Sunday, January 23, 2011

Revisiting Tyranids


So Tyranids have been out for a year now and people have got in a lot of games with them.  I've heard many things from many different people, but one thing's for sure:  A lot of players don't like the current book.  To make a long story short, they find the book stale, some thing's don't make sense, it's overcrowded and limited in competitive options.

This is not going to be another one of those posts complaining about Tyranids, but it'll be a post to talk about why I think Tyranids are actually fun.  Call me a loyalist bastard all you want (considering I have like 4 MEQ armies), but Tyranids is still pretty fun to play.  Let me rephrase; Tyranids is a blast to play in a semi-competitive to non-competitive environment.  At the top tier competitive levels, Tyranids just isn't there.  Now I know this depends from region to region, but there's a lot of competitive options from other books that causes a lot of issue for the options that Tyranids like to field competitively.  Big scary bugs are indeed pretty scary, but you can only get so many of them on the field before things get melta'd or plasma'd to death.  Compared to the Nidzilla of last edition, the combat effectiveness vs. cost just isn't there anymore.

I've been playing with my 2K Swarmlord list on Vassal lately and I have yet to lose a game.  Sure, I'm not playing against the most competitive lists vs. the most competitive people, but that's exactly what I'm talking about.  Tyranids might not be the best army competitively, but they're definitely not out of the game.  Check out my list:


1996
12 kp

HQ:
Swarmlord = 280

TROOP:
12x Genestealers = 168
12x Genestealers = 168
14x Termagaunts = 70
+Trevigon (Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Onslaught) = 200
14x Termagaunts = 70
+Trevigon (Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Onslaught) = 200

ELITE:
Deathleaper = 140
3x Hive Guard = 150
3x Hive Guard = 150

HEAVY:
Trygon = 200
Trygon = 200

The Termagaunts wall the Hive Guard, the Hive Guard wall the Trevigons and Swarmlord and the Trygons can't really hide.  A lot of people like to DS Trygons in every game, but I see them as great fire magnets if the opponent is lacking long range-anti tank.  You throw them on the board and all of a sudden, your opponent's gameplan changes completely.

For some reason, a lot of people don't like Genestealers either.  I still think they're one of the best counter-charging units in the game.  Any unit that's trapped in combat with fearless Nids is a dead unit once they receive a charge from Genestealers.  You can keep them behind your main wall of units (behind the Swarmlord) and anything that hits that wall of flesh in front of you is dead.  The best thing about Genestealers is that they work perfectly with the Swarmlord in this list.  Having that +1 to reserves and re-rolls for outflanking means that the stealers are insanely deadly and unpredictable.  It completely mind-melts your opponent's deployment, his actions and the way the game is played.  No one wants outflanking GS running down their lines.. especially when you have close combat with a tarpit on a denied flank.  If you have the points, Toxin Glands makes them the premiere MEQ-killer in the game for the points.  With the Swarmlord's Preferred Enemy, things just get ridiculous.

Another thing about Genestealers is that they are infiltration units.  That means after both sides deployed, you have the luxury to start 18" away from him in a very uncomfortable position.  This can draw a lot of fire away from your primary army and cause a lot of problems for heavy weapon teams.  The right way to play Tyranids is to provide your opponent with so many threats that he can't possibly deal with them all.  Genestealers are one of those units that gives me those options.  Sure, they lose their frag grenades in this edition, but they are still deadly enough to pressure and threaten any unit in the game.

You guys probably look at this list and wonder why I didn't take another unit of Hive Guard.  Honestly, I don't really care for them.  Zoanthropes are amazing pressure vs. MEQ and depending on your metagame, they can destroy things left and right with their psychic attacks.  If you're playing a Space Wolf/Eldar heavy environment, they're not going to do much, but they're not necessarily out of the game.  As you can see, the only thing I have that can reliably punch through AV14 is my Trygons and my Swarmlord.  S6 and 2d6 to armor pen is enough to punch through the thick armor of a Land Raider on slightly above average rolls.  Hive Guard is good for taking out light transports and skimmers because Impaler Cannons makes any light transport worry.  LoS simply doesn't apply to them and often times then not, they're not getting cover from the shots they take.

What I did take in the place of that 3rd Hive Guard unit is the Deathleaper.  Now I don't know about you guys, but this guy's hysterical.  You can't see/shoot at him if he's chilling in cover.  Not only do you halve the results of your night shooting roll vs. him (max roll is 12" range), but he makes all infantry units within 12" of him roll one less dice when moving through difficult terrain.  Your opponent is never going to get near him unless you play it wrong.  Once you have combat going with enemies locked in close combat, the Deathleaper keeps anyone trying to help them out of combat.  Not saying that DL is weak in combat, WS9, S6, I7 and 5+ rending makes a lot of units cry.  The D3 leadership nerf on enemy characters is also great at nerfing down psychic hoods and watching beefy characters run off the map never gets tiring.  Probably one of the best things about the Deathleaper is also his ability to contest points at the last minute.  Unless, of course, your opponent plays it right and spreads his unit on top of a point so the leaper has to deploy 1" away.  Oh, and before I forget, once this dude gets on the board, the Swarmlord is calling in reserves at +2 next turn.  Pheromone Trail also allows units DS'ing in like Trygons come in without scatter 6" away from him so they act as mini-homing beacons.

