Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Index Tyranids Overview: Elites

Finally got around to getting this one up. Not as many pics this time, sorry. There are a bunch of them that I don't have, or don't have pics of. Anyhow, here they are. Some pretty good Units in here, but other areas have been strengthened to the point that I don't think Elites are going to be the big limiting factor like they were in 5th.

Tyrant Guard
I touched on these in the Hive Tyrant overview, but there is a bit more to them. When kept basic, they’re significantly cheaper per Wound than a Tyrant, and fairly similar in durability, plus they can now be taken in Broods of up to 6 (almost tripling the effective Wounds of their charge), making them one of the best Bodyguard Units in the Game as far as I can tell. If you’re expecting them to make it into Combat alongside their Tyrant, It’s probably worth upgrading a few of them to Lash Whip/Bone Sword, since it’s cheap, gives them an extra point of AP, and also the ability to Attack even if slain before its chance comes up. Crushing Claws, on the other hand, are very expensive, and on a Model with only 2 Attacks, the -1 to Hit is pretty bad. Adrenal Glands, like the Boneswords, are pretty worthwhile. Possibly even standard, as they have no shooting Attacks, so they’re probably going to be either Advancing or Charging every Turn, and they’ll help to keep up with their Tyrant. Toxin Sacs are fairly meh, not a particularly bad price, but you’re probably going to lose a few of them before they hit Combat, and the low number of Attacks mean it’s unlikely to kick in often.

Hive Guard
A staple of Tyranid Lists during 5th and 6th, Hive Guard fell out of favour when they were nerfed as 7th came out. I’m pretty sure they’re back now, but the changes in how Vehicles work mean they’re not as crucial as they were in 5th. The Impaler Cannon got a nice buff with its increase to 36” Range and 2 Damage, but is one of the few Heavy Weapons Nids have. Not a huge deal, since even taking that into account, they’re better than they were no matter how you look at it. The Shock Cannon is also much improved. I don’t have any of these, but I might have to get some, what with them causing a Mortal Wound in addition to normal damage on a Wound roll of 4+, and d3 on a 6+. They also gained Range, and remained Assault, and the change from a Blast Marker to d3 shots gives rather more chances to roll up those Mortal Wounds.

Not that scary individually, with a damage output about on par with a Stealer costing a quarter of their Points, Lictors still seem to have a lot of potential as extreme MSU. Chameleonic Skin makes them pretty tough to deal with (especially at range if you can keep them in Cover), they’re easily spammable with a Vanguard Detachment, and since they can re-roll their Charges in the Turn they burst from hiding, giving them a better than 50/50 chance of making that Charge. Also good for just sitting on an Objective, since they’re as cheap as Rippers, but substantially more dangerous to many Units that may be sent to run them off.

It’s a pretty sad statement about the previous incarnation of the Tyranid Army that it contained multiple Units that were contenders for Worst Unit in the Game. I’m not sure how great the Maleceptor is now, but it’s certainly far improved from the trash fire it originally was. My initial feel is that its special power might be nice against MSU Lists, especially those reliant on fairly expensive Models like Terminators. The only option is Adrenal Glands, but they’re probably more expensive than they’re really worth here. They would be nice, but it has to pay the higher price since it’s a Monster. On top of that, it is one more Psyker option, and +1 to cast is definitely nice to have.

Basically just Synapse coverage and Smite spammers at this point. Since you can’t take them as singles anymore, they’re kind of an expensive option for what they bring to the table. If you are going to run them, definitely take the Neurothrope, since it’s a free upgrade, and lets the Unit heal itself.

These feel like the first real miss in the Nids so far. Their Shrouding Spores are good, but at only T4 with 5+ Armour, they’re really squishy in addition to being a Force Multiplier, which makes them a prime target. Also, as in their previous version, they suffer from the fact that the Malanthrope is just flat out better. It’s cheaper for the same number of Wounds, it’s a Character under 10 Wounds, it has Synapse, it’s better in almost every conceivable way.

Another that was previously a contender for Worst Unit in the Game. I don’t think Pyrovores are going to be amazing in their current form, but they’re definitely not bad any more. They’re not terribly cheap, but not too expensive either, and they got a couple of inches of extra range on their Flamespurt and more Attacks with their Acid Maw. The real special sauce tho is that because the Flamespurt is an Assault Weapon that automatically hits, they can Advance and fire it at no penalty, giving them a potential 21” threat radius, and their Overwatch is pretty scary, too.

