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Thread: Tyranid Tactica

  1. #11

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Warriors are the most iconic and classic of all Tyranids, existing in the fiction for the race since their inception back in the Rogue Trader era. They have always been the archetype, the true identity of the Tyranids. Though they have not seen the justice they deserve from a rules perspective, they nonetheless have their many uses on the battlefield. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Tyranid Warriors

    Overview

    Warriors are effectively the Tyranid equivalent to Tactical Marines, albeit at slightly over double the cost even before their significant range of costly upgrades are taken into account. Their profile is definitely alluring, though the cost is off-putting, especially once one realizes they lack Eternal Warrior. I'll start by addressing the elephant in the room; the survivability of Warriors. With three wounds each at Toughness 4 with a 4+ armour save, Warriors are as durable against AP5 or worse small arms fire as Terminators, and not much less durable against AP4 or better small arms fire. Against AP2 shooting that is Strength 7 or lower, Warriors are effectively twice as durable, able to lose two wounds per model before losing any full models, whereas Terminators only get a 5+ invulnerable save for one wound per model. For every Warrior that dies to Strength 7 AP2 shooting, two Terminators will die. Obviously, Warriors are at home against massed small arms fire and plasma that are so oft seen in this meta. Where the issues arise is that Warriors are Toughness 4 and thus incredibly prone to instant death from easily accessed Strength 8 weaponry. Warriors rely on their three wounds each to make up for a mediocre Toughness and armour save, giving them their high cost per model. When you take that advantage away, they may as well just be Toughness 4 Fire Warriors at over three times the cost before upgrades. Riptides with Ion Accelerators are by far the worst unit to face for Warriors, while missile launchers, hades autocannons, pulsars, heavy wraithcannons, battle cannons and all other manner of guns terrify Warriors to no end. One of the most devastating answers to Warriors, ironically, comes in the form of Hive Guard, ignoring both cover and line of sight as they shoot their conveniently Strength 8 AP4 guns at 24" ranges. This is why Warriors are always a difficult choice to recommend, just because they can either face an opponent lacking Strength 8 shooting - such as Necrons - or see so much of it they may as well not exist, like against Tau or Space Marines.

    Moving on, Warriors do have an otherwise really nice profile, but again one that doesn't really make them worth the expense. They are Strength 4 with three attacks each base, easily able to get five each on the charge through free weapon exchanges at the cost of any ranged presence. Their Weapon Skill 5 and Initiative 4 make them more than decent melee units even left stock, while their massive range of options - from Adrenal Glands to Flesh Hooks and Rending Claws - can boost their effectiveness to staggering degrees. I personally prefer to keep them cheap, but some have found success with Warriors as elite melee units that scythe through Space Marines, Wraithknights and tanks with ease. This usually involves a mix of Rending Claws, Boneswords and Toxin Sacs, though any mix of upgrades for Warriors will see their cost skyrocket well above that of Terminators and closer to Centurion levels. On the flip side, Warriors are mediocre shooters with only Ballistic Skill 3 and decent but hardly top notch guns. A Warrior with a Devourer has a three shot 18" gun at Strength 4 with no AP that hits on 4s without modifiers, compared to a Fire Warrior with a pulse rifle that has a 30" gun at Strength 5 with AP5 that hits on 4s with far more easily accessed modifiers and a second shot at 15". When you factor in that a Warrior is more than three times the cost of a Fire Warrior, the basic infantry of another codex, Warriors are out-classed by a very significant margin by the ranged Troops choices of other codices in shooting. Their damage output just isn't that high, and their survivability is basically reliant on an opponent lacking instant death attacks, but that isn't all there is to Warriors. They are your most easily accessed, and one of the cheapest, Synapse units and give out that potent anti-psyker Shadow in the Warp bubble as an obvious extra. Like a Tyranid Prime or a Zoanthrope, it is their Synapse generation ability that makes them worthwhile above almost all their other abilities. They are there to provide extra Synapse when your big monsters inevitably go down, and they do a decent - if uninspiring - job of it, provided you keep them cheap. Warriors are essentially a false trap; they lure you in with many cool upgrades, but you should really just keep them stock.


    How to Equip Them

    As Warriors pay the same price for weaponry as a Tyranid Prime or Hive Tyrant does, I tend to avoid the melee centric upgrades as they are very expensive and far more valuable for other units. Rending Claws are cheap and far more worthwhile than Scything Talons, so I would recommend them on a few Warriors in a unit so that they can threaten vehicles and medium infantry in combat. One or two Boneswords paired up with Toxin Sacs for every four or five Warriors in a unit can give them a nice, if unreliable answer to monstrous creatures with 3+ armour saves such as Wraithknights and Daemon Princes. Still, Boneswords are expensive, and Warriors really don't have any reliable means to reach combat, so they are more of a utility upgrade in a medium sized squad of five or more Warriors. Lash Whips and Boneswords really aren't necessary or worthwhile I feel, especially as a bonesword with flesh hooks negates the disadvantages of charging through terrain - which is more important for an Initiative 4 unit - and is slightly cheaper. Lash Whips require the use of flesh hooks to really be worthwhile, and adding those two upgrades to any single Warrior almost doubles their base cost. Investing in melee Warriors just isn't that worthwhile, especially as they aren't nearly as durable per point as Carnifexes, nor have the means of delivery like Trygons. Adrenal Glands and Rending Claws are what I would give to each model in the unit, with the latter an upgrade you can afford to spread around rather than invest in for every Warrior.

    The limit of only one bio-cannon for a unit regardless of size is one of many reasons I prefer small three-strong broods for decently priced Synapse and light ranged support. Barbed Stranglers and Venom Cannons are both decent purchases, with the former using Pinning to be a nice threat even against Space Marines, while the latter is the equivalent of the small blast firing mode for a Miasma Cannon against Tau and Eldar. I prefer the Barbed Strangler for the Pinning, especially with Tyranids having so many abilities affecting Leadership, such as Shadow in the Warp. Pinning down a ten-strong Strike Squad with a small three-strong Warrior brood because they happened to be in Shadows range of a flying Hive Tyrant is very amusing indeed! The other two Warriors in such a unit can be left bare, or even just given Rending Claws to take down AV10 and AV11 rear armoured vehicles with four Rending attacks each on the charge. Devourers are decent short ranged weapons, with Spinefists being a free exchange. I prefer Devourers for the extra 6" range and Strength 4, but the twin-linking on Spinefists and AP5 means that it isn't as easy a choice as it used to be. Deathspitters are the other ranged option, being Strength 5 and AP5 with that 18" range, but also being a (cheap) paid for upgrade. I tend to want to shave as many points off of Warriors brood as possible as trying to kit them out just makes them even more inefficient Terminator equivalents with neither the durability or the overall offensive grunt - and Terminators aren't even that great themselves! If you are sold on a melee unit, I recommend Adrenal Glands first and foremost more for the Fleet than Strength 5, though the latter effect is certainly very handy - especially when combined with Rending Claws. Keep the Warriors as cheap as possible after the Adrenal Glands, with maybe a few Rending Claws on each model. You can exchange the Devourers for free Scything Talons so that each Warrior has five attacks each on the charge, but in nearly any situation, those three Strength 4 shots at 18" are far better, doubling as three extra attacks at range instead of just one.


    Where to Put Them

    Warriors kitted out for melee probably want to be Outflanked using a Hive Tyrants' Hive Commander ability mostly for their protection and a gateway into the flank of an opponents deployment zone. Strength 7 AP4 and Strength 8 AP3 weapons tend to be the truest bane of Warriors, and aside from Armoured Battle Companies and Farsight Enclave lists, such weapons usually aren't seen throughout the majority of an army list. Use the turns that the Warriors are off the board - and even their own alpha strike when they arrive, provided they aren't destroyed by Interceptor shooting - to try and destroy such units if at all possible, or at least reduce their numbers. If you aren't a fan of this tactic, use Hormagaunt screens and make sure to give the Warriors Adrenal Glands above all else. This will allow the Warriors to be mobile, have intervening cover from the relatively tall Hormagaunt models, and provide Synapse for the cheap melee hordes. This is probably the way that Warriors were designed to function in a standard Tyranid list, and while it is simple, I'm not sold on its effectiveness. As Synapse creatures that are so vulnerable to Instant Death, Warriors are a big and obvious target for opponents that increases proportionately based on how many models are in the unit. They are expensive, especially with melee upgrades, and aren't really as mobile or durable as they need to be to foot-slog. Keeping to cover, even without Move Through Cover, is probably necessary.

    For a ranged unit, the same principle of keeping to cover applies, save that you don't need to worry as much about being slowed down as such units can ply their trade at 18" rather than in base contact. These units are cheaper, less likely to be left out in the open due to failed charges or wanting to avoid the movement penalties of cover, and do their damage at range, making them more viable in larger units. They aren't the most effective shooters for their cost, but they nonetheless work very well as secondary Synapse units for short-ranged Termagant broods. Their general 18" range for shooting means they can stay just in range and affect Termagant units with the back models 6" away from an enemy unit. A unit of three with a barbed strangler or venom cannon is a more expensive alternative to a Zoanthrope for hiding in your backfield to babysit the amazing Biovores, but they do get scoring in the deal to make up for it. This is where I see Warriors being the most useful they can be; as a cheap scoring unit that can wade through most small arms fire, offers some extra damage at 18" and in melee, can score a home objective and provides Synapse to your long range units typically dependent on Synapse.


    Best Uses

    Warriors don't really work as a melee unit as they are fragile against heavy weaponry of which any army can bring lots of, even rival Tyranids, and the removal of Mycetic Spores means Warriors have no real way to make combat reliably. They can be Outflanked with Hive Commander to provide a probable turn three charge, as well as forward Synapse for fast Gargoyle and Hormagaunt broods. They are vulnerable to many Interceptor weapons though, with even an Icarus Lascannon reliably killing one outright, and being off the game board for one or two turns isn't too likely to save them if your opponent really wants to focus them down. If you can reliably neuter heavy fire with Strength 8 weapons, such as flying Hive Tyrants charging Devastator equivalents, Mawlocs popping up in the middle of units and killing heavy weapon bearers, or Crones killing off key Pathfinders, then this isn't a bad use of them at all. This is still reliant on a lot of luck, and the price of a decently kitted out and medium to large size unit is excessive once Flesh Hooks - for the near-mandatory assault grenades - and extra melee weapons are accounted for. Small broods may be cheap even with some melee upgrades, but they are woefully fragile and can be dealt with easily at range. Medium sized broods are a threat to most units in combat aside from medium to heavy vehicles and high Initiative monstrous creatures with lots of attacks, though they are very expensive and each model lost is a big blow. Large broods are too unwieldy, expensive and vulnerable to Strength 8 shooting to really be worthwhile, and even massed autocannon or missile pod fire will slaughter them. As a unit, they just have too many hard counters to recommend in a melee-centric role at any unit size. Even with Hive Commander, you have to hope you can neutralize your opponents heavy ranged firepower, and that the Warriors won't simply be fed cheap fodder units or even get near enough to valuable enemy units.

    For these reasons, I advocate ranged Warriors above all else. Of course Warriors can only shoot one weapon, so keeping that free pair of Scything Talons is ideal - again though, one pair of Rending Claws for every three Warriors in a unit is a good idea for vehicle hunting. Always take a bio-cannon, they are appropriately costed and the long range allows Warriors to deal some damage and maybe Pin a unit in place before they get into range with most of their guns. Otherwise, keeping the Devourers is I feel the best bet as they are free, they have an 18" range which allows them to get in range of other shooters with much greater ease and their Strength 4 is nice and solid. Spinefists are too short ranged for a unit lacking Mycetic Spores and will just get laughed at by bolter-armed Space Marines, while Deathspitters add even more points - if not too many, thankfully - to a unit that is already more expensive than it should be. My ideal use of Warriors is a small unit of three armed with either a barbed strangler or a venom cannon and nothing else, sitting on a home-field objective and hiding out of sight. This is the cheapest self-reliant scoring unit Tyranids have access to, and that each model puts out four Strength 4 attacks - after six Strength 4 shots and one small blast - each on the charge means they can scare off minor disruption and weak tarpit units. They can move out a bit to pop off a 36" small blast with the hopes of Pinning or doing a few wounds here or there, and they can even try to get into the rear armour of a transport and destroy it with some luck. They don't really need support if they stay in the backfield, especially as they are Synapse creatures, and can even provide Synapse for nearby Biovores and Tyrannofexes armed with Rupture Cannons. You can use them behind intervening Hormagaunt or Termagant swarms as cheap support Synapse units to a primary beast such as a Tervigon, and opponents will likely ignore them in favour of the larger beast. Overall, players need to identify the use of Warriors as cheap Synapse and ranged support nodes, not as the expensive Terminator equivalents all their options might trick you into.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Warriors (3) - Barbed Strangler - This is a cheap little unit that functions as a backfield Synapse unit for Biovores and provides a pretty decent large blast AP5 weapon with Pinning. They don't need anything else to do their job, and they can even sit on an objective out of sight.

    Warriors (6) - Barbed Strangler, two Rending Claws - This is double the cost of the previous unit, but with double the models and shooting. Not bad, especially as the two sets of Rending Claws give them some extra punch in combat. Use these as your main scoring unit supported by Carnifex broods and Tyrannofexes.


    Scions of the Swarm

    The web of Synapse spreads throughout a Hive Fleet through many living links, creatures possessed by the pure will of the Hive Mind. From the Norn Queens and Dominatrixes to the Hive Tyrants and Zoanthropes, Synapse is the great equalizer, the bond that unites all Tyranids to the singular purpose of destruction. In battle, the Warrior beasts are the most common Synapse nodes, twice the size of any normal man and wielding advanced bio-weapons. They are deceptively dangerous and driven always by the alien Hive Mind, being the most adaptable and proficient of all Tyranids. In the absence of a Tyrant Lord, it is the Warriors that lead a Swarm, guiding skirmishes and evolving into Tyranid Primes to lead fully fledged armies to battle.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:33 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  2. #12

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! There are many dark portents of an impending Tyranid invasion, but none are more sinister than in infestation by the nefarious Genestealers. Weaving their way undetected through planetary defences and civilian populations, these humanoid creatures intermingle with the local populace, using telepathy and various disgusting measures to gain control of millions of citizens. These innocents are purged of their humanity and give birth to revolting hybrids, eventually leading to many planetary uprisings to destabilize and demoralize the planet, making it easy prey for the Hive Fleets. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Genestealers

    Overview

    Billed as a frighteningly strong melee unit, Genestealers are the clearest example of a glass cannon in the Tyranid codex. They do quite a bit of damage against most enemy types once they reach combat, but actually making it there with Genestealers is quite a challenge. But first, let us look at what makes these terrors tick. Each Genestealer has a crazy good Weapon Skill and Initiative of 6, rivaling that of most commander-type models such as Autarchs or Captains. They have two attacks each for three per model on the charge, and each Genestealer is equipped with Rending Claws. This allows them to cut through lightly armoured tarpit units quickly, generally striking first, hitting on 3s and having AP5 attacks. The extra effects of proper Rending make Genestealers a nasty surprise for elite units such as Terminators, Broadside Battlesuits or monstrous creatures like the Nemesis Dreadknight. Their Strength and Toughness of 4 is befitting their supposed equivalency with Space Marines, giving them a solid looking profile at first glance. To add to their good melee capabilities, Genestealers have more deployment options and speed boosts than most other Tyranid units. Move Through Cover and their low armour save means there is little reason not to be advancing through cover - at least until they get close enough to charge - while Fleet makes any charge they attempt much more reliable, as well as giving them a re-roll for Run moves. As befits their background, Genestealers have the Infiltrate special rule, allowing them to deploy closer to an opponent than usual or opt to Outflank. Overall, they look like a nice melee unit in practice that is quite similar to Striking Scorpions.

