Atalan Jackals form the outriders of their gene-sect. They roam the corners of the host planet in search of new regions for their cult to infest.
In many ways they are prospectors -- not of rich veins of minerals, precious metals or fossil fuel deposits, but of the bounty of human life. To a Genestealer Cult, that resource is the most precious of all.
The Atalan Jackals roar across wastelands and dart through subterranean tunnels, gunning their engines to full throttle as they accelerate, swerve and skid into the fray. They have an uncanny ability to pick out the best positions from which to launch a killing strike, using their dirtcycles and Wolfquads to leap over obstacles and onto low roofs and gantries.
They hunt as a pack, each psychically-linked to the others through the cult Broodmind to such an extent that they can speed down a disused tunnel five abreast and never so much as clip one another's vehicle. In battle this mental link makes them all the more formidable, for they fight as one.
As with many of the Genestealer Cults' activities, this hunt for new territory and resources is carried out under a shield of legitimacy. Almost all mining corps in the Imperium's rapacious industrial machine search out new seams and quarries using teams of scouts. After all, geologicum Servitors and terramantic Augurs can only be trusted so far, and there is no substitute for the eyes of a well-trained reconnaissance operative.
To see a pack of bikes with stowage attached racing from a mining hub into the far distance is common enough that few, if any, bother to ascertain their purpose, let alone their destination. Even so, the cultists always adequately cover their tracks to ensure they can operate undisturbed. The Jackals are well used to a nomadic lifestyle, and only return to their brood lairs when they have something of import to recount.
Jackals ride a variety of rugged Atalan exploratory machines, of which the most common are dirtcycles and four-wheeled Wolfquads. These are typically shipped to civilian Imperial mining corps by the Departmento Munitorum for the purposes of locating and claiming resources, before high-level agents of the cults ensure they end up in the hands of their Neophyte Hybrids.
Each machine is built to run for solar decades or even Terran centuries. It has much to recommend it: a robust frame and a shock absorbing suspension array; an engine that can run on multiple fuel types; and the capacity to mount stowage, recovery tools and auxiliary equipment without loss of efficacy.
Atalan Wolfquads, being larger and having more raw power than the dirtcycle, carry destructive tools of industry. Mining Lasers, Seismic Cannons and Atalan Incinerators enable the Wolfquads' riders to support their more nimble fellows in mining expeditions, as well as in battle. With such tools at its disposal, a mining corp's reach is long enough to find new sites with which to feed the endlessly hungering planetary networks of the Imperium.
On almost every Industrial, Forge or Agri-world, Atalan-branded machines can be found -- much like the ubiquitous Lasgun, they are cheap to manufacture, highly durable and easy to repair. They have become well-respected workhorses across the industrialised elements of Mankind's realm, especially in fringe regions and Sectors Fronteris.
In battle, the Atalan Jackals are serpent-fast, jinking left and right through enemy gunfire without pause. They ride in close to lash out with crowbars, electro-hatchets and improvised weapons made deadlier by sheer momentum. None are safe from their sudden attacks. Those officers who dismiss them as light cavalry soon learn the error of their ways, for some Jackals carry hidden mining charges that they can prime on the move before lobbing them amongst the enemy to detonate with killing force.
Even as blood arcs through the air, the Jackals are already roaring away once more to leave the survivors choking in a cloud of particulate.
The Jackal Alphus is the undisputed leader of their Atalan Jackal pack. Not only are they the deadliest and fastest amongst their kin, they possess nerves of steel and a mind so focused that those of the Ordo Xenos who have seen them work have compared them to Imperial Assassins.
Much like the rest of their wide-ranging pack, the primary function of the Jackal Alphus is to locate choice new sites for the cult. Every piece of information they gather about the host planet can be of importance to their cult Magus, Primus or Nexos.
Wherever the Alphus goes they scout out ambush sites, hidden lairs, cave networks and fissures large enough to accommodate small vehicles, the better for their gene-sect's warriors to spring their ambush when the day of reckoning is at hand. Yet the Jackal Alphus is quite content to work alone -- with enough cunning and caution, a single outrider can often escape the notice of even a dedicated aerial spotter network.
