40k Battle Report 184- Genestealer Cults vs Salamanders Space Marines

This week's battle report sees my Genestealer Cults take on Chris' Salamanders Space Marine army in a maelstrom of war mission. This game was played after some of the reveals for the new Space Marine codex, so we decided to incorporate some of the new rules into this game. We would be using the updated Salamanders Chapter Tactics, as well as the Shock Assault rule. 

We were playing a simple Cleanse and Capture mission (3 cards per turn). 

My army consisted of:
Battalion Detachment (Rusted Claw)
Jackal Alphus- Sniper Rifle
Magus- Force Stave, Mind Control, Might From Beyond
Sanctus- Sniper Rifle, A Gift From Beyond
10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autoguns, 2 Mining Lasers, Grenade Launcher
10 Neophyte Hybrids- Autoguns, Heavy Stubber, Grenade Launcher
10 Neophyte Hybrids- Shotguns, 2 Flamers
Atalan Jackals- Shotguns, 4 Demolition Charges, Wolfquad with Atalan Incinerator
Goliath Truck- Twin Autocannon, Heavy Stubber
Brood Brothers Heavy Weapons Team- Mortars

Battalion Detachment (Cult of the Four Armed Emperor, Deliverance Broodsurge)
Acolyte Iconward- Rending Claw, Autopistol, Cultist Knife, Icon of the Cult Ascendent, Augur of the Insurgent (warlord trait)
Magus- Force Stave, Mass Hypnosis, Psionic Blast, Inscrutable Cunning (warlord trait)
Primus- Bonesword, Needle Pistol, Alien Majesty (warlord trait)
Clamavus- Autopistol
20 Acolyte Hybrids- Rending Claws, Cultist Knives, Autopistols, 2 Heavy Rock Saws, 2 Heavy Rock Drills
10 Acolyte Hybrids- Rending Claws, Cultist Knives, Autopistols, 2 Heavy Rock Drills
10 Acolyte Hybrids- Rending Claws, Cultist Knives, Autopistols, 4 Heavy Rock Cutters

Vanguard Detachment (Cult of the Four Armed Emperor)
Patriarch- 2 Familiars, Mental Onslaught, Might From Beyond, Biomorph Adaptation (warlord trait)
Primus- Bonesword, Needle Pistol
Clamavus- Autopistol
Nexos- Autopistol
8 Abberrants- 4 Heavy Rock Hammers, 4 Power Picks, Rending Claws
10 Purestrain Genestealers

I decided to go for a couple of Cult Creeds for the army, as well as trying out the Devilerance Broodsurge Vigilus specialist detachment for the first time. 

I made one Battalion Rusted Claw. This gives the units in it +1 save against AP0 or AP-1 weapons, boosting the armour save of most units to 4+ (or 3+ in cover). This is generally the units I will deploy on the board, as the ground forces before my ambushing reserves come in. This contains three squads of Neophyte Hybrids, with some heavy weapons for fire support. It also includes the Atalan Jackals and Jackal Alphus. These units get to benefit from the Rusted Claw stratagem, allowing me to throw grenades at +1 to hit and +1 to wound, making the demolition charges very powerful. 

For the other two detachments, I took the Cult of the Four Armed Emperor, giving me +1 to charge and advance rolls on the turn that I arrive from reserve. The Battalion was also Deliverance Broodsurge, allowing me to re-roll charge rolls within 6" of the Acolyte Iconward (thanks to his Field Commander Warlord Trait). Combined with the Clamavus and Cult Creed, this gives me a 7" re-rollable charge from ambush reserves. This is a huge boost for the cult units, helping to ensure that they get into combat on the turn they arrive. 

I was able to take four warlord traits thanks to the Field Commander and Broodcoven stratagems. Combined with the Specialist Detachment and extra relic, this gave me 10 command points to start the game with, having used four already. One of my warlord traits gave me D3 extra CP, and I was fortunate enough to roll 3 for this, giving me 13 to start the game. 

I then took a unit of Aberrants and Genestealers to be the hard hitters in my army. These units should hopefully do a fair bit of damage to the Marines in combat. 

