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Submitted By: Date: June 16, 2006, 12:00:00 AM Views: 3754
Summary: Yaay! Genestealers! *cough* Sorry. Ok, so. These guys are easily your best close combat troops choice. They’re also your most expensive troops choices, and are still pretty fragile. With that in mind there are four ways to field genestealers that will allow them to do their job properly.

   The first is to take a large number of genestealers, as your main troops choice and most likely as the primary close combat element in your army.  They are pretty expensive to take in large numbers, but only a few need to make it into close combat to be effective.  Just give them some synapse backup, some cover fire, and send them in.

   The second is to take a single squad to add some assault punch between the turns when your hormagaunts charge and the real cavalry arrives (the MCs, warriors, etc).  With fleet of claw, they’re a bit faster than the bigger bugs, and they’re powerful enough to help out your hormagaunts where they’re needed.  A mid-sized brood is good enough for this purpose; that’s all that will be needed to tip the balance in favour of the hormagaunts, and they’re very reusable.

   The third use for genestealers is as a flanking unit to discourage enemy infiltrators.  A single, fairly large brood will do for this purpose, though two broods can be used to cover multiple flanks (or to cover on really well).  Using fleet of claw they can intercept enemy infiltrators on their own terms, and in general will easily overwhelm such a squad.

   The fourth use of genestealers is as a retinue for a Broodlord.  It’s a pretty decent setup; the Broodlord is a synapse creature, so the whole unit will be fearless, and they can infiltrate.  The main use for this brood is to shield the Broodlord until he gets into close combat.  There’s not much else to it; he’s useless outside of close combat, and he kicks some serious butt in close combat.  Take a near-full brood, and run them into an enemy flank for extra-fun mayhem.  Don’t forget to put the pressure on the rest of your opponent’s army so he is forced to split his fire.  As an alternative, use the retinue and Broodlord as the ultimate infiltrator protection, as described in role three.

   The main reason to use Genestealers is for their rending claws.  Without these, they’re less efficient than hormagaunts, so make sure you’re using them wisely.  A brood of 10 genestealers gets 30 attacks on a charge.  That’s 5 rending hits, regardless of what your opponent’s WS and T are.  With that in mind, when given a choice of opponents to face in close combat, charge the unit with the higher toughness, or best armor save (preferably both).  Common sense must prevail, however; a short list of things you should NOT charge (alone, at least) includes large groups of terminators, any number of wyches, and basically any mob of orcs.  If you have to assault orcs (emperor help you) charge the most expensive ones in the hope that you kill a few before their ridiculous numbers of attacks and cheap models tear you down.  Cheerfully, you can freely charge almost all other squads you encounter on the battlefield without worry of losing when your stealers are being used in one of the above roles.

It's interesting to note that each genestealer attack causes 0.25 wounds, assuming the genestealer hits on threes and is S4, and that its target has no invulnerable save (lots of criteria, but it's a pretty common situation) of which a full 0.167 are caused by rending hits alone.


Acid Maw:

This biomorph is easily the worst of the bunch.  It’s more expensive than toxin sacs, for a small increase in benefit on the first round of combat, but a decrease in effectiveness in further rounds.  If it interacted at all with rending claws it might be useful, but it doesn’t, so it’s not.  Use the heads to make your models look cool, but nothing else.

Extended Carapace:

An expensive upgrade, as upgrades go, but well worth it for an individual squad of genestealers.  I would not recommend taking it if your army is mainly composed of genestealers; however, it is a must-have for a genestealer squad operating independently of the main swarm, especially a Broodlord retinue.  As well as providing much needed protection against small arms fire, extended carapace keeps genestealers alive much longer in almost any close combat.  A word of caution, however.  After spending points to outfit a whole squad, avoid large groups of power weapons at all costs.

Feeder Tendrils:

Feeder tendrils are also not worth taking in an army of genestealers, or for a lone ‘stealer squad, however, when used in conjunction with the rest of a tyranid swarm, the points cost for a single squad is easily worth the benefits granted to every hormagaunt, ripper swarm, carnifex, and gargoyle nearby.

Flesh Hooks:

A cheap biomorph with a limited scope, it’s best to use only on flanking squads that you intend to use to flush out infiltrators.  No sense wasting your beautiful initiative value, after all.

Implant Attack:

Good in some cases, useless in others, I recommend taking this biomorph only if you know your opponent uses a lot of multiple-wound models.  Implant attack combines brilliantly with rending claws; against two wound models like obliterators, other tyranid warriors, orc nobz, and grotesques, genestealers with implant attack work absolute wonders.  Of course, against your standard troops they do absolutely nothing, so you have to decide how much you want to spend for such a situational bonus.  I’d recommend a single, mid-sized squad at most.

Scything Talons:

This is probably the best biomorph to give any type of genestealer, simply because of the added chances to roll rending hits.  If you know you want your genestealers to have a bit more ‘oomph,’ but don’t care how, this is the biomorph to include.  In a full sized brood, 8 of the 12 attacks gained will hit, and two of those will be rending hits.


This biomorph is best used to get the jump on enemy infiltrators lurking on your flanks, or in an all-genestealer army to jump the gun and get that extra 6” closer to your opponent.  Just a quick reminder, genestealers used as a retinue for a Broodlord can’t scuttle because the Broodlord can’t scuttle (he can’t fleet either, for that matter), so don’t bother.

Toxin Sacs:

A decent upgrade that grants your genestealers a new role: tank hunting.  The increased strength is of little value in most combats; against decent close combat enemies ¾ of your wounds caused will be from rending hits, so strength doesn’t matter so much there.  The extra strength does come in handy when fighting troops with low toughness and lighter armor, though, where more wounds can be inflicted in the normal method.  The extra strength can also come in handy, however, against lightly armored vehicles including sentinels, warwalkers, killa kans, and even some transports like rhinos.  They’re still not your best vehicle killers, that role is easily reserved for carnifexes, in close combat or not, but genestealers do add that extra potential.  To summarize: add it on to add some extra hurtin’ to small things.

Now, we're finished posting for a while now, so feel free to post comments, suggestions, alternate roles, etc... for the units presented here.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic

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