Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Tyranid Codex Review: Troops

In Part One of this non-professional non-'competitive 40k' codex review I looked at HQs. HQs are the most important part of your army, the dudes who do a lot of damage and hold together your troops so they don't eat each other then run off the board.

Troops in the 5th Edition codex were pretty good. We had termagants who could be taken in groups of ten that then opened up your tervigons as troops. You largely weren't able to stay on the board much after turn five, but if you produced enough gants you'd be ok.

Now? Lets take a look.

Termagants can't really be talked about without mentioning the Tervigon. The baby mama takes care of them and buffs them up so they can fight better. Rather, she did. She went from a fierce bear mama to a harp seal mama. She doesn't care about her babies. In fact her babies explode more often now when she dies =[

There are some benefits to gants now. They are cheaper, can be taken in broods of 30, and can mix their weapons in those 30 dudes. So you can take 10 devourers and 20 fleshborers and let the fleshborers die first, then the devourers wipe out marines.

That is pretty decent. And 4 points a model isn't something to sneeze at. You'll likely see at least one big brood of gants in most armies. However, you can't just flood the board, push it forward, and hope to win. Gants can't hurt tanks unless you start giving them overpriced upgrades, and it will take a ton of them to take down marines. In the past you could push them into combat with toxin sacs and poison from their bear mama... not any more. Ugh.

I would recommend probably one big brood of these guys with some devourers mixed in. One tervigon along with them might be worth it as the points increase in tervigons is largely negated by the decrease in the points cost of gants. Doesn't make up for their lack of utility though.

Hormagaunts were something I never really used in the 5th edition codex. To get any kind of effective use with them you'd have to give them toxin sacs and adrenal glands and then they were something like 10 points, just short of a marine with none of the survivability.

I like them much better now. Fleet and move through cover help them get there much faster and their bounding leap rule allows them to run very reliably (combined with fleet). A lot of Tyranid players hate the change to scything talons (loss of re-roll missed hits) which does hurt these bros but at 5 points apiece they're not bad. I'd really like for toxin sacs and adrenal glands only to be 1 point per model, so a total of 7 if you take it all, but at the end of the day you might just wanna put these on the board as a target anyway.

I'd push these guys forward in a unit of 30 providing cover to models behind them. I REALLY wish dedicated assault troops in our codex had access to flesh hooks. I truly believe that GW bases their rules entirely off of the models, and hormagaunts do not come with flesh hook pieces in their kits, so they don't get assault grenades at all. They'd be a lot more average if they had assault grenades.

Tyranid Warriors
Tyranid warriors have always held a ton of potential, yet you never see them on the board. They are three wound model with a large number of attacks and the ability to take devourers for free, which is pretty nice. I've heard that you see a lot less strength 8 shooting on the board, so that is pretty good too - less double strength instant death.

The ability to give them shrouded via venomthropes shouldn't be overlooked. Have gants moving in front of them and venomthropes behind and you get a 3+ cover save. I feel like the best way to build them is to just leave them as cheap as possible. Devourers are nice for volume of fire and scything talons are scything talons. If your army build will likely take them into close combat, give them rending claws and flesh hooks for +9 points. At 39 points you have a fearless, WS5, four attack on the charge, rending monstrosity that can shoot on the way in (hopefully with Onslaught to get them there faster).

I can't really recommend the lash whip / bonesword combo any more. They're almost the cost of another warrior and the change to lash whips really hurt. I guess bone swords are nice vs big point sinks but I'd rather just go cheap or rending claws.

I'd recommend at least six of these guys in your unit. Three will die to a round of focused fire. Four or five is nice but six will give you a really nice spread for synapse and make sure they don't die quickly. Six clocks in at only 180 points, which isn't bad for what you're getting: 18 S4 BS3 shots plus your close combat weight of attacks.

One thing to note: the second formation book comes out tomorrow with a tyranid warrior on the cover. What could help them out? Eternal warrior, FNP, twin linked ranged weapons, preferred enemy, it will not die, etc. What will they likely get? Something zany, like hit and run or ignores cover. And you'll have to buy 18 of them.

Ahh, the old standby. I love the models, I love the idea of genstealers, I love the way you're supposed to use them: very, very aggressively. Unfortunately they die to bolters on the way in then die to bolters and flamers during overwatch.

These guys are a HUGE batch of disappointment. They still don't have access to any form of assault grenade, whether or not it is flesh hooks, butt grenades, or shock and awe from genestealers literally lying in wait for months or years in deep cover then popping out and surprising the enemy.

These dudes are pointed out with Init6 but hardly ever get to use it due to charging through cover. I honestly can't believe that a 14 point dedicated assault model with high initiative and a 5+ armor save is going to have to rely on weight of numbers to actually win combats.

I wouldn't put any upgrades on them. Toxin sacs are nice for the additional chance to rend but then they cost more than a marine without any of the survivability or ranged firepower.

Broodlords are still pretty nice. You can put them out front with their better armor save and bolters won't just melt your dudes. They also have T5 so they are harder to wound. The Broodlord does have some 'synergy' in that he MIGHT make the enemy become pinned if he can:

  • pass his psychic check
  • the enemy fails deny the witch
  • they fail a -2 leadership test (marines pass on average)

Pinned troops fight at init1 so your lack of assault grenades doesn't hurt so much. You have to do this before you move, so you have to leave your Broodlord in LOS of the enemy for at least a round so he can get this off. Also he can't move closer in order to be in range.

As much as I whine about how these guys should be so much better, I usually take them in a large (~15-20) brood in most games as they're fun to use. With the first supplement thingy they have some zany special rules that I'd like to try out. I just wish they were more survivable and above all: ASSAULT GRENADES.

I don't know if I've ever seen these guys on the board except the few times I used them at the team tourney in Adepticon because I didn't want to spend points on troops. They don't do much and don't have a special rule that helps them a ton (like scarabs). Being a unique element of the Tyranid bio-timeline it'd be cool if they had something.

They actually went up in points, which is lolly-riffic from 10 to 13. They don't have the non-scoring rule anymore so they can score. For 15 points you can deep strike a 4A 3W model in the backfield of the enemy and laugh as they have to waste bolters on them. I guess that is OK? Just don't put them together or the flamers will ruin them.

I doubt you'll see many rippers on the board. They just don't have a point and don't really scare anyone.

Using Troops in this Codex
I've made some recommendations throughout this article. I've heard a few people say making tervigons a lot worse was a good thing, because it makes you use less crutches and the 30 gant requirement makes you take gants, and they're amazing. I have also heard the 'HUGE SWARM' idea with actually being able to play a swarm army since gants are only 4 points.

Here's a secret: the swarm army played much better in last edition's codex. Termagants could actually kill things. They had easier access to strength 4 so they could glance rhinos to death. They pulled down terminators under weight of attacks.

Now what will you do? Probably take one brood of 30 gants, mix in some devourers, one tervigon, and maybe some genestealers for giggles. The troops section lost a lot of utility with this codex. I didn't mention that you will likely have half the amount of psychic powers you used to have, so good luck buffing your victim troops to anything better than bolt round stoppers.

The codex did gain a few things, but troops was definitely not an area where it gained much.

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