Chris' army consisted of:
Brigade Detachment (Salamanders)
Captain- Bike, Thunder Hammer, Shield Eternal.
Techmarine- Bike, Power Axe, Primarch's Wrath
Lieutenant- Power Sword, Combi-Melta
Ancient- Bolter, Banner of the Emperor Ascendent
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Meltagun, Combi-Melta
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Meltagun, Combi-Melta
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Plasma, Combi-Plasma
5 Tactical Marines- Bolters, Heavy Bolter
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Power Sword, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
5 Intercessors- Bolt Rifles, Power Sword, Auxiliary Grenade Launcher
Contemptor Dreadnought- Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter
Contemptor Dreadnought- Kheres Pattern Assault Cannon, Storm Bolter
3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Grav Gun, Combi-grav, Chainswords
3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords
3 Bikers- Twin Bolters, Chainswords
Attack Bike- Heavy Bolter, Twin Bolters
5 Devastators- Two Lascannons, Bolters
5 Devastators- Two Missile Launchers, Armorium Cherub, Bolters
Thunderfire Cannon- Teachmarine with Servo-arm, Flamer, Plasma Cutter
4 Servitors
Razorback- Twin Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter
Razorback- Twin Heavy Bolter, Storm Bolter
Razorback- Twin Lascannon, Storm Bolter

A tough force of Marines that had already smashed my Cult before. The new Chapter Tactics would be a big boost for the army, allowing him to ignore the -1AP of most of my rending claw attacks, helping with their durability. He would also get Salamanders re-rolls for all the Vehicles and Thunderfire Cannon now, making their damage output even greater. The Shock assault rule would also be very useful, as even Tactical Marines are a threat to the weak Genestealer Cults infantry units in the army. 

We placed the objectives as shown below:

We then deployed in Hammer and Anvil deployment. Chris chose the side with most of the line of sight blocking terrain, leaving me with little place to hide my fragile cult units. 

I deployed my Ambush counters first, and Chris deployed his forces. He put the Devastators, Thundefire Cannon, Servitors and Ancient in the ruins on his left flank. The Heavy Bolter Tactical Squad and Intercessors went in the central ruins, while the other Intercessor squad went on the right. The Bikers and Razorbacks focused on the left flank, with one unit of Bikers and a Razorback going on the left. 

I chose to take the first turn and Chris failed to seize the initiative. With little line of sight blocking terrain to save my fragile cult units, I didn't fancy having to weather two turns of his firepower before my reserves came in. Chris spent 2CP on prepared positions to help his army out against my firepower (limited as it was). I also spent a CP on Clandestine Goals to keep my maelstrom cards secret. 

On my first turn, I drew Defend Objective 3, Secure Objective 4 and Big Game Hunter.

The Cult revealed their positions, moving to counter the Salamanders. I put the Genestealers and Goliath Truck on the left flank, with the Shotgun Neophytes inside. I advanced both units towards the Bikers in front of them. The Heavy Stubber Neophytes went on the left to hold the objective. The Mortars and Nexos went in the ruins in the centre, while the other squad of Neophyte Hybrids deployed on the right flank, moving up to secure the objective, accompanied by the Sanctus and Jackal Alphus. I then used They Came From Below stratagem to put the Atalan Jackals, Magus and Atalan Jackals into reserve.

I used the Perfect Ambush stratagem on the Sanctus (for free, with his abilities) and fired at the Lieutenant, doing one mortal wound on him.

In the shooting phase, the Jackal Alphus targeted the Razorback with his ability, giving nearby squads +1 to hit. The Neophytes fired their Mining Lasers at the vehicle. One laser got through, doing four wounds on the vehicle.

The Sanctus fired once more at the Lieutenant, doing one mortal wound on him. The Jackal Alphus fired, but missed with his shot.

On the left flank, the Neophytes fired their Flamers and Shotguns at the Bikers. The two Flamers only managed four hits, but wounded a Biker. The Shotguns failed to do any damage.

Finally, the Mortars fired at the Servitors, wounding them five times and killing three, despite getting a 3+ save in cover.

