friday 40k humor

friday 40k humor

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tyranids and 6th Edition...Fast Attack

Tyranids and 6th part 4.. enjoy

Hey guys, Learn2Eel here from ImperatorGuides, and I’m back to take a detailed 2nd look at the Tyranids.

Hey all, I'm back to give you some fresh insights into the terrifying Tyranids, an army that has under-went some major changes in the new edition of Warhammer 40K. So, let's jump right in with my thoughts on each unit in the Swarm. Consume! 

Fast Attack

Our Fast Attack choices benefit a lot from upgrades and additional weaponry, particularly in the case of Shrikes, Raveners and Gargoyles. Harpies and the like don't necessarily need upgrades to be effective, though they do have a few options available to them that change their role. Generally speaking, your Fast Attack units are designed either for mobile anti-infantry shooting or fast anti-infantry melee, with little real deviation. Gargoyles are the most cost-effective, though Shrikes and Raveners demand some attention as well. Think about fast moving units in other slots when looking at the Fast Attack section first and foremost.

Tyranid Shrikes - Flying Warriors! With wi...oh never mind. Anyway, Shrikes are essentially Warriors with a weaker armour save, a slightly higher base cost and, as you might have guessed, wings. Shrikes, despite not being a Troops choice, essentially fill the same role as Warriors - providing Synapse and Shadow in the Warp, though they are mobile and thus fit well with other fast-moving elements, such as Gargoyles. Again like Warriors, they can be kitted out for some fast-moving ranged firepower, or hard-hitting melee. The latter one is where Shrikes really shine; with their speed, the inclusion of Hammer of Wrath, and the general lack of AP2 weapons at Initiative, Shrikes equipped with Boneswords are amongst the most devastating close-combat units in the game - at least when used against elite infantry such as Terminators and medium infantry like Space Marines. They even put out enough attacks to wade through hordes with relative ease. They are expensive though, and if you give them other upgrades which dramatically increase their combat effectiveness - such as the effervescent Toxin Sacs and useful Adrenal Glands - each model will cost in excess of 50 coyotes.

Though they will mulch through many similarly-costed units in combat, their durability to points ratio doesn't favour them well - like Warriors, they are Battle Cannon or Missile Launcher bait, and owing to their faster nature, they are far more obvious targets too. Shrikes also fall victim to having a +5 armour save, making them quite vulnerable to massed Bolter fire. As such, they require a great deal of finesse to get into the thick of it; jumping from cover to cover, spreading the wounds with smart wound-allocation, and so on. Be careful when charging into cover though, as both the charge is not guaranteed and Shrikes lack assault grenades, meaning they can be harmed quite badly before they strike. As long as you don't go overboard on upgrades, you won't be too frustrated if they die quickly - target saturation is always a big factor for competitive Tyranid armies, and Shrikes are a great way to add to that if your opponent has even the faintest idea of what they are capable of. Very few jump-infantry units in the game compare in melee, though obviously those units usually are nowhere near as costly. Overall, Shrikes are a very good unit to use, but you really need to be careful with them - make them too obvious a target, or upgrade them too much, and you may find they rarely prove their worth.

Raveners - These are comfortably the fastest non-flying monstrous creature units in the Tyranid codex, being Beasts - they have a 12" movement that is not slowed or harmed by terrain, and have Fleet to boot. They share an almost identical profile to Shrikes - with the key differences being their higher Initiative and Attacks, but the loss of Synapse and Shadow in the Warp. As Beasts, they are more reliable in the movement and assault phase than Shrikes, but lose out on Hammer of Wrath. As well, their inclusion means you may need to find mobile synapse elsewhere; however, Raveners are, strangely, a unit that functions very well outside of Synapse range - with Rage, they don't derp out and instead gain an incredible 6 attacks per model on the charge! Did I mention Raveners come with two sets of Scything Talons, WS5 and I5? As you can likely determine, Raveners are obviously a fast assault unit designed to harass enemy units and give enemy artillery/long-range units, such as Havocs and Devastators, a very serious problem - with the Raveners likely to charge in two turns, those units are forced into either shooting at the Raveners and maybe killing them before they attack or ignoring them to focus on the big beasties, guaranteeing their deaths. Raveners are amazing in this role and should always have their speed exploited as much as possible.

Raveners, however, have some of the same issues as Shrikes; namely, a weak armour save, the lack of assault grenades, and lots of useful upgrades that you need to keep in moderation. Costing the same as a Warrior, Raveners are expensive and their upgrades make them considerably more-so. In general, you should take Rending Claws on Raveners - they increase their cost somewhat, but make them a serious threat to light vehicles, monstrous creatures and well armoured opponents, such as Terminators. They are more efficient against almost every unit type, except for hordes, but Raveners shouldn't charge into hordes anyway. You can take guns on Raveners, but it does change their role a bit - don't take Rending Claws and guns, they simply become too much of a points-sink. If you want to take ranged weapons, give them Devourers or Spinefists, the latter of which while less useful on units such as Termagants are far better on Raveners owing to their high number of attacks. A common tactic is giving them Spinefists and Deep Striking out of the ground, surprising your opponent and killing a chunk of infantry. Usually though, I would avoid giving them guns and keep them with Rending Claws - they are at home in combat, and they are safest there as well. Raveners are a good, if expensive (but what isn't in the Tyranid army?) unit that are great diversionary attackers.

Sky-Slasher Swarms - Rippers that have adapted into jump infantry, Sky-Slashers sadly suffer from the same basic issues as Rippers - they are over-costed, they are ineffective, their upgrades are too expensive and provide mediocre boosts, and, laughably, they still die when outside of Synapse. When you consider that Sky-Slashers have wings for the purpose of tarpitting units much quicker, and thus require mobile synapse, you should only ever use them if you have Shrikes or Flying Hive Tyrants handy. Clocking in at one and a half times the cost of a normal Ripper Swarm, Sky-Slashers are decent in the sense that they will get to their quarry much quicker, though, again, you are still paying too much for a very ineffective tar-pit - Hormagaunts are almost as quick, much cheaper, and far better in combat. Much like Rippers, I would usually avoid Sky-Slasher Swarms - however, they do make a decent and fluffy bodyguard for the Parasite of Mortrex.

Gargoyles - Very cost-effective flying Termagants - notice a theme going here? - that do combat far better than their scuttling ilk, due to their melee attacks causing an auto-wound on every to hit roll of a six. Being only a measly potato more than a standard Termagant, Gargoyles gain the very huge benefits of being Jump Infantry - they are twice as quick as Termagants and are thus far better at closing with the enemy quickly to provide decent anti-infantry firepower, or even charge certain units. Sadly, they do lose Move Through Cover, meaning they are susceptible to Dangerous Terrain tests. Still, they make up for it in yet another way - their upgrades, including Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs, are as cheap as they are for Termagants, or half as expensive as Hormagaunts get them for. Given their mobility and pseudo-Fantasy poison rule, Gargoyles make for great melee units - unlike Termagants, they neither benefit from nor need the support abilities of a Tervigon to do their job well. Twenty Gargoyles with both Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs will cost significantly less than twenty Hormagaunts upgraded similarly - though Gargoyles aren't Troops, they still fulfill the same basic role almost as well, if not better, for the points.

There are few negatives to taking Gargoyles - mostly, they are yet another cheap horde unit, but the one that is by far the most cost-effective. About the only consideration is what units to run them with - like anything in the Tyranid army, they are not designed to operate alone, as you want to keep them near Synapse creatures as normal. This is where Flying Hive Tyrants, Harpies, the Parasite of Mortrex and Shrikes come into play - three of the four units benefit the Gargoyles immensely, though the Gargoyles themselves prove to be excellent foils for those units too. The Parasite, for example, gets to join up with a very nasty unit that can soak up a lot of wounds. The flying monstrous creatures get bubble-wrap and mobile cover, with Shrikes enjoying the particular benefits of the latter. Overall, there is very little one can say against Gargoyles - they are a great unit that is almost imperative in an army list with other winged monsters. Take two broods of twenty, upgraded decently, and they will commonly be at the top of your MVP list.

