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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

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Old Tyranid Codex Wasn't Very Good, Guys

I've seen lots of people argue for the old Tyranid codex, which I completely don't get. Almost everything in that book was terrible. Yeah, Tyrants and 'Fexes were cheap- so what? This is 5E, you need scoring units. You need mobility. You need good ways to kill tanks. The old book didn't have any of those things.

Yeah, everything was Eternal Warrior and you had more abundant grenades. So? Both of those are situational advantages, and be mitigated by taking actual good units and using tactics. Sometimes you're gonna wish you had them, and it will suck, but the rest of the time you'll be riding high on three wounds or cheap fliers or whatever and you won't give a damn.

Let's go back to the "overpriced" monstrous creatures for a second. The old Devourers Flyrant, which was pretty much the only HQ worth taking, was 196 pts (ES, TS, Winged, 2 Devs, Warp Field.) The new Flyrant is 285pts (Winged, 2 Devs, OA). Is it a worse buy? Yeah, kinda. You lose one BS and rerolls to wound (so you're netting ~8 MEQ wounds instead of ~10 when shooting) as well as the 2+/6++ (and let's be honest, only the 2+ part was relevant.) On the other hand, you gain +4WS, +1A, an aura of Preferred Enemy, and two very relevant psychic powers that can drastically swing fights. If I had the option, yes, I would bring an old Flyrant, just as if I had the option I would use the old Psychic Hood instead of the new, limited-range one. But the current Tyrant enables entire army builds with its support abilities and it is MUCH more scary in a fight. Lash Whips are scary now- they destroy Eldar and DE armies, as well as anyone else who relies on going first in a fight.

There's no arguing that the Carnifex didn't get worse- it totally did. But again, so what? We gained so many relevant units in comparison that it practically doesn't matter. The same people who complain about how the Tyrannofex is overpriced are the ones who were buying souped-up Carnifexes last edition- a Sniperfex was only 148, but when you add in the Tyrannofex's improved save, extra wounds, and secondary guns, you basically paid 30pts for +1A, a poisoned flamer and removing the "glancing only" limitation on your Venom Cannon. Doesn't sound like such a bad deal to me. Moreover, even a shooty Carnifex is a very real danger to most squads in melee now- unless they have a Power Fist, they are going to take ~2 casualties every single turn, which MEQ squads and other elite infantry do not appreciate. And once more: yes, I miss the old 114pt Devilfex. That guy was a beast, and the entire army basically ran on him and him alone. We have a real army now, it's time to stop lamenting the fact that the one or two pieces of underpriced bullshit were removed from the book, just like with everyone else.

Warriors. Seriously, does anyone else remember how terrible Warriors were before? The old Deathspitter spam variety was 42pts, which is not exactly cheap for a T4/W2/4+ model. A rerollable S7 blast is cool, but when you're dying to Bolter fire, it's less impressive. Amd those guys were terrible in combat- Assault Marines with no improved movement, no Sarge with a special CCW, no power armor, nothing. The "close combat Warrior" clocked in at a pricey 45pts and had a 12" charge with four S5 I5 Rending attacks, but no Fleet. For 50pts, you can now get a guy with three power weapon attacks that drops all enemies to I1 and rerolls wounds. Also, he's got an extra wound on the old guy and carries a gun to boot. Are you seeing where this is going? Throw old Warriors against new ones and there will be nothing left of the grandpa squad.

Genestealers that rerolled wounds (on the first round only) and could Outflank cost you 23pts before. Now they're 17, reroll wounds all the time, and have Infiltrate for reals. Or, you know, take some Ymgarl Genestealers and assault the turn you arrive with four attacks and a 4+ save for the same price.

Hormagaunts. Fudging Hormagaunts. And Gargoyles. They were godawful before, and now they're awesome. Hormagaunts that hit on 3s and struck before Marines (like they basically do now, thanks to Talons) cost you 12pts. As opposed to six points. Yes, I'd like to double my model count in exchange for not being Beasts any more, thank you very much.

Zoanthropes cost 5pts less (Synapse Creature + Warp Blast) and are now BS4, have a 3++ (instead of a 6++), and their AT shot gained AP1 and Lance. Yeah, that seems awfully relevant to me.

Biovores still aren't great, but guys, Bio-Acid Biovores cost 55pts for a S3 small blast. Sure, it penetrated MEQ armor, you just couldn't wound them or hit more than one, maybe two models with it. And don't pretend that 2d6+3 was getting through vehicle armor- you had barely a one in four chance to penetrate a Rhino, for crying out loud.

And again: no scoring units, no mobility. Yeah, yeah, Without Number Gaunts. When they wiped your eight-strong squad off an objective, you came in from a table edge, not where you wanted to be. That meant you spent a LOT of time moving 6+d6" through your deployment zone, and most people were not going to be generous enough to put all the objectives on one side. Compare that to the flood of poisonous bodies that a Tervigon brings and... well, there's really no comparison. Tyranids now move as a cohesive force, supporting range and melee units each in turn and taking advantage of auras and countercharges to make coming near them costly. They have options for differing styles of deployment. They have special abilities that actually do something- as opposed to +1 Initiative or +1 Toughness and that's it. Our psychic powers are a million times better- just look at the old Catalyst vs the new one.

For every minor thing the book lost, it gained a dozen important new things. Whereas before it was Devilfex and Flyrant, now virtually every option in the book is at least semi-reasonable, and a good three quarters of them are entirely playable, or even rather good. The only thing the old book has going for it is nostalgia, and if you're gonna be nostalgic, at least go back to an age where Tyranids were actually impressive, like the old ten-wound Carnifexes and murderous Lictors of 2E.

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