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


  1. Nice review, some interesting choices there!

    I've actually faced Tyranids quite a few times in 8th edition, mostly at tournaments. They seem to be making a big comeback on the tabletop at the moment.

    1. Thanks! I was a major Nid player back in 4th and early 5th, but just got too depressed by their downhill slide since then to keep on with them. But I tried them out in one of my first 8th Ed Games, and not only did they do well, but they were also a whole lot of fun to play. I'm really thinking they may end up as my primary Army again in 8th, and so I wanted to go through the whole Army List and see what there was to work with.

  2. Harpys are good again you say? Hot damn, I'm going to have to pull mine out of storage. I glued the Drool Cannon on the Hive Crone which might be frustrating but my decision to glue Venom Cannons on my Tyrannocytes turned out not to be complete madness after all. Great write up again, thanks. I love that Gargoyle. Do they all have flys wings?

    1. I haven't yet had a chance to actually put my Harpies on the table, but they look good to me on paper.

      Venom Cannon on T-cytes is vicious now. Nice foresight there.

      I have one brood of 16 with the fly wings like that, that I made before there was a plastic Gargoyle kit. Around the same time I did my fly wing Tyrant as well, actually. Originally I was going to do all my flying Nids like that, but then they came out with actual plastic kits that didn't just do somersaults off the table every five minutes, and using those was way easier, so I switched.

      That said, I just saw a pic of Mortarion over on War of Sigmar, and I'm really tempted to hunt up like 5 extra pairs of the insect wings he has, and retrofit the rest of my Flyrants and my Harpies/Crones with them, even tho it would be stupidly expensive.

    2. Foresight!? I just preferred the way they looked vs. Deathspitters. They tended to destroy my own army when I used them in 7th.

      I like the insectile look. I remember someone did a bunch of Shrikes over on Tyranid Hive in this way (wasn't you was it?)

    3. Venom Cannon do look great, yeah. They're more or less back to their 4th Ed profile, too.

      My Shrikes look like the one at the top there. Except more brown and green now. I never did get around to filling in behind the MC ScyTals with clear plastic to make them properly insectile.

    4. If Harpies remain fast attack and not flyers then this is a definite buff for Chapter Approved : Matched Play. They still have 'Boots on the Ground'. Ironic considering they have no feet.

    5. Well, these are Nids we're talking about. Even the ones that do have feet don't wear boots ;)

      I wouldn't be surprised if they remain FA. Most of the things in the Flyer slot have the Airborne, Hard to Hit, and Supersonic Rules.

      That said, I'm not sure I would mind losing their scoring status in exchange for Hard to Hit and Airborne.