In the charge phase, the Purestrain Genestealers attempted to charge the Bikers, but I rolled a double 1 for the charge, ensuring there was no way for them to make it in.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 4 and started Defending Objective 3. I discarded Big Game Hunter.

In his first turn, Chris drew Supremacy, Secure Objective 4 and Lightning Strike (kill a unit in the enemy deployment zone).

On the right flank, the Bikers moved up on the Genestealers, the Intercessors moving to support them. The two Dreadnoughts moved towards the Goliath Truck. On the right flank, the Captain advanced towards the objective, while the Bikers and Razorbacks moved up. The Attack Bike and Servitors moved to support the back lines and block the Cult reserves from coming in.

At the start of the shooting phase, I played Lurk in the Shadows on the Genestealers. They could now only be targeted if they were the closest unit. The Techmarine repaired two wounds on the Razorback.

The Devastators fired thier Lascannons at the Goliath Truck, taking five wounds from it. The Razorback fired at the Truck finishing it off. I played Rigged to Explode, causing the Truck to blow up. It put one wound on one Dreadnought, two wounds on the other, killed on Biker and three Genestealers. One of the Neophyte Hybrids perished when it was destroyed.

The Intercessors fired at the Hybrids from the Truck, doing eight wounds and killing five of them. The Dreadnought added its firepower, killing three more. I used a CP to keep the last one alive, forcing Chris to devote another unit's shooting before he could target the Genestealers.

The Bikers fired at the lone Neophyte, killing him. The second Dreadnought fired on the Genestealers, killing three of them. The Tactical Squad fired their Heavy Bolter at the squad, killing one more. The Techmarine fired on the Genestealers, wiping them out.

The Marines opened fire on the central squad of Neophytes, killing three of them. The Intercessors fired at the squad, but only managed to kill one. The Bikers added their firepower at the volley, hitting 11 times but only wounding once. To add insult to injury, I made the save. The Heavy Bolter Razorback fired at the Neophytes, killing two of them.

The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the Neophytes, killing two more and leaving two remaining. The Devastators fired their Missile Launcher at the squad, but only managed to kill one of them. The Razorback then fired its Lascannons at the squad, killing off the last one.

At the end of his turn, Chris scored First Blood and discarded Lightning Strike. I also scored Defend Objective 3.

Genestealer Cults- 3
Space Marines- 1

In my turn, I drew Behind Enemy Lines, Supermacy and Mission Critical Objective (objective 6).

The Jackal Alphus moved into the cover of the rock formation beside the Razorback. The Nexos moved back to secure the objective behind him.

At the end of the phase, the Cult reserves arrived. I spent 2CP on Lying in Wait deploying the Atalan Jackals beside the Jackal Alphus. I put the Patriarch on the right flank near the enemy Captain.

On the left flank, the Aberrants, a Primus and Clamavus deployed next to the objective and near the Dreadnoughts. The large squad of Acolytes deployed in the enemy zone, along with the Magus, Primus, Clamavus and Acolyte Iconward. Another unit of Acolytes deployed in the ruins to go after the Intercessors.

In the psychic phase, the Patriarch cast Mental Onslaught on the Captain. The power manifest, but Chris rolled a 6 on the first roll off, blocking the power. The Patriarch then cast Smite, doing two mortal wounds on the Captain. The Magus cast Mind Control on the Razorback on the left flank. I fired the Lascannons at the Dreadnought, hitting and wounding once with a CP re-roll. The shot got through its invulnerable save, but I rolled a 1 for the damage!
The other Magus attempted to cast Mass Hypnosis on the Tactical Squad, but perilled, taking two mortal wounds and failing to manifest the power.

In the shooting phase, the Sanctus and Jackal Alphus fired at the Captain, but either failed to do damage.

The Atalan Jackals used the Extra Explosives and Drive-by Demoltions stratagem to fire at both Razorbacks on the right flank. Combined with the Alphus' abililty, they would be hitting and wounding on a 2+. Three targeted the Lascannon Razorback, getting 12 shots, 9 hits, but only 5 wounds. Fortunately, this was enough to destroy the enemy vehicle, three of the Marines inside perishing in the wreck. The final Jackal only got one hit, but I used a CP to get four hits, doing five wounds on the vehicle in total. The Wolfquad fired at the Bikers, doing one wound on them.

