Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Index Tyranids Overview: Troops

Hofstadter's Law states that everything takes longer than you expect it to, even after taking Hofstadter's Law into account. That said, here's my look at the Tyranid Troops options:

Tyranid Warriors
While still not restored to their glory days of 4th Ed, Warriors are better than they’ve been since then. Much of the reason for it is due to changes in the Core Rules, rather than any changes in the Warriors themselves. The removal of Instant Death isn’t actually as big of a deal as I might have thought. The real benefit is that Nid MCs are now solidly durable against the kind of mid-level firepower that used to cut them down quickly, and so both the MCs and Warriors need Anti-Tank type Heavy Weapons brought to bear on them to really do damage, making it easier to achieve target overload. The substantial improvement to the Venom Cannon, Barbed Strangler, and DeathSpitter also help significantly, as does their reduction in Points. I can see Warrior Broods once again forming a solid backbone to the Synapse net, probably with DeathSpitters and Rending Claws, plus a “heavy”.
My handwriting is terrible, but I liked the joke enough that I had to show it off

Another classic Unit that looks to be making a comeback thanks to changes in the Core Rules. This time, it’s the removal of Initiative, and the fact that Charging Units get to strike first. For a Unit as fast as Stealers are, that’s pretty doable, especially since Gargoyles are available as a super cheap Charge Screen if needed. Not much to say about them, really. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, and now they can actually do it. Note that adding ScyTals is, for the moment, a purely aesthetic decision, as their Rending Claws are better in almost every circumstance. You get what you pay for, in this case.

One of the foundation Units of the Swarm-style Nid list, Termagants remain pretty much the same as always. There are two main changes worth keeping in mind. The first is the change to the Tervigon, which can now replace casualties in Termagant Broods, as long as they were armed with Fleshborers. The second is that when a Termagant Brood has 20 or more Models, they can re-roll Wound rolls of 1 when shooting. This makes me lean toward big, very possibly full-size, Broods, with at least 10 armed with Fleshborers, and many (probably 15-ish) of the rest with Devourers. Unless your Opponent has some ridiculous volume of fire, that should take a while to chew through with a nearby Tervigon reinforcing, and they’ll dish out some pretty scary firepower of their own against anything they can get in range of. Remember that their Weapons are all Assault, so they can fire after Advancing. Makes that range a bit larger than it used to be.

The Termagants’ faster, pointier cousins. They’re definitely better than they have been, but with a higher base cost (and near-mandatory Adrenal Glands) and no access to buffs like those the Termies can get from Tervigons, they seem a bit harder to use as efficiently. At first glance, they also seem like a good candidate for Toxin Sacs, with a good price-to-Hits ratio and re-rolling 1s to Wound when in large numbers, but the need to close in and lack of replacements means that they’re rarely going to hit the enemy lines in sufficient numbers for the re-rolls, and it would probably work out better to just spend the Points on more Hormies. Still, they’re a fast, non-negligible Assault threat, and a prime target for Onslaught, to give them some truly scary speed.

Ripper Swarms
Like Warriors, Rippers benefit from the removal of Instant Death from the Game, and are one of the most Points-efficient Tarpit Units in the Game. They’re also one of the premier “sit out of sight on an Objective” Units in the Game, and can be Deployed underground to burrow up to distant ones. Oddly, they actually have some difficulty getting Cover, since they’re Swarms, not Infantry, but they’re usually pretty easy to hide completely, so that shouldn’t often be too much of an issue. I can definitely see including a minimum Brood or two in many lists to grab Objectives, since they’re so cheap.

I don't actually have any Stealers for my Hive Fleet Naeglaeria, so I borrowed one from my Behemoth Stealer Cult for these shots

Notes that Apply to Multiple Units:
- Gaunts and Rippers really want Synapse coverage if there is any chance that they will take casualties. With Ld5/4 respectively, even very light losses can start causing them to run very easily.
- Genestealers and Gaunts have buffs when above a certain size. In general, 8th seems to favour MSU, but for these (especially Termagants), larger Broods may well be the way to go.
- Rending Claws are almost always a better option than Scything Talons, even after taking into account the slight Points difference for Broods like Warriors. With only a single pair of either, the ScyTals are only the better choice against things with no Armour Save whatsoever. Mostly, that’s Units that rely entirely on an Invul, like Daemons. Two pairs of ScyTals perform a bit better due to the extra Attack, winning over a single pair of Rending Claws against 5+ or worse Saves, and breaking even against 4+, but that usually means giving up a gun.

Previous posts: Armywide Rules - HQ

Until next time, y'all have a good one now, y'hear!


  1. You only need two things in the 41st millenium: WD-40,000 and Astro Telepathic Duct Tape. I've given up on Hormies ever being super scary but at least the Stealers are stone-cold killers now. Good read, thanks.

    1. Ha! I couldn't come up with something for the other half of the combo.

      It's perfectly reasonable to me that Hormies aren't super-dangerous. They're cheap and fast, and they are scary enough to basic stuff like Guardsmen. That's good enough for me. Stealers really should be much scarier than Hormies in general.

    2. You're right of course (stop being the voice of reason!) and its early days but Tervigon+Termagant synergy always seems to be better than taking Hormies as troops.

    3. Sorry, I was a math major. I kind of have to do reasonable ;)

      I really do think Hormies need something that can help them like the Tervigon does Termagants. Otherwise, Termies are much better for cheap bodies, and Stealers are much better for actual Combat, and Hormies are just floating somewhere in between. Which is disappointing to me, because I've always loved Hormies, ever since I saw those 2nd ed Metal ones falling over all over the place on their tiny bases, and then saw how ludicrously far they could Charge.