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Monday, July 5, 2010

Email in: Tyranids and Apoc

"Hey guys,

Great blog btw! Grats on the level headed in depth analyses you give.

I wanted to ask your thoughts on the new nids for Apoc. I have been a big fan of Apoc, and greatly enjoyed playing everything from the cheesy builds (no fun for your opponent), to more flavoursome battles. Apoc really lets everything out of the bag, the whole idea of Apoc relies on your opponent and you agreeing on whether you are gonna field a killer list with the most optimum strategic assets or just play for fun. With only a small player pool I have had success in the Apoc competition at CANCON two years running. I play killer lists with my brother when I can, but greatly enjoy the buzz of having a table covered in models in not-so-competitive games.

Ok nids in Apoc, I found them very powerful in their previous codex, with eternal warrior all over the field I had no worries about destroyer blasts. I found them very slow (except for a few assets) but a grinding machine of gribbly death. My heirophants would die from time to time (I really don't feel they are super tough, I finding shooting titans much harder with equivalent weapons{OK who shoots a titan when you can HTH it with a biotitan?.. apoc boards are v-big!} ). OK I am drifting, but I have found the new codex quite good at the 40K level but at Apoc level it has a few blaring weaknesses in competitive play.
1. Zoans got a huge boost 3++ (the new black and all), not to mention warp lance!
2. Mobility improvement, incl pods, harpies
3. You can synconise lictors/trygons and other reserves!

BUT some major weaknesses, the loss of eternal warrior. With t6 any number of wounds auto evaporate without a to wound roll, without cover saves from a single D pie. In 40K this is not an issue as there is not str 12 weapons etc, ok I know there are wraithcannons and force weapons etc. etc. but you get my drift.

The lack of eternal warrior combines nicely with the lack of invulnerable save to ensure no HQ or MC will survive a D blast. (you guessed it I see heaps of D blasts in apoc)

The other issues with the nid codex is the apoc formations... I play them RAI, using the older rules in some cases, eg my Heirophant has a 2+/6++ save, not a 3++. The eye of the hive DOESN'T give everyone FNP (which it would if you used the new catalyst power). So many formations are now foggy in interpretation, so in my opinion it comes down to communication with your opponent, it can take hours to get your gear ready for an apoc battle, and there is nothing worse than playing a RAW rule that makes something really broken without your opponents permission to grind them into the ground.

Finally what is your opinion on the costings of the BoLS apoc nid stuff?

Looking forward to your thoughts,
Cheers Borkai

ps. do I have to sign up with eblogger to post comments using a username on your blog? (yeah I am kinda illiterate about the net)"

I asked AbusePuppy to do this I'm afraid Borkai as I know next to nothing about Apoc having never bothered. To comment as well you can use whatever name, just need to type it. If you leave it blank it comes up as Anon. Thanks to Puppy!

Nail on the head right there. Despite being a way better codex overall, our special protections were largely stripped in 5E, and without vehicles to shelter our units, you're going to see a lot of guys disappearing when someone lays down a big blast. The essential mantra of "competitive" Apocalypse (if such a thing can be said to exist) is that you want as many of these big blasts and Str D weapons and screw your troops and other support units.

Zoanthropes are useful against some of the superheavies, to be sure, as Warp Lance can zip right through all those AV14 monsters. However, expect table-wide psychic defenses to make your life difficult even when doing so, and all the normal caveats about short range, etc, apply here as well.

Mobility is what you're going to need to focus on in Apoc. We'll come back to this in a second, but suffice to say that there are two kinds of Tyranids: those that are in CC with an enemy unit and those that are dead.

Getting your reserves to work out is certainly easier in Apoc, it's true, but you also have to remember all of the other sucky things about those units. Guys that arrive from a Trygon hole are going to be clustered up (uh-oh) and unable to assault that turn (double uh-oh). Lictors need to survive a full turn of shooting (unlikely) for their beacon to become active, and the +1 is irrelevant. You and your opponents can, of course, come up with your own rules for how reserves bonuses affect Apoc games.

If you're playing all the Apoc formations and critters as their "old" versions, I have to say you're somewhat shooting yourself in the foot there. I realize that some of them (specifically the Heirophant) are somewhat ridiculous, but such is the cost of changes- as you noted, some things got weaker and some things got stronger when the new codex came out. If folks want you to use the "old" rules for things, ask that you get the "old" Synapse that makes all your critters Eternal Warrior. Seems fair, right?

Coming back to things: I think that the key for a Tyranid army in Apocalypse is going to be getting into combat while weathering a minimum of shooting. To this end, you want to do two basic things: deny the enemy shooting and insure your arrival where you can get charges off.

The two obviously play together, but strategic reserves are one aspect of it. Consider, also, assets like Blind Barrage, which more or less gives you a one-turn respite from an awful lot of the enemy's army with a 36" LOS-blocking wall. Denying your enemy key areas- such as by making them Dangerous Terrain with the They're All Around Us asset- can also be helpful. Shield Generator is also helpful here, although our group has ruled it (and the other Front Line Assets) to not be destroyable because we were tired of them all vanishing the first time anyone laid a blast down on the table. However you accomplish it, you should only need a turn or so to get your monsters into combat, as Gargantuan Creatures are actually quite fast, able to blaze through most units and move 18"-30" in a single turn.