    Unfortunately, that is where the issues start to pop up. Genestealers are as fragile as they come even with that Toughness 4, with only a 5+ armour save - increased to 4+ on the Broodlord - for protection. This means that template weapons, even the cheap as chips flamers accessed by any Space Marine unit you can find, will murder large swathes of Genestealers in one go. That's before even mentioning what Overwatch with the Wall of Flame will do. Heck, twenty bolter shots from ten rapid firing Tactical Marines will statistically slay seven Genestealers assuming no cover. Now, this wouldn't be such an issue if Genestealers were cheap, but no, Genestealers are identical in base cost to Tactical Marines in the new Space Marine codex. Now, comparing any model to a Space Marine with all their special rules and wargear is ludicrously unfair, but the point remains that Genestealers are just so expensive for what they bring. They really aren't that deadly in combat once you factor in how many Genestealers are likely to survive to even make combat, and besides, they lack assault grenades. Like any other high Initiative unit lacking assault grenades, it is almost painful to see Genestealers striking after a blob squad of Imperial Guardsmen that, sadly, will kill entire Genestealer broods through their Overwatch and close combat attacks. The final insult is that Genestealers lack any kind of ranged attack, meaning that unless they get into combat they may as well be sitting ducks. When you factor this in, they really aren't that good of a melee unit to make up for it. The saving grace for Genestealers is that you can take small broods of them and make the most of their nasty squad leader, the Broodlord.

    Now we are getting into more friendly waters, as the Broodlord is a really good model for the points. For half the cost of a Tyranid Prime, you are getting a psychic - but not Synaptic - version of the same character with a few stat modifications, such as a higher Weapon Skill and Initiative but a worse armour save. Like the Red Terror but without the limitations of being Unique, Broodlords are Strength and Toughness 5 characters with combat stats that are highly reminiscent of a Phoenix Lord. Their 4+ armour save isn't great, but it is still worlds better than the 5+ offered by Genestealers simply because the basic weapons and templates in the game are generally AP5. The Broodlord is an additional upgrade to the unit and dissimilar to its previous incarnation where it was purchased as an upgrade for a single Genestealer. This means that a maximum sized Genestealer brood would have twenty Genestealers and one Broodlord, as opposed to nineteen Genestealers and one Broodlord in the previous codex. It mostly serves to make taking the Broodlord more expensive for smaller units as they have to take a fifth Genestealer rather than just four and the Broodlord. The Broodlord doesn't just bring the pain in combat, but through its sole and nonexchangeable psychic power, the Horror. This causes a Pinning test with a -2 modifier to a single unit within 24" of the Broodlord, a power that - due to its medium range - gels very nicely with the Infiltrating or Outflanking Broodlord. This can pin down Riptides, Devastator squads - watch those Space Marine players lament not taking Veteran Sergeant - and all other kinds of nasty ranged units. The Broodlord is really valuable and serves to make a useable unit out of one that would otherwise be almost unplayable. Still, Genestealers do have one unique trait to consider that could be worthwhile in certain army types - they neither confer Synapse nor test for Instinctive Behaviour. This makes them the only fully self-sustainable unit in the codex that isn't also a Synapse unit, which is always something to keep in mind and allows them to, for example, hold down a flank by their lonesome.


    How to Equip Them

    Genestealers are much more limited in the options they can take compared to Warriors, but honestly, that's a good thing in its own way. To be incredibly blunt, you aren't as tempted to add even more points to over-costed models. Genestealers can add Scything Talons to compliment their Rending Claws, a choice that I would actively recommend against taking. The reason for this is that it is a heavy cost for a melee weapon that is a downgrade on their stock Rending Claws, with the only benefit provided being the extra attack for having two melee weapons. Now, it might be worth it from that perspective, but look at how much other codices pay for those extra attacks on basic infantry. Genestealers pay double that amount, and extra attacks are not what Genestealers really need. Unless you like the look of the models with them, avoid the scything talons.

    Genestealers can also take one or both of Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs. The former isn't so useful as Genestealers already have Fleet, hence its lower cost than usual, but massed Strength 5 Rending attacks on the charge do allow them to have a better chance against AV12 walkers and AV11 rear tanks like Leman Russ Demolishers. Toxin Sacs are the better overall upgrade if you are wanting the Genestealers to take on monstrous creatures and other infantry, though, with a permanent benefit in combat letting them pile regular wounds on with Rending wounds for extra spice. Ultimately, I don't think Genestealers really need any upgrades to do their job, as they are a decent enough unit in terms of damage output once they actually reach their target. The high cost per model makes me avoid upgrades because of their fragility, so I recommend just keeping them stock. The Broodlord has access to the full Biomorphs list, meaning it pays over seven times as much as Genestealers for Adrenal Glands, and over three times as much for Toxin Sacs. For this reason, and with the Broodlord already having a base Strength 5, I would avoid these upgrades. It can take Acid Blood and Regeneration, but the former isn't likely to do too much, and the latter is more appropriately priced for something like a Tyrannofex. Again, a Broodlord is better left with no upgrades simply because those extras are costly and won't really help the Genestealers out. Their main issue is actually surviving to reach combat, and even Regeneration won't really help out on that front.


    Where to Put Them

    On a conventional gaming board where there is lots of line of sight-blocking terrain, I see little reason for Genestealers not to be Infiltrating. This is the logical method to make the most of the Broodlords' psychic power, it can't be countered by Interceptor, it allows them to charge either at the end of game turn one or throughout game turn two, and it gives them guaranteed cover to advance through. About the only time I would advocate more for Outflanking is if the middle of the board or the area close to an opponents' deployment zone is relatively devoid of terrain, and only even then against a gunline. Forward moving forces like standard Chaos Space Marine builds are more inclined to move into the midfield where Genestealers can try to hide in what terrain is available and pop out as deterrent units to try and break up an opponents' advancing battle line. Otherwise, Outflanking against a gunline does spare the Genestealers a turn of shooting and, hopefully, they will arrive when many other Tyranid units are starting to reach an opponents lines, generally on turn three. The lack of assault grenades for Genestealers is a right pain, but they are expensive enough that moving from cover to cover - the self-explanatory Move Through Cover really comes in handy here - is a necessity due to their 5+ armour save. Don't charge straight off and expect to get in with Fleet, first account for Overwatch, intervening terrain and the distance required. Charge less valuable units if it means a higher chance of making it into combat and pray that the Genestealers don't wipe out the squad in one round. Hide as much as possible, even with a nearby unit, as long as it means less shooting is possible at the Genestealers.


    Best Uses

    Due to the high cost of Genestealers, especially once their low survivability and above average melee damage output are taken into account, I prefer to use them as small, stock standard units of five Genestealers with an added Broodlord. The Broodlord may as well be worth the other five Genestealers with that it brings to the unit, giving the brood some tough wounds and a pretty darn nasty character in combat. The Horror is what you really want though, especially since it is guaranteed for the Broodlord who can Infiltrate to within 18" or 12" of the enemy battle-line. Pinning down a unit of Fire Warriors or - the holy grail - a Riptide could very well save not only the Genestealers, but several other models in your advancing Tyranid army. Using one or two such units of Genestealers increases the chances of this occurring, and even Pinning a single unit in place could prove pivotal. A Bike squad with an attached Chapter Master, for example, can still be Pinned, albeit with a lower chance due to base Leadership 10. If you manage that, you deserve a pat on the back. Once the Broodlords' stats are factored in, I think this gives you the best, most flexible Genestealer unit possible, and one that isn't too heavy on the points. If it pins something like a Riptide or an R'Varna in place on the first turn, it will be points well spent. If it doesn't, it is a nasty little melee unit that can try the same trick again next turn, making them a decent distraction unit. For Tyranids, anything that can reduce the firepower at your main monsters and swarm units is priceless, and this is something that multiple small Genestealer broods can do well. I never recommend large squads of Genestealers, as the Broodlord is arguably more valuable than the five Genestealers required to take one. Genestealers are just too expensive and fragile to be justified as a melee horde; if you want such a unit, look instead to your significantly cheaper and more effective per-point Hormagaunts.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Genestealers (5) - Broodlord - This is your cheap "Horror" unit, using the Broodlord's awesome innate psychic power to pin nasty ranged units early in the game. This unit isn't too expensive, is very nasty in an assault and doesn't care about Synapse. Force your opponent to focus them down by trying to move towards valuable but fragile shooting units.


    Terror from Within

    There are many terrifying sub-species in the Tyranid race, but none are more feared or reviled than the Genestealers. Inhabiting space hulks, merchant ships and other independent vessels, the Genestealers forage ahead of a Hive Fleet in an effort to scout and sow dissent at the lowest levels of society. They spread among the civilian populace, hiding from militant action and using countless inhumane methods to spread their influence. Sprouting like a flame, they use telepathy to assert control over key individuals while they mingle with civilians on a most primitive level, giving birth to the Genestealer Cults. Mixing aberrations known as hybrids with those slaved to the will of a Patriarch, the Genestealers mutate the populace into many rebellious sub-factions, spreading chaos and destruction. As the Hive Fleet nears, the Genestealers themselves emerge, slaughtering any who do not submit to their will. As the rebellion swells, so too do Lictors and other vanguard organisms begin to emerge, preying on the fear and weakness spread by the Genestealers. Countless planets have fallen well before the lumbering Hive Fleets arrived due to the acts of these alien, merciless creatures. No threat in the Tyranid race is more fearsome than these masters of infiltration, capable of turning even the most resolute of worlds into a hell of infighting and anarchy.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:31 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  3. #13

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! There are two primary organisms that make up the massive numbers of a Hive Fleets' invasion forces; the Hormagaunts and Termagants. Where the Hormagaunts are simple melee beasts, the Termagants are more careful creatures armed with ranged biomorphs. Their interplay with the monstrous Tervigon as well as their defensive uses with potential Overwatch and snap firing at Flying Monstrous Creatures gives them greater utility over Hormagaunts at the cost of strict melee effectiveness. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Termagants

    Overview

    Termagants are one of two choices to form the key building blocks to an effective Tyranid force, namely cheap Fearless horde units that are surprisingly mobile and cost effective. Their stats may be unimpressive, with threes almost across the board, but their incredibly low cost per model when combined with the effects of Synapse makes them some of the most useful Troops in the game. They strike at Initiative 4 in combat, albeit with only one attack each and Weapon Skill 3, making them weak melee fighters. However, as cheap units backed by Synapse, they all of a sudden become the game's cheapest Fearless horde unit, able to hold up all kinds of enemy units in combat at will. They are also the only fodder Troops choice with a ranged attack, bring the Strength 4 AP5 Fleshborer that, aside from its 12" range and Assault 1 profile, may as well be a half-ranged Bolter. They might only be Ballistic Skill 3, but the amount of shots such cheap models can put out, all of which ignore the armour of Imperial Guardsmen and Ork Boyz, is surprisingly nasty. Their Strength and Toughness of 3 is typical of a cheap horde unit, and while a 6+ armour save is inferior to that of a Guardsmen, their stronger shooting weapon - albeit with half the range - and easily accessed Fearless as opposed to paid for Stubborn makes them more easily utilized in large numbers.

    With the changes to Instinctive Behaviour though, unlike Guardsmen who can be somewhat self reliant, Termagants are absolutely dependent on a nearby Synapse creature. With their below par Leadership 6 Termagants are likely to fail such tests, losing you control of the unit as a start and potentially leading to them falling off an objective. When you consider that Termagants are your cheap fodder scoring units that can easily hide behind cover on objectives, having a unit in your backfield suddenly run off the table and forfeit that objective can lose you the game. Like anything in a Tyranid army, Termagants are reliant on some form of synergy to be most effective. Though Tervigons aren't really the best unit to pair up with them anymore, and Synapse unit from a baby-sitting Zoanthrope to an attached Tyranid Prime will be both integral and incredibly useful. Termagants evolve into one of the premier Fearless road-blocks in the game due to their crazily low cost per model once a Synapse creature comes within range, and using them to deter other light infantry with their ranged weapons is always viable. Termagants can even be given upgraded ranged weapons to bring more devastation, though at great cost; Devourers can mulch anything with a Toughness value of 7 or lower, though they double the cost of each Termagant per model. Unlike other infantry as well, Termagants have Move Through Cover, meaning there is little reason not to be utilizing terrain as they advance or remain static. An entire unit of Toughness 3 models with 5+ all the way up to 2+ cover saves - with the help of either Night Fighting or a Venomthrope - is incredibly difficult for most armies to shift, especially when many such broods can be fielded.


    How to Equip Them

    Termagants have several more options than their Hormagaunt cousins, something that is based entirely on the fact that they have ranged weapons. For Biomorphs, they have access to both Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs. The former I feel is the more valuable choice, giving Termagants both Fleet and Furious Charge, making it a more valuable purchase than for Hormagaunts. Toxin Sacs allow them to threaten Dark Eldar Talos' all the way up to the Wraithknight, but with one attack each they aren't as good here as they are for Hormagaunts with two attacks base each. This is of course why Toxin Sacs are slightly cheaper for Termagants than Hormagaunts, but nonetheless, I feel giving Termagants the capability to damage rear AV10 vehicles in combat as well as re-rolling their charge and run distances is more useful, especially for the same points cost.

    Termagants also have their own little special weapon system, with one in ten able to take a strangleweb; a Strength 2 template weapons with the Pinning special rule. As nice as Pinning is, that it only activates at short ranges - where the Termagants are likely to charge the unit affected by the strangleweb - limits its usage. It won't do too much damage with its lack of AP and pitiful Strength, and again, Pinning may be nice but when the Termagants are probably going to charge the affected unit, I don't think it is really that useful. Pinning doesn't affect Overwatch, for example, and it has to actually cause wounds to even force that Pinning test. It is thus not going to work on something like a Riptide, and is unlikely to affect a unit of Space Marines or other unit with a decent Leadership score and Toughness 4. That it can get a lot of hits as a template weapon is its saving grace, and something to remember is that Pinning down a unit so that it can't charge in the subsequent turn - such as opposing Assault Marines, for example - with a Termagant brood can allow your own melee units to deal with a specific unit without interference. Stranglewebs are incredibly cheap upgrades, so there's no fretting over taking one and having it not do much; they are cheap, they have a use. They aren't really necessary, but they can help out.

