Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Tyranid Codex - Unit Reviews - HQ

I'll start my look through the codex with the HQ section. As ever these reviews will be pretty wordy but hopefully thorough and therefore useful for helping you decipher the new book. This section has gained a couple of entries in the form of Old One Eye and Deathleaper which have moved from Heavy and Elites respectively. There aren't any actual new units though.

Hive Tyrant
The tyrant has dropped in points right? Actually, wait, he no longer comes with a lash whip and bonesword which are also 5pts more expensive. The basic tyrant is actually 15pts more expensive then! A flyrant with lash whip and bonesword is still 10pts cheaper mind you and he's gained BS4 which is handy. His abilities have become cheaper with Indescribable Horror now at a reasonable cost. It still isn't all that useful though, most things that would threaten a tyrant in combat have Fearless or ATSKNF. Hive Commander for 20pts is well worth it in my opinion as it's one of few options to get your units up the field faster. Old Adversary isn't awful either. I'm not really sold on the tail biomorph as I'm not sure he really benefits that much from a single extra attack.

With the heavy venom cannon being slightly better than before it seems like an automatic choice to pick off a vehicle or two as you fly over, that is, unless you want the extra attack from having two pairs of weapons. Alternatively if you're planning on beating up troops then twin-linked devourers are probably the way to go. The other talons will probably most likely be swapped for a lash whip and bonesword (there's no point having a pair now). This will make the tyrant I8 which is great against pretty much everything but daemon princes and instant death is fun against a wraithknight.

Ultimately there's little new stuff here. You can easily get carried away and make a 400pt tyrant but realistically most builds will come in under 300pts. To give me an idea I priced up a Flyrant with Hive Commander, whip and sword, HVC, regeneration and adrenal glands which comes in at the same cost as the last book. It gains Fleet, extra BS and +3 Initiative over the 5th edition version plus Regeneration and Instant Death are more reliable. The trade off is unreliable psychic powers although I think the powers are as good if not better than before. The lack of Leech Essence affects survivability though.

The Swarmlord
For an increase of 5pts you get BS4 which is useful for Warp Blast/Lance. His bone sabres still cause Instant Death but invulnerable saves are now taken as normal against him. Alien Cunning still adds 1 to reserve rolls but no longer helps with Outflank accuracy. Again Leech Essence disappearing reduces his survivability and he's still only got a 4++ save in combat. Finally, his Swarm Leader now gives Furious Charge, Preferred Enemy or Monster Hunter (which replaces Acute Senses). Otherwise he's the same as before.

The issue with the Swarmlord has always been getting him to the target alive. He's not got access to Regeneration and Leech Essence is gone so it's just a war of attrition to bring him down which won't be too hard for most armies. That being said, if he's in an army with lots of FMCs then he's likely to get ignored since he's far slower. Of course you can still give him a Tyrant Guard but I'll get to that.

There used to be very few units the could stand toe-to-toe with the Swarmlord and come out of it alive. I'm not convinced that's as true anymore. He gained Character, which can be a double edged sword. It could allow him to single out a character to either kill it off or prevent it hurting him but it could just mean he's fighting a sergeant for a turn. Still he'll stay in combat longer that way I suppose.

I still think he's viable but only in the right type of list. It's a shame he's lost the re-roll successful invulns thing and I can't really see why when he wasn't going to cause that much damage. I think less people will take him now unfortunately.

Tyrant Guard
These guys are now a decent 10pts cheaper and but lose an attack into the bargain. Like the Tau bodyguard they automatically pass LOS which is awesome as it means you don't have to worry about positioning as much as before. They've also got access to crushing claws along with toxin sacs and adrenal glands. If you're taking a 2-3 guard then a mixture of crushing claws and whip/sword is probably advisable to give you both AP2 and the chance of instant death, though I suspect most will run them vanilla as ablative wounds.

Tyrant Guard are, of course, only any use if you're planning on running your Tyrant/Swarmlord up the field. They do their job better than before thanks to auto LOS and for 10pts less too. Still, you're adding 50pts+ to an already expensive MC so you might be better spending 35pts on wings instead.

Old One Eye
This guy used to appear in the Heavy Support section and I can't recall ever seeing him in an army. Perhaps that was because he couldn't compete with the other heavies but I suspect it's more likely down to his speed (or lack of). He's a whopping 40pts cheaper than he was but still pricey at 220pts. He'll get FNP pretty quickly but he's still foot-slogging across the board. His regeneration has been replaced with the standard 4+ version which I suppose is an upgrade. Otherwise he's the same as before and still just as unlikely to make an appearance.

I should probably be talking about the Tervigon in the Troops section as that's where he's most likely to be found. I will, of course, mention him there but let's have proper look now too. Aside from a slight boost in Initiative his statline is the same. I'm sure you've already read that he's taken a big hit to his special rules though. It seems GW have decided that the Tervigon was far too good before. Presumably they've sold plenty of them and want to shift some other stuff now. Anyway, let's see what's changed.