Harpy - The only other flying monstrous creature Tyranids have access to, the Harpy suffers the unfortunate restriction of not being able to target flyers with any weaponry of real note - a S5 Vector Strike and four S5 shots simply do not cut it against most fliers in the game. If you are worried about anti-air, always go for a Flying Hive Tyrant with two twin-linked brain-leech devourers. Always. Now, onto what the Harpy does well - it is death incarnate to most infantry in the game, usually firing a S6 Pinning Large Blast, a S5 Large Blast, and dropping a once-per-game bomb resolved as D3 S4 AP4 large blasts. Put simply, it will obliterate hordes and blob-guard whilst putting on enough wounds to give even Space Marines a serious headache. It also has a S5 AP3 vector strike that ignores cover, which is best used against certain enemies - particularly those poor, poor Space Marines. Being a flying monstrous creature, it is hard as hell to shoot down, and it is exceedingly quick, compensating for the mediocre range of its weaponry. Due to being a monster, it can also in a pinch charge an enemy vehicle or even an isolated unit, such as a Long Fang squad, and tear them to shreds - obviously though, gliding at the wrong moment can leave a Harpy dangerously exposed to a counter-attack. As good as its anti-infantry firepower is, it is sadly very fragile as far as Tyranid monstrous creatures go - a Toughness of 5, four wounds and only a +4 armour save make it mince meat for Autocannons, particularly Hydras, that are in abundance in the current meta. Given their high cost, Harpies are a risky unit to use - they will lose any aerial duel, and be high priority targets for foot-slogging army lists.

The Harpy does have access to upgrades - Adrenal Glands, Toxin Sacs and Regeneration, though a Harpy typically requires none of these as its combat abilities don't need improvement - it is supposed to shoot anyway - and Regeneration, whilst cheaper for a Harpy, is still too random to justify its expense. It can swap out its two ranged weapons for alternates that make it more useful against ground vehicles, though I believe you should give these a miss as the Harpy does not do anti-tank particularly well at all, especially for the cost. At least when used solely as an anti-infantry platform, the Harpy shines - it can put out a lot of hurt very quickly, and in this way, it combines very well with Gargoyles and Flying Hive Tyrants for cover and target saturation. Whilst I find they are decent units, they are definitely over-costed, and as I have made clear before, Tyranids have anti-infantry firepower in abundance by taking any kind of basic army. They are best used only if you plan on using other flying units, as they are too fragile to justify their cost if used alone. A note I will make is their Sonic Screech ability - it halves the Initiative of enemy units in an assault for the first round. This works well with other units, though with readily available cover and the high Initiative of most Tyranids anyway, it isn't all that much of a boon. As far as the actual model goes, I would recommend purchasing a Trygon kit and getting your hands on a set of Flying Hive Tyrant wings - if that proves too costly, try getting a set of organic-looking wings elsewhere, either from Forge World or Games Workshop. It would require a lot of conversion work, but I would say it will be worth it if you do it correctly - just keep in mind that an actual Harpy model may very well be released in the coming year.

Spore Mine Cluster - Living bombs that explode the second any enemy unit gets within 2" of them, Spore Mine Clusters are a bit of an odd duck out - they deep-strike on to the board before any units are deployed, and if any of them scatter into impassable terrain or off the board, the entire unit dies. Once they've landed, each Spore Mine in the cluster is treated as an individual Spore Mine during the game. You can't even control them once the game starts - they drift D6" in a random direction at the start of each turn, and are removed if they move into impassable terrain or off the board. They aren't cheap either - at least, not per model, as their squad sizes are very small as far as Tyranids go. Once something does touch them or get too close, they do quite a bit of damage - you centre a S4 AP4 large blast over the Spore Mine, hitting anything nearby. Not bad at all. You might be thinking that against armies with light infantry, such as Tau or Eldar, these can be a great scare tactic - unfortunately, because they deploy before every other unit does, a smart opponent can simply ignore them, or, even better, tank shock them with vehicles and watch them combust harmlessly. As such, their best use is to attempt to deep-strike them onto an objective that is out of the way - they will literally die the second they are shot by anything, with one Toughness 1 wound and no saves each. I don't rate them personally, and the points are far better off invested elsewhere, but for laughs, why not?

Example Builds - Here are some good or decent ways to run our much loved Fast Attack choices;

Shrikes (6) w/ lash whip and bonesword - 300

Raveners (6) w/ rending claws - 210

Gargoyles (20) w/ adrenal glands, toxin sacs - 160

Raveners (6) w/ spinefists - 210

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tyranids and 6th Edition...Elites

Here is the next supplement in this series of articles. Enjoy!

Hey guys, Learn2Eel here from ImperatorGuides, and I’m back to take a detailed 2nd look at the Tyranids.

Hey all, I'm back to give you some fresh insights into the terrifying Tyranids, an army that has under-went some major changes in the new edition of Warhammer 40K. So, let's jump right in with my thoughts on each unit in the Swarm. Consume! 


Our Elites slot is home to our widest array of competitive choices, with Hive Guard, Deathleaper, Zoanthropes and others all trying to crowd into your army list. Generally speaking, most Tyranid armies are best served by using their Elites slot to get invaluable ranged anti-tank - of which Hive Guard are the most popular by far, though Zoanthropes are also good for this. Reserve-heavy armies, or those relying on melee or disruption tactics, will find they are best suited to units such as Ymgarl Genestealers or the Doom of Malan'tai. My usual recommendation would be a mix of mostly Hive Guard and some Zoanthropes, with maybe the Doom of Malan'tai or some Ymgarl Genestealers thrown in. Tyranid Elites tend to be the most consistent performers in a Tyranid force.

Hive Guard - With a S8 AP4 Assault 2 24" range gun at BS4 that essentially ignores cover saves, Hive Guard are the premier tank hunters in the codex and pound-for-pound one of the best units in the book. Though their close combat abilities are admittedly mediocre, Hive Guard make up for that by being tough as nails - each one is Toughness 6 with two wounds and a +4 armour save! This gets much better when you look at their special rules though - so long as they don't fail an Instinctive Behaviour test, Hive Guard are able to shoot without requiring Line of Sight; you can hide them in a ruin with no windows and fire at a tank, and not grant it cover saves! As a rule, Hive Guard ignore cover provided by Jink, Night Fighting, Smoke Launchers and so on; only area terrain works, and only if it actually lies between the Hive Guard and their quarry. My interpretation of this rule is that, for example, if in a forest, the unit has to actually be behind trees the Hive Guard are facing; otherwise they won't get cover. This makes Hive Guard incredibly threatening to vehicles, as well as any Toughness 4 or lower multi-wound model - units that are ironically found in abundance in the Tyranid codex.

Generally speaking, Hive Guard are unlikely to die if you use them in this way, and will require at worst a turn or two to get into position and start firing away. Mech heavy armies rightfully fear Hive Guard, which makes them a great target for them - one that is very hard to shift! The best aspect of this unit is their cost; they are cheap for what they bring, and thus can and should be run in high numbers. Competitive Tyranid armies tend to feature a minimum of six Hive Guard at 1500 points - they are an amazing unit that you should always make room for. A note on unit sizes; three two-strong broods can engage more targets and potentially 'stun' more vehicles each turn, but two broods of three should wreck an AV11 or lower vehicle each turn on average. I suggest trying each kind of build out and working out which works best for you.

Lictors - Despite rocking an awesome model, Lictors are sadly one of the least useful units in the codex, a fact made all the more apparent by the prevalence of Hive Guard and Zoanthropes in the Elites slot. They are good in combat, and they provide a handy reserves bonus the turn after they arrive - their ability to appear in any terrain anywhere on the board is useful. Unfortunately, they are peppered with drawbacks; without cover saves, they die extremely easily - flamers are their bane, and with the changes to Overwatch, this means they are highly unlikely to ever get into combat. Though their combat abilities are decent, they are not as good as their exorbitant price tag would indicate. They have a mediocre shooting attack and suffer highly from not being able to assault the turn they arrive, leaving them stranded and open to readily available firepower that will most likely wipe them out. Their reserve bonus is also of little use, as it applies after the Lictors arrive; given that you generally want reserves down as quickly as possible, and that they are random, this is not good at all. Though Fleet and Hit and Run can save them if they get into combat with something nasty, generally, the damage will have already been done. They are too expensive and their abilities are mediocre at best - as much as I would love to use them, as their background and models are amazing, they are one of the weakest links in the codex and should be avoided for competitive play. If you are going to use them, deploy them smartly and use them to tie up units such as Devastators for a turn - forcing them to fire at the Lictors or be wiped out is a good way to draw fire off of your more valuable units, even if it is only for a turn.

Deathleaper - Given that I just lambasted Lictors, you would think my opinion of a special character version of them that is more than double the cost would be exceedingly negative. Yeah, well, surprises do happen, as Deathleaper will prove when you employ it. Put simply, like the Parasite, Deathleaper is an expensive unit with very situational abilities; unlike the Parasite, Deathleaper's abilities are far more likely to be of use to you. With Stealth and Shrouded, it has a meaty +4 cover save in the open - making it a lot more durable than a standard Lictor - coupled with its ability to disappear off the table at the end of your movement phase, and reappear without scatter like a Lictor, Deathleaper can be very difficult to get rid of, and one of the best baiting units in the entire game. It reduces the Leadership of an enemy character by D3 before the start of the game - making psykers and Dark Apostles cry - and any enemy infantry unit within 12" of it has to test for both Difficult and Dangerous terrain. Nice!

