Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tyranid Codex Update: Beta Version, Abilities and HQ Units

I'm dumb.

I'm really, really dumb.

Despite the fact that I know it will almost certainly never amount to anything, will never really see much use, even that I, myself, will likely never get see it in a game, I've been working on an update of the Tyranid codex, inspired by my recent article, but also by others I've written in the past, I decided that I needed to do a revamp of Mr. Cruddace's work.

Note that I say revamp, not "a new version" or "fix" or any number of other phraseologies. While I do not like some of the directions GW took the Tyranids, I think many of the others- and especially the inclusion of new and unique units- were major improvements. It's worth pointing out that the 5th Edition codex was the first time the Tyranids had gotten a significant number of new units since they originally received a codex back in 2Ed- Carnifexes, Lictors, et al have all been around for a long, long time, essentially unchanged. Creating new species and making them interesting to use (in most cases) was no small accomplishment, and I respect Mr. Cruddace for that, but by the same token I think a two year retrospective allows for some improvements.

This is a highly preliminary version of my ideas and includes some significant shifts in some places; obviously, I am of the opinion that they are the correct direction to take, but I'm posting this because I would like to hear C&C from other people about the pricings, options, changes, etc. This doesn't mean I will necessarily agree, but I think good argumentation is one of the best ways to reach a consensus where multiple conflicting viewpoints exists. Thus, with no further ado:

Where the text of a rule, ability, weapon, or biomorph is unchanged from its version in the printed Tyranid codex, I have not included it herein; lists of options, however, being necessary to show both additions and subtractions as well as modifications, have been listed in full, no matter their status.

All Synapse Creatures and units within 12" of a Synapse Creature are said to be "within Synapse" range. (Occasionally models may have a different Synapse range, but this will be listed in their text.) A unit within Synapse range is not subject to the Instinctive Behavior rule and has the Fearless USR as described in the Warhammer 40K rulebook. If a unit that is falling back comes into Synapse range before it moves, it rallies automatically, ignoring all restrictions.

Synapse Creatures also have an additional ability attached to that rule, usually listed in parenthesis afterwards. This ability represents the unique set of directives and influences that the Hive Mind channels through each of its Synapse creatures, imbuing nearby allies with special rules or abilities of their own. Usually this secondary Synapse power has a 6" range, but as with any creature's Synapse radius, this may vary. A Tyranid model may benefit from several such abilities simultaneously if it is close enough to more than one Synapse creature, though multiple instances of the same ability will grant no further benefit.

Comments: I wanted Tyranids to feel like a true collective organism; there were some aspects of this present in the previous codex, like the Hive Tyrant and Tervigon's auras that form the core of one of the stronger Tyranid armies, but I decided early on that expanding on this theme would be characterful and a good way to make armies more unique. Much of the idea came from Dawn of War II, in which many of the Synapse creatures grant additional benefits to nearby allies or gain specific benefits when near a Synapse creature.

The bio-organism has not just one brain but a distributed network of neural fibers spread throughout its entire body. In the event of catastrophic damage the Hive Mind can assume control over the broken remains of its tissue, "puppeting" the creatures actions until it is all but annihilated. Though costly to grow, for some key components of the swarm such redundancy is necessary.
A model with this biomorph has the Eternal Warrior rule.

At the end of a round of combat, after all combat results have been determined, each enemy model in the same combat as a unit with this biomorph must make a Toughness test; units will suffer one wound for each failed test. Armor and invulnerable saves may be taken as normal, but not cover saves. Only one test need be taken, even if there are several models with Toxic Miasma present.

A model with this biomorph has a 4+ invulnerable save.

Comments: Vulnerability to instant death was a common complaint about the Tyranid book, and certainly it is an issue, but I think a return to "all eternal warrior all the time" is similarly a bad move. However, adaptability is the name of the game for Tyranids, so giving them a way to deal with potential threats to their MCs and other big models seems reasonable... for a price.

Similarly, a lack of invulnerable saves can be very awkward for a melee army. In some cases I fixed this by giving models a special rule, but I felt returning Warp Field to a more generic option that some other models could take was fair.

Toxic Miasma had simply bothered me as a subpar biomorph all along. The above version is much more useful against the hordes it is nominally supposed to help against, but will have virtually no effect on Space Marines or other tough targets. (It averages one kill per nine models present versus Tactical Marines, for example.)

