Feast of Blades '13

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

By-products of 6th Edition Meta: Return of Tyranid Warriors

I am Marcus. The following is a series of things I said.

Like the rolling and receding ocean tides, the reaction to the meta of our game changing ebbs and flows in an almost hypnotic rhythm. The levels of enthusiasm (and of habitual over-reaction) run high and low, alternating between crashing into supposedly safe sand castles and stranding baby turtles in equal measure. The innumerable cacophonic voices of the blog-o-sphere could be compared to surfers riding these watery mountains of shifting favor, trying to establish a foothold when really there is no solid ground beneath them, competing for those precious few moments in which it appears that they have conquered the elements when in reality all they’ve done is manage not to get swept away by forces beyond their control.

But that’s not my steez, you see.

I’d be more like that creepy pale kid who finds tide pools and attempts to capture some weird-ass crab or other remnant of high tide that got trapped in there when the enthusiasm died down and left some nerdy sea-nuggets behind. I’m not interested in defining, refining, or otherwise making assertions or predictions on the outlook of the game. I’m just here to goddamn party. That being said, I still take notice when literally every single person on the internet is saying the same thing. One of those things is that with the advent of hull points and the relative ease of rope-a-doping vehicles with them, that super high strength weapons have begun to fall out of favor in place of medium-strength guns with higher rates of fire. Vehicles are pissed about this, people who didn’t magnetize all the meltaguns they put on their Grey Hunters are pissed about this, but do you know who isn’t pissed about this? Units of T4 multi-wound models. Of course armies will still pack missiles and multi-meltas which can pee on these guys, but the days of literally auto-losing against armies with any real level of long-range anti-tank may be falling by the wayside. And, in the spirit of experimentation, I’m going to attempt to make a list that I’ve always wanted to run but never had the testicular fortitude to before: Midzilla. That’s right punk, Tyranid Warrior theme army time. Of course, this is something that has very rarely been done (with good reason), but if there was ever a time to try, it would be now.

One of the main advantages (which is borne of its biggest weaknesses) of running hybridized Midzilla is that it can create target priority issues for the opponent. Warriors/Shrikes/Raveners can be killed through either torrent of small arms fire, or obliterated by anti-tank weapons. On the other hand, small arms fire is the only thing worth shooting at the smaller creatures in a Tyranid army such as Gaunts and ‘Stealers, and S8+ anti tank weapons are the best answer for Monstrous Creatures. But if all three groups are present in your army, then your opponent will have to divert firepower from one of them in order to focus his fire in the most efficient way. This isn’t a great an advantage as, say, having assault grenades and a 3+ armor save, but forcing your opponent to make decisions as often as possible creates openings that you can capitalize on. And might I add that now that plasma weapons are in vogue, it’s worth remembering that the worse your armor save is and the more wounds you have, the less you care about plasma weapons. Plasma guns are about as frightening to Warriors as Heavy Bolters despite being more expensive, so there’s something to be said for that. Other small advantages include the (relative) power of Warriors as a Troops choice, their (relatively) flexible weapons loadout, a tight synapse web and a large bubble of Shadows in the Warp, and some serious goddamn style points.

Now, if we’re gonna call a list a Warrior theme army, we’re gonna have to take a Tyranid Prime. That’s just basic shit. And there’s no reason to be upset about it, really – 105 points can’t really buy a better beatstick in any codex.WS6/S5/T5/I5, Bonesword/Lashwhip, Scything Talons, and Toxin Sacs (along with base 4 attacks) means this guy will absolutely massacre anything he can get into base contact with. His Alpha Warrior special rule isn’t bad either, considering that you rarely hear complaints about WS6/BS4 troops. And as long as we’re shopping for HQ’s, a Flyrant is always a great choice. Fast, deadly, poorly converted? I field one every game. For this list I’d consider dropping both his psychic powers for rolls on Biomancy, maybe keep Paroxysm and just roll for the other. Who knows.

