Essentially Shrikes are flying Tyranid Warriors both in terms of the models and the rules. Strangely Shrikes have a 5+ save to their footslogging counterparts' 4+. They've taken a 5pt reduction though which essentially means free wings (although the Forge World kit is far from free!). Shrikes have the same options as Warriors but pay less for toxin sacs and flesh hooks (which they can now take) but slightly more for adrenal glands.
It's difficult to see a role for Shrikes. They're Synapse Creatures like Warriors but obviously aren't scoring most of the time and have most of the same weakness as Warriors. They're not awful though and could find us as mobile Synapse for faster moving units which get out of range of the bigger Synapse Creatures.
Raveners (& Red Terror)
Another unit hit hard by the loss of scything talon re-rolls, Raveners are a combat unit in a world of shooting. They aren't too bad if you can get them into combat and being Beasts there's a decent chance. They don't particularly pack a punch though. They've always been looked upon as mini Trygons and that's probably a reasonable comparison as they too can Deep Strike. Another unit with nothing particularly wrong with it but without the scything talon re-rolls they're probably confined to the shelf next to your genestealers.
The Red Terror makes a return from the aether with a reasonable price tag of 85pts for a T5 three-wound model with Character. Swallow Whole is a fun idea and a great way of getting rid of a pesky power fist to protect your Raveners. There's a reasonable chance of getting it off on the charge too with 6 attacks at WS6 (4 base, two pairs of talons and charge bonus). He's difficult to ignore if he Deep Strikes in with some Raveners which might buy your footsloggers some time. His inclusion makes Raveners a potentially viable unit at least.
Rippers with wings and also 3pts more expensive for some reason. Like Rippers I really don't see the point in this unit unless to tie up enemy models thanks to Fearless. Most of the stuff you'd want to lock in combat would be S6+ anyway which will prevent them being stuck for long. Once again I rely on veteran Tyranid players to point out their use as I'm struggling.
Another "with wings" unit, this time termagants. Unlike their earth-bound cousins they can't upgrade their weapons though. They've stayed the same cost as before but Blinding Venom works in a different way now. Before a roll to hit of 6 caused an automatic wound, mitigating their S3. Now you swap your attacks for a Poisoned (6+) attack with Blind which isn't as good really. Against Initiative 3 units or those with minimal attacks I suppose you could Blind them and tie them up by preventing return damage but I'm not sure Blind is as good as GW thinks it is. Not bad against units like Riptides with low initiative though and even a single gargoyle in combat with a Riptide could severely hamper its effectiveness next turn should it be out of combat.
Since you get a handful of gargoyles in the Tyranid Swarm boxed set I suspect we'll see them used but I'm not sure they're as good as they were and there are now better Fast Attack options I reckon.
As I mentioned above the Harpy is a dual kit with the Hive Crone. It's inevitable then that players will compare the two to decide which to model the kit as. The Harpy is ostensibly an anti-infantry unit with an S6 large blast from its stranglethorn cannon and spore mines cysts. You can upgrade it to a twin-linked heavy venom cannon but then it becomes anti-tank which doesn't compliment the rest of its arsenal. Like any FMC it's got a decent chance of surviving if you can pass those Grounding Tests but with a T5 and a 4+ save it isn't going to take too long to lose those five wounds.
The Harpy is decent in combat with S5 AP2 attacks, you've still got the option to Smash and Sonic Screech means it's almost a certainty that the Harpy will strike first even against Daemon Princes. That means if you can successfully charge one you've got a good chance of causing Instant Death before the DP strikes. I'd say that's worth some consideration then.
You could potentially Vector Strike a unit and also hit it with Spore Mine cysts which allows you decimate a unit and keep at a decent range to avoid reprisal. Alternatively when Gliding you could fire both an S6 and S5 large blast to soften up a big unit before charging.
If the Harpy is an anti-infantry unit then the Hive Crone is firmly anti-vehicle. Most notable is that you can Vector Strike another flyer at S8 before firing at another vehicle with the tentaclids. Speaking of which, tentaclids are S5 Haywire and re-roll to hit against other FMCs and flyers. Although you can only fire two off a turn there's the potential to cause 4 glancing hits against a low AV flyer and lucky 6s might bring down a Stormraven or Heldrake. Edit: I must be thinking of 5th ed. Haywire weapons don't roll for armour penetration as well. They just get the haywire effect. That means only one glance/pen per tentaclid not two.
The drool cannon is reasonably useful for softening up ground targets before charging but feels out of place and it would've been nice to see it given Torrent to give it utility from the air. Still for 155pts I think the Hive Crone is a bargain when compared to other FMCs. Like the Harpy, it's lumbered with a 4+ save so it isn't hugely survivable but if there's a couple of these beasts zooming around the board they're certain to attract some attention and they'll be difficult to deal with for a lot of armies.
At 5pts a piece they're hardly going to break the bank but I'm not sure many will take them. It'd be fun to hit something with a full unit of 6 mines and potentially you could instant-kill a Daemon Prince if it was daft enough to stray to close. Otherwise they're mostly a novelty distraction unit that most players will ignore if possible.
Since they've got shiny new models I expect to see a lot more Harpies than we used to. Mind you the Hive Crone's S8 vector strike is almost enough reason to take it over the Harpy on its own and I suspect a lot will be tempted. I'd actually consider running one of each though as Harpy would be very useful against objective grabbers. Dropping some spore mines on an objective would be irritating and those large blasts, though situational, could prove devastating.
To my mind there's little else worth bothering with in this slot. As I say, Raveners with the Red Terror might be fun to use but gargoyles aren't what they were and the other options don't particularly grab my attention.
At first you might think the flyers will suffer when out of synapse range but both are Fearless. The Harpy may not be bothered by "Prowl/Destroy". The Hive Crone might've used it's missiles already and can still Vector Strike so there's no great loss from Devour/Kill when it's Swooping. I'll be talking more about Synapse after the Heavy Support post which arrives tomorrow.