Tyranid Tactica (6th Edition) Part 1


m3700225a_60030106005_2014TyranidCodexENG01_873x627Since the Tyranid codex was released week ago I’ve read a number of forum posts on the new army and there have been a few things that I have noticed.

  1. The general conclusion is that the codex is awful and has left the Tyranids woefully underpowered
  2. The are no all powerful units (yes I know this is similar to point 1)
  3. It will do really badly in tournaments
  4. People really are moaning about it

Most of my comments will be based upon the standard 40K rulebook and the Tyranid codex as it currently stands, no extra add ons.  What I am about to write in this post will likely have some people up in arms, but what’s a blog site without a little controversy.  My first comment is that people should read the codex properly and see how it connects to the main rules (I understand the irony if I get something wrong from this point on lol).  To give you an example I’ve read someone moaning that the shootie Hive Guard unit has Instinctive Behaviour (Feed) meaning it would be useless if it fails the test, well wrong they have Hunt so they will still shoot.  This leads me into my first rebuttal.

“Instinctive Behaviour will ruin my army as everything will eat each other.  It will mean I need lots of Synapse Creatures.”  Welcome to the Tyranid army.  Synapse Creatures have been a strength and weakness of Tyranids since the 2nd edition.  Their presence makes your units fearless, but that also means that they are target number 1 on your enemy’s hit list because they know that your units will be less effective.  That is what they have always been like, live with it.  Instinctive Behaviour isn’t as bad as people make out.  First you have to fail a leadership test for anything bad to happen.  OK your Gaunts and Raveners are LD6 but the rest is 7, 8 even 10.  Average to really good LD values.  If you pass they will act normally, it’s only if you fail that there is a 50/50 chance of something bad happening.

So what are the Instinctive Behaviour results?  Lurk; 1-3 the unit falls back, 4-5 unit moves/runs as normal but can’t shoot unless it is area terrain, 6 same as 4-5 but you gain Stealth.  Hunt; 1-3 unit goes to ground, 4-5 unit can’t run but shoots at the nearest viable enemy unit, 6 same as 4-5 but you gain Preferred enemy.  Feed – 1-3 unit takes 1 hit for each model in the unit at the majority strength with AP – , 4-5 moves normally, but can’t run or shoot and must assault the nearest viable enemy unit, 6 same as 4-5 but gains Rage.  So Lurk, OK so the fall back move is inconvenient but hardly a game breaker and as for the rest well unless you’re playing on empty battlefield that isn’t really an issue.  Who has Lurk? Termagants, Lictors and Venomthropes.  Lictors are LD 10 and not likely to fail the test, Venomthropes you take to sit in the middle of your army giving everything a cover save and can’t shoot anyway and Termagants are designed to be expendable and come in large numbers, so who cares if they sit in cover on an objective waiting for the enemy to come to them?  Who has Hunt? well generally your shooting units; Hive Guard, Gargoyles, Harpy, Biovores, Exocrines & Tyrannofexes.  The snap shots only part of Going to Ground will be a bit of a pain I admit, but most of those units will still be able to shoot, and you weren’t planning on assaulting with them anyway were you?  As for the other results, except for the Biovores and Tyrannofexes were you really planning on shooting anything other than the nearest enemy unit?  The Harpy is LD 10 so you should pass that and Hive Guard, Exocrine & Tyrannofex are LD 7 or 8 good chances.  Gargoyles are fast and will likely be next to be within range of the unit they want to shoot at anyway, so it’s only really the Biovores that will suffer, and so they have to shoot at the nearest enemy? big deal.  All that is left is Feed.  So who has Feed?  Tyrant Guard, Hormagaunts, Rippers (Sky-slashers), Haruspex, Pyrovores, Raveners, Hive Crone, Carnifex, Trygon & Mawloc, in other words, your close-combat stuff.  Unless it gets killed in a challenge the Tyrant Guard will die before the Tyrant so Feed is no problem for them.  The Haruspex, Hive Crones, Trygons and Mawlocs all come as 1 model units so to 1-3 result is ignored and changed to the 4-5.  So you’re not going to suffer extra wounds.  Most of these you want to get into combat ASAP so who cares if it runs amok and attack a different? The Mawloc is going to be spending most of the time underground so ignore it for that.  The Trygon has a LD of 8 and the Crone LD 10 so good chance of passing the test.  With the other good options in Elites I can’t see anybody taking Pyrovores so we’ll ignore them.  Carnifexes have a LD 7 and a 3+ save so even if you do fail and take some hits you’re not likely to suffer any wounds.  Rippers have so many wounds that taking a couple really doesn’t matter and it’s better than their Mindless special rule that they had in the last edition.  This leaves you with Raveners and Hormagaunts.  Raveners I admit could suffer badly from the self-inflicted hits and with a LD 6 they are likely to fail the test.  Solve the problem; 1) add the Red Terror who ups the unit’s LD to 8, 2) take advantage of the fact that they can move/assault up to 24″ in a single turn and get them into combat so they don’t take the test, they can be merrily hacking & slashing in turn 2.  Assaulting is what they are there for so Charge!!  As for the Hormagaunts, same thing, get them in combat as that is what they do then you wont take the test.  Failing that they’re 5 points per model, why should you care if you fail and 40-50 pts for Gaunt dies?  You still have loads more.