Crushing Claws: A model equipped with Crushing Claws gains an additional d3 attacks, but all of its attacks are always resolved at initiative 1. It may also reroll missed close combat attacks against any model with the Vehicle or Monstrous Creature unit types.

Spike Rifle: 24" S3 AP- Assault 1

Strangleweb: template S4* AP- Assault 1, Pinning
*When rolling to wound, use the target's Strength value instead of its Toughness. A Strangleweb has no effect on targets without a Strength score.

Venom Cannon: 36" S6 AP4 Assault 2, Blast, Venom*
*Venom: When rolling on the damage table, subtract one from all results unless the target is Open-Topped.

Heavy Venom Cannon: 36" S9 AP4 Assault 2, Blast, Venom

Stinger Salvo: 36" S5 AP4 Assault 4, Rending

Pyro-Acid Deathspitter: 18" S7 AP5 Assault 4

Stranglethorn Cannon: 36" S6 AP5 Assault 1, Large Blast, Barrage

Comments: A number of changes here. Crushing Claws, as it stood, were just awful; there was absolutely no reason to ever use them. I wanted to make them effective against their nominal targets (i.e. big critters and hunks of metal), and this version does that, albeit with some attached risk, since virtually all MCs are at least I2 now.

Spike Rifles needed a reason to exist. Here they function as the "sniper" gun, able to hit the enemy from significantly longer distances than any of the other Termagant weapons.

Stranglewebs were fucking terrible. There was absolutely no reason for them to be S2 while still being twice the price of any other flamer. The gain of Pinning is largely compensated for the lack of any AP value- even Guardsmen will shrug off 1/3 of the wounds still.

Venom Cannons and Heavy Venom Cannons get to be a bit better pretend anti-tank. They've been multishot weapons in the past, so it's fine here.

Stinger Salvo was just blatantly inferior to Cluster Spines. Same strength, large blast or four solo shots? Derp. The range increase may be a bit excessive, but Rending gives it some utility against a variety of targets, allowing Tervis, Tfexes and Harpies to arm themselves against whatever kind of enemy they wish.

Monstrous Creatures got an upgraded version of the Devourer, Strangler, and Venom Cannon, why not give them the same for the Deathspitter? I originally had it at Assault 5, but that seemed somewhat excessive.

The Stranglethorn is still a mediocre gun, and will be as long as mech is king, but the ability to deny cover saves and fire indirectly is worth something, at least. Remember, Pinning is automatically included with Barrage weapons.

Paroxysm: This is a psychic shooting attack that automatically hits one enemy unit within 18". Reduce the target's Weapon and Ballistic Skill to 1 until the beginning of the next Tyranid turn.

Catalyst: Used at the beginning of the Tyranid Movement phase. One friendly unit within 12" gains the Feel No Pain USR until the beginning of the next Tyranid turn.

Onslaught: Used during the Tyranid shooting phase. One friendly, non-vehicle unit within 12" may immediately Run and then shoot, and gains the Fleet USR until the end of the turn. (The unit may not choose to Run twice and is allowed to shoot even if under the effects of Instintive Behavior- Feed.)

Psychic Scream: Used during the Tyranid shooting phase. All enemy units that are within 18" suffer a -1 penalty when making any kind of Leadership roll, including Morale, Pinning, and Psychic tests. This penalty is cumulative up to three times.

The Horror: This is a psychic shooting attack that automatically hits one unit within 12". During its next turn, the target must make a Leadership check any time it wishes to move, run, shoot, or assault; if it fails a test, the unit can perform no other actions during that phase.

Leech Essence: This is a psychic shooting attack that automatically hits one unit within 18". The target suffers d3 S3 AP2 hits; cover saves may not be taken against these wounds. For each wound inflicted by this attack the caster regains one wound it has lost during the battle, up to its normal starting maximum.

Comments: Paroxysm and Catalyst were fine, obviously; I bumped Paro's range slightly, but it didn't need a ton of help.

Onslaught adds Fleet to give those melee swarms a little more push and so that it might see some play occasionally to open charges from the slower beasts. Also, it isn't a psychic shooting attack because that made no sense at all.

Psychic Scream is restored to its old version, albeit with the necessity to activate it each turn because that's how psychic powers work now. The Psychic Choir list was fun, there was really no reason to get rid of it. The limit on stacking exists because you can now potentially bring nine Zoanthropes in Pods, which can allow for some serious shenanigans.

The Horror was one place I was largely stuck; the current version is just a copy of the BA Soul Shackle power. Cute, but not all that impressive, I think. Better ideas would be appreciated.

