Category Archives: Tyranids

Warhammer 40k 6th Edition – First Impressions

Yesterday saw me head over to Gribblin Towers for a chance to try out 40k 6th ed. Gribblin has had the book since launch, and being the studious person he is has read the rules and has a decent idea how things work. Myself on the other hand has the attention span of a newt and therefore generally has to rely on others for the first few years of any system until it gradually sinks in and I can bravely do things on my own.

So we lined up our forces in an objective based mission with approximately 1000 points a side. The mighty Space Marines versus the gribbly Tyranids. We rolled for special commander traits and then promptly forgot about them (commander traits seem to be a little bit of extra flavour and in no way game breaking).

Turn one begins and we’re off. A few minor tweaks here and there to movement but nothing significant. A bit of shooting; no huge changes to ingest. Wounds are now taken from the front of the unit seems fair enough and easy enough to take on board. Assaults and charges are now a bit more random, again with wounds coming off the front of the unit. A minor and probably overlooked tweak which could have game altering effects regards wound allocation. In our game four terminators took nine wounds. In fifth edition you would allocate 2 wounds per terminator with one extra for Mr Unlucky. In sixth edition you just roll nine saves, if you fail four the unit is removed. Without boring you with statistics the lifespan of your average terminator unit subjected to lots of shooting or attacks in sixth edition is actually pretty low compared with fifth due to this change; and this applies to any small unit that relies on a good save to keep itself alive.

A blazingly obvious change in 6th edition is the introduction of proper rules for flyers. No more tanks ramming aeroplanes out of the sky in this edition! The Tyranids had a flying harpy which caused no end of chaos and destruction. Being very difficult to shoot down I think flyers may well become the new mainstay of many a force.

Overall the game was fun and enjoyable. The minor rules tweaking seems to be a bit of an effort to stop people cheesemongering ridiculously win-at-all-costs spiked armies. This will hopefully benefit the tournament community which is who I think the rules were aimed at. From a personal perspective though the flyer rules are a fresh addition otherwise it does seem a bit like change for change’s sake. It seems that a lot of these tweaks add an unecessary extra layer of complexity to an already solid fifth edition without actually making the game more fun or playable.

Long term I’ll happily play 6th edition again. However 5th edition works well and is fun to play so I’m puzzled as to why I would want to switch to 6th edition at the moment.


A Tale (or Tail) of Monsters

I recently purchased one of GW’s latest models for the Tyranid range; the Tervigon/Tyrannofex kit.  I’ve assembled, but not painted the model (see pic) and it will hopefully one day look something like the picture on the right;

The kit is simple enough, and was fairly easy to put together.  I’m glad that GW finally got round to producing the model for Tervigon as it is one of my favourite choices to use in my Tyranid army.  I like it for more than its ability to spawn 3D6 Termagants a turn.  Its ability to enhance all friendly Termagants around it is more useful to me as I tend to use lots of the little critters.  The model itself looks great (as does the Tyrannofex build), although the base could do with being a little larger; it only just fits on the base.  For anybody thinking of putting one together I’d also recommend attaching the egg sac before gluing the legs on, it’s just easier that way.  I don’t know the full details of why it’s taken them so long to release the full range of models for the Tyranids.  They were missing 1/3 of their units until the other month and the addition of the Tervigon/Tyrannofex kit and the new Hive Tyrant/Swarmlord model has gone some way to changing this.  I wish they would get round to releasing the rest of the Tyranid range (especially a Mycetic Spore), though the new winged Hive Tyrant should be easy enough to change into a Harpy.

But that’s the grumbling over with. Over the past 12 months or so I’ve been impressed with the monster kits that GW has been producing for both 40k and Fantasy.  Like many an old gamer I may remember the days when most of the monsters were barely twice the height of a man, now they truly are MONSTERS.

The Tervigon is just one example, but there are many more; the Arachnarok Spider, the Thundertusk/Stonehorn and the Warsphinx/Necrosphinx are just a few.

One of my personal favourites is the Vampire Counts Mortis Engine and to go with the new releases for the Empire a much needed new kit for Emperor Karl Franz which can also be made into a generic Empire General on a Griffon.  What can I say to this other than bravo!  I hope this is a trend  that will continue.  On a slight side note I’m impressed (and I mean really IMPRESSED) at the speed to which they are producing the Warhammer Army books, it was only three months ago that the Vampire Counts were released and now its the Empire’s turn.  At this rate it’ll only be another 18 months before pretty much the entire lot are done.

