Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tyranid Codex Review: HQ Models

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Yesterday I went over some of the overarching rules for the new Tyranid codex. Today I'm taking a look at the HQ models - the most important dudes in your army. I'll go through each model and talk about what they do, pros, cons, possible options etc.

Two things to keep in mind:

I don't usually use special characters. I am a grognard when it comes to them. I feel too many of them break the game, do too much, have too many special rules, and I prefer to make my own characters with their own backgrounds.

I don't usually use two flying hive tyrants. This is a really popular build and I prefer not to use it. I actually only like one hive tyrant because he represents Muggis, the overlord. Having another one would be weird :P

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Hive Tyrants
Hive tyrants received a huge boost in this codex. They became cheaper and received a boost in BS to 4. They're still the star of the codex and I really like that. I have to say if they made hive tyrants worse or harder to use I may have reconsidered even keeping my Tyranids; Hive Tyrant Muggis is my leader and my favorite model.

You'll still want to use them with two sets of devourers. Lash whips and boneswords are no longer free and very expensive now. The venom cannon is a nice idea but just can't match the damage output of two devourer sets.

I wouldn't recommend any of the extra hive tyrant abilities - they're just not worth the points.

I like to keep my flying hive tyrant cheap. Just give him two sets of devourers and let him fly around using psychic powers and shooting things. The alternative is the walking hive tyrant with two sets of devourers. I really like this idea - give him regeneration and let him anchor your force in the middle with synapse. Synapse can be so punishing that having this guy in the middle casting dominion will allow you to keep your dudes in synapse and not eating each other.

With that setup you'll want to use the next option.

Tyrant Guard
Tyrant guard received a boost in that they can now use more options. They have Crushing Claws which are pretty nice and terminator killers. They're expensive - 20 points for each model. If you use these guys I'd give them crushing claws to help kill tanks and other nasty high AV stuff or just use them without any extra wargear.

If you give your tyrant regeneration then you can push him forward of the rest of the tyrant guards and have him take wounds first. Then hopefully he'll regenerate them. He can now push wounds off on the guards automatically - so just let him take a few then put them on the guard. It should keep him alive for a long time.

I didn't really use these guys in the last codex mostly because I didn't consider using a walking hive tyrant. Now with Synapse being such a ballbuster a walking hive tyrant can help you keep your dudes in synapse. These guys are SUPER necessary if you do because T6 with armor 3+ will die pretty fast.

Tyranid Prime
The tyranid prime :( These were unsung heroes of the last codex. When you need a cheap HQ you grabbed this guy. He was ~80 points and T5 so it was harder for him to be doubled out. Give him bonesword and lash whip and he's a monster in CC.

Now? He went in cost by 40%. Every other codex we've seen come out made HQs go down in price considerably. I really don't understand this one - especially since they have the new kit they want to sell.

The only reason I could see using this guy (he costs just a little less than a regular old Hive Tyrant) is because you can put him in a squad of 30 gants and he's much harder to kill. Even then, if you want him to last you probably want regeneration on him but that costs 30! points. In the last one, that cost 10 points. It was a great option.

I can't advise using this guy at all. If I were looking for a cheap HQ (which I like to do sometimes to mix things up) I'd advise using the next one.

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This is a Forge World model. You can find the rules for it in the latest IA: Apocalypse Second Edition. There ain't a whole lot to say about this model except that it cost 110 points, which is our cheapest synapse HQ, it is toughness 5, and it has regeneration. This is pretty nice. Unfortunately it isn't an IC so it can't be put in a squad. Although it can be taken as a brood, so I have no idea how that would work for Slay the Warlord etc. heh.

I would just consider this dude as a cheap, more durable HQ.

Ugggggh. There is a whole lot to say about the brood mama.

I've seen a ton of chat about how you can now truly run a Tyranid swarm because gants cost 4 points. My question is "How are you going to kill ANYTHING?" In the last codex I enjoyed using two tervigons buffing my little guys. Buy toxin sacs (poison 4+) and adrenal glands (furious charge) and the tervigon will give it to her babies within 6". This was immense because you could charge into combat with terminators and win many times - you'd be re-rolling missed wounds. Less often you'd also take advantage of counter-attack using the mama's LD10.

Now? They can't take advantage of her LD, adrenal glands, or poison. I keep hearing the word 'synergy' but isn't true synergy units working together to make each other better? All synergy was taken out of the tervigon and gants. All of it. She still gets one psychic power (you could buy up to three on the previous incarnation) but you'll be lucky if it helps gants in any fashion.

Not only did the tervigon use any kind of combinations with gants, but she also costs a great deal more in points, you have to take 30! gants to make her a troop, and now she deals damage to all termagant units within 12" of her instead of just 6" when she inevitably dies. Now you don't want your termagants ANYWHERE near her instead of her supporting them.

And oh yeah, you can't spawn gants and have them move, then shoot, then assault in a turn anymore. Previously you'd tarpit a model with poison gants and then spawn more into that combat. No more. SO MUCH strategy is gone. Where is the goddamn synergy?

They're not even a character, so they can't challenge hidden power fists, they can't be your warlord, etc. UGH.

I painted three of these models and I really love them. I'll probably use one of them once in a while.

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Old One Eye
He is extremely expensive. WS 3. Don't use him. I know it sounds cool to have a carnifex HQ but you're spending 220 points on a model that doesn't even have synapse. Don't do it.

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The Swarmlord
This dude was used a lot last edition. He was a thresher in close combat, his alien cunning really helped with unique special rules, and he was pretty tough. Now he costs 285 points, lost utility, and his bone swords no longer cause dudes to re-roll invulnerable saves. Regular old non-special hive tyrants are so much better.

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This is the real steal of this codex, I think. At 130 points he's not cheap but he has some pretty sweet special rules. I really want to try him out, and I almost never use special characters. The issue with him is that he takes up a valuable HQ slot and he isn't a synapse creature. Using the dataslate that was released is pretty cool and does make him a lot more palatable.

I think this guy is really characterful and very inspired, which really can't be said for Old One Eye or The Swarmlord. He can only be hit on snap shots (awesome), he makes one enemy character -D3 LD (awesome) and he has all the regular lictor rules (pretty OK).

If I were to use him it'd probably be with the data slate formation - it'll drop leadership of the enemy, it doesn't take up an HQ slot, and you can grab some pretty cool lictor models and paint those up.

One particular strategy has Deathleaper and all his lictor buddies infiltrating up before the game starts. If you go second you go to ground with all the lictor bros and then move up with your synapse creatures so they're in synapse and then the lictors can activate as normal. (2+ cover save - nice!)

I will likely be taking a flying hive tyrant in every game and experimenting with a second walking hive tyrant, a tervigon as troops, and Deathleaper (not all in the same army). The hive tyrant is clearly a great choice.

I didn't cover Bio Artefacts because honestly they're all garbage and way overcosted. The only one I'd consider is the Norn Crown because again, synapse is a ballbuster and any way you can make sure your dudes don't each other might be worth it. This is pretty disappointing when compared to the Space Marine codex because there were some pretty cool items in there that did a lot!

Check back next week when we take on Troops.

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