Eldar Thoughts: Vehicle Upgrades, Night Spinner & anti-horde

So this is going to be a combined post really. First I’m going to cover the final of the Eldar vehicle upgrades (Star & Vectored Engines), point you in the direction of a discussion about this on Warseer (they still believe Stones > Underslung Cannon) and jump up and down on someone saying Eldar don’t deal with horde very well which will draw me into the new Eldar tanks. Lot’s to talk about!

So first the final Eldar vehicle upgrades. We’ve already established Cannons should be taken on everything for the simple reason it’s 3 S6 shots for 10pts, Stones only taken on a Falcon and sometimes Dragon Serpents if you have the points and Holo-fields should only be taken on a Falcon which should avoid melta range. Do the engine upgrades add anything? Currently, no. Vectored engines is a nice upgrade to have, for 5pts. For 20pts across your whole army? It’s just too expensive considering you generally only go flat-out the first turn w/a limited number of vehicles or when you can’t shoot. The increased chance of dying from a hit has been mitigated by the new 4+ cover for moving fast. Now if Eldar had assault ramps and a decent assault unit who could buy Serpents…maybe but still no.

What about Star Engines? No again. The concept is great for a tank to create an expensive mobile cover (i.e. move tank, shoot with something that was behind tank, move tank back) but this costs the vehicle its shooting and there is nothing in the codex worth that amount of sacrifice. They also can’t be used to drop off infantry and then provide cover for them (now that WOULD be useful). I’m also in the camp where you cannot tank shock with them twice but again is it worth taking star engines over a Shuriken cannon which could continue shooting after you lose your main gun? No. So our original verdict on the upgrades stands, keep most of them except the cannon home.

Now that’s done and dusted, new Eldar sprues. Finally (where are those jetbikes)? This makes me hope for a new codex by mid-late next year but I won’t get my hopes up. It also seems to me like they’ve finally heard everyone complaining about the Fire Prism (I think L Industries did a great post about their logic in that…I should go find it) and the top heavy aspect of the model, produced a plastic model (which I think looks terrible and…just not right) and decided to produce another sprue to “box” them together. And the winner is…the Night Spinner!? Okay, fine fine. The rules? Not confirmed yet but S6 AP-, Rng 72”, Rending, Heavy 1 5” Blast, twin-linked, all units hit (or wounded? Not sure) move as in dangerous terrain next turn. Pathetic when we consider the amount of cover though if it turns into Ord Barrage w/some AP it could be useful and doesn’t suffer that poorly against tanks. Even then the Prism still would come out ahead in both anti-infantry overall and anti-tank (remember it’s anti-infantry first like the Dakka Pred). Again, I think this is just a release with the Prism tank and a hint Eldar might be coming out sooner than we could hope but in terms of ‘fixing’ Eldar it does nothing, particularly since it comes in one of the ‘competitive’ slots for Eldar (i.e. Falcon or Prism?).

And this leads us to this little quote from Kelanen:

“As posted above, it’s only chance of a slot is that we have Prisms & Lords want to be in pairs, and that then leaves you with a squad of Reapers, a DAVU Falcon or this as the lone 3rd slot, all of which have issues. I’ll definitely stick with the Reapers, but if you are in a hordey environment then this be worthwhile.

Incidentally, whoever said Eldar doesn’t have a problem with hordes clearly plays a very different style to me. I only ever face MEQ, and to my mind, Eldar have no problem with MEQ – it’s hordes that they are weakest against. From that perspective a weapon that shores up that weakness is useful, even if I don’t see myself using it personally.”

Yes I do play a different style to you, one where Reapers and Wraithlords are laughed at. Anyway, a standard Eldar mech list is going to have at least 40+ S6 shots and much more if it’s going for Vyper/Falcons over Prisms. Add in the Prisms and you’ve got two large blasts which can combine nicely against anything that might fall out of a transport w/a high save value. Backed up by the fact most horde armies (i.e. Orks) suck against Mech, particularly mech which can move 12” and still fire. Eldar laugh at hordes because they can move 6” fire everything, move 12” fire main gun, move 6” fire everything, etc. as their front line and their back line of skimmers can just stay put and fire all the way minimising cover due to speed. Then if we actually have to get the Storm Guardians or Dragons out you’ve got happy time templates. What Eldar struggle against is Mech. Because mech is now good across all armies Eldar have lost some of their advantage in speed. They then don’t have reliable anti-mech outside of Dragons but rather rely on mass S6 shots to ping things to death. Add in the increasing dominance of psychic powers across the game and they’ve lost an edge there, too. As was replicated in the two WBR’s using Eldar (5/5/2010), Eldar really have only one viable build, Mech and then due to old pricing and a lynchpin of Dragons, Eldar have become increasingly predictable as more armies can match their psychic and mobility strengths.

From this perspective, the Night Spinner adds nothing. It’s essentially an anti-infantry based form of the Fire Prism but with the Fire Prism still currently better (unless the Night Spinner is significantly cheaper), the Prism is still going to win out. Now if the Prism (or Falcon) were moved into the FA slot next codex…you can see the logic behind this somewhat (if the Night Spinner ends up being Ord Barrage w/some AP).

On a side note, yesterday the blog generated the most hits so far, 1074 and has been averaging 800-900 for a while now. Good to see the circulation up 🙂 (it’s the pink isn’t it?).

AbusePuppy’s Tyranid Review Part 3: Elites (the one you care about)


Oh god, here it comes. First of all, the Elites slot is where pretty much all your anti-tank firepower is located, which means using them on anything else is risky at best. We have a variety of excellent selections here, so many- even most- Tyranid armies will find their Elites filling up well before anything else.

I think this section really defines the rest of your army. As Puppy states, your best pure anti-tank lies in this slot (Zoans/Hive Guard) and taking one or the other can often dictate the army style you are going for. At the same time, there are some often overlooked units such as the Deathleaper (improved anti-psy tyvm!) or Venomthropes. Will try and put my comments about this entry and the HQ entry tonight! Keep it coming Puppy :).

Hive Guard
I guess we’re starting with the best first, then. Hive Guard are one of our new units and boy are they a doozy. Not quite as tough as Tyrant Guard, but pretty darn close when it comes to most things, and with a firepower output that makes most transports cry. Note also the magic S8 on their attacks, which means that Nobz and characters can’t just suck up the wounds and call it a day. To top it all off, they don’t need LOS to shoot and can ignore many kinds of cover. Their raw stats also make them pretty reasonable if they get stuck in melee, so you aren’t risking a lot to put them on the front lines.

Really, there isn’t a lot to say about Hive Guard; they’re really good and pretty simple. Most foot armies are going to want to fill two slots with them, probably 2×2 at 1500 or 2×3 at higher point values.They do compete for space with Zoanthropes, but their longer range, lower price, and better reliability (more shots, ignore terrain, no psychic test or associated countermeasures) make them the better generic choice. It’s still good to have some S10 guns in your force to deal with Land Raiders, however- Hive Guard don’t fare well against AV13/14 opponents. There’s also the issue of the model’s cost- $20 is not cheap, especially for something you’re buying in multiples. However, it’s a unit you’ll use time and time again in your lists, so I would strongly recommend picking some up.

Oh, the much-maligned Lictor; will GW ever restore you to your original place of glory? Once one of the most feared units in the codex, Lictors are now relegated to skulking around the edges of battles or popping out to annoy a unit before dying. Though their stats received a significant bump, their rules got rather wonky, so they are still a somewhat middling choice. Worse, they are competing for space with some of the best units in the codex and thus suffer badly in comparison. Still, they can be dangerous and have roles they can fulfill, so they’re not a complete waste.

Deploying by Marbo-style Deep Strike, Lictors main advantage is always arriving exactly where they need to be. No rolling dice, no trying to stick to the borders of terrain- you put them somewhere and that’s where they are. They have a pair of extremely short-range S6 shots that can be useful in glancing tanks, but AP – means you are unlikely to actually destroy anything with them. And, unfortunately, that’s all they do on the turn they arrive. Pheremone Trail doesn’t kick in its homing beacon or reserves bonus until after the Lictors have been around for a turn, which is rather pathetic. You can’t assault or move that turn, either, so it’s never going to be much of a surprise for your opponent. Hmph. The laziest Predator, I guess.

Once they have kicked in, though, you’re looking at a reasonable combat machine. High S, WS, and I along with Rending means that you can do some real damage to enemy units on the charge, although keep in mind that it’s not terrifyingly strong, even with a full brood of three. Many people complain about Lictors being in broods now, but honestly if they weren’t they’d be even worse- you already give up KPs like candy, making the situation worse isn’t a good idea. However, for what they excel at- pouncing on units in the sidelines- they do a good enough job, being one of the few units with Frag Grenades in our whole codex. Stealth also helps them bear the worst of any shooting attacks, although with T4 and three wounds they are fairly vulnerable to small arms fire, as they tend to be within Rapid Fire range of all sorts of things. They aren’t terrible, though- standing in normal cover means they take more than a squad of Marines to kill one with a turn of shooting. Their 5+ armor save, on the other hand, is a real killer in close combat and means that a round of poor rolls on the charge that fails to kill anything can leave you very vulnerable to your opponent’s return attacks. Hit and Run means that they can depart fights whenever is convenient, and high I makes the test pretty reliable; this can be a good way to get somewhere you need to be, as 2d6 is a lot of distance.

Let’s also take a moment to talk about their Pheremone Trail in more detail. To be honest, it’s not terribly useful, all things considered. Unlike many other armies’ beacons, Lictors can’t start on the table and don’t have any kind of “auto-arrive first turn” rule, so you can’t rely on it being there. Its usefulness for guiding in Mawlocs to hit targets is also rather overstated- any kind of reasonably smart opponent will simply walk 6″ away and be out of range of your beacon. Yes, you could probably catch him with the bare edge of it if he doesn’t go much further, but that is a very marginal use; you’re probably better off just dropping him in the center. The reserves bonus part of the ability is also of limited usage, as Lictors themselves must start in reserves, so you are rather likely to have the better part of your army on the table before they even make their appearance. Still, a bonus is a bonus, and sometimes your Hive Tyrants die, so there are worse things you could be doing.

So what are Lictors good for? Well, they can make good pinpoint firepower- they show up, shake something, and hopefully charge in next turn and kill it. They also can be good at harassment, especially against a melee-weak army like Guard or Tau, disrupting their lines and shutting down heavy weapons to make the rest of your force’s advance easier. What are they bad at? Killing things. You’re paying an awful lot of points for a couple attacks on a not-terribly-durable chassis. If you find yourself lacking in firepower, Lictors are not for you. They are by-and-large weapons of finesse, not brute firepower like much of the Tyranid army. Whether you find this helpful or not is up to you, but as a whole they are a fairly mediocre unit that I can’t give a strong recommendation to, unlike most of the Elites.

Well good lord that’s a pile of special rules. This is probably what Lictors should have looked like, but at least the option’s there, I suppose. Alright, so the Big D is basically the craziest Lictor you’ve ever seen, with improved stats in almost every category. He has all the Lictor’s normal rules and then some (which we’ll get to in a second) and can harry your opponent in a number of different ways. However, for his points he isn’t all that dangerous straight up, so it’s clear that he is not going to pull his weight just by killing dudes- even more so than with Lictors, the key to using him is to use him when and where you need him.

Okay, so in terms of upgrades on the Lictor he’s significantly harder to kill due to always getting Night Fighting (with halved distances) in order to shoot him. That means that even guys in Rapid Fire range are far from guaranteed to get a shot off at him, and anyone further than 18″ may as well just give up. (Caveat: barrage weapons ruin his day.) On top of that he slows movement through difficult terrain while nearby and always has the option of vanishing to reappear on a later turn. Oh, and he’s Fearless, and to cap it all off he rends on 5s as well (not on penetration rolls, though it doesn’t make much difference.) He is also WS9, which is super-relevant because it means that almost everyone in the game hits him on 5+ in combat, partly making up for his shoddy armor save.

However, the crowning jewel is “He’s After Me,” which lets you cripple the leadership of a single character from the start of the game on out. While this can be nice for making enemy leaders a little more vulnerable to certain effects and morale, its real benefit is against psykers, whom we otherwise struggle against. As noted in the HQ listings, we have a lot of good support powers- powers that are easily shut down by a Rune Priest or Librarian. While he doesn’t help us against all of them (such as the Rune Priest or Farseer’s abilities), he does make it rather hard for them to get off their own powers and makes Psychic Hood tests all but impossible. He also bumps up the danger from Doom of Malan’tai and Psychic Scream as well as the various of morale and pinning tests we can inflict.

So why’s this all worth his hefty price tag, you may ask? He is, to put it succinctly, your Swiss Army Knife. If you have a problem, Deathleaper is there on the job, solving it for you. He gets started even before the game does, shutting down psykers and morale-boosters as noted above. Once things get rolling, he can appear anywhere on the field to pick off inconvenient units, especially small squads and tanks that don’t have AV14. What makes him better than the regular Lictors at this (and he needs to be, given his cost) is his combination of survivability and reusability- his protection from long-range shooting means that he can’t simply be eliminated by pointing a Lascannon across the field and rolling some dice. With careful choices in where to place him, you can often ensure that enemy squads must move closer to reliably shoot at him. Combine that with his ability to arrive anywhere on the field with a one turn delay, even after the early turns and you have a very tough model to catch and kill- he can’t even be locked in CC thanks to Hit and Run. More importantly, his mobility and pinpoint precision mean he can easily swing games in the later turns by arriving to contest an objective or kill a squad contesting one of yours. In short, Deathleaper is a nightmare to deal with when used by an experienced player, as he offers almost limitless options for screwing with your opponent’s game plan.