Warhammer World!

This week saw a trip to the hallowed city of Nottingham for another 6InchMove jolly. Attending were myself, Gribblin and a guest gamer.

Gribblin’s 6000 points of Tyranids faced the combined might of a 3000 point Space Marine force entrenched in a ruined city. The Tyranids arrived in waves in an attempt to balance their massive numerical superiorty.

By closing time we had played six turns, eaten fat bloke burgers, had a drink in the bar, toured the miniatures hall and checked out the shop.

Who won? I dunno, the game could have gone on for another six hours. We didn’t really care too much as it had been a good chance to chuck some dice about and indulge in some gaming goodness!

Kharn the Betrayer has some fun (lessons on how to loose with Eldar)

Yesterday afternoon I had a couple of games against the youngest member of our gaming group.  He has been using his Chaos Marine army and has learnt fast.  We had two 1500 point games, the first against my Tyranids, the second against my Eldar.  The Tyranid game was quick and bruttle, the Chaos Marine army being tabled in turn 4 and most of the Tyranids were still around.  His choice of Kharn the Betrayer proved entertaining in both games.  In the Tyranid game Kharn and his faithful Berserkers munched through a 17 strong Termagant unit before half of the Tyranid army (including the Doom of Malan’tai – more about him in another post) shot the snot out of the unit.  Kharn being on his last wound was assault by yet more Termangants and had some fun killing lots of them before he was taken out.

The next part of my post though is listed in the title – How to loose with Eldar.  So here’s the lesson.

  1. Roll dice badly.  How I can fail so many 3+ saves I will never know.
  2. Have your opponent pass 9 out of 10 3+ saves repeatedly.  Most of his marines were Plague Marines with their Feel No Pain ability, but they hardly used it as he kept passing 3+ saves.  The only ones I was able to kill were those hit by Fusion Guns and Wraithcannons.
  3. Have both your Wave Serpent and Falcon one shooted and explode in turn 3.
  4. Get your Wraithguard into close combat (really bad move on my part).
  5. Not having enough Jetbikes.
  6. Moving your Striking Scorpions out of cover in the woods to get battle cannoned by a Defiler.  Only the poor Exarch lived.
  7. Let the Daemon Prince assault your Dark Reapers in turn 2.

Now I know you shouldn’t blame everything on dice rolling, even if the first 2-3 points are basically that, but it doesn’t help when the dice gods are looking the other way.  There were some mistakes on my part and the biggest ones are listed above.  So was there anything that went well? My Fire Dragons did what they do best and metled the Defiler.  The Jetbikes made themselves useful.  And what about my favourite Scorpions?  Well as I said the got battlecannoned in turn 2, but Eldar of match has to go to this guy;

The Scorpion Exarch.  Despite loosing his entire unit to bad leadership, he still managed to take down the Daemon Price in close combat, a Rhino and in the last turn head shoted Kharn himself!  So at least one thing went well.

On the serious, non-moaning side I’ve been learning very quickly how to use my Eldar, mainly due to bad choices in both army construction and battle tactics and I hope not to repeat these mistakes.

Monster Review – Mothballing Carnifexes

No this is not some new game in which you throw clumbs of insects at Carnifexes, this is to do with what I hinted at in my last post – that I don’t intend on using Carnifexes in my Tyranid armies anymore.  This for me is a bit of a sad moment, the Carnifex has been a mainstay of my favourite alien army for the…16-17 years that I’ve been playing them (has it really been that long?).  But I find myself unimpressed with their performance since the changes in the latest codex, hence my decision to ‘mothball’ them.  In previous editions of the codex you had two simple choices for monstrous creatures; the Hive Tyrant and the Carnifex.  Now the Tyrant was often needed to lead the army, which ment that your main tank-buster and general battering-ram was the Carnifex.  However the 5th edition codex has provided you with many more monsterous options, and to be honest I think they’re all better than the Carnifex.  The poor guy seems to have lost his niche in the army.  To help explain my point lets have a quick look at the other monsters avaliable (I’m not counting special characters or the mycetic spore before you ask).

