Got some Vassalin' in with my best bro Brolo last night, testing out my funky Tyranid reserves army. This is actually our second game, he trounced my regular shooty Fexstar nids last time so I was looking for blood.
Brolo had the Black Templars:
EC w/ AAC
2x super killy death Termies in LRCs
3x Crusader Squads in Razorbacks
2x Autolas Preds
So, looking at Brolo's army for the second time, I know that it's surprisingly shooty for BTs and he really only has 2 good combat units: The Termies. It's a good list with no obvious threats and danger from just about everything. I want to keep his guns from shooting for as long as possible and delay or divert his Termies so I can get them in the open and mug them with Flyrants and supergants.
Click to enlarge as always.
We rolled up Dawn of War and Annihilation. It seems like that's all I ever play with 'nids. Annihilation really hurts us both since he has lots of transports while I have 4 free KPs from my Mycetic Spores and my Tervigons don't have much incentive to spawn things. KPs FTL, really. 15 for me, 13 for Brolo. I did manage to luck out with Dawn of War, which limits what firepower he can throw out at me on turn 1 while most of my units just come in from reserves.
Brolo won the roll off and plopped down 2 Razorbacks full of loving. I was considering outflanking the Tervigons, but when I saw the Razorbacks I had a pretty good idea that he'd be castling up in that corner so 1/3 of my outflankers would end up useless (good outflank defense, no wai!). Since gants wouldn't be doing much anyway, I deployed as far forward as possible so I could present as many targets as possible on turn 2 when most of my shit would come in from reserves.
Because it was Dawn of War, turn 1 was fairly uneventful on both sides. Brolo rolled up a castle with his LRCs as the anchor, daring me to come get him. Shooting was ineffectual considering Night Fight, so I just advanced as far forward as possible and prepared for the drop on turn 2. In retrospect, if he had refuse flanked me, I would have been in a very bad position and my army may well have arrived in piecemeal, making them much easier prey. Big problem with Reserve/Deep Strike armies is a lack of mobility, and Tyranids aren't much different. Once we drop in, we're pretty much there all game.
BT Turn 2
Sit and shoot, nothing much going on here. My Tyrant and Tervigon got the worst of it, but are still in good shape to support the coming pwnage.
Tyranid Turn 2
Oh boy, party time. Everything but the Deathleaper came in. The Carnifexes dropped in near his fire support in an attempt to keep them from shooting me. Massed S6 shots into side/rear armor is plenty to shake enemy armor. From those 4 units I managed to completely dick over Brolo's shooting for the next turn, keeping my MCs safe. Plus, anything that's immobilized now is food for the Carnifex next turn. Even with twin devourers, a Carnifex will have 5 S9 attacks charging! Zoanthropes managed to take out a Land Raider, even after 2 of them missed and rolled box cars for its psychic test >,<. I'd have Termies to deal with for sure, so I cast Paroxysm on them and put the Pods and a sacrificial gaunt squad out front to keep them from getting the charge off of any important units. Even in Annihilation, it pays to be able to create free buffer units to preserve your more important units.
BT Turn 3
The problem with spore pods? 3 wounds, T4 and only a 4+ armor save. Brolo picked up 3 easy KPs from them while shuffling his tanks around to keep my MCs from demolishing them. The Termies ran into combat with a Pod and the Zoanthropes in an attempt to kill them off ASAP. Unfortunately, he didn't count on Spore Pods being crazy awesome in combat and how durable a 3++ save can be (it's the new black). I failed more saves from No Retreat than I did his Termies :P Termagants with counter attack, toxin sacs, and Preferred Enemy are surprisingly capable in assault, even charging and with Preferred Enemy the Crusader Squad didn't manage much more than a draw. This put me in an excellent position to counter charge with my Tyrants and use my Carnifexes to start breaking his METAL BAWKSES.
Ignore the position of the left-most Carnifex and the 2 random marines. I actually forgot to save pictures after turn 2 so I had to go back in time to take these and Vassal is fairly retarded about undoing. This will be a recurring theme from now on :P
Tyranids Turn 3
So, more shooting to shut down armor and MCs chasing vehicles around so they can break them. I created another unit of gaunts to protect me from reprisal by the other unit of Terminators, once again giving myself an apparent disadvantage (more KPs, easy kills at that) in favor of my long term survival. Once they lose furious charge, BT Termies suffer due to their outdated Storm Shields and paltry 5++. Both Flyrants killed all of 3 Termies while the Zoanthropes kept making saves. The last Terminator fell to No Retreat, oddly enough. The Tervigon moved to support his babies and they munch on some Crusaders while the Fexes proceeded to immobilize their targets in preparation for future toy-smashing. Deathleaper shook his target, also in preparation to break it next turn.
Aww, more stuff died. A misjudged move by the Land Raider left the Terminators with only a Tervigon to mug while the EC went seal clubbing on the Termagants. The Spore Pod got 'sploded by a powerfist, but not before taking some marines with it. Both Carnifexes smashed up their immobile targets (auto-pens FTW) and prepared to go to work on something else. Also some random Griffons showed up, but I didn't notice until I was saving pictures and I didn't feel like undo-ing my undos for the 3rd time so I just said fuck it.
Tyranids Turn 4
More toy breaking and shooting. The leftmost Carnifex failed IB and RAEG-ed right into the Predator. Zoanthrope totally missed the Barn Raider and the Carnifex immobilized the last Razorback. One Tyrant cast Paroxysm on the Termies, while the injured one sucked a wound back with Leech Essence (5++ FTL!) After massed firepower, the Terminators took a morale test and promptly failed it, running right towards the black gants and no regroup-land. The wheels had officially come off. EC finished off the gaunts and wondered where his buddies went
BT Turn 5
Deathleaper got pwned by a meltagun, lame. Zoanthrope held fast against the EC and the LRC tried gunning down the 3 black gaunts for an easy KP but FNP and G2G saved the day. Termies were within 6" of the gaunts so they couldn't regroup and they promptly ran off the board. Ouch.
At this point it's just mop up. The Carnifexes shot up and munched on the Crusader squads, one Flyrant slapped the EC silly and the Tervigon blew up the LRC.
We did end up going to turn 6, but we decided to call it since the result was fairly obvious. Final KP count, Tyranids: 13, BT: 8 (we rolled to see how the Carnifex with 1 wound left would fare, he killed his target but was slain in the process).
So, while one game isn't a reliable indicator of performance, I'm really liking how this list is working out. Spores coming in reliably on turn 2 can help me avoid incoming fire and launch an alpha strike of my own, especially if I go second. The Devilfexes and Pods, while not as good on paper as, say, a Trygon, are more than capable of shutting down mech shooting through sheer rate of fire and following up with a solid statline in combat. Wait, so that means that you can't analyze units effectively in a vacuum and their true worth really depends on the army they are in and how they work with other units? Suck it, internet wisdom. The speed of the Flyrants and the option to outflank both Tervigons or Termagant units allows me to come in from just about any angle and threaten armor and infantry when I get there. I'm really liking this army.
It was a fantastic game, Brolo is my homeboy and he took the tabling like a champ. Now we're even, so I look forward to the next bout.
As always, comments and criticism are welcome and encouraged.