The mortar team fired at the two surviving Marines from the Razorback and were able to slay them. Around the battlefield the Acolytes fired their Autopistols, but failed to do any damage.

In the charge phase, the Aberrants assaulted both Dreadnoughts, taking one wound from overwatch fire. The Acolytes charged the Intercessors on the left flank, while the large unit of Acolytes charged the Tactical Squad and Attack Bike. The Patriarch then made a charge against the Captain.

I chose to fight with the Aberrants first. All but one attacked one Dreadnought, killing it. A lone Power Hammer Aberrant attacked the other Dreadnought, wounding it once but failing to get past its invulnerable save.

Chris then spent 2CP to interrupt and fight with the Intercessors against the Acolytes. With an extra attack each due to Shock Assault, they gutted the squad, killing 7 of the Acolytes and leaving only three Rock Cutters. The Acolytes with the Rock Cutters struck back, only hitting with 2 of their 6 attacks, then rolling a double 1 to wound to completely fluff their strikes!

The unit of 20 Acolytes attacked the Tactical Squad, wiping them out. Some poor rolling on the other side of the unit saw the Attack Bike survive with 2 wounds remaining. The large unit of Acolytes had not managed a single Rending wound with all their attacks. The squad was able to wrap around the Attack Bike to stop it from falling back.

The Patriarch struck at the Bike Captain, wounding him four times. The Captain took two wounds with a CP re-roll and only took two damage thanks to the Shield Eternal. The Familiars managed to do a single wound as well, taking the Captain down to 3 wounds remaining.

The Captain struck back, killing both Familiars and putting three wounds on the Patriarch. The rest of the Salamanders struck back, the Attack Bike killing one Acolyte, while the Dreadnought killed two Aberrants and wounding another.

In the morale phase, the three Acolytes fled from combat with the Intercessors. At the end of my turn, I scored two points each for Behind Enemy Lines and Supremacy. I discarded Mission Critical Objective.

Chris drew Defend Objective 3, spending 2 CP to discard it and draw Defend Objective 5. He then had Secure Objective 4 and Supremacy.

The Dreadnought fell back from combat with the Aberrants, while the two squads of Intercessors moved up on the big unit of Acolytes. On the right flank, the Bikers moved up on the Primus and Clamavus, while the Tactical Squad emerged from the Razorback to move up on the Aberrants.

On the left flank, the Bikers moved round towards the Sanctus, while the Lieutenant moved up to aid the Captain. The Techmarine and Tactical Squad moved up on the Atalan Jackals, the Techmarine healing two wounds on the damaged Razroback.

The Dreadnought used Wisdom of the Ancients to aid the shooting of his brother Marines. The Intercessors opened fire on the Aberrants, wounding them three times and killing two. The Tactical Squad fired at them, the Meltaguns killing two more with the use of a CP re-roll. The Bolters of the squad managed to wound one more. The Razorback added its firepower, wiping out the squad.

The Bikers on the right flank fired their Bolters at the Primus, wounding him four times.

On the other side of the battlefield, the Tactical Squad opened fire on the Atalan Jackals, killing two with the Plasma Guns and wounding one with their Bolters. The Techmarine fired at the squad, killing two more. The Lieutenant fired his Meltagun at the surviving Wolfquad, but failed to hit.

The Razorback fired its Heavy Bolters at the Wolfquad, doing three wounds against it. The Storm Bolter managed a single wound, but I made my armour save. The Intercessors added their firepower and succeeded in taking the final wound.

The final Bike squad fired at the Sanctus, wounding him 10 times, but he only took one wound thanks to his 2+ cover save. The firebase in the ruins were unable to fire, as they were closer to the Acolytes in combat, so could not target any of the free characters. The Thunderfire Cannon fired at the Neophytes, wounding them four times and killing one.