    The other ranged weapons have no limitation on the number per unit, and can be freely mixed and matched within a brood. Spinefists are the first option, a free weapon exchange that is effectively a Fleshborer with one less Strength and twin-linking for a Termagant with only one base attack. The reduction in Strength in exchange for re-rolls to hit is actually a decent trade with no cost, and something that I recommend if you prefer the look of the weapons. Against lower Toughness models and Toughness 6, the Spinefist wins out, and it is tied on damage output against commonplace Toughness 4 opponents. The Fleshborer has the capability to damage vehicles and the model itself can be recycled for use with Tervigons, so really, this all comes down to preference. Spike Rifles are another free weapon options, and one that - in modeling terms - is very rare to come by. It is Strength 3 like the Spinefist but lacks an AP value and the twin-linked, though it has an extra 6" range - for 18" total - to compensate. I'm not really a fan of these as having AP5 guns on your most basic fodder unit gives them a serious edge over the fodder units of other armies in a tug of war, while the loss of twin-linking isn't really compensated by an extra 6" of range, as nice as it is.

    The final weapon upgrade, and the most interesting by far, is the Devourer, a weapon that is part of the base equipment for Warriors. A Devourer doubles the cost of an otherwise stock Termagant model, but makes each Termagant identical to a Warrior for ranged damage output. Remembering that Warriors are almost four times the cost of a Termagant armed with a Devourer, this not only makes Termagants by far the more cost-effective ranged unit, but also arguably the most devastating in the codex against anything that isn't Toughness 8 or a vehicle. Devourers not only combine the Strength 4 of a Fleshborer with the 18" range of the Spike Rifle, but they have a whopping three shots each, tripling the rate of fire of every individual Termagant as opposed to every other weapon option. Essentially, Devourers triple the ranged damage output of Termagants, but make them twice as fragile per point. I think the incredibly low cost of Termagants and their speed with Move Through Cover shouldn't be wasted, so with the ability to mix and match weapons in a unit, giving half or a third of the unit - say, ten out of thirty - Devourers and hiding them in the rear or middle of a unit is the best way to go. An entire unit armed with them will either be small to make up for the cost, or just too expensive for fragile Toughness 3 models that have lost access to Mycetic Spores. It is a testament to the effectiveness of Devourers - the points reduction helps - that they still remain perfectly viable despite the removal of a guaranteed, safe Deep Strike option.


    Where to Put Them

    As your fodder units, Termagants are one of few you can deploy in the open and care little for the ramifications. They are a cheap Fearless horde unit that, when spaced out 2" per model - just make sure to move them quickly in bunches then use rough space out measurements to minimize the time taken to move them - aren't as vulnerable to blast and template weapons as you would think. If they get intervening cover from, say, a Tyrannofex, or if they move into terrain where they are barely slowed due to Move Through Cover, they become difficult to shift very quickly. Plague Zombies are testimony to this, with only short-ranged Space Marine builds or those packing Thunderfire Cannons, massed Wave Serpents or common Tau really able to destroy such units with ease. Pack in nearby Venomthropes and the unit starts to become almost as survivable as Space Marines and, in some cases, even more so - such as against Riptides with Ion Accelerators that ignore all armour and your Toughness value if it is below seven. In any case, Termagants are a unit where you can afford to lose models; that is the reason you employ them. It is not for their mediocre or low damage output or their slightly above average mobility in terrain, but their inexpensive nature and how many you can field.

    Use them to bubble-wrap - surround a unit with individually spaced Termagant models so that no charges, particularly from flying monstrous creatures, are possible to the designated unit - Synapse creatures like Hive Tyrants with Tyrant Guard, or those vulnerable in combat such as Exocrines and Tyrannofexes. Deter drop pods and reserves by spreading your Termagants out further to cover as much space as possible around your monsters and Synapse creatures, preventing the typical short ranged weapons carried by such units from destroying those units. Deploy Termagants within Synapse range at all times, and keep more than one within at least 18" in case the closest Synapse unit is eliminated. Declare charges at units first with Termagants to potentially eat up Overwatch so the other more valuable units are left untouched. Use Termagants to surround vehicles, but not charge, allowing a model such as a Carnifex to move in and hopefully wreck it, surrounding and instantly destroying the embarked unit with the lack of space to place models. Make sure to keep Termagants away from a Tervigon at all times - armies such as Eldar or Imperial Guard are easily capable of killing one in a single shooting phase - as you don't want to risk losing models to its 'explosion' unnecessarily. Don't be afraid to charge Termagants by themselves as long as they are in Synapse range; try to charge units such as Wraithknights or Riptides, if luck chances that they are nearby, and merely hold them up so that they can't devastate your forces in shooting. The Fearless special rule conferred by Synapse allows large broods of Termagants to hold down such destructive monsters for extended periods of time, usually for at least two or more game turns with a fifteen strong brood.


    Best Uses

    I see the best uses of Termagants firstly as a thirty-strong brood to unlock one Tervigon as a Troops choice for games between 1000 to 1850 points. Larger games favour the use of more Tervigons in the Troops slots due to the extra firepower, and thus the need for more scoring units, though regular game sizes favour only one due to the high cost of a Tervigon. The thirty-strong Termagant brood(s) you use can either be left bare to keep points spent on your Troop slot low, or they can be given a mix of Devourers - preferably ten to fifteen in a thirty strong unit - to give them some really nasty extra shooting. I recommend spinefists for the twin-linked shooting for the most part, but fleshborers may be the better "utility" choice with the ability to glance AV10 vehicle armour; either choice is fine, realistically. From there, I like using medium sized broods of Termagants, around fifteen to twenty models, as cheap but sizable scoring units. These units take up less than a hundred points each and are well worth the extra investment, though the need for more than one or two is low once a Tervigon is factored in. If you aren't a fan of the Tervigon, then I recommend taking three to four of these medium sized broods. This is so that each unit doesn't suffer so much from Instinctive Behaviour or a lack of Synapse once in combat as they would in larger sizes. From there, twenty models strong is still high and will give you lots of scoring bodies and ablative wounds for objective camping. You will want Termagants in all the roles detailed above; surrounding your own monstrous creatures to prevent mobile assault units or ranged reserve units from having free reign to target them; using them to encircle loaded transports so that wrecked results lead to "free" casualties, and; charging dangerous units so that they have to slog through your cheap Fearless horde units before they can actually do any real damage to your army.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Termagants (30) - This is your generic scoring Tervigon unlock unit; they are a massive brood of cheap and very cost effective Termagants, surprisingly nasty in combat and shooting against other light infantry.

    Termagants (20) - Ten Devourers - Like the unit above, this is a nice and large unit, but one that trades extra models for seriously upgraded firepower. Mixing and matching weapons within Tyranid broods allow you to hide the valuable Devourers behind Fleshborer Termagants. They are nasty in shooting against other infantry and can charge after unleashing a salvo to finish units off.


    The Skittering Horde

    Even after the destruction of the Hive Fleet and the death of its Norn Queen, the presence of the Swarm is rarely ever truly purged from a planet. Hormagaunts forage in mindless hunting packs for food, while Genestealers prey on the unwary as they try to spread their infestation to other worlds. But lurking deep in the caves and ravines, hidden from any enemy presence, are broods of Termagants. Driven by instinct to hide and survive, Termagants will attack only when discovered and retreat at every possibility. Though this basic survival instinct disappears once they are under the control of a Synapse creature, it is nonetheless integral to how they fight. They do not charge blindly to their deaths, instead staying at range and fighting defensively. With their ranged weapon adaptations, they make the logical defenders of more important creatures in a Swarm, able to assail and harass before meeting the foe in combat. But when driven forward by their leader beast, the Termagants are every bit as frightening as their Hormagaunt counterparts, scuttling over obstacles with unnatural speed and firing multiple deadly salvos into their foes just as they clash.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:30 AM.
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  4. #14

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Hormagaunts are the more aggressive of the two most common sub-species of Tyranids comprising the former "gaunt" genus, designed to overwhelm opponents in close quarters combat. But where other Tyranids are birthed in the Hive Fleets and spawning pools, Hormagaunts are born pregnant and lay eggs before rushing into battle. These new births quickly hatch and dive straight into battle under the control of a Synapse creature, but not before also making way for the next wave. Facing even one brood of Hormagaunts is thus a nightmare for defenders, as unless one can deal with the broodlings quickly, more and more will spawn endlessly. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Hormagaunts

    Overview

    There are two sides to every coin, and the opposite of Termagants are the screeching and deadly quick Hormagaunts. These predators sacrifice ranged weapons for boosted damage output in combat, with AP6 melee strikes from their Scything Talons and surprising mobility for a foot-slogging unit. At a slightly higher cost per model, Hormagaunts have a bit to prove over their scuttling siblings. After all, Termagants can shoot, allowing them to force grounding tests on flying monstrous creatures, Overwatch, take some Snap Shots when they are Pinned and so on. Happily, Hormagaunts are statistically one of the strongest melee units in the book, with each Hormagaunt putting out three attacks each. Even with mediocre Weapon Skill 3, Hormagaunts in significant numbers - remembering they are even cheaper than Ork Boyz - can dish out an absolutely ridiculous amount of attacks, all at a high Initiative 5. They will strike before Space Marines, though this is reduced in value due to their lack of assault grenades. As with Termagants, they are also fragile Toughness 3 bodies with pathetic 6+ armour saves. The idea is not to upgrade them fully and try to keep them alive, but bank on how inexpensive they are and drown your opponent in bodies. Without Synapse support, additionally, Hormagaunts become far less effective. Synapse gives them Fearless which is just brutal on ridiculously cheap horde units, while their Leadership 6 makes passing any kind of morale or pinning test when outside of Synapse especially painful.

    Sadly, Hormagaunts suffer more from Instinctive Behaviour even than Termagants, mostly due to 50% of the results the brood will suffer. Once they fail that test, the unit will literally start to eat itself most of the time, typically losing just under half of a unit once it happens. It wasn't enough that Termagants had to fall back, but Hormagaunts will actually sit in place and kill themselves; they are unable to perform any actions after damaging each other. Where Termagants rely on Synapse, Hormagaunts absolutely require it. Once in Synapse though, Hormagaunts become almost analogous to Ork Boyz at a slightly lower cost, one that can still be Fearless and thus hold up monsters like Wraithknights interminably as long as a Synapse creature is nearby. What makes Hormagaunts unique in comparison to Ork Boyz is their speed even without transports. Hormagaunts not only have Fleet for re-rolling their charge and run distances, already a great advantage for a melee unit, but they also add 3" inches to any Run move they make due to their Bounding Leap special rule. With Fleet, that means a Hormagaunt brood moving through open terrain has a total average movement distance of 13" to 14". Add in Move Through Cover and the distance covered through actual terrain isn't lessened by any significant amount either. Who needs transports when your basic Infantry move almost as fast as Rhino-mounted Space Marines, and are able to assault at any time instead of waiting a turn once they jump out? This is what makes Hormagaunts so valuable even without guns; they are so darn fast, cheap and damaging in combat against other infantry - and potentially monsters when upgraded with Toxin Sacs - that they put early pressure on any enemy list. Their speed is what defines them more than anything else, leading to turn three charges on average, something that almost no other standard infantry unit lacking a transport in the game can lay claim to.


    How to Equip Them

    Hormagaunts only have access to two upgrades; Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs. Hormagaunts already possess Fleet, so Adrenal Glands are cheaper than usual for these little critters. Furious Charge is still a worthwhile upgrade for Hormagaunts though, especially as it is actually cheaper than Toxin Sacs, allowing them to damage the rear armour of most vehicles. Getting a surround on a Rhino packed with Tactical Marines, for example, and wrecking it with massed Strength 4 melee attacks will lead to a 'double kill' as the Tactical Marines are unable to be placed. Toxin Sacs are better for actual close combat damage output and at only a slightly higher point cost per model, so I recommend Adrenal Glands more so that your Hormagaunts can actually threaten vehicles. On that subject, Toxin Sacs turn Hormagaunts into mass murderers, able to put unbelievable amounts of wounds on literally anything with a Toughness value. Having a stock infantry model with three attacks each on the charge - or four if they fail an Instinctive Behaviour test - with Poisoned (4+) on each strike is incredibly nasty, but it also jacks the cost of a unit up rather significantly. That is what you always need to keep in mind; taking either Adrenal Glands or Toxin Sacs on each model in a twenty-strong unit is roughly equivalent to fitting in an extra ten bare bones Hormagaunts. Are the extra models more worthwhile than the upgrades? I believe that the best use of Hormagaunts is as cheap, surprisingly fast Fearless hordes that are the most cost-effective melee unit in the codex. They don't really need the upgrades and the fact that they are a horde unit of cheap, throwaway models has me leaning more to larger stock units than smaller upgraded units for a similar cost. If you are going to go with either upgrade, I think Adrenal Glands is better if you expect mechanized spam lists such as Chimera walls or Wave Serpents, but Toxin Sacs give Hormagaunts the better melee boost.


    Where to Put Them

    Hormagaunts should be deployed aggressively on the edge of your deployment zone, even if it means sacrificing turn one cover saves. With their average 13" movement distance every turn, Hormagaunts are capable of making turn two charges against the more mobile or short-ranged gunline armies - such as Grey Knights - while they should be getting into combat on turn three against the long ranged forces - like Tau and Imperial Guard. With Move Through Cover, Fleet and Bounding Leap, Hormagaunts are one of the fastest assault units in the game, even despite lacking any kind of transport option. You can freely move into terrain or deploy in it with little chance of actually preventing a turn three charge at the latest, though going through terrain each turn does increase the odds that a turn four charge will be their earliest chance against a static gunline. One of the added benefits of using Hormagaunts over Termagants is their more up-rearing pose, making it easier to claim cover saves for intervening models with any monsters or other units surrounded by them.

    They lack ranged weapons and thus don't really work as slow 'bodyguard' units that bubble-wrap - surrounding a monster with closely packed Hormagaunt models so that no attempt at a charge to the monster is possible - a gunline beast such as an Exocrine, though their speed makes them far better suited to performing the same job with a Haruspex or Tervigon. Ironically, that they are not affected by a Tervigon "explosion" makes them better suited to bubble-wrapping them, and their melee prowess can actually allow them to defeat - or at least bog down - flying monstrous creatures attempting to reach a Tervigon. Their inability to snap shoot - or shoot at all - does mean they can't chance grounding nearby flying monstrous creatures, but not worrying about imminent doom from a Tervigon's death does make up for it somewhat. Hormagaunts are likely to be too quick for your Venomthrope broods if you want them to make combat early, especially as Venomthropes lack both Fleet and Move Through Cover, but keeping Synapse creatures such as Zoanthropes nearby should be both easy and mandatory due to the 12" regular Synapse range.