Unusual for the Elites slot, the Venomthrope is a support beast, being not particularly capable on its own. It can’t shoot and is pretty average in melee (for Tyranids, that is). Instead, everything within 6″ of him gets a whole host of benefits (or detriments, in the case of enemy units.) His main bonus is a 5+ cover save to anyone in range. With the nigh-universal 4+ this may seem mediocre, but giving it to your front rank of units (usually unprotected) and Monstrous Creatures (likewise) is quite relevant. He also gives them Defensive Grenades, although this is much less useful, as we will be charging more often than being charged. Lastly, they make everything in their area Dangerous Terrain for enemy models. So, overall, some moderately useful abilities, but in the end it all boils down to that 5+ save. Any kind of on-the-board list has a strong incentive to run a couple of these, as they can make your force a lot more resilient. In close combat they also have a small arsenal of tricks, not the least of which being the 2+ poison (which will reroll against anything with T4 or less, remember). However, all of them are also available to other models and so are not really terribly impressive features of the Venomthrope. Take them as bonus features rather than factors for consideration.

They are very vulnerable, however, since they’re only T4 and two wounds- likely your enemy will start by shooting them first, if they are smart. For this reason I strongly recommend either “hiding” them in the middle of a phalanx of larger units so as to limit what can draw LOS to them or have a Tyranid Prime tag along with the unit, soaking up S8/9 wounds for the group as described in his entry. Also keep in mind the relatively limited radius of the effect- clustering your units around a Venomthrope brood leaves you very vulnerable to people laying blasts onto your force, so you are probably best served putting them somewhere at the center-front of your wave of critters, helping to shield the units that would otherwise lack saves, despite the susceptibility to fire. Remember, the Venomthrope’s role is only to keep critters alive to crawl across the table- once you’ve reached the enemy’s lines, their job is basically done. They can contribute minorly to combats- and more notably to a huge fight with two dozen or more combatants, thanks to Toxic Miasma- but if they die before then, salute their sacrifice and move on. Tyranid units are expendable.

So what’s not to like? Well, for starters they are taking away from your anti-tank firepower. Especially in large games, you need to take whatever you can get, and losing squads of Hive Guard or Zoanthropes can be really painful. It is possible to make up the loss with Tyrannofexes, Harpies, or other units, but they aren’t as cheap and are rarely as efficient. On the other hand, lacking protection, it doesn’t matter how much anti-tank you have because it’s going to be dead, so you have to make some choices. Finding the right balance of firepower, protection, and cost is something your army is going to have to deal with. That’s something else: cost. Venomthropes, while not the most expensive choice in the codex by a long shot, are not exactly cheap, either. In the lower-point games where their occupying an Elites slot is less of an issue, the investment in two Venomthropes can seriously cut into your army’s budget- not to mention your budget, as the model costs a fair chunk as well.

All in all, Venomthropes are a specialized, but helpful, unit. If your army syncs well with them, they’re awfully handy. If not, they’re worthless. Oh, right, there’s an option for Mycetic Spore- don’t take it. It’s bad. Deep Strike armies are already hurting a bit for firepower, further crippling yourself in that regard is a baaaad idea.

The Big Bad Tank-Killer that has all the Marine players kvetching about how overpowered our army is. Well, to a degree, they’re right- the Zoanthrope boasts what is quite possibly the strongest AT gun in the game. (Numerically, it is marginally worse than a Multimelta due to the psychic test, but it gains some points for working better against Monoliths.) And it comes on a frame with a 3++ save and an option for a Mycetic Spore, so it’s not hard to see why they’re considered nasty. On top of that, you get a built-in Marine-blastin’ gun (and, it should be noted, the only AP3 weapon we have) and Synapse/SitW. It’s combat stats are pretty sub-par, but with the invulnerable save it can often stave defeat off for a turn so that something else can come to its rescue.

On the downside, they are unreliable- you have to pass a psychic test, a shooting attack, an armor penetration roll, and then get a meaningful result on the damage table. Bad rolls on any of these steps shut the attack down, and countermeasures against any or all of them work equally well. Smoke Launchers, KFFs, Psychic Hoods, Rune Priests- all of these are very common inclusions (or even standard equipment!) in many armies and can easy render a Zoanthrope helpless, whereas the Hive Guard’s multiple shots give it a degree of insurance against such techniques. And let’s be honest: Hive Guard is what Zoanthropes have to measure up against. Guard are the new kid in town, kicking over trash cans and calling the Zoeys out to fight for the title of Premiere Tyranid Tankbuster. As for who wins that fight… well it’s really more a matter of apples and oranges. Zoanthropes have a shorter range, meaning they often have to Spore in; Hiveguard are tougher, but are reliant on opponents getting within their (admittedly not shabby) reach. Zoanthropes are usually going to show up, wreck a vehicle, and then get shot to pieces by the occupants. They also favor different targets, as the Lance ability only really helps when killing Land Raiders, which Hive Guard can’t hurt. So a combination of both is not a bad idea, allowing them to cover each other’s weaknesses. And Zoanthropes do have weaknesses indeed; aside from close combat, which I already mentioned, Bolter fire can spam enough wounds to overwhelm their 3++, as they almost always end up in Rapid Fire range of whatever their target was carrying.

I have mainly discussed Zoanthropes with the assumption that they will be taking a Mycetic Spore, because I feel this is largely required. Their range is rather short and, combined with their inability to shrug off much fire before succumbing, I don’t think it’s generally prudent to start them on the board. You simply can’t rely on the enemy placing his heavy armor within 24″ of their starting position; a Spore allows them to threaten anything on the board once they arrive. The downside, of course, is that you more or less give the enemy a free turn or two before they kick in, and in many cases that can be enough to swing things heavily against you. One solution to this is to run them in an army with Onslaught Tervigons; the extra d6″ of effective range can be critical in the early turns of the game. However, for many, this sort of “trundle across the table shooting” list is not necessarily what they are looking for, so a Mycetic Spore is the only real option. If the delay in shooting is unacceptable and you need something to deal with heavier targets than Hive Guard can handle, Tyrannofexes and Harpies are probably your best bet.

The Doom of Malan’tai
Uh-oh. I’ll preface this by saying I am writing this under the assumption that Spirit Leech does not work on units in transports and does not allow cover saves. I’m not interested in arguing about whether this is correct or not; until an official FAQ is released, those assumptions are as good as any and strike me as being the most “fair” combination. (No, I don’t want to argue about that, either. Go away.) If and when a FAQ or errata is issued, it may drastically change his usefulness (up or down) depending on how they rule on each of the two issues. Until then, understand that his strength will vary drastically from group to group, depending on how you interpret him.

So with an intro like that, you know you’re in for some crazy stuff. The Doom is, in many ways, a pretty ridiculous weapon against any kind of infantry-based army. He has a tendency to eviscerate practically anything in his area and even punish units up to 24″ away with his psychic powers. There is a pretty reasonable claim that he is too strong for his points (if hardly the unbeatable, utterly broken POS that a lot portray him as), but if you’re looking at running a competitive Tyranid army, he is going to be a strong contender. Beyond just draining infantry dry, he is also quite resilient against most kinds of firepower (though a single bad save can spell his end) and even poses a non-ignorable threat to many vehicles if he is allowed to “power up” even once or twice. Unlike Zoanthropes, assaulting him is no protection against his abilities. Somewhat more like them, his purchase of a Mycetic Spore is mandatory- without it, he is hardly even a threat to the weakest of armies.

The math has been crunched by others, but for reference, he will average ~2 unsavable wounds each player turn to a unit of Space Marines (assuming they have a Sarge). However, the deviation is pretty high- a single bad roll can wipe out most of the squad in one go, so Marine players are justified in considering him an unholy terror. His psychic blast is similarly devastating, although as a shooting attack it is subject to more mitigating factors (LOS, scatter, cover saves). The potential to double up on a unit can be overwhelming, and with (potentially) high S and AP1 there are very few units that can afford to ignore it. Finally, his 3++ and regenerating wounds make him largely impossible to kill without a S8+ weapon. He is not without weaknesses, however. First off, simply scattering more than 6″ away from all enemy units means that he may be unable to gain enough wounds to pose a major threat. Secondly, he can be drowned in attacks. A mob of ork boyz charging in can probably put enough wounds on him that he’ll go down. This is exacerbated by the third factor: Instinctive Behavior – Feed. Although he has Ld 10, you will sometimes fail the test and lose control of him, and he will generally be arriving far enough from the rest of your army that Synapse for him won’t be an option. And finally (and related to #1), he is very random- again, missing out on that initial drain can mean him being completely vulnerable to being blasted apart.

So the dude is a real monster, able to kill potentially large numbers of enemies and soak up enough firepower to make a difference. Is he the best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not. While he can do some damage to vehicles, he’s not exactly ideal against them, so including the Doom is a hit to your potential availability of AT firepower in the form of Hive Guard and Zoanthropes. As mentioned several times, he is also somewhat unreliable. And finally, like Zoanthropes, his need to be Spored in means that many games he won’t arrive until the battle is well under way, and some armies may not want to dedicate a non-insignificant part of their points to something that isn’t helping from turn 1. So, while the Doom is incredibly versatile (functioning well against most armies) and undeniably powerful, he does not rank as a mandatory inclusion to all armies. Still, you could do a lot worse for 130 pts.

Like this guy, for example. Jesus, where do we start. Okay, so Pyrovores are basically Heavy Flamers with legs. They’re reasonably tough- one wound less than a Warrior- and ignore armor saves in CC. They also have a couple cute “retribution” mechanics that punish people for killing them (acid blood, exploding when ID’d). Doesn’t sound so bad? Oh, I must’ve forgot to mention their abysmal stats (WS3 I1 A1, worse than a Necron!) and ridiculous price tag. Hey GW, did you know that a Terminator with a Heavy Flamer also ignores armor saves, except he can ID people, kill vehicles, and shrug off most attacks? And he costs less than the Pyrovore and has better support from the rest of his army? Hell, compare him to a Scout Marine and he comes out looking bad. To put it simply, Pyrovores are s***. Even as one of the few template weapons available in the codex they completely without usefulness, especially when you compare them to the other options you have in the same slot. Troops in cover? Lictors, Death Leaper, DoM, and Ymgarl Genestealers will all do a better job at rooting them out, unless it’s some sort of bizarre “one million Shoota Boyz in a bunker” occurrence.

He does have the option for a Mycetic Spore, which makes them marginally more worthwhile. You could potentially drop a pair of them into the middle of an enemy and unlease some burny doom, forcing them to redirect fire away from your main force to deal with them. The first problem with this strategy is the aforementioned cost: you’re paying a lot of points for this “distraction.” The second is your other options: Doom of Malan’tai makes a much better formation-breaker and will probably do more damage to boot. If you are dead-set on using the Pyrovore, this is probably your best bet, but I still can’t say it’s anything close to good. Also: the model is *******’ enormous for a T4 creature, significantly bulkier than a Biovore, and you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for it. Remember how I said that Venomthropes and Hive Guard were far from cheap? Yeah, Pyrovores roll those dudes and smoke them to finish off a meal of caviar and Don Perignon. And while rather a lot of Tyranids look rather, erm, suggestive, the Pyrovore in particular looks like his main gun was genetically designed to imply “standing at attention,” so to speak. His gun is even called “Flamespurt.” Ewww. Really, GW, what were you thinking with this guy?

Ymgarl Genestealers
Last, but thanks to the Pyrovore, not least. I will admit, I like these guys, so take my opinions here with a grain of salt. Ymgarl Genestealers are, as the name suggests, basically just upgraded Genestealers. They have all the features standard to their cousins as well as a couple bonuses, not the least of which is their 4+ save. This small difference is actually a pretty huge jump in survivability, as both species have to expect to be operating separate from the rest of the swarm quite often (thanks to special deployment rules) and thus can’t rely on the cover save from having screening units. Their brood sizes are slightly different- although I can’t see this being relevant very often- and they have several unique rules.

Rather than infiltrating, they have the option to stay Dormant, which involves secretly picking a piece of terrain that they will arrive from- ready to assault, no less- when they come out of reserve. The downside to this is that if there are enemies occupying the terrain such that they cannot legally be placed (more than 1″ away), the excess ‘Stealers, and potentially the whole unit, are lost. They also get to pick a stat bonus each Assault phase, either +1 S, T, or A, all of which are pretty relevant boons. You can’t pick the same bonus twice in a row, but that isn’t terribly crippling, since there are two good offense-oriented options. The S bonus is very nice when going after vehicles- which, given their surprise arrival, they can often catch stationary. (Comparing them to the rather lethargic Lictors, which take a full turn to get out of the La-Z-Boy they were perched in is rather pathetic. Have some enthusiasm for devouring all life, man!) The A bonus is ideal… well, almost anytime, really, as more attacks means more wounds and fewer return strikes. The T bonus is helpful when assaulting into cover- which they can do reasonably well, between it and their save- as well as trying to insure that you don’t massacre the opponent on the first round of combat and end up exposed to shooting on their turn. Keep in mind that the bonuses only last for the duration of the assault phase, though- a Toughness bonus won’t protect you from shooting in any way.

Their disadvantages are far from crippling, but hardly ignorable, either. First off, they are much more expensive than Genestealers, coming in at around half again the price. They also have no unit options- which wouldn’t be so bad, except it means they don’t have Toxin Sacs, so no rerolling wounds. So, for the same price a unit of Genestealers will inflict 50% more wounds on most enemies, even assuming that the Ymgarls are benefitting from the +1A bonus. If your army is lacking in bodies, Ymgarl Genestealers are probably not for you. They also have the same problem as a lot of our other units in that they’re crammed into the Elites slot with all of the AT, and while a flurry of S5 attacks is nice, it’s no guarantee and it isn’t going to come in the early turns of the game when you want to be ripping people out of their tanks. Still, a squad of around six or eight of them is dangerous to pretty much everything on the battlefield and cheap enough to not completely break the budget. And, unless you play with micro-scale scenery, it is very hard for most opponents to fill a piece of terrain enough to cut them completely off from deploying, as you will usually have several good options for where to situate them. There will be times when you are blocked off due to sheer bad luck or good guessing, but these are the exception, not the rule.