Brood Progenitor is now extended to a 12" Counter Attack bubble but units can no longer use his Ld (though he made them Fearless anyway so who cares?). Sadly no more adrenal gland and toxin sac sharing either. Synaptic Backlash has an extended damage radius of 12". That's a big blow to start with and feels unnecessary. It can guarantee getting Dominion but Onslaught and Catalyst must now be rolled for and it only gets one of the three. Obviously you can still spawn some termagants but they can no longer move or assault in the turn they appear. That's a big deal in objective games where you could keep a near constant supply on the objectives with the old version.

None of this would be too bad if the Tervigon's cost had dropped like other units have. Unfortunately, the Tervigon itself is now a huge 35pts more expensive. Not only that but you now need a unit of 30 termagants to convert them to Troops which is 70pts more than the 10 termagants before. Now obviously you still get the extra termagants you're paying for but that's 105pts more expensive and you're going to have to buy a shitload of termagants if you're going to run two tervigons. I suppose there's little point taking toxin sacs or adrenal glands now though and crushing claws are a lot cheaper. They were probably too cheap before but if you decide to use them they pretty much wipe out the savings on other units. Perhaps we'll see more lists without Tervigons now.

Tyranid Prime
If you thought the price increase on the Tervigon was bad, the Prime has gone up a whopping 45pts which is a more than 50% increase. There's little change in his upgrades and he now pays 20pts more for regeneration. If you're planning on taking warriors then I suppose the Prime is worth a go but the only other reason to take him is that he's a synapse creature that you can hide in a unit. He's still not all that durable and, although he was perhaps cheap before, the point increase feels like an insult.

He might still make an appearance but since he's got no spore pod I'm not sure how you'll get him across the board intact. Perhaps I'm missing something but I can't really see a use for him.

Another new entry from elsewhere in the FOC, Deathleaper used to be an Elites choice. He's 10pts cheaper now and he's now a Character (again can be good or bad). His Mind Eater warlord trait gives you a bonus 2 VP for a killing an IC in a challenge. He can no longer yo-yo in and out of play but can now Infiltrate instead of being forced to stay in reserve which could be useful for bringing in Lictors nearby in turn two. Not sure there's much point mind you. Otherwise he's pretty similar unless I've missed something.

When trying to bring him down enemy units can only fire Snap Shots effectively making him as tricky to hit as an FMC but without the grounding tests! That's pretty awesome but at T4 and a 5+ save he's no more survivable than an AV10 flyer. Sure Stealth makes him more survivable but I can't imagine he'll make it into combat against many armies unless he can be well hidden plus he's vulnerable to Instinctive Behaviour if he's away from the rest of the army and won't be Fearless either.

He sounds pretty cool on paper and he's not awful but I really think there's better ways to spend your points. Perhaps he'll open up some nice combo but I'm not seeing it yet. It feels like he appears, may or may not die and then kind of does nothing. You could really fuck up a psyker with his -D3 leadership in combination with Shadow in the Warp though, a decent answer to seer and screamer councils perhaps?

Tervigons are likely to spend their time in the Troops section (even with the increased cost) and I doubt we'll see Old One Eye. That means it's a choice between the remaining four. I really don't see a role for Primes except as more survivable synapse perhaps. Deathleaper could find some use but you'll probably need to take Tyrants for synapse. To me the stand-out unit is still the tyrant or perhaps a Swarmlord with a couple of tyrant guard.

Either way, you're going to spend a whole heap of points in the HQ section! Tomorrow it's onto the Troops which are considerably cheaper.


  1. Tyrant guard haven't lost an attack, as they have two sets of close combat weapons.

    1. Most other units have two sets and have kept their base attacks so it's an effective loss.

  2. The lack of using the Tervigon's leadership does matter as it makes the counter-attack buff pretty useless, testing on LD6.

  3. Anonymous comment deleted by mistake: "I see the flying hive tyrant as possibly the best anti flyer unit. It can take the heavy devourer with the re-rollable 6 shot strength 6 shots, at BS4. Plus it has two chances to roll the warp blast, giving it a strength 10 AP2 shot still at BS4. As a monsterous creature can fire two weapons, it can get 6 strength 6 shots plus the strength 10 shot in the same turn on a flyer. No other anti air in the game can compare to that. Given that most flyers are armour 10 or 11, the strength 6 shots have a good chance of penetrating or glancing. The warp blast has a very good chance of flat out destroying flyers in one shot. The flyrant can also get a 5+ jinx save if it is near a venomthrope. If you give it the ymgarl factor, it will get an armour save of 2+ every second turn. "

    1. I'd still want a hive crone for AV12 flyers but you're right the tyrant is strong. As was pointed out in the comments on a previous post the ymgarl factor only works in combat

  4. Don't forget that as Deathleaper can only be snapped he can't be fired at by weapons that cannot snap shot. No templates or blasts ahoy :D


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