Hive Tyrant

In my humble opinion I think that the Hive Tyrant is one of the best monsters in the game, and by far the best available to the Tyranids.  It occupies a HQ slot, and has a list of upgrade options to rival any top HQ choice in the other armies.  Before upgrades this beastie weighes in at 170pts, comes equipped with a set of scything talons, a bonesword and a lash whip, he is a synapse creature, has shadow in the warp and 2 psychic powers (out of a choice of 4).  His statline is also impressive; WS 8, S&T 6, 4 Wounds, I5 and 4 Attacks.  His standard weapons outfit causes instant death and reduces all attackers’ Initiatives to 1, plus you can upgrade him with a long range tank-busting weapon or a large blast template weapon that would make any Ork player cry.  Personally I think that this is all a bargin for under 200pts.  Add in a few Tyrant Guard and you’ve got a unit (albeit a 300-400pt one) that can take on just about anything they encounter.  Any Tyranid army over 1000 points needs one of these creatures.


The Tervigon is the second monsterous HQ choice available to the Tyranids, though for every unit of Termagants in your army, you can take a Tervigon as a Troops choice. . . humm monsterous Troops.  This monster is considerable weaker than the Hive Tyrant when it comes to combat strength: WS 3, S 5, I1, A3, but it does have 6 wounds so thats something.  It costs you 160pts which isn’t too bad when you think that it is also a synapse creature, has shadow in the warp, a psychic power and a ranged weapon as standard.  Its main feature though is that it spawns Termagants.  You can spawn 3D6 Termagants every turn so long as you don’t roll a double.  In addition to this it passes on the benefits of some of its upgrades to nearby Termagant units.  So you have a monsterous creature that could potentially spawn hundreds of points worth of other units for you, whilst boosting those already around it.  All of a sudden 160pts sounds like a good buy.  Plus you could take it as a Troops choice and camp out on an objective, spawning as you sit there.


The only Fast Attack monster in the list, and a bit of a lightweight as far as monsters go; it has a S&T of 5 and only 2 Attacks, plus its armour save is only 4+ compared to the 3+ standard for the Tyranid monsters.  Its WS and BS are only average too.  Like the Tervigon it too costs 160pts, so whilst being weak and feeble, what are its redeeming qualities?  Well for one thing it’s Jump Infantry, so thats a Deep Strike ability plus a 12″ move.  It also comes with 2 ranged weapons the same choice of tank-killing heavy venom cannon or infantry splating stranglethorn cannon.  It also has the ability to guano spore mines on a unit it flies over.  It’s nothing special in close combat and is essentially a gun beast, but its speed also means that it can get down a flank quickly and even though it’s only strength 5, it’s still a monster and rolls 2D6 for armour penetration, so it’s a threat to most vehicles.


I’ve really taken a shine to this new addition to the Tyranid army.  This at first might seem odd as the Mawloc isn’t too much to look at WS 3, I 4 and 3 Attacks means that it’s only average in close combat.  Its main feature is that when it deep strikes onto an enemy unit you place the large blast templete down instead and all models under it take a S6 AP2 hit!  This can prove very useful it you land infront of the right unit…or a complete disaster if you emerge 12″ from your intended target and right infront of a Space Wolves Librarian with 5 Wolf Guard Terminators (yes this is what happened the first time I used it).  I’ve found though that it isn’t so much the “Terror from the Deep” that is what makes the Mawloc worth having.  For me it’s the monster’s speed.  It has the option in its movement phase to burrow under the ground.  Next turn it will emerge (no reserves roll needed) via the deep strike rules anywhere on the table.  That means you can get this monster where you need it (say in the enemy’s lines) in your second turn.  Oh and did I mention that it has 6 wounds and cost 170pts?


A long standing creature in Tyranid Lore, but his first appearance in standard 40K.  This poor fellow got downgraded from a gargantuan to a monsterous creature for this codex.  It has an impressive stats line WS5, S&T6, W6 and A6, giving it more attacks than any other Tyranid monster.  It also comes with 2 sets of scything talons (that’s a whole bunch of re-rolls) and a multi-shot ranged weapon.  It doesn’t suffer deep-strike mishaps and is fleet so you can get it to where you need it pretty easily.  The problem is that such a large target tends to attract a lot of attention.  You can also choose to upgrade it to a Trygon Prime which makes it a synapse creature and improves its ranged attack.  This does however push the model over the 200pts threshold.  I do like using it though as it does have a habit of scaring the !”$% out of people when it emerges.


