Well this weekend saw me use the new Tyranid stuff for the first time, and it was an interesting match. To be honest though it was not one of my favourite games. As ZombiePiratexxx and Seritob can testify to I had a horrendous headache that left me feeling sick for saturday evening and most of sunday too. So although it should have been a fun game, I didn’t enjoy it too much. Add to this a series of bad dice rolling (how can 9 Tyranid Warroirs keep loosing a close combat with a Tactical squad that they outnumber?!) and a complete loss of tactical thought on my part and I was lucky to get away with a draw. But thats the way life goes sometimes. Oh and did I mention ZombiePiratexxx doing it again to me? A completely new army (in this case Space Wolves) where there should have been Orks!
So trying to put aside the headache, bad dice and tactical ineptitude how did the new Tyranids perform, and what do I think of them? Well first I’d like to share you my army list. I had to use 2 of the standard force charts (seriously try to do a 3000pts Tyanid army with one, it’s not easy). And then I’ll give you my thoughts on the new army.
HQ: 1 Hive Tyrant – bonesword & lash whip, heavy venom cannon, hive commander, leech essence and paroxysm (220pts). 1 Tervigon – cluster spines, toxin sacs, catalyst and dominion (185pts). Tyranid Prime – 2 boneswords and rending claws (90ps)
Elites: 2 Hive Guard – impaller cannons (100pts). 2 Venomthropes – lash whips and toxic miasma (110pts). 1 Lictor – scything talons, rending claws and flesh hooks (65pts). 1 Zoanthrope – warp blast and warp lance (60pts).
Troops: 9 Tyranid Warroirs – scything talons, 8 devourers and 1 venom cannon (285pts). 5 Tyranid Warroirs – scything talons, 4 deathspitters and 1 barbed strangler (180pts). 10 Genestealers – including a Broodlord – rending claws, aura of despair and hypnotic gaze (186pts). 2 units of 20 Termagants – spinefists (120pts per unit). 20 Termagants – fleshborers (100pts). 2 units of 15 Hormagaunts – scything talons (90 pts per unit).
Fast Attack: 2 units of 3 Raveners – scything talons and rending claws (105pts per unit). 20 Gargoyles – blinding venom and fleshborers (120pts). 3 Spore Mines (30pts).
Heavy Support: 1 Carnifex – scything talons and a stranglethorn cannon (180pts). 2 Biovores – spore mine launcher (90pts). 1 Trygon – bio-electric pulse and 2 sets of scything talons (200pts). 1 Mawloc (170pts).
I went for an all round army, as I was expecting to face a combined Space Marine/Ork force. I added serveral of the new units so that I could see what they were capable of, as well as many of my old favourites. So how did they perform? Well for those who don’t know the typical Tyranid battle goes like this; I advance towards the enemy taking many casualties from their firepower in the first 2 turns, then hit their line and start making a horrible mess in close combat in turns 3 and 4, with whoever has the most left by turn 5 is likely to be the winner. And this game followed this pattern, except that I couldn’t kill stuff in close combat. As I said earlier my unit of 9 warroirs couldn’t finish off a tactical squad that was smaller than it; but I also lost 2 raveners to 4 tactical marines in another combat; a single lone wolf went through a unit of hormagaunts who were out of synpase range after the loss of 5 warroirs; a tyranid prime and the zoanthrope to shooting; and the genestealers couldn’t kill a single unit of grey hunters. My mawloc scattered about as far as it could go and instead of tunnelling under a unit of grey hunters, landed right infront of the wolf guard terminator unit with rune priest, not killing anything as it imerged. The rune priest used his force weapon on it and instant deathed the poor creature, but he himself was crushed to death as the mawloc’s massive bulk came crashing to the ground. Dispite having the hive commnader (+1 to reserve rolls) I still managed to roll a whole series of 1’s for my reserves in the second turn. The Trygon appeared infront of the assault terminators, who made quick work of him. In fact the only combat that did go my way was when these same assault terminators were hit by the hive tyrant, tervigon, venomthrope, 3 termagants and 2 raveners. They’re not so good when paroxysm makes them WS1.