    Best Uses

    I'm a fan of twenty plus sized Hormagaunt broods, not too dissimilar from my preferred unit sizes for Termagants, but with a twist. Hormagaunts can't really be taken in small broods like Termagants can because Hormagaunts both lack ranged weapons and have more punishing Instinctive Behaviour, meaning they really should be charging enemies and really need a Synapse creature. Hormagaunts are more expensive than Termagants because of Bounding Leap and Fleet, making them one of the fastest Infantry units in the game. I feel that not making use of this by having Hormagaunts rush forward to try and tie up enemy units as early as possible is a waste of their potential, and using them for home-sitting on objectives is just points better spent on cheaper Termagants. The only advantage Hormagaunts have for such a use is that they are completely immobile with their worst Instinctive Behaviour result, unlike Termagants that are forced to make a Fall Back move. Using Hormagaunts as cheap speed-bumps works for units of fifteen, but opponents will be more cautious of them than of Termagants because they will be aware of both the boosted melee capabilities of Hormagaunts and how quickly and reliably they can make it to combat. This is why I recommend larger units of Hormagaunts than I usually would for Termagants, and I am also a believer in keeping them stock as well. They are more likely to lose models as they come in because broods of Hormagaunts can tear apart almost anything on the charge that is Toughness 7 or lower. If you do have the points on a twenty-strong brood, for example, to take Toxin Sacs on each model, then all I can say is "enjoy the feast". I use Hormagaunts less as speed bumps but more as the forward scoring units that provide intervening cover for other advancing monsters like Carnifex broods, Tyrannofexes and Exocrines. They can still be used to hold up a Wraithknight or other deadly low model count unit for a turn or a few, just like Termagants, though they are a bit more expensive for that purpose.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Hormagaunts (30) - Do you need anything other than massive broods of stock Hormagaunts? Probably not. Termagants are the most cost-effective melee unit in the codex, combining serious speed for a foot-slogging unit with piles upon piles of attacks. They are your bullet fodder and are a fantastic cheap tarpit unit that can hold down almost anything once in Synapse range with Fearless. Heck, they will even mash most other infantry units when charging in decent numbers.


    The Unending Swarm

    As the Hive Fleet descends, the signs of imminent planetary extinction grow exponentially by the day. One of the earlier signs of its arrival is the uprising of massive swarms of leaping beasts, creatures that are almost mindless in their dogged pursuit of civilians and defenders. These Hormagaunts are so terrible a threat not because of how dangerous each individual is, but the incredible rate at which they reproduce. All Hormagaunts give birth before rushing into battle, and their offspring too are born pregnant. It is this inhuman (and silly) trait that means dealing with a brood of Hormagaunts is only truly possible if their spawning point is located and purged completely. Similar to Orks, Hormagaunts can infest part of a world and make it a death zone that only elite military forces can hope to cross. When they revert to their basic instincts in the absence of a Synapse creature, they become even more ferocious and adapt cannibalistic tendencies, devouring each other and leaving only the strongest to survive for when another Synapse creature restores control.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:29 AM.
    Check out my blog!
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  5. #15

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Rippers have been a staple of the Tyranid race for several editions now, and are one of the few Swarm units remaining in Warhammer 40000. Unfortunately, their luck in the past few codices has steadily decreased, something that the new book has failed to address. This does not mean they are useless, however, merely that you have to use them in very specific roles to enjoy and real viability out of them. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Ripper Swarms

    Overview

    I'll preface by giving a sad nod to these little guys that could. Each new edition and codex just serves to make Rippers more and more unusable. I'm hoping the next Tyranid codex fixes this problem and makes Rippers a worthwhile unit again. In any case, Ripper Swarms are intended to be your third cheap fodder unit alongside Hormagaunts and Termagants, but with a twist. As the name suggests, they are Swarm bases instead of just regular infantry, and this comes with a lot of unique traits. First off, don't get any ideas about using these as cheap Fearless scoring bodies as Swarms cannot capture or deny objectives. Secondly, they are more prone to template weapons than normal, suffering double the wounds; if a flamer inflicts two wounds on a single Ripper Swarm base, that would multiply into four wounds and thus kill the Ripper Swarm base outright. The main difference between a Swarm base and a standard infantry model is that a Swarm has more attacks and wounds than normal, with Rippers in particular having four attacks and three wounds. Their damage potential is low, however, with a meagre Weapon Skill and Initiative of 2 meaning they will usually strike last in combat and be hit on 3s. That they have three wounds each is nice against small arms fire, but once you start seeing Strength 6 weapons, Ripper Swarms begin to evaporate. They lack an immunity to instant death and thus any Strength 6 or higher weapon - Wave Serpents with their cover-ignoring Serpent Shields will have a field day here - will kill them outright. With only a 6+ armour save, Rippers are incredibly easy to kill and thus require exploitation of their tiny model sizes to hide behind terrain.

    What would be about chest-deep on a Space Marine will fully cover a Ripper Swarm base, meaning they can easily have line of sight blocked to them. Aside from being a tarpit unit against Strength 3 and 4 attacks, don't expect much out of Rippers though; they are a mere Strength 3, even with a slog of attacks, and their low stats otherwise mean they aren't ever going to do much of anything in terms of damage. Uniquely, Rippers - and Sky-Slashers by extension - are the only non-Synapse unit in the codex that is affected by Instinctive Behaviour and is Fearless. This means once they reach combat, they won't be going anywhere in a hurry if your opponent lacks Power Fists, Power Mauls or other sources of Strength 6 or higher attacks. However, they are still prone to Instinctive Behaviour, and as feeding organisms, there is a 50% chance on each failed Instinctive Behaviour roll that they will stop doing anything and just eat themselves. As Swarm bases, they aren't likely to lose too many models to this, but being unable to do anything is still a terrible result. Compounding the issue is their pathetic Leadership 5, meaning they will fail the majority of Instinctive Behaviour tests they take. As such, keeping them in Synapse may as well be mandatory, almost to the extent that it was in the old codex! Interestingly enough, Rippers remain one of the few Swarm units in the game that can take a ranged weapon, even if Rippers are hardly an ideal shooting unit. They also have access to a number of close-combat oriented upgrades such as Adrenal Glands, while they can purchase the Deep Strike special rule to give a Tyranid player extra flexibility in the deployment phase. I'm not really a fan of upgrading Rippers aside from Deep Striking though as they are pretty horrendously over-costed as it is and the only worthwhile upgrade is also the only cheap one.


    How to Equip Them

    Rippers are already expensive, so adding extra upgrades to them is something I would avoid, as they die easily just the same. Toxin Sacs and Adrenal Glands are the two close combat upgrades available to Rippers, and for the most part I prefer the Adrenals. Five Strength 4 attacks per Ripper base with Fleet is pretty decent, though you mostly just want the Fleet. Toxin Sacs, again, are the better overall combat upgrade if you plan on fighting anything that isn't Toughness 4 for more than one round, but Fleet from the Adrenal Glands does make up for this. Remember that Toxin Sacs also aren't as good for Rippers against monsters as you might believe; any monster can Smash, and many have a base Strength 6, meaning they can inflict instant death on Rippers with incredible ease. At Initiative 2 and Weapon Skill 2, most monsters will be hitting the Rippers on 3s and striking before they can. Rippers can take a ranged weapon in the form of Spinefists which, with their Ballistic Skill 2 and four attacks base, allows each Ripper Swarm to put out four shots at Strength 3 hitting on 5s with re-rolls. It really isn't that great, especially as you can take four Termagants with Spinefists for slightly less who put out the same number of shots and are Ballistic Skill 3. I would just avoid them, especially as they too are not a cheap upgrade, in favour of Adrenal Glands or the next possible upgrade. Indeed, Rippers can purchase Deep Strike as per the previous codex, and it is the cheapest upgrade available. If you want cheap tarpit units, keep the Rippers bare as upgrades jack up the cost of the unit very quickly. If you want a unit that is cheap, can drop in the opponents' deployment zone and maybe draw the attention of a small scoring unit or try and tarpit a Devastator-equivalent unit, then take the Deep Strike upgrade. The other upgrades really aren't necessary for Rippers, and while certainly helpful, they don't do anything to help their survivability against incredibly common Strength 6 or higher weaponry that will flat out murder Ripper Swarms.


    Where to Put Them

    Rippers, like Termagants, can be hidden behind an Aegis Defence Line and completely out of sight. Their Ballistic Skill 2 means they won't make a difference for an emplaced weapon such as a Quad Gun, but they can be used as cheap interdiction units that move from behind an Aegis Line to tie up a melee unit for a few turns. Even with Adrenal Glands, they are slow and far too fragile per model once their Toughness 3 is taken into account for instant death purposes to act as an aggressive tarpit unit. Instead, keep them around Zoanthropes, Tervigons or even Biovores as cheap hold-up units to give your other ranged or backfield units an extra turn or two to do their work in shooting. Hide them either behind other models or behind any kind of terrain; they are tiny for a reason and very easily kept out of line of sight. Another use I see for Rippers, even though it really isn't that great, is to Deep Strike in a forward position and as close as possible to those heavy ranged units that will want to ignore them, but can't afford to if only because they can be tied up for several turns. Pathfinders, Devastators, Heavy Weapon Teams and other such units are prime targets for these; they can either waste a turn shooting at your crazily cheap three to five Ripper Swarm bases, or they can keep shooting at the rest of your army and then get tied up almost indefinitely. With Fearless, once they are stuck in combat Rippers will stay there against those kinds of units, even if they won't actually do any damage.


    Best Uses

    The only viable use for Rippers that I can see is to hide behind terrain or the low-hanging Tervigon model to act as a cheap, bare three-model tarpit unit that is cheaper than any other such unit you can get and more durable against small arms fire. Have them move out of cover once a close assault unit moves within range of your more valuable unit, such as the Tervigon or a Zoanthrope brood, for example. Try to get in the way to block any charges to the valuable unit, or charge the enemy unit so that they cannot shoot. The other use is to take a medium sized brood of four or five bases with Deep Strike and drop them near vulnerable small scoring or heavy weapon units. These units will typically struggle to fight off Rippers in combat quickly, being tied down for a number of turns. As long as the Rippers are fired at or in some way draw attention from your more important advancing elements, from Flying Hive Tyrants to Tyrannofexes, then the Rippers will have done their job. I don't really see them as being effective in either role, but if you want them to actually make something of themselves, these would be the ways to do it.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Ripper Swarms (5) - Deep Strike - This is a really cheap and surprisingly tough - against small arms fire with assumed cover saves - tarpit unit that can deep strike into the enemy backfield and try and tie up or kill Devastator equivalents. They are so darn cheap for what they do!

    Ripper Swarms (5) - Deep Strike, Spinefists - Almost identical to the above unit with one exception; the addition of Spinefists. With four attacks each base, this is a unit that puts out a whopping 20 Strength 3 twin-linked shots at Ballistic Skill 2. It's a pretty darn cheap ranged unit that can put quite a few wounds on Pathfinders and their ilk.


    Carrion Organisms

    In times of war, disposing of the dead is a grim but necessary task. If left unattended, the fallen attract carrion birds and disease, spreading sickness and death throughout the survivors. In most societies, these bodies are burned and given due respect as worthy foes. The Tyranids, of course, share no such concept. To them, the dead are merely biomass to be fed upon and expunged into digestion pools. So as to not slow down their advance by stopping to perform this task, the Tyranids came up with an ingenious - but brutal - solution; the Ripper Swarms. These tiny parasites leap onto both the living and the dead, tearing flesh apart with razor sharp teeth. Countless beings have been eaten alive by these numberless beasts, and though they are hardly warriors, they nonetheless are to be feared by any among the living.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:27 AM.
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  6. #16

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Hive Guard are a blind Tyranid sub-species created for defending Tyranid feeding "structures" such as capillary towers. Though they aren't the most effective ranged unit, their survivability is rather high for a ranged Tyranid unit. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Hive Guard

    Overview

    The first quirk one usually notices about Hive Guard is that they are unsurprisingly analogous to their kit-siblings, Tyrant Guard, in terms of stats. Tyrant Guard come with a higher Weapon Skill by one, a higher Initiative by two, and an armour save boost of one. But where Tyrant Guard are an exclusively melee unit, Hive Guard are built for ranged anti-tank suppression. Though they are only Ballistic Skill 3, each Hive Guard model is equipped with a stock gun that puts out two shots. The weapons Hive Guard carry are some of the most dangerous to vehicles that can be found, with a unit of three bringing up to six Strength 8 AP4 shots that ignore all cover saves, and uniquely do not require line of sight to fire. Ironically, this also makes them absolutely devastating against other Tyranids, particularly Warriors, Shrikes and Raveners that will succumb to instant death with no saves possible against Impaler Cannons. They tear light skimmers to pieces by ignoring their Jink saves and punching through their armour with ease. The only real downside here is the 24" range of the guns, but ignoring line of sight does mean the Hive Guard can set up in sight-blocking terrain and fire without penalty or retribution. Ballistic Skill 3, however, relegates them to a mediocre ranged unit as each Hive Guard model only averages a single hit in shooting per volley. They end up being quite expensive compared to other armies' equivalents, namely Devastators, in terms of actual damage output to points cost.

    Where Hive Guard make up for this deficiency is through their durability and melee prowess. Each Hive Guard is a whopping Toughness 6 with two wounds and a 4+ armour save. Yes, their thick armour plating should give them a better armour save than something like a Harpy or a Fire Warrior, but they are still quite difficult to put down. This is especially true once you factor in that - when armed with Impaler Cannons, anyway - they can fire without needing line of sight and will as such usually safe from a ranged counter-attack. Yes, heavy weapons fire can and will put them down pretty quickly regardless of their Toughness value, but the fact that they can hide and still shoot means most heavy weapons won't be shooting at them in the first place. The real kicker for Hive Guard will be Crisis Teams with missile pods and Eldar Grav-Tanks that can quickly circle around and shoot them, though the cover saves will come in handy. At least, that is what will generally threaten them at range.

    Combat is a different matter entirely, and one that might surprise most if they think of Hive Guard along the same lines as Devastators. With Weapon Skill 4 and two attacks each at Strength 5, Hive Guard can certainly hold their own in combat, even though they probably won't go anywhere in a hurry with the low number of attacks a unit puts out. That they are immune to krak grenades as they are not monstrous creatures and thus force opponents to use their basic weapons against their crazy Toughness 6, Hive Guard can stick around in combat for a long time. Ideally, you don't want them in combat, but with a 24" or lower range on their guns it is almost an inevitability against any kind of assault army. Even a single unit of Assault Marines can be a pain for Hive Guard, forcing a Tyranid player to neuter that unit through Biovores or other shooting. It is nice though that Hive Guard won't collapse in a heap as soon as they charged, unlike most Tau and Imperial Guard units. Another key point in favour of Hive Guard is their above-average - for Tyranids - Leadership of 7, meaning they only fail Instinctive Behaviour tests half of the time. With Hunt and their Strength 8 shooting, failing won't be so bad on the 4,5 and 6 results, but the lower ones will still force them to go to ground. That they need to be within 24" of opponents to actually shoot means they will probably be in Synapse range as most Synapse creatures do tend to operate in the midfield anyway.


