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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Email in: Tyranids with Military Precision

Hello Kirby!

I have been a long time reader of your blog but this is the first time I have sent a list in for advice. I played fantasy for about three years and have made the jump to 40K. I played Space Marines for awhile but EVERYONE plays them. I have now jumped on the Nid-train (or Nid-crash if you listen to Warseer). I haven't played a game with them yet, but have been watching your Battle Reports. Here is my 1500 point list:

Tyrant Guard w/Lash whip

2 x Hive Guard
2 x Hive Guard

10 x Termagaunt
10 x Termagaunt
Tervigon w/Catalyst
Tervigon w/Catalyst
25 x Hormagaunts


Total - 1500
MC - 4
Infantry - 52 Infantry

My plan is that at this level, 4 MCs will be difficult to bring down. Also, I think the Hormagaunts with Swarmlord buff and catalyst will be good, especially if I can get of paroxysm on the enemy unit (but then again that is probably true for anything). I see the major weakness of this army being shooting. I have deathleaper to show up and try to focus on killing enemy support units (devastator squads) and nerf librarians so I have a better chance of getting off my psychic powers. Oh and I love the swarmlord and think that at this points level, he should be able to dominate in close combat. Any suggestions would be great.


Well, Mike, on the plus side, your army obviously cleaves very close to the Standard Tyranid Template, which is a plus. You're doing a good job in providing yourself with screening units and have enough MCs that they're starting to really be a threat to the enemy- however, I am not sure about the two named units you've included in the list.

The Swarmlord is, as you note, pretty hard to beat in close combat- causing ID with every swing and forcing a reroll on Invulns mean that very few enemies stand much chance against him. However, he is very expensive, so you need to look at what you're gaining over a regular Tyrant (and what you're losing) when you use him, and this is where I feel your list fails the test with incorporating him. Although he has a slightly better statline, the main bonus to using Swarmy is in his abilities- rerolling outflanking and distributing Preferred Enemy at range being the relevant ones. Your list does not have any outflanking units at all, nor does it have any units which can make particular use of Preferred Enemy. (Obviously you have several units that you don't mind getting into a fight, including Swarmy himself, but that's true for every Tyranid unit.) I feel if you want to keep him in, you're going to really want to make use of both of those abilities to create a melee-heavy list.

Deathleaper is a much viable inclusion in most lists, since he doesn't cost the absurd number of points that the Swarmlord does. He's best used as a harassment/contesting tool in most lists, with the added bonus of shutting down most psykers and psychic defense. Normally this would be a good thing, as the Swarmlord is somewhat psychic-intensive and Deathleaper adds an element of mobility to the list. However, since you are already sinking a large number of points into one character, doing so with a second is probably going to stretch your resources very thin- you could easily be fitting five or six MCs into this list if you aimed for it.

So, we'll throw out two lists; one will attempt to transform this into a Swarmlord-focused variant, the other will downgrade him for some other stuff.

List #1
1 Swarmlord
2 Tyrant Guard (Lash Whips)
2 Hive Guard
2 Hive Guard
8 Genestealers (Toxin)
8 Genestealers (Toxin)
7 Genestealers (Toxin)
1 Tervigon (Talons, Cluster, Catalyst, Adrenal, Toxin)
10 Termagants
20 Gargoyles
1 Biovore
1 Biovore
1 Biovore

So, we buffed up the Tyrant Guard a little to give Swarmy more protection and switched the Hormagaunts for Gargoyles- Gargs are faster, the same price, and benefit greatly from Preferred Enemy (more auto-wounds from sixes.) Our Genestealers can also make good use of it- we've swapped out the Tervigon and Trygon for these, as they allow us to use the Outflank bonus effectively and are a threat to Marines, which you mentioned were common in your area. We still keep one Tervigon in because they make excellent objective-scorers, you'll just need to protect it a bit better in this version. I also upped the Biovore count because A, I love me some Biovores and B, they're great at killing infantry, especially if the enemy clusters up in the center of the board to avoid your outflankers. The basic strategy is to run the screen of Gargoyles in front of the Swarmlord to provide cover and pretty much dive into the enemy headlong- also remember you don't have to outflank the 'Stealers, if you think you have a good position for them you can simply infiltrate and apply more pressure in the first 1-2 turns.

(Your Hive Guard count was a little low for facing mechanized opponents much, so I assume that hasn't been an issue for you- if you have problems with it, simply switch over some number of Biovores to Hive Guard instead. Ymgarl Genestealers could also make an appearance here as another "paranoia piece."

List #2
Hive Tyrant (Old Adversary, Heavy Venom Cannon, Whip/Sword, Paroxysm, Leech Essence)
1 Tyrant Guard (Whip)
1 Tervigon (Cluster, Catalyst, Adrenal, Toxin)
2 Hive Guard
2 Hive Guard
1 Deathleaper
11 Termagants
11 Termagants
1 Tervigon (Cluster, Catalyst, Adrenal, Toxin)
1 Tervigon (Cluster, Catalyst, Adrenal, Toxin)
1 Trygon (Adrenal)

This is much more similar to the skeleton of the old list, maintaining most all of its parts intact. Swarmlord becomes a regular Hive Tyrant and along with dropping the Hormagaunts and Biovore that gives us enough points to slot in another Tervigon. Termgants take the place of Hormagaunts in this army, serving as our forward line of screening units, and the various auras turn them into genuine combat threats- a single buffed Termagant, on the charge, is actually better than a single Hormagaunt, although they are a bit worse in subsequent turns. The HQ Tervigon is a necessity due to points- we could trim down a few things to make it a Troop potentially, but there are limited options in that regard. Pulling AG/TS off of one Tervi and AG off another (along with AG on the Trygon and the two extra Termagants) nets us enough points, so you may want to try that version instead. However, having a "sacrificial" Tervigon to stand in front of the others that you aren't as worried about losing can be helpful, so consider both options. Deathleaper does his usualy "utility knife" role here and makes sure our psychic powers are going off; don't forget he also makes a great last-turn contesting unit, as this army lacks much good mobility.

We could tweak the Trygon to a Mawloc, which loses us a ton of offensive threat but gives another last-turn contesting unit to be annoying with Deathleaper; that also makes it possible to shift the Tervigon back into our Troop slot. As with the other list, adding in Hive Guard is also a possibility if you have trouble with tanks, although it's a bit more tricky here.

Hope you found this useful, Mike, and good luck murdering all those silly Marines in your area. 'Stealers, Sword/Toxin Warriors, Devourer Gaunts are the keys, I find.

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