I had been thinking that the Haruspex hadn’t got much of a buff (an inch of movement, better ability to regain Wounds, little stuff like that). Then I re-read the Datasheet again and realized that, like the Tervigon, it got buffed to T8. I totally missed that during the Game I used it in, just played it as T6 out of habit. That goes a long way toward explaining why it’s so expensive. Its Profile doesn’t degrade nearly as much as many as it takes damage, either. Between the Ravening Maw and the Shoveling Claws, it has good options for hitting both numerous lighter Models and single heavy ones. Definitely worth more table time there.

Basically a Lictor+, same as always. It costs as much as two regular Lictors, and only gains 2 Wounds and 1 Attack on the base profile, so it really comes down to whether or not you think the extra Rules are worth the extra Points. A -2 debuff on Enemy Attack Rolls is pretty brutal, as is the ability to pop up within 6” of a nominated Character, and being a Character itself provides an extra potential layer of protection when not operating completely alone. Do be careful when using It’s After Me, tho. The FAQ lets you set up anywhere more than 9” from any Enemy Models if the chosen Character isn’t on the board, but if they’re just surrounded so you can’t get within 6” without being more than 1” away from Enemy Models, as far as I can tell, DeathLeaper just gets destroyed since there’s no legal placement.

The Red Terror
As DeathLeaper is a Lictor+, so is the Red Terror a Ravener+. Or maybe even a Ravener++. The difference is rather more substantial in some ways. The Red Terror is good at two things: with 6 S5 Attacks hitting on 2+ (and 5 of those re-rolling 1s), it’s pretty respectable at chopping through most chaff Units, tho it can’t handle large ones by itself. The real fun is from the Swallow Whole ability (or as I prefer to call it, Feed Me, Seymour! Feed Me Food!) In the highly likely event that it hits with at least 4 of those 5 ScyTal Attacks, it can try to roll against the highest W value in the target Unit. If it equals or beats it, one Model is instantly slain. This seems to me like it would be fantastic against things with good Saves, but relatively low Wounds, like Terminators, or even Primaris Marines. Basically anything with 2-4 Wounds and a 3+ or better Save, you’ve got good odds of doing more damage with the biting.

Previous posts: Armywide Rules - HQ - Troops


  1. Holy crap that Zoey conversion (or is it the Doom?) is creepy as hell! You must paint it up immediately and use it! I thought Zoeys were ok in units of 4 or more. Maybe everyone will just keep taking Malanthropes for synapse+cover but I guess thats the 'Forgeworld factor'. In fact, judging from your write up, most of the elites feel a bit meh. The only ones you seem to like were so savagely battered in previous editions that they seem wonderful now. Maybe we have Stockholm syndrome?

    1. Thanks! It's just a Zoanthrope, not the Doom. It's halfway painted, but I was still working on it when I hit the point of total frustration with my Nids and put them in storage.

      I might have to edit it, then. The only one I was really unimpressed by is the Venomthrope. I was kind of just trying to tone it down a little because I'm getting tired of Reece over at Frontline being all "Everything is awesome!" all the time.

      Tyrant Guard seem great, Hive Guard are very solid*, Lictors (including DeathLeaper) seem like they could be a lot of fun and quite effective in numbers, if difficult to avoid giving up First Blood with. Zoanthropes, I think I didn't give a fair shake because a) I only have three of them, and b) I broke one of my own guidelines and was thinking of them in the context of the Power Level Games we've been playing, where they're stupidly expensive if you're not running them in Broods of 3 or 6. The Haruspex is a wrecking ball now, and just ridiculously durable, and the Red Terror seems great for digging into certain categories of really durable Units. It just needs backup because it's just one dude.

      *It's a good thing for the Faction that they're not as crucial as they were in 5th. They're very good at their job, it's just that with a bunch of the other changes, they're no longer the *only* thing in the Dex that's good at that job.

    2. Ah sorry, I didn't think you were being over critical and the codex isn't out yet which will probably mix things up all over again. (I wonder if they'll do 'flavours' of Hive Fleets like they are doing with Chapter Tactics?). I resisted the urge to buy 9 Hive Guard in 5th but that was only because I always took 6 with Doom in a pod, I am ashamed to say.