    How to Equip Them

    There are three available upgrades for Hive Guard, with none of them really being that useful unfortunately. There are two more melee-centric upgrades, Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs, both of which don't really fit for Hive Guard no matter which gun they choose. They have decent melee stats despite being a dedicated ranged unit, but they really don't need any assistance there. You want them to be shooting almost exclusively, and giving them upgrades like Furious Charge or Poisoned (4+) melee attacks really aren't going to help. They just add unnecessary points to the unit, upgrades which they are unlikely to really use. The only option you should consider is the alternate weapon as a replacement for the Impaler Cannon; Shock Cannons. Sadly, these are not a great weapon choice, especially now that Hive Guard fully ignore both line of sight and cover with their Impaler Cannons. Shockcannons have a 6" reduction to their range, are Strength 5 and AP5 with one shot as opposed to an Impaler Cannons' Strength 8, AP4 and two shots. It is also a small blast weapon, meaning that it cannot be used to snap-fire for Overwatch or to take token shots against zooming flyers and swooping flying monstrous creatures. The only selling point to a Shock Cannon is that it has the Haywire special rule, meaning that it first inflicts a Strength 5 hit on a vehicle, and then a Haywire hit. This really isn't that good, however, with small blasts being even more inaccurate than the Ballistic Skill 3 standard shots offered by an Impaler Cannon. The small blast template is unlikely to hit a decent number of models unless they are clumped up, and is worse for trying to deal with pretty much anything aside from bunched up light infantry. If it wasn't for the Impaler Cannon fully ignoring line of sight and cover - even without available Synapse, unlike the previous codex - then it might be worthwhile. As it is though, it is a paid-for - albeit cheap - downgrade on the Impaler Cannon and should thus be ignored. Just leave Hive Guard stock; they don't get any real value out of any of the upgrades.


    Where to Put Them

    Hive Guard are some of the tougher models in the codex with Toughness 6 and two wounds each, though their 4+ armour save does make them very vulnerable to massed Strength 7 AP4 shooting typical of Chaos Space Marine and Tau lists. While you might be thinking running them out in the open - save against such armies, obviously - isn't too bad an option, you really need to consider just how great a tool the Impaler Cannon is. Ignoring both line of sight and cover without any drawbacks is fantastic, and something you should always use. The issue is that 24" range meaning that unless you are playing against an aggressive army list, your Hive Guard are going to need to advance into forward terrain pieces. They lack Move Through Cover or any kind of speed boost over standard infantry - you can take Adrenal Glands, but they are just extra points that I don't think are really worth it - and they are pretty darn massive models. Hormagaunts can obscure them, but I'm pretty sure Termagants are incapable of this. Using screening models, even actual monstrous creatures, to advance behind safely into a suitable piece of terrain is ideal. If you are playing against, for example, Chaos Daemons, another Tyranid player or a Biker army, then deploying in terrain and remaining static will actually work. It can work against other armies, but a static gunline can easily sit outside the Hive Guards' 24" range.


    Best Uses

    My ideal use of Hive Guard is simple; hide them in a ruin or behind some form of line of sight blocking terrain, and proceed to unleash volley after volley of Impaler Cannon fire into vehicles, Toughness 4 multiple-wound models and monstrous creatures, in that order. They don't need or want any of the upgrades available to them, and there is almost no reason to ever have them in the open at any point in the game unless they are going to be out of Synapse range otherwise. Moving out to charge a nearby vehicle just in case it survives their shooting isn't out of the question, but I generally recommend against it as it tends to make the Hive Guard an easy target. Toughness 6 is nice, but a 4+ armour save means any typical Tau list will just shred them to pieces with massed missile pods or high yields. With Leadership 7 and the Hunt result, Hive Guard can somewhat safely operate independently, though I still recommend against it. The "decent" results for Hunt will have them moving freely and shooting their Strength 8 guns at whatever is closest. There are very few things that are immune to Strength 8 shooting, and though it might lead to them shooting at 2+ armoured foes that can laugh it off for the most part, it is still a much better deal than most other Tyranid units get. The only thing you really have to worry about is that half of the time, the Hive Guard unit will simply end up being Pinned. It is definitely not something to marginalize though, and as such I do recommend keeping them in Synapse range. Their 24" guns mean they will usually be in Synapse range of something, whether it be a Tervigon, a Zoanthrope or a Flying Hive Tyrant, so this isn't too much of a concern as it would be for the longer-ranged Biovores.

    That Hive Guard are so tough with two wounds each and a couple of Strength 5 attacks per model means they aren't exactly easy to dispose of in combat either, able to scare off your typical fast tie-up units. As far as unit size is concerned, with Ballistic Skill 3 each Hive Guard added to a unit will statistically add a single extra hit on average; three Hive Guard, as such, would hit three times on average without any modifiers. Tyranids do not have access to re-rolls to hit or Ballistic Skill bonuses which is a right pain; many have sworn off Hive Guard simply because of that unnecessary Ballistic Skill drop. I think units of two are preferable, giving you a solid and moderately expensive unit that will hit twice with their Impaler Cannons on average. It's not great, but combine them with a Crone firing Tentaclid Missiles or a Heavy Venom Cannon on a Carnifex and they should pretty reliably dispose of an AV11 or lower vehicle each turn. And unlike most anti-tank units, Hive Guard can fire and remain perfectly safe by not exposing themselves. That they fully Ignore Cover means they are devastating to Warriors and Raveners, ironically, though one does need to realize that they aren't the be all-end all counter to Wave Serpents. 24" range with no line of sight required is good, but Wave Serpents tend to sit up the back of the board anyway. Once they do close to start trying to unload scoring units onto objectives, though, your Hive Guard should prove pretty valuable.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Hive Guard (2) - A pair of Hive Guard is a tough unit that, while not the most cost-effective ranged unit, one that can hide and is pretty nasty against skimmers in particular. Two are a nice and cheap unit that are easy to hide.

    Hive Guard (3) - As above, but with the intent to actually kill vehicles in one go. An average three hits with Strength 8 shots will wreck AV10 vehicles on average, as well as AV11 two hull point vehicles. They still aren't great in terms of damage output, but the extra shots give them more chances of getting hits.


    Blind Sentries

    The Tyranids are an incredibly advanced race, able to freely create and adapt new organisms and bind them to the will of the Hive Mind. They are the only known species that does not care for owning land, instead assimilating and devouring it to strengthen and survive. The horrific toll a Tyranid Hive Fleet takes on a planet is only fully realized as the great capillary towers and gestation pools emerge, feeding the Hive Fleets lurking in orbit and spawning more and more Tyranids to fight and consume. The Tyranids are not foolish enough to leave such critical positions undefended, however, despite otherwise caring nothing of such concepts. It is for this reason that the Hive Mind fashioned a sub-species of defender organisms, able to collect sensory data telepathically from other Tyranids and fire devastating volleys into any foolish or daring enough to attack such pivotal areas. These creatures are the Hive Guard, blind protectors of the Tyranids' foot-hold on a planet. They are massive and brutish, sacrificing even their eyes for increased protection. They are the perfect guardians for these edifices, and countless warriors have met their end from afar without even sighting these killers.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:25 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  7. #17

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! The Tyranids are not above - or beyond, depending on how you interpret a species so alien - resorting to assassination to destabilize and weaken a planet, and Lictors are billed as masters of the art. Though it isn't really their purpose, it is still something they pull off frequently in the background. They are a fragile and unwieldy unit in-game as you would likely expect, and one with a plethora of special rules and cool abilities. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Lictors

    Overview

    Sharing a similar role to Genestealers as part of a Vanguard force, Lictors are distinct in that they are multiple-wound models with an eye-opening plethora of special rules. But first, let me address their stats making them surprisingly analogous to a range of independent characters. They are Weapon Skill and Initiative 6 and are one of only two units - the other being Deathleaper - in the army to natively possess assault grenades. They will strike before most units and will have even Space Marine Captains hitting them on 4s. Their Ballistic Skill 3 isn't much to write home about but, with Flesh Hooks and one of their unique special rules, it does allow them to be rather nifty little tank hunters. Each Lictor has four attacks base once you factor their paired melee weapons in combat and a whopping base Strength 6, meaning they can pretty easily rip open Wave Serpents to Leman Russ Demolishers on the charge. If a Lictor brood manages to snare an Eldar or Tau character or, humorously, a Command Squad or Heavy Weapon Team - if you see them - then lots of nasty Instant Death wounds will follow. They may lack the Smash rule shared by monstrous creatures, but the ability to wound even Space Marines on 2s with no modifiers is not to be sniffed at. Where Lictors do start to lose some traction though is with their survivability; each Lictor does have a tasty three wounds, but only a 5+ armour save for protection. Toughness 4 and this low armour save makes them a "bolter bait" unit, with a salvo from Fire Warriors in rapid fire range backed by Markerlight support for Ignores Cover sure to put even three Lictors down in no time. Tau Smart Missile Systems are about the worst nightmare for Lictors, with a 30" range, Strength 5 and AP5 meaning they wound Lictors on 3s and ignore both their armour and cover saves.

    Of course, Lictors aren't a typical "run blindly at the enemy" unit like Hormagaunts or one of the many monstrous creatures in the codex. They have a number of special rules to give them a place on the battlefield beyond a mere expensive, fragile melee unit with limited ranged options. Their Chameleonic Skin and Deep Strike special rule allow Lictors to arrive from reserves without scattering, meaning they can be placed anywhere that is 1" away from impassable terrain and other models and just sit there with a big wide grin on their faces. They can also Infiltrate - and consequently Outflank - giving them unparalleled deployment flexibility for a Tyranid unit. Their 5+ armour save is certainly meek, so they have a number of boosts for being in terrain; they have Move Through Cover and thus don't take dangerous terrain tests when they Deep Strike, nor are they slowed in terrain. They come stock with Stealth, giving them a 6+ cover save out in the open and a +1 bonus to any other cover save they get. Having Lictors in a forest gives them a 4+ cover save right off the bat. From there, Lictors are a very mobile assault unit with Fleet for re-rolling both their Run and charge distances that, paired with assault grenades, make them possibly the most "modern" melee unit in the codex - they care little for you cover camping xenos! They even have possibly the gem of special rules for assault units with Hit and Run, meaning they can escape less favourable combats and freely move out of one combat to engage another unit - or just get the charge bonus again! With all their deployment options, including no scatter on Deep Strike, Lictors are a unit based around dictating their own personal battles. They can hide in terrain and arrive from reserve wherever they want, and they can reliably make it into combats and then escape them whenever they want. Unlike Genestealers, they do have Instinctive Behaviour, though their Leadership 10 is certainly helpful in this regard. Lurk means they will fall back half the time, while the other half of the results see the Lictors being practically immobile. For an assault unit, this is really bad, but something you shouldn't have to worry too much about because of that high Leadership.

    Lictors are also supposed to fill a distinct support role in the army, that of sharing their no-scatter deep striking with allied Tyranids. Their Pheremone Trail can be used by allies on the turn after the Lictors have arrived from reserves - making it more useful for Infiltrating Lictors so that your reserves can use the bonus if they arrive on turn two. It applies to units that want to arrive within 6" of eligible Lictor broods, though it is limited by the lack of units able to deep strike in the codex; these are Spore Mine Clusters, Rippers and Sky Slashers, Shrikes, Gargoyles, Trygons, Trygon Primes and Mawlocs. Both Trygon variants really don't need the bonus because with Fleet, a 12" ranged attack and no mishaps when they hit a unit, they aren't so fussed about scattering. Spore Mine Clusters obviously want the help, but they are a cheap sacrificial unit and it would be a mistake to take Lictors just for them, though large Ripper and Sky Slasher broods may prove worthwhile for this tactic. Gargoyles are better off moving up the field as moving cover for your ground and flying monstrous creatures, and I think Shrikes are a bit too scared of most Interceptor shots to really risk Deep Striking. Mawlocs, on the other hand, with their cover-ignoring Strength 6 AP2 large blast attack, absolutely love this help. The 6" range is rather paltry though and, once you factor in that the Lictors have to start their turn within 6" of a unit you want to hit, it isn't that great. Unless they are hiding in a terrain piece near an enemy unit, the chances of it actually helping a Mawloc out are slim to none. Lictors never want to finish their own turn out of combat and within such a short range of opposing units unless they are on the other side of a terrain piece, due solely to their fragility when out of cover. If you do happen to strike gold and get the benefit, then by all means, it will be worthwhile. But really, the chances of it actually working as you want are so low that, in general, I don't see Pheromone Trail as a reason to take Lictors.

    The last aspect of Lictors to cover is where they will do the most damage; in close quarters combat. Each Lictor has the aforementioned Weapon Skill and Initiative 6 with assault grenades and three attacks per model. These are impressive stats that are usually only shared by Space Marine special characters, though of course the fragility of Lictors is what makes them a distinctly separate unit. Like almost any Tyranid, Lictors come with close combat weapons, though they have two pairs stock as opposed to one. These are Scything Talons and Rending Claws, meaning that Lictors actually have four attacks base per model and five each on the charge. These are certainly impressive numbers, especially as Lictors actually do come stock with Rending Claws. In fact, for raw damage output, Lictors beat out the identically priced Tyrant Guard - without upgrades - with their higher stats, an extra attack per model and assault grenades. They lack the survivability, of course, but it is an interesting trait to note. As an aside, forget about the Scything Talons; there is never any reason to use them over the Rending Claws. Ask yourself, do you want to trade AP5 and Rending for mere Ap6 with no Rending? Yeah, stick with the Rending Claws. Additionally, Lictors have Fear, if it really means anything. Fear is worthless against most dedicated assault units as they usually have Fearless, while all Space Marines have And They Shall Know No Fear. Monstrous Creatures are all immune to Fear, and that thus leaves very few units that you both want the Fear bonus against and are prone to it. Tau are almost universally hitting your Lictors on 5s anyway, while squads of Guardsmen - for example - are going to get decimated in droves by all the Strength 6 AP5 attacks anyway.

    By the by, five attacks per model on the charge at Stength 6, AP5 stock and the potential for Rending, as well as their high stats, actually makes Lictors one of the nastiest melee units that isn't a monstrous creature for Tyranids. Though I recommend never charging Terminators with them, a brood of three Lictors that charges - for example - bog standard Terminators will dish out fifteen attacks for ten hits. They will wound about nine times, one or two of which will be Rending. This means three Lictors can pretty reliably kill about three Terminators on the charge before they strike, which is hardly something to sneeze at. Power fists will of course rip apart Lictors in a heartbeat, so I would never actually do it. Still, if you see elite units with only a few models - or wounds - left, then charging Lictors into them is hardly a bad idea. A Riptide against those same three Lictors would have to take about three to four armour saves and one to two invulnerable saves when charged, while it would need 5s to hit the Lictors back with its two Smash attacks. Not bad at all. If you don't factor in Overwatch, three Lictors will have a lot of fun against a ten-strong Tactical Squad with a bare Sergeant. Again, ten hits with about nine wounds, one or two of which are Rending. That's is about four to five dead Tactical Marines on the charge. Ouch! Their six to five attacks back will hit about three times, doing about two wounds rounding up, which the Lictors should fail one or two armour saves and still have two or one wounds left on a Lictor. Theoretically, Lictors can hold their own in combat against a lot of units. The issues emerge once you do factor in Overwatch and shooting at the Lictors. Overwatch with any kind of AP5 template weapon will cause at least a few wounds alone on the brood, while rapid firing bolters from a ten-strong Tactical Squad will do a few wounds as well. Lictors are fragile in shooting, and as such are unlikely - even with all their "hiding skills" - to make it to combat without one or two casualties. Once they do make it, most vehicles, standard infantry that aren't in high numbers, and even some monstrous creatures will be easy prey for them. They are essentially a glass hammer with a ridiculous number of special rules to make up for how fragile they are.