Now for the troops. We (here having the meaning of ‘I’) decided to put some Warriors on the table so we’ll start with a brood of 5 and a brood of 6, both with Deathspitters and Rending Claws (I would love to put Toxin sacs on them as well to help rending murderize people, but they do get pricey at this point…). This loadout is what I would consider a decent multi-task unit; S5 guns for forcing armor saves and glancing light armor, and rending for dealing with heavy infantry in combat. These relatively cheap upgrades give you the ability to approach combat on multiple terms – shoot huge badasses with S8 CCWs like Terminators, shoot light infantry like Eldar/DE (or the incoming deluge of Chaos Cultists), and get into assault with MEQ. Grey Knights pose more of a dilemma; your weapons are more effective in assault against them but with their force weapons you could stand to lose a whole squad in a single round. But what else is new? You do have Shadows to help mitigate this risk but it’s an undeniable and unfortunate possibility. I suppose it’s just as well none of my regular opponents play GK. Another win for the Hive Mind.

Now, since we splurged on Warriors, we do need some more troops. Keeping in mind the fact that Warriors can force your opponent to split their fire in awkward ways, it behooves our conniving asses to purchase both gribblies and big dudes. Fortunately, our troops section has both – 2 groups of Devgaunts and the 2 Tervigons they unlock will serve these needs just fine. Of course buying Catalyst for the Tervigons is just something you do, keep that power and gamble Dominion on Biomancy and see what you get. This route gives us a TON of little fellas hopping around the battlefield just as happy as clams to step in the way of oncoming fire or to tie up a particularly dangerous  unit for a turn or two, a pair of rock-hard scoring MC’s passing out FNP to whoever needs it most, and two blocks of mean medium sized creatures who can leverage themselves wherever they can do the most damage. Me likey.

Now, with the rest of the points, there are a couple of routes you could take. Hive Guard are popular favorites for mauling vehicles and scaring people and Ymgarls will always have a special place in my heart, but I don’t own any Hive Guard models and don’t anticipate facing as much armor as in 5th, and Ymgarls don’t mesh with this list as well as they do with my ‘Stealer Shock list (clearly). Zoanthropes are sorta fun and Venomthropes are not bad choices either for all foot lists, but there are probably enough Psykers/Psychic defense in this list and I think cover saves will already be all over the place due to the multiple sizes of critters. You could also get more medium bodies with Raveners/Shrikes or little guys with the purchase of Gargoyles, and with some playtesting I may very well decide to give this a shot. Putting a carpet of Rippers in front of your lines might also have its uses, but with the sea of Termagants you can potentially pump out you’ll have all your tarpitting needs pretty much covered. And these are all avenues to be explored. But you know what? I play Tyranids because I like giant space monsters, so how about the unsubtle approach of ramming two Trygons down your opponent’s throat? Give them Toxin Sacs, put them in the middle, and let them om nom.

The list looks like this in its first incarnation:

Flyrant – 230
Tyranid Prime w/ Bonesword/Lashwhip, Scything Talons, and Toxin – 105

6 Warriors w/ Deathspitters, Rending Claws – 240
5 Warriors w/ Deathspitters, Rending Claws – 200
15 Termagants w/ Devourers- 150
15 Termagants w/ Devourers – 150
Tervigon w/ Catalyst, Scything Talons – 180
Tervigon w/ Catalyst – 175

Trygon w/ Toxin – 210
Trygon w/ Toxin – 210

Comes out to a clean 1,850 points. Battle reports against Kevin forthcoming. Yadda yadda. Comment and say mean things about this list and my parentage. And subscribe or something. This will please Kevin and also allow to him buy more Thunderfire Cannons.


  1. Psychic powers are all or none, can't keep one and trade another. Interesting list - should be neat to see how it fares.

  2. You know, I was just copy/pasting the FAQ rulings to post here and make a valiant stand for my case, but in the middle of it I realized I was wrong hahaha. The wording is different in the Tyranid FAQ, but that reflects the fact that they can have a variable number of powers, not that they can keep some and drop some. The phrase 'for each' threw me off a bit. I appreciate the scrutiny man.

  3. how about biovores, they got a lot better..... also since every grey knight player in the world casts hammerhand before they get into combat remember when they try to force weapon you that thats illegal since they already spent thier one warp charge.....they seem to always forget this fact I have noticed

  4. Yeah, but (assuming that they're not ignorant of their own rules, or just plain cheating) if they were smart they would skip Hammerhand and save the warp charge for the force weapons. Even with Shadows in the Warp it's much easier to blow up a Trygon with a LD9 test than to hope you roll 6 fives to-wound haha. And Biovores just shoot one S4 AP4 template, not D3 like the Harpy. You can take up to three in a single brood though, which is probably what I was thinking.