In the charge phase, both units of Intercessors launched assaults against the large unit of Acolyte Hybrids. The Techmarine and Tactical Squad charged the Jackal Alphus, while the Lieutenant engaged the Patriarch to aid the Captain. The Bike squad charged the Sanctus, while the other Bike squad charged the Primus and Clamavus.

The Intercessors struck first, killing four of the Acolyte Hybrids. I chose to interrupt with the Acolyte Squad, killing the Attack Bike and killing four of the Intercessors and wounding the Sergeant once with the Rock Drill. I then rolled a 1 for its ability and failed to kill off the Sergeant. The rest of the squad attacked the other unit of Intercessors. The Acolytes hit six times but then rolled five 1's to wound! To top it off, I rolled another 1 for the Drill's ability, meaning I was unable to kill a single Intercessor.

The surviving Intercessor from the other squad was able to kill off two Acolytes. I had only lost 6 in the fight phase, which could have been a lot worse thanks to the bonus attacks of the Marines thanks to Shock Assault.

The Techmarine and Tactical Squad were able to bring down the Jackal Alphus, while the Lieutenant failed to do any damage on the Patriarch. The Bikers on one flank finished off the Primus, while the other squad of Bikers were unable to harm the Sanctus after a great round of saving throws from me.

The Captain struck at the Patriarch, doing three wounds and killing him. The other Cult characters attacked back, but failed to do any damage.

I passed my morale test on the Acolytes. At the end of the turn, Chris scored Supremacy for 2 points, Secure Objective 4 and slay the warlord.

Genestealer Cults- 7
Space Marines- 5

At the end of turn 2, the Cult were leading the Marines in points, but my forces had taken a big hammering for little loss in reply. This was going to be a tough game to try and survive.

In my third turn, I drew No Prisoners, Secure Objective 3 and Secure Objective 5. A decent draw that I should be able to achieve.

The Magus moved up on the Razorback, while the Clamavus fell back from combat. The Primus, Magus, Acolyte Iconward and Clamavus moved up on the Intercessors. At the end of the phase, I brought in the last unit of Acolytes near the objective. If I could make the charge I could secure objective 5 while denying Chris the Defend Objective card.

In the psychic phase, the Magus cast Mind Control on the Razorback, but failed to beat its Leadership on 3D6. The other Magus then cast a Super Smite on the Intercessors, causing four mortal wounds and killing two.

The various units fired their Pistols, but failed to do any harm to the tough Marines. The Mortars fired at the Bikers on objective 5, but failed to do any harm.

In the charge phase, the Acolyte Hybrids managed to charge the Bikers, losing one to overwatch. The Primus, Acolyte Iconward and Primus charged the Intercessors.

The Acolytes were able to wipe out the Bikers, while the Primus and Iconward finished off the Intercessors. I then selected the Acolytes to attack, finishing off the other Intercessor squad. On the other flank, the Bikers were able to bring down the Sanctus.

At the end of my turn, I scored No Prisoners for 2 points, Secure Objective 3 and Secure Objective 5.

In his turn, Chris drew Secure Objective 2, Big Game Hunter and had Defend Objective 5.

The Captain moved up on the Nexos, while the Lieutenant and Techmarine moved up on the Mortar team. The Dreadnought, Tactical Squad and Lieutenant moved up to engage the Cult units in their backline. A unit of Bikers moved up on the Acolytes holding the objective on the right flank.

The Salamanders forces fired on the Acolyte Hybrids, wiping them out with the firepower of the Tactical Squad, Dreadnought, Razorback and Ancient. The Meltaguns of the Tactical Squad fired on the Iconward, slaying him in one shot.

The Devastators fired their Lascannons at the Primus, killing him. The Razorback fired at both Magus, killing one with the Lascannons and putting one wound on the other, leaving him on a single wound.

The Bikers fired at the Acolytes on the objective, killing four. The Techmarine added his firepower, wiping out the squad. The Captain fired his Bolters at the Mortar teams, causing one wound. The Thunderfire Cannon managed to do another 2 wounds on the squad.

