Monday, November 29, 2010

Stealin' Jeans - A Genestealer Review

Well, before I can play a game, or even assemble and paint an army, I need to figure out what I'm going to field. So I guess I'll start examining the units one by one and asking:

 - Do I like the unit? That is to say, do I like the aesthetics, background, etc?

 - Do I think it's worth putting into a game, for its point cost?

First up: The classic, quintessential Genestealer.

Dammit, Steve, can you shave that pink dreadlock beard?  You look like a Space Wolf.

Are They Cool?:

Well... yes!

The fluff describes them as sneaky, night-fighting, fast and skilled melee combatants. Like ninjas!

The codex describes a Genestealer as "... a lurker in dark places."

It's a trap!
Additionally, they reproduce by injecting their genetic material (giggle) into a host, at which point they take over its mind and slowly turn it into a new Genestealer.  Like zombies!

Genestealers, therefore, are Ninja Zombies.  I think we can live with that.

The models, on the other hand, are not my favourite, either to look at or to paint.  Fortunately they're quick and easy, so you can pump them out.

Overall:  Cool, but kind of ugly.  Zach Galifianakis out of five.

Are they useful?

Well, the internet tells me that they received a horrible nerf from the last edition, they're a shadow of their former selves, and that Games Workshop ruined people's lives by invalidating the Stealer Shock army.

But I didn't play the last edition, so my life didn't get ruined. Yay!

So, back to the question.

Yeah, they're useful... if they can get to their destination in one piece.  If they can do that, in any numbers whatsoever, they remain one of the better close combat units in the game.  Especially with toxin sacs allowing all those lovely rending re-rolls.

Bad news?  5+ armor save, 4 toughness, 1 wound.  That isn't a lot of resilience.  In fact...

This is a thing that unequipped Termagants can kill, in an 18" bubble.  And it costs as much as a Marine.  And it can't shoot.

Uh oh.  Termagants aren't meant to kill things.  That's like committing a murder with an ice cream sandwich.  If 'Gants can kill it, anything in the game can kill it.

Having said that, the Broodlord can put up 3 ablative wounds with a 4+ save, which actually is the most useful thing that it does.  That, plus fleet, plus infiltrate, plus the potential to outflank (with re-rolls from the Swarmlord, preferably), means they might actually get to their target in one piece, at which point they should wreck some face.  I could see a large unit of these, under Catalyst and with Preferred Enemy, being something upon which I could base an army.  

Overall:  Great addition, if used sparingly and in the right context.  Cilantro out of ten.  

Conclusion: Will I use them?

Of course they're not really part of any optimized netlist, so the internet tells me that I shouldn't use them.

But I'm gonna.

They might not be the best thing in the game, but they're destructive, have good deployment options, are a scoring unit, and the Broodlord can engage in shenanigans.  And your opponent has no choice but to divert some firepower towards them, because they are a threat.


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  1. They're really cheap on ebay too! Give your Broodlord adrenal glands and he can pop a tank before the rest of the stealers even get a look in!

  2. Hmm, never checked ebay for 'stealers, I'm going to have to look into that!

    As I said, they're not my favourite model, but I do want to try a massed outflanking stealer army at some point (With the Swarmlord and Deathleaper, naturally!)

    I also need a few more tentacle-head ones to make up a unit of Ymgarls.

  3. Well there's loads of original Space Hulk stealers as well as the newer ones [which is why we ended up with around 2 dozen] you can always differentiate the Ymgarls that way, or not.