Hey interbuddies, Marcus the Unspectacular here with a little bagatelle about the impressions on the changes to Tyranids I got from my and Kevin’s first game of 6th Edition.
Let me preface this article with two statements:
One: I don’t consider myself a particularly good 40k player, nor do I think I’m an authority on tactics, strategy, or list-building. That being the case I try to avoid posting about my army lists or the things I do during battle as much as possible, considering they’re unlikely to impress or help anybody. But the way I’m approaching the change to 6th edition is by looking at the change to specific units, and then deriving more general conclusions based on an array of similar examples. So bear with me as I describe certain aspects of my army; I’m not offering wisdom, just observations and the occasional conclusion.
Two: I love 6th edition so far. The rules haven’t been given a chance to be properly exploited, which I’m sure will be happening sooner rather than later, but they do seem to be effective at remedying a lot of the frustrating bullshit from 5th. In addition to that, they offer a lot of tactical depth, memorable moments in the course of the game, and a much more varied grab-bag of abilities that you have at your disposal when both planning and executing your battles.
All that aside, here’s the 1,500 point list I ran against Kevin:
Flyrant with TL Devourers, $word & Whip, Hive (Pimp) Commander
Harpy with Cluster Spines and Toxin Sacs
Trygon with Toxin Sacs
Brood of 8 Ymgarl Genestealers
3 Broods of 8 Genestealers with Toxin Sacs
1 Brood of 8 Genestealers with Toxin Sacs, Broodlord with Scything Talons
Now, this list got lucky and got a boost in numerous ways from the new rules. There is only one change that brought me down a bit (which we didn’t even catch until after the battle…sheepish grins galore), and that is that now you can only hold up to half your units in reserve at the start of a battle, excluding those that must be held in reserve as per their special rules. I’ll admit to having a bit of nerd rage in the car when Kevin recalled this little doozy: were all reserve armies really such a problem that they needed to be shut down this way? Although this sucks, my army still basically works because Infiltrating units doesn’t count as reserving them, so the Ymgarls and MC’s can still do their extra special things while the Genestealers infiltrate. And on the plus side, you get reserves on a 3+ on turn 2, so Hive Commander basically means you’re on the board right away, and very reliably. The one nightmare scenario is that since you start the game with only 31 squishy bodies and one fairly beefy one on the board, that you could potentially get them all wiped out and trigger the ‘fuck your reserves, you lose’ clause in the rules (which I sincerely dislike, mostly for reminding me of the dark days where Necrons used to Phase Out), but with careful placement and use of cover you can go a long way to preventing this. Not to mention that armies that could do this are terrible matchups for this list in the first place. And as long as we’re talking weaknesses, this list would have a TERRIBLE time with flyers, and would be literally helpless if the Flyrant and Harpy died. But hey.
As far as USRs go, things worked out in Tyranid’s favor I would say. Fleet is cool and very flexible, Fearless is tons of fun now that your squads don’t kill themselves in shame after losing, easy cover for MC’s, AP2 combat weapons become sort of a commodity which ‘Nids actually have plenty of for a change, and Ymgarl ‘Stealers can assault out of reserve still despite the loss of this ability for Infiltrators and Outflankers. Fear is kinda funny. Overwatch is gonna get the best of me at some point, but it’s not the end of the world. Hammer of Wrath is sorta fun, especially for things like Gargoyles. Between HoW and Blinding Venom, the lowly Garg is now capable of inflicting disproportionate and very upsetting amounts of damage, especially against expensive units. An all flying swarm army of Flyrants, Harpies, Gargoyles, and Devilgants/Warriors in spores could be a lot of fun, methinks. So many tiny little carapaces to paint terribly, so little time.
The one thing that I have to brag about a little bit is that I was completely right in my prediction that Deathleaper would be a badass in 6th. He can reduce the LD of a model by D3 which helps to hamper the powerful psykers that people can bring to the table now. A LD8 Libby is a Libby who will disappoint you in the clutch. Not to mention he has Shrouded AND Stealth giving him a whopping +3 to his cover saves. 2+ cover in forests? Hell yes. 4+ cover in open ground? So filthy. Plus you can leverage his combat abilities to prey on exposed support squads/light armor in the backfield, or take out slower characters in combat: getting challenged by Deathleaper is not a good thing if you’re a low grade character, or even a non-combat IC like a Librarian. Want to slap a Tac squad but afraid of getting Power Fisted? Call the Sarge out. You will in all likelihood kill him, and all the squad can do is watch. Or he PMS’es his way to the back and you beat his buddies up a little. He…CAN challenge, right?