Leech Essence just got its text cleaned up a little and range pushed out to 18", along with ignoring cover saves. If you allow saves, the power really needs to be S4/5 or get d6 hits, because an average of 1/3 wound on a successful cast is shitty 4E-style psychic power level.

HIVE TYRANT..... 160pts
8 3 6 6 4 5 4 10 3+
1 Hive Tyrant

Monstrous Creature

Bonded Exoskeleton
Lash Whip and Bonesword
Scything Talons

Synapse Creature (Old Adversary)
Shadow in the Warp

A Hive Tyrant may choose any two of the following psychic powers:
Leech Essence, Paroxysm, The Horror, Psychic Scream, Warp Blast, Warp Lance, Onslaught, Catalyst

Synapse Creature (Old Adversary)
The Hive Tyrant is a Synapse Creature. In addition, all Tyranid units within 6" of the Hive Tyrant gain the Preferred Enemy USR.

Indescribable Horror
If an enemy Psyker within 24" makes a psychic test, they do so at -1 Leadership. This penalty stacks with itself and all other penalties.

If a Hive Tyrant with the Wings biomorph is selected, you may take one brood of Gargoyles or Shrikes as a Troop selection.

Replace Lash Whip and Bonesword with:
-An additional set of Scything Talons..... free

Replace any set of Scything Talons with:
-Twin-linked Devourer with Brainleech Worms..... 15pts
-Twin-linked Pyro-Acid Deathspitter..... 15pts

Replace one set of Scything Talons with one of the following (each option can only be selected once):
-Stranglethorn Cannon..... 10pts
-Heavy Venom Cannon..... 20pts

Take any of the following abilities:
-Hive Commander..... 25pts
- Indescribable Horror..... 20pts
- Warp Field..... 25pts

Take any of the following:
- Adrenal Glands..... 10pts
- Toxin Sacs..... free
- Acid Blood..... 10pts
- Implant Attack..... 10pts
- Toxic Miasma..... 15pts
- Regeneration..... 20pts
- Synaptic Network..... 20pts

Take one of the following:
- Thorax swarm with either Electroshock Grubs, Desiccator Larvae, or Shreddershard Beetles..... 15pts
- Armored Shell..... 25pts
- Wings..... 40pts

Comments: I argued a lot over what SYnapse aura to give the Tyrant, but in the end I had no particularly excellent ideas and decided to simply go with Old Adversary, which is fitting since it was one of the abilities that had sparked the whole idea. I also wanted Warp Field to be back so that generic Tyrants might have a chance in close combat if they chose to so equip themselves; the point cost on that is certainly something that is up for discussion, but I ballparked it there due to similar abilities on other models. Indescribable Horror was just an awful, awful ability and I wanted to give Tyranids a little more of the anti-psyker flavor that they had in the fluff without resorting to giving them an outright Hood equivalent, so this was the result.

As with the Carnifex later, the option to take a pair of "heavy" weapons was restored, because frankly its removal was baffling and obnoxious. Toxin Sacs were changed to be free on all monstrous creatures (except Harpies) because reading how the rules work is pro. Carapace options (wings, etc) were cheapened to be actually reasonable, although Armored Shell might need a small bump in cost. Since Hive Tyrants are supposed to be the premiere psykers in the Hive, they were given access to all of the psychic powers except Dominion. Finally, the options for creating an aerial hive were expanded slightly.

THE SWARMLORD..... 280pts
9 4 7 6 5 6 4 2+
1 Swarmlord (Unique)

Monstrous Creature

Armored Shell

Synapse Creature (Live for the Swarm)
Shadow in the Warp
Psychic Monstrosity
Alien Cunning
Blade Parry
Swarm Leader

Synapse Creature (Live for the Swarm)
The Swarmlord is a Synapse Creature, but it has a Synapse range of 18" instead of the usual 12". In addition, all Tyranid units within 12" of the Swarmlord have the Eternal Warrior USR.

Psychic Monstrosity
The Swarmlord can use two psychic powers each turn, and has access to all of the Hive Tyrant powers (Leech Essence, Paroxysm, The Horror, Psychic Scream, Warp Blast, Warp Lance, Onslaught, and Catalyst.)

Alien Cunning
While the Swarmlord is alive, you add +1 to all your reserve rolls. You may also choose to Outflank with one Troop unit, and may reroll the dice when determining what board edge your Outflanking units arrive from.