    Where to Put Them

    There are three deployment options available to Lictors, two of which will compete against each other based on what you need Lictors to do, and the third of which is consequently rendered entirely pointless by one of those two. One of the two unique special rules Lictors possess is Chameleonic Skin, allowing them to deep strike without scatter. As with Swooping Hawks, this is an amazing ability simply because Lictors can literally pop up anywhere you need them on the battlefield without ever worrying about deployment or movement. What isn't so amazing is the lack of an effective ranged attack or the ability to go back into reserves freely, but it is nonetheless a great ability to allow a pretty decent melee unit a shortcut into combat. The other main option is Infiltrate, letting Lictors deploy between 18" to 12" away from enemy units depending on whether line of sight can be established or not. This also allows Lictors to Outflank, the aforementioned third deployment option, but it is rendered competely null by Chameleonic Skin. Instead of staying in reserve, then seeing which table edge you come from, Lictors that Deep Strike can arrive wherever they please. There's literally no point to ever Outflank Lictors instead of Deep Striking them.

    As far as which situations benefit Deep Striking or Infiltrating, you need to factor in what you are going up against and the terrain available. A lack of cover in an 18" to 12" outside the opponents' deployment zone doesn't favour Infiltrating if they are a gunline because they can remain static and shoot the Lictors as soon as they pop out. If there is terrain in that gap, then Infiltrating becomes much more viable as the Lictors will actually be able to hide as they advance so that they can reach combat. Against more mobile lists that rely on short to medium ranged firepower, such as Grey Knights or mechanized Space Marines, hiding out of sight and attempting a charge on these vehicles once they advance might seem an easy choice, but I recommend against it. Charging a vehicle won't see the Lictors tied up and thus able to survive from shooting. Unless it is something like a Predator or other valuable vehicle, I recommend against charging it. Yes, destroying even a cheap transport is nice, but it isn't exactly a good exchange for a unit that can cost upwards of a hundred points. It depends on what is in the transport and what kind of transport it is. If you face an Eldar player that, for whatever reason, moves a Wave Serpent or Falcon near your Lictors, then don't hesitate; charge it! Punish those mistakes as Eldar Grav Tanks are most vulnerable in close combat. If it is a Rhino packing Honour Guard or a Sternguard Veteran squad that can jump out and kill your Lictors once they come into line of sight next turn, you may as well stop their mobility. For a transport carrying a Tactical Squad, for example, you really have to weigh up if attempting to destroy their transport is worth the guaranteed sacrifice of the Lictors.

    Deep Striking comes into play more against backfield-sitting Wave Serpent lists or static gunlines when you don't have that cover available. You can hide the Lictors for a whole game turn from Smart Missile Systems and other weapons that will kill them quickly. You can deep strike them right behind a Skyray or a Fire Prism and let loose with Flesh Hooks on their vulnerable rear AV10. Chameleonic Skin gives the most options, as Deep Striking anywhere you want - especially against lists with artillery or Devastator units, or full gunlines - without scattering can lead to their usage as denial units, mobile assault units or light ranged units. They are, like deep-striking Rippers, a unit that isn't too valuable or dangerous but are just threatening enough to either force an opponent to shoot at them or charge and tie up - or kill - a unit. By the by, don't ever run Lictors out of cover unless you are sure they are going to charge that turn - Fleet is very handy indeed - which usually means about a 7" charge range if you want to be safe. The reason for this is that they are 5+ armoured bodies at Toughness 4, meaning they will drop to small arms fire - even from a decent amount of lasguns - very swiftly. With Move Through Cover and Fleet, there's basically no reason not to have them in cover. If you don't think you can reach combat or make a shooting attack without moving out of cover, Infiltrate or Deep Strike the Lictors on to an objective and force your opponent to come to them if they want more victory points.


    Best Uses

    With most static gunlines able to hide back behind a no mans land zone and pound Lictors to death if they try to move up, and more aggressive lists able to use their transports to move around or just plow through the Lictors, I'm generally more a fan of deep striking them. They can be hidden on the first turn from weapons like Smart Missile Systems, and they can freely pop up wherever they want as opposed to - usually - 18" away from opponents. You can use their Flesh Hooks to try and get shots on the rear armour of vehicles, or you can pop up adjacent to Pathfinders and Devastators in cover. Arrive in the lower levels of ruins and, depending on the architecture of the structure, such units won't even be able to see the Lictors if they are on the higher levels. If you aren't facing Smart Missile Systems or a static gunline, then Infiltrating is also a good option. This means you don't have to roll for reserves, guaranteeing that they will be on the board when you want them to. Pheromone Trail helps for any deep-striking Trygons, Mawlocs and Trygon Primes you have, with the second in particular loving no scatter on deep strike. Though the 6" range is pretty minimal, a proliferation of cover should make this possible, especially if your opponent is moving their foot-slogging infantry forward. Baiting by sitting on an objective with the threat of a Mawloc arriving to support the Lictors can dissuade opponents from attempting to take it if the Lictors are well hidden and cannot be shot at until the opposing unit is in close proximity. But really, the lack of deep-striking units in the Tyranid army makes Lictors suited to a disruption role first and foremost, and for this, Infiltrating near to plotted advances by fragile transports or heavy ranged units with a short range is a good and simple use for them. Deep Striking with no scatter allows you to pop up near whatever unit you want and using whatever cover or blocking terrain you want. Ruins and buildings are your best bet with their higher cover saves and solid walls.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Lictors (2) - With no upgrades, I'll just delve into what squad size I prefer for Lictors. Two is the middle-ground, having six Toughness 4 wounds that mean they aren't so easy as First Blood or kill point bait, nor are they too expensive.


    Vanguard Assassins

    There are countless stories that Imperial Guardsmen spread among planetary garrisons of the many alien and supernatural threats that they, or others, have faced. Great monsters that can barrel through fortifications with ease; traitorous incursions from within by possessed warriors, and; the dead themselves rising again and again to the slaughter. But few are more terrifying than the dreaded creatures that form the vanguard of a Tyranid invasion. These stalkers, these Lictors, prey on the unknowing and the fearful. The shadows are their domain alone, shredding and consuming any foolish enough to get in their way. They are intelligent beyond the means of most other Tyranids, able to detect through instinct and observation the valuable individuals in any planetary defensive effort. Whether they make their name as brutal killers in the night, or as mere beacons for the Hive Fleets, Lictors are one of the last sights any human would ever wish to see. For any such unfortunate souls, their survival chances will be as likely as evading rain in a thunder-storm.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:24 AM.
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  8. #18

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! As the Tyranids clashed with Eldar Craftworlds across the galaxy, new monstrosities emerged as cruel representations of the noble, dying race. Most prominent among them are the Zoanthropes, seemingly under-developed and by no means dangerous beasts. Nothing could be further from the truth though, as Zoanthropes are the psychic artillery of the Tyranid race, capable of untold devastation while they control lesser beasts with their Synaptic powers. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Zoanthropes

    Overview

    Zoanthropes are one of the few dedicated psychic support units in the game that is also not a character, bringing great value despite being quite fragile. As the background and model depict, the stats are definitely unimpressive. It has a Strength and Toughness 4, like a Space Marine, and two wounds per model. Its Ballistic Skill of 4 makes for one of the more accurate ranged Tyranids in the codex, though its combat abilities are decidedly sub-par. Weapon Skill 3 and Initiative 3 is similar to the fodder models of other armies, with but a single attack to defend itself and no actual melee weapons - unlike almost all other Tyranids. But this obviously isn't what you expect of Zoanthropes, and truth be told, their profile outside of Toughness and Wounds matters little. At first impression, they seem rather fragile with only a 5+ armour save and an inability to join units - like Lictors except without Stealth and deployment shenanigans - but each Zoanthrope has a whopping 3+ invulnerable save. This makes each Zoanthrope the equivalent of two Tactical Marines against AP4 or worse shooting, while it also makes them incredibly survivable against low rate of fire AP3 to AP1 weapons. The trick here is that Zoanthropes have two wounds each and are Toughness 4, meaning they are very susceptible to instant death from massed high Strength shooting. A Grey Knight "Rifleman" Dreadnought with psybolt ammunition can easily put down one or two Zoanthropes per shooting phase with its Strength 8 shooting. Massed small arms fire, particularly from Strength 5 basic weapons on Tau infantry, is the real bane of Zoanthropes though. Again, each is basically two Tactical Marines in terms of survivability, albeit at over double the cost of the two. Nonetheless, an opponent likely won't be successful with "throwaway" shots into them with one or two lascannons, for example.

    Zoanthropes are the only Synapse unit in the Elite slot, and with all the other slots in the army being so crowded, they will often be the first extra Synapse unit you turn to for more coverage. As a Synapse unit, Zoanthropes are more survivable than Warriors - as an example - in most cases, though they are incapable of bringing token long ranged firepower and high melee prowess. They are also among the most easily hidden sources of Synapse, like Warriors, though they are incapable of ever being scoring units. That a Zoanthrope can be taken in a brood of one technically makes it the cheapest Synapse option in the codex, which is something to be mindful of when combined with a certain building to be discussed later. Zoanthropes also generate Shadow in the Warp like any Synapse creature, and are thus a great weapon against opposing psykers. Ironically, Zoanthropes themselves gain their identity by being such powerful psykers among the Tyranids. They use the Brotherhood of Psykers special rule, meaning one model casts the power and only one model can suffer a Perils in the Warp, regardless of how many models are in the unit. It also means a single Deny the Witch is all that is needed to stop their power, but for the most part, Brotherhood of Psykers isn't too bad. Zoanthropes are Leadership 10 psykers, meaning they are as reliable as they really can be in addition to being Mastery Level 2 for boosted 4+ Deny the Witch rolls against most other psykers. Overall, with Shadow in the Warp and their high Mastery Level, Zoanthropes are useful just for cheap extra psychic defence. Zoanthropes generate two powers for the whole brood, and one is always Warp Lance. The Brotherhood of Psykers don't restrict this as much as you might think, as each Zoanthrope added to the unit adds an extra shot to the Warp Lance power, giving greater incentive to take more Zoanthropes. That they are a unit that can also take Dominion with no hassle attached is a bonus they have over Warriors, giving them easily accessed and reliable 18" Synapse bubbles. In that sense, they are also the cheapest Dominion casters in the codex.


    Where to Put Them

    One of the popular places to place a Zoanthrope is in a Bastion or building, the former being a purchase that guarantees you will have at least one of the latter. This is due to two main factors; the first being that greater dependence on Synapse across the army, and the second being that a Zoanthrope can freely take Dominion to boost its Synapse range. When garrisoned inside a Bastion or other building, the Synapse range of the Zoanthrope is measured from all edges of the building, giving it several extra inches of actual Synapse coverage. Boost its range with Dominion, and the Zoanthrope alone can cover a huge area in the midfield and your deployment zone. The Zoanthrope is also quite survivable inside, unable to be targeted by ranged attacks and with a 3+ invulnerable save against damage results on the Bastion or building. Purchasing a Bastion and a Zoanthrope is thus a great way to provide Synapse for your army without taking other Zoanthropes or Trygon Primes, for example. Deploy the Bastion at the edge of your deployment zone with the Zoanthrope right behind it at the door, allowing it to freely move in on the first turn. Alternatively, you can sacrifice a few inches to actually deploy the Zoanthrope in the building. In either case, the door of the Bastion faces your deployment zone and forces assault units to travel around it to get to its access point.

    If you don't plan on using this trick, then I recommend keeping Zoanthropes out of sight as much as possible. Their 3+ invulnerable save and lack of Move Through Cover makes terrain and cover saves redundant for them aside from trying to fully obscure them from sight. Zoanthropes are tall but thin models, meaning they should be able to hide behind a Carnifex or the low-hanging Tervigon, though not much else in the army can hope to fully obscure them. You want them to be behind your main lines, providing either 12" or a boosted 18" Synapse from the edges so that they aren't targeted unnecessarily by more ranged weapons. Massed small arms fire is what puts Zoanthropes down more than anything else, and staying about 10" away from your Hormagaunt or Termagant lines should do just fine for this. Don't use Zoanthropes aggressively; they are a support unit, as good as having Warp Lance all the time is, and their fragility reflects this. If they get into combat they may as well give up, while any actual focused firepower on them will probably put them down. They are your cheap source of Synapse in the Elites slot, and provide helpful psychic powers to boot, so don't waste them by moving them up alongside your main combat units. They are, after all, psychic artillery and should be used as such; in the rear of your main units while staying in Synapse range.


    Best Uses

    In a standard competitive Tyranid army list, featuring Flying Hive Tyrants as the main Synapse units, I do really like Zoanthropes as the backfield and midfield Synapse generators for a number of reasons. Their 3+ invulnerable save means they can more safely sit at long range not worry about cover-ignoring high Strength weaponry, and it also protects them from attacks by monstrous creatures such as Wraithknights. They are tall models but are still easily hidden out of sight by buildings and ruins, and as pyskers they can reliably boost their Synapse range to 18". Warp Lance gives them a very effective defensive tool, able to deliver a number of Strength 5 AP3 small blasts to eviscerate minor medium to semi-elite infantry, or Strength 10 AP2 lances that can punch a hole in any vehicle in the game. This utility means they can defend themselves at range, though they ideally want to be sitting back out of the typical 24" ranged bubble for small arms fire that other armies generate. This is because as nice as a 3+ invulnerable save is, Toughness 4 with two wounds each makes them surprisingly vulnerable to pulse rifle and bolter fire. To counter this, many players are taking a Bastion as their Fortification choice for Tyranids and either deploying the Zoanthrope in it at the edge of their deployment zone, or deploying it a bit further forward with the Zoanthrope stationed just behind it to move in during the first turn. The Bastion is a building, meaning the Zoanthrope can embark and hide from all ranged attacks; damage results on the building do cause wounds, but the Zoanthrope has a 3+ invulnerable save. The Synapse bubble of the Zoanthrope spreads from every part of the building, and is one of the safest and guaranteed methods of protecting any Synapse creature. Regardless of how you play it, the Zoanthrope is an ideal support unit that can default to Dominion as needed for its second psychic power. Keep it behind your lines and try to hide it; don't worry about getting cover saves as its 3+ invulnerable save more than compensates.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Zoanthrope (1) - The "solo" Zoanthrope belongs in a Bastion, providing a boosted 18" Synapse through with Dominion that uses the large Bastion "model" for measuring the radius. This is the best Synapse node available to Tyranids and is quite cheap.

    Zoanthropes (2) - Like with Lictors, I prefer to take Zoanthropes in pairs. They aren't too expensive, and having two halves the chances of them giving up First Blood.


