Category Archives: Tyranids

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.

Hive Fleet Gribblin Feeds

This weekend found the 6 inch move team, plus one other, playing an impressive 4000pts game of 40k.  As I can field a large army of Tyranids it was decided that it would be a grand alliance of Space Marines (Servitob), Choas Marines (plus one), Eldar (Carabus), Dark Eldar (ZombiePirate) and Tau (nBreaker) against my horrible gribblies.  Above is a picture of the army I used.  So what did I pick?

  • Hive Tyrant; bonesword, lash whip & heavy vemom cannon, plus 3 Tyrant Guard with lash whips
  • Tyranid Prime; bonesword, lash whip & deathspitter
  • 2 Hive Guard
  • 3 Vemonthropes
  • 2 Lictors
  • 3 Zoanthropes
  • 5 Tyranid Warriors; deathspitters & venom cannon
  • 5 Tyranid Warriors; devourers & barbed strangler
  • 25 Termangants with fleshborers (2 units)
  • 25 Termagants with spinfists (2 units)
  • 30 Hormagaunts
  • 15 Genestealers plus Broodlord
  • 8 Ripper Base with Tunnelling
  • 5 Raveners with Rending Claws
  • Harpy
  • 20 Gargoyles
  • 3 Tyranid Shrikes
  • Trygon Prime
  • Mawloc
  • 2 Biovores
  • Carnifex; 2 twin-linked devourers
  • Carnifex; stranglethorn cannon

How did they get on?  Well ZombiePirate had written up secret objectives for everyone, each with their own victory points value.  Somehow I managed to win, not that you would have guessed by what I had left at the end of the game; a dozen Termagants and 5 Ripper bases, compared to their Ravenger, Defiler, Chaos Predator, Hammerhead etc that they had left.  The Tyranid’s primary objective was to eat as much as they could (now there’s a surprise), and after managing to kill 17 units I had done enough damage to the alliance to score a win, but only a marginal one.  They had managed to collect over 1500 victory points from their objectives, whilst I’d gained 1700.

The general theme of the game was as follows; every alliance unit (other than the Dark Eldar and the Daemon Prince) sat back and shot the hell out of my Tyranids for the first few turns.  The 2 Wyches uinits with Succubi assaulted the Hormagaunts and killed the entire unit in a single combat phase (ouch!).  The Wyches then got massacred to shooting from a Warrior unit and the devourer armed Carnifex which then gave nice targets to the Succubi (though the Warriors with Tyranid Prime seriously put up a fight – both Succubi only had 1 wound left by the end of it).  The Ravenger and Raiders spent time pot shooting at stuff whilst the Mandrakes were seen off by the second Warrior unit on the other flank.

The Tau took the first casualties of the game when my Biovores got a lucky first turn shot and wiped out an entire unit of Fire Warriors.  They then spent many turns of shooting and a Fire Warrior unit managed to beat a Termagant unit in close combat for a couple of turns before the Kabalite Warriors gave them a hand.  The Tau commander and the 3 Crisis suits he was with had a close encounter with the High Tyrant (enough said really), whilst the Hammerhead had lots of fun shooting its Railgun and missing a lot.  nBreaker did however manage to capture 2 of his objectives and score some nice victory points for the alliance.

The Eldar did a lot of damage with their Guardians and Fire Dragons, weakening the Mawloc enough for the Space Marines to kill it in combat, plus seriously hurting the Harpy and finishing of the Tyrant with Bladestorming Avengers.  This was however after the Tyrant and his Guard had stomped all over the Autarch and his Scorpions, plus finishing of the Guardians and said Tau units.  The Fire Dragons got eaten by Genestealers and the Falcon was first immobolised by the last Zoanthrope, and then had the creature assault it and headbut the pulse laser off it.

Servitob didn’t disappoint us by having his entire Space Marine force wiped off the table again, but he did do a lot of damage on the way out.  Taking out the Mawloc, the Harpy and a horde of Termagants.  He did get unlucky though when his Assault Terminators suffered a deep strike mishap and ended up getting lost in the Warp as they tried to teleport into the battle.

The player who scored the most vicotry points for the alliance was the newcomer who for this post at least I shall call Plus One.  This is a lad who has only just started to play wargames and we are glad to have him join us. His Daemon Prince kept two units of Termagants occupied, whilst the Raveners tried to take it down – didn’t quite work, the Raveners got shot up by the Chaos Predator on the way in and then what was left was splatted by the Daemon Prince.  He lost an rather large unit of Chaos Marines to the Genestealers, then massacred said aliens with rapid fire from the his other unit.  Due to him taking down the Carnifex on that flank there really was nothing to challenge the Defiler or Predator so they had lots of fun re-painting the terrain Ichor purple.  All in all a really fun game.