Swarm Leader
At the beginning of your shooting phase, the Swarmlord can bestow one of the following special abilities onto any one friendly unit on the table: Preferred Enemy, Tank Hunters, Furious Charge, Counterattack. These benefits last until the beginning of your next shooting phase.

Comments: Very unsure on the price here- he didn't actually change a whole lot in broad concepts, but the details are sufficiently different as to be very relevant. The free EW aura was basically there to keep the differentiation between him and the generic Tyrant; they do different things different ways. However, I disliked the fact that he let you reroll edges when outflanking but awkwardly you had virtually no outflankers available in a list, so I gave him that bonus. Swarm Leader was changed so that it granted some actual relevant USRs and so that none of them were grossly better than the others (Preferred Enemy vs Acute Senses? really?) Finally, he was given +1S and a 2+ save, since he IS ridiculously expensive. However, he is still without guns, without an invuln outside of CC and still doesn't have Lash Whips himself.

TYRANT GUARD BROOD..... 60pts per model
You may include one Tyrant Guard brood for each Hive Tyrant or Swarmlord in your army. These broods do not count towards your HQ allowance or requirements.
5 0 5 6 2 4 3 7 3+
1-3 Tyrant Guard


Bonded Exoskeleton
Rending Claws
Scything Talons

Instinctive Behavior- Feed
Blind Rampage

If a Tyrant Guard brood is purchased, a single Tyrant (or Swarmlord) must start the game attached to the brood as if it were an upgrade character, although its unit type does not change. If all of the Guard are killed, the Tyrant will revert to its normal status. So long as the Tyrant is present, the unit may not Go to Ground, voluntarily or otherwise.

Blind Rampage
If an attached Tyrant is killed whilst part of a unit of Tyrant Guard, the surviving Guard immediately gain the Preferred Enemy, Furious Charge, and Rage special rules for the remainder of the battle.

The entire brood may replace their Scything Talons or Rending Claws with:
Lash Whip..... 10pts per model
Bonesword..... 10pts per model
(Note that if this option is selected twice, the model will have a pair of Boneswords, as described in their entry.)

Comments: Shieldwall was reworded so that it made a little more sense. Blind Rampage was improved to be slightly more relevant when it came up. Upgrade options were changed slightly (you can swap either weapon) and Lash Whips made a bit less of a no-brainer choice.

TERVIGON..... 190pts
3 3 5 6 6 2 3 10 3+
1 Tervigon

Monstrous Creature

Bonded Exoskeleton
Claws and Teeth
Stinger Salvo
Toxin Sacs

Synapse Creature (Tailored Toxins)
Brood Progenitor
Shadow in the Warp
Spawn Gaunts


Synapse Creature (Tailored Toxins)
The Tervigon is a Synapse Creature. In addition, Tyranid units within 6" gain the benefit of Toxin Sacs.

Take one of the following:
- Scything Talons..... 5pts
- Crushing Claws..... 20pts

Take any of the following:
- Adrenal Glands..... 10pts
- Acid Blood..... 10pts
- Implant Attack..... 10pts
- Toxic Miasma..... 15pts
- Regeneration..... 25pts
- Synaptic Network..... 25pts

Replace Stinger Salvo with:
- Cluster Spines..... free

Take any of the following additional psychic powers:
- Catalyst..... 15pts
- Onslaught..... 15pts

A Tervigon may be upgraded so that its Spawn Gaunts ability instead produces:
- Termagants with Spinefists..... free
- Termagants with Spike Rifles..... 15pts
- Termagants with Devourers..... 50pts
- Hormagaunts..... 15pts

Comments: Ah, Tervigons. Honestly, I very much like Tervigons, as they're a brilliant way to push the "endless swarm" theme without literally being endless- they just feel that way. They got a bit more expensive and lost the ability to share their Ld values and Adrenal Glands with Gaunts (since that's other models' schtick now), but they can give out Poison to anyone. A bump to I2 makes him slightly less bad in combat and less vulnerable to test-or-die effects. Oh, and I added a little thing where they can spawn stuff other than basic Termagants now, as in almost any species of Gaunts except Gargoyles.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaa? Isn't the point to make them less of an obvious choice? Well, sure, of course, but this does several things: it gives people options. People like having options. It lets people play with more of their collection. People like being able to use all their models. It lets you differentiate your Tervigons, if you hate fielding multiples of the same thing. And it opens up different builds. The Spinefist version is obviously a wash, since they're basically equivalent to Fleshborers. For the other version, I ran off a base assumption of each Tervigon spawning 15 Gaunts as a way to determine the approximate cost in points; Devourers get a bit of a break here because 75pts is a HUGE number and any Tervigon so equipped is going to be a prime target for the enemy. Hormagaunts were basically thrown in for giggles; really, I mean why not?

