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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Email in: 1650 is a weird number for melee

Hi there

Really liking the blog and the chat is great for when I'm bored at work :)

I'm currently playing Tyranids and I've finally found a build that I really like, but I feel it still needs some tweaks. We play 1650 points where I live (South Africa), so excuse the point level you may not be used to.

This is my current 1650 list, I'll post it and then highlight what I think is wrong or needs changing.

Alpha Prime w/ Toxin Sacs, Regen, Dual Boneswords, Scything Talons
2x Venomthropes
2x Hive Guard
2x Hive Guard

10x Gaunts
10x Gaunts
1x Tervi w/ Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands, Cluster Spines, Catalyst
1x Tervi w/ Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands, Cluster Spines, Catalyst
15x Horms w/ Toxin Sacs, Adrenal Glands
9x Stealers + BroodLord w/ (BL only) Scything Talons

1x Trygon
1x Trygon

For the most part the list plays well, everything creeps forward under a 5+ cover shield. I layer my units pretty well. Hive guard in front of tervis as they give them a 4+ cover as they're just big enough. Most people shoot the Trygons, but I hold them back now days and keep a row of gaunts in front to make sure I'm doing the counter charging and not my opponent. The 5+ cover on the trygons really helps keep them alive. I also hold the horms back for most games and again use them as a counter charge unit. Hive guard are used to pop transport armour and as long as the Trygons are still on the board, for the most part get ignored. The stealers I've used for some sort of interference, either infiltrate them or outflank.

Now the problem I'm having is actually one with the stealers. They just don't perform well at all. I love the broodlord and the ability he has to shut down some models, but the short comings of the unit are now out weighing that. Most of the time I'm aiming for back board shooting units sitting in cover, but that has a problem in the fact that my stealers don't have assault grenades equivalent, so when charging into cover, I'm losing 2-3 stealers, before I even get to strike and then after wound allocation, I've killed like maybe 2-3 models. Which sometimes ties me up in combat during their phase, which is fine for not getting shot at, but it leaves the counter charge open. Lets just say that my stealers always die, which would be fine if they actually did something, but killing 2-3 models from a squad and then dying and the squad is still around does not impress me, not for a almost 200 point unit.

So after a fair amount of games where I've played them, I'm thinking about dropping them from the list.

I personally think my options are the following:

1) Get another 15 horms squad (it doesn't matter what these things charge, they usually kill it)
2) Get adrenal on the trygons
3) scything talons on the tervis


1) Drop regen off prime
2) get a 3rd Trygon


1) Drop both trygons
2) get 2 rupture t-fexes
3) pump the horms to 20
4) scything talons on the tervis

These are just my initial ideas. I'm not 100% sold on t-fexes, I played them a fair amount in a "death star" list and they're just so variable, I can't rely on them. I'm losing a big part of the army which is the fire magnet, come cc monster that is the trygon. Smart people tend to ignore the t-fexes, which means my venoms and hive guard are being shot. I don't want that. So while I'm gaining S10 48" range, I'm losing the certain units which are a target priority. I also feel that the army suddenly looks a hell of a lot less threatening without the trygons.

I wondering what you think of my suggestions, whats wrong with them or if perhaps you had some of your own to make?



So what we have is a pretty obviously melee-focused list, but the struggle with Genestealers isn't suprising. Naked 'Stealers aren't all that impressive anymore- the changes to Rending really brought them down, and lack of grenades is also hindering. However, with the right upgrades they can be a real force.

What we're aiming for is a list that is hitting early, hitting hard, and not giving the opponent much time to shut it down. The Venomthropes are a good choice there, making all our critters more resilient, and the Hive Guard crack boxes for us so we can assault things. But the Genestealers, as the first wave of the attack, are often getting shot up. The key in situations like this is to redouble your assault- four or five guys getting there may not scare the enemy, but fifteen sure will. This means cutting something else in exchange for some extra bodies, preferably one of the slower elements.

Let's talk upgrades next, specifically those on the 'Stealers and Hormies. As I touched on earlier, 'Stealers NEED Toxin Sacs- it provides a major boost to their ability to get Rends in and gives you insurance against a turn of bad rolls. And, at 3pts/model, it's a real bargain to boot. Hormagaunts, on the other hand, I am not as impressed by when souped up- yes, we can get AG+TS and reroll wounds against Marines, but Genestealers do the same thing with T4, WS6, and Rending. Better to set up your units to handle specific targets more effectively, which is why I prefer to run Hormies either naked (as a screening unit and sometimes useful against IG/Orks/etc) or with Toxin (for working on MCs and being much more effective against the above). It also keeps down the price on our T3/6+ guys, which is generally a good idea.

So, if you're looking for a minimal change to your list: drop the Broodlord and give all the Genestealers Toxin Sacs instead, leaving you with a ten-man squad and a couple points left over. Broodlords are only really useful to hunt Independent Characters and to provide limited anti-Dreadnought capability, so you aren't losing anything critical.

A slightly more invasive change would be to drop one Tervigon (and its associated Gaunts), since they are the least assault-oriented units in the army. (We keep the other one because we still want to score points and they can make good screening units. Plus Catalyst is a nice power to have available.) We will also drop the upgrades from our squad of Hormagaunts, leaving us with a strong forward screening element that most opponents can afford to ignore. The squad is slightly smaller than I'd like, but not dangerously so. This leaves us with enough points to give the Genestealers Toxin Sacs and buy a second, identical squad. We now have 90pts remaining, which is enough to buy us either a second naked Hormagaunt squad (if you struggle against horde armies, etc) or a minimum-sized pack of Raveners (who are useful at harassing Heavy Weapon Squads, Lootas, etc in the backfield; don't deep strike them, just run forward with the army and enjoy the 12" charge).

As a parting note, Tyrannofexes are a perfectly fine unit, but they don't fit this army well. They work best in armies designed to do more shooting, or that have a Hive Tyrant at the center to buff their otherwise-weak WS3 into regularly getting hits. They also need other MCs to be standing in front of to make best use of that 2+ save of theirs.

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