And that’s basically how it went. So what do I think of the new Tyranids? The mawloc was just unlucky. Had it burrowed more or less on target then things would have been much different. The wolf guard would have stayed on the other side of the building, and it would most likely have killed most of the grey hunters it tunnelled through. I plan on using this model again. The trygon, again bad luck with its positioning, right infront of the unit best able to kill it. The hive tyrant is much better now. It has a more commanding roll, as well as being better at both ranged and close combat. Its leech essence power is great, killing marines and restoring wounds at the same time. The tervigon I was most impressed with; despite me forgetting to spawn termagants in the first turn, and rolling a double in the second (though I did score an impressive 14 models before its tubes got clogged) thats still another unit of termagants. Its synpase creature roll really helped, as did its catalyst (feel no pain). With this though I think I need to pick my targets a little better. Most of the time I gave it to the front termagant units, but thinking about it now, it would have been better placed on the tyranid warriors. True it wouldn’t have saved them from the lascannons of the long fangs, but it would have given them a 4+ save against the krak missiles. As for the carnifex, you really do feel the loss of its 2+ save, as the long fangs killed it outright in a single shooting phase. I used to always take one of these creatures, but now I’m not so sure if they will be in my army all the time. I might have just had a bad experience with it in this game, but we’ll see.
The middle sized units I also had mixed results. The hive guard are effect with their str 8 weapon that doesn’t need line of sight to hit its target. This being said I still could hurt the whirlwind. Though I plan on taking these again; the firepower is useful, and at T6 they wont get instant deathed. The zoanthrope is a nice classic that I still will be using as its 3+ invulnerable will help protect it from all those shots that proved so fatal to my warriors. The warriors were my favourite unit in the last edition. I still plan on using them, but I need to find new ways of working with them, especial as the whole unit can be taken out by a devastator squad in a single shooting phase. You also notice the drop in Initiative from 5 to 4 when they’re in combat with marines. The lictor still had problems, though I think they’re better value at 65 pts than the were at 80. I think they are best used in packs as 1 isn’t very effective; it just gets torn apart by troops in a combat. The biovores are good again (though not against marines with their 3+ save). The unit I was most impressed with was the venomthrope. That cover save as well as the defensive grenades and toxic miasma/spore cloud effects are really be useful. I think I need to deploy this unit closer to my warriors, so they can provide mutual support. The raveners performed pretty much the same as they were before, killing stuff in combat with plenty of rending attacks.
And finally the little guys. Well they did what they are designed to do; die to shooting in mass numbers. It was just a shame that I couldn’t get any of the bigger stuff into combat. ZombiePirate and Servitob were very effective at thinning the numbers of these little ones. The hormagaunts are much better at 6 pts, as are the gargoyles. I do like the gargoyles blinding venom, I just need to deploy them better i.e not behind the rest of my army where they can’t take advantage of their 12 inch move (told you I made some stupid tactical errors). The genestealers disappointed me again, by not being able to kill stuff in close combat. They did however manage to keep a unit of grey hunters and blood claws busy for 3 turns (not bad for 10 of them) by passing every morale check they had to take. The little guys unit I really liked, and would recommend using (especial for hidden deployment games) was the spore mine cluster. This unit was a waste of a unit slot in the last edition. But now they deep strike before both armies deploy, so drop them into your opponents deployment zone. This denies them areas of their own deployment zone, forcing them to break up their army. Against space marines they have little effect, but horde armies (like guardsmen and orks) will have real trouble as several large blast move into their units in the first turn. Basically they are useful as a control unit – you have a little control over where your opponent can and can’t deploy, useful for 30 pts.
Conclusions. The Tyranid army has had several changes, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with them for the first time in years. Though I feel that this battle hasn’t shown them at their best, it has given me so valuable insights, and taught me many lessons about how the army now works.