Email in: GWvsJohn’s 2k Nids

It’s another Nid request from GWvsJohn! How rude =D, and this time no typing. Very rude. We talked about this last night so I’m assuming that’s why….digressing. This is using the Carnifexes as a screen for everything else and sustaining FNP on the brood. These Fexes threaten vehicles in combat w/double scything talons (I’d prefer a gun but *shrug*) and everything else trundles up with the Hive Tyrant providing preferred enemy and the Hive Guard/T-Fexes laying down suppression fire. So let’s look at what he has proposed…

1 Hive Tyrant @ 220 pts (Old Adversary; Heavy Venom Cannon; Leech

Essence; Paroxysm)

1 Tyrant Guard @ 60 pts

1 Tervigon @ 175 pts (Cluster Spines; Catalyst)

10 Termagant Brood @ 50 pts
2 Hive Guard Brood @ 100 pts

2 Hive Guard Brood @ 100 pts

2 Hive Guard Brood @ 100 pts

2 Carnifex Brood @ 320 pts

1 Tyrannofex @ 265 pts (Rupture Cannon)

1 Tyrannofex @ 265 pts (Rupture Cannon)

17 Hormagaunt Brood @ 170 pts (Adrenal Glands; Toxin Sacs)

17 Hormagaunt Brood @ 170 pts (Adrenal Glands; Toxin Sacs)

Only changes I would make would be dropping a couple of Hormaguants and giving the Tervigon Adrenal/Toxin. Whilst I don’t like the single Tervigon, the extra 20pts at least makes those 10 termguants + whatever else is pooped are actually ‘scary.’ This is pretty similar to the Swarmlord list except replacing the Swarmlord w/Fexes & Warriors w/Hormaguants and I think is more in the style of what people prefer for Tyranids (lots of gribblies). It’s not that in your face but will advance steadly w/a lot of T6 wounds out there (44) backed up by some impressive anti-infantry in the guants.

Thoughts everyone else? A viable use for Fexes outside of large games or spores?

Tyranid Unit Review Part 2: The HQs (And introduction)

S’up folks; Kirby invited me over to post up my thoughts on the Tyranid codex and, lacking any better place of my own, I figured it was a good place to do so. (I had originally posted all of this to Warseer, but for those of you who- perhaps rightfully- avoid that place it may still be news.) I’ve tried to speak to both competitive and casual games, each in their own turn, in the review; many of units ranked “mediocre” will be perfectly functional in a non-tournament environment or if you are fine with sacrificing some of your sheer strength for theme or sheer enjoyment of a unit.

Once I plow through all of this I’ll get some other articles up here and there, but for this should take at least the remainder of the week to do, so we’ll hold off on any future plans for the time being and just say “I don’t think most people know a g*****n thing about playing the Tau.”

With no further ado…


The HQ slot is where you’re going to get your basic Synapse at- though there are choices available in every slot, HQ units are, without exception, Synapse providers and centerpieces to a swarm. Though often formidable in their own right, most of the Tyranid HQs get their main strength from the utility they bring to the rest of the swarm.

Hive Tyrant

A Hive Tyrant is probably the “default” HQ unit of a Tyranid list. I think we’ve actually seen a shift away from this towards the Prime. It’s cheaper, still a good statline but doesn’t provide the buffs or deathstar type unit. That’s where the Tyrant comes in for me. They are extremely customizable, able to take on many different roles and profiles. All of their variants are monsters in combat, able to devastate nearly anything in the game one-on-one. It is, however, not cheap, probably running you 200+ points most of the time, and quite possibly a lot more than that. With T6 and four wounds, he is reasonably durable, but is going to be the focus of a lot of shooting most of the time, so expect to have to spend some effort protecting him.

Ironically, Hive Tyrants tend to perform best in a support role for a swarm- you will be taking them for the abilities they grant or powers they bring, not for raw combat stats. A Tyranid Prime is roughly half the cost and is nearly as deadly; even adding Tyrant Guard only slightly mitigates this. A Tyrant’s real job is going to be bringing new aspects to the swarm: Mycetic Spore armies pretty much require a Winged Hive Commander, whereas a footslogging melee list (or even non-melee) can get a lot of milage out of Old Adversary. Cha-ching. Everyone loves preferred enemy!

Don’t take that as an indicator that he’s a slouch in a fight, though- between the powerful ranged weaponry he can take (although at BS3 now, sigh) and his innate abilities as a monstrous creature in close combat, the Tyrant can put the fear into just about anyone. His overall statline is excellent, one of the best in the game, and with his basic equipment (BS/LW, Talons) he gets four kills on the charge against almost any opponent. Even decked out for full-on shooting mode he can cut through most basic squads without blinking, and in that regard he epitomizes the Tyranid’s advantage: no matter what else you do, you always have the option of wrecking most dudes in melee as well.

Options review:
Psychic Powers
You get to pick two powers for free; keep in mind what you are otherwise arming your Tyrant with when taking powers, as they are all psychic shooting attacks and thus must be aimed at the same target as your other weapons (and subsequent charge, if any).

Paroxysm: A++ Would shoot again. Although it has a relatively short range, this power reduces an enemy unit to virtual uselessness, especially Marines, who rely on high stats to make up for small numbers. Assaulting the target (either with the Tyrant or something else) is a nasty trick, as it means everything will hit it on 3s and the target will only be able to hit back on 5s against even the most pathetic foes. Hormagaunts, Gaunts, and Gargoyles especially like having this cast right before they charge. Few and far between should be the Tyrants without this power. I love this power but it becomes problematic with it’s range. As Puppy indicates you’ve got to assault the target you’re shooting or also fire your weapon against it. With the limited range and impressive stats of the Tyrant you often want to let guants assault the Paroxysmed unit and the Tyrant assault something else but that’s not allowed so in essence it becomes a utility power when the Tyrant cannot assault and something else can or screwing up a round of shooting if there are no assaults.

Leech Essence: Another strong contender, but with some glaring weaknesses. The low strength of the hits and lack of prohibition on taking cover saves against them mean you will rarely get more than one wound out of it- but even that is something, as it’s essentially a free version of Regeneration in many cases. It also pisses off Marines, as the low AP means the wounds are always going through. Again, keep in mind that it has to be aimed the same place as your other weapons. This I think is your standard secondary power which is also a utility power. Put early wounds on the Tyrant and try and regen then from a unit you are about to assault.

Psychic Scream: Very random. Works just like the famed Doom of Malan’tai’s attack, but with a random radius and a normal Ld test instead of one on 3d6, making it significantly worse. Against Tau and IG it can do well- a 9″ radius zone of death is nothing to laugh at- but Marines aren’t going to be terribly scared of it. It has the bizarre distinction of being a psychic shooting attack but potentially targeting multiple (or no) units, giving it a degree of flexibility that the other powers lack if you are shooting at a tank. For that reason it makes a good companion for a Heavy Venom Cannon, letting you use your MC ability to shoot two weapons to get a power off. As a primary tactic, though, it is rather weak. Note that it does NOT interact with the Broodlord’s Aura of Despair in any way- the Broodlord’s power is used during the Assault Phase, well after Psychic Scream has gone off. Stupid GW. Could also be used as a secondary power due to it’s untargetted ability as Puppy points out but don’t expect it to do much. Avg 7″ range and high Ld of most armies reduces it’s ability to be effective.

The Horror: Meh. It forces a Morale test on one unit; that’s it. I’d rather just shoot at the unit and do the same. However, for something rock-hard (like Nob Bikerz or TH/SS Termies), this may be your only way of getting through to them. I still wouldn’t recommend it, though- all of the above powers are better for even that sort of situation. The only reason to take it is if you’re paired with an IG player in a doubles tourney and want to have fun with Weaken Resolve.

Special Abilities
Hive Commander: First, let me say this: the ability works while you are off the board. INAT is stupid and self-contradictory. Ignore them and people who argue otherwise, pointing them to the Deathleaper entry if necessary. With that out of the way, this is probably going to be the most common pick for the Tyrant special abilities, as it enables an entire army build. Combined with the Wings biomorph, you can start your entire army off-table, dropping, burrowing, or outflanking in on turn 2+. The secondary ability of allowing a troop unit to outflank is much less helpful; only Hormagaunts and Warriors can really benefit from it, and the inherent randomness of outflanking makes it a generally mediocre option. However, the option is there, so don’t forget about it. To use it to its fullest, try combining a regular Tyrant with a Swarmlord in order to get the edge reroll. All in all, a fantastic choice for any army that intends to use Mycetic Spores or any other kind of reserves with a degree of regularity. A must x2 for reserve based armies.

Old Adversary: The ability to reroll all of the Tyrant’s attacks is very nearly worth the 25 pts alone; applying it to nearby units only makes it more excellent. Gargoyles love it the most, but every Tyranid unit enjoys getting half again as many hits in CC, so if you’re running a swarm that wants to come to grips with the enemy, strongly consider this upgrade. It becomes doubly potent with Tyrant Guard in the mix or with large units that can be “strung out” to insure they receive the benefit- remember, you have to make that 6″ move when assaulted or assaulting, even if you don’t want to. It doesn’t work against (non-walker) vehicles, however, so a Flyrant that wants to go tank-hunting may be better off with paired Scything Talons. Tyrant utility at its best. Any sort of walking list or assault based list should be packing at least one Tyrant with this. Need to head off for now so will add more thoughts later!

Indescribable Horror: Bleh. Early leaks of the codex indicated that the power worked on shooting as well as assault, and had this been true it might have been worthwhile- but as is, it’s an utter waste. The only reason you should ever take this is for fluff purposes, as it does effectively nothing and for some reason costs just as much as the other two powers.

Bonesword/Lash Whip: A lot of people poo-poo these, pointing out that you already ignore saves in CC and Tyrant Guard can get Whips to make up for it. However, by letting your Tyrant carry the Whip you can give the Guard Boneswords, making them a much more credible threat to enemy models. A Tyrant also has a much larger base, meaning he can affect more enemy models with the Whip than the Guard can hope to. Since it can act as pseudo-grenades when charging into cover, it is in my mind a mandatory selection for most Tyrants. And really, what are you going to replace it with? Having two guns means wasting one of them or wasting your psychic powers- and Tyrants have some very strong powers.

Scything Talons: In general, don’t bother. Yes, you can use them to get free rerolls on all CC attacks, whereas Old Adversary costs 25 pts, but you’re giving up your guns and only saving a little. At low point values or when hunting for tanks there is an argument to be made, but as a rule, they just aren’t worth it. A single pair has some vague use as a sort of “insurance” against abysmal rolls, but still isn’t going to be terribly impressive. However, if you’re tight on points, you could do worse than leave your Tyrant with the basic LW/BS+ST configuration.

TL Deathspitter: Don’t. Ever. Take. These. If many of the above upgrades could be said to be poor, Deathspitters are borderline godawful. Compare their statline to Brainleech Devourers and you should see.

TL Devourer with Brainleech Worms: A reasonably strong option for those looking to get some anti-infantry firepower in their list. Though they lack the rerolled wounds from last edition, you are otherwise very similar and can spray out an absolute torrent of S6 firepower that will make most units shrivel up and cry like babies in a quite literal way thanks to the -1 on the morale check; the cost is also quite reasonable. Two sets are a bit of overkill, I think, as I’d rather be shooting one of my psychic powers each turn. Also consider what a Stranglethorn Cannon could be doing to the same unit in its place for just a few points more. I don’t think it’s a clear-cut case of one being better than the other, but consider your options.

Heavy Venom Cannon: There are not a lot of platforms you can mount this weapon on in the codex, so one that can move 12″ per turn and deep strike, or that has a half dozen ablative wounds is worth some serious consideration. First and foremost an anti-tank weapon despite the -1 on the chart, it can also serve to ID characters or inflict high-str wounds onto tough targets. Flyrants of all sorts should probably take one of these, as you lack the options of Tyrannofex and Hive Guard for AT firepower; walking Tyrants, who will generally have to shoot front armor and have other things to be doing (like running) may consider it less useful.

Stranglethorn Cannon: Hmm. Well, it has some pretty reasonable numbers, wounding MEQs on a 2+ and pinning, but the shoddy AP and lack of barrage mean that the opponent will pretty much always get a save against it, as with most Tyranid weapons. It’s a slightly more expensive option than the Devourer and subs pinning for the morale penalty, which is a good deal, but you’ll usually be shorter on AT than infantry killers, so the HVC will generally get the nod over this simply because of the other options (or lack of them) in the codex. Still, it’s far from bad, so if you really like laying big green pie plates on folks, go nuts.

Adrenal Glands: Meh. If you’re making the tank-chasing double ScyTal Flyrant, this is probably a good inclusion. Otherwise, you’re I5 S6 already and have a Lash Whip; this isn’t going to help you much.

Toxin Sacs: No. You’re paying points to lower your wound roll from 2+ to 4+ with reroll. If literally all you ever fight is T5+ guys, this helps; otherwise, leave it at home.

Acid Blood: Did you notice that Lash Whips reduce the enemy’s actual Initiative value, not just what Init they strike at? I did. And it made me cackle with evil glee. The combo more or less guarantees that every wound you take will put a wound on the enemy as well, but even then it feels a little mediocre to me. You already dish out no-saves wounds, but I suppose that sometimes a few more is all it takes to tip the balance. Sits firmly in the “acceptable, but not great” tier.

Implant Attack: Well, it’s a way to deal ID, I guess. Not terribly impressive for the cost, but if you’re hunting characters then it could be an okay investment. There are probably better units to put it on, though.

Toxic Miasma: If you have problems with swarms of Guardsmen or Orks gumming up your Tyrant, this is the power for you. Against Marines or such, however, it’s decidedly mediocre. Usually worse than Acid Blood against any kind of real threat, but then again it serves a different purpose, that of cutting down extra mooks in order to win a combat faster. Probably ranks a bit worse than AB or Regen, but better than IA.

Regeneration: Well, first off it’s cheaper here than on most other critters. It also synergizes nicely with Leech Essence, doubling up your ability to keep yourself alive. If you’re short on Synapse, this may be a good choice to make sure that your main source of it doesn’t die. Note that if you have Tyrant Guards, you can lay early wounds on the Tyrant himself and try to Regen them back.

