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Which characters do I really need?

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  • 294 posts

Hi all,


just wonderng, which characters are really needed to get the most out of GSC. It seems to me that in lots of competetive lists there are quite a bunch of characters. But reading through the rules I do not understand why certain characters are used.


Can anybody explain the use of each character in the book and why/when I should use it?


Thanks in advance.




  • 478 posts
  • Location:Terra
  • Faction: AM, SM, GSC

Well, 'ere we go...


First thing to note is that our characters tend to be a bit on the squishy side - with the exception of the patriarch.


So, let's go over each char for a basic overview:



  • Patriarch: our 'bowling ball' is a meelee beatstick & psyker who also buffs morale. Roll 'm in and watch em fall - but tbh., better send in a squad of acolytes too to support him.
  • Magus: somewhat squishy psyker, but can e.g. pop up and mind control something (f.e. firing with an enemy knight? yes please!). Or use mental onslaught if the patriarch doesn't.
  • Primus: buffs to-wound rolls when he appears, can also do some work in meelee - best supporting a unit of saw acolytes, aberrants or similar. Either shows up from ambush or rides a transport to make the most out of his buff trigger.
  • Brood Coven: the brood coven strategem lets you give Patriarch, Magus and Primus a warlord trait each - noting this here since it requires building a list around, but can be nice to have
  • Acolyte Iconward: the buff banner can help make a unit or two a bit more resilient to damage & morale - just sit 'm next to some squad, but don't expect wonders.
  • Abominant: The 'leader' of the aberrants - buffs aberrants and hits hard in meelee. Either walk him up the field behind a unit of aberrants or ambush.
  • Jackal Alphus: fast sniper who can buff shooting - use e.g. against enemy support chars. Can f.e. sit next to vehicles (e.g. ridgerunner or rockgrinder) to buff their heavy firepower while plinking away at enemy chars - or ride around with jackals and buff their shooting.


  • Clamavus: prevents enemy deepstrike and buffs morale, can e.g. prevent your vehices from being deepstrikes & locked in meelee. Rather squishy and thus better in the backfield.
  • Locus: meelee beatstick and bodyguard for other characters. Either keep near a character or send into meelee. Or do both by e.g. protecting the patriarch.
  • Sanctus: either sniper or knifer - both loadouts are good vs enemy characters. Either stands in the backfield and snipes or ambushes and knifes.
  • Kelermorph: screen remover who can buff to-hit rolls, also good vs. enemy characters. Ambush in next to a large unit of acolytes, fire the kelermorph, then use the acolytes.
  • Nexos: ambush marker shenanigans, can regain CP. A bit squishy and thus more at home in the backfield.
  • Biophagus: buffs aberrants - buff is random but most are good. Don't use on abominant (1/6 chance to insta-kill your own abominant), don't use without aberrants.


Now that we have a bit of an idea about what each char does, how can they help us realize our plan generations in the making?


Let's look at chars again, this time by role:


Some characters are quite good in meelee - they need some protection to help cross the field, but once they're stuck in, they just murder stuff:

  • beatsticks: patriarch, abominant

Some characters buff a certain unit:

  • buff aberrants: abominant, biophagus
  • buff genestealers: patriarch

Some characters provide general offensive buffs:

  • buff meelee units: Primus, Kelermorph
  • buff shooting: Kelermorph, Jackal Alphus

Some characters are usefull against certain types of unit:

  • kill enemy characters: Jackal Alphus, Locus, Sanctus, Kelermorph, patriarch

Some characters help us either in the psychic phase or against enemy psykers:

  • cast or deny witchcra... erm... psychic powers: patriarch, magus
  • kill enemy psykers: Jackal Alphus or Sanctus with relic sniper

Some characters provide various utility:

  • protect characters: locus
  • regain cp: nexos
  • buff resilience: iconward

Sometiems, all you need is something low in points to finish the list:

  • cheap filler: none - use (more) acolytes instead



This is only a broad overview ofc. - the use of relics can change how a character is used f.e. the relic sniper is a tool vs. enemy psykers.


Which characters you should take depends a lot on how your list is built, e.g. A list with mostly atalan jackals could be better of being lead by an Alphus who can keep up with them. A pure meelee list would leave shooting buffs out and so on. This also depends on your local meta, e.g. if there's that one character you really want dead, you'll probably bring more of sanctus/alphus.


What you will quickly notice is that the range of buffs for GSC can make it a bit hard to keep/move buffing characters in range of the units you want to buff.


Also be warned: Sticking a detachment full of characters can easily leave you without the bodies required to grab & hold objectives.



Guides being more in depth would be e.g.



We've had more specific discussions on certain characters e.g. in


Edited by Exilyth, 09 October 2019 - 07:46 PM.

  • Ulfast, mel_danes, Hannibal and 2 others like this

WH40k: Astra Militarum: ~2500 Pts, Space Marines: ~2500 Pts, GSC: ~1000 Pts

"Reduce, recycle, reuse - don't waste your sprues!"




  • 969 posts
  • Location:Crediton
  • Faction: Red Brotherhood and Gorgons
With so many characters at our disposal, it's probably easier to think about them second.

Start by working out what you want to do with your list, then work out which characters can buff that (using Exilyth's handy guide).

For example, my Cult collection means that coming in from ambush and hitting people is usually my best option. So a clamavus (buffs charges) and a primus (buffs hitting) are obvious choices. An iconward with a relic banner (buffs strength) is handy too.

On the other hand, whilst a Jackal Alphus is nice, the shooting buff does almost nothing for me - almost all my guns are flamers - so there's no point in adding the alphus.
  • Exilyth likes this

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Painted this year: jackal alphus, kellermorph, hypermorph, three jackals, five acolytes, ten neophytes; gravis captain

I have a very small Cult/math-hammer blog here: https://redbrotherho...ixsite.com/cult




  • 294 posts

Well, 'ere we go...


First thing to note is that our characters tend to be a bit on the squishy side - with the exception of the patriarch.


So, let's go over each char for a basic overview:



Thanks! That´s exactly what I was searching for. Great overview!

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