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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Armies in 5th: Tyranids Part 2: In your face!



Lot of posts today, that’s what happens when one is supposed to be working... So continuing with the Tyranid articles here. We’ve covered Tyranid anti-tank and what it’s main purpose is but let’s now look at the “in your face” style Tyranids can bring to bear.

Tyranids are viable as a foot/MC/DS/whateverisnotmech army because they are generally pretty quick or have the right shooting to slow you up. Things like Onslaught, spores, Raveners, Winged units outside of Fast Attack, Lictors, Harpies, Trygons, Hormaguants, Gargoyles, etc. are all good choices which can get in an opponent’s face quickly, particularly combined with a Hive Tryant with Hive Commander. Spores in particular allow you to move some of the slower units across the table faster (i.e. Carnifexes and warriors).

Why does this allow Tyranids to combat mech? Providing your shooting hasn’t been sacrificed, Tyranids can quickly minimise movement opportunities for opposing players by damaging their mech and getting units into combat quickly. This is why against non-mech opponents Tyranids have a large advantage. They don’t need to wait for your mech to pop, they simply eat you. Being eaten is bad. So let’s look at the speed factor before we go onto Spores/deep striking.

Raveners are beasts. In case you didn’t get the memo, beasts are awesome, particularly when they have rending, high I/WS and a good amount of attacks (i.e. Thunderwolves and Fiends). Minor setback for Raveners is poor save (5+) and T4 (though this is augmented by W3 but no eternal warrior). At 35 pts (take rending claws...) they are pretty good but need to cover hug and with move through cover...why not. Synapse can be problem without sporing Warriors or Winged Tyrants but with Feed they should be okay anyways. Hormaguants are sort of the mini-ravener. Not quite as fast but not quite as slow as normal infantry. Move through cover and Bounding Leap can allow them to quickly support Raveners who get into combat whilst the rest of the army trundles up. Remember, tying your enemy down whilst Tyranid shooting damages Mech is a good way to limit your opponent’s movement and Hormaguants can add to the disruptive factor Raveners bring to the table.

Other fast units like Gargoyles, Shrikes and Sky-Slashers aren’t to my liking. Gargoyles are going to have a hard time gaining cover and what Shrikes/Sky-Slashers do are generally done better by Raveners or Hormaguants. The Harpy as mentioned previously, is a pretty good mobile gun platform which is able to get into the side arcs of tanks and drop a decently reliable blast on them but with weak WS/SV/A is not the best for getting in your opponent’s face despite the MC status.

So what about deep striking units like Lictors or Trygons? Lictors can be okay for any sort of list that leaves backline units vulnerable so not really a fan. The Deathleaper however adds great utility to the Tyranid force and a lot more reliable anti-psy. The addition of allowing future spores to home in is an added benefit. Whilst the Deathleaper is more potent in combat, think of him as a utility rather than a combat unit. Trygons (and remember lists based around reserves should have two Hive Commander Tyrants) get a tough close combat monster capable of dealing with anything in your face quickly. The anti-mishap button they come with and excellent statline is a sure way to freak your enemy out. Try taking down 18 T6 wounds in one turn, even Tau are going to struggle. The tunnel they provide is so-so, any units which are delayed can come through them but building an army around it isn’t a stellar move as your army starts to slow down and trickle in as well as relying on the Trygon to enter first. The Mawloc here is sub-par to the Trygon. Mawlocs can wreck havoc on infantry lines and be mildly disruptive to mech lines, but their poor statline in comparison to the Trygon makes it a sub-par choice. I’d rather something that could dish out a beating than a super expensive yo-yo.

So finally, spores. Spores allow units like Warriors, Carnifexes and Zoanthropes to get in your face early. Like Drop Pods they aren’t going to mishap (unless you stupidly place them on top of something) but unlike Drop Pods or Daemons aren’t screwed over by a first turn “wave.” This is very important as it doesn’t make you predictable. Carnifexes in this role become a direct trade-off between Trygons. Trygons have a better average statline but the Carnifex is mildly cheaper, can take some decently reliable shooting with TL-Devs and has S10 on the charge which can be really important against AV14 and T5 armies. Zoanthropes can fulfil a similar role in being heavy hitters against armor or being able to drop down good AP blasts. The spore is able to mitigate their short range but don’t expect them to last long if there is any mech left standing after they arrive.