Carapace Options
Thorax Swarm: Sad to say, this is almost always going to be worse than the other options, since you can only pick one. Which is unfortunate, because they’re not at all bad for the cost, but the short range is sort of killer for it. If you do take it, the 2+ Poisoned version is almost always superior to the others against MEQs; the Rending version is really only good against TEQs, and the “standard” one is generally pretty worthless except against Guard/Eldar.

Winged: This is the one you’ll usually see. Yes, it’s really, really expensive, but worth every penny for the movement and ability to Deep Strike. From hunting tanks to dashing around providing support, the boost to maneuverability is unparalleled. The only reason not to be taking this is because you intend to take some Tyrant Guard to add survivability to him.

Armored Shell: The only option to get a 2+ save in the whole codex; combined with Tyrant Guard, it makes the guy awfully difficult to kill. However, most of the weapons that threaten your Tyrant tend to have AP1 or AP2; it’s main use is to shrug off the volumes of fire that sometimes get thrown at it (or volume of CC attacks). It is rather pricey, so you will often want to add another Tyrant Guard first, as the extra wounds will always benefit you.

Typical Builds
Reserves Flyrant: Winged, Hive Commander, BS/LW, HVC, Paroxysm, Leech Essence

Little Swarm Chief: Old Adversary, BS/LW, ST, Paroxysm, Psychic Scream, 1 Tyrant Guard (1500 or less)

Big Man on the Field: Old Adversary, BS/LW, HVC, Regeneration, Paroxysm, Leech Essence, 2 Tyrant Guard w/Boneswords or Lash Whips

Tyrant Guard
Realistically, an add-on to the Hive Tyrant, but detailed here separately because the codex does so as well. They are every bit as tough as the Tyrant itself despite not being Monstrous Creatures- and that is the main part of their strength. A combined unit of Tyrant and Guard will benefit from a cover save if 50% or more of its members can claim a cover save- so a unit of one Tyrant + Guard will get a save if either of its members can get one, which in most cases will mean the Guard, as all it needs is any unit or terrain between it and the shooter (as opposed to the 50% cover rule for MCs). This is as close as you’re going to get to an invulnerable save in the codex, so any walking Tyrant should probably invest the 60 pts in taking at least one Guard in order to basically triple his survivability. The Guard themselves are no pushovers in combat, hitting on 3s and wounding on 3s (with Rending, no less) against most enemies.

Rules note: the general consensus at this point is that Shieldwall allows a Tyrant to join like an Independent Character, but does not treat him as one once joined, so the Tyrant cannot be picked out in CC or shooting. Whether it is allowed to similarly leave the unit has less consensus, so determining this with your opponent before the game (or with your playgroup as a whole) is probably a good idea.

Lash Whips: A fairly acceptable option for slowing the enemy down, especially if you took Old Adversary on the Tyrant. Their Initiative is surprisingly low for Tyranid creatures, which makes these a lot more useful, but Boneswords (below) make them suffer a bit in comparison. This is a better pick if you are looking to be more defensive, or fight Daemons, Eldar, or other enemies that can actually strike ahead of the Tyrant.

Boneswords: If only you could trade the Rending Claws instead…. :\ In any case, they bring the Guard from “moderately threatening” to “oh sweet baby Jesus, that unit is going to break me like a toddler juggling Dreadnoughts.” The investment might look a lot steeper on other units, but given that the Guard are already fairly expensive (and quite survivable) and have enough strength to wound just about anything consistently it’s not so bad. There is also the factor of overkill to consider- ideally, you want to damage the unit on the initial charge (on your turn) and then finish them off on their turn- a Tyrant with Bonesword Guard may obliterate it in on the initial charge, leaving you vulnerable to enemy shooting.

The Swarmlord
So he’s basically a super-sized Hive Tyrant without the options, right? Sort of. While the Swarmlord is essentially a Hive Tyrant on steroids, yes, in many ways he is a different kind of animal because of the lack of options and the differences in how his abilities work. First off, he is even more of a monster in CC than the usual of his kind. In fact, if he were immune to ID, I would probably call him the strongest CC character in the game- but lacking that, he is very vulnerable to some of the other high-end characters. However, against anything that doesn’t kill him in a single hit he is an absolute monster, scything through Nobz, Terminators, and Avatars with equal ease. It is very important to note that he does not have Lash Whips and thus giving them to his Tyrant Guard is basically a necessity, as there are a reasonable number of HQ-type units that will strike before him. When he does land blows, however, they always cause ID and ignore saves as well as forcing rerolls of successful invulnerable saves- which is to say, even TH/SS termies and Fortuned Seer Councils don’t like tangling with him. A lot of big units, like the previously-mentioned Avatar, are generally immune to ID by virtue of their high toughness and don’t actually have the Eternal Warrior rule. You will make them regret this lack.

In terms of support, he lacks any kind of guns at all, but can use two psychic powers per turn and has a Synapse radius half again as large as normal. He can also pass a special rule to one unit within 18″- much more flexible than a normal Tyrant in that regard. Thus, despite his insane combat stats, the Swarmlord really shines as a support piece for your hive, acting as a force multiplier where it is needed most. His reserve ability lets you reroll board edges but doesn’t grant a unit an outflank in and of itself, so you’re going to need something that starts with it, which is to say Genestealers or a second Tyrant. However, being that the outflank half of the ability is largely the add-on, it isn’t really important to try and emphasize that bit. More importantly, his 1/turn special rule only lasts for your own turn, rather than being continuous like Old Adversary, so you may find yourself inconveniently weaker on the enemy player turn. (As a side note, there is really no reason to give anything other than Preferred Enemy unless you have some Gaunts charging a tank or something. Really, GW, Acute Senses? What the hell?) Finally, as small bonuses the Swarmlord has an extra wound and all the psychic powers available, although you’re probably never going to use The Horror so you don’t actually gain a lot there.

So when should you take the Swarmlord over a normal Tyrant? Well, first of all, were you planning on having a walking Tyrant? If no, forget the Swarmlord. Second, are you looking for a strong close combat theme to your swarm? Again, if not the Swarmlord is probably not up your alley. Now, how many points are you playing at? In 1500 or below the extreme cost of Swarmlord + Guard (because you DO need to give him at least one, and preferably two or three Tyrant Guard as mandatory upgrades) can quickly suck up all of your points. In a 1500 list he is really just a gimmick, and a fairly slow and clumsy one at that. “Death Star” units can usually be beaten by simply refusing to engage them on their terms and avoiding the zone around them; Swarmlord is very vulnerable to this because he lacks the movement options (transport, bikes, etc) that many other Death Star units possess. So I can really only recommend him starting at ~1850 or so, when his point cost starts being less weighty and there tend to be more units- and more expensive units- on the board for him to chew up. He acts as a good Synapse centerpiece to your swarm, easily keeping a large swath of the board under control, and can influence fights well away from his position thanks to his powers and abilities. Make sure you can take advantage of his wide-ranging influence with mobile assault forces that you can send out to solve problems in the area, and make sure that you have enough anti-tank in the rest of your force, as you will be unusually lacking even for a Tyranid swarm thanks to the huge investiture into the Swarmlord.

Perhaps he should more rightfully go under the Troops section, since he honestly pretty much always is, but I will stick with my pattern and list him here. Just as tough as all the other big MCs but with weaker combat stats (especially the WS3 and I1), Tervigons are support units through and through. They can bump their Synapse range out to 18″ if you want (something a lot of people forget about), but honestly you’re going to want to be using their other powers so much that it’s almost a waste to do so. They crap out Gaunts and give them special rules, so obviously they really want to be hanging around their babies to provide support- but there’s something to be said for keeping 7″ or more away so that the backlash from one dying doesn’t wipe out the whole brood, especially if you aren’t looking at getting into CC anytime soon. For those curious, you will spawn roughly ten gaunts each turn and have about a 40% chance of rolling doubles each time, so set your expectations at ~15 gaunts out of each Tervigon and you should do okay. They come naturally with Spike Salvo, but there’s really no reason you shouldn’t trade it out for Cluster Spines every single time. Spike Salvo will perform marginally better against a small unit (~4 models or less), but the rest of the time the Cluster Spines more than make up for their lack of AP by hitting a bunch of guys with much better accuracy.

Remember that the spawning of Gaunts is optional- so in KP missions, you’re often better off holding back and only spawning Gaunts if you have an immediate need for them to do something important. Also consider that you do not always have to start spawning turn 1; while you do risk wasting some of your potential- doubly so if your opponent has the firepower to drop the Tervi early- you are more likely to end up with more Gaunts in an advantageous position. There is no easy rule for when/when not to spawn, but major considerations would be how threatened the Tervigon is, where your Gaunts, if spawned, would be going that turn, and how many turns are remaining. If you haven’t started by turn 3 or so, you’re probably holding back too much (unless, as said, it’s a KP mission.)

Also keep in mind that spawned Gaunts can act normally, and you are allowed to spawn at any time during the movement phase. It is perfectly acceptable to spawn a squad at the edge of his 6″ radius, move them 6″ more, and then Run another d6″ forward if you need to get to an objective (or want to get out of backlash range.)

Tervigons are very good for objective-based missions because they are, 90% of the time, scoring units themselves in addition to producing scoring units. No other army has access to a scoring monstrous creature, and six T6/3+ wounds is nothing to sneeze at. Of course, there are plenty of other uses for the Gaunts, like screening other units or piling in extra hits in CC, but you’re usually going to want to be taking objectives with them while other, more durable units do the bulk of the fighting. See also the Termagant entry for more details on what to do with the little buggers.


Scything Talons: Well, they’re really cheap, I guess. But why do you even want them? Tervigons are not CC monsters. Still, not the worst way to spend your last five points if your army is basically done,a nd probably more useful than adding an eleventh Termagant to that squad.

Crushing Claws: On the plus side, you’re already I1 so there’s no drawback other than the cost. On the other hand, the cost. I said it before: Tervigons are not CC monsters. They are, at best, mediocre, even with the upgrades, and will usually have a bunch of little buddies to help. Adrenal and Toxin are both superior upgrades for this reason and I would always take them first. You also risk over-upgrading the unit when you could have been buying more bodies- even more Tervigons- which is a danger common to all armies.

Adrenal Glands: Not terribly impressive for the Tervi itself, but the ability to grant them to any Termagants nearby is potentially quite strong. Mainly something you want to pair with Toxin Sacs in order to strike ahead of virtually everybody and reroll wounds on them. Also helps a little if you need to try and crack a vehicle, as the Tervigon’s natural S5 makes it quite possible that even as a MC it still won’t penetrate.

Toxin Sacs: Quite superior to Adrenal Glands on their own, but together they make a beautiful pair. The Tervigon itself derives a pretty good benefit from them thanks to its lower-than-MC-normal strength value, but the real bonus is Poisoned Termagants. Many units- Plague Marines, Wraithlord/Guard, other Tyranid MCs, etc, rely on their high toughness as a damage mitigator; with Toxin Sacs on all your Termagants, they present a very real threat to these units. While not exactly a must-have upgrade, this should be high on your priority list, as it can radically change the threat profile of many of your units. Remember, you have to be within 6″ of the Tervigon when the ability’s effect goes off (so when the charge happens for Adrenal or when to-wound rolls are made for Toxin Sacs) in order to benefit from them. Do NOT hover your Termagants at exactly 6″ if you want to get the effects, because Defender Reacts moves will pull you outside of the aura’s radius.

Acid Blood: Brings some offense to an otherwise-defensive unit, but as a rule you want probably survivability upgrades on the Tervigon, not something situational like this. Of course, with six wounds and the potential for Regen and Feel No Pain on the unit, this can be very deadly. Oh, didn’t notice that? Both FNP and AB trigger when you suffer a wound- in other words, they have the same trigger, and thus you can inflict a wound with AB and then FNP it away. Just as other units can benefit from two abilities triggering off the same action (“when you charge” or “when you kill an enemy unit in CC”), the Tervigon (or anyone he gives FNP to) can do some brutal things to people who want to hurt him in melee. The Lash Whip Tyrant is a very good choice for this trick, as he takes advantage of it already and wants to get into CC to start with.

Implant Attack: ….What? No, don’t take this. Jeez, you shouldn’t be planning on getting into CC with this guy; haven’t I made that clear yet? Yes, it will probably happen, but if characters are charging your Tervigon, you are probably in trouble.

Toxic Miasma: Other MCs can consider this because they can potentially be swarmed by a bunch of dorks and slowly worn down; the Tervigon can bring his own reinforcements to the party, so there’s a lot less reason to get it. You should probably pass.

Regeneration: Yeesh, thirty points. Well, he is a really important guy to keep alive, so it’s understandable. Especially if you have a scoring Tervigon (which it generally should be), this can be helpful in ensuring that you end up with at least one point under your control. Between this and FNP, you can easily stay alive through all but the worst barrages of firepower, but again: consider how much you are investing into a single unit. 15 for Cat, 30 for Regen, 20 for TS + AG… and you’re 1/3 of the way to another Tervigon already.

Cluster Spines: Always take these. Always always. What are you going to do, glance a Rhino with your Stinger Salvo?

Catalyst: Well, now we get to the real meat. FNP is, as you probably gathered from the above comments, a large portion of the reason why you want a Tervigon. Charging into cover, sitting exposed for a turn, playing frontline duty on an advancing swarm… there are a lot of hazardous jobs in the hive, and cutting down on casualties isn’t just sentiment, it’s good use of resources. Many units have very poor saves, and Catalyst can be a good way to compensate for this, albeit in a haphazard manner. Still, very few Tervigons are going to want to leave home without either this or Onslaught, so think carefully about how you plan to use your swarm. Sometimes taking both will be the right choice, but not always. Note that this is not a psychic shooting attack and thus lets you still shoot later in the turn (but not use another power, obv). You may also use it during any point during the Movement phase, which gives it an aspect of flexibility.

