Genestealers are the premier Tyranid unit. Anyone who knows anything about Tyranids, knows about Genestealers. They are rightly feared and seem to make an appearance in almost every tournament-winning list (however few in number those lists may be…) Why are they so notorious? It’s because they are absolute blenders in close combat and have ways of getting to combat quickly! We are going to look at some new considerations for Genestealers in the post-Blood of Baal era.
One new consideration is keeping Genestealers in reserve to keep them alive until it’s time to charge. Getting shot off the board is never fun but is especially disheartening with an expensive unit like Genestealers. The good folks over at Goonhammer have taken the time to calculate the chances of making a charge with the stratagems available in Blood of Baal. Check out their great article here: Goonhammer Hive Math
For Genestealers coming in from reserve, you expect to need to make a 9” charge. Very unlikely (27%) if you don’t have any bonuses. However, if you can use the Blood of Baal stratagems Hive Instinct or Hunter’s Drive to get a 3d6” charge and drop lowest die, you get a 53% chance. If you can manage both of those stratagems, your chances are good at 70%. Where it really shines, however, is when you are playing Hive Fleet Behemoth for the rerolls! (Or Kraken with the new Blood of Baal psychic power Synaptic Lure.)
The chances for making a 9” charge with rerolls is 47% with 2 dice, 78% with 3 dice and dropping the lowest, and a reliable 91% with 4 dice and dropping the 2 lowest! If you play Hive Fleet Behemoth and expect to regularly get at least 1 if not both of those bonus charge dice, it may be worth considering bringing your Genestealers in from reserve.
The Hive Fleet specific tactics below will mention a few other times you may want to consider charging Genestealers out of reserves as well as some other interesting options that became available with the release of Blood of Baal.
Mathhammer: Genestealer Durability
Before we get into specific hive fleets, let’s take a quick look at how durable Genestealers can be with the new updates from Blood of Baal.
They can actually get to absurd levels of durability here! By way of contrast, the Genestealers are more durable than Terminators once they get most of these buffs on them!
Hive Fleet Leviathan
Leviathan Genestealers can be extra durable when in synapse range with the 6+++ save from Synaptic Imperative. How can you capitalize on this? This is one place I might even consider using Extended Carapaces on my Genestealers for the 4+ save and then adding the Enhanced Resistance Adaptive Physiology to ignore ap -1 and -2! If you add in a Maleceptor too, you’ll have some super durable bugs!
One good way to get these Genestealers into combat is to charge into a unit that’s been charged by a flyrant and use the Blood of Baal stratagem Hive Instinct. If you happen to be in this situation, don’t forget the Leviathan codex stratagem War on All Fronts! You may find yourself doing this if you give your Genestealers Extended Carapaces and choose to bring them in from reserve because you’ll need those bonuses to get them into combat!
If you use a Tyrannocyte, you could also try charging the Tyrannocyte in first. If you happen to make that charge, it could eat the overwatch for the Genestealers as well as allow you to use War on All Fronts when you get them into combat as well!
Hive Fleet Jormungandr
Now here is a fun Hive Fleet for using Extended Carapaces and the Adaptive Physiology Dynamic Camouflage! If you had 2 full broods of Genestealers with Extended carapaces, Dynamic Physiology, and a nearby Maleceptor you would be in really good shape moving up the board. You would lose Swift and Deadly, however, so it may be worth considering dropping a single max unit like this out of reserve instead.
If you make the charge against a unit that has had the Blood of Baal Jormungandr psychic power Lurking Maws cast on it, you will absolutely wreck that unit! And if you fail the charge, well, make sure you have a Maleceptor nearby and they will absorb a ridiculous amount of punishment before going down. Honestly, it takes a LOT of dedicated firepower to take this unit out, especially if you already cast Catalyst on it as well! (Refer back to durability chart above!)
Hive Fleet Hydra
Rerolls to hit are nasty and giving that ability to Genestealers is insane. Sure it only works if you outnumber your target but that will be the majority of cases here. Hydra Genestealers can be exceptionally deadly.
Besides the obvious benefit of the Hive Fleet Trait, consider Endless Swarm on these guys. If you save the reserve points, you could bring back a full unit of these guys from a board edge within charging distance of your targets. Sure you could do this before Blood of Baal existed but here’s the fun part: If you expect the unit to die, you can pass up the defensive Adaptive Physiologies and give them Adrenal Webs instead. Imagine this, your opponent just wiped the unit off the board and they are feeling pretty happy with themselves. Then, all of a sudden, you bring that brood back onto the table roughly 9” from their line. You shoot some guys with other units, rush in a synapse creature, and boom! Suddenly this fresh brood of Genestealers has a 70% chance (before considering a CP reroll) to make the charge! Charge in, get your rerolls to hit and murder at least one unit you contact, and then consolidate 2d6” to contact as much of the army as possible! But that’s not all, now you use the Blood of Baal stratagem Savage Distraction to affect a large part of their army! Not a bad way to screw up your opponent’s plans.
