Beginning the reviews of the Genestealer Cults codex, we start the New Year with the Patriarch.
The Patriarch is the genestealer that originally started the cult by ovipositor implantation of a victim. As the loyal cults grew around him (her?), their body swelled up to a larger size and their psychic powers burgeoned to a high. This entry in the codex is exactly what one might expect of a Patriarch: a massive genestealer that is superior in every way to a tyranid broodlord and even regular genestealers from this codex.
With rending, shred and AP3, the patriarch is a deadly close combat exponent who will readily rip through entire space marine squads with embarrassing ease on the charge when accompanied by other genestealers.
As if that were not enough, he's a psyker with biomancy, telepathy and brood mind powers. Indeed, the primaris power of brood mind can render the target squad horrendously unprepared for the coming onslaught. With invisibility, he's a terror that few will be able to match on the table top (and dare I even mention initiative = 7).
The 12 inch bubble of fearless that he provides is a huge boon to the genestealer cults army overall which can be somewhat fragile in the face of aggressive incoming shooting.
The patriarch does have a ballistic skill, but is unlikely to be doing too much shooting unless its a psychic power. His saving throw is literally mid-range as well. Watch the incoming shooting and play him (and presumably his brood) tactically by choosing your targets and getting the charge in as soon as possible.
Overall, the Patriarch is an excellent choice for the army and one which merits taking for most builds.
Speaking of builds, there's a number of options to weigh up. Here's a small sample.
Patriarch (naked) (90 points).
With no upgrades, the Patriarch is still worth taking to say the least.
Patriarch, level 2 psyker (115 points).
The second level of psionic activity ensures that he can cast some of the more powerful abilities. Certainly worth taking in conjunction with a Magus to ensure a solid psychic phase of the game.
Patriarch, level 2 psyker, two familiars (125 points).
The fully upgraded Patriarch realistically doesn't need the familiars. But they could be very useful if he detaches from a genestealer squad and charges on his own in to a squad he wants to rout off the battle.