Onslaught: Where Catalyst lets you play a defensive support role, Onslaught is all about offense. Effectively, it lets you extend a weapon’s threat radius by d6″ as well as pushing your swarm that little bit closer to the enemy in order to get a charge off. It’s especially helpful on Zoanthropes and Hive Guard, given their somewhat mediocre range. Note that the run always happens before the shooting, so you can’t use it to jet out of an enemy’s reach after hitting them. Although I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Raveners armed with guns, this power seems almost custom-fitted for them as well as some of the other shooty/bitey hybrid units like Tyranid Warriors and some types of Carnifex. And remember, if you use this, you aren’t doing any other shooting with the Tervigon this turn- you probably don’t want to inflict wounds on your own mans, even if you are a heartless shard of the Hive Mind.

Tyranid Prime
So if the Hive Tyrant is the default swarm leader, this guy is definitely the budget version. And, compared to the alternatives, he’s almost ridiculously cheap. Of course, we’re paying through the nose for a lot of our HQs, so that’s not saying a lot. Still, he comes in cheap even compared to other factions’ choices and he’s a strong opponent in most regards, basically being a slightly beefed-up Tyranid Warrior. Wait, why does he cost more than twice as much if all he’s got is a variety of small stat bumps? Well, junior, that’s because eight is a very important number in 40K. “But he doesn’t have any eights in his statline!” you cry out; I can hear it now. No, but eight is double four but NOT double five, do you see? I’m sorry, I’m being obtuse- he’s immune to Instant Death from the vast majority of weapons except Railguns and Demolishers. Clearer now? For eighty points, you’re effectively buying insurance against Meltagun, Missile Launcher, and Lascannon hits on whatever squad you attach him to- three hits worth, to be specific, which would normally cost you ~120 pts (or more!) of dudes from those squads. Warriors are his obvious partner (more on this in a sec), but Venomthropes, Zoanthropes, Raveners, Biovores, and even Lictors appreciate his company. He also provides roaming Synapse that can hook onto squads to avoid being shot apart.

Of course, he’s purpose-built to hang out with a squad of Warriors, since he passes his WS and BS onto them. By itself this isn’t terribly impressive, but combined with his ability to suck up ID wounds they become a lot scarier. His options are largely the same as theirs, so you’ll probably want to set him up pretty much identically in order to avoid weird role conflicts between the two of them. Remember, he can hitch a ride in their Mycetic Spore just like a Marine character tagging along in a Drop Pod, so if you’re looking to try something like that he is an excellent choice for making sure they survive that vulnerable first turn after landing.

His basic setup is pretty boring; Talons and Devourer mean that he can both shoot and fight reasonably well, but you will almost always want to specialize him at least somewhat, just as you will with Warriors. He is not particularly frightening in his basic incarnation, other than maybe giving vehicles a slight stink-eye thanks to his good S value.

(Oh, and perhaps- just perhaps- some of you were wondering “Can I attach my Tyranid Prime to a Carnifex, Lictor, or Zoanthrope now?” Yes; yes you can. ICs are forbidden from joining units that are always a single model strong, “like most Monstrous Creatures.” Most, but not all, and not our new Buddyfex, even if you take him as a singular, for the same reason that other ICs can join a one-strong squad of Tactical Marines. And now Zoeys and Lictors are a lot less standoffish, so you can hang around with them as well now. Aren’t you happy?)

Rending Claws: Well, you can get these two different ways, I guess. Dropping the Talons for them is a middling choice, probably only suited for shooty-type Warriors that want to be able to present a reasonable threat in combat and do some damage to vehicles. Not very impressive for the points. The other option, dumping your gun for them, is a bit more attractive- what you go for here is a CC terror that can chew through normal troops with a Bonesword and threaten vehicles (and particularly Dreadnoughts, which are otherwise untouchable) with its claws. You are, however, giving up a pretty reasonable gun, so don’t jump on the chance automatically. How likely are you to have a MC in the area that could kill the walker for you? How many walkers do you face normally? Are you a shooty or bitey swarm (i.e. do you intend to close the distance as quickly as possible or advance steadily while applying firepower)?

Double Bonesword: The cheaper of the power weapon options. This setup makes you pretty likely to be able to ruin the day of a Space Marine character, as you have the same I, WS, etc, and cause ID on them with every hit. This also brings bad times for other big nasties (outside of the Daemons codex), but is somewhat mediocre in terms of general combat, as there are a fair number of assault troops that strike simultaneous or ahead of you and you have no grenades. Still, it is a power weapon and it is cheaper, so if you’re trying to scrape the last couple of points together, you might consider it.

Bonesword/Lash Whip: This is the real gem. You aren’t as likely to auto-kill someone, but the sheer volume of attacks that a Prime and his Warrior friends can put out insures that most things will still die badly to such a unit. Without this, the Prime will struggle to hold par with most units of half its cost; with it, you’re looking at one of the most cost-efficient CC units available. Keep in mind that without Rending Claws you will be helpless against Dreadnoughts, but anything else is going to find you a tough nut to crack. This is also your grenade-substitute, and as such really shouldn’t be left at home if you can afford it.

Spinefists: Interesting. His high A and BS mean that you will almost always get four hits out of these, but crappy S means that won’t matter much. If you face a lot of Guard, Tau, and Eldar, though, they can end up superior to your other gun options, and they’re free to replace.

Deathspitter: Take it or don’t, depending on whether the Warrior squad he’s with uses them. If he’s not there to play buddy with some Warriors there’s no real point to giving him this, as the Devourer is a perfectly fine gun on its own. Note the major jump in anti-tank effectiveness it brings while still being superior against virtually all other targets as well.

Scything Talons: Well, the option is there, I guess. Double ScyTals isn’t a viable build for him like it is for a Tyrant or ‘Fex, as he’s not really suited to chasing down vehicles. You could take them as a secondary to Boneswords, but you’re probably better off with Rending Claws so that you don’t get squashed by a Dreadnought. Still, they aren’t awful, so don’t feel too bad about taking them if you do.

Adrenal Glands: Makes you a bit better at tank-hunting, I suppose- glancing on 4s isn’t bad. Unlike regular Warriors, you don’t get much out of the +1I, so these aren’t really a great buy, especially since you pay double for them compared to Warriors.

Toxin Sacs: Oh yes, come to papa. This is the other half of the equation that turns the Prime into a real killer in CC. You’ll get a reroll against anything T5 or less and anything more than that you probably are going to be causing bad times for with sheer number of power weapon attacks. This plus Bonesword means two dead Marines- even Plague Marines- every turn he’s in a fight; that’s a real quick path to carving up 100+ points of enemy units to earn his keep.

Regeneration: Wow, as much as he overpays for a lot of other options, Regen is super cheap; kinda weird. If you’re using him to soak up ID wounds and little else, this may be a good choice, as it means he has a chance to last just that little bit longer. However, with only three wounds and T5, he may not be around long enough to take real advantage of it, so think of this as another one of the “if you end up with some spare points” upgrades, not something mandatory.

Typical Builds
Punching Bag/Sock Puppet: Regeneration (or not even that)

My Buddy: BS/LW, RC or Devourer, Toxin

The Parasite of Montrex
Well here’s an odd fellow. Does he think he’s a Tervigon, spawning more units? Or a Flyrant, leading an airborne swarm? Or perhaps a Prime, bouncing around to provide Synapse where needed? The unfortunate answer is that he’s not really all that good at any of these things, at least not at his unfortunately-inflated price tag that creeps far too close to 200 pts for a T4/3+ character with no immunities. The Parasite is really nothing but a cute gimmick, but like many gimmicks he can be deadly if ignored, underestimated, or if you get exceptionally lucky.

At his heart, the Parasite is an opportunist- he doesn’t have a power weapon or Eternal Warrior, so you can’t mix him up with dedicated CC troops. And really, you don’t even want him going near anything moderately competent- what you want is to nibble away at weak spots in the enemy force and spawn as many Rippers as you can, which then dive directly into the main body of things to tie up important units for as long as they can. Scouts, Devastators, Guardians, Guardsmen, Grots- anything weak, anything vulnerable is your ideal target. His high S and I mean that it isn’t hard to inflict wounds- or, if it comes down to it, glance a tank a bit- but he doesn’t have the survivability to get into long, drawn-out slugging matches. High mobility and good all-around stats mean that you can at least put up some kind of fight against virtually any enemy, though. Also, take notice of his cute “combo” effect- rolls of six to wound trigger both Rending Claws and Implant Attack, giving you an ID hit that can’t be saved against, so you have a chance to randomly kill almost anything. Just don’t rely on it.

His quick movement, IC status, and relative fragility make it pretty obvious that he needs to be accompanying something, but the real question is what. Gargoyles are probably the premiere choice- they are cheap, giving you a mass of ablative wounds; they are reasonable CC contenders and can shoot, so as to thin out potential targets for him or accompany him on the charge against larger foes; and they need a “babysitter” to function well, a role he fits perfectly. Shrikes are also a possibility, as they also want to be jumping into melee and can potentially give him the ability to take on stronger foes, finishing the job for him if he rolls poorly. However, in terms of protecting him from shooting they are much worse than Gargoyles. Skyslasher Swarms are also available, but are inferior to Gargoyles in every way but theme. They are slightly cheaper per wound but can be eliminated en masse by blasts or S6+ guns, whereas Gargoyles are simply tickled pink to take a Lascannon or Plasma shot for their boss. They also lack guns (unless you pay even more points), have no advantageous rules (compared to the rather good Blinding Venom ability), and worse all-around stats.
So that is a hell of a way to start, I know; breaking it up unit-by-unit seems… wasteful? Excessively slow? We’ll see how later sections feel, but for now I’ll leave you with this Wall of Text (2W, 0/7, Creatures blocked by Wall of Text lose all abilities until end of turn) and call it good. <3 MtG references =D! Decided to forego the Kirby comments unless it is asked of me. I think it detracts from the overall feel of the review which Puppy has done a great job on. Will most likely remove my previous comments by the end of the week unless anyone has any objections or would like me to finish.

GWvsJohn Builds an Army: Foot Marines

Our fearless leader received a request (via Warseer PM no less) asking for a footslogging marine “horde” (1750 points) and Kirby delegated the responsibility to me. It’s good to be the king, right Kirbs? As crazy as that request was, it only gets wilder. No vehicles at all, no scouts, no terminators, no bikes and no more than 23 (odd limit) JP troops. Oh yeah, it also should be Blood Angels. Eager for a challenge, I dove in and tried to hit every request. (As an aside, if you really want a competitive all foot marine list, a Loganwing fits the bill and is very, very good)

Kirby comments in blue! Sorry Thud, didn’t get to this today unfortunately 🙁 so I asked GWvsJohn to do it since he was free :P; hope you don’t mind! We talked about it and I agree with him on what he’s produced and am quite impressed. I think it fulfils what you were asking of us (lots of Marine bodies & no mech) whilst staying as competitive as possible though I think at 1750 and lower is where it shines (GWvsJohn said this too I think). The problem with this type of list though is your killing power. Whilst you have awesome staying power w/FNP bubbles and T4/3+ x~60, you’ll find Mech is capable of taking your 1st turn punch and punching back but I think in the restrictions given, it’s near the best we can come up with and pretty decent. Personally if you were going for infantry and BA I’d prefer a pure Jumper list or Blood Rodeo but this is a bit of mix & match in terms of combat and shooting. Will post Thud’s PM below so everyone else can have a gander and thanks to GWvsJohn for doing this! Silly power outage and assignments (again).

PM in from Thud:

“Instead of e-mailing you, I thought I’d just send you a PM. 😉

Ever since I saw a guy put down 100 Marines on the table way back in 3rd edition, I’ve wanted to make a large, footslogging Space Marine army; no vehicles, no Scouts, no nonsense, just Marines.

At the time, however, I was 13 and living off my allowance, so my dream never came to fruition. Now, however, after recently seeing a battle report video with tons of Marines (though accompanied with some tanks) I was reminded of this army type and I’d really like to go for it.

There are, unfortunately, a couple of problems. I play in a very competitive environment, and while I don’t really care whether or not I win, I’d prefer not to get trashed all the damn time. And, then there’s the fact that I haven’t played with anything in power armour since I Rhino-rushed my Space Wolves forward before the time of the trial-assault rules in 3rd edition.

And that’s where you come in…

To give you an idea of what I’m thinking of, here’s a quick list I knocked together at 1,750 points, which is the standard point level around here, using the BA codex;

Librarian w/ jump pack
2x Sanguinary Priests w/ jump packs, power weapons
4x 10 Tactical Marines w/ meltagun, lascannon
2x 10 Assault Marines w/ 2 meltaguns 1 sgt w/ power weapon, the other w/ power fist
1x 10 Devastators w/ 4 lascannons

In objective missions the meltagun parts of the Tac squads would create sort of a Kroot wall around the Devs and the Lascannon parts of the Tac squads who camp on objectives. The Assault Squads, Priests and the Libby charge forward to contest/claim objectives in the opponent’s side of the board.

Obviously this is not very refined yet, and I’m not used to being the guy who shoots with Marines, rather than the one who shoots at them, so hopefully you’ll be able to help me refine this concept to the point where I’d at least be able to put up a decent fight against mech IG and whatnot.

I’m open to most changes except adding anything with an armour value, Terminators or Bikers and I’d prefer not to have any more models with jump packs than the 23 I have included in the list above. Dropping one Assault Squad in favour of, say, a Vanguard squad would be alright, though. And yes, I’m aware of how far I’m stretching the relative nature of the term “most changes.”

Thanks in advance,
Thud. “

So, where do we start? Well, the same place every good Marine army (except maybe DA and obviously BT) should, with a Librarian. Blood Lance is just too good to leave off the table, so let’s make this guy one of our 23 jumpers.