Lastly, I want to talk about the Swarmlord.  He is the centerpiece to my army and I take him because of the following reasons:

  • I love the idea of him and the model that's represented.  I mean, look at him.  He has 4 freaking Bone Sabres and looks absolutely bad ass.  Besides, he's the only one that's ever slapped Marneus like a small child.
  • His Bone Sabres absolutely destroy enemy ICs.  They inflict instant death regardless of toughness and any successful invulnerable saves have to be re-rolled.  All ICs should just cower in fear.
  • WS9 and Blade Parry laughs at most units trying to hit him.  Marines hit him on 5s and 4+ invulnerable keeps the fists that do get through at bay.
  • 18" Synapse range is very important for tarpitting units and having your Genestealers come in to finish the job.
  • Swarm Leader gives me 18" of Preferred Enemy, Furious Charge or Acute Senses.  This is free, can't be stopped and just happens every turn.  The 2x psychic abilities a turn comes in handy as well.
  • Last, but certainly not least, is Alien Cunning.  +1 to reserve rolls is boss and the ability to re-roll outflank is great with Genestealers.  I love this ability and you should love it too.

Back to having fun with Tyranids!  I love my Swarmlord.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have had my swarmlord beat down logan in 1 round of combat before, was not pretty, stick him with a tyrant guard with whips and you be hitting first no matter what, tis the season to be jolly :D

HERO said...

Yeah, my other option is to drop the Deathleaper for 2x Hive Guard w/ Lash Whips. The FAQ really helps out in that it makes the SL basically untouchable until they die.

Carlos Jantarada said...

Just a small correction. As stated in page 91 of the nid dex: "for every termagant brood included in your army, you can include one tervigon as a troop choice". Therefore ONLY ONE of your tervigons counts as a troop option (the other one can go as an HQ entry, since you have a slot vacant).

Nevertheless, this is a brutal army... c'mon ya guys! It has got everything: Swarmlord is a beast of resiliance and assault... Death leaper's special rules combined with shadow in the warp leaves oposite psychers pulling off their airs and there´s plenty anti-transport shooting, excelent cc units, 2 trygons in deepstrike for those A14 vehicles and finally 2 terv's that can boost other units, breed countless short guys and one of them (just one LOL) can still claim objectives.

As a Nid player I must say this is a bit different from my roster but quite frankly I like it a lot.

Carlos Jantarada said...

AH! My bad! didn´t noticed you had 2 units of 14 termagants (at first lecture only spoted one...must get an update to my glasses lol). Well in that case my opinion on this army gets even better! Great list, man!

Lyracian said...

Deathleaper is fun but I prefer Gargoyles and Tyrant Guard. I love playing my Swarmlord.

I agree with your summary. Tyranids is a fun book. New Nidzilla can scrape bye as a competitive list. Other Codices are so much better though why would any tournament player want to?

Anonymous said...

Hey HERO,

I've been throwing out hundreds of lists for 'Nids, trying to find one I like. Your list is the closest thing to liking that i've gotten yet. The only problem is, I only play 1500pts. What would you change to allow that?

HERO said...

Honestly man, this list suffers greatly from 2k to 1500. The threat presented in 1500 isn't great enough to justify taking a 280 Swarmlord. At 1500, you really just want to play with the cheaper Warrior Primes. If you really do insist on taking the Swarmlord, you need to either drop Hive Guard down, drop a Trygon, drop some gaunts, maybe lose a Trevigon, and not take Deathleaper (or Tyrant Guard) at all. In fact, you might want to lose a Genestealer squad all together. Nids suffer greatly at lower point levels I think. They just don't have enough power without able to play a healthy mix of MCs and other threats.

HERO said...

Just won 2 more games. Here's the list I used:

1997
12 kp

HQ:
Swarmlord = 280
+2x Tyrant Guard (Lashwhips) = 130

TROOP:
10x Genestealers (Toxin) = 160
18x Genestealers = 252
11x Termagaunts = 55
+Trevigon (Toxin, Catalyst) = 185
10x Termagaunts = 50
+Trevigon (Toxin, Catalyst) = 185

ELITE:
3x Hive Guard = 150
3x Hive Guard = 150

HEAVY:
Trygon = 200
Trygon = 200

The huge squad of Genestealers is a great infiltration and pressure unit where the smaller squad of 10 with Toxin Sacs just wrecks any MEQ.

Old School Terminator said...

I love the scrape by comments. I run trip trygons, Tyrant, Hive Guard, Doom, Tervigon and Gaunts and I am at the top tables in my area.

It's good to see somebody else is doing as well with a list the rest of the internet hates. Long live the mighty multi-deployment option nids!

HERO said...

@OST
Just because the option is there doesn't mean you have to take it. These days, I'd rather have both players have fun than playing a turkey shoot. Else, it would be a waste of time for both players.

Chad said...

Very cool article here. I have only just began playing the game back in September with Black Templars and even more recently (The new year) began my second army now of Tyranids. I am in the process of scourering the internet looking for information. This was very useful and good to see folks having fun playing their Nids armies!

Anonymous said...

Is there an official Tervigon model I'm not finding?

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