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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Different Breed: Hive Guard

AbusePuppy, back again after a long delay brought to you by moving, computer failures, and Portal 2. No Gremlins? Picking up where I left things off at, I'll be continuing to talk about some of the underused and misappreciated Tyranid units, and this time around it's the much-benighted Hive Guard.

Wait, what?

Hive Guard. Underappreciated? Huh? I know a lot of you are scratching your head and thinking "Man, what is he on? Hive Guard are totally friggin' sweet and I cuddle them each night on a bed of roses while angels of virtue sing us to beauteous rest." You guys? You guys are good. This article ain't for you, go ahead and go back to your baby- she's got two shots and is rarin' to go, if you know what I mean.

However, a lot of the rest of you had different reactions. Some of you went "Duh, they're good at killing tanks." You all aren't wrong, but you're not seeing the whole picture. A whole bunch more of you went "Uh, I don't need them to kill tanks, I have Genestealers/Trygons/Spore Mines to do that for me and my opponents aren't all netlist jerks so I do just fine." Friends, I have a message for both of you, for I have come to preach the way of the Guard.

Yes, Hive Guard are awesome anti-tank. Two missile shots with BS4 will tend to do that for you. But if that's all you see them as, you're missing just how awesome they really are.

Almost any time I play someone, pretty much no matter who it is, I get to use a favorite phrase of mine. That phrase is "Yeah, but Hive Guard are jerks, remember?" It's so wonderfully all-purpose, because Hive Guard screw with people and get to ignore rules in so many ways.

Opponent hiding behind a building where you can't see his unit? It's okay, Hive Guard are jerks. Does their unit have Fell No Pain or multiple wounds? It's fine, Hive Guard are jerks. Are you, by some chance, playing someone who isn't Space Marines? Man, Hive Guard are SUPER jerks to that guy.

They don't need line of sight to see anything. They ignore the vast majority of cover. They punch through xenos armor saves. They cause instant death and wound basically everything except Wraithlords on a 2+. They're BS4 and get two shots each and come in squads. Oh, and they happen to be tough (two T6 wounds each) and pretty okay in a fight (WS4 and A2 on a fire support unit.) What's their weakness? I2 and they only come in the Elites slot, basically. When your weakness is "I'm limited in slots the way all units are and one of my three combat numbers is mediocre," you know you're looking at some quality.

Is everyone getting this? Hive Guard aren't just for blamming tanks; they also make pretty excellent-to-reasonable infantry killers most of the time. Sure, they're not the best deal in the world against Space Marines, but really, how often do you face a non-mechanized, non-BA MEQ army that doesn't have Plague Marines, Thunderwolves, Lone Wolves, Obliterators, or Paladins? Because they're pretty okay against all of those units, too.

Give them a try. Even if you hate "being just like other people from the internet," give them a try. I'm betting you're one of the only Tyranid players in your area, so it's not like all those other guys are going to get super-tired of facing you- you're probably one of the only non-Marine players in their area, for crying out loud. Run whatever units you like and try out weird and wacky setups. Don't feel like you need to be some sort of nonconformist and run against an imaginary grain that you read about online somewhere once. I guarantee you'll have some good times shooting over hills and buildings, splatting characters in a single shot, and making anything with an armor value cry and wet its pants.

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