Unlike Lictors, Deathleaper actually does shine in combat - with an incredible WS9, I7 and 4 S6 attacks that Rend on a +5, Deathleaper is not only far harder to hit for most infantry, it also will kill much more - obviously, it is a phenomenal character killer. Did I mention its shooting attack also rends on a +5, making it a very funny "pop up, blow up a tank, disappear" unit? All this combines to make Deathleaper one of the most versatile and dually situational units in the game, with an almost limitless array of tactical applications - to use it properly requires the deft touch of a highly skilled player, as any wrong move and it will die quickly. I am also quite convinced it is a member of the League of Trolls - headed by Trazyn the Infinite and Tzeentch. The best example of this is to sit on an objective far out of the way of both armies, hiding, and force your opponent to send a nasty unit its way. For example, an opponent deep-strikes a close-combat Terminator squad in to kill it as Deathleaper will likely wipe out a standard Troops choice single-handedly. Deathleaper then disappears, meaning that Terminator squad is forced to foot-slog across the board for the rest of the game. You would be surprised how often something like this will happen - and I have seen it happen, if you don't believe me. Despite its exorbitant cost, its assortment of abilities make it a deadly tool in the hands of a skilled player; don't use it lightly, but if you get good with it, Deathleaper will be a regular star.

Venomthropes - With cover saves more readily available than ever in 6th Edition, and with a reduction to the cover save it provides, the Venomthrope is no longer as useful a choice as it was; its main purpose to protect your swarms as they moved up. Despite this, it is still a decent unit to employ; it has defensive grenades and lash whips and forces opponents to take dangerous terrain tests when assaulting, meaning that it can hold out in the unfortunate event that it is charged - allowing you to save the day with your other units. Their Poisoned attacks and Toxic Miasma also give them a decent chance of harming their opponents, though Venomthropes should generally keep out of combat. With a Toughness of 4, two wounds and a weak armour save though, they are prime targets for things like missile launchers and Hades Autocannons. Though their innate cover saves help, they aren't exactly hard to kill and as such need to be protected appropriately. Generally speaking, they are there to help protect other units - use them as such, and you won't be disappointed, especially in a game where terrain can be hard to come by. They are a decent unit that, whilst not as effective as they once were, still have a place in a lot of Tyranid armies.

Zoanthropes - Remember how I said Hive Guard will usually be crowding into most of your Elites slots as you need their anti-tank capabilities? Say hello to their pen-pals, the Zoanthropes - brain-bugs that literally radiate with power. Providing both Synapse and Shadow in the Warp, Zoanthropes are arguably the most versatile unit in the codex. With access to the many rulebook psychic disciplines, as well as their own considerably strong offensive powers, Zoanthropes can have a very unique role in almost any game they play in, based upon the circumstances at hand. Their basic powers are not to be dismissed; Warp Lance is a S10 AP1 Assault 1 18" Lance at BS4, or, as I like to call it, a mind-bullet that turns Land Raiders into barbecued grime, and their other power, a S5 AP3 Assault 1 24" Blast, is a great ability to make Space Marines feel the heat. Packing that much offensive power generally means they want to get up decently close; a Mycetic Spore (covered later) is invaluable in this way. Their other use though, of course, is as support psykers; with each Zoanthrope in a brood (maximum of three) able to switch their powers out for two rolls on the Biomancy, Telekinesis or Telepathy disciplines, this allows for some random, but very diverse play. Interestingly, each Zoanthrope makes this choice individually; one can keep their stock powers, whilst another rolls on Biomancy and potentially gets Endurance, handing out Feel No Pain and It Will Not Die.

As you would expect, their high offensive capabilities at range and strong support abilities come at the cost of durability; though they are Toughness 4, with two wounds and a +3 invulnerable save, they are hardly infallible and easy prey for massed Bolters or Krak Missiles. Due to their reputation and latent powers, they are also a high priority target for any intelligent player. Their frailty becomes even more pronounced in melee, where their low Weapon Skill, Initiative and Attacks means that units such as Tactical Marines can beat them down with little difficulty. As it goes, Zoanthropes require finesse and a good deal of protection - usually through target saturation. An opponent won't focus on your Zoanthropes if a Trygon is barreling towards them, right? Generally, pairs are best advised for Zoanthropes - one is an easy kill point, and three becomes just a little too expensive. When it comes to switching their powers out, you should do it if you feel their offensive powers either aren't needed or you are more worried about certain kinds of enemies or protecting your units - when flyers are in abundance, going for Objuration Mechanicum is always worthwhile. Conversely, getting Endurance on at least one Zoanthrope in a brood is a good way to either keep them alive or boost the survivability of another unit exponentially. Keep them protected at all times, and regardless of how you use them, they shouldn't disappoint. A great unit! As for the Hive Guard and Zoanthrope comparison, generally, Hive Guard are better tank-hunters against anything that isn't AV13 or AV14, as their range and number of shots balance out the higher Strength and AP of the Zoanthropes. However, Zoanthropes are both more multi-purpose and more expensive - and pay for that with relative frailty.

The Doom of Malan'tai - The second special character in the Elites slot, and one that is quite famous in tournament and local circles alike. The main reason for this are its special rules; firstly, it regains a wound up to ten for each unsaved wound it causes. Secondly, it has an ability where at the start of either players' shooting phase, any enemy unit within 6" takes a Leadership test on 3D6 - for every point they fail by, they take a wound with no armour saves allowed. It's Strength is always equal to its Wounds value. Lastly, it has a psychic power where the Strength is equal to its wounds, resolved as an AP1 Large Blast. Yeah. This thing is destruction incarnate to foot-slogging armies, forces which are now in abundance due to 6th Edition - the really funny thing is though, this little bug was already considered 'cheese' in a mech-heavy environment. So, what are its drawbacks? A Toughness of 4 and only a +3 invulnerable save means that it suffers the same problem Zoanthropes do - instant-death from readily available Krak Missiles. Generally speaking though, the move to S7 (Plasma and Autocannons) over S8 (Melta and Krak Missiles) is becoming more and more apparent, and few players bother with Power Fists now due to the challenge rules. And, because it gains wounds so quickly and easily, small arms fire simply doesn't work against it. You must be thinking, well, it has to be incredibly expensive, right? Right? Wrong. This thing is absurdly cheap for what it does, clocking in at under 100 tacos. Point for point, it is by far the deadliest unit in the entire codex.

Despite how incredible it is, there are still a few considerations; one is that, being Infantry, it moves up rather slowly, and thus requires a Mycetic Spore - if you have the Doom of Malan'tai, you should always fork out the small tax to give it the Spore. Always. Not only does it let you come down right in the thick of the enemy lines, it gives you an alpha-strike - they can't kill it before it gets to do some damage! And, given the new FAQ ruling allowing the Doom to deploy 6" out of the Mycetic spore, there is literally no way to get away from it even if the Spore scatters. What you must also be prepared for is for the Doom to do very little in some games; its abilities, especially when paired with deep striking, are innately random and will do little against certain armies (mech/flyer heavy). However, for how little it costs, that possibility should be in the back of your mind - there are many far-reaching reports, and my own personal experience, to prove that it will almost always make up its points cost and be the target of pretty much the entire enemy army - and I am deadly serious. Given that it will likely vaporise half of a unit three times over on its first turn and subsequently reave another with its psychic attack, the Doom will likely be targeted by obscene amounts of firepower - and unless they have lots of S8 shooting, they are unlikely to kill it off. Bam - the rest of your army gets to move up unpunished. This is the beauty of the Doom - it is essentially the ultimate terror weapon and can turn an entire game on its head, despite costing very little. As such, I consider this to be a near must-have for any competitive Tyranid army, especially ones that are reserve-heavy. Cheese incarnate indeed.

