Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Tyranid Codex - Unit Reviews - Troops

We're onto the meat of the codex now, the Troops section. A reminder that these reviews will be pretty wordy so bear with me and remember that I'm not a Tyranid player so I might get the odd thing wrong here and there but I'll welcome corrections. There are no new units in this section but there's a notable abscence, the Mycetic Spore. This is a big deal for an army that struggles to get across the board and has very few options for getting in amongst an enemy gunline. Nevertheless they're gone and short of a dataslate they're probably not coming back this edition.

Tyranid Warriors 
There's nothing particularly wrong with Tyranid Warriors but don't expect to see them unless someone is trying to escort a Prime. They're the same cost as in the previous book and I still don't think that's bad for a 3 wound model. Still with a 4+ save they're not particularly tricky to kill and there's still some S8 out there to instant kill them. Crucially they're synapse creatures which, with the changes to Instinctive Behaviour might be their saving grace.

It's always easy to think a of units in a vacuum and so warriors can easily be written off because they'll never make it to the enemy right? That's assuming that your opponent ignores all of your other units and there are plenty of armies that rely on massed S6/7 rather than S8. You can equip the warriors with a barbed strangler and deathspitters and go hunting cheap scoring units like guard, kroot, cultists, etc. Like I say, they're not useless but most players will go for a swarm of gaunts instead.

These guys were hit particularly hard by the 6th Edition ruleset. Preventing units from assaulting from Reserves or when Infiltrating basically stopped genestealers from being useful. Sadly, they're no different now. They cost the same number of points but now there's no real need to give them scything talons except for an extra attack each and perhaps for WYSIWIG issues. Adrenal glands are a little cheaper but they already have Fleet and don't really need Furious Charge. Toxin sacs are still good for giving a re-roll to wound though. This is all irrelevant though as when you arrive from reserve you get gunned down by bolters and take more casualties from Overwatch. Even a full brood of 20 would struggle to be effective and works out very expensive. They'll stay on the shelf.

The Broodlord used to be quite entertaining with his old psychic powers. He now gets The Horror which is only useful if you're Infiltrating them and requires line of sight so you can't hide him from view. He costs the same points but since his biomorphs now come from the wargear section you pay a ridiculous amount for them! Adrenal glands and toxin sacs are ridiculously expensive for him. He doesn't particularly need them of course but it seems like a mistake. Oddly he also has access to regeneration if you really wanted to put a 30pt upgrade on him!

Termagants (and Tervigons)
As I mentioned in the HQ section you now need 30 gaunts to shift a Tervigon to the troop section. That means you can expect to see A LOT of termagants. The good news is that termagants' base cost has been reduced by a point. The strangleweb is now 5pts but still not worth bothering with. The other gun upgrades have all reduced by a point too and you no longer have to replace all of the guns in a squad with the same thing. That means you can have some meatshield gaunts at the front with fleshborers and then the devourers behind plugging away. They may only be BS3 but 120 shots at S4 for 240pts isn't too bad. Alternatively throw in some adrenals and they're almost as good as hormagaunts but with guns too.

Obviously there'll be a lot of spawned gaunts which will be totally vanilla and can't benefit from adrenal glands or toxin sacs from the tervigon anymore. They'll still be able to grab objectives well enough though and frustrating to shift. It's annoying when your expensive unit kills half a dozen 4pt models a turn.

Hormagaunts have probably suffered the most from the changes to scything talons. Mind you, they're pretty speedy with the changes to bounding leap as it now gives them an extra 3" to their run. That could be the difference between getting a second turn charge off or not and works well if combined with Hive Commander for Outflank. They've also dropped in base cost by a point but their upgrades are slightly more expensive. Combat units tend to struggle in the current meta though and they've got to compete with termagants. Tyranid players new and old will probably have a decent stash of them though so I'd expect we'll see them still.

Ripper Swarms
For some reason ripper swarms have gone up by 3pts per base. They get plenty of attacks and they're Fearless but again I don't really see the point. They can get Deep Strike to allow them to get into the middle of the enemy army but since they can't control or contest objectives they seem like a waste of points to me. Perhaps a hardcore Tyranid player can point out why you'd use them but I'd be hard to convince.

