Friday, May 28, 2010
Thoughts on Tyranids
Well, after playing with Tyranids on vassal for a few days, I think I've gotten a much better handle on things. While I'm still in the process of hammering out my list, I think I have a much better idea of how all these things work together.
Tyranids are unlike any army in 40k. They have no vehicles. While this may seem obvious, the implications are far-reaching and really alter the fundamental nature of the army. Without vehicles, you don't have protection for vulnerable units, mobile melta or similar tank busters protected by a metal box, an inherent mobility to your entire army, and the added benefits of things like tank shock, being unable to get locked in HtH, and the added size of a vehicle for movement/LoS blocking purposes.
So, without tanks, Tyranids have to be able to cross the board, get some units into assault, avoid assaults with some enemies, protect their vulnerable units and clear bad guys off of objectives all without any vehicles. They can do this a couple ways, though I've only really explored one. Shooting.
Tyranids can shoot and do it well. They don't have much in the way of AP2 shiny toy guns but rather generate so many shots/hits that they can make anything go away. The same applies to vehicles. Tyranids may not be able to pop open heavier tanks with the same reliability as a trio of meltaguns, but they can shake, stun and suppress them long enough to render them useless so they can close and finish the job in combat. Very few vehicles can stand up to a crap ton of S6 MC attacks or even a lot of S5 rending to their rear armor.
The army I've set up is not very mobile but it is quite shooty. Tyrannofexes are capable of harming any vehicle with their rupture cannons, they are quite resilient with 6 T6 wounds and a 2+ save and they are still decent against infantry with their thorax swarm and cluster spines as well as in assault with the aforementioned statline and 3 MC attacks of their own. Hive Guard can pop pretty much anything short of AV14 with their impaler cannons, have T6 to keep them going, and can still manage 3 S5 attacks each on the charge. Termgants and Tervigons can put out a good amount of anti-infantry firepower.
The list itself ends up slow but sturdy with lots of anti-mech and then pie plates and massed fire to clear off objectives. The big difference is the Carnifex Death Star, AKA Fexstar. It's 2 Carnifexes with scything talons and frag spines with a Tyranid Prime sporting a bonesword and lash whip in tow. This unit has 11 majority T6 wounds between 2 wound groups, so it's a huge pain to kill off. The Prime throws out 5 WS6 S5 power weapon attacks on the charge while the fexes dish out 10 S9 attacks at WS3 but re-rolling missed hits. The Fexes have only I3 charging, but if the Prime charges first enemies in BtB will be I1 and the Fexes suddenly start swinging first. Scary stuff. Best part, the unit only runs at 425 minimum. Not bad considering how deadly and tough it is. I love my fexstar.
Tervigons are a huge force multiplier, like game-changing. Adding FNP to any unit makes them infinitely more durable (Fexstar with FNP laughs at my Loganwing missile spam) and can be used to mitigate problems with No Retreat. Gaunts with furious charge and toxin sacs suddenly become dangerous prospects in assault, capable of dragging down enemies much larger (and more expensive). Even the Tervigon itself is passable in assault with 4 S5 poisoned attacks on the charge, 6 wounds really saves it here of course.
I'm still getting to grips with the army as a whole, but I'm enjoying it immensely. So expect more Tyranid thought processey, meandering self discussion, analysis type dealies as I keep going on with them.