125 – Librarian – Jump Pack, Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius

The biggest problem (of many) with an all-foot list is lack of mobility. Slowing the enemy’s plan becomes harder and seizing objectives nearly impossible (C&C becomes bunker down and hope for a draw). “Slow” mostly foot Tau and IG lists can blow opponents off the board, but even the shootiest marine list will have trouble with that. We need something that can go out and menace and maybe take objectives. Thankfully Thud (the requestor) is ok with some Jump Infantry and BA just happen to have very good ones that can score to boot. A foot list is also going to have a hard time taking out heavy armor, because it can’t bring as much melta to bear quickly. So let’s pack our ASM to the teeth with melta love.

250 – 10 Assault Marines – 2 meltaguns, Veteran Sgt, infernus pistol, powerfist

Let’s bring 2 of them. 21 jumpers down so far, and not much of a footslogging list, lol. FNP is one of the greatest strength of the BA Codex, so let’s get some (with FC too) for our jump wing.

75 – Sanguinary Priest – Jump Pack

One bubble for 20+ marines is tight, but we’re gonna run with it for now. Just like we have the Jumpers to go get far objectives, let’s bring some lads to protect our home base.

170 – 10 Tactical Marines – Missile Launcher, Flamer

Free upgrades FTW. Hopefully, these guys will stay relatively unscathed during most games as they project little threat. They also make a great bodyguard for the FNP bubble in our foot/shooty section. When it comes to a SP on foot, Corbulo is absolutely worth the 55 points extra he costs. In a list like this, going first becomes even more important, so Corbulo is well worth the cost.

105 – Brother Corbulo

We need more foot and more shooty, and for some reason the bloodthirsty, assault crazed marines get cheaper Devastators. We won’t complain here.

130 – 5 Devastator Marines – 4 Missile Launchers

Bare bones and fragile, but put out decent hurt. Let’s bring 3. I think this is everything we “need” so let’s tally where we are. 1365, 22 jumpers, 25 footies, 6 melta, 13 ML, 2 FNP bubbles and most likely going first. To be honest, it’s better than I expected with almost 400 to spend. In fact, I think this could be a very mean 1500 point list. But that’s not what we’re going for. Where to go from here. We need more foot to make Thud happy and we need more shooting to stay competitive. We’d all like Tacticals to be the core of our marine list, kicking ass and taking names like in the fluff, but in reality, the majority of a Tactical Squad’s threat comes from the heavy and special, and they have to pay 170 points to even get those weapons. That’s just not gonna cut it. We need more boom, so let’s take a gander through the codex for options. Hmm, Sternguard can take 2 heavy weapons in a 5 man squad, and at Tactical prices? That’s something that’s easy to miss in an initial read of Marine codices and rarely used when you can mount or drop them and go all melta.

155 – 5 Sternguard Veterans – 2 Lascannons

I think paying 20 more for 2 Lascannons here makes sense while paying 10 for 1 Lascannon in a Tactical Squad is dumb. Why? I can’t really explain. The Tactical heavy is a sort of afterthought, if it works, great, but we’re not relying on it, so let’s keep it cheap. Here, we are adding the Sterns as a firepower unit and the threat of 2 s9 over 2 s8 is significant. We also don’t have a lot of ap2 in this list, so that’s nice. Let’s bring 2 of these squads. Those 6 special ammo guys also provide some last ditch anti-infantry for when things go south. That brings our total up to 1675. For our last 75, I think a 2nd jump SP is the way to go. This relies on the small jump wing to do a lot. Having a 2nd bubble gives you greatly increased versatility (since you can split the squads) and redundancy (since each bubble has 10 ablative wounds). Here’s our list:

125 – Librarian – Jump Pack, Blood Lance, Shield of Sanguinius
75 – Sanguinary Priest – Jump Pack
75 – Sanguinary Priest – Jump Pack
105 – Brother Corbulo
155 – 5 Sternguard Veterans – 2 Lascannons
155 – 5 Sternguard Veterans – 2 Lascannons
250 – 10 Assault Marines – 2 meltaguns, Veteran Sgt, infernus pistol, powerfist
250 – 10 Assault Marines – 2 meltaguns, Veteran Sgt, infernus pistol, powerfist
170 – 10 Tactical Marines – Missile Launcher, Flamer
130 – 5 Devastator Marines – 4 Missile Launchers
130 – 5 Devastator Marines – 4 Missile Launchers
130 – 5 Devastator Marines – 4 Missile Launchers

Did we succeed? 1750 point Blood Angel, check. No vehicles at all, no scouts, no terminators, no bikes, check. No more than 23 JP troops? Quick math, 23 exactly. Damn, I’m good. Competitive? For 1750, yeah, I think it is. 16 ML and 4 LC is a decent alpha strike, and with Corbulo you’ll probably go first. 23 FNP jumpers are tough to put down before they can put a hurt on you. Your 35 man foot/shooty base puts out decent firepower, but is a little vulnerable to blasts as they all huddle around Corbulo for the FNP love.

Unfortunately, I think 1750 is the end of the line for this list. You’ve maxed your foot firepower with no more elite or HS slots. I think your best option to go up to 2000 would be

247 – Inquisitor Lord – null rod, psycannon, terminator armor, emperor’s tarot, 2 mystics, 3 MM gun servitors

3 MM are nice, and the tarot (plus Corbulo) almost guarantee first turn, but 250 is a lot to spend for a t3 squad with only 8 wounds.

Anyone have other ideas?


AbusePuppy’s Tyranid Review Part 1: Overview

Hopefully AbusePuppy will post the rest of his sections soon, just wanted to post this section to get it up as an example and create the in-site page for the Review. I’ve posted a few of my own comments in blue.
Overview of the Tyranids
Strengths: Tyranids are, largely without exception, more powerful than any other race in close combat. They are extremely mobile, able to shoot on the move with every weapon in the codex and having access to many forms of alternate movement (Deep Strike, Outflank, Infiltrate, etc). Many of their units are cheap enough to buy in hordes and they have many large, scary monstrous creatures that few opponents will want to get into close combat with. Even as a shooting force Tyranids can be very dangerous and most of their guns hit an area or get multiple shots. This is key for Tyranids, they are fast enough to compensate for Mech, have survivability through numbers or toughness/wounds and are capable of laying down some impressive firepower.

Weaknesses: Most Tyranids have terrible armor saves and are, as a rule, rather expendable. Their guns tend to be somewhat shorter range than other races’ to compensate for their mobility and their anti-tank arsenal in particular is very limited in scope. Tyranids also have very few weapons with good AP values and rely more on volume of shots in order to hope their opponents fail some armor saves, which at times can be frustrating. Suppression fire. As Puppy pointed out, Tyranids rock at close combat and most tanks don’t like MCs attacking them in combat if they haven’t moved. Tyranid shooting allows that. Whilst Tyranids have a hard time with AV14 all-rounders, they do have the capacity to wreck the supporting army and can still damage AV14 some-what reliably w/T-Fexes and MC combat.

If you like filling the table with little bugs or just plopping down two or three enormous monsters that make your opponents cry, Tyranids are the army for you. If you like throwing enough dice to make an Ork player sit up and take notice Make sure the dice are purple!, Tyranids may also be the army for you. But if you get attached to individual models and can’t bear to pluck squads off the table as they get annihilated one by one, Tyranids are not the army for you. Everything in a Tyranid list is expendable, from the mightiest Swarmlord to the lowliest Gaunt. You may find that at the end of many battles you are left with nothing but a couple Warriors and some scattered Gaunts holding your objectives, and that’s exactly what the Hive Mind wants. It is the fate of every Tyranid to be dissolved back down to biomass- accept it with the coldness of space that you have descended from.

What is it missing?

1. Transports: You have access to absolutely no vehicles. None. 6″ or 12″ and d6″ for Fleet is all you get, + beasties =D, Raveners are not to be overlooked even with a poor save. and your units are always vulnerable to being shot and manipulated by psychic powers, especially the feared Lash of Submission. Problem with Lash here is where does the unit go? Tyranids are generally layered so much that it doesn’t matter. Pulling your Hive Guard into the open can be problematic but the rest of the Tyranid army are quite happy to pulverise the rest of the CSM army.

2. Eternal Warrior: Nothing in the codex is immune to Instant Death. Be very careful of how you match up your units against the enemy- Power Fists can be very awkward for your mid-range units.

3. Invulnerable Saves: Aside from the Swarmlord (in CC), Doom of Malan’tai, and Zoanthrope, you do not have access to any invulnerable saves. Low-AP guns and power weapons are always going to be a hassle for you. Many of your units have piles of wounds, but keep in mind that you have no resistance to damage other than those wounds. Once they’re gone, that’s it.

Army-Wide Special Rules

Synapse Creatures/Shadow in the Warp

Synapse (and Shadow in the Warp, which is present on every Synapse Creature in the book) are going to be the fundament of your game plan. You don’t always have to have Synapse on every unit, but it’s important to consider when you can afford to break your Synapse web, because you can be damn sure that your opponent is going to be. Creatures in Synapse are Fearless, as per the rulebook; creatures out of it have to make a special leadership test each turn or suffer major restrictions on how they are allowed to act that turn. Keeping a critical mass of Synapse Creatures can be one of the hardest parts of writing a Tyranid list; a 1000 pt list should probably have at least two or three Synapse units in it, while a 2000 pt list might need six or more. Keep in mind the durability and role of your Synapse creatures when determining how much you need, as well as what opponents you may face- if your only Synapse is Tyranid Warriors that are charging into the fray, units that want to stand back and shoot may find themselves in an awkward position! Similarly, a Synapse character in a squad is much harder to get rid of than a lone unit that simply hangs out nearby. If your opponents regularly target your Synapse creatures, consider investing some additional points in protecting them- there are many options, which will be discussed later. I don’t think synapse is that neccessary and generally by virtue of what I’m taking in my lists, I don’t need to worry about it. However, if you don’t account for it in your army list, you will have problems but I don’t think it is a neccessity to go out of your way to ensure you have lots of overlapping bubbles. Instictive behaviour isn’t as bad as it used to be but it does make your units more suspectible to sweeping advances and running away.

Shadow in the Warp forces nearby enemy psykers- even Tyranid ones, oddly enough- to roll 3d6 instead of 2d6 for psychic tests, suffering Perils on any result including double ones or sixes. This is highly crippling when you can bring it into play, as even the best psykers in the game will, on average, fail their tests and it brings the chance of Perils in the Warp up to something like 15%. (Someone else, feel free to do the math for me here, I’m guesstimating.) The main limititation is the short range of the effect (12″) means that it isn’t hard for an embarked or winged/biking psyker to slip out of the area of effect before using their powers. It functions best against powers that have a short range or those that need to be used in or immediately prior to combat, although it’s certainly possible to “hem in” a psyker from several sides, leaving them nowhere to run to. SitW unfortunately isn’t that great as anti-psy due to it’s poor range as Puppy mentioned. Whilst it is certainly a positive bonus, Deathleaper is generally a better ‘anti-psy’ bet.

Instinctive Behavior

As noted above, creatures outside of Synapse must make a Ld test each turn or suffer from restrictions on their behavior. More importantly, however, they are vulnerable to all the normal morale and pinning tests and will go to ground, fall back, etc, just like any other units, only much more often.

Instinctive Behavior- Feed prevents you from shooting and forces you to move towards the nearest visible enemy. Note that it is significantly more restrictive than the Rage rule, as many IB-Feed creatures have guns you may want to use, such as the Doom of Malan’tai. Others, however, do just fine, as you want them to be charging straight into battle anyways. IB-Feed creatures can often benefit from not being in Synapse during the actual process of close combat, as losing a fight and taking ten No Retreat! wounds can be very painful, and our generally high Initiative values make it relatively easy to escape Sweeping Advances.

IB- Lurk forces the unit to stand still and shoot at the nearest enemy it can hit (possibly in LOS, possibly not- the codex is unfortunately rather unclear on this point). Again, for many units this is not a huge detriment, as you were planning on doing something like that anyways, but note that Lurking creatures are much more vulnerable to being forced to take morale tests- and subsequently fail those tests, as Tyranid Ld values are pretty abysmal- than those in CC, who only need to test if they lose. Spot on. Worse yet, if there are no units in immediate LOS and range, you have to run towards the nearest area terrain, and even then you aren’t allowed to move during the movement phase. IB- Lurk creatures thus usually need a Synapse babysitter to be functional, as you want your wall of critters advancing on the enemy as quickly as possible.

An excellent start by AbusePuppy and my own take on the Tyranid codex. Their shooting is primarily suppression based. Whilst Hive Guard give most armies fits the majority of the Tyranid shooting is about stopping your opponent from moving/shooting so your guant horde and MCs can bring their weight to bear up close and personal.

Reply ouy: GaleRazorwind not getting it…


This is a comment from this thread about GaleRazorwind not understanding his opponent’s can and will disrupt his battle plans beyond his list not having enough anti-mech, flexibility or duplicity. My comments in green :)! (is it too bright?). Fine blue :(.

*damn, just lost half of my post…* write in a word processor

You seem to be a big fan of strawman arguments. nope, you also only point out one argument, not multiples I never said anything about losing specific units, I said that after turn 4, if I didn’t kill enough stuff, my units can get picked off. Usually, by the late game, 1 or 2 of my Hormagaunt squads are reduced to a few models, so they can become easy kill points. Please take the time to read what I am actually saying and stop using strawmen. Please take the time to read beyond the actual words; cognitive complexity is a requirement in arguing with me. Any army that “peaks” late-game, is not a good army. My Eldar army has lost everything except 2x Prisms and Falcon in a 1500 game by T2 and still won against an IG army that at that point outgunned it as badly as I outgun both your and Ail-Shan’s lists because there are no peaks and valleys to it’s structure.

