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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Armies in 5th: Tyranids Part 6: Summary

If we recall back to when I started these articles my aim was to look at the most under and over appreciated armies in 5th edition from the internet’s perspective (i.e. take your metagame and play with it on the Moon). Tau were underappreciated and Orks are certainly over appreciated, so where do Tyranids fall? For the most part I’m going to say underappreciated. Far too many people sit there and say Tyranids can’t play in 5th edition because they can’t smack around mech (hell I’ve heard people begging to go back to the old codex...seriously, what?). Again, if foot Tyranids (or foot SW but they have melta which makes people happy) could smack around mech from T1 AND just roll over you in combat, well they wouldn’t be a fun army to play against would they? Most mech armies shoot the blazes out of you, have some uber or minor cc elements and that’s about it. Go try it with the new BA. Try to make a list that just rolls you over in cc and shooting. By trying to do that you start to dilute both of them and it just doesn’t work. Tyranids (and SW/BA) can pull off non-mech or hybrid mech because they can neutralise your armor, not always through destroying it, but by stopping it from shooting or moving and then can cream you in assault. A quick example before we get back onto Tyranids. SW Calvary w/LF packs. The LF w/ML splitting fire aren’t reliably going to blow two transports up (there’s a chance which makes split fire pretty awesome but it’s not likely) but they are infinitely more like to cause two damage results and this increases the chances of stopping multiple mech targets and allows your cavalry to dominate the game more.

Back to the gribblies. Tyranids have just the mix of tank popping and tank suppression available in the codex to make sure mech isn’t an insurmountable advantage for the opponent. They also have the survivability (read T6 MCs) and/or mobility (Beasts, Wings, Spores, etc.) to play tag with mech. These are all concepts I’ve covered in my previous articles and something the internet I believe fails to appreciate. They’ve come to grips with mech (finally. How long did we have to say mech beats non-mech 90% of the time until they got it?) but now think Mech is always the winner. As an entity, the internet (you know I’m surprised no one has really brought up the semantics of what I mean by the “internet” on this blog yet :P) has grasped that mech is good on some solid premises (mobility and protection) so kudos there. However, they have not understood really what is going on behind the scenes; how the newer books not only provide a variety of builds but completely different builds from the current paradigm (not metagame); how armies that are not based on shooting the opponent’s mech out from under them yet can still win; how being able to crush your opponent in the shooting phase and close combat phase would be imbalanced, etc. SW and Tyranids are capable of crushing mech whilst not being meched not because they can blast you out of your transports T1 but because they can neutralise the advantages of mech to an extent where their close combat ability rolls mech.

I really do need to put these concepts into specific posts... So back to Tyranids and why I believe they are underappreciated and shouldn’t be. Outside of what I outlined above (which as you should be able to see is not Tyranid specific) there is a lot of misunderstanding of the Tyranid units. There are really only IMO two units which should never be taken, Ymgarl Genestealers and the Pyrovore. Other units like Lictors, Mawlocs, Biovores , Doom, Parasite, etc. are units that can work but aren’t really optimal. At the same time these units aren’t that bad that an opponent can easily ignore them and do offer some possibilities (i.e. Mawlocs/Lictors). Whilst the majority of the internet agrees with me here (bar Doom) here is where we happen upon some major discrepancies. I’ve covered all these units before but will do a quick run-down here.

Harpies. The internet hates them for T5/4+. Wait, Tyranids have a fast heavy weapon? And it’s twin-linked? And people don’t like it? Like the Piranha or Crisis suits in Tau, the Harpy provides nothing else the Tyranid codex can outside of spores. This is why it is T5/4+ and the cost of two speeders plus.

The Tervigon. Mixed bag here. I’ve seen reviews without a mention of them and I’ve seen reviews and lists that pack 5 of them into 1500 points. They are an awesome support unit, one of the best in the game but they need to support something. Their killing power is lacking and thus you need to make sure there is enough for them to support whilst not being so easy to kill (i.e. 2 or sometimes 3 at 2k or less points).

Hive Tyrant. It’s not as cheap as it used to be but it now provides a lot more to your army than what it did before. Fire suppression, decent to good cc ability, a good psychic power and army wide buffing. You can also make it a monster in cc w/Guard but it becomes an appropriate point sink then. Why is it so expensive say compared to terminators? Because T6 in combat is tough. It’s expensive because it has to be. Whilst the Prime is an excellent option outside of the Tyrant, a properly built army lead by a Tyrant is greater than its parts. The same deal here goes for Carnifexes. They got a necessary point increase and whilst Trygons are often better in general terms, S10 is hard to ignore coupled with the flexibility a Carnifex provides (you can give it guns and spore it, walk it, get three in a group, etc.).

Warriors/Raveners. Both of these provide target priority problems for your opponent. They are T4 so small arms fire is good against them but they have 3 wounds each which makes them attractive targets for S8+ weapons. This makes your opponent make a choice, get rid of the T4 guys with S8 and suffer the MCs or vice versa. This is good. The more choices your opponent makes, the more likely they screw up. Add in these units are excellent midfield units for different purposes and they are certainly given the axe too often for my liking.

Overall, these articles have shown how to take advantage of the Tyranid book to create a list that can handle mech through shooting and beat face in combat with a variety of units. As most of you are aware, this is the new hallmark for GW books, variety and lots of units that don’t suck. Kudos to them. Whilst the internet doesn’t like the book because they think mech (and particularly AV14) ruins their day, well I just don’t see how they can’t see that a simple core of HG and T-Fexes is very likely to damage 5 targets. Mech generally has anywhere from ~9-16 tanks, that’s a pretty good damage ratio for an army that is all about crushing face in combat.

I’m not going to do a list for Tyranids here because I’ve got a couple in under the My Armies section but if anyone would like to submit some lists based on the principles I’ve outlined in these 6 Tyranid articles we shall see if I can scrounge up a picture saying you’re awesome :P (I, unlike Stelek, do not get donations so can’t hand out prizes lol).

2 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

Good on you. It's a shame to see the bugs get passed up by the herd, but I suppose it can be a blessing in disguise with all the comped events out there :P

R. C. Fountain said...

These are a great series of articles! I'm so glad you've taken the time to compile and post them. Definitely going in my favorites. :)

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