Hive Fleet Behemoth
Behemoth is the most aggressive and brutal of all the Hive Fleets and Behemoth Genestealers are great examples of this. The biggest thing they get is the Blood of Baal Behemoth psychic power Unstoppable Hunger which gives a unit +1 to wound. Your Genestealers are now rending on 5’s! This is absolutely nasty against any unit but it also gives Genestealers the ability to consistently threaten vehicles! Tyranids do not have a lot of great options for dealing with tough targets like vehicles so Genestealers with Unstoppable Hunger are a welcome addition!
If you are willing to spend the points (and it’s expensive so this is a little out there but…) you could also give them Toxin Sacs. Not only will they be rending on 5’s against most targets but they will be doing 2 damage per rend as well! That is definitely going to wreck a few tanks!
If you want to preserve that expensive toxin sac brood of Genestealers, consider keeping them in reserve with a Tyrannocyte or Trygon Prime. With the bonuses to charging through the Blood of Baal stratagems we mentioned before plus the Behemoth reroll on the charge, chances are good you will get this unit into combat with your target! Possibly not reliable enough for highly competitive play but it should work the majority of the time.
Hive Fleet Kraken
You still have the extra dice on the advance as well as the codex Kraken stratagem Opportunistic Advance to rely on but now you also have a psychic power to reroll your charges. Definitely good odds on a first turn charge with at least one unit. (Probably TWO if you are also using the Swarmlord!)
This is a good fleet to consider the Adaptive Physiology Adrenal Webs. You will most likely land a turn 1 charge so being able to consolidate 2d6” into the enemy and tie up other units is great!
Hive Fleet Gorgon
This is a fun Hive Fleet. Toxin Sacs can be extra nice here. Combine with the Hive Fleet Trait Adaptive Toxins to re-roll wounds of 1, add the Blood of Baal Gorgon psychic power Poisonous Influence to improve the AP of those rending claws by 1, and then use Hyper-Toxicity to do an additional damage on a 5+ instead of just 6’s and you’re in a good place.
Not as strong as Behemoth’s Unstoppable Hunger but still relevant and worth knowing if you’re a Gorgon player.
Hive Fleet Adaptations
If you want to get really tactical, look at the custom Hive Fleet Adaptations! I personally believe we saved the best for last because these options make Genestealers very unpredictable for your opponent!
Feeding Frenzy is amazing, especially if using a lot of Genestealers in a custom Hive Fleet. Being able to pile in 6” means more Genestealers are making it to combat.
Genestealers are already great at getting an alpha strike. If you can kill something on the charge and then use the codex stratagem Overrun to get into a good position, then use Adrenaline Surge to pile in and fight again, you should be able to lock down a significant portion of your opponent’s army! As stated previously, the Blood of Baal stratagem Savage Distraction would be great here, but it’s particularly great when piling in 6”! Give them the Adaptive Physiology Adrenal Webs to also consolidate 2d6” and this unit will be crawling all over your opponent at the start of their turn! This essentially combines the best parts of Hormagaunts with the already amazing abilities of Genestealers! What’s not to like?? I personally think this is a very strong option and worth taking a custom Hive Fleet just for these Genestealers.
Movement shenanigans win games. Genestealers are not just great at killing, but they are also great at positioning. This combination is what will help them win games for you.
Other Hive Fleet Adaptations worth considering are Senses of the Outer Dark (because getting as many Genestealers into combat as humanly possible is key) or possibly Pack Hunters for added killy potential. I’d definitely prefer Senses of the Outer Dark here though.
Another strong contender for the second Hive Fleet Adaptation is Shrewd Predators. If there are no enemy models within 3” of a model with Shrewd Predators, it does not have to consolidate towards the nearest enemy model. You can plan to have a few models outside of 3” at the end of combat in order to consolidate them 2d6” (with Adrenal Webs) well into the enemy lines. This can be used to make Savage Distraction more effective or to trap a unit that you consolidated into.
Genestealers were already fast and deadly and Psychic Awakening: Blood of Baal has only made them better at both! Genestealers have more options now and I think we will see them used in new and exciting ways with the new Adaptive Physiologies available to them!
What do you think about these tactics? Would you use your Genestealers in any of the ways suggested above? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook to get the latest updates to our website. We look forward to hearing from you!