I’ll try to counter your arguments: good luck!
1) lack of fire. full stop. You deal with a mech or mobile army how again?
This is a moot point because, regardless of any lack of apparent firepower, the ranged attacks my units provide is all I need because I’m in assault by turn 2. Hey, remember how I said your opponent plays, too? Just because you have units which can get into assault by Turn 2 (which you could do better, I.e. Raveners) doesn’t mean you will be. Blocking and sacrificing work. I don’t need anymore firepower for my list to work like it is supposed to. I deal with a mech army in much the same way I deal with every army. Good to know you are flexible. In turn 1, I determine target priority, and in turn 2, I deploy my drop troops in their ideal positions to take out the biggest threats to my army, and guess what, they take those targets out. It softens up my food before I start to chew, and it works. Since they have Adrenal Glands, my Hormagaunts are capable of glancing vehicles to death, and have trapped their fair share of enemy units inside their transport. While you may not like how I do it, you can’t argue with the results I get. Yes I can because your army cannot consistently deal with 10+ tanks. When you start using the words “glance to death” your army is failing. Ask Orks or Necrons.

2) Tervi in HQ w/no Termaguants. Tervigons are pretty decent buffers but not worth their points outside of Troops or w/o Termaguants around unless you’re running a 5 Tervi list which is only viable at 2.5k + when you can get Fex broods working. Waste of points here
I like my Tervigon as an HQ. It is great for DoW missions as I can put down two Hormagaunt squads and the Tervigon and then get a further Gant squad into the mix. My Tervigon may not always be my MVP, but he does a great job of holding the line together and taking a little pressure off some of my other units. Why? There are no Termaguants to support outside of what it poops and it’s not a Troop. People waste firepower on this sub-par HQ which is ~200 pts why? Another indication of sub-par opponents. Since you’re trying to make an in your face army with reserves you are much better off with another Tyrant. People still overestimate what a Tervigon can do, and I take advantage of that. At some point, I may have to exchange him for something else, but for now, he works just fine. So you’re saying your opponent’s are crap? Good. The Tervigon in a proper army is simply amazing. The ability to hold mid-field and cast FNP or Onslaught is invaluable to the correct army. Yours isn’t.

3) You’re too focused on synapse and are paying out the wazoo for it.
I’m not focusing on synapse, it just happens that a good portion of my units have it. I take my Tervigon for the synapse Another Tyrant is better. and my Tyrant is there to provide some back up synapse (Hive Commander and Paroxysm are the main reasons I take him) First smart thing I’ve seen. if I decide to take his node elsewhere. My Zoanthropes are taken purely for their offensive capabilities, shame you’ve only got one unit and it’s your only ranged anti-tank unit…what happens when it dies? You throw hormaguants at the army? What happens if they don’t come in? You use your awesome anti-tank elsewhere to win? and if they happen to give synapse, thats great. I pay the 40 points for my Primes because I really like having the extra 6 shots and extra 6″ range as it greatly increases their tank popping ability. lol what. No it doesn’t, it’s generally a waste of points. If you want synapse further upfield, give wings to a Tyrant. The extra points for the Prime don’t improve it’s combat abilities and an extra 6 shots…quivering in fear. It has no ranged-anti tank capabilities. If it does, then so do FW are effective anti-tank. Fleet > BS3 S5 shots. If you wanted to give one Prime to help support the Hormaguants/Raveners when you buy them, fine I can live with that but for improved anti-tank? What anti-tank…Trygon anti-tank is all about combat. Again, synapse is a bonus. I do have to say, I enjoy not having to worry about my Hormagaunts running away if they get ahead of my Tyrant/Tervigon, though. Flyrant.

4) Combining with number 1, you have no in your face capabilities outside of the Trygons & DoM and since you can’t slow opponents with your shooting…you get dictated
Are TS+AG Hormagaunts not “in your face” enough for you? Uh no. They don’t have the guaranteed movement of Calvary or Jump Infantry (both of which you can take in your army so do it), they can be blocked by tanks and outside of your reserves are the only in your face aspect of your army. Sure hope I don’t focus fire on them. They are for me. Your problem is that you are assuming I do not have enough firepower, but is wrecking three key targets really not slowing my opponent’s shooting? Nope because the whole army works and you are not wrecking 3 key targets each shooting. Again you also assume each of your shots “works.“ I have no idea where you are getting 3 from either. 1 from the Zoans…and that’s about it. Trygons & DoM & your Tyrant are not good anti-tank. See some of my anti-tank articles but Tyanids rely on suppression fire from their shooting and chomp them in CC or through simple attrition. You don’t have that so you are generally hitting on 6s in combat. You’re underestimating just how devestating that is. I could end all of your Dakka-Preds or Dreads on turn 2, and then end the rest on turn 3, and that’s just with my Zoanthropes and Trygons. So it is Trygons. Sorry, my AV13/12 laughs at your S5 because I’m not stupid enough to let you DS behind me. Hello players who can play and know how to defend against deep striking. You still have to deal with all of my Hormagaunts and my Tyrant and my Tervigon. My whole army is in your face by turn 2 and is destroying everything they touch. No, I have to deal with your Horamguants and if I gost first I get 2 turns to do this and if I can’t kill them all I can block them with tanks (glancing to death…I’m a quiver with fear). Then I have to tie up Zoans and pop a missile into DoM and deal with the Trygons if they come in (see how this would be harder the more there is backed up by Raveners and Hormas?). Your Tyrant/Tervigon plod along later because they are slow. Tyranids can work well in waves because they can overwhelm you, this list doesn’t. Backed up by 2x Tyrant and these lists really work well. 2+ reserves and pref enemy bubbles. That’s in your face.

I’m going to say it again. Regardless of how you think a proper Tyranid army should work, I have found my niche with this list and I continue to get results from it. Ever since I started last year, I have tried to embody the Tyranid principles of adaptation. In every game, I am always watching to see what works and what doesn’t and how to best react to any particular situation I encounter, and the knowledge I gained from this is what led to my current list. I have made almost no changes at all to my 1850 list since February (I have moved the last 10 points around to various areas for upgrades and other superficial changes) because it wins just about every time. Good for you, doesn’t make it right. I can add 1+1 and get 3 every time…well I just look stupid. As long as I continue to win with it, I see little reason to make any changes to my list. Come to Australia so you can change it after you get beat =D? Internet challenges! Don’t worry, I will pull out my Nids with some proxying Trygons and see how well my mech lists can roll it. If there comes a time when I no longer win, I will adapt and change my list.

One of the great parts about Warhammer 40K is that, with most armies, there is always more than one way to build a good army, and different people will migrate to the build that they get the best results with. Correct, but generally only with the new books. Perhaps you can’t do a good job with my list because you don’t see what I see. Or you can’t see what we all see. It sucks. I might have a hard time with a list you made because I don’t see what you see. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. In the end, being good doesn’t matter what list you play with. I have a certain style but I can and do play well with other lists because I actually understand 40k. While I enjoy the competitive side of things, I’m obeying the number 1 rule: Have fun! I have fun with my army, and I want to keep it that way. That’s great and that’s what 40k is all about, fun. Don’t fob off your fun list as competitive though.

So any challengers in Sydney with this list or on silly Vassal? I’ll use this list (IRL I’ll have to proxy Trygons) and will approve my opponent’s lists.

Oh and another post, maybe he missed this one!

This argument is like trying to explain Austrian Free-Market Economics to an Obama/McCain supporter. I am seeing some standard fallacies and vauge responses to a degree I haven’t seen since ’08. Lucky for us we see arguments like yours all the time and still jump into the boiling water to try and drum some sense into the masses.

Chumbalaya, instead of telling me my list is “terribad” and that a “solid mech list” would “roll through” me, how about you tell me exactly how you would respond to my list and tactics exactly as I have described them here (that means reading my posts, not what others are saying about my posts) with a “solid mech list” that was designed for standard tournament play (i.e. not a tailored list). Because I already did? That way I can try to understand where you are coming from so I can properly refute your arguments. Anything less devolves into petty insults. You can’t properly refute this with your army, incoming mathhammer. You say you can drop 3 AV12-13 tanks (remember, I’m not a bad player and allowing you to DS your Trygons behind my lines). The chances of the Zoans killing something are around 33% w/a hood around and no cover. The chances of a Trygon destroying AV12+ at range? 0. Benefit of the doubt and AV11 = 33% w/o cover. The DoM @ S10 = <8% depending where you put your blast marker, hood and no cover. Tyrant can't wreck AV12 but AV11 = 8%. Add that all together and you're not even reaching a "100%" chance of wrecking a vehicle and you're claiming you WILL wreck 3. Sorry I didn't spell this out, I thought it was bleeding obvious.

This argument ultimately boils down to me saying, “Yes I can!” and you saying, “No you can’t!”. See above, you are very unlikely to wreck 3 tanks in a turn.I have posted a huge amount of information with plenty of detail, but I’m not getting any responses that have the same level of detail, because blanket statements like “you do not have enough anti-mech” or “you can’t just waltz into combat every game on T2 because people can block you” you  have not refuted. There’s some math, refute it. not to mention that you guys have been misrepresenting my arguments (Kirby in particular) in nearly every post you make, so while it looks like you are making a decent argument on the surface, you aren’t even talking about the same things I am. Well let’s see, you said you can “I could end all of your Dakka-Preds or Dreads on turn 2, and then end the rest on turn 3, and that’s just with my Zoanthropes and Trygons” Guess what, you can’t unless I’m handing you rear armors. Even then your chances are quite unlikely. Or how about “because I’m in assault by turn 2”, hey look, blocked. You’re in combat with a tank and going to glance me to death? Okay, have fun. Oh I moved away from you? And you’re not in combat? Okay, have fun. Am I still misrepresenting your arguments? Again, that is a strawman argument and it is not acceptable in a debate like this. Ya, assuming your opponent has a brainstem and cognitively competent…gee sure wish our arguments had some substance!

Thud, while isolated cases of annecdotal evidence do not make a good argument, there isn’t much else that can be said. How do you guys know what is good and what isn’t in 40K? You probably didn’t learn from a scientific textbook, actually since 40k is based on a D6 system there is quite a bit of ‘science’ behind it. Your Trygon can’t shoot down AV12 w/o getting into rear/side facings or combat. I know this so am going to stop you from doing that. I also know how the rules and game works so there are certain things that are good and bad (i.e. mech > most foot). you learned by playing the game and gaining experience, coupled with the stories and strategies presented to you on websites or in person. Based on your experiences, you drifted towards what you determined to be the most effective builds, which doesn’t mean it is. Looking back to when I played in the US the lists we ran were terrible (3rd edition) and non-optomised but in that area they were good. I see lists pretty much like that all the time at stores and the only thing that changes them is personal choice or wanting to deal with balanced lists which we make in our head using our understanding of the game and then test them. Not all of us can simply go this is good and this is bad right off the bat, correct but we don’t need 30+ games to know what is effective. We already have an inkling and then we test and trial i. which ultimately boils down to a whole bunch of annecdotes collected over a substantial period of time that indicated you should use what you use now, and what you will use in the future. Personally, I try not to base my understanding of the game on isolated incidents. I base it on every single incident I have come across since I started playing that I can remember. That’s good and I’m sure others do that but again there is a basis off which we base our thoughts. Some can do this more than others and some can do this less. Since we are on the internet we get to deal in a theory based world which we apply to 40k. Your theory based world seems to have your tactics working every game (i.e. in assault T2) and that you will pop X tanks every game whilst our theory is based on the hard numbers of what units are capable of and likely to do and then building a list around that knowledge (i.e. a list which can adapt, has duplicity and duality) whether it’s fluffy or money wise (i.e. RBack spam is expensive and un-fluffy and I know no one who has this list IRL but it’s a good list).

Playing a game or two will not provide enough information to judge the quality of a list and its strategy, but don’t you think the collective information of over 30 games against different opponents and armies and lists might have some shred of credibility to it? It doesn’t. Whilst what all you say may be true we weren’t there for any of the games but we do know what your list tells us and that is it cannot deal with mech. We also know that relying on combat w/o good suppression fire or a very vast army (i.e. calvary/beasts) means combat is not always going to happen. My sample size makes up for the annecdotal nature of the information I am relaying to you. Back to my old gaming days in the US. I played I’d guess…over 200 games easily there and would consistently place in the top4 of leagues and tournaments in the local area. Does that mean my list was good? No. Does it mean it worked in the area that I was in relation to? Yes, which is where the whole hoopla of the metagame comes in but again since we deal in total relation to the rulebook and army books, there are limits on what works and doesn’t. You need to be able handle certain lists, even if they aren’t competitive because in a tournament setting you are likely to come across them.

If you’d like, I can tell you how my list has done against a wide variety of opponents. Off the top of my head, I’ve played against Orks, Necrons, Space Marines, Eldar, Tyranids, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, Sisters of Battle, and Imperial Gaurd. Each battle presented its own unique challenges, but the same two strategies I have employed have remained relatively constant. And you wonder why we all jump up and down? You can have the same broad concept of a tactic but there should be great variation in how you tackle your opponent particularly if you have faced so many lists. The only army I ever had a lot of trouble against was Eldar with RoWar and Holo-Field Falcons, and this is where I am acknowledging the fact that that particular combination is my army’s main weakness. You know psy defenses are common now? And that your army can’t deal with mech. Saying you can, doesn’t mean you can. Same with getting into combat. Saying you can, doesn’t mean you will. You can improve your list drastically by dropping all your elites into all Zoans in spores or all HG and add in some Raveners. Simple changes and your list is a lot more potent (oh and drop the Tervigon). It makes you more reliable in getting to assault and you have some consistency in tank popping.

Besides, what reason do I have to lie? Do I seem like the kind of person who lies about this sort of thing? I’m sure you must have had to deal with a lot of exageration and made up occurances from people on other forums, but this is one time where you can actually trust someone. False information is not a produtive contribution to a proper debate, and would only serve to injure my cause. We don’t know you. This is the internet, I don’t think I have to explain further. If I do, see my thesis stuff when I put it up or google it.

I have presented my counter arguments, so now you need to counter my counter arguments we did with more than just repeating the same line over and over counter them?. If you don’t get into specifics, you aren’t contributing to the debate. Mathammer FTW.

