier for me to deal with. I bring one unit of Retributors out quite far, extending that bubble of deepstrike denial and getting me line of sight on the Ridgerunners. I’ve jumped the Repentia out of the Rhino, moved them as far as they can get near Liam's other unit of bikes. They’re 11” away and as I’m Ebon Chalice and have 6 for my first Miracle Dice I only need a 3+ on one in the shooting phase to guarantee this charge. (As I also have Hand of the Emperor, effectively 6”+3”+1”)
Opening up the shooting phase I pop Blessed Bolts and put the 15 Sisters of Battle Squad into the Purestrain Genestealers and manage to take them all out. The Retributors go next, if I go with the Exorcist first Liam will take out the only Ridgerunner that the Retributors can see. They pop Holy Trinity Stratagem and take 1 and ½ down. I’m then forced to use the Devasting Refrain Stratagem to shoot out of line of sight and take out the last 2 Ridgerunners. We get a 4 for my miracle dice which is fantastic!
The Repentia go to charge and I use both my Miracle dice and automatically pass the charge. They quickly pick up the smaller unit of bikes. On the other side of the board Celestine charges into the remaining bikes and picks them up too.
End of Round 1 Scoring
Genestealer Cult: 3
Ouch… Sisters being able to auto pass 10+ inch charges never fails to catch me off guard. And I underestimated the movement that James had on his Retributors, and losing all 3 Ridgerunners in one go is a huge blow for my army. As a result, I only score 4 on the Primary. Into my command phase, there are no targets to put the rerolls on from the Nexos and Primus thanks to James wiping out all my bikes, so we go straight into movement.
I disembark the Purestrains from the Goliath Truck and advance them to James’ southern objective. The Truck itself then moves back onto my own objective, and also keeps the Magus safe.
The end of my movement phase arrives, and this is the turn I’ve been waiting for. My Aberrants appear at the top centre of the board (I would have liked a better position for them to charge something meatier, but I don’t want them failing the charge and being stuck in a corner of the board for the whole game). My Patriarch, Biphagus and Abominant accompany them, and my 20 Neophytes make use of the changes to GSC ambush and arrive 6” away from James’ army so they can shoot into James’ big blob of Sisters. My Kelermorph also drops in, ready to try and kill Celestine’s bubblewrap. I also begin RND in the top left corner of the board with some Acolytes.
Psychic arrives, and I throw some mortal wounds into the Repentia, killing 4 of them in total. Straight into Shooting and the Neophytes split fire between the Repentia and the Battle Sisters; half of the shotguns and the seismic cannons into the Battle Sisters, and the other shotguns into the Repentia. They manage to kill the rest of the Repentia, and manage to kill 13 out of 15 Battle Sisters! Way more than I expected. James’ transhuman really helped him here, otherwise all of these shots would have been wounding on 2s thanks to A Perfect Ambush. The Kelermorph also fires his pistols into the Battle Sisters on the bottom right objective and manages to kill 4 of them; good stuff!
Charge phase, and my Aberrants make their 3D6 (dropping lowest) charge into the Retributors. The Purestrains also make their charge into the Battle Sisters and Celestine. I start with the Purestrains and manage to kill the remaining Sister, but unfortunately only bring Celestine down to a single wound remaining. The Aberrants effortlessly wipe the Retributors, and face down the rest of James’ army. I’ve done the math, the Aberrants here should be able to take a huge amount of punishment before going down, so I’m hoping they can take the brunt of James’ upcoming attacks. I score 3 on Engage and 4 on RND at the end of my turn.
So Liam's hit back wasn't half as bad as I thought it might be. He got very unlucky not to take Celestine out and forcing his Aberrants to trade against the Retributors was tough, if i can dent severely or hurt them this turn they’ll be an issue.
I lost A LOT more Battle Sisters than planned this turn, some very poor rolling on my part but I do bring back 2 with Rites of Restoration. Losing the right hand Retributor unit wasn't unexpected but otherwise we’re looking okay.
I pull back with the (unpainted) Immolator, the other Immolator sidles up the other site of the Purestrains after unloading the 2nd unit of Retributors. The rest of the army cautiously moves up to respond to the Aberrants and Neophytes. I put Morvenn Vahl's full re-rolls onto the Sacresants and I’ve used the Rapturous Blows Miracle to add a little more weight to the attacks going into the Aberrants.
I’ve finally started Sacred Grounds on my home objective as the other one is still occupied by Purestrains.
Shooting is a bit more limited this turn, but we take out most of the Purestrains, make a small dent into the Neophytes and took out one of Liam’s characters that was out in the open whilst putting the Abominant down to 2 wounds.
Straight into the charge phase, I fling my Immolator forward to tag the Neophytes and just get on the objective, unfortunately it's not enough to block Liam off and he does manage to get onto it denying me a Stranglehold. Elsewhere, Morvenn, the Cannoness and Sacresants go into the Aberrants whilst Celestine and the Retributors go to finish off what's left of the Purestrains. I start with Celestine, I’m a little nervous about the interrupt here though. She finishes off the Purestrains and Liam interrupts with the Aberrants. I force them all to strike into Morvenn Vahl (honestly, not knowing if this was a good idea) using Suffering and Sacrifice. Luckily she barely takes a dent, that half damage 4++ is so strong.
She then fights back (I also use her once per game fight twice here too), along with the Sacresants and Blessed Blade Cannoness they take out all but 1 Aberrant who runs away in the morale phase.
Honestly, this turn went really well, knowing I’ve either killed or tied up all of Liam’s big scary deepstrike units I’m quietly confident I can win this game. I do loose Stranglehold, but gain my first 3 points on Assassinate.