Pyrovores - A moving heavy flamer with power weapons attack you say? As Admiral Ackbar famously declared; "It's a trap!". This is probably the best expression to use when describing Pyrovores - units that, like Lictors, have good models and some decent fluff behind them. Unfortunately, they have some relentlessly major drawbacks which conflict with the two main abilities they have. Though they have a heavy flamer, they are only Infantry - they also are relatively easy to kill with Toughness 4, two wounds and a +4 armour save. Their frailty means you need to bubble-wrap them with Termagants or Hormagaunts, which consequently prevents them from firing their only weapon. Though you can purchase a mycetic spore for them, their range and weaponry are both small and not strong enough to justify the extra investment. Overwatch gives them some joy, but most opponents, namely Space Marines, won't mind taking some hits from a heavy flamer. Even more confusing is that they have power weapon attacks - as far as I can tell, these are treated as AP3 - despite having both a low Weapon Skill and only 1 attack each at Initiative 1. Essentially, they pay a mighty tax for abilities which themselves are rendered near useless both by their role in the army and their mediocre stat-line. Have I mentioned yet how Tyranids excel at anti-infantry firepower all the time, regardless of taking Pyrovores?

Despite being an unnaturally aggravating unit to use and justify their high cost in both money and points, Pyrovores can be made to work if you are really dedicated and/or bought the models (which isn't a bad thing, as they are nice to look at). The only real way to use them is in a pair in a Mycetic Spore, and hope to get their flame on against +4 armoured infantry - namely Tau, Eldar, Dark Eldar and so on, of which the Pyrovores may find they aren't completely useless against. The really sad thing though, is that for the exact same points cost, you can get the Doom of Malan'tai in a Mycetic Spore, which is both far deadlier and far harder to kill - opponents can afford to ignore Pyrovores, but not the Doom, or even Ymgarls. Unfortunately, Pyrovores deservedly carry the label of "worst unit in Warhammer 40000" - they are a confused mess that tries to do two things and ultimately fails horrifically at both. Did they have to make it cost a mere five popsickles less than a Hive Guard? Ignore these - there is absolutely no use for Pyrovores even in a semi-competitive scene.

Ymgarl Genestealers - The Tyranid equivalent of bogeymen hiding beneath a child's bed, Ymgarl Genestealers have some interesting unique rules that make them a difficult unit to ignore when writing up an army list. The first one is why they are so respected - and feared - in 6th Edition; they begin the game in Reserves, and once they are available, are placed in a piece of area terrain secretly selected after both sides have deployed. They may then launch an assault on the turn they arrive. This is obviously a massive advantage to have, given the changes to Outflank meaning there are only a handful of units able to charge on the turn they arrive from reserves - essentially a melee alpha-strike that, if played right, ties the unit up and prevents them from being shot at in retaliation! The applications of this are far and wide, with being able to tie up nasty ranged units and destroy them - such as Devastators - or wrecking an otherwise durable vehicle, like a Leman Russ, in combat with their Rending Claws. Generally speaking, Ymgarl Genestealers want to finish their first assault during their opponents turn, even if it can be hard due to their insanely good combat abilities. What say you to each model in the unit having a Space Marine Captain-esque profile for combat purposes, minus an attack and grenades, plus a point of Initiative and Rending weapons? I'm betting - yes, yes indeed!

Their other unique ability ties directly into killing units in the turn that you want - they must 'shift' their forms at the start of each assault phase, regardless of whether they are in combat, and gain either +1 Strength, +1 Toughness or +1 Attack - the entire unit picks the same benefit, and you must change to a different one each turn. With a +4 armour save, the Toughness boost is the best way to severly cripple, but not wipe out, an enemy unit on the turn they arrive and take punishment quite easily. Then, switch to the Strength or Attacks bonus - whichever would be more effective in that situation - and finish off the unit, allowing them to move and charge something else the next turn. Generally speaking, more attacks helps against lower Toughness, high model count units, whilst the extra Strength helps against high Toughness, low model count units. Don't forget your Rending Claws - this can make a big difference when fighting certain units, and paired with +1 Strength or +1 Attack, makes Ymgarls a very serious threat to high Toughness units and vehicles. Of course, for all that gravy, you do have some drawbacks; namely the lack of assault grenades, meaning you will usually strike last on the turn you arrive, and they are rather expensive. Though I think they are priced appropriately for what they do, you need to strike a balance between cost and effectiveness - that usually means taking seven to eight-strong broods, with any less being too few to win combats and any more becoming too much of a point sink. As an alpha-strike unit though, they have few equals, save of course for the Doom of Malan'tai - you can't go wrong with Ymgarls though. Just remember not to use too many of them and thus sacrifice ranged anti-tank through Hive Guard or Zoanthropes.

Example Builds - Though our Elites have no upgrade options, here are some recommended bulds based on unit size for these units;

Hive Guard (3) - 150

Zoanthropes (2) w/ mycetic spore - 180

The Doom of Malan'tai w/ mycetic spore - 130

Ymgarl Genestealers (8) - 184

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tyranids and 6th Edition...Troops

Part 2: Troops

Hey guys, Learn2Eel here from ImperatorGuides, and I’m back to take a detailed 2nd look at the Tyranids.

Hey all, I'm back to give you some fresh insights into the terrifying Tyranids, an army that has under-went some major changes in the new edition of Warhammer 40K. So, let's jump right in with my thoughts on each unit in the Swarm. Consume! 


The core of a Tyranid army, Troops choices are where the majority of your mostly necessary bodies will come from, either in the form of tough Warriors, droves of Hormagaunts and Termagants, amazing Tervigons, or a mixture of all. The most competitive combo usually proves to be Termagants paired with Tervigons, though Hormagaunts are always great, whilst Warriors and the like fit into a wide variety of lists. Usually, you don't want to upgrade your Troops choices that much - though they are generally the best units to give upgrades to. Just don't go overboard and remember that greater numbers usually win with these units.

Tyranid Warriors -Arguably the most famous sub-species of the Tyranid race, Warriors often form the core of a Tyranid army - they are durable, provide decent firepower, and are good in combat. Generally speaking, they are your more expensive - but stronger - utilitarian infantry equivalents to Space Marines, though they are less adaptable to taking out vehicles and will generally fall over in a heap when engaged by a walker. Tyranid Warriors provide a key role by being the only standard Troops choice that provides Synapse and Shadow in the Warp, meaning they play a big part in most armies so that your forces can operate at peak efficiency. They are invaluable in smaller games where their relatively cheap cost compared to other Synapse alternatives comes into play, and larger games where you can't spread out your Synapse coverage as much without them. On top of this, they come stock with decent anti-infantry guns, and with Scything Talons, a good Weapon Skill and a high number of attacks, Warriors are quite nasty in an assault. In fact, their natural profile is fantastic - though their Ballistic Skill and Armour Save are mediocre, each Warrior has three wounds and Leadership 10, on top of usual Space Marine statistics like Strength, Toughness and Initiative 4. They can be kitted out with lots of different options that either make them nastier shooters or Terminator-hunters in combat alike.

The main detriment to their cause, however, is their cost and vulnerability to instant death - whilst 6th Edition is favouring plasma over krak missiles, they still drop like flies to Hades/Psybolt Autocannons and Leman Russ Battle Tanks, both of which are very common in the game nowadays. They will cease to exist the moment they come up against Tyranid Hive Guard. Their upgrades, whilst great, add up to an already considerably expensive unit that are too easily negated by certain weapons. However, it is not all bad - by the same token, a Warrior will on average die to three plasma hits, whilst two Terminators would die to the same number of shots and cost a lot more points. A Tyranid Warrior is - incredibly - as durable against small arms fire as a Terminator, for cheaper. This means that the meta change does benefit them immensely, though S8 weapons can and will still appear - and Warriors are prime targets for them. Make sure to abuse cover with them as necessary, and be careful where you set them up - they are both great objective holders and grabbers, but should be kitted out accordingly. A brood with a Venom Cannon or two with Deathspitters will provide a nasty defensive unit that is not easily removed, especially in combat. Kit a combat unit out with boneswords or a lash whip and bonesword and move them from cover to cover to grab midfield objectives - almost anything that gets near them will be eviscerated. Even Paladins will be frightened of them!

Generally speaking, you want to minimise the upgrades on Warriors as much as you can though - to ensure they don't die too quickly, you need them in chunky broods of around five or six, which when you add good stuff like Toxin Sacs and Boneswords can quickly turn into a 200+ point investment that disappears the moment a Battle Cannon shows up. Upgrade them as necessary, and they will do fine - it must be noted, however, that an entire army composed of Warriors is not recommended, as it will simply leave you too vulnerable to several kinds of armies, and will have too small a model count to make a big difference. They work well in one or two units, spread for synapse coverage and firepower with a touch of melee danger. They are good in that sense, but you need to make sure to take care of them. 