Another obvious boon is that Flying Monstrous Creatures kick enough ass to scare entire small island countries now. Or at least they do in my mind. Regardless of my nerd though, they’re still pretty hardcore. Flyrants can stay mobile and toss psychic powers/psychic defense around, granted it blows to get knocked out of the air but each unit only causes one grounding test, and you do have a 3+ save against it so it’s just balanced right. Just keep them away from Hammernators or anything else you don’t want to take a charge from if you should suddenly be sent plummeting to the ground and you should be hunky-dory. And with foot troops becoming more of a factor in the game, Harpies are now a much more appealing choice due to their ability to literally chuck templates every which way. D3 S4 AP4 large blast templates (plus a Vector Strike) on a unit you fly over is gross, a TL S6 large blast with pinning isn’t bad either. And the free upgrade to another S5 large blast is just gravy. Also, all MC’s having Move Through Cover which now makes you instapass Dangerous Terrain checks means no more worries about jumping into ruins and forests (and safer Deep Strikes, too).
And let’s not forget psykers. You can take an outrageous number of Tyranid psykers if you are so inclined, and for the points they have one of the best psychic defenses in the game. Hoods got a very surprising pummeling with the nerf bat, and are now inferior to Shadows in the Warp by any standard you could really use: SitW has twice the range, causes the power to fail approximately 50% of the time, jumps the chance of Perils (which now allows no saves) up significantly, and if the power goes through you still get Deny the Witch. And the best part is that (unlike Hoods) it works on ANY power in range, not just powers that target your squads. Considering some of the most useful powers in the game buff the enemy player’s units, and are therefore Undeniable the Witchable, I’d say that’s major. Plus, the FAQ for Tyranid Psykers was very kind, allowing you to take more powers than you can use and mix’n’match from the BGB. Biomancy is handy for Broodlords, because they can’t shoot Witchfire with BS0 and their two normal powers are sorta lame. Most of the powers in Biomancy are good for them, particularly Iron Arm and Enfeeble. Warp Speed is meh but if you roll it you roll it and who has two thumbs and doesn’t complain about extra attacks? This guy. Telekinesis gets style points for sure, and Objuration is pretty sweet, but I don’t really see myself taking it ever. Telepathy is really where the party is for Tyrants. Psychic Shriek is just plain goddamn mean. Puppet Master and Dominate are two fairly cool powers with very kinky names (The Gimp, anybody?), and Terrify just kinda makes me glad for some reason. A pretty useful spread, a lot of good synergistic play can be had here. Funz.
A beautiful moment for me on a personal level was the realization that the era of wound allocation shenanigans in close combat has all but ended. Just as with shooting, you resolve groups of wounds with different Strengths and AP Values separately at each initiative step. This makes Rending something to be truly feared again. Gone are the days of causing so many wounds you actually save half the squad from dying: first some mans die from rending, then the blood-splattered survivors of that butchery take the saves. The difference that makes is absolutely huge. Every time I watched people wrap all my Genestealers’ rending wounds around a squad so one guy takes all of them and everybody else is only taking basic wounds, when there were more rending wounds than guys in the squad, a little piece of my soul floated away and disappeared forever. But no nay never no more. And on a similar note, Poison kept its re-roll for wounding against equal Toughness values, which makes Genestealers and therefore also me happy, but now Trygons have a reason to take them too and reap the benefits without losing the ability to wound MEQ on a 2+. Probably a better choice than Adrenal Glands at this point considering that the Initiative bonus was the real selling point on them, and against armor you’ll do just fine between the high number/accuracy of attacks, and the ability to SMASH (I’m never not capitalizing that, by the way) if need be.
So, what do you think? How much of a leg up did the army at the bottom of the pecking order get? Leave yo’ thoughts in the comment section, fool. And feel free to compliment my hair. and subscribe on the right hand side for possible future give aways :)