End of Round 2 Scoring
Genestealer Cult: 14
Man… James rolled so many 6s to do additional mortal wounds to the Aberrants that their 5+ shrug just couldn’t keep up. Considering my Aberrants had transhuman, and the -1 damage meant even Morvenn Vahl’s attacks were only damage 2, wounding on 4s AND I had a 5+ shrug… couldn’t believe that I lost 30 wounds with that defensive profile.
Oh well, I’ve gotta score as many points as I can, so let’s see what I can do. The Kelermorph moves out ready to try and snipe Celestine, and the Abominant moves up to try for a hail mary against Morvenn Vahl. The Patriarch advances up onto James’ objective to try and wipe the units on there, and my truck moves up to try and contest the centre objective.
Psychic phase is pretty uneventful unfortunately, so we go straight into shooting. The Kelermorph fires all his rounds into Celestine… but thanks to rolling three out of six 1s on his first volley of hit rolls, he fails to kill her. Atleast thanks to his Hypersensory Abilties, he can run back into the ruin to try and stay hidden. The Goliath also fires into the wounded Rhino, and manages to chip off the last wound. It also blows up! But unfortunately the explosion rolls minimum on the damage, bringing Celestine down to 1 wound.
Charge phase, and my Abominant charges into Morvenn Vahl, and the Patriarch charges into the Hospitallier and the Palatine. James can’t interrupt here so I’m free to fight as I please. The Abominant swings into Morvenn, and despite having his rerolls and passing every roll, Morvenn only fails 1 save and I do 3 damage to her. The Patriarch swings into the Palatine, and again I pass every single roll, but thanks to some outrageous luck on his invulns and the use of miracle dice, James only fails a single save out of 7. At this moment, I feel like I just can’t catch a break. That, and I’ve made some major tactical errors this game.
My great turn 2 meant Liam’s response was always going to be blunted and without 3 of his major assets available he hasn't managed to kill much this turn.
Captalising on this, Morvenn puts her full re-rolls on the Sacresants. The Cannoness uses her Word of the Emperor miracle to turn off Invulnerable saves in combat in case I fail to kill the Patriarch in shooting and have to charge him.
The rest of my army moves out, the Retributors start Sacred Ground on the back objective now it’s finally clear of Xenos. The Sacresants, Morvenn and Battle Sisters look to help dig the Immolator out of its Neophyte problem, Celestine flies over from the other side to assist.
Again with much of what I can see either tied up or dead shooting is limited but I do clear out some of the other Acolytes in the back and the Immolater shoots its flamers into combat and kills another few Neophytes. With the charge and fight phases I’ve cleared out the Neophytes.
End of Round 3 Scoring
Genestealer Cult: 22
There’s not really much else to say at this point unfortunately. The Primus and the Nexos flee the building to sit on the objective, and my Acolytes spend 1cp on Return to the Shadows to try and score some more points on RND in round 5. The Magus manages to kill a Sacresant with his smite, but that’s about it.
With the game snowballing towards me, Celestine runs over to the back where the Acolytes who Return to the Shadows’d were and look to charge the characters there. The Cannoness runs over to the Kelemorph and kills him.
I push both the tanks at the top of the board up the table, they don't need to screen now so I figure I should utilise their shooting now.
I kill one of the Characters with the Exorcist and Celestine auto makes the charge with some Miracle Dice to kill the other. Morvenn and the Sacresant fail their charge into the Truck, leaving it alive till turn 5. The Retributors clear off the rest of the Acolytes.
End of Round 3 Scoring
Genestealer Cult: 34
The Acolytes I put into reserve score me 8 points on RND, but that’s about it. And then I get tabled!
Nothing major to comment, Celestine starts Sacred Grounds, the Immolator wheels back and clears out the Return from the Shadows’d Acolytes and the Exorcist and Retributors finish off the rest of the Genestealer Cult up the board. Morvenn makes her charge and finishes off the truck.
It brings the end of the game to 42:62 with a Sisters Victory!
post game Thoughts
So one major problem for me was Liam was fantastic at throwing units onto objectives to stop me being able to Sacred Grounds, he was also excellent at stopping my Strangleholds too. Similarly, both of us thought the deploying of bombs was deployment zone, not deployment half. This effectively meant neither of us deployed any bombs the entire game!
I have to give it to Liam though for slogging it through. It was a really tight couple of early turns and they didn't quite provide the results he wanted and in some cases should have had. Celestine barely surviving twice is really hard to swallow and I’ve been on the other end of that before. Because he didn't trade up in those turns it effectively turned into a downward spiral where his assets couldn't do their jobs because the previous turns had failed.
It was one of those games where I stuck to a plan, it worked and I was able to execute it without any major resistance. I can definitely see the strength in Genestealer Cult and they have some terrifying abilities that are really difficult to either prepare for or deal with if they go well.
Looking forward to getting a game in soon when Liam’s a bit more practised with them!
First thing’s first: I have a LOT to learn with Genestealer Cult. It’s pretty apparent to me as I’m writing this up that I made a huge number of tactical mistakes this game: Neophytes were in a terrible position, totally wasted the opportunity with the Aberrants, should’ve utilised Return to the Shadows more to keep my Purestrains safe… but this is a good thing! You learn more from defeats than victories.
Looking at the list, I’ve made quite a few changes already. I’ve split one of the units of Purestrains into 2x5, and dropped the Ridgerunners entirely. They’re not a great To The Last pick in my opinion, I’d rather have the Patriarch be one of the choices instead. I also drop 4 Jackals so I have 2 units of 4, and take some more Neophytes for objective holding as well as Acolytes with those tasty new drills.
Thanks to James for letting me try out these new army rules, and thanks for reading!