    Psychic Artillery

    Zoanthropes are among the most physically inept sub-species of Tyranids to make their way to the Milky Way galaxy, incapable even of supporting their own weight. Instead, they are some of the most powerful psykers in the Hive Fleets, using the Hive Mind as a conduit to amplify their own considerable psychic might. They deliver crushing blasts of warp energy capable of eviscerating the mighty Space Marines and crushing tanks into mulch with ease, all the while generating a near impenetrable psychic barrier giving them unworldly protection against any attack. They are avatars of the will of the Hive Mind, projecting its will through their innate Synapse aura to the lesser creatures of the Swarm. Leeching the very life essence from other psykers, Zoanthropes are a twisted reflection of the strengths of the Eldar; even more fragile of body, but possessed of the ultimate psychic abilities.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:22 AM.
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    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  9. #19

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! Venomthropes are another key support unit that the Elites section provides, showing clear inspiration and similarities to Zoanthrope broods. But where Zoanthropes are psychic artillery batteries and Synapse generators, Venomthropes are built for providing extra defences to nearby Tyranids, giving them boosted cover saves to try and make up for the army-wide lack of invulnerable saves. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Venomthropes

    Overview

    As with the name, one of the early conclusions to be made about Venomthropes is their striking similarities to Zoanthropes - at least in regards to stats, anyway. Their offensive capabilities are low with Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill three - though the latter only comes into play when manning emplaced weapons as Venomthropes lack guns - and only two attacks each at Strength 4. Their Initiative of three is mediocre, but it boosts up to a whopping six due to their lash whips. Like most bearers of lash whips though, Venomthropes lack assault grenades meaning the Initiative boost won't come into play all the time. They also have Toxic Miasma, giving them a one-use-only extra melee attack of sorts that is good at clearing out any fragile infantry they are engaged in. Considering Venomthropes are fragile in combat though and will fall to massed attacks of any kind, they probably won't get to use it except against very minor opposition or when they are engaged in a multi-charge with other Tyranid units. Their Toughness of 4 and two wounds per model are also shared with Zoanthropes, as are the seemingly token 5+ armour saves that are generally rendered moot by either units' own unique defensive abilities. Where Zoanthropes have a 3+ invulnerable save, Venomthropes have the Shrouded special rule. This means they have a walking 5+ cover save in the open, a 3+ cover save in area terrain such as forests or craters, and a 2+ cover save in ruins or behind barricades and defensive lines. While obviously not as good as a 3+ invulnerable save that can't be ignored by any means, having strong cover saves almost universally is still very good against many armies - Tau, Eldar and Daemons notwithstanding of course. Unlike Zoanthropes and more akin to Lictors, Venomthropes really have to beware Smart Missile Systems in particular; they wound your toxic dispersal dudes on a 3+ and ignore both their armour and cover saves.

    Where Venomthropes really start to differ to Zoanthropes though is in how they function as a support unit, especially as the former does not provide Synapse. Their Leadership 6 and Lurking Instinctive Behaviour is quite an issue, meaning they will fall back half of the time that they fail one of their tests, while the chance of failing the test itself is also quite high. Panic! They are thus a support unit that needs to be kept in Synapse, unlike Tervigons and Zoanthropes that provide their own Synapse bubbles. However, Venomthropes have arguably the strongest support ability as they provide the Shrouded special rule to units within 6" - the main rulebook states that only one model has to have Shrouded for it to confer to an entire unit, after all! Giving your hordes of Termagants and Hormagaunts moving 5+ cover saves is a bit ridiculous, as is having six wound Toughness 6 monstrous creatures such as Tyrannofexes and Tervigons with 3+ cover saves for moving through any kind of terrain. The Venomthropes themselves are quite fragile, but while they survive, they provide an immense survivability boost to every friendly Tyranid unit within 6" which - once one remembers that Tyranids are almost entirely based around short-ranged foot-slogging infantry and monsters - is one of the best abilities in the codex by far. Any decent opponent will learn to focus on the Venomthropes first to remove these buffs from other units, so a smart Tyranid player will have to hide them from shooting as much as possible, whether through large intervening models or staying in buildings.


    Where to Put Them

    Before I start, let me just re-iterate that Venomthropes are fragile in the same sense as Zoanthropes, but even more so. Where Zoanthropes don't care about Ignores Cover weapons, Venomthropes are scared to death of them. Venomthropes are also Toughness 4 with two wounds each, and with no guaranteed 3+ save, they are even less durable than two Tactical Marines for the most part. Unlike Zoanthropes, Venomthropes need to be within 6" of friendly units - rather than 12" or 18" - to be providing their defensive boosts, meaning that trying to keep them a long way back behind the lines simply will not work. So, with that out of the way, let's begin. I don't recommend purchasing Venomthropes for units like Biovores and Hive Guard who will usually be hiding anyway, even if you also want the Venomthropes out of sight. The units that really need that Shrouded bubble are your basic units and monsters, the ones that slog up the field to the enemy to try and get in range with their short-ranged guns or melee attacks. These are your Termagants and Hormagaunts, your Tyrannofexes and Tervigons, your Carnifexes and Exocrines, and so on. A 6" bubble extending from each model in a unit isn't too difficult to keep in range of multiple units; use the 2" unit coherency between your Venomthropes to cover an effective 14" diameter. Only one model and even just part of that models' base has to be within that 14" diameter for its entire unit to benefit from Shrouded, and yes, this also works for monstrous creatures with their massive bases.

    So how do you actually keep the Venomthropes alive within range of these units? First off, remember to always use intervening models. Only 25% of a model has to be obscured from it to benefit from a 5+ cover save, meaning Hormagaunts and Termagants alike give an obscured bonus to Venomthropes. Stack this with Shrouding and this gives Venomthropes an incredibly easily accessed 3+ cover save. This is the most obvious and general way to keep them alive. The next is to hide them completely behind much larger models, typically Carnifex broods of two or more models, or a huge monster such as an Exocrine or a Tyrannofex. Each of these can obscure one or more Venomthropes entirely if they are bunched behind the monster(s), keeping them out of sight from ranged attacks almost entirely - the exceptions usually being deep striking forces or fast skimmer flankers - and giving them cover saves if they are spotted. The next step is dealing with barrage weapons that don't give a rats about intervening models or line of sight. Here, keeping the Venomthropes in cover is ideal if you do see barrage weapons, as you should be doing with the rest of your advancing models. Venomthropes may lack Move Through Cover which makes them a bit slower than many Tyranids, but they will always be Running and so this shouldn't be too big an issue. As long as it isn't an Ignores Cover barrage, moving up through a forest or crater will provide 3+ cover saves against those weapons.

    Template weapons are obviously an issue, but most aren't that mobile; the trick is to keep the Venomthropes centred between many other Tyranids, meaning most templates won't be able to reach them. Spaced out horde units can halt Heldrakes from getting into position anywhere near your Venomthropes even with an effective 20" template weapon, which is also a reward for being able to move your individual models very quickly while spacing them out. The big issue comes against Smart Missile Systems, of course, with their 30" range and four twin-linked shots that ignore line of sight, cover and the 5+ armour save for Venomthropes. These things murder Venomthropes, and the only real way to hide them is to embark them in a building such as a Bastion. While I prefer a Zoanthrope manning a Bastion for the boosted Synapse bubble, a Venomthrope in a forward deployed Bastion can provide cover saves to your advancing units in the first few turns which can still prove crucial. The more bodies you have in the later stages of the game, the more pressured their shooters become!


    Best Uses

    I feel the best application of Venomthropes is in a list supporting primarily Carnifex and Termagant broods just for the sheer ridiculousness of giving so many cheap bodies 5+ cover saves in the open, and 3+ or better cover saves once in terrain - which both broods basically negate. These units aren't too fast to outrun your Venomthrope bubble without compromising their own chances of reaching combat or an effective range for their guns, but nor are they plodding and expensive. The more models that you provide Shrouded to, the more valuable it becomes as the more models you can potentially rescue with cover saves. Keep a Carnifex brood in front of about two Venomthropes to block all sight to them, with two or more well-spaced Termagant broods on both the flanks and slightly in front of the Carnifexes. Give the monsters twin-linked brain leech devourers for maximum pain at 18", making them deadly hard to shift while dealing incredible amounts of damage. Realistically, though, any combination of units that moves about an average of 9" to 10" a turn is a good fit for Venomthropes; any faster will probably get out of range of their Shrouded bubble, or is just wasting points by not making the most of their speed. Hormagaunts are still quite ridiculous with easy cover saves, but keeping the Venomthropes within range can be tricky unless you sacrifice the Bounding Leap advantage Hormagaunts have over Termagants. Tyrannofexes in particular though are absolutely ridiculous with Shrouded, making for easily the toughest unit in the codex by the length of the straight. Their average 20" range with the Acid Spray also suits Venomthropes who don't particularly want to get within close combat range as they are a weak melee unit and more fragile in combat than they are against most shooting. I like the use of Venomthropes in a building, like the cheap purchase of a Bastion for a guaranteed building, but I honestly prefer Zoanthropes there because the Synapse bubble can make or break Tyranid armies. Extra defensive boosts are obviously nice, but having units fail Instinctive Behaviour tests can actively lose a Tyranid player the game, so I feel protecting and boosting your Synapse is a priority.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Venomthropes (2) - I am preferring Venomthropes in pairs, again, because they aren't as easy to kill nor are they too expensive. Besides, having two Venomthropes spaced 2" apart gives a really nice 14" bubble of Shrouded for your army, all for less than a hundred points. How many other armies can claim to do that?


    Noxious Vents

    The Tyranids are nothing if not ingenious predators, able to adapt to any environment and ensure its eradication. As alien as they are, one cannot help but respect - if in abject horror - the tactics they employ so that each world they attack is consumed. Once such disgusting practice is the creation of Venomthropes, living vents of toxic fluids and spores that infect and paralyze all enemy life around them. Much like poisoning a well or the food supplies of a garrison, Venomthropes spread their deadly toxins into the atmosphere itself to make even oxygen a weapon against those foolish enough to stand before the might of a Swarm. These tentacled beasts ensnare and capture those who attempt to strike at the heart of these noxious vapours, soon finding their folly as their flesh and minds slowly dissolve like a killer virus set loose. Though they are physically weak and incapable of self defence against heavily armoured foes, they emit a cloud of spores able to shroud both themselves and any nearby Tyranid organisms from enemy fire. The advance of a Tyranid swarm can be dependent on these creatures, acting as beacons for entire armies to move forward under duress with few casualties.


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks
    again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 03:17 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  10. #20

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    Hey guys, my name is Learn2Eel, and today I'm going to be bringing you another article in the Tyranid Tactica series! The Haruspex is a bio-titan made purely for consuming any and all life that gets in its way, much like the Ripper Swarms that scuttle beneath its feet. Its great maw and ridiculously long tongue make it an instantly recognizable and entirely distinct model, but its rules sadly don't live up to such standards. I hope you enjoy this article!


    Haruspexes

    Overview

    Ah, the Haruspex. Trying to cover this unit can be downright confusing. It is a monstrous creature in the Elites slot, allowing for the most fulfilling monstrous creature spam lists yet. It is a plodding melee monster with an unreliable, mediocre shooting attack and no presence outside of 12". It isn't too expensive and can thus be plonked into a Tyranid list without too many repercussions on how it shapes up. It isn't survivable enough to be a dedicated assault unit, and is over-costed for what it does. It can heal itself by making it to combat, a mechanic meaning that it doesn't have to purchase Regeneration. It really isn't that good of a melee unit, with below average Weapon Skill, Initiative and Attacks for any kind of monstrous creature. Hell, I think the biggest problem I have with this unit is that the model is downright awesome and unique, but the rules are generic of a cheap monstrous creature wrapped in a more expensive and ineffective package. Where Carnifexes are cheap and can be taken in broods, Haruspexes pay a lot more per model despite not being that much more useful and can only be fielded solo. Where a Tyrannofex has the durability and firepower to be a threat to your opponent from a distance while just being a pain to remove, the Haruspex is still missile launcher bait and doesn't do much damage even in its preferred assault phase. This is a unit that was padded with unique rules to make up for its high cost and below average melee capabilities.

    But if that was a bit too theoretical, allow me to detail my problems with the Haruspex. And please, don't take this as a full-on negative "review" of the Haruspex; I am merely expressing why this is a unit that doesn't function like the designers obviously intended it to. So, first up, how do its stats measure up? The Haruspex is middling in this area, with Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill 3 meaning its melee and ranged attacks will usually be hitting on 4s, with Tau really being the only enemies that it hits on 3s in combat. Now, remember that the Haruspex is pretty much a dedicated assault monster with only a single shot 12" shooting attack that isn't even that good and is, as you would expect, unreliable with Ballistic Skill 3. Carnifexes get away with Weapon Skill 3, but they have masses of attacks to make up for it with brood capabilities, as well as strong ranged options to compliment those melee capabilities. Add in Strength 9 base and Carnifexes make up for that low Weapon Skill just fine. The Haruspex, though? Three attacks at Initiative 3, for four attacks on the charge at Strength 7 due to its Crushing Claws. Like I mentioned before, there are unique rules that try to make up for this, but they don't really function as well as you would hope in practice. The first of these that specifically tries to make up for its lack of attacks is Rapacious Hunger, generating extra attacks for each unsaved wound the Haruspex does in close combat. First up, four attacks on the charge with Weapon Skill 3 against Tactical Marines - a pitifully mediocre combat unit - leads to two hits for two unsaved wounds. Two attacks generated, one hit, another unsaved wound. No more attacks. This dedicated melee monstrous creature that is hardly a guarantee of making combat in the first place, a unit that takes up a valuable Elites slot, and it only manages to kill three Space Marines on the charge. What? Hammer of Wrath at Strength 6 is of course decent, but it is nowhere near as good as the D3 Strength 9 hits Carnifexes do. And by the by, Rapacious Hunger only works for close combat attacks, not Hammer of Wrath or Acid Blood. Ugh.

    The damage output of the Haruspex even with this special rule is decidedly below par, generating only one additional casualty on average to add to two casualties inflicted with the regular attacks. Having Acid Blood stock does kind of help, but when used against the Space Marine unit in the example above, their Initiative 4 means that they will only fail one out of three tries. It isn't even guaranteed to kill a Space Marine when they do fail that test, with a roughly 66% chance to kill one. Again, dedicated close combat monster, inflicts only four unsaved wounds on average against a Tactical Marine squad, and that is assuming some luck with Acid Blood. Now, this wouldn't be too much of an issue if the Haruspex was either very durable for its points, had some good ranged presence, or was mobile. These are elements other monstrous creatures that work in assault have managed to nail down. The Wraithknight not only brings a shooting presence, but it is very fast and hilariously tough to kill. It can make combat and quickly while blasting foes as it advances. A Daemon Prince with the Black Mace is incredibly quick, devastating in combat, and somewhat durable if your opponent lacks Skyfire weaponry. It can even bring psychic shooting attacks if it wants to stay in the skies. Alternatively, some melee monstrous creatures sacrifice these elements just for raw insane damage output and a decently low cost, such as Skarbrand - able to massacre anything that gets in his way, but not really all that survivable, fast and lacking in any kind of medium to long ranged shooting.