GWvsJohn talks Chaos: Chaos Bikers

Next up, Chaos Bikers. Just a note, I don’t have any particular order in mind, so if anyone in the pink nation would like me to do a unit earlier, just shoot me an email, or leave a comment to that effect.
Over the course of this series, we will illuminate all the problems with the CSM Codex, and Bikers are a perfect example of a big one. GW can’t seem to decide if they want CSM to be a completely unique army or just spiky marines. The Biker entry puts them firmly in the latter category. Chaos Bikers have almost the exact same cost and stats as their loyal bretheren.

The Same:
Statline: barring LD, which is balanced by the loyalist LD 9 sergeant
Weapon Options: 2 specials, CC and MB on the leader
FO slot
Cost: except not really. The base 3 man CSM squad is 9 more points, then each additional is 8 more than their loyal bretheren
Weapons: CSM come with BP and CCW (ie +1A) standard, unfortunately they lose this when they take a special weapon
ATSKNF, Combat Tactics: these 2 rules are awesome on all loyal troops, but fast and shooty bike squads really make the best use of it
Icons: CSM can have icons, but I’m not sure that’s really a good idea
Attack Bikes: a biggie. These add a 3rd melta to a loyal squad and extend their threat range significantly.
FO slot: loyalist bikes will usually be found in the Troops section with a bike captain, which is like a thousand times better than FA.
Looking at that list, loyalist bikers are superior, even in the FA slot. But we’re dedicated to being spiky, so let’s make these guys work. In fact, I think this is a unit that deserves a little more play. How to bring them though? With the bp/ccw combo, you might be tempted to kit them out for CC. I don’t think this is a great idea. T5 only goes so far with a 3+ (or 3++ if you zoom, I’ve heard it’s the new black) and 1 wound. CC gear (fist, icon, numbers) will drive the cost way up. In an otherwise mech force (obvs) even at t5, 3+, they become a prime target for low strength anti-troop weapons, and at 33+ per model, they will go down fast. If you need CC, Berserkers, Noise Marines, even Plague Marines can do the job better, getting there almost as fast and probably safer in a Rhino.
If CC is out, how do we bring these guys? I think they can be used to “solve” another main problem with CSM. Use them as fast melta. 3 guys, 2 meltaguns, 119. In this role, they are comparable to MMAB squads. Unfortunately, they also fall on the weaker end of this comparison. They’re pricier, shorter ranged, fewer wounds (but less vulnerable to s8+) but higher LD (but not ATSKNF) and bring more attacks on the charge. Still, they provide speedy, cheap melta in the best way in the CSM Codex.
Let’s try to build a “Best Of” Chaos Biker list. Obviously, we’ll start with 3 of the above squads. (It’s a testament to the weakness of this squad, that a list “focusing” on them has 9 bikers)
(3) 119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
We still need to pop transports, and the best way for CSM to do that is still Oblits. Also, having the bikers might draw some fire from the Oblits (both being “tough” foot units), which is a nice bonus
(3) 150 – 2 Obliterators
We’re at 807 now, and we have decent anti-transport, anti-heavy armor and anti-infantry. We need more of each and we need scoring and CC. Unlike SM and IG and Tau (and maybe others) CSM simply cannot outshoot anyone, so they need some squads that don’t blow in CC. Plague Marines are the best troops choice in the codex, so I think we should bring them. We’ll cover this in their dedicated post, but you can run them cheap and bag CC with them or expensive and turn them into a decent CC unit. I think this list needs the latter.
(2) 279 – 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
That helps with some anti-troop and heavy armor and CC, and 16 PM are probably enough scoring at 2000. We’re at 1365 and have a few options to fill out the list here.
More troops: Berserkers would add some nice CC to assault whatever the bikers and Oblits pop, plus their rhinos add more vehicles.
243 – 8 Berserkers – champion, power fist, rhino
That’s a little pricey and can’t kill anything except troops. What else can we do? Princes add CC and anti-tank (s6 MC + warptime), they also add to the “mixed” army we’re building by adding more tough foot targets.
175 – Daemon Prince – mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
I like the way that feels. Let’s add 2.
Here’s the list so far
175 – Daemon Prince – mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
175 – Daemon Prince – mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
279 – 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
279 – 8 Plague Marines -champion, powerfist, 2 meltaguns, rhino
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
150 – 2 Obliterators
150 – 2 Obliterators
150 – 2 Obliterators
That’s 1715 and I think we’re mostly lacking suppression fire (welcome to CSM). We only have troops and elites left. What can we do? We can try the poor man’s Rifleman Dread, which I like to call the Crazed Gunman
110 – Dreadnougt – TL autocannon, missile launcher
Not as deadly or reliable than a true Rifleman (but not terrible, I’m assuming we all play crazed properly), but it’s decent mid strength fire and very good if it fire frenzies. Adding 3 of them takes us to 2045. We could cut 1 PM from each squad to get us under, but I’m not happy with our mech and our troops situation. 2 Rhinos and 3 Dreads isn’t enough armored might to project the mech threat. Let’s play around with our Plagues. Replace the big nasty squads above with
(3) 170 – 5 Plague Marines – 2 meltaguns, rhino
We lose 1 marine (which is better than the 2 we were gonna lose to get under 2000), but gain a 3rd Rhino and 2 more meltaguns and get under 2000. Our final list
175 – Daemon Prince – mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
175 – Daemon Prince – mark of nurgle, wings, warptime
170 – 5 Plague Marines – 2 meltaguns, rhino
170 – 5 Plague Marines – 2 meltaguns, rhino
170 – 5 Plague Marines – 2 meltaguns, rhino
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
119 – 3 Chaos Bikers – 2 meltaguns
150 – 2 Obliterators
150 – 2 Obliterators
150 – 2 Obliterators
I kinda like it. It’s definitely the best of the 3 we’ve made so far (TS and Bile). It could probably hold its own in lower level tourneys, and still has a fluff/theme feel to it with the mono-nurgle + bikers (adding MoN to the Bikers would be a terrible idea though). Tactics are pretty straightforward. Use the PM Rhinos to protect the DP as much as possible until it’s assault time. The PM can tarpit, but need DP bailout eventually. The Bikers are your blocker/suicide unit. Positioning of the Dreads is key to managing frenzy.
Let me know what you guys think.

New Author…!? & some general thoughts

For those of you who know, AbusePuppy has put together a fairly comprehensive Tyranid Review on Warseer which I was quite impressed with (backed up by his general intelligence on a forum often devoid of thought) so we’ve agreed to post it up here for more circulation (waiting to find out if he wants to do it himself or if I will on his behalf). He may also like to join the ranks of 3++ authors but I don’t know if we sent enough cookies! So by this time tomorrow either he or myself will have posted the review in parts and a link should be up under in-site navigation.

However, I’d also like to say a few things about this blog. Remember that each person who writes on this blog (and comments, views it reguarly, etc.) has a specific stand-point and view on things. Whilst there is generally some black & white arguments in 40k (i.e. Orks sucking, there’s no grey there. They do.) the more recent books released by Games Workshop are going to have a lot more grey areas in terms of viability and tactics because they are so well written and offer so many options. Whilst the majority of us here may agree with one another on what is effective and what should be left home, there will be differences and we encourage that. If Games Workshop was failing at it’s job, competitive environments would see one list from each codex with no variation. Roland for example is a bit more of a fluffy nutter in relation to his army lists whilst I will build an army list and then create fluff for it. At the same time whilst I promote a competitive environment and balanced lists, I also have my fun or giggly lists.

In relation to AbusePuppy’s Tyranid review, I may have said some things differently or given certain units a better or worse acknowledgement but it is Puppy’s review and I think he deserves a very hearty pat on the back and recognition for the effort he has put into it.  I recommend everyone read it whether you play Tyranids or not. Remember, knowledge is your ally in the grim future. That being said, we want to promote and encourage discussion in relation to what we and you think. If we have it wrong, tell us. If you have an idea, tell us. If you don’t understand why we think as such or think otherwise, tell us. We might get a bit shirty if you fail to grasp our points and then try to offload something silly as correct (notice the and there) but everyone was (or is) new at some point and as long as you are willing to learn, we wub you :).

Just thought that needed to be put down where everyone could see and hopefully AbusePuppy will agree to be an author on this blog so we can get another individual’s opinion which I value posting here whilst giving us a good excuse for a party!


How To: Anti-tank

I thought we might do a follow on from the suppression fire article. We’ve established how to minimise mech advantages of extra mobility, durability and firepower by having enough reliable, medium-strength weaponry designed to minimise mech’s ability to move and shoot. Whilst this type of firepower is unlikely to cause significant damage and destroy tanks (which is really only likely in the low AV range), it allows an army to operate more effectively. However, at the end of the day you need to make tanks go boom and glancing them to death is a thing of the past (an LR for example needs 6 weapon destroyed/immob results to = a wreck). Now some armies do this eventually through a mass of high strength attacks in combat but these armies then REQUIRE a massive amount of suppression fire (i.e. TWC SW lists or Tyranids) but most armies do this through specialised anti-tank weapons. This article will look at what constitutes an anti-tank weapon, how to maximise your anti-tank capabilities in your army and minimising your opponent’s anti-tank.

Anti-tank weapons generally do 2 of 3 things (and preferably all 3).

1)    Disable high AV protection (I.e. high strength, melta, ordnance, lance, etc.)
2)    vehicle damage chart positive modifiers (I.e. AP1)
3)    Reliability (i.e. re-rolls, more shots, etc.)

Now we shall note these 3 things don’t neatly divide all weapons into good anti-tank or bad anti-tank. Lascannons/missile launchers (who only meet number 1) are generally good, cheap transport pingers but shouldn’t be relied upon for ‘true’ anti-tank duties. At the same time, Lascannons on a vendetta are a decent anti-transport platform. On the flip side, a Railgun on a Hammerhead (meets number 1 and 2) is only a mediocre anti-tank platform because it has the huge opportunity cost of excellent anti-infantry firepower, limited number and is expensive all of which orbit’s the fact it needs a 3+ off the bat to do anything. So whilst these 3 aspects of anti-tank weapons are not all encompassing (I.e. we need to consider availability, opportunity cost in purchasing and firing, cost, etc.), they are a good guideline into what we are looking for whilst remembering what they do cover is high AV targets, the unreliability of dice through spamming or re-rolling and compensates for the restrictive vehicle damage tables in 5th edition.

So assuming our suppression fire covered in other aspects of our army, we are seriously lacking in true anti-tank power and will suffer against mech armies or anything containing high AV. One way to overcome this high AV is in combat as high front or side AV can be ignored on most tanks in combat. Obvious exceptions being walkers or anything with high AV all-around (I.e. Land Raiders, Monos, etc.). Whilst it is easy to get high strength weapons in combat, it is hard to hit tanks that move and it is therefore unreliable at best unless you can force the tank to sacrifice shooting for moving or not move (I.e. suppression fire). Even then, a large number of attacks are needed to reliably punch through armor (or high strength/penning abilities), be able to hit in the case it does move and overcome the vehicle damage chart. This is why units like TWC, Trygons, Fiends, etc. are all capable anti-tank units in combat but still rely on their army for support. If your army is using such methods of anti-tank the rest of your army needs to be very reliable in shooting and able to very effectively suppress your opponent, otherwise you are hoping for 6s to hit (this is why Orks don’t work).

But what about more conventional ways? Like guns. Assuming we’ve covered our rough guidelines with our guns, we need to be able to implement these guns and encounter a major problem. Most of these guns generally sit on tanks and suppression fire can stop that sort of shooting. To make 40k not become a game of “who goes first wins,” firepower also needs to come in the form of infantry who can often hold one of the best anti-tank weapons of the current game; the meltagun. The more the merrier but these guns are severely limited in range and reach and to be extremely reliable need to get very close. This means they need to be fast in some form which generally means sitting in a transport leaving itself open again to suppression fire. Not too much we can do about this as most infantry on foot just doesn‘t work and if we have enough mechanised saturation either our tanks get to shoot or our meltaguns get to get closer.

This leads us to having a balance between long-ranged anti-tank, short-ranged anti-tank (including assault) and suppression fire. Furthermore, if an army can take effective anti-tank fire on infantry which is long-ranged and therefore hard to suppress and not limited by range (I.e. Lootas, Broadsides, etc.), it generally has some sort of advantage over certain pure mech forces (see Hybrid articles). Whilst some armies can load up on certain styles of anti-tank (I.e. Immo spam is all shortranged) and not be at a disadvantage, there is generally an overlap of suppression fire/long-ranged anti-tank backed up by excellent short-ranged anti-tank (I.e. meltaguns) and for the most part, armies which deviate from this layout are significantly disadvantaged. At the same time an army should not overload on anti-tank. Chaosgerbil raised a good point in the suppression fire article; not only does suppression fire excel in shutting down mechanised armies but they are not at a huge disadvantage against infantry armies whilst an an army spamming meltaguns without anti-infantry support is going to suffer against infantry based armies (even if they aren’t competitive).

So how do we counter this in our army? Again the most obvious answer is having saturation and having more targets than your opponent has guns but since the current edition of 40k puts so much emphasis on meltaguns (cheap, basically ignore high AV, AP1 and can be taken by the bucket load, what’s not to like?), you can account for the majority of an opponent’s anti-tank to be short-ranged. Utilising cover (or taking it with you) and techniques such as blocking and delaying techniques such (I.e. bubble-wrapping) can therefore keep your opponent further back and allow your army to operate at peak efficiency. Delaying/blocking techniques are particularly effective for armies who’s primary anti-tank is long-ranged and suppression based (often with back-up short-ranged anti-tank) such as Tau or IG.

Overall, most armies need to support their suppression fire with short-ranged anti-tank, specifically meltaguns whilst still  maintaing sufficient anti-infantry firepower. Anti-tank weapons need to be able to overcome tank defenses in high AV and the vehicle damage chart either through strength, special abilities, number of shots or vehicle damage modifiers whilst still being and in the best case scenario, not be limited by range. Since we don’t live in an ideal world these all need to be balanced whilst weight by cost and availability and still include some defensive capabilities of our own. A glass cannon is not what we have in mind for a balanced army!