Genestealers - Once one of the deadliest combat units in Warhammer 40000, Genestealers have been hit hard by the changes to Outflank - meaning they can no longer charge out of reserves. Whilst this means that you can't simply abuse them in that way, forcing a worried opponent to bunch up in the middle of the board and thus become easily surrounded, they are still quite capable fighters once they actually get into combat. With a ridiculous Weapon Skill and Initiative paired with a good chunk of Rending attacks, they will make mince meat of almost any equivalently costly unit. There are few Troops choices in the game that carry as much threat as they do up close. But is that all there is to them? Unfortunately, no. With a weak armour save and a middle-of-the-ground Toughness, Genestealers are prime bait for any kind of anti-infantry shooting - even the standard Bolter ignores their armour saves, meaning Genestealers are forced to hug cover as they run forward. Though Move Through Cover and Fleet mitigate this, mobility does become an issue, and actually declaring a charge at the wrong moment can be very costly - with the new Overwatch rules, Genestealers can be gunned down well before they even get close to the enemy. Flamers are, and always have been, their bane - more-so with the Wall of Flame.

So how are Genestealers run in a competitive sense? Most commonly, they are infiltrated into a good position before the game begins, forcing your opponent to focus on them or lose a chunk of their forces, or hiding in a good line-of-sight blocking terrain to minimize their casualties when they move up. As for the actual squad layout, the most common build is as the 'Broodlord Delivery System' - that is, a bare five-strong squad with one upgraded to a Broodlord. The reason for this is the amazing abilities of the Broodlord, especially in light of 6th Edition - particularly challenges. Broodlords rock a stat-line that would make a Tyranid Prime blush, and they are a paltry sixty poppies - with Rending Claws and a high volume of S5 attacks, they are very adept at killing up close. The best part is their basic psychic power, Hypnotic Gaze - simply put, you and a random opponent in base contact (i.e. a challenge) roll a D6 each and add your respective Leadership values, remembering that a Broodlord is LD10. If the Broodlord rolls equal to or higher than its opponent, that enemy model can't attack at all. See where I am going with this? You can feasibly tarpit a nasty commander such as Draigo and wail on him, causing a wound each turn without even a hint of resistance. Typical squad leaders will usually fall in a heap when a Broodlord is around, and many Commander-level characters stand little chance at defeating it too. And, with access to Biomancy and the like, it can either buff itself even more or provide some great benefits for other units in your army. Simply put, you want a Broodlord - you know you want a character assassin in a squad so small your opponent won't see it coming.

Whilst the Commando style Genestealers are a good and nasty unit that is very cheap, they shouldn't fill up your Troops choices - Termagants, Tervigons and the like should still fill up most of your slots for the purposes of objectives games. Genestealers run in this fashion are there to kill - though they can obviously grab an objective and dissuade melee units from engaging them, it still isn't their best use. For what they cost, Genestealers are fantastic in combat, but lack reliable ways of getting there without suffering significant damage along the way - this means that the best way to use them is as smaller, distraction units that complement your army. I wouldn't usually use them in any other capacity. Always add a Broodlord to these spiny fellas.

Mycetic Spore (Dedicated Transport) - The Tyranid Drop Pod, (no really!) a Mycetic Spore is a cheap-as-chips monstrous creature that will die the second a krak missile hits it. But that isn't why you are here - it deep strikes a friendly unit, such as Termagants or even a lone Carnifex, into the fray with the same scatter reduction rules as a Loyalist Drop Pod. And for that purpose, it is great - not to mention, it can do a little bit of damage on its own, with a decent ranged weapon and lash whips to dissuade potential chargers (want to know what happened to the unlucky Daemon Prince that charged a Mycetic Spore?). Once a unit has dropped down and jumped out within 6" - a very tasty change in the recent FAQs (Doom alert!) - the Mycetic Spore is immobile and can't do anything except shoot at something that gets close to it. It has terrible WS and BS, and generally a terrible stat-line - albeit a high strength - but again, that isn't what you worry about with a Mycetic Spore. It literally pays for itself when Devourer-armed Termagants drop in and wipe out an entire enemy infantry unit, or launches a smiling Carnifex right into the thick of your opponents' backfield.

Mycetic Spores definitely combine well with certain units, particularly ones such as Zoanthropes and the Doom of Malan'tai - the latter of which requires a Mycetic Spore - and as such is well worth the price tag in every game that you use them. As for upgrades, you don't need to worry about them - whilst sticking Cluster Spines on them might be fun, it generally isn't worth upgrading something that is there solely to transport a unit and provide some very light harassment in a tiny radius. You should always consider these when using several units - laughably, they are the only way to make Pyrovores even a slight, miniscule possibility for a semi-competitive army. That is, if you've buried your head up your.......

Tervigon (Troops) - As I mentioned these in the HQ section already, a lot of what I would normally say has already been covered - I advise checking that section to get a more full analysis of a Tervigon in general. However, I will say that they are fantastic support units that, by spawning more Troops choices, are a key choice in almost any competitive Tyranid army. They are extremely durable and are very dangerous in a pinch - give them Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands, Crushing Claws and Catalyst and you are set. What I didn't cover before, was that every Termagant brood in the army list allows a Tervigon to be taken as a Troops choice - that cheesy T6 W6 monstrous creature that casts psychic buffs and is very dangerous up close can be a scoring unit? You read right - as a Troops choice, a Tervigon is even more brutal for your opponent to deal with, as it is arguably pound-for-pound one of the toughest scoring units in the game, whilst providing amazing buffs for units around them. It simply makes an already incredible unit that much better, and I thoroughly recommend that you use Tervigons as Troops choices wherever possible. A phenomenal unit, and one that should form the core of your competitive armies in conjunction with Termagants.

Termagants - The Tyranid equivalent of Guardsmen, Termagants are cannon-fodder with decent guns, which, combined with Move Through Cover, make them decent harassment units - they are also great tar-pit units. They are crazily cheap and can be fielded in table-covering hordes, though their use usually involves taking smaller broods. There are two main ways to field them; the first is as minimum sized units to fit Tervigons into your Troops slots; which you would be crazy not to do, frankly. Considering Tervigons spawn more Termagants, you don't need to field those starting on the board in large broods - invest the points elsewhere. When paired with Tervigons, Termagants become brutal combat units against the likes of monstrous creatures and even elite infantry - drowning your opponents in a high number of Initiative 4 poisoned attacks. If you use Termagants with Tervigons, never upgrade them either - their best upgrades to fit the role in a Tervigon-heavy army are actually purchased for a Tervigon, that applies to multiple units and is much cheaper.

The other, and perhaps more popular, use of Termagants is decent sized broods armed with Devourers - S4 AP- Assault 3 18" guns that make even your basic Troops a nightmare for light infantry of any kind. Even Space Marines will feel the heat from the sheer number of shots put out by Devourer-armed Termagants - appropriately abbreviated to 'Devilgants'. They pay for this weaponry though, as each Devilgant costs the same as two basic Termagants. This is where you need to weigh up cost and effectiveness - whilst Devilgants win in most cases, they are very fragile for the cost and become more obvious targets for your opponent. You don't want to tar-pit with Devilgants either, a key role which is often filled by Termagants. Generally speaking, Devilgants should stick to cover - as for delivery, they can also take a Mycetic Spore, which I would recommend as they are quite capable of obliterating entire infantry units in a single salvo at close range.

Overall, Termagants should always be used in one of two ways; as meat for Tervigons, or as rockin' Devilgants. Each path for this unit is great if used correctly, even if their role changes considerably. When used as large swarms with no upgrades though, you are better off looking at Hormagaunts - provided you aren't fielding Tervigons of course. Termagants aren't naturally a great unit, but when moulded into one of those two themes, they become very effective and dangerous units for a very low cost. Always consider Termagants or Devilgants in your competitive armies.

Hormagaunts - The little critters have undergone some serious changes in 6th Edition. They are almost as quick as they once were, though it is more random than before. Overwatch means opponents can get some extra shots into your hordes, reducing their combat effectiveness, and random charge lengths can leave them stranded due to a bad roll. Cover saves are thankfully far easier to come by, but the biggest change is Fearless; with the removal of No Retreat! wounds, Hormagaunts truly are one of the most cost-effective melee horde units in the entire game. Also, the change to Rage has benefited Hormagaunts greatly; they no longer charge at the nearest enemy unit, but instead gain an incredible +2 attacks on the charge! This means you will need to weigh up whether risking the loss of Fearless is worth the bonus damage they can cause. With Scything Talons, a high Initiative and a sheer number of attacks, Hormagaunts can put the pain on nearly any unit with impunity - Hormagaunts can and should be fielded in absolutely massive broods, fulfilling every players' vision of a far-spread Tyranid horde backed by monsters. Though they lack guns, the sheer speed of Hormagaunts usually compensates for this - they are more expensive than Termagants, but generally much better at what they do.