The second half of this is arrival points. Here you are a bit more limited, as Deep Striking is not always going to be helpful. As I'm sure you know, Flank March is pretty amazing and should be taken advantage of if at all possible- it effectively allows you to dictate a very small box that the enemy has to fit into to get away from you, and sometimes an impossibly small box that is less than 0" on a side. Deep Striking via Spores, Assets (e.g. Tunnels), or Formations (most notable for Carnifexes and Heirodules), is problematic because you are denied the ability to assault on arrival. However, if the enemy leaves gaps in their formation- as is likely if there is Dangerous Terrain, etc, making their lives difficult- you can sometimes squeeze in somewhere in the middle of their forces where they really don't want to be laying a 10" template. This will largely depend on the battlefield and setup, so don't rely on it.

The Lords of Battle ( rules aren't particularly kind to Tyranids, but they aren't without interest, either.

Dactylis: Meh. Not even as tough as a basic Trygon, but S8 AP3 apocalyptic barrages are not something we get a lot of access to. You could do a lot worse if you've got a model to represent it.

Exocrine: Bleh. The Heirodules are generally better, since they also have crazy combat stats and are tons faster to boot.

Haruspex: ...What? Well, he's a cheap Gargantuan Creature, I guess. Again, though: not as fast as the Heirodules and not actually all that impressive in a fight. I'd pass.

Malefactor: No. Just... no. Oooh, can transport almost five Tyranid Warriors, I'm so impressed! Go to hell, smaller-than-a-Land-Raider.

Dominatrix: Maybe worth it? The Bio-Cannon is okay, and the big ol' template could do some real damage, but the interesting thing here is the ability to strip Fearless/etc from units. Now, most Fearless units are also Ld10, but it's a very unique ability that seems like it could have some potential. And yeah, also T8/W10 with a 2+. Its Warp Field works like Eldar fields do (if you choose that option), which is sorta wonky but better than the 6++ you seem to be using. Her inability to move fast is the only real disadvantage, but if you've got a strong enough front line and a model to use it might be worth it.

Any kind of Tyranid army is going to need to be reserves-based to some degree by necessity; how much so will depend on how you allow the "old" Tyranid stuff to function with the new codex. If you allow everything to work as printed in the new book (with possibly something to nerf the Heirophant) I think they have a chance. Rerolling Stomp attacks with your Gargantuan Creatures, tank shock/ramming smaller stuff, etc, allows you to do some real damage to people. Obviously there should be some communication before the game to determine how everything functions, as the codex underwent some drastic changes, but at the same time you shouldn't allow yourself to be weaseled out of every possible advantage from the changes; Tyranids are denied so many of the options open to other codices (allies of any kind, vehicles of any kind, good long-range shooting, etc) that I feel they need some kind of help to compensate.

As a final addendum, for those not in the know, here are some of the gems to look for in Apoc with the new codex. Borkai mentions a couple in passing, but I think they're worth pointing out:

-Heirophant Bio-Titan: Gotten a lot of fame across the web, for good reason. It's got a 2+/3++, T8, a huge pile of regenerating wounds, two pairs of Scything Talons, and drops all enemies to I1. Oh yeah, and ultra-Fleet and a S10 AP3 cannon for cutting down guys you don't like.

-Barbed/Scythed Heirodule: These are generally your go-to monsters in big games. Barbed gets some big ol' guns for downing enemy superheavies and Scythed has a nasty flamer and will end most guys in a fight. Barbed is the stronger of the two by a long shot, but Scythed has some potential.

-Genestealer Infestation: Genestealers that deploy via the old Lictor rules- and, if you took the right assets, it's unlikely that anyone wants to be hanging out in the terrain. It's pretty awesome. The actual Lictors in the formation are kinda useless, but meh.

-Eye of the Hive: Bonus strategic asset if you play the same folks very often, and Catalyst over a huge area. Before? That was trash. Now? Not so much so. Of course, with S8+ stuff getting spammed around you may not get as much use as you like, but it's still potentially good. Preferred Enemy for everyone, on the other hand, means you WILL be winning some assaults.

-Mycetic Assault Storm: Well, Carnifexes aren't as good now, but on the other hand getting to DS in a Gargantuan Creature or three has some possibilities. Against anyone fielding a lot of infantry you can also cause some real damage with Devourers or the like, so don't underestimate it. If your opponents are super-nice, maybe they'll let you use it with Tervigons or Tyrannofexes.

-Endless Swarm: :3 This alone makes Termagants and Hormagaunts worth taking. Just slap sixty or a hundred of them down on the table as your "on-board" threat and then use your MCs, Gagantuans, etc, as your reserves threat to come in from other angles. Being able to completely negate enemy shooting is a huge deal, and endlessly coming back from the dead likewise so.

-Kraken Tendril Swarm: Well, Gargoyles are a lot better now, that's something. Being able to use your movement to basically surround sections of the enemy and threaten a charge the next turn is interesting, if not necessarily straight-up amazing.

Hope folks find this useful. Imma go get some breakfast.

1 pinkments:

Anonymous said...

Nice work, I thought I might mention the winged swarm gives you a mini flank march, and with the new shrikes it is very cool. Also the new Tyranid Tunnel Swarm from WD362 is sweet at tying up enemy gunlines to protect your guys, but really can't deal with super heavies.


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