So whilst you’ve got your fast units and DS/spore units, you’re still missing a core. Termaguants and Warriors are your best bet here. Warriors are difficult to take down with small arms fire and if you’ve placed a lot of MCs in your opponent’s face combined with Raveners, adding in more T4 W3 critters is going to give them fits. Termaguants are a lot better with Tervigons around and unfortunately, Tervigons can’t take spores. However, with the Hive Commander upgrade they can Outflank if they are Troops but this can often be problematic when an opponent refuse flanks you. Remember also that Tervigons can cast Onslaught which can be extremely useful when keeping shooting units up with the faster assault elements such as Hive Guard or Tyrannofexes.

With so many options and “combinations” to get into your opponent’s face quickly you will have to pick and choose, you can’t take everything. 3xRaveners, 3xTrygons, 2x Zoans, DL, 3x Warriors, 2x HT could easily net you well over 2k points and you’ve gone completely in your face with little suppressing fire. I think the best combination you’ll find is a mix between suppressing fire and in your face capabilities.

5 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

Good write up, thanks.

People are missing the forest for the trees when it comes to the bug book. They see only HG and Zoeys as the only armor hunters, seemingly overpriced MCs, and the loss of eternal warrior and call is weak. Tyranids have a lot of options for dealing with mech and getting into people's faces quickly, as you've already elaborated on.

I know it's a buzzword, but the real strength of the Tyranids is synergy. Things work together to create an army rather than a collection of units. I'm still getting to grips with it, it's that deep.

MagicJuggler said...

"Nidzilla is dead. Stuff is too expensive and the units aren't as good individually..."

Me: If you say so...(Runs a list with so many good targets and support units that one is forced to split fire...).

Raptor1313 said...

I'm finally starting to field my nids, and I think that they're a change-up from what folks are used to.

On the other hand, bugs have some solid shooting, some nasty CC, some speed and the ability to slap troops downfield where it hurts one way or the other.

I have to say that I'm surprised more folks don't give the Tyrannofex a shot. Unless the enemy has massed lascannons, the T-fex is going to keep shooting. It's not the most accurate thing, but it pretty much auto-pens any light transport within 48" that it hits (Oh, Rhinos, AV11? So I pretty much pen it...).

Admittedly, land raiders worry me a bit (since it's T-fex, Zoey, or MC melee to kill it...) but that's only so many of the armies.

I'm with Chumbalya here (...and have this strange urge to eat Cajun. Blame the cough meds and/or whiskey...). You really do have to make sure the army works well TOGETHER; you can't just slap a bunch of solid-looking choices together and hope it works.

Chumbalaya said...

I'd be happy to make a big ol' pot of jambalaya, y'all just have to come up and get it :P

Kirby said...

Glad you like it, I thought I had done something wrong with the anti-tank article as no-one commented :P lol. Tyranids are a completely different army from what we are used to because it's the first good xenos book for 5th edition. People are far too used to Imperial armies where Mech is emphasised. This is why you still don't see good Wolf lists about because people are stuck in the Mech box. Mech is great but Wolves and Tyranids can outdo Mech (beyond the fact that SM generally make better mech lists than Wolves, generally).

I love T-Fexes. 2+3 units of 2 HG = 5 shaken/stunned transports a turn which is pretty good. When you versus AV14 do as you normally do, focus on the rest of the army and put sac units out for those Termies then poke them in combat if you have to (this is where T-Fexes compete with Trygons; 6A on the charge all w/re-rolls is pretty nice anti-tank).

And the removal of EW gives the enemy more problems. T4 W3 Raveners/Warriors or T6 MCs? Everyone jumps up and down at the T4W3 but then eat my Rupture Cannons, more termaguants, psy powers and cc ability.

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