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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

AbusePuppy's Tyranid Review Part 1: Overview

Hopefully AbusePuppy will post the rest of his sections soon, just wanted to post this section to get it up as an example and create the in-site page for the Review. I've posted a few of my own comments in blue.

Overview of the Tyranids

Strengths: Tyranids are, largely without exception, more powerful than any other race in close combat. They are extremely mobile, able to shoot on the move with every weapon in the codex and having access to many forms of alternate movement (Deep Strike, Outflank, Infiltrate, etc). Many of their units are cheap enough to buy in hordes and they have many large, scary monstrous creatures that few opponents will want to get into close combat with. Even as a shooting force Tyranids can be very dangerous and most of their guns hit an area or get multiple shots. This is key for Tyranids, they are fast enough to compensate for Mech, have survivability through numbers or toughness/wounds and are capable of laying down some impressive firepower.

Weaknesses: Most Tyranids have terrible armor saves and are, as a rule, rather expendable. Their guns tend to be somewhat shorter range than other races' to compensate for their mobility and their anti-tank arsenal in particular is very limited in scope. Tyranids also have very few weapons with good AP values and rely more on volume of shots in order to hope their opponents fail some armor saves, which at times can be frustrating. Suppression fire. As Puppy pointed out, Tyranids rock at close combat and most tanks don't like MCs attacking them in combat if they haven't moved. Tyranid shooting allows that. Whilst Tyranids have a hard time with AV14 all-rounders, they do have the capacity to wreck the supporting army and can still damage AV14 some-what reliably w/T-Fexes and MC combat.

If you like filling the table with little bugs or just plopping down two or three enormous monsters that make your opponents cry, Tyranids are the army for you. If you like throwing enough dice to make an Ork player sit up and take notice Make sure the dice are purple!, Tyranids may also be the army for you. But if you get attached to individual models and can't bear to pluck squads off the table as they get annihilated one by one, Tyranids are not the army for you. Everything in a Tyranid list is expendable, from the mightiest Swarmlord to the lowliest Gaunt. You may find that at the end of many battles you are left with nothing but a couple Warriors and some scattered Gaunts holding your objectives, and that's exactly what the Hive Mind wants. It is the fate of every Tyranid to be dissolved back down to biomass- accept it with the coldness of space that you have descended from.

What is it missing?

1. Transports: You have access to absolutely no vehicles. None. 6" or 12" and d6" for Fleet is all you get, + beasties =D, Raveners are not to be overlooked even with a poor save. and your units are always vulnerable to being shot and manipulated by psychic powers, especially the feared Lash of Submission. Problem with Lash here is where does the unit go? Tyranids are generally layered so much that it doesn't matter. Pulling your Hive Guard into the open can be problematic but the rest of the Tyranid army are quite happy to pulverise the rest of the CSM army.

2. Eternal Warrior: Nothing in the codex is immune to Instant Death. Be very careful of how you match up your units against the enemy- Power Fists can be very awkward for your mid-range units.

3. Invulnerable Saves: Aside from the Swarmlord (in CC), Doom of Malan'tai, and Zoanthrope, you do not have access to any invulnerable saves. Low-AP guns and power weapons are always going to be a hassle for you. Many of your units have piles of wounds, but keep in mind that you have no resistance to damage other than those wounds. Once they're gone, that's it.

Army-Wide Special Rules

Synapse Creatures/Shadow in the Warp

Synapse (and Shadow in the Warp, which is present on every Synapse Creature in the book) are going to be the fundament of your game plan. You don't always have to have Synapse on every unit, but it's important to consider when you can afford to break your Synapse web, because you can be damn sure that your opponent is going to be. Creatures in Synapse are Fearless, as per the rulebook; creatures out of it have to make a special leadership test each turn or suffer major restrictions on how they are allowed to act that turn. Keeping a critical mass of Synapse Creatures can be one of the hardest parts of writing a Tyranid list; a 1000 pt list should probably have at least two or three Synapse units in it, while a 2000 pt list might need six or more. Keep in mind the durability and role of your Synapse creatures when determining how much you need, as well as what opponents you may face- if your only Synapse is Tyranid Warriors that are charging into the fray, units that want to stand back and shoot may find themselves in an awkward position! Similarly, a Synapse character in a squad is much harder to get rid of than a lone unit that simply hangs out nearby. If your opponents regularly target your Synapse creatures, consider investing some additional points in protecting them- there are many options, which will be discussed later. I don't think synapse is that neccessary and generally by virtue of what I'm taking in my lists, I don't need to worry about it. However, if you don't account for it in your army list, you will have problems but I don't think it is a neccessity to go out of your way to ensure you have lots of overlapping bubbles. Instictive behaviour isn't as bad as it used to be but it does make your units more suspectible to sweeping advances and running away.

Shadow in the Warp forces nearby enemy psykers- even Tyranid ones, oddly enough- to roll 3d6 instead of 2d6 for psychic tests, suffering Perils on any result including double ones or sixes. This is highly crippling when you can bring it into play, as even the best psykers in the game will, on average, fail their tests and it brings the chance of Perils in the Warp up to something like 15%. (Someone else, feel free to do the math for me here, I'm guesstimating.) The main limititation is the short range of the effect (12") means that it isn't hard for an embarked or winged/biking psyker to slip out of the area of effect before using their powers. It functions best against powers that have a short range or those that need to be used in or immediately prior to combat, although it's certainly possible to "hem in" a psyker from several sides, leaving them nowhere to run to. SitW unfortunately isn't that great as anti-psy due to it's poor range as Puppy mentioned. Whilst it is certainly a positive bonus, Deathleaper is generally a better 'anti-psy' bet.