In the charge phase, the Captain charged and slew the Nexos. The Techmarine and Lieutenant charged the Mortar teams, killing them. The Bikers charged the Clamavus, using their charge move to get the objective and killing him as well. The Ancient failed a charge on the Magus. The Dreadnought charged and killed the other Clamavus.

At the end of his turn, Chris scored Secure Objective 2 and discarded Big Game Hunter.

Genestealer Cults- 11
Space Marines- 6

The Cult had made a big lead in the points game, but had only a handful of models left, with a lot of Marines left to target them.

In my fourth turn, I drew Secure Objective 2, Defend Objective 6 and Kill the Unbeliever (kill a unit).

The Magus moved up on the Ancient, while the Neophytes moved to target the enemy Captain. The Magus cast Psionic Blast on the Servitor, killing him.

The Neophytes fired on the Captain, but failed to do any damage. The Neophytes then charged the Captain, while the Magus assaulted the Ancient.

The Neophtytes did no wounds on the Captain, while the Magus did three wounds on the Ancient with his Force Stave. The Captain was able to kill four Neophytes, but the Ancient missed with all his Power Fist attacks. I passed my morale test on the Neophytes.

At the end of my turn, I scored Secure Objective 2 and Kill the Unbeliever. I discarded Defend Objective 6. Chris also scored Defend Objective 5, making it 13 points to 8.

Chris drew Honour the Chapter, Witch Hunter and Secure Objective 6.

The Space Marines moved to secure the objectives. In the fight phase, the Captain finished off the Neophyte squad, while the Ancient missed with all his attacks once more!

The Magus struck at the Ancient, killing him. Chris spent 2CP on Only in Death does Duty End and fought with the Ancient, killing the Magus.

Annoyingly that scored Chris Honour the Chapter for 2 points and Witch Hunter, along with Secure Objective 6.

Genestealer Cults- 13
Space Marines- 12

There was only one point in it and I had no models left. Chris was scoring Linebreaker, making it a draw. He could grab the win with a good set of cards in his next turn.

Chris drew Secure Objective 1, Hold the Line and Defend Objective 1.

He was sitting on the objective and had hold the line, giving him two points and the win.

Genestealer Cults- 13
Space Marines- 15

A win for the Salamanders.

A tough match up for the Genestealer Cults. Thanks to some of the new Space Marine rules, the Salamanders were able to ignore most of the effects of Rending Claws in combat, as well as the extra attacks doing a lot of work on the squishy Cult units.

A tough game for the Cult. I've been really struggling to make the Cult work since the codex came out. That lack the durability for the long game in most cases, falling quite easily to all manner of weapons in the enemy army. There are not a great number of ways to counter this, as the codex lacks a lot of tools to make a durable army. Perhaps I just need to go for more bodies and swamp my opponent.

The Cult really needs to hit hard on turn 2 and my army failed to do this. Chris was able to use blocking units quite effectively to stymie a lot of my reserves placement. There were a few things I could have done to fix this in the game.

I chose the wrong targets for my large unit of 20 Acolytes. I should have either gone after the Intercessors and Razorback on the left flank, or the bulk of the army on the right flank. Taking out a single Tactical squad was a waste of this unit, and I would have been better concentrating on just one aspect and done the damage there.

As it was, one unit of 10 Acolytes was effectively wasted, as Chris chose to interrupt and effectively neutered them before they did anything. With an extra attack when charged, the Intercessors really hurt weak units such as Acolyte Hybrids. I could have sent the 10-man squad after the Tactical Squad. Chris may not have chosen to interrupt with a weaker squad, and the Intercessors would have not have neutered the 20-man squad as much.

Sending the Patriarch after the Captain was also a waste. I thought my psychic might would be enough to slay him, but an unlucky roll off on Mental Onslaught had seen it do no damage. I could have used this ability on one of the Dreadnoughts while the Aberrants took care of the other. This would have given me the left flank and a good position to launch an assault on the main enemy firebase.

I need some more games with the Cult to work out the kinks in my army.

Source: standwargaming

40k Battle Report 184- Genestealer Cults vs Salamanders Space Marines