Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Index Tyranids Overview: Heavy Support/Fortification/FW

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.

Trygon Prime
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.

Forge World
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!

Previous posts: Armywide Rules - HQ - Troops - Elites - Fast Attack

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Index Tyranids Overview: Fast Attack

Got kind of distracted from this by prep for the Ordo Fanaticus Club Challenge (we ended up exactly in the middle of the pack overall, but 4th out of 13 teams in painting!), the event itself, and recovering from it. Anyhow, I'm back now with Fast Attack (and Dedicated Transport), tho it's a bit lacking in pics compared to some of the others.

They’re Warriors that fly, so most of what I said about Warriors applies here as well. About 20% more expensive, twice as fast. First impulse is to kit them out for CC, since they get there much faster than regular Warriors, but because the Fly Keyword lets them Fall Back and still shoot, I think a hybrid build might actually be best. First, there’s the obvious benefit that if they get tangled up with something they can’t handle, they can get out of Dodge without rendering them completely ineffectual for the Turn. But also, they can Charge things they’re not going to be able to grind down, but which won’t kill them either, and then bounce out afterward. Could be useful to slingshot into the backfield and shoot up little dinky Objective Holder or Artillery-type Units. Also note that they now have the same 4+ Save as regular Warriors, which is a nice buff.

A long-time fave of mine, sidelined for too much of the last couple of Editions. They’re looking pretty good again now, tho. Rending Claws are the way to go against anything with better than a 5+ Save, so probably the good all-rounder option. I never gave mine guns before, but with the way Pistols work in 8th, Spinefists are looking really nice. I am a little disappointed that they still don’t have the option for Adrenal Glands or Toxin Sacs, since Glands would be really nice with their Burrowing option. Going from 9+ to 8+ for the Charge is a big help. Still looking very useful again, tho.

Sky-Slasher Swarms
OK, I hadn’t looked at these guys when I did the writeup for Rippers. Don’t bother with Rippers. Sky-Slashers cost exactly the same, but they move twice as fast and Fly. If you’ve got the Models, there is literally no reason not to take Sky-Slashers over Rippers. (Since I first wrote this up, we've started seeing Codexes, which seem to generally be featuring Objective Secured-like Rules for Troops. If Nids hold to that pattern, Rippers do still have a place.)

This is the second Unit that I think really lost out in 8th. In the past, the draws for Gargoyles were their Blinding Venom (in various forms, and even as a Bio-Plasma variant earlier on, but it was always really good), and the fact that they have a huge profile, making it really easy for them to provide Cover for even things like Trygons. Blinding Venom is now dependent on them striking first in their Combat, and is rather less impressive than before. It is much more likely to trigger against most targets, but the benefit is much smaller. Cover from intervening Units simply isn’t a thing in 8th, so that role is completely gone. They’re still good Charge Screens for fast Units like Flyrants, Raveners, and even Stealers, but that’s a much more niche role. Disappointing, since I have like 60 of them.

Interestingly, the Harpy is just a Fast Attack Choice, not a Flyer Choice. I can’t actually think of any situation where it matters now that FA don’t have any particular effect in The Scouring, but it caught my attention. Anyhow, the Harpy is also looking pretty good to me. It’s got good movement with no restrictions on turning even tho there is a minimum, the 4+ Save is no longer a deal-breaker, the Spore Mine Cysts can be just brutal, and it’s the most Points-efficient platform for Heavy Venom Cannon or Stranglethorn Cannon. It also has a very forgiving degrading Profile, keeping its BS4+ until it’s down to 3 Wounds. I think I need to finish building the two I have partway done and get them painted.

Hive Crone
The Crone, I’m not so sure about. Not saying it’s bad, but it’s not as obviously improved as the Harpy is. It has the same forgiving Damage Table, and the Tentaclids are no longer limited to 4 shots, but the Drool Cannon lost out in the Template change, and there’s no more Vector Strike. It feels more niche now, with the Tentaclids being a very good anti-Flyer weapon, and solid against other Vehicles, but the Harpy is now much more the Ground Attack variant. On the other hand, if Storm Raven Spam continues to be a thing, being able to fairly reliably put Mortal Wounds on them at significant range could be handy.

Spore Mines/Mucolid Spores
Combining them since they’re basically the same, except that Mucolids are bigger and stronger. I can see some use for them as area denial options, since they are cheap, and can hit pretty hard, and might well discourage a small Unit of Bikes or something from Turbo-Boosting onto an Objective they’re near, they do still have a non-negligible cost, and take up a slot, so I suspect they’ll mostly be seen when spawned by Harpies, Biovores, or Sporocysts, or as mandatory Units to unlock a Brigade.

Not actually a Fast Attack Choice, but since we only have one Dedicated Transport, it didn’t seem worth putting a whole post for it. Looks pretty good to me. It’s expensive, about 50% more so than a Drop Pod, but with better durability against most things, able to carry twice as many Models, packing far more firepower (Venom Cannon look like a really good option to me), and can move around after it lands and actually fight in CC. I’ll take that trade-off. Another that I need to finish building and paint up.

Hopefully it won't be nearly as long a gap until I get the Heavy Support and Fortification post done. After that, I might do one on Forge World Nids, or maybe a wrap-up post for the Index list itself. Until then, y'all have a good one, y'hear!

Previous posts: Armywide Rules - HQ - Troops - Elites