Though they mainly travel at night to better avoid attention, the Jackal Alphus will ride under the beating sun of an irradiated world for weeks on end without complaint. Their hybrid physiology lends them stamina far in excess of a human, and their eyesight is second to none -- woe betide the person who falls under the crosshairs of their Sniper Rifle.
When forced to lie low for a time, the Alphus will hole up in an abandoned cellar or cave, taking the opportunity to scribe maps and charts with painstaking care as they record every observation for the later assessment of the gene-sect's leaders. It is not unheard of for hundreds of Alphus maps to grace the war room of a Nexos, each of which they and their Primus peer commit to memory for the insurrection to come.
When a Jackal Alphus reunites with their pack in order to take down larger prey -- whether it be a steel-skinned tank or a lumbering Ork Deff Dread -- they lead their fellows in the manner of scavenger canids hunting a pachyderm. Keeping out of their enemy's reach, they nip and slash at the machine's weakest points, fighting with cunning rather than brute force until the enemy is gradually brought to full immobility. Though they may have to harass their prey for solar hours, even days, the Jackals are relentless -- but when their target eventually collapses, they fall upon it in a frenzy that sees it ripped to shreds.
As inventive as they are swift, the Jackal Alphus can be the difference between success and failure when an infestation's plan of ascension goes awry. In times of battle they will range around the flanks of the enemy army, taking a commanding position atop their dirtcycle with their Sniper Rifle held steady. A moment later they take their shot, blasting the foe's brains from the back of their head -- and in doing so, shattering the enemy battle plan with a single action.
Should their target be formidable enough that it cannot be felled with a single well-placed bullet, the Alphus will use their long-ranged Vox unit to recount priority kill orders and firing solutions to the other cultists on the battlefield. A single set of instructions and coordinates from these outrider champions can bring about the death of a Space Marine Captain, an Ork Warboss, or even a lumbering super-heavy vehicle -- for when the cult fights together, there is nothing it cannot achieve.
Notable Atalan Jackals
- Moragh Vignostiquod - Moragh Vignostiquod was a Jackal Alphus who personally assassinated Inquisitor Helvendt with a Sniper Rifle in the course of a successful assault by cult Atalan Jackals upon a force of the Astra Militarum. Though her weapon could not penetrate the Power Armour worn by the Inquisitor, her shot's sheer kinetic power broke his neck.
- Wolfquad (1 for every 4 Atalan Jackals)
- Blasting Charges
- Cultist Knife
- Demolition Charge
- Grenade Launcher
- Heavy Stubber (Only equipped on Wolfquads)
- Shotgun (Only for Wolfquad riders)
- Improvised Weapon (Only for Wolfquad riders)
- Power Pick (Only for Wolfquad riders)
- Mining Laser (As replacement for Wolfquad Heavy Stubber)
- Atalan Incinerator (As replacement for Wolfquad Heavy Stubber)
- Wolfquad (1 for every 4 Atalan Jackals)
- Blasting Charges
- Bolt Pistol
- Power Axe
- Codex: Genestealer Cults (8th Edition), pp. 58-59, 83, 95
|Genestealer Cults Forces|
|Command||Genestealer Patriarch • Magus • Primus|
|Specialists||Clamavus • Nexos • Biophagus • Sanctus|
|Elites||Abominant • Jackal Alphus • Kelermorph • Locus|
|Troops||Acolyte Hybrid • Neophyte Hybrid • Hybrid Metamorph • Brood Brothers • Purestrain Genestealer • Aberrant • Genestealer Familiar • Mindwyrm Familiar • Atalan Jackals|
|Vehicles||Dirtcycle • Wolfquad • Goliath Truck • Goliath Rockgrinder • Achilles Ridgerunner • Chimera • Sentinel • Leman Russ Tank (Leman Russ Eradicator • Leman Russ Exterminator • Leman Russ Vanquisher)|