Hormagaunts have access to a few upgrades, the main one to focus on though is Toxin Sacs; for a paltry cost, you can give each Hormagaunt Poisoned attacks, turning them into literal blenders against anything that isn't a vehicle. A Wraithlord got you down? See how much it likes being hit by sixty or more attacks hitting on 4s with re-rolls of 1s, then wounding on 4s. Hint; that is a very dead Wraithlord. Obviously though, the costs mount up the bigger a unit is; generally speaking, Poison is a fantastic upgrade when preparing for multiple opponents, though Adrenal Glands also have a place due to allowing Hormagaunts to damage the rear armour of most transports. Usually, I wouldn't bother with Adrenal Glands though, as Hive Guard should take out said transports before the Hormagaunts get close, and Toxin Sacs are far more useful in general. One of the crippling oversights for Hormagaunt is a stark lack of assault grenades; usually though, Hormagaunts can ignore this if you charge them at the right units. Taking all that in, I would say Hormagaunts are point-for-point the best melee unit in the codex, and our best tarpit outside of Tervigon-spawned Termagants. Take them in broods of 20 or more, and either leave them bare or give them Poison - they will do their job, and do it very well.

Ripper Swarms - Your other tarpit unit, Rippers have lots of wounds and attacks, but are far less effective in combat than Hormagaunts and cost considerably more. Not to mention that Rippers actually die once they fall out of Synapse range - sadly, they are a unit that always needs to be kept in check, which is not always possible. Still, they do have their uses; aside from S6+ weaponry, they are considerably more durable than Hormagaunts, and are likely to hold up most infantry units in combat for a longer period of time, which is important for any Tyranid army. For the record, you should also avoid upgrading them - they are already a lot more expensive than they should be, and the upgrades do little of note to justify their cost. The only potentially useful one, given their role, is the Tunnel Swarm upgrade - the cheapest of the lot. This allows them to Deep Strike, getting close to the enemy much quicker. Of course, this means they are a lot more likely to mishap and either be delayed or die, so you need to be careful if you use this. Still, you should probably just avoid that and run them up the field - they really are there to die, so you may as well let them soak up some firepower. I would usually avoid Rippers, but they are ok once they get into combat; soaking up some worried Devastator fire and assaulting them is sure to give you a smile.

Example Builds - Our Troops choices have multiple builds and options available, and I'll cover some of them here;

Warriors (5) w/ deathspitters, venom cannon - 190

Genestealers (5) w/ Broodlord - 116

Tervigon w/ crushing claws, cluster spines, catalyst, adrenal glands, toxin sacs - 220

Termagants (15) w/ devourers, mycetic spore - 190

Hormagaunts (20) w/ toxin sacs - 160

You can read even more Tyranid thoughts in the Lounge here.  Have at it folks - how are you running your Tyranid Troops these days?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tyranids and 6th edition...HQ's

GW has really been spreading the love around lately especially with the Xenos with all the Codex releases we have seen so far this year. There hasn't been a lot on the Nids as of late except that people seem to be playing them more in 6th. Why? Well here is a series of articles I saw that might help explain, it seems that they are more playable in 6th! Here is a review on HQ's.

original poster: Learn2Eel

Hey guys, Learn2Eel here from ImperatorGuides, and I’m back to take a detailed 2nd look at the Tyranids.

Hey all, I'm back to give you some fresh insights into the terrifying Tyranids, an army that has under-went some major changes in the new edition of Warhammer 40K. So, let's jump right in with my thoughts on each unit in the Swarm. Consume! 

Army Wide Special Rules/Army Notes

This is an important section to cover by itself, as the army-wide special rule for Tyranids are highly focal to how the army works. It will chiefly determine what units you purchase and the mixture you go for. It also serves to emphasize the key theme of the book; synergy. 

Synapse - A unit with this special rule is Fearless and, to a bug, has Leadership 10. In addition, any Tyranid unit within 12" of a Synapse creature does not need to test for Instinctive Behaviour and gains the Fearless special rule. In a nutshell, you need Synapse so that your hordes don't run away from combat, your monstrous creatures don't derp out, and your mid/long-range ranged units can fire at peak efficiency. On that last note, Hive Guard and Biovores can't fire without Line of Sight if they fail an Instinctive Behaviour test - essentially meaning you want to keep them near a Synapse creature at all times. Despite this, certain units can do fine without Synapse; notably close-combat Carnifexes and Trygons. Keep this in mind during deployment and when positioning those units. For the most part though, you should have a wide range of synapse creatures in your army spread out nicely to ensure your army doesn't collapse upon itself at a moment's notice; whether through some Tyranid Warriors, a Tervigon or a couple of Zoanthropes, always keep multiple Synapse units at hand.

Instinctive Behaviour -This is what any non-Synapse creature suffers (or benefits, in certain cases) from - each unit with this special rule that is not in Synapse range at the start of their movement phase must take a Leadership test or fall prey to their basic survival instincts. For the most part, you don't want that at all - hence the importance of Synapse creatures. There are two kinds of Instinctive Behaviour - the first is Lurk, and is usually given to units with a ranged focus; this forces them to move into the nearest area terrain, and allows them only to shoot at the nearest enemy target. Essentially, they become uncontrollable, and far less useful, units. The other, far more interesting kind of Instinctive Behaviour is Rage - the unit gains the Rage special rule, meaning they become deadlier on the charge, but cannot shoot any ranged weapons they have. Depending on the unit and the situation, this can be far more of a boon than anything else - for an already Fearless Trygon or Carnifex, the benefits are fantastic, and Hormagaunts, if used against a unit they should wipe out, will do well with this too. Again though, mostly you want to avoid Instinctive Behaviour at all costs - a ranged Carnifex with expensive guns never wants to be disallowed from shooting, for example.

Shadow in the Warp - The Tyranid form of psyker defense, and unanimously named the third best psyker defense in the game. Shadow in the Warp forces any enemy Psyker within 12" of a creature with this special rule to take any psychic tests on an extra D6; this usually means 3D6 Psychic tests, often resulting in either Perils of the Warp or a failed psychic test. Obviously, this has many applications with mobile units - such as Shrikes and flying Hive Tyrants - that have the special rule, and allow Tyranids to shut down psykers far better than most other armies. The best trait about Shadow in the Warp is that every single Synapse creature provides it - in fact, the only non-Synapse unit in the codex that has Shadow in the Warp is the Doom of Malan'tai. Obviously, as you need lots of Synapse creatures, this will mean you should always have a very wide bubble of Shadow in the Warp - meaning exploding brains for everyone! Hooray!

Special Characters - Tyranids have several special characters or 'rare' units, most of which crowd into the already congested Elites and HQ slots. Units such as Deathleaper and the Doom of Malan'tai are quite deadly, but provide little in the way of support abilities. The Swarmlord, on the other hand, whilst also exceedingly dangerous, acts as a great force multiplier for your army. Tyranid special characters, aside from Old One Eye (sadly), are all competitive units that have a place in many Tyranid army lists. Most of these units now have their own unique models - the exceptions, currently, are the Parasite of Mortrex, the Doom of Malan'tai, and Ymgarl Genestealers. There are some ways around this - the Doom is easily converted using a Zoanthrope model and spare parts from a Trygon kit, whilst Ymgarl Genestealers can be used with the normal Genestealer models, providing you make sure to indicate somehow that they are Ymgarls. The Parasite is altogher a different prospect, as it would likely require some serious conversion of a Tyranid Shrike. If you can find one, an old school or Forgeworld flying Hive Tyrant would be a great stand in with some conversion work - such as adding in Ripper Swarms to its base. Unlike some codices, you should make the time to study the Tyranid special characters - in particular the Doom of Malan'tai and the Swarmlord.

With all that in mind, let's have a look at the Tyranid HQ choices!


As a note, every Tyranid HQ choice, with the exception of Tyrant Guard, provides Synapse and Shadow in the Warp. This essentially means that each one provides both a potent psychic defence in an edition that favours psykers, and a Fearless bubble where your other bugs do not need to test for Instinctive Behaviour. This means that each choice base provides great (and essential) support and defensive abilities for your army! Whilst our HQ choices tend to be expensive, they can be kitted out to perform amazing feats on the battlefield.