TYRANID PRIME..... 65pts
6 4 5 5 3 5 4 10 3+
1 Tyranid Prime
You may include up to two Tyranid Primes per HQ choice, but each of them is deployed and acts independently during the game.


Bonded Exoskeleton
Scything Talons

Synapse Creature (Deadly Response)
Alpha Warrior
Independent Character
Shadow in the Warp

Synapse Creature (Deadly Response)
A Tyranid Prime is a Synapse Creature. In addition, all Tyranid units within 6" gain the Counterattack USR.

Alpha Warrior
While a Tyranid Prime is joined to a unit of Warriors or Shrikes, they gain the benefit of its WS and BS values.

Replace Scything Talons with:
- Rending Claws..... 5pts per model
- A pair of Boneswords.... 15pts per model
- Lash Whip and Bonesword..... 20pts per model

Replace Devourer with:
- Rending Claws..... free
- Spinefists..... free
- Deathspitter..... 5pts per model
-An additional set of Scything Talons..... free

Take any of the following:
- Adrenal Glands..... 10pts per model
- Toxin Sacs..... 10pts per model
- Regeneration..... 15pts per model
- Synaptic Network..... 10pts per model
- Wings..... 20pts per model

Comments: Everyone loves a good multi-HQ. His basic cost dropped significantly, but his upgrades- mainly the Boneswords- went up. Still ends up being a little cheaper overall, but I don't think that's totally unfair given he is basically just a punchy HQ and those aren't worth a lot on their own. In addition to being available in multiples to support a small critters swarm I also added a Wings option, although that may need a points adjustment.

5 0 6 4 3 6 4 10 3+
1 Parasite (Unique)

Jump Infantry

Bonded Exoskeleton
Implant Attack
Rending Claws

Synapse Creature (Perfect Flight)
Host Organism
Implant Parasite
Independent Character
Shadow in the Warp
"The Sarge is Acting Strangely..."

Synapse Creature (Perfect Flight)
The Parasite is a Synapse Creature. In addition, Tyranid units within 6" may reroll tests for Difficult and Dangerous terrain.

Host Organism
So long as the Parasite is alive, units of Ripper Swarms do not have to make Instinctive Behavior tests.

Implant Parasite
Successful saves taken against the Parsite's attacks must be rerolled. Furthermore, if a model is killed by the Parasite's attacks or it inflicts a Penetrating hit on a vehicle, make a note. At the end of the assault phase if the Parasite inflicted at least one such casualty/hit, add d6 bases of Ripper Swarms (+1 for each casualty/hit beyond the first); these bases will join with an existing unit of Rippers, if there is one available, or will create a new unit if none are in range. All of the bases must be placed within 6" of the Parasite and may not be placed in base contact with an enemy unit; if sufficient models are unavailable or there is not enough room to place them all, the extra bases are lost.

"The Sarge is Acting Strangely..."
Any enemy units held in reserve, except those that Deep Strike, must make a Toughness test for each member of the squad at the end of the Movement phase in which they arrive. For each failed test, one model must be removed as a casualty and you immediately gain a unit of Rippers as though the Parasite had inflicted these wounds, as per its Implant Parasite ability, above, except that the bases must instead be placed within 6" of the afflicted unit, rather than the Parasite itself. If the unit was embarked on a transport, place the bases within 6" of the transport's hull.

If the Parasite of Mortrex is selected, Gargoyles and Shrikes become Troops choices.

Comments: All of the changes were essentially tweaks. First up, he's a bit more deadly in combat- you have to reroll all saves against his attacks, including invulnerable saves, so Rends (which are, remember, Instant Death) become pretty scary. His aura is pretty much copied over from the Baron, who is a very nice example of how to build a utility HQ. His Ripper-generating ability is now much more likely to actually come up, but you can't get lucky and generate the 3d6 or 4d6 Ripper bases you could before. His reserve-punishing ability now actually punishes all reserves (except DS, a nod to the fluff of where such units are coming from- far outside the reach of the swarm) rather than only outflanking units. He also is the big enabler for the all-flying army, which seems appropriate.

So that's the HQ slot; I'll do Elites tomorrow where, gasp, we some units get better and some units get worse.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...