So what would I change in my army?  Well when it comes to the way I played there were a cpuple of stupid mistakes I made – such as deep striking the Trygon Prime right infront of the Fire Warriors, Crisis Suits and Kabalite Warriors (it didn’t last very long) that I hope not to repeat.  I also don’t think I will be deep striking this much stuff again, I just felt like there was too much missing in the earlier stages of the game (not enough targets for the alliance to shoot at), and even if a unit like a Trygon emerges in turn 2 (which it did) it wouldn’t be able to do anything except get shot at until turn 3 so I might start deploying some things as normal.  The other big change would be to take the Carnifexs out of the army, and I plan on writing another post about that, as they’re just not worth the points at the moment.

Still a good game, thanks for the fun guys.

Tyranid Swarm – Hive Fleet Gribblin Arrives

Well folks the long awaited day has arrived!!!  I have finally finished painting my entrie Tyranid collection!!!  For the benefit of those readers who have not been with us that long, many months ago I made a promise not to be buying more models until my entire Tyranid collection was painted.  This was done to both appease my long suffering girlfriend and aid in the recovery of my bank account which had taken a serious hit after the new Tyranid release earlier this year.  I kind of kept the promise (I did spend my birthday money on sum stuff).  Anyway enough woffle heres some picks.

So whats in Hive Fleet Gribblin?  Well here’s the HQ units.

  • 5 Hive Tyrants (including 1 winged)
  • 5 Tyrant Guard
  • 1 Tervigon
  • 1 Tyranid Prime
  • The Parasite of Mortrex

For the Elites:

  • 2 Hive Guard
  • 4 Lictors
  • 3 Venomthropes
  • 4 Zoanthropes
  • The Doom of Malan’tai
  • 2 Pyrovores
  • 8 Ymgarl Genestealers

The Troops:

  • 22 Tyranid Warriors
  • 49 Genestealers plus 3 Broodlords (including my Space Hulk Genestealers)
  • 103 Termagants
  • 32 Hormagaunts
  • 11 Ripper Bases

The Fast Attack units:

  • 3 Tyranid Shrikes
  • 10 Raverners
  • 33 Gargoyles
  • 1 Harpy
  • 24 Spore Mines
  • 6 Meiotic Spores

And fianlly the Heavy Support units:

  • 7 Carnifexes
  • 3 Biovores
  • 1 Trygon
  • 1 Mawloc
  • 1 Tyrannofex

Oh and a Hierophant Bio-titan named Fluffy.  Including the weapons that they’re armed with thats around about 10,000 points before you start adding extra bio-morphs etc.

So what next for Hive Fleet Gribblin?  Well I’m working on some Mycetic Spores which should add an extra tactical element.  I also want to get the rest of the special characters, especially the Swarmlord.  Other than that there’s isn’t much else to get . . . unless I plan on going to Forge World . . . humm . . .

Tyranid Hierophant

Well its been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished my Tyranid Hierophant Bio-titan!!!!!!!  For those readers who have been with us for a while you might remember I made a pledge not to buy any models until my Tyranid army was painted.  To be honest I’ve not quite kept up with that (I did spend my birthday money on stuff), and I haven’t been painting much of my Tyranids recently either – I’ve been too caught up with War of the Ring and Firestorm.  Anyway that’s the excuses out of the way.  Here are some pics of the finished model.  I’ve had to use my phone camara as my proper one has died, so apologise for the poor resolution.

A Pledge

Just a quick post from me today.  I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently.  This has mainly been because of an increased work load from various teaching course, work etc.  But what I just wanted to say is this.  I Gribblin will be buying no more models for any gaming system until my entire Tyranid Army is painted.  I’ve made this promise to several people (including my long suffering girlfriend) and now that it is out on the net it’s official.  Now most of you are thinking so what?  Well I’ve had a Tyranid army since I first starting playing many, many years ago, but with the re-release earlier this year my collection has multiplied like the spawn of a Tervigon.  It’s now at an impressive 10,000 points, but only about half of that is fully painted.  Which is why I’ve made this pledge.  I will no doubt tell you all when I’m finished, and will also be posting some pictures of the work along with one of the whole force when it’s done.  Now where did I put my paint brush?

40k Tyranid Tyrannofex

“What’s this?” you say “A second post from Gribblin in the same day?”  Yep it’s true.  After doing the Tervigon I have worked on some of the other new monsters in the Tyranid codex.  This time it’s the Tyrannofex.

I got my inspiration for the Tyrannofex from the graphic that was in the codex (well it seemed logical).  The model is mainly made up of pieces from two plastic kits; the Trygon and the Carnifex.  I also used some plasticard, green stuff and pieces from my bits box.

The main body is the Trygon’s.  The armoured shell around it is made of pieces of plasticard and green stuff stuck to the back of the Trygon torax.  The legs are from the Carnifex, as is the head.  The claws, gun and tail are a mix of things from the bits box.

“But what about the rest of the stuff in those plastic kits? There must be a lot left over.”  Well yes and no.  Some of it I used to make my Harpy, which will be the feature of another post.  I have made it, just not finished painting it yet.  I hope that this model has given some people out there some inspiration for when they come to making their own Tyrannofex.