Conclusions for Instinctive Behaviour.  It will be inconvenient if you fail a test, but it is no a foregone conclusion that the unit is useless and it’s hardly the end of the world even if they do fail.  Most of the units will do what you were planning on doing with them anyway, so what’s the problem?

As for needing to take lots of synapse units…you mean you don’t already?  What’s wrong with you?  Take a look at the units; Hive Tyrant, Tervigon, Tyranid Prime, Tyranid Warriors & Shrikes, Zoanthropes and Trygon Primes.  In short good units.  The Tyrant is one of the most powerful Monstrous Creatures in the game with a really good basic stat line BEFORE you add all the extras.  Kitted out I take it as either a synaptic linchpin with a H. Venom Cannon or as a flying air hunter.  Both are good options.  So they can’t have a 2+ save anymore, big deal.  In the last edition you couldn’t give it a 2+ save if it had wings so your flying Tyrant hasn’t lost out, and your ground Tyrant I found was much more effective surrounded by 2 or 3 Tyrant Guard.  That combination is incredibly tough and is a threat at both range and melee.  It takes an entire army’s worth of shooting to take it out, and if they’re all shooting at the Tyrant & Guard, they’re ignoring everything else.  I appreciate that the Tervigon has had a big points increase, but what do you expect from a unit that creates other units.  You have to factor in the points of the model itself PLUS the extra gaunts it will create.  So long as this is alive you can still control objectives as it spawns more Troops choices for you.  You can even hold it back controlling the objectives towards the rear and allowing your other units to advance.  Primes have also had a points hike but they’re still very similar in points and stats to many other HQ choices in other armies.  They have the speed of Eldar, the toughness Orks, the save of Marines, what did you expect?  Though it is an obvious use to put them in a Warrior unit, try putting them in a Termagant one to increase your synapse bubble.  Zoanthropes are excellent (short ranged) tank hunters and believe me Marine players hate that AP 3 blast.  With a 3+ Invulnerable save they can take a lot of hits before dropping, and they’ve gone down in points cost.  Trygon Primes are also really good monsters.  They’ve had a points drop and can’t re-roll their close combat hits anymore (I know that one is a pain), but it is still a big-ass monster with 6 wounds a 3+ and enough firepower & punch to take on anything but a unit of Assault Terminators.  Their Deep Striking means you can keep them off the board and away from harm until turn 2 or 3, bringing them onto the table near the enemy (where most of your army will be by turn 3) to plug the gap in your synapse net where you need it.

At last we get to the Warriors & Shrikes.  The Warriors are one of my favourite units, always have been.  I know what you’re saying “strength 8 = instant death” and it is a weakness…there only real weakness.  With 3 wounds, a 4+ save and the fact that wounds have to be allocated to the model nearest the enemy firers (think fancy footwork and moving your wounded models around in the unit each movement phase so they are in the middle) these models are very resistant to small arms fire.  Giving them Eternal Warrior as some have suggested in my opinion would have overpowered the unit.  Think about it, 3 wounds, 4+ save, Eternal Warrior 30-35pts/model Troops unit that you can reposition your wounded models inside of to protect them.  You would never kill that unit without a Titan gun.  Add to this an immense amount of firepower (if it’s not a blast weapon it has 3 shots) and the unit would kill all it came across.  Shrikes with their flying and Hammer of Wrath attacks are even more effective in melee, especially as they can have flesh hooks again, add the above and you have a no-brainer unit choice.  Thankfully they didn’t go down the Eternal Warrior path again.  If you are worried about the Warriors think Gaunt unit in front, Venomthrope behind and all of a sudden they have a 3+ cover save, what more do you want?  (yes I know this wont save them from barrage weapon, but it’s good enough). These guys are excellent infantry killers at range and melee, use them.

Conclusions for Synapse Creatures.  Most of them are your most powerful units already, synapse is just a bonus they provide.  Protect them with Venomthropes, Tyrant Guard and expendable Gaunts or special rules such as Deep Striking or Flying and you shouldn’t have a problem.  Rarely, if ever have I lost all of my Synapse Creatures in a game, and I’ve been playing Tyranids since early 2nd Edition.

Well that’s part 1 of my rant over.  Feel free to comment and poke holes.  I know my experience as a Tyranid player will be different to other peoples so come forth and tell your own stories of woe.  I’ll be back another day with more thoughts, rants, tactics and rebuttals regarding the new codex.

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