Turns out keeping up with these is harder than I expected. I have a new level of respect for the people who can do them for every Dex within a couple weeks of release. Also, lots of very draining stuff (good, but draining) going on the last couple of weeks, so I don't even have any pics. But anyhow, for what it's worth, here's the Heavy Support, the Fortification that we finally got, and a (very) brief look at the Forge World options.
A major improvement for these guys. They aren’t the big bads that they were before their decline, but that’s just because the game has scaled up past where it was in 4th Ed, and there are so many bigger and badder things out there like Trygons, Haruspexen, and Hierodules. What they are, once again, is cheap enough that they’re pretty points-efficient for their durability and versatility. So many options here. As with Tyrants, the Devourer-based Dakkafex is now overshadowed by the DeathSpitter variant, and because they don’t have any options to increase their survivability, dumping too many Points into them isn’t a great idea. But other than that, lots of possibilities. The classic Screamer-Killer, with two pairs of ScyTals and Bio-Plasma, is probably the best it’s been since 2nd Ed. A Venom Cannon or Barbed Strangler paired with either ScyTals or Crushing Claws is totally legit for some backfield defense and a little long-ranged fire support. (Strangler/ScyTals is my choice there. More shots to mitigate the mediocre BS, and the “unwieldy” penalty is pretty harsh starting from WS4+.) Don’t forget that the Thresher Scythe is one of the best Tail Weapons available. You don’t have to waste one of your Attacks on it with a CombatFex, but a Fex with no CC Bio-Weapons can make all four of its Attacks with the Scythe, multiplying out to 4d3, and letting them, well, scythe through hordes pretty effectively.
*Yes, I know, they’re officially called Carnifexes and the -en plural is horribly linguistically inaccurate, given that it’s a Germanic suffix on a Latin noun, but I like -xen endings, so I still use it.
Pretty simple, not a whole lot to say about them. The longest range available to Nids in the Index, and they kick out Mortal Wounds, fairly reliably if you have several, and if they do miss, they create Spore Mines to get another chance. Don’t forget that the Spore Mines have the Fly keyword, so they actually can Charge Models with the Airborne special Rule should they wander near enough. The FAQ has updated them a bit, giving them the ability to fire at Units outside LoS, but they can’t fire Overwatch. So that’s basically like they were in 7th, and a trade I will totally take.
A solid monster in its own right, but probably more notable for being able to bring a Troops Unit along with it when it tunnels in, and provide Synapse for them to boot. Accompanied by a big Brood of DevilGaunts or Warriors, it can add to their firepower and fend off counter-assaults. Or bring along Stealers or Hormagaunts for some CC action. Adrenal Glands are pretty much a must, as with any Unit that needs to try to make a 9” Charge after popping in. The Biostatic Rattle is by far the best Tail Weapon for it. As with the Fexen’s Thresher Scythe, you can use it for as many or as few Attacks as you want, and Morale penalties can be really harsh, so having that option is nice.
Unfortunately, the Trygon is just plain outclassed by the Prime. I wish it had some more differences, perhaps being a better beatstick in exchange for not having the support abilities of the Prime, but as it stands, the Prime is easily worth the less than 20% price increase to add Synapse, Shadow in the Warp, a better Tail Weapon, and twice as many shots from its Bio-electric Pulse. The one place regular Trygons might have is if you want to run multiples, and bring them all in in the same area, so one Prime can provide Synapse for all of them.
The Mawloc is one of those Units that’s hard to evaluate just based on the Datasheet. I can see them being really handy to hit Characters that are buffing multiple Units, but they do have a pretty big footprint, so it’s not that hard to screen against them. They can also hurt even Flyers, since it’s not actually an Attack of any kind, just an Ability that can dish out Mortal Wounds. They also need to be kind of careful, since they can only reburrow if they’re more than 1” away from Enemy Models at the start of the Movement Phase, and they’re kind of crap in CC, and too expensive to just be a one-hit wonder when you could do something very similar with Biovores. A lot of factors depending on exactly how everything is positioned on the table. I have seen people dishing out a lot of damage with them, tho, so my provisional rating is “definitely worth trying out”.
If you want shooty Nids, the Exocrine is here for you. 6 Plasma shots with 2 Damage each, out to 36” Range. If it stays still and gives up the option to Charge, it can fire that whole lot twice AND gets +1 to Hit. Add in the fact that it’s got 12 Wounds at T8, and that euphoric orgy of plasmariffic destruction should go on for quite a while even in the face of significant incoming firepower.
I’ve always liked the idea of the T-Fex, but they still haven’t quite got it right. It has the same option as the Exocrine to fire twice if it stays still, but the short range of the Acid Spray and Fleshborer Hive make it unlikely to use that option with those, and the Rupture Cannon still has too low of a ratoe of fire. I do love that they finally gave the Rupture Cannon the bonus implied by the fluff if both shots hit, but at BS4+, it’s just too unreliable. As with the previous version, if you do want to use it, the Acid Spray is probably your best bet, but for just a few Points more, the Exocrine will probably do you better.
It doesn’t have the obvious downsides that it did in 7th, but I’m not really sure what role the Toxicrene is supposed to play. It seems to want to target moderate T, poor Sv, Multi-Wound Units, but that’s not exactly a huge category, and it’s one that a whole lot of other Nid Units are also really good at taking out. If you’ve got one, give it a try. I’m sure it does fine, but there are probably other Units available that can do whatever it does more efficiently. A “solution in search of a problem” sort of Unit, as far as I can tell.
I'd been saying that the Sporocyst should have been a Fortification from the start, and it finally got put there. Another Unit where exactly how it will end up working is kind of hard to see just from the Datasheet, but in this case, there’s a lot going on here that seems to offer some possibilities. It can get Deployed out ahead of the rest of your stuff, and can help spread your Synapse net further during early Turns when your Hormies/Stealers might be outrunning your Synapse if you don’t have Flyrants or Trygon Primes. It can also help anchor a backfield, again extending your Synapse net, and providing some pretty solid long-range fire support with Venom Cannon or Barbed Stranglers. The Spore Node is a little frustrating, since you can only use it if there are Enemy Units within 9”, but when there are, it can be a great source of Mortal Wounds, whether or not it Hits. Bit of a bummer to not be able to start laying down a screen of Spore Mines before the enemy get there, tho. It can still shoot while there are Enemies within 1”, but can’t shoot at Enemies that are within 1” of it or other Friendly Units, which puts it in kind of an odd place, but it’s still nice to be able to kick out the longer-ranged firepower even if it’s getting torn down in CC. Another that I’m definitely going to have to try out to really see how it works.
Very briefly: Malanthropes are absolutely amazing. Stonecrusher Fexen are very good. The Dimacheron and Barbed Hierodule are decent. The rest range from overpriced to just plain bad.
Next time, I'll probably be talking something about Chaos, one way or another. Until then, y'all have a good one, y'hear!
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