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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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The New Tervigon...Impact?

So with the new Tervigon (and T-Fex, Swarmlord and bits for a Harpy) finally landing, the major question in everyone's mind is what is going to happen to the old models and how is TLoS and cover going to interact with these models, in the future 6th edition rules and ultimately the viability of Tyranids on the whole.

Personally, and this is both as a gamer and as a newly blooded TO, old Tervigon & Tyrannofex conversions are fine - as long as they are reasonable. And by reasonable I mean anything based off something Carnifex sized - it was one of the biggest models back then and it's basic construct was and still is, pretty similar to the artwork we had of the Tervigon and T-Fex. I believe any TO who goes against this...well, shame on them - particularly if it's GW sponsored. We've heard from them for years about how they are a modelling company yet they dick around arguing legal terms with fans trying to help other fans out whilst making a little bit of money and fail to produce models which are a big part of an army (including Thunderwolves from Space Wolves). There's protecting your IP and then there's being, whatever colorful word you'd like to call Games Workshop currently.

So this harks back to the issue of TLoS, cover and the differences between the old converted models and the new models. I haven't held the new model in my hand so it's difficult to ascertain it's exact height and where the rough 50% cut-off is going to be. In some of the new pictures released (hi Phil Kelly's Tyranids!) we can see roughly two Termagants will reach just under the Tervigon/T-Fex head (see silly picture below) - this is the rough height of your medium sized Tyranid models such as Hive Guard/Warriors/Raveners/etc.

If we cut out the spines, this could conceivably cover half the model - the issue is the spines are part of the model and even without them, it's not really covering 50% of the model thanks to the really tall hind legs which is putting the majority of the model up in the air (cause you know, that's what evolution would do! :P). Now, I feel this is more of an issue with a T-Fex compared to the Tervigon who has that massive egg-sac underneath to counter-balance this. If you have some slightly taller models (Zoanthropes, Primes, etc.), you can start generating cover. and the stack-like things on top of the model aren't exactly providing much in terms of mass - to me. This is all without a model present of course so the Hive Guard/Warriors might actually provide cover, but it's unlikely and certainly won't to the T-Fex (this is less of an issue due to a 2+ save though).

If this is the case, well conversion models are going to have a real 'modelling-for-advantage' issue - at the time, they were perfectly legal and based on a big GW product. Most people bulked them out somehow (I bulked mine out for example around the rib cage - made it wider and added some greenstuff to the hip join to make it longer) to represent the larger than Carnifex size but Games Workshop has basically dwarfed these with their new models and this has made the majority of conversions too small as they can get cover a lot easier.

However, since Games Workshop took two whole, bloody, frustrating, years to bring these models out despite being a "models company" - well tough shit, not everyone is going to buy these so the converted models are going to stay and they better bloody well be legal in GW sponsored tournaments (even though we don't care about them at this point in time). The issue of course, is one needs to pretend they are bigger than they are without gaining any of the benefits. Now I've always personally had to do this with my T-Fexes since I used 3rd edition models for them (so they looked significantly different). This has made them much smaller and could be seen as modelling for advantage but I've always let my opponent see them (unless there was this massive thing in the way) and as long as there has been a Hive Guard+ sized model in front of them, they get cover. And since my gun is so close to the ground, the opponent has often got cover when a taller model would not have given it. And I don't get the benefits of hiding behind a super tall model (though it would be unlikely to BLoS to Hive Guard anyway). This will really now need to be done for nearly every converted model out there unless they were big to start with or the opponent is happy enough to concede such models will get cover from Hive Guard sized models.

What this means is we need to get cover beyond our old layered Tyranids. No more Termgants to Hive Guard to MC cover wall - something new needs to happen. This can be as simple as running Venomthropes and if 6th edition really does take cover to 5+, well these guys are a pretty solid choice. Except the Tyranid army is now forced to take these to get cover reliably and this reduces their already struggling anti-tank. Larger units such as Gargoyles could be used but they really have the same role as Termagants and are going to be stuck babysitting Tervigons - not fun. Of course, Tyranid Primes if larger than Hive Guard/Warriors can still provide cover and since Games Workshop STILL hasn't released an official model for them, well hello taller conversions since Games Workshop, through no rules changes at all, just effectively nerfed Tyranids. Again. And this is what happens when a "models company" attempts to make a game. (not bitter, I swear) Basically, you're going to need to look outside your normal 'my army brings its cover with it' for Tyranids from this point on - MCs can still give cover to MCs (ahem T-Fexes) but something is unlikely to have cover unless you work a lot harder for it (because it was so easy before).

Ultimately, these models simply should not be bought. Personally, I dislike the look of them but beyond that, Games Workshop has made poor modelling decisions which impact the game in a negative fashion and made us wait a very long period of time for this whilst modelling them to such an extreme degree to attempt to render all conversions worthless so this model has to replace them (along with any other models we need to buy to ensure they have cover). Unfortunately, I know people will buy them because they've just started, never converted anything or just look cool and this is why Games Workshop never gets better, people keep buying and eating up their crap /rant.

Ahem - so, rant over! Once the models are released and there are exact sizes to measure up against we can see how damaging this really is though I think something around the 3" mark is really going to be needed to give these guys cover without arguments - I could be wrong and then this would just be a less pointless rage and discussion but from the pictures, I don't think so unfortunately. Now this could all change a ton in 6th edition where cover might be different (but I don't see how much easier it would be to get for MCs), MCs might be better in other ways (5++ naturally!?) or mech is easier to kill (less reliance on Hive Guard therefore not so bad to buy Venomthropes in their place) but it still doesn't make sense to release them now but hey *shrug*.

Here are also some more pictures of the Thunderwolf Lord, the lol Cyberwolf and Arjac (and the lash whips + boneswords).

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