A gun beast without compare.  This monster has 6 wounds and a 2+ save.  Although it’s only average in combat (WS3, A3) it does come with three ranged weapons that it can fire in each shooting phase.  For its main gun you have the choice of a longer ranged flamer template weapon, an Assault 20 (yes really!) short ranged attack or a 48″ range S10 Assault 2 tank-buster cannon.  The one thing that gets me though about the last gun is how many S10 weapons in the game are there that only have an AP 4?  This cannon can punch through a Land Raider with ease, but can’t kill a Space Marine in Power Armour . . . something a little wrong about that.  All this ranged attacking goodness with an armoured shell that says *rasberry blow* to krak missiles does come at a cost; 250 pts and that’s before you upgrade it.  I have however used it with some success, so I’d recommend taking one, if you have the points to spend.


And now for the star of the post and the reasoning behind why they’ll be staying on the self for a while.  After looking at all the other monsterous creatures available to the Tyranids, what does the Carnifex have to offer?  Well its 160pts, so that’s the same as the Harpy and the Tervigon and only 10 points cheaper than the Hive Tyrant and the Mawloc.

So what do you get?  Strength 9 is the only thing it has over the other monsters.  This is impressive and its 4 Attacks are also nice, but then you factor in the WS3 and I1 and all of a sudden it’s not so impressive.  Special rules . . . when it charges it’s I3! which is still lower than the Tyrant, the Harpy, the Trygon and the Mawloc, plus it’s lower than the average I4 of most of your opponents, so although I like the whole image of the ‘living battering ram’ rule, it really has little impact in game unless you also upgrade your Carnifex with Adrenal Glands to give it another +1I when it charges.  Ok so you want to make a close combat fex? You might think to add to this a set of crushing claws (+D3 attacks) to give you a potential 8 on a charge!  Shame the crushing claws make you hit at I1 regardless, thus making the battering ram rule and adrenal glands useless.  It also makes your fex over 180 pts, and it doesn’t have a ranged weapon yet, that would cost you yet another bunch of points, taking it over 200pts.  This is more than enough to buy a Trygon which has a higher WS, W, I and A, plus fleet and a nasty ranged weapon.  The Carnifex is also rather slow when compared to the Harpy, Trygon and Mawloc.  This lack of speed is ok for the Tyrant and Tervigon who can act as more of a commander/support role, and the Tyrannofex who really should be gunning stuff down rather than hitting them in combat.

So you go for a gun beast instead . . . well the Harpy costs the same amount as the Carnifex and automatically comes with 2 guns, plus it can fly.  Ok it’s a bit whimpy, but when the main incoming fire is S8 and AP3 or better this means nothing, as T5 or 6 you’re still wounding on 2 and the beast gets no armour save.  You really do miss the 2+ save that the Carnifex used to have.  The Tyrannofex costs 90 pts extra, has a bucket full of guns and that coverted 2+ save.

And as for the Carnifex’s one redeeming asset; Strength 9, this is less impressive too when you realise that S6 or S9 you’ll still be wounding most of your targets on a 2+.  Against tanks is the only time it really has any benefit as you’ll automatically penetrate against anything except a Land Raider, but then again the other monsters only need to get 4 or more on 2 dice to rip through most vehicles too, so that’s hardly a challenge for them.  Oh and incase you were wondering about the high strength instant deathing T4 models, well other than characters most of the T4 multi-wound models are in the Tyranid list anyway, and any characters will be striking before you in combat, with even the powerfists striking at the same time, so it’s more likely for your poor Carnifex to be torn down first.  The only great thing about them is that you can put them in units of 3 (if you have 480pts to spend) or in a mycetic spore.

Overall I just don’t think that the Carnifex is worth taking anymore.  The Trygon and the Mawloc do a much better job in close combat, whilst the Harpy and the Tyrannofex are better at range.  Add to this that the unit producing Tervigon is the same price and the awsome Hive Tyrant only costs 10pts more and you start to realise that there are better options for monsters to spend your points on.  This I feel is said as for over a decade the Carnifex has been the ultimate shock troop monster in the game, unfortunately a years worth of gaming with the new codex has made me realise just how much of a bad deal they had with the latest codex and until the next re-write I think mine might sit back and watch as more badass beasties take to the field.