The Swarmlord - Our primary special character, and one of the most feared units in the entire game, the Swarmlord is a Hive Tyrant with several unique traits that combine to make it a devilishly powerful lord of the swarm. Being the only in-codex Mastery Level 2 psyker, and able to take four psychic powers, the Swarmlord can fit a wide variety of roles; buffing your units and weakening your opponents', or making itself even more incredibly powerful - the choice is yours, his versatility is absolutely delightful in 6th Edition. The Swarmlord is also the undisputed challenge-king; without a doubt, he is the best character-killer in the entire game, particularly when paired up with psychic powers such as Iron Arm, Warp Speed or Invisibility. Draigo, Mephiston, Abaddon and the like will be reeling in fear when they see the Swarmlord approaching. The Swarmlord, due to a very high price tag and its lack of shooting abilities, is best used in bigger games where its inclusion won't compromise your ability to devastate enemies from range. Unlike Draigo, Mephiston or their equivalents though, the Swarmlord is still very effective in smaller games due to its amazing support abilities; handing out Preferred Enemy and psychic blessings such as Endurance like candy. If you use the Swarmlord, prepare for it to be the target of any sane opponent wanting to keep it away from their battle-lines; to mitigate this, pair it with some Tyrant Guard or perhaps a Tyranid Prime and you will have Warhammer 40K's most devastating melee death-star. The Swarmlord is a great unit that is best served in larger games where its exorbitant cost balances out nicely.

Hive Tyrant - The most commonly seen Tyranid HQ choice (that is taken in the HQ slot), the Hive Tyrant has a lot of customization options and natural abilities that make it a dire threat for your opponent in any stage of the game. However, it pays a heavy toll for those abilities; Hive Tyrants quickly exceed two-hundred points with even the barest of upgrades. As they are a big and obvious target for your opponent, they need protection first and foremost; there are three ways to do this. One is Armoured Shell - a neat +2 armour save, in conjunction with other units. The second is wings - turning the Hive Tyrant into a devastating, but costly, flying monstrous creature. The last is to take Tyrant Guard to ensure its survival until it can close with the enemy. Hive Tyrants, like the Swarmlord, can provide strong offensive and support abilities for your army; they are great close-quarters combatants and have access to a wide range of psychic powers. Generally, a Hive Tyrant should be equipped based on the rest of your army list; as Tyranids lack anti-air, the most common Hive Tyrant has wings and two twin-linked brain-leech devourers. This gives you a very durable, very dangerous mobile threat that any self-respecting opponent will need to focus on. Again though, you must pay a hefty price to use this. Hive Tyrants, whilst expensive, are deadly when equipped for the right situation, and provide a great variety of abilities to support your core army - be aware to protect them as best as possible, as they are a natural points-sink. I would also avoid the Thorax Swarm on a Hive Tyrant, as the extra shooting isn't worth the points when you need to worry about durability far more. A Hive Tyrant is a good choice that shines when used with wings or Tyrant Guard; be very careful not to upgrade any more than is absolutely necessary though, and never leave it alone (unless flying). Costs, sadly, will add up very quickly no matter how you do it.

Tyrant Guard - The wall between a Hive Tyrant and your opponent, Tyrant Guard are an absolute must for the Swarmlord or any foot-slogging Hive Tyrant. They are essentially two-wound mini-monsters with a very high toughness and good armour save, and their offensive abilities, whilst decent already, can be upgraded to frighten units such as Terminators. Generally, in an already points-intensive army, Tyrant Guard don't require upgrades to achieve their true purpose; keeping their quarry alive so that it can perform its duties safely. With the changes to Characters and Look Out Sir rolls, wound allocation is very much alive - with psychic powers such as Endurance or Iron Arm cast on the unit or the psyker itself, respectively, your HQ unit can become impossibly hard to kill - a Swarmlord with Iron Arm and Endurance paired with a single Tyrant Guard and a Tyranid Prime is sure to draw cries of cheese from your opponent. Keep your Tyrant Guard around for the sole purpose of protecting your Hive Tyrants; that is their core function, and as such, you need not worry about boosting their offensive capabilities. Tyrant Guard are good in the sense that they fulfill a necessary role, that is, protecting your commanders; still, they are quite expensive for what they do.

Tervigon (HQ) - Tervigons are considered by most to be the competitive core of almost any Tyranid army list, and not without good reason. For less than a Hive Tyrant, you get a monster with more wounds, worse close combat abilities by a margin, far better support abilities - particularly for Termagants, and the ability to spawn more Troops choices. That last ability is what makes Tervigons so frightening for any opponent; creating more units on the fly, ones which receive major benefits from a Tervigon, and can claim objectives in an edition dominated by objective-based games, is absolutely nasty. Remembering that the spawning is random and may not always do well, it is still a very good way to dominate objectives. And the best part? Tervigons themselves are unreasonably hard to kill; with six wounds at Toughness six and a +3 armour save, there are few monstrous creatures in the game that can soak up as much damage. With the way the spawning works, Tervigons and their babies aren't exactly slow either; when you create a unit, you place it within 6" of the Tervigon, then they can move, shoot and assault normally. This effectively gives your hordes a 12" movement followed by being able to tie up dangerous units in combat, all in the early stages of the game. Upgrade Tervigons with Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands, and those lowly, free Termagants will be going toe-to-toe with Space Marines, Talos' and even Greater Daemons. The Tervigon itself is no slouch in combat either; give it Crushing Claws and, per the Smash rules, you can put out between three and six S10 attacks each turn depending on whether you charged. On the topic of its ranged weapon, a Tervigon will either have a gun suited for Overwatch and snap-shots at fliers, or one that blasts infantry apart through sheer numbers of wounds. Usually, I would go with the Cluster Spines, as I feel Stinger Salvos are far too weak to really justify taking them for snap-shot and Overwatch purposes - however, it comes down to preference. With access to psychic powers such as giving Feel No Pain to friendly units, Tervigons are amazing units that will always be a big target for your opponent; learn to protect them whilst moving them up the field, and you will not be disappointed.

Tyranid Prime - The cheapest HQ available to Tyranids by some margin, the Tyranid Prime is a Warrior on steroids; a Strength, Toughness and Initiative of 5, and better combat abilities in general. The Tyranid Prime is usually used if you are wanting to go for a cost-effective HQ without compromising your options in other force organisation slots. Their basic stat-line and equipment paints a pretty picture when compared to, for example, a Space Marine Captain - they start with better weaponry, are harder to kill in general and are much more important in terms of keeping your army under control. With cheap upgrades that can turn them into a melee powerhouse that can stand toe-to-toe with far more expensive characters in other codices, the Tyranid Prime is a very nasty model that has the benefit of being one of only two true Independent Characters in the codex. Due to its Toughness 5, three wounds and Look Out Sir!, the Tyranid Prime is a great candidate to attach to a squad that traditionally suffers either from S8 instant-death weapons or being tar-pitted in combat, such as Zoanthropes, Hive Guard and Biovores. It also provides important synapse for the latter of those two units, keeping them firing at full efficiency and keeping your inexpensive Warlord out of the line of fire. If you take a Tyranid Prime, take Toxin Sacs and either a pair of Boneswords or a Bonesword and Lash Whip and leave it at that; it doesn't need anything else to perform as required. Use it well, and it will serve you well - a good choice.

As an aside, some of the best units for a Tyranid Prime to join include; the 'Fexstar' (two Carnifexes with two twin-linked brain-leech devourers each), Warriors (five Warriors either with Deathspitters or Boneswords), Zoanthropes, Hive Guard, Biovores, and even horde units such as Termagants or Hormagaunts. 

The Parasite of Mortrex - A unit that has benefited greatly from 6th Edition, the Parasite's character status allows it to challenge and single out those pesky power fists that were usually its bane. With Implant Attack, Rending Claws and a decent stat-line, the Parasite is a good character-assassin that is both mobile and easily protected when paired either with Sky-Slasher Swarms or Gargoyles. The Parasite works well with Rippers as well, keeping them from killing themselves so long as they stay within 24" - though Rippers generally aren't worth the investment anyway. In addition, it can, almost like a Tervigon, create more Ripper Swarms if it kills enemy models or enemy infantry units Outflank; a nasty, if unreliable way of adding more tarpit units to your force. The biggest hindrance to fielding the Parasite though is its high price-tag; costing as much as a basic Tervigon, you need to ask whether it really is worth the cost. It is far less durable, less offensively potent in certain cases (particularly against vehicles) and doesn't provide scoring units like a Tervigon does. In that sense, whilst I feel you can find better value elsewhere, the Parasite can work if used in an army list that suits it; one that is heavy on Gargoyles, Raveners, flying monstrous creatures and the like, where its speed and situational abilities become more useful. Generally though, whilst a decent unit, you are better served elsewhere.

Example Builds - For your viewing pleasure, I've provided some different builds for each HQ choice when paired with other units.