Unless you're thinking from a fluffy varied army perspective (and there's nothing wrong with that), I expect most people will be fielding termagants and still using them to bring tervigons into this FOC slot. The question now is whether Tervigons are still worthwhile. I can perhaps see a use for a single Tervigon with Dominion (and perhaps Norn Crown) to help with Synapse but otherwise I think you'd actually be better off using the 195pts to buy 48 termagants (or less with upgrades). Realistically that's probably as many as you'd get from the tervigon on a good day anyway. Warriors can come in handy as a synapse creature alternative but most experienced players will target them early.

It's frustrating that genestealers are still useless but I suppose it was to be expected. I don't like automatic choices but there aren't really many options here. As ever I'm sure I'm missing something though. Onto the Elites section tomorrow which was traditionally pretty crowded with decent units. Is it still the case now?


  1. Good article. I think nids can work, just with some assistance. I wrote an article about this a while back, but I'll say it here again. I think that Tyranids are the prime army to benefit from escape hatches. It might not be fluffy, but it fixes their number one problem - being blown off the board by turn three. Warriors and Hormagants are good, but obviously if they are all dead by turn three from slugging it across the board, they are useless. So, what to do? Get two bastions and two escape hatches. Deploy the bastion on the edge of your deployment zone. Place the hatch 12" in front and just slingshot two units at a time into your enemies deployment zone. It means that you could have 40 Hormagants and two flyrants in their midst turn one. Okay sure, you can't charge off the bat, but it's a huge problem for your opponent. Meanwhile, just keep loading up units into the bastion and slingshots in them across. Synergises well with walking Ravaners as you will have a huge amount of combat units in your enemies face in a position to charge turn two.

    Some additional reading:

  2. I actually like the hatch idea, and you can totally model it up to be some sort of burrowing tunnel. I think tyranids are overlook fortifications because they were of little use before, but since there is no rule that I am aware of that stops them from shooting weapon emplacements (correct me if im wrong), it is something that should be seriously considered, if only for the LoS blocking it can provide.

  3. Good review and I agree with your observations. I fully expect Troops to still just be Tervigons and Termagants. Loss of Mycetic Spore really hurt Devourer armed Gaunts though

  4. I have already had good success running devourer gaunts with a front line of regular fleshborers (1 squad of 15 devs + 10 fleshborers at only 160 pts). The Ripper Swarms are now scoring units, however. Nothing in their profile or their USRs keep them from being scoring units now. The previous edition, swarms could not take objectives, and Rippers are no longer "mindless" so I am guessing that is the reason for their cost increase. I have had success in keeping a squad in reserve and walking them on the board to hold an objective in my own line against a non-mobile Tau army that a friend plays.

    1. I'm afraid they still aren't scoring. Swarms still can't take objectives so I can't see a reason for their points cost.

      Page 123 of the rulebook: "There are a few exceptions, however, when a unit of troops does not count as scoring..... If it has the Swarms special rule"

      It really ought to say this under the Swarms special rule itself but I'm afraid it's in there if you know where to look. Your friend with the Tau army will probably thank me for pointing this out even if you don't!

    2. Sorry about that, missed it in the scoring units section. Thanks. I will probably never field rippers again :(

  5. 'Stealers - on open ground or charging into cover these guys will get mullered but there's some good stuff they can still do: no IB means that they can get to (through cover or by outflanking) and hold distant objectives without needing synapse. Not efficient, but can win games. They can assault when infiltrated but only if your opponent moves first* and are excellent at supporting other units already in combat, like Lictors who can bundle in first using their hooks.

    *the Infiltrate USR specifies "...cannot charge in the first turn" and Pg9 of the BRB states "...a turn always means player turn unless specifically refers to a game turn" which Infiltrate does not. The first player's infiltrated models can't assault, but the second player's can.

    Rippers - underrated, IMO. With the loss of spores, Rippers are now the best unit for deep striking with spinefists to disrupt mid-field or back-line enemy units. Plonk them in, 3-4 bases, that's 12-16 S3 shots, twin-linked. The choice is forced upon the opponent to either ignore the Rippers which will result in another round of 12-16 re-rolled shots followed by a potential assault which then prevents that unit from firing at the incoming main force, or do they target the Rippers as a potential threat which again is less incoming fire for your foot-gribblies to wade through. Obviously they work much better if some synapse can be brought up to control them but there's still a 50% chance of them charging the intended unit anyway. Rather than eating themselves. Beh.


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