Saturday, May 28, 2011

More Tyranid stuff

In my first article, I touched upon some rather unexplored options in the Tyranid bestiary in hopes to expanding your Hive Mind.  A lot of the units I mentioned are often overlooked, but I assure you, they kick ass when giving a specific purpose.  The more I play with Tyranids, the more I realize that army design is very important.  Each and every unit has to play a specific role and they have to work in conjunction with the rest of your list.  I'll provide some lists in my following article so I can show you guys what I mean.

So far, we have explored the following units:

Now, we will talk about:
Tyranid Warriors, Shrikes
Gargoyles, Harpies, Winged Tyrants
Ymgarl Genestealers

Tyranid Warriors are often overlooked because they're viewed as a direct comparison to last edition.  They're more expensive, don't have Eternal Warrior and can't be customized as much as last edition.  The for some wild reason, the Tyranid didn't help them either because you mysteriously can't take Primes w/ Warriors in a Spore Pod.  Weird?  You bet you ass.  Useless?  Far from it.  Tyranid Warriors w/ LW/BS and Toxin Sacs are arguably the best assault units in the game.  They're WS5 base, 6 with the Prime and have 3 attacks by themselves.  Add in the fact that they don't really care for frags because they're lashing everything they touch and going first with power weapons and re-roll wounds (vs. T4 and under), they're absolutely devastating.  I don't think I've ever seen a 10-man unit of Marines manage to hit back under the right circumstances.  You can either choose to go Scything Talons for re-roll 1s, Rending Claws for vehicles or just keep the Devos/Venom Cannon if you have a Prime to lend his BS4.

Another interesting option for Tyranid Warriors is giving them Adrenal Glands and Toxin Sacs and taking them in a pod.  Believe me, they're a threat to everything save for Land Raiders as soon as they land.  People will be foolish react and relocate their vehicles once these guys hit the field on turn one.

So what now?  Let's talk about the flying threats that Tyranids can take but are often overlooked.  Who cares about Trygon models when you can make half the army flying while the rest of your army drops on his face!  The only way you guys can take a flying army work is you take Gargoyles.  They're small, dirt cheap and you can take an assload of them to provide a flying screen of mobile cover.  Can you guys imagine how much hurt a Flyrant flying around with two Harpies w/ Stranglethorn Cannons can pour out on horde armies or even Marines?  S6 large blast all over the place from 12" flying creatures that can exploit any exploding transport.  Sure, they might get cover saves, but you're pouring out so much hurt it doesn't really matter.  Anyone wishing to shoot at these will have to kill the Gargoyles first.  Taking a full unit of 30 Gargs costs 180 points.  They'll die to anything your opponent throws at them, but that's their entire purpose in life - to serve as a living, moving meat shield.

As for the flying Tyrant combination, I personally like the Flyrant with a Stranglethorn Cannon, Adrenal Glands, BS/LW and maybe Implant Attack.  Keep in mind that this is no way set in stone, you take whatever configuration you need to fight your metagame.  I just think that when combined with 2 Harpies shooting twin-linked Stranglethorn Cannons, and 2 Cluster Spines, you're looking at a possible 3 S6 Large Blasts and 2 S5 Large Blasts landing on people's faces per turn.  Adrenal Glands is also preferred for the Harpies because they're MCs and S6 + 2d6 charging tanks and hitting rear armor isn't all that bad.  Shrikes are also pretty good with a large unit of Gargs because you can pair them with a Flyrant with Old Adversary (Preferred Enemy 6" bubble) and go to town with BS/LW and Toxin Sacs.  This gives them re-roll hits and wounds with power weapons and everyone in base contact with you is swinging last.  Sounds overpowered doesn't it?  Give it a try.

Zoanthropes are often on the back burner compared to Hive Guard and with good reason.  They need to take psychic tests first, your opponents can stop it, then they have to shoot and possibly miss, then roll to wound and pen, then if your opponents have cover saves, they take those.  This is some pretty bad odds with all things considered especially when most of your opponent's vehicles can stay out of 18" range.  So what makes them worth it?  They shoot the most powerful anti-tank weapon in the entire game.  S10 AP1 Lance or S5 AP3 blast is capable of blasting apart the strongest tanks and the strongest marine.  The only bad thing about these guys is that 18" is in range of hoods and runic weapons.

So they suck right?  Wrong.  Tyranids is all about flexibility and applying threat.  Even if your opponent has the tools to stop Zoanthropes psychic abilities, they can't stop it 100% unless they're killed.  Their S10 shot can take down any tank in the game with relative ease and their S5 AP3 blast scares the crap out of any marine out of transports.  When you factor this in with an army that can fly, drop pod in, outflank or deploy as normal, an entire host of strategies begin to open up.  The key to using Zoans is to take 3 of them and drop them in in a pod.  You can either choose to do this outside the 24" hood/rune range and shoot at viable targets or you can choose to drop them in on force with an all out attack.  Zoans are best with a Drop Pod army that can force a lot of threats and target saturation early and unexpected.  With Mysics and Inquisitors out of the game, Drop Pod armies will definitely more play.  More on this later.

Lastly, I want to talk about a funny little unit that competes with one of the most coveted spots in the Tyranids codex - the elite slot.  Most of my lists only run with 2 units of Hive Guard and thus my 3rd slot opens for something else.  Sometimes, I take the dreaded Ymargl Genestealers because they're hysterical to use.  I don't know how else to put it, but anyone deploying Devastator-type units (infantry carrying heavy weapons) is in a whole world of shit.  You either force them to stay inside their dedicated transports, not deploy in terrain at all, or deploy in terrain and spread out in all kinds of stupid ways just to find out you popped out from somewhere else.  Nothing plays more mind games than Ymargls and for good reason.  Once they pop out, they can move, fleet and assault freely, which means they can threaten anything on the turn they arrive.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Ymargls should be taken over the other Elite choices in the book, but it's fun to see Long Fangs spammers get ripped a new asshole once in a while.

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