Hive Tyrant w/ wings, two twin-linked brain-leech devourers - 260

The Swarmlord w/ Tyrant Guard (1), attached Tyranid Prime w/ bonesword and lash-whip, toxin sacs - 445

Hive Tyrant w/ armoured shell, old adversary, two twin-linked brain-leech devourers - 265

Tyranid Prime w/ bonesword and lash-whip, toxin sacs, attached to Zoanthropes (2) - 225

Tervigon w/ crushing claws, cluster spines, catalyst, toxin sacs, adrenal glands - 220

The Parasite of Mortrex attached to Gargoyles (20) w/ toxin sacs - 300

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I'm not going to bore you with any of my ramblings, I'll let this article I saw on faeit 212 do all the talking. I will say this sounds really Cool!!

Games Workshop has something in the mix. I'm not quite sure what it is, but it looks like it might be interesting, and has to do with 40k.

There is more to be found.... I've posted all I could about it.

via Dangermouse425 from the Faeit 212 inbox
Hi Natfka,
Read this in this morning's The Times on a small blurb on p33 of their Business section.

"Games' Virtual Advance

Games Workshop, the maker of table-top miniatures, has signed a licensing deal with Zattikka to develop 3D free-to-play computer games based on the former's Warhammer 40,000 game. Zattikka, an AIM-quoted developer, said that the deal would stretch across PC and Mac platforms, as well as tablet computers."

I'm not sure what it's related to, but thought I'd let you know.

All the best,


via Zattikka

Zattikka signs digital publishing agreement with Games Workshop®
LONDON, MARCH 12, 2013

Zattikka, the digital games entertainment group, is pleased to announce it has signed a license agreement with Games Workshop®, the UK quoted specialist of fantasy tabletop miniatures, games and novels, to develop tactical, 3D isometric, free to play games based on the gigantic city leveling Titans from their world renowned Warhammer® 40,000® universe.

Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most recognisable ‘science-fantasy world’ genres and forms the basis of a number of Games Workshop’s tabletop, role-play, board, card and gaming products. Today’s announcement will see Zattikka develop a game incorporating single, multi-player and social gaming modes, delivering both single and chain mission tactical experiences across a broad platform range, including PC/Mac and tablets.

The game will be developed in the Company’s US game studios, and is expected to launch next year. Zattikka will also develop additional downloadable content, designed to prolong the gaming experience well after its initial launch.

The Warhammer 40,000 franchise was originally launched in 1987 and now boasts a huge range of products including world leading wargames, New York Times bestselling novels, and multi million unit selling video games, as well as multiple card, board and roleplaying games.

Mark Opzoomer, CEO of Zattikka commented:

"We are delighted to be working with Games Workshop on such a prestigious and important gaming franchise. Warhammer 40,000 is one of the most globally recognisable science fantasy genres, appealing to a broad cross section of gamers.”

Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing of Games Workshop commented:

"Titans have been around since the early days of Warhammer 40,000 when they first appeared in our ‘Adeptus Titanicus’ game, and have been a firm fan favourite ever since. Seeing these massive engines of destruction fight it out in an online game is going to be fantastic.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Indy, Cincy, Bay area, and some meta talk.

Drkmorals here, Monger subtly dropped the guilt trip about the neglect of the front page.. So I plan to drop in and spill some letters then smear them around on the front page a bit more often. So let's chatty a moment shall we?

So I spent all this time getting my army up to a tabletop standard through the week without any issues, only to have a family issue come up and have to cancel my trip to the INDYOPEN... complete bummer. I was busy all weekend and I didn't even get to try and hit up the Local CincyCon event since I missed Indy... OH well.. sometimes life happens. However let's talk about the events a bit and let's take a look at the Bay Area Open as well.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

See you next year CAGbash

So this past weekend was CAGbash down at Cinci Con in Cincinnati. Good turnout with some great armies there. Martial Law didn't take home the Axe this year, but our very own "Vet", Warmonger took 3rd with his Wraithstorm list. Dickie also took home the Ian Villamagna painting award with his Deathguard army on a fantastic display board, that even included lights to highlight. Here are some pics from the event. Hope to see everyone next year for an even bigger 40k event at Cinci Con.

Monday, March 4, 2013

And a Cherry is Popped!

I've been trying to peruse the webway a bit more to try and bring some different/interesting content for everybody and I happened to be on a fellow ML members personal site "The Emperors Codex" and came across this article. This was in his blog roll and thought I would share. I found it interesting and humorous as I read what started out as a rant and ended in an realization of the big GW picture. Most of us have known for sometime what this chap has just discovered and for those of you who read this and end up getting your own cherry popped, Sorry...not really. I think everyone should understand the risks of their plastic crack addiction!

originally posted on: Apostates Anonymous

Nerd Rage!
I’ve been thinking a lot about 40k recently, and I’ve come to a bit of an epiphany – trying to play 40k competitively is pretty pointless! A bit of a change in approach I know, but let me explain….!

Over the last few months I’ve been enjoying myself less and less and getting more and more frustrated by the game and in particular the 6th edition rules set. I think it started with the GT last year, and has continued since then.  

What was bugging me was the imbalance in the game, and the more random nature of 6th edition. To my mind the game was becoming less and less skill based, and more and more “rock, paper scissors”. I was finding it harder and harder to build a true all comer list that can counter anything you might meet in a tournament.

And what was really starring to irritate me was I was beginning to realise it’s deliberate! GW were deliberately making their rules bad to increase sales! Rather than persuading me to buy their products by creating stunning models, and a first class rules set, I was beginning to believe that they were trying to manipulate me into buying product by creating a terrible rule set. They were doing this by creating imbalance in their rules (i.e. creating over powered units), thus making their game less fun, but creating demand for models. I know, I know, I was a bit late to this realisation, but bare with me…!  

Let’s take flyers as an example. Nobody can realistically argue that flyers are balanced in 6th edition. They simply aren’t. You can talk all day about how you counter them through movement and flooding the board with bodies etc. etc., but the fact of the matter is that the introduction of flyers has caused huge imbalance in the game, and made some armies so over powered that playing them just isn’t fun. And it was done entirely deliberately to sell loads of flyers. Don’t believe me…. was it really a coincidence that the price of flyers increased just before 6th ed came out?

Now some might argue “wait until all the codices are updated with anti flyer options, then it will be balanced” Bollocks….while this may be right, there was nothing stopping GW updating all the codices by FAQs when 6th edition dropped. They didn’t, simply because they wanted to sell more flyers.

So I concluded that GW were cynically making the game imbalanced, and less fun, to sell more models.

Another example - screamers and flamers. Demons get a WD release dramatically increasing the power of 2 units in an underpowered codex, boosting demons right to the top of the power league . Suddenly everybody buys screamers and flamers and there is a resurgence of demon players, no doubt boosting sales. Then within 6 months there is a new demons codex when these 2 units are made way less powerful, meaning that all the people who bought demon armies, and in particular screamers and flamers are screwed over and need to start again.

This is bad enough, but what really annoyed me was that it really screwed up the game. Screamers and flamers became so overpowered that it just wasn’t fun playing them. So, yet another example of GW screwing over their own game, to sell models….!

And finally, possible the most irritating one, the Helldrake. The new FAQ, which makes the Helldrake so stupidly overpowered, that 2 are a “must take” in any CSM army, is such an obvious “money grab” that it made my blood boil!

I reached the conclusion that GW has no intention of creating a balanced rule set. GW’s “rules” are simply a sophisticated (and cynical) way of selling models….!

However, I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and it’s gone through a number of iterations. It started off as a rant, concluding with a blistering attack on the evil that is Game Workshop and their cynical attempts to manipulate their player base. But the more I thought about it the more I realised that I was at fault. GW has never claimed they were creating a balanced game for competitive play. It’s always been the case that they are a model company first, and a rules company second. Their game is simply an excuse to paint and collect models, and geek out with your friends. I was trying to force a round peg into a square hole.

And with that realisation I’ve become a lot more content with 6th edition. It’s made me realise that I don’t play 40k solely for the strategic challenge, because if I did, I would play chess (and I truly hate chess). There are lots of reasons why I play 40k  – the models, the painting, the fluff (yes really!), the spectacle of 2 well painted armies on an awesome board, the time with Little Geek, and just the chance to put aside the real world and do something as utterly, utterly pointless as play toy soldiers! The strategic challenge and tactically play on the table top is only one of them.

So where does that leave me? Well, I don’t think much will change. I’m pretty competitive by nature, and I’ll still play strong lists and play them to win, and I’ll still go to as many tournaments as Mrs Geek allows, but maybe I’ll get a bit less frustrated when my opponent’s Helldrakes wipe out half my army with impunity, or when most armies on the top tables at tournaments look the same.

Posted by Embrace Your Inner Geek