Instinctive Behavior

As noted above, creatures outside of Synapse must make a Ld test each turn or suffer from restrictions on their behavior. More importantly, however, they are vulnerable to all the normal morale and pinning tests and will go to ground, fall back, etc, just like any other units, only much more often.

Instinctive Behavior- Feed prevents you from shooting and forces you to move towards the nearest visible enemy. Note that it is significantly more restrictive than the Rage rule, as many IB-Feed creatures have guns you may want to use, such as the Doom of Malan'tai. Others, however, do just fine, as you want them to be charging straight into battle anyways. IB-Feed creatures can often benefit from not being in Synapse during the actual process of close combat, as losing a fight and taking ten No Retreat! wounds can be very painful, and our generally high Initiative values make it relatively easy to escape Sweeping Advances.

IB- Lurk forces the unit to stand still and shoot at the nearest enemy it can hit (possibly in LOS, possibly not- the codex is unfortunately rather unclear on this point). Again, for many units this is not a huge detriment, as you were planning on doing something like that anyways, but note that Lurking creatures are much more vulnerable to being forced to take morale tests- and subsequently fail those tests, as Tyranid Ld values are pretty abysmal- than those in CC, who only need to test if they lose. Spot on. Worse yet, if there are no units in immediate LOS and range, you have to run towards the nearest area terrain, and even then you aren't allowed to move during the movement phase. IB- Lurk creatures thus usually need a Synapse babysitter to be functional, as you want your wall of critters advancing on the enemy as quickly as possible.

An excellent start by AbusePuppy and my own take on the Tyranid codex. Their shooting is primarily suppression based. Whilst Hive Guard give most armies fits the majority of the Tyranid shooting is about stopping your opponent from moving/shooting so your guant horde and MCs can bring their weight to bear up close and personal.

6 pinkments:

AbusePuppy said...

As noted in IB- Lurk, you main danger with being out of Synapse is actually that you are vulnerable to morale; some of our units are naturally Fearless, but many others are not. Nothing feels worse than having a brood of twenty or so Gaunts skitter off the table because someone shot them a few times.

The comment about Lash was mainly directed at the internet audience, many of whom are still under the impression the Lash is king. Don't get me wrong: Lash can be annoying for a lot of Tyranids, as the 2d6 movement can be enough to keep them from getting to do what they want. However, it isn't as crippling as you might think, and the rest of the Chaos army simply doesn't back it up.

Purple dice are for weirdos. Green and black 4 lyfe, yo.

Kirby said...

I know re Lash =D, just putting my 2cents in (I generally get a quarter back...).

I'm told I have too many dice (344). I need more :). I don't have green and black...maybe I should get green and black......

Glad to have you with us Puppy :)!

Chumbalaya said...

That's a solid start, well done AP.

MagicJuggler said...

The other thing people forget about Lash, is because of being subjected to normal movement restrictions you cannot lash a unit through other units.

"Hi there, I have a Gauntscreen. My base is big enough to be unable to squeeze through. Thanks for playing."

The real thing about Tyranids is how they're loaded with utility, force multipliers, mutual buffs and debuffs and general insanity.

lyracian said...

I think this is the best Tyranid review around so I thought I would add some maths about weapons for those interested.


[b]Tyanid Ranged Anti-Tank[/b]
Here is the chance each unit has of opening a tin can.
First three columns are the chance to Immobilise or Kill AV14-12. Next two are killing AV 11/10. The last one is to stun AV12.
Anti-Tank . . . .Immob+ . .Immob+ . Immob+ . Kill . . Kill . . . .Stun+
. . . .VS . . . . .AV14 . . . .AV13 . . . AV12 . . . AV11 . . AV10 . . AV12
3 Zoanthropes . 66.51% . 66.51% . 66.51% . 61.35% . 66.51% . 88.18%
3 Hive Guard .. 10.61% . 36.98% . 56.53% . 50.67% . 61.79% . 91.22%
2 Hive Guard .. 07.20% . 26.50% . 42.61% . 37.57% . 47.34% . 80.25%
T-fex – Rupture 18.50% . 25.85% . 32.85% . 25.85% . 30.56% . 65.97%
HVC . . . . . . . . 02.89% . 05.78% . 08.67% . 05.78% . 7.22% . 26.00%
Harpy TL HVC . . 03.78% . 07.56% . 11.33% . 07.56% . 09.44% . 34.00%
Stranglethorn . . 00.00% . 00.00% . 01.44% . 02.89% . 05.78% . 08.67%
TL Deathspitterx2.0.00% .00.00% . 00.00% . 00.00% . 22.54% . 00.00%
TL Brainleech . . 00.00% . 00.00% . 00.00% . 11.87% . 22.54% . 55.12%
TL Brainleechx2.00.00% . 00.00% . 00.00% . 22.33% . 39.99% . 79.86%
Mycetic Spore . 00.00% . 00.00% . 00.00% . 05.43% . 10.61% . 29.03%
3xLictor FHooks 05.43% . 10.61% . 15.55% . 08.05% . 15.55% . 40.67%
For Comparison -
Marine Lascanx2.14.27% . 24.25% . 33.61% . 27.43% . 33.61% . 69.14%

R. C. Fountain said...

Again, a series of thoughtful 'nid articles. And it appears to be balanced and realistic as well. Well done, Kirby! Nice to see the bugs given a fair shake. :)

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