    So what does the Haruspex do to make up for this? On the durability front, the Haruspex is slightly below a Tervigon, with five wounds at Toughness 6 and a 3+ armour save. This isn't bad at all, just like how a Tervigon takes a while to bring down, so too will a Haruspex - especially against small arms fire. But here's the rub; a Tervigon is a support monster that can do its job while hiding out of sight. The Haruspex is a melee monster that only does its job when out in the open or charging into units. Tervigons are more durable and don't need to worry about closing with enemies to be useful to you, where a Haruspex cannot afford such a luxury. Its 3+ armour save and Toughness 6 make it missile launcher bait like most any other Tyranid monster, while massed plasma and any other form of high Strength shooting - from Fire Warrior shooting to Broadsides with Heavy Missile Pods or Wave Serpents - it isn't that durable when it comes down to it, not once you factor in its points cost. When you cut it down, the Haruspex pays about 32 points per Toughness 6 wound. Compare that to the Wraithknight that pays about 40 points per Toughness 8 wound. You almost don't even need to factor in that the latter is a Jump Monstrous Creature and has two Strength 10 AP2 36" ranged guns. For a dedicated assault monster, it needed to either be quick or durable, and as a regular monster with only access to Adrenal Glands to give it Fleet for slightly increased mobility, the Haruspex doesn't fit for either. Shooting presence? A cool but really unreliable Strength 6 AP2 shot with a tiny 12" range that hits on 4s due to the Haruspex' Ballistic Skill 3. It has this little rule where it has Precision Hits, meaning 1 in 6 shots will get to pick the model they hit from a unit. Colour me unimpressed. And as we covered earlier, the actual melee damage output really isn't that great, while the cost isn't that much lower than something like Skarbrand once you factor in the near mandatory Adrenal Glands.

    And this brings me to my biggest criticism of the Haruspex; like melee Carnifexes in the 5th Edition Tyranid codex, it is an inferior monster for the points compared to the Trygon. Yes, the Trygon, a monster I think isn't even that great compared to most of the other choices in the Heavy Support slot, a unit that degraded in usefulness by quite a large margin in the transition to 6th Edition with changes to Fleet and its reduced melee capabilities. Mind, I still think the Trygon is certainly decent, but my coverage of the Haruspex and detailed look at it has made me appreciate it so much more than I previously did. For less than a fifth of the cost of the Haruspex more, a Trygon gets a whole lot of buffs congruent with the traits I deem necessary to make a good assault-based monstrous creature. Durability? The Trygon has an extra wound. Mobility? The Trygon can Deep Strike - and safely at that for the most part - and comes stock with Fleet instead of having to pay for it. Shooting presence? Six Strength 5 AP5 shots at a 12" range, also on Ballistic Skill 3. Factor in the Deep Strike and this means the Trygon can actually use its shooting attack more often, and it is about on par or better in most cases than the Grasping Tongue.

    Close combat ability? The Trygon has Weapon Skill 5 as opposed to 3, Initiative 4 as opposed to 3, six attacks base as opposed to three, with the Haruspex only having Strength 7 and Armourbane over the Trygon's Strength 6. Is one higher Strength on a monster really that good though? An odd number means it doesn't inflict Instant Death against more opponents than the Trygon does, and Armourbane isn't really an advantage as a Trygon can Smash, going to Strength 10, gaining Tank Hunters and it will still have more attacks than the Haruspex. Yes, five attacks base with two melee weapons means that a Trygon halving its attacks with Smash will still have four attacks base or five on the charge, as opposed to the Haruspex' three attacks base or four on the charge. Let us get this straight; the Trygon is more durable with an extra wound and able to avoid shooting for a few turns by hiding in reserves, faster with stock Fleet and the ability to Deep Strike and pretty much guarantee an assault on turn three, an equivalent or better shooter, and a significantly better melee unit. To prove this, let us put that last one to the test against the same Tactical Squad. We know that with some luck through Acid Blood, the Haruspex inflicts about four unsaved wounds. The Trygon, on the other hand, hits roughly five times for about five unsaved wounds. That doesn't factor in that the Tactical Marines have a much easier time wounding the Haruspex as they hit it on 3s, while they hit the Trygon on 4s. Besides, Weapon Skill 5 on the Trygon means it will hit anything in the game on a 4+ at worst, whereas a Haruspex will be hitting increasingly common Weapon Skill 7 and higher foes on a 5+. Again, the points difference between these two is minor at best. There are about two advantages a Haruspex has over a Trygon, advantages that really don't help as much as you would hope.

    The first of these is that the Haruspex is in the Elites slot and not the Heavy Support slot, unlike the Trygon. Heavy Support is the best slot in the codex, filled to the brim with quality units that demand you take them. The Elites slot has a bunch of great units like Zoanthropes and Venomthropes, but the competition is a lot lighter. This gives the Haruspex room to breathe and be taken, unlike a Trygon that will often be outshone in usefulness by Tyrannofexes and Biovores. The second advantage is the other unique rule the Haruspex has, and one that - again - isn't that great once you put it into practice. If the Haruspex inflicts even one unsaved wound in combat, it regains a lost wound at the end of the phase. Sounds neat, right? Well, it is. It's like free Regeneration with the exception that it is contingent solely on killing enemies in combat instead of a random roll. What's wrong with that? Firstly, making combat, as I feel I have detailed before. Secondly, the Haruspex' mediocre at best damage output. Inflicting unsaved wounds won't be an issue against generic Space Marines and other infantry, but against elite assault units or characters with high Weapon Skill and/or good invulnerable saves? It is hardly a guarantee. Against Lucius the Eternal, for example, the Haruspex will only inflict a single hit on average, and that hit - if it wounds - has a 33% chance of being saved. And hell, Lucius really isn't that survivable as good combat characters go. So, if you get into combat with valuable units that you want to take out, the Haruspex won't really do that well anyway. Thirdly, it won't save the Haruspex. Between shooting, grenades and melta bombs hitting on Weapon Skill against monsters, nasty combat characters, a proliferation of monstrous creatures and the Haruspex' mediocre stats, I don't think this will really help it that much. The problem is that it works at the end of the phase, meaning that even if the Haruspex kills something, power fists or monsters striking at Initiative 1 due to charging through cover can and will kill it first. Is it enough the Haruspex also lacks assault grenades?

    So what is the end result of these unique rules, a mediocre profile and a relatively high cost? A unit that tries to fit the bill of dedicated assault monster, but is inferior to the ones we already have. It doesn't compare well to a Trygon in any way imaginable. It doesn't compare well to a single Carnifex armed with two Brain-Leech Devourers for straight usefulness. Heck, it doesn't even have any obvious support abilities to make up for its damage output deficiencies. Am I being overly negative here? Yes, but only to prove a very important point; the Haruspex is a monstrous creature that does not fit well into an army list. It isn't survivable enough to fulfill the role of bullet sponge - especially as it isn't even that threatening - it isn't fast enough to put early pressure on opponents and be a valid early threat, it isn't versatile enough to help against flyers or fast skimmers and jetbikes that can outrun it. It just isn't good at what it does. It isn't by any means a horrendous or even bad unit, but it is one that really isn't worth it, and one that the Tyranid codex didn't need. We have the Tyrannofex as a bullet sponge. We have Carnifexes as adaptable generalist monsters. We have Mawlocs for bunker-busting and mind games with an Ignores Cover "shooting attack". We have Tervigons for a flat support unit that can also hold its own in close combat. We have Trygons and Trygon Primes as the elite melee monsters that also Deep Strike. We have Harpies and Crones to provide flying aerial anti-infantry and anti-flyer/vehicle fire support, respectively. We have Hive Tyrants to be the elite generalist monster that doubles as a support unit with psychic powers and Synapse. With all that said, what does the Haruspex bring that makes it stand out, that gives it some distinct role that means it can be useful in any given army list? Sadly, the answer is nothing. It is a Carnifex without the shooting potential, the ability to be taken in broods, or the low cost. Insultingly, it isn't even as good in combat as a Carnifex. Unlike all the other monsters in the book, I can clearly - and painfully, as I love the model - say that the Haruspex can be outright replaced with other units, specifically melee Carnifexes and Trygons. There just isn't a place for these guys outside of trying to throw in extra monstrous creatures, and it pains me to no end.


    How to Equip Them

    Like Hive Guard, Haruspexes are one of two units in the Elites slot with access to options outside of simply adding additional models; in this case, they can take one tail weapon and a select few Biomorphs. Though the tail weapons are cool and make a nice return to the codex, I don't think they are worthwhile for the most part. The Haruspex in particular can take the Thresher Scythe, with Strength 4, AP4 and Rending. I would rather pay those kind of points for a proper extra attack using the Haruspex's Strength, Smash and so on, so I'm not really a fan. The Haruspex can take regular Biomorphs, thankfully giving it access to Adrenal Glands and, thus, Fleet. The re-rollable charge and run distances for a dedicated assault monster are pivotal, and so I recommend taking them on every Haruspex you field. Toxin Sacs are, again, the strictly better combat biomorph, but the Haruspex suffers less from making the most of its damage output and more from its inability to reach combat reliably. It lacks the durability of a Tyrannofex, the mobility of a Flying Hive Tyrant, and the Deep Strike specialization of a Trygon. The only real way to mitigate this is with Adrenal Glands, so always try to have some points spare to give it to a Haruspex.

    Toxin Sacs are nice, but once combined with Adrenal Glands they add a lot of points to what is already a pretty costly monster, so they can be avoided. Regeneration is the most expensive upgrade, giving the Haruspex a 50% chance to regenerate a lost wound at the end of each of its own turns. Unfortunately, Toughness 6 with five wounds and a 3+ armour save doesn't lend itself as well to Regeneration as, for example, a Tyrannofex. I'm not really sold on this expensive upgrade in general because opponents know to focus down individual targets at a time, and Tyranid monsters aren't exactly the most difficult to kill in one or two shooting phases. To be fair though, this does make more use of Regeneration than a Carnifex with one less wound. But really, aside from Adrenal Glands, the Haruspex doesn't need any upgrades; they are just more points that don't solve its biggest issue in reaching combat. Besides, if Fleet helps it reach combat, then Regeneration won't be needed as it will more than likely get a wound back after each assault phase anyway.


    Where to Put Them

    Let me get the obvious point out of the way first; as a Leadership 7 monstrous creature with absolutely no shooting capabilities and only decent durability, suffering from Instinctive Behaviour would usually be a pretty big letdown. However, as it is a solo model at all times with the Feed result, a Haruspex will never end up stopping and trying to kill itself, meaning you can somewhat control where it goes. You won't be able to control what it attempts to charge if it fails an Instinctive Behaviour test, and you won't be able to Run. The latter is what really worries the Haruspex, especially if you paid for Adrenal Glands to get the all-important Fleet. Not being able to Run can slow the Haruspex right up and even lead to it dying before it reaches combat. So, long story short; have a Synapse creature near the Haruspex for the first two to three turns until it reaches combat, usually on turn three or four. I prefer the solo Zoanthrope in a Bastion with Dominion for this purpose on the edge of your deployment zone, as its 18" Synapse range measured from the Bastion itself should easily cover for the Haruspex against most opponents. On the short table edge deployment on a 6x4 gaming board against a Tau or Imperial Guard army, though, your Flying Hive Tyrants and the near mandatory Tervigon will be necessary for those extra few turns though.

    So, assuming you take Adrenal Glands, what about actually moving up and deploying? Deploy in cover almost all the time as there is no real reason not to; Move Through Cover and Fleet should see a Haruspex not really being slowed at all, while getting those pivotal cover saves. Alternatively, Venomthrope broods obscured by a Haruspex itself are a good fit if you don't want to lose any inches. Always try to keep cover saves up, as a Haruspex is incredibly vulnerable to massed missile launchers, especially with only five wounds compared to a Tervigons' six. This should be possible with Hormagaunts against ground-level opponents, but the Shrouded bubble of Venomthropes - or actually chancing proper terrain - will be necessary against higher-up foes. A Haruspex should be able to beat most units in combat that aren't dedicated assault units; you avoid such units because of its low Weapon Skill and Initiative values of three. You preferably want to be fighting regular infantry without krak grenades or melta bombs, where a Haruspex won't eat the unit too quickly and thus stay in combat for more than one turn, while also benefiting from its ability to regrow wounds as it causes unsaved wounds. Its Crushing Claws give it an edge against a lot of Toughness 6 monstrous creatures, while Smash allows it to inflict Instant Death on Toughness 5 or lower enemies. Walkers and vehicles should be easy prey for a Haruspex, though foes like a Furioso Dreadnought with Blood Talons should probably still be avoided.


    Best Uses

    I see the Haruspex primarily as an additional monster in a "Nidzilla" - short for monstrous creature spam - list where it won't be the only, or one of few, big bug(s) on the table. As it does lack the mobility, Deep Strike capability or durability of the other melee-oriented monstrous creatures in the codex, the Haruspex really demands a lot of target saturation in your list to survive. Where a Hive Tyrant on foot gets by with its Tyrant Guard bodyguards, a Haruspex has to contend with being a monster - and one that lacks Synapse at that, not that it should matter too much - with no way to really guarantee getting to the opponents' lines. It has less durability than a Trygon and no ability to Deep Strike, and it is in no way faster than any other ground monstrous creature. You need to have other aggressive monsters to take the heat off the Haruspex that, to be perfectly honest, isn't a major threat in combat anyway. Tyrannofexes, Carnifexes and Exocrines are perfect for this, and compliment the Haruspex well. Where those tend to sit just outside of charge ranges to chew through opposing units with shooting, the Haruspex can close with Hormagaunt broods and other assault units to tie up and destroy any stragglers. Give your Haruspexes Adrenal Glands, and run either one or two of them. Unlike other units, the Haruspex is more just a fire sink for your opponent and thus you don't need to worry about unit redundancy with two units. You can get away with just one, especially as taking a brood of Venomthropes and one or more Zoanthropes is always a recommendation of mine. Keep Hormagaunt broods in front of the Haruspex to provide it moving cover, and make sure to give it Adrenal Glands so it doesn't get left behind. Support it with Synapse creatures as necessary so it doesn't potentially forfeit its Run moves.


    Recommended Builds

    These are a few example builds for the unit that I feel can fit into a number of competitive Tyranid lists. I'll list some thoughts on each build and what kind of lists they fit better in.

    Haruspex - Adrenal Glands - This is definitely my only real recommendation for running a Haruspex. It wants Fleet above all else to hopefully make it into combat where it should handle itself just fine. The other upgrades are almost superfluous in comparison. You can get away with running the Haruspex stock to save points - after all, you should be using it more as a distraction unit to add to your target saturation - but I think Adrenal Glands are always worthwhile for this beast.


    Monstrous Feeders

    As the Hive Fleet begins its final descent to end the suffering and life of a planet, so too are the most gruesome and dangerous monsters in the Swarm unleashed. Among these bio-titans and feeding organisms are the Haruspexes, massive beasts created for the sole purpose of consumption. All matter is both food and prey to the Haruspex, with its titanic maw and incredibly long reach. Able to pull a soldier from a dozen paces out of their unit and devour them whole with its long, piercing tongue, the Haruspex is a terrifying foe for any enemy. To glimpse a monster intent on consuming all in its path, and with the bulk and stamina to do so, can paralyze even the strongest wills into numbness - easing the task of a Haruspex further!


    Thank you for reading this article! Please, share your thoughts on the article and the changes I am experimenting with for this series. I am open to any and all feedback! And remember, for any and all discussion on Tyranids and Games Workshop stuff, head on over to +Bell of Lost Souls. Thanks again! Eel out.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 02-17-2014 at 05:46 PM.
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